Monday, 25 June 2012

The Emperor’s new clothes and other naked truths

I’m sure you can all recall The Emperor’s New Clothes; written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837 where two cunning weavers who actually might have been the first spin doctors (geddit) made a suit of clothes for their tragically vain Emperor.

These smart fellows realised their regent was a mirror-gazing tosspot with a hugely over-inflated sense of his own significance. So, probably to inflate the price of their work, they told him the suit they would make him would be made of special fabric that is invisible to idiots and incompetents and can only be seen by smart or important folks. Of course the self-obsessed Emperor bought their line (of garments) hook, clothesline and sinker.

When the time came for the Emperor to model his new suit (or nude suit) nobody in the court wanted to appear stupid so they all went with the ridiculous notion. All that is apart from one small boy who had not yet been indoctrinated by all the state bullshit and who yelled out that he could see the King’s willy or words to that effect. Emboldened by his childish outburst the remainder of the King’s subjects begin to admit they had thought he was stark bollocky naked as well.

Despite the fact this story is extremely old and earlier versions have been found that pre-date Andersen’s by at least five hundred years, we still have a lot of people in the 21st Century who will accept that black is white if someone possessing apparent authority which they automatically mistake for credibility, tells them so.

An example of this can be found in the Government’s policy to sell us state assets. Whether you agree with the sale of these assets or not doesn’t matter too much because there is a major disconnect involved with this. We already own these assets; they don’t belong to the Government. Somebody must have forgotten to explain to them they are in the positions they are in ostensibly to be kaitiaki. They own neither the country nor the assets. They each own about one four millionth of them just like the rest of us. Their job is to manage them on our behalf.

Why in the name of God would we want to buy something we already owned? If the Government wants to borrow money off us, why don’t they just say so instead of trying to sell us stuff we already own.

Meanwhile all the Government PR people are busy telling us what good investments these assets are, which to a smart person raises the question of why we would want to sell them anyway.

However the PR machine has indoctrinated many with the mantra that we are in debt big-time and T.I.N.A. But of course there is always an alternative and in this instance ACC is sitting on a surplus of $3.5B, which by my reckoning is about half the amount Jianqi reckons we’ll get for the part sale of these assets. Incidentally part sale is a nonsense it’s like being partly pregnant. The correct term should be sale of a limited share release, but I don’t suppose that fits too well in a snappy headline. Alternatively they could just be honest and call it conversion.

So just to keep this in perspective; imagine if you will, the Minister for State Owned Assets streaking across your garden. Not a pretty sight.

Question: What do we call people who take possessions away from their owners and then sell them?

Answer: Thieves.

Question: What do we call people who buy these possessions?

Answer: Fences or dealers in stolen goods.

Question: What do we call people who buy back their own possessions from those who stole them?

Answer: Mugs.

And while we are on the subject of conversion, look at what the Government is doing with our free-to-air television. Before this week is out they will have dumped TVNZ7, one of the brightest hopes on our screens for a very long time. It leaves you wondering why the Government bothered plugging digital TV at all considering how few channels they will be presenting.

Furthermore this was a gigantic con-job from the beginning. When Freeview first became available just five years ago we were given a list of channels and they included TV One, TV2, TVNZ6, TVNZ7 Parliament TV TVNZ Sport and half a dozen private channels.

TVNZ Sport dropped out of sight very early in the piece and without any fanfare, TVNZ6 was changed and now TVNZ7 is to go. Therefore after promising us six TVNZ free-to-air channels the Government is now only giving us four (plus a delayed repeat of TV One).

Question: What do you call someone who sells us a product with one set of specifications, then quietly changes those specifications and continues to market the product as the original?

Answer: A fraudster.

What makes this so much worse (and this is where the conversion comes in); is that during their 50th Anniversary celebrations last year TVNZ gave us all a preview of their fantastic new digital channel Heartland TV that would be a repository for all those wonderful dramas and programmes we have funded over the years initially through licence fees and more latterly through New Zealand On Air. It would be a fantastic idea were it not for one thing; the bastards have leased the channel to Sky so anyone who wants to see these programmes has to subscribe to a Sky package to get them.

So once again something we own has been stolen by the government and sold to the highest bidder who happens to be an overseas company. We must pay money to an overseas company to watch programmes we used to own until the Government stole them and sold them.

So at the moment we are being governed by a gang who are stealing from us and then trying to sell the booty back to us, passing off an inferior product as an earlier and superior one, and selling of our archival treasures that we paid for to an overseas company and then charging us if we want to watch them.

One or two of my friends would say this is simply business as usual under our current political system. Personally I’m still a little wary of chucking out the bathwater in case there actually is a viable baby in there. My hope is that the excesses of Jianqi and co become their undoing and the nation’s awakening all at the same time, because it is Governments such as this that offer us the opportunity to see where the shortcomings really are in our system.

But we make our politicians more accountable. And by ‘we’ I mean all of us; especially the media.  

Just because we currently hold the Rugby World Cup it doesn’t mean we have to be a nation of mugs.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Intelligence gathering is getting harder

Is it just me or are our criminals getting thicker. Many of us have chucked scorn at the cops for years because most of us only see the slow witted, slow talking, ‘Mr Plod’ types who seem to struggle so much issuing a literate statement to media you wonder how the hell they could ever solve a mystery.

However lately it has come to my attention that an awful lot of the criminally inclined among our population are racing like hell to take the title of the thickest group of people in New Zealand from our dullards in blue.

Two examples of some of this latest batch of fumbling felons arose in the Far North this week and these two Northlanders were a long way north of sensible.

The first of those who is aptly named after the allegedly first ever man – (who by all accounts wasn’t all that smart either) is Adam Saville of Mangawhai. Adam had a really good idea about stealing a pair of Nike shoes from Rebel Sports in the Okara Shopping Centre. He was spotted by store staff trying to stuff them down his trousers (was he trying to impress the girls?). When he realised he had been tumbled, he took to his heels (presumably with the Nikes still in a position to bruise his tender parts).

Unfortunately Adam wasn’t that fleet of foot (maybe he should have put the Nikes on his feet instead of his old feller) and was soon caught by some civic-minded bystanders. They brought Adam back to the store to face the music, but Adam wasn’t yet singing from the same song sheet and decided to opt for adding a bit of percussion. He did this somewhat unwittingly as only the witless can, by attempting to flee his captors. However in his haste he forgot that it’s a better idea to look where you are going rather than where you have come from. As a result he ran headlong into a head-high horizontal bar that was holding up a street sign and took an enforced nap on the pavement where he was duly scooped up and arrested. I’ll bet he really reckons those $130 shoes were worth a smack on the head and a criminal record. Imagine if he’d got away with them; he’d never want for anything again (except perhaps a brain cell).

The second Northerner to display his cretinous credentials has not been named at this stage (presumably to spare the embarrassment of anyone who had anything to do with his birth.

Mr Anonymous or Mr Big (Plonker) as we shall call him came up with a brilliant plan to steal a packet of batteries from Pak ‘N’ Save. Unfortunately we can’t cost this one out so we don’t know if this is a three or four figure crime (including cents).

Anyway Mr Big had not quite mastered the magicians’ art of palming his booty and was spotted by store staff, and took off. He should have inserted the batteries first, because that might have made him a little brighter and more likely to avoid capture. Unfortunately he didn’t have the time or the wit to do this and instead simply ran down the street followed by store staff. A passing policeman saw the commotion and was able to easily intercept and arrest him. The policeman found it really easy to track the thief because he was wearing a bright yellow High-Vis vest, which we have to conclude, was the only bright thing about this person.

In an update form an earlier blog at this site entitled You’d better give the suckers an even chance I see former Hastings barrister Sacha Beacham has been in trouble again. Ms Beacham would appear to be in good company with Messrs Saville and Anonymous above as she hasn’t quite got the message that she needs to stop drinking or at least stop misbehaving when she does. Last year the boozing barrister was fined and disqualified from driving for her third drink driving conviction. At the time she managed to get the trial moved to Auckland to save her blushes in her hometown. Following the court’s generous indulgence Ms Beacham didn’t bother to turn up for her hearing because she heard a media had applied for permission to take pictures of her.

Well this time Ms Beacham faced the court over a charge of obstructing police and resisting arrest. I hardly need add the demon drink was involved again and it would seem she has learned very little since her last court experience as this offence took place on New Year’s Eve, some four months after her previous conviction. I notice Ms Beacham who is reported to have relocated to Auckland was this time tried in Napier (presumably for the same reasons she was tried in Auckland last time).  This time she turned up, however and unsuccessfully tried to oppose the press application to take photographs. I do hope Ms Beacham gets herself into a programme to deal with the obvious problem she has with alcohol before she kills someone. Most sane people would not go out and get bladdered and arrested when they have as much to lose as she does. You have to wonder how good she is as a barrister based on her own decisions.

Another criminal whose brains seem to be AWOL is former director of National Finance Anthony Banbrook. Mr Banbrook has just pleaded guilty in the High Court at Auckland to a charge of signing a company document which included untrue statements. His sentencing on the charge which carries potential penalties of up to five years in the slammer or fines of up to $300,000 is scheduled for August.

When asked to surrender his passport prior to his sentencing the former financial genius asked the judge if he could take his pre-booked holiday in Fiji first.

Thankfully Justice Mark Woolford was having none of it. Neither was Crown Prosecutor Steve Symon who pointed out that Banbrook had booked the holiday for the time the trial was to have been conducted. The only reason Banbrook was ‘free’ to take it was because of his guilty plea which meant the trial finished early.

So to recap; this financial genius pre-booked a holiday to Fiji for a time when it would be obvious to any but the eternally he would not be able to go if he pleaded not guilty and even less likely if he pleaded guilty. No wonder the company collapsed.

However just to demonstrate how equally dopey our legislators can be, I point to the Vehicle Confiscation & Seizure Bill. I think whoever came up with this idea must have been having a seizure at the time.

This week the first boy-racer (I prefer the term idiot-boy) car was crushed by Police Minister Anne ‘Tosser” Tolley. This one belonged to Daniel Briant who had reached the requisite three strikes for his idiotic behaviour in front of an off-duty police officer in Porirua. (there’s help in your town, Daniel). Less than three hours after being sentenced by the Court he was behind the wheel again doing exactly the same stuff, this time proving what a hopeless wannabe driver he was by crashing into a fence which wasn’t probably nowhere near as thick as him.

This bright young spark then set about trying to hide his car by a series of registration changes, but eventually the law caught up with him and the car was uplifted and made into a metallic poppadom.

But the point here is the legislation that empowers the state to wantonly vandalise an otherwise perfectly good car in order to ‘teach’ Daniel a lesson didn’t seem to stop him repeating his idiocy even after the order was made to seize his car.
For the law to work it has to appear reasonable to the ordinary man in the street and if young people in particular are to learn from it, there must be no stupid inconsistencies such as this. Simply seizing the car and selling it would deprive him of his wheels just as surely as this act of vandalism would. But then like so many laws enacted as a knee-jerk reaction, it’s all just window dressing; it looks pretty but it only creates an image and changes nothing.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Accidents in the workplace

There seem to have been a few accidents in the workplace lately but few of the people who have had them seem to be any the worse for wear. I guess it must be the healthy environment created by that bright new future that’s causing us all to have to go to SpecSavers.

The latest series of workplace accidents have happened at, ACC, which probably means they weren’t accidents at all; they were in fact pre-existing conditions. Actually the more I think about that, the more it makes sense.

ACC’s accidents began to emerge with the wholesale release of private and confidential information about ordinary New Zealanders to a lot of unsuspecting recipients including rather unfortunately for the Corporation, a feisty individual called Bronwyn Pullar.

As we all now know, Bronwyn is not the sort of woman to simply roll over and ask the corporation to roger her all over again. Furthermore their choice of Bronwyn as the recipient for these files was also stupid on the grounds she was a long term ‘client’ with a long term grievance against them. People in this position have nothing to lose and can make a Government department’s life very difficult. Bronwyn taped the whole sorry saga and left the fibbers with no wriggle-room.

But the micro-brains that have been running ACC have been left to their own devices and allowed to develop their own culture of blame against their clients, which is an interesting twist for a ‘no fault insurance scheme’.

After battling with them for almost 10 years, Bronwyn, who appears to have a perfectly reasonable claim, tooled herself up with a powerful ally in the form of Michelle Boag and met with the corporation to try and get things sorted out.

Of course as we know, they decided to fabricate the details of the meeting, leak personal information about Bronwyn to the Press, and accused her of blackmail.

Following this outrageous attack Bronwyn decided to finally allow the media, with whom she had been in contact for the last 10 years, to go public with her side of the story. The revelations that came from that interview she gave to TV3 were game-changers.

Since the programme aired only three days ago, the Chairman of ACC, John Poorjudgeofcharacter has ‘stepped aside’. He has not been fired and ACC Minister Little Bo-Tox won’t say he was asked or pushed, although her body language on TV One News told a very different story. The official blurb is that this guy is only leaving because his new job as the head (case) at ANZ National Bank would have him far too busy to bother with the malingerers at ACC (not that he ever did anyway).

So once again an incompetent person who couldn’t run a major Government Corporation efficiently and who has been caught out in more than one public lie and defamed a client doesn’t get sacked; instead he is able to move smoothly into another overpaid sinecure and nobody so much as even tells him off. Good luck to any customers at ANZ National Bank. If I knew somebody like him was moving into the top spot at my bank I’d be worried. ANZ National Bank should be too, because the man fucked up his last post and although I know banking and dishonesty aren’t mutually exclusive of one another, to have such an example out front is not a good look.

However Poorjudgeofcharacter is not the only ACC head we should soon be seeing rolling into the little basket; the mysterious Dr Burgess who is able to diagnose from halfway across town without even seeing the patient needs to bite the bullet as well. His association with ACC needs to be cut and his own ethics body might like to investigate the probity of arriving at diagnoses without consultation. He might be better off practicing in Haiti if that is the way he works.

Burgess’ unauthorised contact with the allegedly independent specialist raises ethical issues as well, and possibly privacy ones too. But worst of all is his unauthorised accessing of Bronwyn Pullar’s files after he was told he was to have nothing further to do with her files. Burgess went on to access the files on at least seven further occasions after being forbidden to do so. Staff who have done this at IRD and WINZ have been sacked. He should be too and police should be called in to determine if criminal charges are appropriate. I used to like A Clockwork Orange, but since the main characters began living out their fantasies at ACC I’ve gone right off it.

As I write this I learn that Ralph Stewart has also been shown the door by an increasingly panic-stricken Little Bo-Tox who sees her Ministerial posts under threat.

Stewart was the other wanker who told us all he had not heard Bronwyn’s tape when it was well-known her legal representatives had played it to him.

She who has been called the Crusher is obviously feeling the crush herself as she has apparently also informed two other ACC directors; Rob Campbell and John McLiskie they can forget about being re-appointed either. Of course the cynic in me (where would that be then?) says Bo-To is more annoyed these bumbling fools allowed this to get into the public arena and get some of their doo-doos all over her rather than for the nasty shit they threw at Bronwyn Pullar.

The cull-out can’t have finished yet, though because there are at least two other ACC knob-heads who should also go. Managers Philip Murch and Hans Verberne are the pair who concocted the allegation they had been blackmailed by Ms Pullar and called the cops in to investigate. Given they knew their allegations were baseless these two idiots should be charged with making a false complaint to police and then sacked as well.

So accidents or otherwise? Well I can’t help finding it extremely ironic that a corporation that spends half its time trying to deny accident victims support by labelling their accident induced injuries as ‘pre-existing conditions’ should be so accident prone themselves. A much better case can be made for their recent ‘accidents’ to be viewed as pre-existing conditions.

Your claims are well and truly denied ACC – time to remember what you were set up for.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A series of non-sequiturs

There are times when the world just doesn’t seem to make any sense. At times it seems everywhere you look you see something that is being broadly accepted by the sheep-like masses but which doesn’t follow in a logical sense.

The first of these to catch my eye over the last couple of days was the decision to induct Phil the Greek into the Order of New Zealand for ‘services to New Zealand’.

Clearly this is a case of Jianqi kissing HM’s arse big-time with a view to ingratiating himself and lining up a similar array of honours for himself in the future. It also goes to show how vain the royal in-breds are, and how the old matriarch couldn’t resist adding another title to her beloved’s already vast collection. I could fill an entire A4 page with all the honours and decorations and letters after his name. Most of them were awarded in a similar bum kissing fashion to the latest one and are equally irrelevant. He has such honours and awards from approximately 50 different countries, of which less than 10 are even part of the British Commonwealth. Oh and if you think my inbred remark is unfair, consider this; in addition to being Lizzie’s husband, Phil the Greek is also her third cousin. No wonder their eldest son wanted to be a tampon.

Those who have read my blogs regularly will have gathered I don’t have any time for the Royal Honours or even Royalty. However I recognise the need for some kind of recognition of genuinely good works and don’t mind people such as John Kirwan getting a nod for the work he has done for those living with depression or for Nancy Merriman for the great job she has done setting up the Katikati Heritage Museum and various others who do good works that they aren’t handsomely rewarded for.

However to return to my opening point; given the honours system we currently have in NZ it would seem only fair those inducted into the Order of New Zealand should be New Zealanders. It is our highest civilian honour and is limited to a maximum of 20 living New Zealanders, although they also allow extra members to be appointed ‘to commemorate important royal, state or national occasions’. This latter rider obviously gives them the scope to appoint Phil the Greek in the year of his missus’ jubilee. So okay they left the door open and before him his ma-in-law was awarded the same gong, but it still doesn’t seem right that a Danish/Greek married to the Queen of England should be awarded the Order of New Zealand.

Another item that caught my eye and didn’t seem right was about another institution I have zero time for; the beauty pageant circus. Granny Herald ran a story about the latest Miss Universe New Zealand who it seems might not be able to take part in the world contest because she doesn’t actually qualify to be Miss Universe New Zealand. Confused?

Well it seems Avianca Bohm who was given the title over the weekend is not a New Zealand citizen. Ms Bohm is South African born and was apparently told by contest organisers that she could enter the contest but she could not win it because the contest rules state you must have New Zealand residency and citizenship. While Ms Bohm has residency she does not possess the latter, making her ineligible.

At a moment like this two obvious questions arise (or three if you count ‘why should anyone care’); the first is why did an ineligible bimbo get chosen ahead of all the eligible bimbos? And the second is why was an ineligible contestant allowed to contest?

Well the answer to the second question is simple. Every contestant has to pay a ‘sponsorship fee’ of $3000. It would appear the organisers have no problem taking that money from someone who can’t win and I’d have to say that any dim-witted bint who entered under conditions such as that deserves to lose her $3000.

The answer to the first question is a little harder to ascertain as it involves handbags at ten paces between pageant director Val Lott and chief judge Jack Yan. She says it shoudl be an embarrasment to the judges and not the pageant because she told them Ms Bohm couldn't win. Meanwhile Yan says   no she didn't make it clear (blub, blub) and she shouldn't blame them.
There are a number of competing beauty pageants around the world and it’s a bit like professional boxing you never know who the champion really is. Not that it makes much difference anyway as in my opinion both activities are ones that should be consigned to the garbage bins of history and done away with altogether. Both rely upon the exploitation of people who don’t possess any really useful talents. This particular one is run by the Donald Trump organisation and they had a bit of a hoo-hah earlier this year when a Jenna Talackova, a transgender contestant entered the Canadian contest. Initially she was told she couldn’t enter because the contest was only open to ‘naturally born females’ which is an interesting phrase that reminds me of a jolly jape the Bard pulled in the play whose name we dare not mention. It cost the mad Scot his head. But when Ms Talackova tooled herself up with a serious legal eagle the contest organisers decided that as long as she satisfied the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions’ she could enter.

Actually I found out this year’s Kiwi leg of the contest has also had a rather tricky history. Only a couple of days out from the final five of the contestants were struck down by a stomach bug and one of the judges tripped on a pothole and wound up in hospital. Perhaps the Universe is trying to tell them to stop taking its name in vain.

My next non sequitur involves the money man who has a problem getting figures correct. Jianqi spent his working life in the world of high finances before he was eased into his currently well-paid sinecure by his ‘connected’ mates. You might think somebody in this field would have an affinity for figures or at least be able to quote figures with some modicum of accuracy.

But it would seem our Prime Minotaur cannot handle even the simplest of calculations. There has already been considerable doubt cast over the figures he quoted for the benefits that would accrue to the country after he has sold half the family home, but now it appears our gallivanting leader couldn’t even get the figures correct around the number of jobs we would get in return for selling our gambling laws to SkyCity.

When he put the deal to us, Jianqi said the convention centre would provide over 900 construction jobs and create work for a further 800 people at the convention centre. If these figures were true it might make sense for the government to fund this venture themselves, but of course he would have known those figures were mere spin, which is why they aren’t.

Stephen Hamilton of Horwarth Ltd, a company employed by the Jianqi Government to do a feasibility study on the project is alarmed at the figures released by the PM. He says their study put the number of jobs at between 318 and 479 or roughly only half the number Jianqi was trumpeting. Furthermore Hamilton says the figures include total extra staffing including extra taxi drivers and people working at the hotels rather than just those actually employed at the convention centre. Hamilton also says their report estimated 150 construction jobs each year for five years making a total of 750.

Of course our Prime Moron is away overseas kicking up his heels at Liz and Phil’s royal bash as he has been every time the shit has been about to hit the fan this term. So he is unable to comment on how he could have overstated the number of construction jobs by more than 20 percent and the number of convention centre jobs by almost 50 percent.

But the most puzzling non sequitur of the lot is why did New Zealanders vote this prick back in and how come the opinion polls don’t seem to show any major drop off in his popularity. The answer to the first of these is difficult unless you simply accept we are living in a nation of dimwits, while the second is much easier; someone is messing with the figures again.