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Open mike 26/05/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 26th, 2012 - 54 comments
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54 comments on “Open mike 26/05/2012 ”

  1. I went to see Jeff Rubin speak last night, former Chief Economist of CIBC World Markets and now author of a number of books on peak oil and the end of growth. http://www.jeffrubinssmallerworld.com/

    I wrote a review on his talk here if anyone is interested: http://www.southernlimitsnz.com/2012/05/review-jeff-rubin-on-end-of-growth.html

    His basic premise is this: zero growth is the new global norm. This does not bode well for the recent budget forecasts. I think it is a pretty safe bet that New Zealand will not be in surplus by the next election.

    He also predicts that we are at the beginning of a recession worse than the 2008 GFC and that Greece will default within 4-5 months with Italy, Portugal and Spain not far behind.

    • Carol 1.1

      Great. Thanks for this. I see Rubin’s policy suggestions differ from some of the ways he sees things developing, if they are left unchecked.

      e.g. He sees a trend to government contracting out work. This may be cheaper, but, it is not the most effective way to get work done. It lowers the quality and the pay of workers, while the private companies cream off profits.

      Rubin also sees the trend going towards young people staying at home longer & people working til an older age. This could mean less work for younger people. However, Rubin’s policy solution is for more job share.

      For myself, I plan to keep working as long as I can. But, now in my early 60s, I have shifted to part time work, and in an alternative occupation from my (previous) main career. This job pays less, and I have less responsibilities. But I live frugally so can live OK on my income. I also work weekends (the relatively unsociable hours that are least favoured by younger people with families or lively social lives).

      However, one thing I would suggest as a policy for older workers, is more consideration of the requirements to making such transitions. In my case the in-service training development is focused more on career development for younger workers, via uni degrees (I already have a string of these, and in many ways am over-qualified for my current work). For older workers, there should be more focus on recognising transferable skills, and targeting inservice training/education on specific requirements of the current job.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Of course, contracting out is not actually “cheaper” if the quality and service you get in return is also cheaper.

        Classic example are our defence forces catering services which have been contracted out. Cheaper is what it looks like, but you also get what you pay for less the private sector profit margin and higher financing costs.

      • muzza 1.1.2

        Contracting out is certainly not cheaper here are some reasons why.

        1: Govts are obliged to take the lowest tender….too bad if it turns out to be more expensive, as they don’t treat business case, or benefit realizations as living documents over the life of the transition.

        2: Govts are deliberately poor at commercial contracts, and have a history of being miliked, with inside help from “public servants”.

        3: Contracting out = Kiwis out of work = additional social costs which become exponential

        4: Contracting out means that (most) likely, profits flow offshore, the profit has to be created out of the contract elsewhere, loweer wages, less staff, worse quality….We all pay for that one way or another.

        So it goes on!

    • M 1.2

      Nice one SL, been a fan of Jeff for ages. His delightful phlegmatic delivery of crucial information in that wonderful Canadian drawl effectively make those who want to continue to prop up the clearly unsustainable look like they’ve missed a dose of their meds.

    • Dr Terry 1.3

      Thanks. Interesting material here with lots to think about.
      Even if New Zealand is in surplus by next election, will that be reason for Government gloating? Fine to have a sound economy whilst we have a population in misery.

  2. just saying 2


    From today’s Herald, John Key revealing what I believe is one of his main reasons for returning to New Zealand for the PM gig:

    He also said that if you were shopping for countries, New Zealand would be a good prospect.

    “If you were really going to go out and buy a country, why wouldn’t you want to buy New Zealand?

    “Would you really want these other countries that are highly indebted, have hugely inflexible and inefficient systems, don’t have the natural resources that we have, don’t have the potential that we have.”

    I’m sure he will be richly rewarded by our owners to-be.

    • Carol 2.1

      Indeed, an interesting exposure of how Key (and his cronies) mind/s work – it’s all about trading and playing the market.

      “If you were really going to go out and buy a country, why wouldn’t you want to buy New Zealand?

      This exposure of Key’s outlook should be put up on billboards and t-shirts everywhere.

      John key – the man with a mission to sell NZ to the highest bidder!

      John Key: trader in money and countries – he’s busy selling yours!

      • just saying 2.1.1

        You’d think it would be unwise for Key to publicly associate himself with the idea of “buying” NZ. Do I see another cutesy photo-feature of the Key family (maybe at the beach) in a women’s magazine, in the near future?

        This will become a part of the bigger picture that is emerging, especially if it is successfully exploited as such by the opposition.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        John key – the man with a mission to sell NZ to the highest bidder!

        Uh, not quite. I don’t believe that you have understood John Key’s mindset correctly.

        He is going to sell NZ to his mates for cheap so that they can maximise their profits off us, and in doing so owe him.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see John Key get offered a board position at one of the big investment banks soon after he leaves office, for instance.

    • muzza 2.2

      Indeed those comments are a genuine attempt for Key inform people the real agenda, I would like to say that it might be attached to guilt, but that is not an emotion which people with psycopathic tendancies have, so I am going with brazen honesty..

      Key is capable of telling the truth about the big picture as he has here, but then will lie openly when covering up the little links in the journey to that same big picture, as a way to try throw people off the trail.

      This is a facinating insight, and I would hope that those in the public who still think Key is doing a good job, are paying attention to such statements as they are not throw aways!

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Government will increasingly contract out services to private companies who can provide services at a cheaper rate in an effort to decrease government spending.

      Ha, no they can’t. That’s one of the lies that this government and others have used for privatisation since the 1970s.

  3. RedLogix 3

    An excellent Kim Hill interview with Prof. Steven Keen on Radio NZ this morning. He’s a difficult subject to interview because he’s got so much information to convey and tends to come across as a little arrogant about it.. but Kim manages pretty well I thought. The essentials of Keen’s thinking are all there… plus few new ones I haven’t read lately.

    Well worth a listen.

    • ianmac 3.1

      Totally agree Red. I am not Economics literate but Steven Keen makes a great deal of sense. Perhaps our Financial Leaders should be forced to listen?
      His point about banks enticing more people to borrow huge amounts in relation to their own stake which causes the Private Debt bubble to blow up, – again. Decades ago if you had $30,000 you could borrow $100,000 for your house. Again now, your $30,000 can let you borrow as much as $1,000,000. Banks want you to.
      Crafar farms anyone? Inflated house prices?

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        We need to listen to and support economists which aren’t trapped in the cosy bank-sponsored neoliberal paradigm of the world.

        Which is pretty difficult since virtually every economics department in the world is still teaching their undergrads demonstrably incorrect shit about “Value At Risk” analysis, the inter-changeability of savings, debt and money, and price/supply/demand curves.

        Basically modern orthodox economics is dangerously over-financialised and false.

      • muzza 3.1.2

        Thats right ianmac, it is exactly how banks, being at the center of the problem, inflating the debt (monetary) supply out of thin air, but with the consequence, that once the house of cards falls, the debt holder gets to own all the hard assets, and force the sale of those which is does not own…

        And thats really just the retail banking sector interface you refer…of course behind those learly coloured banking stores lurks the casino banking cartels…

        I wonder how long it will be before that $112 Billion, becomes an “official” problem..

      • sweetd 3.1.3

        Whih bank lets you borrow 1,000,000 on 30,000?

        • Colonial Viper

          Not sure that you would in NZ. However, 5% deposit mortgages are coming back in NZ. With $30K down you’ll get a $600K mortgage.

          In the US, zero down mortgages are still common.

    • Uturn 3.2

      Interesting interview, mainly Keen talking. Ultimately he proposes a kind of tinkering right up close to the inevitable line that will have to be crossed, eventually, if humanity really wants to begin addressing inequalities in society caused through the limitations of economics. His solution will certainly be palatable to many. A bit like voting Labour over National: same end, different speeds, one more ocmfortable than the other and the seats have cup holders. The admission that it is the gentle approach to major change is spelled out at the end, where both he and Hill unsurprisingly arrive at the Marxist conclusion as self evident.

      The other problem with his scheme involves his focus on using it to attend to house prices (a specifically irrational NZ issue for the middle classes, why I don’t know, something to do with uncertain/irreconcilable moral values) in which he comes close to making the same mistake as neo-classical economic thinking, in that they assume the financial activites of an indivdual extrapolated how many times equal the activities of a society.

      Keen says the amount of borrowing should be limited by a person’s level of savings, but forgets that (does he forget? Why did he not clarify?) businesses would be obliged to use the same model, and that a system that overnight abolishes our current blank cheque leverage lending idea, would make it impossible for construction firms – mainly smallish firms – to meet the ideal of a “middle income home” worth 2-2.5 times the median income. Not only would their formation become restricted, but sourcing materials cheap enough would risk either impossibility or the trap of monopoly. There are too many unexplained practicalities of building the utopian house. He often blends morals and values with economics, but he makes no attempt to understand why such a house would be required or even if the problem would still exist by the time his system began to function. It seemed like he was trying to sell his idea to specific group of people, who had no idea about the application discussed, but held some common and unexamined values and ideals about life. Man’s got to eat, I suppose. But who’ll pay the bill?

      This idea wasn’t tagged onto his comments about allowing government lending to catch up to bank lending, so I have no idea if he thought the government would become the owner of construction firms. This idea seemed purely theoretical to me, it wasn’t explained, or at least it was explained within a vacuum; like calculating on paper how far a new type of aircraft with round section wings could travel in a 30 Knot headwind before the first protoype had been built.

      Definitely worth a listen, overall, for an excellent explanation of effects of neo vs. classical economics, but there are some holes that are not explained. If anyone here can fill them in, I’d appreciate it.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        businesses would be obliged to use the same model, and that a system that overnight abolishes our current blank cheque leverage lending idea, would make it impossible for construction firms – mainly smallish firms – to meet the ideal of a “middle income home” worth 2-2.5 times the median income.

        Agree, that ideal ratio is not going to be achievable any time soon.

        I personally don’t see why a quality (albeit modest) 3 bedroom house can’t be built for $200,000 plus land if private sector profit taking was set aside, and highly common plans and materials used. Plus centralised bulk purchasing of course. In other words, state housing, built by the state.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    In The Guardian:

    • allowed queues of up to 90 patients at a time to build up at its telephone helpline;

    • met its targets, in part, by adjusting figures to blame delays on patients;

    • rang at least one patient who had waited too long to see a doctor to give them a new waiting target instead;

    • repeatedly took visiting doctors off roving duties in order to operate clinics and hotlines because it had too few staff on duty to cover the county.

    And who was this font of capitalist efficiency? None other than Serco – the people this government just hired to do prisons for us which is having difficulty meeting targets.

  5. Willem 5

    Matthew Hooton has a bigoted small minded story in the NBR, accusing Helen Clark of being corrupt.

    He should no longer be referred to as a “political commentator” by the various media that give him oxygen.  

    This story indicates that National is going to push a ” Labour is Corrupt” theme.  Time to fight fire with fire. 


  6. tsmithfield 6

    Are there people in Labour shitting themselves at the moment?

    From the article:

    The Serious Fraud Office last night said it might yet make its own inquiry into how William Yan – also known as Yang Liu and Yong Ming Yan – was granted citizenship.

    Hardly a surprising considering this from an internal affairs official:

    During the High Court trial, a Department of Internal Affairs official said Mr Yan was confident of gaining citizenship because of support from MPs such as Labour’s Dover Samuels. “He was so anxious that we send the files to the minister. He just wanted the file to go to the minister,” said Johannes Gambo, an Internal Affairs case officer in Auckland.

    Mr Gambo wanted to make further inquiries with immigration authorities in Australia. “I had a phone call that I was told not to ask any more questions because there was a lot of political pressure to send the file to Wellington. I was told to just process the file, send it to Wellington, don’t worry about asking any more questions.”

    This case must be like a Jaws movie for Labour. “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…”

    • ianmac 6.1

      I read that TS and couldn’t quite see what the problem is. While the system allows for Ministerial intervention, then cases will be referred onwards.
      Funny that the SFO might express an interest given that they usually are only involved with sums over $200,000. Don’t think that Mr Jones was offered or given any financial gain nor anyone involved with Mr Yan. The agent who acted for him charged $10,000 which is presumably the going fee.

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        The problem is, ianmac, that this guy had serious unanswered questions about him, yet there still appeared to be a rush to get his citizenship approved at a political level. And there was no need for the rush, because the guy had residency, so couldn’t be sent back to China anyway.

        Also, the claim that this was on humanitarian grounds doesn’t stack up with previous decisions Jones had been making with respect to immigration. For instance this case which on the face of it would seem just as deserving of ministerial intervention, if not more so.

        You are correct about the SFO being only interested in cases exceeding $200k. So, perhaps they could be interested because they are aware of information that hasn’t hit the media yet?

        • David C

          Its been reported that yan/liu dropped upward on $10 mil at sky city and if he could afford to throw away that kinda coin who knows what he threw at Samuels/Jones/Labour.

          Good to see also that it has been confirmed that there is no “note” supporting the Jones claim that he would be killed and chopped up for spare parts.

          • Colonial Viper

            Its been reported that yan/liu dropped upward on $10 mil at sky city


            • Jackal

              I guess David C is talking about this article: The mysteries of Citizen Yan

              Yan was one of SkyCity casino’s biggest gamblers where he was considered to be volatile. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) said in 2009 that he was “one of a number of gamblers of significance whom the department has discussed [with] SkyCity”.

              The police have investigated Yan’s activities. No charges have been laid.

              The Serious Fraud Office this week told the Attorney-General it is interested in any information relevant to its role that may come to light if an inquiry goes ahead. SFO boss Adam Feeley said he would not rule out starting his own inquiry.


              A DIA official told him Yan would be executed and his organs harvested if he returned to China. Jones therefore approved citizenship on humanitarian grounds. The DIA has nothing on record to indicate that advice was given but Shane Jones believes he took a note of it and is trying to find it.

              A bit of over exaggeration again by David C.

      • muzza 6.1.2

        The real problem of course is that “all sides” are neck deep in dodgy dealings….

        Notice how we have Banks, followed by Jones, all with the aim of confusing the electorate.

        To control all sides, you have to corrupt all involved…

        Are we getting it yet!

  7. Jackal 8

    John Hansen – Asshole of the Week

    While the dog whistle of terrorism reverberates around the empty skulls of racist bigots, a judge is meant to be free from such prejudices…

    • Murray Olsen 8.1

      I think the only requirement is that they not make their bigotry so obvious. Not to mention their incompetence. The only question I have is how many drinks he’s been shouted at the Northern Club since his travesty of justice.

    • Populuxe1 8.2

      Um, just out of curiosity, how do you manage to get “the dog whistle of terrorism” from “But I regard it as highly relevant that the offending was not gang-related or associated with what I might call ‘conventional’ avenues of criminal activity. On the contrary, it occurred in pursuit of a worthy ideal and, perhaps most significantly, involved only a remote risk that it would lead to crimes of violence.”?
      When you say the charges are unprecedented, what exactly are you comparing them too as I can’t recall any similar examples?  If you compare it to the case of Bernard Shapiro in Christchurch, the judge  held that “the offences were technical breaches in which Shapiro had exercised poor judgment, had been taken advantage of by a friend, and had relied on advice which proved to be not entirely accurate, from an arms dealer.” However, he was an a sole actor and had a clean record. Tame Iti had that previous weapons charge from 2005, which would have counted against him in sentencing. Ten firearms charges is not insignificant.
      I’m not saying an investigation isn’t called for, but the ridiculous terrorism charges had already been dismissed so I fail to see the relevance to the current sentence. To harp on about the terrorism canard doesn’t help matters in the slightest. I have my doubts as to whether prison and not community service was the right option. I agree with Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge that “I think there was a serious issue there. You don’t demonstrate with molotov cocktails. On the other hand, was there overcharging, was there  overkill, was that a sledgehammer? I think there’s an element of overkill.”
      I wonder what you would be saying if it had been Kyle Chapman and mates running around with sawn-off rifles, semi-automatics and Molotov cocktails? Also defence lawyer Russell Fairbrother’s assertion “What Tuhoe do is their business. We’ve got to stop judging other people by our standards.” strikes me as patronising. It suggests that Maori belong in a category not responsible for their actions along with children and the mentally ill. Maori are modern people with modern lives in a modern world. Misuse of firearms is a serious issue and if someone had gotten hurt or killed because of a bunch of overgrown kids playing sillybuggers, we would be having a very different conversation. </end cathartic rant>

      • Jackal 8.2.1

        I’m comparing them to similar cases Populuxe1. For example where somebody is caught with Molotove cocktails and premeditation of a crime is proven but not undertaken, they recieve less than a year. Most offenses concerning unregistered firearms receive a warning.

        So while Hansen says he thinks there’s only a remote risk that the training would lead to crimes of violence, he hands down a sentence that is completely disproportionate to that contention, leaving myself and many other commentators to think that he’s been listening to the dog whistle that continues to be promoted by the police.

        Let’s take another example where Cameron Slater publishes material calling for somebody to be gut shot, is known to have a mental illness, weapons and a large cashe of ammunition… but the police don’t even bother to question the hate monger. Do you not see the disproportionate treatment certain people get over others?

        You quote Bill Hodge who says that people don’t demonstrate with Molotov cocktails, however sometimes they do. In this case it’s spurious to say that the Urewera four were using Molotov cocktails at all. There is no clear evidence linking them to what the police claim were Molotov cocktails. These so-called “restricted weapons” were not even taken off private land were they?

        You then make a link between what was occurring in the Urewera’s and what white supremacist groups undertake all the time. The disproportionate focus on Maori in comparison to white supremacists couldn’t be starker. It shows an endemic racism within not just the police force, but policy makers as well.

        Also defence lawyer Russell Fairbrother’s assertion “What Tuhoe do is their business. We’ve got to stop judging other people by our standards.” strikes me as patronising. It suggests that Maori belong in a category not responsible for their actions along with children and the mentally ill.

        It does not! It suggest there is some truth to the argument that Tuhoe is a sovereign nation that has never signed its right over to invading forces. Where on earth you got “children and the mentally ill” from is what is patronizing. Fairbrother also raises the issue of what private land actually is. Now that a retrospective law change has allowed the police unfettered access to spy on people no matter where they are, his statement is even more pertinent.

        Misuse of firearms is a serious issue and if someone had gotten hurt or killed because of a bunch of overgrown kids playing sillybuggers, we would be having a very different conversation.

        I couldn’t agree more. In fact I’ve written extensively on the subject… but the point you seem incapable of fathoming is that nobody was hurt, the crowns case was largely based on speculation and the sentences handed down were unprecedented in such circumstances. There are serious grounds for an appeal here, and I wont be surprised when Hansen’s prejudiced decisions are overturned.

      • Deborah Kean 8.2.2

        if someone had got  hurt or killed because of a bunch of overgrown kids playing sillybuggers, we would be having a very different conversation.


    • Hammer 8.3

      Mirror mirror on the wall?
      Don’t look too closely jack-off 

  8. The judgement on Liu is like Scottish Law (a very good one)
    “Not Proven”.
    This is not over yet by a long way.

  9. Those wise economy boffins in National have discovered a new revenue stream to fund the $150 million refurbishment of New Zealand House – link

  10. Jackal 11

    Complaints against Waitangi column upheld

    14. When the statements are considered in context, a reasonable reader would assume they are referring to Maori as a race rather than to just the protesters at Waitangi.

    While there may be truth in the “hopeless failure” of some Maori to educate their children and stop bashing their babies, it is inaccurate to make the allegation against Maori as a race.

    15. The inaccuracies upon which some of the opinions are based also make the opinions so extreme that in the Council’s view they go beyond what is acceptable and become a gratuitous offence to Maori as a race.

    16. It is because the allegations against Maori as a race are inaccurate, and the opinions are extreme to the extent of being a gratuitous offence to Maori, that the complaints are upheld.

    It’s interesting that the Herald also reports that their readership has increased dramatically, which is one of the main reasons they publish such articles. It causes a scandal and people therefore buy more papers and visit the Herald website more, which means they can sell more advertising… have you seen how much advertising is in the Herald these days?

    Unless there are some real financial disincentives to promoting such racist claptrap, we will continue to see similar bigoted and inaccurate articles being published.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      …have you seen how much advertising is in the Herald these days?

      Nope, can’t say I have. Don’t get the paper version and I have Adblock to remove advertising.

  11. Sam Hall 12

    Lifestyle Creep; peoples lifestyles being led by MARKETEERS for PROFIT.
    Committing people and families to PAYMENT PLANS and DEBT
    DEBT. Follows around like a bad smell.
    An ongoing CASH-COW for the corporate level and WANNABEES elite.

    THINKING STUDENTS reference to Foucaults analyses of POWER DISCIPLINE PUNISHMENT
    EXCELLENT analysis and synthesis there.
    Great Work.

    Liberal Studies at unis being CUT first.

    RODD CARR, what a small-minded man.

    Axe any Philosophy courses that direct one away from Utilitarianism?

    Watch the mass-produced cohorts of non-utility “professionals” and their addiction to credentialism flee with the neglected productive classes.

    Paul Thomas seems like a poor historicist apologist shoeshine boy.

    IF one is aged between 30 AND 47 years of age and existentially relaxed, they are most able to challenge and modify the values beliefs and attitudes of the OLDER GENERATION who could know better.


    EMPLOYMENT, of greater value to a LABOUR representative. Or give the portfolio to That Cunliffe chap.

  12. Jackal 13

    Rena disaster – who’s really to blame

    The failed free-market ideology that National blindly follows and greedy multinational’s are just as much to blame as those hapless idiots Captain Mauro Balomaga and navigational officer Leonil Relon who piloted the MV Rena into the Astrolabe reef…

  13. captain hook 15

    shed a tear for james gurley.
    passed on monday.

  14. Sam Hall 16

    Mr Smith. Very Helpful. U the bomb.

    Joe 90; Groovy.

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