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We need a government that gives a f*ck

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, September 11th, 2012 - 56 comments
Categories: jobs - Tags:

The paper mill at Kawerau is halving its production, and its workforce. Another hundred plus jobs gone.

Meanwhile, Norske Skog, which owns the mill, is expanding production at its paper mill in Tasmania. The expansion, part-paid for with government money will allow Australia to produce its own glossy catalogue paper, rather than importing it.

What’s the difference?

In Australia, the government is investing in local production and local jobs to substitute imports.

Here, our government doesn’t give a fuck.

I’m not saying its the government’s job to protect every single existing jobs. But it should be working to boost manufacturing to replace imports. A good start would be a monetary policy to create a lower exchange rate so that our exporters and domestic producers can compete against offshore producers here and abroad.\

But they won’t even consider doing anything.

Just watch: when they’re asked about these latest jobs losses today, watch for the excuses and the indifference. It’s the same every time jobs are lost. Just as it’s the same every time poverty comes up.


56 comments on “We need a government that gives a f*ck”

  1. Tracey 1

    Be fair, this government is really giving a fuck about consultants…



    Redundancies (2008-09 to 2012-13)

    IRD $31.4m

    Corrections Department $18.5m

    MOBIE $12.4m

    Defence Force $11.9m

    Primary Industries Ministry (including MAF and MFish) $10.7m

    Lands $7.5m

    Conservation Department $6.2m

    Health Ministry $5.3m

    Internal Affairs Department $5.1m

    Justice Ministry $5.1m

    TOTAL $114.1m

    Consultants (2008-09 to 2010-11)

    IRD $125.2m

    Conservation Department $123.2m

    MOBIE $104.5m

    Housing New Zealand $101m

    Agriculture and Forestry Ministry (now MPI) $82.4m

    Defence Force $79.3m

    ACC $75.4m

    Corrections Department $74.6m

    Justice Ministry $73.5m

    Health Ministry $71.4m

    TOTAL $910.5m

  2. Tom Gould 2

    “watch for the excuses and the indifference.”

    No, Joyce is much cleverer than that. He is promising ‘clean tech’ jobs. That shuts the lefties down. Too easy.

    • Tracey 2.1

      Yes, until someone starts firing back… “more promises, more aspirations” but no actual jobs, they get a free ride. Since 2008 they have been promising more jobs… it’s 4 years people…

    • mike e 2.2

      Cunliffe outed Nationals canning of the biofeul accord that feul companies were to have 5% mix, of biofeul at the pump and that national don’t have a strategegy.
      The exchange rate as well our $ is being left high and dry while all other major trading blocks are lowering their exchange rate using various methods.
      Something we have pointed out many times here.

      • mickysavage 2.2.1

        It is even worse than Cunliffe said.  The halt to the biofuels requirement was rushed through in Key’s hundred days of action under urgency and without the legislation going through a select committee at the end of 2008.

        One fledgling business that had spent time setting up was wrecked.

        It is hard to understand such inept belligerence. 

    • mike e 2.3

      Tom Gould National have been promising jobs for africa and have failed to deliver ttime after time so this is just a nother failure is what you implying!or lying more likely

  3. The Baron 3

    “The expansion, part-paid for with government money will allow Australia to produce its own glossy catalogue paper, rather than importing it.”

    …Which if done here would have most of the usual suspects on this site scream “corporate welfare” while frothing at the mouth.

    No pleasing you lot is there.

    • Tracey 3.1

      But it’s not being done here Baron, nothing is being done here… just more job losses every day. Those tax cuts sure did create more jobs…

    • Lightly 3.2

      can you point to instances of this site criticising government investment in job creation in manufacturing (other than in climate change-causing industries)?

      No, I thought not.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      Yep, that’s because it would be. The ones who would benefit would be the corporates and not NZ.

      If, on the other hand, the government paid for the factory (by printing the money), kept ownership of it but left it to be run by the workers I wouldn’t have any problems with it at all. In fact, I think the government should be doing exactly that across the board.

    • Colonial Viper 3.4

      The Baron: what new manufacturing capabilities are you suggesting the Government should invest in? GIve us some ideas, you might be surprised at the warm reception you get.

    • tc 3.5

      Funny baron, confusing with the term corporate welfare for what’s outright charity and degrading NZ workers conditions like SCF, Taxpayers funding polluters, Hobbit laws, UFB, RONS etc etc.

      We’re easily pleased just not sucked into the spin and rhetoric the RWNJ’s spout as if it’s credible.

      Joyce gave a slick performance, jackbooting the usual targets. It’s all too easy with geoff robinson as your patsy.

      The only stimulation the NACT have done is to their wealthy elite backers by squandering a net zero crown debt they took over in 2008. Bravo !

  4. vto 4

    This is further evidence that the National Party actually makes no sense.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    There were several segments on this on the radio this morning including Joyce and Cunliffe, and I think Cunliffe did a very good job at the end. I particularly liked him taking the time to point out that in between a completely free and open currency float (as NZ has, apparently the freest in the world) there are many different policy options before you get to pegging your currency. Often people will hear talk about addressing the exchange rate and leap straight to currency pegging and saying it’s unaffordable (National of course being the worst culprits) when that isn’t something we need to even consider.






    Seems there’s a limit of 5 formatted URLs, so here’s the final one with Cunliffe:

  6. Te Reo Putake 6

    I heard one of the union reps on the radio yesterday making the point that imported newsprint was one of the reasons for the decline in demand for NS’s Kawerau product. How crazy is that? We have the forests, we have the mill, but we don’t have any commitment to the NZ economy from local newspaper publishers.

    Biggest villain? The NZ Herald, proudly published on imported Asian paper.

    • BM 6.1

      Why is Asian paper so much cheaper than NZ produced paper?
      I would have thought shipping it from China would negate any savings in labour cost.

      • Lanthanide 6.1.1

        Shipping things in massive quantities actually results in quite a small per-unit cost.

        • Colonial Viper

          And there is a massive surplus of global shipping capacity at the moment.

        • mike e

          Most Chinese mainland businesses don’t make profits they are just gouging other economies to put them out of business so they can monopolize and then make a profit China keeps its yuan value down compared to other currencies as well it subsidizes fuel.
          So we play fair and get screwed and we have their propagandists like BM come on to this site and say we shouldn’t do the Same things as all our major trading partners do!
          BM your a fundamentalist traitor!

            • Te Reo Putake

              Interesting in what way, BM? The Herald sources its newsprint from Malaysia, I think I heard on the radio, which may also raise sustainibilty issues too.

              • BM

                Everything seems to be made in Asia or supplied by Asia these days, so I
                was surprised at what a bit player it was in the Newsprint industry.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Ok, gotcha. I think more recent data than your 2007 link will probably show the balance of production is heading East. And it’s not just newsprint; there are lots of monthly Australasian magazines that are printed in Asia and shipped for delivery here and in Oz. The time it takes to ship means that weekly titles can’t do that yet, but I’m sure the various media companies are working on that too.

          • Lanthanide

            NZ’s being “playing fair” and getting screwed for decades in the world markets.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        Why is Asian paper so much cheaper than NZ produced paper?

        Because of the dead weight loss of profit enforced here by the capitalists, the fact that wages are far lower in Asia, a pegged exchange rate for many Asian manufacturers and the artificially high NZ$ which is pumped up by foreign speculation.

        • jbc

          Asian capitalists would make Norske Skog look like a caring and decent company by comparison.

          Exchange rates? Still doesn’t explain why Tasmania comes out ahead of NZ. Higher exchange rate and higher wages, apparently. A lot more expensive then.

          A company shifts production to a state where they get govt sponsorship… hmmm… corporate welfare is now a good thing?

          So, what I’m hearing is that if the NZ govt sold a bunch of mining permits and then used the proceeds to prop up otherwise uncompetitive businesses then we would be better off?

  7. captain hook 7

    So what does donny brash have to say about how Kawerau workers are to get parity with Australians now?

  8. It just never ends,on the tv3 site it says ’50 jobs to be lost at the end of this month
    at the port of timaru’,its getting beyond a joke,has key got a ‘grand plan’ with
    goldman,etc some brighter future 🙁

  9. BLiP 9


    Its too late. International trade agreements prevent any New Zealand government from sheltering its manufacturing base with any regulations which might interfere with partners’ existing and potential customer base. New Zealanders themselves need awaken from the deliberately-induced consumer-dreamland slumber and start to buy and demand more locally made goods, and the wages required to do so. But, yeah, National Ltd™ isn’t helping. Its avarice-driven and myopic focus on the bottom line prevents it from seeing the wider, community value of, say, manufacturing railway stock here.

    • mike e 9.1

      SBut its alright to bring in second rate rolling stock that rquires onging repairs(effectively subsidizing the chinese manufacturers) and leave our dollar continually be under mined by the big trading blocks and the international speculators.

    • prism 9.2

      Blip 9

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Several observations:

    1. If the mill in Tasmania is producing paper for news print/advertising, then the auzzie government is backing a loser, given the decline in print media.

    2. If I were a local competitor, I would be pretty pissed off that the government was subsidizing my competition to compete against me.

    • Te Reo Putake 10.1

      TS, your first point is wrong because, despite the decline, the industry is huge and still consuming vast amounts of newsprint. There will be a market for a long, long time to come.

      Your second point illustrates why you are never going to be a succesful capitalist in your own right, TS. If you were a local competitor, rather then get pee’d off, you’d go get yourself a similar subsidy and build your business up in partnership with the supportive local and federal government. You only see problems, TS, real entrepreneurs see opportunities.

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        “TS, your first point is wrong because, despite the decline, the industry is huge and still consuming vast amounts of newsprint. There will be a market for a long, long time to come.”

        I agree it will still be around for awhile. However, the industry certainly isn’t in expansion mode, and is in a period of slow decline. So, it is unlikely to be a high source of new jobs going forward. In fact, what seems to be happening now is a company is consolidating its resources. I am not sure that the Australian government bribing them to do this in Australia is a good investment.

        Providing subsidies to certain companies/industries which involves a government picking winners, which is very difficult to do, and is unfair on other industries that for some arbitrary reason, may not qualify for the subsidies.

        Surely, a better strategy is to provide a low-tax rate environment for industry generally. Then those industries that are successful (most profitable) will benefit most from the tax breaks, and thus have more to invest back into expanding their businesses and employing more people. Those that are unsuccessful, (unprofitable) will not benefit from the tax breaks. In that way, the businesses that are most likely to increase jobs get the most help from the government.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Surely, a better strategy is to provide a low-tax rate environment for industry generally. Then those industries that are successful (most profitable) will benefit most from the tax breaks, and thus have more to invest back into expanding their businesses and employing more people. Those that are unsuccessful, (unprofitable) will not benefit from the tax breaks. In that way, the businesses that are most likely to increase jobs get the most help from the government.

          We’ve tried that for the last 30 years – it’s not working.

          • jbc

            Surely, a better strategy is to provide a low-tax rate[…]

            We’ve tried that for the last 30 years – No we have not.

            it’s not working. Tell that to Singapore. Recently:

            “Singapore’s unemployment rate unexpectedly fell last quarter as construction companies and manufacturers increased hiring even as the economy contracted.
            The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 2 percent in the three months through June from 2.1 percent the previous quarter[…]

            The services industry added 15,500 jobs last quarter, while manufacturing companies increased payrolls by 4,500, the report showed, citing preliminary data. Construction employment rose 9,500 in the three months through June.”

            Tax breaks for new startups: 100k per annum tax free for the first 3 years. 400% credit on R&D (they call it productivity and innovation) with a cash payout option.

            Now, I’m not saying that I agree with the principle of chasing the lowest costs, the best subsidies, etc. But it is foolish to argue that businesses are not motivated by such things.

        • Colonial Viper

          Surely, a better strategy is to provide a low-tax rate environment for industry generally. Then those industries that are successful (most profitable) will benefit most from the tax breaks, and thus have more to invest back into expanding their businesses and employing more people.

          This is a stupid strategy.

          Firstly it entrenches large/monopoly players without helping those in the NZ economy who truly generate jobs: employers and startups with 10 or less workers.

          Those start up companies have no profits to speak of and are completely missed by your approach.

          Secondly, increased profits could be re-invested in new plant, machinery and people. Or they could simply be extracted from the country to give foreign shareholders larger dividends.

          Of course, corporate behaviour always favours the latter because meeting high EPS targets is what shareholders demand.

    • mike e 10.2

      what are the other local competitors The Silly Monetarist

  11. infused 11

    Difference, Aussie makes tons out of mineral exports.

    We haz no monies. Just like every other country.

  12. Rusty Hellback 12

    Key said he was going to create thousands of jobs in their election ads…

    where the bloody hell are they?

  13. Frank 13

    No newsprint is being imported due to the shutdown. Paper machine 2,the one they are closing is purely making paper for export. Machine 1 has plenty of capacity to supply the NZ market. All coated paper is currently imported in NZ.

  14. Kevin84 14

    I like lowering our exchange rate, it lowers the price of our exports and our WAGES relative to foreign goods and wages. This can only be a good thing.

    Remember when Bill English said that our low wages make us competitive, well clearly he and many in labour were on the same wavelength. He should have pushed the RBNZ to lower our exchange rate to make our wages lower to Australia’s – now this is what we call catching up with Australia, plus its clearly a progressive policy.

    I also like how the low exchange rate makes it harder for many exporters to export. Take for example a boat builder, many boat builders require foreign inputs to make their boats. Foreign steel, foreign carbon fibre, foreign radios and even paint; by lowering our exchange rate we can make it harder for our boat builders to import the things they need to make their exports. This is a policy I can support, it supports social justice and it is progressive.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Hi Kevin84

      Nice attempt at sarcasm. Thankfully, we can trust exporters to have done the numbers better than you have.

      Your boat example for instance. Those foreign sourced components typically make up less than 30% of the total sale price of a boat. So although their cost will increase, overall, the market price of the boat will decrease, allowing that exporter to be far more competitive.

      In addition, the boat manufacturer will be incentivised to use NZ suppliers for componentry and materials, boosting our local industry further.

      it lowers the price of our exports and our WAGES relative to foreign goods and wages.

      This is more like what you are concerned about, the rich bitching that overseas souveneirs cost more when they fly off on their world trips.

      I’ll add one more thing:

      a low NZD wage, and a high NZD value is the worst of all worlds for the NZ worker. The high NZD makes our goods uncompetitive while the low NZD wage makes it hard to live in this country (where everything is priced in NZD).

      The fact you are pushing for this scenario shows you up as a devious, kniving, and untrustworthy fellow.

      • Kevin84 14.1.1

        Well as I’m not rich, I couldn’t care what the rich tosspots get worried about as far as their overseas adventures go, if their little darlings going to Kings are struggling to import their low quality cocaine for their weekend party at Spy bar or Ponsonby Social Club then that is their problem. What I’m worried about is a bunch of rent seeking exporters playing the ‘whole economy revolves around exports’ narrative that can lead to disadvantages to many other New Zealanders. (Not that I’m ignorant of the harm an overvalued currency can cause)

        Some of us need to pay for petrol to do our jobs and get to work, or buy clothes, or buy fruit and veggies that are not in season here, so they need to be imported – you know like California oranges. So having a higher exchange rate can help at times. I am mindful of what a high exchange rate means – I grew up in a farming family, so I’m not simply saying this because I like my imported Smartphone on the cheap. Yes our exporters need some slack as well, but some people like Bernard Hickey…well….let us just say if you want an exchange rate on par with the Thai Baht, then all I can say is godspeed to you on that adventure, just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work out how you wanted it to.

        Now if we have a depreciation of the NZ dollar and it leads to an increased price for many foreign sourced goods that I simply cannot get here or go without, and I’m on a fixed income, then I’m going to have less to spend. If a lowering of the exchange rate raises my supermarket bill from $200 to $250 (a large increase I know – but it’s an example), then I have $50 less to spend elsewhere. With that $50 now been devoted to my supermarket necessities unlike before, the other areas where that $50 had been spent on may suffer; perhaps I spent that $50 on tickets to my LOCAL ITM cup team, or my LOCAL hairdressers, or my LOCAL cinema. Those local businesses now suffer as my spending decreases on them to try and maintain the same basket of goods at the supermarket. You seem to think that there is a simple gain from an exchange rate depreciation and that exporters will magically expand output at the drop of a hat. Some of us have rather inelastic demand when it comes to foreign imports, and an increase in their cost my ironically have a negative flow on effect to many local businesses because their customers have to tighten their belts, as their foreign imported necessities go up in price(some things simply cannot be made here – economies of scale etc).

        Also, you say you want local components and material. How local? NZ local? Perhaps provincially local? Surely if NZ would be better off by buying local then it would be logically the same for our provinces? If Aucklanders stopped buying Taranaki milk and Marlborough wines, and instead brought Counties-Manukau milk and Waiheke Island wine then surely, surely, they would be better off? In fact if they didn’t buy Marlborough wines their money wouldn’t be going offshore (Cook Strait), oh wait, no, Waikheke is an island, we will have to make roof-top vineyards on our inner city apartments -a truly self-sufficient economy! I say CBD jobs for Auckland CBDers!

        Tell me, if our government and forbearers had decided to become a state of Australia in 1901, would NSW or Western Australia count as local? I’ll bet if that were the case you would get cranky about foreign ownership/investment in ‘our’ mines in the Pilbara if that were the case, but because of some accident of history you don’t.

        You see I believe in a common humanity, so I don’t always put other people ahead of others simply because they have the same passport. The left once had a vision of an international idea of social advancement, where workers would help one another achieve progressive advancement and provide an abundance for all – where-ever or whoever they were, but, unfortunately that seems to have faded away and a new pessimistic and fatalistic nationalistic centred concern has arisen.

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  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
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  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago