56 thoughts on “General debate, March 31, 2012

  1. New post at g.blog (been a long time since I have done one):

    There is a parallel story to the ACC scandal that has already cost Nick Smith his Ministerial career, and may well cost other Ministers or senior public servants theirs. It is a story that no-one apart from Kevin Hague appears to be telling. That is the story of how ACC claimants are being treated (or mistreated) by ACC.

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  2. Jackal. That is the NACT economic plan.

    In a few years time they will be saying. “We are so far in debt we have to sell and privatise all our remaining public assets”.
    “There is no alternative”.

    John Key and the 40 thieves.

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  3. @ Kerry Thomas. Yep! It’s actually an old mafia tactic… get the mark (New Zealand) into debt, and then extort whatever you want out of them. I’m sure there’s a better analogy from the banking industry though.

    Full independent inquiry required

    It looks like Boag and Pullar have been utilizing their associations in the National party for personal gain and it is likely that very senior members of the National party (including Key) are implicated in the stand-over tactics of a private insurer and a government department…

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  4. sprout says “There is an audible grumbling in the ranks,…”

    Yeah – the 19 year-old on tv at the weekend earning $91,000 at Ports of Auckland deserves a rise.

    I can’t imagine that many other 19 year-olds around the country would be able to survive for long on that wage.

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  5. Union Movement:

    Union movements are ultimately just worker-monopolies pushing to get paid higher than market rates. Ultimately, like all monopolies, they take more for themselves and at the consumers expense; and also at the expense of capital investment (Why invest more capital for greater returns when your union-monopoly will finally take the difference for itself?).

    The real answer (core answer) is to properly regulate immigration to maintain a tight job market. As soon as employers have to compete hard for a limited labour supply everything becomes much easier – and fairer.

    Have ya’all not noticed how nasty your company can get when they know they’ve got 50 other people lining up at your door, waiting to replace you? (and exposing the real meaning of “respect” – lol!)

    The function of unions is (largely) to allow a minority to escape market rates and, again, at the majority’s expense. Wouldn’t it be better to just fix the market rates themselves?

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  6. Rubbish.
    Even at their most militant, Unions only took a small percentage of increased profits. At the end of the day, Union power is limited to what the business can afford. Which is a lot more than many businesses pay in the absence of Unions.

    The militant Unions set a benchmark in pay and conditions which benefited all workers.
    As we can see in Australia, Unions also prevent shareholders from excessive profit taking, which benefits everyone.

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  7. Kerry Thomas:

    “Even at their most militant, Unions only took a small percentage of increased profits.”

    Are you sure? Powerful unions have destroyed businesses before, by pushing it too far. They always take as much as they can get – just like the companies they work for.

    You only have to look at how much unskilled workers are getting paid in New Zealand to see unionism is not the right tool for today’s job. This union mantra is just distracting us all from the real solution, which is the proper regulation of immigration.

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  8. Yeah Andrew. I too think it is disgusting that someone with a Master of Bullshit degree and unskilled in anything other than ripping off and alienating his workforce can get 750k a year, when people do real, useful jobs get a basic rate less than a tenth of that..

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  9. I’ve seen business failures due to Management incompetence, Government regulation changes, market changes and policy moves laid at the door of Unions. Usually to cover up the real problems.

    In fact making business compete on efficiency, service and good management instead of, just seeing who can screw their work force down the most, has proven benefits.

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  10. All business failures are due to management failures.

    It is true; unions only need to exist because of bad employers. See Lever Brothers, founders of what became Unilever.

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  11. + dbuck

    This is one of the basic tenets of Operations Management and is considered axiomatic.

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  12. sprout says “You are using this bizarre claim to prove what…?”

    That some of the grumbling by hard-done-by port workers is nonsense.

    If you think that a 19 year-old working at Ports of Auckland can earn $91,000 after just one year, is a bizarre claim, then watch the Sunday story yourself

    Have a look at this link at 8min 40sec.
    http://tvnz.co.nz/sunday-news/coming-up-4804305/video

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  13. “Union movements are ultimately just worker-monopolies pushing to get paid higher than market rates.”

    Not really – unions can be many things, mostly they are an attempt to balance inequality of power between capital and labour, some have gone further and had the intention of supplanting capital entirely, but this is a rarity nowadays.

    There has seldom if ever been a true ‘market rate’ for labour as a ‘market rate’ supposes a situation in which a buyer and seller fix a price without coercion and without being under necessity to buy or sell. A person selling their labour is often without other options for survival, or at least, for a comfortable and healthy existence.

    Once upon a time, arguing that restricting immigration would drive up the price of labour may have made sense in its own terms (that is, there may have been other reasons why restricting immigration was a bad, or unjust, idea, but it would have affected the price of labour). But in today’s world, even if a government did reject the demands of its backers (business) to keep the labour price low, business will just respond by moving its relocatable operations to places overseas where labour is cheaper.

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  14. Sam Buchanan:

    Yes. I agree with much of what you say. Certainly with the effect of free trade, which is why I think NZ should look at investing most heavily in agriculture and tourism, because these industries are “locked” to the ground, i.e. Mr capital can’t just run away.

    http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2010/05/knowledge-economy-for-new-zealand.html

    ————————

    ‘Market value’ is not intrinsic value. It’s often under-value, and from a result of creating deliberate labour gluts (too much immigration, too soon); or it can represent over-value from the creation of artificial scarcities (like what Auckland does with its land, via MUL’s). Governments of course largely control the markets.

    Unions effectively protect a select group of workers from market rates, which in themselves can be (and often are) shockingly exploitative. But the core problem isn’t solved with unionism, and the core problem is low market rates.

    Union presence or not, low market rates must mean there is a big social sector either unemployed or very low paid, or both.

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  15. NZ should look at investing most heavily in agriculture and tourism

    One very bad idea, and one that could be bad, sadly.

    If “agriculture” means “dairy”, then thats bad as dairy is not good for our envionmental credentials. Which is a pity ‘cos dairying is a very good source of GDP. If its some other form of farming, then it probably wont have anything like the retuns that dairying delivers.

    The geological certainty that is peak oil will destroy our mass tourism industry within a few decades. Tourism will return to its 1960s levels. Which is a pity ‘cos we do well out of tourism.

    Looking to your linked blog post, the knowledge economy is not about manufacturing “me too” products; its about inovating and doing stuff better than other folk do. Is about intellectual property. We’re actually quite good at lots of non-dairy-non-tourism stuff, we just don’t do enough of it.

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  16. It’s a misconception that more investment in agriculture means more stock – it’s the lack of investment that results in dependence in milk volume rather than added value. The point of Fast Forward was not more milk by volume, but investment in added value products and bio-tech.

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  17. dbuckley:

    Innovation itself can be a “commodity”, though it will tend to be characterised by a few big winners and many big losers. Like Hollywood.
    But you can over-supply on ‘innovation’ like anything else.

    Peak oil:

    The effect will be aircraft tickets that are a little more expensive, and airlines taking a larger proportion of the oil because this industry will find it harder to adapt. But the adaption of other oil users will keep the price under some control.

    There is the possibility of massive ground-effect machines powered by pebble-bed modular reactors (a safe, small-scale form of nuclear power) picking up a lot of the future trans-pacific demand, as well.
    They are about 1.6x as slow as conventional jets, but very efficient and can provide for relatively heavy freight and bed-seats for passengers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Pelican

    SPC:

    ‘Added value’ is part of agrarian investment. But it’s a component that can be practically outsourced – often, at least.

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  18. Nats gambling addiction

    The event centre itself may not be viable in the current economical climate, and unless things improve, the costs will outweigh the benefits. The National government should concentrate on fixing the economy instead of making dirty deals with the gambling industry…

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  19. The port of Aucklands dispute is all about union busting.

    Same with private/charter schools …..

    Its core national party policy ……… screw the workers/enrich the bosses and money traders …………

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  20. Greenpeace wronged by ASA

    Thats funny. We all know that Greenpeace lie all the time, but its nice they’ve been called on it for once.

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  21. dbuckley

    Thats funny. We all know that Greenpeace lie all the time, but its nice they’ve been called on it for once.

    So you have evidence that birds react differently in the UK and US to oil contamination than they do in New Zealand then dbuckley?

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  22. National going down

    National’s economic mismanagement, the ACC debacle and broken pre-election promises has been reflected in the latest Roy Morgan polling taken between March 12 and April 1, which has a 7% difference to the recent Colmar Brunton poll taken between the 24th and 28th of March.

    Judith Collins’ idiotic defamation sideshow over the last week wasn’t covered by either poll… so there’s likely worse news to come for the Natz.

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  23. Joke of the day week month year

    There is the possibility of massive ground-effect machines powered by pebble-bed modular reactors (a safe, small-scale form of nuclear power) picking up a lot of the future trans-pacific demand, as well.

    peace
    W

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  24. @ Gerrit

    The McDermott heavy lift helicopter successfully removed two more full stillages (or small containers) of oily debris from the No.2 hold yesterday.

    Interesting!

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  25. Jackal,

    Your point is?

    The helicopter has a capacity to lift 2.5 tonnes

    The McDermott heavy lift helicopter continues to be used to recover debris. The helicopter has been removing loads of up to 2.5 tonnes from the wreck.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1202/S00053/rena-media-update-186-3212.htmV

    Questions

    Where was the helicopter located when the ship hit the reef?

    What type and what load capacity helicopter is the McDermott?

    Without the actual location of empty containers on the Rena, the helicopter was actually useless to lift loaded containers.

    In fact, if the helicopter lift capacity is 2.5 tonnes. it could only lift empty 20 foot boxes (at 2.4 tonnes) 40 foot empties weigh up to 4 tonnes.

    Pictures show all the top stacked contrainers were 40 footers. Making the helicopter useless.

    http://www.export911.com/e911/ship/dimen.htm

    Your point again is??

    Now lets add an OSH slant to the equation. Who was going to lash the lifting gear to the containers? who was going t unlock the containers? Who was going to unscrew the crosss braces?

    Remember it is not the crew of the ships job, it is a salvage crew job.

    Where was the salvage crew? Would OSH have given permission to reboard the ship to anyone but experienced salvage crew personel?

    Keep dreaming sunshine. No helicopter was ever going to unload top stacked 40 foot containers, not ever.

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  26. As long as they have that toxic ability to create debt based money SPC, they will remain tools of the devil. The good father has a good understanding of the devil, but the tool has to be taken from the devil’s hands.

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  27. Gerrit

    Pictures show all the top stacked contrainers were 40 footers. Making the helicopter useless.

    Not necessarily. In some cases, containers could have been unloaded into smaller payloads.

    Remember it is not the crew of the ships job, it is a salvage crew job.

    A salvage crew that is employed by the ship owners who are trying to keep a lid on costs you mean.

    Do you see the problem here Gerrit? It’s been over six months since the Rena grounded and we’re still getting debris in the water. The crane barge keeps breaking down, with excuse after excuse about bad weather being made.

    There is even evidence that the salvagers intentionally pulled the rear section off into deeper waters, where it sank and salvaging the containers it held is now impossible. Less than half the containers have been salvaged with next to none over the last couple of months. This is simply not good enough.

    Now lets add an OSH slant to the equation. Who was going to lash the lifting gear to the containers? who was going t unlock the containers? Who was going to unscrew the crosss braces?

    Clearly the salvage crew is able to use a heavy lift helicopter to unload from the stricken Rena Gerrit. The things you list are things that have already occurred to crane the containers off… so what is your point?

    Keep dreaming sunshine. No helicopter was ever going to unload top stacked 40 foot containers, not ever.

    Each lift of 2.5 tonnes of toxic chemicals from the Rena would have been 2.5 tonnes of toxic chemicals that did not end up in the ocean Gerrit. As a fisherman, I would have thought you’d care about the environment and want to see a reduction in the harm caused by any means available?

    In my opinion, employing a number of heavy lift helicopters and crews to unload containers onboard to deploy to nearby islands could have reduced the ecological damage caused. The only reason this was not done was because those who are ultimately responsible for the disaster didin’t want to pay and there was no proper response plan in place.

    For some containers, an unloading process could have been implemented at the same time as the oil recovery process. According to MNZ there was approximately 84,436 kgs of dangerous goods on board the Rena. That works out to be around 34 payloads at 2.5 tonnes.

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  28. In some cases, containers could have been unloaded into smaller payloads.

    Ever tried opening a container door at a 10 degree list?, Ever tried opening a container door when the load has moved? Ever tried lashing open a container door at a 10 degree list?

    Ever thought of the safety of the salvage crew who has to try and open container doors, fasten them so they remain open and then manually shift the possibly 40 tonne cargo in the container by hand?

    In my opinion, employing a number of heavy lift helicopters and crews to unload containers onboard

    How many heavy helicopters were available at short notice? None.

    How many crews would you need to manually unload a 40 tonne content container? What safety gear would you issue for those crews? How easy is it to manually unload 40 tonne dressed in a hazmat suit?

    How easy is it to maintain footing inside a container when the floor is at a 10 degree list whilst manually carrying what ever cargo is in the container?

    I suggest in the first instance you apply for a job with Maritine New Zealand, you are such an expert in logistics and people safety.

    NOT

    ——————-

    As a fisherman, I would have thought you’d care about the environment and want to see a reduction in the harm caused by any means available?

    Not at the expensive of endangering the lives of a couple of hundred men and women.

    Are people not part of the environment and should they not be protected?

    You are happy to have them open up containers on a stranded listing ship, lash open very heavy doors, be at risk of falling cargo that may or may not be hazardous, and manually load 40 tonne per container onto a sling or pallet under a hovering helicopter (for there is no other place to unload a container onto as the deck is sloping and any cargo at even greater risk of sliding not the tide) while on a stranded ship at a 10 degree list.

    Just to protect some fish I may wish to catch? Dont assume that on my behalf.

    A salvage crew that is employed by the ship owners who are trying to keep a lid on costs you mean

    Even Winston Peters is not looking at that conspiracy theory, you are the only soul that sees a conspiracy.

    Maybe, just maybe there is none?

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  29. Gerrit, the dangerous goods were shipped in 11 containers, meaning that it ‘s unlikely that any container carried 40 tonnes of dangerous goods.

    Winches are very capable of opening container doors that are on an angle. It’s very silly as an apparent engineer to think this cannot be achieved.

    There was a number of heavy lift helicopters available from New Zealand and Australia. The reason they were not deployed was because a decision to employ them was not made.

    The dangerous goods are able to be moved by manpower. Provided the containers have not ruptured, which the MNZ initially reported, a minimum of protective clothing would be required. Most of the dangerous goods are only reactive in open air or in water, meaning full hazmat suits would not be required.

    Not at the expensive of endangering the lives of a couple of hundred men and women.

    I don’t think two hundred people working to unload containers would be practicable Gerrit. They would get in each others way. Being that there were 11 containers that carried dangerous goods, let’s assume five crews of five people at a time could have unloaded at least half of these in less than a week. This would have taken care of the High aquatic eco-toxic chemicals that are now poisoning the Bay of Plenty.

    The Rena was on a list of 6 degrees for over a month with good weather. Stable walkways could have been engineered and platforms could have also been designed to land stillages. You would load a number of these and then have the chopper transfer them to the nearby Islands as a way point. Each trip would take around 30 minutes X34 trips = less than 20 hours flying time.

    Even Winston Peters is not looking at that conspiracy theory, you are the only soul that sees a conspiracy.

    Many people are unhappy with the way the Rena disaster was handled. It is not a “conspiracy” as such, it is incompetency that is the main problem.

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  30. Winches are very capable of opening container doors that are on an angle. It’s very silly as an apparent engineer to think this cannot be achieved.

    40 foot containers have doors at one end only so if the doors were facing downwards?

    You can volunteer to open a container door facing the ocean at 6 degrees. Your chances are about .001% of living to see the door swing open and not being buried by the cargo inside, that is if the swinging door does not take your nogging off.

    There was a number of heavy lift helicopters available from New Zealand and Australia. The reason they were not deployed was because a decision to employ them was not made.

    Deployment from Australia would have taken at least 4 days. They dont have the fuel capacity to fly across the Tasman, even if stopping on Norfolk Island.

    Where were the ones in New Zealand?

    Being that there were 11 containers that carried dangerous goods,

    Where were they on the ship? Had the salvage experts received the loading plan from the Rena master?

    Many people are unhappy with the way the Rena disaster was handled. It is not a “conspiracy” as such, it is incompetency that is the main problem.

    Even Gareth Hughes is not pushing the conspiracy theory, nor incompetence of the salvage crew.

    You are on your own with the conspiracy. Your “many” is not many.

    But feel free to push your helicopter flights of fancy, Sir Armchair Admiral

    An admiral that wont risk his own life but expects others to open heavy containers doors on a 6 to 10 degree slope and manually shift hazardous cargo that could have broken loose.

    You remind me of a Haig commanding troops in the WW1 trenches.

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  31. Gerrit

    You can volunteer to open a container door facing the ocean at 6 degrees. Your chances are about .001% of living to see the door swing open and not being buried by the cargo inside, that is if the swinging door does not take your nogging off.

    Opening container doors isn’t impossible as you claim Gerrit. The containers were located in line with the ship and there was very little angle along its length. Perhaps 2 degrees.

    Deployment from Australia would have taken at least 4 days. They dont have the fuel capacity to fly across the Tasman, even if stopping on Norfolk Island.

    So it would have taken four days to get heavy lift capability to the Rena. It took five days before John Key et al even woke up to the disaster.

    Where were they on the ship? Had the salvage experts received the loading plan from the Rena master?

    All questions an inquiry would hopefully answer.

    You are on your own with the conspiracy. Your “many” is not many.

    There are a number of Facebook groups concerned with the Rena disaster and its response that have membership in the thousands Gerrit. Clearly your personal abuse isn’t based in the real world and is therefore irrelevant!

    You remind me of a Haig commanding troops in the WW1 trenches.

    Firstly you claim that helicopters are incapable of lifting payloads off the Rena. Then MNZ reports that this is exactly what is occurring. Then you claim that the shipping containers are holding 40 tonnes of dangerous goods when this is obviously not the case. You remind me of a sad old man who thinks he knows everything but in reality nows SFA.

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  32. Sir Armchair Admiral,

    Firstly you claim that helicopters are incapable of lifting payloads off the Rena.

    Absolutely, because your initial argument was for helicopters to lift off containers.

    Can dig up your old frogblog comments but cant be bothered.

    When that was rightly confirmed as impossible you then changed tack to say unload containers by hand and lift of 2.5 tonne at a time.

    Dreamtime as each needs a level platform (you know those bright yellow squares you see littered over the wreck) as they are doing now, but a fact you are studiously avoiding as it does not suit your arguments.

    There are a number of Facebook groups concerned with the Rena disaster and its response that have membership in the thousands

    As there are with any other happening around the world, the most classic are the 911 conspiratorers.

    Just because many nutbars believe it, does not mean it is the truth.

    Will leave you with your fellow conspirators and dreams of glory in how you, Sir Arcmchair Admiral, would have organised the Rena disaster.

    Tot Ziens

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  33. Gerrit

    Will leave you with your fellow conspirators and dreams of glory in how you, Sir Arcmchair Admiral, would have organised the Rena disaster.

    There is no doubt that things could have been better administered Gerrit. I happen to think that lifting dangerous goods off the wreck was feasible. After saying helicopters aren’t available etc, you now think it couldn’t have been achieved because people apparently cannot work on a 6 degree list or open container doors. Who is the real nutbar around here Gerrit?

    BTW How did your plan to beat up some young Maori loitering in the local park go down for you old fruit?

    Tot Ziens indeed.

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  34. Sir Armchair Admiral

    We dont have any problems in our parks, so no need. We police them very well.

    No threat, no reaction required.

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