Things to do in Dipton when you’re dead

Well, I suppose you could resurect yourself.

As Sir Roger Douglas has done, claiming $44,000 in expenses for an overseas holiday as his “entitlement”.

Oh, and as Don Brash and Christine Rankin have resurrected themselves.

And, yes, when Sir Double Dipton finally “retires” (and it might be sooner rather than later, given his accommodation expenses rort) he too will be eligible for 90% of his overseas travel costs being met by the taxpayer. Forever!

Sir Double Dipton says:

But the minister says Dipton remains his home and he intends to return there when he leaves Parliament.

Better get the house in order, then Bill. Including evicting the current tenants, which you need only 42 days to do under the appalling lack of residential tenure provided by the Residential Tenancies Act.

It might be sooner, rather than later, so better get moving on it Bill.

Roger the pig farmer

When the Mike King pig farm visit story broke, Sue Kedgley talked about getting a cross-party delegation of MPs together to go and inspect some of the country’s pig farms.

I’m not sure how she’s going recruiting MPs from other parties, but I’d bet good money that one particular MP won’t be on her delegation.

On September 14 1991 The New Zealand Herald reported that Sunshine Pig Farms Ltd, situated at Old Great South Road, Ramarama, near Drury in South Auckland had gone into receivership the previous day, but that the receiver would continue to trade. Managed by Roger Douglas Associates the property kept 5,000 pigs in stalls. The article goes on to report that earlier in the year the company was fined $5,000 in the Otahuhu District Court and ordered to pay $9,419.79 in costs for spilling 30,000 cubic metres of effluent into the Manukau Harbour and surrounding countryside. The spillage occurred when the largest of a series of oxidation ponds on the farm burst its embankment. When Sir Roger Douglas was questioned about his pig-farming enterprise he is reported as saying: “There is money in it.”

On March 4 1992 the Holmes Programme exposed the horrors of the sow stall in a programme which featured pig-farmer ex-Minister of Finance Roger Douglas, in which criticism was levelled at this former politician for his factory farming activities. Holmes reported that prior to screening the programme he was contacted by the Managing Director of the Pork Marketing Board, Dave Dobson, who reminded him what the Board spends advertising its products on television!

Roger Douglas in charge of a pig farm is like Richard Worth in charge of a beauty pageant – everything’s rooted about it!


Back in April, ANZ National Bank Chief Executive Graham Hodges sought to allay fears among staff that the banking group was planning redundancies. He assured bank workers:

None of our staff need to lose their jobs. Work was moving to India but the bank was confident it could redeploy workers to alternative roles. It is very hard to get skilled workers. We are choosing to use our workers, who we want to retain, in a different type of work which is more sustainable longer term. That fits with a what you call a higher wage, higher skill economy.

He also stated that ANZ expected to increase its workforce in New Zealand, not reduce it.

So it would have been a shock for the ANZ workers who were summoned to meetings this morning and told that there were going to be wholesale redundancies as of 27 October, citing a reduction in over the counter transactions and the global financial situation as the reason.

Now those excuses just don’t hold water. The over the counter transactions reduction will have been a long-term trend resulting from greater use of electronic banking. It would have been well known to ANZ boses back in April when they promised no redundancies.

As for the global financial situation, both ANZ and the Reserve Bank have been repeatedly issuing assurances over the past week that New Zealand is relatively immune to the crisis, that the New Zealand banks don’t actually have any subprime lending on their own books, and that the impact on New Zealand is through constriction on the credit market. But that cost has been passed on to customers already through maintaining higher interest rates.

So it seems that ANZ is using the global financial situation as an opportunist excuse to do what it wanted to do all along – reduce the size of its workforce. This is the bank that made over $1billion in profit on its New Zealand operations last year, and is projecting a similar profit this year.

And for those who remember Sir Roger Douglas’ tenure as Minister of Finance, it raises the very scary prospect that the Hollow Men of the National Party may be planning to use the “shock” of the global financial crisis as an excuse to implement unheralded and ideologically driven large scale public service redundancies if they lead the next Government.