Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Say what?

This week: the great questions of the day are explored; none are satisfactorily answered and life mimics life.
Well there have been a few head-scratching moments over the last few weeks and pretty soon some of us will have dug down to the grey matter – those of us with any left that is.
The fall-out from the Dotcom saga, the fall-out from the Banks fiasco, the fall-out from Jianqi’s ill-timed visit to Hollywood and the fall-out from the Shane Jones/Bill Liu matter and the fall-out from the Quade Cooper brain explosion are making those with any hair left nervously clutch their scalps.
I have often heard it said the Chinese have a proverb that goes, “May we live in interesting times”. I’ve often heard this quoted and misquoted but have never been 100 percent sure it was a Chinese proverb. However my most recent research suggests there could be a Chinese connection and it would seem it was both a proverb and a curse, which makes sense when you think of the wording.  It has certainly been repeated often enough – some of its more famous users have been Bobby Kennedy, Hunter S Thompson and Harry Kim from Star Trek. Actually that would be a good trivia question (what do these three have in common?).
So what does this rather obtuse phrase actually mean? Well I’m buggered if I know what it was supposed to mean when it was first uttered/invented/discovered and it seems silly to even try to discover what such an ambiguous adage could mean.
Another question that has been on everybody’s minds just lately (yes, people were tearing their hair about the Chinese proverb/curse); is, have ANZ Bank dropped the ‘National’ from their name to avoid being associated with the Government’s fall in the polls? Or is it that they didn’t want any Green horning in on their blue hues and diluting their brand? And given their new logo are they now the bank for the ‘paw folks’ or do they just want their customers to sit up and beg?
And from banking to something that rhymes with that – planking - what on earth did you think I was going to say? Wash your mouth out. Has there ever been a sillier five minute wonder than planking? I doubt it. A totally pointless act that appeared to be some kind of desperate attempt by the terminally talentless to achieve some sort of....well I’m stuffed if I know what they achieved apart from silly old Peter Dung of course who managed to himself look more dorky than usual when he ‘took up the challenge’ on Back Benches.  
But the conundrum that has puzzled Kiwis for a number of years now and frustrated the hell out of those concerned with our failing health profile and our rapidly expanding obesity stats is why is milk so expensive and coke so cheap?
It has never been that hard to figure out why coke is so cheap. It is produced in such enormous volumes there are obviously some huge economies of scale involved in the manufacturing stage. Then it contains so much addictive sugar and caffeine that they know they will also be guaranteed bulk repeat sales.
But why is milk which is produced also in huge volumes and from home grown ingredients is on average around twice the price of Coca Cola? In theory it contains no added ingredients, so the only costs involved are those associated with looking after the cows that produce it, extracting it from them and pasteurising it.
I see from Fonterrier’s latest report shows they have cutting back the forecast payout to the farmers again. Notice how the price at the shop never goes down when that happens? Of course the Fonterriermen will tell you that price is affected by the export prices. And that is another thing; Stuff carried out a survey last year and found that hardly anybody else in the world pays as much for their milk as we do in New Zealand. This is even crazier when you consider the stuff is produced so close to the back doors of most of us – so there aren’t many freight costs involved either.
But Fonterrier’s latest report actually carried the real reason why our milk is so expensive if anyone cared to read it. It is all down to the costs of staffing and how many times do you hear employers whinge about those costs? But at Fonterrier this is not about the ordinary folks that do the ordinary jobs that make Fonterrier its money like most similar whines. This is about the costs of one or two (particularly one) members of staff who are paid well beyond anything they are even remotely worth. It would seem $5.1 million dollar salary that former CEO Andrew Ferrier got in his last year with them wasn’t enough to support the poor wee chap and thus the Fonterriers gave him a little something to help him get by. Nothing major you understand; just a spare $8.2M they had lying around.
I don’t believe in the death penalty, but I could just about go along with whichever disgusting capitalist swine that approved that being made to walk the plank. $8.2 fucking million! That is disgusting especially when he has already been paid $5.1M for his final year and gawd knows how many millions for each of the other seven years he was in that job. This kind of obscene generosity is simply rubbing the noses of everyone in New Zealand who is struggling to make ends meet right in the soiled nappies of the 1%.
Now I don’t think I am over-reacting in the slightest here because I have done some number crunching here and I it is no exaggeration to say that 99% of us will never earn as much as that bonus in our entire working lives, never mind all the millions he got in salary over that 8 year gig. I have no problem with skilled people being paid a salary that is commensurate with their skill levels and even a bit more. But this is I have worked out that even if you had a working life of 40 years and averaged $200,000 per annum for that entire time, you would still wind up $100,000 short of that bonus.
Is this that brighter future where tossers like Ferrier have their snouts firmly wedged in a platinum trough while working families struggle to afford a one litre the very product he is earning so much from? 

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