If you believed the propaganda coming out of the Labour Government and its army of spin doctors, then we have never had it so good. Apparently we are all in jobs, making good money and the All Blacks never lose.

This was a message that the tame corporate media have accepted uncritically.

There have been a few lone dissenting voices. One of those has been economist Keith Rankin. He has consistently written that the Labour’s ‘low’ unemployment figures are statistical hogwash. He says that the real rate of unemployment is something like 160,000 and not the 70,000 are so the government claims.

After all the government figures are so dubious that if you work for just one hour a week you are counted as ‘employed’.

Additionally the figures disguise the phenomenon of ‘under-employment’, Many New Zealanders simply cannot enough paid hours.

It’s another indictment of our media that no-one has bothered to ask why in these ‘prosperous times’, food banks and charities are reporting increasing numbers seeking assistance.

Similarly, in these so-called ‘prosperous times’ why is that 45 percent of working New Zealanders earn less than $30,000 a year?

The trickle-down theory hasn’t worked – the money has mostly stayed with the corporate fat cats, the well-heeled bureaucrats, the property developers, the ‘media personalities’, the finance sector, the politicians. The very same people who have been telling us we live in ‘prosperous times’.

But times are getting tougher and the ‘boom time’ message is getting harder to peddle against a backdrop of high interest rates, increasing prices, company closures and more and more New Zealanders exiting the country for Australia.

There is an economic crisis looming but that is intertwined with a political crisis – the crisis of a political system offering more of the same failed economic policies.


Sideshow Bob Parker is still a-hankering after a mayoral car. Sideshow’s bid to bring the mayoral limousine out of mothballs proved deeply unpopular with the good people of Christchurch so Sideshow’s given up on that idea.

But now the Mayor of Christchurch has moved on to plan B.

In fact over recent weeks Sideshow has been cruising around town in ‘plan B’ - a silver Audi. It’s an Audi TT roadster to be precise – it’s a two litre turbo job that can reach a 100k/hr in 6.5 seconds. It has a top speed of 237 k/hr.

Where did this $90,000 car come from you ask? Why, it came from the car firm Archibalds- which is owned by John Fairhall. Fairhall donated $5000 to Sideshow’s election campaign. (Fairhall’s wife stood as a Citizens candidate a few years ago).

Sideshow says he is ‘test driving’ a number of cars – that ‘test driving’ has included jaunts out to his Akaroa home.

Sideshow now wants to ‘lease’ a mayoral car – and he says there is ‘no conflict of interest’ in leasing a vehicle from one of campaign backers. Too true Bob – where is the ‘conflict of interest’ in just looking after a mate?

According to John Fairhall he likes Sideshow because he is a ‘very market-orientated person.’ In other words, he is a fellow right wing free marketeer.

Most sensible people know that Sideshow is engaging in more conspicuous consumption.

But Sideshow Bob’s latest baloney is that he wants a $90,000 flash Audi because it runs on diesel! Hey, if that’s really the case I know where Bob can pick up a nice diesel-powered family sedan for less than $20,000.


Forty-five percent of working New Zealanders earn less than $30,000 a year - for a whole lot of New Zealanders the economic 'good times' have never arrived.

But Christchurch City councillors are sitting pretty - the Renumeration Authority has just given them a big seven percent wage increase, well ahead of the rate of inflation. A councillor will now get a whacking $83,500.

As the Christchurch Press noted in a strongly worded editorial: 'Residents struggling with rising interest levels, food prices and fuel costs, not to mention the council's own rate increases, will be mortified at the authority's ruling.'

But what do councillors do for all this money? Who knows - councillors are a law unto themselves.

Take Councillor Susan Wells for instance. She says she has been concentrating on 'library issues' - whatever this means.

And Ms Wells doesn't feel the need to hold regular clinics in her Spreydon ward. She says that people can talk to her when she's shopping in her local supermarket! Or you might be lucky to catch her when she's gardening!

I also understand from a council source that her attendance at community board meetings has been less than regular.

It all sounds like Councillor Wells is riding the gravy train - just like her fellow Spreydon councillor Barry 'Is murder wrong?' Corbett. He has been spending a lot of time at his holiday bach on Banks Peninsula...


It is illegal to import products derived from edangerd species - such as rhinoceros for instance.

Yet in this week's Christchurch Mail (published by The Christchurch Press), there is an advertising feature for HNB Medical, offering 'ancient Chinese therapeutic treatments'.

This includes workimg herbal oils into the skin 'using a piece of polished rhinoceros horn'.

Well Mr Harvey Wang of HNB Medical is breaking the law offering such a service. He has also broken the law bringing rhinoceros horn into the country - presumably it was smuggled through Customs.

Meanwhile, here's the Christchurch Mail blithely advertising this illegal service. If you want to make a protest, you can ring the Christchurch Mail editor, Carla Amos at 03 943 2598. Her e-mail is


On January 26 Pihema Cameron, a 15 year old schoolboy, was stabbed to death after ‘tagging’ an Auckland suburban fence.

Bruce Emery, described as a ’50 year old businessman’, was subsequently arrested and charged with Cameron’s murder.

On January 29 Christchurch councillor Barry Corbett told a council meeting that ‘If I was on the jury, I’d let him get away with it, but that’s just me.’

Since then Corbett, a man with right wing political views, has resisted calls for his resignation. In fact, he has yet to make a full apology.

Corbett, clearly demonstrating a reluctance to retract his outrageous comments, has only gone as far as saying that his remarks had ‘probably overstepped the mark’. Probably? So it’s a matter of debate then?

But Corbett managed to take a swipe at the boy even when he was claiming he was not some kind of right wing vigilante nutter. This is what he said:

‘I want to emphasise that I am not into vigilante and lynch mob acts. But at the end of the day if the kid was not tagging he would still be alive today.’

Mr Corbett - ‘The kid’ would still be alive today if he hadn’t been stabbed with a knife. The act of tagging did not kill him.

What is also of concern is that none of Corbett’s fellow councillors have condemned him for his comments. Their silence has deafening – and they stand condemned by that silence.

And what of Mayor ‘Sideshow’ Bob Parker? He has claimed that Corbett ‘deeply regrets’ making the comments – despite the fact that he has yet to publicly apologise for them.

Sideshow then went on to defend Corbett, claiming he was an ‘extremely valuable councillor.’

Meanwhile the mother of Pihema Cameron has also called for Corbett’s resignation.

She said: ‘You are in a high-up place, in the public view. You shouldn’t be saying that.’

Corbett, a former radio DJ, has gone to ground – hoping that he’ll be able to ride out the storm. He should resign but he won’t.


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