Business_Finance

Don’t you just love the hypocrisy of the left

Tony Blair railed against business, he insisted that people pay their fair share of taxes and when he left politics what did he do?

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair channelled millions of pounds through a complicated web of companies and paid just a fraction in tax, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Official accounts show a company set up by Mr Blair to manage his business affairs paid just £315,000 in tax last year on an income of more than £12 million. In that time, he employed 26 staff and paid them total wages of almost £2.3 million.

The accounts provide the strongest evidence yet of the huge sums generated by Mr Blair through his various activities since quitting Downing Street in June 2007.

Yep, looks like Honest Tony is sure paying his fair share.

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Ports Crisis – By the numbers

There are a lot of numbers being bandied about regarding the Ports of Auckland and the Ports of Tauranga, so I took the liberty of collating the pertinent numbers for readers. What you are about to find out will shock you.

It is abundantly clear from the numbers below why the Ports of Auckland must increase the flexibility of its workforce. They, quite simply are no longer competitive and that is mainly because of the actions of the Maritime Union and their left wing buddies in various councils.

Here are the numbers.

Cost of 20% of Ports of Auckland when ARC bought the 20% that was owned by other shareholders on the sharemarket: $170 million (1)

Total value of the Ports of Auckland in 2005 using price ARC paid for the 20% : $850 million(1)

Value of the Ports of Auckland in the Auckland Council transition documents in 2010 : $394 million (2)

Current value of Port of Tauranga: $1.3 billion (3)

Theoretical drop in Ports of Auckland value since Mike Lee had his brainfart: $456 million

Profit of Ports of Tauranga in 2008: $41 million (1)

Profit of Ports of Auckland in year ending June 2004: $57.5 million (1)

Profit of Ports of Auckland in year ending June 2008: $21.1 million (1)

Dividend paid by Ports of Auckland to all shareholders in 2004: $28.8 million

Dividend paid by POAL to it’s ARC masters in 2008: ¬†$22.7 million, or $1.6 million more than it earned in profit!

Growth of Auckland’s container business between 2004 and 2008: 27% (1)

Growth of Tauranga’s container business between 2004 and 2008: 47.6% (1)

Debt of Ports of Auckland in 2004: $146.4 million (1) – this was when they still had all the land assets

Debt of Ports of Auckland in 2008: $355 million (1) Рthis is after they had $284m of Western Reclamation land handed over to ARC Рso poorer and more in debt!<

Debt to equity ratio of Port of Tauranga in 2008: 29% (1)

Debt to equity ratio of Ports of Auckland in 2008: 52% (1)

Cost of labour in 2008 for Ports of Tauranga: $16 million (1)

Cost of labour in 2008 for Ports of Auckland: $54 million (1)

Quote from Mike Lee at the time of the buyback in 2005:¬†”The Ports of Auckland will be a prized legacy for future generations and the wealth generated will be vital for funding Auckland’s infrastructure for years to come.” (1)

(1)http://www.infratil.com/content/view/2472/67/   (repost of Independent Business Weekly 9 October 2008)

(2)http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/sfcagenda08032011.pdf

(3) http://www.port-tauranga.co.nz/Investors/

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Missing in action

Len Brown is unavailable for comment as he is on holiday while his Ports of Auckland company is being held to ransom by demanding, greedy unions. He is showing all care but no responsibility as he suns him self on Waiheke Island.

Last I heard cellphones and the internet worked just fine on Waiheke.

Meanwhile the union is bombarding talkback with their flunkies spinning all sorts of lines. What they can’t anser though is why exactly they are striking. The Port has offered substantial increases, far¬†larger¬†than any other sector has obtained or won and still they are announcing further strikes.

There is some good news though…if you are a Ports of Tauranga shareholder, your shares went up:

If Fonterra follows through, it will mean the loss of a second major customer for the port in a month following shipping line Maersk’s decision to re-route its Southern Star service to the Port of Tauranga.

The prospect of more business has given Port of Tauranga’s share price a boost. The stock rallied by 15c yesterday to close at $10.10 – a record high.

Back in Auckland ratepayers are watching while a small group of lazy, greedy unionists are bleating about the employer wanting them to work when the employer wants them to work not when the workers want to work. I kid you not, that is what they are saying in calls to NewstalkZB.

The Maritime Union is holding New Zealand’s biggest port to ransom and it appears they are being aided and abetted by some councillors like Mike Lee.

Ports of Auckland loses Fonterra

The Maritime Union has announced another strike for January 9 and The Ports of Auckland has lost Fonterra as a customer:

Ports of Auckland has lost its contract with the country’s largest exporter, Fonterra.

The move will see weekly trade worth around $27 million re-routed through the ports of Tauranga and Napier.

Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson says the threat of ongoing industrial action means it’s inevitable customers will look for alternatives and contingencies.

Tony Gibson says he’s today advised the union that the port’s latest – and ninth – offer is its best and final one.

The next strike action is planned for a 48 hour period from Monday morning.

The union is destroying the Port, it must be taken on and busted. They are no longer protecting jobs they are now actively destroying jobs.

Guarantees finished

The long suffering taxpayer sees a little bit less risk now that the Crown Deposit Guarantee scheme has finished:

Taxpayers have paid out more than $1.9 billion, with the lion’s share going to South Canterbury Finance investors.

Nine finance houses failed under the Crown guarantee. The final cost to taxpayers will be less than the total paid to depositors covered by the scheme, but that depends on how much is recovered from the firms that triggered the guarantee.

The original deposit guarantee was introduced in late 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis, when the world’s banking systems froze up. The government brought in the guarantee as an emergency measure to maintain confidence in the New Zealand banking system.

The original scheme covered deposits of $133b in 72 banks and finance groups. The government ended up on the hook for more than $1.8b, to more than 38,000 depositors in the original scheme.

While South Canterbury was the biggest collapse, the original scheme also bailed out depositors in a handful of failed finance companies, including Allied Nationwide, Mascot Finance and Vision Securities.

That scheme expired in October 2010 and was replaced with a much smaller, extended deposit guarantee, covering seven institutions and $1.9b.

Stupid is as stupid does

I get really mad when I see stories like this in papers:

An Invercargill woman’s Christmas has been ruined: her home of 22 years is to be auctioned from under her today after a finance company lifted a $22,000 loan to $71,000 for missed payments.

Jeanette Brandon borrowed $22,000 in three instalments between August 2007 and March 2008 without realising the implications of a 29 per cent default, which would be imposed if she did not meet her payments on time.

However, the information was written in the contract.

She and her daughter, the co-borrower, both lost their jobs and they got behind on payments.

Despite repeated efforts to pay the loan off it kept escalating to the point where she now owes $71,000, she said.

When the loan had reached about $64,000 she offered to pay a $50,000 lump sum to settle the debt, but the finance company, Christchurch-based Asku Finance Limited, rejected her offer, she said.

She made three lump-sum offers in total and other offers of weekly payments but all were turned down, she said.

She and her daughter had paid more than $8000 off the loan, she said.

Her William St home, valued at about $120,000, was put up for a mortgagee sale.

Can this woman not read? I mean really…the details and implications of failing to repay a loan are in black and white. This woman is either severely retarded or just full of stupid. But her stories get even more unbelievable.

She was unaware of that until the real estate agency turned up outside her house several weeks ago, she said.

The auction is being held today.

“My Christmas¬†is stuffed,” Mrs Brandon said.

She had sought legal advice but was told there was nothing legally wrong with what Asku Finance had done.

Jubilee Budget Advisory manager Simon Tierney said it was morally wrong. Unfortunately Mrs Brandon’s situation may be unsalvageable, he said.

Unaware my arse….does she not collect the mail, or attend court appearances where summary judgement would have been entered against her?

The comment from¬†the¬†Budget Advisor is just stupid. What is morally wrong is not that the finance company is seeking repayment, it is that stupid people think they can get away with not repaying their loans and then cry tot he media about losing “their” house.

Mrs Brandon noted that she had been mortgage-free for nearly 10 years before borrowing the money from Asku.

The company had sent her an arrears letter almost every week, billing her $15 for each letter.

She now has more than 130 of the letters, Mrs Brandon said.

“There’s been no compassion, no leeway … it’s psychological abuse.”

Wait a minute…she has 130 letters and yet professes surprise at the fact the finance company is selling her house. My God she is stupid. Inbreeding must be as rampant in Invercargill as it is in Palmerston North.

What about peak politician?

You may have heard about peak oil, Andrew Sullivan even blogs about possibility of peak lawyer:

Over the past 20 years, the share of the nation‚Äôs GDP attributable to the legal services sector has deteriorated significantly. In the late 1980s, the legal services sector represented slightly more than 2% of GDP (the same percentage as in the mid-1970s). As of 2009, that figure had declined to 1.37%. Contrary to the standard narrative within legal academia, which assumes an increasing or at least steady demand for legal services relative to overall economic growth, the demand for legal services within the American economy has been declining, relative to the rest of the economy, for the past two decades. In other words, ‚Äúlaw‚ÄĚ (as an economic entity) appears to be a mature industry in relative decline.

I’m wondering though, what is peak politician? and when do you think we are likely to hit it, or have we passed peak politician already?

An outstanding idea

Iwi are looking at the opportunity afforded by the mixed ownership model:

An alliance of Maori tribes plan to buy up to 20 per cent of any state-owned power companies put up for partial sale by the new National Government.

Prime Minister John Key is sticking by his party’s plan to sell up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy and Solid Energy in the wake of National’s election win on Saturday.

He has rejected suggestions his party lacks a mandate to partially sell off the state-owned assets.

Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon this morning told Radio New Zealand a consortium of tribes were interested in a large stake in the companies.

The partnership would work because iwi would not on-sell the shares overseas and would reinvest dividends in New Zealand, he said.

I think this is an outstanding idea – have an alliance of Maori tribes join the mixed ownership model the Government won re-election on.

Next step – ¬†imagine IwiSaver – a Kiwisaver provider that invests in the future retirement savings of Maori New Zealanders. The bulk of their investing would probably be subcontracted out to one or more funds managers, but think of the ongoing wealth that could be created by Maoridom – in NZ assets. Have a special “IwiSaver” contribution rate of 1% for Maoris on salaries to contribute and get matching contributions for their own accounts.

Promoting Maori financial literacy, self-sufficiency and an ongoing partnership between Iwi and the Crown in infrastructure – can surely only be a good thing?

The Twelve Lies of Labour

Steven Joyce has released the Twelve biggest Lies of Labour. It was only going to be 11 but Phil lied about the Police last night:

12.      Labour left the economy in good shape. WRONG - The economy had been in recession all year in 2008, floating mortgage rates were at 10.9 per cent, government spending was up 50 per cent in five years, and Treasury      was forecasting debt to rise out of control forever.

11.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† National has cut hundreds of millions from early childhood¬†¬†education.¬† WRONG ‚Äď ECE funding has risen 40 per cent over the past¬†three years.

10.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėWe will get back into surplus the same time as National.‚Äô¬† WRONG ‚Äď ¬†¬†¬†¬† Under any straightforward scrutiny of Labour‚Äôs revenue and expenditure¬†¬†numbers over the next four years.

9.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėWe will only borrow $2.6 billion more than National over the next three¬† years.‚Äô¬† WRONG ‚Äď Latest calculation is $15.6 billion extra over four¬†¬†years (excluding the Greens).

8.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėLabour would forgo power company dividends and reduce prices.‚Äô¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬† WRONG ‚Äď Labour now says it will keep dividend income in government¬†¬†accounts.

7.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėNational will sell Kiwibank‚Äô ‚Äď WRONG

6.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėBorrowing money to buy assets in the Super Fund is not borrowing.‚Äô¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬† YEAH RIGHT

5.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Fruit and vegetable prices ‚Äėcontinue to spiral upward‚Äô.¬† WRONG ‚Äď ¬†¬†¬†¬† currently same price as November 2008.

4.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Prices have risen four times faster than wages in past three years.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† WRONG ‚Äď After tax wages up 18 per cent in last three years, prices up 8 ¬†¬†¬†¬† per cent.

3.¬†Mixed¬†ownership means forgoing dividends of $6-700 million per year.¬† WRONG ¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚Äď Actually, around $220 million per year, and save that amount at least in¬†reduced interest.

2.¬†The¬†¬†income gap withAustralia¬†has widened.¬† WRONG ‚Äď After tax incomes here have risen faster thanAustralia over the past¬†three years.

1.¬†Police recruitment being cancelled for all of next year.¬† WRONG ‚Äď One intake only postponed ¬†¬†¬†¬† two months because of increased staff retention.

‚ÄúLabour said they would campaign on the issues, but in fact they‚Äôve gone back to the old Labour way of making things up, and hoping if they make a false allegation often enough people would start to believe it.‚ÄĚ

Asset Sales for Dummies

Asset Sales, as Labour like to call them, or mixed ownership which is more accurate is something that people who have precious few assets struggle to understand.

Labour keeps liekning a dam on a river to your own home. They are wrong on so many levels. Since they appear to be congenitally stupid or just have never actuallyhad to raise capital we really need an easy way to understand the whole concept.

It has taken a blogger to write an explanation that even pinkos can understand.

Say you own a business.  You have invested a lot of your capital into it (this is where it may get hard for pinkos to understand, as they have probably never experienced this) and growth is stable.

You need to expand, but you are wary of taking on debt to fund your expansion.  You’ve also had your production manager come and tell you that you are going to need to reinvest in new technology and replace machinery to keep up with the play and ensure you remain competitive.  There’s also the small matter of your factory needing a new roof.

You know there are a few people keen on your business, but you don‚Äôt want to lose control of it after working so hard.¬† So you approach them and say ‚Äúhey, for X dollars, you can buy up to 10% of my company.‚Ä̬† You ensure you retain 51% ownership, and sell two lots of 10% shareholdings and a lot of smaller shareholdings up to the 49% level.

You have the money to fund expansion, buy that new and replacement equipment, and fix up the roof.  Without taking on new debt.

And that, in a nutshell, is how state-owned asset sales will work.  So it’s either a question of paying more in tax to pay for the interest on debt incurred by (say) energy companies, or selling minority shareholdings to fund what the companies need to remain competitive.  I know which one I’d choose.