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GCSB incompetence or deception? What the Court affivadits show in the Dotcom spying saga

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Did the Government Communications Security Bureau knowingly engage in illegal spying on Mr Dotcom, a New Zealand resident, or were they just incompetent? Were the Police, who requested the GCSB surveillance, co-conspirators in this unlawful behaviour, or were they also incompetent?

With the release of Police and GCSB Court affidavits to the Labour Party we are getting closer to the truth, but there are still pieces missing in this jigsaw puzzle.

A simple “incompetence” explanation is getting harder to sustain when you consider the following timeline:

9 December 2011: Detective Inspector Grant Wormald asks Immigration New Zealand for file information on Kim Dotcom and Mr van der Kolk.
14 December 2011: Wormald tells the two GCSB representatives at a meeting “that both Mr Dotcom and Mr van der Kolk were residing in New Zealand and were able to come and go, so they must have a form of residency” and, related to that, he “did not think it was possible for the GCSB to intercept either Mr Dotcom or Mr van der Kolk.”
16 December 2011: Police receive from NZ Immigration documents re the travel of Mr Dotcom and Mr van der Kolk. They show Mr Dotcom is listed as “resident” in his last two arrivals in New Zealand.
That same day the GCSB begins its illegal surveillance on Mr Dotcom, after a request from the Police.
11 January 2012: Police receive NZ Immigration files on Mr Dotcom confirming he had been granted residence on 18 November 2010.
20 January 2012: Surveillance of Mr Dotcom is ended.
21 January 2012: Mr Dotcom is arrested.
16 February 2012: Detective Inspector Wormald is in a debrief with GCSB in which he observes that “It appeared to GCSB that the interception may not have been lawful because of their (Dotcom and van der Kolk’s) residency status.”
20 February 2012: GCSB admits that both the Police and media reports confirm Mr Dotcom’s residency status.

Despite all this the GCSB sends out an email on 27 February claiming the surveillance was legal. They claim that Mr Dotcom could be spied upon because he was a “Resident” not a “Permanent Resident” – when in the Immigration Act all residents are treated as permanent, with the same rights, and according to the GCSB Act they can’t be spied upon.

The GCSB also says in another email to the Police that “People here have been very relaxed about it all” and “Absolutely no further action [is] required.”

So take your pick. The Police and GCSB are guilty of gross incompetence, or they consciously misinterpreted the law to make everything right. Or they were guilty on both counts.

Looming over both agencies was the FBI, keen to get Mr Dotcom into custody.

For its part, the GCSB would have been a willing agent. It was created in the 1970s as a subordinate of the American National Security Agency, to extend the global reach of this giant electronic spying agency. NSA officers work within the GCSB and the NSA gives the GCSB the riding instructions for the operation of its main asset, the Waihopai satellite communications interception station.

There seems to be more oversight of our GCSB from American government than the New Zealand government. Our Prime Minister said it was ok that the GCSB didn’t tell him about its spying on Dotcom, because it was only an “operational matter”.

Under pressure, Mr Key now says he expects there will be a shakeup at the GCSB. But we need much more than that. We need a comprehensive independent inquiry, with public input, to critically examine not only the GCSB’s competence but also its worth to New Zealand.

[For more on the lack of accountability of the GCSB see my Op-Ed: “Dotcom case shows the cost of spying is spooky” published in the New Zealand Herald on 18 December 2012.]

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US military gives credence to Pacific climate change concerns

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                  The worst drought in 70 years of records has renewed the focus in the media over whether these conditions might be related to climate change. At an estimated cost of $2 billion to the economy, the implications of the drought are huge for an industry which forms one of the primary sectors of our exports.  While Joyce and English have light-footed around the issue, the Greens have argued that the National Party are not taking climate change seriously enough at detriment to our farmers.  English fueled the Greens’ argument through his statement in the House last week that similar arguments on climate change had been made in Australia, and it had not stopped raining for the last five years. Unfortunately for English, he had overlooked the fact that Australia has been in drought for the last four years. Grilled by Corin Dann on Q+A on this gaffe, English produced some deft political sound bite maneuvering to shift his answer from focusing on climate change to focusing on the $500 million dedicated towards cleaning up waterways. While cleaning up waterways is great news, the Ministry for the Environment has predicted in their modelling that droughts are going to be more frequent, signalling that it is in New Zealand’s interest to think about the ongoing impact of climate change. Yet listening to the National Party leadership, climate change is often positioned as something that only environmentalists worry about.

While this article in the National Business Review somehow interpreted English not answering on climate change as leading on climate change, the issue of climate change is far less contentious than how it is often presented in the media. With 97% of publishing, peer-reviewed scientists agreeing that climate change is due to human activity (source: NASA), the arguments against it are often based on myth. It is not unusual to hear such myths bandied around as the temperature has not risen for the last 17 years, and the notion that because some parts of the world are cooling global warming is dismissed as an overall trend. Such myths propagate from the way that science is always interpreted through the lens of the social, an area that has received much more attention in literature since Bruno Latour and Thomas Kuhn paved the way for frameworks that examine how the reception of science is often based less on fact and more around the way that it taps or butts against notions of social consensus. Climate change and how we deal with it has also been influenced by the demands of industry, which has been based on the previous paradigm of exploiting resources, making it a touchy issue where legislation (such as carbon taxes) impact on the bottom line. This, together with confusion over the journalistic values of balance (which sees the skeptic side elevated despite broader scientific consensus) has clouded the issue. Moreover, climate change as an issue that requires nation state cooperation often butts against the internal interests of the nation state in requiring a much more global cooperation that transcends geopolitical factions.

Yet if it is not taken seriously in New Zealand, and often paraded as myth in the US media, there are indications that the defense industries are taking the IPCC’s predictions with much more weight. James Clapper is the current Director of National Intelligence and most senior security advisor to President Obama, overseeing 16 intelligence agencies. In the 2013 World Threat Assessment Report, Clapper trots out the usual geopolitical threats to US interests while highlighting the impact that climate change will have on migration and conflict. Clapper’s views reiterate that of the US Commander of the Pacific Navy, Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, who states that climate change is the biggest threat facing the Pacific. This threat, he argues, has led the US Navy to look at scenarios where they may have to work with China and India to manage the effects of climate change on populations. This news will not come as any surprise to anyone who follows US military policy. Since 2010, the Pentagon has had much more emphasis on the role of climate change and the pressure it places on resources to exacerbate conflicts.  The Pentagon estimated in 2010 that more than 30 US military bases are at risk from sea levels rising and the instability caused by climate change led weather effects. In 2008, the Center for a New American Security conducted climate war games set in the year 2015 with 45 scientists and national security analysts from Asia, South Asia, Europe and America in an attempt to see how nations might collaborate to deal with escalating conflicts from climate change effects.

The focus from the US military should signal to the New Zealand government that while climate change threats are often taken as marginal by the media and the public, the science is entering the mainstream. This should not be taken as the need to secure ourselves against our Pacific neighbours  – as this article from the AUT Pacific Media Centre shows, the Pacific Islands that surround us want to hold onto their sovereign nations and waters rather than migrating. However, in the context of looking at the ongoing impact of a greater frequency of drought, the notion of climate change needs to move to the centre of our discussions rather than remaining at the periphery.

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Brain fades and balls ups

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John Banks - John Key - David Shearer

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On 20 March, Key made this curious remark, regarding Shearer’s stuff-up over his undeclared New York bank account,

“You don’t get cut any slack from the Labour Party when you say (you’ve made) a mistake but when they make one they don’t want anyone to have a look at it.”

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – IRD knew of Shearer account, but not Parliament

There are two points of interest regarding that remark,

1. “…but when they make one they don’t want anyone to have a look at it.”

Not true.

As Vernon Small wrote in the Dominion Post on 21 March,

He was right to front-foot it by doing the rounds of the press gallery to disclose his blunder and face the music. It would have played must worse if he had left it until the next register of pecuniary interests was published.

Acknowledgement:  Fairfax media – Shearer’s bank blunder threatens chances

Yet again this is another prime  example of Key willfully mis-representing facts to suit his own purpose. His ability to “bend the truth” is unparalled by any other Prime Minister, whether Labour or National.

Shearer actually fronted to journalists and made a candid admission of his stuff-up.

When is the last time Key or Banks did the same?

2. You don’t get cut any slack from the Labour Partywhen you say (you’ve made) a mistake…”

Why should Labour (or any other Party) cut any slack” for the National-led government?

Did National “cut any slack” for Labour when Helen Clark was Prime Minister? No, the Nats were relentless in their disparagement of Labour. In fact, they were often quite brutal,

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Showers latest target of Labour’s nanny state

Acknowledgement: Scoop – Showers latest target of Labour’s nanny state

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National launches its Food in Schools programme

Acknowledgement: Scoop – National launches its Food in Schools programme

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(Note: National never proceeded with it’s “Food in Schools” programme, and the policy was quietly dropped soon after they were elected into power in November 2008. see:  Govt guarded on free school meals)

And this little ‘beauty’ in abusing Labour, in this January 2008 speech by John Key,

” Under Helen Clark and Labour, our country has become a story of lost opportunities. 

Despite inheriting the tail wind of a strong global economy, Helen Clark has failed to use that momentum to make significant improvement in areas of real importance to New Zealanders.  She has squandered your economic inheritance by failing to build stronger foundations for the future. 

Tomorrow, Helen Clark will tell us what she thinks about the state of our nation.  In all likelihood, she’ll remind us how good she thinks we’ve got it, how grateful she thinks we should be to Labour, and why we need her for another three years. 

Well, I’ve got a challenge for the Prime Minister.  Before she asks for another three years, why doesn’t she answer the questions Kiwis are really asking, like:

  • Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?
  • Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger?
  • Why, under Labour, do we only get a tax cut in election year, when we really needed it years ago?
  • Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?
  • Why can’t our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?
  • Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills?
  • Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate?
  • Why hasn’t the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it?
  • Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?

Those are the questions on which this election will be fought. 

Helen Clark thinks she can hoodwink Kiwi voters into giving her another three years to answer these questions.  Well, I say she’s had nine years, she’s had her chance and she’s wasted it. The truth is that as time has gone on, Labour has concentrated more and more on its own survival and less and less on the issues that matter to the people who put them there.”

Acknowledgement: National Party – 2008: A Fresh Start for New Zealand

So when Key whinges about the Labour Party not cutting him “any slack”, Key might consider that he gave as well as he got when he was in Opposition.

That is the role of Opposition – to criticise, challenge, and question. The alternative would be a quick trip down the road to join the club of authoritarian regimes.

By the way… how is John Key’s list of criticisms that he levelled against the Labour Government on 29 January 2008,

  • Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world?
  • Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger?
  • Why, under Labour, do we only get a tax cut in election year, when we really needed it years ago?
  • Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof?
  • Why can’t our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house?
  • Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills?
  • Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate?
  • Why hasn’t the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it?
  • Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?

Except for interest rates (which is not controlled by governments – which Dear Leader should have known), none of John Key’s  list above has improved in any measurable manner.

He’s probably forgotten it by now.

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Disclosure

This blogger is not a member of the Labour Party, nor has any preference in who leads that Party.

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TV Review: #whytwitterisbetterthanTV

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No.1 Faster. Quicker news. Twitter is a medium of the moment. Now v. later on TV after editorial treatment.

No.2 More channels. Diversity, democracy. Everyone is on twitter, but TV freq’s limited by govt to big networks.

No.3 Community. Social media allows individual to make own intimate network. TV always speaking to mass audience.

No.4 Interaction. Links. User can directly discuss, support, create content. TV inert, dictatorial, scheduled.

No.5 Proximity. Authentic first hand official info v. TV’s edited soundbites. Can follow presidents, PMs, popes.

No.6 Better platform. Twitter is standard everywhere, and internet in any form beats a clunky TV dish or aerial.

No.7 Brevity. 140 characters brings clarity to a point. TV shows 140+ mins clearly have no point, esp. incl ads.

No.8 Less Ads. No ‘Go Harvey! Go!’ every 12 mins on Twitter. TV eating itself with gross consumptionist nagging.

No.9 Stats are clean. We can all see follow rate inTwitter for audience amount but TV’s ratings opaque, selective.

No.10 Because what would piss you off more: the TV signal stuck on ‘rainfade’, or twitter refusing to refresh?

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Crazy bullshit justifications for rape

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Crazy bullshit justifications for rape

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A message to John Key from teachers

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A message to John Key from teachers

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Hating on Unions

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Hating on Unions

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Voting Apathy

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Voting Apathy

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Unions

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Unions

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Anonymous Art

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Anonymous Art

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Face TV listings Saturday 23rd March

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AM
7.00 Aljazeera News
8.00 Agenda
8.45 Treasures of the World
9.00 European Journal
9.30 Iglesia ni Cristo
10.00 Zindagi Forever
10.30 Made In Germany
11.00 Korean & Kiwi TV
11.30 Voice of Islam TV

PM
12.30pm Discover Germany
1.00 In Good Shape
1.30 Kick Off soccer
2.30 In Focus
3.15 Shift
3.30 Tech Tools
4.00 Game On
4.30 New Games Plus
5.00 Euromaxx
5.30 DW Journal
6.00 Aljazeera News
7.00 Roopa
7.30 Aap Aur Humm
8.00 Bollywood Movie: Fatso! (2009) [PG]
10.30 PBS News Hour
11.30 The History of World War II

Face TV broadcasts on Sky 89 & Auckland UHF

Face TV Twitter
Face TV Facebook

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Proverbs you won’t read on Whaleoil

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“The man who does not learn to weaponize his words will forever be oppressed.”

Radical Proverbs

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Welcome To The Wasteland

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IF THERE’S ONE THING the National Party really hates it’s left-wing, tertiary-educated, urban professionals (LTUPs). Such people are an affront to everything the National Party stands for. Where the National Party sees only simplicity, the LTUP sees only complexity. Where the National Party argues from “common sense”, the LTUP insists upon looking for and evaluating the hard evidence. Where the National Party joins Henry Ford in dismissing history as “bunk”, the LTUP recognises the past as prelude.

It’s not hard to see why, the LTUP drives the National Party to distraction. And if the LTUP also happens to be a public servant, then that animosity is immediately ratcheted up several notches.

This National Party hatred of LTUP public servants is by no means a recent thing. J.C. Beaglehole, writing in 1961 about the first National Government (1949-57) observed:

“The naïve, the almost childish brutality, with which the chiefs of the National Party fell upon power may be seem quite surprising, until one remembers how famished for power they were, and with what an innocency of experience they faced the world about them … One does not mean that Mr Holland [the first National Prime Minister] and his subordinates (lieutenants? – most of them looked like subordinates) went down personally to Government Buildings and kicked the bodies of public servants. Some of them were obviously not as bad as their leader … Yet the insensitiveness to administrative delicacies, the conviction that all you had to do with exchange controls was to end them, that all you had to do to make the pound go ‘further’ was to take your hands off, that the main thing needed in education was to insult the Education Department, was quite appalling.”

The scary thing about Beaglehole’s quotation is the awful sense of familiarity. Even after the passage of sixty-four years, the defects he identifies in the National Party Cabinet Ministers of 1949 are readily identifiable in the National Cabinet Ministers of 2013.

The left-wing historian, Bill Sutch, described the New Zealand of 1949-1957 as a “wasteland”. Writing about that first National Government in The Quest for Security in New Zealand 1840-1966, he says: “The National Government in 1949 wanted New Zealand to be brought back to the nineteen twenties and free trade, and took it for granted that this was in accordance with some higher law. Not only had they no sympathy with what the Labour Party had done to improve the workings of the economy, they did not understand it.”

Substitute the nineteen nineties for the nineteen twenties and he could have been talking about John Key’s National-led Government.

Except not only is the present National Party out of sympathy with and ignorant of the principles guiding the last Labour Government’s management of the New Zealand economy, they are even more at odds with its approach to social policy – most especially its strengthening of the institutions responsible for advocating and defending human rights.

The Human Rights Commission under Rosslyn Noonan worked tirelessly to make the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights Act available to ordinary New Zealanders. On matters of racial and gender discrimination the Commission was unashamedly outspoken.

This “official” determination to take discrimination seriously rankled with conservatives of every description: to them it was “political correctness gone mad”. And while it would be unfair to overlook the fact that there were in the ranks of both the National caucus, and the wider party organisation, a number of genuine liberals who supported the Commission’s work unreservedly, the overwhelming majority of National Party members and voters resented both its pronouncements and its legal powers of enforcement.

No one epitomised this politically-correct “interference” in the lives of “ordinary, decent, New Zealanders” more forcefully than New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner from 2002 to 2012, Joris de Bres.

The office of Race Relations Conciliator (later to be renamed the Commissioner) had been established by the National Party in 1971 as a bureaucratic means of taking some of the heat out of the increasing tensions between Maori and Pakeha that characterised the late 1960s and the early 1970s. For the most part these “conciliators” were conservative apologists for New Zealand’s “excellent” record on race relations. With Helen Clark’s appointment of De Bres all that changed.

De Bres was anything but an apologist for Pakeha smugness over race relations. On the contrary, he was an intelligent, articulate and highly assertive representative of the Left’s bi-cultural vision for New Zealand’s future. De Bres was not afraid to call out Pakeha New Zealanders in general, and provincial Pakeha in particular, on their racism – both personal and institutional.

The National Party never liked De Bres, but they reasoned that his term was only five years long, and that, hopefully, by the time it expired they would be back in office. Imagine their fury, then, when, in 2007, Helen Clark reappointed De Bres for another five year term.

As far as the National Party was concerned, the Labour Government had stepped away from the political convention that, if it looks pretty certain you’re going to lose the next election, you don’t appoint, or re-appoint, individuals you know the incoming administration will find it very difficult to tolerate.

Those looking for some sort of explanation for the appointment of Dame Susan Devoy as New Zealand’s next Race Relations Commissioner need look no further than Helen Clark’s decision to re-appoint De Bres.

Justice Minister Judith Collins is no Sid Holland, but she does harbour prime-ministerial ambitions, and she knows how embittered and hostile National’s core constituency has become, not only toward De Bres and all his LTUP ilk, but also with the whole, radical bi-cultural ideology which he both represented and expressed.

Dame Susan is, in political terms, Collins’s sop to National’s unreconstructed racist Cerberus. A symbolic choice guaranteed to resonate powerfully with the conservative creatures of the barbecue pit and the sports bar. Not only on account of her sporting prowess, but, more particularly, because she shows every sign of sharing their deeply held beliefs about the status of Maori in New Zealand and the extent to which Non-Maori should be expected to acknowledge and resource that status.

Dame Susan, like all those National Party backwoodsmen so eloquently described by Beaglehole, neither sympathises with nor, one suspects, understands the purposes of Labour’s Human Rights policies. She will rely much more upon simple “common sense” than complicated evidence to inform her judgements. And the “bunk” of history will not be permitted to dictate the thinking of a Race Relations Commissioner singularly equipped with what the Minister of Justice calls “spine”.

For left-wing, tertiary-educated urban professionals, the next five years promise to be, in Bill Sutch’s grim phrase: “a wasteland”.

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Citizen A – Phoebe Fletcher & Julie Fairey – The Susan Devoy Fiasco

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Citizen A – Phoebe Fletcher & Julie Fairey

Issue 1: Is Susan Devoy and her views on Waitangi Day an appropriate choice for the new Race Relations Commissioner?

Issue 2: Has the Government quelled the Novopay fiasco or is it too little too late?

and Issue 3 tonight: The IMF warns of a housing bubble, but is the Government listening?

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John Key advocates theft by Banks?

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too big to fail to big to jail

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Recent events in Cyprus have once again brought the global financial sector into sharp public consciousness. This time, as well as a bailout, there was a serious – and ominous –  demand from the EU that Cyprus make a “one off” levy (or tax) on the savings of Cypriots and others living in that country.

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Hard EU bailout terms anger Cypriot savers

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Hard EU bailout terms anger Cypriot savers

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Deposits up to and over   €100,000 ($158,000) would be levied with a  9.9% tax whilst below that threshold would be  pay a ‘lower’ portion of  6.75%.

Unsurprisingly, the proposed tax resulted in a run on cash withdrawals at ATMS (see:  Cypriots asked to surrender up to 10 percent of bank balances in return for EU bailout); banks closed their doors (see:  Fury as banks closed to avert run); global sharemarkets were affected (see:  Stock Markets Fall Amid Fears Of New Eurozone Crisis);  and the British government was forced to fly in one million euros to pay military personnel (see: One Million Euros Heading To Island For British Military Personnel ).

Pressure on the Cypriot government was such that in the last 48 hours, the Savings Tax was dumped (see:  Rejection of Deposit Tax Scuttles Deal on Bailout for Cyprus). The Cypriot Parliament voted  thirtysix against, with nineteen abstaining. It is noteworthy that not one politician risked his/her life by voting for the proposal.

Europeans. They know how to put pressure on their elected representatives.

Meanwhile, back home, in the Land of the Long White Cloud and several million sheep…

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bank bailouts - bailout - new zealand banks - john ley

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – NZ bank bailout scheme is last resort, says PM

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Key’s statement here is chilling,

“At the end of the day we’re talking about emergency provisions. These banks are heavily regulated, they have significant oversight and lender of last resort facilities at the Reserve Bank.

This is really in the event that a bank got itself in such a terrible mess that it fell over and had to restart again.”

Acknowledgement: IBID

If that is supposed to be reassuring – it is not. In fact, if anything, this is a clear warning to every single New Zealander that if a bank gets into trouble – or if there is even a hint of trouble – to get in quickly and withdraw every cent that a depositor might have.

If a bank gets in trouble, and has a crippling run on deposits, it will be as a direct consequence  to Key’s plan to dip into people’s savings to bail out that institution,

The Reserve Bank’s Open Bank Resolution (OBR) plan, due to come into effect at the end of June, would mean a partial loss on all deposits if a bank failed in New Zealand, in order to fund the bank’s bailout.

Acknowledgement: Fairfax media – Reserve Bank scheme news knocks kiwi

Ironically, this is where Libertarians – who consider all taxation as theft – may have a point.

Taxation is one thing. We pay it so we can enjoy the benefits of a modern society and economy. Roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, police, etc, do not materialise out of thin air.

Dipping into people’s savings accounts – which has already been taxed one way or another – is not a tax. It is expropriation.

Expropriatiion – that dreaded word which National and it’s supporters levy against the Left when we talk about re-nationalising State assets. But which evidently is ok if a bank goes bust and has to be bailed out?

If this principal is to be applied across all sectors of society and the economy, then one could imagine that employees and sub-contractors of Mainzeal should have been taxed to bail out that company. Why should a bank be different to a construction company? Is there a difference?

If this expropriation of deposits was ever to happen, do the depositors gain any benefit? Do they gain shares in the Bank as compensation? Or, if not, does that mean that shareholders gain the benefit of other people’s money being used to prop up their investments?

One could imagine  an invalid on a WINZ benefit having his/her meagre savings “taxed” to bail out a bank – to preserve an investor’s shareholding that may be worth millions of dollars. This isn’t justice or common sense, this is nasty, medieval,   “robber Baron” stuff.

The biggest irony here is that, according to the principals of the free market, this is a kind of subsidy to a business – a subsidy enforced by the State, against the will of people who are not even shareholders in a particular bank.

Even marxists would balk at such extreme State power to seize people’s money. They’d simply nationalise the bank and be done with it. Depositors would still have their modest savings left intact and untouched.

Key’s proposal is not just crazy from almost every perspective – it is an insult to our intelligence. Especially when banks are doing very well with their profits,

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bank profits headlines collage

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When profits for New Zealand’s four largest banks are at a staggering   $3.5 billion (for 2011/12) – an increase of 22% – then that must raise serious questions why Dear Leader is even considering making depositors pay for any potential future bailout.

Shouldn’t the banks be looking at a deposit insurance scheme of some sort? You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

Perhaps, though, an event like this is what might be required to jolt New Zealanders out of their collective complacency. It’s only when the middle classes are hit hard in their wallets, that they stop being passive consumers and start to reassert themselves as active citizens.

Because, my fellow Kiwis, you can bet your last dollar (before the banks seize it) that John Key’s $50 million will be somewhere else – probably safe in some Swiss Bank account.

The people of Cyprus (and Iceland) have shown us the way.

Addendum

Remember the so-called “Light Bulb” and “Shower Heads” affairs, in 2008, where National slammed the then-Labour Government as engaging in  “Nanny State” politics? (see: Showers latest target of Labour’s nanny state ) National’s Nick Smith said,

People should be free to use as much water as they like when showering, provided they don’t expect others to pay for their profligacy. User-pays is a far better approach than nanny state.”

So using eco lightbulbs and smaller shower flows, to conserve electricity and water is nasty  “Nanny Statism”.

But going into people’s savings accounts; stealing their money; and handing it over to banks – is all hunky dory? Well, I’m glad that’s settled.

(Cue theme music to ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’.)

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References

Banking profits up 13.6 percent

ASB Bank cash profit rises 7pc

ANZ profits up 17pc to $1.26b

BNZ first-half profit jumps 36pc

$3.5b profits for big four banks

Westpac profit increases 22pc

Outcry at big banks’ mega-profits

Additional

Reserve Bank scheme news knocks kiwi

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