Labour buddies Phil Twyford and Phil Goff have unleashed a stampede of financial pariahs who will be jostling for a share of the profits from financing the $28 billion inAucklandtransport projects they jointly announced on Thursday.
Despite having promised before the election to stop the Public Private Partnership schemes of the previous National government, this latest announcement goes even further down the road of privatising new assets.
The new transport projects will be financed by combination ofPPPs and Crown Investment Partners, a government ownedPPPscheme in disguise, “which is all about introducing outside capital and attract[ing] co-investment from the private or other sectors”.
Labour used to be the party for the workers but it has just proved it really has turned into a party that shovels taxpayer money into the pockets of the rich, the overseas banks, and the international money shufflers.
Their big profits will be coming straight out of taxpayer’s pockets, who will effectively rent the new transport facilities, having to pay for the construction of the projects and a premium for the lender’s profits.
If you think that those who foment wars care about your kids you birthed and raised, think again. As we approach another Anzac Day and we do indeed remember our loved ones (my Papa & all of his four brothers who went faithfully to WW2 ‘for their country’ and fortunately for us returned, unlike many families, torn apart forever) …. let’s spread the word that wars are only necessary for the bankers and the corporations that make the weapons. PEACE. EnvirowatchRangitikei
***ORIGINAL UPLOAD BY RTAmerica*** Permission to repost granted. Aug 11, 2011 As the U.S. economy remains on a consistent downward spiral, one thing the U.S. Government is never shy to invest endless cash in is the Pentagon. Which – on its end — is pumping millions of dollars into luring in the young population of America into enrolling into the military. RT’s Anastasia Churkina looks at some of those mesmerizing techniques, and what kind of effect they have had on those fit to serve. http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/w… “WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.” – Major General Smedley Butler (“War Is A Racket”) “I spent 33 years in active military service as a member of the Marine Corps. I served from 2nd Lt. to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism… Looking back, I might have given Al Capone a few hints….” – Major General Smedley Butler (“War Is A Racket”)
Of course most of us need wars like we need a hole in the head. Not the bankers however … war is an endless money spinner for them especially when you can fund both sides. So this ‘wonderful’ new weapon can take down a truck from a mile away, and can also destroy drones, vehicles, rockets, boats and more. We are buttered up with the promise of protecting hospitals and taking out the latest boogey man terrorists (appropriately named ATHENA, patron protectress of various Greek cities) … the essential pre requisites for more war & ‘ka-ching’, profits. Lockheed Martin partially fund the Mahia NZ rocket base along with our faithful-to-the US government/corporation, thanks to Key for that $25 mill that could’ve housed quite a few homeless instead. (See our War and Banking pages on all of that – main menu). A reminder of how money focused ‘protection’ is these days, a screen shot from the weapons fest we had in 2016 hosted by the NZ gov. $10K per head if you wanted to attend dinner with the trimmings. They also catered for the lower incomes so you could get a seat at $5K also, less trimmings. Far from these ‘banquet halls’ of the rich are the dying civilians… the real victims of war. The children. I’m for defense, sure, but our modern day packaging of war is illustrative of what it really is and always has been, corporate profits. Which is why I’ll never be ‘rejoicing’ over any new weaponry.
Silent, invisible, deadly. The powerful ATHENA laser weapon can destroy enemy threats within seconds. It just destroyed five Outlaw drones.
For the United States, thanks to pioneering efforts of American companies like Lockheed Martin and the military, laser weapons are no longer the stuff of Star Wars and Star Trek.
In near-term future battles, the U.S. military can choose to bring laser weapons mounted on vehicles, vessels, and more, to war. By comparison, the weapons of any enemy will look like bows and arrows.
ATHENA, (Advanced Test High Energy Asset), is one of the most exciting of these new American laser weapons. During recent testing with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the 30-kilowatt weapon slayed five Outlaw drones. Not toy hobby sized drones, but drones with nearly 11 foot wingspans.
With U.S. weapons makers leading the way, and after five consecutive years of decline, sales among the world’s 100 largest arms producers rose in 2016, garnering nearly $375 billion in profits, according to a new analysis of industry data by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). “The growth in arms sales was expected and was driven by the implementation of new national major weapon programs, ongoing military operations in several countries, and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons,” according to a SIPRI fact sheet (pdf).
Remember who wars are for … who they benefit. This is why we constantly need new a new ‘boogey man’ to keep up the sales. Remember Gutle Rothschild … “If my sons did not want war, there would be none”. Very proud she was of her sons’ dubious achievements.
Arm sales by international defense contractors have risen for the first time in five years, due in part to the mounting threat of North Korea’s missile and nuclear ambitions, a Swedish think tank announced Monday.
(Natural News) As if suffering from cancer weren’t bad enough on its own, a new study has found that nearly two-thirds of the cancer drugs that gained authorization from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) from 2009 to 2013 did not offer any clear proof that they would extend or improve patients’ lives.
Lead author Dr. Courtney Davis commented: “When expensive drugs that lack robust evidence of clinical benefit are approved and reimbursed within publicly funded healthcare systems, individual patients may be harmed and public funds wasted.”
In other words, cancer patients and the population, in general, suffer as Big Pharma watches its profits pile up.
The study also carried out follow-ups at a median of five years, at which point nearly half of the drugs continued to show no benefits in terms of quantity or quality of life. Among those that did show an improvement, the benefits were considered clinically insignificant in half of the cases.
These very disturbing findings have prompted the researchers to call on the EMA to raise the evidence bar when it comes to authorizing new drugs, and rightfully so.
LSE Department of Health Policy Assistant Professor and study author Huseyin Naci said it was “remarkable” that such a small number of new cancer drugs entering the European market had clear data showing positive outcomes.
Another problem is that some of the cancer drugs that have been touted as being a “breakthrough therapy” do not have any real advantage over simply doing nothing or opting for the existing treatments. This creates false hope for patients and their families, and in some cases, it causes them to pass up other treatment options that might have made a real difference in their condition.
Pricey cancer drugs repeatedly shown to be ineffective
Earlier this year, it emerged that a fund set up to help patients access cancer drugs not covered by the National Health Service in England was a spectacular failure. After spending the equivalent of $1.64 billion, only around 18 percent of the 100,000 patients studied noted any benefits from treatments provided by the Cancer Drugs Fund. Just think of how many people were given ineffective treatments and how much they and their loved ones likely suffered as a result.
This investigative article about the Horowhenua district is from journalist Veronica Harrod. Read her bio at the end of the article. She raises points which are puzzling people NZ wide, and lifts the curtain somewhat to let you see what is going on in meetings you are not entitled to attend. (From this site’s perspective, please check out our Agenda 21/2030 in NZ and our Local Govt Watch pages. Also search Agenda 21/2030 in categories to left of page). I read an interesting article at the LG’s website recently about consultation (raised at the end of this article). It certainly does indicate (& in the context of quite a bit of jest, taking the proverbial pee as it were) that the decision’s already been made when you are ‘consulted’. EnvirowatchRangitikei
Massive Rates Rises Predicted in Horowhenua that will Subsidise Land Developers Reaping Potential Profits of over $100 Million
by Veronica Harrod
Horowhenua land developers and investors will reap at least $100 million profit from not having to pay development contributions towards essential infrastructure costs that council seems intent to load onto existing ratepayers who could face massive, crippling rates increases.
The majority of councils in the country charge development contributions because the policy is regarded as the only effective, fair and equitable way to reduce the impact of expensive infrastructure costs on existing ratepayers.
The Horowhenua District Council scrapped development contributions in 2015 but, judging by the extent of land development planned behind closed doors by land developers and council since 2008, it would be unconscionable if council did not re-introduce the levy on land developers.
Exponential rates rises have historically been used by council’s as a sure fire way to free up land for development by confiscating land from ratepayers who can’t afford high rate increases which will directly have an impact on a large number of home and land owners in the district living on fixed or low incomes.
If the council does not include development contributions in the 2018-2038 Long Term Plan (LTP) the profits made by land developers will be unsustainable and grossly unfair to existing residents.
The $100 million profit projections are based on a conservative estimate of $15,000 per new build if development contributions were charged including a minimum of 2100 new house builds in Levin alone totalling $31.5 million contained in a council’s 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.
Land developer and deputy mayor Wayne Bishop’s 500 house build in Kimberley Road has financially benefited by approximately $750,000. Cr Bishop also has four other land developments which means he has personally financially benefited by at least one million dollars by not having to pay development contributions.
He declared a conflict of interest at the eleventh hour only when a vote was taken by council to stop charging development contributions. During all the debates he sat at the council table which may have affected councillors ability to speak freely against council intention to stop collecting development contributions. It is also only since his election to council that council has proceeded with such a massive scale of land development.
Also included in the profit estimates is the potential affect of relaxing urban housing density rules to allow for sub-division and building of two houses on one house lot which council is deliberating on now. Neighbours would not have to be consulted on increased urban density plans due to changes to the Resource Management Act made by the National led government early this year that favours land developers. Potential profits also include proposed land developments in other parts of the district contained in separate reports available at http://www.horowhenua.govt.nz/…/Plans-Strategies/Horowhenua…
Evidence council is determined to pursue a land growth agenda is also contained in the council report on relaxing urban density rules which negligently and deliberately omitted to include any environmental and cultural costs of land development even though all the new builds would connect to the existing infrastructure, and even though there is evidence of environmental and cultural costs documented in past council reports including the 2008 Horowhenua Development Plan.
Cr Neville Gimblet and council’s chief executive David Clapperton have made comments recently alluding to the scale of land development and the expectation existing ratepayers would pay for them. Mr Clapperton said in a recent newspaper article, “I see some huge opportunities for the Horowhenua that have never been seen before, probably in the last three generations. And I’m adamnant that I want to be part of that journey.”
His comments were made despite consultation on the 20 year Long Term Plan only just starting indicating he is a central, local cog in the wheel of a land development agenda that has captured the council to such an extent democracy itself is being deliberately undermined by the very organisation that is supposed to uphold democratic principles.
Cr Gimblett alluded to the impact of the high cost of replacing essential infrastructure on existing ratepayers in a newspaper column when he said he was “surprised no-one commented on the $2.8 million of unfunded depreciation in the financial report.” Depreciation is a method used to account for future costs of essential infrastructure by acknowledging wear and tear and need for replacement over time.
“While depreciation is not a cash item so has little impact today, it is a key feature of sustainable long term planning and ultimately your rates,” he stated before warning ratepayers that, “Officers and elected members are currently involved in multiple workshops to prepare for the next Long Term Plan, where we will be mindful of this financial constraint hanging over our heads.”
If Cr Gimblet is so “mindful of the financial constraints” then it would stand to reason he supports the reintroduction of development contributions as this levy on land developers would not only immediately solve the problem of funding depreciation costs but also potentially provide enough money to ensure state of the art essential infrastructure designs were built and maintained. Nevertheless he didn’t mention re-introducing development contributions he only mentioned the cost to existing ratepayers.
The democratically elected mayor Michael Feyen has been effectively sidelined because he is viewed as a threat to this cabal of unrestrained and unrestricted land developers and their investors as during the last local body elections he said he was going to make environmental concerns and Lake Horowhenua a priority.
No matter who Mayor Feyen subsequently turned to in seeking redress to reign in the power of an unelected chief executive David Clapperton not one minister of the last National led government would lift a finger to assist him. Local Government New Zealand would not assist him either.
Mr Clapperton also has the support of nine out of ten councillors, excluding Cr Ross Campbell, who are rewarded handsomely for their backing by favourable treatment in appointments to committees and other council led opportunities.
Local National Party MP Nathan Guy has also refused to take action to restore democracy in Horowhenua but, as a recent article in a local newspaper stated, Mr Guy has got the largest property and land portfolio of all acting Government ministers including an extensive amount of Horowhenua rural land, a family home, two rental properties, interests in 13 commercial properties and a Wellington property.
Land developer and investor interest in developing housing subdivisions on at least 550 hectares in the north east of Levin, that extends across Mr Guy’s rural property interests, may also be using their influence with the now acting Government to ensure the highway of national significance is built to the west of Levin instead of the East of Levin. Cr Bishop has certainly stated a preference the new highway be built to the west of Levin.
As if it’s not enough that local Maori and residents of Hokio on the west of Levin have to endure the Levin Sewage Treatment Plant, the landfill, the infamous smelly “pot” behind the landfill and a polluted Lake Horowhenua now moves are afoot to ensure the new highway won’t get in the way of land developers and their investor interest in the East of Levin.
The excessive profit margins land developers and their investors will potentially make helps to explain the increasing interest major land and property developers, that have previously only operated in Auckland and Wellington, now have in Horowhenua.
The first sign the district saw of this burgeoning interest was the purchase of the council owned pensioner housing and 1.1 hectare of bare land by land and property developer Willis Bond in a publicly excluded deal with council for a fire sale price of $5.25 million. Anecdotal evidence is Willis Bond owners the McGuinness brothers count now acting Attorney General Chris Finlayson as a friend.
As Attorney General Mr Finlayson administers the Crown Law office that relentlessly pursues criminal charges against Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki Philip Taueki who continues to give voice to inconvenient truths about Lake Horowhenua ownership and pollution by the council and regional council. Other state agencies have also demonstrated a partisan approach in matters to do with Mr Taueki.
In her recently published e-book “Man of Convictions” Anne Hunt* says Horowhenua District Council waived all fees and granted the consent to decommission the buildings and disconnect the water from Mr Taueki’s residence six days after several men and six or seven police arrived at his place one morning and began sledgehammering and dismantling the building and power to the building. They also attempted to turn his water supply off then too.
When Mr Taueki, “complained to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about the way the Horowhenua District Council as a building consent authority handled this matter…initially the Ministry expressed concern, but ultimately decided to take no action. The Tenancy Tribunal was equally dismissive.”
Mr Taueki is under constant threat of arrest and imprisonment and, although it is illegal to turn the water supply off to his residence at Lake Horowhenua, the council continues to do so and not one state agency intervenes on his behalf even though he has been left without a water supply for over eight months.
He has been beaten up, shot at, threatened with murder, thrown in jail, forced to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and denied physical access to the very lake he is kaitiaki and one of the owners of by numerous trespass orders.
He is currently facing a retrial of one of the trespass notices he has been acquitted of twice after Crown Law, an office administered by Mr Finlayson, appealed an acquittal of the charge and the appeal was granted by a judge. His case has been delayed until January 2018 because the Crown did not disclose information to defence lawyer Michael Bott when the retrial began last month in Levin District Court.
Allegations of bias by the Courts against Mr Taueki has also been made by Hunt who writes that Mr Finlayson has been responsible for appointing, “all bar one of the six Supreme Court judges, all ten Court of Appeal judges and 75% of the High Court judges….in a process without any statutory constraints or regulations.”
Despite the fact “Man of Convictions” is written by a local resident and respected journalist, author and former Horowhenua district councillor Anne Hunt about the horrendous experiences and treatment of a Lake Horowhenua kaitiaki whose ancestor is the renowned paramount chief of Mua-Upoko neither of the two local newspapers have expressed any interest in interviewing her.
Openly flouting media independence on council reporting the Fairfax owned Horowhenua Mail has now employed council’s former communications officer Kelvin Teixeira which does not bode well for impartial reporting of council communications Mr Teixeira has helped develop and carry out on behalf of the council.
But it is the Crown’s lack of actions to date that disturbingly suggest a collusion with a Horowhenua land development agenda even though it is destined to greatly increase pollution levels to Lake Horowhenua. The Lake Accord, set up to rehabilitate the health of the lake, remains silent about the impact an exponential increase of new builds connected to the existing insufficient and ageing infrastructure will have on Lake Horowhenua.
Hunt says, “Levin’s stormwater system is a major source of phosphorous, and it is this chemical that is the major cause of the cyanobacteria that has plagued the lake in recent years, making it lethal for children. In his 2012 report, Dr Max Gibbs referred to research that 80% of the lake’s phosphorous chemical content comes from the town’s stormwater system.”
“A report prepared for the Horowhenua District Council by Dr Chris Tanner, a principal scientist from NIWA (the Crown Research Institute) commented on the ‘significant
potential health effects from these drain flows,’ without even considering ‘potential toxicity issues with other contaminants such as metals or organics in the discharge from this drain’ she quoted from Dr Tanner’s report.
An apparently deliberate refusal to reintroduce development contributions is essentially undemocratic because it put the interests of the few above the many and makes a mockery of the consultation process of a LTP residents and ratepayers will be bound by for the next twenty years.
Even though council has been having workshop meetings about priorities of the LTP one public consultation held at Te Takere last week had no information at all about the council’s intentions which gives the public little to respond to. There were two councillors, a desk and a lot of free pens but no substance about what council has been discussing in publicly excluded workshops about council’s LTP priorities which makes it a faux consultation on one of the most important issues facing ratepayers today.
Although it might be confusing to understand why the council would refuse to reintroduce the levy on land developers one powerful reason for doing so is it appears the council is prepared to drive out existing residents by imposing unsustainable rates rises in favour of new residents who are regarded as more desirable.
The emphasis on making the district attractive to new residents is highlighted in communications from council on the LTP consultations which promotes the concept of making the district attractive for “those that are moving here” and concerns already exist about the statement by council in a two page newspaper feature, “…all submissions will be considered by elected members and the plan adjusted as they see fit.”
One has to wonder whether the LTP has already been pre-determined if councillors are only going to adjust the LTP “as they see fit.”
Veronica Harrod is a qualified journalist with a Master of Communications specialising in traditional and new media content. Investigating and reporting on political, economic and legislative trends that negatively impact on the day to day lives of people is one of her main areas of interest. Lifestyle content she is interested in includes celebrating our own especially the tireless work community advocates do as civil citizens participating in democracy to keep those in power on their toes. In a media age dominated by a multi billion dollar communications and public relations industry paid to manipulate information to protect and advance the interests of the few over the many there have to be journalists who are impervious to the all pervasive influencial role they have over local and central government and corporate interests.
For more information on Veronica’s professional qualifications see her Facebook page.
WHAT CAN WE DO? The current elected Mayor campaigned on more transparency & more public inclusion. In light of that do your best to attend the HDC meetings in Levin, hear what is happening & get speaking rights to express to Council matters that affect you. The meetings are held 6 weekly and dates are found on the HDC website, FB page or by phoning them.
This makes me feel less inclined to be purchasing from this corporation. Corporations tend not to be ethically/people friendly given their absolute bottom line is PROFITS (watch ‘The Corporation’ a movie you can find on our Corporations pages) … in fact their legal obligation is first and foremost to their shareholders, not you or any warm, fuzzy values like supporting your kids’ employment or sharing resources. Corporations can be outright evil entities in terms of the lengths they will go to to be top dog, and if you mess with them they have bottomless bank accounts (due to their emphasis on profits) to drag you through lengthy court processes as you gradually use up all your surplus dollars and eventually go bust. The Crown is very good at this too. They used it historically to acquire vast tracts of indigenous lands, all well documented. They’re still at it. So… consider carefully which corporations you support (your NZ government is a corporation) when exercising your purchasing power. EnvirowatchRangitikei
But Comvita chief executive Scott Coulter defended its role in the local economy. “We have a majority of New Zealand-based shareholders and pay local landowners well for the use of their land,” he said.