The magical disappearing surplus

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 am, April 11th, 2015 - 67 comments
Categories: bill english, budget 2014, Economy, election 2014, john key, making shit up, national, same old national, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

John Key and National have placed a huge amount of political capital in returning the country’s books to surplus.  Back in 2008 they campaigned heavily on how Labour was going to deliver “a decade of deficits” and it really was the slogan de jour.  According to them Labour’s mismanagement of the economy was the cause of the global financial crisis and not the pure unadulterated greed of a bunch of merchant bankers like Key seeking never ending wealth.

That always annoyed.  Helen Clark and Michael Cullen had always run a tight budget, produced nine, read that again, nine budget surpluses during the term of the fifth Labour Government, had paid off debt, put ACC on a more secure financial footing, had created the Cullen fund and had put away funds for the time that things went pear shaped.

At the time of the 2008 election the Global Financial Crisis was already causing havoc and no matter who was in power it was the right thing to do to open up the chequebook.  To be fair to National the Christchurch earthquakes have certainly put considerable pressure on the country’s finances.  But Key and co have created this illusion that they are sound financial managers.  And this illusion needs to be shown for what it is.

If you google search the word “surplus” on John Key’s own website the results suggest that he has used the word “surplus” 1,280 times in reported speeches and press releases.  And some of the quotes and passages are real doozies.  Like the following:

  • August 2011 – “In only three years we will be one of the first developed countries back in surplus.  After that, we will be repaying debt while other countries keep borrowing.”
  • October 2011 – “An earlier return to surplus gives future governments more choices, and National is focused on that goal”
  • November 2011 – “We are committed to getting back to surplus in 2014/15 and that significant challenge will require ongoing spending restraint across the public sector and a focus on innovation and results.”
  • January 2012 – “Mr Key said that the Government’s focus on responsibly managing its finances includes a commitment to return to surplus in 2014/15 – which National campaigned on at the election.”
  • April 2012 – “Getting back to surplus is a challenge but we are making the decisions required to get there, so that we can pay down debt and have more choices about what we want to do.”
  • April 2013 – “We remain firmly on track to reach surplus in 2014/15.”
  • May 2013 – “New Zealand’s economy is in good shape.  The Budget confirms the Government will get back to surplus by 2014/15.”
  • January 2014 – “After much hard work, the Government is effecting a remarkable turnaround in the books, with the latest forecasts showing a budget surplus in the next financial year – 2014/15 – after which government debt begins to fall.”
  • May 2014 – “A $500 million support package for families and children, dividends from a growing economy, and a track to surplus next year are all features of Budget 2014.”

Even the 2014 election campaign material continued this theme that a surplus was just around the corner.  Remember this?

Since National came into government, we have been working towards achieving a surplus in the 2014/15 year as well as reducing debt.

But the earlier euphoric confidence started to wear off after the 2014 election.

  • October 2014 – “The Government is focused on returning to surplus.”
  • January 2015 – “The Government is working towards a surplus and repaying debt.”

This week Bill English (note it was Bill and not John) was forced to admit the bad news.  Despite all the promises, despite all the shenanigans such as cutting funds from the Christchurch rebuild, recategorising grants to Auckland Transport as loans and hanging onto ACC surpluses, despite all the rhetoric National is going to fail.

In reality not reaching surplus this financial year is not such a big thing. Economies tend to be cyclical and a good government will save during the good times and spend up during the bad times.  But when you promise for so long with such confidence that you will achieve a result and you then fail to deliver you deserve all the cynicism and opprobrium that opposition parties can muster.

Remember the decade of deficits?  We are over two thirds of the way there and the end is not in sight.

67 comments on “The magical disappearing surplus”

  1. fisiani 1

    It takes a supertanker 22 miles to stop. Bill English has taken the basket case economy he inherited and virtually turned it around and you quibble about a few more weeks to get to surplus. Clutching at straws.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Yeah bloody Helen Clark and Michael Cullen were responsible for the global financial crisis and the 2007 drought. You guys must think they have superhuman magical powers.

      But do you think the nats should have been promising a return to surplus for so long when they clearly are unable to achieve this?

    • Paul 1.2

      Your support of Key is slavish.
      People would respect our opinions more if you, like Fran O’Sullivan, showed a modicum of independent, intelligent thinking.
      She is right wing and she can see faults in the God you call Honest John Key.

      At present your views are laughable and ridiculous.

    • Wynston 1.3

      1. In the words of Mark Twain “First get your facts right, then you may distort them as you choose”.
      2. In the words of Thomas Carlyle “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance”, and you are one of the very best at the latter!.

    • Tracey 1.4

      And how did they go fulfilling their debt reduction promises? You only make yourself look foolish defending the lies and PR spin.

    • NZJester 1.5

      Nationals claim they inherited a country in bad financial shape from Labour is now and always has been Nationals biggest lie. They inherited a country with nearly all debt paid off and assets that where returning the government good dividend money. Of course there was little actual cash in the government coffers as it had all been spent paying off huge money draining debt.
      If National had not given the rich a tax break this country could not afford and borrowed money heavily to do it, then not sold off half those assets that gave them good returns the books might not have been in surplus, but they would be balanced. A country does not need surplus it just needs good balanced books like Labour had done using any possible surplus to pay off the large debt the National government before them had run up!
      In good times and in bad, the National party always cuts the tax for the rich and runs up our debt while claiming to have surpluses. All so called surpluses are false as long as you have huge debts that still need to be repaid.
      National also claimed at one point it would also cut the taxes for the less well off. That was yet another tricky lie they told as although they did cut PAYE tax they on the other hand also increased GST and any PAYE gains most kiwis got never made up for the higher output in the extra money they had to spend on the GST increases. Only those in the higher wage brackets benefited from the PAYE to GST tax swap. The average kiwi has always paid higher taxes since then.

      • Nic the NZer 1.5.1

        You, and others, need to stop criticizing the government for not running a balanced budget. Balancing the government budget is the wrong way to manage the economy, and previous and current attempts to balance the government budget are a causal factor in many of the issues you also have with the NZ economy. These include but are not limited to,
        * Low levels of funding for public sector programs (education, health care, public transport infrastructure).
        * Income inequality (and low paying jobs, with poor rewards).
        * High levels of personal indebtedness (and of course low levels of personal savings, including retirement savings).
        * High levels of unemployment.
        * High house prices.

        Similar issues will occur regardless of which political party attempts to run a balanced budget and how they try to do that, in fact many of the issues listed above were happening already under the previous Labour government.

        NZ’s government debt is not ‘huge’ and does not in any way need to be paid off.

        • mickysavage 1.5.1.1

          I am not criticising the Government for failing to run a balanced budget. I am criticising them for promising this repeatedly and for failing and for having this as essentially their sole economic policy.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.6

      Bill English is on record as saying that the economy was in great shape after the 4th Labour government. Or are you saying that Bill English is a liar?

    • Straight out of J Keys mouth, written by N Fisiani.

    • Pat 1.8

      basket case economy they inherited??…you really are an economic illiterate fisiani

  2. Nic the NZer 2

    For a government like NZ’s which issues its own currency, running a surplus or deficit, is purely the by-product of the governments impact on the economy. The question of if that results in a surplus or deficit is completely irrelevant, there is certainly no virtue in running surpluses, the only question worth addressing is how the overall economy is doing. There is also a non-linear relationship between the governments surplus/deficit status and the overall level of economic activity, so in many cases governments attempting to cut spending drives overall economic activity down to the extent that the government deficit increases (e.g in Greece recent austerity has only made their government deficit larger, and cut 25% off their GDP since 2008). The NZ governments cutting of spending has probably only resulted in a reduction of NZ’s GDP growth rate, e.g ordinary NZers aggregate income growth, however. In so doing the unemployment, and underemployment rates have been higher than necessary for longer than necessary.

    As can be plainly seen the economy is starved of public funds, programs such as the earthquake rebuild, public health, many infrastructure projects, border controls are being poorly impacted by cuts in their budgets. Most councils are trying to find ways to increase rates, because central government will not provide the extra needed funds. Plainly any attempt by the government to run a surplus is not useful in the present economic environment the deficit should be larger and the government more generous in many areas.

    Even the Cullen surpluses are highly questionable, as they largely resulted from activity due to a housing bubble, with the result that NZ has huge problems now due to inflated house prices locking people out of the housing market. If the government of the day had introduced the stringent credit controls required to check the housing bubble (e.g with a much stronger form of present LVR legislation, e.g with 100% coverage) then the surpluses would have disappeared as the housing bubble stopped and the government might have been required to run a significant deficit to balance this and maintain similar GDP growth rates to those of the day.

    Most of the time, due to saving desires of the private sector, a government should probably be running a deficit of some size. For some reason people still wonder why NZ has a low savings rate, but its perfectly obvious and is simply the product of the government trying to lower its deficit.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.1

      For a government like NZ’s which issues its own currency, running a surplus or deficit, is purely the by-product of the governments impact on the economy. The question of if that results in a surplus or deficit is completely irrelevant, there is certainly no virtue in running surpluses, the only question worth addressing is how the overall economy is doing.

      This. Of course, the government can run a surplus if it decreases the savings and income of the private sector and of households. Why anyone thinks that is a good idea is beyond me.

      Even the Cullen surpluses are highly questionable, as they largely resulted from activity due to a housing bubble

      Cullen ran a debt swap. He allowed escalating private sector debt (esp from mortgages) to inject lots of money into the NZ economy. He then taxed that extra money in to the Treasury coffers in order to pay off public sector debt. The government’s books looked better, the private sector’s books looked worse, and NZ overall became more indebted than ever. It was just the balance of whose books that debt appeared on which changed.

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        You really have trouble reading financial reports to produce this sort of mumbo jumbo.
        Since we dont have a capital gains tax, Cullen coudnt tax anything from the property bubble. We dont even have land tax and stamp duty on property transfers like Australian states, to benefit from property speculation. Major property sales are usually done by a sale of shares in a company to avoid GST, or they use the rollover provisions

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1.1

          Huh? If you can’t follow the monetary concept of sectorial money balances between the private sector and the public sector, and the fact that an increasing government surplus *always* drives an increasing private sector deficit in the absence of a current account surplus, then please don’t comment. “Financial reports” in a general accounting sense are irrelevant to this activity because they do not track this activity.

          Cullen coudnt tax anything from the property bubble. We dont even have land tax and stamp duty on property transfers like Australian states, to benefit from property speculation.

          Irrelevant to my point that Cullen effectively performed a debt swap between the private sector and the public sector balance sheets.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        Why anyone thinks that is a good idea is beyond me.

        Because if the government runs too much of a deficit the private sector ends up with too much money. Considering that that too much money will be in the hands of the few due to the way capitalism works that means that those few will be a) looking for returns on that money resulting in ever higher accumulation and b) looking to buy up society’s wealth and they’ll be able to do both of these because of c) they’ll have the politicians in their pocket. These result in ever increasing poverty for society.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      For a government like NZ’s which issues its own currency

      Although governments can and should do that no government today actually does so. They take out interest bearing loans instead.

      Even the Cullen surpluses are highly questionable

      From what I can make out most of the GDP growth of the last decade or so is a result of both public and private borrowing and very little else. Although there’s been some actual development of the economy I don’t think that it’s as much as the rate of GDP growth.

      Most of the time, due to saving desires of the private sector, a government should probably be running a deficit of some size. For some reason people still wonder why NZ has a low savings rate, but its perfectly obvious and is simply the product of the government trying to lower its deficit.

      It’s pretty obvious in this article: Private profit (which includes savings) = government deficit.

  3. Tracey 3

    ” But when you promise for so long ”

    But when you lie for so long

    FIFY

  4. I do not believe the current Govt are interested for one minute in the books being in balance as all they are interested at this time is keeping workers from having any decent pay increases .

    But come 2017 prior to the next election announcement what’s the bet that a surplus will magically appear just in time we go to the ballot box ?
    And the promises of pay increases will flow from their mealy mouths once again.

    These Tories are a devious lot and will do anything to stay in power.

  5. david 5

    Colonial Rawshark, while there are merits on what you say, Bats have done precious little to address the external debt. Their focus has been on the govt books but these are not a problem. To address the external debt we need to save and invest more. Other than lowering tax rates they have nothing to encourage savings and investment. You compare nz incentives for saving to the incentives they have in Australia like salary sacrifice and we don’t stack up here. National are all talk and no do.

  6. The Murphey 6

    Until such time as legitimate financial and monetary commentators are involved in preparing and distributing messages to the public the lies and deceit will continue to revolve around meaningless abstract targets such as ‘return to surplus’

    Should the above come to pass it is likely the current financial framework has collapsed and or is in transitional state towards phase out

    Realistically the transitional state has been underway for +/- 40 years however the message is still controlled by the establishment which is why the lies and propaganda are becoming ever more transparent

    The NZ media and its messages are reflective of the NZ economy and financial well being which if course are directly responsible for many deaths and the poverty levels in NZ

    • tracey 6.1

      There does seem to be an (unscientific) correlation between the rise and domination of neo liberal (instantly benefit those at the top) economics and the deterioration of understanding of journalists of the role they are meant to play and the power they hold. And IF this journalistic deterioration is because of editorial and boardroom pressure then where is the courage? Many people suck it up and challenge the status quo and accept the price may e less pay or a different job. Sadly there don’t seem to be many of these in the field of journalism these days…

      • Naturesong 6.1.1

        This is worth a read – it covers some of your questions;

        Speech delivered by Nicky Hagar to Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand Conference, University of Otago, 26 November 2008: Imagining a world where the PR people had won

        • Tracey 6.1.1.1

          Have read it before, but was good to read again. Thanks. His Bruce Jesson is always worth a re-read too.

          “We live in an era where the public spaces are being crowded with paid spokespeople, spin and trickery; where news and political discussion are being polluted by the glib outpourings of ever growing numbers of PR people; and where the public spaces available for real democratic activity are drying up.”

          How proud people like Farrar and Hooton et al must feel…

          • Naturesong 6.1.1.1.1

            This is the bit I was thinking of at the time I commented:

            I believe that to understand current New Zealand society, one of the most important mechanisms to understand is the past and present attacks on certain groups of people. For example, one of the vigorous PR vehicles in the 1980s was NZBR. It claimed of itself that it was purely a source of information and analysis, but one of its main tactics was active attacks on anyone prominent or influential that did not support its beliefs. Many people were hounded out of positions of influence by its efforts.
            Because the winners wrote lots of this history, these events need more analysis to understand the long-term effects. However there is a lot of evidence of the journalists who got repeated attacks and found themselves marginalised at that time.
            The same with public figures like economist Brian Philpott, who was hounded out of the Wellington newspapers. One Wellington lobby firm specialised in pressuring journalists (it’s co-founder is still a dominant character in Wellington PR and lobbying).

            The same thing happened in universities and the public service – with nasty attacks on critics of Rogernomics and behind the scenes manoeuvring to undermine their employment. Many people were pushed aside in this way, while other were favoured and promoted. NZBR head Roger Kerr went onto VUW council from 1995-99 to continue this process, actively investigating and making life difficult for lecturers who were outspoken against the policies he believes in.

            A university economist told me recently that there had not been a single appointment of a left-leaning economist to any university department in New Zealand for about 20 years. If correct, this would mean that – even though New Zealand has moved a lot since the 1980s and 1990s — econ students today are still getting an almost uniform diet of free market ideology.

            • Tracey 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Did you read Farrar’s “research” on media “opinion” which is positive or negative toward Labour or National?

              One criteria was

              “An editorial or column is assessed against whether someone reading it will feel more positive or more negative about the Government/National, Labour, Greens or NZ First.”

              WHO made the assessment?

              • I was not aware of the criteria – I’d seen the figure in Bryce Edwards colmn.

                Adding “An editorial or column is assessed against whether someone reading it will feel more positive or more negative about the Government/National, Labour, Greens or NZ First.” to his piece would have provided useful context.
                Instead he wandered off into the weeds.

                • Tracey

                  yes and WHO made the assessment on whether it was positive or negative and based on what…

                  AND why exclude the large numbers of other opinion pieces which litter our papers, espeh on weekends, from the “research”?

                  And didnt do NZF or the Greens cos they dont written about enough…. That is probably the most interesting statistic about our FPP media.

            • Wynston 6.1.1.1.1.2

              “econ students today are still getting an almost uniform diet of free market ideology”.

              Spot on! But then for the last 40 or so years one has only had to teach a parrot “trickle down” and they’ve turned out an economist.

              • NZJester

                Trickle down as a theory has so many major flaws and was long ago debunked as a good working economic model.
                When those at the top get that money they have no incentive to let it trickle down as it makes them far more money locked away in their bank accounts or in long term investments.
                Why would they invest that money in small businesses to help them grow when those business have few customers that can afford their goods.

                When you put the money in at the bottom however it does make its way up the chain.
                Those at the top must invest in helping small business grow if they want to collect any of that money as it makes it’s way up the chain.
                Because more costumers at the bottom of the chain have the money to spend on goods businesses can afford to grow to meet a real demand for their services.

                Basically Greed prevents trickle down from working. But then Greed does not hinder, but can help trickle up from working.

          • The Murphey 6.1.1.1.2

            How proud people like Farrar and Hooton et al must feel…

            One is left to speculate what those who ‘support the framework’ have been blackmailed or threatened with

            There will be many who are willing participants and again speculation as to the motives makes for interesting conversations

            • Tracey 6.1.1.1.2.1

              No threats. Ego and money, and a complete failure to give a shit about the wider consequences. Note this week Hooton was annoyed at Key government, in part cos Key had lied about Hooton. NOT cos of any inherently wrongness about where they are taking NZ.

              • The Murphey

                Many must genuinely not give a toss given the state of play globally on so many fronts

                I wonder if the minions stop to consider the consequences of their contributions

                Something does not add up

        • Unicus 6.1.1.2

          Thanks for the reminder – some great work from Hagar over the years

          Here’s a helpful “PR concept ” for the addicted and depressed wanting to kick their evening dose of pap and lies

          “LOOSE THE NEWS”

  7. When you have to slash social spending as this government has in order to get a surplus, then it’s not a real surplus. It’s an attack on those who cannot protect themselves and the community at large.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      +1

      Well said and the only people who benefit from such policies are the rich.

    • tracey 7.2

      Robbing the low income to make the higher incomes richer and the middle income feel comfortable.

      • Picard101 7.2.1

        The middle have no reason to feel any better. Unless the thought of 30 police stations closing in order to meet government ordered savings from the police dept makes them feel safer.

        • Tracey 7.2.1.1

          no they don’t but that is the trick, isn’t it… make them feel threatened by beating a drum, then stop the drum.

          the law and order drum is beaten pre election… the time to close stations cos law and order aint as bad as presented in elections, is the year after elections.

  8. Chooky 8

    Letter from Metiria Turei , Co-leader of the Greens:

    Kia ora

    The Government opened its books yesterday and it doesn’t make pretty reading.

    With just over a month to go to the Budget, John Key and Bill English are heading towards a record seventh consecutive deficit, equalling the mark set by their National mates from 1966 to 1972.

    This is a Government that has sold itself as the masters of economic management, and what do we have to show for it?

    To start with, there’s that string of deficits, as well as growing inequality, and a two-track economy that only benefits a small number of people.

    Tax cuts for the rich and selling off our assets have done nothing to help everyday Kiwis.

    There are signs of this Government’s ineptness everywhere you look; be it growing child poverty, substantial job losses or the horrendously over-inflated housing market – all of which John Key and Bill English are turning their backs to.

    The Green Party is committed to promoting a fairer, greener economy for our country.

    We also know that New Zealanders are depending on us to hold the Government accountable for its fiscal failings – and that’s what we’ll be focusing on over the coming months.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Remember the decade of deficits?

    National have worked hard to ensure that we would have such a decade by giving the rich tax cuts and corporate welfare and selling off state assets while putting the boot into the poor.

  10. fisiani 10

    if we are not in surplus by election 2017 I admit the election could be close. Low inflation makes it difficult to achieve a surplus but I’m sure the average person cares not a jot about when a surplus is achieved. Most people appreciate low inflation, improved housing affordabilty (ex Auckland) affordable mortgages and raised pensions. extended free primary health care for children and cheaper holidays in Australia and the All Blacks winning the World Cup.

    • Paul 10.1

      More slavish nonsense.
      Some help for you, fisi.
      How to leave a cult.

      http://www.wikihow.com/Leave-a-Cult

    • Straight out of J Keys mouth, written by Nat Fisiani.

    • mac1 10.3

      Dear Fisiani, since you never reply to information which you cannot dispute or spin, here is a piece of something I wrote in reply to you on another thread. I’d be interested in your view of a current reality quite different from yours above.

      “The budget forecast to be in the positive has gone red, the by-election was lost and the privatisation of NZ prisons gets a boost. Social housing land is sold, the value of the NZ dollar hurts our exporters, and our poorly researched government is starting to pull back on silly ideas such as paying for police checks; and 30 Police stations are to close.”

      • mac1 10.3.1

        Oh, and Ministers of the Crown don’t even know the basic facts of their portfolio, Fisiani, as demonstrated by Tim Groser, to the point of getting it exactly wrong.

        Will the Great Leader, and Protector of the Bastions of Honesty, John Key, have a word with his errant Minister?

        • mac1 10.3.1.1

          I wonder, Fisiani, whether the above GL and PotBoH, John Key, will be having a word with his Minister of Finance about his ability to accurately predict, and plan for, the first fiscal surplus of his tenure.

          “Geez, Bill, get it right , mate, or I’ll give the job to …..er….. now who’s not been telling lies or stuffing up? OK, look just do better next time, or my reputation for honesty and integrity in government will be in tatters, and we know What Keeps Us In Power, don’t we?”

    • tracey 10.4

      But then you were so confidant the dollar would reach parity with the Aussie dollar at 4pm one day last week… when it didn’t you changed your certainty to in a “month”. It’s like you are writing from the Government’s playbook.

      Dollar Parity

      “improved housing affordabilty (ex Auckland) ”

      THAT is hilarious Fisi… you conveniently remove a third of the population from your aggrandizement of the situation.

      “but I’m sure the average person cares not a jot about when a surplus is achieved”

      FUNNY that the Government puts so much emphasis on it Fisi.

      “1,280 times in reported speeches and press releases. ” is 213 times a year, 17 times a month, and 2 and a half times a week…

    • Incognito 10.5

      “Most people appreciate low inflation …”.

      As if people have a choice in the matter! Low inflation also leads to lower or no wage increases: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11430800

      Do you think most people do appreciate that as well?

      • Tracey 10.5.1

        In Fisi’s world

        ” the average person cares not a jot about when a surplus is achieved.” but they really appreciate the impact of low inflation on their lives.

    • Picard101 10.6

      You seem to miss the point. It is the fact National have made a MASSIVE deal about this surplus and how it proves how great they are at managing the country. They have a lot riding on this. You are right that normally the average joe cares not a jot, but national have made people care, and now they will be hung by this massive broken promise.

    • dave 10.7

      the world is grip of deflation stagnation we have austerity . property bubbles ,an over valued currency , no real income growth, exports crashing , new Zealand has one of highest household debt problems in the oecd ,child poverty through the roof a government practising the 4 ds divert , deflect ,deceive ,and FJK favourite denial, suicide rates are spiralling upwards ,polluted rivers and a total national debt of over 508 billion and all the likes of fisiani can say is how fucking awesome there key-god is.

    • I love it when you contradict yourself in the space of one comment.

      Because how can a lack of surplus make 2017 a “close” election if “the average person” doesn’t care about surpluses?

  11. Paul Campbell 11

    really it’s simple – we wouldn’t be in this situation if we hadn’t given Key’s mates a tax break – all English has to do to fix things is to take the tax break back – I’m sure he knows that but refuses to do so

  12. Penny Bright 12

    How much is New Zealand now exposed to ‘off the books’ derivatives?

    Penny Bright

  13. Wynston 13

    http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/04/theres-trouble-brewing-in-middle-earth/

    Provides an excellent coverage of the country’s economy and the governments performance. Blinglish, Fisi and others of such ilk would do well to read it! And I am sure that Shonkey will love (I don’t think) this piece of truth in particular: “The country’s prime minister since 2008, John Key, used to work at Merrill Lynch and the New York Fed, and that sort of background guarantees valiant efforts to sell anything in the country that’s not bolted down, and take an axe to what is. It also guarantees zero initiative to become self-sufficient.”

    • dave 13.1

      that’s a bloody good article so was Forbes article last year on 12 reasons NZ economy will crash
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessecolombo/2014/04/17/12-reasons-why-new-zealands-economic-bubble-will-end-in-disaster/

      and its fucking happening

      • Wynston 13.1.1

        Agree totally!
        It was a toss up between the two articles as to which one I linked. The “reasons why” one totally stumped (“stuffed” might be more accurate) our (now brand new) local MP when I raised it at last years Grey Power AGM!

      • I remember that article in Forbes.

        Although it doesn’t take an analyst to know something is wrong. Someone who can read and DOES read between the lines will figure it out.

        And essentially none of the problems that we have had for the last 15-20 years since a programme on television in about 1999 talked about the success of nations that invested more in research and development; bigger emphasis on exports and diversification of the export base – all which we have not done – have been solved.

        Yes the economy is in trouble.

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    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    20 hours ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    20 hours ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    21 hours ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    22 hours ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    23 hours ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    2 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    4 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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