Open mike 20/02/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 am, February 20th, 2015 - 242 comments
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242 comments on “Open mike 20/02/2015”

  1. adam 1

    The HSBC scandal is not going away. Now their officers are being raided – woooohoooo.

    Interesting other countries are doing investigations into them – where are we on that list again?

    http://www.icij.org/blog/2015/02/hsbcs-geneva-office-raided-swiss-open-investigation

    http://www.icij.org/blog/2015/02/hsbc-apologizes-more-government-probes-begin

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “where are we on that list again?”

      A small country, very far away in the south pacific, with apparently only a couple of people caught up in this affair (apparently one was a judge who died in 2012).

      • adam 1.1.1

        So no relation with our Government and HSBC then Lanthanide? So it wasn’t HSBC who came up with the term “rock-star economy” to describe NZ?

        http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/01/hsbc_says_nz_will_be_rock_start_economy_of_world_in_2014.html

        I loath putting that link.

      • phillip ure 1.1.2

        price waterhouse coopers have been identified in britain as advocates of wholesale tax-avoidance for their clients..

        ..(it’s a bit embarrassing for labour there..as they gave a serious wedge of money to that party..)

        ..so..i guess..given that ‘promotor of wholesale tax-avoidance’ label attatched to price waterhouse coopers..

        ..it seems clear that when the/any inquiry here kicks off..

        ..that that should be one of the first places to look..

        ..you’d think..?

    • TE 1.2

      Yaaa At Last.
      Was just re-reading a feature in my 2006 NZ Listener written by Joanne Black
      ‘In a Consumers Institute survey, NZ HSBC customers gave their bank a 47% satisfaction rating.
      Top ratings of 98% was given to TSB and the PSIS
      The average approval rating was 84%.
      Institute spokesman David Russell said HSBC’s score was surprising as it was one of the world’s largest banks.’

      In 2012 , HSBC agreed to pay more than $1.9 billion to settle U.S. criminal and civil investigations and entered into a five-year deferred-prosecution agreement.
      “to sette allegations it allowed terrorists to move money around the financial system.”
      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/dec/11/hsbc-bank-us-money-laundering

      We have been treated like mushrooms of the banking world for to long,
      time to Wake Up Nz.
      Back to under the mattress for some it seems.
      and don’t get us started on the $200 million we have just lost

  2. Morrissey 2

    Obama tells Jews: don’t let Israel hijack your religion and identity
    The Grauniad, Thursday 19 February 2015

    Israeli State does not speak for you and “we are not at war with Judaism,” declares US president at counter-extremism summit.

    Jews in the US and around the world have a responsibility to fight the idea that terrorist groups like Israeli State speak for them, Barack Obama has declared in his most direct remarks yet about any link between Israel and violent extremism.

    “We are not at war with Judaism,” Obama said. “We are at war with people who have perverted Judaism.”

    In the first of two speeches to a counter-extremism summit in Washington, the president reiterated his determination to avoid letting the agenda become characterised as a battle against Judaism, saying this would be playing into the hands of Israel….

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/19/obama-tells-moderate-muslims-dont-let-isis-hijack-islam

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    The New Zealand Medical Journal is a Labour Green supporter.

    Apologies to the link to Stuff – the NZ MJ source article is paywalled.

    Public health experts have condemned the agency charged with offering sober guidance on alcohol, claiming it is compromised by industry and Government pressure.

    In an opinion piece published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today, health experts claim the Government’s response to the toll of alcohol-related harm is “in crisis”, eroded by ties to the booze industry.

    Dirty politics chickens coming home to roost. It never rains but it pours 😀

    • adam 3.1

      Who would have thought the Beer Barons would have their collective hands so far up national…

      I’m over, all the open secrets. The alcohol industry knows the impact their product does – and yet never takes any responsibility for that. Because like pretty much like ever self regulating body, corrupt self interest – seems to be the order of the day.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        The National Party advertises itself as for sale. Everyone from casinos to milk companies buys legislation and ministers from them.

        I can’t see why the liquor barons would demur.

        The only way to fix this is to get money out of politics.

        • adam 3.1.1.1

          How? They have created a truly dark diabolical system. Even if we limited what money was available to political parties at elections and for there on going management – they have created to many bodies which affect people’s lives in a truly political way . All this, outside the normal political sphere. For example all so called independent regulating and independent mediation bodies.

          Outside of normative politics, is loaded with money. Liberalism, as an ideology – lets the politics of business, infect all aspects of life. Like I said, a diabolical mess and a system Cthulhu would be proud of.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            1. Ban all donations to political parties from legal entities
            2. Limit the size of donation to political parties per individual to no more than $1000 per year
            3. Ban lobbying

            • adam 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Whilst I agree with you have said Draco T Bastard, and would take it further including – full transparency in donations, and published lists of donors.

              It still misses the very real problem of political power in the hands of business, and their control of many mediation and self regulating authorities. These have real power over peoples lives. They are not as pure as some of the free-marketeer lib-capitalists dream them to be. I can think of two just off the top of my head, around finance and insurance which – are for want of a better word – a joke. The privatisation of quasi legal services is a major transfer of power – which even if we fix the financing of politicians – leaves serious political power in the hands of the same people whose influence we wish to curtail.

    • tc 3.2

      The NZMJ is a supporter of factual advice in the interests of better public health which the NACT is happy to compromise and subvert via any means for a few sheckles in their pockets and some sinecures for the club members.

      What a banana republic we’ve become under NACT.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1

        Nah mate, they’re Labour Green supporters. I expect they get government funding too, so they’re traitors. Medical professionals are just like huas; I’ll show you another New Zealand Medical Journal that’ll give you a counterview.

  4. Sad development in the Greek bailout crisis, Germany appears to have rejected Greece’s near acceptance of austerity and instead is pushing for complete capitulation:

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/19/greece-requests-eurozone-loan-extension

    • vto 4.1

      I think money-lenders need to be reminded that sometimes their loans do not get repaid.

      It was only printed money anyway – just log on and delete ffs

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        Unfortunately for the Greeks it doesn’t work that way. They require funding if they want to continue to spend the amount they spend. They don’t look like they are going to get that.

        It increasingly looks like the Germans are sick of the Greeks demanding concessions when they are the ones who need help. I think the only viable option now is a Greek climb down.

        This is a good run down on the situation. http://m.bbc.com/news/business-31532755

        • vto 4.1.1.1

          “They require funding if they want to continue to spend the amount they spend.”

          Herein lies the great lie.

          Its just credit gosman, keyboard-created credit. Keyboard-created credit mandated by lawmakers in Brussels. Lawmakers in Brussels who are so far up the arse of the system they cannot see the shit for the arsehole.

          It is just a manmade system gosman. Man can create another one. The current one has clearly failed – failed completely. If the system worked then this problem would not exist.

          Its just a keyboard.

          Be brave gosman, be brave in your thinking. Think outside the parameters you have been taught. Think higher wider and deeper.

          • Gosman 4.1.1.1.1

            Your thinking has been tried before and failed miserably. It is currently failing in Venezuela for example. But if you can point to a successful nation who has replaced the current economic paradigm please present the evidence so we can learn how to do so.

            • vto 4.1.1.1.1.1

              too short and shallow gossie…. think higher wider deeper.

              take a look at what happened to the wests friend Gaddafi when he tried to do such

              your thinking is way too simplistic and stuck in existing structures

              • Gosman

                Not really. I’m a realist. Even if you were right and there was another way the only way it seems to be able to be implemented is if it is adopted by the vast majority of countries around the world at the same time. Otherwise it is open to what you say happened to Libya and I presume any other nation that attempts it. I think that would be virtually impossible so even if I thought your alternative was preferable to our current paradigm I don’t think it will ever get implemented.

                • vto

                  not a bad answer. the pathways become clearer though as you say no less difficult

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There is no alternative, eh Gossie.

                  How about we leave the macro theory to Piketty and simply concentrate on lowering the GINI: plenty of examples of countries to emulate there.

        • tricledrown 4.1.1.2

          Bullshit Gosman.
          The Greeks are paying nearl the same amount in repayments as the bailouts they are recieving to so if they reneg on payments they still have money.
          But if they pull out of Europe they chromosome will do much better as they can set their currency to suit their economy not Germany’s!
          The UK is doing jusy fine with the £ and its own reserve bank.
          Able to print money which it does and set interest rates suitable for their economy.
          Their govenor critiscising the EU draconian Austerity push down Greek throats.
          Meanwhile the EU is printing $1.8 Trillion as a stimulus package.
          One Rule for the Germans anothet for Greece.
          Also the US is putting pressure on Germany not to be so drachmaconion.
          Spanish elections are coming up as well Greece knows this and is not going to back down..

    • Gosman 4.2

      This was entirely predictable. Despite many leftists here claiming the recent election result was a sign of how people power could topple the existing structures the Greeks don’t have that power. They don’t control their own money so rely on the goodwill of those that do.

      • vto 4.2.1

        “They don’t control their own money so rely on the goodwill of those that do”

        Again, therein lies the great lie

        Think gossie think

      • tricledrown 4.2.2

        But Gosman you made a verbal contract on the standard that the Greeks would not make any changes to bailout conditions,the Greeks have stopped all asset sales which was pary of the bailout agreement.
        So by your own word you have to apologize to meet your written contract.
        You said any time over the next 18 month’s.
        Come on Gosman man up take personal resposibility!

        • logie97 4.2.2.1

          Gosman and his ilk think that being a money trader creaming off the gains of forex trading is a laudable profession. Contribute zilch to the public good, but ruin the lives of millions. Shutting down the currency exchanges and stock exchanges might be a great place to start. Put the dealers out to finding jobs in fast food outlets.

          • Gosman 4.2.2.1.1

            Even socialist nations like Venezuela can’t shut down currency exchanges. Indeed they have been forced to virtually float their currency just recently.

        • Gosman 4.2.2.2

          What the Greek government states it will do and what it will be eventually forced to backtrack on are two entirely different matters.

    • millsy 4.3

      The Germans wont give an inch from the looks of it. What have the Greeks done to deserve such an enforced decline in living standards?

      I think there will be some old Greeks who will have memories of the last time Germany starved thier people….

      Perhaps a ‘Grexit’ is in order…

      Maybe Russia will have more generous terms…

      • vto 4.3.1

        It has only been a mere 70 years since the Germans were trying to takeover the world.

        Do human traits change in 70 years?

        • phillip ure 4.3.1.1

          there is also the not resolved matter of compensation from germany for having destroyed the greek economy/infrastructure in ww2..

          ..that is coming more and more into focus…within greece..

          • Gosman 4.3.1.1.1

            Pretty sure the Germans did more damage to the British economy. I don’t see the Brits demanding compensation.

            • phillip ure 4.3.1.1.1.1

              from memory greece did not declare war on anyone..

              ..they were a case of serious collateral-damage..

              ..and my understanding is that a process for compensation was started/set-up..but never fufilled..

              ..and i guess it has festered since then..

              ..but is ripe for revival now…

      • Gosman 4.3.2

        Russia will be almost bankrupt by the end of the year if the price of oil stays around the current price. They aren’t going to be able to bail out the Greeks.

        • Jones 4.3.2.1

          No they won’t… Russia will trade with China and other SCO countries in a currency other than the US dollar. The sanctions by the US and Europe are pushing Russia in that direction.

          And while Russia may not be able to bail out the Greeks debt, if a Grexit happens then Russia and China may be in a position to help. Once Greece was free of the Euro and back to a currency that they controlled, they would have a lot more options.

      • swordfish 4.3.3

        Certainly looks like the Greek population is getting in behind the Syriza-led Government. Tsipras’ approval rating currently running at 75% among Greek voters (including 42% of those who voted for the conservative former ruling party, New Democacy).

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.3.3.1

          Funny how people are willing to get behind a left wing government with guts, plans and vision.

          I am hoping the Tsipras government is paying attention to keeping the military brass on side too, if you know what I mean.

          • nadis 4.3.3.1.1

            Greece has the power to resolve this crisis – it is entirely up to them, but they are trying to have their cake and eat it to.

            The right response is obvious and becoming more obvious by the day. Leave the Euro, and take control of your finances. The problem with that though is that Syriza has promised the Greek populace – hard times are over, we’ll make everything right without any more pain.

            There are two paths for Greece:

            1. Stay in the Euro, continue with some form of the status quo which has to result in lower income for Greece and continuing transfers from Europe. Slow growth at best and Greece unable to improve their productivity except by a decline in income and living standards. When you don’t control your monetary policy and you are less productive than others in your currency area then there is only one possible outcome.

            2. Go back to the Drachma and control their money supply, devalue the drachma, roll the printing presses for a couple of years. Default, then restructure the debt into something more manageable.

            Option 2 will result in much harder times for a shorter period, but then a la Iceland they should be able to do a lot better as long as they improve basic governance measures especially around tax collection, subsidies to crony sectors etc.

            Germany playing hardball suggests very strongly the Germans have done the math and don’t care if Greece exits the euro. Greece thinking the Germans would defend the Euro membership at all costs was the only arrow in the Greek quiver – so much for the Varoufakis game theory expertise – guess you need something valuable in order to play.

            Greece has no leverage if the Germans don’t fear Grexit and either way (stay or go) will have a whole bunch of expectations management to do with the Greek voters.

            I don’t think at all it is “Funny how people are willing to get behind a left wing government with guts, plans and vision.” That should really be re-written as:

            “Funny how people are willing to get behind a left wing government that has made valuable promises to an impoverished population sick of struggle, but doesn’t have the means to pay for those promises, and will likely have to confess to that within the next week”

            • dave brown 4.3.3.1.1.1

              Free advice to Syriza
              http://thewolfatthedoor.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/pro-bono.html

              Pro Bono

              Hudson: That’s it, man. Game over, man! Game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?
              Burke: Maybe we could build a fire, sing a couple of songs, huh? Why don’t we try that?

              Aliens, 1986

              Certainly the Syriza government in Greece doesn’t need my advice, my free advice. The government has the world’s smartest man as minister of finance, loads of academics staffing offices high and low, and the crème de la crème of investment banking groups, Lazard, advising it on matters of debt management, fiscal programs, and fashion policy. But being ever so positive, cheerful, helpful, and unsectarian, I just have to help. Sue me

              Because there’s this report from the BBC. Apparently, Herr Rollerblade playing bad cop to… well to nobody’s good cop has wheeled away from the bargaining table killing floor.

              Greece was playing for time, believing after all that time is money. Unfortunately, older more experienced players agreed. “Indeed,” said Wolfgang, “and you’re out of both.”

              So here are a couple of suggestions for Yanis and Alexis. One- whatever you’re going to do, do it quick. Two- slap immediate capital controls on all institutions, corporations, and individuals freezing the movement of funds, securities, deeds, titles to properties out of Greece. Three– once the controls are in place, repudiate the debt in its entirety. Four– end participation in the IMF, World Bank, NATO etc.

              Before anybody catches his or her breath, neutralize the armed forces by compulsory enrollment of all ranks below that of sergeant into a workers union of enlisted personnel.

              Then call upon all citizens between the ages of 18 and 34 to enlist in the military on a “reserve” basis.

              Break not only your use of the euro, but any peg of your new currency to the euro or the dollar.

              Best advice you’ll ever get.

              February 19, 2015

            • Colonial Rawshark 4.3.3.1.1.2

              I don’t disagree with the substance of what you have to say.

              However, Syriza has *definitely* not promised the Greek people that “hard times are over, we’ll make sure there is no more pain.” They have promised an end to the enforced “fiscal waterboarding” of the Troika.

              As a last resort, Greece will turn towards China and Russia for funding.

              • greywarshark

                Oh the irony! Germany was highly motivated to accept change and Hitler, when it was sorely stressed over money problems. Now Europe does destabilising practices again. What if the period after WW2 was our last great chance to rebuilt our financial and cultural systems to co-operate aiming for a ‘steady state’ world carefully maintained?

                That would be better than now SNAFU. And with added climate change and double cyclones, what can it mean?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  The US led international banking cartel seems determined to keep Europe as a whole financially and economically off balance and weak.

              • nadis

                well Russia cant help they are essentially bankrupt, and with China you would just be selling your viable assets at a discount to a different landlord. And I dont think the greeks want to turn their backs on europe, they should just leave the Euro. at least they control their destiny. Syriza has said they’ll never leave the EU (and presumably NATO).

                You relaly think the Greeks or the Europeans would accept a Russian naval base in Greece?

                Also, plenty of EU subsidies flow to Greece, outside the Troika stuff – around 5% of GDP

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  You relaly think the Greeks or the Europeans would accept a Russian naval base in Greece?

                  Probably just as keen on it as the Russians were on having a NATO base at Sevastapol…

          • adam 4.3.3.1.2

            Colonial Rawshark, I think the Greek Military are happy with government at present – they have a major problem with the NATO base on Crete. Coupled with this is the general feeling within their military elite, they are disrespected in NATO. Indeed, some of the heated exchanges I been heard about, have been around, the utter disrespect the European Military leaders (especially, German and French) have shown towards the Greek Military. If the political leaders, can stand up to the Europeans – I think the military will happily support them. As long as they don’t cut the military budget. –

            You have to also remember the Greek Military hate Turkey, more than anything else. If the Greek government takes on the Germans, and give nothing to the Turks – they will be respected. Bend to the Turks in anyway – and there days will be numbered – in the single digits, numbered.

            Wow, I put caveats everywhere.

  5. Skinny 5

    I see John Key’s former employer Goldman Sachs hustles the NZ Super fund to loan $200 million to a shady Banker ( probably a mate of honest John’s) Portuguese’s Bank, 6 months later it is lost, written off. So much for being a risk free loan, except no one bothered to do due diligence instead playing fast and loose with our retirement fund money.

    Bill English who oversee’s the fund has nothing to say. He could ask honest John to get on the phone and ask his mates at Goldman Sachs to give us their commission fee for putting us crook on a bad investment.

    The story is in the NZH sorry can’t link.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        Looks like they got royally shafted.

        Mr Orr denied the investment was high-risk and said the Super Fund had been covered in the event of BES defaulting. “It was risk-free with insurance.”

        However, an unusual retrospective rule change in Portugal had resulted in the insurance being voided.

        The NZ Super fund has $27bn. Here comes the blood funnel.

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1.1

          This is despicable beyond belief.

          I see all the Tory pricks are up in arms about this waste of hard earned tax payers money /sarc

          • nadis 5.1.1.1.1

            Been doing a bit of reading on this and the conclusions I get to are interesting. Colonial Rawshark, I know you’re not calling me a Tory prick……. Proick maybe, but not a Tory. Here’s how I see it.

            Goldman creates a Luxembourg company called Oak Finance SA, a company set up to raise money from investors and lend to Espirito Santo (BES).

            Investors like the Super Fund lend money to Oak finance – via two debt securities in USD

            2.2% maturing 27/12/16 and 3.5% maturing 27/8/18. Don’t know which the super fund holds though given 10 minutes I could find out by looking at the list of holding s published by the Super Fund.

            These bonds were sold (ie the Super Fund probably invested) in early July 2014.

            At the time these bonds were priced, 3/7/14, the risk free US rates for those maturities – call the short one 2.5 yrs and the longer one 4 years, were 0.7% and 1.3% respectively, so the margin for these bonds was roughly 1.5% and 2.2%.

            So first conclusion – this is not, as described by Adrian Orr, a “risk freee loan with insurance”. I can’t even begin to parse that bit of nonsense on two points.

            1 It is not risk free because you received a yield above the risk free rate, ipso fact it is not risk free.

            2. with insurance would imply quite clearly that there in fact hasn’t been a loss because you had insurance (presumably n the form of a credit default swap). and yet I see the Super Fund assuming a loss -that doesn’t seem to gel with the concept of either “insurance” or “risk free”.

            Now the timeline around the Espirito Santo default. This is a decent non firewalled background:

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2014/07/11/banco-espirito-santo-a-portuguese-disaster-not-a-european-crisis/

            Note the timing of this story July 11, 2014 just after Oak Finance has been raising funds to invest in BES. So pre BES default (which happened 3 August) Oak Finance had about 4 weeks to lend BES the $750mm, and clearly knew they were doing it because Oak Finance does only that.

            Why would they do this? Clearly BES was a basket case and about to go down the gurgler. Bonds issued by BES were trading at around 87 cents in the dollar in late July, down from around $1.05 in mid june. At 87 cents in the dollar, the particular bond I am looking at (maturity about 10 years) was trading at yield of 12% above the risk free German govt bond. So clearly at the time the Super Fund lent money to the BES via Oak Finance, BES was not a “risk free” investment. In August that same bond trades at 12 cents in the dollar, a yield of about 120% – that means if you buy the bonds at 12 cents in the dollar you’ll make a return of 120% if you get the bond paid in full in Nov 2023 plius interest payments of 7.125% per annum till then. ?Clearly that ain’t gonna happen.

            So why would the super fund lend money (via Oak Finance) to BES in early July at a very low rate, 10% or more between the then current rate BES was borrowing at?

            The answer is easy to arrive at but will be very difficult to pin a fact on with any certainty. I don’t know if the Super Fund is subject to OIA, but at this point someone could OIA the “pitch book or any other marketing materials received by the Super Fund that relate to the investment in Oak Finance Luxembourg SA”. Forget the prospectus – I have had a quick read of that and like most prospectuses (prospectii?) it carefully doesn’t tell us what we need to know.

            Here’s (I’m guessing) the pitch from Goldman:

            – We know BES is going bankrupt.
            -The Portugese Government is going to recapitalise a new bank (Nova Banco) with a loan from the EU. All the good assets and senior debt will go into Nova Banco.
            – Bad debts, equity and junior debt will stay at BES and > bankruptcy
            -We (Goldman) know (assume or have been told by BES or told by the Bank of Portugal) that money we lend to BES will end up as a liability of Nova Banco, not BES.
            – i.e., we lendmoney to BES at a rate somewhere between Portugal and EU credit (very low), and BES (very high). there is a small risk the loan doesnt go to Nova Banco, but don’t worry, we have had a nod and a wink from the Geeser govt.

            Fast forward, default etc, Oak Finance bonds remain with BES and not with Nova Banco. Oak Finance will at best get 10 cents in the dollar back from BES , and probably over the next 15 years.

            That would’t be the worst outcome for Oak FInance if this hadn’t happened too:

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-08-08/isda-rules-banco-espirito-santo-debt-swaps-in-succession-event

            The credit default swaps (Adrian Orr’s “insurance”) stayed with BES. Then they would probably offset the losses on the bonds, but they went to Nova Banco, so Oak FInance has all of the bad loan and insurance on the wrong bank.

            Who’s culpable:

            – Goldman put together a deal based on an assumption that turned out to be wrong. That to me is bad structuring and poor advice but nothing more sinister. And happens regularly – these markets are not riosk free and when you hear the words “risk free” very close to the words “yield above the risk free rate” you’re only option is to hang up the phone. This clause from the Oak Finance prospectus says it all and needs no further comment:

            The Prospectus does not include detailed information relating to Banco Espírito Santo, S.A. (BES) or its business, financial position or prospects. The Prospectus refers prospective investors to publicly vailable information concerning BES which includes, without limitation, the BES Base Prospectus (as may be updated from time to time) and BES Share Offering Circular.

            and this:

            The Issuer and Goldman Sachs do not make any express or implied representation as to the effect of the Resolution (nadis: resolution being the bankrupty/restructuring event) on the Notes or the Loan, the accuracy or completeness of any publicly available information in respect of Novo Banco, S.A., the Resolution or BES or as to whether such publicly available information is up to date. The Issuer and Goldman Sachs have not participated in the preparation of any of publicly available information in respect of Novo Banco, S.A., the Resolution and BES.

            Translation: We think the Oak Finance Bonds are going to Nova Banco, but if not you are on your own.

            – Which brings you to the Super Fund. Very culpable, they should know better, “THERE ARE NO FREE LUNCHES”. As well, there are some issues they should think about (please take note NZ Super Board, Ethical Investments Manger and compliance team” about investing in companies, and especially state owned (or about to be ) government owned failed entities. At best it is a good deal, at worst you lose your money, somewhere in between you get accused of predatory lending and the unethical extraction of money from other investors and governments.

            – Whoever signed off this deal (and at the Super Fund it will be quite a few individuals) did not stop and think about:

            1. the ethics of vulture investing
            2. why they are getting a non risk free rate for a risk free investment.

            Where to now is a court case. This is under Portugese Law so that at is ver much not in favour of Goldman and the Super Fund. If the Super Fund sues Goldman that would be under English law. The basis on which the Bank of Portugal proceeded is that Goldman was a more than 2% holder in BES, and that Oak Finance was acting on behalf of Goldman ( I presume Goldman owns the equity in Oak Finance) therefore under the relevant Portugese law, anything Oak Finance does remains with BES to avoid conflicts of interest. Just guessing, but I would think it pretty hard for Goldman Sachs to win a case against the Governement of Portugal in a Portugese court. Just a guess.

            Bank of Portugal seems pretty clear this is legal (Goldman strongly in the other camp) but no matter what, a $750mm equity injection into BES is obviously much appreciated by the Portugese and German taxpayers. And on behalf of the people of Portugal I’d like to thank the NZ taxpayer for their kind donation to us.

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks for the walk through. And the very dry punch line. Now you’ve made me wonder how much “vulture investing” those NZ fund managers have been doing via GS.

              • nadis

                Not just GS. Any bank.

              • nadis

                at least there is soome pain at goldman:

                Goldman Writedown of BES Loan Said to Hurt Bonuses: Reuters
                By Christopher Kingdon
                (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs had to write down its loan to Banco Espirito Santo in 4Q, cutting profit, some employees’ bonuses, Reuters reports, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
                Could not be learned how much of $835m loan came directly from Goldman Sachs, how large writedown was, how much bonuses would be affected; Goldman spokeswoman Fiona Laffan, other unidentified people declined to provide these details
                While about 15-20 worked on BES deal, up to 50 people in broader group will be affected due to bonus structure
                Goldman officials believed Oak Finance loan would be protected in post-bailout structure, partly as senior Bank of Portugal official said so in writing, Reuters says, citing Laffan
                Earnings effect of writedown isn’t material, Reuters says, citing one person

            • alwyn 5.1.1.1.1.2

              There is one bit of this that I find difficult to accept.
              You suggest, and as you say you are only guessing that

              “Here’s (I’m guessing) the pitch from Goldman:
              – We know BES is going bankrupt.”

              I find it very hard to believe that Goldman Sachs would have ever said this, or that they even believed it. They were, according to the WSJ, accumulating shares in the bank. They would have been selling, not buying if they thought the shares were going to become worthless, as they would in the event of bankruptcy.

              http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB21848606239175954545404580409071170996444

              It was this accumulation of shares, over 2% in fact that got them stuck into the “bad” bank.

              Even if it was their clients, buying shares on GS recommendation or even only facilitation, they would never admit that they thought the bank was broke. That would open them up to enormous claims of professional negligence surely.

              I think the rest of what you say makes sense but I find it very hard to see that they knew it was going down and even harder to believe they would tell anyone. I think that on this the just got caught up in the Ponzi scheme the main shareholder seems to have been running.

              • McFlock

                lol

                A great chunk of the GFC was due to professional negligence and misconduct, favouring some clients over others who would be sold a lemon.
                Your doubt is based on financial institutions suddenly gaining a conscience since then.

                Good luck with that

                • alwyn

                  If you read what I said you’ll see that it isn’t that at all.
                  It suggests that they aren’t silly enough to buy shares in a company for themselves if they think it is going broke
                  and
                  They are definitely not so silly as to tell one client that a company is going broke when they are buying shares on behalf of other clients.
                  Firms that did things like that are currently coughing up tens of billions in fines for such actions, and they had kept the information strictly confidential in the bank.
                  I never proposed they have a conscience.

                  • McFlock

                    Ah, so GS is smarter than the rest, an exception to the rule?
                    BTW, do the tens of billions come out of the quarterly and annual bonuses the individuals who behaved like that received at the time? Are the tens of billions more or less than the profits the corporations made from those deals?

                    pfft.

              • nadis

                yeah fair call – probably a bit loose with my language. More accurate might be “even in the (unlikely) event the bank fails, we’ll be ok because of our CDS protection”

                Its also not unusual to but shares or debt in a failing company – it gives you leverage in workout negotiations, thus the rationale of the law that Bank of Portugal used to exclude the Oak Finance debt form the good bank.

                • alwyn

                  That is fair enough. The other seemed a bit extreme.
                  A perfect example of leverage is of course the companies that held onto their Argentinian bonds and refused to accept only a fraction of the value in replacements, or the people who bought them up at cents in the dollar and did the same.
                  That is a real example of vulture capitalism.
                  I’m not really sure where that has got to since Argentina defaulted.

            • RedBaronCV 5.1.1.1.1.3

              Actually I’m not so sure we made a donation to the people of Portugal.

              If GS didn’t know it was a dog then they are absolutely incompetent so I think we can safely assume that they did know it was in a heap of trouble.
              Hence the share buying to give leverage – GS aren’t buy and hold people they are raid and strip for profit – and get out quick. Also they are not going to put favoured client money into a dog.

              So exactly which investors did GS enable to exit BES at the expense of those in Oak Finance?
              Will we ever know?

        • greywarshark 5.1.1.2

          F.U.C.K. What’s this Orr’s excuse. He has been interviewed on radionz and painted elsewhere as a sure hand on the wheel, and any other euphemism that comes to your mind. An unusual retrospective rule? What’s that – a refusal to meet a contracted obligation – like nationalising something?

          Which would never be countenanced by large wealthy countries, but ours might, being sort of puny and a bit engorged in our responses to high-end salesmen offering seductive inducements and glittering prizes.

          Jack selling his valuable cow for a handful of beans that grew an upward path to wealth and security for his family was actually a fairy story, doesn’t Mr Orr and all these shit-hot financiers know that. Also that Rankin chap often on Busyness on Radionz chirpy-cheeping, I think lately, about the amazing rise in the NZ dollar to nearly par with that of $Oz.

    • les 5.2

      Key worked for Merrill Lynch ,which became a basket case ,losing billions but was absorbed by another bailed out basket case…Bank of America.After the revelations of the GFC and the examination of counter party dealings at Goldman,you would think most fund managers would proceed with extreme caution regarding any deal promoted by those doing ‘Gods work’!

      • Skinny 5.2.1

        Those money trading shyster’s are all the same to me as you say interlinked. Once a trader always a traitor!

        • marya46 5.2.1.1

          Enjoying your comments on this issue Skinny. Although in all honesty, there really is nothing to enjoy at all, considering it’s our money that has “disappeared!”

          Call me an old sceptic, but when I read about this in today’s NZH, the thought instantly came to mind, that this one has dirty John’s grubby fingers all over it. The currency trader aspect setting off the alarm bells!

          • Colonial Rawshark 5.2.1.1.1

            In the modern parlance the money was “vapourised.” Poooof! Gone (somewhere) in a puff of smoke…

          • phillip ure 5.2.1.1.2

            that’s a bit of a long bow you are drawing there..isn’t it..?

            ..did john key get together with the portugese govt and their central bank..

            ..to get them to enacyt the retrospective-legislation that caused this problem/loss in the first place..?

            ..whoar..!’

            ..that’s a very fertile imagination you have there..

            .and a gross exaggeration of the powers/machiavellian-reach –

            – of john key..

      • Jones 5.2.2

        The pursuit of bigger bonuses coupled with no consequences for illegality and fraud (fines are a slap on the hand) is too much of a temptation to be cautious about an investment, plus it’s only money and there’s heaps of it to play with… if you’re a banker.

        Get used to seeing more of these headlines… especially where pensions and superannuation funds are concerned.

        • alwyn 5.2.2.1

          If you really want to see these sort of headlines you should look forward to the day that anyone from the New Zealand Green Party gets anywhere the levers of power.
          They want to select where The New Zealand Superannuation fund are allowed to invest. They also want to control what your Kiwisaver fund can do.

          Among their favourites are New Zealand Windfarms, in which both Jeanette Fitzsimmons and Wellington’s Green Mayor are in the top 20 shareholders, and Energymad Limited.
          Both these listed at about $1.00, have never made a profit, and are currently quoted at about $0.05.

          If they get their way you, via the NZ Super fund and your Kiwisaver fund will be forced to invest in their preferred crap businesses. Beware.

          • McFlock 5.2.2.1.1

            pffft

            Are you alleging an undisclosed conflict of interest on the part of some green politicians while making legislative or government policy decisions? Before the fact? Idiot.

            Let he who has never owned Tranz Rail shares cast the first stone…

            • alwyn 5.2.2.1.1.1

              Not at all.
              I am suggesting that Green politicians want to control where investments by the NZ Super Fund and peoples Kiwisaver funds are to be made. They went on about it a couple of days ago when they were demanding that they all get out of Oil and Gas production firms didn’t they?
              Fitzsimmons’ and Wade-Brown’s investments are simply examples of how disastrous their investment judgement is. Wipe out 95% of the value, just like that.

              • McFlock

                Awwww, so the nasty greenies are just insisting that the superfund doesn’t profit at the expense of our kids and grandkids?

                I can see how this concept would be upsetting to the “grew up in a state house, got an allowance and free education, now kick the ladder and privatise everything so I make a killing” brigade.

              • Skinny

                They will want investment from the ACC fund to manage also, you know the one that made plenty but National spun lies ACC was broke by Cullen and Labour. Hmm wind farm sounds like a good investment in 2017.

                • alwyn

                  Go ahead. I’ve certainly done so and Meridian has been very kind to the value of my portfolio.
                  I wouldn’t be so silly as to buy shares in the company that makes those ridiculous little turbines in New Zealand though.
                  However that is my decision and I think I am a lot better at it than the Green Party would be.

                  If the Green Party got near the ACC fund they would probably wreck it too. The ACC fund is now quite healthy of course. That is because they left professionals to manage it of course and increased the rates for a while to get it back into shape. You will notice the Greens haven’t ever had a chance to wreck things because they have never been allowed anywhere near the reins of Government. For that we have Helen Clark to thank I suppose. She certainly kept them well out of the way.

                  • Skinny

                    Tell us did you feel duped as a ‘pa’ investor in Mighty River shares, did you shake with fury when you realised honest John had played your heart strings. Are you angry you only had chump change left for the real play. Did you feel excluded from the club.

                    If you want to make some real money I have a tip for you next week let
                    me know should yeild 700% over 24 hours.

                    • alwyn

                      You mean they are only 36% higher than the purchase price?
                      Yes I am really pissed off (Not).
                      I put a lot more into Meridian as it happens and they are up about 115%.
                      Now, tell me, do you live in Nigeria or is your name Ross?

              • RedBaronCV

                Calm down Alwyn. There is a world of difference between ethical investing ( which is a mainstream practice) and what you are suggesting.
                Why do you imagine that any party would pick individuyal favourites except Nact & Sky City. Don’t judge others by your friends.

                • alwyn

                  I’m afraid all politicians dream that they are very good at investing and have their favourites.
                  Cullen liked puff-puffs didn’t he.
                  The Greens just haven’t had a chance to play magnate. They would if the could though, and with my money. They’d build railways and coastal shipping and cycle tracks just for the hell of it.

                  • RedBaronCV

                    “build railways and coastal shipping and cycle tracks just for the hell of it.”
                    Actually the left parties use cost benefit and rate of return analysis rather than the “lets build a motorway even if it’s totally uneconomic” position of the current lot.
                    And I really object to my money being used for such investment.

                    Stop scaremongering.
                    Still must be hard to cope with the left being generally better at business and investment than Nact.

                  • Lloyd

                    So you are making money out of wind farms that my taxes bought. You bugger.

          • Nic the NZer 5.2.2.1.2

            The NZ super fund is purely a mechanism to offset a rising NZ government deficit (due to increased projected super payments), nobody should give a toss if the whole lot gets gambled away at the next track meet, its immaterial.

    • Molly 5.3

      and don’t forget the involvement of Goldman Sachs in Greece’s current predicament.

      How Greece Got Got – zerohedge.com

      “Like the municipalities, Greece is just another example of a poorly governed client that got taken apart,” Satyajit Das, a risk consultant and author of “Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk,” said in a phone interview. “These trades are structured not to be unwound, and Goldman is ruthless about ensuring that its interests aren’t compromised — it’s part of the DNA of that organization.”

    • alwyn 5.4

      Great claim you make there skinny
      “John Key’s former employer Goldman Sachs”
      Perhaps you have some evidence for this statement or did it just come from a rush of blood to the head?
      Come on. For us people who don’t know these things please produce some evidence. Alternatively should we just assume the rest of the claim is b*s too?

      • Skinny 5.4.1

        OK Einstein a slight mistake I always get these ponzi scheme proper uppers mixed up. However I knew one of you John Key cheerleaders would pipe up on a minor technicality.

        Well I have reached my KPI targets so looks like a long boozie lunch is in order and watching cricket for the rest of the day. After seeing that amount of money flushed down the toilet I don’t feel so guilty pulling the card out and putting today’s patriotic activities on the expense account.

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.4.1.1

          Alwyn is of course being disingenous – there is a rotating door policy between all the big blood sucking investment banks, and these days, with many of the top offices of western governments.

          • Skinny 5.4.1.1.1

            Yes CV.
            I see English has gone into damage control by getting the snake oil propaganda department to issue a press release stating that the books are up on revenue gathering forecasts, conveniently the figure announced being just above the $200 million loss. Surprised the headline didn’t read Rock Star Economy To The Rescue.

            • tc 5.4.1.1.1.1

              Must have a massive roller to crush and smooth the carpet all this BS is swept under.

              A loss is a loss Douple Dipton….oh hang on in just now from the CT school of accounting a loss isn’t a loss if a gain is made elsewhere to cover it….awsum.

          • Jones 5.4.1.1.2

            Yeah… while John Key is on first name terms with Lloyd “Doing God’s Works” Blankfein, as far as I am aware John Key has never worked for Goldman Sachs… until he became Prime Minister, perhaps.

            • les 5.4.1.1.2.1

              theres always the Tony Blair route after your term as P.M,very lucrative…Blair straight to J.P.Morgan.

              • Jones

                Absolutely and that’s where I reckon John Key will go post-politics. Not necessarily JP Morgan but some other lucrative consulting gig… World Bank, IMF, Federal Reserve, Goldman… NZ’s envoy to the Middle East…?

        • McFlock 5.4.1.2

          skinny, are you saying that all sociopathic corporate fraudsters look alike?
          Your bigotry is shocking, what with the millions they spend on brand recognition… 🙂

          • les 5.4.1.2.1

            They need only spend money on the Dem and Rep candidates ,and remind them now and again who funds them ,who they really work for,and what ‘free mkt’ legislation needs to be introduced and what regulatory initiatives need to be defeated.

          • Skinny 5.4.1.2.2

            Haha it sure is tho I’d say shockingly good, not to be confused with greed is good.

            Jones is right. Key will be off later in the term, probably IMF or he could set up an investment outfit with one of his close American business friends. Madoff & Key Investments, specialists in ponzi systems and asset stripping.

            The Poms are hopeless 3 for 60 after 15 overs be lucky to reach 200 at this rate.

    • weka 6.1

      Very poor reporting from the Guardian. Doesn’t even name the report it is based on let along link to it.

      • phillip ure 6.1.1

        short-listed for todays’ ‘can’t-see-forest-for-trees-award’..

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          still can’t address the facts eh phil?

          • phillip ure 6.1.1.1.1

            ??

            ..(heh..!..)

            ..i wonder what ‘facts’ i am not ‘facing’..

            ..i wonder what has been extrapolated out of that..?

            ..yr funny..!

            ..chrs 4 the chuckles…

            • weka 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The fact that I state in my comment at 6.1 Really phil, it’s not that hard.

              • ok then..if you insist..

                ..’the picky-award’..

                ..r u challenging the basic facts/contentions in the story..?

                ..if not..w.t.f. ru banging on about..?

                (have u caught the p.g.-virus..?…)

                ..it’s a bloody newspaper..not an academic-journal..

                ..it’s like demanding a footnote from someone saying the sun came up this morn..

                ..we are the third fattest country in the world..

                ..where/what is yr quibble with that fact..?

                • weka

                  They reference the report vaguely. If they had named it I could have googled it. Or they could have linked (other links in the story). Obesity politics being what they are, yes I am critical. This is not academic journal level critique, it’s just basic journalism. If you are going to base an article on a report then at least have the decency to name it, esp where making significant claims.

                  Just looking at the article again, it actually refers to three different things – a NZ survey, a global assessment of NZ, and the NZMA report. None of the them are named adequately to make sense of what is being said.

                  Medical research and health policy is loaded with vested interests. A lot of that is good, some of it is poor, some of it is rotten (Katherine Rich ring any bells?). Basic journalism standards dictate that you are clear where you are getting your information from. You phil might be ok about swallowing MSM hogwash wholesale, I’m not (based on considerable experience, including past experiences with you where you cherry pick headlines but the articles you link to are highly problematic).

                  If the article had named or cited its references, one thing I would have been looking for is to what extent the claims are based largely on BMI measurements. BMI has pretty much been discredited now, but I am guessing that that is what the article is based on. If I am right, then any point you or the article is trying to make is at least erroneous, at worst misleading and promoting wrong public health advice and fatphobia.

                  tl;dr poor medical journalism promotes health myths. Fatphobia is bullshit.

                  • ok..nothing to see then..?

                    ..and yr evidence that we aren’t the third fattest country in the world..

                    ..is..?

                    ..and if we were fourth or fifth or sixth..

                    ..that wd b ok..wd it..?

                    ..as per usual..w.t.f. r u on about..?

                    ..with yr ‘fatphobia’..?

                    ..r u trying to defend an unhealthy lifestyle/diet or something..?

                    ..once again..there you are..fretting on the edges of an issue..

                    ..and seemingly missing the main point..

                    • weka

                      🙄

                      I see you still can’t manage a coherent discussion.

                    • McFlock

                      What percentage of NZ’s obesity is attributable to the contents of your cranium, phil?

                    • mm!!..

                      ..a one-liner/sneer notable for a lack of coherence..

                      ..is flocky saying i am a fat-head..?

                      ..what is a ‘fat-head’..exactly..?

                      ..(i’m struggling here..can anyone out translate the thoughts of the flocky..?..

                      ..i bloody can’t..)

                    • and a ‘weakest-exit/retreat-line-of-the-day-award’ for the weka..

                    • weka

                      It’s pretty simple. You make a comment with claims that includes a link. I look at the the link and think it’s not a very credible source of infomation, certainly not enough to help people form opinions about health unless they want to be fed a line. You apparently are good with being fed a line, I’m not. So I mention that the article is deficient in a specific way. You are incapable of talking about that (or even understanding the significance apparently), and so go straight to the ad hominem.

                      I later comment in a more specific way about why the short comings of the article are important, and point out a couple of issues that I would have explored had the article been properly referenced. You apparently can’t cope with that either and seem to think that because a journalist has said x, it must be true. Hard to tell though, because your posts are so long now that the gibberish punctuation is putting me off reading them. I skim to see if there is anything useful there, but there isn’t. You are simply incapable of having a meaningful debate style conversation that doesn’t revolve around you saying “I’m right and when you disagree with me there is something wrong with you”.

                      I honestly don’t know how people manage to have conversations with you if this is how they usually go.

                    • now that is progress..!

                      ..you’ve gone from being unable to read what i write..

                      ..to being that proficient that you can now skim-read..

                      ..care to share how you managed that learning-curve..?

                    • weka

                      now you want to have a go at me about disability? seriously? Wow, what a dick.

                    • u mean yr sense of humour bye-pass..?

                      ..or yr astonishing ability to find/manufacture offence where there is none..?

  6. Wonderpup 7

    Don’t read this love letter from the US business community to the TPPA unless you are not prone to nausea. I mean, real people wrote this…

    And don’t worry – I love your trade promotion authority as if she were my own family. I’m ready to adopt her today if that would fast-track me to your heart. I can’t wait to call you my own and make sweet sweet economic progress with you.

    http://www.theglobalipcenter.com/open-love-letter-to-the-tpp/

  7. Heartbleeding Liberal 8

    $200 million is a lot of hard earned taxpayer money. It’s certainly more harmful than your isolated instance of welfare fraud. I await the bitter outrage from the right.

    • vto 8.1

      I await too ………

    • Skinny 8.2

      No due diligence is totally unacceptable behavior Bill English has serious questions to answer and must front up instead of giving us the silent treatment. How many other dodgy ponzi scheme’s is our retirement fund been conned into investing in by Goldman Sachs?

      I notice the resident National Party cheerleader Gosman is conspicuous by his absence today.

    • Skinny 8.3

      What has Gosman have to say since English is missing in action.

    • Gosman 8.4

      Are you talking about the super fund? Yes appalling. Unfortunately this affects us all as it is a state controlled fund.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.4.1

        Actually, it’s independent from the government. The real problem was that that independent board was listening to Goldman Sachs.

        • Jones 8.4.1.1

          +1… and given the moniker “Vampire Squid”, and the exposing of their IPO pumping and dumping shennanigans… it’s a wonder why anyone does business with them anymore. It probably has something to do with their infiltration of Governments around the world.

        • adam 8.4.1.2

          I agree Draco T BAstrad – Another example of the free-marketeer lib-capitalists lala land notion of the unseen hand. It’s a myth, as business people chase the almighty dollar and worship at the alter of greed. This means they listen to anyone who has greedy written all over them – in this case Goldman Sachs.

        • phillip ure 8.4.1.3

          it has actually happened because the portugese govt and the portugese central bank seem to have colluded to pass some retrospective-legislation..

          ..and the problem is that the retrospective legislation change has voided the insurance policy they had on the loan..

          ..and while i have a list of reasons to criticise the ‘dirty’-investments of the super-fund..

          ..in this case..it seems to have been a random-factor that felled them..

          ..not something they could be expected to factor in..

          ..and they will be litigating to try to get the money back..

          ..on those grounds..

          • Skinny 8.4.1.3.1

            Throwing good money after bad, completing the money go round cycle lining litigation lawyers pockets which they will feast on for months.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.4.1.3.2

            I doubt if it was a “random factor”. The bank was collapsing, everyone knew it was collapsing so why were people investing in it? The answer was that insurance policy. Same as people investing in SCF once the government guaranteed it and remember that this government also paid out the full interest on those bad investments. I suspect that Goldman Sachs was anticipating the same thing happening but the Portuguese government nipped that in the bud and now everyone is complaining that they didn’t get their expected payout on the collapse of the bank. Personally, I think the Portuguese government did the right thing. Governments should not be backing peoples investments.

            Still, Goldman Sachs would have got the fees so they really don’t care.

            • phillip ure 8.4.1.3.2.1

              i wasn’t making a moral judgement on the investment..

              ..i am just pointing out the nuts and bolts of what has happened..

            • ropata:rorschach 8.4.1.3.2.2

              Portugal did NOT do the right thing, they attracted investors (suckers) by offering insurance then ripped off said investors. That is a govt run by crooks, probably stuffing their pockets with ill-gotten gains.

          • Jones 8.4.1.3.3

            I don’t think it was random-factor… something like this was foreseeable. Portugal has been flagged for years as one of the European nations financially on the rocks (aren’t they the ‘P’ in “PIIGS”?) so going anywhere near Portugal, with or without insurance, was high-risk. It was never “safe”.

            But the entire global financial sector is insolvent… too much debt… so there is no such thing as a safe investment anywhere now. And as the bigger banks start pillaging whatever they can to improve their balance sheets, it’s only going to get worse.

            Even the NZ (Aussie) banks are exposed and should any of them fall over, the Reserve Bank’s ‘Open Bank Resolution’ policy will ensure that their depositors are the ones to bail them out… Cyprus-style.

            I hope the litigation goes well… but I’m pretty certain that money is gone.

  8. vto 9

    How come we always hear about bad weather for Americans but never bad weather for Russians?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/66431483/recordbreaking-arctic-cold-heads-to-us-northeast

  9. Herald: Northland charter school facing closure as roll falls

    What a complete clusterfuck 🙁

    Children are being taught in temporary classrooms after a new charter school faced consenting issues and struggled with the short turnaround time after being selected.

    Te Kapehu Whetu (Teina) did not have all facilities in place in time for its February 16 opening, the Ministry of Education said.

    • Jono 10.1

      I was asked to come in and do an environemental assessmental for the school buildings in mid Jan just after everyone was getting back from the holidays, with the school due to open about three weeks later,

      I politely declined to help, for political reasons and because I could tell from the conversation with the planner who called that the development of the school facilties was becoming a fiasco…Rushed, no due diligence, no experience by those doing the work etc.

      • rawshark-yeshe 10.1.1

        and if they close, they keep ownership of the land and buildings, yes ? Have never heard a satisfactory answer to this vital question from Hekia but I am sure the answer is ‘Yes, they do,” cos Nact looks after all its mates and NEVER the taxpayer.

    • adam 10.2

      Any word on all the burnt out staff in the press? Any word how many of them are off sick? Or how many ended up in hospital over the break?

      Now I’m sure these would make interesting reading…

  10. Anne 11

    Interesting RNZ interview with Canterbury Law Professor, Chris Gallavin about the Bain case .

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20168004

  11. Molly 12

    As a leading community member in my neighbourhood put so succinctly: “I support those who are most “like us”.”

    Given that next to them I am completely different in lifestyle, look, ethnicity and probable political leaning – I was struck once again by the sheer lack of self-awareness.

    How do you even begin to change this view, when this attitude in an established network allows them access to continued power structures and benefits?

    • Molly 12.1

      … sorry, meant to be a reply for vto @ 9.0

    • vto 12.2

      I would suggest that you cannot change this view. In fact it is so ingrained in our psyche that it is not really a “view” at all, it “dna”. People gravitate to their own kind. Always have, always will

  12. Colonial Rawshark 13

    So what happened to the hype that 2012 2013 2014 2015 was the year that western economies would finally turn the corner and begin growing strongly year based on cheaper oil etc.?

    Why do smart people keep falling for this game of pretend and extend?

    Goldman Sachs world productivity index enters contraction

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-19/its-official-global-economy-back-contraction-first-time-2012-according-goldman

  13. Penny Bright 14

    ACTION against corruption in New Zealand!

    (Did the Tax Payers Union, or Cameron Slater make a submission on the ‘Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill’?

    Just asking …… )

    Gave a 10 minute ‘submission’ in person at Parliament, before the Law and Order Select Committee on Wednesday 18 February 2015, on the long-awaited ‘Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill’ – the passage thereof being essential before New Zealand can ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption.

    The bulk of my ‘submission’ was pointing out how pro-transparency /
    anti-corruption yardsticks New Zealand DIDN’T yet have in place, as pointed out in the following ACTION PLAN against ‘white collar crime, corruption and corporate welfare’, upon which I have campaigned at both local and central government elections:

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ANTI-CORRUPTION-WHITE-COLLAR-CRIME-CORPORATE-WELFARE-ACTION-PLAN-Ak-Mayoral-campaign-19-July-2013-2.pdf

    (Funny how New Zealand could be ‘perceived’ to be ‘the least corrupt country in the world’ for so many years, WITHOUT having even ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption?

    Goes to prove, in my opinion, what a total CROCK is the Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’ – based largely upon the subjective opinions of anonymous business-people? )

    My ‘submission’ was webcast – ‘live-streamed’ – but not recorded.

    If anyone recorded a copy of this webcast, I’d like a copy for the public record.

    Didn’t realise that web-casting wasn’t actually recorded.

    Bugger.

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

    • Chooky 14.1

      +100 Penny

    • nadis 14.2

      so Penny, the obvious counterfactual is that given countries like Kazahkstan, Iraq, Russia, Venezuela, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Montenegro, Mali, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon etc etc (I could go on for a long time) have ratified the convention, we can safely assume they are all corruption free?

      • Naturesong 14.2.1

        So New Zealand is more honest because we don’t pretend to have a minimum standard for corruption?

        • nadis 14.2.1.1

          what are you trying to do? Counterfactual my counterfactual? Let me think for a minute and I’ll see if I can counterfactual your counterfactual of my counterfactual.

          The actual point I’m making is that ratifying another meaningless UN convention is meaningless and you cant read anything into whether a particular country has or has not signed it.

          • Penny Bright 14.2.1.1.1

            So ‘nadis’ – how about measuring New Zealand’s ‘corruption REALITY’ against this ‘transparency checklist’?

            1. Get our anti-corruption domestic legislative framework in place so NZ can ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption.

            2. Set up an NZ independent anti-corruption body tasked with educating the public and PREVENTING corruption.

            3. Change NZ laws to ensure genuine transparency in the funding of candidates for elected public office and political parties at
            central and local government level.

            4. Legislate for an enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’ for NZ Members of Parliament (who make the rules for everyone else).

            5. Make it an offence under the Local Government Act 2002 for NZ Local Government elected representatives to breach their
            ‘Code of Conduct’.

            6. Make it a lawful requirement for a publicly-available ‘Register of Interests’ for NZ Local Government elected representatives.

            7. Make it a lawful requirement for a publicly-available ‘Register of Interests’ for NZ Central Government staff responsible for
            property and procurement, (including the Ministry of Health), in order to help prevent ‘conflicts of interest’.

            8. Make it a lawful requirement for a publicly-available ‘Register of Interests’ for NZ Local Government staff, and Directors and
            staff employed by ‘Council-Controlled Organisations (CCOs) responsible for property and procurement.

            9. Make it a lawful requirement for details of ‘contracts issued’ – including the name of the contractor; scope, term and value of
            the contract to be published in NZ Central Government Public Sector, and Local Government (Council), and ‘CouncilControlled
            Organisation (CCO) Annual Reports so that they are available for public scrutiny.

            10. Make it a lawful requirement that a ‘cost-benefit analysis’ of NZ Central Government, and Local Government public finances
            be undertaken to prove that private procurement of public services previously provided ‘in-house’ is cost-effective for the
            public majority. If not – then return public service provision to staff directly employed ‘in-house’ and cut out these private
            contractors who are effectively dependent on ‘corporate welfare’.

            11. Legislate for a legally-enforcable ‘Code of Conduct’ for members of the NZ Judiciary, to ensure they are not ‘above the law’.

            12. Ensure that ALL NZ Court proceedings are recorded, and audio records made available to parties who request them.

            13. Make it a lawful requirement for a publicly-available NZ Judicial ‘Register of Interests’, to help prevent ‘conflicts of interest’.

            14. Make it a lawful requirement for a publicly-available NZ ‘Register of Lobbyists’ and ‘Code of Conduct for Lobbyists’ at Central
            Government Ministerial level.

            15. Make it a lawful requirement at NZ Central and Local Government level for a ‘post-separation employment quarantine’ period
            from the time officials leave the public service to take up a similar role in the private sector. (Help stop the ‘revolving door’).

            16. Make it a lawful requirement that it is only a binding vote of the public majority that can determine whether public assets
            held at NZ Central or Local Government level are sold; or long-term leased via Public-Private –Partnerships (PPPs).

            17. Make it unlawful for politicians to knowingly misrepresent their policies prior to election at central or local government level.

            18. Make laws to protect individuals, NGOs and community-based organisations who are ‘whistleblowing’ against ‘conflicts of
            interest’ and corrupt practices at central and local government level and within the judiciary.

            19. Legislate to help stop ‘State Capture’, a form of ‘grand corruption’ arguably endemic in NZ – where vested interests get their
            way at the ‘policy level’ before legislation is passed which serves their interests.

  14. This is an article I wrote in June 2012 about the Cullen fund. I am so very sorry to see my predictions materialize but it was inevitable.

    • The Murphey 15.1

      The 200m is possibly a test run similar in essence to the ‘Cyprus Experiment’

      Super fund kiwisaver then its the bank accounts

      Q. When might the 100bn plus of derivatives come into play ?

  15. freedom 16

    Government announce surplus happening any day now

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

    http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/newzealand

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1

      NZ needs to keep running a large deficit, period. Lefties need to get far away from the silly idea that the NZ government should be running in surplus.

      A NZ govt running in surplus can only do so if it forces the private sector (including households) to run at a deficit i.e. reducing profits, incomes and households savings, while increasing private sector indebtedness.

      • Poission 16.1.1

        it forces the private sector (including households) to run at a deficit i.e. reducing profits, incomes and households savings,

        NZ household savings are at a record high adding around 12 billion last year.

        http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/tables/c17/

        • Colonial Rawshark 16.1.1.1

          Yep. All that household savings is enabled by the government deficit spending into the general NZ economy at a rapid clip.

        • Nic the NZer 16.1.1.2

          In addition to being funded by the government deficit, the savings you are referring to are debt funded. A large portion of the new deposit savings created there are additional private sector borrowing. Eventually the private sector is likely to determine enough is enough there, and start paying that back, which will cause a large jump in unemployment when that happens.

        • nadis 16.1.1.3

          you’ve linked to the wrong page. try this one:

          http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/tables/c18/

          BTW, I think most all of you need a primer on the difference between net debt and gross debt. Here’s one place where you find real actual data on NZ government debt levels

          http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/tables/c18/

      • freedom 16.1.2

        A surplus is plurblus yiddleplink and twice as necessary ! Which is no laughing matter. But what is kind of funny, is how a few lefties remember Bill English standing proud in the House, telling the country
        “we are on track to reduce government debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020.”

        That’s a head thumper though,
        figuring 60 billion of debt reduction in only five years ?

        Might just need a sunny Friday singalong 😎

        • Colonial Rawshark 16.1.2.1

          English set a target date of after he retires from Parliament, making it someone else’s problem. Pretty clever eh.

      • nadis 16.1.3

        A NZ govt running in surplus can only do so if it forces the private sector (including households) to run at a deficit i.e. reducing profits, incomes and households savings, while increasing private sector indebtedness.

        No that’s not true. Have you heard of exports?

        • Colonial Rawshark 16.1.3.1

          Indeed. It would be nice to be a big net export earner like Japan (of old). But how many years of the last 20 has NZ managed to run am actual current account surplus. One?

    • ianmac 16.2

      We only owe $91. Whew. Thought for a moment that was over $91 million. And that would have been a cruel blow for Mr English let alone we taxpayers. Whew.

      • freedom 16.2.1

        Maybe I’ve been looking at this the wrong way ianmac. Obviously there is a 5 year plan to increase GDP by 250%. What are we worried about. Bill’s got this.

  16. Colonial Rawshark 17

    NSA, GCHQ, compromise systems of world’s largest SIM card manufacturer and its employees

    They now have the encryption keys for most mobile phone users in the world.

    The U.S. and British intelligence agencies pulled off the encryption key heist in great stealth, giving them the ability to intercept and decrypt communications without alerting the wireless network provider, the foreign government or the individual user that they have been targeted. “Gaining access to a database of keys is pretty much game over for cellular encryption,” says Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute. The massive key theft is “bad news for phone security. Really bad news.”

    This is a lawless, out of control, very powerful security surveillance state built with tax payer dollars.

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/19/great-sim-heist/

  17. stever 18

    So even the dear old Waikato Times does’t like (this round of) corporate welfare!!!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/opinion/66429569/John-Key-and-Steven-Joyce-too-eager-to-support-corporate-welfare

  18. Coffee Connoisseur 19

    I posted this the other day (Letter from Gen X to Gen Y down below) for the purpose of having it improved, questioned or possibly torn apart altogether. The feedback at the time was that ‘Happiness’ should be replaced with ‘Wellbeing’. Given my own battles with achieving a state of happiness and that many others face the same battles, I think this was good advice (although I had to think about it overnight to come to the same conclusion as the others).
    I still like the idea of aligning with the contents of Maslow’s Hierarchy (not all of Maslow’s thinking, just the contents of Maslow’s Hierarchy) for the simple fact that in Economics 101 at Massey we were taught that the contents of Maslow’s Hierarchy forms the basis for much economic theory.

    Why go through this exercise?
    We have a very broken system on many fronts and the problems are getting worse not better. We keep looking for economic solutions within the bounds of the current system without stepping back to question the validity of the system itself in this day and age.
    I have been a Systems Analyst for 20 years. I have been through the exercise myself and have confirmed (at least for myself) that the problems we have are because we have an economic system when, in fact, what we need is a people system first and foremost of which an economic solution would be one option or potentially one part of a bigger solution for a people system.

    I am sure most would agree that any system should be based on common sense, logic and reason.

    Once the model is stable enough I will look to put together a guest post for wider discussion around the model. Systems Analysis can and should be used to solve the problems that exist in any system. It isn’t subject to vested interests. Because of the fact that it does deal with logic and common sense things such as the trickle down effect simply don’t wash here.

    The reason that this exercise is so important is that it has the ability to be used by all countries, (especially Greece) as justification to look for viable alternatives to Capitalism and gives them something robust to look to build something for the future that will work for everyone and not just a privileged few.

    In case it comes up as you read the letter and now it will. The use of the term individual under such a system is that of collective individualism as opposed to selfish individualism. Consider that you are an individual. You want to live your life largely as you see fit to but stop short of raping and pillaging the earth to do so.

    To the free thinkers in Gen Y and Gen zero v2.

    Dear Leaders of Tomorrow….

    How to change the world to the one that you want to live in

    Learn understand and use Systems Analysis for it is used for fixing all manner of broken systems.

    Step one: determine what the nature and the purpose of ‘The System’ should be

    Ask the questions..
    Who should the system be for?
    What should its purpose be?

    The answer to the first question should be ‘the people’ not just some but all of the people.

    The answer to the second should be whatever the optimal state is for those that the system should be for.
    For people that is to be in a state of wellbeing.

    Wellbeing = The ability for one to have……………what????? (any description needs to be robust and shouldn’t be something that people can simply work towards. Instead, it should be something that is inherent in the system design.

    Step 2: Establish a new constitution based on an individuals inalienable right to live in a system that by its very nature is geared toward enabling a state of well-being for each and every individual.

    Step 3: Introduce a UBI
    This is to ensure that whilst you transition to a better system for everyone, that until the transition is made that with a UBI in place people will have a much better chance at happiness.

    Step 4: Undertake a review of all businesses/organisations in all sectors.
    Determine the roles performed in these businesses

    Step 5: identify those roles that can be automated with todays technology.

    Step 6: direct resources towards automating them and freeing yourselves from having to work.

    Step 7: introduce the concept of users instead of ownership. Important Note: allow people to transition to users at their own pace. do not force this, instead let it happen organically but provide goods and services in a way that makes sense for them to do so. If people need a good example of ‘Usership’ shows them the internet.

    Step 8: When it is no longer required, remove the money. Again do not force this but do it when collectively as a society it makes sense to do so.

    Good Luck and Best Wishes.

    Make the world a place you would be proud to bring a child into.

    • Chooky 19.1

      Coffee Connoisseur +100 ..”what we need is a people system first and foremost of which an economic solution would be one option or potentially one part of a bigger solution for a people system”’

      …agree with this …crucially peoples’ well-being also depends on the environment ….you can be economically poor in money or disposable income terms …..but rich in happiness and contentment…balance is crucial ….the wealthy countries must start to redistribute to poorer countries and education of women and birth control is crucial… as is somehow stopping wealth disparity of the !% owning everything and the rest subject to them….

      ……Green Party offers the best political policies imo

    • nadis 19.2

      Look! I see some pixies dancing with a unicorn near a giant rainbow!

    • Sans Cle 19.3

      Great to see this post here…..and have lots to say/think about it.
      What is UBI though?

      • Coffee Connoissuer 19.3.1

        Sorry UBI refers to Universal Basic Income.

        • Sans Cle 19.3.1.1

          Thanks.
          Regarding Step 1. Who system is for and what it’s purpose should be, I have massive ideological problems with trying to resolve this. In your comments yesterday, you alluded to both (broad terms) ‘left’ and ‘right’ having common ground with the system (in your exchange with Colonial). That to me is a big issue. We all have an aversion to instability, and this is a common thread in a lot of the discussion here in TS – recently about Greece. Long ago, I studied Marx in depth…..and agree with his economic analysis wholeheartedly EXCEPT in terms of how he thought the revolution would happen (in system dynamics terms, not a transition to a new state, but a more abrupt ending to one state, i.e capitalism, and emergence of a new egalitarian world order i.e. the Nirvanic Communist or communitarian state). I am a non-violent person, do don’t/can’t agree with violently overthrowing any regime or system, so am looking for logical rational means of changing a broken system. I also studied the old philosophical anarchists (Bodkin, Wolffe, even to a degree Thoreau) to see whether a new political ‘state’ can be found through their anslyses (however we would transition to it)….as envisaged in contemporary times through ideals such as “community governance” and more democratic, liberal, freer political discourse.
          Although changing to a new state in the system is logical on so many grounds – environmental, climate change, egalitarian principles, moral redressing of colonial processes and historical exploitation amongst others…..there is the entrenchment of existing political power structures that NONE of the political theories address, and render much further systems analysis as ineffectual. (I am an eternal optimist and looking ate and of overcoming this stumbling block…..and hence really like your post here, to get people thinking in this way).

          • Coffee Connoissuer 19.3.1.1.1

            two questions
            1. Who do you think the system should be for and what do you think its purpose should be?
            There is no right or wrong answer to this as Systems Analysis deals with information in a logical manner.
            The answers I have put forward are simply my interpretation. Anyone can disagree with either question but under Systems Analysis they would need to state why it is wrong, what they believe the correct answer to be as well as justify their reasoning.

            With regard to left vs right having common ground I can’t recall the comment
            Was it possibly to do with wealth redistribution?

            As far as the entrenchment of existing political power structures. Yes this is an issue. But we need to determine the system first. If people are shown an alternative based in logic, reason and commonsense well you have at that point created a strong driver for change.

            • Sans Cle 19.3.1.1.1.1

              To me the system is for each and every individual (more in a selfish interpretation of the word than you presented above). We are born into existing diverse systems (start with family first, the community, then culture, then society, then economy), and the aim is to survive within each one of those systems; beginning with basic needs milk/nourishment and scaling up through the hierarchy of needs. Each system is nested within another, and increasingly there is an overlap between all those systems at once – most pronouncedly through exchange of information, globalization and increased exchange.
              The system has to serve a diverse set of individual needs, in a respectful, non-violent manner. (I am not sure about last statent…..as it may have to serve more competitive needs, such as innate violence between humans :-/ ).
              It is not an economic system in the first instance, but a system to satisfy human needs, it quickly escalates to an economic system, given our level of technological progression.
              It has escalated into an integrated global system in last 100 years or so, given ease of travel and speed of communication. So the system takes on a life of its own, very far removed from the need of the individual and the first interaction with a system, that of family/basic needs provider at birth.

              • Coffee Connoissuer

                To me the system is for each and every individual

                Then this is your answer to question one. It is a completely valid answer, even from the view point of having a more selfish interpretation of individual.

                the aim is to survive within each one of those systems
                are you then saying that the purpose of the system should be to create an environment that is challenging to the point of testing an individuals ability to survive in the system? (I mean no disrespect to you by putting the question in this way) The second part to consider is that whilst that might seem to be the purpose, is that how you want the system to be?

                The Systems purpose needs to logically relate back to the answer to the question of who is the system for? Your answer to this was
                To me the system is for each and every individual
                The question then becomes what is it that an individual wants and needs?
                If we then analyze this we could ascertain that ‘needs’ are fairly common from individual to individual. ‘Wants’ are potentially different from individual to individual and impossible to define definitely.
                We don’t necessarily need to define them at this point. We can simply say that
                The system is for each and every individual.
                Individuals have needs and wants. Ergo the purpose of the system should be to enable an individual to satisfy their wants and needs in the most efficient manner possible.
                Essentially you have come to the same conclusion (although I didn’t pick that up until I had written what is above)
                It is not an economic system in the first instance, but a system to satisfy human needs

                it quickly escalates to an economic system, given our level of technological progression.
                Not necessarily. Having an economic system as we know it today is simply one method of attempting to deliver on this requirement. It also makes an assumption that an individuals needs and wants can be and should be commodified. You have arguably just introduced inefficiency (an enabler if you have money, a barrier if you don’t) into the system as people need to have something (money) before they can have their needs and wants met. Logically this seems counter productive but may still be valid depending on other factors such as the challenges in supplying the things that individuals need and want.
                The important part though is that an economic solution is simply one solution (and may indeed be the best one) but at this point in the exercise we simply can’t know that for sure. There may be other solutions but we would need to delve further into the requirements in order to determine them and from there, what the best solution is in relation to the set of requirements we have.

                So we have a system that should be for all individuals, and its purpose should be to enable them to have their needs and wants met.

                As ‘needs’ are arguably common across all individuals we should have a go at identifying them.
                We can make the assumption that determining needs and how to best to meet them will also enable the same mechanisms to facilitate an individuals wants being met as well.
                We should also be determining the ‘true requirement’ behind each need or want to see if they are being delivered by the system in the best and most efficient way.

                So the next question is what are an individuals needs? Can we define them?

                It has escalated into an integrated global system in last 100 years or so, given ease of travel and speed of communication. So the system takes on a life of its own, very far removed from the need of the individual and the first interaction with a system, that of family/basic needs provider at birth.

                Agreed. This is one of the main reasons Systems Analysis is used. Many systems start off to satisfy a need then other requirements are added in which results in further additions to the system and over time it takes on a life of its own. Requirements also change over time and the reasons that the original system was put in place may no longer hold true. The question is, how can we know if this is the case or not? This is what going through a Systems Analysis exercise allows us to do.

                • Sans Cle

                  SC- To me the system is for each and every individual

                  CC-Then this is your answer to question one. It is a completely valid answer, even from the view point of having a more selfish interpretation of individual.

                  I am not sure I have a more selfish interpretation of the individual (as I believe that people are born into families/communities, and absolutely dependent on that first system, which is not of the baby’s choosing)  – but that was to make a distinction between your previous definition: “The use of the term individual under such a system is that of collective individualism as opposed to selfish individualism”. I think I am having problems conceptually talking about “the system” as one entity, when it is comprised of so many sub-systems (back to family, friends, community, society, economy), and each sub-system has a purpose for that individual. A baby/child’s dependence on family has a function or purpose for a number of years, then other systems can satisfy the needs of the person (substitutability between systems). I do understand that the architecture or design of the entire system (call it ‘human’s activity on planet earth’) can be viewed as one system, but  it is the sub-systems under that where change will come from, to change the design of the system in its entirety. 
                  So, perhaps my first answer was to do with whatever sub-system the person finds themselves in, at a particular point in time: the sub-system is for each and every individual.

                  The system as a whole is for allowing each subsystem to interact, overlap; allowing for people to transition/switch into the next sub-system as their needs change. And perhaps can be seen as the ‘social contract’ (in Hobessian terms)

                  SC- the aim is to survive within each one of those systems
                  CC- are you then saying that the purpose of the system should be to create an environment that is challenging to the point of testing an individuals ability to survive in the system? (I mean no disrespect to you by putting the question in this way) The second part to consider is that whilst that might seem to be the purpose, is that how you want the system to be?

                  (No disrespect taken – it’s good to tease out ideas!)
                  The purpose of the sub-system is temporary or it can become redundant to the individual, who then finds themselves in a different system (e.g. moving from home after finding a job). It is not surviving the system, but remaining in that system while it still is of use (to satisfy needs, not wants). Survive may be a misleading word, as it is not a game with an endpoint (e.g. get a badge for having a community. The only game plan, or end game is to continue with life – live life (according to one’s own preferences and moral set).
                   

                  • Coffee Connoissuer

                    In that context the subsystems should be looked at as ‘solutions’ to satisfy the set of ‘true requirements’ for an individual that make up the entire system as a whole.

                    The question remains is the system (or collection of subsystems) still fit for purpose. Do they satisfy the requirements that an individual has? Can they be improved? Should they be improved?

                    This is where ‘happiness’ or ‘wellbeing’ come into play

                    What if an individual has their needs met but is not happy or in a state of ‘wellbeing’?
                    Do we care?
                    If the System (encompassing all sub systems) is for each and every individual, is having an environment that actively enables or is structured toward enabling individuals to be in a state of wellbeing one of the requirements that we should have for our system?

                    Also to clarify what I meant by collective individualism, it was to separate out individualism from capitalist individualism which in can be considered by some to be more of a selfish slant on individualism. i.e. the purpose of resources is to be sold to make money. Collective individualism in my mind is more about the fact that life is simply a set of experiences strung together in a linear fashion, As an individual you often choose the experience you want to have and want to live the life you want to live relatively free from the interference of others and the state but that in doing so you have an awareness of society as a whole, understand that you are part of it and stop short of scorching the earth for the sake of having your experience. or something to that effect.

                    • Sans Cle

                      CC – What if an individual has their needs met but is not happy or in a state of ‘wellbeing’?
                      Do we care?
                      If the System (encompassing all sub systems) is for each and every individual, is having an environment that actively enables or is structured toward enabling individuals to be in a state of wellbeing one of the requirements that we should have for our system?

                      I think we should care.
                      I also have problems reconciling my libertarian side, which tells me that we shouldn’t interfere with individual choices, and my yearning for equality, which requires intervention. Bit abstract, but going back to sub-system of family; question arises as to at what point do you intervene? It’s quite patronising and moral superiorism to make judgement on how people tackle their needs. Yet, that sub-system fails so many individuals, or rather babies/children, in terms of hungry kids.

                      Another thought about rationalizing/changing the system. We (or perhaps I) am assuming that the entire system is designed, but if it has just emerged (creative destruction), does this make it more difficult to analyse and subsequently change?

                • Sans Cle

                  CC- The Systems purpose needs to logically relate back to the answer to the question of who is the system for? Your answer to this was
                  SC – “To me the system is for each and every individual”

                  Taking that the sub-system is for each and every individual (as per my point above), this does not mean that the system in its entirety (the hierarchy of sub-systems) has the same purpose. The system as a whole has a purpose of integrating the sub-systems, perhaps to avoid sub-system collapse, or perhaps as an organic transitioning from one system to another. It is from the existence of sub-systems that the entire system has a logic/function……to facilitate the sub-systems (which serve to satisfy individual needs).
                  As all systems are not fluid (although an individual has freedom to move to their next subsystem, as their needs change), there is some friction between ‘higher up’ levels of subsystems, such as laws, government policy. So perhaps the problem is that within the hierachy of the system, there is a lock-in of some systems, that become entrenched, and too difficult to change (haven’t really thought that last point through…….)

                  I am limiting my thought analysis to ‘needs’ at the moment, not wants. So I see the sub-systems as facilitating basic human needs.

                  • Coffee Connoissuer

                    fair enough and I think that as a group of sub systems that make up the whole that will be quite a good and very helpful way of looking at it for many.

                    It still comes back to needing to identify the purpose of the system and the requirements that we have of it. It is at that point we can start to identify possible systemic weaknesses that can be addressed in the current sub systems and indeed in their relationships between one and other.

                    I am limiting my thought analysis to ‘needs’ at the moment, not wants. So I see the sub-systems as facilitating basic human needs.

                    Interestingly it was a focus on human needs that got me started on this whole exercise. It was by referring back to Maslows Hierarchy and the content of the bottom two levels that made me realize that the current economic system is not meeting those for a large percentage of the worlds population which then posed the question of why this is so. There are of course many reasons that this is the case and too many and too difficult to solve one by one. There are also examples (examples: corruption, human trafficking, illegal drugs) that exist because of the nature of the economic system we have. If you ignore law (which those that deal in these areas do). then all you need is someone prepared to be corrupted for the right price and someone to pay the individual). ie. you need money and the less desirable side of human nature. Put that into a system that is based around competition and you have a recipe for corruption to exist.
                    It then raises the question of how much is the structure and the very nature of the system itself facilitating such outcomes?
                    Would these outcomes exist under a different system? what changes would we need to make to the existing system to eliminate them altogether?
                    I used corruption because in many countries this is part of the reason that basic needs are not being met. It isn’t the only reason but it is one of them.

                • Sans Cle

                  CC – the purpose of the system should be to enable an individual to satisfy their wants and needs in the most efficient manner possible.

                  I partially agree that efficiency comes into it, but that has a strong economic undertone.
                  I think that the purpose of the system (in its architectural entirety) is to reduce conflict between the subsystems or different components, so that each sub-system can reach reach its purpose of facilitating individuals needs (that to me is a sort of freedom).
                   

                  • Coffee Connoissuer

                    efficiency does not necessarily equate to economy. At this point everything remains solution agnostic (essentially in this space the economy doesn’t yet exist), The whole objective at this point is to apply common sense, logic and reasoning to determine the requirements of the system, that is to say that we need to drill down below ‘needs’ and determine what those individual needs are at a level we can start to look at the best and most efficient way to deliver them to the individual using the technology available today.
                    The whole idea is to understand the ideal system from a requirements perspective then use this to determine the effectiveness of the system and subsystems we have now in their ability to deliver on that set of requirements both collectively and individually. This then enables us to make informed decisions about any potential changes that could be made to subsystems based on the set of information based on that common sense, logic and reason.

                    You do also want to identify areas of conflict between the systems, how the incentivize you to act in a manner that either meets the requirements or that take you in the opposite direction.
                    An example of this is that if you take a small family unit of mum dad and two kids. Under the current system Mum and Dad are financially incentivized to work longer hours, have their children in daycare until they finish work meaning that they spend less time together as a family. Is this what people want? If they do, all well and good. If they don’t then maybe we need to look a the way people are incentivized and whether or not the way we do it now is indeed the best way based on the true set of individual needs and wants.

                    I think that the purpose of the system (in its architectural entirety) is to reduce conflict between the subsystems

                    That may be a requirement of the system but it is a very solution driven statement and it is at potentially odds with who we have stated that the system is for and its purpose. It may be that after going through the requirements exercise and fully understanding them and agreeing them that we can determine that one option is to stick with the status quo and reduce identifiable conflicts between subsystems.

              • Coffee Connoissuer

                The reason to go through an exercise of identifying ‘needs’ is also because some of these will be intangible and not things that should be commoditized.

                Needs will form the basis for what should potentially be an inalienable set of rights for an individual in a well designed system. It is at this point that we can begin to see how effective our current system is in meeting these.

            • Sans Cle 19.3.1.1.1.2

              With regard common ground of left and right, I was thinking that ‘better the devil you know’; which is why we seem stuck in the current economic system. From discussions/debates I have been watching here (and elsewhere) it is changes to the system that are advocated, rather than overhaul of entire systems (with perhaps exceptions such as Russel Brand’s current paradigm). We default to tweaking the system(s), and perhaps that is because society wants to feel control over the system (whether illusional/delusional control or not).

              • Coffee Connoissuer

                You do raise an interesting point in that simply proposing significant system change will be very scary for many. Since I have already been through the exercise and have been working on this problem for 5 years it is something that I have gotten very comfortable with. But then the desire for change is driven by the outcomes of the analysis itself and my interpretation of the result.
                Saying that the system is broken and putting forward an alternative will be a scary prospect for some. Perhaps a better way to put it is, given many of the problems we face Is the system in this day and age with the technology we have available still fit for purpose?
                We simply can’t know for sure unless we go through a Systems Analysis exercise. The first part of which is to determine who and what the system is for and the true requirements we have of it.
                Once that exercise has been completed we then have a blueprint or a baseline to compare the existing system against. In other words we have an understanding of the system we want to have and can then see just how close or far away we are with the current one.

                Once this has been determined it becomes an exercise of looking at the options of, do we look to transition to what the outcome of the analysis says we should have or do we simply look to fix particular areas of the current one.
                I may be that we decide to do both but the point is that we can’t be sure of what to do (if anything at all) at this stage until we have been through the exercise.

              • Coffee Connoissuer

                Society would still have control after completing the systems analysis. What it will do is give people access to information about the performance of the system in relation to a set of requirements so that they can then make decisions on what changes if any, should be made.

                example: and one that will come up is that if we can transition to a system that allows us more time to spend with family and friends and doing the things we really want to do and are passionate about, should we?
                If we can transition to a system that arguably better meets our needs and wants and allows us to reduce our working week from 5 days out of 7 to 3 days out of 7, without any loss in quality of life, should we?

  19. Colonial Rawshark 20

    Rationale for NZ’s participation in Iraq against ISIS is a farce

    Best estimates that there are around 30,000 ISIS fighters. (Last year, before US airstrikes, it was said to be fewer than 10,000, go figure).

    Yet Jordan’s land based forces comprise roughly 90,000 men. Iraq’s army and security forces are supposed to comprise 800,000 men. Turkey’s army is supposed to be 300,000 strong.

    With the assistance of US airstrikes and surveillance/satellite assistance, those regional players should be able to roll ISIS right back inside of 3 months. Yet NZ’s help is needed???

    The only conclusion is that we are being lied to as to what the actual situation on the ground is – both militarily and politically.

    • Chooky 20.1

      it is a political game and NZ is being used as a pawn

    • Lloyd 20.2

      The only force that is being effective on the ground against ISIS and needs help is the Peshmerga. I doubt they need New Zealand army trainers, but I may be wrong. What New Zealand should be doing, is assisting in any way we can to ensure the Kurdish state is formed as a stable country against the insanity of all the other political messes in the region. Getting Turkey to create a semi-independent Kurdish province would do far more for the safety of New Zealand than any boot-bashing training of soldiers to go out and support the corruption of the Iraqi state.
      Jaw, jaw jaw not war, war war.
      If we really cared about people getting burnt and decapitated we would have been fighting against the Syrian regime 8 years ago. Why join the mess now?

  20. saveNZ 21

    Just looked at the Greens Facebook site. Was surprised to see so many people ‘opposing’ the Greens stance on surveillance. Upon looking at the ‘people’ seem to be manufactured with not real details. Wonder who is sending out the trolls. My guess Cosby Textor strategy. (not very good one thro as pretty transparent).

    • Chooky 21.1

      they did the same thing to Cunliffe on Facebook ie right wingers went in and stacked it to skew it to their own ends.( Hooten said this I think on Nat radio)..why anyone would want to use Facebook as a political site i dont know….it is asking to be stacked

  21. McFlock 22

    Interesting article from Cracked about bullshit tactics used by anti-feminists.

    Funnily enough the techniques go way beyond that debate and are used by some of the tory swine we know and love here.
    for example:

    #2. Ignorance by Induction

    “How can you be complaining about this when there are starving children in Africa? Starving children I’m doing less than nothing to help, because merely nothing would be ignoring them. But I’m specifically pointing out that I know about them to use them as underfed weapons against things I actually care about.”

    I also like the description of the “Duh-DoS attack”:

    A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is when multiple sources overload a target computer with requests to prevent it from getting anything done. The Duh-DoS is the organic equivalent, with multiple people asking duh-worthy questions. If the target answers, they’re wasting their energy on someone with no intention of listening. If they don’t answer, they’re accused of admitting there’s no real problem. No matter what they do they’re at a disadvantage, which is exactly the problem they were fighting in the first place.

    • weka 22.1

      And not just the tory swine. Some of our residents too. Funny how the Duh-Dos attack made me think of the Beige One.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 22.2

      “If he is busy, tire him out.” Sun Tzu.

    • Great link (sadly accurate).

      • Sans Cle 22.3.1

        Stephanie, as an observer of how you moderate discussions and threads here on TS, I just want to say “thank you” for keeping people on the straight and narrow in terms of how they conduct themselves, and how you point out how people (perhaps inadvertently) are being sexist.

    • alwyn 22.4

      Now I understand why you choose to ignore what I say in comments and make totally irrelevant responses with have nothing to do with the matter I am talking about and completely misinterpret what I say.
      A Duh-Dos attack.
      So this is where you got the idea. From now on I guess I can save myself the trouble of trying to correct your misinterpretations and just take the view.
      “That’s only McFlock. He’s suffering from a dose of the Duh-Dos”.

      • McFlock 22.4.1

        really?
        Are you sure it’s not just because you finely craft vile innuendo that you are too cowardly to admit?

  22. Penny Bright 23

    Upcoming PUBLIC MEETING on the proposed Wellington ‘Supercity’ proposal!

    WHEN: Monday 23 February 2015
    TIME: 7.30pm
    WHERE: Sacred Heart College
    65 Laings Road
    LOWER HUTT

    MAP: https://www.google.co.nz/…/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0…

    SPEAKERS: FOR Fran Wilde, Dick Werry, Derek Wiltshire
    AGAINST Ray Wallace, Wayne Guppy, Chris MacKay

    Sounds like FUN!

    (Might have to ‘turbo-charge’ my broomstick! 🙂

    Kind regards

    Her Warship

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

  23. Anne 24

    For all conservationists and Jafas:

    The pohutukawas have been saved.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11405290

  24. Sans Cle 25

    Kudos and much respect to all of you who were involved in protecting the Pohutukawa trees. A great result, and great to have communities heard.
    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11405290

  25. “..Major dietary guidelines report recommends decreasing meat consumption..

    ..For environmental benefits –

    – as well as to reduce chronic disease and obesity..”

    (cont..)

    http://www.salon.com/2015/02/19/major_dietary_guidelines_report_recommends_decreasing_meat_consumption/

  26. joe90 28

    Fracking does cause earthquakes.

    Large areas of the United States that used to experience few or no earthquakes have, in recent years, experienced a remarkable increase in earthquake activity that has caused considerable public concern as well as damage to structures. This rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.

    Instead, the increased seismicity is due to fluid injection associated with new technologies that enable the extraction of oil and gas from previously unproductive reservoirs. These modern extraction techniques result in large quantities of wastewater produced along with the oil and gas. The disposal of this wastewater by deep injection occasionally results in earthquakes that are large enough to be felt, and sometimes damaging. Deep injection of wastewater is the primary cause of the dramatic rise in detected earthquakes and the corresponding increase in seismic hazard in the central U.S.

    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=4132&from=rss_home#.VObLciyLUyE

  27. AsleepWhileWalking 29

    Hi there,
    Interesting comments on the Keiser report today
    – MEP says TeTiP undemocratic and she can’t discuss the content with her constituents
    – early on the global market for conflict is explored where private companies are incentivised to create conflict…. disturbing, but obvious now it has been pointed out.

  28. idlegus 30

    “Wow equivalent of largest Treaty Settlement gambled away in so called risk free investment regime????” – Annette Sykes regarding the vapourised $200 million

    • Colonial Rawshark 30.1

      Two decades worth of welfare fraud there but they get away scott free; shrug its high rolling capitalist business as usual.

  29. fisiani 31

    I see in the latest Roy Morgan poll National are polling 49% – a rise since the election. So Andrew Little has made no real difference .

  30. ianmac 32

    Roy Morgan:
    “Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows National falling to 49% (down 3% since January 5-18, 2015). Support for Prime Minister John Key’s Coalition partners has also fallen with the Maori Party 1.0% (down 0.5%), Act NZ 0% (down 1%) and United Future still on 0% (unchanged).

    Support for the main opposition Labour Party is at 30% (up 4% – their highest level of support since July 2014) and also up for the Greens 12% (up 1%) while NZ First is 6% (unchanged). For the parties outside Parliament the Conservative Party of NZ is 1.5% (down 0.5%) while the Internet-Mana Party alliance is at 0% (unchanged) and support for Independent/ Others is 0.5% (unchanged).

    If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that National would win in a close election.

    Coinciding with the decrease in support for the Government the latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has fallen significantly to 124pts (down 20pts). This is the lowest the NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has been since October 2013.

    There are now 55% (down 12%) of NZ electors saying NZ is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 31% (up 8%) that say NZ is ‘heading in the wrong direction’. “

    • fisiani 32.1

      September 20th 2014 National 47%
      February 2015 National 49%
      Things are really looking grim for National. I have a bridge to sell you.

    • Chooky 32.2

      Hope Winston stands in Northland and wins!

      • fisiani 32.2.1

        You reckon Northland voters will really opt for one less Northland MP and one more Invercargill MP? You must not rate their intelligence.

  31. Penny Bright 33

    Seems Fran’s political allies are slip-sliding away from supporting the Wellington Supercity?

    Seems Porirua Mayor Nick has ‘legged it’ and is no longer part of the ‘FOR’ team in the upcoming Public Meeting / debate on Monday 23 February 2015, 7.30pm at Sacred Heart College Lower Hutt?

    Seems that fewer folk of the political variety want to scoop up and hug the rotting, fetid, slimy corpse that is the draft Wellington ‘Supercity’ proposal?

    Turning into a political nightmare for the ‘would be’ Wellington Supercity Mayor Fran Wilde?

    I predict supporting the proposed Wellington ‘SuperCity’ will become a form of political ‘FRANticide’.

    So – what are Fran’s options?

    Go into hiding so she will get less of a political hiding?

    Unlikely, with these upcoming Wellington ‘Supercity’ Public Meetings / debates.

    ‘Desperate people do desperate things’ …..

    I predict that the ‘Supercity dragon’ (as it were – meant of course in a caring way Fran) will be politically ‘slayed’ this coming Monday night, and I am looking forward to being there in person to watch it happen …

    Ah – fills in your day 😉

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

  32. Chooky 34

    +100 ….thanks for the info Penny….and look forward to the reports

  33. Lloyd 35

    And now for something completely different

    The Pride Parade 2015

    This time it included the NZ Police – Showing there were gay members of the force.
    A small demonstration with a banner stating “No Pride in Prison” demonstrated that the Police still have a long way to go to be empathetic.
    One of the banner holders, a small trans woman, was handcuffed and then thrown to the ground badly breaking her left humerus, It took between half to a full hour before she was given appropriate first aid with the handcuffs off. This violence was applied to a person holding a banner in a parade! Sure they may have jumped in without an invite, but they weren’t being violent and if the cops had been smart they should have invented the banner holders to join in with them.
    The Police force may have gay people in it but their techniques for dealing with gay people who might be making more noise than others like definitely need improving. The approach in this case was more than heavy handed, it was brutal. An organisation that approaches noisy protesters in this way will definitely fail in noisy domestic dispute situations.

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