Category Archives: Uncategorized

Government reveals conservation project with aim to be predator free by 2050 – National – NZ Herald News

• 25 million native birds are killed by pests a year • $3.3 billion cost to the economy and primary sector a year • $28 million new company to identify large pest control programmes and…

Source: Government reveals conservation project with aim to be predator free by 2050 – National – NZ Herald News

This is an awesome project.  Our man on the moon type of project.  I’m going to be involved in some way..

Mike McDonald in Court

So finally the Serious Fraud Office has charged Mike McDonald and he’s appeared in court:

 

Tax agent appears in court on fraud charges

 

The Serious Fraud Office has charged a tax agent with 18 counts of fraud, who was remanded on bail at the Manukau District Court.

MICHAEL BRADLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The Serious Fraud Office has charged a tax agent with 18 counts of fraud, who was remanded on bail at the Manukau District Court.

 

A tax agent facing 18 charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office has appeared in the Manukau District Court.

Michael Robert McDonald, 40, has been a registered tax agent since 2002 and faced four charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, 13 charges of dishonestly using a document and one charge of false accounting.

In his role as a tax agent, McDonald filed GST, PAYE and income tax returns on behalf of clients and their related entities.

He was alleged between 2007 and 2013 to have received money from some of his clients for the purposes of paying tax but failed to forward the money to the Inland Revenue Department. 

He also allegedly filed about 250 false GST and income tax returns to receive money from Inland Revenue or to retain client funds that he was not entitled to.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has also charged McDonald for allegedly making false entries in one of his client’s financial statements in order to hide his offending.

McDonald was remanded on bail without plea and his next appearance was set down for December 11.

SFO director Julie Read said the misuse of money by professional advisers was a breach of professional standards and undermined the confidence of the community.

“New Zealanders need to rely on experts when dealing with complex financial matters and it is critical that such professionals demonstrate that they are worthy of the trust placed in them,” she said.

 – Stuff

 

Link

So good to see this happening.  Will be interesting to see what happens to him.

Government Creates Inflation, then Stops it by Whacking Us!

Every now and then, Weekend at Bernies, as I like to call him, gets something right.  And he’s bang on with this week’s column:

Bernard Hickey: Rates and power bills to blame

5:00 AM Sunday Aug 17, 2014
Huntly Thermal Power Station. Photo / NZPA
Huntly Thermal Power Station. Photo / NZPA

Local governments and electricity companies are to blame for New Zealand’s inflation rate being much higher than it should have been for the past 10 years.

They have raised their prices between 5 and 8 per cent each year for the past decade, despite being semi-regulated and mostly publicly owned.

Although the rates have trended down since 2004, they are still much higher than the Reserve Bank’s 1 to 3 per cent inflation target. And that persistent inflation has acted like a type of plaque in the arteries of the economy, putting up its blood pressure of inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate.

Rest of Article

The electricity companies raise their prices so that they can pay a big dividend to the government…

And councils, well councils are just known for over spending other people’s money.  They have been doing it since time began.

How to Use a Life

I was very interested to read Bob Jones’ article in the Herald entitled “Many Definitions of Happiness”

He says

We all have our own definitions for happiness. Putting aside family and friends considerations, mine is to wake each day with interesting and varied things to do; no more, no less.

Which I thought was a pretty nice definition actually.

And this is from a guy who has a property portfolio worth around $700 million.

And so a couple of questions come immediately to mind:

1)  Does one need a huge amount of money to “wake each day with interesting and varied things to do”?

2) Why such a simple requirement out of life from someone who has so much?  Like why doesn’t he want loads of fancy things like cars, planes, houses, clothes, attractive women around him etc. etc.

The answer to question 1, is surely, no.  You can be fairly broke and still have interesting and varied things to do each day.  In fact you can be on the dole and have your whole day to yourself to do many things as long as they don’t cost a lot of money.

But of course Bob’s simple desire does depend on a number of things such as: Living in a country where one is able to go about your business without being restricted by the powers that be, basic rule of law and so on.  There are many many countries where this is not the case.  So we’re pretty luck actually to live in a place where you can stroll down the road anywhere in the country, even stand up on a box and say the prime minister is a dick, or whatever you want to do and you will be left alone, as long as you are acting within the law.

The answer to question 2 is more complicated, but only a little.  The Lotto adverts show people leaping out of planes, quaffing expensive champagne on fancy boats and so on.  But this sort of lifestyle is appealing to anyone with half a brain for about 6 months.  If you carried on this way you’d be a 120kg miserable alcoholic.  You just can’t spend your whole life eating, drinking, getting massages or whatever.

And you soon bore of the fancy sports cars, the big pool at your  big house and all the other material things.

So what to do?  Well this of course is the eternal question…

In our westernised society you either have to find a job or start a business so you can pay your way in life.

I recently came across a couple of articles which discuss this really well.  The first is entitled “Don’t Do What You Love, Do What You Do” and is very good.  It references this article which discusses the whole “Do What You Love” fallacy in some depth.

And so I’m going to Do What I Do.

 

A Good Use for Land

This is a nice story, some people are turning marginal farm land back into Manuka so that their bees can extract honey from the Manuka trees:

Unsuitable farming land now home to 900 hives

JAMIE SMALL

SummerGlow Apiaries Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ
FAMIY BUSINESS: The SummerGlow Apiaries family handle every stage of honey production, from the hive to the jar. From left: Bill Bennett, James Jeffery, Alan Bennett, Margaret Bennett.

It is a hot summer afternoon at SummerGlow Apiaries just outside of Te Kowhai. Bees hoon around the house, sounding like small cars coming and going on a highway.

From the front it looks like a small family operation: a house, three hives sitting in front of a truck, a shed out the back. But in truth it is a not so small family business, operated by founders Bill and Margaret Bennett, their son Alan and son-in-law James Jeffery.

What you can’t see is the 2200 beehives SummerGlow has spread around the country, including 900 hives on a new land acquisition in Taranaki.

SummerGlow purchased the 900 acres of marginal farmland late last year. Margaret calls it “razorback land”, steep and unsuitable for regular farming.

“Very poor soils, but perfect for manuka,” she says.

Rest of Article

 

Now this land would have initially been covered in bush, but cleared for farming.  Which is a stupid idea since it’s so steep and marginal to begin with.

But now it’s being returned to bush, which is nice to read about.

Torture in China

Story in Stuff today. This is the country we are dealing with:

Reflections of a tortured man

GILLIAN WONG
Last updated 11:55 10/03/2014
 

The local Chinese official remembers the panic he felt in Room 109. He had refused to confess to bribery he says he didn’t commit, and his Communist Party interrogators were forcing his legs apart.

Zhou Wangyan heard his left thigh bone snap, with a loud “ka-cha”. The sound nearly drowned out his howls of pain.

“My leg is broken,” Zhou told the interrogators. According to Zhou, they ignored his pleas.

China’s government was under strong pressure to fight rampant corruption in its ranks, faced with the anger of an increasingly prosperous, well-educated and internet-savvy public. 

However, the party’s methods for extracting confessions exposed its 85 million members and their families to the risk of abuse. 

Experts estimated at least several thousand people were secretly detained every year for weeks or months under an internal system that was separate from state justice.

In a rare display of public defiance, Zhou and three other party members in Hunan have described the months of abuse they endured less than two years ago, in separate cases, while in detention.

It was in September that the interrogators broke his leg. Two weeks later, Zhou started slipping into unconsciousness. Only then, he said, did they let him go to a hospital under the false name of Wang Yan, with the story that he had fallen in the bathroom.

Medical records showed that upon admission to the Zhuzhou City No. 1 People’s Hospital on September 29, his thighs, calves and feet were swollen, his skin red and hot and his left thigh badly bruised. 

Further tests revealed fluid in his thighs, kidney stones, an enlarged liver and swollen lymph nodes on his groin. Scans confirmed that his left thigh had broken into several pieces.

A week after surgery, Zhou’s investigators took him back to Room 109, he said.

It was three months later, in the winter, when Zhou finally caved. He signed a confession saying he had accepted 40,000 yuan, or NZ$7800, in bribes and wrote a resignation letter.

He was released in January last year. An amateur video shot that day by his family showed a visibly thinner Zhou hobbling out of the building on crutches. He was helped on a stretcher and into an ambulance.

Despite everything, Zhou hoped for justice.

“I still believe that the Chinese Communist Party is a good ruling party,” Zhou said. 

“I also believe that not too far in the future, there will be a place in the People’s Republic of China in which we can speak freely, a place where my terrible case will receive a fair and just response.”

Source

So you know, this is modern China.  The China of today.  No wonder anyone with money is getting the hell out of there.

Why we have an FTA with these people I’ll never know.

 

Step Away from the Property Porn!

A very good article by Deborah Hill Cone:

Wise up and step away from the property porn

By Deborah Hill Cone

5:30 AM Monday Mar 11, 2013

No wonder real estate agents were miffed that they were not presented in a flattering light in Robyn Malcolm's new television show Agent Anna, Says Hill Cone. Photo / APN

No wonder real estate agents were miffed that they were not presented in a flattering light in Robyn Malcolm’s new television show Agent Anna, Says Hill Cone. Photo / APN

T.S. Eliot said “Humankind cannot bear very much reality”.

But I’m not sure that he read a real estate advertising section. You are pretty safe from reality there. It is full of the unreal. “But as much as they are enjoying the house the time has come to move on to another project.”

That is real estate-speak to fudge why someone who has apparently only just bought their dream house is now flicking it on. The more likely reason is they’re a hustler and want to make a big fat profit. Although they are pictured making an espresso in their lab-like kitchen as if they live there, it seems all staged.

Could we just occasionally say this? It is empowering to know the truth.

“They have loved the last five years of all sleeping in the same room while they built their six-bedroom dream home but now they feel like they are ready to do it all again and have a new do-up 500m away in Remuera.”

Real estate marketing can be an elaborate construct.

Rest of Article.