Month: June 2016

Rue Britannia

newbritanniaWe’ve got a new word since Britain’s historic EU vote – BREGRET, which is Brexit + Regret.  Also the saying “Rue Britannia.”  I think Britannia has a lot more to rue about than second thoughts.

Why the regret in Britain over the way they voted?   Why go into a referendum not understanding the issues?  It’s unbelievable for such an important issue.

Despite having more knowledge at our finger tips than any other generation, the second top question in Google after the referendum results were out was “What is the EU?”

Seriously?Brexit questions

4Here’s four things about the EU:

The Treaty of Rome enshrined the ‘four freedoms’, requiring the unrestricted circulation of goods, persons, services, and capital. It placed competition at the centre of the European framework. This capitalist utopia clearly involved more than a free trade area.

Much has changed since the 1970s, including the development of the EEC, with nine member states to today’s economic and political union of 28 countries.

Today’s Eurosceptics made four, interconnected, points;

  1. In 1973, the UK agreed to join a loose free trade area. There was no suggestion that they would otherwise suffer any loss of political and economic sovereignty, or be ‘ruled from Brussels’.
  2. Even this change in their national status demanded, as a matter of constitutional principle, that the British people be given a voice in a referendum.
  3. However, that referendum was fought on a false prospectus. The European project was, in truth, a much more extensive attempt by a metropolitan elite (in London and Brussels) to grab power for itself. So there must be a further referendum.
  4. The UK has a bright future outside the EU. Freed from the shackles of European bureaucracy, it will have the best of both worlds. On the one hand, European countries will be compelled to trade with them, because of their economic strength. On the other hand, they will be able much more easily to do business with Asia and the rest of the world.   Source: The case for Brexit: lessons from the 1960s and 1970s

Enoch PowellIt seems the Brits want their country back.  I hear the accusations of xenophobia – but what’s wrong with safeguarding borders, boundaries, rules and laws that are there for a reason?

In April 1968 British politician Enoch Powell warned of the dangers of “communalism”, and specifically of those caused by mass immigration.  Was he right?

enochpowell

 

NZ government in denial over housing crisis

Auckland Housing Crisis cartoonNew Zealand has got a previously unheard of problem – homeless families are sleeping in cars, while nearly half of the houses in our largest city Auckland (49%) are being snapped up by foreign investors and then sitting there empty!  The Chinese were the biggest group.  Last year in June it was 41% of Auckland homes. 

John Key, our prime minister and former banker who worked at Merrill Lynch, glibly believed most of the investors in the property market would be locals.  It was clear the government either didn’t have a clue or didn’t care.  NZ doesn’t have a foreign buyers register or any rules around speculation on houses.

Last year a whistle-blower from the real estate industry said mainland Chinese money snapped up at least 80 per cent of residential sales in parts of Auckland in March but were nearer 90 per cent in May, 2015.  Of course the whistle blower lost his job.

Here’s the radio interview about it: Property insider: It’s bigger than you think
“Property speculation is rampant, and I believe on the strength of these numbers that offshore Chinese investors are a very significant part of what’s going on,” said Phil Twyford, the MP for Te Atatū.  When he was accused of being racist for pointing it out, he said “I’m speaking for young New Zealanders who want affordable home ownership. If we solve this problem, if we ban foreign buyers, that will make a big difference.”
Leaked data shows Chinese offshore buyers fuelling ‘rampant’ Auckland property speculation, Twyford says.

“What I’m saying is that there is a tsunami of Chinese investment headed towards international real estate markets, including New Zealand. These numbers are coming from Juwai.com, the preeminent Chinese website that markets real estate, including New Zealand real estate. There’s a whole industry marketing our houses to Chinese investors.”

There are more than 6,000 real estate agents in Auckland.
Here’s a quote from Juwai.com about their buyers,

“Property is investment of choice – a stable investment exemplifying wealth & status. Chinese buyers spent US$37 billion on international residential property in 2013. 70% pay cash for property purchases.”

It quoted there are 63 million upper-middle-class Chinese and 2.8 million high-net-worth Chinese.  Less than 1% of them can read English.

The Chinese have deeper pockets than New Zealanders.  Our children will be the tenants of Chinese landlords – if they’ll even rent to them.

And then we hear that while people sleep in cars as the city grapples with homelessness, more than 33,000 Auckland dwellings are officially classified empty.  They’re called ghost houses.” That’s the size of a NZ town.  Running on Empty: Auckland’s “ghost” house problem.

The Minister for Housing Nick Smith replied “Diddly Squat” when asked about the percentage of foreign property buyers.  In fobbing the journalist off, it appears our government favours money over people.

Diddly squat

Opinion: ‘Diddly squat’ – Govt incompetent on housing

This is an article from 2012: Bernard Hickey: Govt eyes blind to housing crisis


More links:

1949-state-house-in-taita

Homeless family: The realities of living in a van

Kids living in vans? I’m mad as hell

Why our state housing stock is being sold off while thousands of Kiwis are homeless

Rangitikei Enviromental Health Watch

The Prime Minister John Key announced earlier this year that he intended to sell off  1000 to 2000 of NZ’s state houses. Large numbers of these homes were built by the first Labour government in 1935 and as of 2013 the stock numbered 69,000. That era had marked the birth of our welfare state and the tenants of the first house that was finished and let in 1937, paid just one third of their income in rent. Fifty years later we had the Labour government promising to remain involved in NZ’s housing market, then with the event of  Rogernomics and Roger Douglas’s neo liberal economic policies (the new economic ‘experiment’ that benefited those at the top of the capitalist pyramid and launched the ever increasing gap between rich and poor) rents were raised to market rates. Tenants could then apply for a government subsidy called an accommodation benefit,  effectively subsidizing…

View original post 810 more words

The Boxer

Muhammad AliTens of thousands are gathering in Louisville, Kentucky for the funeral of Muhammad Ali. The funeral events began on Thursday with a Muslim prayer service attended by 14,000 people. 

Ali wanted the service, known as a Jenazah, to be “a teaching moment.” American Muslims attending the service and watching on TV said they hoped that the public prayers would help Americans to become more familiar with Islam and its practices. Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36496473

In 1964, Ali famously converted to Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his “slave name” – even though he never grew up in slavery, thanks to the efforts of abolitionists.

Cassius_Marcellus_Clay

Cassius Marcellus Clay, abolitionist

But far from being a “slave name,” Ali was named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, a Kentucky planter, politician and friend of Abraham Lincoln, who worked for the abolition of slavery.

The grandfather of Ali, Herman Heaton Clay, a descendant of African-American slaves, named his son Cassius Marcellus Clay in tribute to the abolitionist, and Cassius Clay senior gave his own son the same name, which the  heavyweight champion boxer rejected.

Muhammad Ali’s mother, Odessa Lee Clay (nee O’Grady) was a strong Christian.  Ali later said, “My mother is a Baptist, and when I was growing up, she taught me all she knew about God. Every Sunday, she dressed me up, took me and my brother to church, and taught us the way she thought was right. She taught us to love people and treat everybody with kindness. She taught us it was wrong to be prejudiced or hate. 

Despite his mother’s faith, he linked Christians with plunder and enslavement. “How could they say that my religion, Islam was a ‘race hate’ religion after all the plunder and enslavement and domination of my people by white Christians in the name of white supremacy?” he was quoted as saying, never seeing his own prejudice.

My question is this; which religion is into plunder and enslavement – Christianity, or Islam?  What did he squander with his anti-white sentiment?

It reminds me of the song “The Boxer.”

I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest  - Paul Simon, "The Boxer"

In abandoning the name of his father, and the faith of his mother, did he back the wrong horse?

Ban Sharia

Muhammad Ali wasn’t the only thing to come out of Louisville, Kentucky.  It’s also home to the Kentucky Derby, a famous horse race.

“Ban Sharia, a horse born in 1972 in Kentucky, ended up running in 18 races in the 1970’s.

Charles-Engelhard-Hawaii

Charles Engelhard

Ban Sharia came from a line of Middle Eastern-sounding names.  The breeder was Cragwood Estates, a stable owned by the family of Charles and Jane Engelhard, who lived in New Jersey.

Charles Engelhard was a very rich man, who made his fortune dealing in platinum, gold and silver.  Engelhard was rumored to be the man who inspired Ian Fleming’s 1959 book “Goldfinger” and the Sean Connery movie that followed in 1964.  The film’s plot has Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger’s plans to contaminate the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox.

What is not known is why a stable owned by the Engelhard family named a horse “Ban Sharia” in the 1970’s.  Was it a warning, a sign of things to come by a family in the know?

Truth is stranger than fiction.

The sellout of NZ

Thanks to greed, poor planning and economic mis-management, we can kiss goodbye to dreams of home ownership and a quarter acre section for the kids to run around on.  We now have people living in cars – unheard of before the economic reforms of the 1990’s.

New Zealand now has the highest housing prices in the world, next to Qatar!

How did we get here? These are a number of causes; (1) Supply and demand, (2) Land restrictions under UN inspired initiatives like Agenda 21 and now C40, (3) Foreign banks creating NZ’s money, and (4) Economic mismanagement.

(1 and 2) The demand for land out-stripping supply. The Auckland City Council has been restricting the amount of land that can be built on. Our media haven’t reported on this – but in December the Auckland City Council signed up to the C40 Low Carbon City Group, a group of councils across the world that regard carbon as a pollutant.  Carbon is not a pollutant – but we won’t go into that here.  I’ve already addressed that in Carbon Con, another blog post.

The C40 dream is for “compact cities” where car use is restricted. Our councils were already restricting land for building on under Agenda21, but it will really ramp up now Auckland is one of the C40 cities. The plan is for high density housing where people walk, bike, or use public transport. How can that be good for families? Gone will be our own private backyards where children and pets can play in the summer, and log fires in the winter. Gone will be our cars and garages. Gone will be land ownership and privacy. Surveillance will be increased and energy use will be monitored by things like “smart meters”, another thing that has been imposed on us.

big_4_money(3) Foreign Bank lending causing housing inflation.  The other reason for inflated housing prices is bank lending. NZ’s banking sector is dominated by big Australian Banks – called “the big four.” New Zealand banks were sold to them in the 1990’s.  The big four are the ANZ, NAB, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank. These foreign-owned banks hold 90% of New Zealand’s mortgages.

They make money electronically out of thin air and then loan it to New Zealanders at interest. Our money system is still based on the printing of bank notes, and nothing has been done to stop them from creating electronic money in this fashion. The overseas banks do have to have reserves, but its not covered by depositors funds – it’s covered by the inflated price of the land from the bubble they’ve created.

The big banks make huge profits which are taken out of NZ. They win, property owners and speculators win, and our children and people on the lowest rung of the economic ladder lose.

I’ve just heard on the news that half of the house buyers in Auckland are speculators. There are no laws to stop speculation in the NZ property market. The speculators don’t even have to be NZ citizens. It’s morally wrong.

(4) Economic mis-management.  Finally, we don’t have enough builders. The National Party decided that ‘the free market’ would deliver all the industry training New Zealand needed,” effectively wiping out the old apprenticeship system in the 1990s. Wage subsidies for apprentices on block courses were abolished in 1991, leading to the huge trades skills-crisis facing New Zealand today.  Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0507/S00250.htm

What can we do? Here are my ideas.  Stop unelected overseas entities from stealing our wealth.

Put pressure on our local and national government to demand the councils get out of the C40 “low carbon cities” initiative. Our rate payers are not being looked after in this group, and rates have gone up and will continue to go up. Technocrats in the UN, carbon exchanges and overseas investors are the only winners here.

Ask for a change to the money system. Ask why we aren’t creating the money electronically and giving it to Housing NZ?

Join Positive Money NZ – they’re part of an international movement for money reform.  http://www.positivemoney.org.nz/

Demand that we reinstate building apprenticeships.

Stop speculators buying our homes. Make it so they can invest in forestry or commercial property – but make it illegal to speculate on our homes.

Demand our local and national governments use some common sense – something that has flown out the window with the neo-liberal reforms of our economy in the early 1990’s. Blind fools in our government have let “the market’ dictate business and economic activity here, without any rules around the banks or the investors – resulting in this mess. They’ve enriched themselves at the expense of our country and our children.

Don’t borrow from the big four Australian Banks.  Go to the Cooperative Bank, Kiwibank or the Taranaki Savings Bank – they are all NZ owned.

There’s also Liberty Trust, who provide Interest Free Lending from pooled money.

I’d love to hear what you think.


Further links: Bernard Hickey: Power of printing money