Lazy, hazy and crazy.




Ah, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! The holiday hiatus is a time for rest and relaxation, a time to recharge and reflect.

The pundits have published their reviews of 2013: the winners and losers, saints and sinners, snakes and ladders.Most agree that Len Brown, John Banks and Peter Dunne had less-than-stellar years. Colin Craig emerged from the (some say lunatic) fringe as a potential political mover and shaker. Simon Bridges rabidly fanatical performance on Campbell Live in defence of Big Oil  shed much heat but little light on an important environmental issue,winning him a dubious place in the annals of TV interviews. David Cunniliffe replaced David Shearer, giving the Opposition a credible, coherent voice and at least a shot at winning the 2014 Election. Assets were sold and we’re not much richer ( if not actually poorer). GCSB Bills were passed and we’re (so far) none the wiser. The Marriage Equality Bill easily passed into law, proving that New Zealand can still at times hold its political head high. At the same time, the Sky City Convention Centre Bill passed into law by the hairiest of margins, proving that we still have cause to hang our  political head in shame.

By way of preview, aside from an election,  we have much to look forward to this year, including John Banks’ and Kim Dotcom’s respective court appearances, more leaks from Edward Snowden regarding New Zealand’s role in international surveillance and, somewhat controversially, a royal tour. As Fran O’Sullivan opines in the NZ Herald, the PM ” is good at managing circuses. His Government brilliantly leveraged the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Key will also leverage the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (and Prince George). It won’t be the only star turn before the election (which is expected to be early).”

In 2014, the Government is scheduled to post its first surplus, all $86m of it, and will certainly seek to run on its oversight of what HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham  describes  as the “rock star economy among the OECD”. In the NZ Herald, Bernard Hickey reports that the new year “is shaping up as a stellar one for growth. ANZ’s survey this week showed businesses are the most confident they’ve been since 1994 when the economy was growing at an annual rate of 7 per cent. ANZ’s composite indicator of business and consumer confidence suggested our economy could be growing by 5 per cent by the middle of next year. Wholesale milk powder prices are up more than 50 per cent this year and Fonterra has forecast production will rise 6.4 per cent this season. Our Terms of Trade, which measures the power of our exports to buy imports, are the best they’ve been since 1974. The $40 billion rebuild in Canterbury is cranking into gear and Auckland house building is also starting to wind up. Home owners feel about $65 billion richer than they did last Christmas because their house values are up 10 per cent. The ANZ business confidence survey showed businesses are keener to employ people than they’ve been since 1994. After nearly six grinding years of stop-start recession and timid growth the economy seems set to finally take off.” All good then.

Not so fast. Things aren’t quite as rosy as they might seem. Hickey goes on to say “we appear rich and happy again, largely because we have become reliant on the export of one product to one country. This week’s GDP and trade figures showed milk powder exports to China have been the driving force behind economic growth surging to its best level in three years. China is now our largest export market and trading partner ahead of Australia. Although we are not as reliant now on China as we were on Britain in 1974, the indirect reliance is almost as large because our second-largest trading partner, Australia, is also reliant on China.”

Given that all our economic eggs are in one Chinese dairy basket, Fonterra’s fake botulism scare takes on enormous importance. The PM has yet to travel to China on a mission to restore confidence in brand New Zealand. The stakes could not be higher. I hope he’s well-rested.

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Towards which, some might have leisurely whiled away New Year’s morning reading the NZ Herald’s ‘My Bach: John Key’: Presumably part of an ongoing series (and not just blatant propaganda), the article featured a large photograph of the PM “posing in front of the house in shorts and T-shirt for the Herald on Sunday in 2007”. Of course, the PM was not available for a new pic because this year, he was not holed up in Omaha but holing up with President Obama in Oahu .

According to the Huffington Post, “the golf outing put Key in rarified company. Obama is an avid golfer, but prefers to limit his playing partners to a close circle of friends and advisers. Among those who have also scored invitations to play with Obama in the past are former President Bill Clinton and House Speaker John Boehner.” . Rarified indeed! The two world leaders (and I use that term in its widest sense) apparently discussed issues of mutual interest and regional security. Whether Kim Dotcom or the TPPA were mentioned, we’ll never know. But we could guess. One respondent to the Huffington piece wrote that “New Zealand is one of the five English speaking nations, partners in crime, who spy on everyone in the whole world!” Surely not! For the PM, a photo-op paints a thousand words and in an election year, cosy shots on the golf green with the Prez are gold, usurped in value only by close-ups with a royal baby.  Something to look forward to I suppose.



  1. Yes, there were two leaders of the five countries counting themselves as being part of the “Five Eyes” surveillance network, meeting, to discuss matters that will never reach our ears or eyes.

    Talk about doing deals, discussing affairs above the common populace’s heads, this is just one snapshot of this.

    Obama does seem to consider New Zealand of high importance for the US interests, it seems, I wonder why? Yes, I have some answers, and you may guess what they are. Those that are informed enough, they will know this already.

    I do not trust leaders of de-facto “Orwellian” government systems, hence I do neither trust Key nor Obama.

  2. Obama: “Glad you liked the beans, there, pardner!”
    Keys: “Oh yeah, good thing we’re out on the green, hehe,”

  3. Re Fonterra/ botulism, some people rightly express concern about the fiasco surrounding the scare. But a huge number of Chinese see the withdrawl of Fonterra of products due to a slight possibility of a problem with their product as very reassuring. In their eyes no one died, no one got sick, no one was even slightly affected by anything strange. These are the facts as they see them. Indeed they are the reality. Opinion; trade will not suffer with China, our response to the crisis ( I mean that loosely) has only enhanced our reputation as a safe trading partner in the eyes of Mom and Dad Chinese. On a more cynical note compare what other options exist for them when it comes to milk solids/ feeding their babies? We have it good here.

    • Hold up – you think that feeding babies milk solids from cows (which are in actual fact for calves to grow, not humans) is a good idea???

      I really think you ought to do some research on dairy products and the associated health problems.

      The parents in China should be feeding their children breast milk and then relying on leafy green veges and other plant based sources for their children’s dietary requirements, especially if you think they need cows milk for calcium (do a google search or read any credible medical journal on calcium and bone leaching). You think that Fonterra is selling milk products for the benefit of children’s health? You think that Nestle was selling milk powder to Africa for the benefit of children’s health?

      Unfortunately you have bought into the rubbish that we are feed as children; ie that milk is good for you… When actually it isn’t and also it is ruining our people’s health, our countries waterways and the land and when the day comes that we have a real health scare relating our cows or whatever, it will ruin the economy.

      • Yep …Dairy Crusader..agree totally it is so tiresome and frustrating the willful ignorance of the majority.
        Much needed post people should get real and do their research.

        Just as an xtra … how about people who are sucked into taking cholesterol lowering medications/statins ..they wanna look at one the biggest culprits of plaque on arteries..’Homogenized Milk’.
        Yep, google that people.. HM associated with heart disease …very telling

  4. I wonder if the visit of the royal couple and their perfect aryan baby might backfire.

    One of my longest memories as child, was going to the movies with my father. In those days, before every movie started they used to play ‘God Save the Queen’ accompanied by a ferocious gif of a huge roaring lion. And the whole audience would stand at attention until it was finished.

    Looking back, it was so orwellian

    I remember as a little child feeling mortified that my father steadfastly refused to stand up with the rest of the movie audience. In my embarrassment I used to pull at his sleeve imploring him to get to his feet like everyone else.

    Despite his love for me, his first born, to his credit I never recall him standing up.

    50 years later. We don’t play God Save The Queen anymore at the picture theatres. (I have no idea if they still do it in the UK, or even, if they ever did)

    Nowadays when it comes to royalty, instead of watching an orwellian lion roaring at us, at the movies, we view a moving video on our laptops and smartphones that glorifies the unvarnished nobility of normal young people and listen to this:

    “We don’t care about your love affair.

    We’ll never be royals

    That kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz”

    Lorde (Royals)

    I hope and pray that Lorde’s wonderful modern Kiwi/global anthem is broadcast mercilessly on high rotation, throughout the royal tour. Crushing John Key’s outdated forelock tugging, and cringe inducing, ideology of publicly worshiping the privileged and powerful.

  5. Thanks Simon,
    Your efforts and commentary are greatly appreciated. Our country (and world) is changing dramatically, and our politicians seem incapable of providing a healthy and happy, way forward for All of its people.
    Keep up the good work.

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