NZ

If brains were dynamite our Commerce Commission wouldn’t have enough to blow their nose

Our Commerce Commission recently received more than 90 complaints from suppliers being strong armed by Progressive/Countdown.

They had a cursory look and found…nothing.

Countdown, despite the more than 90 complaints claimed vindication.\Meanwhile in Australia, their ACCC has found a remarkably similar story…and slammed the supermarket chain they nailed with millions in fines.

Australian supermarket chain Coles will pay A$11.25 million in fines and costs and potentially far more refunding suppliers for illegally squeezing them for funds.

The food and liquor giant’s settlement with the Australian competition watchdog over charges of unconscionable conduct in its treatment of grocery suppliers was accepted by the Federal Court on Monday.

The nation’s second largest supermarket chain had deliberately and illegally misused its market power to squeeze small suppliers for money, judge Michelle Gordon told the court.

The verdict was welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which also applauded Coles and Woolworths for working with it on a code of conduct.

However the industry body has warned members in writing about Woolworths also seeking to recoup money for “profit gaps”, although it has not facing any charges.

The payments to Coles filled what it called its “profit gaps” or targets, which in reality meant profit shifting and deducting money it was supposed to pay suppliers.

Because Coles represented a significant proportion of the small suppliers’ sales, it was able to successfully pressure them by threatening to stop buying their products, the court found.

Read more »

Time to arm the cops?

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Judith Collins thinks it is time to arm the cops.

The sooks disagree, even arts, lifestyle, fitness and travel blogger, David Farrar, disagrees. He thinks it will lead to an arms race amongst the criminal fraternity.

I don’t know what planet he lives on but the criminals are already armed.  Every time there is a drugs bust there are numerous firearms confiscated.

Another issue for police going into violent homes is how to keep themselves safe.

Police will often say that the most dangerous situations for them are family violence calls.

Every kitchen has knives, some homes have guns.

They don’t know what the layout of the home is, how many people are there, what reception they’ll get.

These days front-line police have access to tasers and better access to firearms. As we’ve seen lately, going into a hospital can lead to being shot at.

Even though police have access to firearms in their car lockboxes, I’m concerned that they too often feel that they can’t take them.   Read more »

Auckland Council’s head planning thug hits back

Where there is smoke there is fire.

I’ve been saying for some time that Auckland Council ignores the rule of law because nobody is policing them.

As it turns out others also think the same and Rob Stock of the Sunday Star Times did so with his comments recently.

So what does Auckland Council do?

Its head thug Roger Blakeley has come out punching.

And here is the tell tale signs of an organisation that is guilty as charged.

Everything I hear tells me that developers and property people are sick to death of Auckland Council’s officers ignoring the rule of law and doing whatever they like.

They run the Council much like a Mafioso or a fiefdom and like all narcissistic control freak organisations they are quick to react to the stinging criticism with fob offs and rebuttal.

And they are running scared because others also  want a Policeman of Local Government it appears.

AUCKLAND COUNCIL planning supremo Dr Roger Blakeley has rejected claims council officers and urban planners were acting outside the law.

Last week, the Sunday Star-Times reported on planning consultant John Dare’s Charter for Change, in which he called for the removal of “discretion” from council officers whom he accused of going beyond their legal powers and stymying development.

That, along with slow and complex bureaucracy, was limiting the supply of new dwellings and driving up housing costs, Dare said.

Blakeley dismissed that. “It’s not true,” he said. “Our officers are required to abide by the law.”

Blakeley also denied developers operated in a “climate of fear” that their chances of getting their projects completed promptly would be damaged if they were openly critical or failed to adopt council officers’ suggestions.

He also rejected Dare’s idea of creating an ombudsman to whom developers could complain when they felt that council officers overstepped the mark.

“That sounds like just adding another layer of bureaucracy” Blakeley said, adding that there were already checks and balances in the system.

Blakeley acknowledged that some in the city believed only a free market could solve Auckland’s shortage of new homes and bring down sky-high property prices.

Just this past week, a report from Statistics New Zealand reported on the rise in the number of households, particularly Pacific Island households, renting. It also lifted the lid on the number of very crowded households.

The future of Auckland planning is being reviewed and a free market option is on the table.

The council has prepared a unitary plan and an independent Hearing Panel is gathering feedback with the aim of having the plan in place in 2016. That feedback process was providing a battleground for ideas on the powers the council should have to control development.    Read more »

Face of the day

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Photo-twitter.com

The Green Party asked for an investigation to see if the Prime Minister has broken public record laws following admissions made in Parliament that he deletes his texts.

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Too drunk to drive?

The new lower alcohol limits for drink drivers is having its expected effect.  People who are perfectly fine to drive are now having to pay money.

Some drivers caught out by the new limit were “surprised” to discover they were too drunk to drive, he said.

At the weekend, Canterbury police launched an operation to crackdown on drink-drivers.

The total number of motorists caught drink-driving across the city was not available last night, but a checkpoint in Halswell tested 1763 drivers over a three-hour period with one driver returning an excess breath alcohol of over the old 400mcg limit, and three others giving a result of between 250mcg and 400mcg.

Canterbury police have vowed to test drivers at any time of day that they are pulled over.

Drivers who fail an alcohol test between the new and old limits avoid a criminal conviction but receive a $200 fine, 50 demerit points and are banned from driving for the next 12 hours.

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Bread wars

The two major supermarket chains are battling each other with $1 loaves of bread.  Queue the whiners…

One-dollar loaves of bread are flying off the shelves in the millions – but a bakers’ union says Kiwis’ love of a cheap deal could put jobs at risk.

Fierce competition between the country’s two main supermarket owners saw the price of bread drop to just $1 earlier this year.

As supermarkets indicate such pricing will continue, the Bakers and Pastrycooks’ Union has sounded the alarm about an industry “under siege”.

Secretary Norm Holley told the Herald that brands in the middle-to-upper price bracket were not selling as a result of the $1 deals.

As a result the country’s two biggest bakers had been cornered into a position where jobs could eventually be lost, he said.

However, Countdown says its $1 Homebrand breads are here to stay “for as long as possible”, and price drops on other brands have increased bread sales overall.

Mr Holley represents about 350-400 workers at the North Island bread plants of Goodman Fielder and George Weston Foods (Tip Top bakeries).

The two competitors are by far the biggest suppliers and between them produce dozens of bread brands as well as the $1 brands such as Budget and Homebrand.

As a rule of thumb, when a union complains, something good is going on.   Read more »

I don’t know, I think they’ve succeeded

Winner of “most ambiguous” headline of the year goes to:

failing teachers

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Who is paying for the Boagan’s $2.1 BILLION snatch?

business woman with lots of money

Everyone smart is running a mile from Michelle “The BoaganBoag’s plan to snatch $2.1 billion in Vector shares from Aucklanders and South Aucklanders to give to Lyin’ Len Brown for him to build his trainset.

But one question is still be to explored. Who is paying The Boagan, 60? And who is paying her offsider Cedric “Senile” Allan, 102?

These people don’t do anything for free. The Boagan even got Doug Myers to pay her when she was running for National Party President.

The tipline is running hot with theories. Read more »

A thought about the feral “gamer” that bashed the baby’s skull in

Just to refresh your memory

Bird’s offending occurred on November 1, 2013, after the mother of the then nearly five-week-old baby boy had spent the night caring for her son at their Central Hawke’s Bay home.

She woke Bird about 6.30am and asked him to care for their baby, who was asleep in a bassinet, so she could rest, court documents said.

At some time between 6.30am and 10am, while the baby was in his sole care, Bird caused what a doctor said was “non-accidental trauma and extremely unusual for a five-week-old infant”.

It was also during this period that Bird, who is studying computer science at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), began playing the graphic video game The Walking Dead.

The game is described online as a “survival game in the midst of a zombie apocalypse”. Read more »

Abattoir gets all clear on dumping waste in river

In a remarkable decision that runs against what the public wants, a company has been granted a resource consent to discharge waste down a river.

he controversial decision to allow an abattoir to dump their waste in a Christchurch river, is being met with disgust.

ECAN’s independent commissioners have allowed Silver Fern Farms a five year emergency consent – with stringent terms and conditions.

The commissioners say they gave little weight to a petition bearing thousands of signatures against the move, because expert evidence shows the effect would be ‘no more than minor.’

Despite impassioned protests from locals and a lengthy hearing process, they’re now able to dump waste into the Waimakariri River when the Bromley sewage plant’s being fixed.

The appeal process runs until 10th.

A river is a community asset, and it shouldn’t be used by a single company to discharge waste.  That’s what we used to do.  We’re all about cleaning up our waterways and improving the quality of our environment.

One of the people involved in trying to get this consent withdrawn told me some interesting information:   Read more »