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Open mike 12/04/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 12th, 2011 - 149 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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

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Step right up to the mike…

149 comments on “Open mike 12/04/2011”

  1. ZeeBop 1

    Workers seek higher wages – National don’t agree.
    Workers seek valued trusting relationships with employers – National don’t agree.
    National want companies but not workers.

    • g says 1.1

      warner bros    check
      local workers……?
      petrobras     check
      local users of the sea for kai……?
      overseas train makers      check
      local engineers and unemployed citizens……?

      • prism 1.1.1

        g says – Heard someone talking about our local film project via Warner Bros.  They are tending to keep things quiet about their progress.  No doubt they recognise, and are wary of, the confused and naive attitudes to the connection between business and employment here in nz by many workers who are prepared to wreck others jobs in their pursuit of their own individual, unreasonable demands.

        • McFlock

          Think of it as workers, each acting in their own self interest, guiding the employment market like an invisible hand…

  2. g says 2

    so now that the dole queue is growing, the flight to australia has continued and the economic outlook is grim, maybe now we can build the rail fleet that is needed for auckland, in new zealand. after all i hear the labour is relatively cheap here.
    the idea that it will cost more than what overseas markets can do it for is an archaic and limited view.
    who are the organizations that can raise awareness and put pressure on mr joyce and jonkey to change their stance? 
    new zealand first? the unions?

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      who are the organizations that can raise awareness and put pressure on mr joyce and jonkey to change their stance? 
      new zealand first? the unions?

      Uh, the Labour Opposition?

      • higherstandard 2.1.1

        You’d hope as that’s the job they’re paid for.

        • Vicky32

          I fear they’re too busy imploding and arguing about identity politics. They don’t really seem interested in working people.

          • Tigger

            Every Labour MP I know is working tirelessly on behalf of working people…don’t be misled by media and political spin.

            • PeteG

              All working people?
              What about working for all people?

              hs, that’s funny, off to Mexico to check up on the F&P workers over there?

              • felix

                “All people”? They’re called the “Labour” Party. They are supposed to represent working people.
                You have your own parties representing your interests.

                • PeteG

                  I expect any of our governments to represent my interests, as best they can in conjunction with everyone else’s.
                  The “we’ll look after our own, fuck the rest” attitude is not what I’d expect from the left, but it seems to be common.

                  • felix

                    In case you haven’t noticed, my dear dim-witted friend, there are no Labour MPs in the government.
                    F.F.S. You can’t be this fucking thick, Pete.

                    • PeteG

                      In case you haven’t noticed there have been Labour MPs in government, and I sort of thought they wanted to be there again eventually . I’d like to think that they won’t ignore everyone but their favourites. I’m a worker (employee) but I think they should also consider the interests of  self employed,  business people, and non-workers.
                      If not they should be up front about their intentions.

                    • felix

                      This is seriously the stupidest tangent you’ve ever gone off on.
                      Do you want all MPs to represent all interests or all MPs to represent your interests?
                      You do know those are two different things, right?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      If not they should be up front about their intentions.

                      Giving themselves a label might help. How about ‘Labour’?

                    • PeteG

                      You’re the thick one that doesn’t get it felix.
                      Labour MPs should commit themselves to “working tirelessly on behalf of all people”, not just working people or other select groups. Sure there is sometimes compromise needed between conflicting needs of different groups, but overall government should be “for the people”, not just “for whoever might vote for me”.

                      pb – they’re labouring a bit at the moment, that’s for sure.

                    • felix

                      Good. I agree with you Pete, I just wanted you to say it.
                      And now you’re going to be held to it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Felix the way I read it, PeteG is only holding Labour MPs up to the standard of working on behalf of all groups in society.
                      He implicitly excuses National MPs for not doing the same by not mentioning them at all.

                    • PeteG

                      You must have missed me saying “I expect any of our governments to represent my interests, as best they can in conjunction with everyone else’s” early in the exchange. This was generally about Labour MPs. But just to make sure you have it clear and don’t think I am implicitly excusing the pope too because I didn’t mention him:
                      All MP’s in our government of the day and all MPs in parliament should be working for all New Zealanders. They can’t presume any special interest group has specifically voted for them, they shouldn’t favour any group becasue they think it’s worth a few votes to them, once in parliament they are there to represent everyone.

              • You mean that John Key needs just as much assistance as ordinary people?

      • g says 2.1.2

        c.v. hmmm… the silence is deafning.
        now please do not get me wrong, i am not a fan, however, i was heartened to hear that mr peters was returning to politics as this was a chance of an at least vocal opposition.
        i do feel for mr goff as it seems to be feast or famine when it comes to media exposure.
        now that there is focus on labour (darren and damien) i would like to see mr goff  include a concise message proposing an alternative to the nacts .(no more asset sales, $15 an hour minimum wage, no gst on fresh fruit and veges) a ‘la mr peters

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        CV, Labour isn’t the only party in opposition.

        • higherstandard

          It is the only opposition party likely to be capable of forming a government after the election and as the largest party in opposition with the most resources the onus is on them more than anyone else in parliament to hold the government to account.

  3. vto 3

    Big ups to Green MP Kevin Hague in defending Damien O’Connor, or rather having a go at those who attacked O’Connor for referring to gays in the labour party. Hague says that he is sick and tired of the west coast stereotype as ‘redneck’ and said he has never encountered any trouble throug his being gay on the coast.

    Spending a great deal of time there I have to agree completely. The coasters tend to call things pretty bluntly but they aint so-called rednecks. I would suspect that Hague would encounter more trouble east of the alps or north of the strait, where there really is more bigotry and hatred and spit.

    Two other points – why on earth does Goff let hmself get dragged into these things? Bloody useless. And secondly, why on earth are the gaggle of gays in the labour party so upset that he refers to them as gays? It is they after all who hold themselves out as gay and representative of that sector. How is he meant to refer to them – a herd of gays? a bunch of gays? some gays? That is what they claim yet they don’t like it when people refer to them as gay??? Should no people other than themselves refer to their being gay? Something missing there..

    And why aren’t the unionists similarly outraged that they were referred to as unionists?

    sheesh, immaturity running around like headless chooks… get a life.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      sheesh, immaturity running around like headless chooks… get a life.

      Yeah, there are more important things to be getting on with this year.

    • Carol 3.2

      It’s the “gaggle” part that people have been particularly upset by, as well as implying gays have hi-jacked the selection process.  People have been upset at referring to unionists as “self-serving.”  As far as I’m aware, Hague didn’t so much support O’Connor’s claims about the “gaggle of gays”, or his use of that term, but defended West Coasters from the label of “rednecks”.

      • higherstandard 3.2.1

        “It’s the “gaggle” part that people have been particularly upset by ”
        But isn’t the word gaggle commonly used within the gay community ?

        I’ve also found that Homer is homophobic !

        • Carol

          But isn’t the word gaggle commonly used within the gay community ?

          Not in the way O’Connor used it to refer to gay people, in my experience anyway.  And judging by the responses from the reporters & commenters on the gaynz site, they don’t think so either.

      • vto 3.2.2

        I appreciate that to an extent Carol and a careful reading of my post indicates that.

        But and in addition.. At the risk of incurring the wrath of gay people by applying some generalisations…. they are overly sensitive. Chris Carter’s tanties being the last example. They do tend to support such generalisations given their more feminine nature and sensitivity. generally.

        Though I guess many others suffer similarly. How many times on here have various been referred to as balding, or fat, or simply arrogantly dismissed as the great lost “white middle class male” like it is some unfortunate gene some are born with. Or what about Helen Clark and the femina*i brigade? Or perhaps we could search this website for instances of Family First generalisations? Or Garth McVicar and his disciples? or rugby players? Or, one of the most rude in recent times, Helen Clark’s own reference to inbreds on the Coast?? Ay ? Ay ?


        • Carol

          But and in addition.. At the risk of incurring the wrath of gay people by applying some generalisations…. they are overly sensitive. Chris Carter’s tanties being the last example. They do tend to support such generalisations given their more feminine nature and sensitivity. generally.

          Hmmm…. so are you saying that the “gays” O’Connor was referring to are all males?  I thought it included Maryan Street?  Or do you include her (and me) in having a “more feminine nature.”
          Yep, you’re over-generalising.

          • vto

            I must at this point refer to the French and their peculiar manner of viewing the world upside down and backwards, which so often makes complete sense…

            Vive la difference !

      • sean 3.2.3

        Given the performance of Chris Carter and Darren Hughes, its fairly understandable that people are uncomfortable with the gay MPs in Labour.  Unfortunately, its all of their own doing – and stating the bleeding obvious is all O’Connor has done.

        • marsman

          Given the hounding by the mainstream media of Chris Carter and their hysterical outbursts re Darren Hughes it’s no wonder gay MP’s get a bit touchy. Homophobia is still the name of the mainstream media’s game.

          • grumpy

            Bullshit, it’s just exposing hypocrisy and reverse bigotry.

          • joe bloggs

            I’ll see Grumpy’s bullshit and raise you a couple of craps.

            This lovely sentiment from Bipolar Bear speaks volumes for the contempt that we hold for Labour:

            How can a party like Labour possibly have a skeleton like Darren Hughes in its closet?  You had the country’s first transgender MP, for Christ’s sake – and she was a former hooker!  In an election year, how could a party which has traded on its “rainbow” image not see that the press would have a field day with outing one of its less honest members…

            ‘Hounding’ by the MSM is a result of poor message management by Phil and co – end of story

            • Draco T Bastard

              No, the hounding by the MSM is the failure of the MSM to actually do any investigative reporting on real issues.

      • adriank 3.2.4

        To quote a friend on Twitter: A group of gays in Labour are a ‘gaggle’, in National they’re called a ‘closet’.

    • Agreed VTO but …
      I have three wishes:
      1.  All MPs realise they are the servants of the movement and their personal ranking and prestiege is, essentially, of no concern whatsoever.  They should be there only as long as they are useful.  And the movement does not owe them a career.
      2.  All Labour MPs should think about what they say.  If it is not policy related, does not further an important debate or is going to be seized on by RWNJs who will then pollute comments with WAH WAH WAH WAH the aforesaid MP should STFU.
      3.  All debates on line are about things that really matter like poverty, environmental protection, inequality or crony capitalism and not the schoolyard crap like “but XYZ said Blah Blah Blah and this is conclusive evidence that Goff and Labour is fucked and isn’t John Key great”.
      Here endeth rant.

      • PeteG 3.3.1

        Alternative view from outside the committee…
        1.  All MPs realise they are the servants of the people and their personal party, ranking and prestige is, essentially, of little concern.  They should be there only as long as they are useful to the country.  And the country does not owe them a career.
        The party rules philosphy may seem right from within the bubble, but it’s not what the people want.

        • Puddleglum


          The Westminster adversarial, party-based parliamentary system arose because there has been profound disagreement (even amongst the elite/establishment) about what amounts to being “useful to the country”. Party philosophies (to which you don’t want individual party members to be beholden) are a large part of the basis for the choices electors make.

          Would you be equally sanguine about an employee not being publicly ‘loyal’ to a company (e.g., saying they make crap products on a blog?).

          No-one is forcing people to join political parties. They can stand as independents if they wish. And, if enough people want a parliament of independents they can vote for them, can’t they? (Much like consumers in a market buying from corporates??- Sorry, but I do like using right-wing logic against right wingers.).

          But you know all that …

          • PeteG

            No-one is forcing people to join political parties. They can stand as independents if they wish.

            No one forces, no. But to stand any reasonable chance of getting elected you need to be in a party. Even small parties struggle in our two major party favourable system that is not likley to be changed much by the two major parties.
            Some adversarial aspect is healthy for sure. But I think the balance is wrong. Rather than 20/80 co-operative to adversarial I’d rather see more like 20/80. Mostly things should be done positively in the best possible way while allowing for some open scrutiny.

            • Puddleglum

              I can understand the impulse.

              Others may know better than I do, but I also understand that a substantial amount of legislation IS processed ‘cooperatively’ or with little opposition. The focus areas of opposition, however, tends to dominate the political debate (naturally, since there isn’t much debate over more ‘mundane’ matters over which the parties tend to agree).

              Who knows, you may have your 80/20 cooperative/adversarial split, in terms of legislation, currently.

              • PeteG

                I know that could be the case, but it’s largely unseen. And largely unreported.
                What is seen by most people is a preponderance of deliberate negative attack politics. Not a good look. Not good for developing  decent policy.

                Cry wolf politics may have some parties some short term wins but I think the public get turned off by it all. It’s hard it differentiate bleating from valid criticism.
                The Green Party seems to be managing to hold their numbers up with a modest lineup, in the absence of retired icons, and with minimal attack politics.

            • felix

              Mostly things should be done positively in the best possible way

              What do you imagine the function of politics to be, Pete? That’s a serious, honest question.

              • PeteG

                Short answer for 21st century New Zealand – seeking the best balance, country first.

                • felix

                  And deciding what the “best balance” is, and what is best for the country – how is that achieved?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Well, personally, I’d like fact and research to be used rather than blind faith. We really should be over the delusion that Greed is Good by now.

      • Bored 3.3.2

        Agree Mickey, it might help if they espoused some pretty clear policies that submerged their individual interests. Song sheet of mantras required urgently.

    • swordfish 3.4

      Tend to agree that West Coasters have been unfairly labelled “rednecks” over recent years.

      Having extensively researched demographic breakdowns from 1970s-1990s opinion polls on moral/social/foreign policy issues, I’ve found that provincial New Zealand is not quite the morally-conservative bastion so often implied by journalists, historians, politicians and various other commentators (nor is Big City New Zealand, for that matter, the great repository of liberal/progressive values).

      To give just one example: of the 20 cities and towns polled on the Springbok Tour in 1981, Greymouth was consistently among the most strongly opposed (usually more opposed than at least 2 of the 4 main centres, and always in the top 5 (out of 20) communities in terms of depth of opposition).

      I’d also suggest working-class/blue-collar voters are by no means as rigidly conservative (nor the middle classes as wonderfully liberal and tolerant) as so many of these (usually liberal, middle-class, Baby-Boomer) commentators would have us believe.

      • Roflcopter 3.4.1

        Unfortunately, the labelling of West Coasters really went south when Helen Clark described them as feral inbreds.

      • adriank 3.4.2

        To back up your statistics with anecdotal evidence (which we all know is of much more value): My parents, living in Hokitika at the time, were staunch protestors of the tour and, from the way they describe it, certainly not the only ones around those parts.

        However, much like John Key, I cannot remember which side I was on… namely because I was born in 1984.

  4. jaymam 4

    If Damien O’Connor is punished by caucus, Labour may as well disband.
    It’s true that the Labour list process is deeply flawed. I’ve been there, seen it happen. The Greens do it better.

    • PeteG 4.1

      Is the result of the selections of a committee of 36 more likely to be a diverse committee or a strong management team?
      It’s not the List committee’s fault, but diversity seems to have too much prominence in Labour. In stark contrast to the Clark years the Labour caucus seems less a led team and looks more like a diverse bunch of leadership hopefuls, only one of which has been prepared to have a go right now.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        It’s not the List committee’s fault, but diversity seems to have too much prominence in Labour.

        That’s right, Labour’s front line should be stacked with middle aged white men, just like the top ranked Government ministers are.

        • PeteG

          Again you take a comment and put an extreme diss on it.
          What’s most important to you, winning or being diverse?
          Note – that doesn’t need to be an either/or question. It’s possible to be diverse but put an emphasis on being seen as electable, and it’s possible to have a chance of success with a very diverse list.
          What’s better, having  a very diverse group who have trouble agreeing on anything of substance? Or having a less diverse group who can work as a team and give reasonable consideration to diverse needs?

          Diversity is good, too much diversity can be counter-productive.

          • Bored

            G, fekk off to your side of the fence, its our fight and not yours. By the way what was Worth up to? Or Bill dipping into? Or Key lying about? You RWNJs wont even fight amongst yourselves over matters of principle,  you just shut up and pretend all is good whilst the most corrupt and venal admin you have ever had gets away with shit.

            • PeteG

              Governance of New Zealand is our concern. We all have to put up with both National and Labour led governments, in turn.
              If you want to frame it as a fight then you will always end up fighting. Listen to Clayton’ Cosgroves interview on NatRad this morning. He was focussed on working with the government to get the best legal structure in place for the good of his constituents. It’s a pity the Labour MPs with a grown up attitude to getting things done together are too busy on their home turf to help their hapless other MPs.
              Funny thing Bored, I tend to comment on Labour stuff on a Labour orientated blog, and I comment more on National stuff on a National orientated blog. Do you think that’s unusual?

              • Bored

                I dont think it unusual, just duplicitous. I sense a deep seated economy with the truth.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Pete, you seem to be saying that the party should be unified in this comment, and a bunch of individuals free to do their own thing in other comments.

            Perhaps you could clarify what it is you want.

            • PeteG

              Both. A party is best to be generally unified but should also demonstrate that they work with and allow differences rather than suppress them.

          • felix

            If you don’t like parties with diverse lists, then vote for a party that doesn’t have one.
            For example the maori Party list will probably not have much in the way of ethnic diversity. You say you don’t want too much diversity, right?

            Or is that not what you mean at all?

        • sean

          So what you are basically saying is “la la la la la, I can’t hear you, la la la”?
          We don’t have a problem!  Our voting base doesn’t matter, its what the party wants that is important!  If someone questions us lets just throw mud at National to deflect the attention!

          • felix

            I think they’re saying that what you and Pete and George and Tim and tsmithfield and tknorriss think is neither here nor there.
            You don’t like the Labour list?
            Cool, don’t vote for it.
            You don’t like the Labour party leadership?
            Don’t vote for it.
            You disapprove of the way you think internal Labour party matters are dealt with?
            Don’t vote for it.

        • adriank

          I found it quite interesting that the Stuff poll on the issue (the results of which show a reliably heavy right-wing bias) showed that nearly 70% of respondents thought that the list was not representative of the Labour Party as a whole… which confused me, because isn’t the standard RWNJ line that Labour is over-run by faggots and unionists? Yet somehow they maintain a base level of support of over 30% of the country…

    • Bored 4.2

      Thanks Jaymam, thats where I stand. Made a comment yesterday basically pointing out that OConnors comments were in line with the public perception of Labour as being hijacked by sectoral interests.
      Before anybody gives me shit, read the above again. Perception, perception, perception, not necessarily reality. My issue is how Labour are going to change that perception, or accomodate it because it is not electable. Prejudices whether we like them or not are real and drive voters. It is an issue thaat wont go away and requires a clear strategy.
      Asking OConnor to apologise or to punish him will only send a signal to the electorate that their view of labour as captured by sectoral interests is correct. Or conversely to sectoral interests that they can wag the dog.

      • ianmac 4.2.1

        It is probable that the National Party will learn from this chatter about Labour’s List. They will be very careful to keep a tight lid and keep the discontenters silent. And discontent there will be on National’s List. Especially if their Far Right Wing (currently in Act) were asked about their right to high palcement.
        So how is National’s List shaping up. We won’t see the old hands getting high listings, er um will we? MSM please be prepared to discuss.

        • PeteG

          We won’t see the old hands getting high listings, er um will we?

          Er um yes, obviously there will be some, probably most. The important thing will be if we see enough replenishment with high enough rankings. Ideally it should be a mix of experience with fresh new talent.

          • ianmac

            The fresh new talent for Labour entered at the 2008 election. Once Labour have the benches those 2008 and current fresh blood will flourish. And balance the experienced team members.

            • Bored

              I had a good look through the list and the new candidates. All seem reasonable; I don’t see any high flyers or “tactical” recruits with high profiles. That however is entirely up to the party to decide if they think it electable. As you say, last term some good new faces appeared, the question now is how Labour gets these people to the front bench which in my mind has too many timeservers, starting with numbers one and two.
              And you are right, the lid needs to be kept on discontent very tightly, another reason why the factions need to be given a hymn sheet.

  5. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    Yesterday, I heard the first coherent defence of the SCF extension.  That was that, had they not rolled the guarantee over, SCF would have collapsed at the time of the refusal to roll, thereby invoking the existing guarantee.  The roll over was simply an effort to buy more time for Sandy Meier to try to flog it off.

    To me, this actually makes some sense.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      The extension gave more time for the Government’s mates to pile even more of their cash into a tax payer funded money making merry go round. And it worked brilliantly for them.
      This actually makes sense to me.

    • wtl 5.2

      Of course it would have collapsed if the guarantee wasn’t extended. Everyone would know something was wrong and no one would invest in it anymore. The question is how much more did we have to fork out for guaranteeing all those new investors who invested after the guarantee was renewed?

    • vto 5.3

      oleoleole.. “That was that, had they not rolled the guarantee over, SCF would have collapsed at the time of the refusal to roll, thereby invoking the existing guarantee.  The roll over was simply an effort to buy more time for Sandy Meier to try to flog it off.”

      And the taxpayer has an obligation to do this why?

      And the rules around the guarantee allowed them to be bent to allow this rollover?

      Just more muddy murk at the taxpayers expense. Corruption and fraud. That is all there is to it.

    • vto 5.4

      One of the big questions again… another for Key in fact, given his background in the underground finance world…

      Why did Standard & Poors give SCF any sort of credit ranking in 2010 when the New Zealand government knew SCF was going to go broke in 2008?

      The silence of the New Zealand government over this is appalling.

      • Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.4.1

        And the taxpayer has an obligation to do this why?

        Because, once a government has committed to do something, it should do it, right?  Labour put the scheme in place (reluctantly) because it believed that the harm which would flow from forbearing to do it would be greater than doing it.  Once it is in place, you live with the consequences, or no-one will believe you next time you do it.

        • vto

          Are we talking about governments keeping commitments? Excuse me while I barf in the petunias.
          If I recall correctly, the scheme was to run for only a relatively short period of time. The national govt announced the extension and could at that point have announced new rules around acceptance into the extended scheme (and I think they did in some areas). There was no obligation at all to extend the scheme. In particular to SCF which Key knew was about to fail.
          It is precisely at this point where the smell starts to arise.
          And further, upon some braincell flurry.. if, at the point of termination of the original scheme it was left to terminate then surely SCF would have gone bust the day after the scheme was terminated and as such gone bust outside tof the scheme. The scheme surely only provided a guarantee during the term of the guarantee and not for a random collection of days outside the term?

          • Oleolebiscuitbarrell

            …and this whole 5 point conversation started with me saying that the reason they extended it was because not extending it would have certainly caused a collapse covered by the existing guarantee put in place by Labour and the reason for the extension was a calculated gamble to avoid that.

            I think you will find that being notified that the guarantee was being withdrawn would have compelled the directors to appoint a liquidator thus triggering the existing scheme.  The government could hardly have said: “we’re not saying” until the scheme expired.  Everyone would have known what that meant.

            • vto

              A refusal to extend the scheme would not have caused the collapse. The collapse was caused long before then, the scheme merely changed some of the timeframes around its collapse.

              Also, it was not a withdrawal of the scheme, it was merely coming to its stated end.

              The fundamental question remains unanswered… why was SCF allowed in the scheme when Key was told by Treasury on the day he became PM that SCF was going under?

            • wtl

              The point is that you were stating the obvious. Now if you could show some evidence that the total liability to the taxpayer was less due to the scheme being extended, then you might have an argument. But something tells me that’s not the case, and extending the scheme increased our liability rather than decreased it. If this was a ‘calculated gamble’, the gamble did NOT pay off, so heads should roll.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Labour didn’t sign SCF into the scheme – NACT did.

              • Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                Labour didn’t sign SCF into the scheme – NACT did.

                According to this, Treasury advised the then Labour government two days before the election that SCF complied with the criteria.

                Click to access scf-chronology-oct10.pdf

                As they were eligible under the criteria set by Labour, National had to accept SCF into the scheme.

                While you are technically correct, the new government had to let SCF into the scheme under the criteria Labour had set, so I am not sure the basis on which you consider them to be free of culpability.

                (BTW, I am not suggesting National balked at letting them in).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And even that was only because of some jiggery-pokery with the books that made no difference to those books that was allowed by Treasury. The whole damn thing stinks.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.4.2

        <i>Why did Standard & Poors give SCF any sort of credit ranking in 2010 when the New Zealand government knew SCF was going to go broke in 2008? </i>

        Because treasury and the trustees approved a transfer of assets from southbury which made their bottom line look good, (but was otherwise of zero benifit to scf according to treasury),  just in time to get that credit rating, which allowed the inclusion into the extended guarantee scheme?

        • vto

          YesP’s b, but as you pointed out that transfer was a zero sum game. i.e. SCF’s net position was the same.

          What that means is that Standard & Poors standards are extremely poor. But why are we surprised? Aren’t they one of the organisation which gave superior credit ratings to each and every bank and finance company in the land right up until the GFC?

          It is a clear manipulation of low standard finance requirements. Just like Hanover and Hotchin and Watson’s manipulation of dividend and accounting rules allowed them to pull over $90million in dividends prior to bust. (rules allowed a profit on a loan to be booked on advancing the loan, not repayment. head shaking).

        • William Joyce

          These guys (S&P and their like) were also saying that Lehman Bros, AIG, Goldman Sach et al were safe companies.
          Under President Ronald (I think) the rules were changed so that credit agencies ceased to be independent assessors and could write a report if you slipped them a few bucks.
          Chris Trotter has a good piece of reflection on the slow grind of the right since FDR to undo all the safe guards and create a climate for cowboys to operate unhindered (they’re certainly unhindered by a conscience!)

          • ianmac

            I understood that some very rich savvy investors knew that SCF was dodgy, but invested heavily knowing that it was still guaranteed. If it survived they would get about 11% interest. Great return. If it failed they would get their money back. Like betting on a horse but if it loses the nice man will refund your bet. Or buy umpteen Lotto tickets but if they don’t win – refund.

            • felix

              If it survived they would get about 11% interest. Great return. If it failed they would get their money back.

              It’s an even better deal than that, ianmac. The company fell over and we covered not just the invested capital, but the interest that would have hypothetically been made if the company survived as well.
              That’s the real scandal. Key & English’s rich mates piled in and invested when they knew the company was falling over, but why would they unless they knew that they’d be compensated for the potential profits that they would never make? If they were only likely to get back their principal (and they knew the company was going down) then why bother?
              Key & English should be investigated by the serious fraud office for their part in this mess.

            • William Joyce

              Yup, they must have been pissing themselves at the prospect of easy money.
              Some of them are our fellow NZdrs and sit at home at night and watch the news stories of other NZdrs anguishing over the cost to the country, knowing that they, themselves, made money by fleecing NZdrs.

              I wonder if these people will also be the types to get involved in bene-bashing, and tut tuting when they see the great unwashed at KFC.
              I can only hope that the SFO get making some prosecutions or at least someone starts naming names.
              Bring back the pillory!

            • vto

              yes. up to 3 times that return for some though.

    • prism 5.5

      I wonder if the site of a similar finance business to SCF was in Northland, never a great National seat,  what would have been the treatment then?    Canterbury with well-heeled and entrenched aggro business (particularly over irrigation water), would have more leverage.  And is Timaru a National electorate?   People there loved this guy Alan Hubbard and were angry at attempts to measure his company’s health and make an informed diagnosis.  Understandable – they didn’t want to take hard tack after having good fodder for so long.

      I had a look at Wikipedia. Timaru is part of the parliamentary electorate of Rangitata, represented by Jo Goodhew of the New Zealand National Party.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.6

      Considering that SCF should never have been in the guarantee scheme it’s still a weak excuse.

      • prism 5.6.1

        DTB  I wasn\’t thinking of it as an excuse but as a reason for why the SCF couldn\’t, early on, go into receivership or whatever.   Would the NACTS have acted I ask, if the centre of the SCF financial vortex wasn\’t around Ashburton where so many fine farm-grown specimens of NACTS come from?

  6. joe90 6

    Cryptome: Images of anti-nuclear protests from around the globe.

  7. joe90 8


    “Our data from the early Pliocene, when carbon dioxide levels remained close to modern levels for thousands of years, may indicate how warm the planet will eventually become if carbon dioxide levels are stabilized at the current value of 400 parts per million,” said Aradhna Tripati, a UCLA assistant professor in the department of Earth and space sciences and the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences.
    The results of this study lend support to assertions made by climate modelers that summertime sea ice may be eliminated in the next 50 to 100 years, which would have far-reaching consequences for Earth’s climate, she said.

  8. millsy 9

    Seeing as AMI is effectlively a consumer co-operative, I wonder if various people on both sides of the political fence will use this to try to discredit this model.

    As we all know, co-operatives have been a large part of the kiwi landscape (especially agriculture) for years, and our largest company, Fonterra, is a co-op.

    The Labour party will do well in making generous room for co-operatives in its vision for NZ.

    • ZeeBop 9.1

      The NZ economy is a skeleton, the arguments that apply to deep balanced economies with broad tax regimes do not apply here. The reason why successful companies are so social, trade me, fonterra, AMI (yes), is they do the social costly part themselves that government (both sides) have ignored. If government does not deal to society fairly then of course the winners will be the social companies, the interest wins, the old oil processes lose. From the looks of AMI, AMI would have survived if there was a competent Earthquake specialist in NZ. In heinsight NZ is twisting, Southland moved toward Australia, so when the major Earthquake happened to the East of ChCh, it was obvious there would be a serious one less order magnitude under ChCh that would push existing buildings further into collpase. Now AMI was not insured enough for the reason that ChCh developers (you know the people who brought us the leaky homes crisis) push concil to open up land on the liquefaction soils. So it was a council that created the problem, and AMI who didn’t charge the going rate to those homes on sand water logged soils. If I were AMI I’d be suing Council and the Earthquake specialists who gave their advice and didn’t expose the hazard of liquefaction. But essential this problems comes back to central government who continue under mining of good professional expertise, the profit driven university model, leaves top scientists with little incentive to tell us of the risks and too much incentive to actively play the market themselves. NZ is a skeleton because government routinely go to the people telling them they can have government on the cheap, that no area of the economy should not be producing profit, that we don’t need no cake, and we don’t need to eat it either, we just need to make cake for others and never eat it and everything will be fine.
      In an internet connected world there is no tyranny of distance, there is only poor governance.
      ACT are most into the formula of no government, hands off the driving wheel, wee look how competent they are having no engagement with active policy making around facts.

    • Campbell Larsen 9.2

      My pick millsy is that AMI will be taken over by the govt, most likely in part and that it will be used as the ‘insurer’ that the Nat govt will use to begin its stated agenda of insurance rather than govt cover for things like unemployment, heathcare etc. By doing it thus the transfer from public to private cover looks less radical and they can still claim that we are being looked after by the Govt – right up to the point when the company is sold back into private hands. Just a guess but when it comes to the Nats and bail outs (or any type or assistance for that matter) they only help those that further thier agenda in some way.

    • prism 9.3

      millsy   –  A financial commentator recently said that AMI had a problem as a mutual company, with its shareholders being also policy holders, in obtaining capital.  He thought that would have been a constraint.   It was not in the interests of policy holders to pay higher premiums enabling bigger reserves.
      Fonterra seems to have managed its capital needs though.  I think it is too strong to easily be cut to pieces by predatory interests.

  9. freedom 10

    New Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has only one opportunity to show how much change he wants the Police to achieve.
    He can choose to continue to follow the whims of oil barons and bankers or work within the law and support the legal rights of the New Zealand citizenry,
    Two current events are going to show his hand.  One is the Petobas protest, the second and far more discreet though no less vital to the role of the Police is the defense of a citizen’s right to free speech.  I refer to the ridiculous arrest of Tiki Taane for an impromptu performance of a song that has been regularly performed throughout NZ for many years.
    It is important to remember no violence occured, no Police were assaulted and all arrests occured long after the performance of the song.
    read the comments from Miss Rose, she was there

    • William Joyce 10.1

      There is no such thing as “freedom of speech”. There are legal constraints on what you can say.
      For what freedom that remains there comes, as with all freedoms, an expectation of responsibility.
      Saying “F*&^% the police” over the sound system, to a crowded bar of people drinking at 3 am, when the cops walk in, is a deliberately provocative act and the consequence is that it escalates the “mood” of the situation.
      Not a smart thing to do and is in no way a test for the new police commissioner – it’s just a set to with a load mouth and can be handled by the rank and file.
      As for comparing it to the use of the military to enforce an a police action against it’s own citizenry in favour of foreign commercial interests and on the high seas, is just plainly absurd!

      • freedom 10.1.1

        i was not comparing anything.  I plainly stated there are two current events that will show which interpretation of law the Police see themselves using.
        Taane’s decision to sing this particular track when the Police entered the bar  was not particularly smart but if ignorance is a crime this country is going to need more prisons.  A performance, as with most Art, has certain allowances that differ from the public statements of daily life.  I have been told that Tiki Taane’s ‘cover’ of the song was during a routine visit to the establishment by Police, that no violence occured and no Police were physically threatened.  No arrests were made and the Police left unaccosted by the audience..
        It was over an hour later, as the bar was closing that Police returned, with wagons, and the arrests happened.  An hour where any events resulting from the alledged incitement to violence would certainly have eventuated.
        if someone has details that differ from these reports please let people know

  10. William Joyce 11

    For those thinking about credit ratings as discussed above.
    With the current agency policy in the US of issuer-pays i.e. the entity raising the debt pays for the assessment to be done. This has the advantage over the investor pays model because not all investors can afford to have the rating done and when it is completed it remains the property of the investor and no one else gets to see it.
    With issuer-pays, every one gets to see it. But, there is a problem with this model – a conflict of interest of with the agency being paid to may give an assessment to suit, and the issuer can sit on an unfavourable assessment until they have shopped around until they find a favourable one (which is the only one made public)
    Perhaps we need an independent agency (I suggest treasury have the expertise) that would require all issuers of debt (and similar institutions) to undergo regular assessments by Treasury.
    The Treasury would be required by statute to make the assessments publicly available and the whole process would kept, by statue, free from any old boys interference from the politicians.

    Affordable, public, independent.

  11. Carol 12

    Damien O’Connor has apologised for the wording he used when criticising the Labour List process.  Apology accepted (by me,as I have been strongly critical of his choice of words).
    He reserves the right to criticise the Labour List.  I’m not a Labour Party member, so I’ll leave that up to those who are.  IMO, he has a right to be critical of stuff.  However, I see no evidence of some sort of controlling gay power block in Labour. 

    The union issue is another matter. Again I didn’t like his choice of wording, but I thought there was a significant place for union leaders in labour, that is historical.

    • Anne 12.1

      Damien O’Conner has apologised to caucus, but according to Stuff news he hasn’t resiled from his actual claims. In my view he should be suspended from caucus until such a time as he does…

      Lets be clear why he made the claims in the first place. He was a mediocre minister in the Clark Labour govt., and he is a mediocre parliamentarian. That is why he was placed low on the list in 2008 and only scraped back into parliament after a resignation – either Clark or Cullen I think. He knew the same was going to happen this time around so he went looking for scapegoats – unionists and gays.

      Interestingly, the Herald has produced a list of the number of unionists and gays in the Labour caucus. Out of 47 MPs, 8 have union backgrounds and 5 are gay. That speaks for itself!

      • Carol 12.1.1

        Well, I don’t have views on what the Labour causus should do on this issue.  But on looking at the evidence, i agree that the targeting of unionists & gays seems like a bit of dog-whistle scapegoating.
        Rob Salmond over at Pundit has done a comprehensive breakdown of the relevant stats. Salmond concludes:

        What the graphs show is that Labour’s caucus will look broadly similar to New Zealand, but will continue to moderately underrepresent women, Maori, and New Zealanders of Asian descent. The Rainbow community is either marginally overrepresented (by about one MP) or represented proportionally, depending on which population estimate [of proportion of gays in the population] you prefer. And Pasifika peoples are overrepresented in Labour’s caucus by 1-2 MPs.

        So it would seem women have the greatest reason to criticise the list system.

      • Vicky32 12.1.2

        In my view he should be suspended from caucus until such a time as he does…

        I predicted this demand on the Open Mike of 11.04.11. Sure you don’t want his citizenship stripped from him too?

        • The Voice of Reason

          “If you had your way, O’Connor would be ceremonially expelled from the Labour party, and maybe from the country. Shame on you!”
          That’s not quite the same thing as being suspended from caucus, Deb. Which I think he should be, if he doesn’t understand it’s not his words that are the problem, it’s his prejudices. And it’s certainly not to late to de-select him as West Coast/Tasman candidate. That Tony Kokshoorn would make a fine replacement, IMHO

          • millsy

            Tony Kokshoorn looks to me like more like a Nat man..

          • Vicky32

            I notice, VoR, that your quote above is not what I said here, but what I said elsewhere. Why? Because you don’t have an answer to what I actually said?
            Have you checked Tony Kokshoorn carefully for any signs of homophobia? 🙂 For goodness’ sake, you’re making his point for him! Why all the screaming about gay rights, and no moans about what he said about unionists?
            Middleclass kiddies. On the other thread someone asked if there were working class gays. The only answer to that is “who knows’? If there are (and there well might be) they’re not in your social circle!

            • felix

              On the other thread someone asked if there were working class gays.

              Yes, I saw that. It was in reply to a comment which implied – perhaps unwittingly – that “working class” and “gay” were mutually exclusive groups. It appeared to be phrased as a question to make the recipient rethink what they had written.
              You’re developing quite a habit of referring to people’s statements out of context and suggestively superimposing a new meaning on them.
              You’ve expressed a keen professional interest in the use of language before which makes it difficult to believe that you’re doing this accidentally.

              • Vicky32

                Is that why you decided to call me ‘mental’? Wnat a prince, what a charming guy you are.
                I didn’t think I’d used the quote out of context, but if you say so, you’re the boss! Clearly…

                • Vicky32

                  OK, there’s something idiotically wrong with the edit function. I tried to correct my typos, and I don’t know what went wrong. Whatever it is, it wants fixing.

                  • lprent

                    I am a bit constrained about fixing anything right now. The CPU use is way way up (which appears to be causing the problem) and I’m waiting for a new server to go online. When that happens I am expecting the problem to largely disappear. But I also have a wee list of fixes to apply that I cannot right now (the test webpages are also affected so I can’t do the final tests).

                    • Jim Nald

                      I’m waiting for you to email the bank acct numba to me so that I can give my first monthly contribution. Sorry, won’t be heaps (not till I win lotto, haha) but every wee bit helps.

                    • lprent []

                      Oops I knew there was something I have to add. In the morning.

                • felix

                  Nah, I said you seem mental because you seem a bit mental.
                  As for the out-of-context bit, you said:

                  On the other thread someone asked if there were working class gays.

                  For which you provided no context at all. You then went on to imply that the questioner asked it as if they didn’t already know the answer.
                  I think that was dishonest. I don’t believe that someone who uses language at your level could’ve misread that except wilfully.

                  • Vicky32

                    For which you provided no context at all. You then went on to imply that the questioner asked it as if they didn’t already know the answer.

                    I didn’t imply, you inferred. Believe it or not, I had forgotten the context, because I don’t devote myself to verbal battles at the Standard, I have other things to do and think about – such as the language teaching you’re busy belittling.
                    Goodnight sweet prince. I just want to say, your chances of getting a boyfriend go down considerably, if you’re in the habit of belittling people who don’t think exactly as you believe they ought to.

                    • felix

                      No, you did imply. You discussed the remark as if it meant something you had to know full well it didn’t.
                      And now you’re implying that I’m gay, which I guess you think I must be because I pointed out that you’re a homophobe. Which does kinda reinforce the impression that you’re a homophobe.
                      Vicky32, I’m not belittling your language teaching and I fail to see how you could draw that conclusion from anything I’ve said. On the contrary I’m pointing out that as a language teacher you don’t get to use the excuse that you don’t understand language.

            • The Voice of Reason

              They’re your words, Deb. From yesterday. Sorry if that wasn’t clear, but in your comment above you said you “predicted this demand” (suspension from caucus) and I thought I’d check, because that’s not what I remember you saying yesterday. So I quoted what you did say, which is not actually what you claimed today that you said. It’s not a big difference in tone, of course, however you went for hyperbole and overkill, not the reasonable suggestion from Carol that suspension from caucus might be an option.

              • Carol

                not the reasonable suggestion from Carol that suspension from caucus might be an option.
                Huh? Where did I ever suggest that? I have never thought that.  In the interest of accuracy, check above.  The suggestion came from Anne.

  12. randal 13

    dear damien
    write out 100 times I must  do what mummy tells me, take a clean handkerchief and wear clean undies.

  13. joe90 14

    Slate: In Japan’s nuclear cleanup, is human life cheaper than machines?

    A month into Japan’s nuclear crisis, no robots have been put to work at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Instead, the plant’s operator is relying on a cheaper, expendable resource: humans.

  14. Carol 15

    These are not today’s questions in the House. 
    I think they were last  week’s. Today Goff got things going by questioning Key as to how much he  agrees with English’s statements on QU & A at the weekend.

  15. joe90 16

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    An Egyptian blogger was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for criticizing the military in what human rights advocates called one of the more alarming violations of freedom of expression since a popular uprising led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubaraktwo months ago.

  16. Samuel Hill 17


    check out the poll on the bottom right of the page. look who is winning? bahaha

    • ianmac 17.1

      Samuel: Those National Trolls have been busy formenting their mischief.
      Or else it is a signal that the general population couldn’t give a damn about the Hughes or O’Conner Kiwiblog fabricated distraction.

  17. Draco T Bastard 18

    Helen Kelly, President of the NZCTU provides a comprehensive account of one of last year’s most contentious industrial disputes.

    • millsy 18.1

      How many of those right wingers who screamed and screamed that the nasty actors (and possibly some of the crew members), should actually seek to be actual employees and have union coverage, will actually go and SEE this movie.

      To be fair, I probably will, Jackson and his crew actually make half decent movies, with half decent special effects (which, by the way, are probably the largest cost in a movie)

    • Carol 18.2

      Thanks,DTB.  It’s a very comprehension coverage of the dispute. I followed the dispute as represented in the media, quite closely at the time, and this seems like an acurate account.  I heard that RNZ interview by Ryan of Boyens & Walsh live, thought the interviewees were vicious in their smears of the CTU & Kelly (later shown to be misinformation), and wrote a few posts here mentioning it.  As kelly says, it didn’t get much MSM news coverage.
      If people don’t want to wade through all the detail, I suggest at least reading the Conclusion:  eg this part:

      But the response to the Hobbit dispute underlies a fundamental problem with the “jobs” narrative that is being driven up by the right wing in this country and used to hammer any worker who might want to have a voice in the economy or world of work. The narrative is largely unchallenged and is holding us back in many areas and is part of the growing corporate dominance over of our society and community.
      Basically the story runs like this – and I am simplifying it. Work is a benefit, business is the benefactor and workers are merely the beneficiaries. Workers should be grateful for a job; a job is a privilege; employers should be lauded for the contribution they make to growing economic wealth. This narrative not only devalues the contribution of labour and fails to recognise the exchange of labour for wages that is taking place, but it also provides the justification for the removal of work rights, insufficient pay rates, government subsidies to business and the like. It paints anyone who joins or seeks to organise a union as disloyal, a wrecker or an ingrate, throwing charity back in the face of the giver.
      It paints the union as an outsider, an interferer in a relationship based on charity. The employer is to be revered – deference is the name of the game.

      Plus there’s an interesting comment on Pike River after that.

  18. jaymam 19

    Why is Labour MP Kelvin Davis opposing submerged turbines in the Kaipara Harbour? What madness. Would he rather have a nuclear power generator there?

    • Bored 19.1

      Dont know what Jones issue is but there is a fear that turbines will kill off the snapper fishery. I recall 95% of the snapper breed in the Kaipara, and if the turbines kill the youngsters the west coast snapper fishery would die out. I dont know how real the risk is.

      • lprent 19.1.1

        I would believe it. My grandparents had a batch up at Pouto on the north head. It is the only place that I have ever been able to wander down to the beach in the morning, throw a line off the beach, and haul in a snapper breakfast for 7 or more people within an hour. I grew up thinking that was normal fishing.

        But with the depth of the rip trench there, I wouldn’t be too worried about the snapper. They mostly stick to the upper areas of the rip areas from when I was diving there. But I’d like to see some impact reports.

        But Kelvin Davis is also correct. Those massive dune hills would make a amazing windfarm area. I suspect the biggest issue would be finding a way to anchor them into something solid

    • Salsy 19.2

      It seems the answer is on his Labour.org personal page.

      It will be impossible to construct 200 turbines the height of the Auckland Farmer’s Building in the Kaipara Harbour without undue impact on the marine environment. The sad thing is that there is an alternative solution, which is to construct a wind farm on the Poutu Peninsula, that people could live with,” Kelvin Davis said. If the environmental impact of these turbines is such that they kill off the west coast snapper, sharks and maui dolphin and silt up the harbour, who will take responsibility in the future for tearing the turbines out and restoring the harbour to its original state?

  19. millsy 20

    <p><a title=”The opening salvo in this year\’s Easter trading debate is fired.” href=”http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/4876868/Motueka-supermarket-plans-to-defy-Easter-Sunday-ban” target=”_blank”>The opening salvo in this year\’s Easter trading debate is fired</a></p>
    Personally I think that this supermarket boss is totally out of line here, but in saying that, I accept that the restrictions will eventually be lifted, and while supermarket owners will love it, the workers will find themselves losing yet another holiday (and one step close to getting the boot, what with the 90 trial, etc if they refuse), this policy of having the law dicate that certain shops must be closed over easter is getting harder to justify.
    A simple solution would be to a) make Easter Sunday a public holiday, so workers are given full compensation for giving up their holiday (get fucked Cameron Brewer — I\’d love to see you come into work on your day off) and b) give workers the legal right to refuse to work over these days.</p>

    Lynn/Rob: can you please fix my post 🙁

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    7 days ago
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