Man exploits man

National minister Michael Woodhouse often posts ‘Political Quote For Today” on Facebook. His last one:

“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.”

That’s attributed to John Kenneth Galbraith – here’s some more good quotes from him:

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

“Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.”

“I am worried about our tendency to over invest in things and under invest in people.”

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

There’s many more from Galbraith, some might be good for posts of their own.

90 day trial on The Standard

There were some interesting and perhaps suroprising discussions at The Standard on Andrew Little’s speech and the lack of a mention of 90 day trials given the Standard is a ‘labour left’ blog.


I suggest the 90 day trial is quite popular with small businesses. It will be interesting if Labour drops their objection to it.


Why would they?
The 90-day trial is only popular with incompetent employers. How many small business owners are incompetent, do you think?


There is enough antidotal evidence that has been gathered which points to the ‘fire at will legislation’ is not being used as prescribed (spun) or a cynic would say used to an advantage by a scumbag employer.

Expected responses, albeit with nothing provided to back up claims like “enough antidotal evidence “.

But another thread was less anti.


Interesting he mentioned removing the zero hour contracts which is a safe announcement but nothing about the 90 day bill

Colonial Rawshark:

Even though most will not use it, small/medium business owners generally like the 90 day right to fire, a lot.


I guess the question is does the positives of the 90 day bill outweigh the negatives

Colonial Rawshark:

All I know is there are too many people out there who can’t be bothered turning up to work on time, every day, day after day, in a fit to work state.


I know alot of small business owners with the same story workers not turning up turning up late turning up stoned or hung over not willing to do a fair days work with the minimum fuss.


It is possible to give reasons for not keeping people on in those cases. The problem is not so much the 90 day trial period per se, but that no reason need be given for firing someone during that period. If no reason needs to be given, there is no room for dispute, which is what the employers like about it. However, it does leave room for bad faith employment practices.

There’s always ‘room for bad faith employment practices’ no matter what the legislation is. The key is whether there is a case that bad practices have significantly oncreased under 90 day trials, and whether that overweighs the benefit of encouiragung employers to take on more staff.


Exactly Olwyn. The big problem with the 90 day rule is that it is open to abuse by employers. If someone is late, comes in stoned , doesn’t do their job properly then give them a warning. If the unacceptable behaviour continues in spite of warnings then the employer is perfectly entitled to sack them.
The “no reason required” 90 day rule means some employers who have no intention of providing a longterm job are able to mislead prospective employees taking on what are actually temporary positions..

This ‘no intention of providing a long term job’ is often brought up. That can be achieved easily without using the 90 day trial.

No evidence provided of how prevalent this might be (or if it happens at all), just a statement that it could happen.

Again this is all very mild discussion about 90 day trials.

Then ‘nadis’ joined the discussion:

As a small business owner, the 90 day rule is very beneficial. I’ve never used it, but I can see the attraction. Whats not recognised by many commentators is the risky nature of most small businesses which run on a week by week basis where meeting the payroll is often a close run thing, and so many small business owners have provided the family home as security.
When viewed through that prism – you can see the attractiveness of the 90 day policy. I’d love to see any stats on how many employees don’t get kept on – does anyone know a number?

If an employer has form in churning, then bring in a rule that takes away their 90 day right for a 2 year period. Define churn as something like more than 10% of employee hours over a financial year or something similar.

Also bring in a rule that says 90 day let go employees get cash compensation – 3 weeks pay or similar.

A couple of rules like that would retain the good for thee employer aspects of the 90 day rule while penalising bad behaviour.

I’d like to see what Little proposes in actuality for boosting SME’s. Some quick ideas:

– retain a 90 day rule though with some protections
– change the provisional tax system to a pay as you go based on monthly cashflow
– streamline the provisions around firing and redundancy, too many confusing areas. A clearer process would be good for both employers and employees
– don’t tax retained earnings for the first 3 years of a business’ life – just tax distributions.
– give businesses (say) 50% of the dole for 2 years when they take on an unemployed worker.
– incentivise businesses to invest in third party provided training

Forget subsidies and funding initiatives – they aren’t necessary and will get siphoned off by unproductive businesses who know how to play the system. A well executed business with proper governance and sound practices can get funding already.

A couple of mild responses only to that.

Another thread:


I am actually thinking that Little will probably keep it.


If he keeps to the center and sticks with popular National policies then he’ll probably be the next pm of NZ

Party member and unionist Te Reo Putake:

Current LP policy is for removing the 90 day provision. I don’t see that changing, though I doubt Little is likely to promote the policy when talking to or about small business.

btw, the LP Policy Council has a few vacancies to be filled. I know of some very progressive candidates who are wanting to take the spots to help move the party in a better policy direction.

Hoping for a policiy move to the left.

Karen added:

RNZ are reporting Little confirming that the 90 day rule will be gone under a Labour government. Must have covered it in the Q&A session after the speech.

If Little said that it’s a bit odd as he has said that all party policies are up for review. There’s likely to be a lot of discussion within the party on the 90 day trial.

The result for then 90 day trial may depend on what sort of people are attracted to getting involved in Labour’s rebuilding and policy development.

It was surprising to see on a ‘labour left’ blog more support for the 90 day trial asnd only mild opposition.

A Little challenge on 90 day trial

Andrew Little’s ‘State of the Nation’ speech was big on employment ambition via small businesses but little on detail. He can be excused for being vague at this stage, but he and Labour face some tough decisions. One of those is on the 90 day trial put in place by National. The Labour left is ideologically opposed to it.

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff writes in Big on ambition, little on how to get there:

During last year’s election campaign trail, the 90-day trial legislation came up with frequency and passion usually reserved for socially progressive legislation.

In broad terms, it allows employers to terminate the contracts of employees if it is not working out.

Up and down the country it was repeatedly raised by voters. Support is far from universal, but among the audience Little appears to be pitching to, it is clearly strong.

For the tradesman or the cafe owner looking to take on their first, or even fiftieth employee, the trials are seen by many as cast iron insurance that a lazy worker will not be allowed to undermine their livelihood, even among many Labour-backing businesspeople.

Although core Labour supporters may have a natural aversion to a sweeping right to dismiss employees under almost any circumstances, the sheer number of small businesses means it is an issue that must be addressed by Labour in purely political terms, however difficult that may be.

The ‘labour left’ – union supporters – were instrumental in getting Little into the leadership role. They will be disappointed if there’s no pledge to scrap the 90 day trial. But middle New Zealand, where a lot of small business owners are, will be instrumental in rebuilding Labour’s lost vote share.

Labour might try a compromise, like reducing the trial period to 60 or 30 days. But that risks pleasing no one and/or disappointing everyone.

Amongst many others there will be more than a little challenge getting this one right.

Open Forum – Saturday

31 January 2015

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Charged with serious offences, name suppressed

NZ Herald: Prominent New Zealander charged with serious offences

A prominent New Zealander has been charged with serious offences, but a blanket suppression order means details of the case cannot be made public at this stage.

The man’s case came before a district court this morning. He was remanded at large to reappear on February 19.

I have no knowledge of who this person is.

Yet another prominent New Zealander gets name suppression, but this is early in the charging process so not unusual.

It will be interesting to see if the suppression is lifted. As usual there will be a lot of speculation.


Mike Sabin resigns

National MP for Northland has resigned from parliament, effective immediately. This was expected, the only real uncertainty was over the timing.

It has been reported since before Christmas that the police were investigating an incident that is believed to involve family violence.

It would have untenable for Sabin to remain as chair of the Law and order committee as next week it is due to question police officers in committee.

This means a by-election for Northland in a couple of months or so.

It also means that National+Act is no longer a Parliamentary majority. The Maori Party or Peter Dunne will be needed to make up the numbers until an expected easy win for the new National candidate.

The New Zealand media dictatorship

That’s the headline at News Mana which features:

John Minto: We Need Kiwi Socialism

Hone Harawira: The fight never dies

Is this a spoof site? A recent post:Waitangi a ban on Burgers not Burkha - Mana News editor Joe Trinder

At Waitangi this year  Kingi Taurua the paramount Chief of Ngati Rahiri at Te Tii Marae has come out saying David Rankin has misheard the announcement there is a ban on Burgers not Burqa especially triple cheese burgers with fries. The leadership at Waitangi want better food choices but are willing to consider burgers if they are healthy

And now: The New Zealand media dictatorship

Eleanor Catton has managed to reveal the mechanism of the National party media dictatorship this could be extremely dangerous for the survival of our democracy. According to Sean Plunkett you are not permitted to criticise the National government its unpatriotic and against the people of New Zealand.

Too many reporters within journalism have intimate relationships with the national party that are a conflict of interest designed to mislead the New Zealand public.

These reporters are holding back real journalists like Andrea Vance.

It is unnatural for the press gallery to be uncritical of a seven year old government. The Prime minister office is pouring to many resources into dirty politics and controling the media and little effort to tackle the housing crisis or poverty reduction.


The New Zealand Herald is a strong part of the National party media strategy.

Spotted at Kiwiblog: Mana’s conspiracy theory

Is Mana News competition for The Civilian?

Russian provocation or UK over-reaction?

Some breaking news from the BBC is potentially a bit disturbing – Russian military jets ‘disrupted UK aviation’

Russian military planes flying near UK airspace caused “disruption to civil aviation” on Wednesday, the UK Foreign Office said.

It said the Russian aircraft did not enter UK airspace, but the manoeuvres were “part of increasing pattern of out-of-area operations” by Russia.

The planes were “escorted” by RAF jets “throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest”, officials added.

Russia’s ambassador has been summoned to “account for the incident”.

Diplomatic type language is used but for this to be reported and for the ambassador to be summoned it must be causing someone some concern.

More detail and comment from Reuters – Britain says fighter jets scrambled to intercept Russian bombers

British Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian Bear long-range bombers which had flown close to UK airspace, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Thursday.

The Russian planes were detected flying over the Channel, south of England, on Wednesday and typhoons were launched from Royal Air Force (RAF) bases at Lossiemouth in Scotland and Coningsby in eastern England, the MoD said.

“The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest. At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Last year, NATO conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, about three times as many as in 2013, amid sharply increased tensions between the West and Moscow over theUkraine crisis.

Elizabeth Quintana, a senior research fellow at defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute said Wednesday’s incident was unusual however, and could be linked to Britain beginning an inquiry into the death nine years ago in London of Kremlin critic and ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko.

“Normally Russian Bears come past Norway and down the North Sea. It could have been used to probe the RAF speed of reaction south,” she told the Daily Mail newspaper.

“Flying any military aircraft in or close to the sovereign airspace of another country signals displeasure or at worst aggression.”

And another side to the story: Russia Says Air Force Flight Near UK Complies With International Law

MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik) — Two Russian Air Force strategic bombers spotted near British airspace were conducting a planned 19-hour flight over the North Atlantic and did not breach international regulations or any nation’s borders, a Russian Air Force spokesman said Thursday.

“Two [Tupolev] Tu-95MS [Bear] strategic bombers… successfully completed the planned air patrols. The flight route passed through neutral waters near the Barents and Norwegian Seas, [as well as] the Atlantic Ocean. The flight duration was over 19 hours,” Col. Igor Klimov told RIA Novosti.

According to Klimov, Russian strategic bombers were planned to be escorted by RAF Typhoon aircraft, Norwegian F-16s and French Mirage fighters at different stages on their route.

The spokesman reiterated that the flight had been performed with strict adherence to international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters without violating states’ sovereign borders.

Complying with international law doesn’t mean it wasn’t deliberately provocative.

Or is the UK making more of this than it warrants?

Bored with politics

Patrick Gower talked boredom and looked boorish when he dragged himself away from his holiday and launched his year in politics saying how bored he was with two political speeches.

Holiday over as Key, Little deliver speeches

The political year is well and truly underway, with both John Key and Andrew Little giving their State of the Nation speeches yesterday.

Political editor Patrick Gower is back underway too – he was at both speeches, and what a way to start 2015.

“One would have been more than enough, but two was truly demoralising,” he said on Firstline this morning.

“People call it the State of the Nation; I call it the holiday-wreckers.”

So who had the best start – Key or Little? And why?

Both Key and Little seem to have had a much better start to the year than Gower.  1/10 Paddy.

If he wasn’t aware until now that political speeches can be boring then maybe he has chosen the wrong profession. Of course the state of the nation speeches were boring.

Some journalists listened to and read the speeches and reported on the more pertinent and interesting points.

Gower chose to make his opening item for the year all about himself, sneering at those whose speeches msrked his return from holiday (in the last week of January, when most workers have been back at work for a week or two at least).

The problem with personality focussed journalists like Gower is that they are lured to mixing it with the power brokers, but wish for the excitement of sports or schmoodling with the ‘personalities’ of the entertainment industries.

Gower doesn’t get to report on massacres and disasters and what the Queen wore and what Lorde had for breakfast.

At times they try to make political coverage glamorous and exciting – silk purse out of pig’s tail stuff.

The fourth estate is supposed to doggedly hold our political elite to account. They should understand that when hard work leads to the uncovering of a big story it’s not them that the story is about.

And they should understand that even the biggest political stories are about politics, and most of the population doesn’t care.

If Gower wanted to feature in the most popular news delivery he should study the ‘Most Popular’ web site lists of what the plbes are interested in.

But he has chosen politics. And unfortunately Gower and some other journalists, mostly of the TV kind, try to make something exciting out of a mostly boring field.

Or they just make it about themselves.

If Gower is bored already it may be a long year for him. Paddy may have to plod away with a few speeches and ponderous Parliament punctuated perhaps by a by-election in Northland.

The public have long ago become bored with ‘cry wolf’ style political coverage. And self obsessed journalists who see themselvs as pseudo personalities.

A bored journalist just looks boorish and boring.

Open Forum – Friday

30 January 2015

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.


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