Shane Jones

Bully Boys at Countdown throw their toys out of the cot

After being busted by their suppliers for mafia style stand-over tactics and trying to run a whispering campaign against anyone who welched on them to the Commerce Commission, Countdown are now throwing their toys out of the cot and refusing to attend the Food & Grocery Council conference laters in the year.

There were rumbles around the bar leaners at last years conference from suppliers about Countdown’s behaviour, and it has come to a head this year. They only have themselves to blame, but they continue to blame the industry representative group and have former National party president Sue Wood running around putting pressure on people.

The latest tactic to pressure the FGC into silence is to withdraw from the conference.

I’m pretty sure that Foodstuffs will be pleased with that, having unfettered access to all the suppliers in a convivial atmosphere without the interference of the team from Countdown.

Dave Chambers seriously needs to get a grip and stop playing the bear in the pit. Whilst a few dogs will get mauled ultimately the bear winds up dead.

Supermarket giant Progressive Enterprises will snub its suppliers’ annual industry conference because it has been stung by allegations it bullied them, the Australian-owned company that runs the Countdown chain has confirmed.

But suppliers are reporting an improvement in their relationship with Progressive, says the Food and Grocery Council (FGC).

The council, which represents suppliers, backed claims made in Parliament early this year by then Labour MP Shane Jones that Progressive was demanding retrospective payments from suppliers under threat of having their products removed from supermarket shelves.    Read more »

Checkers players versus Chess players in politics

maxresdefault

Phil Quin notes that there appear to be many in side Labour who are playing political chess when they are more suited to playing checkers.

Leaked revelations of a dispute between Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis and the party’s Head Office over a proposed negative campaign against Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom have been used as evidence of Davis going rogue.  In truth, the documents show a candidate engaged in nothing more sinister than garden variety electioneering; of trying to win a tough political fight. The tone of the news coverage appears to align with the political objectives of whoever furnished the leaks to begin with: to shut Davis up, and and his campaign operation down.

A more intriguing, as well as troubling, aspect of the leaked emails from Labour’s General Secretary Tim Barnett suggests someone is telling porkies about the party’s Maori seat strategy, not to mention understating its eagerness to figuratively wade in Kim Dotcom’s pool.

In sharp contrast to comments David Cunliffe made as recently as last Tuesday, Barnett prohibits the Labour campaign in Te Tai Tokerau from campaigning against the Internet Mana Party which he casts as a “progressive” ally.  Cunliffe, meanwhile, repeatedly told Radio Live’s Duncan Garner that Labour was “absolutely not” doing a deal with the Internet Mana Party, and that “we are backing Kelvin Davis to win in the North.”  And yet we now know, just a few weeks earlier, Secretary Barnett was telling the Davis campaign team to refrain from “picking fights” with Harawira and Dotcom.  There shouldn’t be any doubt about what Barnett is advocating here: since ‘picking fights’ with opponents is the very stuff of elections, Barnett is effectively instructing Davis to ‘run dead’ rather than actually campaign to win in Te Tai Tokerau.

At best, this suggests Mr Barnett does not stand by his leader’s oft-repeated mantra that Labour intends to contest all seven Maori seats, including Te Tai Tokerau.  At worst, it calls into question whether any such strategy ever existed.

We are witnessing yet more attempts at three dimensional chess by people far better suited to checkers.

Read more »

New job for Clayton Cosgrove?

image001

2014 has been an unmitigated disaster for supermarket giant Countdown.

With the Commerce Commission’s investigation in full swing and, from what I’m hearing they’re leaning towards believing the suppliers over the bullies at Countdown’s head office, things are not going well for NZ boss Dave Chambers.

Maybe Dave Chambers would like to try the stunt its owners at Woolworths are now watching roll out in Australia with its arch rival Coles.

Coles has decided it needs to “rebuild bridges with grocery suppliers” and has hired former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett to oversee a new supplier charter.   Read more »

Deja Vu…all over again

That tweet reminded me of this:

Read more »

Countdown proves they are bullies, now posturing against the FGC

image001

2014 has been a fiasco for supermarket bully Countdown.

It kicked off the year bullying Kiwi suppliers with threats of being black-listed unless they ponied up with additional payments.

Then Countdown tried to call Shane Jones and Clayton Cosgrove’s bluff by sending threatening letters to the Commission Committee.

After the Commerce Commission announced there was sufficient evidence to launch an inquiry into Countdown’s behaviours, the company decided a new PR offensive was needed.

They fly in their Australian boss Ralph Waters, who then conveniently forgot about 15,000 of their “team members” and said it was a case of Aussie bashing.

Wheeling in an Australian boss to tell Kiwis they had it all wrong worked well for them with WOBH’s supermarket sources saying Countdown’s market share taking a hammering.  Read more »

Mike Hosking on Labours failure

Mike Hosking gives Labour a few handy hints about why it is they are failing.

They won’t listen, instead they will attack Hosking, but that doesn’t make what he says any less important.

This weekend Labour’s doing what National did last weekend, except they’re calling it a Congress.

It’s the big party get-together that takes on new meaning given it’s election year.

I bet Labour wishes it wasn’t election year.

Or if it has to be election year, I bet Labour wishes it was January again and they could start all over.

Labour’s in a mess.

They look in no shape at all to compete, far less win an election.

Up until about now I’ve been running the line that’s generally run in election year when it comes to polls and predictions.

The line is that, “there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge”, the line is, “a week is a long time in politics”, the line is, “the polls will tighten”.

Well as we sit here now this morning I feel less and less of that is true.

It looks increasingly possible that a lot of what appears might happen, actually will happen, even though it’s July and the vote’s in September.

One of the things I think will happen is that Labour won’t break 30 per cent and quite possibly will do worse than that.

The tragedy of that is they will have committed one of life’s great sins.

In life you learn from your failures.

Read more »

Are Woolworths Aussie owners getting ready to dump Countdown managers?

image001

Via the tip-line

Countdown’s ongoing PR debacle seems to be taking a nasty twist with rumours out of Australia saying the Aussies are preparing to throw Dave Chambers and the NZ management team under the bus.

Word reaching WOBH is that Woolworths are undertaking “research” on NZ suppliers – specifically asking what suppliers think of the managers of Countdown.

Now you could pass this off as usual market research to help understand how the company is perceived with its customers and suppliers. Nothing to see here, move on.

But when taken in light of the Commerce Commission investigation into Countdown’s Godfather tactics with NZ suppliers, a more sinister element starts to emerge.   Read more »

Labour’s 30% doctrine dooming it to electoral disaster

Phil Quin, a longtime Labour party insider continues to snipe at Labour’s inept strategy.

In the NBR he strikes out against their abiding belief that they would somehow have the moral mandate to government despite hovering around 30% in current polling.

Delusions have consequences. If Labour persists in the belief it can somehow stitch together a governing coalition with a fraction over 30% of the vote, and that this is possible through a deft combination of coattail trickery and unprecedented turnout among non-voters, what can possibly persuade them to change course?

The problem with redefining defeat as almost-victory is that you deny yourself the urgency that comes with the prospect of imminent humiliation; you eschew bold risk taking for careful equivocation when the former is badly needed; and you end up with a great deal more bathwater than baby.

Labour needs to act like a party that knows it’s losing, starting with an acknowledgement it as failed as yet to make the case that National under John Key has run its course. There’s no point blaming David Cunliffe, even if it’s true he has proven no more capable than his predecessors of denting the PM’s formidable popularity.

No traction, no dents, despite attempts to portray National as crony capitalists, crooked and corrupt. The plan has failed but they persist with it.

During the race to replace David Shearer, Mr Cunliffe’s supporters made much of his superior debating skills and media polish. But the notion that sharper presentation alone could rescue Labour’s fortunes was always far-fetched. As excuses for losing go, it’s a fallacy as pernicious and commonplace as that which holds voters to blame for refusing to know what’s good for them.

Among rivals for the Labour leadership, only Shane Jones seemed to understand the gravity of Labour’s predicament, or sense a way out. Before making a credible claim on the Treasury benches, Mr Jones argued that Labour would need to set the bar at 40%, not 30%. Mr Jones, admittedly a flawed candidate in many respects, attracted close to no support among party and union elites who saw his call for a broader church as more evidence of unreliability.

Populism has no home in today’s Labour Party, a proposition Mr Jones made sure to test one last time before quitting Parliament altogether. His departure was calamitous for Labour for two reasons: it looked like a vote of no confidence in Labour’s chances and, just as importantly, reinforced a growing perception the party has become inhospitable for a Greens-baiting, unashamedly pro-growth populist.

And yet, the activist clique which governs Labour and adheres most stringently to the Thirty Percent Doctrine couldn’t have been happier with Mr Jones’ exit if they had overseen the purge themselves.

Read more »

Stephen Franks on Labour’s Liu Legal problems

Stephen Franks has highlighted Labour’s little legal problems with the Donghua Liu revelations.

Since the link between Donghua Liu and David Cunliffe surfaced early this week there has been widespread speculation that Labour breached the law in failing to declare two campaign donations made by Mr Liu in 2007.

Though Labour maintains it has no records, the Herald has reported that in 2007 Mr Liu contributed $15,000 for a book signed by Helen Clark, and an unknown amount of money for a bottle of wine.

Under the current law, a candidate donation can include:

“where goods or services are provided by a candidate under a contract or arrangement at a value that is more than their reasonable market value, the amount of the difference between that value and the reasonable market value of those goods or services.”

Corresponding terms govern party donations. Assuming the second donation was for more than $1500, they would capture both of Mr Liu’s transactions. The candidate or responsible party agent who knowingly failed to report them could face up to two years imprisonment (section 207I of the Electoral Act 1993).

But until 19 December 2007 the law governing donations was different. Until then the Electoral Act 1993 defined ‘donation’ to include goods or services provided to the party at an undervalue, but did not expressly capture a sale at an overvalue.

This loophole was partly closed by the Electoral Finance Act 2007 but untl then it was arguably legal not to report the alleged Liu donations if they were provided by way of auction price.

The fact that the law was changed to capture the second transaction increases the strength of the case that parliament realised there was a legal loophole under the old provision.

Read more »

Winston Peters, Maori TV and the stitch up

image001

One thing certain about Winston Raymond Peters is that he never lets facts stand in the way of a good story.

Let’s take the recent case of the allegedly dodgy Maori trust Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau Trust.

Winston Peters raced out with a story in May, which by sheer coincidence happened to coincide with a so-called investigative report on Maori TV’s Native Affairs. All of this came about because a couple of fellas recently fired from the trust have decided to “get back” at the trust.

What better way to “get back” at the trust than to claim dodgy dealings and paint themselves as honest, caring whistle-blowers, and say that the only reason they were sacked was because when they tried to tell the CEO Malcolm Robson about misspending, Robson wasn’t interested.

As with all employment relations disputes where ex-employees think they’re in for a cash win-fall, the company has to play a straight bat. Robson, told Native Affairs in a statement that the employees were dismissed as a result of a pre-existing employment investigation involving “suspected breaches of employment conditions…” and that “there will be no comment on specific allegations or the individuals involved while the investigation is active.”

Sounds fair enough when you know someone’s keen on trying to extort seek a pay-out.   Read more »