Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Choice is yours...Poverty or greed...children or BMW's

Wheeler’s Corner Ó

Connecting Citizens Who Care

49 24th November 2011

This Week: Election 2011 Edition two. 1. Poverty: 2. The Key saga myths.

After watching TV3’s Inside NZ Doco on child poverty I can only hope that this Wheeler’s Corner touches a nerve, because we should be ashamed of ourselves and our greed that has led to this state of affairs…

This from the Dominion Post:
“Charities say they have watched with concern as the gap between rich and poor grew over the past few years with no solution in sight.

Wellington City Missioner Susan Blaikie said she had previously worked in the corporate world, where beneficiaries were seen as bludgers.
"But I don't know anyone that actually wants to be on a benefit. The bigger the gap is between the richest and the poorest, the more likely there will be social problems and crime." The Reverend Blaikie had spent the last decade working with the church and said the issue was worse today than ever before. She was concerned that no major party had produced a serious policy this close to the election.

The Salvation Army's social services spokesman, Major Campbell Roberts, said he had seen the gap grow over his 40 years there and in recent times more people were worse off.
"Even over the last two years there has been a significant increase in people coming for welfare services. At the same time you've got salaries at a level which have increased significantly. "This is most probably a reasonably recent thing over the past 15 to 20 years."
People who had a long history of working and contributing to society were losing their jobs and more families were struggling for the basics.

At the Catholic charity St Vincent de Paul, national council chief executive Anne-Marie McCarten said more government agencies were referring people to charities.
"It's been bad in the last two or three years and is getting progressively worse. We are feeding more children in schools and feeding people who don't make it to the next pay day.
"It's a bit to do with everything and if there was an easy solution, I guess everyone would know it."

"As a young man, I now know what it was like to live in Germany just before and during the war. John Key is running this country like a dictator, with the rich people as his chosen race." – David Nelson

"It seems crazy that the wealthy have had their tax rate cut and now the Government wants to sell NZ-owned assets, which will probably be bought by them. I don't believe for an instant that the wealthy would leave NZ because of a higher and fairer tax rate; after all, you'd be paying more tax in Australia than you do here." – NG

"I don't think NZ is any different from any other capitalist country. And no, NZ is not lauded overseas as an egalitarian society – where do you get that impression from? What is different here is that there is little focus on this [wealthiest] 1 per cent whereas overseas there is much more open exposure. I imagine that most of the 1 per cent here are farmers, and you're not allowed to criticise farmers are you?" – Trevor Woolnough

"Hard work is a red herring. Let's say hypothetically that everyone in NZ worked just as hard and were equally as motivated and as educated as everyone else. Even after all that, someone still has to clean the toilets, empty the septic tanks." – Jim Kirk

"If you are mega-rich you are a wealth deprivator; you are impacting on people's ordinary lives and aspirations more than any everyday criminal probably could. Graham Hart spending $85 million on a yacht made from money milked from the NZ economy ... clearly over the boundaries and a man whose soul has become corrupted by his wealth. What's he giving back?" – John Gower

"I do work hard – sometimes 11 hours a day, I have a degree which cost me huge amounts in student loans and didn't help me get a job, and I have aspirations. To me the problem is not that there are rich and poor; this will always happen as its human nature. The problem is that more and more people in the same boat as me are finding it hard to live due to the rising cost of food, petrol and rates." – Catherine  

We need to look at the History of John Key in relation to his financial abilities so here are some facts and figures regarding him and his last major employer Merrill Lynch and their general performance…and he was a senior player. The following is not simply ‘picking’ on the PM. What’s shown below is fact not fiction. The real question it automatically leads to is, how can one whose behaviour helped the financial melt down, by taking huge profits and bonuses, design a workable and transparent process to stop the rip-off that is going on right now here in NZ and Palmerston North. My view is, he can’t…it’s like putting a fox amongst the chickens or an alcoholic in charge of the pub. So lets calmly review the back ground without any public relations spin or smiling photographs and media hog-wash.

·         Key's first job was in 1982, as an auditor at McCulloch Menzies, and he then moved to be a project manager at Christchurch-based clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin for two years. [LWR which went belly-up dumping many PN Staff]

·         Key began working as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Finance in Wellington, and rose to the position of head foreign exchange trader two years later, then moved to Auckland-based Bankers Trust in 1988. [Elders Finance was taken over]

·         In 1995, he joined Merrill Lynch as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. That same year he was promoted to Merrill's global head of foreign exchange, based in London, where he may have earned around US$2.25 million a year including bonuses, which is about NZ$5 million at 2001 exchange rates. Some co-workers called him "the smiling assassin" for maintaining his usual cheerfulness while sacking dozens (some say hundreds) of staff after heavy losses from the 1998 Russian financial crisis. He was a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve Bank from 1999 to 2001.

·         In 2001, he headed back to New Zealand to fulfill a long held ambition to stand for Parliament for the National Party. [replacing Brash after the Hollow-men scandal]

It was fortunate that he did because Merrill Lynch went into free-fall:

·         In 2002, Merrill Lynch settled for a fine of $100 million for publishing misleading research. As part of the agreement with the New York attorney general and other state securities regulators, Merrill Lynch agreed to increase research disclosure and work to decouple research from investment banking. A well known analyst at Merrill Lynch named Henry Blodget wrote in company e-mails in which Blodget gave assessments about stocks which conflicted with what was publicly published by Merrill. In 2003, he was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He settled without admitting or denying the allegations and was subsequently barred from the securities industry for life. He paid a $2 million fine and $2 million disgorgement. The CEO at that time, David Komansky, said, "I want...to publicly apologize to our clients, our shareholders, and our employees," for the company falling short of its professional standards in research.

·         In 2004 convictions of Merrill executives marked the only instance in the Enron investigation where the government criminally charged any officials from the banks and securities firms that allegedly helped the energy giant execute its accounting fraud. The case revolved around a 1999 transaction involving Merrill, Enron and the sale of some electricity-producing barges off the coast of Nigeria. The charges surrounded the 1999 sale of an interest in Nigerian energy barges by an Enron entity to Merrill Lynch was a sham that allowed Enron to illegally book about $12 million in pretax profit, when in fact there was no real sale and no real profit. Four former Merrill top executives and two former midlevel Enron officials faced conspiracy and fraud charges. Merrill cut its own deal, firing bankers and agreeing to the outside oversight of its structured-finance transactions. It also settled civil fraud charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, without admitting or denying fault.

·         In 2002 Merrill Lynch settled for 10 million civil penalties as a result of improper activities that took place out of the firm's Fort Lee New Jersey office. Three financial advisors, and a fourth who was involved to a lesser degree, placed 12,457 trades for a client Millennium Partners in at least 521 mutual funds and 63 mutual fund sub-accounts of at least 40 variable annuities. Millennium made profits in over half of the funds and fund sub-accounts. In those funds where Millennium made profits, its gains totaled about $60 million. Merrill Lynch failed to reasonably supervise these financial advisers, whose market timing siphoned short-term profits out of mutual funds and harmed long-term investors,  

More recent Controversies with Key as PM were:
Mafrost has left a post on: "John Key smiling assassin or hero? You decide...":  Key's lack of credibility is renowned! In the last six years he has lied/changed his mind about e.g. the following:
·         On Kyoto and climate change: 10 May 2005 Hansard - the record of government - "The impact of the Kyoto Protocol, even if one believes in global warming - and I am somewhat suspicious of it - is that we will see billions and billions of dollars poured into fixing something that we are not even sure is a problem.” He concluded that “The public are sick and tired of paying additional taxes for all sorts of crazy ideas.” So he now supports the ETS... During the same debate Nick Smith stated: “New Zealand's emissions amount to less than 0. 5 percent internationally, and per head of population our emissions are about half that of Australia's and the United States' emissions. So why are we going to impose costs, and impose controls, and impose red tape on New Zealanders..." John and Nick the forked tongue of National?

·         On asset sales: In October 2008: "I am not interested in selling assets – I'm all about building assets". Perhaps it was just his own assets he was talking about? Speaking of which - on his personal assets in so-called blind trusts: In May 2010 on TV1 Key said: “he had never heard of Whitechapel, the company that owns his shares as a holding vehicle for his ‘blind’ trust, Aldgate”. There are online official records of him giving those shares to Whitechapel. He's not even a competent liar!

·         On GST increases: 10 Feb 2010 “National is not going to be lifting GST. National wants to cut taxes, not raise taxes … what I am saying is if we do a half-decent job as a government at growing our economy I am confident that won't be happening”. Obviously National didn't do even a half-decent job! I really can't understand why when an overwhelming majority don't want assets to be sold, a majority of people still think his 'ability' on economic matters is worth supporting? Given his track record of lying/changing his mind, do they really trust that he won't find an excuse for an eventual complete sell-off of the country's key infrastructure assets? I sure as heck don't! above Posted by mafrost to wheeler's Corner NZ at 20 November 2011 13:49

·         During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, Key was a proponent of Hosni Mubarak's government, citing his support of Israel and refusing to call for his resignation. When asked if Mubarak should step down, he said "no".

·         In 2011, Key was caught up in a controversy over the purchase of government limousines which he denied knowledge of initially but later reports surfaced his office was aware. He was accused of being dishonest and eventually apologised, calling the deal sloppy.

·         In October 2011, Key made a statement where he claimed Standard and Poor's had said at a meeting in the prior month that "if there was a change of Government, that downgrade would be much more likely", this claim was contradicted by S&P after Key's credibility had been called into question.

·         In November 2011, Key rushed to the police to shut down just what said about Don Brash during a PR stunt to help the Act Party and he walked out of a press conference to avoid answering questions on the subject.

Now after reading about the massive gap between the have and the have-nots you have to decide if you think John Key is the right person to stop the massive blow-out in corporate greed and correct the problems that presently exist.

I wish you well in your choice…and don’t forget to vote on Saturday…and don’t forget to vote for the children… because they can’t vote for themselves…cheers 

Peter J Wheeler

1 comment:

psychetherapist said...

and, according to the programme, the most important thing a country can do to improve the health of its children is provide free school meals - a Mana Movement initiative