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Open mike 24/11/2014

Written By: - Date published: 6:35 am, November 24th, 2014 - 225 comments
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Open mike is your post.

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Step up to the mike …

225 comments on “Open mike 24/11/2014 ”

  1. GregJ 1

    The “Flash Boys” – the ‘Al Capones’ of Wall Street, high-frequency traders won’t be deterred – why does one feel this isn’t going to end well, again?

  2. Ad 2

    NZHerald’s Isaac Davidson reports that Cunliffe will get nothing on the shadow bench.
    So in case we thought Little could discipline his caucus not to leak, there’s the answer.

    Normal transmissions continue.

    Cunliffe, it should never have been like this.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      So of the only two people Labour have who have the talent and credibility to fill the role as Minister of Finance – one does not want it and the other is not allowed near it.

      What are we missing here?

      • phillip ure 2.1.1

        if little backbenchs cunnliffe..

        ..(who is..when you boil it all down..the most effective labour person on his feet in parliament..and by a bloody country-mile..)

        ..if little bows to the abc’ers..and does this..

        ..it will be the first screw-up/face-palmer on his part..

        ..and will just signal to all that the same old labour shit is still happening..

        • karol

          Looks like Cunliffe’s being given some middle bench responsibilities. But the positions given this week will be up for review next year.

        • Matthew Hooton

          In 2003, Don Brash gave Bill English the #5 ranking and made him education spokesman, a portfolio Bill asked for. Andrew Little could consider doing something similar.

          • RedLogix

            Interestingly in an interview yesterday Little did say that the appointments were for one year only and would be subject to a review.

            One interpretation is that it gets Cunliffe out of the spotlight for a while; which may not be a bad thing.

            • weka

              It’s also possible that Cunliffe is taking a step back for a while to let the dust settle.

              Either of those interpretations wouldn’t suit Gower’s narrative though.

              • Jenny Kirk

                I hope you are right, Weka. This would be a reasonable solution to what is an extremely difficult internal situation.

          • Te Reo Putake

            Good point, Matthew. 12 months of Cunliffe badgering one of Key’s many dull witted lower ranked ministers, then back into a senior position, sounds about right to me.

        • phillip ure

          and i am dreading the appearance of that rightwing-trout/wide-boy/slater-lusk acolyte nash..

          ..that will be face-palmer number two..

        • Skinny

          I would imagine Little will look after Cunliffe considering DC came out strongly endorsing vote Little. Maybe even slotting him into regional development if he doesn’t take it himself, he could even get finance again, with Nash as his under study.

          Certainly hope Mike Williams goes into great detail (nice and ‘slow’) to explain the preferential voting system to Master Hooton.

          • weka

            The MSM will frame anything other than deputy or finance as a demotion/humiliation. Dumb fucks.

            You are very optimistic about Williams.

      • David H 2.1.2

        I see no reason at all to return my vote to Labour. Why King? Why a dinosaur from the old days? And whats this “Only for a year” Bullshit? Labour NEED to have the review into the disaster that was the last election, and stop fucking around with yet another leader, who’s the greatest thing since sliced bread until he does something they dont like, and out come the knives and the leaks start and voila another leadership race, Ad nauseum.

    • Not a PS Shark Sashimi 2.2

      Grant Robertson is back at his old tricks.

      Now is the time for Little to show his mettle. I believe he will act decisively.

    • tc 2.3

      Caucus is as caucus does, leopards and spots come to mind.

      Little will probably wait till hes sorted the rogues out before reshaping it for a run at 2017

      • Not a PS Shark Sashimi 2.3.1

        tc, Little and Labour does not have time on its side. Little has move King Shearer Goff Mallard out now. Little has to promote the young ones now. If Parker, or any politician, is talking about leaving: let them leave. Cunliffe is Hungry and that must be tapped.

        If Little demotes Cunliffe, like Shearer did to Fisheries, then Little has learned nothing, is under the influence of the Wellington/Hutt set, and is siding with the Caucus rather than the members and affiliates.

        Little does not have time to play with appeasing factions. He has to take the tough decisions.

        • tc

          Give em enough rope is a better strategy than take them head on, they’re duplicitous self serving has beens who will hang themselves out to dry given the right setting.

          There’s plenty of time, the voting public have very short memories and it’s how you run the GE not all this first cut caucus 2.5 years out.

    • King as deputy? The matriarch of the ABCers in power? WTF?

      THAT is NOT what I voted for in the leadership election.

      I do hope this report is wrong. Little will have failed on the first hurdle if he allows the ABCers to have their way.

      • Te Reo Putake 2.4.1

        Where did you read this, Bill? It’s not in the Herald article. Or the Stuff or RNZ pieces.

        • weka

          TRP, Gower was spreading rumours about it last night on twitter.

          • Te Reo Putake

            Cheers, weka and karol. I think the problem with some of the comments around the deputy’s position is the ignorance about the process. Little can certainly nominate someone, but it’s a caucus decision, not his. And the numbers in caucus have not significantly changed; the ‘ABCers’ are still the biggest camp. They showed that by dumping Cunliffe’s chosen whips at the first opportunity.

            On King, she is actually popular right across caucus and Cunliffe certainly had no complaints about her work ethic or loyalty. I’d prefer the job went to Adern or Lees Galloway, but King wouldn’t be a bad choice. Particularly if she agreed in exchange to retire at the next election to allow Little a shot at the Rongotai seat 😉

            • weka

              Do you know how the deputy selections happens? Nomination/seconder? Open or closed vote?

              Would Gower’s tweeting last night work in favour of the ABCs (eg give nods to various undecided factions)? or has the decision already been made?

        • karol

          It’s in the Stuff article – gotta wonder if it’s been leaked by the Robertson camp, to put pressure on Little.

          • weka

            anyone know how the deputy selection process works?

            • phillip ure

              leader tells caucus who he/she wants..

              ..then caucus votes to elect deputy..

              • weka

                That I already knew. I meant how that process works.

                • my apologies..!

                  ..have you always been a creature of such grace..?

                    • aahh..!..the last refuge of the illiterate..

                      ..the emoticon…

                      ..btw..i see you pumped out yr (un-cited/footnoted) prohibitionist/anti-pot bullshit while i wasn’t here..eh..?


                    • weka

                      I see it didn’t take you long to pick a fight phil.

                      btw, link or it didn’t happen.

                    • i see yr knitted-brow..

                      ..and raise you with a double-ha-ha!

                    • weka

                      that’s fine, I’ll assume you are telling lies again.

                    • oh..ok..so yr saying that you didn’t post anti-cannabis comments here..?

                      ..is that what you are saying..?

                      ..that..to/in yr mind..’it didn’t happen’..?


                      .is yr memory very compartmentalisad/selective..?

                      ..that you don’t remember such things you have said/believe..


                      [lprent: Just to enter the spirit of the thing. I fully oppose people using cannabis for recreation. I consider that you’d have to be an idiot or in great pain to use it. After meeting some of the gormless fools who have used for a few decades (case in point), I can’t see why anyone would want to inflict on themselves.

                      However I also fully support legalising the sale, distribution, and high taxation of cannabis. With mandatory long prison sentences for anyone who adulterates it. I really don’t care about people who are fool enough to let it affect them. I think that they should prepay their inevitable hospital bills just as smokers and drinkers do.

                      If you think that is a “hate cannabis” note, then you are dead right (probably dead in the head, but that is a different matter). I really dislike the mindfucked who live in a haze of chemically induced stupor. I really want to see you pay more consumption taxes. ]

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Hey, Phil. You appear to be bullshitting. Weka didn’t “pump out” any anti-dope stuff in your absence*. Or any other time that I’m aware. Put up or shut up.

                      *self absorbed much?

                    • “..Or any other time that I’m aware..”

                      that just shows how little you know about wekas’ stance on pot..

                      ..ask weka..!

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      I’m asking you, Phil. You made the claim, back it up if you can. Or just apologise if you can’t.

                    • weka

                      He’s just making shit up, which anyone who wants to search weka +cannabis will see.

                      Ironically, I was thinking earlier this morning that he had proved me wrong after his ban and had come back more aware of not taking over OM. Looks like he’s just been waiting for the chance to get right back into it 🙄

                      edit, you’ve got to admire the lengths to which he will take his stupid though.

                    • oh yeah..so you support the legalisation of cannabis..

                      ..do you weka..?

                      ..and this is what you have argued here previously…?

                      ..(and just because i can’t be stuffed trawling back to find the anti-pot pieces from wekas’ comments-history..

                      ..doesn’t..ipso facto..mean those comments weren’t made..)

                      ..anyway weka..all bullshit to one side..you cd clarify that real fast..

                      ..you just have to answer that legalisation-question..eh..?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Well, I gotta say, that’s morally gutless and intellectually weak, Phil. You clearly owe weka, and the readers you’ve mislead, an apology.

                    • um..!..no..!..

                      ..weka just has to answer that pot-legalisation question..

                      ..and weka has a habit of posting ‘scary’ pot stories..

                      ..and as she well knows…i have called her on them in the past..

                      ..i need to apologise to nobody..

                      ..why don’t you ask weka to answer that simple legalisation yes/no questions..

                      ..until then..meh..!..eh..?

                    • weka

                      I don’t owe you anything phil, I already know you are lying. I suspect that TRP and anyone else reading this who is a regular (assuming anyone else is reading) also know this.

                      But just to put this thread out of its misery, here are my comments on cannabis,


                      as an aside I note that irrespective of content there are none from the time that phil was on a ban. Oh dear.

                    • why can’t you just give a straight yes/no answer to that cannabis-legalisation question..?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Mate, you’re stuffed. You’ve had all day to back up your unprovable and pointless slur and you’ve gone from denial, through to goalpost moving, and now onto bullying. Grow up, why doncha.

                    • lprentsaid:

                      “..I really dislike the mindfucked who live in a haze of chemically induced stupor..”

                      how about those who love ‘to murder a beer’…?

                      ..what is yr attitude towards that particular ‘chemically induced stupor.’..?

                      ..i do find it to be quite amusing..

                      ..when you have people fulminating against cannabis..

                      ..all the while hanging out for their ‘cold one’…

                      ..or with one clasped in hand..

                      ..and funny story..!

                      ..often they seem unable to see their own ironies..


                      ..(and that’s without even going near the societal-damage caused by alcohol..to both consumers and those around them..)

                    • lprent []

                      So? Alcohol is taxed to pay for it. Cannabis is not.

                      Cannabis should be really highly taxed by society. In the same order as cigarettes because I suspect that they cause similar levels of medical difficulties.

                    • The Al1en

                      “edit, you’ve got to admire the lengths to which he will take his stupid though.”

                      😆 I’m guessing plenty more tarmac to travel down that particular path yet.

                    • weka

                      Indeed. I’m just wondering how far I can follow before I take pity.

                      phil – “why can’t you just give a straight yes/no answer to that cannabis-legalisation question..?”

                      Why would I want to do that?

                    • lprent []

                      Somehow he seems to want to avoid my resounding approval of legalising cannabis – so we can tax the arse out of it and raise the price….

                    • re cannabis/tax..i lean to the uraguayan model..

                      ..the gummint grows/supplies it..(thus creating heaps of new jobs..)

                      ..at a fixed price of $2 per gram..

                      ..(this to guarantee no criminal involvement..there’s no money in it..)

                      ..personally..i wd tax booze thru the roof..

                      ..booze is the one that causes all the cost/damage..’

                      ..pot is a much healthier intoxicant to use..

                    • @ weka..

                      “..Why would I want to do that?..”

                      i dunno..maybe to prove if you are or are not a bullshitting game-player..?

                      ..that could be one reason..

                      ..and aside from those ‘game-playing/bullshit reasons’..

                      ..why wd/shd you object to answer such a clarifying-question..?

                      ..unless the answer shows you are/have been bullshitting..
                      ..that much is blindingly obvious..


                    • weka

                      But everyone here already knows I’m not bullshitting. I’ve provided a link that shows my comments on cannabis and gives a fair indiction on where I stand on related matters.

                      Given you’ve repeatedly told a lie about me, been called on it, not recanted or apologised, and are now playing bullshit games yourself, so why would I answer your question? Obviously you prefer to do some weird, stubborn attempt at face saving that’s doomed to fail. That’s up to you.

                • Lanthanide

                  I doubt you’re going to get any answer from anyone who isn’t an MP or part of the Labour party machine, and they’re highly unlikely to answer this question in a public forum like this.

                  I also suspect there is no formal ‘process’ that is followed; each time a deputy has to be chosen they’ll probably do something that suits the caucus at that time.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    It’s probably detailed as part of the caucus rules.

                    • weka

                      I think that’s more likely. Pretty important process, I can’t imagine they would be casual about it.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    It’s a typical small group democratic process. Call for noms, candidate with most votes wins. I can’t recall many contested votes for deputy, by the way. It’s usually apparent to all who the leader wants and that’s usually the person who gets the nod. The whip’s positions can be a bit more contested, but again, it’s usually the two the leader nominates.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Yes, this is what I was going to follow up with.

                      The official process would be quite straightforward. The actual process, behind-closed doors and private conversations etc, would depend on the situation of the party, the caucus, etc.

                    • weka

                      TRP, show of hands or private vote?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Secret ballot, weka. But, not required in this case as King was the consensus anyway.

                    • weka

                      So how does that work? Do you mean she was the only nomination? Or they all talk amongst themselves in the lead up and signal to Little individually? Or they talk it through openly in a caucus meeting?

                      Just trying to get a sense of the in house politics and why leaking was thought to be useful by someone.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Well, in this case, Little would have first asked King if she was keen on the job. From there, it would not be a secret to anyone. My guess is the leak wasn’t a leak at all, more likely Little giving an off the record briefing or broad hint to Gower and/or others.

      • karol 2.4.2

        At this stage it’s about building bridges. Little is seen as not being part of any faction. But he is seen to be weakly associated with the Cunliffe camp. To me it has always been entirely predictable that Little would go with an ABC deputy – also, the deputy is selected by the caucus.

        Stuff reports that “it is understood” King will be nominated for deputy. That could mean someone in caucus is nominating her.

        • Bill Drees

          Cunliffe “built bridges”!! He did the decent and magnanimous thing and gave the ABCers top roles. He didn’t even reward those colleagues who also put up with shit from Mallard and Robertson in the Caucus rooms.
          It is proven to be utterly pointless to give an olive brand to that faction. They will use it to beat you up.
          Robertson/Mallard staffed the Wellington offices and undermined Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe. Little will suffer the same fate if he doesn’t deliberately and publicly break up that nest.

        • ankerawshark

          KIng for Deputy could be quite smart. She very clearly doesn’t want to be the leader, but she is part of the ABC’s. And a lot in caucus respect her. One would have thought that she might retire next election. so if she does, then at the end of the year, Little gets the chance to see whose behaved themselves.

          Disappointed about Cunliffe, but hopefully its just tactical.

          And wtf is leaking! FFS!

        • Karen

          I agree about building bridges. If Little had received a bigger mandate he would have had more freedom with these appointments, but he really does have to appease the Robertson camp as well as acknowledging the supporters of Mahuta and Parker. A very difficult balancing task.

          I think he has been very clever saying he will try out various people and in a year’s time he will review their performances. That puts them on notice to work hard and show unity.

          The deputy role is particularly difficult. He has said he would like someone from Auckland but I am not sure Adern is experienced enough to run things in Andrews absence yet. He has said he will be doing a lot of travelling about the country, so he may need Annette King to continue in that role in the meantime. Phil Twyford is another option. I think Nanaia is seen as too much of a Cunliffe supporter to get caucus support (they get to vote for this position).

          I think Cunliffe will not be on the front bench but be given a position close to it.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Building bridges is the wrong strategy and one which will weaken and eventually cripple a Little leadership over 12-24 months. The strategy has to be about Little making strong but fair examples that all and sundry can see.

          Caucus leaks are continuing. This is utterly unacceptable and exactly the kind of destabilisation many of us feared would carry on if a certain faction did not win the leadership contest. Its got to be stamped on, hard, or Labour will already have lost 2017.

          • Karen

            We do not know if there are caucus leaks or it is journalists thinking aloud. My guess is the latter.
            Little will be stamping on disunity – that as why he has said this will be reviewed in 12 months time.

            • weka

              Leaks might be from staffers too.

              I’m interested to see how Little handles this and think it might be good to give him a chance to show us what he is going to do.

      • phillip ure 2.4.3

        king as deputy wd be face-palmer number three…

        • Skinny

          King is not such a bad idea at this stage, she has the experience and should keep things in order. Be interested to see if Hipkins remains as one of the whips and who the other is. Possibly Lee-Galloway or Nash. I’d put Nash in there, keep him busy because he will be next in line to lead from the other lot, that’s if they want to continue a soap opera.

          • weka

            Better to not give Nash power then surely?

          • phillip ure

            can’t nash be sent off on a long journey..to somewhere far far away..?

            ..in that red fire-engine that rightwinger bought him..?

            ..he cd wear that spiv/80’s property-developer suit he so favours..

            • Skinny

              Phil don’t be too harsh on Nash, met him a couple of times and found him alot friendlier and personable than the aveage run of the mill Labour MP. I’m sure he would give you time of day, anyone on the Left for that matter. I guess what I’m saying is the man is young and if managed properly is a bright hope for the party. Let’s be honest talent is a bit thin in the ranks.

              • skinny..

                ..nash is the new face of the neo-lib/far-right in labour..

                ..he is part of the problem within labor..

                ..he wd rather drive hot needles into his eyes..than countenance the likes of a universal basic income..

                ..he just wants labour to be more and more like national..

                ..there is the lusk/slater connections..

                ..and i dunno about you..but that sets off alarm bells for me..(as in..w.t.f..!..especially when you recall he stated political goals of slater/lusk..amongst which was getting ‘their people’ into positions of political power..

                ..i dunno if you have read the neo-lib/poor-bashing defending tripe he has posted at the daily blog..

                ..he is resolute in his fuck-the-poor! beliefs..

                ..his apparent popularity puzzles me..

                ..is it just because he has hair..?

                ..give him a number one..

                ..and then see how appealing he is..

              • weka

                “I guess what I’m saying is the man is young and if managed properly is a bright hope for the party. Let’s be honest talent is a bit thin in the ranks.”

                His politics might be a worry though.

      • Murray Rawshark 2.4.4

        I don’t like Davis on the front bench either. Nor Robertson in Finance. Neoliberalism, steady as she goes, which is pretty much what I expected from an Engineers Union bureaucrat. Bugger.

    • Northsider 2.5

      Little won.
      Robertson lost, second time around.

      Little should perform like a winner and not let his opponent, Robertson, select his team! Shearer and Goff paid the ultimate price for doing just that!

      As for putting King in as Deputy! We are trying to engage with the young and we put an about to retire MP in as deputy!!!!!!!!!!

  3. North 3

    How obtuse can Suzie Ferguson of RNZ Morning Report get ?

    About 7.20 this morning Andrew Little questioned about Iain Rennie and the press-conference debacle. Little explaining that the propriety of the attendance of Kibblewhite (of the PM’s office) is an issue quite distinct from Rennie’s giving Sutton a PR platform.

    Why ? Because Rennie is the State Services Commissioner subject to a statutory duty in respect of the investigation. Kibblewhite is not. Simple, commanding fact.

    Do you think Suzie could get that ? Not a show. Little gave his answer, stated and pushed by Suzie, restated the simple commanding fact. But no, on she went. “If Rennie, then why not Kibblewhite…….? (paraphrase) – several times.

    Sounds to me like an absurd conflating of the issues to feed her personal unhappiness with Little’s calling for Rennie to resign. Beating the drum of a personal preoccupation is not what she’s paid for. If it wasn’t that then obtuse. And unartful.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Many will have missed this interesting comment that popped up late in the original thread on this topic”

      The press conference was called AFTER unknown people leaked extensive details of the complaint and the investigation to the media on Weds and Thurs the previous week. No-one seems to care who these people are, their motives or their responsibility for the ensuing public harm.

      Roger Sutton needs the book thrown at him

      This is only one of two comments from this person – both on the same topic. In my experience this is not troll behaviour; it has a high probability being of an informed insider, although we do not know their motive.

      But the next logical question is – not who leaked – but who was the recipient of the leak?

      And are there any dot’s than can be drawn to Key’s extraordinary apology to Slater two days ago?

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        On reading this:

        “I think it’s fair to say that Iain is deeply remorseful for the fact that he was silly enough to hold that press conference on a joint basis – he should have held a press conference, just not one on a joint basis.”


        I’m even more baffled. WHY did Rennie (an extremely experienced operator) feel the need for any sort of press conference at all? When everyone is saying that the entire matter should have remained confidential.

        What tipped Rennie’s hand?

        • nadis

          I suspect that the original plan for the press conference was Rennie describing what happened and Roger Sutton sitting beside him looking contrite and apologetic. But then Roger went off piste.

      • Ergo Robertina 3.1.2

        That the story leaked out is not the issue. Of course it’s irksome for those involved! After a lengthy investigation it was not surprising. And the story was in the public interest.
        From the original stories it was clear journalists had been asking questions for weeks on the matter, and were stonewalled through abuse of the OIA.

        The issue was the platform afforded Sutton for his self serving and sly apology, and the need for those responsible for that to be held to account.
        It was good to see the initial public support he engendered quickly receded when more information emerged.

        • RedLogix

          That the story leaked out is not the issue.

          For a matter that should have remained confidential – as Jackie Blue clearly emphasised – I would suggest it’s totally central.

          Because once the matter became public – there would be the inherent problem that while Sutton would immediately lose all privacy, the complainant retains hers. From that point of view you might be able to justify giving Sutton the right to say his piece.

          But because we do not know, nor should know, the facts of the case – it would all inevitably degenerate into a hopeless case of trial by media speculation.

          A fuckup all round.

          • Ergo Robertina

            Are you seriously suggesting Sutton could expect to work out his notice in the CERA office for three months, and that the serious misconduct finding against the head of the earthquake recovery authority would never be known by the public?
            That is just fanciful. Your shoot the messenger quibbles are distractions from the issue, which is the fair and reasonable management of the matter once it was public knowledge. Sutton should not to have been afforded a state sanctioned platform from which to blame the victim.

            • RedLogix

              Well that is what the EEO Commissioner suggested – so it can’t be that fanciful an idea. (And while Jackie is a Tory – I know her personally, she’s astute and very, very capable.)

              Now imagine if Sutton had NOT said anything. No apology, no personal accountability, nor any commitment to changing. Then he’d be demonised for remaining silent and not taking responsibility.

              A no-win situation all round and that’s not Sutton’s fault. Nor Rennie’s really.

              And while an investigation could be valuable, if I were Little I’d be careful about corners and wet paint at this stage.

              • weka

                “Now imagine if Sutton had NOT said anything. No apology, no personal accountability, nor any commitment to changing. Then he’d be demonised for remaining silent and not taking responsibility.”

                You’re missing the point Red. It’s not about Sutton’s needs and he doesn’t get to have an equal, this is my side, say in this (that was during the investigation). If he wants to have his side heard he should resign immediately and speak as a private citizen not from his position and then suck up all the consequences on his own time.

                His resignation should have been announced, along with the reason. He shouldn’t have done a press conference and the others certainly shouldn’t have supported him in it.

                • RedLogix

                  Let’s remember that this is an employment issue, not a criminal one, so there is no inherent right for the public to know anything.

                  And for this reason, to protect the dignity of both parties, it is normal for these proceedings to be covered by a confidentiality agreement binding on everyone involved.

                  When however Rennie determined that confidentiality was no longer an option and decided to hold a press conference – then this was going to fatally compromise confidentiality for Sutton. As I suggested above, natural justice now makes it somewhat problematic to demand Sutton remain silent. That’s not so much about ‘Sutton’s needs’, as due process.

                  As for the sequence of events – well he did announce his resignation and has pretty much sucked up the consequences. I’m not terribly fussed over whose time it was on.

                  • weka

                    He’s not leaving his job until Jan, and is on garden leave until then. That’s completely different to what I said and the context I said it in. Don’t start in with the misreplying to things I haven’t said Red, we all got sick of it the other day.

                    “Let’s remember that this is an employment issue, not a criminal one, so there is no inherent right for the public to know anything.”

                    So why have a press conference at all, both Rennie and Sutton?

                    • RedLogix

                      He’s not leaving his job until Jan, and is on garden leave until then.

                      Which is not an unusual outcome of this sort of employment dispute resolution. Logically if he was going to say anything it had to be at the announcement of his resignation. In practical terms his role is finished now – waiting until January doesn’t seem to change much.

                      So why have a press conference at all, both Rennie and Sutton?

                      umm – yes. Good question.

                  • Murray Rawshark

                    I think when a senior public servant stuffs up, the employer (us) does have a right to know what happened. If they don’t want that, they should stop taking such lucrative positions on our dollar. They’re supposed to be million dollar bloody supermen/women, and the sooner that myth is destroyed, the better.

              • Ergo Robertina

                ‘And while an investigation could be valuable, if I were Little I’d be careful about corners and wet paint at this stage.’

                Unlike you, Andrew Little has demonstrated a strong understanding of the issues in the case, and where responsibility lies.
                Whether you like it or not, the case IS in the public domain, and one side behaved deplorably on a state sanctioned platform.

                • RedLogix

                  No you are conflating two quite separate aspects of this.

                  One is Sutton’s personal accountability for the matters that led to the complaint. While you might feel aggrieved about the tone of what he said, he did substantively take responsibility, apologise and commit to change.

                  The other aspect is the question of whether this matter should have been public or not. There is a clear statement from the Human Rights Commissioner that says it should NOT have – so that is not an entirely unreasonable principle to point to.

                  On the other hand once that principle was compromised – and that was probably NOT Sutton’s fault – then some quite separate questions around natural justice do arise.

                  • felix

                    “While you might feel aggrieved about the tone of what he said, he did substantively take responsibility, apologise and commit to change.”

                    How on earth do you know? Due to the confidentiality agreement we have no idea what Sutton actually did.

                    All we know is what he apologised for, which was very, very specific:

                    1) hugs
                    2 ) jokes
                    3) calling people sweetie and honey

                    And that’s the problem. What if I broke into your house, pissed in the sink and took a dump on the rug, then with all the details suppressed I publicly apologised for leaving the toilet seat up and promised not to do it again?

                    We have no idea what he did, so we have no idea if his apology was substantive at all.

                    • RedLogix

                      Which way do you want it – blast Sutton for breaking confidentiality or for not breaking it?

                      What I would suggest is that if it were any more serious then you might reasonably expect this to be a criminal matter not an employment one.

                      What is rather irking me is that everyone is having a go at Sutton for breaking confidentiality – when plainly he is not the person responsible. It was actually Rennie who initiated the Press Conference in response to the fact that someone else who remains nameless had leaked details to the media.

                    • felix

                      “Which way do you want it – blast Sutton for breaking confidentiality or for not breaking it?”

                      I’m not doing either. I’m saying that we don’t have any idea what Sutton did, and that we are therefore in no position to judge whether Sutton has substantively taken responsibility or apologised for anything he did or not.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well as I said logically if it were much more serious – then it would be a criminal matter. That rules out a whole lot of possibilities, so we do have some idea. Maybe not specifically – but in general terms.

                      Bear in mind that the whole shambles of going public in the first place was a compromise that wasn’t really Sutton’s fault. Once that happened it all became a no-win shambles for everyone – Sutton, Rennie and the complainant.

                      You could just accept that the general intent of his apology was made in good faith in difficult circumstances. Is there any clear evidence of why we should not? Other than tone arguments?

                    • weka

                      Except it’s in the public domain that he was found gulity of serious misconduct, which people in the know say is not just a few errant hugs and sweeties. So we do in fact know that it was more serious than what he apologised for.

                      A State Services Commission investigation which found Roger Sutton guilty of serious misconduct was at odds with his own depiction of his behaviour as hugs and jokes, says a leading employment lawyer.”

                      ” Susan Hornsby-Geluk, a partner at Wellington employment law firm Dundas Street, said Sutton’s comments were at odds with what the SSC was saying.

                      “The State Services Commission’s confirmation that serious misconduct was found does appear to be at odds with Roger Sutton’s depiction of the situation as hugs and jokes, because a finding of serious misconduct is a very high threshold and requires significant misconduct as opposed to something that is more trivial.”


                    • RedLogix

                      Serious misconduct is a pretty broad charge that justifies his leaving the job. If it was a minor misconduct that would not be sufficient reason to resign – would it? So legally it has to be described as serious. Certainly Sutton himself accepts that the total pattern of hugs, jokes and inappropriate behaviour fell well short of what was required.

                      But going into a detailed recitation of every single offense would have been an even more gross breach of confidence – well beyond what was necessary to establish the background reasons for his resignation. Bear in mind that the need to go public on a matter that should have been private – was forced on him by the leaker.

                      Ah face it – you just want to know all the details so as to have a nice satisfyingly prurient wail about it.

                      Which is fine – I can’t deny you that. But you don’t get to grizzle at the same time that the breach of confidence has revictimised and humiliated the complainant. Or blame Sutton for that.

                    • felix

                      Sorry Red but that’s just bullshit.

                      Sutton chose to make the public statements he did, in breach of the confidentiality agreement. It is bizarre that you’re saying he is not responsible for doing that, he absolutely 100% is.

                      If he had to make a statement at all, and he by no means had to, he could have said “I apologise for my behaviour.” Instead he chose to define very specifically what he was apologising for, with no indication if that was the extent of what he had been found to have done.

                      That’s not a comment on tone, Red. It’s a comment on weasel wording, on setting an agenda he had no right to set, on his desire to get in front of the story and get his version out, in breach of the confidentiality agreement.

                      c.f. your own ‘he seemed sincere so he probably isn’t misleading us’ and tell me again who is making “tone arguments”.

                    • RedLogix

                      Ah felix

                      Ergo insists that the matter was never going to stay out of the public domain.

                      And you insist it should have. (Or at the least Sutton should have remained silent despite the fact that by going public it was HIS confidentiality that was most publicly being breached.)

                      And if he had just limited himself to what you suggest then we would be all having a fine old time yelling at him for ‘not apologising, not taking responsibility, and not committing to change’. Or at the very least ‘minimising’ what he had happened.

                      The point is that everyone here is obtusely ignoring – is that it was Rennie who decided a press conference was necessary because the matter had already been leaked to the media. By person unknown.

                      That was the point at which confidentiality was breached.

                    • felix

                      “Ergo insists that the matter was never going to stay out of the public domain.

                      And you insist it should have. (Or at the least Sutton should have remained silent despite the fact that by going public it was HIS confidentiality that was most publicly being breached.)”

                      It’s absurd to suggest that it’s up to Sutton to unilaterally decide when it’s appropriate for him to breach confidentiality.

                      What puts him above the law? He’s not some uninterested commentator in all this, he’s the person found guilty of serious misconduct. Why have a confidentiality order at all if it’s for the guilty party to take or leave?

                      “And if he had just limited himself to what you suggest then we would be all having a fine old time yelling at him for ‘not apologising, not taking responsibility, and not committing to change’. Or at the very least ‘minimising’ what he had happened.”

                      Apologies are funny things. After you’ve sincerely said sorry, if you keep talking you’re probably not apologising any more.

                      Sutton’s minimising (possibly, we still don’t know) had nothing to do with when he said sorry, it was when he said all he did was leave the seat up.

                      “The point is that everyone here is obtusely ignoring – is that it was Rennie who decided a press conference was necessary…”

                      Rennie calling a press conference in no way lets Sutton out of the confidentiality order either. You’re still essentially saying that Sutton is at liberty to decide whether or not he is bound by confidentiality or not.

                      You’re putting him above the law and I don’t understand why.

                      ” ….because the matter had already been leaked to the media. By person unknown.

                      That was the point at which confidentiality was breached.”

                      You keep saying that, yet still all we have in the public domain is Sutton’s side of the story.

                    • RedLogix

                      Rennie calling a press conference in no way lets Sutton out of the confidentiality order either.

                      Confidentiality or privacy in a matter like this is not a divisible thing. It’s a general sense the matter itself is either private or it’s in the public domain. But it also applies mutatis mutandis to both parties involved and in that respect each party has an interest in it.

                      From Sutton’s perspective – the calling of the press conference ended his expectation of privacy in the matter. He no longer had any say whether his name and the reason for his resignation was made public.

                      That’s the core problem here that everyone is tripping up on – that the confidentiality is a two-way street – and that the calling of the press conference broke one half of that agreement. Given Sutton’s expectation of privacy is now broken – is it natural justice to then demand he also remain silent?

                      The other half of the agreement remains relatively intact. The name of the complainant and and actual details are not in the public domain. And rightly so. Of course within CERA itself that will not be the case – but again that was an unavoidable consequence of Rennie being forced to take the matter public. Nothing much to do with what Sutton should or should not have said.

                    • felix

                      Conceptually, and in the abstract, I understand your point.

                      However I dispute two aspects of this story that I think you are taking for granted.

                      1. That Rennie was “forced” to do anything by the supposed existence of some mythical leak that no-one seems to know anything about.

                      2. That Rennie acted independently of Sutton in holding the conference, and Sutton simply responded. It looks to me more like Rennie facilitated the conference for Sutton.

                    • RedLogix

                      Fair questions felix.

                      My original point, backed up by the EEO Commissioner, was that in principle this should have never been in the public domain in the first place. Then we would never have been having this discussion about who did or did not breach privacy.

                      Well Ergo.R above argued strongly that the matter was in practise never going to remain private – and I have to concede that point.

                      Rennie would of course have known that there was a confidentiality agreement in place. He’s an experienced operator and no fool. Therefore what on earth motivated him to hold a press conference and place his reputation so clearly at risk? The obvious answer is that someone forced his hand.

                      If it was Sutton who was threatening to go public, then I’m certain Rennie would have indeed thrown the book at him. No way would Rennie allow himself to be pressured like that. He’s not been the head of the Civil Service all this time for nothing. Can’t rule this possibility out, but I think it’s unlikely.

                      The alternative idea is that Rennie just made an error of judgement, purely as a misplaced favour to Sutton, is also possible. But again we lack a plausible motive for Rennie to make such a basic mistake. He must have dealt with this kind of thing before.

                      Much more probable to my mind is that someone unknown – and beyond Rennie’s reach – had leaked it to the media already. Thus forcing him into the compromise of proactively taking the matter public.

                      I concede I cannot be sure, but that’s my analysis for the moment.
                      I’m not sure if we will ever get more information from any inquiry – but Rennie’s version of events would help clarify what exactly was going on.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    ‘No you are conflating two quite separate aspects of this.’

                    What? Your original comment was a quote from someone who blamed whoever leaked the story for the ensuing ‘public harm’ – i.e fallout from the press conference.
                    So they are not ”quite separate aspects” according to your framing of the matter.
                    I pointed out the leak was a red herring, because a serious misconduct finding that led to the departure of a well known and respected community leader from his role would inevitably enter the public domain.

                    ”While you might feel aggrieved about the tone of what he said, he did substantively take responsibility, apologise and commit to change.”

                    What an odd thing to say. You really don’t get why people think there was a problem with that press conference, do you?

                    • RedLogix

                      So if you are saying that the matter was inevitably going to enter the public domain – and I can accept that argument – then exactly what IS your problem with the press conference?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      You have acknowledged your complete comprehension fail. Good. I’m off to work and don’t have time for this.
                      But take a look at Mike Hosking’s editorial written in the wake of the press conference for an example of the dirty PR that the self serving apology was designed to foster. It was starting to become ugly – after the press conference, not immediately after the story broke.


                    • RedLogix

                      I asked you in good faith to explain exactly what your problem was with the press conference.

                      That was a total non-response.

                    • greywarshark

                      @ Ergo R
                      Sound point. Among others.

                      Not too many people have presented what is one of the main points behind all this. That is, that women need to have the respect of society, and in particular respect and acknowledgment of their worth and individual capabilities from their workmates, clients and those in the management structure – under and over them so they can do their job to the best of their competence, and receive acknowledgment for their skills, abilities, work, and successful outcomes.

                      If men, or women, can introduce a frivolous, trivial approach to a person, their work and seniority and ability to make statements and command in their role, is likely to be undermined if it becomes habitual. The person’s authority is downgraded, the young might call them flaky. Being called sweetie and so on is inappropriate in the workplace when addressing or speaking about someone in a senior position with responsibilities. Women rising to senior positions are also tempted to play with others like this. But there are more men still in positions of authority, and more temptation to play the game of subtly softening the edge of respect for or competition from their women managers and professionals. ‘They are off once a month with their women’s problems and so aren’t reliable’ sort of attitude is one attitude, expressed in recent years from a high-profile man in the business world.

                      People aspiring to rise in their profession, or their employing entity, may be mentored and someone senior takes a friendly interest, and they can discuss matters and problems with that person. But if the relationship becomes one where the person seems to be a ‘pet’ or favourite of the senior person, then the assessment of the work and value of that junior person by others, would result in the relationship overshadowing their true abilities, achievements and potential. It would also be remembered when there was promotion applied for, or gained. Is he/she capable in their own right, have they succeeded because they receive favourable treatment. It can provoke jealousy in others also, who don’t have recourse to the helping hand and advice.

                      Someone who has transgressed in this undermining saying they are sorry is likely to be someone who is playing the game of passive-aggressive authority over certain others. RedLogix is confused about the importance of this Sutton business, I think regarding it as being more of an aberration of the man, with good intent.

                      In Eric Berne’s book The Games that People Play he studies many hidden manouevres that we adopt and don’t recognise. I recommend his book to anyone trying to understand human behaviour patterns, and one’s own in particular! I think the Wikipedia page has a good summary.

                      The second half of the book catalogues a series of “mind games” in which people interact through a patterned and predictable series of “transactions” which are superficially plausible (that is, they may appear normal to bystanders or even to the people involved), but which actually conceal motivations, include private significance to the parties involved, and lead to a well-defined predictable outcome, usually counterproductive.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Thanks grey; your comment made me consider the role of mentoring, and its relationship with power relations and boundaries, and some of the reasons it’s lacking in many New Zealand workplaces.

              • JanM

                If she was that astute and capable she wouldn’t be a tory

                  • JanM

                    Acquiring degrees does not make you astute – it means you can pass exams – I know who she is – she practiced in the surgery I attended for some time.
                    There is a yawning gap between academic ability and emotional IQ as many people in high places demonstrate very clearly – Roger Sutton is a good example

                    • RedLogix

                      Blue gained prominence in the medical sector as a pioneering Breast Physician

                      Underestimating your opponents is smart how?

                      It didn’t look any better when the righties used to label Dr Cullen as a ‘failed history teacher’.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The Left thinks its so emotionally astute and connected in with real life people, but of course in reality, it is National that has a far better feel for the pulse of the nation and the perceptions of ordinary Kiwis.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      Suzie is a lightweight who tries to do gotcha interviews from a shallow angle where she clearly doesn’t understand the issues.

  4. adam 4

    I meant to put these up a couple of days ago – But I had not finished reading them so I thought that it was bad form to post without reading.

    The first is interview with Aleksandr Kolchenko a Crimean Anarchist who has fallen foul of an invasion force. Interesting read on life in prison, in Russia.


    The second is on China, and the question – well for me anyway, is why do our elites love the place as a political model? It is not a bed of roses they try to make it out to be. Especially for working stiffs and the poor – actually it’s kind of a divided country, remind you of anywhere?


  5. Jenny Kirk 5

    Is this story in today’s Herald the start of an effort to downplay the importance of KiwiSaver, and maybe eventual sale off ? ?

    KiwiSaver has failed to boost saving, economists suggest

    “ The aim was to compare …. see, ….., if membership or non-membership of KiwiSaver made a difference to the accumulation of net wealth, …..”

    “This study, which used completely different techniques and data from the first evaluation, provides a second piece of evidence which suggests that KiwiSaver membership, at least until 2010, had not been associated with greater accumulation of net wealth, and hence improved retirement income outcomes.”

    • Nic the NZer 5.1

      This should come as a surprise to no-one. Increases in hoarding behavior will never increase savings in aggregate (nationally). In order to increase saving you would need to increase wages for the majority, this probably involves the government running a larger budget deficit.

      Kiwisaver is probably a fine institution (providing a reasonably safe and well regulated environment for savers who value stability in their investments) but unless the government ensures that the economy provides people the income to support saving its not going to increase national savings over all. To think otherwise is a total fallacy of composition.

      • Jim 5.1.1

        Sorry that theory is just plain wrong just because you earn more does not mean you save more. I know many people who earn lots but never have any money and I know others who don’t earn as much but do have money and are good savers.

        For me Kiwisaver has been great as it means I have contributed more to saving than I did before. It also helped me take a bit longer view on things which has really helped.

        • NicTheNZer

          Let me try to explain it better. We just need to compare two weeks, during the first week you spend all your income. During the second week you (through an act of will power) spend two thirds of your income and save one third. So has aggregate saving gone up? Well in aggregate we also need to count the people who you spent money with. During the second week they received one third less of your spending than during the first. They received less income and so if their spending was basically the same between the two weeks (say they spent around two thirds what you did in week one both weeks) then the aggregate saving doesn’t change at all. Basically your saving cancels their income and eventually their saving. It’s called a fallacy of composition to think that the change in saving behaviour results in a change in the aggregate result.

          This is not to say some wealthy people don’t spend their entire income. It’s not even saying kiwisaver is a bad thing. Just that it can’t solve this problem.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.2

      Problem is, for those earning under $50K pa – which is a large majority of part time and full time workers, having a dollar taken out of your already very modest pay packet for Kiwisaver might mean little more than increased pressure to get into a dollar of debt to make up for that lost week to week spending power.

      edit – and what Nic the NZer said.

      • Nic the NZer 5.2.1

        I think Jenny was hinting at a ‘sell off’ however Kiwisaver is just a set of rules, its basically already a private sector scheme.

        I think its important to understand that Kiwisaver doesn’t actually make it easier for anybody to acquire ‘savings’ (a surplus of income) in the first place. The tax breaks do help with this a tiny bit (about $1000 p.a or 2% of income for somebody on 50K).

        • alwyn

          It’s $521.43 / year maximum actually, not “about $1,000 pa”.
          It has been at this level since 1 July 2011. It also requires that you put in at least $1,042.86 as your contribution.

          • Nic the NZer

            Thx, you are correct. I was thinking of the initial top-up. Should also point out its not much of a stimulus, as its locked in the retirement savings plan and invested. A lot of investment goes over-seas. It would be a lot more direct if they just gave everyone a tax break with those funds (even as a ‘reward’ for saving) though it looks a little unfair giving people a tax break for saving. Lots of people have trouble saving in the first place.

  6. Rosie 6

    I’ve just sent this message to my local petrol station

    “To the Manager of Johnsonville Z, Wellington.

    Hello there. I am a customer of Z Johnsonville. I have been coming to your store, once a week for two and a half years.
    I would like to know what clauses exist in your employment agreements regarding staff covering the cost of customer theft. I would also like to know if any staff have subsequently had their wages docked.

    I would appreciate an honest answer.
    I will be using BP, which I understand is a predominantly unionised site, until I receive a satisfactory answer.”

    I am assuming guilt on their behalf and boycotting them without knowing the facts.
    But tough! As customers we need to make it really clear to companies that we won’t tolerate even a whiff of suspicion about unlawful and disrespectful actions against their workers.

    If BP are indeed “predominantly unionised” as the CTU suggests:


    now would be a helpful time for them to come out and back this up and say what clauses exist, if any, in their collective agreements about wage deductions to cover theft. Customers can then boycott the other stations and support unionised sites. This will pressure bad employers into lifting their game.
    (Remember the Progressive Enterprises lock out of August 2006 – customers turned away from those stores for the duration of the lockout and for a few weeks after. Support from the shoppers for the workers hurt the company and their profits dropped during that time)

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      “(Remember the Progressive Enterprises lock out of August 2006 – customers turned away from those stores for the duration of the lockout and for a few weeks after. Support from the shoppers for the workers hurt the company and their profits dropped during that time)”

      Wasn’t there an even more recent one, like in 2010-2011, about bread distributors?

      My mum has shopped at Pak ‘n’ Sav since, and apparently Countdown were feeling the impact even 6 months after the situation was ‘resolved’.

      • Rosie 6.1.1

        Oooo, I don’t recall the bread distribution dispute, or perhaps only vaguely.

        Yes, the impact of the lock out really hurt Progressive, so much so that they sacked the CE, Marty Hammnet, over his handling of the dispute. His aggressive way of dealing with the union and the prolonging of the lockout cost them big bucks.

        • Te Reo Putake

          It all turned out OK for Marty, funnily enough. After he left NZ a few weeks after losing the dispute, he was given a similar job back in Oz. He left Woolies Australia in 2010, aged 54, saying he didn’t intend working again. Life’s sweet when you’re part of the elite!

    • there is an irony-o.d. aspect of all that in that food duopoly brouhaha that shane jones whipped up in his fevered-imagination..

      ..in that the ‘bad-guys’..the aussie-owned chain..

      ..treat/pay their workers better than the locally-owned ‘good-guys’…

      ..whom favour the minimum-wage..

      ..is it really better that ‘our own’ are doing it to us..?

      • Rosie 6.2.1

        phil, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation when it comes to which of the supermarket duopoly you choose to support.

        While Countdown has a healthy representation of unionised members and a higher starting wage, and Foodstuffs are known to engage in union busting techniques I still shop at New World, simply for the fact they are NZ owned and still supporting local producers by stocking their products.

        The bright fluro lights in countdown are too much for me as well.

        • phillip ure

          i bargain-trawl..

          ..f.y.i..new world has the best-tasting house-brand baked-beans..75 cents a tin..

          ..the pak ‘n save ones are beyond vile…

          • Rosie

            and speaking of tips, I find the local organic store has cheaper prices for the same items in the supermarket………..

        • Clemgeopin

          Countdown: Here is an useful information for the public:

          I noticed a very strange pricing model at Countdown quite by accident the other day:

          I, as usual, bought some loose cashew nuts from the nuts rack which were priced at $2.99 per 100 grams=$29.90/Kg

          A little later, on one of the isles, I noticed a 250 gram sealed ‘Homebrand’ packet priced at $4.29/250 gm=$1.72/100gm=$17.16/Kg.

          The Kg difference between the two is a whopping $12.74! or 74% extra!

          Shows how the trusting public get ripped off so very openly!

          And I found the sealed cheaper packet was actually better, fresher and tastier than the loose more expensive stuff!

          I have been buying about 200 gm of the loose cashew nuts every week. So in the last 12 months, it would have cost me about $311. Had I noticed the sealed packet before, my yearly cost would have been only about $179, a yearly saving of $132! Moral of the story : Keep an eye out for cheaper/better nuts while shopping!

          Goes to show one needs to be quite vigilant to the tactics of these crooked corporate monopolistic/duopolistic greedy capitalist bastards running our supermarkets and happily stealing your money left, right and centre.

          • phillip ure

            next time in pak ;n save i am calling out the manager..

            ..their basic peanut butter has gone up over 25%..

            ..i wd like to know how they justify such a huge jump..

            ..in these low-inflation days..

          • Draco T Bastard

            That’s fairly typical really. People just don’t have the information needed for the free-market to operate at anything like the efficiency that the economists say it will. It’s this lack of information that actually provides the greater profits as people pay far more than they should.

            For the ‘free-market’ to work everyone needs to be omniscient.

          • lprent

            I picked up on that one a few months ago. I have a thing for cashews.

            But I’ve also found that many of the packaged nuts are often cheaper than the loose nuts.

            • Clemgeopin

              Another thing of interest is that sometimes the so called, Specials/discounts/One card gimmicked prices aren’t really much of a saving (though at times they are) because the same or similar items are cheaper in some other super markets at their normal price! It is a free market marketing-mine field for us the consuming trusting suckers!

              Another thing that irks me is that our Kiwi products (dairy/meat) abroad are more often cheaper in foreign countries than here at home! What is with that rip off? Have any of you noticed that?

              • lprent

                I don’t use any specials cards or flybuys or anything else. I don’t like any marketing companies knowing more about me than I choose to provide.

                I choose to provide when the benefits to me far outweigh the costs. So far that has pretty much meant only Google and Amazon are acceptable. Sure they are making money off watching me. However I get a hell of a lot of useful benefits from letting them watch me.

                Otherwise I deliberately obscure my patterns of behaviour from everyone with face recognition to store cards. I have done so since about 1990 when I realised what a connected world would look like to a marketing company.

              • Clemgeopin

                Coincidentally, I just read this eye opening news re marketing deceptive BS that happens in this dodgy ‘free market’ corporate world.

                Consumer watchdogs around Australia believe too many shoppers are being played, launching a national crackdown this year on businesses making false or misleading “was/now” price claims.

                It said price “trickery” was widespread among retailers. “Don’t think they’ll do the right thing by you.”

                Australian consumer law breaches attract penalties of up to A$1.1 million.

                Read the interesting article here from today’s news:


          • JanM

            That’s been the case for years

    • RedLogix 6.3

      You are of course assuming that all thefts have nothing to do with the employee. You might find this wiki worth a quick read:

      An estimated 44% of shrinkage in 2008 was due to employee theft,


      The ugly problem of petrol drive-offs is that in many cases the employer is left with the suspicion – but no way to prove – that there has been collusion between the person who did it and the staff member. Anyone in retail will tell you this is a common type of problem.

      While I agree it does not in any way justify docking wages – it does complicate the story a lot. Just leaping in and assuming that some employers are mean bastards leaves the left totally open to being blindsided by the fact that some staff are thieves.

      • Colonial Rawshark 6.3.1

        Worth bearing in mind that an awful lot of that “employee theft” is white collar and conducted at the management levels…

        • RedLogix

          True – but that’s tangential to this story.

          • McFlock

            so is theft by employees.

            • RedLogix

              The story is about employees being docked because of theft.

              Some theft is caused by employees.

              What part of doofus do you not understand?

              • McFlock

                The story is about employees being docked because of theft committed by other people.

                The part in italics is obviously the bit you have difficulty understanding.

                If theft by a manager is tangential to the issue, then so is theft by an employee. The issue is theft by customers, and whether employees should be stolen from because of it.

                • RedLogix

                  Your first line is a faulty assumption.

                  When the drive-off happens the employer has no easy way to tell whether there was collusion or not. We know that about 40% of total retail ‘shrinkage’ is employee related – we have established it is a real non-zero possibility.

                  In the real world there is no simple way to untangle theft by customer from theft by employee – so some employers resort to taking the easy and wrong way out of the situation by docking wages in every case.

                  The fact is some employees are thieves and I’m not at all sure why you think its useful to arbitrarily eliminate this reality from the discussion. Unless of course you just want to discuss unreality.

                  • McFlock

                    Just because you might assume that logically some drive-offs might be done with the collusion of the attendant, it does not therefore follow that attendants should be arbitrarily charged for all drive-offs, even if you believed it was proper for the employer to unilaterally dock the wages of an employee who was believed to be complicit in a particular offence.

                    That’s why the topic of employee theft is “tangential”, as you put it. Nobody is arguing all employees, managers, or customers are angels or devils. We’re talking about the widespread (but hitherto not-very-well-publicised) practise of employers abusing their power to steal from employees whenever the workplace is stolen from. To which your response is to remiond us of the already well-known problem of employee theft. But then you insist that the already well-known issue of manager theft is “tangential”. Maybe the business owner is letting his mates do the drive-offs (that’s why he’s not interested in following with criminal charges), and then making his employees pay the difference. Did you think of that?

                    • RedLogix

                      Maybe the business owner is letting his mates do the drive-offs (that’s why he’s not interested in following with criminal charges), and then making his employees pay the difference. Did you think of that?

                      Of course it is a possibility. I’d like to see a link to confirm how frequent that sort of crime is. Besides in this particular Masterton case – a few moments thought would suggest how unlikely it is. Think – small town.

                      You seem to be getting twisted over this. I’ve repeatedly said that this is an issue well worth chasing. But just lets be a little smart about it and anticipate at least this particular bear trap.

                    • McFlock

                      so being a small town, you believe that it makes collusion by employees more likely, but similar crime by the employer less likely?
                      And you want to see hard data on the prevalence of employers docking pay to cover their mates’ drive-offs, but you also have no such concerns about accusing the employees of possibly being complicit in the drive-offs.

                      There is no “bear trap”. A variety of businesses have been outed for this practise since the first report came to light, so even iff every single employee in the first report were guilty of letting their mates do drive-offs, the odds are astronomically against every employee being complicit in the crime for which their employer has docked them without cause or evidence.

                    • RedLogix

                      We’re talking about the widespread (but hitherto not-very-well-publicised) practise of employers abusing their power to steal from employees whenever the workplace is stolen from.

                      And you respond to my point that some of this theft is due to the fairly well known problem of employee collusion – with the rare and totally undocumented problem of employers setting up employees by stealing from their own businesses and then using that theft as a an excuse to dock employees wages.


                    • McFlock

                      And you respond to my point that some of this theft is due to the fairly well known problem of employee collusion

                      what was the phrase? Ah, yes, here we are: I’d like to see a link to confirm how frequent that sort of crime is.

                      As in, what percent of petrol station drive-offs involve employee collusion.

                      Because at the moment, it simply looks like you pulled out a “40% of total retail ‘shrinkage’ is employee related” (which is almost certainly an old estimate based on monetary value, and would probably include branch managers and book-keepers who liked to go to the casino). So by that stat most of the employees in the original story who were docked/stolen from were completely innocent.

                    • miravox

                      Agree with everything you’ve written in this thread McFlock.

                      Docking workers wages for drive-offs is theft. There is no excuse – especially not cynicism or a belief that the worker might know the drive-off. It’s up to the employer to deal with that correctly, not to steal wages.

      • weka 6.3.2

        Presumably a pattern would appear?

        • RedLogix

          It might take a while and could be quite hard to spot. But you are right – that’s how most of the worst offences are eventually caught.

          The trouble with drive-offs is that that it’s pretty easy to obscure yourself from a security camera (hoodies and altered numberplates for instance) – that’s its a lot of time consuming work for an employer to even begin establishing a pattern.

          Just docking wages is the wrong solution – but you can see why some employers see it as the easy way out.

          • weka

            I suppose I’m used to smaller stations where you might only have a couple of staff on. I would have thought it pretty easy to match drive offs to who is on for that shift.

            • RedLogix

              Yes – but as I pointed out while you know who was on the shift, you have no idea who the drive-off was. They aren’t going to use the same car over and over, and they aren’t going to comb their hair nice and smile for the camera.

              And if they’re at all smart they aren’t going to do it very often in any sort of pattern.

              I fully support the left making this a visible issue. Really. But be awake to the whole story or we’ll get blindsided. It’s happened before.

              • BM

                I know from experience BP uses character recognition software to work out the numbers on the number plate.

                If you don’t pay, your rego number is then sent to head office where the number is flagged in the system as a drive off .

                Next time you go to fill your car the camera reads the number plate and then compares the result against the flagged list, if it’s a positive you can’t fill your vehicle.

                Unfortunately for me some one did a drive off in Auckland with a very similar number plate and it was my rego that got flagged as the guilty party.

                I had to ring head office and explain to them that it wasn’t me and until that was cleared I couldn’t fill my vehicle at any BP station around NZ.

                Real pain in the arse because it happened during the Christmas holidays.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Unfortunately for me some one did a drive off in Auckland with a very similar number plate and it was my rego that got flagged as the guilty party.

                  Same thing happened to my sister and her husband. When they checked with the gas station/head office it turned out that they only had the first three letters of the number plate. We figure that they just sent a form letter out to everybody with the same make/model color car with those three letters. Would have cost them a fair bit.

                  My sister and her husband were in the US at the time and could thus easily prove that it wasn’t them but I suspect that it would have been a different story if they couldn’t prove where they were.

              • weka

                Yes, but my point was that in some instances it would be possible to narrow this down to a pattern, with regards to teh staff, not finding the thieves. I’m guessing that most drive offs are not collusions between staff and thieves.

                • RedLogix

                  I’d agree the majority are not. But in a small town like Masterton (pop 18,000) – all the young people who grew up there know each other. It doesn’t even have to be direct collusion, it could simply be that the staff member recognises the drive-off as someone not to fuck with.

                  So depending on situation it’s not a vanishingly small number either.

      • Rosie 6.3.3

        Hi RedLogix, I am in retail, have been on and off for 12 years, managing stores. I’m up with the fraught area of theft. Personally I’ve never worked in a store where any workers have stolen from the company, but I know this happens.

        You are assuming guilt on the behalf on the employee. Do you really think that in todays employment market that a staff member is going to risk colluding with a customer/mate, assist them to get something for free and risk losing their job? Where will they get their next job?

        I wonder if you are putting too much faith in the integrity of employers. These same employers have also recently been given an extra length of rope in their power and an opportunity to exploit their workers even more with the passing the Employment Relations Amendment Act. We don’t have an equal playing field in the NZ workplace and such oppressive legislation can only contribute to the poor culture that exists.

        Things really suck for a large group of low paid workers in NZ. I’m more interested in supporting them than worrying about the details of individual theft cases.

        • RedLogix

          You are assuming guilt on the behalf on the employee

          No I am not assuming that every drive off is the result of employee collusion. That would be insane.

          But neither can it be ruled out – and it’s a hard problem to prove in many cases.

          I’m more interested in supporting them than worrying about the details of individual theft cases.

          Perfectly fine. Really. But just don’t walk into the trap of always assuming the employees are always innocent. That would be silly too.


          • McFlock

            Yes. Assuming all employees were innocent would be silly.

            But I have no sympathy for the plight of the small business owner who feels the need to dock staff just because that business owner has an unsurvivable business model.

        • Te Reo Putake

          I did a summer a few years back working security for a major mall retailer, Rosie. It was a fascinating learning experience, mainly about human behaviour. The chain concerned estimated that 40% of theft was from staff, but as they paid only cents above minimum wage, I didn’t give a toss about that and went out of my way to make sure individual staff knew when their sections were under closer observation.

          One unused learning is that I now know how to shoplift in a variety of ways. My favourite scam is one of the simplest: Legitimately purchase a few items that can be easily resold, put them in your car. Pick up the same few items and a Mars bar or a similarly cheap item. Return to till. Show receipt and say you “already paid for these”, but popped back because you were hungry/forgot to get batteries etc. Repeat ad nauseum.

          The store taught us about twenty different scams, most of which still work even in our high surveillance era. It’s hardly the fault of staff when theft is undertaken by people with actual criminal intent. It’s actually a form of theft when bosses rip off workers to compensate for their own failure to employ enough staff to make drive offs or similar crimes harder to do.

          • RedLogix

            It’s actually a form of theft when bosses rip off workers to compensate for their own failure to employ enough staff to make drive offs or similar crimes harder to do.

            While I can sympathise with the underlying sentiment; I’m not sure that Andrew Little (or any other Labour spokesperson) would be terribly well advised to use this approach.

            • Te Reo Putake

              Why, Red?

              • RedLogix

                Labour Leader tells workers to steal from their Bosses if they don’t like their Pay headlines.

                Balloon meet solid iridium.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Eh? That’s not related to the bit you quoted (“it’s actually a form of theft … etc.”)

                  I don’t think there would be any come back at all if MP’s called bosses looting pay packets for what it is: theft.

          • Rosie

            Interesting experience for you there Te Reo Putake, doing security – you can see what workers are up against when they have to protect the stock from theft. I know from experience how crafty scammers can be. It’s quite an added layer of responsibility but “just part of the job” at the same time.

          • Murray Rawshark

            True, TRP. If employers employed more workers at decent wages and involved them in the profits with some sort of a bonus system, I’m sure we’d have fewer problems. People don’t steal as much of people they respect, which also says to me that the gas station bosses feel contempt for their workers.

            • Clemgeopin

              If employers employed more workers at decent wages and involved them in the profits with some sort of a bonus system, I’m sure we’d have fewer problems

              It is irritating to stand in long lines in many corporate outfits such as Super Markets, McDonalds etc when there are only one or two (or just a few) till people serving the customers, even though there are many other tills that are closed off. This is just poor management or lack of sufficient people being employed by these multimillion dollar profit making greedy outfits.

      • greywarshark 6.3.4

        People have been stealing from the boss since – ?
        @ RedLogix
        Don’t write as if crime was something that developed recently. The thing is to minimise it, wherever it happens. So have to keep tabs and have guards if necessary. ‘Shrinkage’ in store stock is just a different version.

        • RedLogix

          Of course it wasn’t invented last week – that would be a totally crazy notion. And there are many things that can be done to reduce the risk – and most places use them. But the thefts still go on. It’s not always an easy problem to solve.

          All that I’ve asking is that we don’t get blindsided here – it’s happened before – by the wrong assumption that employees are always innocent in these cases.

          It’s totally worth chasing this issue – but don’t be naive about it.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.3.5

        An estimated 44% of shrinkage in 2008 was due to employee theft,

        Supermarkets and many other store types could stop a lot of that by going to a full free-delivery model. They’d know exactly what was ordered, what came in, what was delivered and who handled it. There’d be no shoplifting as there’d be no customers in the shop.

        And as it’s a more economic model than the present one of everyone going to the store every week we’d all be better off.

        Of course, 44% of SFA is still SFA:

        The total shrink percentage of the retail industry in the United States was 1.52% of sales in 2008 according to the University of Florida’s, National Retail Security Survey.[1] In Europe, shrinkage was about 1.27% of sales, and the same figure for Asia Pacific was 1.20% according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2008.

        • RedLogix

          Two thoughts DtB:

          One is that regardless of the rise of online shopping – people still rather like going to a shop. It’s a sort of social thing that I don’t think will ever die out.

          The other is that that number is an average – it would impact some sectors, particularly narrow margin operators like petrol stations, far more severely than those numbers would suggest.

          Then there is the Russian shopping model:

          Walk in and go around the shop (which is arranged as many, smaller sections with the goods you want behind a counter. Each with an assistant. Each one with a queue.

          You point to what you want. You get given a docket.

          You go around all the counters and get all your dockets.

          You queue up at the till near the door and pay for all your dockets.

          You then take your receipt and go back around all the counter queues again (may 5-20 of them) and use that to collect your goods from each one.

          You then go back to one final and very long queue to get out of the shop and your bags are checked to see that the goods you have match the receipt.

          Zero shrinkage I would imagine.

          • Draco T Bastard

            One is that regardless of the rise of online shopping – people still rather like going to a shop. It’s a sort of social thing that I don’t think will ever die out.

            Bollocks. It’s less social than playing computer games.

            The other is that that number is an average – it would impact some sectors, particularly narrow margin operators like petrol stations, far more severely than those numbers would suggest.

            I did realise that which is why I said many stores could benefit from going to a full free-delivery model.

            Then there is the Russian shopping model:

            Back in the 1970s, when people still had a vision for a better world, a store concept that I read about was that you’d still have stores and isles like you do today but that the isles were delivery systems. You’d find what you wanted as per normal, select how many of that item you wanted and then pay for it. The items would then be released to you for you to put in your shopping trolley.

            Overly complicated as far as I’m concerned though but still far more efficient than that Russian system you describe.

            • RedLogix

              Men play computer games – women shop. (Yeah I know it ain’t a fixed rule)

              Look at your average big mall – 90% of the outlets in them are aimed at women shoppers – because they just enjoy the browsing, the talking with the shop keepers – and so on. I know my partner calls it ‘hunter gathering’.

              As for the Russian thing – I think you missed the slightly droll attempt at humour there.

          • Murray Rawshark

            I don’t think shopping in Russia has been like that for ages. I was in Byelorussia a few years ago, and apart from having deodorant in a locked cabinet, it was much the same as in the West. Except that everything was a lot cheaper.

      • Murray Rawshark 6.3.6

        It doesn’t complicate things at all. I know which side I’m on.


    • Roflcopter 6.4

      My son works part time at Z after school, as a pump jockey, and enjoys the pocket money.

      All staff are paid above minimum hourly rate, and there are no such clauses in their contracts. Interestingly they had their Wellington regional xmas party on Saturday night, and my son said they were talking about the practice and management were saying they couldn’t believe that anyone would entertain this sort of inclusion in a contract.

      There are good guys in the industry.

      • Rosie 6.4.1

        That is really good to hear Roflcopter. If that’s the case they should do a press release to distance themselves from the practice and reassure their customers.

        • Roflcopter

          They did make a statement last week to that effect, as they were looked to for comment on the Gull situation.

          Interestingly as well, my son’s experience with Z has been very good… when he was employed, they put him on a 3 day course, paid him for attending (which I would have expected anyway), and they also do a lot of online courses and refreshers for all their staff, many of which have been NZQA accredited with NCEA Lvl 3 credits in retail etc.

    • nadis 6.5

      Ease up on Z Rosie – after all we are all part owners of it. This statement seems unequivocal:

      “Z Energy spokesman Jonathan Hill said drive-offs cost Z, which has about 28 per cent market share, about $1 million a year, so the likely cost to the industry was around $3m.

      However, workers should “absolutely not” have to pay the price and Z never docked workers for fuel theft, he said.

      BP communications manager Jonty Mills said company stations did not dock workers.”


      Also, if you really want to ensure Z follow the rules address your letter to Anne-Maree O’Connor at the NZ Super Fund. Thats where you get real leverage.

      • Rosie 6.5.1

        Ok. Thanks Roflcopter and nadis. I missed that piece in the dom post – too busy working…..ha!

        That is good to hear that Z are being decent corporate citizens. Still never hurts to give them a rark up every now and then. They are big, the workers are not.

      • North 6.5.2

        Nadis @ 6.5 – not one hour ago I heard from a woman in whom I have complete trust that she was sacked from a job in a BP station in the mid-North because she protested the docking from her pay of the cost of petrol stolen in a drive-off.

        Another I spoke to approximately three hours ago at a different brand station also in the mid-North basically had to have an unhappy exchange with her employer when shortly after she commenced the employer produced an employment agreement with drive-off liability on the employee explicitly placed on the employee.

        I’ll bet you the practice is widespread. With the employer in a position to pick and choose amongst anxious jobseekers. The applicant who betrays preparedness to be a doormat will very probably be the successful applicant. Here on PlanetKey.

        Until now of course with the matter blown wide open. As a result of someone going to the media. The opposite to the approach endorsed by Lanthantide yesterday.

    • Rosie 6.6

      Well folks, given that we had a thread going I thought I’d mention I’ve heard back from the manager of Z Johnsonville who assures me that in all honesty they have never charged a staff member for customer theft or a drive off.

      If you’re unsure about the policy at your local petrol station it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. Even if HR or PR have made a statement to the press stating wage docking for theft isn’t approved practice and isn’t undertaken (as nadis and roflcopter pointed out, which I had missed) there’s always scope for rogue operators. You just never know. If if they don’t respond or simply lie to you, at least they know people care and have their eye our for unscrupulous retailers in their community.

      PS: See North’s post above.

  7. Chooky 7

    On the G20 Summit….for the first time it makes sense to me ( I was turned off by the OZ ,mad ex-Jesuit monk, Tony Abbott’s macho shirt fronting posturing ).

    In this issue of Cross Talk, experts from USA and Britain discuss the following:

    …politics versus ‘free trade’ ,..issues of cross political agendas and purposes in trade talks between USA , China , Russia and the rest of us…Why are European farmers mad about USA led European sanctions against Russia?….Is this the end of Angela Merkel?…What is going on exactly in these big trade talks ?..TPP? …Where are they leading? …to greater collaboration and world peace..or is the secret underground agenda the opposite?


    KOALA SUMMIT: At the Brisbane G20 summit, Australian Prime Minister Tony ‘Shirtfront’ Abbott said: “The thing about the G20 is that it’s large enough to be representative and small enough to be effective.” But is this true? What is the real value of the G20?

    CrossTalking with Michael Hudson, John Weeks and Colin Bradford.

  8. am i the only one in auto-moderation..?

    ..or is site acting up..?

    ..if the former..cd i ask:..for why..?

    (update:..this one didn’t auto-moderate..)

    [They are all going into moderation for some reason – MS] [RL: I’m not sure if it’s all of them – but I must have approved 20 or more in the last few hours.]

  9. Karen 9

    As we await the details of the new Labour Party lineup the extraordinarily wonderful Giovanni Tiso has provided a link to a possible caucus meeting scenario.


  10. James Thrace 10

    King wont be running in Rongotai in 2017. Her billboards were all destroyed this year after being recycled. Paul Eagle is likely to be nominated for Rongotai.

  11. KJS0ne 11

    Brilliant edition of the ‘Best of the Left’ podcast from the US about money in politics and the fight for election campaign finance reform.


    Goes to show just how destructive bad campaign finance law can be. Key takeaway for me was the Princeton study that effectively proved what we have all known, that Congress(wo)men and Senators, and even Presidents are beholden to their campaign financiers far more than their voters and ‘constituents’ and that as it stands, the USA is an Oligarchy, not a Democracy. I dare say we are not far off it either given the massive advantage National has due in no small part to their cavernous warchest of money.

    From an article on the study:

    “Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”

  12. weka 12

    I just got some spam snail mail from my local Nat MP, asking for money this time. I see they had to send it in a plain enveloppe, not a National Party logo in sight until I opened it 😉 (the last few I got went into the fire unopened)

  13. greywarshark 13

    Clarke and Dawe are good for youtube shorties:
    I like this one: Wars are God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

  14. Ross 14

    What is missing in this “employers stealing from workers” story? I notice a long and interesting thread where everyone gets all technical about whether it is or isn’t the employees fault yadayadayada and let’s talk to our gas stations and make sure they don’t do it blahblahblah.

    It’s stealing. I don’t care what the law says. IT’S STEALING! When did acts of blatant criminality inspire knitting circle nattering instead of demands that justice be seen to be done? Why haven’t these dogs been charged with theft? Where are the demands for the police to act?

  15. some retired judge is going to get six months of troughing..

    ..to find out how that smith ‘got away’..

    ..(this will take six months..?..are you fucken kidding me..?..

    ..two weeks – a month..tops..!..

    ..you could probably bloody do it in a day..f.f.s…!..)

  16. McFlock 16

    Key’s office pushed slated based following briefings from the SIS, and the SIS, nad

    The report finds information Dr Tucker gave to the Prime Minister’s office was edited in a way that highlighted content about the Israeli agents when that material was only part of what Mr Goff was briefed on

    Farrrrking hell.
    If the PM’s office did it, does that mean we can say the PM did it (given he set the precedent of conflating the two)?

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that the security services aren’t creatively editing information to discredit opponents of the moneyed class.

    [r0b: See new post on this]

    • Anne 16.1

      Beat me to it by 10 minutes.

      Bloody disgraceful behaviour. Nothing we didn’t already know. Dr Tucker lied. Not Phil Goff.

      Now how about all those Dirty Politics deniers here and elsewhere make a collective apology to Phil Goff…

      Can’t see any post r0b.

      oops… just appeared.

  17. Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 17

    ‘Sad day’ for ABC as hundreds lose jobs


  18. lprent 18

    The auto moderation that has been going on for much of the day is due to a deadlock in the database on a specific table. It affects a bot checker service.

    Having identified the issue – how in the hell do I fix it?

    Time for a net search.

    • Murray Rawshark 18.1

      Answers the question I was about to ask. Good luck with the search.

    • McFlock 18.2

      cheers for that, and thanks to all the moderators volunteering extra-busily today – particularly with obnoxious oiks like me who might be arguing with them at the same time 🙂

  19. Pat O'Dea 19

    I’m convinced, so it seems are most others. (At least those who fill in Herald polls are).

    Do you support NZ’s involvement in the TPP agreement?

    7 – Yes

    174 – No


  20. logie97 20

    Managed to use my phone on a golf course yesterday,
    and was surprised to see a 4G network.
    There are people in New Zealand and particularly Auckland’s western suburbs who are crying out for a cell phone coverage of any strength.

    Oh, I forgot to mention the golf course?
    It is in that industrial power house area of Omaha.
    The one to be served by the oh-so-essential holiday highway extension.

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