Octagon protest occupies minds!

Images ©2011 Elizabeth Kerr

### ODT Online Wed, 19 Oct 2011
Campers strike a common chord
By Simon Cunliffe
Brrrrr! Not great weather for camping. It’ll soon be a bog up there in the Octagon – where the good folk of the “Occupy Dunedin” movement have parked their tents. Can’t imagine they’ll want to stay long in this sort of weather but one or two of them seem determined to remain. There’s been a bit of a squabble over statutes governing occupation of the site. It’s been said a 19th-century bylaw allowing immigrants en route to the Central Otago goldfields to squat temporarily in the city centre is still in force. A neat irony that: it’s a gold rush of a different kind this mob have set up shop to condemn. Their focus is corporate greed, social inequality, free-market economics and environmental issues, much of which they would undoubtedly argue arises from the unfettered accumulation of the aforementioned “gold”. And, interestingly, it’s an echo that has been witnessed in large-scale demonstrations across the world.
Read more

• Simon Cunliffe is deputy editor (news) at the Otago Daily Times.

### ODT Online Wed, 19 Oct 2011
Spirit of protest not dampened by rain
By John Lewis
Anti-capitalism protesters are yet to decide how long they intend to stay in the Octagon, but the Dunedin City Council is going out of its way not to put pressure on the group to respond to its request for a timeline.
Read more

### ODT Online Wed, 19 Oct 2011
Importance of sharing our common wealth forgotten
By Alison MacTavish
The Rugby World Cup has predictably given rise to plenty of discussions about whether rugby is our national religion, or about its importance to our national identity. Election proposals that run counter to the more fundamental values of being a New Zealander, however, have attracted far less discussion.

John Key and his Government have said they will take re-election as a mandate for selling our assets. With most New Zealanders reportedly against asset sales, but with the National Party odds on to form the next government, the danger is that a vote for the National Party will be a vote for asset sales. And, of course, the National Government prefers to focus on how we can divvy up the spoils, rather than discussing the fundamental social justice issue.

Read more

• Alison MacTavish lives near Moeraki.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under DCC, Economics, Events, Geography, People, Politics

50 responses to “Octagon protest occupies minds!

  1. Elizabeth

    Older comments here.

    Follow Occupy Dunedin on Twitter:

    *Twitter is open domain, you don’t have to be subscriber to read tweets.

    Email Address: occupydunedin@gmail.com

    Facebook: Occupy Dunedin

    • Elizabeth

      ### ch9.co.nz 19 October 2011 – 6:13pm
      Occupy Dunedin invited to speak to the Mayor and Chief Executive of the DCC
      On Monday, representatives from Occupy Dunedin were invited by the Mayor and Chief Executive of the DCC to speak at today’s Public Forum. Representatives took their turn to speak at the meeting – but then they all walked out without giving the Council any opportunity to address their concerns.

      • Elizabeth

        We’re still in that strange land where DCC will not allow Channel 9 News to film council meetings with the sound on, thus the voiceover. How long do we have to wait for DCC to video all ‘in public’ sessions of standing committee meetings and public forums, the recordings to be available at its website and or via YouTube?

        The (mere) facial expressions of councillors in the Channel 9 clip suggest why the majority should not be returned at the next local body election. If we needed a reason.

        Why is Hudson still at the table, Dave?

        {Councillors could take their morning or afternoon tea trays of sandwiches, savouries, cakes and fruit to share with Occupy Dunedin in the Octagon, where fulsome discussion is always welcome. Public Forum protocols and the Edinburgh Room itself are stuffy and hierarchical. -Eds}

        • Elizabeth

          ### ch9.co.nz October 20, 2011 – 6:14pm
          Occupy motivations
          It was a case of claim and counterclaim in the Octagon today, as a local United Future Candidate questioned the possible political bias of the Occupy Dunedin movement. It’s argued that having a politically unbalanced group living in the Octagon isn’t democratic, but the Occupiers say they’re not really sure if they even have a political stance.

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    I’ve been there and talked with them. They are definitely political as in “concerned with power, who’s got it, how it is used, who benefits and who loses”. They are not party-political. Their focus is the issues of inequality, poverty, rorts, injustice, exploitation. Insofar as any parties share their concerns and have realistic – i.e. better than pre-election fine words – plans to make things better I am sure they will gain votes thereby. But isn’t that what democracy is about? Isn’t the whole idea that we as individuals vote for the candidates, the parties, who best represent our beliefs in what’s important? (And we hope that the fine words such as transparency don’t fade like the Cheshire Cat’s smile, after they have weaselly-worded their way into power.)

  3. Peter

    A rather silly commentary by Pete George, United Future candidate for Dunedin North. Of course the whole issue is political from whatever angle you are looking at it from. This isn’t an Otago Ladies’ Embroidery Group holding Open Days in the Octagon.
    I can’t see this kind of stance helping his party get beyond its image of being the fuddy duddy, Peter Dunne Party.

  4. JimmyJones

    I think Pete George makes a good point on Channel 9 and on his blog (yourdunedin.org). The repeated claims of the organisers, that there is no party-politics involved, are blatantly dishonest. We can see the banners, and we know that Burt Holmes is one of two co-convenors for the NZ Green party for this region. I don’t know if they pay him, but his job is to organise exactly this type carry-on as part of the Green’s election campaign. When questioned by Channel 9 Burt failed to disclose that he is a Green Party official. It sounds like honesty is something they expect of others but not of themselves.

    As well as the Greens, we also have the Mana party and various cling-ons like the socialists, neo-communists, druggies, hippies, peace-nicks and enviro-nazis. Some of these don’t know that they are being used to promote an ultra-leftist agenda; an agenda that sees democracy and freedom as barriers to achieving their goals. This is not Woodstock or Flower-Power, this is party politics and global politics. Dunedin needs this crap as much as it needs Peter Chin re-elected as Mayor.
    (We don’t need Pete George either, by the way)

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Jimmy Jones, are you saying that people who are active in political parties should not get involved in any other — multi- and no-political affiliations united for purpose — activism? That outlook imposes a shocking brake on the freedom of individuals to be active in both party-political and wider political spheres. What qualification or previous total lack of political involvement would in your opinion make people fit to participate in the Occupy movement?

  6. JimmyJones

    Hype O, my complaint is that the group falsely claims to be a-political or multi-political. Burt Holmes says if they seem a bit leftist, then perhaps that is because the lefties are more motivated. This is just not credible. He wants us to think that it is just by chance that the International Socialists are there and not the ACT party – and nothing to do with him organising it that way.

    My other complaint is that to a large degree this is party-political campaigning in disguise. Every party has the right to campaign, but this should be done in an honest and transparent manner. Comments from the group have emphasised that they are not party-political. I think that people that lie through their teeth like that don’t care about democracy and don’t care about Dunedin either.

  7. Peter

    I think your rightist/conservative slip is showing, Jimmy! Why don’t you and other rightists join them ‘to even the unbalanced representation’ – if that is what is indeed worrying you. More the merrier.
    Left wing / right wing, who cares. Protest is all part of democracy – wherever it comes from.

  8. JimmyJones

    Well Peter, I don’t expect a balanced representation, just honesty with the public about who they are and who organised them.

  9. Of course Occupy is a political campaign even if it lacks any coherence: they seem to have a disgruntlement that not enough manna is appearing from heaven, and little idea what to do about it. They oppose capitalism, but are happy to enjoy the fruits that it has brought them. But they are free to organise and campaign under the same rules as everyone else.
    I thought it was the responsibility of Council staff to fairly enforce regulations on all the City’s citizens.
    If someone occupies a parking-spot for 5 minutes over the allowed time, then action is taken with admirable efficiency.
    But this particular political group is getting away taking over the heart of the City for weeks.
    Is it because it is the same Red/Green group whose support is courted by Mayor Cull’s Greater Dunedin team under the “Sustainability” banner?
    The Council does not see Occupy as a threat. If Occupy do manage to agree on some policies, then I am willing bet that they will advocate more taxing, more spending, and more regulation.
    What I am not hearing from the Octagon is a call to put a stop to the real problem with the Dunedin City Council: too much spending.

  10. Peter

    Alistair. In today’s paper there was a report article quoting Kieran Trass, one of the leaders, criticising the waste of public money by the council quoting the stadium and the RWC art piece in the Octagon as examples. Most of us here would agree with them on that. KT has, I understand, worked at high levels in the banking industry and has been a prominent critic of the Real Estate industry in terms of the unethical way they sometimes operate.
    In today’s ODT there is an interesting article in the General pages on the economic situation in Spain regarding the high level of youth unemployment – 40% – and the growth in temporary roll-on contracts, with extremely poor wages, for those who are employed. Reference is made to other similar economies in Europe.
    Here in NZ we are told the situation is not as bad if you believe the way they do the stats. However, we all know that our economy is very fragile. We do have a lot of increasing temporary, contract work and we are a low wage, developed country. Job insecurity is a given.
    Yet here in NZ we waste money on stuff that does not boost and sustain the national economy in the long term. The RWC is a prime example. We have a temporary, feel good boost and then it’s over and we now look at paying back the costs for the party. The RWC has been a useful distraction for ‘the masses’ from our economic problems.
    This protest here in the Octagon, and world wide, is an expression of dissatisfaction with the world financial situation and how it hits individuals, families and the wider society in the pocket. There may be no coherence in their messages, but that surely matches the incoherence of those in Europe and the USA who are in the position to reform the financial system, but seem at a loss to know what to do.
    I support these people because they are speaking up. We can criticise the petty stuff about how they are ‘monopolising’ the Octagon, and how bylaws are not being enforced, but the issue is wider than that now. Using heavy handed tactics against the protestors will inflame the situation when, let’s face it, they are only peacefully staying in the Octagon, for the meantime, to make several points on issues they believe in. We should count ourselves as lucky that we are not, as yet, experiencing the violence seen elsewhere. A worsening economic situation may put paid to that.

  11. Calvin Oaten

    So, the real culprit is ‘Capitalism’? But is it? What is capitalism if it is not the organising of capital for the betterment of the people? It really got under way in the manner intended with the advent of the industrial revolution. This enabled the mass manufacturing of goods at low cost, fuelled by man’s ingenuity and the awareness and exploitation of cheap energy. The captains of industry and the entrepreneurs seized the day and rode the technological wave right up to this day. Everyone benefited to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately the less adaptable were/are swept aside and enter the poverty trap.

    That’s OK because the rest of society can pity and subsidise this minority by way of the government. But technology has moved on to the point where less and less people are required to work to produce all the ‘geegaws’ of modern marketing. Further, the drive is constantly on to reduce costs so ever increasing volumes can be sold. Technology reduces costs at the expense of jobs. Cost of labour assumes a more and more important element so cheaper labour sources are sought. Hence the move of jobs off shore to Asia.

    How then can the population continue to consume? By extending more and more credit and encouraging the masses to take on more and more debt. This is where ‘capitalism’ shows its failings. GREED! Manipulate the masses into financial penury, borrow/create more and more credit until there is no more. Then, and only then will the people wake up to the huge con which has been perpetrated. When their grossly overpriced ‘McMansions’ revert to the true mean and are worth less than the mortgages attached to them, the job has gone and the realisation that there are no vacancy signs up all over town. Then, and only then, will they realise the false dreams they have been living.

    When the frontrunners in this process hit the wall, as in Greece, Ireland, Iceland and the USA it starts to unravel. Then the rest start to feel uneasy, not quite knowing what is happening, but losing confidence in the former seemingly solid institutions. The financial experts are now being seen as charlatans, the government is suspected of not knowing what to do, and on the local scene councils are now being seen as deeply incompetent. So what is the next phase? I suspect momentously tumultuous, with a major reshuffling of empires, systems and societies.

    Face it, we are not in a recession nor a depression. This is an enormous ‘Debt Correction’ and it won’t be pretty. You cannot solve a debt problem by creating more debt. You can’t fight trillion dollar wars on several fronts with debt. You can’t continue to have plasma screen TVs with debt. China can’t continue to lend back to its market the proceeds from yesterday’s sales to those markets, to enable them to buy more of its goods. There has to be an end. What then of all the millions of Chinese workers (who displaced our jobs) when in turn their jobs disappear? Will they be happy? Paper based monetary systems could collapse with losses immense. It was the collapse of the monetary system which finally brought Rome to its knees and it was followed by fifteen hundred years of Dark Ages.

    Not untll technology taught us the use of cheap energy did it start to improve. Will it take that much chaos to right this time? We would have to hope not, but rest assured we are in for interesting times and they won’t all be pretty. So does the occupation of the Octagon matter? Probably not. But hey! we have the rugby world cup.

  12. JimmyJones

    Peter, if you support the infestation “because they are speaking up”, then I suggest, instead, that you should support them, or not, based on what they are saying and what solutions they propose.

    Slogans like FUCK THE SYSTEM and SMASH THE STATE show me that some of them don’t have a full understanding of the EU Debt Crisis and have no ideas that would benefit the local or national economy.

    The radical socialism that they preach has destroyed jobs and created poverty in many countries. The ideology that claims to support the poor, usually ends up hurting them the most. Just compare North and South Korea. From 2008 the ruling party in Spain has been the Spanish Socialist Workers Party; no doubt their election posters were just as shallow and populist as the ones we see in the Octagon. Three years later, Spain has more poverty and unaffordable debt (a bit like the DCC).

    I can tell you that the Spanish Socialist Workers Party is a lot less extreme than groups like Mana, Greens, Unite union and International Socialist Org. These scum-bags are prepared for us to sacrifice a lot for the sake of their ideology.

    • Elizabeth

      Nothing too “extreme” to be found in the Octagon – no idea why Occupy Dunedin should frighten residents or visitors, who have their own minds to decide their personal or shared politics.

      Rather than a hunk of cardboard or a painted canvas, Twitter is more extreme every second, your phone can carry that everywhere, it doesn’t immediately make you a convert.

      Exposure to wider concerns than your own is fairly healthy in a country as passively conservative by majority as this one. It’s the passive, middle-of-the-road, inertly-accepting quality of constituents that leads to their manipulation, debt and disenfranchisement.

      New Zealand’s been on holiday – we work too many hours and we’re unproductive when we do so. This doesn’t help the collective maths. Worse, great numbers of us chose to believe in the merciless grasping real estate industry backed by the coercion of banks and money lenders, for how many years? Wakey time.

  13. Very well said Calvin, and this bit is the real crunch
    “But technology has moved on to the point where less and less people are required to work to produce all the ‘geegaws’ of modern marketing. Further, the drive is constantly on to reduce costs so ever increasing volumes can be sold….”

    You missed one critical bit there, the technology is developed, then taken to another country were they only pay a dollar a day.
    But I have also seen it in the welding industry, so what used to take ten people now takes one……
    I don’t know what the other nine are meant to do now, we can’t change this (or can we?) but we do need to work it into the sums.

    RWC final night:
    It was a rather interesting evening in the Octagon last night, luckily the AB’s won. But it now seems a favoured pass time is to either pull tent pegs OR just take a flying leap onto the top of them. LUCKILY no one was hurt. Oh, and trying to pull banners down.

    So the brief of the night dealt with that, looking after the drunks that were comatose, driving drunk women home that had passed out on the pavement, these of course are all the rugby supporters. And the icing on the cake was the guy that thought it was a great idea to light tents on fire, he tried twice.

    There is now a website for the Occupy Dunedin occupy-dunedin.org I highly recommend having a look, especially at the first article on the front page, titled: Dougal Stevenson on Occupy Octagon.

    And here is Sir Paul Callaghan on New Zealand, but I’m guessing most of you have seen this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&list=PL8FCF78947D4F312F&index=4 it raises a bunch of very interesting facts.

  14. A post I did on the blog I’d made for the Occupy thing.
    The address for this one is occupyoctagonotago.wordpress.com

    Little did two of us know we both built websites on the same day LOL I was going to wind this one down but have decided it can stay for now and I’ll just be adding more of my thought’s and thing’s I find pertaining to the Occupy movement. We moved some of the material from here to there but I’ll try and keep this one fairly well up to date.

  15. I went to occupy-dunedin.org, and it was not reassuring. One of the first things that I saw was a post on the New World Order, a world government promoted by George Soros and Mikhail Gorbachev which would use the United Nations as a controlling force.
    I am sure that there are many sincere idealistic young people in the Occupy Dunedin group, but there are other more-sinister strings being pulled from far away.
    Of course, the Dunedin City Council already follows the dictates of the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change. (This is not a group of scientists as you might suppose, but a politically appointed group, many of them activists for NGOs such as Greenpeace).
    Is there a pattern starting to emerge?
    I also see that Melbourne has successfully impressed on their Occupy group that they are not special and are required to adhere to the same rules as other people in the City.

  16. Peter

    Alistair and Jimmy, I think you are getting a bit paranoid, aren’t you? Calling these people ‘scum bags’ seems extreme to me. It’s a bit like calling ACT people, on the Right, Neo Nazis. I haven’t noticed any violence ‘against the State’, by these Octagon people, have you?
    Of course you will get some people who chant simplistic slogans. This isn’t the sole preserve of the Left. Think Don Brash and the National Party in the 2007 election with their divisive and manipulative billboards.
    I agree with your sentiments, Elizabeth, and can’t understand why some people get so frightened with democratic protest. Shock horror. Must be because some have beards and long hair. The same old stereotyping with people who choose to wear suits.

  17. JimmyJones

    Peter, whether or not we should be concerned about the intentions of the Octagon campers is for each of us to judge. I think they are a generally harmful influence because of the beliefs held by the groups there. If you think that they are all just happy hippies, perhaps you and our newsmedia should do some checking. Here’s some info:

    Wikipedia describes the International Socialist Organisation (NZ) as being of the “Far-left” and followers of: Revolutionary socialism, Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism.
    Two other groups there, Mana and Unite, are both associated with Matt McCarten (ex Alliance Party, ex Maori Party). Matt takes his work seriously and my guess is that he is behind the co-ordination of the NZ Occupy groups. McCarten has links with the Australian Marxist-Leninist group, the DSP and also with the Communist Party of New Zealand, Communist Party of Australia and others. Also the NZ Green co-leader Russel Norman was an active member of the very same DSP group. The DSP were known to infiltrate and take-over some Australian Green Party branches, and that is how Mr Norman changed his spots from red to green.

    You might not see this as a concern, but I do. My greater concerns, however, are their lack of honesty about who they are, and Burt Holmes’ failure to admit that he is employed by the NZ Greens to organise their electioneering.

  18. Peter

    Jimmy, I think it is the issues raised that is important. You are free to either accept them – or not. Obviously you do not and that’s fair enough. I’m not surprised the Left/liberals are behind this movement. I’d expect it. You wouldn’t expect the Right to be interested in this movement, would you?

    I think in any movement you don’t find everyone singing from the same song sheet. There are usually factions with differences in views.

    On the Right, the ACT Party has been very split ideologically and on personalities. It has been pointed out that in the Epsom electorate their new candidate, John Banks, was one of the biggest spending Mayors ever on the Auckland council and now he is an ACT candidate. Not good ACT credentials, eh. My point is you can’t judge a politician by their cover! Whether on the right, or the left, once they are in power.

    There have been legions of politicians over the years that have started off radical and then become more conservative as they age and gain more life experience. Rarely seems to happen the other way around.
    Relax, Jimmy.

  19. Anne

    Imagine being scared of Matt McCarten and the groups he advocates for – those oppressed in the labour market amongst others. The ‘red peril’ is obviously alive and well in some people’s minds. Now, THAT’s shocking.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 24 Oct 2011
      Dunedin first to recognise eight-hour day
      By George Broad
      Have we lost the meaning of Labour Day? George Broad, of Palmerston, examines its beginnings and its strong links to Dunedin. Just another day off? This is how many will see today. Of course there is nothing wrong with having a day off work on full pay to enjoy ourselves, though ironically not all in 2011 will get full pay since the erosion of working conditions under both main political parties in the past few decades in the name of the “free market”. So we have reason to think a little more about the meaning of Labour Day.
      Read more

  20. JimmyJones

    Anne, your comment is the same as Peter’s comment Alistair and Jimmy, I think you are getting a bit paranoid, aren’t you?. In my last comment I tried to explain my concerns. If you disagree with my facts, you should say which ones; and if you disagree with my opinion that extreme socialism, Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism offer no benefit to Dunedin, then I would like to hear your reasons.

    And if you see Burt Holmes, tell him that he owes us (the 99.9%) an apology for lying about who he works for.

  21. Peter

    Jimmy. Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism went out how far back now? I think, from a right wing perspective, you are arguing over old Cold War battles. The world is not so black and white, ideologically, these days unless you live under a theocratic regime. For those who have any political interest in world affairs, most reasonable people don’t believe that one side of the political fence has a monopoly on The Truth. I certainly don’t.
    Moreover, it is possible, on a personal level, to have a high regard for the integrity of someone whose beliefs may be different to yours. I find as I get older that there are some right wingers/conservatives whom I’d prefer to spend time with than ‘my own kind’. Personal integrity is not monopolised by one side.
    Going local, my biggest concern is the corruption I see with those individuals who seem to be helping themselves at the public money trough. Funnily enough, liberals and conservatives can be both guilty of scamming.

  22. Calvin Oaten

    Jimmy, I think the last ‘red under the bed’ got tossed out when the po was emptied some time around 1990. Today’s people are more concerned about their own circumstance rather than some esoteric ‘theory of everything’. They have seen individual greed systematically destroy not only their investments, but in doing so undermining the integrity of the free world’s currencies. The concept of marginal banking has been exploited to extremes by the greedy. The idea that a banker can, on the strength of a $100 deposit create and lend out a $1000 – or more – and then not mark the security to the market is obscene. But that is exactly what has been and is happening. The property boom is a direct result of this and the ‘sub prime’ debacle of 2008 is the first casualty. In the USA, banks have foreclosed on literally millions of properties when the mortgagees found themselves under water (property value less than mortgage) but the banks still marking the securities at debt value as opposed to market value. When eventually faced with the reality, watch the world panic. Basically, most of the western world is in the denial stages and we only have to look at the European political games going on to realise that. When the balloon goes up – and it will – the RWC won’t save us, nor will our $250 – $300million debt funded stadium.
    That is why there are people camping in the Octagon. They might not know exactly why, but they are very uneasy about the actions of the authorities, both local and national. The debt spending sprees of local bodies together with the central government borrowing $350 million a month to maintain its spending confuses a lot of thinking people. How can this be sustained, they ask? Indeed, they know that it can’t, and they are seeing the signs of panic starting to show around city hall. Central government, of course, are sailing serenely on under the euphoria of the RWC victory and the impending election. Maybe it will get past Xmas before the bad news breaks, but don’t count on it.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Jimmy Jones, you’re right that “Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism offer no benefit to Dunedin” which puts them in the same basket as innumerable other -isms, all but one of which are epic fails when imposed holus-bolus as if they were the Whole Truth (C). The exception is pragmatism, taking the bits from each that work in particular circumstances with the aim of making a society that delivers the best-possible to the most, and avoids delivering desperate poverty to any …. A pragmatic commonsense regime would see that it’s also expedient to avoid delivering gigantic bloated riches to a few, because the most stable societies are those where the gap between lowest and highest earners is not extreme – yet there seems to be no lack of ambition or initiative in those countries.

  24. JimmyJones

    Calvin and Peter, I know that the terms communism, radical socialism, Marxism, Leninism and Trotskyism seem archaic and irrelevant to almost everybody, but their believers still exist world-wide and some are right here in the Octagon. I am aware of the risks of using these terms, but I want to say that these are not my classifications, they are mostly taken from Wikipedia. For the ISO (link above) their ideology is described as: Revolutionary socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism. Also active in NZ are the Workers Party Of New Zealand (“Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Anti-capitalism”) who got 932 party votes in the 2008 election. The Communist Party USA (“Communism, Marxism-Leninism”) is currently playing an active part in organising the US Occupiers.

    My point is that these groups are currently active and governments inspired by these ideologies continue to cause poverty in some countries. Check with wikipedia if you think I am being paranoid about the descriptions of the ideologies of these groups. If you thought that these people faded away long ago, then that would have been my hope, but sadly they are still here. The question is: are they dangerous; or are they just messing-up the grass? I would say that they are only dangerous to the degree that people believe what they say, but dishonest because they are electioneering (directly and indirectly) without disclosing that fact.

  25. Anon

    Extremists exist on the right too. Like Trevor Loudon. The “dirt” on Russell Norman from JimmyJones above is Loudon’s, so probably best taken with a cup of salt, a bottle of tequila, and lemon juice in both eyes. Perhaps the greatest advantage of MMP, keeps the fringes out.

  26. JimmyJones

    Hype O’Thermia, when you say that it is commonsense to avoid delivering gigantic bloated riches to a few, you are talking about punishing the smart, the lucky and the hard workers. These are the [people] that provide jobs and generate exports. When you stomp on these people to reduce the income gap, then you end up stomping on the poor as well (less jobs, less prosperity). So we have the choice of letting the rich keep what they earn, or tax and regulate them with the result that you destroy jobs and the poor get even poorer. When you make us all equal, you make us all poorer; the goal should be prosperity for all. The rich-poor income gap is a fake way of measuring the standard of living of the poor.

    In NZ, the top 1% own 13% of the country’s wealth (Statistics NZ), which looks about average for the planet. Do you see this as a problem? Some of your friends do. [sentence deleted]

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  27. Trevor Loudon has a niche blog detailing the background of socialist organisations and politicians. He has a reputation for getting his facts right.
    The danger we face from left-wing organisations is shown by the weekend release of the Greens media policy to control “negative content”. A government body would have power to close down media which “pursued its own self-interest at the expense of the public interest”.
    Freedom of speech is under threat.

  28. Calvin Oaten

    Thank God this is not Salem, else we would have burnings at the stake.
    Ease off fellows, you are dragging us back to the ‘Fifties’. People have moved on from then. They are smarter than you give them credit for. Just because some get into tents doesn’t automatically make them monsters.

  29. Peter

    What are you guys suggesting what we do with these ‘dangerous’ lefties to shut them up? Arrest and imprison them?

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  30. Peter

    Thanks Anon for the Wikipedia link on Trevor Louden. Puts the above discussion in context.

  31. I’m not suggesting doing anything to them: they are free to live their lives and express their views. I just ask that they allow the same to everyone else.

  32. Peter

    Exactly, Alistair, and you have also been ‘allowed’ to do the same.

  33. Jimmy, when I start seeing numbers like:

    1. NZ$19.9 billion – revenue
    2. NZ$622m – gross profit (before tax)
    3. NZ$149m – tax credit
    4. NZ$771m – net profit (after tax)

    In the past five years, Fonterra has reported $2.3b of before-tax profit on $86b worth of revenue – and not paid any tax! In fact, they have claimed $198m worth of tax credits.

    I know that there is something VERY VERY wrong in New Zealand. I think you should go look at the whole article http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/09/22/fonterra-and-tax/

    Now no bank in its right mind would be loaning on some of these numbers as they are saying they run at a loss. But banks aren’t as rule known for doing dumb shit. Are they? So who is lying????? Someone is, and I’m not prepared to in fact subsidise Fonterra and dairy farmers. Are you?

  34. Alistair

    Tax will be paid on this profit.
    As a co-operative, Fonterra pays no tax itself but distributes the profit to shareholders who pay tax on it. The tax credit is for tax paid in other countries.
    The Labour Party is being misleading here by only telling half the story.

  35. JimmyJones

    wirehunt, the Labour blogger said that in 2009 52% of dairy farmers declared a loss. I expect that with more up-to-date figures there will have been been a big improvement since then. Roger Douglas and I both agree with you that we don’t want to go back to subsidizing farmers. We want them to remain the most efficient in the world and so be profitable and pay tax.
    For 2011, Fonterra’s tax assessment was a credit of $149 million. Fonterra pays tax on it’s profits at 30% and would have owed $187m in tax except for various adjustments. I can’t tell if these are valid adjustments, but I would say that you would be wrong to think that Fonterra is representative of our big companies. Our big companies pay a lot of tax.
    The claim from the Labour guy about Fonterra paying no tax over 5 years is wrong; for every one of those years they have been net payers of tax (5 year total = $318m). The error is because he has added-up the tax assessed and not the actual tax paid (as shown in the Operating Cashflow).

  36. I struggle with that Jimmy, how many record years have fonterra had now? It seems to be for the last several anyway including 2008, 2009, so who is lying?

    So what you’re saying is a – politician – political party lied to us again withholding all the facts in that blog? I’m so shocked to hear that. (I hope the sarcasm was shining bright as lightening here)

    Tell me, how is Joe Blow public (me) meant to find out real information? I ask simple questions and get fed all sorts of BS. A simple question from a simple person deserves a simple answer, instead we get technical crap and don’t get the question answered. (See DCC)

    For instance…… I researched how much NZ spends on pest control, possums in fact. I looked all over the place and didn’t get a simple figure. At the same time I was also looking for the number of possums killed with that amount of money, I couldn’t find anything definitive.
    So I started emailing the appropriate organisation, DoC, AHB, Ministers, with this simple question. ‘How much do we spend per possum on control?’ I find it so hard to believe that this one fact is unknown that I just don’t believe it’s possible. So why are they hiding this information???????

    And in case you’re wondering, they do a heap of monitoring before and after control work so they have a very good idea of actual numbers. If they don’t know how much they spend nationally then someone’s head should be on the chopping block.

    In fact I’m going to have another go at this simple question but I don’t like my chances anymore now than then.

  37. JimmyJones

    wirehunt, I think that the average Joe Public who depend on the news-media, doesn’t find out a lot of real information because only a few have the determination and persistence needed to prise open their secrets. A brief knowledge of the Official Information Act is also helpful.
    Stuart Nash, the Labour supporter might not have lied. I think he might have just been careless in not distinguishing between tax paid and tax assessed. Normally they would be the same, but for some reason with Fonterra they aren’t.
    For the last 5 years Fonterra has made reasonable profits and paid some tax. Telecom, the icon of corporate greed has been even more generous in supporting the government’s finances. Are these the 1% you want to get rid of?

  38. JimmyJones

    Our comrades in the Octagon will be pleased to hear that the Communist government of North Korea (described as a Stalinist dictatorship) fully supports the Occupy movements. My guess is that the general population is less interested, and mostly just want to have enough to eat and a way to escape. This is what the government says:

    “Biggest Protest against Capitalism in 300 Odd Yrs

    Pyongyang, October 18 (KCNA) — The working masses’ struggle against capitalism was staged all at once across the world on Oct. 15 and 16. This was the biggest organised one ever in history of capitalism spanning more than 300 years.
    Taking part in it were millions of people from all walks of life in more than 1,500 cities in 80 odd countries.
    This struggle was erupted at Wall Street in Manhattan of New York in the United States, the heart of the capitalist economy and a synonym for monopolistic capital on Sept. 17. Under the slogan of “Occupy Wall Street!” dozens of protestors set up tents outside a stock exchange in New York to go into an action of protest. This turned in a twinkle to a chain movement across the U.S. including Washington, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
    The Occupy Wall St movement was an eruption of the exploited classes’ pent-up wrath at the exploiters. It was also an expression of the will to remove the ~”

    Continued Here

  39. So the Communist government of North Korea doesn’t get it either, and there is no surprise there. I keep hearing left and right, yadda yadda
    I’m one of those people the politicians hate. A swing voter. I’ll vote on policy. From what I’ve heard from national so far they suck. If they get in they are taking that as a mandate that the public want a 49% asset sale. Interesting thing here, speaking with openly national supporters at the Occupy site they to DO NOT want to see asset sales. This also goes for other national supporters I know personally.

    When are people like you going to realise that it’s not just long haired hippies that are for this Occupy thing? In fact I’m so far from it you’d be shocked, a number two mohawk and worked hard all my life between here and Aussie, working for the likes of BHP, BP, FONTERRA, you name it, it’s a very long list. Earning at times an embarrassing amount of money. I firmly believe in capitalism. But I also believe in this movement, maybe it’s ’cause I’ve seen it from the other side. But the system is wrong, and it needs to be fixed. And the two can live together, but people saying ‘far left – far right’ are indeed the problem.
    This also goes for some of the others down there. They are NOT all 18 year old kids that don’t know. Some in fact are very clued up on the whole system having been there and seen it for themselves.

    We are ONE. New Zealand is New Zealand. We all live here together. I give where and when I can, whether that is a new BBQ for the school, photos there, a ladder and some other stuff to Occupy. New Zealand is us. We should be looking after each other where and when we can. But we don’t.

    Sorry about the end rant, but I love this country and it’s tearing me up seeing it being divided up like it is now.

  40. JimmyJones

    National suck because so far they have failed to make people understand that the asset sales are really an asset swap; the proceeds will be used to buy more useful assets. I believe that they have budgeted for an increase in total government owned assets. I don’t see the problem with selling half a power station to buy a hospital and a few schools.

    If you believe in capitalism, but say that the system is wrong, and it needs to be fixed, then what needs to be fixed? What part of the system needs changed? I think you will be aware that the core groups (which seem to be Mana, Unite, ISO & Greens) are strongly anti-capitalist and they think that their extreme left ideologies are the solution to all problems. There is not one solution to the multitude of grievances represented at the Octagon. I think that many of you don’t realise that you are being used to promote a general leftist viewpoint as part of the election campaigning and to help with specific campaigning for Green NZ and the Mana party. Remember don’t blame me for calling these groups “extreme left” etc; these are not just my classifications as I said before.

  41. Anne Elliot

    Yawn… Rather boring, don’t you think? A few new ideas would go a long way.

  42. Phil

    But National does have a leader who is a top bloke and is best mates with everyone in the country. According to his media people that is. Surely being super best friends forever (and world’s most trusted babysitter) is the quality that everyone looks for above all else when assessing the suitability of a person to lead a nation.

    Holding an election one month after winning the rugby world cup ? I could pin a national party badge onto my cat at the moment and every drunk in the country would vote for him.

  43. Hmmm Big long post must be lost in space. So the brief version.

    The answer to a lot of the issues is simple. And it must be bloody good because the nat supporter and the green supporter HATED it.

    Flat tax rate across the board. No GST or any of that rubbish. One rate, everyone pays. 40% or more I don’t know. But EVERYONE is on the same rate, and don’t think that just because you’re paid a bonus in shares you won’t have to pay. WRONG. Best you’ve got the cash in your pocket.

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  44. Peter

    I agree with you on your National Party comment, Phil. His incessant smiling is getting on my goat because it is so obviously staged. I loved that You Tube clip of him trying to muscle in on the IRB guy’s handshake with the AB captain. A photo opp not to be missed. Mind you, Labour would do the same. I remember Clark going all rugger even though you sensed it wasn’t really her thing. She was more into opera and mountaineering.
    This is the election to lose for Labour – which looks like happening by a country mile anyhow. The next term will be tough and the John Key/Don Brash government will be on its inevitable trajectory of decline with the usual wear and tear of being in government.