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Open mike 17/01/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 17th, 2012 - 105 comments
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Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step right up to the mike…

105 comments on “Open mike 17/01/2012”

  1. Colin James claims: Inequalities can no longer be justified.

    He’s on a popular theme there, so popular he thinks “inequalities are the big political issue for 2012 and beyond.”

    Is it a problem we can coerce our politicians into doing something about? Is it something politicians can or should influence?

    Or do we expect too much of our government and MPs? Should we look at how we can do something about it ourselves?

  2. tc 2

    I know if one you could coerce if your not to busy blogging all day every day that is……wiping out gift duty wasn’t helpful on the inequality front Petey boy.

    • Removing gift duty corrected a major inequality – compliance costs of $70m for a tax take of $1m.

      http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/dunne-gift-duty-leaves-the-law-books-today/
      A sensible tidy up.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        This is something I wrote 12 months ago, “Peter Dunne’s christmas to the wealthy“.  It included this:

        That most annoying of MPs, Peter Dunne, is spearheading the change.  His justification for the change is set out in the report back to Parliament.  The report contains the following passage:

         

        “Gift duty no longer raises any significant revenue and imposes a high level of compliance costs on the private sector. The protection offered by gift duty in the areas of income tax, creditors, and social assistance have only ever been incidental rather than intended policy goals. In any case, such protection is indirect, inefficient, and very limited.”

        This is a bit harsh.  It is true it raises little tax.  No matter what the original motivation was however Gift Duty performs an important role.  It stops rich people setting up trusts and immediately divesting themselves of their assets so that the claims of potential creditors are defeated, and so that the wealthy do not immediately become eligible to such social assistance measures as Working for Families, Rest Home subsidies, or Student allowances.  If you are wealthy then it is wrong that with the stroke of a pen you can suddenly appear to be poor.
         
        Dunne knows this.  Dunne’s original announcement acknowledged this.  In his press release announcing the review of gift duty he said:

        “Gift duty was originally introduced to prevent people from circumventing the estate duty rules.  When estate duty was abolished, with effect from 1992, gift duty was retained to prevent people from gifting away large assets, where doing so may undermine the interests of creditors, minimise income tax liability or enable access to social assistance.

        Gift Duty performs an important role.  It has been criticized because it collects little tax but it performs well as a regulatory rather than a tax collection measure.  It stops the wealthy immediately divesting themselves of assets to defeat claims of creditors or to claim Government benefits intended for the poor.  It works.
         

        Unfortunately there does not appear to be any policy to replace the effects of gift duty.  The Dominion Post has suggested otherwise but it is bizarre that this Government wants to do away with gift duty under urgency without making sure that replacement regulatory measures are in place.  Unless it wants the State to make further provision for the wealthy.

        Merry Christmas to the wealthy from Peter Dunne.

         
        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Interesting how Pete George just sees the narrow world he wishes to see; as long as Dunne’s wealthy electorate becomes better off all is well.

        • just saying 2.1.1.2

          Well said Mickey.

          Maybe the left could introduce policy and legislation that would re-introduce death-duties at the same time as dealing with this inequitous bullshit.

        • Chris 2.1.1.3

          Except gift duty was not the only protection for creditors, creditors still have:

          Sections 204 and 205 of the Insolvency Act 2006 allow the Official Assignee to automatically cancel gifts made within two years before adjudication, or within five years if the bankrupt cannot demonstrate solvency at the time the gift was made;
          Section 292 of the Companies Act 1993 gives the Official Assignee similar powers but over shorter timeframes (6 months and 2 years); and
          Subpart 6 of the Property Law Act 2007 empowers the Courts to set aside property dispositions where there was an intention to prejudice the interests of a creditor. This provision is not time-limited.

          As for claiming benefits the abolition of gift duty does not change anything where it is solely based on income. People have always been able to give all income earning assets to a trust which in turn creates an loan which is interest free. They then gift this loan back over x number of years all the while having none of the income from those assets in their name – the abolition of gift duty makes absolutely no difference to this except for the number of years the loan takes to reduce.

          The same as above applies to reducing income tax liabilities – it makes no difference.

          The only benefit I know of which could potentially be affected is the rest home benefit which already looks back several years for gifts and takes those into consideration and they are looking at tightening the rules so it looks at trusts that you have control etc over.

          • mickysavage 2.1.1.3.1

            Um Chris …
             
            It used to be that it would take a long time to complete significant gifting then there was a window where it could be clawed back.  Nowadays the gifting can occur immediately and the timer starts on the day of the first gift, not the last.
             
            So instead of the immunity starting three or five years after an extended period the immunity now starts immediately after five years.
             
            So creditors can miss out under the new law.  Big time.

            • Chris 2.1.1.3.1.1

              I’m aware of that difference but I struggle to think of any realistic situations where this is going to cause creditors to miss out unfairly compared to the old regime.

      • Pete, having just read Mickysavage’s post (8.02am), I think he’s fairlt well shot your argument out of the water, and probably well into the statosphere.

        I guess this is something else the next government will have to correct…

  3. james 111 3

    This was some more excellent thoughts from Josie Pagani. Believe it or not My family,and I were all Labour voters untill we thought they had tipped to far over the edge on Welfare ,and punitive taxation.

    What Josie is saying is 100% correct ,and needs to be fully worked through by the Party. They could easily win back our votes if they were much more realistic on their approach to Welfare instead of breeding intergenerational dependency.
    I hope these ideas are allowed to be full evaluated by the old guard in Labour because they are right on the money in my view ,and in tune with the voters of today.See below from The Herald Today

    National tends to appeal to self-reliant or self-made people and the socially advantaged. Labour’s natural constituency is those who need some help. But the party should remember most people’s lives are not static. Not many are poor, ill, or disadvantaged permanently and do not need policies that assume they will be.

    For too long in its history, Labour espoused universal social welfare supported by punitive tax rates. Some in the party seem still to favour that prescription, not because most people want it or need it but because it might render them more equal and dependent on the state. Labour should devise welfare programmes that are targeted to temporary need and help people become self-supporting.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Believe it or not My family,and I were all Labour voters untill we thought they had tipped to far over the edge on Welfare ,and punitive taxation.

      Believe it? NOT

      For too long in its history, Labour espoused universal social welfare supported by punitive tax rates.

      Sure because those earning over $150K pa can’t afford to pay 39% on their $150,001st dollar.

      You’re a joke.

      America was at its greatest and fairest when its maximum income tax rate was 91%, in the early 1960’s

      National tends to appeal to self-reliant or self-made people and the socially advantaged.

      You mean it tends to appeal to social and economic predators, and those who are sociopathic in tendency. These individualistic neoliberals have overtaken the old fashioned conservatives in the National Party.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        “You mean it tends to appeal to social and economic predators, and those who are sociopathic in tendency. ”

        WOW! Almost 50 % of the total population as well. So much for the 1% meme.

        • Jackal 3.1.1.1

          I don’t think that’s correct Gosman. CV isn’t saying that the entire population who voted for National are all social and/or economic predators… CV is saying that the Natz being that way inclined themselves gains support from that sector of the community.

          There’s no doubt that the social and economic predators within communities hold a lot of influence on people… as their mindset is to control. I think there are more far more weak minded people who are manipulated by the social and economic predators to support a party that does not act in their interests than there are actual sociopathic National supporters.

          The argument that james 111 once voted Labour but now votes National, and he/she would vote Labour again if they turned into National is childish and boring. His claims are based on assumptions. The “successful people vote National” and “poor people who need help vote Labour” rubbish is founded on the National spin-doctors misleading rhetoric.

          Labour does not need to develop policy that doesn’t recognize and further disadvantages the permanently unwell just because some loony right-winger’s bleat about the minuscule taxes they have to pay in New Zealand.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.1

            Gos has a problem with venn diagrams – his eyesight is so bad that two circles with a thin overlap appear to be one big blur.

        • mik e 3.1.1.2

          so 50% of the people are earning over $150,000 or is it that just 29% of the voting age population bothered to vote for National.

      • james 111 3.1.2

        CV
        You are whats wrong with the Party at the moment. The Party has far to many factions who all want their little bit. None of these find accord with the majority of the voting public, as wintessed by one of Labours worst Poll results ever.

        Who ever thought up the idea of giving working for families (the operative word working) to those already on welfare had rocks in their heads.

        It went down like a cup of cold sick even with Blue Collar labour party people. To many of these ideas are either coming from the Fabian socialists or the smaller fringe elements in the party without taking into account the total voting public. If labour just wants to appeal to the small number of fringe swing voters then fine but dont expect to back in power any time soon.

        Your fishing from an ever dwindling pond, Whilst the sea on the other side is getting much bigger. You have to appeal to the centre voters

        .Josie was quite correct in bringing up these points they need to be discussed as they are vote losers.It just illustrates to me how many factions in the party there are.

        How hard it will be for Shearer to unite the party without the left trying to undermine his position all the time. Good luck to him I say

        • Jackal 3.1.2.1

          Who ever thought up the idea of giving working for families (the operative word working) to those already on welfare had rocks in their heads.

          How would you propose to reduce our growing inequality and help the many thousands of children who live in poverty in New Zealand then james 111?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1.1

            From my reading of what James 111 says he actually wants to increase the poverty and suffering so that a few people can have far more than what they need.

        • lprent 3.1.2.2

          The Party has far to many factions…

          Which just leads me to understand that you have absolutely no idea about what you’re talking about. The Australasian Labour party perhaps? It has a much more formal internal structure. But it is pretty loose here and has been in the 20 odd years I have been quite active around the party (rather than just the basic volunteer I was in the 70’s and 80’s). We lost most of the proscriptive factions in the 80’s and early 90’s to either Act or further left.

          What you tend to find in the NZLP is that various people have various interests and people will coalesce together in pushing those when they agree, when they may have quite different views on other matters. For that matter it isn’t even inside the NZLP. With exception of a few terminally ‘religious’ people who view everything within doctrinaire positions (most of whom form a party of one), you find the same attitude pervades the whole of the left.

          Just have a look at this site for instance. Authors are everyone from my centre-right business and managerial views to Bill’s coop to rocky’s anarchism and Zet’s sense of humour. Commentators are even wider. Generally only fools don’t get tolerated..

          Frankly you just look like a posturing doctrinaire idiot with your dick in one hand and club in the other trying to beat people into the little slots you think that they should live in. In other words a fool.

          • beachbum 3.1.2.2.1

            I am no politcial analyst, but is it fair to say that Labour has lost more to the “minor” (not soi minor for Greens) over last few elections than National. So “factions” have already been catered to?

            I think for the Greens that there needs to be some evolvement from being seen as a party full of activists to more policy based rationale.

            I know someone will say that is happening and they are right – but I get the feeling that there is a “perception” that the Greens are still too “fanatical”. And a persons perception is their realirt – rightly or wrongly.

            Activism has been the root cause of a lot of good things, but that is not to be interpreted as all activist causes are for teh betterment of all.

            • McFlock 3.1.2.2.1.1

              Don’t forget the “floating voters” who simply decided to sink – i.e. the 20-30% who found nothing to vote for. Having two major parties who both use the same pool-table of “centrist” probably contributed to that, is my guess. Much as HC was an improvement on douglas or shipley, the repudiation of the 4th labour govt was light and comparatively last minute. 

              • beachbum

                Maybe the 20 or 30% dont vote because they dont really understand the issues and / or the importance. I bet they can all analyse a game of rugby or netball and are experts in that field.

                But if MSM continues to report car accidents and disasters around the world and have no interest in reporting on more informative issues then that will not help. They have an important role to play in educating rather than influencing their readership.

                • McFlock

                  yup – I’m certainly not saying that all non-voters would have gone labour. But it might have been good for a few percent.
                   
                  As it is I think the msmedia are finding it too easy to deliver pap – not enough competition in material focussed at NZers, not enough experienced journalists, and quality suffers therefore.

                  TVNZ7 will be sorely missed, mostly because I think they’re ditching it before everyone is fully ready for  the digital changeover and its biggest audience.

                  • mikesh

                    “Its biggest audience” is probably why they are ditching it. Or am I just being cynical?

          • james 111 3.1.2.2.2

            Ok Iprent you obviously dont agree with Josie Pagani dont believe that Labour need to change ,and did swimingly well in the last Election.
            I agree you do get a good cross section on here thats why I enjoy it. In terms of the make up of Labour having various interest groups that combine together. Wouldnt it be fair to say within Labour that often the fringe or minority interest groups seems to have the largest pull, and this has affected Labour voting base because the general public dont like everything they stand for. This has already been brought out in the open by Damieon Occonor who had a very firm opinion what went on in the Party especially in terms of candidate ,and list selection. His view differed markedly from yours

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.2.2.1

              Labour need to change but they shouldn’t become National lite as Josie Pagani seems to think. They need to become Labour – which they haven’t been since the 1980s.

              • james 111

                Draco
                So your interpretation of what Labour is or should be is what?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Labour is a right-wing party. Labour needs to become a left-wing party. As long as Labour remain a right-wing party people will continue to not vote for them.

                  • Gosman

                    Does that mean Mana is also a right leaning party because as far as I can tell they were pretty much to the left of Labour? How come they didn’t get more support if people are crying out for a leftist party.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Does that mean Mana is also a right leaning party because as far as I can tell they were pretty much to the left of Labour?

                      Gosman proves that he’s an idiot yet again.

                      How come they didn’t get more support if people are crying out for a leftist party.

                      I suspect that a lot of people are still viewing Mana as a Maori Party and thus don’t want to have anything to do with it.

                    • felix

                      There’s that basic logic issue of yours again, Gos.

        • Blue 3.1.2.3

          Whoever thought up the idea of giving WFF to beneficiaries had child poverty on their minds.

          Because a child cannot help whether their parents have a job or not. It’s not their fault, but they are the ones who suffer because of it.

          But you are perfectly correct that it didn’t go down well politically. The average Kiwi doesn’t give a shit about child poverty. What they want is to be patted on the back and congratulated for having a job. Because having a job is apparently not enough of a reward in itself, they want a gold star from the state too.

          And any trinket isn’t worth anything if everyone gets one. It’s not like they would be any worse off – they’d still get their WFF. But Kiwis never miss a chance to deny a poor kid dinner because it suits their prejudices and makes them feel superior.

    • So James 111 which particular tax and benefit decisions tipped your family over the edge?  Instances and dates please.

      • james 111 3.2.1

        Would means test the Pension, and The Gold card. Would limit the DPB to 1 child just as Bill Clinton did in the USA dont want young unskilled women becoming baby factories just to earn the DPB. Huge Social implications for the country long term.
        Would tighten up on Student loans ,and make them dependant on marks achieved. To many are getting the loans finding they cant do the work then leaving the Tax Payer with the debt. Would bring in working for the dole even if its some sort of community work. Would make people turn up to receive the Dole.
        Would stop the Family support thresh hold level at $50,000 or make it area dependant you cant tell me that someone in Nightcaps Southland should get exactly the same money as some one in Auckland where the cost of housing, mortgages are so much more expensive makes no sense at all.

        Hows that for a start

        • mickysavage 3.2.1.1

          Well Jamesy boy I think you have been telling fibs.  You said that various Labour decisions tipped you over the edge but did you know …
           
          1.  National campaigned on no means testing of National Super in 1975.
          2.  Gold card was a NZ First initiative although supported by Labour.  You would be the only “ex leftie” who does not support it.
          3.  Work for the dole, do you really want to pay MORE tax just so you can see people on the dole work?
          4.  Nothing there about Labour’s “punitive” taxes on the wealthy.
           
          In fact Jamesy it looks like a wish list, not a list of gripes.  I bet you never voted Labour in your life …

          • james 111 3.2.1.1.1

            I dont care who campaigned for it or not. Im talking about the fiscal repsonsibility now given the current economic climate. People Business earn money governments consume it some more wastefully than others. In regards to voting Labour oh yes I did and for about 5 elections

            • mickysavage 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Im really confused.  You say that Labour’s past decisions put you off Labour, I try and find out which ones and you then say that it is because of the current economic climate.  News Flash, National is in its second term.  Further news flash, as a proportion of GDP the Government spent LESS when Labour was in power than it does now. 
               
              Even further News Flash this Government gave tax cuts that meant it spent more than what it ewarns by a significant amount.

      • james 111 3.2.2

        More policy decisions ,and direction

        Student Loans for everyone
        Homosexual Law reform when over 85% of New Zealand didnt want it

        Bradfords anti smacking bill remember how about 90% wanted no change remember Bradford saying it would stop child beating what a load of crapola there has been more child deaths in the last few years than there has been for along time. (Helen made all of her Mps vote for it though many didnt want to) should have been a referendum

        Ditching the privy council Labour never campaigned on this ,and had no mandate from the people to do it in my eyes this was very dishonest, again should have been a referendum

        Cullen promised when he went into government they would control the tax creep ,and stop such a minority being gouged. He did nothing of the sort it got much worse under Cullen. He was fundementally opposed to dropping tax rates when he was in the good times. He could of got much more growth out of the Country but because of ideaology never did it. Sent out all the wrong signals

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1

          Bradfords anti smacking bill remember how about [1]90% wanted no change remember [2]Bradford saying it would stop child beating what a load of crapola there has been more child deaths in the [3]last few years than there has been for along time.

          1.) 90% of people said “No” to a question designed to get a “No” answer.
          2.) Such law changes take a generation or so to make a difference. You, like most RWNJs, expect change immediately.
          3.) Financial stress as that caused by a recession always results in an increase in abuse especially in the lower socio-economic classes who are always the ones who pay for the crises caused by the capitalists and their sycophants in government.

          • james 111 3.2.2.1.1

            Draco
            What about all the other points not just Bradfords failed Anti Smacking bill. Do you believe Labour had a mandate from the people to ditch the Privy Council. When they nver at all campaigned on it leading up to the Election?

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1.1.1

              Do you believe Labour had a mandate from the people to ditch the Privy Council.

              No, I don’t think they did but I supported doing so anyway as we’d been an independent nation for quite some time by then and our laws were no longer a direct reflection of UK laws meaning that the Privy Council no longer had any idea WTF they were talking about in regards to our law. We really should have dropped the Privy Council when we became independent.

            • RedLogix 3.2.2.1.1.2

              James. At this point you really need to recall that in the end ALL parties (except the now virtually defunct ACT party) voted for the legislation. And that it was in fact a Green Party Private Member’s Bill in the first place.

              Kind of unreal to demand in retrospect that Labour should have campaigned on it.

              But the simply reality is that there was no moral argument for voting against this legislation. Indeed that very moment Key announced that National was going to support the reform Bill, was his first decent break in politics.

            • Puddleglum 3.2.2.1.1.3

              “Bradford’s failed Anti Smacking bill”

              In what way has it failed James 111? I don’t think anyone has used a defense of ‘reasonable force’ since it was passed, have they? That presumably makes it harder for the perpetrators you allude to to defend their actions in court – doesn’t it?

              Isn’t that a success?

    • felix 3.3

      My family and I – including pets and houseplants – were all staunch Labour voters up until the 1930s and the reign of that tyrant Savage with his welfare state.

      That’s when we collectively felt they had gone too far and tipped over the edge etc etc

  4. Lanthanide 4

    The cats at Zion wildlife park are at risk of being euthanised because the receivers, Rabobank, just want to get on with extracting every last penny from the place that they can. Keeping the cats alive costs than more than simply killing them.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6267646/Zion-big-cats-could-be-put-down-lawyer

    The stuff article doesn’t make it entirely clear, but the lawyer was on the Radio NZ this morning. The decision was going to be made in February as to what should be done with the cats, but Rabobank has put through an urgent request that the cats be moved or killed. Because the issue of ownership has not been decided (that comes in February), there is insufficient time to organise moving the cats anywhere else, leaving the only practical solution to Rabo’s urgent request (after 5 months of doing nothing) to be euthanasia.

    I urge everyone to contact rabobank and let them know how you feel about this:
    http://www.rabodirect.co.nz/contact-rabodirect/default.aspx

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Customer relations manager just called me to discuss it.

      She said that Rabo’s intentions were definitely not to euthanise any animals and that it was totally incorrect the message that had been put out by the media. She didn’t have all the knowledge or background history as to the actual case and was mainly calling up customers to let them know that they definitely did not want to euthanise the animals.

      I flat out told her I didn’t believe what she was saying because it didn’t make any sense to my why Rabo was suddenly asking for an urgent decision to be made when they was already a court date set in February to decide this very issue, and that this case has been going on for years and they had at least 5 months to deal with it, and hadn’t.

      She has promised to email me back by 3pm today with more information as to why the urgent request has been made. I will post updates here.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Nice work mate.

        • Frank Macskasy 4.1.1.1

          Lanthanide – I’m interested in this as well. Please do let us know what transpires – even if they don’t phone you back by 3pm, and I’ll do a blog-piece on it, and circulate it.

      • higherstandard 4.1.2

        I expect Rabo to back down quite quickly as some of my colleagues have informed me that “talkback is shitting itself” on this news story.

        Go the big cats I say !

      • Lanthanide, just sent off this email to Rabo;

        Sir/madam,

        News is spreading like wildfire that your Bank may force the killing of the big cats at Zion Wildlife park.

        You folks have no idea at the bad publicity that this will bring your bank. In fact, it will probably undo the considerable advertising/sponsorship that Rabo invests in.

        You seriously need to review what your plans are for Zion Wildlife Park. As Gareth Morgan invested $30,000+ to help save one penguin – this is an opportunity that will serve you well, but only if you handle it correctly.

        Destroying dozens of beautiful big cats – many of whom are endangered species – is not just grossly irresponsible and downright foolish, but a wasted opportunity.

        For god’s sakes, get in touch with a media publicity company. The first thing they will advise you is: Do not touch a hair on those animals. You will only come out looking like animal-hating, money-hungry, big-business. Instead, keep the cats safe and associate their well-being with your Bank.

        As I mentioned above, news of this is spreading far and wide and will most likely be on the 6PM News on both TV channels. You have only a limited time to sort out this mess and not turn it into the biggest PR blunder since Adidas stuffed up during the Rugby World Cup.

        Your call.

        -Frank Macskasy
        Blogger, http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com

      • felix 4.1.4

        Good on you Lanth, we cats salute you.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.4.1

          Thanks guys.

          I’m pretty confident that Rabo don’t truly want to kill the cats (honestly, who would?), they just want to get them off the property so they can go about winding the business up ASAP.

          What I am interested in is why they can’t just wait until February. Why does it have to be urgently decided now, when a court date was already set. This is what I specifically want the PR woman to answer, because unless a cogent explanation is given for this action then we really can’t trust anything they say.

          Of course come the February decision, the correct thing to do would be to take all reasonable steps to re-home the animals. Any attempt to do otherwise will provoke a nasty PR storm for them.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.5

        Here’s the reply I received about 20 minutes ago:

        As per our discussion earlier this morning in regards to the Zion Wildlife Park and my confirmation to you that Rabobank has no intention of euthanizing any of the wildlife at the park.

        I confirm this statement and that every effort would be made to re-house the animals if required, unless due to health reasons this would be considered the most appropriate action.

        The other question you had is to why we have requested to bring forward the court hearing. I can confirm this is correct and that the court application is intended to support the sale of the park as a going concern, with the existing animals remaining in the park.

        There will be a media statement in regards to this issued shortly, however, I understand that it is a reasonable offer.

        I hope this answers your questions, however, should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

        Here’s the latest updates in the stuff story:

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6267646/Zion-buyer-lined-up-receivers

        “An interested party has offered to purchase the business and assets of Zion,” Colin McCloy, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said.

        PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed by Rabobank.

        “The receivers believe the offer represents good value and the best option to preserve the operation of the park and the welfare of the animals.

        “However, existing Court directions need to be varied to support the sale process. As a result, the receivers have applied to the Court to have the existing directions varied.”

        So it sounds like Rabo were acting in the best interests on the animals, but the legal directions received by the previous owner’s lawyer were ambiguous and easy to read the worst into.

        • Frank Macskasy 4.1.5.1

          This whole mess is a clear indication that governments should think very carefully about permitting private zoos in this country. If the owner goes belly-up, it is extraordinary to think that the animals would be destroyed.

          Christ, that would be like euthenasing the entire Board of Directors of a failed corporation, just because they’re left millions in debt and hundreds out of a job…

          Hmmm…

          On second thoughts…

        • Frank Macskasy 4.1.5.2

          By the way, I got this reply from Rabobank as well,

          Hi Frank

          Thank you for your email in regards to the Zion Wildlife Park and I do agree there has been a media frenzy, which is natural considering the topic.

          However, I can confirm the Court application is intended to support the sale of the Zion Wildlife Park, as a going concern with the existing animals remaining in the Park.

          In addition, I can confirm that Rabobank has no intention of euthanizing any of the wildlife and would if required prefer to re-house the animals if necessary. Of course we are hopeful that the sale of the Park will be successful, which will be the best outcome for all concerned, including the wildlife.

          As PwC are the Receivers, a media statement from them has been attached for your information and I hope this answers your questions. However, should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

          Kind regards

          Jill Rudings

  5. Jackal 5

    Preventing crime

    It’s all very well and good to expect communities to be vigilant, but what about the main driving force behind crime?

    • Drugs and alcohol have proven very difficult to deal with. Do you think total prohibition would work? It could do the opposite and increase crime, that’s happened in the past,.

      • Jackal 5.1.1

        I wasn’t talking about alcohol or drugs Pete George… I was talking about inequality. That’s the main driving force behind crime. But since you raised the issue… total prohibition wont work. Is anybody actually suggesting it?

        If we want our communities to have less crime, giving people enough to survive on, ensuring people don’t fall through the cracks and having less alcohol outlets with stricter hours are a few obvious steps. We should include the actual social cost in the shelf price of alcohol instead of subsidizing it so that companies like Lion Nathan can make huge profits (A$272.7m profit on revenue of A$2.09 billion for 2008).

        We should do this for everything. Why should taxes subsidize somebodies wages who are working for McDonalds earning peanuts selling crap food that has been shown to make people sick? Why should the environment pay for the huge amounts of toxic packaging just so the manufacturer can make more money out of the consumer? I’m not anti taxes, I just don’t like the public subsidizing destructive industries.

        As for drugs, National has been cutting funding to halfway houses and rehabilitation programs… so we need to do the opposite of that. Decriminalizing marijuana and education has been shown to decrease overall consumption, and decreasing the use of any drug legal or illegal has a knock on effect of reducing consumption rates of all drugs.

        We need to look at the facts and not get caught up in rhetoric, which is often wrong.

  6. Any interesting post on pros and cons of capitalism – especially ‘real’ capitalism versus ‘crony’ capitalism (rife at the moment).

    The case for real capitalism.

    And in line with previous inequality comments one of the summary lessons includes:
    ” Excessive pay is a serious issue.”

    • Just read the PDF, Pete George.

      Sadly, it was nothing but unsubstantiated rhetoric (no citations of evidence) by some Conservative MP from ‘the enterprise group’ – whatever that is. It’s little more than an unconvincing collection of unfounded assertions and cliches in search of some coherence. It’s also remarkably unoriginal for a ‘think piece’.

      Have you ever stopped to think why capitalism is invariably ‘crony capitalism’ – as the MP says – ‘even’ in the UK?

      I imagine you’d find an equally vacuous PDF on ‘real socialism’ very ‘interesting’ too, Pete George?

  7. randal 7

    ipredict that mathew hooton is going to get a pimple on his nose that wont go away.

  8. prism 8

    Standard and Poors, Moodys, Bear Stern – the names of these financiers are amusing. It is so necessary to keep a sense of humour plus irony when hearing that these god-like entities are passing judgment on sovereign countries. They are causing damage to them when they are needed to keep on task to help the financial world keep prosperous. These firms get to be both anti-government and free market slanted while at the same time playing governments like a trout fisher with one on the hook.

    Just to remind people like me who struggle to keep up here is an excerpt from Wikipedia info on the documentary film Inside Job which I have on my must watch list.

    In the 2000s, the industry was dominated by five investment banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Bear Stearns), two financial conglomerates (Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase), three securitized insurance companies (AIG, MBIA, AMBAC) and three rating agencies (Moody’s, Standard & Poors, Fitch). Investment banks bundled mortgages with other loans and debts into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which they sold to investors. Rating agencies gave many CDOs AAA ratings. Subprime loans led to predatory lending. Many home owners were given loans they could never repay.

    • Inside Job is a great movie.  After watching it you have this compelling urge to find a merchant banker and punch them in the nose …

    • Gosman 8.2

      I didn’t realise Standard and Poors, and Moody’s were financiers.

      What do they finance exactly?

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        What a fraking stupid question

        They GREASE THE WHEELS as PART OF THE MACHINE

        By rating false toxic assets as AAA so they can be palmed off on to unsuspecting pension funds and countries, and timing the downgrade of sovereign nations so that banksters can swoop in and buy hard assets up for cents on the dollar.

        Idiot.

        • Gosman 8.2.1.1

          So they work in finance but they aren’t financiers. To try and lump them in with them would be like claiming that the person who delivers a bed to a whorehouse is a prostitute. It is nonsensical.

          • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1.1

            nope, it’s like saying that the receptionist who markets the girls in a whorehouse by rating them over the phone to punters is a marketer, seller and rater of prostitution services.

            Which is what Moodys, S&P and Fitch are.

          • prism 8.2.1.1.2

            Ah but prostitution is legal now. Much of what these finance-greasers do either is profitable to them and destructive to other companies and the health of the financial system, borders on, is illegal, or tests the defences of the financial legal system (until they can organise a lobby to change the law).

    • nadis 8.3

      You should also read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis.

  9. randal 9

    thenames are impressive but all the originals are long dead and gone now.
    now they are all run by faceless suits with mba’s and quants in the back room.
    the mystery of capitalism is gone.
    its just geeks grinding the numbers.
    the people dont count.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      its an age of crony cartel capitalism. Corporatism actually, which is closely associated with fascism.

      In the US their government is a revolving door of the same senior personnel who move between investment bank boardrooms, Congress and White House positions. Obama’s new Chief of Staff is Jack Lew, a fomer senior Citibank executive.

      His former Chief of Staff Daley was a former JP Morgue senior executive.

      Do you really think the Obama White House is going to take any serious action against the Banksters? When all his personnel and all his campaign funds come from the bankster cartel?

      Its a fucking joke.

      Hey you right wing free market capitalist types, you should be railing against this bullshit SME crushing, real value innovation destroying cronyism.

      But you won’t will you.

      • nadis 9.1.1

        I’m a right wing type and worked in the industry for many years.

        I agree with your sentiments, but perhaps not the causes, conspiracy theories or “solutions”.

        IMO, capitalism is the best solution – certainly better than any alternatives but what we saw over the last decade was not capitalism. You are right identifying – cronyism, regulators looking the other way, too much power concentrated in too many hands. Capitalism is what has lifted billions of people out of poverty. We just need a more considered form of capitalism.

        With hindsight I am sure Bernanke and co would have cleaned up differently, but at the time they did what they understood was necessary in the absence of good information or relevant history.

        Sandy Weill getting past Glass-Steagal was a primary cause. Investment banks moving away from the partnership model was another cause. Incentives for lenders to extend credit to non-creditworthy borrowers was another. Greenspan running stupidly accomodative policies and ignoring regulation was another. Not having central clearing houses for the OTC trade was another. Ratings agencies getting paid $250k to rate a CDO was another. Ratings agencies backsolving an investment grade rating for upper tranches of CDO’s by fiddling correlation assumptions another. Implicit support of banks by sovereigns another. Consumers borrowing recklessly another. Sovereigns borrowing recklessly to hide loss of competitiveness another.

        But the good news is it is all solvable – take the medicine and move on even if the wrong people pay.

        As long in the future “too big to fail” becomes an accusation rather than a comfort.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    National tries to control the media

    Just before the election, TV3 screened Inside Child Poverty: A Special Report. The documentary was funded by NZ on Air, and its aim was to expose child poverty in New Zealand and get people thinking about it. It succeeded. Unfortunately, that success was at the expense of the National Party, which really, really didn’t want to talk about the issue. And so post-election, its hacks on the NZ on Air board are trying to ensure that it never happens again:

    Gee, why am I not surprised.

    • ianmac 10.1

      A bit scary that a Government could even consider interference in such a way. Does this suggest that future programs should be given the “Fijian once over” before airing?

    • Puddleglum 10.2

      That is a clear case of political heavying of a major media outlet via the tool of NZOA.

      McIlrea (sp?) – Key’s electorate chairman on the NZOA board – kept pursuing the issue. Yet NZOA was never going to be accused of ‘political bias’ by any sane person since it had no control whatsoever over scheduling of programmes it funds.

      and the idea that NZOA should unilaterally take it upon itself to regulate the election period scheduling via adding clauses to its contracts is very peculiar. Any prohibition of types of programmes screened during the election period would surely have to be regulated by parliament, not NZOA??

      I wonder if McIlrea thinks that the inquiries into the earthquakes and Pike River, the Rena grounding, the Standard and Poors downgrade, etc. should also not have been the subject of any media documentaries during the election period? Or was he just trying to chastise the only instance of current affairs – that might put National in a bad light – that he thought he could via NZOA?

      Very dodgy stuff.

  11. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1201/S00050/nz-asset-sales-policy-began-on-wall-street.htm

    NZ Asset Sales Policy Began On Wall Street
    Monday, 16 January 2012, 5:23 pm
    Opinion: Clutha River Forum

    NZ Asset Sales Policy Began On Wall Street

    By Lewis Verduyn

    The Key government’s asset sales agenda is derived from the Washington Consensus – a set of Wall Street-driven policies that were pronounced dead after the global financial meltdown in 2008.[1] The New Zealand government, however, remains loyal to this failed ideology.

    Why? The obvious link is Prime Minister John Key – a former investment banker for Merrill Lynch, the world’s largest brokerage failure.

    In most other countries, state asset sales have become a last resort on the road to poverty and ruin, but for the Key government, asset sales are “business as usual.” [2]

    So what’s really behind asset sales?
    All wealth extraction is facilitated by international and national economic policies, coupled with the private banking system, which together deliver benefits to the financial elite by transferring wealth upward within and between nations.

    The state asset sales policy is just one of several reforms under the Washington Consensus, a set of monetary and economic policies designed to allow: the privatization of public resources and utilities, the removal of barriers to foreign investment and ownership, the sale of state assets, trade liberalization, deregulation, the lowering of business taxes, and cuts to public services.[3]

    These “free market” reforms are collectively termed neoliberalism.[4] Simply, they provide big business with improved legal access to markets and assets worldwide.

    The Key government’s asset sales agenda fits obediently into this ideology  the same ideology that ushered in financial deregulation, record bank bailouts, and the Second Great Depression.[5]

    Governments in New Zealand have succumbed to the neoliberal movement since 1987, when the first round of asset sales began, as a Reagan-Thatcher-Douglas experiment.

    Under these policies since the 1980s, New Zealanders have experienced almost the greatest increase in income inequality in the OECD.[6]

    The deep roots of neoliberalism …….”

    [1] Anthony Painter. (2009, April 10). The Washington Consensus Is Dead. The Guardian., Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU, UK.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/apr/09/obama-g20-nato-foreign-policy

    [2] Mixed Ownership Monitoring Unit. (2011, December 15). Mixed Owner Model For Crown Companies. Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit , 1 The Terrace, Wellington 6011, New Zealand.
    http://www.comu.govt.nz/publications/information-releases/mixed-ownership-model/

    [3] John Williamson. (2004, September 24-25). A Short History of the Washington Consensus.
    http://www.iie.com/publications/papers/williamson0904-2.pdf

    [4] Neoliberalism. Wikipedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

    [5] Steve Keen. (2011, December 3). We’re Already In The Second Great Depression, We Just Don’t Realize It Yet.
    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-12-03/markets/30471134_1_second-great-depression-hope-new-jobs

    [6] OCED. (2011, December 5). Governments must tackle record gap between rich and poor, says OECD.
    http://www.oecd.org/document/40/0,3746,en_21571361_44315115_49166760_1_1_1_1,00.html
    ‘The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over 30 years, and governments must act quickly to tackle inequality, according to a new OECD report. “Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising” finds that the average income of the richest 10% is now about nine times that of the poorest 10 % across the OECD.’

    ……………………..

    (There’s a LOT more! )
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    [email deleted]

  12. Here you go folks!
    MORE ‘SMOKING GUN’ EVIDENCE OF THE LINK BETWEEN THE NZ FOOD BILL AND CODEX ALIMENTARIUS:

    Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway | Scoop News
    http://www.scoop.co.nz

    “Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway

    31 January 2008

    The initial stage of a review of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) risk management processes is nearing completion.

    In mid-December last year Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that internationally-renowned food safety expert Dr Stuart Slorach would be undertaking the review. ….

    Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel has stated: “Dr Slorach has extensive experience in this area. He was Chair of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) during its critical establishment phase, and Chair of the international food standards setting agency, the Codex Alimentarius.”
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway
    Friday, 1 February 2008, 1:43 pm
    Press Release: New Zealand Food Safety Authority

    Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway

    31 January 2008

    The initial stage of a review of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) risk management processes is nearing completion.

    In mid-December last year Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that internationally-renowned food safety expert Dr Stuart Slorach would be undertaking the review.

    Dr Slorach has been in New Zealand for the past two weeks, and leaves for Europe today. During his time here he has evaluated NZFSA’s systems and processes and met with Minister Dalziel and a wide range of interested parties, including scientists, members of special-interest groups, and representatives of food industry and consumer organisations.

    During February Dr Slorach will visit the government food safety agencies of Ireland, Denmark and Sweden with the aim of comparing the approach in New Zealand with that of these highly regarded, European nations.
    Dr Slorach is expected to return to New Zealand in late March to finalise his review, with Ministerial consideration of the final report and recommendations in the second quarter of the year.

    Dr Slorach has been given full access to NZFSA files, staff and resources during his time in New Zealand. “I have had an opportunity to meet with people from a range of backgrounds and over the next month will be assessing the material I have gathered during my time here. My next step will be to undertake an assessment of NZFSA’s decision-making processes compared with those of the other food safety agencies.”

    Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel has stated: “Dr Slorach has extensive experience in this area. He was Chair of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) during its critical establishment phase, and Chair of the international food standards setting agency, the Codex Alimentarius.”

    Dr Slorach also chaired an independent enquiry set up by the Norwegian government into the handling of an outbreak of foodborne illness caused by E.coli O103:H25 in Norway in early 2006

    ENDS
    ________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    [email deleted]

    • McFlock 12.1

      Just because it sounds like “illuminati” doesn’t mean Dan Brown should write a book about it.
       
      I still don’t get what the big deal is about the food bill. Nor, I suspect, do you.

      • Penny Bright 12.1.1

        publicwatchdog (886) Says:
        January 17th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

        Here you go McFlock – try THIS:

        MORE ‘SMOKING GUN’ EVIDENCE OF THE LINK BETWEEN THE NZ FOOD BILL AND CODEX ALIMENTARIUS:

        Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway | Scoop News
        http://www.scoop.co.nz

        “Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway

        31 January 2008

        The initial stage of a review of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) risk management processes is nearing completion.

        In mid-December last year Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that internationally-renowned food safety expert Dr Stuart Slorach would be undertaking the review. ….

        Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel has stated: “Dr Slorach has extensive experience in this area. He was Chair of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) during its critical establishment phase, and Chair of the international food standards setting agency, the Codex Alimentarius.”
        __________________________________________________________________________

        Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway
        Friday, 1 February 2008, 1:43 pm
        Press Release: New Zealand Food Safety Authority

        Review of NZFSA risk management processes underway

        31 January 2008

        The initial stage of a review of New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) risk management processes is nearing completion.

        In mid-December last year Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that internationally-renowned food safety expert Dr Stuart Slorach would be undertaking the review.

        Dr Slorach has been in New Zealand for the past two weeks, and leaves for Europe today. During his time here he has evaluated NZFSA’s systems and processes and met with Minister Dalziel and a wide range of interested parties, including scientists, members of special-interest groups, and representatives of food industry and consumer organisations.

        During February Dr Slorach will visit the government food safety agencies of Ireland, Denmark and Sweden with the aim of comparing the approach in New Zealand with that of these highly regarded, European nations.
        Dr Slorach is expected to return to New Zealand in late March to finalise his review, with Ministerial consideration of the final report and recommendations in the second quarter of the year.

        Dr Slorach has been given full access to NZFSA files, staff and resources during his time in New Zealand. “I have had an opportunity to meet with people from a range of backgrounds and over the next month will be assessing the material I have gathered during my time here. My next step will be to undertake an assessment of NZFSA’s decision-making processes compared with those of the other food safety agencies.”

        Food Safety Minister Lianne Dalziel has stated: “Dr Slorach has extensive experience in this area. He was Chair of the Management Board of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) during its critical establishment phase, and Chair of the international food standards setting agency, the Codex Alimentarius.”

        Dr Slorach also chaired an independent enquiry set up by the Norwegian government into the handling of an outbreak of foodborne illness caused by E.coli O103:H25 in Norway in early 2006

        ENDS
        ________________________________________________________________________

        MORE ‘SMOKING GUN’ EVIDENCE LINKING NZ FOOD SAFETY BILL CODEX ALIMENTARIUS & THE PREVIOUS NZ (LABOUR) GOVERNMENT

        http://www.foodsafety.govt.nz/elibrary/industry/Government_Response-Proposed_Thenzfsa.pdf

        “(From) Office of the Minister for Food Safety

        (To) The Chair, Cabinet Economic Development Committee

        GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATIONS MADE IN THE REVIEW OF THE NEW ZEALAND FOOD SAFETY AUTHORITY’S RISK MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK AND ITS APPLICATION.

        Proposal

        1. This paper by way of attachment, sets out a proposed response to the 39 recommendations made by Dr Stuart Slorach in his report Food Safety Risk Management in New Zealand: A review of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s risk management framework and its application.
        The Committee is asked to consider the suggested response (at Attachment A) and the recommendation to release the response and other attachments as referred to in this paper.
        The Committee is also asked to confirm its agreement to an announcement of the government response.”

        (See Recommendation 13, Pg 9, and Recommendation 14, Pg 10 )

        __________________________________________________________________________

        Interested in your ‘considered’ opinion McFlock, after you have carefully read the above documents?
        (In full)?

        Kind regards,

        Penny Bright
        [email deleted]

        • McFlock 12.1.1.1

          Your point?

          • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1

            A slightly more thorough opinion, then.
              
            You seem to be outlining links between New Zealand food safety officials/politicians and the Codex Alimentarius. Shockingly, when reviewing NZ food safety standards the government sought advice from people with extensive experience in studying and advising on national food safety plans. And the hidden edifice behind it is a cloaked organisation established by the secret world government (UN). I congratulate you on uncovering this global conspiracy to eradicate the eketahuna farmers market. The fiends hid this  plan in the occasional press release. This conspiracy is supported by the global corporate front organisations, also known as public health officials.
             
            I still haven’t discovered where the food bill is much more draconian than the current 30y.o. legislation. 
             

        • beachbum 12.1.1.2

          Penny,

          If you want to get your message across to average Joe’s like me, who voted National but still take an interest to look at these sites, (i.e. call me a swinging voter if you must), you need to get a few bullet points across. Not all of us have the time to be able to read everythig that is avaialble. Thats why I like to see these sights that usually have “the short story”.

          Just a suggestion – then I might actually get your point instead of referring to smoking guns.

  13. Jackal 13

    Internet goes on strike

    On January 18th, 2012 the internet is going on strike to stop the web censorship bills in Congress! Now is our moment— we need you to do everything you can, whether you have a website or not…

  14. Jackal 14

    Boycott Rabobank

    Is Rabobank crazy? To even contemplate killing these endangered animals is fucking unbelievable! Rabobank should think about the international scandal this is turning into, with the despicable idea causing New Zealand worldwide embarrassment…

    • Jum 14.1

      Jackal,

      Rabo bank demand to have wild animals killed so they can take over a bit of land. I’ll tell you why. Rabo has to remove any ongoing costs to achieve a better purchase price.

      Investors want the land; they don’t want living creatures which need to be looked after costing them money for food and lodgings. They’re prepared to pay more for cleared land.

      This country has no right to have any sense of pride in itself. It is sick deep down when the order of the day is to get the courts to grant the killing of animals for a bit of extra money.

  15. ianmac 15

    Fascinating time lapse photography from a point on the Rema. Especially last quarter.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rena-oil-spill/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503203&gal_cid=1503203&gallery_id=123440

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