Category Archives: New Zealand
About 2000km east of Australia is an Island Archipelago that almost became an Australian state and is constitutionally able to Join at any time. Australia has long had very close relations with New Zealand and their people are more similar to Australians than any other, though both peoples slightly cringe at the thought; while drinking slightly different beer while barbequing slightly different things on slightly different beaches. According to Australian media coverage one would assume New Zealand for the most part is simply not there at all.
Recently we have had debates about education funding and regulation. So it would be a worth considering the woeful path New Zealand took with its education funding model about 23 years ago.
The New Zealand loan scheme, the rapacious debt monster that for the first 20 years of its life was unbankrupt-able. Starting out at 7% plus CPI interest rates being charged daily culminating in monthly 2% penalties for non payment, this political football generated billions of dollars of debt placed squarely on the shoulders of the youngest and least able to pay. How did people deal with this in a country with shallow employment markets, low wages and few opportunities. One option was emigration and a significant number who did so simply left the debt behind. Australia with its strict privacy laws vast landscape became an attractive hideout for those who sought to escape the debt slavery of the student loans scheme. Australia is home to approximately 7500 long term non payers owing about 450 million dollars of this debt. Worst of all was the continuous tinkering with the terms and conditions of this debt making it difficult to understand what was actually required. This confusion was exacerbated by the IRD deliberately providing misinformation to confuse and deceive borrowers in paying more that they were legally required to. The IRD is a powerful government agency in New Zealand and has on occasion enacted legislation taking force retroactively, one of the more infamous cases was the first student loan bankruptcy in the mid 1990’s where the borrower had filed for bankruptcy and been discharged after several years only to then be told the loan could not be bankrupted and the debt still stood. For almost 20 years the loans could not be bankrupted. Recent developments with contacting historical borrower appear to be a form of gaming borrowers and simply waiting until they have enough assets to chase despite ignoring them for many years. The statue of limitations on debt ( typically 7 years) does not apply to these loans either.
Recent changes to information sharing between the ATO and IRD ( NZ ‘s tax office) announced by Tony Abbott means that the ATO will be giving information to New Zealand regarding borrowers that are sought for payments. The Australian based hold outs have been getting some very large bills lately.
Recently however the NZ government relented and accepted that a NZ student loan was in fact bankrupt-able, this of course leads to the inevitable new wave of bankruptcies where the largest (and often only debt cited) was the NZ Student loan. So here we have Kristina Andersen, New Zealand based bankruptcy specialist explaining the situation in an interview with radio New Zealand.
But the New Zealand government has changed it’s mind before (retrospectively) to re-shackle a bankrupt with their student loan debt all over again. I’m sure many of the long term defaulters are watching this situation carefully so see if it a real remedy or whether it is just more ‘bait and switch’ policy in the student loan shell game. I guess that’s the reason why they called it the student loan scheme.
Scheme ( definition)
Yes the student loan scheme certainly turned out to be underhanded and completely impractical for borrowers.
The amusing fact is this, NZ student loan borrowers are actually advised to consider declaring bankruptcy right after graduation.
So that is the possible legacy of a completely deregulated education system with loans and debt as fuel for a massive debt and bankruptcy bomb the explode in the future.
Eventually one would hope the business model of putting students in to enormous debt with the intention of farming them over a lifetime will come to an end with the simple inability to pay converged with the fact that information is now almost completely free via the internet. The voucher of a university degree will simply lose its luster as a guarantee of a better middle class life. There is of course the real competition, open source, free market online style education.
It’s seems an anachronism that people would opt for 6 figure debt for information they could get for free. Perhaps the university degree will become a thing of the past, and future people will educate them selves in a lifelong process of continuous learning.
No t Ye t
The UK probably only offered the independence option because they thought it would not be taken up but once international market began to get nervous the hype machine had to get into overdrive to push it back in the box.It would be fair to say neither Scotland nor the UK were completely prepared for Scotland to leave with Scotland holding the oil assets and the (war) ship building, and the UK holding the currency, the pension funds and the national health service (NHS). Sort of like winning the lottery and thinking of leaving your wife only to find out she gets half of everything anyway, and the kids aren’t ready to leave home either.
Colonel Frank Bainimarama
First election in 8 years Colonel B retains leadership but a veneer of democracy restored, but for how long?
Positive side 8 years and no coup.
Despite mounting evidence of deep corruption in New Zealand political system New Zealand returned a largely unchanged parliament,
and returned John Key formerly of the Federal Reserve Bank of the USA as its leader. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
Positive side: all the international based shills will now pull up stakes and fade out of the picture.
Negative side: Hone Harawira, a strong campaigner for the poor, appears to have lost his place in parliament.
And now we get to hear about all the ‘irregularities’ in these polls, will be very interesting.
Fun fact: all of the places discussed were or currently are controlled by the UK in some way.
Just a week from election in New Zealand It has been revealed that mass electronic surveillance has been occurring despite government denials.
While in Australian the debate has been about meta data, in New Zealand complete content has been spied on.
John Key New Zealand’s current prime minister and former US federal reserve employee, made specific assurances that such spying was not occurring.
Will this hurt his election chances? Quite likely.
New Zealand a place where crime was rare, then it was only violent crime being rare, then only knife rare, then finally crime was as commonplace as anywhere else.
What happened, Neo-con’s took over and made poverty and unemployment an economic goal.
Then desperation and violence became the norm.
For reference Ashburton is 86 Km south of Christchurch (the lump on the right hand side of the south island) which had large earthquakes a few years ago.
Ashburton was also once home the the Minister of social welfare and later Prime Minister Jenny Shipley who played a decisive hand in cuts to welfare throughout the 1990’s.
Aramoana incident (mass shooting) occurred in the early 1990’s as the new wave of welfare cuts came in. This incident bore some similarities (13 dead) to the official narrative of the Port Arthur massacre, crazed white male loner with lots of guns and had a shooting spree.
From this article today, which you may have seen on television today if you watch ABC.
Now watch the video again considering these details which you may have missed:
1) Food was being delivered to people who would otherwise go hungry.
This means poverty is severe and welfare is clearly failing. This generally means there are very limited prospects for employment in this area because money is simply not flowing in this community.
2) Tons of food was being transported, in particularly vegetables and bread. Question is why aren’t these products being sold in supermarkets? Are supermarkets simply squeezing out local manufacturers?
3) The young woman (Stacey Binns) was working for no payment.
This means no amount of work she was doing would increase her disposable income, and would not start money flowing in her community. Therefore what she was really doing was being forced to perpetuate the poverty in her community.
4) The young woman (Stacey Binns) quite rightly pointed out that there are hundreds of application for every job advertised. Her chances are slim of getting out of the poverty trap deliberately created around her.
5) This is one of 18 high unemployment areas around Australia where this scheme has been rolled out this month and already the federal government wants to expand the scheme further making it nationwide by July 2015.
6) The government will spend 900 Million dollars rolling out this scheme, that’s almost enough to send a rover to the surface of Mars. It well known that these schemes are generally not successful and actually if anything reduce the chances of transition from welfare to work.
7) 900 Million dollars is enough money to give 18,000 people 50, 000 for one year, I think 18,000 people having a basics income would generate more jobs than a downward economic spiral. The almost 1 Billion dollars will be wasted on a variety of corporate scumbags lining up for a hand out while attacking people on benefits.
8) Work for the dole or ‘help and hassle’ welfare schemes only really function when the economy is super hot and unemployment is extremely low (2% or less), not when unemployment is well above 5%.
9) All of this has been tried before and even without the stipulation to engage in slave labor, when there are no jobs no amount of looking for them will be successful.
Proof? (Warning kiwi accents.)
I cant try any harder!
-A young man shows quite succinctly by canvassing numerous Auckland suburbs that the jobs were simply not there.
The clip is from a much larger series by Alistair Barry which you can find links to here:
Don’t be too impatient give it a few minutes, you are practically looking at a working crystal ball, everything you are seeing now in the Australian economy was tried in New Zealand 25 years ago. The result was a disaster, by the time the right wing neo-con government was voted out off office in 1999 , the economy was shrinking at 2% though strangely the government statistics department was claiming it was growing at 2%. Though that is a separate scandal in itself which strangely got very little media traction. Of course this all happened while most western economies were booming, showing how much of a complete failure it was to improve the economy.
This of course was simply a tactic to reduce the average wage and introduce a whole new strata of New Zealand society to a lower standard of living ,and quite a few to abject poverty. Interestingly this right wing government launched a radical slashing of welfare just after assuming office on a strong majority after a lack luster two term Labour government with leadership changes in the dying days, sounds too bloody familiar.
For reference in 1991 $50 NZD was worth about $86NZD in today’s money. The inflation problems experienced in Australia in the 90’s had already happened in NZ in the 80’s. Food prices are comparable with Australian prices though meat is about 20% less expensive due to exceptional livestock rearing climate (fertile soil, lack of drought and neither too hot or cold most years). Beer and other alcohol is 50% cheaper due to much lower excises, personally I think if it wasn’t the country would be empty and Bondi Beach would be full. New Zealand actually produces enough food to feed itself and all of Australia, a good reason to be in the good books with the bloody kiwis, or at least have a comprehensive invasion plan.
Guess what Australia, you are 30 years behind New Zealand!
A wave of shocked silence followed by jeers echos across the country…
Australians all angrily ask “What are we behind in?”
“Apart from Rugby Union and occasionally Netball we are not behind New Zealand!”
Only if it was so unimportant as sport, you might see whats really going on. You have been blinded by bread and circuses, or perhaps beer and footy.
Split Enz, from New Zealand in 1981, with a song written by Neil Finn, unfortunately history does repeat.
New Zealand, for decades, has been a social policy test tube for the western world. A small, largely isolated population that reeled from the Neo- con ‘shock doctrine’ of Chicago school economists.
Even more surprising was the fact that this hard core Neo-con agenda was run by the New Zealand’s Labour party, a political outfit more or less akin to the ALP in political ideology and electoral significance.
Well it would have been akin to the ALP, if it wasn’t for a few key individuals who drew inspiration from Thatcher and Regan who were in office at the time in UK and USA respectively.
Would you like to look into a somewhat tame version of what is happening now in Australian Politics with the Abbott/Hockey budget?
Have a glance at these somewhat surreal crystal balls, telling you a potential future for Australia from New Zealand’s troubled past.
If you do not watch these films, you only have yourself to blame when further nasty surprises happen!
Its worth pointing out that despite this film being made more than 12 years after the neo- con ravage and upheaval in NZ, it was effectively banned from NZ television until 2003, nearly 20 years after the events it portrayed. You might ask why, and that’s the exact question the New Zealand Government didn’t want its citizens asking. Citizens who were now being treated as units of economic production.
Another film by the same director (Alistair Barry) about the same events from a slightly different and more enlightened perspective, explores how the Reserve Bank of New Zealand was behind many of the initiatives. Curiously the director said his main inspiration for making the movies was he had so much footage that simply made him angry, and he had to understand why it make him angry, and what was actually driving the economic and social carnage witnessed.
Both of the films heavily feature television archives, which many New Zealanders would have seen as part of news broadcasts at the time of the events, some clips appear in both films because of the significant to both stories and the political history described.
Split Enz I walk away; 1984, from their last album.
Perhaps Split Enz saw the (economic) writing on the wall, splitting up in 1984 and temporarily moving to Los Angeles before morphing into ‘The Mullanes’ and finally ‘Crowded House’ and moving back ‘home’ to Australia.
The opening credits of this video sadly will not put to bed any lingering debate over whether Crowded House was Kiwi band or and Aussie band, as Hester had joined Split Enz before the remainder of Split Enz became ‘Crowded House’.
The best compromise to this sometimes confused friendly debate is best settled with this: Crowded House was a Melbourne band that formed in the USA from the remains of a New Zealand band.
Welcome to the confusion and dislocation of the shock doctrine and globalization.
And finally Crowded House ‘Weather with you’ from 1992. When the rapacious globalist corporations come, they bring the weather (and its not good weather).
If you don’t think it can happen here, this week should have been a wake up call, Chile was taken by surprise in 1973, as was New Zealand in 1984, will Australia wake up and get wise in 2014?
History does repeat.
What was once a purely New Zealand phenomenon can easily become completely ingrained in Australia, be it music or political ideology.
RIP Paul Hester
Well that’s probably a better headline for the story than The Age selected. It really sucks when some great investigative journalism is buried under a bland almost non event headline.
I think our headline is a better reflection of the facts and would certainly draw more attention, I mean you guys want to sell more news papers and subscriptions right?
Actually the next story is related and if you actually aded the headlines together, it actually becomes a better headline, but still doesn’t quite connect the dots for the would be reader.
Now the first story is exclusive, but then again editgate cyberwar was also.
So in case you have read too much of The Age this month or are other wise stuck behind a paywall/firewall here are the stories sans images.
WorkSafe pays law firms bonuses to minimise victims’ payouts
Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker
Victoria’s work safety authority is paying lawyers millions of dollars in confidential bonuses to minimise payouts in compensation cases brought by alleged victims of workplace accidents.
In at least one case, a firm representing the authority received more than $1 million in bonuses over 12 months on top of legal fees.
The bonuses are paid out by WorkSafe Victoria, which receives its funding from fees paid by Victorian businesses. The bonus scheme has provoked debate inside the legal community because of the potential it will encourage firms to cut corners in order to maximise their bonus payouts, or devise other strategies that may not be in the best interest of victims or the scheme.
But defenders of the bonus system say it encourages lawyers to deal with cases more efficiently and prevents rorting of the state’s workers’ compensation scheme.
Leaked files from law firm Lander & Rogers reveal that it has made about $5 million in WorkSafe bonuses over five years by minimising payouts to alleged Victorian victims of workplace accidents. The biggest yearly bonus payout to the firm was $1.2 million in 2010.
The leaked files also show that the legal firm encourages its lawyers to offer ”entertainment” to WorkSafe Victoria executives at the tennis, musicals and barristers’ functions. A well-placed source said that at least two senior WorkSafe staff had attended events paid for by the Melbourne firm.
The leaked Lander & Rogers files show one strategy proposed by the firm involves creating closer ties, or becoming ”relationship partners” with lawyers representing workplace accident victims via ”targeted plaintiff firm strategies”.
Lawyers who support the incentive scheme argue it encourages law firms to deal with cases in a fair and timely fashion.
They say that maintaining professional relationships with plaintiff firms also leads to fairer outcomes by reducing legal hostilities that can lead to unnecessary litigation.
In defending the bonus scheme, a WorkSafe spokesman said that the extra payouts were offered because the fees defence firms get paid for handling WorkSafe cases ”are significantly less than standard commercial rates”. ”Performance incentives are designed to preserve and protect the interests of the scheme and the amount paid in [bonuses in] 2012-13 represents 0.3 per cent of the total benefits paid to injured Victorian workers last year,” the spokesman said.
Internal Lander & Rogers figures from 2011 show its WorkSafe department made almost $4 million in profit, most of which is later distributed to the firm’s partners. The law firm’s WorkSafe lawyers also generated bigger profit margins – up to 35 per cent – than lawyers from any other section of Lander & Rogers.
The WorkSafe spokesman also said the bonuses were only awarded if law firms ”meet a range of performance criteria, which includes achieving a timely outcome for injured workers’ claims for compensation and reducing the use of the courts”. WorkSafe declined to answer questions on the total in bonuses it paid law firms or how many gifts WorkSafe staff received.
”WorkSafe adheres to the criteria set out in the gifts, benefits and hospitality policy framework 2012 issued by the Public Sector Standards Commissioner and expects all employees to comply with the policy,” the spokesman said.
In response to questions about its bonuses and gift-giving policy, a Lander & Rogers spokesman said: ”Like other firms who provide legal services to WorkSafe, Lander & Rogers is eligible to receive performance incentives where it meets certain criteria, which include helping to ensure timely resolution of injured workers’ claims.
”We maintain professional working relationships with all plaintiff firms and other stakeholders in the workers compensation scheme and always work in the best interest of WorkSafe.”
The law firm threatened Fairfax Media with legal action if it published details from its leaked files.
In other developments linked to the management of WorkSafe cases, it is understood that some defence firms have reduced the hiring of private detectives who conduct surveillance on allegedly injured workers. The practice of conducting surveillance on workers has recently drawn the ire of several Victorian judges because it is viewed as expensive and intrusive.
But several lawyers who spoke to Fairfax Media said that surveillance was a critical tool to prevent rorting.
Disabled Victorians to miss out on disability insurance scheme
Up to 900,000 disabled Victorians will not qualify for the national disability insurance scheme and the state government needs to increase funding to the sector to meet growing demand, the peak body for the sector says.
A National Disability Services submission to the state budget says that while DisabilityCare Australia is a tremendous opportunity to help 100,000 Victorians with a serious or permanent disability, hundreds of thousands more will require help. People with non-permanent or moderate to mild disability will not necessarily qualify for the scheme.
The organisation’s submission says there are about 1 million Victorians with a disability, including 338,200 with a profound or severe disability.
”This suggests that some 900,000 Victorians with a disability won’t qualify for the NDIS and will still require access to mainstream services such as transport, housing, education, health, justice and mental health,” it says.
NDS Victoria state manager James O’Brien said the state government had a role to play building a strong disability sector able to make the transition to the scheme.
”The NDIS won’t be the panacea for all, and we need a whole-of-government approach to ensure that mainstream services are accessible for all Victorians with a disability,” he said.
The Napthine government is also urged to lift annual investment to disability services by $900 million over the next five years. The group argues that with the government’s forecast surplus of $2.5 billion in 2016-17, the fiscal environment would allow the government to do so.
The submission outlines how demand continues to outweigh investment in the sector – it says while funding for the sector increased by 7.5 per cent last year, on the back of the trial of the national disability insurance scheme in Barwon, demand for services grew by 10 per cent. ”The real cost of providing disability services continues to escalate and government indexation fails to keep pace,” it says.
The submission says there should be more public-sector procurement from accredited disability organisations. It also wants the government to build more inclusive public spaces.
Building the capacity of the sector also requires more workers and NDS warns demand will rapidly outstrip supply unless action is taken now. The establishment of the scheme will require 25,000 workers by 2020; currently, there are just 12,000 in Victoria. ”This poses a huge challenge,” the submission says.
The government has welcomed the submission from NDS but will not comment on the budget ahead of its release in May.
So what does all of this mean?
Some great journalism, but journalists sometime can’t really say what they think for a variety of reasons, such is the sad state of our ‘deMOCKracy’. Fortunately we can say what ever we like as long as we feel its true.
The WorkSafe Premiums you are being forced to pay for has now become a slush fund for lawyers and government bureaucrats.
The levy you are being forced to pay for NDIS is just becoming a federal government slush fund.
Denise Cosgrove is embezzling (stealing) money paid by the Victorian tax payer, worst of all she’s using it to bribe lawyers into robbing WorkSafe claimants. She’s only been in the role of CEO for 12 months. This con artist really moves fast.
Mike Dixon-McIver is an advocate for ACC (New Zealand work cover system) claimants. He was quite successful in helping claimants in getting their entitlements as per required by the law. The law that ACC sought to subvert on many occasions simply for the sake of profit. He became a thorn in the sides of ACC so the they tried to destroy him with a completely manufactured and flimsy fraud charge. The charge was thrown out of court and Mike was left with lawyers costs, which ACC refused to pay. Ultimately this lead to his bankruptcy despite the fact he did nothing wrong, and was only trying to help the people ACC wanted to defraud and destroy.
So after failed attempts to resolve the situation, Mike decide a hunger strike would be the way to draw attention to the issue.
Today :day 45
7 sharp back ground story
The bait and switch attempt by ACC, offer to resolve the matter and then pull out at the last minute.
You may be thinking “how does this affect me ?”
The very same sociopaths who lurk the corridors of ACC are slowly beginning to migrate here and take over various work cover authorities here in Australia.
Introducing Denise Cosgrove, Former CEO of ACC, now CEO at Worksafe Victoria.
Worst part is that she is not alone,
other ACC sociopaths are infiltrating Australia’s workers injury compensation institutions.
Denise Cosgrove wants to reduce your rights in law.
Denise Cosgrove gained fame for releasing to the media, details of a rape survivors treatment expenses claims. If she did that in Australia she would be likely jailed so why is she employed here in a position to do exactly the same thing?
A NZ farmer and former aircraft engineer, Richard Osmaston, is running for mayor of Nelson, with a view to implement a resource-based economy. To put his non-money where his mouth is, he will reject the $160 000 salary, if elected.
“We are heading over a cliff – socially, financially, every way you can think of. So far, all anyone has done is address the symptoms, and there are so many now that everyone’s exhausted fighting them.”
Air crash investigation ( called Mayday in some regions) is a really good series for a lot of reasons.
The gut wrenching drama, the triumph of man over (malfunctioning ) machine in a life or death struggle, the ‘needle in a haystack’ investigations, the human drama and tragedy. Another reason is just learning about the inner workings commercial flight which is something we completely take for granted these days. Not to mention the thorough logic to find the ‘smoking gun’.
Often the investigations find the faults in strange places, a weird widget, a badly designed procedure, poor maintenance of planes or airports, pilot error, etc.
Disturbingly of all though, many times it is the nefarious characters either non state actors or greedy corporates who measure the cost of human lives in the same cold accounting they use for counting the price of jet fuel or corporate/political advantage.
In most episodes the investigators are lauded for their determination in finding the cause of these disasters, and some investigations can take decades, the ultimate ‘cold case’ waiting for the technology or even the tiny scrap of metal to reveal the crucial clue.
But this particular episode differs from the script in that sense. One of the deceased passengers parents was an engineer determined for answers and willing to launch their own investigation which challenged the ‘official’ finding. Chillingly the fault found by the Campbells’ had been in existence since the original design of the aircraft.
Eventually their finding was accepted over the ‘official’ version, which tended to imply a refusal on the part of the various corporates and regulators to acknowledge a costly fault.
In a real twist of irony an air accident lawyer was on the ill fated flight, he wanted to get away from the air-crash industry on a planned holiday to Sydney. This lawyer explains the callous economics of commercial aircraft safety.
In a weird twist of cognitive dissonance, the operators and vendors of the aircraft are perhaps a bigger risk to the safety of the air traveler than the ‘non state actor’, yet the passengers are routinely harassed and humiliated in weird security theater rituals “because of the 911”.
911? try asking about 811, your life is a “cost of doing business” to the corporates controlling the airlines.