GUEST BLOG: The Lockdown With Bryan Bruce Day 9 : Beware of the Bauers

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When are we going to learn that foreign capital doesn’t give a damn  about you and me?

Last week we learned that the German based  Bauer Media Group will stop publishing in our country.

The List of magazine titles affected is long  and includes The Listener, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Australian Woman’s weekly New Zealand  ,Woman’s Day, North & South, Metro .. list goes on.Bauer  also publishes one of the country’s leading real-estate guides, The Property Press

So we are talking the loss of hundreds of writers jobs here

I see the  group is blaming the Level 4 Covt 19 restriction and loss of  advertising  for their  demise and I imagine we will see some political party finger pointing in the next few days.

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But the reality is this foreign owned company will have been looking at how to cut cost  for quite a while now and the Covt 19  epidemic has simply  provided the reason for setting  it’s New Zealand operation adrift to make its global balance sheet look better.

Never mind the workers and their families involved.Never mind  the long history of a magazine like The Listener which, for over 80 years now, has been a hub for New Zealand  writers to tell stories which reflect our culture and identiy.

So what are we to make of this closure?

Well , we have to ask ourselves a couple of questions

The first is – how did one foreign owned company get to own most the magazines in our country?

The answer is that for over 30 years now neolibera lpoliticians on both sides of The House have argued it doesn’t matter who owns something just as long as we get to use it.

The trouble is,as we have just seen, foreign capital has no loyalty. It doesn’t care about the lives of its workers . You can tell that’s so  from the language neoliberals use . The workers are not “people” or to use a pre neoliberal word “personnel” they are a “human resource” – a bottom line item you can cut overnight if it is affecting your shareholders’ profits.

We saw the same thing with the shutting down of the Cadbury factory in Dunedin

My  second question  is – who are Bauer Media Group?

The answer,  it turns out, is that  they are largely one person Yvonne Bauer . She owns 85% of the global Bauer Media Group . She is in her early 40’s and her net worth is somewhere is variously estimated as being between 2 and 3 Billion .

In my view she  is symptomatic of what neoliberalism has made possible  over the last 30 plus years since Neoliberal economics has been in ascenancy – namely that  fewer and fewer people in the have been able to grab  more and more of the wealth of our planet That’s particularly true of New Zealand which many of the super rich see as a bolt-hole from the world wide  mess they have created.

So once this covt 19 epidemic is over we need to remember  how international companies like Bauer behaved  during this time and stop allowing foreign capital to  plunder our economy in the good times and dump us in the bad.

Kia kaha

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “Never mind the workers and their families involved”

    Totally one sided view Bruce.
    The people that use their OWN money to start & operate and invest in businesses MUST put themselves first as THEY essentially carry ALL the financial risks.

    Some perspective please

    • So the “me” perspective rules.
      At least until the business needs a government (ie working people) bail out.
      Then it becomes “our” business.

    • Workers lose their jobs, incomes and therefore potentially everything. They are 100% invested.
      People like Bauer continue to sit on their $$biliions.

      Just who is worse off again?

      Fuck capitalism

    • Bauer have shareholders and a CEO

      “The people that use their OWN money to start & operate and invest in businesses MUST put themselves first as THEY essentially carry ALL the financial risks. ”

      The businesses were bought as a going concern. The owner has some responsibility for the employees.
      Some people don’t carry responsibility as they are deficit of that mindset. One of the failings of a corporate structure and the sociopaths that run them..

  2. Yes Bryan in NZ we have yet to learn to become a country again that stands on it’s own as we did for the first century of our exsistance.

    I remember as I worked in Rhodesia in 1970 as a Kiwi on a working holiday I learned that lession there as Britain placed a naval blockage at the ports araound Rhodesia just before I was fllown to that African country on contact to work there for a year, and as Britain tryed to straggle Rhodesia we witnessed a mld mannered gentlman called Ian Smith stood as the new Prime minister and said “we have set our ourse and will never deviate” but after years of bullying by the global elite the counrty was bought to it’s knees but during the 10 yrs under ((UDI) “universal declaration of independence” the country learened to stand proud and produce and repair it’s own contry to become a strong self governing counrty.

    We should never allow ‘foriegn interests’ to buy our ‘public strategic assets’ and the ‘press’ in NZ because they will do what they finally did to Rhodesia sadly.

  3. Wow.
    I never knew Bauer owned so much of our print media ? That, was pretty sneaky.
    Who, in AO/NZ knew and profited from that? Who brokered the deals?
    I think we need the names of those Kiwis, don’t you? We need to start banging on the doors of those Kiwis? How about popping by for a nice cup of tea and a ginger nut with those Kiwis? Who were the Kiwi lawyers who wrote up the contracts? Who were the Kiwi banks involved in transitioning our Kiwi money to German Yvonne? Most importantly, who were our politicians who paved the way for such bare faced treachery?
    Isn’t [this] like being under siege by a foreign force ? ( Something the Germans know something about lets face it. ) Isn’t this like having that foreign force banging on the draw bridge while someone inside sneaks off to leave the back door open after having been paid off by the invaders? Isn’t that treason or treachery or even a criminal act?
    What happens next? Do the foreign banksters up stakes and fuck off? Do those foreigners who own our other infrastructure simply abandon us to the high seas? And if so, who might replace them as our masters because we’re clearly too stupid and/or too cowardly to protect our own when the shit hits the fan.
    I see the morons are assaulting supermarket staff.
    Morons !? Hello? You’re energies are misplaced. Yes, you! I’m talking to you, stupid.
    What you’re doing there, right? Is you’re beating up on your own people, you dumb buggers so in effect your greatest enemy is yourselves.
    I think it could be charitably called passion without leadership.
    The reason [this] shit’s happening is because we still don’t have political leadership worth diddly squat.
    If we had genuine leadership? We’d have a British aircraft carrier festooned with pointy planes in each of the main ports of AO/NZ. One in Bluff, one in Dunedin, one in Christchurch, one in Wellington and fuck Auckland because you brought this upon yourselves. We need help during the resurrection of what was once our humanist self governance( I love you Auckland-er’s xx. Please don’t get me wrong. It’s just that you humanoids have the biggest, most cunning rats in the most tangled and convoluted of wood piles. You can, however, see where they nest. See those towering citadels of greed down town? The Banks? That’s where the Rats are. In there. Scurrying about. With sacks of YOUR money in their dirty little claws. )

  4. Meanwhile, back in reality, print media is doomed, just like broadcast TV is doomed. We can get better material online, for free.

    New Zealanders were not buying sufficient numbers of copies to make the business viable and the owners had little choice but to pull the plug.

    They offered the whole lot to the government for 1$ but the government wasn’t interested either, then lied about not being informed of the closure.

    • That “offer” was BS. They were going under anyway. They left it til the last minute. No time to suss out how a government was actually able to run a media empire. And now the pundits are trying to make out it’s all the gummints fault.

    • But Bauer have held the lie for some time. The proof being there was no lead in to this, it was instant. Good on the Government, who wants to buy a dying investment, as you say Andrew print media is doomed. Don’t use the lying line in politics, given John Key was an expert.

    • @ Andrew.
      If you and your Right Wing Clown Clones are the definition of reality then I’ll stay in La La Land thanks.
      You know that our print media was sabotaged long ago and when the internet was in its infancy and just like any right winger, you like to get ( steal) the creative efforts of others for free.
      And so what if print media was dying? That’s not the point. It’s this kind of unimaginative linear thinking that allows cooks to get the jump on us.

      For the rest of you…
      Speaking of reality, try this on for size. Poor bugger.
      Meet Jason Hargrove. Bus Driver. RIP.
      https://boingboing.net/2020/04/03/bus-driver-furious-with-woman.html

  5. So once this covt 19 epidemic is over we need to remember how international companies like Bauer behaved during this time and stop allowing foreign capital to plunder our economy in the good times and dump us in the bad.

    We can learn it right now. We don’t have to wait.

    If we spin the lens and see it from the other way around, this situation offers us a brilliant opportunity. Having lost the dog-collars that that woman’s ownership of us all, in a way, represented, we’re actually free now to take control of the future.

    Mag writers and journos could be celebrating, before immediately getting together in whichever groups they wish to represent (eg The Listener, the Weekly etc) and start getting their own new enterprise off the ground. Reclaim your world, and this time around, own it.

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