Photo credit Matt Lamers
LETTERS TO EDITOR | AUG '19 - AUG '20
Photo credit Matt Lamers
The Goldilocks Principle
15 August 2020
Dear Editor - Lately I’ve heard and read two young economists declare: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. They are Brad Olsen of Infometrics and (in W. Chron-15 Aug) Yuong Ha, Reserve Bank Chief Economist. They are both correct when it comes to resource use, but wrong when it comes to our means of exchange – money.
Students of Economics are expected to understand a basic principle called “Opportunity Cost”. What other thing could we do with X to achieve Y instead of using Z ?
We do this in our daily lives with objects and time. That’s assuming we have choice.
Sadly, a new “principle” was coined a few decades ago called the: “Principle of Intergenerational Equity”. Object? To validate the limiting of choice when the cost of interest determines our decisions and to load future debt-servicing onto our mokopuna. Too often the need to “pay down” debt (mostly to foreign creditors) takes precedence over providing ourselves with amenities for our present welfare - just when the Covid19 crisis is revealing that we have a sovereign central bank legally equipped to actually cancel or reduce public debt. Today’s money is initially digital and free! It can be issued or cancelled, given the political will. Provided, of course, that another principle is observed – I call it the “Goldilocks Principle”. It is to ensure that our money supply must never be too much for available resources - nor should it be kept scarce when labour and resources ought to be employed.
My plea to our economic gurus – define your assumptions!
Give Money Directly to the Government
13 August 2020
Now with the possibility of further a Lockdown , the Government will once again have to fork out more money for deserving businesses .
Once again it will come with a huge debt cost to future generations of taxpayers.
Now is the time for the Reserve Bank to give the money directly to the Government
debt free, no payback and no interest . Just like it was done with the first Labour Government when the State Houses were built .
Come on Jacinda - just do it .
27 August 2020
Our unenlightened Finance Minister who also has forgotten Labour's past achievements admits to borrowing every single dollar we are paying out.
He said this morning on the News that" there had been significant help for businesses and there needs to be a balance ".
In other words he has ignored Social Credit's advice to get the money directly from the Reserve Bank as the First Labour Government did
All this pain Covid 19 has caused for workers does not have to be, if the
Government could forget about borrowing and just use the debt free money available to it .
Look to your Party's past Grant Robertson and learn from a more enlightened Party,
that has been calling out for this to happen for the last sixty plus years .
Use the Reserve Bank
03 Aug 2020
While discussing the Green’s wealth tax in your editorial (Friday, 24 July 2020) you said “Longer term there is still an important discussion to be had on tax. The Government is expected to borrow an additional $60 billion to get through the Covid19 crisis. That means it will need to find more revenue in the years to come or significantly cut spending.” You are implying that funds can only come from tax, but that has long been proven incorrect.
Leading NZ economists and your own columnists say the Reserve Bank could provide Covid relief funds directly to the government, debt-free and interest-free. Therefore no extra revenue would be needed, no taxes would need to be increased and no government spending would need to be cut.
Now more than ever it is time for a proper discussion on using Reserve Bank credit. We need the Voyager Newspaper of the Year to take the lead on illuminating this issue, explain what can be done, what cannot be done, and what are the pros, cons and risks.
Other countries including China, Japan, Canada and the UK are using their central banks to provide Covid relief funds directly to the government. Why not NZ?
Debt-funding dogma threat to NZ
20 July 2020
Dear Editor - A huge take-away is being prepared in Southland. But although the aluminium smelter may go, Rio Tinto is leaving masses of highly toxic waste stored around the province, smug in the assurance that a quiet deal with the government will leave taxpayers to dump it, somehow, somewhere. Meanwhile, up north, the beautiful Dome Valley awaits despoilation as a future dump-site for urban trash, when a low-pollution waste-to-energy plant would prove to be a cheap option, both financially and environmentally.
Then, there is another kind of dangerous dumping - accentuated by the Covid19 crisis. All of our current cohort of MPs are wedded to the neo-liberal debt-funding dogma. Our mokopuna are threatened with having a multi-billion dollar debt burden dumped on them as the financial institutions demand repayment. The resultant rise in income inequality and asset sales hardly bears thinking about. Fortunately one bright spark does shed some light, thanks to said crisis revealing the powers of our Reserve Bank to create fiat money even though it is snatched away by the banks before the public gets its portion. To date only the Socreds maintain that this money could go directly into our economy without interest - and without the sky falling in. Nothing to prevent agreement from other parties, except pig-headedness. Indeed, with most parties claiming to honour the Treaty of Waitangi, it is a mystery why successive governments insist on dumping the debt onto future generations. The words of that celebrated Swedish teenager can levelled against anyone who clings to such a notion: "How dare you!"
Trees and Rabbits
08 July 2020
Pine trees are following rabbits as the curse of the hill country, again a case of the well intentioned gone wrong! Rabbits decimated the hill country around my area by burrowing their “warrens” which then filled with water thus allowing saturation of the surrounding soils. The result was under-runners and slips resulting in silting over vast areas of watershed—or out to sea and millions spent to remedy! (I have a NZ Nat Film Unit 1950s video on the subject; ”Glenmark”- soil conservation scheme”/Archives)
Rotting harvested tree roots create even worse under-surface disturbance and soak holes, along comes a heavy rain and whole hillsides slide off, as has been graphically illustrated in recent happenings. For Charles W Etherington’s (8th) illumination, it’s called “erosion”.
Anne Salmond’s article was spot on and can be confirmed by those of us who’ve “been there, done that’’ over generations of practical experience many of whom see the ETS as a politically manipulated “ponzi” scheme which has far more to do with “money for nothing” than the environment. Perhaps Mr. Etherington has forestry shares?
20 June 2020
Before the 2017 general election, MPs from all the Opposition parties came to Gisborne more than once announcing their intention to restore the rail link to Napier. Proviso — IF they became the government.
Well, except for Marama Fox, they did. But, apart from getting some logs out of Wairoa, little has happened except for more reviews and reports.
Dare our hopes be raised again with the latest contribution from BERL economist Ganesh Nana? He has certainly identified the region’s productivity potential — coinciding with a recent Farmers Weekly report (June 4) on a promising future for protein-rich crops like chickpeas and quinoa.
Moreover, he has dared to be equally explicit about funding. As he said (June 4) on RNZ’s Morning Report: “The Government can borrow from the Reserve Bank. To be technical, it’s literally borrowing from itself.”
Whoever is the Government after September 19, the financial policies will be identical. All of the current MPs cling to the debt-funding dogma of PPPs (Public-Private-Partnerships) and sales of Treasury securities.
At least the public is getting a taste of second-hand social credit, as the Reserve Bank buys back the Treasury bonds from the private banking system. Up to the voters as to whether we get the real thing and a rapid restoration of our rail.
Heather Marion Smith, Wanganui
Comment on Rates
03 June 2020
Dear Editor - That was a bold challenge Chamber of Commerce chair, Glenda Brown, made to Council during recent hearings on the Draft Annual Plan. She called for a nil-rate increase (W. Chron,1st June), with the reminder that: 'It's not business as usual for anybody'.
Unrealistic? No way! An even bolder suggestion was put to Government by Prof. Tim Hazeldine, Auckland University economist - to scrap the GST indefinitely - not just on rates, but on everything else. For this district alone, the removal from rates would have kept around $9 million of discretionary spending in our economy.
Then, for an estimated $2 billion, Government could have covered the current quarterly rate demand for all New Zealanders. This from Social Credit Leader, Chris Leitch. Compared with the multi-billions now allocated throughout the rest of the economy, this sum was modest. But the Socred call was for payment directly from the Reserve Bank, not second-hand per the banking system. Still, second-hand Social Credit is a leap forward. Time to push for the real thing!
Heather Marion Smith
Response to Cr Josh Chandulal-Mackay
02 May 2020
Dear Editor - So very disappointing to see in bold print (2nd May) an opinion by Cr Josh Chandulal-Mackay that it ‘makes sense’ for future generations to share the cost burden from this Covid19 crisis. More like non-sense! The coalition government’s indecent haste borrowing over $52 billion on the debt markets exposes its failure (refusal?) to recognise the powers of its own sovereign bank to credit-fund essential spending.
How ironic that our council building in Guyton Street was in ‘lockdown’ for months on end while the foyer was refurbished using Maori motifs. More upstairs. To attend a public meeting means entering through a door decorated in beautiful taniko weaving and carving. Yet what an insult to Te Ao Maori tradition which believes in a gift economy where today’s taonga is a heritage for our mokopuna, not a source of wealth for foreign investors.
The current long-term plan reveals an ongoing interest rate of 5.5%, with debt-servicing estimated at $6.6 million for the next financial year. Imagine that amount left in our local economy. Cr Josh assures us that any current budget shortfall is covered by Council’s debt programme. No mention as to whom this debt is owed. Instead of explaining his support for the latest rate increase, it would have been a brave move for Cr Josh and others to assert Council’s democratic right to access RBNZ credit-funding. It’s not too late!
Heather Marion Smith
Businesses need to buy local too
24 April 2020
Dear Editor - Russell Bell (22 April) urges us to “buy local “ and so we should. As he says, we should “support the businesses which provide goods, services and employment and make our collective lives better”.
Being responsible consumers is a good start. But how local, or at least New Zealand-wide, are our businesses when it comes to their own sources of supply? What economists call their “derived demand”.
Can we expect bakeries to always use local eggs, supermarkets to stock only Kiwi-grown frozen peas, butcheries to avoid any imported meat. I was shocked to learn from recent correspondence with NZ Pork that over 60% of pork products retailed here is from overseas. However, requests to Government for country-of-origin labelling is consistently refused.
But how local is local? Can we expect for our businesses to bank local – with New Zealand-owned banks? Our district council too? Time for our councillors to set an example by demanding from Parliament the right to borrow local - from our own Reserve Bank, instead of from the foreign-controlled debt markets. With no interest to pay on borrowings, rates could come down. Result? More to spend locally. Very good, indeed, for our local economy.
Heather Marion Smith
Conservation not rate-payers responsibility
Oh to have the ignorance of youth(?) on your side or maybe the excuse is four decades of brainwashing - towing the party line?
Wanna-be Minister of Agriculture, Nationals's Tod Muller twice in an article in Feb 2020 Canterbury Farming, blames "historical farming practices" "unwitting damage of several generations" (of farmers?) for the decay of the water environment. I object, strongly, sir!
He is however right in pointing out that the issues of water and pollution (eg Waitemata Harbour-sewage) have been "coming down the pipeline, for want of a better term, for decades", that's four and counting.
I would like to point out to Tod Muller that until the "four horsemen of apocalypse" Douglas, Palmer, Prebble and Caygill rode through NZ in the mid-80s, ignoring PM David Lange's "let's take a break and think this through" only to have their policies enlarged by National, that nearly every piece of national infrastructure built to date was financed off the "sheep's back" (wool and lamb cheque thanks to farming families who ran self-sustaining closed ecosystems) and were financed by the Treasury/taxpayer including river/water care and soil conservation.
All such important, indeed vital, activities were overseen, even designed by competent, very experienced career engineers who had over 100 years of institutional knowledge to back them up but were scrapped along with the records - NZED, MOW, NZR and Catchment and Conservation boards all financed from the "public purse" taxpayer, ie Treasury, an outfit made up of academic "number-crunchers" who will sting out of existence anyone who threatens their hive.
So the reality we all face is a huge investment to repair, let alone upgrade the mess for the future. The present political statements about overhauling the Resource Management Act "tinkering with the words" gives me no confidence whatsoever. So, I hear you say, what would I do?
I'd immediately strip the control of rivers/streams and soil conservation out of ratepayer financed local bodies back to their home as government financed separate Ministries the only reservation being that the skills and knowledge that once existed have probably died out!
They are a national no ratepayer responsibility and it is past time that the NZ public had the guts to realise the time has come, as Geoffrey Palmer now acknowledges, to use "force majeure" to make it happen, ie that's how it's going to be - like it or not, for NZ's sake!
Dear Editor. It is a sad reflection on modern society's warped values that so many countries, Australia and New Zealand included, pay homage to the rich.
While it's not unusual for certain sections of the media to be out of touch with the general population, the timing just a few days ago of The Australian newspaper's glossy magazine flaunting the wealth of "Australia's Richest 250" really takes the cake for crass insensitivity.
With a world-wide crisis upon us which, as always, impinges most on the less well-off, what were the editorial staff thinking of to glorify at this critical time, those at the top of the greedy money tree all the way up to those whose fortunes top $16 billion. Just to emphasise how much that is, every one of those billions equates to $1,000 million. Mind-boggling stuff!
Sure, the magazine told of the "givers"amongst them who donate to various causes but a moment's reflection on the tiny proportion of their vast fortunes that they actually hand over raises the question as to why
they don't do far more when they could so easily afford it.
It is a stark reminder of the ever-growing world-wide gap between rich and poor that there is a current appeal on Australian television for the public to donate to a charity to fund sleeping swags for the
homeless who have nowhere to sleep but on the streets. In a country with such vast wealth in so many hands it is a crime that anyone in Australia should be sleeping with no roof over their heads.
The same applies to New Zealand, albeit on a more modest scale.
It was Gandhi who said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed".
Sadly, even during a world crisis, hero-worshipping the rich seems to be the name of the game.
03 March 2020
Dear Editor - “Rate rises likely to rise only 4 percent” announced your front page on 2nd March. “Only”? They shouldn’t be rising at all ! And, shameful that the PNCC has again resorted to that old trick of posting a large rate increase, then expecting widespread relief when a slightly smaller one is quoted.
It is disgraceful that essential projects get delayed for cost-cutting reasons when Government has the sovereign power to credit-fund councils with little or no interest. Our Reserve Bank demonstrated how its credit facility works when between 2007 and 2009 it assisted the big banks through their liquidity crisis to the tune of $5 billion (described in RBNZ literature). Sadly, all parties currently in Parliament are devotees of debt-funding – a boon for the players on the debt-markets, but a drain on the pockets of rate and tax-payers.
Would it be too much to expect in this Leap Year for councillors throughout the land to perform the intellectual leap required to escape the bondage of debt-funding. It really isn’t very difficult.
Heather Marion Smith – Social Credit Western Region Pres.
Covey - this is not a fan letter
19 March 2020
Hello ‘Covey’ - You can wipe away that grin right now. This ain’t a fan letter. But, before you self-destruct it’s only decent to give you credit for one achievement, even though we shouldn’t have had to wait for your threats first. Your ugly mug so terrified our politicians that they finally resorted to ordering our Reserve Bank to concoct a massive vaccination for the big banks – injecting a whole $47 billion into their reserves, and just by punching a few figures into a computer. A modern miracle! But, hang on - that’s nearly four times the amount budgeted for the rest of us. Only $12 billion for business and beneficiary relief, and even that is borrowed on the debt markets for us and our mokopuna to service. Lovely for the banks, the “Super Fund” and other investors now rushing to buy the government bonds in order to maintain their Wall Street credit ratings and to keep on financing the fossil fuel industries.
All the same, Covey, You’ve done it! You’ve finally convinced the general public that our central bank can produce any necessary funds, something we Socreds (that’s Social Credit to you) have tried for decades to do. Even former Rangitikei MP, Bruce Beetham, failed to get his Reserve Bank Amendment Bill past the scorn from both sides of Parliament. Okay – you’ve got the message. Time to disappear for good - our good.
Heather Marion Smith
The Listener Feb 2020
Last week’s editorial claimed “A robust democracy needs political parties to be sufficiently funded to actively participate in elections.”
Hard to disagree with.
“The ability to solicit donations is a reasonable way for parties to pay for their activities…… The alternative is state funding. Nothing suggests that would find favour with the public.”
Yet we already have it.
As Massey University professor Claire Robinson points out in her book 'Promises Promises - 80 years of wooing New Zealand voters', the committee of parliament that allocates public money for election broadcasting is dominated by National and Labour and they allocate themselves the vast majority of it.
For the 2017 election a war chest of $2.3 million out of the $4,145,700 allocation went to National and Labour.
"This confers on them a massive advantage to be able to retain the dominant position they already have."
As Professor Robinson points out, "New ideas don't come from the centre where National and Labour reside but from the margins which are the home of the smaller parties."
She instances the change to proportional representation, which came about largely because of public mistrust in the election outcomes of 1978 where Social Credit gained 16.1% but only one seat, and 1981 - 20.7% but only two seats.
The publicly funded Parliamentary Service also provides around $50 million each year for research and media staff, newsletters, focus groups, surveys, travel, accommodation and a plethora of other services – many of which are used by parties to build their public profile.
Professor Robinson thinks the allocation of public broadcasting funds should be turned on its head so the smaller parties get the funding they need to provide people with the information on which to base an informed vote.
That sounds like a start towards a real democracy.
Chris Leitch - Whangarei
Wanganui Chronicle Feb 2020
Dear Editor - As Simon Wilson commented (Chron. 5th Feb.) the PM’s speech at Waitangi was “big on rhetoric”. Not that I needed this observation to read with sceptical eyes “ We are here to acknowledge the past, and challenge the present.”
Okay, – let’s do exactly that. But in reverse. A few weeks ago (13th Jan.) the New Zealand Gazette published a Notice of Approval in accordance with the Crown Entities Act (2004) – incidentally passed under a Labour-led government. Permission had been given to Kainga Ora (formerly KiwiBuild) to borrow from sources other than the NZ Treasury, including dealing in derivatives (financial fairy dust). The two Labour Ministers responsible are the Hon. Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance, and the Hon. Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Housing. The amount approved was $7,100,000,000 along with permission to borrow more as required. Readers are sure to raise their eyebrows when they learn the name of the securities being offered on the debt markets – “Well-being bonds”! Certainly the well-being of the speculators is assured, long-term public debt yielding steady returns in decades to come as our mokopuna struggle to pay the interest.
All this in stark contrast to sentiments about acknowledging our past. Especially coming from a politician who wants this nation’s history taught in schools, while refusing, along with her colleagues, to honour their first Prime Minister’s brave decision to fund State Housing from the newly nationalised Reserve Bank. With a minuscule interest rate and with modest rents soon flowing back into the government accounts, the houses were soon paid for without long-term debt. But, as history has proved, M.J.Savage was short on rhetoric, preferring real action. To quote the great 20th century Quaker economist, Kenneth Boulding: “What has happened is possible”. Just need more Kiwis to agree.
Heather Marion Smith
Fixing the current mess
NC News Waipara 6 Feb 2020
Oh to have the ignorance of youth (?) on your side or maybe the excuse is 4 decades of brainwashing—towing the party line?
Wanna-be Minister of Agriculture, Nationals Tod Muller twice in an article in Feb 2020 Canterbury Farming, blames “historical farming practices” –“unwitting damage of several generations” (of farmers?) for the decay of the water environment; I object, strongly, Sir!
He is however right in pointing out that the issues of water & pollution (e.g. Waitemata Harbor-sewage!) have been “coming down the pipeline, for want of a better term—for decades”,-- four and counting!
I would like to point out to Tod Muller that until the “four horsemen of apocalypse” Douglas, Palmer, Prebble and Caygill rode through NZ in the mid-80s, ignoring PM David Lange’s “let’s take a break and think this through” only to have their policies enlarged by National, that nearly every piece of national infrastructure built to date was financed off the “sheep’s back” –(wool & lamb cheque thanks to farming families who ran self-sustaining closed ecosystems) and were financed by the Treasury=taxpayer including river/water care and soil-conservation.
All such important, indeed vital, activities were overseen, even designed by competent, very experienced career engineers who had over 100 years of institutional knowledge to back them up but were scrapped along with the records –NZED, MOW,NZR and Catchment and Conservation boards ALL financed from the “public purse”—taxpayer i.e. Treasury, an outfit made up of academic “number-crunchers” who will sting out of existence anyone who threatens their hive.
So the reality we all face is a huge investment to repair, let alone upgrade the mess for the future. The present political statements about overhauling the Resource Management Act—"tinkering with the words” gives me no confidence whatsoever. So, I hear you say, what would I do?
I’d immediately strip the control of rivers/streams and soil conservation out of ratepayer financed local bodies back to their home as government financed separate Ministries the only reservation being that the skills and knowledge that once existed have probably died out! They are a national NOT ratepayer responsibility and it is past time that the NZ public had the guts to realize the time has come, as Geoffrey Palmer now acknowledges, to use “force majeure” to make it happen, i.e. that’s how it’s going to be—like it or not, for NZs sake!
John McCaskey - Waipara
Don't do it!
Farmers Weekly Feb 2020
SORRY Alan Emerson (Farmers Weekly, December 9) don’t let's start a provincial party. I have a much better suggestion. Join one already in existence and re-invigorate it - one that has been in existence since before MMP and had a lot of rural/farmer support and MPs in Parliament and was even green before the title was hijacked by the Greenpeace offshoot.
I stood for the attempted reincarnation of the Country Party in 1972 [Liberal Reform] simply because I objected to Finance Minister Rob Muldoon subsidising farmers knowing full well, having just been in Britain, that eventually the then powerful union/left would find it intolerable that the perceived rich cockies should be given taxpayers’ money.
By 1987/89 many farmers who'd ostracised me for daring to stand against National started coming to me with one comment — “You were right, wish we had listened" as rural NZ was devastated and littered with broken families and suicides and the country went into lock-down for a decade while the overseas
capital-earning livestock were sacrificed to the neo-liberal god of mammon.
I've since stood at every election bar one since 1990, always hoping to promote/protect the family farm, of which there were 120,000 meat and wool and 60,000 dairy in 1964. There are now less than 20,000 in each category, many of them corporate and even overseas owned along with much of our downstream infrastructure/processing industry and a corresponding loss of political clout.
Family farms lost equate with around half a million loss of intergenerational experience/knowledge off the land and a generation who grew up wanting nothing to do with the misery they saw on the farm throughout that great experiment foisted on the country by Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble and Geoffrey Palmer, to be continued under National as their acolyte-infested Federated Farmers made out to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff without a first-aid kit and were no more than party puppets.
I was one of the many who dumped their Feds membership. I suggested in 1990 that the $250 odd million of Meat and Wool Board (farmers’) funds be used as seed-money for a new Rural Bank. Jim Anderton got Kiwibank going with less. The $250m was wasted as sheep numbers plunged and the world-recognised Woolmark was lost along with the liquidation of millions of sheep and jobs, to he replaced by dairy which now needs foreign labour. What a sour joke.
So don’t let’s start a provincial party. Let’s throw our now much diminished voice in with one that had common sense (sorry, out of date wording) green policies worked out long before the Greenpeace tag-on Greens were even hatched. A party that is sincerely worried about the inequality caused by corrupted tax policies that punish the productive and less well off by allowing those who can afford tax evasion to take advantage -spend $100 at the supermarket to feed a family and get $85 worth of groceries but spend that same $100 on buying shares/forex trading and you get full face value, the total yearly trade of which if taxed at half a cent would yield Treasury over $6 billion.
However, those who can afford that gambling cannot afford half a cent - get a life.
What's new in my Kaikoura electorate over the last three decades? Nothing but patched up roads and infrastructure. New? Nothing. Even the one-way bridge is still on State Highway 1. Why? Because it is perceived as a safe seat — for National so don’t do anything.
Let's put rural votes behind real common-sense policies where substance overrides symbols and reality not theory rules. Fix the Resource Management Act. Members formulate/dictate policy so let's do this. Join now. Until we take
their votes nothing will change.
Northern Advocate 17 Dec 2019
I believe your cartoon on this subject (17 Dec.) was a bit harsh. Many of
the people who wish to ban it entirely have genuine concerns. They just have
no understanding of the difficulty, in some remote areas complete
impossibility, of preventing collapse of our native vegetation by any means
other than aerial drops of poison.
At its recent Annual Conference, the Social Credit Party considered this in
Under no circumstances should 1080 be dropped anywhere close to
farmland, human habitation or water catchments.
An organisation should be developed, and its members adequately paid, to
carry out control by trapping etc. in more accessible areas.
The personnel and thousands of kilometers of tracks and trap-lines needed
for this purpose would be expensive. If anyone believes that action of this
type can happen when both Government and Local Bodies have to borrow
the money needed at commercial rates, they are dreaming.
Only reforms such as those proposed by Social Credit can make this sort of
John G Rawson - Whangarei
Mountains of plastic waste should be major focus
Otago Daily Times 12 Dec 2019
Environmental issues are a problem for New Zealand as well as the globe.
My struggle is with climate change caused by fossil fuels, due to the fact that over long geological periods of time, the earth's environment has changed.
That is not to say the human race has no impact. We are going through an important time of transition, and New Zealand, under Labour, has made some small changes. However, there are schemes like an impressive charitable one in the US called the One Million Waves Project which is turning plastics into prosthetics and medical equipment.
Its website states that, every year, 28 billion pounds of plastic end up in the oceans and that 40 million people in poor, developing nations are in need of prosthetic limbs yet only 5% of these people have any prosthetic options.
For me, plastic is more of a concern that fossil fuels "causing" climate change.
Tom McAlpine - North East Valley
Alarming signs as more New Zealand assets sold off by Government
Otago Daily Times 23 Nov 2019
(Link to media cutting Otago Daily Times 23 Nov 2019)
The party that sold off BNZ, NZ Rail, Petrocorp, Post Bank, the Shipping Corporation, Air New Zealand, the State Insurance Office, the Tourist Hotel Corporation and a host of other New Zealand assets is at it again - with the assistance of its coalition partners, NZ First and the Greens.
Despite a commitment in its policy to "keep forestry in New Zealand hands by requiring the sale of logging rights on land over 50 hectares to be approved by the overseas investment office for overseas purchases", Labour is facilitiating the sale of thousands of hectares of farmland to overseas forestry companies and bypassing the overseas investment office in the process.
To meet its billion trees programme and climate change targets, Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage has given approval for the sale of New Zealand farmland. Was this the process this Government campaigned on in 2017?
A Social Credit government would put an immediate stop to the sale of farmland to overseas buyers, progressively return to New Zealand ownership land already sold, and radically rewrite the Overseas Investment Office rules.
Instead of penalising our wealth producers we will make Reserve Bank credit available to assist businesses, territorial authorities and other groups in making the transition towards a carbon neutral New Zealand.
Bob Warren - Social Credit Dunedin Chairman
Bridges' blind spot
NZ Herald 19 Nov 2019
Calling a donkey an ass doesn’t absolve one of the necessity to feed it and house it. The writer of yesterday's editorial under the heading "Bridges finds map on election path" apparently thinks so.
Building infrastructure by raising private capital either through Public Private Partnerships or Special Purpose Vehicles still requires money to be borrowed.
Those are simply an underhand method of the government borrowing money without it appearing on the official books.
Taxpayers will still be paying the interest and the loan principal but at a substantially higher interest rate than if the government had borrowed the money directly itself.
The suppliers of that private capital would have to borrow it in the first place from the privately-owned banks, so will be costing in the banks' profit and their own profit, all of which will come out of taxpayers' pockets, resulting in taxpayers spending vastly more on the projects as a result of this funding method.
Doing so would be a "blunt admission the government couldn't manage its books properly" if Amy Adams ever became finance minister, and clear evidence of "tax, spend, borrow, hope" as Bridges described it.
Anyone who thinks that those fancy funding schemes are not "taking the country further into the red" and suggests that it "could be a genuine draw card at next year's polling booths" needs to explain to voters how paying more for infrastructure will make them feel good about voting National.
Chris Leitch - Northland
MMP, STV, ACT, choose your abbreviation
Northern Advocate 29 Nov 2019
The Representation Commission has announced proposed new electorate boundaries for the next two elections.
This is an appropriate time to discuss revamping our whole electoral system.
It is clear MMP is not delivering real proportional representation, and current trends might see a sort of undemocratic First Past the Post result by default if some of the smaller parties exit parliament.
Demand for proportional representation came about after Social Credit gained 21% of the vote, but only two MPs, and a string of broken promises by both National and Labour.
New Zealand First and the Greens and can barely clear the oppressive 5% threshold and ACT only survives because of its electorate deal with National. Oh how they’d love to get Social Credit’s 1981 result.
Without minor party influence, National and Labour basically amount to the same thing.
So it's time to do away with MMP and replace it with the Single Transferable Vote system.
STV, already used by eleven local authorities, would deliver true proportional representation and ensure every vote counts towards electing an MP.
Under STV, the unaccountable list MP's would be abolished.
Electorates would be larger but have more than one MP elected from each one.
Independents would have a greater chance for being elected too – something desperately needed in our current hyper-partisan parliament.
Callan Neylan - Waipu
Otago Daily Times 26 Nov 2019
YET again we read of another taxpayer gift to a private Australian bank (ODT, 5.11.19) increasing its already excessive profits and, on the same page, we learn this increase leads to a concomitant increase in the already obscene salary earned by the chief executive.
Private banks earn a substantial proportion of their profits by charging interest and fees on the loans they make from the money they create.
It is our Government which permits them to create this money rather than reserving this privilege to the publicly owned Reserve Bank. In this way, they are giving a gift of this profit to private banks and the New Zealand taxpayer loses out.
Indeed, in 1978, an amendment to the Reserve Bank Act was proposed by Bruce Beetham which, together with his proposed New Currency Act, would have enacted changes which would have retained these profits for the public good.
The opportunity cost of not effecting these changes must run into billions of dollars lost to the New Zealand tax payer.
Also, in other times and in other places, governments have reserved the right to create money to themselves at considerable benefit to their economies and their taxpayers - for example, Alberta from 1935 to 1971.
It is time to end the wealth transfer to private banks and for New Zealand to follow the ideas underlying Social Credit in order to actually do something about income and wealth inequality in our country rather than just talking about it.
A. MacGregor - Mosgiel
Whanganui Chronicle 5 Nov 2019
“Learn to pronounce te reo correctly” urges Jane Trask (Chron.1st Nov.) Agreed that’s a courteous thing to do allowing, though, for regional dialects. But to claim that wrong pronunciation is “murdering the very essence” of Maori culture implies that an inadvertent mistake is the equivalent of manslaughter !
What really needs to be recognised as the essence of Maori culture, though currently obscured by fraudulent neo-liberal mantra, is the traditional gift economy whereby available resources were shared equitably with infrastructures inherited by the mokopuna without the burden of debt finance. What a contrast to the latest news headlines – Mike King’s charity now penniless while Health Minister Clark bemoans the fact that the health sector is well over $1 billion in deficit.
This nonsense must stop – and stop now ! The gift economy paradigm could be easily applied to our New Zealand financial system today. We have a sovereign Reserve Bank equipped to credit-fund public health, education, railways etc. Budget deficits or surpluses thus become obsolete allowing regressive taxes like the GST to be scrapped, so increasing household disposable income. This is putea pai (good/ethical funding). Now, please Mr Editor, place a macron over the letter “u” before I am accused of wrong spelling.....
Heather Marion Smith - Whanganui
Nelson Evening Mail 05 Oct 2019
There have been many articles recently on the dire predictions of climate change. I agree that we cannot continue as we have in the recent past, with our throwaway culture polluting the Earth - but compared with climate change, the effects of our debt "money system" which is compounding exponentially will have far greater disastrous consequences.
Most of the human effect of climate change is directly caused by the inflationary effect of money driving the necessity to expand growth each year just to stand still. New Zealanders have to exist on half of what we earn as a nation (our GNP), as the other half goes to the bankers to pay interest and principal. Half of world trade is just to pay the banks interest and principal. the interest component of 30 to 50 per cent is built into everything we buy.
Taxation could be slashed.
Today, we are slaves to the privatised money system which affects every facet of human life worldwide. Solution - use the Reserve Bank to create all finance needed to run the nation as a grant, interest-free, as we did from 1936 until the 1960s. Let money become a servant instead of the master.
Ian Davey - Motueka
Gift economy no more
Gisborne Herald 27 Sept 2019
What a pity that Marise Lant sees Government support for the berthing of the Endeavour replica as an insult to Maori when a far, far greater insult is represented by the "big four" Australian banks - which the same Government and Opposition parties insist on having sovereignty over our financial system.
Nowhere in Te Tiriti o Waitangi is there space for a third partner, yet even Maori businesses are cheerfully becoming clients of foreign-owned banks - while Parliament refuses to make our sovereign Reserve Bank the source of the nation's money supply.
The pre-colonial economic paradigm was a gift economy, not one which heaps billions of dollars of debt on this nation's mokopuna. This paradigm is central to Social Credit policy, but we don't have a patent on it. Indeed, the laws of our land could be invoked immediately to stop the shocking waste of resources needed to back our crippling debt.
Heather Marion Smith - Whanganui
Helicopters are good for the economy
Dominion Post 25 July 2019
It’s great to see helicopter money considered in “What to do if the economy tanks” (23 Jul) by economist Brad Olsen. Money thrown out of a metaphorical helicopter would do well to stimulate an economy that has a sub-optimal money supply relative to its potential productivity.
Specifically, this should be “Quantitative easing for the people” where the helicopter money originates from the Reserve Bank. Then we don’t rack up more debt to overseas financial institutions. Otherwise, we’ll have the same old conundrum we do now which is well described by Positive Money NZ who say “If we want more money, we have to have more debt, and if we want less debt we have to have less money in the economy”.
By using our own Reserve Bank, the helicopter could deliver enough money into the real economy without any associated debt. If we don’t use the Reserve Bank, the helicopter concept is not progressive at all, it’s just the status quo, debt-backed monetary system with a fancily named unorthodox delivery system.
Dollars and Cents
NZ Listener 20 July 2019
Dollars and cents” (article - July 6) refers to the new, private, alternative currency Libra raising accountability and transparency fears. It is causing Joanne Black to tighten her tin foil hat and rightly so. However, there is nothing more to fear than there is with our present currency, the New Zealand Dollar NZD. 98% of New Zealand’s money is also privately issued electronic currency issued by profit-seeking corporations (The remaining 2% is issued by RBNZ as notes and coins).
It’s all just smoke and mirrors though. We are alarmed at one but quite content with, or perhaps ignorant about, the other. Yet, to all intents and purposes their characteristics are very similar. What we will have is one privately issued electronic currency backed by another privately issued electronic currency – which in turn is ultimately backed by the debt on which it was issued (See the Bank of England paper Money Creation in the Modern Economy which says “whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money”)
The extra layer of corporate currency just adds to the real problem which is that our money is created by private banks for profit now and yet there is not one tin foil hat in sight. $20 Billion in new money on average is pumped into our economy every year – some of it (perhaps more than half) is going into non-productive investment (including the housing market) – and we wonder why kiwis cumulatively owe $571 Billion dollars. If instead, Government issued our currency via the RBNZ, it could have first use of new money which would have hugely beneficial repercussions on the economy. Also, taxpayers would not be paying $6 Billion a year as interest to those same private institutions who conjured up the electronic money in the first place.
Milksops captive to banks
Whanganui Chronicle 11th July 2019
(LINK to media cutting Whanganui Chronicle 11th July 2019)
We’re big on trumpeting our mainly grass-fed dairy herds – the most efficient
in the world, and all that - leaving aside for the moment the wee matter of
serious downstream water and soil degradation.
Dairying rolls us in the clover when it comes to export sales: it’s our
champion, our dollar machine, our sugar daddy. Yet we have the flagship of
one of our major dairy producing areas on the verge of being flogged off into
foreign ownership - overwhelmingly voted for by the farmers themselves!
Westland Milk Products has apparently turned sour. A cash cow gone
terminal. How so?
Well, it’s complicated, but successive management regimes seemed to be a
sandwich short of a picnic when it came to certain strategic decisions.
But a constant factor in the mix was the highly expensive cost of borrowing
from off-shore banks to finance company operations. Bank executives
naturally wish to be maintained in the manner to which they’ve accustomed
themselves. But what the heck was Westland Milk Products doing borrowing
off them in the first place?
NZ First’s Winston Peters and Shane Jones and Labour’s Damien O’Connor
have tut-tutted about ownership of this key infrastructure going off-shore, but
the only intelligent take I’ve heard on the whole affair has come from Chris
Leitch, Social Credit Party leader.
Social Credit. Remember? Under Bruce Beetham, neighbouring Rangitikei
was a stronghold. In 1978 the party pulled nearly a quarter of the national
vote. If MMP had applied, SoCred would have had about thirty game-
changing seats in parliament, instead of the miserly two FPP consigned them
Leitch asks why Government didn’t offer Westland Milk the 1% Reserve Bank
overdraft arrangment available to the Dairy Board from 1936 to the mid 80's,
under both Labour and National governments.
This would have replaced expensive commercial bank created debt with much
cheaper Reserve Bank debt, allowing the company’s income to benefit West
Coast farmers rather than Australian owned banks.
Gee! Such a simple expedient to keep Westland Milk viable. Why wouldn’t we
There’s a very sad answer. Recent governments have become milksops to
the private banks.
There was a time when a government with guts and vision took the bull by the
horns and used resources at its disposal to promote national prosperity and
equity. The 1935 Labour Government harnessed the newly created sovereign
Reserve Bank to serve national well-being above private interest avarice.
That’s how all those houses got built, as well as a swag of highly beneficial
public infrastructure. That’s how 1% overdrafts were made available to the
dairy industry to help build and diversify.
As Leitch also points out, why exactly is Government widely borrowing
through expensive private off-shore banks, anyway, when the Reserve Bank
can often perform precisely the same function at nominal rates, such as major
nations like China and Japan already do, and we ourselves used to. Instead,
we fork out over six billion dollars – six billion! - in interest costs alone per
annum, instead of it going towards our own needs. Why, indeed!
For starters, ask Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance. Good luck on getting a
As a nation we’ve been suckered into hanging off the Big Banking teat - the
same shysters who gave us the gratuitous greed-fest of the sub-prime
mortgage debacle and a Global Financial Crisis. Our four major banks are
Australian owned, which in turn are controlled by major UK and American
banks. That includes ANZ, who last financial year sucked out more profit from
Kiwis than the six largest companies on the NZSX combined, all while being
in breach of regulatory requirements.
Government doesn’t even conduct core business through our own bank –
Kiwibank. It prefers Australia’s Westpac, which naturally gratefully shovels up
the attendant handsome fees.
Milksops. Sad, but true.
What use a Webb Ellis Cup on the mantelpiece, when we continue to be
lickspittles with our own key livelihoods?
A capital Ripoff
Waikato Times - July 7th
The $66 million being predicted as Waikato DHB’s coming deficit, prompted me to do a bit of sleuthing as what the 2017-18 Annual Report had to disclose. Odd ! Very Odd ! I found that the ridiculous 8% capital charge for that financial year ($37,124,000) almost matched the long lamented deficit ($37,150,000). Basically: no capital charge - no deficit ! Tells us there is something seriously amiss with the Crown Health Funding system – something newly appointed Commissioner Putasi is duty-bound to examine.
To save her the time and trouble I should inform her that public sector funding can and should be publicly provided by our sovereign central Reserve Bank, eliminating the iniquitous practice of selling of government securities on the debt markets to raise money. Nothing in our legislation requires Government to keep the capital markets buoyant. Thought the WDHB is supposed to uphold the principle of “manaaki” – people centred services – not the welfare of the mainly foreign investors in public debt.
Heather Marion Smith - Whanganui
Taxpayers will be back stop for bank’s deposit insurance scheme
Otago Daily Times 5th July 2019
Taxpayers and bank customers will end up footing the bill for the new scheme as banks will pass on their additional costs in their lending rates and taxpayers will be the final backstop for any bad bank decisions.
Banks already have the right to take money out of depositors accounts to bale themselves out, should they get themselves into financial trouble.
Last year the big four Australian based banks pulled six billion dollars in profits out of the pockets of New Zealanders; those profits increase every year.
Taxpayers in New Zealand are already among the highest paying, per capita in the world, with as much as 70 cents in every dollar being taken in taxes, levies and local government charges.
The idea that somehow the average kiwi should be contributing over $1,000 each, (as seen when spread across our economy) to foreign bank margins, means that we need to regain control of the credit creation source.
The lost opportunities for investment and debt reduction caused by this corporate theft, is creating most of the socio economic distortions and widening the inequality gap.
The very idea that any government would further enable the interests of off shore banks to supercede those of the taxpaying public, only re-enforces the fact that the banks actually dictate government policy.
The Bank of England, the German Central Bank and our own Reserve Bank, confirm that our money supply is created by banks, out of thin air, when they lend to customers.
The Reserve Bank (the country’s central bank) should take over the money supply
creation and use those funds for government and local body projects.
These measures would mean that a taxpayer funded retail deposit scheme is not
Bob Warren - Dunedin