8 Dec 2008
The answer: NONE.
Earlier in November,Pansy Wong assured the Principal of Howick College that the much vaunted "National Standards" testing had gone even before lunchtime. It appears that Ms Wong was somewhat economical with the truth or else she, as a cabinet minister, was considerably out of the policy loop, which doesn't say a lot about her influence, or that she was following the party mantra of simply tailoring her response to the Principal to suit the political circumstance.
Whichever way it was it appears that she deliberately misled a large group of her constituents following the Howick College Senior Honours Ceremony as Mr Slippery has announced the decision to ram through the "National Standards" testing inside the first 100 days.
Either Pansy comes clean and publically apologises to the Principal, staff and parents of Howick College for deliberately misleading them or she admits that she is an ineffective and purely token member of the cabinet and remains silent on the issue.
Perhaps, more honorably, she should speak and voteagainst a piece of legislation she obviously disagrees with. Now, wouldn't THAT be a change?
25 Nov 2008
In an earlier blog I pointed out that Key had been, folowing the advice of Crosby-Textor, dressing himself in clothing borrowed from greater men in preparation for the election campaign and that the imagery behind these borrowed vestments would be exploited for the duration of the campaign and the first symbolic 100 days of power.
After this Key would initially keep wearing the clothes but, like the Anderson's emporer, slowly cast them aside until someone (Maurice Williamson perhaps?) cries ot that "There are no real clothes being worn" and the demands for Key and the party he represents dress in the manner to which they are accustomed.
At present Key has surrounded himself with those, like him, who wear the election campaign image. Their tenure and security will remain until the demand from the Party's traditional constituency to return to their philosophic basics reveals his fundamental insincerity and philosophic shallowness.
Cracks in te artifical gloss on this cabinet are already apparent for those, unlike the Herald reporters, look in depth at the blogs and research sources.
Here, for instance is Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Welfare, on the National Party during her student days:
"Newly elected National Party MP of Waitakere has been found out about her past days as a National Party bagger. Using her pseudonym Paula Poo she lambasted the National Party for cutting Education and increasing student fees , these comments made when Paula was President of the Massey University Student Association;
"Fees suck and fee increases just piss me off. Damn the Nat's who bring cuts to our education system, make us pay for them out of student loans that will take many people decades to pay off. In my own case, I will probably still be paying off my student loan when my daughter gets to university age; her future looks promising!"
When urging her fellow university students to make their vote count she said ... "don't vote for f**k wits."
Reconciling these views of her favoured political party with her present reality will take a lot of doing ... unless, of course, she is locked into the groove of praising new clothes.
Another crack in Key's reality comes from Pansy Wong who informed the Principal of Howick College, after he had made a speech to the school prize giving ceremony calling for the policy to be abandoned, that the much trumpeted testing against "national" standards had been swept from the table even before the lunchtime bell had been rung despite her local colleague and cabinet minister (outside the room) Maurice Williamson telling the Eastern Courier that the policy still stood.
There has been a glimmer of analysis of the wisdom of Key's appointments appearing in the media, especially over the relationship with Rodney "Rheinfeld" Hide and his role as "Minister" of Local Government for it is in this area that the real agenda that lies beneath the "emporer's"new clothes will be revealed.
Once "Rheinfeld" Hide begins to cry "Master! Master! Help me!" to Nosferatu Douglas and John Key begins the return to the National Party's roots the electorate will see the dismantling of the image... watch out for slash & burn attacks on Kiwisaver, on welfare, the Cullen Fund and other areas of social expenditure with the excuse of " dire economic times" and the "international credit crisis" have forced the Government to back down on so many of the implied policies offered during the election campaign ... we will see how apposite Paula Bennett's earlier advice to the readers of her blog were.
24 Nov 2008
However, that text book and journalism course idea is a myth, an ideal from the past, for the reality of our present is, according to a young journalist informant, that the news room journalist is a passive actor in the news gathering process. Today the young journalist is told to, and instructed in the process of, explore the chat rooms of Trade Me and the snippets from a small, quite limited, recommended list of blogs.
The limited range of blogs recommended to my informant did not inspire confidence in the investigative powers of the journalists or the policies of the papers concerned for the sites were all heavily slanted towards the right-wing blogs and the "celebrity sex life speculation" snippet blogs.
One would assume that the editorial policy of the media is to concentrate on the celebrity scandal, the weird and idle gossip then such "news" gathering is acceptable but if one wants more from the media then a diet of Trade Me chat and the salacious "snidery" of the Farrar-Slater blogs one would expect our journalists and media to be far more proactive and responsible.
18 Nov 2008
It was, therefore,no surprise when the National Party advertising pamphlet, The Herald, published Brian Rudman's critique of the marriage of ACT & National and the flip-flops on climate change it required.
Perhaps the baubles will be tossed earlier than the 18 months I argued would be the length of time this government would take before disintegration begins.
12 Nov 2008
The paucity of biting comment in NZ cartooning may be attributed to the editorial policy of the NZ Herald and its craven support of the National Party.
Here is the Guardian's cartoonist's commentary about tax cuts policy wars. Biting isn't it? I don't recall anything as powerful as this in the NZ press pages.
We might have had a different reaction to the great tax cut bribe wars in NZ.
10 Nov 2008
However, while the transition proceeds one can offer some comment about the possible stability of the new government.
With a record of policy and position shifting throughout the period since becoming leader of the National Party and in the build up to the election John Key may find that he will be in administrative difficulty once his colleagues get their feet under the Cabinet Table. The difficulties will be compounded with the presence of ACT's Rheinfield - Rodney Hide within the coalition. One recognises that there is no way ACT will want to be sidelined away from its traditional hardline free marketeering, retributive policies beloved of its Nosferatu founder, Roger Douglas and that there will be determined efforts from this quarter to drive National into more radical conservative policy directions.
As well, Hide is very similar in nature to his nemisis- Winston Peters. Both men are driven by ego, both are driven by a single minded belief in their own rightness, both have the natural instinct to hone in on a person or policy with one inclination - to destroy it or come crashing down in their own self destructive nature. One cannot but believe that within 18 months Hide, Rheinfield like, will, with his master, Douglas hive off into the extremities of Friedmanite economics and force a division in the hydra that is the National-ACT-United Futures coalition.
For Key this will mean that he will resort to his usual escape mechanism of making the unacceptable palatable in order to bring Roger and Rodney back into the crypt by flip-flopping on policy, pleading as he does so "political expediency and economic necessity because of the crisis created by the money traders and other free-marketeers."
One predicts that the fallout and consequent retribution on the electors will occur over the following policy areas: Employment Law - as workers rights are scaled back in a return to the elements of the ECA ACT will claim that the process isn't fast and hard enough and agitate for more punative legislation to bring the workers to heel.
Finance - the attacks and raids on both Kiwisaver and the Cullen Superannuation fund will continue with the extreme right of National siding with ACT to reduce both funds to mere shadow of their intended purpose. This will be done with the catch cry of "teaching the worker self sufficiency" and "to reduce reliance on nanny state."
The international credit collapse will be an excuse for the more extreme of the National-ACT coalition to allow Rheinfield Hide open Nosferatu's coffin and allow Roger Douglas to emerge and demand asset stripping, further reductions of workers' rights and conditions, slash and burning of Social Welfare programmes, privatisation of Health, Education, Prisons, Roading and Water reticulation ... so that the "books can be balanced" and "sanity restored to the free market."
The privatisation of ACC - the confusion and fallout as this occurs will see the entire scheme collapse into a miasma of conflicting and reductive insurance policies that extract a lot but provide little while taking the profits overseas.
Education - here the introduction of a failed Bush scheme of National Testing and Reporting (the No Child Left Behind policies) will create tensions in the teaching profession, confusion and resentment among parents and a media frenzy of "let's bash the teachers" which will again lead Key to drop the leader's jandal.
Crime and Civil Liberties - in this area the public will soon come to realise that National - Act cannot deliver on its promise to reduce crime in the community. They will also come to appreciate that the State will intrude even more into their lives as civil liberties are reduced and surveillance becomes a norm.
For Key these tensions will prove difficult to manage as so many of his bench and MPs like, Ryall, McCully, Williamson, Wong, Smith N & L, Brownlee and English, have deep seated and firmly held political beliefs that can be evidenced by their past involvement in retributive legislation that will not be able to be controlled under his natural instinct to gamble for a gain by short term expediency thus opening the possibility of a push by Key's controller, English, to make a push for more overt control of power and a consequent hardening of policy initiatives and true nanny state legislation.
So while the polls may have spoken they spoke for an image not for what lay behind it so that as the next three years unfold and Key's instinctive flip floppery management style fail to control his coalition it should not come as surprise to the more astute observers to see what appeared to be a comfortable majority faction into self destructive quarrelling while Hide and Douglas, like the ghost of Adam, gibber at the table.
4 Nov 2008
John Key should realise that the US President is not Winston Peters or whoever else in NZ politics he doen't like.
At this time in an election cycle and as a pretender to the premiership of NZ one would think that Key would exercise sound political judgment and refrain from making such a pronouncement especially as it has taken the Labour led Government till recently to persuade, cajole and negotiate with the American administration to recognise the reality of international politics that New Zealand has a very principled and clear position on international affairs that, while being different to those espoused by the USA, are recognised by other Nations and do not interfere with NZ's willingness to be constructively involved on the world stage.
To announce that Key favours the Republican positions is to give credibility to the English position that" the world needs a US president who will pull the trigger." - that is who will take war were ever he thinks deserves one. Mind you, judging by the ACT pamphlets I've received it would appear that Mr. Key is merely echoing the paranoia of the canary one - Rodney Hide.
No thanks Mr. Key - if one needed an excuse not to vote National you have just given us one.
2 Nov 2008
These comments from THE STANDARD sum up the points voters should consider in making their choice on Saturday.
Six days to go. Here are the five big issues that I am finding can turn swing to the Left. There are others as well (see our Standard line series) but these have been effective points in my experience. Over the next few days, you’re bound to find yourself talking to people who are planning to vote National or ACT. Try out these arguments on them
ACC. The fact that ACC is so widely used, there are a million claims a year, makes it an important issue. Despite its faults, ACC is a world-leading system and people depend on it. Private insurers can collapse and have every incentive to avoid payouts. National wants to privatise it, Labour wants to cut its cost, reducing car registration by $80 and employer levies by 20%. Nobody wants ACC privatised, not business, not the medical profession, not legal experts, and, most importantly, not ordinary people. Nowadays, when I hear someone is going to vote National or ACT, I just mention they want to privatise ACC and it’s usually enough to switch them to the Left. Why Labour hasn’t made more of this, I don’t know.
Kiwisaver. 850,000 people have joined Kiwisaver so far, and that number will soon reach one million. Chances are good a swinger voter you talk to is either in Kiwisaver, close to someone who is, or planning to join. If National gets into government, every Kiwisaver would be worse-off, even after you count National’s tax-cuts, because they’re going to cut Kiwisaver in half. Rather than your employer putting in the equivalent of an extra 4% of your income into your Kiwisaver, National would reduce that to 2%. That will cost every Kiwisaver hundreds of thousands of dollars over their career. By cutting Kiwisaver, National would also cut domestic saving, meaning we have to borrow more from overseas.
Tax. National’s tax cuts are less than $10 a week more than Labour’s for most people. Many people actually get smaller cuts from National - if your income is less than $24,000 or $44,000 if you get Working for Families, you get larger cuts from Labour. The only people who get big cuts from National are people like John Key on really large incomes.
Trust. After all these years, the only ‘trust’ issues they have on Clark is that she once signed a picture for charity that she hadn’t painted, her drivers drove really fast one time, and her billboard picture is ‘too nice’. These are not substantive issues, they have no bearing on whether someone can be trusted to govern. National tries to hide its policies and its senior MPs have broken Parliaments rules. They have a track record in government of low growth, high unemployment, lower wages, higher crime, and running down public services like health and education. National always has been and remains the party of the wealthy; they cannot be trusted to act in the interests of ordinary Kiwis.
Experience. Key’s business experience is not an asset in the current economic conditions. He has no experience running an economy. In fact, his economic experience is making money doing exactly the kind of deals that have led to this financial meltdown in the first place. One of the guys who got us into this mess is not the kind of person to lead us out of it. In Clark, Cullen, and the other senior ministers, we have a very experienced team with a record of low unemployment, high wages, high growth, and stable government.
31 Oct 2008
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
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 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.
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
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
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???
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
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!!
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
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.
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.
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
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
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: 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
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
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
"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
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
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
28 Sep 2008
When pressed by the canvasser to name the members of the inner cabinet of the Manukau Labour Party the National Party supporter at first claimed the names were common knowledge among the business community and the National Party but he wouldn't name the people himself but it was enough to prove that Labour used dirty campaigning techniques to win elections.
To this observer such rumour milling is proof enough of a demonstration campaign hypocrisy being practised by the National Party as the rumour has as much credibility as the claim that the National Party has insisted that John Key undergo an urgent medical for Alzhiemers as his requent demonstrations of short term memory loss when pressed to recall either ownership of TransRail shares, National Party policies, or meetings with visiting millionaires was of concern to their spinmeisters - Crosby-Textor.
One would argue that if a political party was to run a clean campaign it would not be a party to the spreading of such rumours but perhaps it is because the National Party has no appreciation of satire that their response to its use is to promote the dubious and obviously dirty campaign rumour the canvasser was regaled with as he door knocked last weekend.
Apparently National's candidate has threatened to throw the weight of the EFA, legislation they opposed on the grounds it would stop "free" speech, on the Act candidate because he has endorsed their candidate without consent.
This must be very pleasing for the Labour candidate especially as, in censuring the Act candidate, the National candidate appeared to endorse, in fact encourage Botany voters to vote for him when she is reported to have said: "Botany doesn't want more Chinese MPs as the electorate is multi-ethnic and voters will vote on the strength and commitment of candidates...." Obviously National would rather have their Botany candidate returned from the list and Botany return an indigenous MP to represent the seat more equitably across all the ethnicities within the electorate.
22 Sep 2008
HOW MANY SHARES DO YOU REALLY OWN?
Answer: I can't remember. It could be 20-25000. It might be 50000. Oh gosh I remember now it was 100,000. Mind you I had to be pushed to admit it though. - John Key being slippery yet again.
This press release deserves a lot more publicity than the Herald will give it.
It would appear that there is one rule for Winston and another less rigid one for John Key and his money trader colleagues.
Labour has accused John Key of lying over his ownership of Tranz Rail shares amid revelations the National Party leader failed to fully disclose his interests.
Mr Key's interests became an issue earlier this year when Labour claimed a conflict of interest because he had asked parliamentary questions about the Government's planned buyback of the country's rail tracks while he still had a shareholding in the rail operator.
Despite his role at the time as National's associate transport spokesman, he did not disclose his shareholding.
When Mr Key was questioned on the issue this year he said his family trust had held 30,000 shares in the company, but had sold them on June 9 and June 12, 2003.
He said his questions and comments never led to any gains from the company's share value.
But Finance Minister Michael Cullen today released correspondence and share register information contradicting several of Mr Key's claims.
The information showed Mr Key, through his trust and under his own name, had owned 100,000 rather than 30,000 Tranz Rail shares.
Questioned on the issue before he was aware the information had been released, Mr Key told One News his shareholding ranged between 25,000 and 50,000 shares up until June 2003.
But when pressed on the issue he admitted there were more shares.
"Actually maybe 100,000 from memory, sometimes 50,000, sometimes 100,000, yep," he said.
"Yeah, sorry, there was 100,000 in total."
Mr Key said no one had questioned him previously on exactly how many shares he had owned.
The papers released by Dr Cullen show Mr Key personally bought 50,000 shares in Tranz Rail in May 2003 after he had actively pursued information from the Government on the company.
He sold those shares five weeks later for $51,000 -- more than double their $22,500 purchase price.
However, 50,000 shares bought by his family trust in February 2002, were sold in June 2003 at a loss of $132,000.
Dr Cullen said Mr Key should have declared his shareholding to Parliament and his failure to do so was unethical.
"John Key lied because he knew he had something to hide," he said.
"Mr Key was in fact commenting publicly on Tranz Rail, meeting with bidders for the rail track and vigorously pursuing the release of commercially relevant information all while being an undisclosed shareholder in the firm."
One News has just run the revelation that John Key lied to the public and to Parliament about the extent of his shareholding in Tranzrail while using his position to ask questions about the Government’s intentions for rail.
More importantly, it seems he met with Rail America in his capacity as National’s transport spokesperson to encourage the company to go ahead with its intention to purchase Tranzrail. He said in a newsletter that he hoped:
the interest shown by Rail America will be picked up by others.
Having pumped the sale without declaring his interest, he then divested of 50,000 Tranzrail shares, doubling his money within five weeks.
The public needs to know what went on during that meeting with Rail America. We also need to know the full details of all Key’s holdings and an investigation needs to be held into whether he has misused his position for financial gain anywhere else.
Given one of National’s favourite taunts over the last three years has been ‘corruption’, one can only hope the media will see real corruption for what it is.
Dr Cullen said Mr Key had spent a lot of time attacking Prime Minister Helen Clark's credibility over the New Zealand First donations scandal, but had covered up his own actions.
"For him to have in effect grossly misled both the media and the public on this I think raises that issue of trust yet again," he told reporters.
"Clearly Mr Key was not simply not forthcoming, he actually lied."
18 Sep 2008
Michael Cullen is drawing no long bow when he points out that it was the actions of men, in the same profession as John Key once was, whose gambling caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.
For anyone who understands the use of analogy and of examples when arguing a case Cullen's comments make perfect sense and provide a solid logical progression to an inevitable conclusion. For the benefit of the media and other commentators it runs like so:
1) Merrill Lynch was a financial institution that had made its reputation from speculation on the futures markets and currency trading which are simply sophisticated forms of riverboat gambling.
2) The money traders employed by Merrill Lynch are highly paid gamblers who use other people's money to take bets on the possible value of commodities and currencies that might eventuate as a result of a rumour, a possibility of a storm, flood, pestilence or the failure of a sports team to win a crucial test match.
3) John Key's reputation is not based on his political acumen but on his gambling ability and instincts developed while employed as a currency gambler by Merrill Lynch.
4) As a high stakes currency gambler Mr Key was successful - but only while the house of cards built up on successive levels of speculation remained standing.
5) Once the house of speculation collapsed the reputation of the currency and commodity gamblers must be called to question just as the security of the finance houses like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch must be called to question and account.
Therefore: Given that John Key is still, at heart and reputation, a money trader (gambler / speculator) and has had well publicised ties to the firm of Merrill Lynch which collapsed because of the poor judgment of the currency and commodity gamblers employed there then it must follow that questions about Mr Key's ability to take control of a country's economy must be called into question.
However, the spin doctors, the Herald agenda driven reporters who appear to lack an understanding of the nuances and subtleties of language and logic have all leapt to the illogical conclusion that John Key was the cause of the collapse of Merrill Lynch. ( Would that were true - it would really make some earlier gambling trades that went sour on individual traders look like small bikkies.)
What people should recognise is that no one is saying that Key caused the collapse of Merrill Lynch but one does begin to doubt the ability of a currency gambler to make sound economic judgments.
This is not negative campaigning. This is not personality attack. This is not dirty politics as the Crosby Textor script would have it. This is legitimate questioning of the perception that Mr Key has the ability to make sound judgements based on the evidence that other currency gamblers obviously have none as they caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch.
The conclusion then becomes obvious.
16 Sep 2008
While, for sometime, Winston has managed to bluff and bluster to position himself as the "people's champion" for didn't he stand up to Muldoon and, on a matter of principle, resign the National Party to stand for Tauranga to demonstrate the electorate's support for that principle he is now being tried by a jury of his"peers" and the media on an issue of principle.
The National Party shadow cabinet discussing what to do with Winston.
Unfortunately for Winston the substantive issue - Did he or did he not have to declare the donation of $100,000 that went into his legal fighting fund - has become "Did he or did he not know about the donation being solicited and paid into his lawyer's trust account?"
For his peers and the media it is easier to pillory Winston on the latter issue because he chose to grandstand a series of denials of knowledge of such largesse being extended to him. In such a manner the substantive issue isobscured and lost.
One is lead to conclude that the issue of should the $100,000 be declared will not be decided by the media or by the jury of Winston's peers because, in the public perception, the outcome has already been decided - guilt by association and a decision by John Key not to deal with Winston in the event of a close call in November.
For John Key is attempting to build up aperception of being a decisive, principled and strong individual as opposed to a person who takes a more measured, calmer, more rational approach to decision making.
To do this he and hisadvisers have adopted the "chicken licken" approach to political debate... to shout that the sky has fallen despite all evidence to the contrary on the basisthat given a loud enough shout the echo will become the evidence.
Of course John Key is familiar with such a strategy as that is precisely how the money speculators in organisations like Merrill Lynch operate in order to drive the speculation on the money or commodities they're gambling on up or down in speculative value and thusgain profit for themselves or companies they work for.
These decisions are not based on sound judgement from substantive evidence. It isjudgement based on perception, on image, on the loudest shout, on a chimera which, once accepted by others in the market, can cause a collapse of the whole artifical construct the money speculator (gambler) has built up. One only has to lok at the collapse of companies like Merrill Lynch ( a past employer of John Key ) to witness the fallacy of speculation on perception.
All of which leaves the N.Z. voter with two important questions " shouldn't we expect more from the N.Z. media when reporting and recording events than we are presently getting?" and "can we, as a nation, afford to allow ourselves to be governed by one whose judgements and reputation are made on perception and image rather than hard, substantive evidence?"
Of course Mr Ryall is not trying to censor the Health Board. He is not trying to control the news. He is not trying to manipulate the Board members. He is not trying to dictate anything to the Health Board. He is merely carrying out his duty as a National Party apparatchik - a member of the tory stasi and attempting to ensure "fairness" and a "level playing field" during the election campaign!
One must ask why the N.Z.Herald, in reporting the story, didn't pounce on Mr Ryall's attempt to stifle free speech and expose his activities to fair and open criticism ... or.. is this too much to ask in this "open" society?
9 Sep 2008
This means that the donation saga is not about faulty book-keeping, not about poor management and inadequate systems within the N.Z.First machine. It is not about Owen Glenn's generousity to either N.Z.First or the Labour Party. It is about Winston Peters and his political survival. It is about the manipulation of the political landscape in an MMP environment.
Hide, whose motivations on the political field can be questioned, has set out to destroy Peters in the interests, he says, of ensuring stable government in New Zealand. (Morning Report interview. august 2008). For stable government read one supported by ACT and none other.
Hence the constant barrage of innuendo, of demands for Privileges Committee interrogations, of Police investigations and SFO inquiries coupled with theatrical presentations of files to various authorities in front of cameras and supporters. Hide's campaign strategy is to throw allegation after allegation at Peters in the knowledge that eventually a crack will appear or a daub of mud will stick so that guilt by implication can be established and the "crime" elevated to credibility.
For Peters, the problem has been one of his own character fault, a propensity to bluff and bluster when confronted with a barrage of questions. It is this character fault that cracked. It was this fault that allowed the daub of mudto stick. It was this fault that Hide has manipulated to his advantage over the past few months as he campaigns to exert his right to be seen as the new stud in the Bull-pen of Parliament.
If Peters had paused, reflected and analysed his position on the issue he was challenged on he may have responded in a more considered and strategically advantageous manner. But that isn't his nature and Hide knows it.
If Peters had admitted and provided evidence that monies had been sought and paid to N.Z. First through whatever vehicle and that the monies had been fully accounted for he would have not found himself in the ignominious position he is presently in. For now his position as an "honorable member" whose word must be, by statute, taken as true is called to question.
In the face of the evidence presented by Glenn to the Privileges committee Peters will now have to prove that his position is and always has been that of a truthful and honorable member. If he cannot prove that, if he resorts to the bluff and bluster, he will be found wanting and his political demise, so long predicted, will be assured. However, he won't he destroyed by an accounting failure. He won't be destroyed by faulty management processes. He won't be destroyed by his strange relationship with his lawyer. He will be destroyed by his own character faults for that is Peter's hubris and that is what Hide has exploited throughout this whole sorry saga.
2 Sep 2008
Rumour has it that the National Party is demanding a commission of enquiry into their Advertising Agency following the leaking of their billboard designs and slogans after the launch of their only policy statement board (coincidentally, it reads almost identically to an ACT Party pamphlet circulated last month - I wonder if that means anything?)
Anyway here are the leaked billboards and associated slogans from the Tory Ad agency. One can see why John, call me Obama, Key is so upset... they actually reveal their manifesto promises.
24 Aug 2008
While John Key promises everyone a $50.00+ a week tax cut Maurice explained why it was needed- "to pay the tolls that would be levied on N.Z. roads when, under National, they would be semi-privatised under the PPP schemes that underpin the National Party policy documents."
What the N.Z. taxpayer now sees is that "there ain't no free lunch under a tax cut regime" for under such a regime the need to pay tolls (private enterprise taxation) for the use of public facilities becomes obvious as under the PPP schemes the private enterprise"partner" is allowed to tax the public (and claim against the taxpayer for any shortfalls ) to pay for the costs of the roads, the schools, the hospitals and other infrastructure a National Party Government, in partnership with Private enterprise, chooses to build.
It is interesting to note that where-ever such PPP infrastructure building schemes have been in operation (Australia, UK) the taxpayer is forced to bail the Business sector out - effectively paying twice or more over for the facility.
One must thank Maurice for his refreshing honesty when he said that he knew that no one would object to paying $50.00 a week in tolls as part of one's normal household expenses. At least we now know the reasoning behind the tax cut policy - to allow the taxpayer the ability to pay big business for their largesse in donating to the National Party coffers.
Mind you, it is good to see John Key swinging again in typical flip - flop manner over Maurice's out burst of political honesty. It just goes to show that the pretender has an ill fitting set of crosby-textor borrowed clothing. It is about time the un-blinkered observers started shouting that he has no clothes. But that might be all too honest.
22 Aug 2008
On the 21st a "brevity" was published that read: "When will the intense scrutiny of the funding of N.Z.First be extended to that of National and Labour?"
The full, unpublished, submitted letter read:
Today on Morning Report Rodney Hide said the object of the present inquiry was to get rid of Winston Peters, after which we would have stable government. So much for disinterested concern for democracy.
When will the intense scrutiny of the funding of N.Z.First be extended to that of National and Labour? Who remembers the Exclusive Brethern?
Which now puts a different meaning to the letter - an opinion that,dare one argue it, is contrary to the admitted agenda of the Herald.
16 Aug 2008
There is an 'Old Version' and a 'Modern Version' .... Two Different
Versions! Two Different Morals!
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his
house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays
the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Be responsible for yourself!
The Labour Party ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The National Party grasshopper thinks the Labour ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away and keeps borrowing against any assets he may have. In fact he campaigns for everyone to do the same as well as stating that others should avoid contributing to the good of all in the interests of selfishness.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
The Herald, TV1, TV3 and Maori TV show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. New Zealand is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Good Morning with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'
John Key stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house, declaring it to be in struggle street, where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' He then takes a local to Waitangi to show he cares. (I mean: "Really, really cares. In fact he'll resign if he doesn't really care.")
Gordon Copeland then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
Michael Cullen explains in an interview with John Campbell that the worker ants have gotten rich by carefully balancing the books, investing in the future and saving the state assets and that the National Party Grasshopper is reaping the results of consuming too much while borrowing and failing to invest in assets. The Herald declares that the Grasshopper is showing "enterprise" and is capable of good management.
Rodney Hide makes a series of complaints to the Privileges Committee and the Fraud Office in an effort to discover who is scamming who thus spending more of the limited taxpayers money in political grandstanding campaigns.
Finally, the National Party grasshopper campaigns on a policy of borrow, borrow and sell all state assets and drafts the Foriegn Investment Economic Equity & Anti-Ant Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined, the assets are sold and stripped, the workers are penalised by having their wages cut, their employment conditions heavily curtailed and subject to heavy private enterprise (PPP) taxes (tolls ) to pay off private debts, his home is confiscated by the Bank which begins to call in mortgages and raise interest rates to cope with the heavy borrowing of the grasshoppers.
Any complaints about the actions being taken by the Grasshoppers against the worker ants are tried before a panel of judges that John appointed from a list of self interested big business men who gave several millions to the National Party Coffers.
The Worker ants lose the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it as he thinks the overseas landlords will do it to protect their assets.
The ant has disappeared in the snow.
The grasshopper is found to have been asset stripped in a sub-prime financial collapse incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of foreign spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighbourhood as they move the income from asset stripping overseas.
MORAL OF THE STORY:
Be VERY careful how you vote in 2008!!
12 Aug 2008
Recycling is back in fashion with John Key, in typical engkeylish speak, the National Party's "Welfare" policy promises to deliver advantages for the "righteous" and disadvantages for whom righteousness has not been thrust upon.
This article from The Standard is a solid examination of the logic or lack of logic that underpins the National Party's policy position.
Dog whistle politics to some, beneficiary bashing to others. But is there logic to National’s policy on benefits? Gordon Campbell asks:
Will John Key’s policy announcement on welfare this afternoon do much to resolve the problems it claims to address? Hardly…
It is as if National felt the need to beat up on beneficiaries somehow, and somewhere - and so it picked primarily on solo parents, the group of beneficiaries widely recognized as being in LEAST need of extra motivation to get off the benefit.
One angle I thought was interesting was a study done by the Ministry of Social Development which looked at the health (and mental health) status of sole-mothers. If they are already more likely to be sick then sending them out to work with penalties if they don’t is not likely to lead to good outcomes, for either the parent or the children.
And one question I was hoping to hear asked - what are the penalties planned for those who do not abide by the rules? And what happens if there are others (like children) living in the household?
There’s a fundamental difference in approach here with both sides arguing that the studies back their logic. However as Simon Collins suggests:
…there are other factors besides welfare in the breakdown of the traditional family, and forcing parents into paid work may not be the answer.
9 Aug 2008
5 Aug 2008
Watch Slippery John, with the Crosby-Textor spinners taking control, attempt to deflect the media attention away from the not so subtly secret agendas revealed by the arch controller, English and minion Lockwood Smith to flog off the family silver to the highest bidders and allow private enterprise to levy taxes, in the form of tolls and increased charges, on each and every NZ citizen once Key & co get their hands on the levers of government.
The old adage that any spin is better than facing the truth will be clearly demonstrated from today on as National tries to disguise the falsity of their public policy statements.
The jettisoning of Bill English from the Nat's pirate ship won't help Slippery John recover from this series of, for the first time, honesty from his closest associates.
The revelation that John Key is not talking from the same script as his closest advisers and colleagues demonstrates clearly that he is no more than the smiling "bagman", "snake oil salesman" for the package designed and wrapped by Bill English and Lockwood Smith. Slippery John has been assigned the job of selling the wrapping while Bill and Lockwood conspire to keep the reality of their plans hidden until too late for the electorate to back out of the contract being offered by the bagman.
Bill and Lockwood have placed on record, despite post caucus denials, the real policies of the National Party... borrow against tomorrow, flog off the family silver, remove the safety nets of welfare and social services that have been hard fought for and then claim that they had a "mandate" to do so.
To fudge and hedge with such phrases as "not in the first term of a National Government" is to state "but definitely in the next time we have the power we'll rape and pillage the possessions of the people and pass all the responsibilities of the State to private contractors and businesses."
With two of the National Party's "shadow cabinet" saying we have a secret privatisation agenda" and one saying "that's all news to me" it would appear that the suspicions of the political sceptics are justified.