Sunday, 30 October 2011

Politics the week that was

He appears.......He fails to 

The opening shots have been fired and the parties have come out fighting, well some have.
·         Labour fired the first shots by introducing a change in the Age of entitlement for national super; gee did that cause a stir.
·         National continued with its John Key for God fan club by putting his grinning image on all its bill-boards, in many respects it was a bit of a Gaddafi show from a few years back…you know the leader is everything…most dictatorships use that style of presentation, you know statues, 60 foot images plenty of flags etc.
·         Winston Peter’s burst back onto the scene with a blast from the past about national super but was generally free from attacking Maori and Asians, the big question is will he stand in a electoral seat and if so which one!
·         The Greens move steadily forward with a balance of sound social and environmental policy mix. Each passing day sees them drift further and further from the John Key party and closer and closer to the Labour Party.
·         The Act party has drifted off into space and their leader is all on his own, if you want to see Don Brash just look at the moon on a clear night and you might catch him in orbit on a broom.
·         The Maori Party has become the party for Maori Elite and the,
·         Mana Party the party for the working Maori and in fact workers in general.

Super award winning director Sir Peter Jackson; gave a series of photo opportunities to John Key in payment for his vital assistance in both keeping the filming of the hobbits in NZ and the increasing of grants to the film industry and especially Warner Brothers. All in all Sir Peter felt that the millions donated by the Key government and the industrial law changes via the public purse was just the sort of investment needed during these difficult financial times. Sir Peter went on to point out that his new film production “The Lovely Key” his sequel to ‘The Lovely Bones’…was in honour of guess who…its about how a small boy went from living in a State house to owning the whole Street.

On morning report [Monday] Phil Goff was interviewed, John Key refused to appear as he prone to do. This gave Phil Goff free reign to state his case; he called John Key a liar more than once and put labours case very forcibly.   

Friday, 28 October 2011

Occupy news and letter to Australian PM

Hi Peter, thanks for your update on the Occupy Wellington protest and what it stands for, it is time the world had some positive change, and with the information age of the internet, perhaps this movement has a chance to make real change. Will there be an occupy Palmerston North movement, that square could definitely house a few hundred, although there are still only a few toilets open all hours. C'mon palmie, show the world you are hurting too! Cheers 

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Australia
From the General Assembly of Occupy Auckland, New Zealand
In Session, the 24th Day of October, 2011
Madam Prime Minister,
Respectfully, we the assembled citizens, residents and supporters of the Auckland Occupation wish to convey to you our deepest disappointment in the recent repression by Australian police of the peaceful demonstrators in Melbourne’s
City Square
and Sydney's
Martin Place
We have watched with dismay as our fellow Occupiers have been treated as criminals, being assaulted in ways that are by any estimation excessive, given the peaceful nature of their protest. Regretfully, we consider these actions to be contrary to our understanding of your national character as Australians.
We call upon you to assert your authority as Prime Minister of Australia to protect and defend the Democratic Rights of your Citizens and Residents, particularly the inalienable rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly.
We ask you to call a Moratorium on all further repressive assaults and evictions.
We ask you also to bring to account those in authority who have perpetrated these excesses so as to reassure the Global Community that Australia respects all International Conventions pertaining to Human Rights.
Furthermore, we the General Assembly of the Occupation of Auckland would bring to your attention the excellent cooperation which exists between us, the Auckland City Council and the New Zealand Police, in the hope that this may serve as a model of good relations between Occupiers and Authorities. We respectfully suggest that these exemplary professionals may be of some considerable assistance to you during this difficult time…
Most humbly,
The General Assembly of Occupy Auckland

Monday, 24 October 2011

Eavesdropper Rugby World Cup Final

Practice makes a AB
Palmerston North and NZ has now come down to earth, the flag waving and cheering is all over, and we won the world cup, not by a landslide as most predicted but by a single point. Our local newspapers will now have to print some real news.
On Sunday night at Eden Park John K and Murray Mc were overheard while having a deep and meaningful conversation in the VIP lounge. Naturally it wasn’t about poverty or the unemployed or even the latest down grade or the stuff up over the Rena episode. No it was about, ‘What if’…we lose the final.
Murray said John, ‘If we lose then the millions we’ve spent on staging the world cup has been totally wasted’.
“Come on John cheer-up’, said wee Murray, just keep up your smile I’m sure the AB’s will hold on for victory and you won’t need to present the cup to the French, but if you do, just remember to change the script and don’t shout ‘Go the mighty All Blacks’, you have practiced your speech haven’t you?
“Oh yes, I had had one last practice in front of the mirror at half-time and I must admit I sounded really smooth”, said John as he practiced yet again his smile.
“And you’ll remember what Steven Joyce said, and don’t try to speak French when you say how sorry you are for them losing the final” and please, please don’t smile at that moment”, said Murray very seriously.
“Right no French or Maori, I’ve got that firmly fixed in my ‘what not to do list’ from Steven, said John as he turned to Murray and asked if his tie was straight.
Murray adjusted John’s tie as the Eden Park crowd erupted in delight as the final whistle blew for full-time. The noise was overwhelming and any further eavesdropping was impossible.
And so the saga ended and after decades the cup was ours. John and Murray headed off to the field to bask in the glory and above the roar of the crowd Johns last words were, “I must remember not to speak French or Maori”, as he practiced his grin one last time. Amen…said my God as she headed off to help out with the Turkish earthquake.
PS: It has just been made public that the running of the cup cost, 400 million dollars yes folks 400 million dollars! [the NZRU lost 38 million, the government spent 26 million directly and the rest went to fund high level visitors, business programmes and the tax and rate payers spent 350 million on stadiums and facilities] Manawatu Standard Tuesday 25th October 2011]
Murray McCully the Minister in charge of the RWC said he was pleased that the costs were as they were and hailed this massive financial loss as 'a triumph...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

McKelvie: Possible Minister of Bale-outs

Ian McKelvie Nat's sleep walker in Rangitikei does behind doors deal. 

The Mayor of Manawatu District [Ian McKelvie, pictured] has done a secret backroom deal with the cash strapped and financially miss-managed Manfield Park Trust. He plans to buy back land gifted to the MPT by the good people of Rangitikei. The impression abroad is that he wants this embarrassing episode [stuff-up] tucked away before he ‘sleep walks’ his way into Parliament in the fading footprints of the out going MP Simon Power now head of private banking for Australian owned Westpac, our government’s own banker.
Beat that for jobs for the boys…Just how much of your rate payers money he is willing to spend to pull the big spending MPT is as yet unknown but there is a sense of urgency rumbling in Fielding as McKelvie prepares to enter into his hundred and fifty thousand plus job gifted to him by the National Party in Rangitikei. I’ve no doubt that he will be laughing all the way to the bank as will Simon Power if you will excuse the pun.
According to the Manawatu Standard, McKelvie said “that the council had decided to negotiate with the MPT”…yeah, yeah. Just like their negotiations over selling off large hunks of the Manawatu District council to Palmerston North to ease his self-imposed massive debt. It’s standard Nat’s type policy; sell off other people’s assets to pay for your own foolishness of backing a poorly organised and controlled Trust board.
We can only hope that if the Nats are elected that they sit Mr. McKelvie on the back benches well away from any thing financial. Maybe they could make him Minister of bale-outs after the MPT episode he is well practiced for the staring role. Based on his record maybe the Nat’s could make him Minister of Local Government asset sales, this may allow the Nats to double his salary…while laughing behind his back…who knows. If you lived in the Rangitikei electorate would you want this person representing you?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The 99% percent movement arrives in Kiwi Land

When does a protest become a movement? One answer is when it fails to recognise whole existing political structures. The 99% percent movement is just that. While it started in some respects in the United States it is spreading across the globe, including NZ.
The people who are attaching themselves to this movement have much in common in both an economic and social sense. The present political groupings would like to co-opt them to join their particular ideology, The National Party, Labour Party, Act etc but they won’t join, why you may ask…simply because those political groupings have failed to uphold the values that once existed. Countries, cities are governed not by people but by economic control. Take the Labour Party for example, once it stood for protecting those who individually couldn’t protect themselves…then along came Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble who ripped off the system for financial gain for the few. So people turned to the National Party who did exactly the same by cutting tax for the wealthy and supporting massive pollution to continue and they too carried on down the path of individual wealth creation for a few as against the greater good.
Rip off artists, so-called financial whiz-kids or just plain crooks became heroes, they were knighted, wined and dined, and individual enterprise and greed was rewarded and became the norm.
Microsoft’s Bill Gates earns one hundred and fifty dollars [US] per second, yes not per minute or hour but each second. What that means is if Bill Gates was walking down the Street and saw a hundred dollar note on the foot path it wouldn’t be worth his while to bend down and pick it up.
Now New Zealand may not have a Bill Gates but we do have his equivalent. And they virtually pay no tax. They were the guys that brought for a song; the BNZ, our Railways and Air NZ and then ran them into the ground. The close connection between international and local corporates and political figures made both political parties corrupt and therefore deaf to social considerations…and the gap between the rich and poor raced to new heights. NZ has the dishonor of having the largest wealth gap in the OECD.

The 99% are now connecting the dots and the picture they are creating is not a pretty one for it reeks or corruption and the misuse of democratic, financial and justice processes. Just look around and you’ll see the evidence: CEO salaries and bonus have risen at an express rate while wages have remained or declined, many have been paid millions in bonuses just days before their companies went broke or received a government bale out or were sacked. Huge roading contractors have made millions from the backs of tax payers once the Ministry of Works and other public owned organisations were sold off and they brought up state assets at bargain-bin prices and we knighted them too! Movers of money have been paid billions in bonuses simply for finding credit for others. We even made our rugby players professionals and roped them into the corporate network. The rugby union Inc ran at a $40 million dollar loss during the world cup so that the corporates could feel good, while club rugby is disappearing at a rapid rate.

The 99% don’t want to take over political parties; they want to change the system totally. They don’t give one iota about converting the political leadership from smiling public relation machines mouthing a few well developed corporate slogans. They simply want fairness and that means different things to different members of the 99%. You could say they want justice but not the justice the political parties dish out but genuine social justice based on concepts long forgotten by political parties. They ask real questions that deserve answers: for example.
·    Why do we have people living in poverty, and yet the government spends hundreds of  millions on navel ships and the military to fight other peoples wars.
·    How can our PM instantly spend four million on an entertainment centre in down town Auckland for a two day party or piss-up while people can’t get the medicines they urgently need?
·    Why do we spend billions on holiday highways instead of public transport?
·    Why, are two hundred thousand children now living below the poverty line?
·    Why is the minimum wage so low that you can’t live on it?

These are just some of the questions we need to think about leading up to the election on the 26th November. My feeling is that we have to send a clear message one, that states that we are sick of being ripped off, sick of paying for big business failures, sick of hearing bull-sh-t promises. We have to stop being sucked into the pig mire of greed, greed and more of the same failed dribble as expounded by our corporate owned newspapers via spin-doctors and self-interested groups like behind the scenes manipulators. In no way am I telling you who to vote for, but I will suggest who you shouldn’t vote for. Below is a second opinion from Dr. Campbell Jones.

Dr Campbell Jones is senior lecturer in sociology at Auckland University.
OPINION: This weekend in about 950 cities around the world, a global movement of occupations rose in solidarity with the occupation at Wall Street in New York that began on 17 September.
On Saturday, there were occupations in six cities across New Zealand, with 3000 marching up
Queen St
to hold a General Assembly in
Aotea Square
in central Auckland. More than 50 tents housing at least 100 demonstrators have been set up, along with a kitchen, media centre, waste disposal and a welcome table. Occupations still hold in Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and New Plymouth.
It is easy to make hasty evaluations of these occupations. Indeed, many have been quick to dismiss the occupations as a confused rag-bag of left-wing, social and environmental causes.
It has been said that there is no clear message and no concrete demands from this movement that gleefully refuses to have any leaders or representatives. For many, then, this movement just makes no sense.

So what is this movement about? In part, the answer is quite simple. The Occupy Wall Street movement targeted the centre of financial power in the United States and indeed the world. In this sense "Wall Street" symbolises finance, the banking and financial services sector. So let there be no mistake - these occupations are opposed to the economic power of finance capital.

The global occupations also stress that finance capital and the banking industry are made possible by specific legal and governmental arrangements. They are aware that for at least 30 years governments throughout the world, under pressure from partisan pressure groups, have encouraged the rise of finance in an effort for capital to find ever more profitable homes. Occupiers are concerned that after the series of financial crises beginning in 2008, governments and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have chosen to rescue banks and finance companies while imposing austerity measures on pretty much everyone else.

The Occupy movement is, however, not only about economic and political forces, but equally about ideas. It objects not only to the remarkable inequalities between and within countries, but also challenges the ideas that have up until now sought to justify those inequalities.
The movement is fighting the idea that unregulated capitalism somehow benefits everyone, and argues instead that it is a system involving systematic inequality that principally serves the interests of a small elite.
Against today's reigning economic, political and ideological constellation, the Occupy movement asserts the rights of the overwhelming majority. Hence the slogan of the global movement: "We are the 99%".
MANY people in New Zealand value equality: and think of this country as being egalitarian. The blunt reality, however, is that New Zealand has become one of the most unequal societies in the world, and is in the process of becoming increasingly so. Last week, Dame Anne Salmond called for a change of heart in our country, racked as it is with social and economic inequality.
Ad Feedback A change of heart would, however, require changing the ways that we think. It would involve changing how we think about the 151 individuals in this country whose wealth expanded by $7 billion this year, while at the same time real incomes fell for almost everyone else. It would involve changing how we think about rising poverty and social deprivation. Such a change of thinking would enable us to see how 1 per cent can do very well indeed, while austerity and crisis are the fate of 99 per cent.
This movement is saying "enough is enough". It is challenging systems of economic and political elitism and the ideologies that have for so long sought to justify inequality. Earlier this year, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz identified the dangers of an economic system run "by the 1 per cent, for the 1 per cent".
For some, it will take a while to understand what this movement is about, or what kind of change might result. Clearly, a wholesale transformation of the global financial system is on the cards. At the same time, the movement is actively deploying alternative models of democratic decision-making, with general assemblies involving collective deliberation and consensus decision- making. It is also making a range of timely and potentially lasting proposals for a transformation in the way that we think about participation in society.
These occupations therefore issue a call for journalists and politicians to listen carefully and to think again.
It calls on us all to acknowledge the stark inequalities that have arisen, and the specific processes through which a remarkably small elite benefits from our current systems of finance, political decision-making and ideas.

In this growing and increasingly articulate movement, frustration at the injustices of the present motivates the call for serious change, the magnitude of which we have not been able to imagine for some time.
Dr Campbell Jones is senior lecturer in sociology at Auckland University.
- The Dominion Post

Saturday, 15 October 2011

“Horizons Regional council” Polluters friends?

Protesters outside Horizons

New York has its Wall St Protests; here in our city we have our very own “Horizons” protest. The reasons for both protests are much alike, different in scale yes, yet the reasons are similar.
The protesters in NY want their government to jump on the big boys and make them pay for the fleecing of the financial markets and to introduce fairness. In Palmerston North the protesters want “Horizons Regional council” to enforce the rules regarding the polluting of our rivers. Both protests want more openness and honesty applied to those who ignore the rules. In both cases it’s hard because those entrusted to enforce may well be those who are ignoring the rules. The Horizon’s Councillors are made up of ex-city mayors and councillors with a few farmers tossed in to give a bit of balance. The position has got so bad that the Chief enforcer resigned when he kept hitting a brick wall over the way polluters were allowed to talk their way, bully their way out of the penalties allowed for by their proven failure to comply with the agreed rules. Ian Ritchie, George & Christina Paton, Bert Judd and local Greens decided that enough is enough. When they saw that the Mayor of Palmerston North failed to front up and state the reasons for his failure to comply, they acted…the local media also managed to slip in a few words, in between their rugby world cup frenzy. Sooner or later the PN representatives on the Horizons council are going to have to sit up and admit that the choices they made regarding the PN waste system was wrong and the land based system that they rejected was correct. Those named above are real community heroes and should be recognised as such. It’s was ironic to me that all the well dressed or suited councillors who attended the 11th of October 2011 Horizons council meeting had an interest in both the causes and effects of the massive pollution that enters our river yet can not face up to enforcing the much needed prosecutions against polluters.
The local heroes achieved a major goal and that was the destruction of the stupid Horizons Prosecutions [so-called] Advisory Committee, which was nothing more than a delaying tactic/process for delaying decisions already made by those whose job it was to protect the public good. Still the prevalence of flim-flam over substance is not new .  

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Crony Capitalism in Christchurch – Another Disaster

This Week: Wheeler’s Corner Special Edition: The Real World…

Crony Capitalism in Christchurch – Another Disaster
The National Government is abrogating its responsibilities to govern fairly and equitably in its response to the massive dislocation caused by the Canterbury earthquakes. Rightly does the Prime Minister call it ‘the greatest single natural disaster in western history’ It requires a response of similar magnitude. So far, this is not forthcoming. The Government seems determined to allow market economics, which promote profit and competition as their cornerstones, to decide what happens.
This response is a disaster for most affected families. We need better leadership based on community need rather than capitalist ideology. This will require courage and vision.
I have now been out of my family home for more than seven months. During that time I have learnt that the property I thought I owned is not really mine, but an asset in the global market place. After paying a replacement insurance premium and earthquake insurance for 41 years I have discovered that, like thousands of others, I now survive at the whim of the global re-insurance market.
The ‘red zone’ package (market value 1987) will work for some. But what happens to pensioners and families on low incomes that lose their homes? Who will lend to the poor and people over sixty five?
They are not just losing the roof over their heads. It is the loss of a way of life - the memories, local connections, neighbours, wetland, park, swimming pool and the general environment.
The main homeowner victims of the quakes live in the eastern suburbs. This was the area where people on low incomes and benefits could afford a modest home.
More than 5000 of these homes have now been designated ‘red’ zone and the people must leave with a cheque for the amount of their 2007 valuation – or negotiate with their insurance companies – fat chance!  Similarly, 850 homes in Kaiapoi have also been designated ‘red.’ The Government has given them a choice to take a cheque at the market value of 2008. These market valuations are all artificially generated and highly unreliable with variations of up to 40%. They were never intended to be used for this purpose.
For the elderly, some in their eighties, the Kate Shepherd Rest Home option is even worse. This is a large complex on the banks of the Heathcote River near New Brighton. They are being offered 75% of the original price they paid for their unit. This is morally repugnant.
If a family takes the cheque for their modest affordable home in the eastern suburbs where do they go? The market value for land and homes in the rest of Christchurch is sky-rocketing.
Anglican priest Mike Coleman has crunched the numbers. He estimates that families, previously mortgage free, will need to borrow between $100,000 to $200,000 to move out of the red zone and remain in Christchurch. This is the gap between what they will get and what it will cost them to buy elsewhere in Christchurch.
The current choice is to go into debt or leave the city. Neither option for most residents is viable. The debt option assumes that you are a reliable risk for a bank – young, fit with a good well-paid job and the ability to service a mortgage. Leaving the city for most people would be a nightmare – leaving neighbours, friends, family, changing schools, jobs, communities – abandoning a way of life.
The current policy is catastrophic for most of the home-owners affected by the quake. Many are barely surviving. Some will die prematurely.
What needs to be done?
The National Government needs to decide whether it is there to serve the needs of the people first or global big business. All the indicators are that the latter is the case. This is proving catastrophic for quake victims.
EQC Minister Gerry Brownlee and Prime Minister John Key could learn from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh who, at the time of the devastating floods told the insurance companies to ‘act with compassion and flexibility’ and pay out replacement value. She also threatened to ‘name and shame’ in parliament those who failed. She is being hailed for her no bullshit honesty, decisiveness and plain speech.
Christchurch needs significant Government intervention in the market to buy houses and sections for those homeowners who have lost their equity. CERA already has the power to intervene. It’s time to act.
                                                                                                                 Robert Consedine

If you would like to comment you can go to my blog site or email me at address below.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

When is a lie not a lie? When the PM says so!

It's all really is!
Place: Prime Ministers media briefing:
Question: Did Standard and Poors tell you that a down grade of NZ’s credit rating would take place if there was a change of government?
Answer: That’s correct.
Question: So what you told Parliament during question time was correct?
Answer: Yes.
Question: Why then has Standard and Poors publicly stated they did no such thing?
Answer: I’mmm…I’m not sure.
Question: Why then did you say what you did?
Answer: No comment…no…are there any other questions…
Two hours later…
PM states that he was sent an email that implied that Standard and Poors said that a down grade was likely if a change of Government took place. When asked who send the email he declined to comment. Standard and Poors stated that they never sent such an email. Others also stated that they never sent such an email. He was asked once again who sent the email and he replied, the sender was reliable, but he wouldn’t reveal just who it was.
Assumption: PM was telling porkies or his memory or his PR team had let him down…you decide.
Key later conceded the comments he used in Parliament were based on hearsay. “I’m relying on the person who wrote the email. They invited me to use it. I’m telling you it’s not a random comment I made up.” He would not identify his source. The decision to release the email with the senders name blacked out comes after Goff accused Key of misleading Parliament with the comments, an offence which can lead to embarrassment through hearings and censure by Parliament’s powerful Privileges Committee. The Mana Party wrote.

“Instead of scaremongering about a new government the Prime Minister should come clean and admit his poor economic mismanagement is to blame for the credit downgrade. NZ is tired of a Prime Minister who won't front up on the hard issues of economic credibility but is happy to talk about his cat or Coronation Street timeslots on Radio Live!
So when is a lie not a lie? Was the PM telling porkies…you tell me? So far this week we’ve had the Ministers of Education, Defence, Environment and the PM all caught-out telling what could be called porkies, is it possible that porkies are a new and dangerous virus sweeping through the government. Can one be vaccinated against such a dangerous, possibly fatal community disease?

Perk and Income New Zealand...Corporate welfare.

Richard Mays's said: Peter, this is one of the best NZ-written satires I have come across - from the Dom-Post on Monday October 10. Enjoy. I agree and I’ll share it…thanks Peter W.

“I can't understand why Labour complains so loudly about John Key hosting a talkback hour on private radio. As well as giving Mr Key some much-needed elocution practice (or, as he says, "pricktuss), his session enabled Radio Live to show its gratitude for the $40-plus million loan private radio received from the state. When Helen Clark opened a work-skills scheme she was photographed with grateful welfare beneficiaries, so why can't private beneficiaries show gratitude?

The Left must accept that, in a country where two credit agencies have downgraded us, where the sharemarket seems munted, where a recent survey showed we have some of the worst managers in the world, a corporate welfare safety net is essential.

If the Government didn't subsidise the large inefficient private part of our no-growth economy, then it would collapse. The reality is that commercial radio simply can't survive in a commercial environment, so needs a state lifeline to top up its meager income. It's the same with our banking, insurance and finance companies. New Zealand has an exciting new generation of financial experts who simply couldn't exist without the generous government payouts, as Treasury's recent $13m handout to consultants showed.

Selling state assets will also be excellent corporate welfare. No-one is investing in the sharemarket at present. The artificially high returns gained from selling state assets will revitalise the private sector and greatly help corporate mums and dads in the short term.

Working for Families is another superb piece of corporate welfare, which I rate as highly as the Warner Brother’s emergency benefit and The Lord of the Rings accommodation supplement. The beauty of Working for Families is that the Government supplements the meagre incomes of those who work for those lacklustre companies who can't afford to pay a decent wage. In a brilliant piece of social engineering, it makes middle-class families upper middle class, and enables them to buy essentials such as huge flat- screen televisions. Without it, skilled workers would leave their badly paid jobs and join the exodus to Australia.

New Zealand has a proud history of corporate welfare. Though the 1935 Labour government is best remembered for social security, its housing policy enabled businesses that scored government contracts, such as Fletchers, to build state houses and prosper.

In these tough times, many left- wing commentators are engaging in corporate beneficiary bashing. But I have a lot of sympathy for this burgeoning overclass. Some CEOs are third-generation corporate-welfare recipients. Their grandfathers received generous state payouts under Muldoon's export incentive scheme, their fathers profited from the massive tax cuts that Roger Douglas introduced for the wealthy, and they themselves have benefited from the raft of corporate handouts that this and the previous government have introduced. If these CEOs were thrown on to a true level playing field, it would be like Georgia versus the All Blacks.

No-one mentions the ethnic aspect, though, and anyone who does is unfairly labelled a racist. Though they make up less than 80 per cent of the population, Pakeha are overly represented in corporate welfare statistics. In the entire SCF and AMI insurance fiasco, can you think of a single Maori businessperson asking for a handout? Sadly, most Pakeha blame external factors such as the overseas financial crisis.

Thankfully, corporate welfare provides a much-needed safety net so that lacklustre firms can continue to employ large numbers of people on low wages. To ensure its "Picking Losers" policy continues, the Government needs to establish a PINZ agency (Perk and Income New Zealand) to administer more handouts to the private sector. Steven Joyce would make an excellent minister.

I trust the Government will take my suggestions seriously and appoint me to a highly paid corporate welfare taskforce, then promise to bail me out if I overextend my mortgage, or buy a soccer team.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A typical working class tale...

Marton is a small place and I had stopped for a short break after visiting Hunterville. The café was small but made a good brew. Two guys were sitting with a dark suited chap who had his back to me. Their conversation went something like this:
“So there you go Rangi there is not much I can actually do”, said Mr. Suit,
“It stinks”, said Rangi.
“How do you feel Bob” asked Mr. Suit to the other chap.
“You want the truth”, replied Bob.
“Yes”, said Mr. Suit in a very nervous manner.
“I agree with Rangi, it stinks, it smells like dead rats and I think its crap”, said Bob.
“I can understand you saying that but times are tough and we all need to pull our belts in”, said Mr. Suit.
“Come on, interrupted Bob. You just quit your job after twelve years, you get a huge pension, free travel and a bloody sight more, and you tell us we have to tighten our belts, our belts are already so tight we can hardly breathe”.
Silence reigned supreme and I wondered where this discussion would end, well it never took long for me to find out.
“So there is nothing you can do”, asked Rangi hopefully.
“Not really”, the suit answered
“So we just have to take a 15 to 20% wage cut and say nothing”, said Bob
“Looks like it”, answered the big fellow in the dark suit.
“So you agreed with smiling John Key when he suggested wage cuts”, added Rangi.
“Did he suggest that? I never knew that”, suit responded.
“Bloody oath he did and our bosses took him up on his offer”, said Bob.

Simon Power Nats whiz-kid
Just at that moment a man in a dark uniform entered the café and said to Mr. Suit, “Your car is here Sir”. Mr. Suit stood and went to shake hands with Rangi and Bob, they waved him away. Seeing his face I recognised him…Simon Power [pictured] Minister of Justice, the Nats whiz kid, future Prime Minister, retiring MP for Rangitikei.
Bob and Rangi were two of the hundreds of locked-out meat workers living in the Rangitikei because they wouldn’t agree to a 15 to 20 percent reduction in wages. Not for them a dark suited driver, a pension after 12 years, automatic wage increases, and free tickets to the rugby world cup…etc…etc

Booze Baron PR man fights back!

You know you’ve hit a nerve when the hospitality industry [booze] leaders and Mike Knell Chief executive of NZ Community Trust start defending themselves via the letter to the editor pages…over their use of pokie machines to make money.
They really are a strange lot, firstly they create the problem, they profit by the problem, then the blame others for the problem and yet have the audacity to say, we know nothing and we are only here to help the community”. They are like the lawyers [blood-suckers] who chase the ambulance to traffic accidents in the US. Mike Knell is in my view nothing more than a paid Public Relations face for the Pokie / Booze / Gaming industry. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wears a Sky City badge on his lapel. Reducing the number of pokie machines will assist with reducing the number of problem gamblers simply because it may stop or delay the problem gambling addiction commencing. We put warning messages on all tobacco products about addiction; we control outlets and advertising and so on. People employed by the gambling industry should wear the same warnings on their foreheads. Mr. Knell may suggest my message to the PNCC was emotive and subjective, and he is correct it was emotive…because I’ve seen the harm done and being done by pokie machine use…subjective well we can each have our own view. But any outfit that collects 1.5 million dollars a week from my community and that’s around 55 million a year and gives back 10.2 million in community grants which includes the racing industry, professional sports bodies leaves little room for anything other than subjective comments.
We managed before pokies and we will manage once they have disappeared. We would also save on Prison, health, Justice and police running costs which would lead to much better social outcomes for all.
PS, If I was Mike Knell I too might write a letter defending pokie machines especially if my job depended on it...but then again I might not because PR is not my game.  

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Murdoch Fox / Palin Wedding crashes

Sarah Palin / Fox News wedding called off. 

The Sarah Palin/Fox News Debacle
October 06, 2011 1:31 pm ET by Ben Dimiero

Ending months of speculation, Sarah Palin announced yesterday that she will not be seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2012 (or, as Fox Nation put it, "Palin Passes On Presidency"). The announcement also puts an end to one of the more ethically dubious media spectacles in recent memory, as both Palin and her employer Fox News spent the past year mutually benefiting from stoking speculation that she may run for president.

Last September, Politico reporters Jonathan Martin and Keach Hagey laid out the complicated ethical issues inherent in Fox News employing a stable of potential presidential candidates. Martin and Hagey reported that Fox had emailed them and "indicated that once any of the candidates declares for the presidency he or she will have to sever the deal with the network." They went on to note that "it's such a lucrative and powerful pulpit that Palin, Gingrich, Santorum and Huckabee have every reason to delay formal announcements and stay on contract for as long as they can."

While Hagey and Martin were suggesting that Fox's potential candidates would attempt to stay on contract as long as possible in order to bolster their eventual presidential runs, there's a flipside to Fox's lax guidelines that we saw borne out with Palin. Even people who weren't planning on running would be well-served to delay any formal announcement in order to benefit from the publicity lavished upon possible presidential candidates.

Obviously, had Fox suspended all of its employee-candidates pending their decision, this would never have been an issue. But the network, like Palin, greatly benefited from speculation about Palin's potential candidacy.

When Fox announced in March of this year that they were suspending the contracts of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for sixty days while they mulled their presidential runs, many media observers, including conservative outlets like The National Review, called foul. Why was Fox suspending Gingrich and Santorum, but not fellow Fox employees/putative presidential candidates Huckabee and Palin?

In an interview with Howard Kurtz, Fox executive Dianne Brandi explained that unlike Gingrich (who had announced his intention to form an exploratory committee) and Santorum (who indicated he would participate in primary debates), Palin "hasn't done anything to show us she has any intention of running right now." At the time, Brandi's statement placed her at odds with a large chunk of Fox News' staff, which had interpreted many of Palin's actions as an indication that she was planning to run for president.

In November of 2010, both online and on-air, Fox aggressively promoted Palin's statement during an interview with ABC News that she could beat Obama in 2012, with America's Newsroom host Martha MacCallum describing the interview as a "bombshell," and saying it "certainly sounds likes she plans on running." MacCallum and her co-host Bill Hemmer had previously agreed on Fox News Radio that Palin "will run."

Prior to Brandi's statement to Kurtz, Fox's flagship news program, Special Report, had featured Palin in its "12 for'12" series and given her 5-1 odds of winning the nomination. Fox Nation, one of the network's websites, had done things like label her hiring of a new chief of staff in February 2011 as a "Strong Indication of 2012 Presidential Run."

A few months after the Gingrich and Santorum suspensions, Mike Huckabee announced on his Fox News program that he would not be seeking the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, Fox continued to promote the possible presidential aspirations of Palin (while releasing statements affirming that Palin's contract with the network remained unchanged).

In June, Fox helped promote the bus tour Palin organized with her political action committee, often in the context of whether it was an indication she was planning on seeking the Republican nomination. For example, Hannity segments on Palin's bus tour featured on-screen graphics with text like "Palin 2012?" During the same Hannity segment, Fox contributor Andrea Tantaros said, "If she doesn't run, Sean, this is the biggest head fake in presidential politics I've ever seen."

After Palin announced a September schedule that included a visit to Iowa and her PAC released what observers felt was suspiciously close to a campaign ad, Fox speculation about Palin running for president ramped up yet again.

Discussing the ad, Fox Business' Tracy Byrnes remarked, "If that's not a campaign ad, I don't know what is." Fox contributor Karl Rove pointed to Palin's schedule and the ad release as evidence she was setting her campaign motion (Fox Nation dutifully hyped Rove's analysis with the headline "Rove: Palin Will Run.")

During late August, Fox hosts Juliet Huddy and Clayton Morris predicted while hosting Fox & Friends Saturday that Palin would run for president; Charles Krauthammer speculated on Special Report that Palin would enter the race; Jim Pinkerton said that Palin "does appear to be edging toward running"; and Brian Kilmeade said it "sounds like [Palin] is in."

Nonetheless, Fox still didn't suspend Palin's contract, and continued to regularly host her -- for almost 4 hours of airtime since June -- on the network, often asking her whether she was running.

It will be interesting to see how Palin's relationship with the network evolves now that she and the network can no longer mutually benefit from the "is she running?" speculation. Somewhat curiously, Palin made the original announcement to radio host Mark Levin rather than on a Fox show (though she did grant her first post-announcement TV interview to regular booster Greta Van Susteren).

In light of her official announcement that she is not running, Fox will likely claim vindication for refusing to suspend Palin's contract, but it's not that simple. Assuming Palin didn't privately assure Fox that she wouldn't seek the nomination -- which obviously would raise a host of other ethical issues -- Fox clearly decided that profiting off of the hype surrounding her potential run was worth the risk of spending a year essentially giving presidential candidate hours of free air time.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Truthout tells it as it is.

This makes interesting reading, some thing you don't see in the main media...

An Open Letter to Wall Street

by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

Protesters, some dressed as zombies, walk the streets as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests, which began three weeks ago, in New York. (Photo: Damon Winter / The New York Times)
Cancel my subscription
To the resurrection
Send my credentials to the
House of detention
I got some friends inside...

- James Douglas Morrison
Before anything else, I would like to apologize for the mess outside your office. It's been three weeks since all those hippies and punk-rockers and students and union members and working mothers and single fathers and airline pilots and teachers and retail workers and military service members and foreclosure victims decided to camp out on your turf, and I'm sure it has been quite an inconvenience for you. How is a person supposed to spend their massive, virtually untaxed bonus money on a double latte and an eight-ball with all that rabble clogging the sidewalks, right?
Your friends at JP Morgan Chase just donated $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation, the largest donation ever given to the NYPD. You'd think that much cheese would buy a little crowd control, but no. Sure, one of the "white shirt" commanding NYPD officers on the scene hosed down some defenseless women with pepper spray the other day, and a few other protesters have been roughed up here and there, and having any kind of recording device has proven to be grounds for immediate arrest, but seriously...for $4.6 million, you'd think the cops would oblige you by bulldozing these troublemakers right into the Hudson River. Better yet, pave them over with yellow bricks, so you can walk over them every day on your way in to work.
That's what you do anyway, right? Every single day. I know it. You know it. We might as well be honest about it, and if some shiny golden bricks wind up serving as anonymous tombstones for your working-class doormats, well, that's just what they call in Wisconsin "hard cheese." You're a Master of the Universe, after all, and this recess(depress)ion hasn't touched you to any great degree. Sure, you have to shoulder your way through more homeless people these days, and damn if there aren't a lot more potholes to tax the undercarriage of your Audi R8 GT, but your money is making money at a fantastic rate, and paying taxes is for other people; I mean, come on, your accountant bursts out laughing whenever he hears the words "capital gains tax," so your egregious sense of entitlement is entirely understandable.
Now is the time to bone up on your coping skills, because three weeks is nothing. The people camped out on Wall Street are not leaving unless and until they are cleared out by force. They look all kinds of silly in their outfits, and some of their statements don't make a whole lot of sense to people like you, but they have put down roots, and you better get used to them. I'm sure the whole phenomenon is quite perplexing to you - really, why don't they just go home? Don't these people have jobs?
I hate to be the Irony Police, but that's pretty much the whole point. They can't, and they don't. Have homes and jobs, I mean. There was a guy out there a few days ago holding a sign in front of a mortgage-lending institution that read "These People Took My Parent's Home." There are all sorts of people walking around Wall Street yelling their lungs out at you because, well, they really would like the opportunity to find gainful employment, as well as a future, but that nifty shell game you and yours pulled off (on our dime) wound up immolating the economy of the common man/woman, and so the common man/woman has decided - in lieu of anything else better to do - to spend their you-created idle hours on your doorstep.
Let's face it: the mess outside your office is your doing. You and your friends bought this democracy wholesale - ah, yes, the irony of freedom is found in the way you were able to corrupt so many legislators with your money, always legally, because the legislators you bought are the ones writing the laws covering political contributions, and thus the wheel of corruption turns and turns - and now you want this democracy to do your bidding after the bill for your excess and fathomless greed has come due.
You are always taken care of - see the Citizens United decision, which unleashed you in a way not seen since the dregs of the Roman empire - but, still, there are those pesky protesters, exercising their freedom of expression in order to expose you for the brigands that you are.
They're staying put, with many more on the way - to New York as well as every major city from sea to shining sea -  and none of them are going anywhere else until people like you are taken from your citadels in handcuffs and made to pay for the ongoing rape of what was once quaintly called the American Dream...a dream that used to be something other than a dated metaphor, and can be something true and real and genuine once again, but only after we pave you under, and walk over you, on our way to a better, brighter future.
Isn’t the above equally true of New Zealand? Have not hundreds of thousands been ripped out of their jobs, had their wages frozen, lost their homes, racked up billions in student debt for an education that was once fee. Haven’t the wealthy had a thousand dollar a week tax cuts while others had their food bill massively increased via GST.

Prosecutions Advisory Committee...yeah right!

No darling you must not swim in that river...the waters not nice
While we hear nothing but rugby real problems confront us all, students at our universities have been compulsory ordered to become voluntary, illegal cameras have become legal as we continue to increase the covert powers of police and the SIS. Credit rating companies push our credit worthiness downward which increases interest rates. Here in Palmerston North our local council appears to receive special treatment from Horizons over its poor operation of its waste operations. This from a couple of concerned citizens:
·         “We now have a similar situation with Horizons Regional Council which has increased their Committees to include a Prosecutions Advisory Committee (PAC) composed of a few select Crs. (unnamed to the public) and staff. 

·         We can accept that staff needs to discuss what action to take but why are Crs. involved?  Many of them are qualified RMA Commissioners and have the potential to adjudicate on applications for resource consents.  It is unacceptable that they can further have the opportunity to tinker with the implementation of conditions that they may have set to protect the environment. 

·         PAC meets behind closed doors, produces no Minutes and offers no invitation to those they choose to prosecute to state their case for mitigation, so how is it that the Palmerston North City Council has never been prosecuted for significant non-compliance? Do they have representation behind the closed doors? If this PAC was a flock of rooks they would be instantly eliminated”. Quote ends.

After noting the statements above we must naturally ask why this PAC committee exists, is it to protect the farmers on that committee or is to protect the ex-city councillors or ex-mayors that make up Horizons councillors.