Thursday, 21 February 2013

is Our PM a money man or an addicted gambler playing the pokies ?

I have been given a bit of thought to John Key  this morning on hearing that Solid Energy's dismal position of being $389 million in debt. When Don Elder resigned earlier this year the financial position of Solid Energy was not healthy and I considered the main reason must be in part due to the Pike River Disaster. I would think the person who also needs to have a closer look at the mining situation would be Phil Heatley minister of Energy.  Instead of keeping a close eye on the state of the companies that the government want to sell off ,  MP Heatley instead seems to be looking at off shore oil and possible fracking as future earners.Speculation or stupid gamble? Is it to steep a learning curve , too complex a portfolio or is Phil Heatley a bit of a gambler with our energy futures.

Know when to fold em, know when to roll them , in the Kenny Rogers song is close to how I feel as a citizen. I don't feel informed and I don't like what is happening.  I feel that there is either really bad communication or that The Government knew the figures were bad and the company would ultimately fail . If this is a company being prepared for public listing and sale it is a very poor contender.
Mercury energy is making a great profit and that company will be first sold seeing our power prices continue to rise as all profits leave our State ownership and return a dividend for those few, able to invest.

I wonder how long has the Government known about Solids Energy's financial collapse and how many more jobs have disappeared.
I am wondering if John Key isn't just in the death throes of financial wreck and ruin with our country yet being the professional money man he is , like a poker player he maintains the cool facade but never shows his hand. How many people have prospered under this Government? I have only heard of job losses and the odds against the ordinary person stacking up.

And like a all gamblers when the reversal of fortune occurs the losses get you to rock bottom fast.

Speaking of rock bottom reminds me of Christchurch who are commemorating the Two year anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake. The lottery there is called insurance.Odds are you won't get paid out and if you get a pay out for repairs what happens if your house is in a no rebuild zone?

This is the situation in Christchurch . Luck and fortune clearly has not been on her side and neither it seems has the very powerful MP Mr Brownlee been able to solve the Insurance deadlock.

So the reason I am more than willing to apply the DSM1V to back up my diagnosis that our PM may be in the grip of a serious gambling addiction and that possibly he is so pathologically affected he has been spending a large amount of time at the Auckland Sky City Casino. I wonder is the reason he wants to Build the JOHN KEY Convention Centre is to allow him more time to cruise the VIP and High Rollers area at SKY City. I am told he has even proposed a plan to speed up other of his gambling high roller pals with new plane routes from China and fast track these special clients through customs.

The biggest gamble he has taken yet is with our education system in Christchurch and the tool he is using , the Hekia, seems to be the wrong blunt sort of instrument. Were it a horse race I would n't pick her even as a rank and I mean really rank outsider. Where is the community involvement that can decide the best outcome?

So with 20/20 hindsight and a complex join the dots picture I can look back at this Government and see how they had no money to play with at the start of the game and it has all been a big bluff. However, as now the hand has been called, and John Key will need to show his cards. I am wondering just what he will do next. I believe each of the portfolios in trouble  had an element of gambling involved. this Government was willing to spend money on oil and gas exploration a huge risk which failed and a huge clean up  of the RNA showed the possible impacts and as yet no new jobs. Bad punt.

The education gamble is a ruse to turn schools into profit making ventures in a mixed partnership model. Christchurch people are not wanting to be the guinea pigs of this type of venture .Children deserve the highest quality of education to succeed not a failed model.

The old "look over there , the beneficiaries are stealing the ..." won't fly

Mr Key as it is you who we look to for leadership and also values. You are the one currently in charge of the game and all the coin. When big companies like Mainzeal go crashing , and Fletchers have a monopoly and a whole town  is desperate for a rebuild why are there the delays two years on? Why are so many old national Party cronies involved in Directorships of bad businesses? Get rid of the ticket clipping Shipleys as they bring no value to companies and no real expertise When will the Government  step in and solve the insurance payout and the zoning that is affecting the payouts ? Why are not sufficient numbers of young people in training and in Christchurch working? Why is youth unemployment at an all time high when the crisis in Christchurch can reduce it?

It looks hokey to me.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Don't close any Christchurch Schools

While it may be easy for number crunchers to add up figures when the sole focus of the exercise is economic, its obvious Hekia Parata has been TOLD it's not feasible (read Profitable) to maintain or rebuild many of the schools in Christchurch  and that lumping them all into one great big school stacks up really well, on paper. Cash up -move on seems to be one strategy.

But if Hekia Parata and the MOE did a level more careful analysis they would find out that schools have other values than just monetary ones. What is the real value or benefit perhaps to a community?
As a former teacher in a rural areas and former Christchurch resident I am familiar with many of the schools facing imminent closure. I can safely say the local school is often the hub of the community.It is a meeting point, a hall for hire, possibly a school pool for the community to use, social contact, employment and performs the requirement all children have to go to school.

After the Earthquakes many schools roles grew to become Quake Relief Centres providing water and food and information. When daily school life resumed children were scared, traumatised and changed.School was a return to time before the earthquakes and for many school represented stability. Not just for the children but the teacher and parents too.

But for the children school was the chance to resume a normal life , and practise the coping skills required to navigate through our new changed life and regain confidence. It is also the opportunity to celebrate their own survival and resilience and growth in the face of continued adversity.

I don't know whether its callous or moronic or both  but, not to make every effort to maintain Christchurch's excellent history of education, in a familiar environment -seems pretty little  to ask really!