Improvement not perfection

In a perfect world all trade would be unhampered by subsidies, tariffs or other costly interventions in between willing buyers and willing sellers.

Those selling goods and services would have more potential customers and consumers would have a better range of quality and price from which to choose.

In this less than perfect world politics, bureaucracy, protectionism and other anti-competitive behaviour get in the way of markets.

Free trade deals are never perfect but they are worth pursuing if they provide sufficient improvements over all for the countries signing up to them.

The many hours and many more dollars spent on Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations aren’t aiming for perfection, but any deals reached will have to deliver significant improvements on existing restrictions and protections to make signing up worth while.

We have a much greater range of goods and services we can buy and sell, and at better prices, as a result of FTAs already established. The TPP could provide even more opportunities.

Our negotiators can’t hope for a perfect deal but they should continue to work towards improvements on what we have now with too many hurdles our businesses have to  leap for access to other Pacific markets.



79 Responses to Improvement not perfection

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    Free trade tends to favour large multinationals and allow for companies to challenge a county’s ability to change a commercial environment when legislating to protect the environment or people. How about ‘fair trade’ agreements instead?


  2. Gravedodger says:

    Here we go again, those awful bloody multinationals trying to make real advances to alleviate real poverty, not the culturally manufactured red herring variety we see here in NZ. The very measure used by the politically motivated to advance their profile using Cervante like target, is designed to never reach a solution for their windmill.

    Golden rice has so much going for it yet it is placed beyond the reach of those who would be best advantaged because it does not fit with a political ideology.
    Remind me again how significant is the devastation Malaria brings when just spraying the bloody mosquito larvae is a viable solution.

    As one who has enough braincells to get by in spite of the best efforts of the demonised entities that the comment above highlights as attempts to dominate me, I see “free trade” enhancing the abilities of the products that “Fair trade” promote to be traded.

    That said my understanding of Fair Trade has proven facets that bring serious disadvantage to the aspirations it pretends to advance and does exactly the opposite to that which the hippies would have us believe in some instances.

    Just how the momentum that those big corporations could be proscribed to bring them into line without destroying all the tremendous advances their creativity brings to the table due to their enormous resources is my question.


  3. andrei says:

    So you want to further surrender New Zealand’s sovereignty

    Trade agreements should be conducted between trading partners on an individual basis , the rules of which should not be dictated by Washington DC and a cabal of international bankers

    The TPP is just imperialism

    We should make trade agreements to benefit ourselves and those with whom we trade and not be bound by a structure dictated in Washington DC to suit the Globalist fat cats to our detriment


  4. Dave Kennedy says:


    I think you are naive if you believe that corporates have social consciences and don’t need regulatory controls. Andrei is right we should have sovereignty over our resources and people and should not be dictated to by corporates whose missions involve increasing markets and profit, regardless of the environmental and human costs.


  5. Gravedodger says:

    IMHO the most viable option to bring The US, Japan, and the others to a table very nearly proved itself with The US only coming to the table when it seemed they were going to be standing alone on a platform watching the last train depart.


  6. Paranormal says:

    DK – Either make smoking tobacco illegal or get out of the way.

    A government should be able to be held to account if it breaks it’s own laws. This follows on from your shallow response the other day about property rights. Without clear property rights enshrined in law that are open and available to all, a society just ends up like your much vaunted totalitarian states where poverty and social ills prevail.


  7. tom hunter says:

    I think you are naive if you believe that corporates have social consciences and don’t need regulatory controls.

    I’m very worried about these things as I sit here typing away on my iMac, drinking my multinational coffee with my Fonterra milk, writing notes with my multinational produced pens, taking calls on my iPhone to have a service check done on my multinational produced boiler – which contains all sorts of other things produced by multinationals.

    Because if it were not for government I’d have none of these things or they’d be damaging my health or even killing me, because news like that does not get around and who cares about future customers, let alone current ones after they’ve made the purchase.

    By contrast there’s Uber, where the state of California is doing exactly what the Dave Kennedy’s of the world want to do with everything except drugs and sex (and on US campuses now, perhaps not even the latter is exempted any longer). I did like this quote though, which goes to the heart of it all:

    Uber’s very existence is an advertisement for the free market. It’s an obviously less-regulated initiative that has produced measurable, positive outcomes across a wide spectrum. No wonder people hate it so much.

    The French too.

    The wide spectrum of benefit includes both customers and producers. Amazing is it not?

    Andrei is right we should have sovereignty over our resources and people …

    He means US corporations.

    I’d be careful about quoting Andrei. A huge US booster for years – right up to the Obama election and the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.

    Now it’s GazProm, Yes. Exxon, No!


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    “A government should be able to be held to account if it breaks it’s own laws.”

    Paranormal, I agree with this. However surely you must realise that many corporates have larger annual incomes than our country and they don’t all have altruistic intentions. You must also be perfectly comfortable with the shift to a handful of people owning the majority of our country’s wealth (and global wealth) with the ability to use capital gain and tax avoidance to leverage even greater capture.


  9. Paranormal says:

    Not a problem for me who has the lions share of the wealth as long as we all have fair opportunities.

    The difference is you want to regulate equal outcomes as the authoritarian statist you are.

    Wealth can be fleeting. Have a look at one of the worlds largest corporations at the end of the 19th century. They were riding the economic wave having designed a great technological leap forward in wagon wheel hubs. Now they’re nowhere to be seen. Same with Kodak – see what i mean.

    You seem to think it’s a nil sum game, when in fact the worlds richest rely on providing customers what they want in a free market. Have a read of Tom above to see if you get the drift.

    Wealth is an indication the individuals have provided people with what they want, That is of course unless you are looking at the likes of those you aspire to such as Cuban presidents.


  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    “as long as we all have fair opportunities.”

    There’s the crux and there’s the delusion. Once some someone has acquired great wealth the playing field lilts in their favour. Ask Jenny Shipley how hard it is for a woman to succeed in business compared to a man or a Maori businessperson how easy it is for them.

    Real life isn’t as simple as you think, Paranormal, and pure market forces are a myth.

    One of the things threatened by the TPPA are future SOEs and a good example of how this is concerning can be found in Invercargill.

    We have a problem with recycling plastics in NZ and a huge amount currently ends up in landfill. In many cities recycling is tendered out to the lowest bidder (pretty much) and these are often companies that keep costs down by employing minimal staff and using machinery to to sort the different materials. Consequently they can’t sort some plastics easily and it is difficult to separate the clean from the dirty. There are then a lot of plastics that are refused that can’t be processed and the price for dirty plastics is less.

    In Invercargill the City Council supported a disability organisation to set up a recycling business that would employ disabled people and allow them to share the profits of their labour. Through some initial council investment it has become a successful stand alone company that is able to sort and clean plastics in a way that machinery in other centres can’t. They recycle all plastics (apart from meat trays) and get top prices for the end product.

    Under a pure market system as you describe these sort of start ups will not occur. There can be a combination of social responsibility and market forces but not in your narrow world where such ideas can only be called authoritarian and statest.

    Social housing will never be built satisfactorily by private interests either and I would love you to provide an example where it does.

    Remember too, the power of monopolies and duopolies that as a small country we are more susceptible to.


  11. TraceyS says:

    “Ask Jenny Shipley how hard it is for a woman to succeed in business compared to a man…”

    What’s wrong with “hard” and why must women compare themselves to men in business or in any other of life’s endeavours?

    In real life it is a myth that easier will turn out to be better.


  12. tom hunter says:

    Under a pure market system as you describe these sort of start ups will not occur.

    Wow. just – wow.

    Read that article on Uber. What it describes – in many countries around the world – is exactly>/b> what you claim is not possible! And then there’s this:

    Once some someone has acquired great wealth the playing field lilts in their favour.

    Or once they’ve paid thousands of dollars to a licensing authority backed by the government (the state), the playing field definitely tilts in their favour. That’s why French tax drivers are pulling the usual Francophone stunt of rioting. Meantime the NT taxi drivers are calling on the ultra-Left mayor, Bill de Blasio, to shut Uber down – and he’s made it clear that he’s more than happy to try.

    And Bill de Blasio is your kind of guy. Were you living in NYC you’d vote for him every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    FFS. You really, really, really don’t get this – or the way the world is moving.


  13. Dave Kennedy says:


    Tom, I did read it, but you seem to be saying that because of this story all regulation is bad and anything I am saying must be similar in nature. This is just simplistic nonsense. However like bus drivers and firemen all taxi drivers should meet some regulatory requirements for public safety. We wouldn’t probably want convicted rapists with no drivers license driving cabs.

    If I said that Pinochet and Thatcher are your kind of people, what would you say?


  14. Paranormal says:

    I’d say Thatcher is my type of guy, but Pinochet is actually your type of guy. That you can’t see the difference is telling. Just like Castro and Pol Pot are Green ideologues.


  15. andrei says:

    Not a problem for me who has the lions share of the wealth as long as we all have fair opportunities


    We do not not all have fair opportunities .

    Free market means that individuals and Nations are free to make their own arrangements on how to do business with each other without other people having a say

    The TPP is not “free trade” it allows NZ to be dictated to by external actors as to who we can trade with and under what terms.

    And with every transaction the usual suspects will get their cut


  16. tom hunter says:

    Tom, I did read it, but you seem to be saying …..

    Instead of diverting to what I seem to be saying let’s first address the fact that I put that article out there as a direct, real-life contradiction of your two pieces of “simplistic nonsense”:

    Under a pure market system as you describe these sort of start ups will not occur.

    Once some someone has acquired great wealth the playing field tilts in their favour.

    Nothing – not even great wealth – tilts the playing field like the state issuing licences without which one cannot run a business – something that’s begun to creep into every thing that people do. The playing field in this case is heavily tilted towards the people so licensed. So much for innovation or start-ups. The taxi drivers and companies around the world are up to their necks in state capitalist privilege – and being supported by left-wingers who cannot stand the thought of losing control, plus a few “capitalists” who can’t keep the wealth in the free market so look to the left to save them.

    And there you are – Mr Crony Capitalist.

    some regulatory requirements for public safety. We wouldn’t probably want convicted rapists with no drivers license driving cabs.

    Whereas Uber could not care less, no? Or perhaps their system of smart phone app technology enables a far more effective and efficient feedback control than a state licensing and reporting authority – which is what their drivers and customers are finding.

    Pity really. A modern, forward-looking party would actually be pushing for this sort of empowerment of people and fighting against the entrenched, moneyed interests of the status quo.

    But sadly the Greens are filled with people constantly turning their lonely eyes back to the Old Left Dreamtime of state-centred command and control – while the voters run around them towards the likes of User (just wait for the Health Smart phone app revolution and home education apps).

    Nothing “Smart” about the Greens at all.

    P.S. Thatcher was definitely my kind of politician – but as Paranormal says, Pinochet was a state-focused, power-hungry dictator. The fact that he went in the opposite direction economically to most dictators does not warm me towards the old prick.

    And de Blasio? Looking at his stands on poverty, child poverty, regulation, sticking it to capitalists, charter schools, increased taxes, increased public “infrastructure” expenditure, AGW, renewable energy and increased regulation for “public safety” – he appears to be a perfect fit for the NZ Green Party. Why would you not support him if you had the chance?


  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I’d say Thatcher is my type of guy, but Pinochet is actually your type of guy. That you can’t see the difference is telling.”
    Paranormal, your own history needs revision, Thatcher and Pinochet were close friends and shared similar political philosophies.

    Andrei, on this topic we are in agreement.

    “Nothing – not even great wealth – tilts the playing field like the state issuing licences without which one cannot run a business”

    Tom, all sorts of things tilt playing fields in markets, some are caused by the state others develop through monopolies or scarcity of a particular resource. Some interference from Governments is needed to manage health and safety or to limit monopolies. Governments do some things badly and others well and some free markets become corrupted by those within it because of greed or mismanagement.

    Your taxi story is one example of one market and the situations and issues for that market are largely unique to that market. Was it right for the US to bail out its car manufacturers? They were struggling to compete with Japan and Europe in quality and innovation and within a proper free market they would have died and the gap would have been filled by their more successful competitors. Widely criticised the bailouts have resulted in the industry becoming independent and successful again, jobs and incomes remaining in the US and help the economic recovery.

    Our Government bought back Air New Zealand and now it is regarded as a world leader and a great advertisement of the New Zealand brand.

    “But sadly the Greens are filled with people constantly turning their lonely eyes back to the Old Left Dreamtime of state-centred command and control”
    You obviously have read few of our policies where we would actively encourage market forces and devolve control to local communities. It is about the mix of market and state control that is important and the most successful countries socially and economically tend to be the ones that do this best.

    You obviously know little about Thatcher’s admiration for Pinochet, she actually admired what he did to crush those on the left in his country and felt Britain’s legal system and culture restricted what she wanted to achieve. See the link above.

    De Blasio is certainly focussing on areas that need attention but his success is mixed and opposition from many who did best under the old system will be strong. I guess it will take time to reveal what worked. Winning hearts and minds is an important part of a change process and it seems that de Blasio hasn’t had widespread support for all he is doing:


  18. Paranormal says:

    DK – Did you actually read the article you linked to? There was nothing in there that points to them sharing “political philosophies”. There is plenty about Thatchers gratitude for Chile’s assistance during the Falklands war though.

    And you wonder why people don’t bother reading your links as they are either ideological rants or contradict to your statements.

    Pinochet is more in line with your kind of people than Thatcher. That you think Thatcher was some kind of dictator whereas Castro & Pol Pot are sweetness and light really says something. And you wonder why the Greens don’t get more support…


  19. Gravedodger says:

    Typical wonky use of wide ranging beliefs in labelling that are provably false.

    Pinochet was an anti communist and that was his main driver with Che Geuvara and similar totalitarian principles intent in what he saw as a direct threat to a ‘free” Chile.
    Herr Schiklegruber was a socialist first and a nationalist second with the added irony he, an Austrian by birth, used his nationalist principles to ascend to dictator of neighbouring Germany. The second and often equally ignored fact was how he upon reaching unchallenged power he immediately recognised the danger to his plans from Communists, socialists, padres, and free thinkers killing many and locking many more up in work/death/concentration camps.

    Baroness Thatcher, a grocers daughter who enjoyed the advantages of a seriously advantaged education, that led her to understand the mindless destructive outcomes that a socialist regime brings where every one will be equally poor, except of course those who have to rule.

    Yesterday in My home blog I mused why, when places such as China, Russia, North Korea and Venezuela are such workers paradises, are the invading hoards intent on a better life, not heading in those directions.


  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, so you didn’t read this bit?
    “She praised Pinochet for keeping Chile an ally during the Falklands episode and for bringing “democracy” to Chile.”

    or this:
    “Thatcher, by then a baroness, continued to gush: “I’m also very much aware that it is you who brought democracy to Chile, you set up a constitution suitable for democracy, you put it into effect, elections were held, and then, in accordance with the result, you stepped down.” ”

    Or this:
    “But Thatcher’s links to Pinochet went far beyond mere pleasant chats over tea and cookies – in 1980, after she gained power in Britain, she lifted an arms embargo against Chile, leading Pinochet to purchase weapons from the UK.”

    According to Wikipedia:
    “After having been placed under house arrest in Britain in October 1998 and initiating a judicial and public relations battle, the latter run by Thatcherite political operative Patrick Robertson,[74] he was eventually released in March 2000 on medical grounds by the Home Secretary Jack Straw without facing trial. Straw had overruled a House of Lords decision to extradite Pinochet.[75]”

    You need to read the Shock Doctrine and find out how we have the current neoliberal dominance in global politics and the links between Thatcher and other like minded leaders around the world.

    Thatcher and Pinochet shared the same economic philosophies of Milton Friedman and the ‘Chicago School’.


  21. tom hunter says:

    …. elections were held, and then, in accordance with the result, you stepped down.

    I remember that. None of the lefties I knew at the time could believe it of course: it went against the narrative for a military dictator – and it certainly was not what any of their heroes would do in the same situation.

    Double standards – again. Can anybody think of communist dictator who did the same – after all their “crushing” of opposition and human rights abuses?

    No, among other things the “fantastic health care system in Cuba” (HT Dave Kennedy) trumps all, whereas Pinochet’s sins are not forgivable.

    The day you start demanding the same of Castro and company will be the day I start taking you seriously about Pinochet, let alone Thatcher.

    What was that about “crocodile tears” the other day?


  22. Will Dwan says:

    ‘Shock Doctrine’ always makes me laugh. What do you think you lot do Dave?

    “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”-Timothy Wirth, president of the UN Foundation.

    Would the American car industry have been swallowed by its competitors without a bailout? Probably to a degree. But it is likely small star-ups would have risen from the ashes, the skills and infrastructure were not going anywhere. Possibly producing good cars, people would want to buy.


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, you seem to think that I would naturally support Castro when I actually feel a closer affinity to the style of governance in Scandinavian countries. When I use Cuba’s health system as an example of a successful system it doesn’t mean I necessarily think all that the dictatorship does is good. The British National Health System is also one of the best in the world and I don’t support Cameron and his Conservative government either.

    You do have a very “us and them” and black and white way of looking at the world. I would rather look at where we want to be as a nation and be exploring what systems would work best to achieve that.

    Surely we both want New Zealand’s economy to be resilient and sustainable. We must both want our citizens to be healthy and well educated and able to contribute to our economy and society in positive ways. We must both want to protect our natural environments for future generations too.

    If you read our policies from the last election you would have seen that we were the only party that really explored and promoted a diverse and more resilient economy. We were the only party that had a practical plan for achieving a balanced budget and we were the only party that had policies fully costed and independently reviewed.

    If you want to look at the party with the best record of financial management then you couldn’t go past the Greens, our depth of business and economic experience is actually pretty solid. We raised more money for our campaign than Labour and didn’t have to resort to laundered funds like National:


  24. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, I can imagine that you would laugh at the Shock Doctrine, when presented with such a damning exposé of your beloved economic systems there is little else you can do 😉

    You may support boom and bust economies, but I don’t. The people at the top rarely suffer but working people do. Isn’t it fascinating how those who caused the GFC have largely gone unpunished, many got paid bonuses and it was the low income earners that largely paid the price. Clever but corrupt.


  25. tom hunter says:

    You excuse Castro and his ilk in exactly the same way that you don’t with the likes of Pinochet – or Thatcher for that matter. That’s about as much of an “us and them” and black and white way of looking at the world as one can get.

    I do have to chuckle at your old bi-partisan ploy though

    Yet voters could sense the electoral calculations behind this apparent reaching-out, and were sceptical.

    I fell for that when I voted for Helen Clark in 1999. A few years of being referred to as a “rich prick” and a “racist” and “bigot” quickly cured me of any notion that your side of the ideological fence was not into the whole “us and them” view.

    Once again I have to ask: who do you think you’re fooling here?Reading all the Green policies in the world is not going to make up for the knee-jerk Far-Leftism that drips from the mouths of almost any Green I care to think of – including you on this blog. Did the marketing/campaign phrase “Dirty Dairying” originate with the Greens?

    Surely we both want …

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. We just have diametrically opposed ideas of how to achieve those things.

    If you read our policies from the last election….

    Nope, but don’t feel aggrieved for I don’t read any of the party manifestos and treat them all with contempt. They’re filled with claims about how they’re going to build a “diverse and more resilient economy”, and the whole policies fully costed and independently reviewed. dates from the forlorn Labour Party manifestos up to about 1981.

    Again: such things only ever fooled the true believers.

    I won’t be fooled by such pleas for bipartisanship and “we’re all in this together” again, anymore than the New Yorkers who ignored the same claims about de Blasio – that he’d turn the clock back to the bad old days of the 1970’s – will be fooled a second time.

    Cards on the table: you and I are political enemies, ideological enemies and – within your framework – probably “class” enemies. I would not trust you or your party as far as I could throw you.

    Now I have to go and prepare myself for the upcoming Fonterra clusterfuck on Friday: no political party is going to help there either, especially the Greens.


  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    Did the marketing/campaign phrase “Dirty Dairying” originate with the Greens?
    No, I think you will find it was Fish & Game. Our method of getting change was our Good Farm Stories site.

    Interestingly when we both share the same end goals (but have different ways of achieving them) under the current government we seem even further away from getting there. As you say, Fonterra’s a cluster fuck and when you look at our wider economy with an out of control housing market, slowing Christchurch rebuild and an increasingly low wage economy, we’re going nowhere fast. More of the same just isn’t going to cut it.

    We spend too little on R&D, are training too many young people for jobs that don’t exist and have too few able to do the jobs that do. We are selling off too much to overseas interests and relying too much on exports of raw commodities. We need more in government with business experience and a focus on sustainable economics.

    “you and I are political enemies, ideological enemies and – within your framework – probably “class” enemies. I would not trust you or your party as far as I could throw you.”

    I appreciate your honesty, Tom, it’s just a pity that your ideology causes you to have such a narrow world view. I don’t see you as an enemy, just ideologically challenged 😉


  27. Paranormal says:

    Shot yourself in the foot again DK. The links between F&G, F&B and the greens are well known.

    You again rant about the problems besetting the country then opine “more of the same” ain’t going to cut it. And yet your answer is more of the same intervention that caused the problems in the first place, just you refuse to acknowledge it. More comedy gold.

    And just who has the narrow blinkered ideological view again? It certainly isn’t Tom.


  28. tom hunter says:

    I appreciate your honesty, Tom,…

    I don’t have to grub for votes by pretending that I’m something other than what I am.

    …. it’s just a pity that your ideology causes you to have such a narrow world view.

    Heh, heh, heh. You’re an ideologue Dave, just like me, but you have to pretend that you’re not for electoral reasons.

    I’m reminded of Arron Sorkin’s latest TV failure, The Newsroom, where he thought he could suck in right-wing viewers by positing the star of the show (the news anchor) as a “principled Republican”. This elicited howls of laughter across American right-wing blogs as they gleefully pointed out that in the show he was a Republican who just happened to agree with every Democrat idea that came up.

    I know – I was shocked too.

    Time to get a new shtick, Dave.

    I don’t see you as an enemy, just ideologically challenged

    Oh please. I’ll simply repeat part of what I said on another thread here.

    Nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing – of what the Green Party proposes outside of drugs and sex, actually moves towards leaving me the hell alone. Apparently I can’t be trusted because I’m either evil, callous, or a moron – or all three.


  29. tom hunter says:

    And just for a final chuckle, I loved this comment on de Blasio in the influential magazine City Journal:

    Take a walk around the Grand Hyatt and neighboring Grand Central Terminal these days. It’s often like stepping out of H.G. Wells’s time machine straight back into the 1970s or 1980s. Vanderbilt Avenue, in particular, is becoming once again the urinal of the universe, with one block wall-to-wall “bum stands,” as my son, with childhood inventiveness, used to call them: the stolen supermarket shopping cart, the garbage bag full of scavenged cans and bottles for redemption, the prone figure wrapped mummy-like in a filthy blanket.

    The heart sinks. It took so much effort by so many people to clear up the human wreckage that so many years of liberal “compassion” had created in a dying New York. And to see it all—I can’t put it any better than the esteemed New York Post—“pissed away” by a mayor not smart or perceptive enough to have learned one thing from the experience of the last 20 years, since his own personal demons have left him stuck in the politics of the 1950s and 1960s, is tragic.

    It is so hard to build; so easy to destroy.


  30. Dave Kennedy says:

    It is sad when people believe that they can rewrite history from an ideological perspective. Our MP Sarah Dowie made that mistake when she wrote a letter to the Southland Times claiming that National had saved the ACC. I had to put her right with this letter:

    After reading Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie’s extraordinary rewrite of political history I felt compelled to put fingers to keyboard and provide a reality check.

    In 2009 the Great Financial Crisis caused a substantial downturn in ACCs investment portfolio. This actually had no impact on the day to day management of ACC and the portfolio has since recovered.

    The National led Government created a false sense of crisis by making the public believe that the commission was suffering from budget blowouts and mismanagement. It then instigated some aggressive changes in service to limit the number of genuine claims including rape victims access to counseling and for those aged over fifty who had their injuries labelled degenerative.

    Under National the ACC became quite dysfunctional. An independent review in 2012 found that the organisation “lacked a comprehensive strategy for protecting and managing claimants’ information” (as Bronwyn Pullar discovered) and the Commission had an “almost cavalier” attitude towards its clients. It was also revealed that ACC staff were paid bonuses for reducing the numbers of long-term claimants.

    The revelations caused the resignations of the CEO Ralph Stewart, three board members and Nick Smith (the ACC Minister at the time).

    Ms Dowie’s suggestion that National’s management was responsible for “getting ACC back into financial health” is a gross exaggeration. National has almost managed to get ACC back to providing the service it did before 2008 and we can thank the upturn in the global economy for the current performance of the ACC investment portfolio.

    Given her misrepresentation of her Government’s management of the ACC, I would have to question all of Ms Dowie’s other claims of her Government’s success.


  31. tom hunter says:

    Perhaps you should head for General Debate on Kiwiblog?


  32. Dave Kennedy says:

    Just an example of how knee jerk neoliberalist strategies of creating a crisis to introduce unnecessary change can unravel badly. I have noticed the cycle of deregulation, serious damage resulting and an expensive mess to clean up. Leaky buildings, Pike River and the huge death toll in forestry are all the result of a Laissez-faire economic approach that National supports. The TPPA will just be a continuation of unconstrained interests exploiting what ever they can for profit (note I’m tying it back to the original thread). Who will benefit? Not farmers, not those needing expensive medicines, not those in the IT industry wanting to protect their patent rights and not those wanting to protect our natural resources from exploitation. A good number of privileged corporates who had access to the secret negotiations are the ones most likely to do well when it is finally signed.


  33. tom hunter says:

    a Laissez-faire economic approach that National supports.

    No matter how many times I see this comment it still makes me laugh.

    I can only wish that National had a Laissez-faire economic approach.

    Comments like that sound like the old Stalinists of the USSR who would rage against their The Rightest-Trotskyist enemies.

    I could give you a list of things that National could do to actually move some way towards a Laissez-faire system – but I fear it would give you a heart attack (high up on the list would be even the idea of an ACC).

    BTW, when right-wingers look at Nationals increased vote and seats in the 2014 election and wonder how this could possibly have happened – given the number of leftist institutions they’ve left in place – I always point them to statements like these from Labour and the Greens and the way it frightened hoards of voters into National’s arms.

    Once again, despite all your protestations, it shows just how Far Left you are.


  34. Dave Kennedy says:

    Or how far to the right you are Tom 😉

    Here I am raging at National and you are possibly more right than Thatcher. I cannot see how you can support a leader who not only admired Pinochet but also:
    -Destroyed Britain’s manufacturing sector
    -Increased the levels of poverty
    -Removed protections for the most vulnerable (I was living in the UK when she removed the support for teenagers who left abusive homes. Homeless teenagers appeared on the streets soon after).
    -Refused to deal with China and tried to delay an agreement to give up Hong Kong.
    -Did not invest North Sea revenues like Norway did and allowed public and private debt to increase dramatically.

    Thatcher privately wished she could emulate Pinochet in dealing with those who objected to her policies and felt frustrated with democratic processes:

    Click to access 3D5798D9C38443C6BD10B1AB166D3CBF.pdf

    Here I I am suggesting that there needs to be a balance of state oversight and market forces and a need for fair treatment and I am labeled as someone on the extreme left. You appear to be of the ‘line the commies against the wall and shoot them brigade” and a supporter of boom and bust markets.


  35. tom hunter says:

    … you are possibly more right than Thatcher.

    If it gives you any comfort I support the idea of a public education system and a public healthcare system – just not dominating their respective areas to the extent that they do now.

    I cannot see how you can support a leader who …

    … was elected three times and was the longest serving British PM of the 20th century. The woman who fundamentally changed Britain to the extent that not even a similarly successful Labour PM (Tony Blair) could not change it back.

    Face it Dave, you lost these ideological arguments almost 40 years ago. The wreck that was Britain in 1979 meant that your arguments were dead even then, and they’ve never revived. In the face of such failure, people lost faith in your ideas of ever more regulation and centralised command and control. It was not an argument you lost in theory but in the concrete evidence that people could see with their own eyes.

    In the face of that failure nobody trusts you now when you talk about a balance of state oversight and market forces: they just think that’s flim-flam language from the left of old Labour, the ones who supported Tony Benn and hoped against hope that Michael Foot would win in 1983. People who have now washed up on the other side of the world and grafted their old, defeated ideas onto the slightly more glamorous cause of environmentalism.

    You lost those arguments in direct combat – now you think you can sneak them in under the guise of the Greens.

    As has been said several times here by different people: you’re not fooling anyone.


  36. TraceyS says:

    Dave on August 5, 2015 at 1:00 am:

    I make my way just fine in very male dominated environments. I’m not a CEO but I do have character!

    It’s true that many women are not CEOs or sitting on company boards of directors. But then again, most men aren’t either.

    When will you ever learn, Dave, that there is so much more to life than having formal power over others?

    It’s overrated. One day you will know this – or maybe not.


  37. Dave Kennedy says:

    Conservative governments win elections for a variety of reasons and policies are pretty low on the list Tom. National won in 2014, despite the truthful revelations of ‘Dirty Politics’, because they had a well funded campaign and a smart one (thanks to Crosby Textor). The opposition lost because they couldn’t present a government in waiting to the voters. Best the devil you know than a bunch of parties with no cohesion and a giggling rich German in the background.

    Those who are most negatively affected by National’s policies largely don’t vote (25% of potential voters). Labour is damaged because it lost its way for a bit and still has an element of those with connections to Rogernomics, how can you seriously criticise a Government for doing stuff you have done yourself.

    I like the cut of the jib of the possible new British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. If he can rally a strong team he could be a formidable force.

    I also think our new co-leader, James Shaw will add some useful strengths to the Green leadership team here. Having a past PricewaterhouseCoopers business advisor and a previous commercial lawyer from Simpson Grierson leading the Greens, we have useful business acumen plus strong environmental and social justice credibility.

    New Zealand is currently embedded into the Five Eyes club and the nations it includes have high per capita carbon emissions, they spy on their friends and cause much of the worlds terrorism by mucking around in places we should have left alone. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant put into power by the US and CIA (like Pinochet was). Now he has been removed the Iraq people are in an even worse place with Muslim fundamentalists taking over using US supplied arms.

    We have lost our moral compass and the compassionate conservatives that led National wisely in the past are sadly lacking from this current lying, dishonest bunch (just look at the Saudi farm deal).

    I thought Holyoake was a wise leader, he was one of our most successful agriculture Ministers, he introduced the office of ombudsmen, removed censorship out of political control, improved accountability of the government executive, admitted the existence of the SIS, challenged South Africa’s racism by insisting on including Maoris in the touring teams, was the first PM to ban nuclear testing in NZ territory and he limited our involvement in the Vietnam war. He wasn’t perfect but for his time he displayed a strong social and environmental conscience.

    We currently have a PM who underfunds our ombudsmen, has reduced transparency of decisions, doesn’t really support farmers where it counts (R&D, building a useful agricultural workforce), miss-used our spy agencies for political purposes, puts profit before the environment, done deals with corrupt regimes and gambling companies, and is supporting a war that we could have stepped away from. Our economy is hardly resilient. National needs another leader like Holyoake.


  38. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I make my way just fine in very male dominated environments. I’m not a CEO but I do have character!”

    Good on you, Tracey, you probably aren’t CEO material but we do need more women on boards because research has shown that diverse boards tend to make sounder decisions. Have a chat with Jenny Shipley 😉

    Also Tracey there is a huge difference between chasing power for power’s sake (not good) with wanting to be in a position where one can have an influence for the better. The truly great leaders are generally humble (Mandela) and lead to serve.


  39. Will Dwan says:

    The Corbyn remark was genuinely funny Dave, but you spoiled it by going on too long as usual. Remember, brevity is the soul of wit.


  40. tom hunter says:

    I like the cut of the jib of the possible new British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

    This is my shocked face!

    You’re actually impossible to parody.

    Of course you like the cut of his jib. I see they talked about Tony Benn and Corbyn did not flinch from the comparison – anymore than you would. 🙂

    When right-wingers say that the Greens are “Green on the outside, Red on the inside”, you are exactly who we’re talking about.

    But go on – tell me how I’m a Far Right, Laissez-Faire Extremist again. I love hearing that from guys like you. 🙂

    Though perhaps on another thread. I think this one’s been diverted enough.


  41. Paranormal says:

    Those who would be negatively affected by a Green government mostly don’t vote for them (i.e. 90% of voters).

    Why are conservatives actively supporting Corbyn I wonder?

    Are you really chasing power for good DK? Will your support for a failed ideology that led to Britains situation in the late 70’s, New Zealands situation in the early 80’s and similar around the world really help New Zealand?

    BTW you can’t help yourself but be condescending to TraceyS can you. Did you stop to think that your comments may display evidence of a few -isms?


  42. TraceyS says:

    “…you probably aren’t CEO material…”

    Dave, that statement represents the kind of attitudes that hold women back. Teachers at high school didn’t see me a “University material” either. I give them an “F” for that. They couldn’t have been any more wrong.

    “…we do need more women on boards because research has shown that diverse boards tend to make sounder decisions.”

    There are plenty of women in governance roles (including me). School boards of trustees have 52%. These might not be the high-profile boards you want to see women on but there is plenty of opportunity to have influence over important matters. Have you ever considered that this might be what women choose?


  43. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, Tom and Paranormal, I have noticed any talk about raising living standards and the quality of life for working people by growing more jobs and improving the education and health sectors creates real horror. Hence my mention of Holyoake who was a compassionate conservative. Somewhere along National’s political development it has lost any sense of empathy for those who struggle.

    What’s the bet that the world won’t end if Corbyn became PM. Those who have escaped paying much tax will start paying and many families will be able to support themselves to pay their rent and food because of higher paying jobs. I have never understood why employing most workers below a living wage makes sound economic sense.

    I also note that most welfare and social development legislation introduced by other Governments are rarely removed by following conservative ones. We still have public health and education and over 60 thousand state houses. National’s attempt at getting rid of the responsibility of social housing hasn’t been successful because private interests can’t do it well and make it pay.

    I read too much here about the right to be rich and how the poor don’t deserve support because they are all drug addicts and producing children they can’t support. Despite the real stories of child abuse for state wards and our shocking family violence statistics, you guys seem to believe the best we can do for these people is shove them into low paid jobs and uninsulated houses. Laisse-Faire market forces will save us all? It certainly hasn’t stopped a doubling of the homeless in Auckland.

    We talk about scaffolding learning in teaching and we need to have scaffolding set up to help working New Zealanders improve their lives, few exist at present. Most jobs are now close to the minimum wage and it is near impossible to own a home on the median household income. 7 years of a National Government and almost 5 with a ‘rock star’ economy and the bottom 25% are worse off while the very rich have never had it better. Says it all really.


  44. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I am not against women choosing what is best for them but you are implying that the lack of female CEOs and those in governance roles is because they choose not to. That is a load of bunkum. Far more women graduate from university then men now and yet the numbers in governance positions has dropped under National. It is not that they are not wanting to, or are not capable, men block their advancement in many environments. Woman have to work twice as hard to get the same positions with similar skills and experience. As I said, read what Jenny Shipley has to say and my cousin Heather Roy experienced what many woman do in politics when she was an ACT MP. You should not be taking a defeatist stance and be an apologist for the current culture. You may not want to be a CEO but thousands of other woman would relish the opportunity, you should be standing up for them.

    This Government has wiped many bodies charged with improving pay equity and equal opportunity:

    Click to access web-census.pdf


  45. Paranormal says:

    What colour is the sky in your world again DK? Corbyn will never be PM. That you can’t see that and are clearly unaware of the growing resentment in the UK of the bludger lifestyle, shows you are truly ideologically blinkered.

    You talk of raising living standards, but your ‘smart green policy’ ™ will do the opposite. Governments choosing winners (which is essentially what you policy is no matter how you brand it) has been proven to destroy living standards. You would probably see Muldoon as a caring type but look what his policies did for the country.

    You are also guilty of making shit up. Where has anyone here said the poor don’t deserve the opportunity to be rich?

    As for stories of child abuse, the right appears to have the right recipe for fixing that problem whereas the left will only entrench the problem to create a permanent underclass voting block. Sue Bradfords ‘message’ to child abusers was a massive failure with child deaths and mistreatment at the hands of their so-called loving families sadly becoming a fact of life.


  46. Dave Kennedy says:

    “mistreatment at the hands of their so-called loving families sadly becoming a fact of life.”

    Surely the next question should be why? And before you say it is because of the welfare system giving handouts, most of the families are working and are not beneficiaries (unless you include the accommodation supplement and WFF).

    Where has anyone here said the poor don’t deserve the opportunity to be rich?
    You don’t, but you certainly blame them for being poor. There is less upward mobility than there has been for a while. If you are lucky to be born in an affluent family it is likely that you will be affluent too. All you have to do is look at the money thrown at private schools to know that the Government invests heavily in supporting the rich:


  47. tom hunter says:

    Hence my mention of Holyoake who was a compassionate conservative.

    Holyoake was a superb politician, but in hindsight he’s as much to blame for what happened to NZ in the 1970’s and 1980’s as Rob Muldoon, Norman Kirk, and Bill Rowling.

    Which is to say that he simply presided over a system that desperately needed to start changing. You actually understand this yourself, with your comment about Conservative governments that simply preserve the institutions developed by their left-wing predecessors.

    The result was that by 1984 all those changes had to come in a terrible rush if the country was going to be saved at all.

    The funny thing is that I predicted back in 2008 on Kiwiblog, that John Key’s government would be the reincarnation of Holyoake’s:

    … what is National going to do should it win this November beyond babysitting the institutions of Labour and the Left. Nursing those things along, tiring all the time and steadily losing votes simply by being in Government and getting blamed for the insanities of those self-same institutions. Until the day comes, one or two election cycles down the road, when a revitalised Labour gets back into power and gets to push forward some more. Ratchet Socialism at its best.

    Ratchet socialism came to a screaming stop in 1984 – and thank god for that too. But it never goes away and we’re right back in it again.

    And that’s pretty much where we are today: exactly the same kind of “small-c” conservatism and the same sense of drifting along that you otherwise complain about. Which then makes your screams about Key’s Laissez-Faire approach and lack of compassion look even more silly than his repeated electoral success demonstrates.

    He and his National-led government are as centrist as Holyoake’s were, just in a different era that has moved right from what it was – and what you want it to be. That’s neither to Key’s credit or discredit.

    The problem for you – as clearly exhibited by your comments here on numerous economic issues – is that you don’t actually present anything really new, but a return to a past that already failed.

    P.S. I absolutely support Jeremy Corbyn in his fight to lead the UK Labour Party. I’m sure David Cameron is too.


  48. Paranormal says:

    DK when you say ‘most of the families’ what do you mean? Are you suggesting that most of the families on WFF are abusing their children?

    Look at where the child abuse deaths come from. The majority come from those that see children as a revenue source. The names should be a sad reminder to us all, but get lost in time as society seems to become more accepting of the status quo. How many remember Lillybing, or for that matter how many have forgotten the Kahuii twins? it is no longer front page news which is sad. It can be changed and the Nats are working well on this. You and your ‘caring’ approach is anything but. The murder of Arun Kumar is another symptom of the tragedy your ‘caring’ welfare system creates.

    Removing the incentives but retaining the support has worked well for reducing teenage pregnancies and similar structures should be rolled out into other areas. Wisconsin has also shown the way but you are too ideologically hidebound to accept anything outside of your socialist structures that has proven to improve outcomes for those trapped in welfare dependency.

    Where have I blamed the poor for being poor? I have consistently blamed the system, the one you want to entrench, for trapping them in poverty. That is significantly different.


  49. Gravedodger says:

    Jeez take off your tinted sunnies.
    Ele can dispense with her “Saturday Smiles” post that brings a weekly dose of humour to us.
    Some of your comments are a rich vein of humour daily.

    Margaret Thatcher did not “destroy British Manufacturing” impotent bosses and voracious unions did that for her. Thatcher only presided over the funeral

    Margaret Thatcher did not destroy Coal mining, Arfer Scargill and his intellectually deficient mates at the trades hall did that with the stupid entitled attitudes they managed to imbue the Miners with. Weeks on strike wif the bruvvers while Arfer lived the life of Riley, remind me again who was poor?

    “Being in The UK” when Margaret Thatcher was in Power and having your clearly deeply embedded political views could well have been a disadvantage in making a rational assessment.

    Being genetically linked to Heather Roy if actually by blood is a very revealing bit of name dropping, you must have many endless celebrations of her almost successful efforts to damage the ACT party to a point of oblivion.

    “Poor people” here we go again, as a child in the 1940s and 50s being “better off” was a very exclusive club where I grew up. Until the post WW2 boom, as land was closer settled and exports approached a true value in the world market from the subsistence incomes from the “send everything to blighty as a war support” regime, just take a gander at some old school photos. They reveal a graphic illustration of need, want, and make do, compare them to the present with the children wearing the throw away outer garments made from recycled coke bottles that got a local resident exercised here a couple of weeks ago because they could not access any uniform clothing made from wool.

    I have no idea what a solo mother and two children have as an income today but I will wager it is substantially more than, say a road worker took home as wages c 1948, to their one income uninsulated house heated with an inefficient open fire and cooking on a wood range. Electric heaters came in one bar and two, toast was made in front of the open fire, the weekly wash was done in a copper that may or may not have been placed inside, the ironing with cast iron sliders heated on the range and ended up in an old sock as a door stop.
    The floors were swept with the one broom the family had had since the wedding with only two new handles and three new heads. Veges came from a home garden or from a lairds garden as charity, spuds were grown on a large back garden that could now be a lawn covered in wrecked cars, meat was rationed until the Holland government took power, along with clothing, butter and petrol.
    One wireless that ran off a six volt leadacid battery that had to be taken ten miles to the local garage to be charged, and the station selected by father and woe betide anyone who might have been tempted to try for Selwyn Toogood or John Maybury on 3ZB, he only listened to 3YA.
    The newspaper came on the school bus and was read on the table by the flickering light from a kerosene lamp after dark because while it was daylight there were chores to be done.
    I well remember when we upgraded to an “Aladdin” lamp that had a mantle similar to a “Tilly” but no pressure for the fuel, that delivered a much brighter and stable light.
    Groceries came on the store delivery van once a week along with my one indulgence, The Weekly “Champion” magazine on newsprint from the UK featuring Rockfist Rogan, The French foreign legion with its German sergeant in the Sahara Desert defending the colonialists from the whirling dervishes, The Mountie who I can no longer remember his name, Jet Jackson with racing cars around the world, Ginger Nutt ex WW2 flyboy, Colwyn Dane a detective who fought crime and had me somewhat confused with his sending the scum to goal until I realised it was spelt gaol, Danny of the Dazzlers and the others who took me to so many places and gave me a global perspective that made me a very rich person at age eight/ten. I think my equivalent of PC/Laptop/Tablet cost 2d a week but I read every blimmin word and must have driven Pompa, my granddad who lived with us throughout my child hood, insane with endless questions. Looking back Pompa lived with us because there was nowhere else, but he didn’t seem to be poor either.


  50. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tom, you have the same blinkered idea that poor old Roger Douglas has, the reason why he thinks laissez-faire economics didn’t deliver a better society was because we didn’t go far enough. The failure of our housing market is the best example of how removing regulatory controls causes the sort of property stampede we now have. Germany doesn’t have the same boom and bust issues with property because they have minimum standards for rentals and continually build enough houses.

    I would love to know your solutions to lifting the levels of poverty we have for the bottom 25% of families. Gravedodger reckons they should all take a page out of his family history and return to the self sufficiency of 40 years or more ago. He forgets in those days that it just took one wage to support a family, its pretty hard to do all the things he claims if parents often work night shifts and both parents work. Many families actually live close to how they did anyway, I heard of a family last year who had their power cut off and had spent 6 months cooking on a BBQ.

    Although I do agree we need to teach a few basic life schools like gardening and cooking. National has wiped specialist manual teachers from intermediates and it’s all literacy and numeracy now.

    Paranormal, so all struggling families are as you describe? We have discussed Wisconsin before and I supported the high level of assistance they provide to help people become independent. That is the real key. In parts similar to the Greens’ school hub policy.

    Something is seriously wrong when in the space of 20 years we have high levels of homelessness, child poverty, 3rd world diseases, and steady increases in family violence. This has all coincided with cuts in support, benefits and becoming a low wage economy. Tom would suggest that we need Ruth Richardson (NZs Thatcher) to deliver even more of what caused the problem in the first place.


  51. Will says:

    It’s no wonder you wind people up Dave, you seem incapable of learning anything. We’ve all had a go at explaining things, to no avail, you’re like a broken record. So, once more into the breach…

    We have a housing problem precisely because of regulations that restrict supply. As long as we pump demand with high immigration and easy credit the result is inevitable. And I’m not an expert on this but I think Germany has a different method of funding local government. Sort of like bulk funding, councils are paid by central govt. based on population. This means they have an incentive to attract citizens and so provide affordable housing and good infrastructure. A system we could look at.
    I love the way you just assume it’s because of policies you would favour.

    Spare me the bullshit links, you know I don’t read them.


  52. Dave Kennedy says:

    Will, we have a housing problem because developers only want to build houses for the top end market, the Government has only built 350 social houses over 7 years to meet a several thousand shortfall, land bankers are holding on to residential land to get the best return, over 30,000 houses were unoccupied in Auckland at the time of the 2013 census, we have overseas speculators raising house prices and too many rental properties don’t even pass basic standards (94% failed inspections and these were houses where the landlord agreed to the inspection). Any market is dominated by the basic forces of supply and demand. This government refuses to address demand (overseas speculators and great returns for untaxed capital gain) and is only beginning to meet supply.

    Good that we agree that there may be a solution used elsewhere that may work here.

    “Spare me the bullshit links, you know I don’t read them.”

    Love your open mind, Will, you wouldn’t want your ideology challanged 😉


  53. Gravedodger says:

    Why does it have to be another freakin drone teacher to get basic lifeskills for the young imbued. You know it is the drones that just hang around the hive to mate with the queen while the workers get out and gather the food to feed themselves, the drones and the queen.

    Not a single teacher ever was involved in my accumulation of knowledge as to what basic survival skills involve. They taught me to read as an augmentation to skills given by my parents and Grandad, maths and science were from a bunch of dedicated teachers, and my language skills came about from various and somewhat random sources.

    Typical lefty just throw more money, more teachers more bureaucrats and of course idlers who spend all day hugging trees at it.
    What could possibly go wrong.

    The obvious question after that ad homonym effort is why were the retards six months without an electricity supply and cooking on a barbeque. Give us the whole story not just a cherry picked part that suits a position. My understanding of various charity, community and welfare support says that is a total crock of excrement.

    Almost every human born has a potential to accumulate life skills and those who choose badly are victims of their own failings. However the chasm that separates the incompetent indulgent leftys from those intent on building a better world is the very sad fact they need to create a bunch of failures to ensure dependent support and over the last century they have had far too much success.

    But carry on it is highly entertaining that such a gulf of ignorance can continually lecture on matters that most left in the accept and move on file decades ago.

    The last Paragraph of that monument to the god of drivel is not even worth printing on a roll of toilet paper that we could donate to the latest socialist disaster created by Hugo Chavez and continued by his equally retarded successor.

    Now tell us all of a successful socialist democracy that is out performing stable capitalist democracies and please do not attempt to include any Scandys as they are still benefitting from basic capitalist success but are now facing a cataclysmic outcome from their provable failing socialist immigration policies.
    Remind me again was it four grenade attacks in Malmo last week and is the bombing rate ahead of one a week for Sweden this year.

    To suggest Germany as a comparable social system is laughable as any one who has read anything of history can’t possibly avoid working out that the Germanic people are the hardest working, focussed on what matters, frugal and educated people bar none, next would rank the Japanese and then the scandies.

    New Zealand is still very amateur, we only kill around one child a week by their falling over while in the care of the latest step dad in a terrible tragic accident.

    Welfare is a howling success only it is getting more difficult to keep from howling tears of frustration.
    Good old Einstein was it, who said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.


  54. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, you were lucky to grow up in a family that could pass on a range of skills that provided a base of practical independence. Your derisory attitude towards teachers is a little sad.

    One of my earliest teaching positions (early 80s) was in a two teacher school in Northern Southland where the principal also owned a 400 acre sheep and deer farm. At one time he had a functioning beehive integrated into his classroom and our regular morning mile runs that the whole school did were followed by plant identification on the road verge. I lived alone in the attached school house and set up a vege garden and due to isolation made my own bread.

    I am a 3rd generation teacher and my grandfather was an officer in the homeguard during WW2 and he was also a radio ham (building his own radios) and was a reasonable mechanic. At one time he built his own loom and made a Kennedy tartan kilt for my aunty.

    My father built boats in a shed he built himself behind one school house we lived in and he made a number of Hartley designed boats (inboard and outboard) and I learned the skills from him and he passed on many of his tools when he retired to a smaller house. He also semi-restored a series of old British cars and I learned to drive in a 1951 Humber 10 with limited synchromesh.

    I learned to do basic mechanical repairs on my own old Humber 80s, including a valve grind. My old Humbers transported me on my climbing and ski mountaineering expeditions (1980s) into some pretty wild territory and running repairs were a fact of life. I bought my first house at 27 and have refurbished three houses and am working on a fourth.

    I think you would be surprised at the skills and experience many teachers have, we have a lot of teachers trained in Southland who have trained as mature students after other careers.

    Enviroschools also teach great survival skills if managed well and there are many successful examples:

    You seem to align my political beliefs to socialist revolutionaries and even rubbish Scandinavians because they have problems with immigration (all European countries need to try and manage this growing issue). What we really need to do is shift to a new form of evidence based politics that isn’t so mired in ideology and works towards a sustainable form of economics. We also need to add value to our raw commodities so that we can lift the skill base and incomes of our workers. We shouldn’t be subsidising wages and accommodation for working families, their incomes should allow them to live independently of the state.


  55. TraceyS says:

    Dave at 10:47am:

    It’s “women”, Dave.

    You said that “[f]ar more women graduate from university then men now and yet the numbers in governance positions…”

    So? Not all university degrees are relevant in governance positions.

    And you may be surprised to find that there are women who effortfully block the progress of other women who are trying to advance in management within large organisations.

    Now that’s defeatist! Or is it? Is it the really the inborn duty of women, as you suggest it is mine, to engage in affirmative action on behalf of ‘their own kind’? I’ve got no problem if women choose to take on this responsibility for the sisterhood but I do not agree that anyone (including men), has any right to demand as you have, that I “…should be standing up for them.”

    It’s a woman’s right to stand up only for herself and to put all of her effort into her own career and/or family if that is what she wants to do. Why should the fact that “… other woman would relish the opportunity…[to be a CEO]” be my business at all unless it’s my Company she’s interested in? Women aspiring to be CEOs, on the whole, will be the more advantaged among us already. They don’t need me to be their advocate.

    I’d be more inclined to help deserving women start their own business in practical ways. Instant CEO! You reckon I don’t aspire to be a CEO but I could be one tomorrow if I wanted. Combining management and governance in a small business is no easy task. But reports show that women are doing it well and in much greater numbers than the women sitting on big dino-boards.

    As a woman, I will stand up for whomever I choose. Your demands for me to do otherwise ironically, and unfortunately, reveal your underlying sexist tone. As does your failure to give recognition to the thousands of women doing small-board roles.

    I wonder if you recognise how many women are engaged in managing/governing businesses either solely or in equal partnership with men? Likely they fly far under the radar and don’t even get picked up in the official stats which focus on bigger or more prominent boards, “Agribusiness is making incremental progress in women’s representation at governance level. Numbers on the boards of companies monitored for this report increased…” Since there were only 21 women counted (representing 14.6%) there were not many boards surveyed. Seventeen in fact. Notably absent is the self-employment sector – a sector where women are truly empowered and represented at a rate of about 41%.


  56. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I do believe that you would take a different position to any I present. People should do what suits them best, however we do need more woMEN (thanks for pointing out the typo so graciously) in boards as the evidence shows that more diverse groups make sounder decisions. Why you want to argue with that statement and deny the Misogynism that is prevalent in our society beats me. Surely you can’t be saying that the reason for few women to be in these roles is because they just don’t want to be? I have known too many women who have been turned down for roles that they would be great at and have seen men not as capable or experienced put there instead.

    I wrote this about the young members of political parties and how women are treated in the Young Nats appalled me. They largely exist as accessories to the men. The Young Nats’ ball photos are generally of men sitting in the big leather chair with young women draped over them or perched on the arm. At that time the Young Nats’ Facebook page was full of photos of Key surrounded by female groupies.


  57. TraceyS says:

    “…we do need more woMEN…in boards as the evidence shows that more diverse groups make sounder decisions. Why you want to argue with that statement…”

    Um, Dave, have a wee look back and see if I actually did argue with that.

    Good, glad we could clear that up,

    My argument is that this statement is purely about what is good for boards and the shareholders they represent – not what is necessarily good for women.

    You wrote “you should be standing up for them”.

    I am.

    Are you Dave?


  58. TraceyS says:

    Dave, some of your comments at 12:56am are demeaning and very offensive. In particular, describing young women as “only existing as accessories”. How can you justify that? Were you there?

    Did you consider that some of the couples might be married, engaged, or in long-term relationships? OR JUST FRIENDS!!!

    Some of the couples photos remind me of a few of my wedding photos (I wore a coloured dress). But most of the photographs are very like those that would be taken at any high school ball anywhere in the country.

    You no doubt have some hanging on the family photo wall at home.

    I guess tomorrow they’ll all be turned to face the other way.


  59. Paranormal says:

    DK at 12.56 am (you really need to get a life) is it perhaps you are letting your misconceptions and prejudices get in the way of what is depicted on the young nats page? I wonder what those young nats would think of the motley crew photos you pasted on your link whore?

    As for discussion about Wisconsin, you still don’t get it. It’s not the wrapping of support around people and giving them more money that makes a difference. It’s making them realise that welfare is not a lifestyle and they actually have to contribute something to receive it. That is what made the big difference in Wisconsin and then across the US when Clinton reached across party lines and introduced the policy to federal welfare.

    That you on the left don’t like it is understandable as it will reduce your indentured voting block.


  60. Dave Kennedy says:

    “My argument is that this statement is purely about what is good for boards and the shareholders they represent – not what is necessarily good for women.”

    So boards are a mainly male domain? Even if a women wanted to be on a board she should be warned against involvement? Really? Good grief!

    A couple of years before the ball photos the Young Nats male leadership tried to expel a well regarded young woman and it was commented at time that it was hard for women to progress in the party and few were in leadership roles. Despite few women being politically active in the party there were oddly many well presented young women clustered around photos of John Key on the Young Nats Facebook page. When I saw the very male centric photos from the ball the obvious conclusions were made. When one looks at the gender balance in the last election, National only had 27% of 60 candidates who were female.

    You are obviously comfortable in a male dominated world where men sit in old leather armchairs and their women sit perched on the side or on their lap. You also believe that women may not be suited to governance roles because they are male entities. This seems all a worrying to me that such thinking still occurs.


  61. Mr E says:


    D is for Dave.


  62. Dave Kennedy says:

    And E is for Mr E? Using your argument only Andrei trumps me 😉


  63. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, it seems that like climate change you are happy to accept all the myths around beneficiaries:

    Click to access 130402%20CPAG%20Myths%20and%20Facts.pdf

    It is easy to throw around stories of naughty beneficiaries who don’t understand the meaning of work, but surely one should base policy on facts and comprehensive evidence.


  64. Paranormal says:

    DK – that you would even dredge up CPAG’s dodgy stats exposes your underlying politics. Have a read of Lindsay Mitchell for more detail. She is someone genuinely motivated rather than your politically motivated CPAG types.

    Can you point out where I have said beneficiaries are ‘naughty’ and ‘don’t understand the meaning of work’? What I have said is the system incentivises beneficiaries to stay on welfare rather than help themselves.

    You are so ideologically driven you have no idea what happens in the real world. But let me enlighten you some more. My position comes from both the statistical evidence and family experience. My cousin and I were born a few weeks apart and were quite close growing up. That changed when she decided to ditch her tertiary studies, and her family, and go on the DPB. She had her application for a council flat all lodged before she went out and found a sperm donor, which is all he was. Her life trapped on the DPB was not pretty, fortunately for her our family pulled her back and now 30 years later she is completing her tertiary qualifications. The impact on her has been brutal. Her once vivacious personality has been beaten out of her.

    But the story doesn’t end there. Her daughter has the same issues. She decided to follow a similar path to her mother and went on the dole. The story of what she went through should be a wake up call to you and your lot. She ended up living in a tinny house. Her uncle, who has my undying respect for his bravery, went in there and got her out. She was spaced out living in filthy conditions and dressed literally only in some sort of robe. She had taken some clothes with her into that place that they managed to literally scrape off the floor, but they were only good for burning. The ‘proprietors’ of this establishment were doing what can only be euphemistically described as farming these girls for their dole. It sounds as if Arun Kumar’s killer was the progeny from exactly this type of place.

    That is why the Wisconsin approach is so important. It requires those on the dole to either be actively looking for work or actually in training. It takes the incentives away whilst supporting the individual and provides for better outcomes all around – for the individual, for the economy, and for society as a whole.

    You try to tell me that what you on the left are doing by trapping people on the benefit to retain a left voting clique is somehow ‘caring’ ™ and not pure evil. Sorry I won’t believe you. I’ve seen what it does to people.


  65. TraceyS says:

    “You are obviously comfortable in a male dominated world where men sit in old leather armchairs and their women sit perched on the side or on their lap.”

    Am I comfortable? YES! And with this:


  66. TraceyS says:

    And this:


  67. Mr E says:

    Dave must prefer a couch made from oil products.


  68. TraceyS says:

    Thanks for the Friday afternoon laugh Mr E. Nice way to end the week.


  69. TraceyS says:

    DAVE says:

    “So boards are a mainly male domain? Even if a women wanted to be on a board she should be warned against involvement? Really? Good grief!”

    Calm down for goodness sake Dave! I have never said anything of the sort.

    “You also believe that women may not be suited to governance roles because they are male entities. This seems all a worrying to me that such thinking still occurs.”

    I have never said that governance roles are “male entities”. Quite the opposite. Worry all you like. Your paranoia is not my problem.

    And if you misrepresent me to this degree again I will complain about you.


  70. TraceyS says:

    Another shocker for Dave:


  71. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m not sure what your point is, Tracey, they just look like young people having fun, I don’t see any male domination in any of those.


  72. Dave Kennedy says:

    Yes Lindsay Mitchell’s claims were well and truly dealt to by CPAG’s research and data. Individual stories from years ago have minimal relevance to the statistics of today.


  73. TraceyS says:

    “…I don’t see any male domination in any of those.”

    Nor do you in the former. What you see is young people having fun and hamming it up for the camera.

    Pretty simple point really.


  74. Paranormal says:

    Oh really DK? Still playing the ad hominem rather than looking at the facts and statistics:

    CPAG are proven to be loose with the stats and the truth to push their ideology. Kinda like someone else we know…

    As for ‘years ago’, how long ago do you think my cousin pulled his niece out of a tinny house? Lets just say the others that were being ‘farmed’ are still there.

    That you would rather ignore the outcomes of your agenda speaks volumes. How is your Green policy going to address the damaged children out there? How many more Arun Kumars do there have to be before you realise the flaws in your ideology? So much for your ‘caring'(tm).


  75. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, arguments can go both ways. Most of the myths that Mitchell has supported are easily dealt with.

    “DPB pays more than average female worker’s income…choosing motherhood over work is entirely economically rational. Lindsay Mitchell, Welfare Commentator, 201034”

    This myth directly contradicts the myth that ‘work is the way out of poverty’. The facts are more complex than either of these simplistic claims acknowledges.
    In the June 2012 quarter, median weekly income for those receiving a wage and salary income was $879 for male and $673 for female. This compares to $333.01 gross from the DPB. Lindsay Mitchell appears to be adding on things like the accommodation supplement
    and Working for Families: The net basic rate for the DPB of $293.58 (2012) with an extra $92 for the first child and $65 for the second from Working for Families. The accommodation supplement will only meet part of her housing costs, now much greater as she has children.
    In 2010 the cost of raising 2 children (including housing) was at least $279 per week with inflation bringing that to $297.31 in 2012. In choosing motherhood the household size increases and income must go much further, while opportunities to work decrease.
    The 2008 Living Standards Survey found that; “sole parent families in work have a hardship rate (20%) well below that for sole parent beneficiary families” (54%).
    A single person on the average wage is not living in poverty. The situation drastically changes when there are more mouths to feed and people to clothe. It is illogical to suggest that choosing motherhood is economically rational.

    In terms of matching those on the DPB and child abuse I think I would sit near the middle. Most of the recipients on the DPB are women (around 88%), most were married or in a relationship before (around 75%) and most are aged between 30 and 40 and almost 70% are on the benefit for less than 4 years (25% for only a year). A good number go on the DPB because of leaving an abusive relationship. The DPB isn’t the cause of the abuse, it is allowing an escape.

    Benefit fraud involves only 0.1% of those receiving it. It appears that the benefits are largely doing what they are supposed to do, help vulnerable people when they need it until the vast majority get back on their feet again in under 4 years.


  76. tom hunter says:

    Off-topic thread debate (even if it’s worthy debate) is this way

    =====> Saturday Soapbox

    You can even include links back to these comments if you want people not to lose the thread of the debate. 🙂


  77. homepaddock says:

    Thank you Tom. I cannot see any link between the post topic and these comments. I was tempted to respond to Dave but wasn’t going to encourage the thread-jack and Tracey @ 10:38pm said it anyway.


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