Tag Archives: John Key

Surely this is a flounder like flip flop of flat fish proportions right?

IMG_4461ii

So a few peeps have been asking me ‘how can they trust the Labour Party to not raise the retirement age when the party had voted to do just that in the past, even campaigned on it?’ Surely this is a flounder like flip flop of flat fish proportions right?

I won’t pretend I know exactly what’s going on, because I don’t, but I’ve had a quick look at some news articles from when they idea was first floated until now, so I’ll share this: from what I can tell Labour has held the position of raising the retirement age from since Phil Goff days, and mostly in response to the government suspending taxpayer contributions to the SuperFund (Cullen Fund). The SuperFund was designed to help address future universal super costs by annually funding a percentage of it future payments via investment in income producing assets.

However, when set up in 2003, and to serve its intended purpose, the fund required a commitment from future governments of comprehensive funding until 2020. The funding forecast ensured the fund had the necessary capital to make the required investments it would need to grow the fund to a state where it would be able to do the job it was tasked with. This is not happening and hasn’t been since 2009. To a lesser, but not insignificant degree, the government’s tinkering with Kiwisaver has already wiped money from people’s retirement accounts, meaning the numbers needing rather than merely opting to draw super in later years is likely to increase, ergo keeping overall costs high.

In light of the government’s seemingly willful blindness to the importance of funding the SuperFund, David Parker argued in 2014 for the Labour Party to retain Goff’s raising the retirement age plank as part of their retirement policy. Labour’s policy sought to signal to the country that in the complete absence of any other motivations to address future super costs under National, the age of entitlement would have to be the first cab off the rank for future governments desperate for solutions. Parker, like Goff believed if raising the retirement age was to become inevitable if National stayed in government, then it was important to signal to voters the date the age would have to start to moving up decades out, not years like what we saw in the 1990s when the age moved from 60 to 65 years over 10. Labour’s policy mirrored the Retirement Commissioner’s recommendation of reaching the increased retirement age in twenty years by 2033, thereby giving people an opportunity to consider alternative options, ie upskilling, increasing Kiwisaver contributions, private pension schemes, commercial investments.

Not contributing to the SuperFund from 2009 has cost New Zealanders up to $20 billion in contributions (ie capital to invest) and up to $50 billion in income producing assets. Meanwhile the government has drawn down $11 billion in dividends, leaving even less money for the fund to re-invest. SuperFund is a high performing asset, for context it is New Zealand’s biggest tax payer. In contrast, National want to increase the retirement age to save $4 billion in 2040.

Labour leader Andrew Little argued the maths vs the values of a fair society didn’t stack up and said as much during his leadership bid. He campaigned to keep the retirement age at 65 and democratically party members voted to back his call. A call that says, I believe in a future Labour government once again making retirement funding an immediate and pressing issue that needs addressing now – not in 2040 when Bill’s 85, and comfortably numb on his government paid MP pension.

—–
“Within the space of two terms of office we have put an end to decades of turmoil during which New Zealanders struggled to prepare for retirement while politicians kicked superannuation around like a football.
We have now stabilised the long term funding of the basic state pension so that it will remain a secure bedrock for all New Zealanders. And this year we have introduced a savings scheme that will place an achievable programme of retirement savings within the grasp of every working New Zealander.
We are giving New Zealanders a tangible stake in their future, and ensuring that that future is a solid one.”
—– Michael Cullen, Labour Government, 2005

So here we are in 2017 suffering from successive right governments unwilling to do the necessary funding to support future super costs, now claiming, like that other ship that couldn’t be turned Margaret Thatcher, we have no alternative…

T.I.N.A my …..

* Please note: no flounder were harmed in the making of this opinion/comment *

It was only milk ffs…

only milk ffs

more from Lloyd Jordan

John Key will not return to parliament after the Christmas break

Picking John Key will not return to parliament after the Christmas break citing ongoing family reasons, triggering an earlier than expected general election next year. 

If what John Key says is true, he might not have much left in the tank, but politically he has left the National Party with plenty in theirs – for now. They will need to use it wisely or they could face running out of steam in the next twelve months and find that capital is not there when they need it most. Better to kick Key to the curb now when he can bow out with relatively not much fuss after Christmas, giving the new prime minister a a fair suck of the election sav’.

Dear Leader Kim Jong Key Rachel Glucina

A costly by-election can be avoided if a general election is held within 6 months of a minister resigning, and the writ (the notice of the election date) receives 75% support of the parliament. That could mean an election could be held in the first half of 2017.

If there really is a Santa in the House, they’d bring me this for Christmas.

Prime Minister John Key receives a science briefing…

key-beans

2014 Flashback “Voters don’t care if John Key”

​Everything that is wrong with our political process can be summed up in this one text: 

“Voters don’t care if John Key uses SIS files or lie pathologically, at least he doesn’t wear a scarf to a job interview !” Claire Robinson

Please tell me @Spinprofessor is wrong?

I just wished John Key a Happy Birthday, you can too

I wonder what 55 year old John would say to 29 year old John about telling porkies to government departments? Happy Birthday John, oink oink. 

Name: John Key

Email: liedtoEquiticorpInquiry@sfo.govt.nz

Postcode: 1991

You too can wish John a happy birthday here

Don’t forget to share this page with your followers and friends, so they can wish John all the best too.

Further reading:

Time to go John

Where the bloody hell are you?

Key’s biggest lie of all: his 1991 statement to the Equiticorp inquiry

Time to go John

” …a sense in which Andrew Little is responsible is that he has been part of a campaign of deliberate lies… It is very sad that an opposition party would [behave] so dishonestly…”

Given John Key’s entire tenure as prime minister is built on lies, this from Matthew Hooton over at The Dimpost’s comment section is somewhat ironic, and insulting.

In October 2008 as the then opposition leader, Key maintained his 1991 statement to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into failed corporate high-flier Equiticorp and it’s fraudulent H-Fee transactions with Australian corporate giant Elders IXL, was accurate. But his well documented relationship with infamous New York based Bankers Trust currency raider Andrew Krieger says otherwise.

image

We know Key worked with Krieger, this was confirmed in great detail by hi Bankers Trust boss Gavin Walker* in February 2008. Telling media Key knew everything Krieger was executing across the Auckland Bankers Trust’s branch’s trading desk; indeed looking after Krieger was part of Key’s job description. Key himself has said he can still recall his first phone call with the trader, saying Krieger asked him about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.

We can also be sure Key was at his previous firm Elders Merchant Finance on 17 August 1987, as he filmed for Close Up’s “Big Dealers” episode on that day. What we know of Krieger is that he resigned from Bankers Trust on 23 February 1988. His resignation is well documented, having been reported in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and later in Krieger’s own book, ‘The Money Bazaar’.

image

To have worked with Krieger, which there is no doubt, Key needed to have left Elders Merchant Finance to start with Bankers Trust sometime after 17 August 1987 but before Krieger’s 23 February 1988 resignation date.

Therefore Key’s statement to the Equiticorp inquiry in which he told investigators he left  Elders Merchant Finance for Bankers Trust on 31 August 1988 can only be a lie. His insistence to voters in October 2008 that his statement was entirely accurate can only be another one.

image

Lying to an SFO investigation carries a maximum $15,000 fine or twelve months jail, more for conspiring to mislead, and I think any investigation would find that’s exactly what Key (and his ex-Elders colleague Paul Richards**) did.

image

Time to go John.

_____

* Gavin Walker, current Chair, Board of Guardians of New Zealand Superfund
** Paul Richards, current head of Foreign Exchange Distribution, UBS, North America

John Key talks free tertiary education

OD: “Finally on education, in your first State of the Nation speech you spoke about the opportunity you had for a good education. Kids today end up with an average student debt of $28,000 to get the same education as you did. Any plans to go back to tertiary education, free tertiary education?”

JK: “I don’t know if we’d go back free…” (continued below)

"Let's Be Frank" with Oliver Driver, ALT TV, 6 March, 2008,  1.06 - 5.29 
 

OD: “Why not?”

JK: “Um, sheer cost of it I guess. It’s about…”

OD: “$350 million a year.”

JK: “Yeah. I guess what would you do with the $9 billion of student loans.”

OD: (partly unaudible, possibly ‘scrap em’)

JK: “there’s equity issues..”

OD: “C’mon lets look at you, here you are, the perfect example of a man who was born into a state house, made good, got his education, was able to go to university because it was free.”

JK: “Yeah.”

OD: “Ya know, got to the place where you are.”

JK: “Yeah.”

OD: “And now, you might be our prime minister.”

JK: “Yeah.”

OD: “And yet the next generation of John Keys’ have to pay $28,000 in student loans, if they can get a student loan in the first place.”

JK: “Yeah. Look there’s a number of different parts of that right. Firstly, probably, that tertiary education is widened out substantially to where it was. So a lot of those students, I mean the loans aren’t necessarily um related to, ya know tertiary qualifications, they’re actually around – well they are tertiary but not university per se, they might be a whole lot of other sort of areas.”

OD: “Sure, but it is estimated around $350 million is all we would need to provide free tertiary education.”

JK: “Yeah. Well {int}”

OD: “Now surely with the massive surpluses you keep going on about and the huge desire we have for ‘tax cuts’, we can afford these ‘tax cuts’ because of these huge surpluses. You could give every kid in this country back to having free tertiary education.”

JK: “I guess what I want to say to you is look, I mean we are looking at things like student allowances and all those sort of things. We made it clear we’re going to keep loans at zero percent, and we’ve made it clear, if you repay early , and some will, they’ll get a 10% discount on that.”

OD: “But you didn’t have to do it.”

JK: “I know.”

OD: “And look at where you are?”

JK: “Yeah but the issue..”

OD: “And you’re worried about the brain drain, you’re worried about upskilling our people, and you’re worried about all these sorts of things and yet, that, seems to me one of the most basic things you could do.”

JK: “And there are some areas where we could do that right and we’ve argued that we want to ‘bond’ doctors or might want to certain things with teachers, and write off their student loans, which is the virtually the same thing. I mean wholesale could we do it I dunno, we could look at it. I mean one thing I could say to you is, and this is what I say to young people when I go out to all of the schools all the time – if you’ve got a chance, go to university don’t worry about the student loan, that is the least of your problems but do two things, finish the degree…”

OD: “It’s not the least of their problems once they graduate, I know them.”

JK: “Yeah”

OD: “They’re walking around with $28,000, $40,000, $60,000 dollar debts around their necks, while you were in your first year of work, earning your first amount of cash, they’re hard slog paying back their debt.”

JK: “Yeah”

OD: “To be an educated part of society.”

JK: “Yeah. I mean yeah, you’ve got to look at it and say, “hey what’s driving those costs”, so what is your average course fee at university? About $4000 dollars are year? That sort of number? Probably. Um, I haven’t looked recently, but I guess it’s that sort of number. So, so a lot of what is driving that debt is because they are living away from home right? Now, so, had I been at university and lived away from home – I mean I know I had the luxury of being able to live at home, and I was in Christchurch, and I could go to Canterbury – but the bottom line is, I would have racked up debt then too. I mean, even back in my day, it was only the fees that were paid. So.”

OD: “So do that.”

JK: “Yeah, well that’s a possibility I suppose. I’m just saying, I understand where you are coming from and I’m not disagreeing with you. We want people to go and we don’t want people racked down with debt; and one of the reasons I didn’t like zero percent loans, and I was open about it in the campaign in 2005, was I was really worried people would take down more debt, and that actually even shows, they have, and for longer.”

OD: “But don’t you think part of the reason people are fleeing to Australia is to escape them?”

JK: “Partly because {int} well partly, {int} partly what the problem is I think, is they get this debt and while they’re at university it doesn’t seem that much, they say “ok, I owe $30,000 grand, well I’m gonna start working, I’ll pay it off”. As soon as they come out, there’s lots of other expenses that they hadn’t thought about – they want to move out, whatever, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever it might be – move in, and the problem is that debt hangs around, at which point their income is higher – then they go…”

OD: “Hang on just two minutes ago you said to me you encourage kids to not worry about the debt, to go to university, the debt won’t matter, and now you’re out here telling me that debt builds up, and it’s a whole lot more expensive, and they have to run to Australia.”

JK: “No. I’ll tell you why I think it shouldn’t matter if they get debt, and the answer to that is, getting the qualification, all the academic evidence shows you, your tertiary qualified, you complete your degree, your average income earning stream is much higher. So it’s what I say to you, what I say to young people is, get the qualification, and make sure you go there, make sure you complete it.”

OD: “I’m just saying I think you should think about that. You want people to not leave for Australia. You want increase our national average income. Surely free tertiary education is a way to achieve both of those things. In some part. ”

(Please report any transcribing errors below, thank you)

Key’s biggest lie of all: his 1991 statement to the Equiticorp inquiry

The Standard has a posted an updated listing today of John Key’s lies. There’s a lot of them.

One lie that doesn’t often make these lists is what I believe to be the biggest lie of all: his 1991 statement to the Equiticorp inquiry.

john-key-three-in-a-row

In July 1990 New Zealand’s newly formed Serious Fraud Office were charged with investigating the shambles that was Equiticorp and it’s now infamous founder Alan Hawkins.  Unraveling a ledger entry called ‘H-Fee’ ultimately saw Australia’s SFO equivalent, the now defunct National Crime Authority, assist with the Equiticorp investigation.  While the SFO pursued Hawkins over Equiticorp, the NCA went after Australian based Elders IXL and it’s founder John Elliot over the ‘H-Fee’ entries. It was alleged that $67 million (NZ$76) in fraudulent foreign exchange transactions were made in two payments to Equiticorp to pay back Hawkins for his assistance in Elliot’s 1986 takeover battle for steelmaking giant BHP.

Two years early on 26 August 1988, setting in motion the second  (A$27 million) of the ‘H-Fee’ payments, Elders IXL executive Ken Jarrett had met with Elders Merchant Finance manager Peter Camm and head of foreign exchange, Paul Richards in Wellington. The transaction was completed on 7 September 1988.

One week before been elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in November 2008, Key was asked about the truthfulness of this statement. He said it was 100% truthful, 100% correct and anything else was “a smear campaign by a desperate left”.

Is it a smear if an accusation is true?

When the NCA brought charges against Elliot and other Elders IXL executives, Peter Camm and Paul Richards were also facing fraud charges. In May 1991, now working at Bankers Trust, Key was asked to corroborate a part of Richards statement, namely a lunch he claimed that two had on 31 August 1988.

Richards was alleging it was the 31st and not the 26th that he and Camm had met with Jarrett that August. The trader was adamant of the date and told investigators he could recall the “lunch” and it’s “date”, as it was a “farewell” for “John Key” who was leaving the firm to go to Bankers Trust. Key agreed with Richards recollection of events and made a statement to the investigation reflecting that.

Except Key worked with New York based currency raider Andrew Krieger while they were both at Bankers Trust. This relationship has been confirmed by Key’s then boss, Gavin Walker. Walker has said of the relationship, that it was more or less in Key’s job description to look after Krieger, saying on Key’s first day with Bankers Trust he gave Key a list of their top clients, of which Krieger was one of them. Key himself has said he will never forget his first call with Krieger, where he asked Key about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.

For Key to have worked with Krieger, of which there is no doubt, then he would have had to have left Elders Merchant Finance in August 1987, and not 1988 as told to investigators, as Krieger resigned from Bankers Trust in February 1988. By June 1988 he had retired from the currency markets altogether, not returning to them until 1990. Readers may also recall Key told a reporter in 2007 he had indeed left Elders Merchant Finance in 1987 but called that a mistake when his 1991 Equiticorp statement surfaced a year later.

If Key wishes the New Zealand public to believe he was telling the truth to them in 2008 when as a wanna be prime minister, he assured them his 1991 Equiticorp statement was 100% true and correct, then he needs to explain to us how he, in late 1988, supposedly began working so closely with a world infamous currency trader who was no longer working in the currency markets. He also needs to explain how Walker, now Chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Superfund, could have his recollection so wrong as well.

What authorities need to know is, knowingly misleading a Serious Fraud Office investigation carries a maximum fine of $15,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. Not too mention the possibly criminal issue of Key and Richards conspiring to mislead an investigation.

While some might question whether or not Key lying in his youth has any bearing on the man today, the facts are some 55,000 Equiticorp shareholders were defrauded of over $400 million dollars.

If Key was willing to lie to protect those involved in facilitating some of that fraud, does he continue to lie today to protect himself?

In his book ‘Dirty Collars’ ex SFO head Charles Sturt says this of the vast powers bestowed on his department,

“while a person may be compelled to answer questions, these answers may only be used in evidence if the accused subsequently gives evidence inconsistent with their previous statements”

John Key, did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office?

————————–

How you can help:

Share this post: Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Google+
Reblog/Repost with permission
Follow and share this FB page: John Key did you lie  to the Serious Fraud Office?

Image credit: Bowalleyroad

Australian prime minister suggests John Key is bit of a ‘role model’.

Would Turnbull and Obama think as positively about Key if they knew Key had lied to an early ’90s trans-Tasman investigation into high flying corporates on both our shores?

image

Key was interviewed by Australia’s (now defunct) National Crime Authority and New Zealand’s (then newly established) Serious Fraud Office in May 1991. The evidence he gave to the investigation included a dated timeline for him leaving one job for another. However with a little light shed on it, it’s easy to see this timeline is an impossibility.

In 2008, one week before that year’s general election and he was elected prime minister for the first time, Key’s statement to the investigation surfaced. He told curious media his statement was “100% correct” and any talk to the contrary was nothing but a smear campaign by a “desperate left.”

Further reading:

“Can Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s so far hasn’t?”
“John Key did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office.”

“Except white collar crime, if it’s white collar crime then I’m probably comfortable with it”

image

Ironic.

Key stating he’s the one standing up for the victims of crime. Like he did when he lied to the 1990’s Serious Fraud Office investigation into failed corporate Equiticorp? Whose execs defrauded 55,000 shareholders of over $400 million? An investigation he was happy to mislead to help out his friend who was facing charges for facilitating $40 odd million of that fraud?

Yeah victims, Key rarely cares about them.  

“Except white collar crime, if it’s white collar crime then I’m probably comfortable with it”

“Screwing the scrum” – Cunliffe

Screwing the scrum: the government is screwing people and democracy by underfunding watchdogs and public service.

When I heard Nicky Hagar speak last year, he said the ‘takeaway’ from ‘Dirty Politics’ was not the salacious scandal but the slow erosion of democracy behind it. He asked we seek to create a society where our public service and our public servants, and scientists, and eductors and our health workers were not just free to speak-out against governments but supported to. Transperency in government should know no party colours. 

Watch David Cunliffe 04.11.15 – General Debate – Part 8
HT: Dailyblog/Inthehouse

Another Serious Fraud Office investigation worth mentioning: John Key did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office

Another tail chasing hideous policy from a hideous party and a hideous minister

image

Maybe the person who didn’t want to be in a home surrounded by children was a person with mental health issues who can’t deal with excessive and prolonged noises. Maybe, just maybe, that person saved the ministry from having to later publically explain why some neighbourhood child’s eyeballs were stabbed out with blunt forks by a person who had told the ministry of their m/h limits. Another tail chasing hideous policy from a hideous tail chasing party and minister.

http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/73717886/government-confirms-plans-to-bump-people-off-social-housing-list

Which of these currency traders turned politicians lied to a 1990’s joint Oz & NZ investigation into corporate fraud?

Which of these currency traders turned politicians lied to a 1990’s joint Australia & New Zealand investigation into corporate fraud?

Jon Key Malcolm Turnbull Currency Traders turned Politicans

More info in the links below:

“Where the bloody hell are you?” Could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s so far hasn’t?

John Key did you lie to the Serious Fraud Office?

People still have power

I do not care that there is currently no legislation that could stop a second flag referendum, it’s an entirely moot and lazy point – up until last week there was no legislation for a fifth flag option either. It is disappointing the reporter who wrote this piece for Radio New Zealand Megan Whelan does not include that information. Fact is legislation can be modified on the fly and under urgency and constantly is, to pretend legislation is somehow static and unchanging is bad form and lends no integrity to the report.

The whole reasoning for informal votes is the hope that sheer volumes of numbers would be enough to put pressure on the government and wider community for support to stop what would by then clearly be a pointless second referendum. People still have power.  Am sick of journalists and media organisations hiding their balls and telling us we don’t.

Flag fallacies what not to believe

I for one will be making an informal vote first time around.

The current flag as sixth option to be added to the 1st flag referendum.

Flag It

I support this petition 100% and am happy to put my name too it.

My submission supporting this petition: 

The argument for the two-step referendum process was that voters needed to see which flag design the current flag would be up against before knowing if they would want to change to it or not.  Except people already know whether or not they are going to vote to change the flag.  Therefore two-step process is a waste time, money, debate and resources.

Then today parliament made even more of a farce of an already flawed process by effectively rejecting the final four designs when they voted to include Aaron Dustin’s Red Peak in the first of referendums. This action is akin to bringing back a wildcard in a badly run talent contest, except this one is a bizarre parliamentary version of New Zealand’s Flags’ Got Talent and it’s crap, and it’s costing taxpayers $26 million dollars.

The only honest course of action going forward is for the government to hold just one referendum which sees the current flag going head-to-head with the five alternatives.

One referendum, one vote, one flag, one time.

If you support this petition too, please sign and share.

Flangst: a feeling of deep anxiety or dread

flangst

/flangst/

noun

a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about changing New Zealand’s flag or the state of the flag change process in general.

“not having a Yes/No vote in the first referendum has caused unnecessary angst amongst voters, especially those who do not want to change”

synonyms: anxiety, fear, dread, apprehension, worry, perturbation, foreboding, trepidation, malaise, distress, disquiet, disquietude, unease, uneasiness; rare inquietude

flangst

Does the prime minister stand by all his statements?

It looks like today’s questions were a coordinated effort by opposition parties to make the prime minister answer questions and not have him fob them off to someone else or deny he has any responsibility to answer it. I thought Duncan Garner was a political journalist once, so surely he would have known this? Or is this fobbing off questions a new thing, unique to Team Key?

When MPs ask Key if he “stands by all his statements” he has to answer questions that are put to him and not pass it on to one of his Ministers. If they simply asked him about a particular subject, he can blow it off and not answer it by saying he has no responsibility for that portfolio, thereby wasting a valuable question. The government does this so the prime minister is kept from having to answer tough questions and/or be associated with dodgy, useless, inept, corrupt, etc, government ministers and departments.

For example you could ask Key about the state of operations at a particular DHB, he could claim he has no ‘ministerial responsibility for that’ and pass the question to his Minister of Health to answer. Or he might have made the claim a health department is operating very well, but when it’s proven it isn’t, he can simply deny he has any knowledge or responsibility for it. Whereas asking him if he “stands by all this statements” (usually it is only in relation to a particular topic) but to make the point the opposition parties gave him no wiggle room today by asking if he stood by all his statements since becoming prime minister, means he has to answer, and truthfully, MPs including the PM can not to lie to or mislead parliament. It’s probably the worse thing a politician can do.

Passing off questions has been happening a lot with this government and it frustrates democracy. A country needs a strong opposition (regardless of your politics) to hold governments to account but if they are hindered in the very house where they are meant to get answers for the public, from the very ministers or a prime minister who serve us, then there’s not much an opposition can be, but inept – and that doesn’t do anyone any favours. I applaud what the parties did to day. More of the same please.

Does the prime minister stand by all his statements

Does the prime minister stand by all his statements

Lord Ashcroft & his porky telling Prime Minister BFFs

It appears the United Kingdom’s David Cameron and New Zealand’s John Key have more than friendship with self-made businessman Lord Michael Ashcroft and prime ministerial office in common. It appears they are both world class liars, each willing to mislead their voting public to gain office.

Lord Ashcroft's porky telling Prime Ministers

Lord Ashcroft’s porky telling Prime Ministers John Key & David Cameron

Yesterday via an explosive extract of his soon to be published book ‘Call Me Dave’, Ashcroft makes the claim Cameron had lied to media about his knowledge of Ashcroft’s non-dom (non domiciled) tax  status. I don’t know enough about UK politics or indeed it’s tax system to comment, other than to say yesterday’s revelations show ‘Lord Cashcroft’ (as he was labelled by UK media) is not above greasing the party palms of would-be prime ministers in return for favours. Ergo is there something New Zealand voters need to be concerned about? Apart from our current prime minister Key having no issues with lying to government investigations that is.

Lord Ashcroft's congratulates his friend John Key on his 2014 election victory

Lord Ashcroft’s congratulates his friend John Key on his 2014 election victory

I’ve written extensively on John Key lying in 1991 to New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office investigation into failed high-flying corporate Equiticorp. This inquiry was run in con-junction with Australia’s National Crime Authority who were investigating finance giant Elders IXL, a money lender that had extensive dealings with the New Zealand company.

Was it Ashcroft’s deep pockets combined with Crosby-Textor’s secretive spin that allowed these men to so confidentially mislead and beguile their way past voters’ hearts and into office? If so, how is that democracy?

Lord Ashcroft's bff's - Crosby-Textors cardboard cut-out prime ministerial liars

Lord Ashcroft’s bff’s – Crosby-Textors cardboard cut-out prime ministerial liars

Lord Ashcroft's porky telling Prime Ministers

Lord Ashcroft’s porky telling Prime Ministers

SCOUT EXCLUSIVE: Mike Hosking embraces his inner cleaning lady

Hosking Very Sucky Big Noter

Newly launched entertainment and celebrity site SCOUT provided it’s audience with a much lauded first day exclusive on Monday which turned out to be little more than footage of NewstalkZB radio host and TVNZ’s Seven Sharp presenter Mike Hosking vacuuming his Ferrari. Yes, you read it right. New Zealand’s highest paid broadcaster vacuuming his car is a not just celebrity news to SCOUT, the knowledge is so titillating it needs to be delivered to us an exclusive. If this exclusive wasn’t such vacuous tripe you’d be forgiven for thinking Rachel Glucina and her SCOUT co-owners Mediaworks had taken out shares in a vacuuming cleaning company and were about to launch nightly SCOUT TV infomercials for their very own oh so sucky-motor.

However its not the mindblowing numbness of SCOUT’s very first exclusive that is the point of this post, rather it’s the sexism that accompanied it. Glucina as author of this dust bunny drivel, needs to lift her game if she hopes SCOUT to have any longevity. For the record, saying Hosking is not above ’embracing his inner cleaning lady’ is sexist and unnecessary. Men actually do clean and for the most part the majority of them don’t need to lower themselves from the lofty status of male to the lowly status of female to pick up a hoover.

If this is the level of narrative and content SCOUT hopes to provide, then I can’t wait for it’s close-up of Key the Elder trimming his nose hairs and Glucina’s exclusive interviews with each of his nose hairs for their unique take on the inner workings of Prime Minister John.

“Where the bloody hell are you?” Could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s so far hasn’t?

Would Australia’s political pundits be as  ready to embrace their brand new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s unflinching admiration of  New Zealand prime minister John Key if they were aware that the subject of Turnbull’s affection had mislead an early 90’s investigation by their National Crime Authority (NCA) into the now infamous ‘H-Fee’ transactions? So what do you think? Would the tran-Tasman bromance still be welcomed despite it? Or would Australia’s journalists and commentators not be distracted by the flush of first love and actually call for the New Zealand prime minister to explain himself? Could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s so far hasn’t?

Key & Turnbull

When Key’s 1991 statement to the H-Fee investigations surfaced a week before he was elected prime minister in November 2008, the document was largely accepted as ‘truth’ – even to the point that one highly regarded New Zealand journalist used the statement as ‘evidence’ of Key telling the ‘truth’ about one of his more infamous pre-PM brain-fades. In 2007 Key had tried to front foot questions by New Zealand Labour party politicians about his involvement in the H-Fee investigation, and in doing so had told a journalist that the ‘Labour hounds had nothing on him because he had left EMF in 1987 long before any of the H-Fees we’re decided’. When his statement came to light and it showed Key had actually told investigators he had left EMF in 1988, not 1987 as he’d told this reporter, Key confidently reassured waiting media that what he told investigators in 1991 was the real year and if they were to hear anything to the contrary, then it was nothing but a left-wing smear campaign by a desperate Helen Clark  and her then incumbent Labour government colleagues.

At the same time as Australia’s (now defunct) NCA were investigating the complex H-Fee foreign exchange movements between Australia’s corporate high-flier Elders IXL and New Zealand’s own Equiticorp, New Zealand’s newly established Serious Fraud Office (SFO) were trying to unravel this and many other dodgy movements of money into the hands of Equiticorp founder Alan Hawkins. The two investigating bodies worked closely together sharing information, running separate prosecutions within their own jurisdictions, with the NCA bringing a case in Australia against some of the offending parties over there and in 1992 in New Zealand the SFO’s brought successful charges against Hawkins. He was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison.

Key became involved in the H-Fee investigations when an ex-colleague of his Paul Richards, now head of forex at UBS in United States, was facing fraud charges for his part in one of the transactions. He had helped to facilitate some of the foreign exchange movements necessary to hide these transactions while working for Elders IXL’s New Zealand based subsidiary Elders Merchant Finance (EMF) in Wellington in 1988. Richards was only ever a bit player and eventually was given immunity from charges in return for giving evidence for the NCA’s prosecution across the ditch. Funnily enough a defense lawyer in that court case alleged Richards and Key’s statements to the investigation we’re completely made up, nothing but utter fabrication. What did they know that we don’t?

Richards who was first interviewed in November 1990, told investigators he could supposedly recall an event from 31 August 1988 because he and an ex-colleague ‘John Key’ had had a lunch that day. He could recall the exact date of the lunch because it allegedly marked his colleague’s last day with the firm. This date was at odds with the evidence of Richards’ boss Peter Camm and Elders IXL executive from Australia, Ken Jarrett, both of whom were also under investigation. Allegedly Richard’s was called away from the ‘lunch’ to meet with these two men. Jarrett had supposedly flown to New Zealand from Australia that morning.

In May 1991 Key was asked to corroborate Richards’ evidence. He told investigators he had given notice on 24 June 1988 and then two months later on 31 August the two colleagues were celebrating his final day, he was leaving EMF to head a newly established forex exchange department at rival finance company Bankers Trust. He confirmed Richards’ evidence about their lunch including how Richards had received a call and had to return immediately to the office. About 45 minutes later Richards allegedly returned, a little shaken but he told Key he could not go into detail other than to say he had just had a very strange meeting with his two co-accused. Allegedly the men continued their lunch and supposedly never discussed the strange turn of events again.

Now at Bankers Trust we were told Key worked with infamous American currency raider Andrew Krieger who was based at the company’s New York branch at the time. This relationship we we’re told was highly lucrative for the New Zealand branch and had soon turned the Auckland dealing room into the number one forex dealing room in the country. Reports about the success of this relationship worked to cement the then Leader of the Opposition’s backstory as a ‘state house kid made good’, a currency trader of some merit, a man at the top of his game, right in the thick of it with the world’s most notorious and infamous best. Key’s ex boss Gavin Walker, now chair of the Board of Guardians of the New Zealand Superfund, told media Key was responsible for the Auckland branch’s relationship with Krieger, it was in his job description to look after him and that as far as Walker was aware Key knew everything that Kreiger was executing across the local branch’s trading desk. Key himself told media he would never forget his first phone call with Krieger as the currency legend asked him about New Zealand’s GDP and it’s monetary supply.

Except Key working with Krieger means there is no time in 1988 that Key could have been working with Richards at EMF – it is simply not possible. Kreiger resigned from Bankers Trust on 23 February 1988 – some six months before the 31 August date Richards had told investigators, and later corroborated by Key, as been Key’s last day before he joined Bankers Trust in Auckland. Krieger’s resignation is well documented. He had disputed the amount of bonus he was due from his 1987 trades and promptly resigned leaving the company within a matter of weeks. Upon leaving Krieger spent one month on holiday before returning to the forex markets with another company. By June 1988 though he was disillusioned with currency trading and left the currency markets altogether, not only the markets but America itself, to study Sanskrit in India. He did not return to the currency markets until sometime in 1990. Even if Key’s statement to the H-Fee investigation is believed, it does not explain how he could trade millions upon millions of dollars of currency with someone that helped turn his trading room into the best in the country, when that person had left the currency markets entirely a couple of months earlier?

Did Key lie to the H-Fee investigations? More than likely. Will Aussie commentators think less of him for it? Hopefully. Not sure if Prime Minister Turnbull will, but no one will ever know unless the New Zealand media start asking Key to explain himself. Or could Australia’s media do what New Zealand’s media so far hasn’t?

In his book ‘Dirty Collars’ ex SFO head Charles Sturt says this of the vast powers bestowed upon his department,

“while a person may be compelled to answer questions, these answers may only be used in evidence if the accused subsequently gives evidence inconsistent with their previous statements”

So c’mon on journos, “where the bloody hell are you?”

_____________

2008 6 March ALT TV: Oliver Driver (Lets Be Frank) interview where Key talks about working with Andrew Krieger at Bankers Trust

2008 30 October Radio New Zealand: Kathryn Ryan(Nine to Noon) interviews John Key about H-Fee a week before 2008 General Election

Legal scholar & author Frank Partnoy interviewed Andrew Krieger for the book “Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets” and dedicated a chapter to him. The intro & chapter featuring Krieger ‘Patient Zero’ can be read free on Amazon Kindle +PC. Click “Read first chapter free” to view.

Please share this page with others, thank you.

40 Shades of Beige

Flags only a masochist could love …

40 Shades of Beige

Navel Gazing with Toni Street – a lesson in trust.

They should rename this cross: Navel Gazing with Toni Street

A diet requires a variety of food groups.  Yet whenever healthy eating is discussed in the context of legislating for better food sources in our supermarkets, or a new study is published suggesting we need to take a closer look at what is on our shelves, people, often ignorantly, leap on to the “personal responsibility” bandwagon.  They vigorously wave their “fresh fruit and vegetable” banners while ignoring the 13,000 odd food products on our shelves that presumably have absolutely no bearing on our population’s health.

Take bread for example, a staple for most households, containing emulsifiers. Emulsifiers have recently been linked with intestinal inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, weight gain and metabolic syndromes such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. I wonder if Street was aware of this when she confidently alluded to us all being well schooled enough in what constitutes processed foods to make good food choices? Or indeed while she was championing for supermarkets, as if nationwide dietary issues were nothing more than a matter of misplaced self-control? I’m going with a no, because most people, including Street it appears, largely accept that what is on the shelves of our supermarkets is generally okay for us. Otherwise why else would these products be there? Right?

Wrong.

I used to retail adult products.  While researching the market I learned that the majority of adult toys were made from a jelly PVC.  For those who don’t know, PVC is a rigid material, to make it more pliable, chemical plasticisers are added to it. Over time these chemicals; most often toxic tend to breakdown and leach toxicity from the end product. One often used plasticiser by the name of ‘Phthalate’ is a known ‘endocrine disruptor’, meaning it affects the reproductive system; it is also a known cause of cancer.  Phthalate is often the first choice for manufacturers because it is cheaper than other plasticisers.

Longstanding concerns about phthalate use had already led to the banning of phthalates in the manufacture of children’s toys and pet chew toys.  Other industries such as; medical plastics, food packaging plastics, clothing and cosmetics manufacturers were beginning to voluntarily move away from using or severely limiting the use of phthalates. But it was not just plasticisers that were causing concern.

Some of you may remember a few years ago issues were raised over a plastic commonly used in the manufacture of baby bottles and bottled water containing ‘bisphenol A’ (BPA), another known cancer causing chemical which could break down and be released when the bottles were heated. Authorities were advising consumers to not leave plastic water bottles in the sun, particularly in vehicles, a common habit, where temperatures could quickly escalate on a hot day. Parents were advised to switch to ‘BPA free’ baby bottles where possible. In these instances BPA chemicals if leaching, were doing so directly into food sources which is problematic at the very least.

Learning about the use of phthalates and other toxic materials in adult products, I began seeking any relevant legislation regarding the health and safety of the sale and manufacture of adult (toy) products in New Zealand. To my dismay I found that there were none. The only governance I could find (outside R18/adult retailing restrictions) related to ‘novelty products’. Because adult toys are generally labelled ‘novelties only’, the only criteria they had to meet, even though there was no denying their intended use, are that they complied with basic safety standards for ‘novelty products’, such as “no sharp edges”. Worse still, some global manufacturers were labelling products as ‘non-toxic’ despite independent tests showing the products used any number of suspect chemicals in their manufacture.

Retailing by ‘party plan’ meant I could speak to groups of women (generally) at a time and educate them to the state of the adult product market while sharing my concerns of it being a largely unregulated industry. Most had taken it for granted that the sale of ‘adult toys’ would have some rules or regulation. The expectation that if something was “on the shelf” so to speak (for purchase), it therefore must have passed some form of safety or standardised testing. Given the intimacy of the items being sold most audiences were appalled to learn this was not the case. To that end, my business was New Zealand’s first, and possibly only, adult company to feature a completely 100% phthalate free product line. Not an easy feat when worldwide, the industry itself was only just beginning to move towards self-regulating. What once was a largely male dominated industry, women were quickly taking over as the number one consumer and products began to reflect that.

So how does all this relate to personal responsibility, healthy diets, supermarkets and Toni Street?

In a word, ‘trust’.

As consumers, we trust that what is been sold to us is the very best that manufacturer or that brand can produce.  We assume that they won’t use a cheaper base product with known problems, when a healthier (but possibly more expensive), option is available. We hope and perhaps wrongfully trust that they are opting for the latter.  I mean, we are their customer, their bread and butter, and they say they care for us. That’s what their advertising, their marketing tells us. We buy into their brands and their ethos. They tell us its ‘organic’, we have no reason not to believe them. They tell us its “fat free”, until more recent times, we had no reason to know “fat free” actually meant ‘laden with sugar’.  It’s not like “fat free” emblazoned across packaging has ever been replaced with “diabetes in a box”.

Research conducted by University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, of 13,000 odd supermarket food products studied showed that at least 83% of products were found to be ‘ultra-processed’, meaning they have little-to-no nutritional value. Study by author Dr Wilma Waterlander suggested the sheer number of nutritionally deficit products posed ‘an [unnecessarily] large exposure of unhealthy food products to New Zealand consumers’. There is a silver lining however as that also meant ‘there was much room to create a healthier supermarket food environment.’

Auckland nutritionist Jessica Campbell, of Body Balance Nutrition, told the NZ Herald, “The problem [is] those ultra-processed foods tend to be very energy-dense. Low fibre, low protein, low micro-nutrients and high fat and salt – not conducive with a healthy eating approach.”

Change on our supermarket shelves however could be slow to nonexistent when we consider a large number of these processed and ultra-processed items are actually manufactured ‘house brands’ by the supermarkets themselves, in New Zealand’s case, Foodstuffs and Progressives – the very entities Street was suggesting we stop pointing fingers at – she could have been speaking straight out of a Mike Hosking play book, and they’d both be wrong. Supermarkets bosses do have the power to change what is on our shelles. The question is, with regulation, do they have the desire?

They could, as Dr Waterlander suggests limit processed foods for example, or cut back on shelf space for ultra-processed products. But why would they do that if their companies are manufacturing a not insignificant number of these product lines? Supermarket house brands also often push out other products. House brands also employ vertical integration, meaning they can control every processes of a product’s manufacturer. Not only do they push out products from their stores, they push our other manufactures from sourcing raw materials, eg the potato grower to frozen potato goods.  I wouldn’t imagine any talk of labelling or limiting processed and ultra processed food for consumers benefit would be welcomed either.

What could our supermarket shelves look like if consumers and governments demanded a low limit of processed food lines? Could limiting ultra processed and processed foods have not just beneficial nutritional spinoffs but local manufacturing ones as well, including jobs? Shelf space in supermarkets is highly competitive, dominated by global big names and house brands and often local manufacturers struggle to get a foot in the door, let alone finding optimal shelf placement when they do. We currently have a government pushing for national identity. Yet what’s speaks more to national identity than the very foods we nourish ourselves with? What shouts we back ourselves better than ensuring a more competitive playing field for local and niche product producers in one of our biggest consumer markets?  What says we believe in ourselves more than our brands on our shelves for tourists to fall in love with and want to take home with them? It’s not like the world can eat our flags Mr Key.

So the next time Street or anyone wishes to impart any more wisdom from their navel, I suggest they run it past someone who has a clue first.  For it is quite clear the findings of the research that came out of the University of Auckland yesterday and the subsequent discourse was completely beyond Street. If you’re going to put yourself out there is a voice of reason that people can trust, it pays to ensure they actually can. In this instance supermarket bosses are exactly who we should be pointing fingers at. They are the gatekeepers to the country’s pantries.

#StandforNZ – Kiwi pharmacies running at a ‘$9 million loss’ to cover Government shortfall

Honestly I think half these sick people are just not aspirational enough for their health and should stop relying on their drugs, their government and just back themselves more. If they’re too weak or too ill to wave the new fan-dangled flag we’re gonna get then they will have no one else to blame but their unpatriotic selves. We’ve all gotta do our bit to ensure a flag none of us wants has all the funding it can get. So suck it up buttercups, and keep calm and quite whining. No one actually cares that our pharmacies are subsidising a John Key vanity project.

Kiwi pharmacies running at a '$9 million loss' to cover Government shortfall

White Man Behind A Desk: Money and the Media @manwithdesk

Some good stuff in here, well worth sharing. 

There just isn’t enough money to make mainstream journalism good… But who needs good when you’ve got Hey Martha!

 White Man Behind A Desk: Money and the Media @manwithdesk FB/WhiteManBehindADesk

“This week, with Campbell Live cancelled, we figure out what happened to journalism. ”