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Summer service: open mike 05/01/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 5th, 2012 - 125 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

As usual, it’s reduced service over the summer break, unless anything big happens. We hope you’ll get a good break with those dear to you, and that we’ll have some decent weather to enjoy. And if you still need your politics fix… Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Step right up to the mike…

125 comments on “Summer service: open mike 05/01/2012 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Tar Sands,
    Deep Sea Oil,

    Like addicts on crack, the Fossil Fuel Fanatics are prepared to take, ever more dangerous risks to keep getting their fix.

    Will the Labour and Greens Parties honour their pre-election commitment for an inquiry into Fracking?

  2. Jenny 2

    It looks likely that the Labour Party will oppose food bill.

    NZ Herald.co.nz 5:30 AM Thurs Jan 5,2012

    Read why here

    ….strategies exist beyond attempting to preserve the unpreservable. What we must do is to decentralize – to build parallel systems to deliver the most basic goods and services in ways that are simple, cheap and responsive to rapidly changing circumstance.

    We will not, of course, be able to provide for the level of wants our societies were previously able to cater to, but we can provide the most basic necessities if we prepare in advance. The key aspect is to align our expectations with reality, because the essence of our psychological conundrum is our sense that business as usual is a non-negotiable state of affairs that must continue.

    It will not continue because it cannot. Business as usual is only non-negotiable in the sense that reality will not negotiate, it will dictate, and we will have to live within its parameters…..

    Legislation ostensibly aimed at food safety is being written vaguely and broadly enough to confer unaccountable discretion on enforcement agencies already in a state of regulatory capture. The very necessary processes of seed saving from year to year, and seed banking, are well on the way to being criminalized, for the sake of protecting profit margins:

    But now the effort is to take over the whole game, going after even these small sources of biodiversity – by simply defining seeds as food and then all farmers’ affordable mechanisms for harvesting (collecting), sorting (seed cleaning) and storing (seed banking or saving) as too dirty to be safe for food.

    Set the standard for “food safety” and certification high enough that no one can afford it and punish anyone who tries to save seed in ways that have worked fine for thousands of years, with a million dollar a day fine and/or ten years in prison, and presto, you have just criminalized seed banking.

    The penalties are tremendous, the better to protect us from nothing dangerous whatsoever, but to make monopoly over seed absolutely absolute.

    One is left with control over farmers, an end to seed exchanges, an end to organic seed companies, an end to university programs developing nice normal hybrids, and an end to democracy – reducing us to abject dependence on corporations for food and gratitude even for genetically engineered food and at any price.

    [In February 2008], in France, the independent seed-saving and selling Association Kokopelli were fined €35,000 after being taken to court by corporate seed merchant Baumaux. Their crime was selling traditional and rare seed varieties which weren’t on the official EU-approved list – and, therefore, illegal to sell – thus giving them an ‘unfair trading advantage’.

    As the European Commission met this week to prepare new legislation for seed control, due in 2009, which will further restrict the geographic movement and range of crop varieties, this ruling will set a dangerous precedent.

    Kokopelli, the non-profit French group set up in 1999 to safeguard endangered seed strains, may be driven out of existence by the fine. Their focus is biodiversity, food security, and the development of sustainable organic agriculture and seed networks in the ‘global south’.

    They have created one of the largest independent collections in Europe – with over 2500 sorts of vegetable, flower and cereals. Other non-government seedbanks are held by large agro-industrial companies like Limagrain, Syngenta and Pioneer – and guess what their main interest is money rather than starving subsistence farmers.

    You may think that in an era of mass extinction it would be a no-brainer that we need to protect biodiversity and the heritage of the crop varieties which have been build up over centuries… but no.

    Since the 1970s, laws in the UK and Europe mean that to sell seeds, the strain needs to be registered – and everything else becomes ‘outlaw’ seeds, illegal to sell. In the UK it costs £300 per year to maintain the registration and £2000 to register a ‘new’ one – which all disadvantages smaller organisations……

    Controlling the supply of necessities in order to generate monopoly profits is not new and is not limited to food. See for instance the erstwhile Bolivian water privatization that resulted in a requirement to obtain a permit even to capture rainwater. If access to affordable options is limited, people are forced to pay the rentiers their monopoly profits.

    Collecting rainwater has been illegal in many western US states as well, since water rights are separate to property rights…..

    Stoneleigh: The Automatic Earth

    • Jenny 2.1

      The above is very good news. National will still be able to get this legislation through the house, with the support of their two right wing flanking parties, ACT and United Future.

      However, with Labour’s opposition to this bill, it is likely that this repressive pro-monopoly legislation will be revisited when Labour is the government after the next election.
      (Which is a guarantee, as National only just scraped in by the skin of their teeth this time.)

      So we will be able to wave goodbye to this dirty law after a historically brief interregnum.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        So why did the Labour party support the bill prior to this stage if it as you frame it?

        • Lanthanide

          Thankfully politicians are allowed to change their minds on things.

          • Colonial Viper

            Perhaps National will change its mind on asset sales. Actually it probably will; 100% sales instead of 49% ones.

    • Why the need for all this ‘food safety’ regulation in the first place?

      How many people have died after buying veges from a farmers market, or Mrs Smith’s home-made jam?

      Compared with how many people have died from ‘death by doctor’ or from pharmaceutical drugs (which were supposed to be ‘safe’ – but weren’t?)

      Is the NZ Food Safety Bill REALLY about making food safe for the public 99% or profits safe for the agri-business (and BIG PHARMA) corporate 1%?

      Is the NZ Food Safety Bill REALLY about making it harder for people to be in control of their own ‘wellness’ – because that is diametrically opposed to our medical/’health’ system which is based on sickness?

      ‘Let food be they medicine and medicine be thy food’?

      Is THIS what the NZ Food Bill is trying to restrict?

      Whose interests are being served here?


      Seen this?


      New Zealand law mirrors US and Canada, fake food safety bills

      December 29, 2011 by ppjg

      Marti Oakley © copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved


      It comes as no surprise that the fake food safety bill passed here in the US in what was clearly a staged event that required the complicity of the other 99 Senators who voluntarily vacated the US Senate chamber to allow “Dirty Harry” to cast the only vote as “unanimous” is being mirrored, replicated and implemented in many other countries. Canada passed its C-36 bill shortly after “Dirty Harry” completed his task here in the US, and now it appears New Zealand food rights are on the chopping block too.

      What are the chances that New Zealand Retailers Association would come up with what appears to be a line of propaganda nearly identical to the crap foisted on the American public as their rights to produce and consume foods of their choice were attacked relentlessly by Big AG and the bio-pirates along with other corporate interests who stand to profit immensely at the expense of the public? These are the same interested party’s and stakeholders who rammed C-36 through Canada’s parliament.

      And here we see the same limp arguments coming out of New Zealand, promoted by yet another retailers association intent on convincing New Zealanders that their food supply and production, needs “modernization”. Modernization with regards to food can be easily defined as centralization of food production and supply to provide market monopolies to multi-national corporations. The greatest threat to food supply chains around the world is industrialized food which provides neither safe food, nor nutritious food. Progress on the food bill:

      The Food Bill provides a much needed modernisation of New Zealand’s food safety legislation. It provides the framework for an efficient, effective and risk-based regulatory regime for managing the safety and suitability of food produced, processed, manufactured, traded, transported and imported to New Zealand.

      Under the Food Bill, food businesses will be expected to be proactive, establishing safe procedures and systems ready for verification rather than the current system, which is based on ‘one size fits all’ requirements and inspections.

      New Zealand is about to witness what we have here in the US; small retailers, family farms and ranches raided by agency swat teams, business and lives destroyed, property illegally destroyed or seized while Big Ag operations responsible for horrendous contamination of various sectors of food production receive only a warning letter and never miss a day in their crappy operations.

      New Zealand’s bill, Food bill 160-2, just as the bills in the US and Canada, are more centered on creating an oppressive regulatory system designed to drive independent and family producers, out of business and by extension, out of the markets. Again mirroring the US Fake Food Safety Bill, andCanada’s C-36 Fake Food Safety Bill, arbitrary rules, regulations and stifling enforcement initiatives will be directed not at industrialized multi-national producers, but rather, towards the family independent or individual producers; meaning home gardeners, community gardeners and producers. Also seriously affected will be farmers markets, road-side vendors, church bake sales, and heritage seed banks.

      New Zealand’s bill fails to exempt seeds used for crops from “food regulation” leaving their definition under this new police state law open to broad interpretation. The fact that New Zealand, just as the US and Canada has attempted to include seeds in their food control program should be a clear indicator that the bill has little to do with food safety and more to do with controlling food and market access. …..”


      The Food Bill 160-2 will seriously impede initiatives like community gardens, food co-ops, heritage seed banks, farmers markets, bake sales, and roadside fruit & vegetable stalls.

      New ZealandFake Food Safety Bill


      Food bill petition here. http://www.petitiononline.co.nz/petition/oppose-the-new-zealand-government-food-bill-160-2/1301 Please consider signing and passing on to your fellow kiwis – people that have lived in New Zealand all their lives will loose the right to grow and share garden produce and seed just to highlight one area of this Bill. ”

      Penny Bright
      [email deleted]

  3. This from today’s Herald …

    “State-owned energy companies earmarked for partial sale are generating returns well in excess of the Government’s cost of owning them and outperform most similar private sector companies, says a report released just before Christmas.

    For “report released just before Christmas” read “report buried in the pre christmas rush”.

    But wait, there is more …

    “Prime Minister John Key said the companies would “reap the benefits of sharper commercial disciplines, more transparency and greater external oversight”.

    But Ernst & Young’s report shows the three companies have performed well compared to their private sector counterparts.

    Over the 10-year period which Ernst & Young examined, Mighty River consistently produced a return on investment better than three-quarters of 27 companies in New Zealand, Australia and the US which were used as a benchmark.

    Meridian outperformed three-quarters of its private sector rivals in all but one of the past 10 years, and Genesis matched or bettered three quarters in all but two of the past 10 years.

    So why are we doing this again? 

    • chris73 3.1

      Because Labour lost and National won.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        Well Chris73 put aside the election result and presuming that the current Government is meant to rule for the good of all New Zealanders, why is it selling very well performing companies in a strategically vital area on a depressed market when it could hold onto the shares and be better off?

        Are you able to argue the merits?  Or am I correct in saying that there are no merits for the proposal.

        • Jim Nald

          Agenda – Get yourself into the seat of power and get your hands on the people’s golden goose to sell it to yourself and cronies:


        • chris73

          I don’t know if you’re suffering from post-new years celebrations Lionel but these arguements were played out during the campaign. You want to tilt at windmills go right ahead but its happening because the voters of NZ put National in power.

          Maybe if Labour had listened to what the people were saying (radical I know) instead of sticking thier heads in the sand then Labour might be in power.

          You have no-one else to blame except yourself, deal with it.

          • mickysavage

            Still waiting for that merit based argument Chris73.

          • prism

            chris73 – Reason for asset sales –

            Because Labour lost and National won.

            Great reasoning ie We won, you lost, we can do anything we like because we snuck into power with a (tiny) majority which makes our policies the choice of the people. Duh – nearly half wouldn’t want these sales.

            You mention windmills – good idea, lets start building personal small windmills for alternative power source. I think you came up with a good idea there (inadvertently) chris73. Keep it up.

            • Gosman

              So which policies that National campaigned on are they allowed to implement then?

              They are going to do it anyway but I ask the question because it is quite clear that many on the left aren’t just arguing over partial sales of the equity in a couple of SOE’s but pretty much the entire Government programme.

              It is a disdain for democracy that many on the left tries to deny but is just below the surface of comments such as yours.

              • KJT

                Disdain for democracy is when you implement policies knowing that 80% appose them.

                All politicians are equally guilty.

                That is why “representative democracy” is just another form of dictatorship.

            • chris73

              Yes pretty much, they won you lost. It doesn’t matter the size of the majority but whos in power.I know you lot think that MMP means the left should always be in power but suck it up, try to learn from your (many) mistakes and you’ll get in next time.

              Off the subject but I would actually like to see all new buildings (over a certain size) built in Christchurch to have a small wind turbine and solar panels

              • seeker

                But Chris we don’t need to sell our electricity assets and it appears that it will lose us more money and do us more harm than good if we do sell them. So why are we selling them?
                I asked this of John Key’s office and my local national party MP’s office, 3 times. Each answer was different and Key’s office could not tell me at all. Please tell me why you think National is selling our half our electricity assets as you are so fond of National and all they do. And please don’t repeat the silly ‘National won’ answer.This is a matter of huge importance for the quality of life throughout New Zealand

        • Gosman

          Depressed market? Hang on a minute people like Colonial Viper think that finding capital to fund borrowing won’t be a problem as investors are taking their money away from places like the left wing Southern European economies and are looking for safer investment opportunities.

        • sdm

          1) It provides an investment opportunity thats relatively solid. Got a kiwisaver fund? you benefit
          2) provides the government with capital to invest in other areas
          3) Allows 1 and 2 to occur whilst the government retains control of the assets.
          4) Allows for the private sector to be involved, increasing efficiency

          • Lanthanide

            “1) It provides an investment opportunity thats relatively solid. Got a kiwisaver fund? you benefit”
            Only if your kiwisaver fund invests in these assets. There’s no guarantee that any specific kiwisaver fund will invest here. Kiwisaver funds are in it for the long term and most are diversified overseas – in general investment principals it doesn’t make sense to put all your eggs in one basket and since NZ citizens generally have most of their assets in NZ already…

            “2) provides the government with capital to invest in other areas”
            So does owning the assets which produce dividends at a rate above the cost of borrowing.

            “3) Allows 1 and 2 to occur whilst the government retains control of the assets.”
            So does owning the assets.

            “4) Allows for the private sector to be involved, increasing efficiency”
            And yet the companies have beat out three quarters of privately run companies in the last 10 years. There’s no guarantee that selling these assets will produce better results than what we currently achieve.

            • Pete George

              “2) provides the government with capital to invest in other areas”
              So does owning the assets which produce dividends at a rate above the cost of borrowing.

              Dividends are income, not capital. There’s a big difference between having the use of capital straight away and getting dividends year by year.

              • Lanthanide

                Yes, but we can borrow capital cheaper than the dividend stream.

                We can have capital *and* keep the assets *and* still come out further ahead than selling the assets and getting capital.

                • Rob

                  Yeah, lets keep borrowing and throw it about.

                  • McFlock

                    As opposed to throwing it out and having to borrow even more ten years down the line? Damned straight.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Rob, I’m not quite sure you understand how this works.

                    We can borrow money now, and pay it back faster with the dividend stream from the SoEs than if we sell the SoEs and don’t use that money to pay back debt.

                    If National were selling the SoEs and taking all money gained and using it to pay back debt, they’d have a more rational position. But they’re not doing that.

    • You stand to get a much better price for well performing assets.

      Aren’t we better to sell off energy companies when we can get a good price? I’d rather see much more effort from the Government put into energy conservation, alternate energy and micro production.

      • millsy 3.2.1

        Well, looks like you do support asset sales.

        I expect more blackouts and higher energy prices as ‘mum and dad shareholders’ start demanding higher dividends.

        • Gosman

          Higher than what the Labour party demanded from SOE’s in the last few years they were in power? I find that hard to believe.

        • Pete George

          Well, looks like you do support asset sales.

          In some circumstances, yes.

          Would you never support any sort of partial sale of assets? Or would you consider any proposal on it’s merits?

          • mickysavage

            Well Petey detail the merits of selling as opposed to retaining.

            If you read the link above it appears that the power companies are well performing entities and the “privatization benefits” are not there.  On a financial analysis you are better off keeping the shares for the dividend flows.  And from a strategic point of view it is much better to keep the power companies in New Zealand control.

            Go on, debate the benefits.  No personal chipping like Chris 73, no doctrinaire private good public bad like gosman, no infuriating “in some circumstances maybe, in other circumstances maybe not” that you are prone to do.

            DEBATE THE MERITS. 

            • Gosman

              The trouble with your argument is that you fail to realise the corollary of it. If it doesn’t make sense to sell high performing State owned assets because they are State owned then you should sell the lower performing ones. If you disagree with that view then your whole argument becomes just as doctrinaire as you think mine is.

              • Ah a debate!

                It depends Gosman.  I actually support selling down Air NZ to 51% because in my view the strategic imperatives can be achieved and it is  in my view a potentially poorly performing asset.

                The power companies are different.  They perform an important strategic role for the country and as they are fully owned and controlled they can be used to achieve Government policy in areas such as environmental protection and climate change.  Even partial privatization will change this.

                And there are financially poorly performing entities that nevertheless perform very important functions.  Universities are a classic example. 

                • Gosman

                  So what you are stating is that you want the Government to interfere directly in the opperational aspects of the Energy companies to achieve something beyond what would be the bext commercial return for them, (ast least in the short term).

                  To me this is a recipe for financial disaster and is why I don’t think the State should own commercial enterprises at all. It is a short step to decreeing that they shouldinvest more in Green energy (an admirably goal it is true) to then stating that perhaps they should set up a brand spanking new clean energy power station for the simple reason of job creation not economi8c efficiency. Then instead of being the highest perfroming assets in the States commercial portfolio they become a drain on the fiscus.

                  Regardless of this I am unsure why you canm’t create incentives that would encourage Energy companies to move to Green energy regardless. Businesses tend to respond more positively to incentives as opposed to dictates.

                  • The Goveernment has always had a financial imperative which has been looked after well by the por companies, thank you very much.

                    If we have nothing but financial considerations then we may as well start burning Southland’s Lignite coal for power.

                    Business incentives are fine but I thought you opposed the ETS?

                    • Gosman

                      Why do you think I oppose the ETS? In principle it is okay if slightly flawed. I would prefer Carbon taxes myself. However I would prefer to investigate all options for managing carbon and methane output world wide rather than this obsession I see around a blanket reduction (which is failing to be achieved it must be stated even by the Europeans).

                  • KJT


                    Your only real argument for asset sales is the same as NACT’s. Ideological opposition to public ownership of anything.

                  • Lanthanide

                    “So what you are stating is that you want the Government to interfere directly in the opperational aspects of the Energy companies to achieve something beyond what would be the bext commercial return for them, (ast least in the short term).

                    Therein lies the rub. Power generation in this country is NOT a “short term” issue. If the government of the day can force the power companies to make a choice they ordinarily would not that provides greater benefits in the long term, then we’re better off the long term if the government was able to do that, right?

                    The government of the united states, probably the most right-wing leaning government of any developed country, has a very long history of mandating specific (progressive) standards that private contractors must meet in order to win government contracts. Their government has chosen to use their significant buying power to force choices to me made that benefit the country in the medium to long term and have been pretty successful at it. Whether you do it through an arms-length mechanism as the US does it or via direct control doesn’t really matter – the outcome is the same, companies make choices that they otherwise wouldn’t have due to the intervention of the government.

            • Pete George

              I’ve already mentioned possible merits (3.2).

              the “privatization benefits” are not there.

              There are benefits from selling companies when they are performing strongly.

              On a financial analysis you are better off keeping the shares for the dividend flows.

              Why? There’s no guarantee those dividend flows will continue. With international interest in new energy technologies it’s quite possible the energy market will change substantially.

              And from a strategic point of view it is much better to keep the power companies in New Zealand control.

              From a strategic point of view it may be more prudent to spread risk rather than betting on just a few big traditional eggs.

              My preference would be for the proceeds of partial sales to be invested in better energy conservation, more localised micro production (reducing the reliance on costly infrastructure) and different sources of renewable energy.

              If there are big technological breakthroughs on super conductors, solar energy efficiencies and storage technologies we may be grateful we’re not left holding all of our old energy dinosaurs.

              • KJT

                There are no merits to selling.

                You want to debate the merits.

                Apart from this report. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10776792 , which NACT conveniently buried until after the election, there is also the stupidity of losing control of strategic energy assets when energy will become very expensive.

                The only merits in the sale is delivering a windfall to those who funded National into power. Theft!

                The rest of your arguments for selling are obfuscatory bullshit.

                • Gosman

                  What is your definition of control? 100% ownership or 79%?

                  Does Rupert Murdoch control News Corp? What is his ownership level in the company?

                  • KJT

                    Under NZ law, and now treaties our idiot Government is making, if the controlling shareholder does anything to the economic detriment of minor shareholders they can be sued.

                    In other words even a partial sellout severely restricts future Governments ability to run our energy supplies for the national interest.

                    Not to mention losing a dividend stream for a one off payment. That is commercial stupidity.

                    14 Billion a year is lost offshore due to past asset sales. Up to 4 billion from the ones proposed.

                    That is a balance of trade deficit over 4 times our net export earnings.

                    Asset sales only make sense to those who stand to make a killing. Just like Fay Rich did at our expense last time.

                    It is theft. You are aiding and abetting.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      Under NZ law, and now treaties our idiot Government is making, if the controlling shareholder does anything to the economic detriment of minor shareholders they can be sued.

                      Wrong. And so plainly wrong, that you must have very little understanding of company law and business generally.

                      And I’m curious – did someone tell you this incorrect information (who?), or is this your “understanding” of how things work?

                    • KJT


                      My “information” is from a declarative statement from the NZ supreme court about the likelihood of such a case succeeding.

                      We are also likely to follow Canadian and UK precedents which already exist. You can look them up for yourself in any law library.

                      Treaties we are signing also give legal obligations towards overseas investors in NZ companies.

                      I suggest it is you who have no idea of commercial law.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      My “information” is from a declarative statement from the NZ supreme court about the likelihood of such a case succeeding.

                      What is the name of this NZ Supreme Court case?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m really surprise that qstf is being so naive of corporate decision making here; any single shareholder who holds 20% or more of a company’s shares is frequently deemed to be a “major shareholder”. The interests of such ‘major shareholder’ must be consciously and deliberately taken into account by any majority shareholder. This necessarily limits the full range of options that a 100% majority shareholder would otherwise have. Major shareholders are significant stakeholders who must be allowed measurable influence in the running of the company.

                      Selling down 49% of our strategic assets is a blunder by this government, and while a 51% stake in a company may be seen as a “controlling” stake, it is no longer an ‘absolutely’ controlling stake.

                      qstf, this is not finance 101, this is real world corporate governance, where major shareholders have a major say.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      The interests of such ‘major shareholder’ must be consciously and deliberately taken into account by any majority shareholder

                      Et tu, CV? That is plain wrong. As I did with KJT, may I ask who told you this, or is it just your homespun “understanding” of the law?

                    • mikesh

                      “Under NZ law, and now treaties our idiot Government is making, if the controlling shareholder does anything to the economic detriment of minor shareholders they can be sued.”

                      Presumably this would not apply if the measures taken affected all shareholders, including the government itself. So it would be OK to regulate prices even if this resulted in a reduction of profits to the company and, therefore, a reduction of dividends to shareholders.

                  • KJT




                    20 seconds on Google.

                    Haven’t got access to a law Library at present, but I am sure a law expert can look up the relevant cases for himself.
                    A commercial lawyer would have seen them already.

                    • prism

                      What has happened to the Reply function for some of the comments on this thread?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      KJT, assuming your links are intended to support your claim above, they do not. With all due respect, they simply further demonstrate your lack of understanding on this point (which is rather sad, given your apparent obstinance).

                      The Beehive link is about company takeovers. The other two are about derivative actions. I presume you don’t dispute these things too. Your error was your wildly inaccurate claim that:

                      Under NZ law, and now treaties our idiot Government is making, if the controlling shareholder does anything to the economic detriment of minor shareholders they can be sued

                      I asked what you based that on. You said it was based on a “declarative statement” (presumably a judgment) of the NZ Supreme Court. I asked you to name the case you referred to. You have conspicuously failed to do so – and it’s obvious that there is no such case. Instead you post 3 irrelevant links.

                      20 seconds on Google.
                      I’m afraid it’s going to take you more than 20 seconds of Googling to learn the basics of (NZ) company law.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Do you accept, qstf that the wishes and recommendations of any major shareholder (holding say 20% or more) must be taken into consideration by the majority shareholder, and in no way can the majority shareholder (the NZ Govt in this case) act in a unilateral way or in a way which might damage the material interests of the major shareholders.

                      Because otherwise, you are of shit about what you do know and don’t know re: NZ corporate governance.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      CV: No, unless there is a shareholder agreement or other unusual circumstances in play (eg something unusual in the constitution, or separate fiduciary duties exist between shareholders, which would be most unusual).

                      As a general rule, shareholders don’t owe duties to other shareholders. Directors do, but directors’ duties are a quite separate matter.

                      If you disagree (which I presume you do) please tell me on what basis (eg the section under Companies Act) a particular shareholder would be liable to another shareholder for not taking “into consideration” (whatever that means) the other shareholder’s “wishes and recommendations”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      qstf don’t be a dick.

                      The National Government will give foreign institutional investors a sweetheart shareholders agreement deal in terms of control and as many seats on the Board of Directors as the foreign investors want.

                      It is a simple matter to create different classes of shares with different voting rights.

                      After all, giving foreign investors adhoc control is the way to maximise the initial share sale price to make Key and English look good. Locking down and enforcing NZ state control will depress the share sale price, and there is no way National will be doing that.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      ^ CV: wrong again. The minority stakes are being floated on the NZX, under standard NZX listing rules. You can’t have separate share classes for different shareholders, etc.

                      And I’m still waiting for you to tell me under which section of the Companies Act a shareholder would be liable to another shareholder for not taking “into consideration” the other shareholder’s “wishes and recommendations”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Wrong again qstf. The Companies Act doesn’t determine the agreement around control of and voting by the Board of Directors. You are using the Companies Act as a red herring, a distraction.

                      The Government can simply give effective control of the Board of Directors to privately nominated shareholders.

                      Now qstf, are you telling me that a majority shareholder can safely ignore the wishes of other major shareholders?

                      Are you telling me that the majority shareholder has no need to consult with major shareholders?

                      And if a majority shareholder were to do that, would that not sink the value of the SOE’s?

                      Please talk directly to those points, prick.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      ^ CV: oh yes, the Companies Act is a real red herring when it comes to the powers, duties and rights of directors and shareholders, share classes, and the like 😀

                      And I am still waiting for you to say under which part of that Act a shareholder would be liable for failing to take into account another shareholder’s views…. I suspect I’ll be waiting a long time!

                      The Government can simply give effective control of the Board of Directors to privately nominated shareholders.

                      Congratulations, you got this bit right at last! A majority shareholder – which the Government will be – can effectively control the company. I note this is a reversal of your previous assertions which is that a majority shareholder would somehow not be in control, despite having the, um, controlling stake. However whether in the case of the SOEs the Govt chooses to gratuitously give away control to specific foreign interests (corruptly, I infer) is a matter of conspiracy theory. I also recall your claim that the NZ judiciary is corrupt, so I suppose anything is possible.

                      Now qstf, are you telling me that a majority shareholder can safely ignore the wishes of other major shareholders?

                      As I said earlier, yes (in the absence of a separate contract, constitution, or fiduciary duties). The fact that you seem astonished – or is it aghast? – by this basic precept of company law belies a fundamental lack of understanding of this subject.

                      Are you telling me that the majority shareholder has no need to consult with major shareholders?

                      Yes, with above exceptions. However, “no need” does not mean “should not”. In fact, in my personal experience with closely-held companies fellow shareholders usually go out of their way to try to consult, and generally stay on good terms, which is common sense (unless an inter-shareholder war breaks out…).

                      And if a majority shareholder were to do that, would that not sink the value of the SOE’s?

                      I don’t know. I expect it would depend on the extent to which that was factored in to the value attributed to the shares. For example, someone with a poor understanding of company law might pay more for shares on the mistaken belief that the majority shareholder has to take their views into account.

                  • ropata

                    Functioning as designed. Once the replies reach a certain depth (10 or 12 replies) they won’t be indented any further. Otherwise you’d end up with a very skinny column of text.

                  • McFlock

                     FFS qstf, this again?
                    Okay, since you like to pretend to know more than other people here, answer this: When there are more than one shareholders, can the shareholder with an outright majority issue binding instructions to the directors of the company that, if followed, would operate to the objectives of the majority shareholder but not the company itself?

                    E.g. a paper company A owns 51% of an office supplies company B. Can A require the directors of B to source all paper from A, even though other suppliers would be more in the interests of B?
                    If company A owns 100% of company B, can it issue such a binding instruction?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      Unless that is a trick question, it belies a(nother) fundamental misunderstanding that you have: in the absence of a specific contract or constitution saying otherwise, then except on limited defined issues set out in the Companies Act, shareholders cannot issue “binding directions” to the directors of a company.

                      People really should learn this stuff. I can only imagine how hopelessly naive a small shareholder would be, and how badly ripped off they might get, laboring under some of the misunderstandings demonstrated here.

                    • McFlock

                      Okay, let’s go with that, sensei. I am but a supplicant asking for gems of your wisdom.
                      In the above question, could the 100% shareholder company A require, by any mechanism, that company purchase paper products from company A? I.e. a decision that might not be in the strict interests of company B, but is in the wider interest of company A (not giving money to competitors)?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      McFlock, this kind of shit is done over 15 year whiskys and expensive strippers. No formal documentation required.

                      I expect the Key Government to agree to give the majority of the seats on the Board of Directors to the minority shareholders, or at least, to have passive directors on the Government side who abstain from voting on critical issues.

                      Hence giving effective control of the Board to the 49%.

                    • McFlock

                      Not quite, CV.
                      Qstf is pretending that shareholders have no control over company actions, simply because we’re not using the right jargon. I’ll be fucked if there’s no way for, e.g. the 100% shareholder govt to demand that kiwirail rolling stock is built in Dunedin not China. Because I know for a fact – and qstf has been through this before in the linked discussion in my previous comment – that the rules change as soon as you’re no longer the sole shareholder.
                      But Qstf is playing dumb, like a winz case manager refusing to give a client a grant until the client asks for the specific grant title mentioned in the social security act.

    • Gosman 3.3

      Excellent. So the State should get an good price for the partial sell down of their ownership in them then.

      • mikesh 3.3.1

        Labour should state unequivocally that it will renationalize the assets post 2014; then see what happens to the “good price”.

        • Pete George

          And see what happens to Labour’s support?

          Attempts to undermine the country’s financial outcomes may not be viewed very favourably by voters that Labour needs to recover.

          • mikesh

            If the assets are sold for “peanuts” because the price falls too much it won’t be Labour who will cop the blame. The government always has the option of not selling under those circumstances.

            • Gosman

              Cop the blame from whom? The investors? Do you think investors will look kindly on a government that requistions their capital whenever it likes and decide to not place a higher risk premium on continued lending?

        • Gosman

          I’d love to see that as Labour party policy but somehow doubt it will come about. You see the Right have this meme about the left that they don’t care for private property at all and this would be a boon for that. Campaigning against a Labour party using the power of the State to forceably take something that you bought in good faith would be a gold mine. Think Dancing Cossacks writ large.

          • mikesh

            Nationalizing private property is of course a no-no. But these assets are not really private property are they. They are state assets being flogged off against the wishes of the people. Anyone who purchases shares in them would be aware of the risk of renationalization.

            • Gosman

              It is not against the wishes of the people. The National party campaigned on a policy platform where the partial asset sales were the center piece. The main opposition party, Labour, campaign was focused on opposing these partial asset sales. National won enough support at the democratic election to form a government and pursue it’s policies. Now if you disagree that National can implement what was a central policy that it campaigned on which policies can they implement then?

              • mikesh

                Polls taken before the election showed that about two thirds of the people opposed asset sales. Even National’s supporters were about 50% against.

                • But as a whole they didn’t oppose them enough to vote against them.

                  Far more people chose the National package of people and policies than chose the Labour package of people and policies.

                  It was clear before the election that National, Act and UF would enable the partial asset sale policy, and National+Act+UF got a majority of seats so have a mandate to advance the asset sale program. That’s how our democracy works.

                  • KJT

                    Yes. We should be able to vote on policies. The Swiss can.

                    WE DO NOT HAVE A DEMOCRACY. When policies can be implemented against the express wish of the majority it is NOT A DEMOCRACY!!

                    • There are various forms of democracies. Everyone being able to vote on all policies is widely viewd as unworkable.

                      We don’t have a Swiss democracy (one that has it’s own pros and cons), we have a New Zealand democracy, one that is more of a representative type democracy.

                      If you don’t like how our democracy works then start a petition, get sufficient signatures, then initiate a referendum. If you get sufficient support for your version of democracy then it might be changed.

                      Alternately do what I’m doing and trial a more responsive form of democracy at a local level within the current framework, and if that works try to spread it from there.

                    • KJT

                      We have a revolving dictatorship. Not any sort of democracy.
                      Which has mostly CONS. Being conned by politicians who have too much power, and little brains.

                      Pete George is a prime example of why politicians should not be allowed as much power as they have.

                      And Asset sales is exactly the sort of policy we should have a binding referendum on.

                    • We have a revolving dictatorship. Not any sort of democracy.

                      Wrong – “New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy”. You may be confusing you not getting what you want with democratic process.

                      Being conned by politicians who have too much power, and little brains.

                      Funy – if everyone gets conned isn’t it them with little brains?

                      Pete George is a prime example of why politicians should not be allowed as much power as they have.

                      Even funnier. I’m trying to establish more power and influence for all voters in Dunedin – but that doesn’t explain your bizarre statement.

                      And Asset sales is exactly the sort of policy we should have a binding referendum on.

                      Not under our current democratic system.

                      Would you propose having one referendum on whether any asset sales should ever be allowed, or a referendum on each specific proposal of any asset sale?

                    • McFlock

                      Pete, your first statement and last statement contradict each other. 
                      A government being able to do whatever – whatever – it wants simply because it won the latest election is a revolving dictatorship. It might also be a parliamentary democracy, but there are no real limits on the power of the government (beyond the token royal assent) as long as it has the seats in the house. 

                    • I don’t see that situation in New Zealand. Any government has had to consider it’s constituents (or at least future votes) and coalition partners, and the realities of trying to run a country.

                      A mandate isn’t a green light to do whatever a party wants, it’s acceptance of the electorate for a party to promote policies it campaigned on.

                      That doesn’t guarantee it will succeed, nor does it guarantee chnages to policies won’t be introduced not new policies introduced as changing situations may require.

                    • KJT

                      Yes. absolute power.

                      Even more frightening when you know the MP’s are not focused on re-election, but on stealing as much as they can for their private backers, before being rewarded with lucrative jobs by the same backers.

                      Like Simon Power with Westpac.

                      NACT, like the 1987 ACT Government, know they will not be re-elected when everyone has seen their real agenda, so their are no constraints.

                      Even Bainamarama has to have more regard for his constituents. If he gets too out of line their will be another coup.

                    • McFlock

                      “Mandate” is irrelevant to the conversation. “Power” is the operative word.
                      Just because you don’t see it happening in NZ doesn’t mean you’re right – it means you’re an idiot. What about CERA? Rogernomics? Student loans? And, of course, Muldoon?
                      Don’t go making the mistake of assuming “it couldn’t happen here”. Sleeping Dogs is only inversely proportional to the benevolence of our government, rather than being constitutionally impossible.

                  • mikesh

                    I think that if we include those parties that didn’t make it into parliament, more people voted for parties that opposed asset sales than the other way round.

            • Bored

              Nationalizing private property is of course a no-no yeah right…the reason RWNJs make such a big deal about private property is because it confers a “right” to them to exploit a position. Where a position is exploitative in the extreme we regularly regulate the shit out of it. Examples are anti trust laws, anti monopoly acts, unfair trading regualtions etc, all designed to mitigate the effects of abuse of property “rights”.

              Where the exploited private property position is extreme I see absolutely no issue with nationalisation.

              • Lostinsuburbia

                Well they are not too shy for seizing land for roaring projects. In those case homeowners and communities can go fuck themselves.
                And of course setting up an EPA to deal with matters of national signfigabce and is which looking for expansion and construction of new salmon frame in Marlbourough. Cause factory fish ranks in importance as power stations, highways and prisons as the EPA was set up to deal with. But remember that there is no right of appeal to the Environment Court. New red tape to keep thebig boys happy…,

              • ropata

                Agreed B. What is so sacred about private ownership and what made ‘nationalisation’ a dirty word? It’s merely the flip side of privatisation.

                Public assets ought to be held in trust for the well being of the whole society not just a few wealthy pricks.

        • Gosman

          I’m also intewrested in knowing how a Labour led government would tempt the overseas investors to lend them the money that their spending promises would demand if they treat investors with such disdain. I mean countries such as Italy are having to pay excessive premiums on their borrowing and even Germany failed to fill a bond issuea and these countries aren’t pursuing anywhere near the sort of Zimbabwe like policies you suggest. I suppose the Government could just print the money like Zimbabwe did.

          • mikesh

            I wouldn’t want to tempt overseas lenders to lend us money. That’s how Greece (and Zimbabwe) got into trouble in the first place. If the government needs to borrow it would be better to borrow interest free from the Reserve Bank.

            • Gosman

              You do know that the Labour party’s spending promises require increased overseas borrowing, (at least in the short term), don’t you?

              Essentially what you are arguing for is printing money. You could follow that route. Zimbabwe did. It didn’t do too much harm, aside from the hyper-inflation they went through and the destruction of their independent monetary system.

              • millsy

                So how many schools and hospitals do you want to see closed instead? I would rather have nice schools and hospitals for everyone.

                • Gosman

                  Sorry but what do School’s and Hospital’s have to do with what we are discussing? If you think you can create them simply by printing money you are sadly mistaken. You just need to look at Zimbabwe to see this.

                  • mikesh

                    The highly successful state housing scheme of the thirties was launched by borrowing fifty million pounds from the Reserve Bank. There was admittedly a lot of slack in the economy in those days, but the possibility that these sorts of policies could be successful again can’t be ruled out.

              • mikesh

                So you of course would prefer that Westpac “printed” our money instead.

                Zimbabwe’s inflation was caused by overseas borrowing which it was not able to repay. It had to more to pay the interest and then more to pay the interest on its new borrowings, which set off a vicious cycle.

                It seems to be generally recognized these days that the Weimar republic’s inflation was caused by the overseas borrowing necessitated by reparations.

                National, in borrowing three to four hundred million a week seem to be taking us down the same path.

                • KJT

                  Exactly. Especially as in future we will be borrowing even more to pay the dividends to offshore owners off power companies.

                  Working so well. Cut wages, export more profits, necessitating more borrowing to live, then more borrowing to pay the interest then more money going offshore, then more borrowing to pay interest.

                  Easier just to tax the money going offshore and raise wages so more stays here. Higher wages mean more tax paid as well so less need to borrow.

                  Yeah worked real well for Greece and Ireland.

                  ETS is just another money go around to keep the financial sector burning up capital.

                  Tax and dividend is a much better idea. It is also economically neutral.

          • KJT

            Gosman. Why should we pay a premium to banks to lend us non-existent, printed money when we could do that ourselves.

            After all, allowing the finance industry to control the printing of money has been so successful!

            All Labour’s spending promises can be paid for by retaining asset dividends and making the wealthy, banking and speculation pay their fair share.

            Unlike National’s. 42 billion in borrowing and rising, with no plans on how to pay for it. And austerity policies which will lower taxes and increase the deficit even more.

            It is becoming very obvious that Nationals borrowing for unproductive Hawaii holidays is going to result in us being a lot further in debt than Labour proposed.

            • Gosman

              Because it leads to hyper-inflation viz-a-viz Zimbabwe. Do you not think that the highly educated Reserve bank governor of Zimbabwe Gideon Gono thought the same way? He probably thought that he was doing the right thing making easy money available to the State to invest in productive areas of the economy. The trouble is all it did was raise the general value of everything in the economy.

              • KJT


                Seems to work well for the “rabid socialists” in North Dakota.

                And Iceland and Argentina.



                Don’t know what Zimbabwe has to do with anything. Printing more money than the spare capacity of the economy, because an authoritarian Government has wrecked it, is always going to be a problem
                Unless you are comparing it with the right wing paradise. Somalia.

                New Zealand’s economy has plenty of spare capacity

              • mikesh

                At Bretton Woods Keynes advocated a system whereby countries with overseas trade surpluses would be penalized just as much as those with deficits, but he was “shouted down” by the Americans, who at the time wanted to maintain a growing surplus. The trouble is that if one country is in surplus another country has to have a deficit. This why so many countries, mainly African and South American, ended up with largely unrepayable debts. And this is also why many of these countries suffered from hyper-inflation.

                • KJT

                  This brings us to another fallacy. The idea that every country is going to export themselves out of debt by out exporting everyone else.

                  Cannot happen. And a small country like NZ is always going to be the loser in that game.

                  Better to invest in a strong and sustainable internal economy. No reason why we cannot borrow against our selves, like we did for State housing to help NZ inc become a more self sustaining and energy efficient country, in future.

                  Retaining total control, of our energy supplies is one of the essentials. Private owners have no incentive to maximise sustainable and well priced energy for New Zealand.

            • Gosman

              By the way KJT, how come no major party in NZ, (and I include the Greens in this), are advocating what you and mikesh are calling for if it is such a non-brainer as you seem to suggest?

              • KJT

                Because they depend too much on election funding from banking and big business.

                And. The Greens are discussing it.

                How any intelligent person can believe in the continued success of a financial system that depends on infinite expansion, in a world of finite resources is beyound me.

              • mikesh

                It was largely the power of labels. The Social Credit party, which was the only party openly advocating monetary reform, were successfully branded with labels like “funny money” and “tooth fairy economics” in the fifties, sixties and seventies. And, unfortunately, the largely unquestioning general public bought this nonsense hook, line and sinker. These days the main parties are terrified of attracting the same labels.

            • Ianupnorth

              How much did tax revenue DECREASE  following their changes to taxation? How much more of it is now contributed by those at the lower end of the earning spectrum, via GST hikes?
              A question Gossy – if you were Bill Gates and had a business called Microsoft, which was earning a fortune from a part of their business where they had a pretty big monopoly, but had another bit that was running at a loss, would it be prudent for Mr. Gates to hang on to the bit that is generating the profit. Would it not be better to use those profits to develop the unprofitable part of that business?

              • Gosman

                Ummmm… it depends on what Bill Gates and the other managers of Microsoft wish to do commercially and what the market decides. It might be prudent to hive off the productive arm of the company to provide the funding for the development of less profitable area if the potential future growth is higher in the less profitable business. It might alos be sensible to raise extra capital via leveraging the highly profitable business but not lose overall control. Regardless these are commercial decisions that most private businesses are free to take every day.

    • ropata 3.4

      Debt Slavery – Why It Destroyed Rome, Why It Will Destroy Us Unless It’s Stopped

      Rome’s creditor oligarchy wins the Social War, enslaves the population and brings on a Dark Age

      Aristotle did not mention empire building as part of his political schema, but foreign conquest always has been a major factor in imposing debts, and war debts have been the major cause of public debt in modern times.

      Among Rome’s leading historians, Livy, Plutarch and Diodorus blamed the fall of the Republic on creditor intransigence in waging the century-long Social War marked by political murder from 133 to 29 BC. Populist leaders sought to gain a following by advocating debt cancellations (e.g., the Catiline conspiracy in 63-62 BC). They were killed. By the second century AD about a quarter of the population was reduced to bondage. By the fifth century Rome’s economy collapsed, stripped of money. Subsistence life reverted to the countryside.

      Shifting planning away from elected public representatives to bankers

      Every economy is planned. This traditionally has been the function of government. Relinquishing this role under the slogan of “free markets” leaves it in the hands of banks. Yet the planning privilege of credit creation and allocation turns out to be even more centralized than that of elected public officials. And to make matters worse, the financial time frame is short-term hit-and-run, ending up as asset stripping. By seeking their own gains, the banks tend to destroy the economy. The surplus ends up being consumed by interest and other financial charges, leaving no revenue for new capital investment or basic social spending.

      This is why relinquishing policy control to a creditor class rarely has gone together with economic growth and rising living standards. The tendency for debts to grow faster than the population’s ability to pay has been a basic constant throughout all recorded history. Debts mount up exponentially, absorbing the surplus and reducing much of the population to the equivalent of debt peonage.

      • Bored 3.4.1

        Rather a salient lesson, as was the example of Solon cancelling debts leading to the golden age of Athens. Never ceases to amaze me that the same individuals who call for economic freedom exemplified by pure market economics make absolutely no allowance for the lack of individual freedom that unfettered markets always lead to.

        It is the nature of human power systems that one party to any transaction (money or otherwise) must by definition “lose”. The power position in capitalism forces one individual in any transaction to necessarily get less fair value than the other, the basis of profit. As you lose financial power your individual freedoms go with it, you become “indebted” to another.

        Marx was right that workers had nothing to lose but their chains. Unfortunately his position was “power” based as well, using force to get a result (or lack thereof in reality). Where we regulate capitalism to try and ensure some fairness we are attempting to moderate the power relationship: without regulated redistribution a power system such as capitalism will always lead to poverty, servitude and eventfully serfdom.

  4. aerobubble 4

    Justice is only for the good, lawful, we’re told by the extreme rightwing Senisible Sentencing trust. Criminals aren’t citizens with rights. How could civics understanding become so shallow, that this organisation gets regular air time?
    If I speed and get caught do I lose the right to argue that it was an emergency?
    If I defend myself and in doing so harm another do I lose citizenship?
    If bureaucrats stuff up and don’t own up, how is their contention that I’m a criminal get more weight than mine that I’m innocent?
    Justice, at its heart, requires balance weighing up something, you’ll rarely see from the rightwing sensible sentencing trust. They have the answers, its not them and their creed that sees problems in black and white, with reams of emotions, no its not their ideology neo-liberal trap that government is evil.

    And exactly how does it serve the civic square to have a lot of aggreived criminals serving terms well out of proportion to their crimes (three strikes), did not france have a revolution because of the capricious nature of its injustices? What is our gang culture but an artifact of a unjustice society?

    Criminalizing the good, whether it be the good in good people or the good side of bad people are both equally wrong. Justice, as I was taught, was about the law being a reminder, a warning, of traps that people can fall into. When emotion takes them, they can lash out and end someone’s life. So I wonder why the SST seem to love to turn the emotional volume up and leave the practice of justice at the door?

    Its very sad to see the SST argue its point, had they been in ancient Greece would they have argued that child should not be molested by adults, which was the practice of the time? Because that would mean adavancing a postive unemotional message based on principle of child rights, and today children in poverty in modern NZ are victims of bad government. SST is not interested in those victims though.

    SST argument boils down to our perfect form of government can do nothing to change the habits and mores of society, has no effect on society, or should not intercede (as it costs to much – neo-liberalism ideology) but those with a voice should have SST as their spokespersons demanding one of the many tools in the hands of government – punishment – should be used more. The SST is a one elephant show and should not be called upon by the media as a counter-balancing view.

  5. How truly DRASTIC is this NZ ‘Food Safety’ crisis?

    In 2009 – how many reported DEATHs were there from the following ‘food bourne’ diseases?


    In total SIX reported deaths in 2009!


    Ok – now where are the FACTS which prove in 2009 – how many in New Zealand died from ‘death by doctor’ or from pharmaceutical drugs?

    Or from poisoning from agricultural chemicals / pesticides etc?

    Why do we REALLY need the NZ Food Bill????

    Penny Bright
    [email deleted]

  6. Bored 6

    First time back this year and JEEZ whats changed? Appears f.a BUT its nice to see some consistency, Gos is still fixated with Zimmers in the same way medieval bishops were about the number of Saints who could dance on the head of pins…..sort of Aspergerish. Pete George is still harping on about detail around non policies (this time its getting the best price for assets that should not be sold…window dressing the unacceptable)….feck I am getting really Bored early on in the year. And I have’nt even got as far as Burt or TS.

    Just as a matter of course, good to see CV KJT Ian and Prism still prepared to debate the issue with these nut bars….not sure I have the same patience for cranial surgery on thick skulls.

    So my piece of consistency: reality check for all on oil production…it is not keeping up with demand and the demand is depressed…what does that tell you? Alternatives found or adopted…to date zippo, bending the laws of thermodynamics seems beyond the control of even the most market driven techno fantasist.

    On climate weirdness, after this “summers” extreme climate events, and the general inconsistency of the weather, make up your own minds.

    On the stupidity of markets and their high priests, the economists….observe that the major international banks are insolvent, so “no problem put your money in US shares”…inflated bubble…if it bursts “well we can create more credit, backed by the taxpayer”….yeah right. Meanwhile the banksters avoid all legal recourse for their larcenies because they “own” the state worldwide.

    On our politicians stupidity (or perhaps pure avaricious evil) Key and crew want to sell our power generation capacity, plus sell off water rights to private interests…two of the worlds biggest issues from here on are available water and available energy. Have no doubt its a strategic move, and we the citizens are the victims.

    Nice to be back.

  7. So – in 2009 there SIX reported deaths from food-bourne diseases.

    Compared to (1998)1524 DEATHS caused by adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs , and
    4222 DEATHS associated with medical injury (mistakes by doctors & medical staff)

    ”In contrast, deaths in 1998 (the last year of detailed official statistics available) caused by adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs killed 1524 New Zealanders and deaths associated with medical injury (mistakes by doctors and medical staff) killed 4222 New Zealanders.”


    Where’s the arguably bigger crisis?

    Food safety or patient safety?


    Natural medicines – the safest way to avoid death
    Thursday, 12 October 2006, 3:20 pm
    Press Release: Coroner’s Council

    “A report just released by the Acting Chair of the Coroner’s Council has shown natural medicines have the lowest fatality rate of all medical treatments in this country. ….”

    “In contrast, deaths in 1998 (the last year of detailed official statistics available) caused by adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs killed 1524 New Zealanders and deaths associated with medical injury (mistakes by doctors and medical staff) killed 4222 New Zealanders.

    Says Dr Bain: “A recent Australian study shows that 1 in 10 patients presenting to a general practitioner had an adverse pharmaceutical drug event in the preceding six months with 50% of those being in the moderate to severe range and 8% requiring hospitalisation.

    “A New Zealand study reported in July of 2006 and referred to Parliament’s Health Committee pointed to previous research suggesting problems such as hospital acquired infection, drug error and staff mistakes are costing this country around $870 million a year. This prompted the Health Minister to ensure that District Health Boards gave priority to reducing such adverse events – most clearly identified as being drug induced.”

    Also in Dr Bain’s report is mention of a US study that puts complications resulting from medication errors in American hospitals at $US1.5 billion dollars per year. Studies also show that prescription drug errors double a person’s risk of dying in hospital. Another study put the cost of a single adverse drug event to a hospital in the US at $US2,500.

    “The estimate of costs incurred by US hospitals as a result of drug-related injury or death was put at $US76.6 billion which was three times the cost of all diabetes care in the United States,” says Dr Bain.

    “What is ironic here is that what is being held out as a justification for high regulation and compliance in the area of complementary medicines and natural products in New Zealand is public safety and risk. Despite a diligent search of Coronial records and the literature, no instances have been found to demonstrate that in fact these products have any serious public health issue or risk.

    “The problem is clearly with prescription and other drugs,” says Dr Bain. “The Coronial and literature searches in so far as natural products are concerned and linkages to public safety and risk can be described legally as De minimis no curat lex. That is – of minimal risk importance.

    “The law does not and should not concern itself with such trifles.”


    Penny Bright
    [email deleted]

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.1

      Equally there’s no evidence that many alternative medicines actually do anything except possibly a placebo effect, and even that is doubtful.

      It’s hard to have a reaction to something that simply makes expensive urine.

      It seems to be a pretty pointless article because it suggests that much of the crap that’s peddled actually has a health benefit and is therefore to be considered in the same light as conventional medicine.

      Regulation is needed to stop quackery for a start.

  8. ianmac 8

    Trouble with this is that it is quite a leap to say so many died from pharmaceutical treatment (1524) so by taking natural remedies you won’t have a fatality.
    If I walk on the road there is a risk which is greater than lying in bed. Therefore stay in bed and avoid fatality.
    Wonder how many were cured by natural remedies compared with those who were cured by pharmaceuticals?
    Should we only take Natural Remedies such as hemlock for instance?

    • McFlock 8.1

      While I have a number of concerns about the relative reporting reliability of medical vs “natural remedies” industry, my impression was that the cut&paste to the coronial media release is just a big distraction – the issue was food-borne pathogens have a lower mortality rate than medical misadventure.
      A link to the release would have been less prone to accidental diversion. 
      Mind you, I still haven’t found the points in the proposed legislation that are so draconian as has been claimed, but then I’m not a lawyer have have only cursorily examined the bill.
      Oh, and in case someone is going to jump on the “it says this, it says that” rant-train – just list the offending clauses, maybe linking to them in the bill. 
      Don”t get me wrong – I wouldn’t put a trick past the pricks, but I just haven’t seen the problem in this case.

      • Penny Bright 8.1.1

        Seen this?

        Links between Codex Alimentarius and the NZ Food Bill:


        (NaturalNews) The God-given human right to freely cultivate food is under attack in New Zealand (NZ) as special interest groups and others are currently attempting to push a “food security” bill through the nation’s parliament that will strip individuals of their right to grow food, save seeds, and even share the fruits of their labor with friends and family members.

        In accordance with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Codex Alimentarius scheme for global food control, the NZ Food Bill, if passed, will essentially transfer primary control of food from individuals to corporations under the guise of food safety. And unless massive public outcry and awakened consciences within the NZ government are able to put a stop to it, the bill could become law very soon.

        According to NZ Food Security, a group working to protect the food freedom of New Zealanders, the bill will turn growing and sharing food into a government-granted privilege rather than a human right. It will also make it illegal to distribute any type of food based on the bill’s language. This includes seeds, nutrients, natural medicines, minerals, and even water — without expressed government permission.

        You see, agribusiness giants like Monsanto want full control of the food supply, which means putting an end to small-scale agriculture systems that operate “off the grid,” so to speak. This is why they have worked so hard in places like the US to convert conventional, staple crop systems to genetically-modified (GM) ones that are continually reliant upon new seeds and chemical interventions.

        As far as enforcement, the NZ bill also authorizes private companies to deploy “Food Safety Officers” that can raid private property without warrant. Not only will these “Food Safety Officers” be permitted to draw weapons against those they are pursuing, but they will also be immune from criminal and civil prosecution for their illegal actions.

        You can read a full summary of what the NZ Food Bill entails here:

        What all this means, of course, is that the NZ government may soon be able to arbitrarily decide at any time to restrict individual freedom to plant vegetable gardens and share the produce with their neighbors, for instance. Even “cottage industries,” which include at-home food artisans, could be restricted under the new law.

        To learn more and to help defeat the NZ Food Bill, visit:

        Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034337_New_Zealand_food_freedom_human_rights.html#ixzz1iRbKKTNu

        Penny Bright
        [email deleted]

        • McFlock

          FFS – that’s what I’m talking about. Big rant, one of your links was broken, and only a couple of specific clauses were mentioned in your links (oh noes, food inspectors wouldn’t need a warrant  – just like litter officers-
          and the ministry can appoint non-ministry employees to be inspectors).    

          Not one single thing to support the assertion:

          the bill will turn growing and sharing food into a government-granted privilege rather than a human right. It will also make it illegal to distribute any type of food based on the bill’s language. This includes seeds, nutrients, natural medicines, minerals, and even water — without expressed government permission.


          • McFlock

            Let me try and be a bit more constructive – what I’m looking for is something like:

            Under the current legislation XYZ[hyperlink to act here], a food business is narrowly defined. However, the broad definition in bill clause AAA[link to specific clause] would include anyone who gives a neighbour excess veges from their own garden, or even giving canned goods to charity.
            Similarly, the proposed clause FFF[link to specific clause] gives inspectors much more power than they have currently in clause RRR[link to clause in current act].

             As it is, the general gist of the anti-food bill folk tends towards “omg, they’re gonna kick hippies!”,  a policy towards which I must confess to having (against my better judgement) a certain sympathy.

  9. MrSmith 9

    What happens after privatizing your assets. 

  10. Jum 10

    What has happened to that extra hundred million dollars per week Key borrowed that he didn’t need to borrow?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Some funds will be held by the Reserve Bank, and some will be invested in short term bonds and money market funds locally and internationally, and drawn upon as needs arise.

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