31 Oct 2008

Herald reduced to printing all copy in Blue if National Wins election.

A HUGE Scoop written in the breathless adoration style of the National Party's advertising pamphlet - The Herald.

Rumour has it that the Herald management has committed itself to publishing every edition in tory blue if the Nats win the election. Apparently they have undertaken to print every edition for the duration of the presumed National-ACT - Dunne government on Tory Blue with all use of the colour red, mention of the colour red, Helen Clark or Labour banned unless mentioned by Garth George when quoting the Bible as vindication for wishing the hydra monster of Douglas, Engkeylish, Hide and Dunne on the nation in pure Revalations raving.

Mind you, when one reads the sort of reporting being cultivated by the Herald editorial staff one could believe this rumour.
For as another blogger writes:

A week out from the election, Granny Herald has still yet to do any proper coverage of the effects on individuals and the economy of National’s four flagship policies: privatising ACC, gutting Kiwisaver, reducing work rights, and weakening the RMA and ETS.

Yet, they can find the space to tell us which politicians would make the best Halloween character or could mentor according to their online polls (always biased towards the type of people who are sitting in front of computers all day [clue: it ain't the working class]).

Here we are, in the middle of the process of choosing the people who will have the most powerful jobs in the country, and the largest newspaper is engaging in inanities that tell us nothing more than the demographics of its online readers.

How my heart yearns for a decent media in this country.

However, in mitigation of the Herald it did publish a "leader article" admitting that it was mildly annoyed at John Key for mis-remembering his employment at Elders Finance and the H scandal and for the voting public it is important to be assured that its leaders are not dissemblers of the truth isn't it????

29 Oct 2008

Women in red drive men crazy - Why the Nats get upset over Helen!

At last! We now have an answer to the question that has been bugging political pundits each election for the past nine years: "Why does Helen Clark get under the skin of the male young Nats and really infuriates the older ones, like Ian Wishart, who have to resort to homophobic rumour mongering to explain their own reactions?

Researchers have discovered the reason: Women in red drive men crazy. It would appear that men rate a woman as being more sexually attractive if she is shown in an image framed by a red border rather than some other colour (like blue for example?).

So what happens in the NZ political situation is that old Nats, living on past memories, and young Nats, living in hope, see the photos of Helen framed in a warm glow of red on the Labour Party billboards and become overcome with a feeling of being attracted to the icon of social democracy. Then, because they cannot cope with the revelation that they do and are attracted to Helen and the Labour Party can only retreat into good old fashioned reactionary abuse or, in the case of the billboards, scrawling offensive grafitti across her image.

We must thank the US researchers for this exhaustive study and the explanations it now gives us for the viputrative commentary that sometimes passes as investigative political analysis in New Zealand.

The Gambler throws the dice once too often

The earlier post: Look Alikes appears to have had a ring of truth about it when one considers this story on the Herald's website today.

The Great Gambler appears to have thrown the flip flop dice once too often - this time they've fallen against the run of play.

Where was John Key when Allan Hawkins needed him?

National Party leader John Key faces accusations of misleading the public about his knowledge of one of New Zealand's most notorious white collar crimes, the New Zealand Herald website reported today.

An item posted on the newspaper's website said the allegations centred around the so-called H-Fee -- two payments totalling $A66.5 million to Equiticorp funnelled via sham foreign exchange transactions in 1988 -- and an interview Mr Key gave the Herald last year.

During the interview in August 2007, Mr Key confirmed he worked as a foreign exchange dealer at Elders Merchant finance, part of Elders IXL, which made the payments to the Allan Hawkins-controlled Equiticorp.

But he said he left Elders in 1987, before the transactions were processed.

"Three months before any of these deals got decided I left Elders...I was never involved in them," Mr Key said during the interview.

The Herald said it had checked court documents made public by the Labour Party which included the fact that Mr Key resigned from Elders in June 1988, six months after the first payment.

It said there was no evidence Mr Key was involved in handling the sham transactions.

The Herald said it had read the 13,000 page court file in Melbourne which contained a statement by Mr Key in which he said he resigned from Elders on June 24, 1988, and was immediately placed on leave because he was going to a rival company.

It said Labour was planning to drop the "bombshell" on the election campaign trail tomorrow.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said if the Herald had published the story then they obviously believed there were questions to answer.

Miss Clark said it was not a story that she was handling, but whether it was a bombshell depended on the answers to the questions raised by the story.

Asked if it was appropriate for Labour to be digging around in Mr Key's past, Miss Clark said the lives of political leaders were open books.

28 Oct 2008

Electorate Reporting

Roger Douglas explains his policies to an incredulous voter while campaigning for support for the ACT candidate in Botany.
A photo opportunity Mr. Tan missed while reporting for The Herald

In an earlier post I pointed out the ironies (Ironies on the Campaign Trail ) present at a meet the candidates meeting in the new electorate of Botany. There was a full muster of candidates present on the stage which seems to have escaped the notice of the Herald's intrepid reporter - Lincoln Tan whose report of the same meeting focused entirely on the more incoherent candidates on the platform - one Kenneth Wang who, like Pansy Wong seems to consider that the appellation "Asian" is synonymous with "Chinese". (Incidentally,in keeping with his political mentors Rodney and Roger, the only coherent aspect of Mr.Wang is his billboard)
Any observer, like Mr. Tan, should have noticed that the census data lumps Indians (regardless of origin) in as Asians so the simplistic analysis practised by the Wangs & Wongs in Botany presents a substantial miscalculation of their possible support base.
While on the subject of reporting One does wonder why, if Mrs Wong was so upset about the Wang message on his billboards, that she complained to the Electoral Commission; why the two candidates have taken to placing their billboards side by side like kissing cousins or why Mr Wang has not been forced to remove the Wong name from his boards? One must ask if the noise over the Wang boards wasn't just a ploy to get reporters, like Mr.Tan, to fall in love with them and constantly photograph them for lazy publication in the Herald or, more sinisterly, a real indication of the possible emergence of a Nightmare on Elm Street of Roger Douglas rising, like Nosferatu, from the political grave as National reaches to embrace its long term political lover and enter an unholy alliance in the the manner signalled by the Wang loves Wong Billboards??

24 Oct 2008

Look Alikes!!

In the tradition of the local press - has anyone noticed how similar these two money speculators look?
Apart from their physical similarity both worked for failed money market "merchant bankers' and both made fortunes from a shared driving force - greed and a desire to gamble on speculation and rumour.
But then it is a matter of trust isn't it???

Further Ironies on the campaign trail

Ironic isn't it.. Rodney takes a hiding in the rough & tumble with Winston. One presumes that if you continue to sweep your dust under your carpet when someone else lifts the carpet your dirty secrets are exposed.
Robert Jones' generosity of rent free offices to the tune of $20,000 a year was obviously a donation that needed to be declared despite Rodney's disingenuous attempt a disguising his Party's guilt and shoddy book keeping. Mind you, it does raise the question: if ACT can't keep its books in order how could they be trusted, in any coalition with the great gambler (Engkeylish) to keep the country's books in order?
Naughty, naughty Rodney - keep throwing mud and eventually the mud comes back to stick on the thrower.

22 Oct 2008

A note to the Banks - merely a query.

Dear Sirs,

In view of what seems to be happening internationally with banks at the

moment, I was wondering if you could advise me. If one of my cheques is

returned marked 'insufficient funds,' how will I know whether that refers

to me or to you .
Just seeking clarification.

Mind you, if we were to believe that National could provide responsible economic management we might be writing more such letters especially considering Mr. Key's past record of speculation on the New Zealand dollar (even if it was during the days of Roger Douglas 1987-88 ). After all a gambler never loses the habit!!

Ironies on the Campaign Trail

Last night I went along to a "Meet the Candidates" presentation to hear and see those who would represent the electorate in Parliament. The evening was one of irony and Monty Pythonish humour.
First, there were three candidates who were immigrants to New Zealand - each proclaimed that they were here because they saw opportunities and possibilities for them by moving from their country of birth. The National and Act candidates, both Chinese born, then condemned New Zealanders for following their example and traveling overseas for experience, opportunity and gaining knowledge of other cultures and societies. One was left wondering why it was OK for them to emigrate, to travel overseas but for young New Zealanders to do the same is to be seen as betraying the country?
Second, there was a Kiwi Party candidate who supports the repeal of the law protecting children from violence in the home on the basis that this would stop parents being classed as criminals for chastising their children, sincerely advocating the use of the rattan, a la Singapore, as a deterrent to criminals while declaring that N.Z. shouldn't become a police state. Well, at least he was consistent even if confused about the nature of a police state.
Third, the ACT candidate called for deregulation of business so that they could flourish as businesses do in the deregulated environment of China as well as calling for the removal of bureaucrats who interfere with the free market practices of business while advocating the expenditure of $1 Billion to crack down on crime.
He seemed to forget that in the deregulated, free market of Chinese business where the bueaucracy didn't maintain checks on the business practices criminal behaviour was rife. A point well appreciated by Fonterra!!
Then, again, the ACT candidate argued for the removal of taxation to allow the individual to decide how best to spend their money but then failed to explain where the money would come from to pay for their $1 Billion Anti-crime policy as well as the provision of what education, justice, defence, infra structure maintenance....
He, too, didn't seem to appreciate that the policies he was calling for would create a police state in New Zealand even though he'd decided to emigrate here to escape such a police ridden state!
Then, the National candidate was prepared to defend Lockwood Smith as a credible politician when, apparently, the only value Lockwood would have placed in her would be her small hands.
Mind you she also declared that her esteemed leader was an responsible experienced manager of finances while glossing over, or conveniently forgetting, his role in the 1987-88 money trader speculation on the NZ dollar that almost caused a collapse of the NZ economy. Hardly the actions of a responsible New Zealander one would have thought but, then, as I stated it was a night filled with ironies.

21 Oct 2008

National Party PPP tolling scheme to be launched by Maurice Williamson!

This little story and illustration from The Standard will lighten the hearts of Brian Kelly and his supporters in Pakuranga!!

The National Party has today been forced to clarify its policy for more public-private partnerships in transport after an embarrassing leaked photograph found its way onto several online internet ‘blogs’.

In response to the photo (below), John Key has scheduled a press conference where he is expected to formally announce a policy to lease public bus stops to private commuters at the rate of $2 an hour.

The clarification comes after transport spokesperson Maurice Williamson today stated the bus stops would be sold off completely, then backtracked and claimed they would be leased to private commuters at $5 an hour.

Mr Key has distanced himself from Mr Williamson’s comments, saying his transport spokesperson “jumped the gun” and has not been briefed on the party’s transport policy.

Unreported Comunity Reactions to the Leaders

An interesting comparison in public perception of the worth of the leaders of the major parties has been reported from the Botany Electorate.
Apparently Helen Clark visited the shopping centre in an un-publicised walk about with candidate, Koro Tawa earlier this week.
The walk about was, reported to be a scheduled 90 minutes but was extended to 2 hours because of the demand from the local public to speak and meet with her.
My informant tells me that it took Helen almost 40 minutes to walk from the front entrance of the Conservatory to the rear entrance.
So what happened when John Key did his follow the leader walk about?
My informant has it that he was met with rapturous ignore - the shopping centre remained quiet, no one approached the tour party leaving John and Pansy Wong to walk through the centre at a rapid pace, board their transporter and head off to another surrounded by the faithful photo opportunity.
I wonder what it is about the two leaders that they get greeted so differently when ever they go into the public arenas -- perhaps its something called trust and charisma?

19 Oct 2008


The NZ Herald runs a cartoon strip in its business section that provides a great insight into the money management skills of the merchant banking class experience in which John Key claims an ability to manage an economy. If the latest strip is anything to indicate confidence in such experience one must assume that to give Key and his advisers access to a macro-economic situation would seriously endanger the economy as rumour and mis-reading of information would take precedence over rationality.

Key Promises!

I received another National Party ripped off idea this weekend - a pledge card!! (Where did this idea come from I wonder... see my early posts about the pretender's new clothes.)
It was amazing, especially as to be honest pledges one would presume that the person making the pledges had had a record of consistency and of having high moral principles if one is to accept the pledges.
I'm sorry but the only consistent feature that Mr. Key has displayed to the public is inconsistency as this little clip demonstrates with clarity.

16 Oct 2008

The Worm Keeps Turning

This clip from the Leaders' debate is worth a viewing.
It certainly beats Peter Dunne's favourite - the worm especially as this worm turns and keeps turning as slippery John keeps letting his gambling instinct over-load his competence.

14 Oct 2008

Lies. Lies and more Lies as Debate heats up

This analysis of the Key positions taken by John Key demonstrate the tenuousness of his logic. It's worth sharing.

Live fact-checking of the debate.

Key: The unions supported National’s position on Kiwisaver.
Lie: The unions do not support National’s plan and never have. “We have supported 2+2 arrangements as a starting point but under the current scheme, this attracts the full value of member tax credits and employer tax credits. Under the National Party proposal there would be enormous pressure on workers to pay for the employer contribution by forgoing a wage increase. And for those who joined expecting a 4 per cent employer contribution, this is a major reduction”

Key: Productivity has halved under Labour
Lie: Productivity is up 15% under Labour

Key: Labour has got unemployment beneficiary numbers down by moving people to the sickness and invalid benefits.
Lie: Total benefit numbers are down 100,000. The sickness and invalid number growth has been in line with a growing, aging population. Unemployment is down 120,000.

Key: We should be slower on the ETS, our Kyoto liability is so big
Contradiction: If we go slower on reducing our carbon emissions through the ETS our Kyoto liability will be higher. Our Kyoto liability is forfeit for not meeting our commitments to reduce emissions; the ETS is a scheme for reducing emissions.

Key: interest rates have doubled up Labour
Lie: 2-year fixed mortgage rate in December 1999 - 8.3%. 2-year fixed mortgage rate today - 9.0%

Key: carbon emissions from coal have doubled under Labour
Lie: electricity emissions have increased 20%, more electricity is generated per unit of emissions, there is a ban on new baseload thermal generation, and Huntly will be replaced by renewable generation.

Key: power prices have increased 50% under Labour
Lie: power prices are up 18% after-inflation (source 1,2). Incomes are up 25% after-inflation (source 1,2)

Key: we’ve had an explosion in the number of bureaucrats from 26,000 to 36,000
Misleading: Key is talking about people employed by the core public service. That includes the Police, corrections staff, customs, social workers. Key has promised policies that wold require at least a 1000 new people in those departments.

Key: 322 workers at Carter Holt Harvey lost their jobs today because of Labour’s economic mismanagement.
Lie: according to Carter Holt, the jobs were lost due to oversupply of timber in the international market. As Key should know, the timber industry is going through a major correction at the moment having overexpanded during the global housing bubble, which has now collapsed.

10 Oct 2008

The Axe Falls on Kiwisaver - Key untrustworthy yet again.

This cartoon says it all. Here is the first wedge of the workers' benefits to be axed under a Key lead government. Remember a gambler prefers to gamble with other peoples' money while ensuring the house retains its share!

8 Oct 2008

Where ACT & National would take us with their Crime policies.

Underwhelming Policy Release- Tax Cuts - Tax Schmucks

Over the years New Zealand experiences a sense of deja vu with each release of "new" policy from the National Party policy think tank.

When John Key released the much hyped tax cut policy yesterday one was immediately reminded of Robert Muldoon in 1975 - same smirking smile, same short sighted thinking, surrounded by acolytes from past National administrations all congratulating themselves on regenerating failed past policies and supported by happy memories of dancing cossacks leaping through their collective minds. Here was history repeating itself.

In 1975 Muldoon dismantled the New Zealand Superannuation scheme - a programme designed to encourage savings and investment in industry and the N.Z. economy - arguing that this was the first step towards a communist state and appealing to the mirage of a short term individual gain by returning the contributions to the taxpayer and promising a tax based superannuation payment.

Interestingly, a later National Government, with Ruth Richardson as finance minister, took the axe to the Muldoon scheme and reduced the promised retirement payments as well as abusing the taxpayer for not saving and investing in the economy.

In 2008 John Key took the script from the ghost of Muldoon and began the proposed dismantling of Kiwi-Saver by raiding it to pay for the promised tax-cuts - if this isn't a good example of a john robbing the peter one doesn't know what else is.

Points echoed by Brian Fallow, in the National Party's advertising pamphlet, The Herald, commented on the Tax Cut policies as - "You can't have your cake and eat it too" policies. He said that the Kiwisaver was an essential shift in attitude to an investment in the economy of the country and that the policy released by Key was reminiscent of the 1975 National Party assault on the NZ Super Scheme.

It is interesting to note that the Herald's editorial writer suggests that at a later date National should, would , take the knife to other social investments like free childcare and other universal benefits as there is no point in providing welfare... if it "cripples" the economy.

The revitalised 1975 anti-investment policies of John Key, in his muldoonist incarnation, is also directed at disenfranchising the worker when it comes to negotiating better employment conditions and pay increases by providing the opportunity for employers to argue that those who are Kiwisavers cannot get a pay rise because they're already receiving it through the, under National minimal 2% employer contribution to the employee's superannuation savings scheme.

Here, too, is the policy of encouraging selfishness that is the underpinning of the Key theory of economics.

The prospect of a reincarnation of muldoonist economics and social policies even under the smirking smiles of John Key is not an attractive prospect for NZ to consider. The Tax Cuts - Social programme slashing policies being presented are not attractive for either the individual or the country as a whole.

7 Oct 2008

Tax Cuts??? John robs the peter to gamble again.

National leader John Key today revealed his plans to destroy KiwiSaver and its long-term benefits for New Zealand for the sake of his own pursuit of power, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"John Key's announcement today that National would slash by half employer contributions to New Zealanders' personal savings, and cut into many employees' contributions, exposes National's short-term agenda and proves how hollow National's so-called economic growth plan really is.

"National's first instinct is to destroy a programme that will help promote growth and to remove important employment rights that protect employees in KiwiSaver.

"If implemented, this would gut KiwiSaver and sells the 800,000 plus members down the river. It would mean the sell-out of many Kiwis' hopes of buying their first home. It would mean the sell-out of many New Zealanders' opportunity to having a little bit more in retirement," Dr Cullen said.

"The past 18 months of major stress in international financial markets has highlighted very clearly that New Zealand needs to strengthen its savings culture and needs to strengthen its savings and investment record. This is why KiwiSaver is so important.

"The short-sightedness of National's proposed attack on savings is matched only by its attack on investment in research and development and in infrastructure. John Key proposes to axe the R&D tax credit that is a fundamental ingredient in raising the nation's productivity and non-inflationary growth rate over time. John Key also proposes no offsetting increase in public sector research and development," he said.

"All for what? A poorly-designed tax package that delivers nothing to 370,000 New Zealand households that receive Working for Families, reduces legislated tax rates and thresholds for the lowest and highest earners and claws back as much as it gives in tax cuts – and more – for current KiwiSavers.

Note: Impact of National's proposals on modest income KiwiSavers

A person earning $30,000 in Kiwisaver under Labour would save $750 a year themselves, receive a $750 contribution from the government and a $750 contribution from their employer: That is $2,250 a year in their account. Labour has protected workers against employers clawing back their (employers') contribution.

But under National's anti-savings plan, the same person would pay in 2%, that is $375, receive $375 from the government but the $375 from their employer would be paid by the employee because of reduced wages: In other words, that worker would still have to pay $750, but their return would only be $1,125 in their account after a year.

Because these people would not get any additional tax relief under National's plan, they would end up losing $1,125 a year from their savings account in order to pay for National's tax cut package which, by design, mostly benefits those already on high incomes, without children and who do not have a personal savings plan.

4 Oct 2008

Irony or Truth? The Gambler & the Casino.

A couple of postings ago I wrote an analysis of the National Party's economic policies and the supposed economic management expertise of their present finance spokespeople. In that posting I commented on the parallels that exist between riverboat gamblers and the money "traders" who gamble on the money markets.
I noted that the leader of the National Party made his reputation working for Merrill Lynch as a gambling speculator on the NZ dollar during the 1980s. Other bloggers have noted that the gambling on the NZ dollar at that time almost caused a collapse of the NZ economy if the Reserve Bank hadn't intervened.
It is, therefore, with great interest and a sense of the heavily ironic that one notes that the National Party with its "Great Gambler" at its helm is to launch its official 2008 campaign at The Sky-City Casino in Auckland on the 12th of October.
It is, perhaps. fitting that a political party with its roots deeply embedded in speculation, in money market gambling and other gaming activities should decide to associate itself with a Casino as it attempts to persuade the N.Z. public that it has a rational, well thought through and non speculative set of policies that would fit it to govern the country responsibly.

2 Oct 2008

The Worm is Turning!!

It’s time John Key delivered his main policy planks
The Independent Financial Review, 2 October 2008
By Jenni McManus

Just as the United States House of Representatives this week rightly refused give a US$700 billion (NZ$1.04 trillion) blank cheque to Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson, Kiwi voters should think twice about handing power to John Key.

Congress reacted with what commentators have termed “visceral discomfort” at the thought of giving Paulson, himself a product of Wall Street, carte blanche to save the butts of his mates, all on the taxpayers’ bill.

There was an information vacuum bordering on arrogance about the bailout itself, said the scheme’s critics. There had been insufficient grovelling from Paulson and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. Taxpayers should get more than “just the avoidance of the apocalypse” for their dollars.

Such was the level of anger in some quarters that one Washington research economist, noting the Bush administration had allowed the crisis to happen in the first place, said: “It’s almost amazing that they can do this with a straight face. Paulson has been totally wrong about almost everything.”

Some viewed it as the banks effectively recapitalising at the expense of the taxpayer; others described it as a reward for failure. Best comment of the week came from The New York Times’ veteran columnist Maureen Dowd: “Who would have dreamed that when socialism came to the USA it would be brought not by Bolsheviks in blue jeans but by Wall Street bankers in Gucci loafers?”

How does all this relate to John Key?

A lack of leadership at the top echelons of government and an arrogant refusal to be accountable to voters.

Like George W Bush, who took 10 days to front up to the American people with some guidance on the proposed bailout, Key — five weeks from our election — has yet to tell voters what he believes about anything and what he might do if handed the Treasury benches on November 8.

Like Paulson, he wants to be handed a blank cheque. Clearly, he expects voters to elect him with no real notion of his plans. He wants to skid into government with as few policy commitments as possible. And voters might be stupid enough — or so despairing of what the business community views as nine years of weak economic management and “crackpot social issues” (Independent, August 14, 2008) — to let him get away with it.

Much has been written about Key’s failure to release policy detail — or even policy frameworks — in critical areas and his lack of a coherent economic vision to lead the country through the next three years.

Five weeks out from the election is simply too late for voters to absorb complex policy platforms. Is this actually what National wants?

Where, for example, are the detailed and decisive policies to combat the recession? Where was National’s strategy midway through last year when the US sub-prime market began to unravel? Where were Key and Bill English when the Kiwi property market tanked in March? How would they have handled the economy as increasingly desperate householders struggled with sudden increases in petrol, food and mortgage interest rates?

The simple answer is we don’t know. And the electorate needs to know these things before people can cast an informed vote.

Like the Senate Banking Committee, which heard the initial arguments on the US bailout plan, New Zealanders are being offered a pig in a poke.

For the past year, Key and English have been dodging anything that smells like policy commitment, telling private business dinners in Auckland and in Wellington that many of these matters will be decided when they get elected — or words to that effect.

Not only do we have no detailed policy in key areas such as the economy, health, education and the environment, but National has failed so far to spell out its plans for the Resource Management Act (a contentious issue for business), the Employment Relations Act (another key bone of contention), infrastructure development (becoming urgent as two power companies increase their prices this week), a new regulatory regime, dealing with crime and the long- promised referendum on MMP.

Nor will the party disclose what it will do about relatively straightforward matters such as the future of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and, more contentiously, whether it will repeal the SFO Act, thus allowing fraud suspects the right to silence when interrogated by the SFO.

Unemployment will be another big issue. Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Auckland Employers and Manufacturers Association, says 25% of the work being done by his organisation is helping employers who want to downsize.

These are not big companies; the layoffs are coming from small-to- medium sized businesses. So far the redundancies have been done quietly but the total is expected to be evident in the next quarter’s employment figures.

As a Washington commentator noted this week when discussing the proposed US bailout: “One might thank God that the cavalry is coming but what exactly is the cavalry going to do?” Ditto New Zealand. Five weeks from the election only one thing is certain. As always, we will get the government we deserve