Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thriving?

I guess the question that has to be asked is

Has ACT really thrived?

They have certainly survived but as for thriving, this can really only be measured in poll results.

We won't really know if either Hide or Douglas are right until the next election.

And that election is going to be a tough one, especially as the voters are also going to be also considering the fate of the minor party lifeline - MMP.

The ACT brand is hog-tied to the Hide brand and whilst that has been their greatest strength it is also their greatest weakness.

No matter who is right, any party which continues with the wishy washy "Liberal" byline is a party that is still campaigning with a last century mindset.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

ACC and Competition

Some of our brainless knuckle dragging anonymous commenters don't seem to know that for some time now, self employed people can seek to replace a major part of their ACC coverage with private insurance - saving thousands of dollars each year by way of reduced levies.

The only surprise is that this fortunate state of affairs has not been publicised widely.

Take this example of a thirty eight year old non smoking 50/50 share milker earning $200k per year. (Many earn more than this when one takes into account drawings plus loan principal repayment and family accommodation.)

He is a top class Maori farmer and his name is Kau Koki

Kau has negotiated an 'agreed value' position with ACC using their Cover Plus Extra facility whereby he has the maximum allowable benefit of $88,015 per annum paid out in the event of an accidental disablility claim. There is a one week stand down.

His ACC levy for this cover in the year ending March 31st 2011 will be $6,094.

BUT

Kau can negotiate with ACC to reduce his level of cover (and levies) to just $20,800 and go elsewhere (private insurers) to replace the balance of his cover.

In doing so he can obtain a longer stand down period which slashes his premium cost. It is far more efficient to fund short term claims himself than it is to pay huge premiums to ACC or an alternative insurer. So he takes a thirteen week stand down along with a $20k trauma benefit which pays out immediately upon diagnosis of forty or so major medical issues, thus mitigating some of the thirteen week risk. The rest he carries himself. Kau now is fully covered for illness related disability as well as accident.

How much does he pay?

  • ACC .........................$1,922
  • Insurer ...................$2,080
  • Total ........................................$4,002
That's an annual saving of a cool $2,092 and a huge improvement in the quality of cover.

Warning:

People need to take care to ask all the right questions. Adolf understands not all private insurers currently will enter into this arrangement. Some apparently have tricky policy wordings which mean they will only pay the difference between the maximum ACC 'entitlement' and the sum insured.

Adolf knows which insurers these are.

Al Gore attends Winter Olympics

video

Missing Me Yet?

Sure looks like it.

Just when you think it can't get worse...........

http://www.theresagattung.com/downloads/images/Theresa_Gattung_Image2.jpg

ETS Public Meeting

For our 25,000+ Gisborne readers:

PUBLIC MEETING

John Boscawen, ACT’s spokesman on Climate Change invites you to a Public Meeting to discuss the implications of the amended Emissions Trading Scheme.

New Zealanders will all be poorer. Power, petrol and food will all go up in price.

Come and find out;
• Why the ETS will see many low and middle income families struggle
• Why many freel the 'scientific consensus' is crumbling and dispute that the science is settled
• Why it will be more difficult for our export businesses and farmers to compete
• Why ACT’s offer to support National in delaying Labour’s ETS was ignored

Where: Godzone Church building,
82 Grey St, Gisborne
When: Tuesday 2 March, 7:30pm

For more information: email johnboscawen.mp@parliament.govt.nz or call 09 531 5531

www.johnboscawen.org.nz

Join John on Facebook to keep up to date with his campaigns!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bold, decisive leadership

Good god, John Key has accepted the resignation of Phil Heatley and acted decisively, boldly and courageously.

Now I’m just waiting for the decisive, bold and courageous action on:
  • Flattening taxes
  • Introducing a Taxpayer Rights Act
  • Scrapping Working for Families
  • Selling Kiwibank, Air New Zealand and Kiwirail
  • Bringing back the Privy Council
  • Allowing Maori their day in Court for the Foreshore and Seabed
  • Scrapping interest free student loans
  • Re-introducing the original section 59
  • Scrapping the ETS

Heatley fired?

What an amazing turn of events. A prime minister who shoots members of his own party. Contrast that with the beast and her sickening attempts to hide and lie about Taito Philip Field.
WELL DONE JOHN KEY

A Tale of Two Failures

It's not often you see the same headline half a world away on the same day describing two respective local events.

Today features ABC News in the United States and TVNZ in (of course) New Zealand.

Could it be that they both have the same problem?

The company said, however, that lower prime-time ratings and advertising rates at the ABC Television Network offset results.


Too many people (like Adolf) turned off by their poor quality and slanted news presentation?

If people don't watch your evening news they generally don't watch much else at your place so it's damned hard to increase the price of your adverts as your ratings decline.

They join the ranks of the NYT in the race for the gurglar.

Amazing guy


"The son of one of Hamas’s founding members was a spy in the service of Israel for more than a decade, helping prevent dozens of Islamist suicide bombers from finding their targets, it emerged today."
You can see video of his conversion to Christianity here. He was at one point president of the Hamas Youth movement. The turning point was seeing a phrase in the bible to "Love your enemy".
Needless to say he has a death sentence.
He is now living in California.

.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Close shaves

There have been two instances in the last week where I have almost been collected by a motorist while cycling.

The first one I was cycling, alone, in the middle of the day, wearing a white top, straight along a road where cars were waiting to turn right from the opposite direction. The car immediately in front of me (remember this post where I said I can easily cruise along at 40 km/h with a small tailwind) was given way to, but the impatient asshole of a motorist waiting to turn right never saw me/looked for me/gave a shit about me and turned right in front of me. I had to swerve violently to the left, apply the brakes forcefully and got close enough to the car to feel the wind on my shorts. The driver just drove off laughing.

Idiot #2 was tonight at about 6pm in perfect daylight.

I was following the centreline around the bend, a car was waiting to turn left out of a Give Way sign and he just, well, never gave way. Fortunately I was close to the centreline so could swerve across it to the opposing side of the road, and fortunately again, there were no cars coming. Did he stop or offer an apology for nearly killing me? Not a chance.

So to the driver of white hatchback, registration DUN295, I hope you sleep well tonight knowing you almost killed me.

I apologise for not accepting that motorists, of which I am one too, have a mortgage over the road. I should be grateful they are letting me use it.

Sanity Prevails in Taranaki

'Not guilty' is the verdict in the case against the bloke who allegedly shot at a boy racer's car with a .22 rifle.

Bit what about the evidence given by the little prick who had been terrorizing these people's livestock for a whole year? He told the court his car had been fired on and he produced the bullet holes and the remains of the bullets to prove it. (Conveniently omitted from this NZPA piece.)

Trouble is, the bullets didn't come from the accused's air rifle. Clearly, they were fired into the car by the little prick, after the event, to sex up the evidence. Pity he didn't check to find out if the accused owned a .22 rifle.

Questions:

How could the cops be so dumb as to not properly investigate?

When will the little prick be charged, convicted and jailed for perjury?

Will He Cast His Net On The Other Side?

President Obama has dug himself into a very deep hole with everything he touches going bad on him. The results manifest themselves every day on the Rasmussen tracking poll which has been hovering for some days around 19% net disapproval - a record for any president after only a year at the helm.

02/23/2010

-19

23%

42%

45%

54%

02/22/2010

-19

22%

41%

45%

54%

02/21/2010

-19

22%

41%

45%

54%

02/20/2010

-17

23%

40%

45%

53%


He has put himself off side with the military, the economy is refusing to recover fast enough and unemployment remains at unacceptable levels. He has demeaned Americans by kow-towing to a number of overseas leaders and insulting those who should be America's friends. He has nationalized the auto industry, placed the trade unions into a position of privilege and failed to take one step to honour his pre-election bally-hoo about 'cleaning up Washington.' The public is overwhelmingly against his proposed nationalization of the private health insurance industry with it's inherent increase in taxes, albeit disguised as something other than tax. Worst of all, his own party is deserting him in droves since the Massachusetts massacre.

No wonder Sarah Palin was able to deliver her priceless one liner:-



"And how's all that hopey-changey thing working out for you?"

Obama needs a game changer and Adolf thinks he can guess what it will be.

He will pull the ultimate surprise by supporting Israel in a series of raids on Iran's nuclear facilities. Such a move will see his poll ratings at home go sky high.

The signs are all there.

http://firstfriday.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/ahmadinejad.jpg

Imadinnerjacket has given Obama just the excuse he needs by rejecting his cloying attempts at appeasement. Now the news is out that Iran pretty much has it's nukes and the wherewithal to deliver them. Obama can blame it ALL on Iran and paint the mullahs as crass, obdurate, deceitful, dangerous and untrustworthy people. How dare they reject the friendly overtures of Obama, the Messiah, the world's Saviour.

Just a couple of days ago, Israel put on show for the world (Iran) to see, it's fleet of unmanned aircraft.



These are not just little old drones with a couple of .303 rifles attached. They are large aircraft able to fly at high altitude carrying substantial payloads (nukes) and most remarkably, able to remain aloft for 24 hours without refueling.

Suddenly the dynamics have changed. Israel can send these planes into Iran and allow them to crash or be shot down after they have hit their targets. No human crews to be captured and used as pawns.




My guess is Mr Netanyahu already is on the phone to Big Ears, telling him how Israel can save his presidency. Of course the deal will be that Israel will forgo use of nukes if the US will provide it with the (a) conventional bombs necessary to take out Iran's clandestine nukes and (b) diversionary military activity and radar jamming services.

Pretty simple really. Everybody wins.

Obama and the Democrats regain their standing in the opinion polls, Israel preserves itself for the foreseeable future and Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE heave a great sigh of relief as does the whole western world.

BTW, if you're wondering why there is no picture of Obama?

I can't stand the sight of the smarmy lying bastard.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Believe It Or Not

The camera does not lie.

Behold, The Cook's punkin tree.


Boo Hoo

Adolf suggests these foolish people should run their adverts on buses in Riyadh.

Advertisements with identical wording ran in the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Spain. Similar campaigns also ran successfully in Croatia, Finland, Holland, Italy, America and across the Tasman in Australia.

Funny, ain't it? How those who would mock Christianity seek to do so only in countries whose very freedoms are based on the tenets of Christianity.

Skeletons in closet

Surely this is a police own goal.
A major row has broken out between Air New Zealand and the police after claims of drink-driving staff and a drinking culture...

Internal police documents released to TV3 showed there were at least six incidents of drink-driving involving a total of four Air NZ staff between 2007 and last year.
Six incidents in two years.

What about the drink-driving culture of the police themselves?
Half of all police officers caught drink-driving in the past three years have beaten the charge, raising allegations of one law for police and another for the public.

Figures given to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act show that just five out of 16 officers on drink-driving charges have been convicted since the beginning of 2006. The 16 include the three whose cases are still before the courts.

Sixteen from the beginning of 2006 until October 2009.

Pro rata, pretty much the same as Air New Zealand.

On these figures, the police have just as bad a "problem" as Air New Zealand supposedly does.

'Old Labour' Never Learns

Now these Brezhnev like dinosaurs from Labour want the gummint to 'intervene' in Telecom's business affairs because they've screwed up big time.

Forget it.

The clients are well protected already. All they have to do is move over to Vodafone or the other outfit.

Labour has absolutely no idea how to run a business but they want to meddle where the market is well able to sort out the sheep from the goats.

Telecom looks more like a goat every day. Thank God I haven't got shares in the wretched outfit.

Nothng Better To Do?

And it took two of these tossers to produce this huge story of immense national importance. One of them the political editor, no less.

Straight from the Mike Williams school of investigative reporting, they found a $70 bill for a couple of pretty ordinary bottles of wine and a lousy hundred and fifty buck staff lunch.

It's time they were packed off back to the police rounds to relearn their trade.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Respect is a two way street.

Having watched with increasing fury and dismay as our Police force has been transformed into a uniformed branch of the inland revenue and wimpy do-nothings when dealing with trespass is it any wonder that we are seeing more and more disrespect shown to our police.

I would be more than happy to see traffic split out from proper coppers. A great leap backwards? Or a way to restore public confidence and respect?

Yet another council junket

Dear oh dear, yet another council junket. This time by the Mayor of Manukau City and supercity Mayoral aspirant Len Brown.

Manukau Mayor Len Brown has come under fire for spending thousands of dollars of ratepayer cash to take his wife on a sister-city trip to Japan.

Supermayor candidate Brown was also criticised for opting to fly premium economy on the junket while other members of the delegation flew economy.

Flights for the mayor and his wife Shan cost $7900, and a further $8700 was spent flying three council staff to Utsunomiya, 120km north of Tokyo.

Council chief executive Leigh Auton also brought his wife, Jenny, on the trip but paid for her costs personally.


Getting the ratepayer to pay for his wife was a bit off. If Rodney Hide ought to pay for his partner's travel out of a shared sympathy for taxpayers during a recession, so should any other politician. A sister city relationship is not enough of a diplomatic event for wives to get lovely air tickets to exotic climes. Len should write a cheque back to the people of Manukau for this.

Perhaps this poor judgment and unwise spending is why Len Brown has now dropped back into second place behind John Banks in the latest poll for the Auckland Mayoralty, as reported on Kiwiblog.

Monday moan

Every so often we get freak occurrences. This week’s ones are assaults on cops.

Then, after the freak occurrences, comes knee-jerk political responses. “We’re gonna do something about it”, they say.

Is it just me, or is it simply that weird shit happens occasionally and all we should do is shrug our shoulders and say “weird shit happens occasionally”.

Or do we get our politicians to pass laws to stop it from happening again? I mean, assault on police is illegal now. Should it be made more illegal than what it is now?

So Good I Stole It.......

....from Ana Samways at Sideswipe.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recent comments...

...stopped working completely recently after a lingering illness. The old javascript widget I was using for recent comments gave a good layout and was highly adjustable, but - well, one that's less adjustable but does actually display recent comments wins out when it comes to utility value. I've replaced the dead old one with a bog-standard Blogger feed that isn't as nice but does actually put recent comments on the page.

Click, Click, Click

At 0930 to day Adolf walked out to his car. He turned to collect forgotten glasses and his shoe slipped on the concrete.

There was a discernable noise. Click click click, as one foot shot forward and the other foot stayed back.

Torn hamstring. Agony. Right about where that line in the diagram is pointing.

http://www.aclsolutions.com/images/Seif_hamstring%20muscles.jpg

That'll slow the silly old bugger down a bit. No more long walks, rowing machine or skating up and down an extension ladder for a while.

Simple reason why we have "unaffordable" housing

From Granny:
"Scandalous" red-tape charges are preventing much-needed affordable housing from being built around New Zealand, real estate experts say.

Figures released by one developer reveal almost 40 per cent of the $250,000 cost of building a pair of two-bedroom units in Auckland went on a staggering array of bureaucratic fees, consents and permits.

The anonymous developer, who builds in Auckland suburbs with housing shortages, said the fees were blocking new low-cost housing projects.

Of the $93,750 in fees he was charged, $46,000 went to the Auckland City Council as a financial contribution. The resource consent cost $23,000 and an ACC consent, $8500. Water connection was $8300 and an electricity connection fee $5500. Other fees were paid for a right of way consent charge and vehicle crossing permit.

"This is why affordable medium density housing is a myth in Auckland city," the developer said. "It really is a ... scandal."

This was me in August last year:
In one of the most disgraceful and unaffordable policies ever inflicted on ratepayers, the North Shore City Council has increased their development contributions by 150%.

Mr Blincoe expected a $13,000 development contribution bill from North Shore City Council when he built on a Torbay property.

He got a nasty shock when that figure leapt to $32,500 after his house plans were lodged late last month.

And:

The charges have been steadily increasing as the policy has been changed to more accurately reflect the cost of growth, he says.

For example earlier wastewater charges of $800-$900 are now about $14,000, says Mr Cleaver.

Nothing else needs saying. Except this from said Granny article.

But Local Government New Zealand environment and regulation manager Irene Clark defended the charges, saying that they were an "actual and reasonable" cost.

She said they went towards processing applications, inspections and administration costs.

The cost of processing, inspections and administration is the wages paid to council staff to, um, er, process, inspect and administer. Wages are paid through rates.

As an aside, I read the other day that North Shore City Council has removed user pays on Takapuna business parking. The impact on rates was .3%. That's quite significant. Somehow if someone from Manurewa wants to come to Takapuna to shop I, as a North Shore ratepayer, have to pay his parking.

Roll on November.

Predictions and other stuff

Phil Goff will slip back in the prefered Prime Minister ratings this month due to the sickening arse kissing the law breaking baby killer ex PM has been getting in the media over the last week. No hard questions like;
What the fuck are you doing having a holiday when your utterly shite UN dept is trying to cope with the biggest catastrophe it has ever faced?
How can you keep a straight face accepting an honorary doctorate in LAW when you had little regard for it when you were breaking it?

The headlines in both papers over the last day or so are proof that Cam Slaters crusade against name suppression is working. What other conclusion can you reach when they are both breathlesly trumpeting the name of the poor stupid soul who murdered a young girl in Kerikeri in 2008.
I am supporting his campaign but felt no need to name the young man in question because he has been held since arrest and posed no threat to anybody. But when doctors and prison managers and scum accused of murder and shite comedians are out and about in society hiding behind name suppression I am disgusted with our judicial system.
Rant over.

Tinted Glasses

Matt McCarten leads off with a split infinitive today.

http://liberation.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451d75d69e2011571cd39b3970b-320wi


How much nicer might have been:

After Power's announcement, I think now MMP in some form will survive.

Adolf agrees with the thrust of his analysis however.

I can't help laughing though, at the deeply ingrained hatred of the right which seeps through in everything this redder than red unionist says. McCarten seems surprised that a National politician can act evenhandedly. He's been around the Left too long. Have a look at this:
"However, Power has gone out of his way to consult all the Parliamentary parties and, amazingly, did not include many things Labour and the Greens objected to, even though he had the votes to get his way."
and this:
".........rammed through Parliament the present laws to advantage itself.

To his credit, Power did not use the same tactic."

McCarten has not yet realised that Labour was tossed out because they were and are a gang of corrupt self centred crooks, masquerading as a political party. By contrast, NACTationalMP are governing for the good of the nation. Simon Power's actions here are a prime example.

Then he just can't bring himself to face the current reality, so indulges in some IPCC like juxtaposition of truth with hope.
"After the next election it is likely the only third parties left will be the Greens, the Maori Party and possibly Act."
He got the words right but the positioning wrong. After the next election it is likely the only third parties left will be Act, the Maori Party and possibly the Greens.

Like most commentators, McCarten has never truly understood MMP. (Mind you, neither has Adolf.)
"MMP can actually be fixed easily. Possibly maintain 120 MPs but increase the number of electorate seats, which consequently reduces the number of list MPs."
He should consult HomePaddock who could have told him that the number of electorate MPs has increased considerably and continues to increase as the population grows - with consequent reduction in the number and ratio of list MPs. No changes are needed.
"Don't allow list MPs to contest by-elections."
How silly! McCarten wants to restrict democracy and disenfranchise those who would seek a mandate from the voters rather than the party? That sounds like something from Brezhnev's politburo.
"It's hard to get around party list rankings but we could allow voters to rearrange a party's list. If the parties had to let all their members vote to rank their list, as the Green Party does, it would make list MPs accountable to more than just a few party hacks in a back room."

Not surprisingly, McCarten considers political parties to be evil or he would not have made such a condescending and foolish suggestion. There is nothing bad about a party selecting a few of its best and brightest who might not possess the gift of the gab. (Steven Joyce is a stand out example, as was Dr Brash.) Look what a disaster McCarten's pet system has been for the Greens.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What a win!!

The Herald headline:

Cricket: NZ beats Bangladesh by 120 wickets

Wow!

Friday funny

Because Eldrick Tont Woods is expected to announce a comeback (I really, really could have been vulgar with those choices of words), I thought it pertinent to give you today's funny.

10 rules for men


1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home.

2. It's important to have a woman who cooks from time to time.

3. It's important to have a woman who keeps the house clean.

4. It's important to have a woman who has a job.

5. It's important to have a woman who likes you.

6. It's important to have a woman who can be your very best friend.

7. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.

8. It's important to have a woman who you can trust, who doesn't lie to you.

9. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed.

10. It's very, very important that these nine women do not know each other.

Sincerely,
Tiger Woods

Euphimisms

The NYT considers itself the paper of record and does not like using rude language. Here is their description of the reaction to a leaked cable during the Obama Afghanistan decision. The article itself is worth reading
The cable stunned some in the military. The reaction at the Pentagon, said one official, was “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” — military slang for an expression of shock.

Helen Clark saving the world.

Heard Clark being interviewed on ZB a couple of mornings ago.
She stated that one of the main jobs of the UNDP was to raise people out of poverty.
She then admitted that they had had zero success in Africa but millions of people had been raised from poverty in China.

I guess all those hard working Chinese must be thankful that Helen is out there batting for them and the Africans will just have to wait for the next innings.

Another Disciple Martyred

Last week saw the public renunciation of the Warmenising faith by disciple Phil Jones with his remarkable admission that the angels didn't really roll the stone away from the grave. The stone actually was always where it was found by Mary.

Today another of the disciples threw in the towel.

http://www.co2-handel.de/media/07/75_personen/10_politik/Weltweit/deboer_yvo_unfccc.jpg

His assertiveness sometimes led to accusations that he was overstepping the bounds of a neutral U.N. facilitator.

"They are absolutely right. I did that because I felt the process needed that extra push," he told the AP.

Poor Berend must cringe every time this head tilting cretin opens his mouth. (Why are greenies all head tilters?)

It remains for the loud mouth of the group Pachauri to be brought before the courts for his many verbal assaults on the ears of the sane and for the self anointed messiah Gore to be stripped of his criminally acquired wealth and prestige.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tortoise and the Hare

Lord Farrar has a post on the Tortoise and the Hare, taken from Trans Tasman. Sir David agreed "with the sentiments...[P]ushing through reform that merely results in a new Government at the next election that reverses that reform, is dumb."

David, and most of the commenters on the post, agree with an incremental approach to turning this country around. That's because there is risk of electoral defeat if "bold" changes are pushed through too quickly, and a follow up risk of the reforms being overturned very quickly.

Questions arise.

How many of the following major reforms, during the "Klarkistan" era, were implemended incrementally? And, how many have been overturned?

I believe the answers are none and none.
  • Raising top tax rate to 39%
  • Working for Families
  • Employment Relations Act (consequential repeal of Employment Contracts Act)
  • Purchase of Kiwibank
  • Purchase of Air New Zealand
  • Reformation of District Health Boards
  • Removal of Privy Council
  • Decriminalising prostitution
  • Civil Unions
  • Foreshore and Seabed law
  • Interest free student loans
  • Kiwirail purchase
  • Kiwisaver
  • Repeal of section 59
  • Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Scrapping of air defence wing
  • Electoral Finance Act
UPDATE: Oops, I have realised the EFA is gone, mostly. I guess the answers are none and one.

Helen Clark's haiti heartbreak.

But not quite heartbroken enough to cancel her holiday and gong collection.
Putting aside the fact that this woman tried to destroy democracy in this country, oversaw the end of Kiwi's being able to get help from the Privy Council and arguably broke quite a few laws in her shameless quest to hang onto power, this emperor troughpig is getting a nice gong and sash from Auckland university.... In..... Wait for it..... LAW. FFS.

The other gong is pretty much worthless to most of us as she will be alongside such luminaries as the fattest gay man to ever be an MP. A man who ate and drank and taxi'd his way around the globe for over 30 years on the taxpayers dime.

But.... Don't talk up all the suffering in Haiti when arguably as the head of the UNDP you might be feeling a bit embarassed at skiving off on a south pacific jolly when the agency you head is trying to help sort out the largest catastrophe in the UNDP's shamefull history.

Robbed

Fabianski can f**k right off and back to Poland. Idiot. Two glaring errors cost us a 1-0 away win at Porto. Never forgetting his shocking display in the FA Cup semi last year against Chelski.

Bring back Pat Jennings.

Signed:

Pi**ed off.

Israel pisses on their Western backers (again)

This is one of my pet hates. Back when the Israelis were caught stealing NZ passports for their hit squads to use when assassinating Arabs, I was regularly travelling to and from Arab countries on an NZ passport. Since then, pretty much nothing of what I think about the Israeli govt or Mossad is printable.

Now they're at it again, this time pissing on the UK and other Western backers of Israel. Their response says it all:

...the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, broke his government's
silence saying there was no proof that the Mossad was behind the killing.

In other words: "You got no proof it was me, assholes!"

The Brits are co-operating with the Dubai authorities to try and uncover that proof. Here's hoping they find it.

Getting rid of North Korea's dictator

Here is how to get rid of Kim yong Il

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Manchester in a nut shell.

Northern monkey throws a wobbly.
Not much more than a Beatles tribute band at their best. Stupid chav mancunian tosspots at their worst.


I defy anybody to disagree that manchester is populated by barely human Morlocks

Down The Gurglar......

...goes Climate Change as three major US firms pull out of a strategic alliance with environmental groups championing climate change legislation.

Why? The bills proposed will be damaging to their businesses and to their nation.




It must be only a matter of time before New Zealand pulls back from implementation of its ETS.

Adolf's pick is that the gummint will wait until the last minute, allowing the head of steam to build further against the climate change conspiracy, before moving to repeal the obnoxious and damaging legislation. The trick is to do so in such a way that minimises a politically driven back lash against our exports to those countries where any old excuse is good enough for a phony trade barrier.

From the NZ Emmissions Unit Register:

31 May 2011
Deadline for meeting surrender
obligations either through the
surrender of units and/or paying
$25 for each unit that is required to
be surrendered.


The first money for carbon credits appear to be due on the table in May 2011 so it seems as though there is a bit of time up our sleeves.

Huljich funds and stock pumping


Adolf has drawn my attention to the Huljich fund. As of this morning I had never heard of it but he maintains they have done markedly better than their opposition in offering Kiwisaver returns. That would appear to be on the basis of
misrepresentation. When they started their funds they pumped the returns so that their investment statements would be able to show an excellent return in comparison to other funds. Evidence this extract from the Huljich investment statement dated 9 September 2009. If you cant see the small print Huljich have super high returns whilst their competitors are in the red. If you believe that is real I have a bridge to sell you.



As an aside I am gobsmacked by the paucity of information allowed in the investment statements and annual report. Not even a set of financial statements in the investment statement(only annual report) or a disclosure of current holdings in either. Given the political importance of ensuring that Kiwisaver investors are not subject to breach of trust I would have thought they would be obliged to disclose their actual holdings in the same way as the Cullen Fund. That would ensure that competitors and the public are able to validate their returns against independent data rather than simply being forced to rely on pretty graphs on a website.

The conservative fund touts a return to Sep 2009 from inception of over 20% per the graph above. 16% for the comment extracted from page 6 their 16 page annual report to March 2009 below. 16 pages of which 4 contain any valuable information rather than just the type of fluff below
“Huljich has been a standout performer showing positive returns over the last year in all funds – conservative, balanced and growth – in a time when most of the market has been going backwards.” “The secret to his success – including a 16.07 per cent return for the company’s conservative fund – was an early move, ‘a no-brainer’, to cash and fixed interest as opposed to shares. As an active fund manager, Huljich says the company has more discretion than many about how it handles its funds’ asset allocations.”.
How many of you could earn 16% in cash and fixed interest. Either they speculated on under priced bonds for a conservative fund or there is something dodgy about the declared return. It seems reasonably clear to me they pumped their returns shortly after 31 March 2008 when they had total members accounts of only $107,066 per page 10 of the Annual Report . This upped their unit price on a small value as the SST indicated.

Then for the investors after March 2008 they do not calculate the growth from inception but instead take advantage of that nice fake buffer by calculating the unit price from the ramp rather than as a weighted average of returns from inception. The unit price is nominal and subsequent investors would not be prejudiced by the ramping but would simply have been mislead into investing in a fund that actually made a loss in its first 6 months. It would be fascinating to see their weighted monthly portfolio returns against the value of the portfolio at that time along with a link to their portfolio structure at each point. The definition of "Investment Returns" is interesting. I cannot see whether it is mark to market or actual cash. Will check later.

I am also incredibly surprised that Don Brash is anywhere near it. I have huge respect for his integrity even if I do disagree with some of his actions as Reserve bank governor.

UPDATE: I have investigated further. The dates don't stack on March 2008 for the growth fund although they could fit on the conservative. I withdraw the wilder statements above and have adjusted the post accordingly. I stand by the curiosity about how their portfolio has performed month by month.
You can get at their full detailed accounts at the Companies Office which have got a split between the funds showing they lost money till March 2009. The unit price was slightly negative at March 2009. - 0.9743 at which time they had $11.6m in their fund so Adolf is right the impact would be negligible. By Sep 9 that had risen to 1.0853 which I can easily believe given the lift in global stock markets during that time.

UK sink schools and National standards testing

This article is highly relevant to those clamouring against standards.
She tested the 11-year-olds and found that the highest reading age was that of an average nine-year-old. Less than a fifth of them were leaving with five GCSEs at grades A-C.
“We worked our socks off,” says Myers, who puts in a regular 16-hour day. Sure enough, now nearly 90 per cent of girls obtain five GCSEs at grades A-C, and Bishop Challoner is in the top 2 per cent of state secondaries even though more than half the pupils receive free school meals, 27 per cent have special needs, and they speak a total of 73 mother tongues
A highly successful turnaround of a failing London east end sink school.

To those educationists who disapprove of testing, let Myers be a lesson to you, and to me, as I sit down in her new office (passing five girls waiting nervously outside the door). She gives all new pupils a cognitive ability test (CAT) and retests them every year. The CAT is also used to help in choosing subjects and careers. Each student is given an ambitious performance target.

Although this approach is now catching on, 18 years ago Myers was the pioneer. She can produce for me spreadsheets of each child’s progress; if pupils fall behind, she and the teachers ask them why.

“We ask children, how do you like to learn? Aside from the core subjects, there is no reason why they can’t like to learn and learn what they like.”

Catherine Myers’s formula for educating teenagers successfully:

1. Educate girls and boys separately. It’s not just girls that do better in single-sex schools. “That’s an assumption that is generally made, but if boys have teaching geared towards them, they will achieve.”

2. Let them do it their own way, as long as they do it.Encourage pupils to analyse and develop their own style of learning (eg, last-minute, in groups). “Children should learn what they like and like what they learn,” says Myers.

3. Don’t see vocational subjects as second best — they are not. Think beyond the British school tradition, to the more vocational Scandinavian model. “As a mother I know that if you spend half your life making them do what they don’t want to do, you only make your life difficult. Everyone should leave school qualified for something.”

4. Set targets. Try not to compare your child to others — but set individual targets that will stretch his or her particular abilities. Respond quickly and collaboratively if the targets are not being met.

5. Get respect by giving it. “You have to like children and believe that they can achieve”.

New Zealand gap versus Australian wages


Reading Gooners post about Aust NZ wage gap and the emigration trend referencing a
table from an article by Brian Gaynor, I got to thinking about the relative growth in wages and what is required to catch up by 2025.

There is a long way to go
The scale of the task is shown below. I used Australian and New Zealand current trend to show there would be an NZ $1381 difference by 2025. New Zealand will have to grow wages at 7.4% pa for the next 16 years (from Dec 2009) with no trend increase from Australia simply to close the gap that has arisen over the last 15 years. From 1994 through 2002 New Zealand and Australia had the same growth but because Australia had a higher base it grew more. It is true that Australia has been riding a commodities boom for the last 8 years. Its growth was negligible from 1999 to 2002 allowing NZ to catch up slightly during a commodity bust.



If John Key and the National government are genuinely serious about closing the gap we will need policy that is a lot bolder than has been shown to date.

Some ideas for changing the playing field
  1. Corporate tax down to Ireland levels (12%)
  2. Allowing 100% depreciation on capital investment in productive plant and equipment in first year
  3. Raise GST to 17-20% to fund the Corporate tax reduction
  4. Raise minimum wages over time to encourage business investment in training and equipment rather than lowest cost manufacture.
  5. Promote New Zealand based shared services
  6. Investing in education.
  7. Investing a portion of Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver in small New Zealand businesses needing capital to grow.
Change the tax base
Reducing Corporate tax and increasing is about the only way that New Zealand will attract sufficient Foreign Direct investment to boost the labour market. Allowing 100% write downs on capital equipment with a 12% corporate tax rate and a 20% GST would provide a fiscally sustainable and stable path forward to a higher wage base economy by making New Zealand a much more attractive place to do business. The tax working group seem to have argued that having equal rates is the most "fair". There does not seem to be any research or evidence to back up the economic impact but it is fair to say that all of the wealthier nations practice some kind of tax differential. Britain attracts a large number of "non-doms" simply by being prepared to tax them little or nothing directly. Their consumption attracts VAT and their inwards investment boosts the economy.

Promote shared services in New Zealand
Australian companies would think seriously about what they would be able to produce in New Zealand. Australian banks and manufacturers would be more inclined to based their shared administrative services in New Zealand to ensure they maximise the benefit of the differential. John Key talked about promoting the administration of pension funds in New Zealand but there is a much bigger market for the provision of shared services. This is the functions like invoice processing and payments and closing the books that can be done anywhere. New Zealand has international accounting standards and the time zone differential is actually a benefit as it means that things can be processed overnight. Much of this work is going to India but there are qualitative differences that mean New Zealand can use technology to compete. US$1000 per day all in for outsourced skilled IT workers indicates there is scope for New Zealand to compete.

Minimum Wages
Unlike many commentators on the right I do not see gradual increases in the minimum wage as being necessarily a bad thing over the long term. Properly signalled to business it will encourage them to invest in capital equipment and training for staff. That makes workers more productive and will assist with the long term goal of catching Australia.

The youth wages minimum rate at the same level as adults is an insanity. Offsetting Behaviour has an excellent demonstration of that. The obvious impact of raising the minimum wage too quickly is that the labour market would suffer the same fate as youth as employment disappeared overseas. By signalling a gradual shift business have time to prepare. For example raising the minimum wage at 1% above CPI (or whatever the prevailing benchmark is) over 5 years.

For those who think wages should be left for the "market" to resolve I point to the 75% of tax paid by 10% of taxpayers. The tax payer is already involved in massive support for low earners. We are not going to catch Australia in a race to the bottom for who can produce the most at the lowest wage. China and South East Asia have a different political system that is not impacted by such generous welfare. It is politically impossible to change that in New Zealand so you can recognise reality and deal with the political market conditions we have or pretend that the sky is green and grass is blue.

Investing in education
I will come back to this one.

Investing Cullen Fund and Kiwisaver in New Zealand for New Zealand business.
This is called backing yourself. I have blogged on this before and repeat it here. Invest all of the Cullen fund in New Zealand over time. The 40% is a start. I do not wish to engage with those who argue for diversification overseas. They have economic theory on your side but nothing more. Entrepreurs would never get sufficient investment if they relied on diversified portfolios. The young farmer has an unbalanced portfolio. It will take time for the money from the fund to be appropriately invested but it is time for us to back ourselves. The investment in New Zealand will produce an economic return. That return has a multiplier effect that will end up boosting the economy more than simply investing offshore. I have never seen any academic research on the subject to assess what differential rate of return would add value to the economy.

Conclusion
The point about raising wages is that is what makes individuals wealthier. I have been somewhat mystified by how politicians think they are going to increase New zealand wages without making New Zealand a more attractive country for overseas investors. With a low 30% Export to GDP ratio it simply wont be enough for home grown organic New Zealand investment to be promoted. We need to encourage inwards investment in something other than residential housing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

School choice - success the only option

I get excited about school choice, whether it be vouchers or an even simpler system of removal of zoning. So I have been eagerly awaiting this announcement from Heather Roy:

It's a great pleasure for me and my National, ACT and Maori Party colleagues to welcome you here today for the launch of 'Step Change: Success the Only Option' - the report of the Inter-Party Working Group for School Choice.

The greatest legacy that parents can leave their children is to prepare them to succeed in the world that they will inherit. This world is characterised by rapid, continuous change and increasing complexity and ambiguity. The successful citizen not only needs a broad range of skills, knowledge and experience but also well refined tools for continuous self-learning.

Indeed. The Inter-Party working Group is a cornerstone of the Coalition Agreement. It's mission was to:...

...report on policy options for funding and regulation of schools in order to increase parental choice and school autonomy. For the past year we have reviewed current practice in New Zealand, and best practice overseas. We complemented our research with visits to schools around the country.

Great. And what of the relationship between the Gnats/ACT & Maori Party?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the interesting, productive and rewarding experience of working across the three Parties. Each MP brought different priorities and concerns to the table. Despite these differences, we have worked effectively towards a common goal and arrived at a point of agreement that we believe will raise the level of student achievement at both ends of the spectrum.

What did Hekia Parata of National say?

We strongly commend this report and its recommendations to the Minister of Education.

And Te Ururoa Flavell?

The Maori Party is pleased to support this report along with National and ACT Parties.

The working group has devoted considerable time to fully debating the issues and has been aware just how significant the issue of school choice is.

The crisis in addressing Maori under-achievement in particular in general stream schools is an issue that the nation cannot walk away from. The "same old, same old", "been there done that" approach cannot continue. The report provides some levers for future work to address that crisis.

Our focus throughout this review has been to ensure that the disadvantaged are not used to advantage those already blessed with privilege.

Definitely. It's about incentives to get to the top, rather than dumbing down from the top.

Has the current system helped Maori?

And I want to make it quite clear that the urgent need to address the way in which institutions of the state have failed our Maori children is a challenge that all educational institutions must address.

We support teaching environments which promote a holistic view of education and where teacher expectations and pedagogies focus on fulfilling the potential of every child.

I can live with that.

We support ongoing performance improvement and the capacity for teachers to be self-reflective and self-analytical about the difference they are making.

Where we would be concerned is where competition drives the educational environment; where institutions minimise treaty obligations and neutralise the push towards cultural competency, and the best interests of each child and their community are sacrificed to cater to market demand.

Hmmm. Not sure about some of that, but the 80/20 principle applies.

Finally, the policy platform of choice must not enable schools any opportunity to continue to fail Maori students. Failure is not a viable option.
Never. Ever.

So far, so good?

What does the Minister think of this great work?

Education Minister Anne Tolley took a cautious approach to the suggested policy.

Cautious over excellence, success and the end of failure in schools? How can anyone be cautious about those!!

I will be considering the report, and have asked the Ministry to provide advice on it," Mrs Tolley said.

In other words, "don't hold your breathe". I truly hope Anne Tolley takes her rose tinted glasses off.

And the Unions?

Primary education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa President Frances Nelson said the Government should ignore the ideologically-driven report which was a "convoluted mish-mash of ideas".

"This would simply be a voucher system in disguise, driven by political ideology rather than what is best for children's learning," Ms Nelson
The Unions hate it. Therefore by default this is a roaring success.

Yap Yap, Yappity Yap, Yap Yap

Well might Mr Morgan regret his intemperate outburst this morning.

Adolf has spent a couple of hours wandering around a few websites to see what really has been going on with Kiwisaver. Who is ripping off clients and who is providing decent results?

Well, here's the go for a selected number of balanced funds. Morgan's fund is listed as GMK.


Fund Manager Fund Size 1 Yr to Jan 10 Annualised
(Balanced) $mil
since inception




AMP 69.1 9.7 -5.7
ANZ 33.1 11.9 -0.5
ASB Tracker 8.3 12.6 -3.7
ASB 91.0 12.9 -3.2
AXA 39.9 19.3 n/a
Fidelity 26.6 6.3 3.2
GMK 297.1 -1.5 -1.6
Huljich 16.7 12.0 12.3
ING SIL 77.8 12.3 n/a
Nat Bank 47.7 11.9 -0.5
Tower 69.9 10.5 0.1
Westpac 89.5 11.1 n/a

It's quite easy to see Mr Morgan is catering for the dumbarse, whinging, green with envy, lower decile, gullible demographic whose inhabitants are quite happy to forgo profits just so long as they are paying low fees.

His website boasts some 45,000 members with an average account size of $6,500.

The poor bastards.

Update: Here's the flash graph from the yapper's website, showing the momentary flutter of profitability, a very long time ago - just six weeks out of 28 months.


Further Update: The link from Gomango's comment provides some perspective.

Some $60k cash was injected by the fund manager to enhance returns when the fund was small. The fund now stands at $16.7 mil and has delivered an annualised return of 12.3%.

12.3% of $16.7mil is a cool $2.05mil.

Fellers, you need to learn something about wood and trees.

All Class

Adolf is referring to the little yapping fox terrier with the hair lip, Gareth Morgan. The one who was jumping up and down, trying to catch the attention of the big boys in the Tax`Working Group while they largely ignored him.

http://www.infometrics.co.nz/infom/about/people/garethm.jpg

Having delivered to his own Kiwisaver clients some of the most consistently poor returns since inception, now this disgraceful little big mouth uses a Herald opinion column to denigrate one of his most successful competitors.

Take these lapses with Huljich Wealth Management (New Zealand) Limited, a relatively new entrant to the financial service industry that has its heritage in a sausage and salami company. It got the former National Party leader Don Brash to chair it, and has Auckland Mayor John Banks as its other independent director.

There seems to be an awful sense of deja vu here - like former All Black Colin Meads with Provincial Finance or former TV presenter Richard Long with Hanover. Neither of those celebrity endorsements helped the public, in fact they were instruments of abuse of the public's trust. With Brash and Banks we're at a totally different level, yet the company they're part of is gaining a questionable track record.

First we had Huljich paying salespeople to sell its KiwiSaver at street corners and door to door in South Auckland - totally against the rules.........

........Then Huljich's salespeople were found selling it to the mentally impaired in institutions.

Notice Morgan conveniently glosses over the fact that Meads and Long have no financial services or senior management experience. Accordingly, his comparison with Banks and Brash is outrageous. He proceeds to stretch some indiscretions by salespeople, likely self employed contractors, into a broad denigration of the company. When you see the relative performance of the two competitors in terms of returns for client's, you can see why.

Morgan's performance has been appalling. If he were a bus driver he would have his license revoked on the grounds he is a hazard to his passengers - and certainly his clients appear to be passengers - way down in the back seat.

Here's the relative performance of both providers' balanced funds, along with that of a third industry player.

Morgan... negative -3.7%
That means in real English, a loss after he has skimmed his non performance fees.

Fidelity Life...positive +3.2%.
That means a profit folks, so who cares what the fees might be?

Huljich...positive +21.59%.
Now you know why the yapper has a burr up his butt. Pathetic little fellow.


It is not coincidence that the particular competitor he denigrates unfairly has delivered to IT'S clients some of the most consistently high returns since inception. They are unlikely to be running off with complaints to the Securities Commission.

(Notwithstanding the deplorable conduct of the sales people described in the article, I'm surprised the Herald allowed this piece to go to print carrying the names of the competitor and two of it's directors. I guess that's the price we pay for out-sourcing sub-editing to another country where these commercial relationships are not known.)

A year or so ago Morgan was writing the same sort of defamatory tripe about his competitors in the life insurance industry. There was just enough substance for it all to sound good but the stories were very selective and falsely insinuated present day malfeasance which was simply not happening.

http://www.infosightmedia.com/wp-site-images/post-images/dogs/breed-images/smoothfoxterrierguide-image1.jpg

Today he continues, this time providing the financial equivalent of Colonel Qaddafi lecturing John Key on human rights.