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Open mike 18/06/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 18th, 2012 - 120 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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

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

Step right up to the mike…

120 comments on “Open mike 18/06/2012 ”

  1. Gosman 2

    Good to see the Greeks look to have rejected wacky leftist policies and opted for recognition of economic reality.

    • rosy 2.1

      If you read a bit further than the headlines, Gosman, you’d see it’s a little more complicated than that. Oh and btw France just voted in a Socialist government to go with the Socialist president – adds to the complexity of all matters European.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        Not really.

        A radical leftist party was denied the opportunity to impose it’s extreme left views in Greece which will be instead run by a moderate right of center party.

        A moderate leftist party has been elected in France and will soon find that unless they are able to sweet talk the German’s they won’t be able to afford any of their policies.

        Nothing really has changed much at all.

        • KJT

          Greece will continue to be run into the ground to maintain the profits of US and German bankers while France will go ahead.

          Just like US blue States do much better than red States. (For those who do not follow US politics, red States are the least socialist in their policies, Republican).

          Still waiting, Gosman, for you lot to name one country were austerity has worked, anywhere, at anytime?

          • Gosman

            US banks have little direct exposure to Greece. It is more European, (mainly German and French), which provided the Greeks with the money for their Socialist inspired spendfest for the past 20 odd years.

            • KJT

              You are funny.

              The Greek Government was no more socialist than Germany or France.

              Not to mention starting out much poorer because of years of right wing dictatorship.

              Greece followed neo-lib policies just like us.

              Insufficient taxes, because tax avoidance by the rich, in Greece, was a national sport, just like in NZ.
              See the IRD on 500 million collected just by re-investigating 250 of our 1%.
              Makes 16 million in welfare fraud seem rather small don’t you think?

              • Gosman

                Greece’s problems were not insufficient taxes. They had plenty of those. The problem was insufficent tax collection. Funnily enough that is what right wing economics argues will happen with leftist economic policies.

                If you require an example of a country where Austerity has worked look at Latvia. It is now growing strongly once again after undergoing a similar internal devaluation to what is being demanded of Greece.

                • KJT

                  Insufficient tax and spend. Funny that!

                  Last I heard Latvia started doing better when austerity was relaxed.

                • Bill

                  Sure thing Gosman. Go Latvia!

                  Latvia lost about a quarter of its national income. Unemployment rose from 5.3 per cent to more than 20 per cent of the labour force and, counting the people who dropped out of the labour force or were involuntarily working part-time, unemployment and underemployment peaked at more than 30 per cent. Official unemployment remains at more than 15 per cent today, even after the economy finally grew by 5.5 per cent last year (it is projected to grow just 2 per cent this year). And about 10 per cent of the labour force has left the country.


          • KJT

            Just like US blue States do much better than red States. (For those who do not follow US politics, red States are the least socialist in their policies, Republican).

            In fact blue States support Red States. http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/09/red_states_feed.html

            “It’s now well-understood that blue states generally export money to the federal government; and red states generally import it”.

        • Dr Terry

          Well, Gosman, we can confidently declare that in your own case “nothing really has changed at all”! Will it ever? I am not holding my breath!

    • Yep the left wing coalition, Syriza, slumped from 4.6% of the vote in 2009 to a projected 27.1% of the vote in this election.

      What the … 

      • Vicky32 2.2.1

        Yep the left wing coalition, Syriza, slumped from 4.6% of the vote in 2009 to a projected 27.1% of the vote in this election.

        😀 Good, Mickey!

    • Carol 2.3

      According to Al Jazeera just now, the people voted largely in relation to campaigning on either to stay in the Euro or not. They voted more for the parties that want to stay.

      There still is confusion as there will be a period of negotiations between the New Democracy Party and the Socialist Party.


      Although no party appears to have won enough seats in Sunday’s election to form a new Greek government on its own, the polls indicate the country’s two traditional parties – New Democracy and PASOK – will have enough seats to form a coalition together.

      The exit poll projected New Democracy as winning between 28.6 and 30 per cent of the vote, giving it 127 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. That is ahead of the radical left Syriza party, which is projected to get 72 seats.

      The Socialist PASOK party was projected in third with 32 seats in the exit poll, organised by Metron Analysis for Greek Antenna Television. The poll was conducted jointly with another four pollsters, published as voting closed on Sunday.

      Supporters of SYRIZA said the exit poll results already showed a victory for the left, even if they do not win.

      Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips reported from Athens that the demographic division over economic policy between different age groups “was quite dramatic”, with younger voters far more likely to vote for Syriza, whilst older Greeks were more conservative.

      “The youth went for Syriza, and when you look at Greece’s youth unemployment, that’s understandable,” he said.

      • bad12 2.3.1

        A strange democracy, heard this on RadioNZ National this morning, apparently in the Greek democracy the party who get the largest % of votes on election day get ‘given’ an extra 50 seats in the Greek Parliament,

        If that were to be the case then the real winner of the Greek elections would seem to be whomever thought up such a system of ‘democracy’…

    • muzza 2.4

      Do you feel you are a better person for knowing your “economic reality” is killing human beings..

      Makes you feel like a big man eh Gos!

      • Gosman 2.4.1

        Do you get a kick that left wing policies are killing people in places like North Korea and Cuba?

        • Uturn

          What you don’t know, gosman, is that every time you comment about anything, several thousand of your brain cells commit suicide. It’s a filthy leftist plot to redistribute your intelligence to the undeserving.

          • Gosman

            You’re not even trying anymore Uturn. I am disappointed.

            • Uturn

              Well look what I have to work with: your intelligence redistributed to my brain. It’s an immediate disadvantage.

              • Gosman

                Somehow you are able to redistribute my intelligence and absorb it into your brain are you? What exactly is the mechanism for this little flight of fancy of yours?

                • felix

                  Beautifully illustrating the kernel of truth in Uturn’s humourous observation, Gosman.

                  • McFlock

                    a kernel significantly larger than gosman’s brain.

                  • Gosman

                    Uturn made a humourous observation??? Where was that as I must have missed it?

                    • felix

                      You read it and responded to it but you weren’t smart enough to understand it, beautifully illustrating it again.

                    • Gosman

                      All I read was Uturn making some childish personal attack on myself along the lines of ‘ You’re stupid Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah!’.

                      Did you find that humourous felix?

                      Do you laugh at knock knock jokes and find farts hillarious as well? Are you a big fan of the three stooges?

                    • felix

                      I’m sorry you didn’t get the joke Gosman, but that’s no reason to get testy with me.

                      In answer to the other matters you raise:

                      1) Knock knock jokes can be very funny. Or not. It depends on the joke, Gos. It’s a bit like asking if I like sandwiches, it depends what they’re made of. I’m quite fond of knock knock jokes which make fun of the format itself, a bit like these ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_SAL0vEvTI

                      2) Farts can also be very funny. Or not. It’s all about context. My dog farted the other night and woke herself up and started barking at the fart. It was pretty funny to watch, even though I’d seen it happen before.

                      3) Not a big fan of The Three Stooges (I prefer the four from Ann Arbour) but only a fool would dismiss their contribution to the form.

            • Dr Terry

              He hardly needed to reply, Gosman. You are so transparent.

        • mike e

          gooseman so blame totalitarian regimes to avoid answering the question .

    • Pascal's bookie 2.5

      PASOK saying they won’t join a coalition that doesn’t have Syriza in it.


      • Carol 2.5.1

        Could be merely an attempt by PASOK to improve their bargaining position.

      • Bill 2.5.2

        No idea of what numbers would equate to 0.5% (the difference between l & r) but

        “Police said about 10 men armed with sledgehammers and wooden bats have attacked a polling station in Athens, wounding two policemen guarding it and setting fire to the ballot box.

        No voters were hurt during the attack, which occurred half an hour before polls closed.

        The attack – the only one reported so far at a voting station during the balloting – took place in the Athens neighbourhood of Exarhia, a traditional haven for leftists and anarchists near the city centre.”


    • vto 2.6

      “Good to see the Greeks look to have rejected wacky leftist policies and opted for recognition of economic reality.”

      Unfortunate to see the Greeks have voted to continue with the current wacky right wing ponzi scheme of the world financial system. I guess it will just keeping running right on and over the cliff. The current right wing loons remind me of wile e. coyote …

      • Draco T Bastard 2.6.1

        wile e. coyote only ever hurt himself, these right-wing policies will hurt everyone.

  2. Half Crown Millionare 3

    I have just seen Key state on “TV1 Breakfast” that Labour not only wanted to increase the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 for the pension, but also want to reduce the amount of pension paid to spend the money saved on other things. I am nor aware of that! Does anybody else know of this?

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      What he means is that National will leave the future pension as it is, and use that as an excuse to cut things now.

    • deuto 3.2

      Key also claimed that Labour would lower the level of super in his interview on The Nation at the weekend. I missed this (and a lot of other things) when I watched the interview but have just read the transcript on Scoop:


      John Key Okay well so John Banks on his own is, okay well that’s good so there’s still 120 votes you’ve gotta get from somewhere else. So basically the long and short of it is outside of ACT then nobody is arguing that they’re going to raise the age to 2020. So no decision you make today is gonna have any difference on the Crown accounts, any difference on growth, any difference on anything costs we face. So that’s the first point. So we need to acknowledge that. So when people say oh by the way in a few years’ time Superannuation will be two billion dollars’ worth more or cost more. Well by the way that’ll be the same for every political party. That’s the first thing. Secondly when Labour say raise the age to 67 they’re being a bit disingenuous aren’t they? Because what they’re really saying is they want to accept the Retirement Commissioner’s position. Well good on them, but the Retirement Commissioner is saying this. Decouple from average wages to the CPI. That means not only do you have to wait longer from 65 to 67 to get it, you get less. And some people are also arguing means testing. That’s what Labour’s really saying to people. They are saying to New Zealanders now, we want to spend more money, you work longer and you get less.
      Alex So the age is one thing, and you dismissed it as quite a small thing in terms of dealing with the costs.
      John Key In 20 years’ time it makes .7% of GDP difference, but if you really want to address the cost you have to lower the amount of Superannuation you give New Zealanders.

      Bold is mine. The full discussion on super is about halfway down the transcript.

      I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that Labour have suggested what Key said – rather IMO Key is trying to plant red herrings etc to scare people etc.

      IMO reading the whole transcript vs just viewing the interview really highlighted for me that this was not a good interview by Key – full of spin and avoidance (a good example is the section early in the interview on what he has asked and not asked Collins re ACC).

  3. There are growing calls for a wide ranging cross-party and outside parliament discussion on the future of superannuation.

    If you support an ongoing Super discussion you can help.

    Contribute to the blog: NZ Super Discussion

    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/NZSuper

    Like on Facebook; http://www.facebook.com/pages/NZ-Super-discussion/386542218070224

    So far NZ Super Discussion is supported by:
    – Labour
    – United Future
    – Financial Services Institute

    Add your support. Contributions welcome, contact nzsuperdiscussion@gmail.com

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      Your UF distraction site is supported by Labour? Proof, please?

      • Pete George 4.1.1

        Your attempts at distraction are odd – do you disagree with cross party discussion on Super?

        • Te Reo Putake

          Wow, PG caught lying. Quelle surprise!

          • Pete George

            Not lying, you’ve made a false claim, you can’t help being negative can you. Trying to win petty fights seems to be more important to you than looking at what might work.

            • Te Reo Putake

              Provide the proof, liar. You must have a letter or email from Labour explicitly supporting your site. Let’s see it. Lets see the one from UF, while we’re at it.

        • KJT

          Not really, at present.

          There are much more important things to worry about. Like dealing to child poverty the same way we dealt to elderly poverty, the abdication of democracy that is the TPP, another privatisation burglary, the sneaky increase in police powers, the trashing of our public education, how we are going to pay for the next bank bailout, AGW. To name a few.

          If we do not provide some leadership on reducing AGW, making our economy sustainable, super will be the least of our worries.

        • mickysavage

          I am not aware of Labour supporting Petey and his quest to solve our superannuation problems.  So some sort of proof would be good Petey.  Last time I checked the Labour Party were disinclined to let you lead on its behalf the superannuation debate.
          And Petey are you actually going to get around to addressing the issues?
          So far all of your multitude of comments can be summed up as follows:
          1.  There needs to be a broad consensus and a discussion amongst all parties.
          2.  Parties should stop playing politics with the issue.
          3.  Peter Dunne has a nice haircut (OK I made that one up).
          But apart from UF’s flexi super idea you have not raised a single proposal.  And UF’s proposal has this one weakness that it will not affect affordability whatsoever.
          So rather than clog the debate up and claim some sort of role how about you front up with some ideas?

          • Pete George

            I’m not trying to raise proposals, I’m providing a facility for highlighting and discussing any and all proposals. You don’t seem to be commenting with much actual knowledge of what is there. For example, check:



            Or you could submit your own proposals if you think it’s something worth putting into the mix. Or do you just want to trolljack?

            • mickysavage

              You mean you are like google?

              And how about the proof that Labour is endorsing your website?

              • Te Reo Putake

                I’d also like to see the endorsement from UF too. I’m picking that United Fabrication’s Pete George doesn’t have that, either, but just assumes the Hair will be cool with it. And also, lets be having the bona fides of ‘Financial Services Institute’, an organisation that doesn’t seem to exist, at least as far as the interwebs are concerned.
                That’s always been the problem with PG. So many questions, so few truthful answers.

                • Sorry, Financial Services Council, that’s obvious on NZ Super Discussion and they are promiment in the news at the moment.

                  They were: http://www.isi.org.nz/
                  Now: http://fsc.org.nz/

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Is that the joint that has Jenny Shipley as its chair? I suppose she and her Tory cronies have some ‘expertise’ in super schemes. Mainly growing their own wealth at the expense of the rest of us.
                    Mind you, I note you are not providing any proof that the FSC actually supports your site, nor UF for that matter. And, of course, you still have not come up with the endorsement from Labour. Presumably because you are lying about it’s existence.
                    Feel free to prove me wrong, Pete. I can handle the truth.

                  • Now about the Labour Party approval.
                    Waiting …

                    • Carol

                      If Hooton is correct on Nine-to-Noon today (and he claims to have this info from Nat Party insiders) then Key is looking for a way to back down on the super issue. The back-down plan involves looking to Dunne, rather than Dunne aligning so much with Labour etc against National.

                      Hooton was claiming Key recognises his unequivocal stand on super was a mistake. It seems Key is shifting the blame on the Nat PR people for wanting Key to come up with a definitive public statement on super. Hooton also reckons Key et al are looking to the UF policy on super as something to do with the UF-Nat agreement, and something Key can use to say this agreement requires him to compromise/back down.

                    • Interesing Carol.
                      So the coiffured one and Petey’s efforts are all into giving the Government wriggle room to get out of clear promises they have made.
                      This is a very good reason to ignore Petey’s campaign.

                    • Does that mean you want to ignore Shearer’s campaign to? We’re working on the same page

                      You do seem to have trouble supporting what Shearer does, I do a lot more of that here than you do.

                      Hooton may be on to something, expect to hear something soon.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Hi, Pete. Still waiting on that proof. Or are you happy being caught out in a lie?

                    • I haven’t been caught on anything, you’ve been caught repeating negativity and stupidity – with no facts.

                      I’m not going to show you my correspondence with others. All you do is try to discredit and smear. I presume you have no interest in supporting Shearer on Super.

                      And mickysavage would be more loyal to his party getting in behind anything that suports his leader. If that’s what he wanted to do, but there’s scant evidence of his support. Like you he persists in diversionary attacks, I’m happy to let others decide on who shows integrity here.

                    • Come on Petey. 
                      You made the statement “NZ Super Discussion is supported by … Labour”.  All we want is a little bit of proof.  You don’t need to provide the whole thing, just the words that you are relying on.
                      BTW do you agree with Hooton that the coiffured one is going to provide cover to Key to do a big back track?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Oooh, Pete, another lie! You’re not doing at all well today are you? If you had correspondence from the Labour Party endorsing your site, then there would be no problem releasing it. After all, you’ve already publicly claimed the endorsement, so providing the back up would be fine with the LP, if they genuinely supported you. Which they don’t.
                      So, to recap, Pete is lying about having the support of the Labour Party for his Sooperdooper site and now he’s inventing supporting correspondence which he refuses to provide becaue it doesn’t exist. Still, it’s not all bad, Pete. One more porky and you get 12 months free membership in the National Party.

                    • micky, I’ve emailed you on this.

    • KJT 4.2

      ‘Financial services institute’ should tell you the motivations of those who are trying to remove State super.

    • BLiP 4.3


      Heh! Flexi-Super . . . sounds like a hair gel for the Belmont Bouffant.

  4. David 5

    Herald this morning: on rising power prices (the cause of real hardship for poor families this winter, again.

    “A report by Consumer NZ last year said that since 2003, average power prices for homes had risen by almost 7 per cent a year.

    Between 1982 and 1992, the average increase was only 0.6 per cent a year.

    In the main centres, the typical family power bill has gone up 78 per cent in the past eight years.

    “Energy prices are becoming an increasing part of people’s bills, to a worrying extent,” Ms Chetwin said.

    Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent said the increases were caused by network upgrades, more risk in the wholesale market, and lower hydro lake levels.

    Most power companies increased prices – some by up to 14 per cent – after grid operator Transpower and local lines companies increased their charges.

    Transpower is upgrading the national grid, and power prices are expected to continue going up until at least 2015, when most projects will be completed.”

    SORRY TO INTERRUPT: Some of this is simple bs: ‘Hydro lake levels lower’? A couple of years, only.

    Much of the rise is powercompanies at all levels (inc SOEs) gouging, getting exectional and monopolistic returns. These returns, of course, are what government now want to privatise.

    Low rises between 1982 and 1992 are before the ‘market model’ for power pricing came in.

    National grid improvement prices: something in that, but Transpower and local lines companies are operating as monopolistic, cost plus providers with no incentive to keep prices low (and desire to make FAT profits).

    What’s more bs is telling people to shop around for better power prices: the smokescreen of competition, when in fact exactly the opposite is happening. It’s telling them yes the market model is working, we can tweak it, when it just isnt.

    Soft reporting by the Herald: but better than nothing.


    • David 5.1

      The line from Powershop CEO Ari Sargent is interesting: he blames, among other things, ‘more risk in the wholesale market’. Hmm. I guess if you are a monopoly provider (or a provider with very very limited competition), then ‘risk in the market’ (which I am not sure exactly what he means by, but I guess it is companies grabbing power supply at higher prices to cover potential blips up, knowing they can pass these on, or pricing their way around fluctuations in price and supply, by setting prices for consumers at high levels that transfer that risk away from the company, and into permanently inflated consumer prices) is not something you need to worry about: you can always send it on, to next tier providers, or to consumers. Another epic fail for the ‘electricity market’. One we can expect to get worse with further privatisations, which will have these pricing expectations structured in to rates of return, share prices and thus costs to consumers.

      • Vicky32 5.1.1

        then ‘risk in the market’ (which I am not sure exactly what he means by

        Yes, I also wondered what that meant!

    • DH 5.2

      The Transpower issue is a good illustration of the evils of creative accounting. Transpower has been booking depreciation on its assets so it shouldn’t be increasing prices just because of upgrades. The depreciation pays for the upgrades, well it’s supposed to but instead they use the cash to pay out extra dividends. Spent it all & need upgrades? No sweat, just increase prices it’s a monopoly after all.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      but Transpower and local lines companies are operating as monopolistic, cost plus providers with no incentive to keep prices low

      All businesses run on a cost plus basis – even government owned ones that aren’t out to make a profit. Cost plus is reasonable when it’s set to cover operating costs and then have a small amount of surplus to reinvest. Governments can do this as the costs used to produce the plant is accounted as a sunk cost paid for through taxes and the return is classed as social. Private businesses and SOEs run along the same lines need to cover the operating costs, reinvestment and profit (the return on capital). Also note that, as the sale of Telecom has proved, reinvestment comes a poor second to profits in the private model which is also why the power companies are now having to boost costs to cover reinvestment that should already have happened.

      It becomes obvious, once the actual logic of capitalism is understood, that privatisation (even SOEs run along private business lines) must be more expensive than state ownership that provides a social service.

  5. Dv 6

    Re super debate
    The irony is that Peters sponsered a compulsory super along the lines of kiwisave as i recall back in 1997?
    Ther was a referendum that was lost, mainly in my view, because of distrust of peters. This was after he went with the nats after electioning on going with labour.

    In retrospect it was a shame that the scheme didnt get set up.

    I think there are a number of things that need to happen

    There needs to be a broad concenses over all parties, so there is some certainty, and so the conditions are not choped and changed t the whim of dif governments. It needs somehow to be removed from political meddleing.

    There needs to be more investment into super schemes. Eg the inc to 10% over 10 yrs.

    There needs to be some flexibility in entitlement age, especpecially for manual workers.

    Any change in age nees to be well sgnaled.

    And we need to act NOW, and stop kicking the can down the road.

    • KJT 6.1

      Giving the finance industry more of our money to play with does not solve paying for future super.

      Either they will lose it in another round of failures, or it will be inflated away when 1 superannuate is buying the production of 2.5 workers in 2050.

      The only way we will be able to feed and house our elderly, and everyone else, is to invest within NZ for a sustainable future.,
      Education, sustainable energy, local manufacturing, infrastructure and a sustainable economy are the investments we should be doing.

      • prism 6.1.1

        Agree KJT. I listened to Mary Holm, financial advisor, on radio this morning saying that raising the old age pension up to 10% contribution would be little problem for most people (she wasn’t focussing on the others) because they get wage rises at above inflation level.
        Well that was then, just when I don’t remember, but here and now some paid by government are only getting 1.75% rise, below real inflation which is possibly 5% and even accepted CPI of say 3%. And things aren’t likely to get much better on the income front – we aren’t in the vital, booming 1960’s now Dr Ropata.

        And how dare financial and superannuation funds advisors suggest we put away more for the future denying needs of the present so for many people reducing their lifestyle and the flow of consumption money fuelling the economy. Their advice and poor regulation and purview and control of their investment field has led to massive losses of savings by the very people that the government looks to to be the base of the NZ investment system.

        No use giving more to such managers of funds of such uncertain reliability and probity. We must face it – the temptation of pools of money being held for later can be too much temptation for old and young Scrooge McDucks who want to dive in and utilise some for their own purposes – with rationalisations for criminality like it won’t be missed, and it’s just temporary use and then it will be replaced. Think newspaper magnate/s? and British businessmen who dipped into employees’ pension funds. One fell off his yacht into the sea terminally for some reason. Doesn’t replace the money stolen though.

        On that line, something in the paper I read was about a NZ accountant who had some North American mining deal that owed him money, and to keep afloat he used his power over a family trust and I can’t remember for how much but the example underlines what I’ve just written.

    • Dv 6.2

      AND the problem of means testing be dealt with by the tax system. Not a super surtax, but super as part of income and normal tax sytem.
      The govt super allowance is based on number of year contributed. The contribution rate was 6% and inflation adjusted. But is paid tax paid,

        • Dv

          Yes the morgan GMI suggestion has an appeal and needs to be put into the discussion mix.

          I also agree that the finacial markets have shown to be suspect, so will need to be a change of the settings around the markets as well

          I think there also needs to be a built in review every 5 years to examine the settings and to make adjstments as needed. THIS must not be political.

    • joe90 6.3

      Yup, the 1980/81 Chilean pension reform by Piñera worked so well for the fund managers.

      So well that by 2008 a taxpayer funded scheme was required.

  6. Bored 8

    I have been having a sly chuckle at the framing of “issues” and the resulting “debates” both on this site and in the media lately. Some “holy cows” (in bold below) really make me laugh, I will pose some alternate questions to demonstrate the facile level of debate from the media etc:

    Superannuation Why does it need to go to 67? We have 50% of under 25s in training or unemployed (i.e not working) and we want to increase the age of super? If there are 25000 65 year olds working does that mean we need to create another 50000 “job years”? Where does those jobs come from? Do we save 2 years super payments but add 2 years of unemployment benefits elsewhere?

    Bail outs: Who is getting bailed out? If its the banks does that mean the “debt” being honoured by us saves them from going bust? Would you or I get saved the same way for profligacy, misfortune, acts of God etc by the taxpayer? Don’t we and the rest of the western world have “bankruptcy” laws that apply to banks as well as citizens? What makes banks sacrosanct? Are not bail outs really a manner of enforcing indentured servitude for whole countries?

    Growth: always we hear we will only be saved by “growth”. Is it not obvious that nothing can grow forever? Is not the earth a finite object? Surely therefore constant growth is the problem? Are we so addicted to a problem that we cannot imagine alternatives?

    I could go on, the above merely represents a minor part of the frustration generated by reading the columns here and from the media. Eyes closed firmly shut as we back bravely into the future……

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Are not bail outs [of banks] really a manner of enforcing indentured servitude for whole countries?

      That’s exactly what it is.

  7. Morrissey 9

    Michael Laws riding the bus on recent trip to London

    Leading radio philosopher Michael Laws recently went to London. Here’s a clip of him interacting with the locals. Interesting to note that the young women on this London bus have the same high regard for him as the young women of Whanganui do…

  8. Pete 10

    Fairfax to introduce a paywall – no word whether this will affect NZ operations, but Stuff is a fairly popular source for blogs and other commentary, I hope it remains unaffected. The job losses across the Tasman are not a good sign, even though Fairfax has shifted 60 positions to NZ (proving we are rapidly becoming Australia’s Mexico).

    The NBR is reporting (behind paywall, sorry) the government may abandon the fully-funded model of ACC for a pay-as-you go scheme. I imagine this is to raid the $12 billion sitting in the ACC’s investment fund for their own nefarious purposes.

    • Te Reo Putake 10.1

      The journo’s’ unions on both side of the Tasman have been talking together about the ‘Mexicanisation’ of the media. I understand that the jobs that are migrating here will be fully unionised, so at least the normal pay and conditions will apply to them. Fairfax have set up an editorial hub in Wellington, which differs from the APN sub editing model in that it is ‘in house’ rather than a seperate company, but, clearly, both companies are embracing the new media reality.
      Both companies are moving all their titles to compact tabloid page sizes, which is a worldwide trend, though some will still be broadsheet on the weekends. Paywalling has been pioneered by the Murdoch titles and has shown long run potential, though not immediate profits. Presumably, the NBR have found it OK, too.

      • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1

        Oh joy.


        On Tuesday Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, is expected to confirm that she has acquired up to 19.9% of Fairfax. The current Board, led by ex-Woolworths and now Walmart director Roger Corbett, is expected to raise the white flag in their efforts to ward off Rinehart’s bid for control. Rinehart is believed to want two or three seats on the board, and control of the Fairfax’s editorial positioning. And what she wants she can afford to buy.

        • Carol

          Time to opt out of the mainstream news? Maybe it’s time to upgrade the quality and status of not-for-profit news sources & networks?

        • tc

          Sad but inevitable, however in this case Fairfax is very poorly run so she can play the ‘investor’ angle buying an underperforming company she can improve even though she’s no media experience whatsoever. Cover story done and dusted.

          Gina learned from her dad how to wield influence and kerry stokes has been showing her how to acquire a media business, ah the billionaires club, nothing to fear people it’ll all trickle down to you and me.

          • prism

            Will the trickle be yellow or brown? On the other hand please don’t answer this query.

    • freedom 10.2

      i imagine this will be good news to Scoop who should quickly become NZ’s second largest source of free to access news content after the NZHerald, if they don’t just leapfrog into top spot.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      The NBR is reporting (behind paywall, sorry) the government may abandon the fully-funded model of ACC for a pay-as-you go scheme.

      ACC was pay-as-you-go for nearly thirty years and then some schmucks decided that it should be run the same as insurance companies and opened to competition. The last leftish government didn’t put it back but further entrenched the insurance model.

      I imagine this is to raid the $12 billion sitting in the ACC’s investment fund for their own nefarious purposes.

      That wouldn’t surprise me. Probably where they’re looking to cover the shortfall that they get from selling state assets at the low prices that they’re expecting.

      • Treetop 10.3.1

        When it comes to outstanding claims I expect that ACC will dump these when they go for a pay as you go scheme.

        ACC need to take a good hard look at the service they provide before going off half cocked and further screwing ACC up.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Well, that would be up to the government and the legislation that they use to change ACC but, as this is NACT, then the result of the legislation will probably manage to give the impression of this government saving money while it will actually cost more.

          • Anne

            On the subject of the ACC (as in ACC scandal) Mathhew Hooton reported this morning that Michelle Boag as become persona non grata inside the National Party.

            • Treetop

              Could you imagine Boag being on the ACC board?

              Tapu Misa has an article on ACC in the NZ Herald today. I will leave a comment later in the day.

  9. prism 11

    One of the problems of long-lived elderly numbers ballooning is not just income maintenance, care when no longer fit and able, but the increasing intervention of medicines and medical treatment to extend lives further onwards. Death, irrationally, can not be contemplated or planned for and allowed to occur. This unprecedented old age wave is hitting the wealthier parts of the world increasing in cost to society and skewing social services towards the aged.

    Today there was news that an Australian surgeon using a new device operated on 11 elderly ladies too frail to have the usual invasive open heart surgery. (According to the FDA item in newser.com – Many such patients are in their 80s and have complicating medical factors like diabetes.) “Muriel Satchwell, at 86, was one of the women brave enough to agree to take part in the trial. “I’m not a whinger. I don’t particularly like whingers, and I knew I would be in good hands,” Mrs Satchwell said. “And I thought, if I die, I die.”

    I found the statement on google that people over 70 are a mean of 58% of patients. Also about 73% of patients who have aortic valve surgery die within one year.

    In the UK in The Independent
    A ban on age discrimination in health and other services will start in October 2012.
    Patients or relatives who believe they have been discriminated against because of their age or are being regarded as a lower priority than younger people with the same condition will able to sue health managers.

    To summarise – an extremely high cost (in an underfunded, understaffed and overburdened health system) is being spent on operating on the elderly who then convalesce, many of them merely to gain one more year of an already long life. While younger people, who would be earning and paying tax to maintain the health and other services have to wait for lengthier periods for their ops.

    • ianmac 11.1

      Oi Prism! That’s me that you are putting the hex on!
      The difficulty is I suppose the belief that we have but one life, so we better hang on. If only there was an afterlife like the Ancient Egyptians believed and even some modern Religions still bizarrely believe, then we would be able to shuffle off, errrr maybe next year or the year after.
      Actually I don’t think that I would want to hang on in a precarious manner, but as a healthy chap now I will worry about that another day.
      And any alternative to medical care is a bit rough to consider?

      • prism 11.1.1

        It’s good to know you are ‘hanging on’ there. So am I, now 70. But I think operations for the over 80s are going to have to be rare. I might even stop taking my tablets at 80 and let nature in, but I’ll see how I am in general. I do want to go on for another 10 years if possible but save me from retirement villages, even Abbeyfield, which I think is great, for other people. And I am joining Exit so that I have an understanding of what options there are for self choice.

        My thoughts are that we oldies are so self centred in the west. Our health dollar is so slanted – there was criticism of waste when the children were vaccinated against meningitis, after the terrible case that brought its awfulness home to us. But children and their parents can be criticised and health-rationed but not the over 80’s. It’s not done to criticise people with their past spread far behind them, if they can remember it, and alzheimers is another difficulty.

        Meanwhile in other countrie little kiddies, young people are dying without a chance for a future. I have an email now about the drought and starvation in the Sahel that I ought to be thinking and doing something about. But I’ve got water rates this month, lucky to have the bill I should be thinking.

    • Vicky32 11.2

      Today there was news that an Australian surgeon using a new device operated on 11 elderly ladies too frail to have the usual invasive open heart surgery.

      Oddly, my son was insisting adamantly that at Welly Cardio Unit, they’re already doing this! Maybe he misunderstood…



  10. Misuse of school decile rankings have effectively segregated New Zealand communities according to race: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/school-deciles-cause-racial-divide.html

  11. Fortran 13

    When Labour are in power in 2014, with the Greens, the Coalition can make whatever changes to Superannuation it wants.

  12. Treetop 14

    For sure ACC aint no swings and roundabouts; ACC swing you around until you are so dizzy and fall off or push you so hard that you fall off. In some cases a person is probably in a better condition mentally prior to contacting ACC.

  13. Draco T Bastard 15

    And I/S over at NRT points out a rather disturbing thing about this austerity that this government is forcing upon us:

    Yes, that’s right: money is so tight in the justice sector that they can’t scrape up the funds required to hold the next election (something they do need to start planning for now if it is to go smoothly).

    Apparently, we can no longer afford our democracy.

  14. Draco T Bastard 16

    And I find myself in agreement with much of what Bob Jones says here.

    “I would normally write a polite declining response to your request for an interview in your magazine. However, having seen your question list and its reference to “leadership” I am delighted to accept so as to spread the gospel on what nonsense is implied in that much vaunted proposition.”
    Sir Bob Jones.

  15. bad12 17

    On 3News tonight we had the ugly specter of Slippery the Prime Minister now admitting that a major part of the National Party election campaign will not be happening,

    Surplus by 2014/2015 will now not be happening according to the Prime Minister who with the help of 3News appeared to be trying to link this Failure of His Government to the Greek economic travesty now being inflicted upon the ‘home of democracy’,

    It’s a given that National imposing it’s own Depressive brand of Austerity economics on the New Zealand economy was never going to achieve a Government surplus based upon ‘growth’, but then most of us have known this way befor the 2011 election played out,

    There’s only a couple of points of interest in the Prime Minister admitting to again having BULLSHITTED His way back into office, 1 being the admission that He got it wrong, (as if He didn’t cynically know that as He uttered the words),

    And 2, now that the Slippery one has admitted both that the World economy is worse than the Neo-Libs ever wanted to have to admitt it behoves the Leader of New Zealand to come up with some ‘new’ economics to bring the New Zealand economy back up to some form of equality of activity to reflect where it was pre the crash of the world-wide Neo-Liberal economic ism,

    It’s rather simple even for the dullest of money traders clinging to the last vestiges of a totally ‘Failed’ ism, the World doesn’t give a toss about a little country on the edge of no-where down in the South Pacific, until such time as a really STUPID government borrows us, on the basis of false election promises, into a position of not having the ability to repay that borrowing,

    At that point things will get really ‘interesting’, My suggestion is this, simply build the same amount of State housing in the Auckland area as the number of houses needed in the Christchurch re-build, print the monies needed to achieve this as a ‘loan’ owed between the Treasury and Reserve Bank and we all will find that through such economic activity the Government will achieve surplus…

  16. joe90 18

    This makes me so fucking angry.

    How to kill a rational peasant: America’s dangerous love affair with counterinsurgency.

    At the beginning of this year one of the weirdest characters ever to become involved in the present Afghan war died. He was called Jack Idema and he was a brilliant con-man. For a moment, during the early part of the war, Idema persuaded all the major TV networks and scores of journalists that he was some kind of special forces super-hero who was using all kinds of “black ops” to track down and arrest the terrorists.

    In reality, before 2001, Idema had been running a hotel for pets in North Carolina called The Ultimate Pet Resort. He had been in prison for fraud, and had tried to con journalists before about being some kind of super-spy. But September 11th gave him his chance – and he turned up in Kabul dressed like this.


    But then Jack Idema started to believe his own stories. He set up his own militia group that he called Task Force Sabre Seven – and he and his men went and arrested Afghans they were convinced were terrorists. And then he locked them up in his own private prison.

    Things got out of hand in June 2004 when Idema arrested the Afghan Supreme Court judge, Maulawi Siddiqullah, because he believed he might be involved with terrorists. The judge later described what it was like in Idema’s prison:

    “The first night, around midnight, I heard the screams of four people. They then poured very cold water on me. I tried to keep myself from screaming, but coudn’t. Then they played loud, strange music. Then they prevented me from going to the bathroom; a terrible situation. I was hooded for twelve days.”

    In July Afghan police raided Idema’s house in Kabul and found what was described as a private torture chamber. Eight hooded men, including the judge, were incarcerated there, and three of them were hanging by their feet from the ceiling, with their heads hooded.

    Idema and two others were put on trial – and sentenced to ten years in an Afghan jail. And all the journalists puffed a lot about how persuasive he had been.

    • uke 18.1

      That’s a fascinating article. I’ve seen some of Adam Curtis’ docos, they’re excellent. The epilogue to the story is also interesting:

      “In June 2007 Jack Idema was suddenly, and rather mysteriously, freed early by President Karzai.

      He went off to live in a house in Mexico and ran a charter boat for tourists. He had a new girlfriend called Penny who had corresponded with him while he was in prison in Afghanistan. Then last year he fell ill, and died in January this year of AIDS-related complications.

      After his death Penny described how in his in time in Mexico Idema got lost in the different personas he was playing. For the tourists on the charter boat he played the role of what he called “Captain Black Jack”. Idema modelled this on the character of Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

      But at home Idema dressed up in Arab Robes – like Lawrence of Arabia – drank heavily, took cocaine and continuously played Arab music, the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now, and What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.”

      • prism 18.1.1

        That character would make a wonderful role in a film, one of the darker sort popular these days.

  17. uke 19

    The deployment of ten of thousands of drones over America is getting steadily closer to reality.
    Australia has recently enhanced its drone capabilities.
    They’re getting closer.

  18. Campbell Larsen 20

    Fairfax staff shocked but the PR machine never misses a beat:

    “[Fairfax has] kept a majority shareholding, so they are still at 50.1 percent, so they can maintain control of the business and still get access to dividends and some of the cash flow,” Devon’s Chris Gaskin says.

    On Australia pay wall plans: “In terms of where they are in the digital curve, they are probably more advanced than we are here, with the access of digital devices, the ultra fast broadband.”

    Where have I heard these lines before? Who are Devon Funds Management and what is their connection to the Govt that has them parroting their spin? (albeit in an indirect manner) …In line to make a packet off asset sales no doubt…

    Coincidence? maybe – but there are only so many minutes in a TV news broadcast, and there is no such thing as coincidence…

    Reminded me of that little gem from the Media 7 interview with some Fairfax reps – big upping Google and how it had made sub editors jobs much easier because now they could look up place names irrespective of whether or no they were in another country – as if the reporters that wrote the stories didn’t check – lol

    TV News – pure</i> propaganda – lap it up, if you can stomach it.

    • Campbell Larsen 20.1

      Clarification: pay wall/ broadband comment was from Fairfax, not Devon as suggested above

  19. prism 21

    There is a programme on Radionz tonight on defining the working class in NZ. As I have been puzzled as to where Labour gets its labour support I’ll try and listen.

  20. Draco T Bastard 22

    UN report shows natural capital decreasing. It’s also pushing a new measurement of capital:-

    The initiative also includes the launch of the Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) – a new indicator aimed at encouraging sustainability, which looks beyond the traditional economic and development yardsticks of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI) to include a full range of assets such as manufactured, human and natural capital, shows governments the true state of their nation’s wealth and the sustainability of its growth.

    …which at least starts taking into account what’s in the environment but, in reading the rest of the article, it seems to me that it may be giving too much credit to human capital.

    The primary driver of the difference in performance was the decline in natural capital. With the exception of France, Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, all countries surveyed have a higher share of natural capital than manufactured capital, highlighting its importance. Human capital, meanwhile, has increased in every country and is the prime capital form that offsets the decline in natural capital in most economies.

    No number of humans will be able to do anything if they don’t have the natural capital to do it with.

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