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Open mike 28/07/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 28th, 2010 - 32 comments
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32 comments on “Open mike 28/07/2010 ”

  1. The Chairman 1

    Warehousing our elderly for profit

    By Geoff Harper

    Many New Zealanders, especially those with loved ones in rest homes, think their elderly relatives are safely and carefully looked after by well meaning and benign organisations.

    This may well have been the situation in the past, because it was mainly carried out by the state and church organisations that had a culture of care and concern.

    It may come as something of a shock to discover that 75 per cent of the country’s 870 rest homes are run by mostly overseas companies and the Overseas Investment Office last year approved sales of aged care facilities valued at more than $1.5 billion.

    There are 34,000 residents in rest homes, many provided by chains such as Radius, Ryman, MetLife, Bupa Care Services, even the Kuwait Finance House. All profits naturally are repatriated to their overseas owners.

    This profit-driven “industry” attracts around $1 billion in direct subsidies from the Government and input from 18 Ministry of Health and associated agencies.

    Subsidies and fees are around $47,000 a year per person – nearly $1000 a week.

    In addition those residents who do not qualify for subsidies fund their own care.

    Unfortunately the caregivers, who actually deliver the services to the residents, receive on average $14.40 an hour, and the minimum is $12.75 an hour. Residents speak of poorly trained staff and high turnover. Who can blame the caregivers as it’s hardly an attractive career option.

    Residents, vulnerable because of advancing age, complain that services are being reduced and conditions deteriorating. Staffing ratios, which in the past averaged one caregiver to five residents, are now as low as one caregiver to 13 residents. Oversight of these rest homes, to ensure proper care and conditions, has been delegated to certified “auditors” (chosen and paid for by the rest homes,) and to the Health and Disability Commissioner. Rest homes must abide by a set of rules known as the “General Standards”.

    Obviously there are rest homes that conscientiously provide a caring environment and look after their residents with high levels of service. However, we have found it is the loopholes in these “standards” that has attracted such large investment by overseas multinationals and led to exploitation of the elderly.

    They constantly plead under-funding, but our research has uncovered excessive transfer pricing, accounting tax losses and inadequate gearing and surprisingly the Government is aware of this situation.

    More here: http://tinyurl.com/2vztb4j

    • prism 1.1

      Thanks for facts on rest home ‘industry’ Chairman. Unfortunately the new economic order and privatisation monsoon that swept the country also convinced the business arm of many church organisations that they were inefficient in running rest homes or retirement villages and these were not their core mission. So they tended to sell out as there were so many private entities who, we were told, would run them as well or better and the churches put their money elsewhere.

      Where their focus is now I don’t know – christian spending and caring for other people, supporting green environment of god’s world, or is it mainly on return on investment and making ethical investments. Applying the money where it is needed within christian tenets may be a different agenda.

      • bored 1.1.1

        The serving of Mammon comes before all, churches inclusive. I did some work for a brief period within a rest home chain. The business model was designed around being able to acquire and hold onto real estate, where possible subsidised by the state or individual paying to be a tenant / resident. The major money was in the percieved and market value of the real estate which at the time was part of the growth bubble. I suspect that the “industry” will be suffering tight times as the actual value of their holdings slips against their investment costs. Time will tell, but if I am right the residents will be the first to feel the chill unChristian winds.

    • Adrian 1.2

      Theres that phrase “transfer pricing” again. I think that this is going to be the most immportant battle of this decade, transfer pricing is theft and the forces behind it are pretty powerful, they got rid of Rudd because he tried to stop it. I didn’t realise that it was happening in the resthome industry, but it isn’t surprising. The problem with it is that it is difficult to encapsulate its implications in catchy slogans to motivate people to protest about it, but we are going to have to as it is ripping NZ off to the tune of billions every year.

    • Fif 1.3

      This rest home article had some inaccuracies – Radius rest homes are infact NZ owned and operated.

  2. The Chairman 2

    Has Labour developed any new policy to address this critical situation?

  3. Wikileaks has published a veritable avalanche of dossiers exposing what we already knew. The war in Afghanistan is a corrupt and unwinnable war which is costing mostly the civilian population. That is of course the story of every war (including the two world wars). The only people who win in these wars are the people who sell the guns (And own shares in the corporations making these immoral profits. Something we might want to ask Jon Key about) and who while staying well clear of the mayhem rake in the billions. The last two illegal wars of empire and resource theft are no exception.

    Or are they?

    According to the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH) an epidemiological study, published in this magazine something is wrong in Fallujah. Fallujah as some of you may know is a city in Iraq and because 4 mercenaries from Blackwater got killed there the might of the US army was unleashed there (the details of why and how the battle ensued are in and off itself a case for the war tribunal in the Hague) in what is known as the battle of Fallujah in 2004.

    According to the rapport the city is dying basically. Children are born with deformities, Cancer and leukemia is rampant and on the whole the city is in a worse state then Hiroshima in the aftermath of the nuclear explosion that “ended” the second world war. Why? In a word Depleted Uranium.

    The man responsible for this? General James “Mad Dog’ Mattis, who went on record telling a public gathering in 2005 “it’s fun to shoot some people…. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot.’

    And the same man now in command over the war in Afghanistan.

    Does it mean that DU will be used in Afghanistan? And what’s more does this mean that New Zealand will be involved in a nuclear war?

    Let’s put it this way; The US and NATO have been using Depleted Uranium from the very first days of the war in Afghanistan. Watch this interesting documentary and be afraid, be very afraid because if you think that our own personal Rambo; Apiata is using “Normal” munition because we are a “Nuclear free” country you’ve got another thing coming.

    The bad news? Take your pick. Depleted uranium has a half life of 4.5 billion years. Depleted Uranium munition when fires is self sharpening because the heat burns the bullets into a nano-particled dust. This dust can penetrate cell walls. The long cells are an excellent entrée point for these particles which can lodge anywhere in the body and cause mayhem in the years to come.

    This dust penetrates everything and will be taken anywhere by soldiers, the wind (In fact the dust has been found back in London and on the Space station), water and their radioactivity will spread around the world and take with them destruction for the next 4.5 billion years.

    Also here is a documentary called Beyond treason. The man who tells the story about DU is called Doug Rokke. He was the specialist in charge of the cleaning up of chemicals and polution after the first Iraq war and is a first hand witness to the fact that Sadam had no weapons of mass deception left when the US engaged in the second war in Iraq.

    I had the chance to talk to this wonderful man (when I accidentally found his telephone number online) who is now dying of cancer as a result of his exposure to the cocktail of toxins during that time. His told me that the US army is so hell bent on getting rid of their “Depleted Uranium” stocks they actually give it away to NATO and any other country willing to take it.

    So in answer to the question, perhaps these wars are exceptional. Not because they are “good” wars this time but because the are without equal in their ability to destroy not just these countries but human kind around the world over the next 4.5 billion years.

    • prism 3.1

      Tuesday night 27/7 on Maori TV there was a brave and sad little piece on Chiles disappeared and their indefatigable mothers. Their lovely craft work (Arpilleras) which they used as mute messages and appeals (sometimes with enclosed handwritten notes) were a triumph of beautiful human spirit and willingness to risk suffering. Scenes sewn showed the helmeted soldiers snatching people in the street, using batons on civilians with gusto which were echoed by footage from the time. There was such rigid control and vicious treatment of civilians that they had to creep round at night to meetand sew, block cracks in windows with blankets, hide their handwork as if found they would be arrested and possibly ‘disappeared’ themselves.

      There was a case against General Pinochet trying to make him face the music in Britain wasn’t there? Like Comrade Doig he lived on long past his victims. Lightning didn’t strike him nor did outraged foreign governments. In fact there was a book published about the USA covert help in the Chilean coup against Allende, and of how a USA citizen who had got too close to the facts was swept up and murdered in the sports arena along with the native Chilean citizens.

      I have the feeling that money was the important thing here, that there was a fear that Chile was going to nationalise and try to build the country’s prosperity not have large amounts moving offshore. Has this happened in any other country??

  4. vto 4

    Good to see that Key and kohorts are changing tack on foreign ownership of land regs. (though another complete 180deg about face by the kiddies in kontrol).

    It is a fundamental baseline for any community anywhere anytime that unless you live in the community you cannot own land in the community. It must become that the only people that can own land in New Zealand are those that live here.

    This makes for the strongest of communities for everyones benefit.

    The alternative makes a tenant community, which is always a weak community.

    Personally my vote would swing on this (or close to). (interesting that it took the farmers raising the concern to the nats to bring the change, when others have been telling them that for ages. Guess thats politics for you.)

    • NZer 4.1

      I think Key may be starting to get nervous about the comeback of NZ First and hence his mention of the great sell off of New Zealand. NZFirst are apparently polling around 4.5% already http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3963872/Laws-and-Peters-said-to-be-lining-up-for-NZ-First-relaunch

      Like you- my vote will swing on the issue of foreign ownership, as will my partner’s. Two long time Labour voters who will probably end up in the arms of Winston next election. After spending so many years wishing he would just go away, I can’t believe I might actually end up voting for him…

      • vto 4.1.1

        Yes, well with Key, like most all politicians, it is about the votes not the principle. So you could well be right in that it is an effort to see off Peters before he gets away on Key.

        Another beneficial side-effect of changing the land ownership regs along those lines would be various levels of drop in property values. Especially those coastal rural and lifestyle blocks, and places like Queenstown. This of course would cause some hefty consternation among those current landowners in these spots, but there are few of them and they only have one vote each.

        Wouldn’t it be great if the average NZer could again afford a bach at a beach somewhere, or even Queenstown…. rather than compete with 300million richer North Americans and 500 million richer Eurpoeans, not to mention having to compete with the Chinese, Japanese, Indians… The current situation is ludicrous.

        • NZer

          Yes- I also want to see residential property also unable to be sold to overseas interests and not just farmland. It is just madness that anyone can buy and rent out a house in NZ and then take the profits back overseas. How does this benefit the average person here? It doesn’t. It is about time governments started acting for the benefit of NZers and not for the benefits of the overseas elites.

          Here is Winston’s view of the current situation:


          There isn’t much there I don’t agree with.

          • NZer

            The poll on Stuff asking if people would vote for a Peters/Laws ticket is currently running at around 18% for yes, approx 2000 votes so far. The next election could be fascinating and the outcome completely out of left field.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Not much in there that I disagree with either. We need to ban foreign ownership of our land, assets and businesses ASAP. The longer we keep selling off businesses that create wealth from our resources (Land, minerals, etc) the poorer we’ll become.

            Hell, at this rate I may just end up voting for Winston First myself.

        • travellerev

          And Russian Mafia. That’s how huge swats of prime land (with shite real estate that nobody wanted at the time) came in the hands of the Russian oligarchy (Nice word for mafia) with their thuggish and mafiose feudal liege lords (ex body guards, hitmen etc.

  5. Tigger 5

    Wage gap with Australia is getting wider… http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3963866/Tasman-wage-gap-40-a-week-wider

    National has excuses but no solves.

    • Armchair Critic 5.1

      David Parker ran out of supplementary questions while pursuing the issue yesterday. I would be surprised if there is no follow up today. And maybe it is an issue that the MSM might run with, too, being easy to comprehend and present to the audience.
      National don’t even seem to have excuses, from what I could tell from his mutterings, Brownlee was trying to say he didn’t know the answer but he has firmly held beliefs. Government by faith and all that. National sure are making Australia look attractive.

  6. Pete 6

    Key clearly softening up Student Loans for a change in the second term:

    There’s something meaty for the left to latch onto.

    Also, how is raising interest going to allow the government to collect more on the Student Loans? Seriously. Won’t this simply grow the level of debt further (with a similar rate of return) and drive more graduates/student loan holders to places where they are more likely to get a better return for their effort (as Tigger points out above)?

  7. I also thought that it would be interesting for people here to learn some more about operation Gladio and other false flag operations in Europe and why it is so much more acceptable for Europeans to investigate exactly what their Elites are up to.

    This is a new documentary about the wave of terror that washed over Europe in the 70s. Operation Gladio, the gang of Nijvel bomb explosions all over Europe and a scared population willing to accept US politics.

    The stuff of nightmares but very real were I come from. (I lived less than an hour away from the Nijvel gang attacks for example and when lost near a frontier crossing in the middle of the night with a boyfriend (LOL) was stopped and searched because we could be part of this sinister left wing terror movement.

  8. prism 8

    Stupid NZ laxness in laws No. 64,001.
    Queenstown being able to open an airport taking large planes without runway lights. Then allowed to go international without radar in an area with turbulent weather surrounded by high mountains. Then the CAA not having mandatory rules that protect safety and override the pilot’s autonomy and the ability of airline companies to pressure their pilots in such a way they take risks.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the pilot and crew would be docked pay or bonuses or something if they had stayed overnight in Queenstown. There would definitely have been a cost to the airline for parking the plane and the passengers in accommodation, with finger shaking at the unfortunate pilot no doubt.

  9. gnomic 9

    Can I have a wee whinge about the ‘heaviness’ of the site? That is to say, the time it takes to load. For my sins I am condemned to using a network available in public libraries across the nation which is not legendary for its speed, via a wifi connection which also tends to choke, and the main page has just taken somewhere between 2 and 3 minutes to load by the time all the touching base with this site and that is done. The dialup users of this world presumably have time to make a cup of tea as well. Just a thought, any way the burden of getting the front page up could be reduced? Haven’t checked it out with lynx or similar, as yet. We are not all on real broadband (assuming there is any in Godzone). I think this ‘sluggishness’ became really noticeable after the substantial remodelling a few months back.

  10. Pete 10

    Reason to stay in New Zealand #1:

    Darien Fenton: Is she aware that New Zealand workers are already entitled to fewer sick leave days than nearly every other comparable country, including Australia; if so, how does this Government expect to stop our best and brightest from leaving for Australia, where they offer both better wages and better leave?

    Hon KATE WILKINSON: They will stop leaving New Zealand to go to Australia because we have the best Government we have had in 10 years and the very best Prime Minister we have had in 10 years.

    …and it appears she isn’t kidding either.

    I’ll go unpack my bags now.

    (Full uncorrected transcript here: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/5/3/4/49HansQ_20100728_00000010-10-Employment-Sick-Leave-Policy-Changes.htm)

  11. ZakC 11

    Open mike.. huh..?

    Mind if I insert a fellow by the name of [email protected] Berkeley.. writing about right types .. and wrong types of market fundamentalism..

    Yo..! Two to-go.. (tho doubtless many opposed exist)

    Can’t say I always agree with the prof but agree or not he can be mighty entertaining.. and just the stuff this blog of yours willing to use..

    Winger comments are fun, too, one – a certain Anthony of my acquaintance – instructive for its attempt at independent pov. Can’t be seen as subject to critique eyes..!

  12. The Chairman 12

    Peters attacks rest home operators

    Nurses have joined Winston Peters

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