Fiji Coup: Counter Revolutionary Expert Revolts - Dollar Down But Not Out - Meanwhile Sludge Is Sorry But.. - Turning Our Children Into Drug Users, Dealers and Abusers
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20/5/2000 - Fiji Coup leader George Speight - Latu Matoto USP
Sludge Report #6
Fiji Coup: Counter Revolutionary Expert Revolts
Surprise. Surprise. The latest reports from Fijilive.com on the involvement of a former UK Special Air Services "specialist" in the coup in Fiji - See. http://businessnews.com.fj/ - Fijilive.com - . While not yet confirmed, Sludge reckons this is just typical. It is also proof positive, if any is needed, of the fact that the world as a whole is continuing to pay an enormous price for the investment it has made in training a small elite group of people in the art of causing trouble from the shadows in other people's countries.
Dollar Down But Not Out
Angry capitalists are the key reason for the falling NZ Dollar writes Chris Trotter in his weekly column in the Dominion Friday. A point well made thinks Sludge.
Certainly there is no rational reason for the magnitude of the fall in the dollar. Some fall was inevitable with the rise in US interest rates and the collapsing Euro, but not this much. NZ securities remain secure. The growth forecast is rosy. The lower dollar makes the NZ economy if anything a better bet.
And investing in NZ at such a low dollar level has got to make sense, unless you subscribe to the checkbox theory of international investment.
Under this theory of the falling dollar is simply explainable.
"Growth, good, tick,
Inflation, low, tick,
Share-market, sluggish, ?,
Fiscal policy, ?,
Labour market policy, ?,
Government privatisation, not any more,
Monetary policy, ?, solid for now but a review is under way.
Conclusion: On balance sell or hold."
On the desk of a forex trader in Tokyo this then leads a lower dollar.
Come budget day next month - and assuming a bit of positive spin from Dr Cullen over the next couple of weeks - one of those "?s" will turn back into a tick with a nice fat fiscal surplus in the budget.
Meanwhile the NZ economy remains highly competitive and if anything the lower dollar will deliver an even better growth path over coming months. On the other hand higher growth will doubtless encourage Dr Brash to consider raising interest rates again and this will lead to louder complaints about monetary policy and more nervousness among the subscribers to the tickbox theory of international investment.
On balance Sludge's view is that the rough ride for the dollar will continue for a few months yet. That said the realities of what a lower dollar means - fewer overseas trips - greater incentives not to buy BMW's - are probably not that bad for the economy. And as NZ earns its way - still - off the back of its primary industries - sheep, cows, fish and trees - the "real" economy is likely to continue to zip along.
Meanwhile Sludge Is Sorry But..
In the wake of all the tall poppyish behaviour recently over the economy, Sludge regrets doing so, but must leap to the defence of the Government. "The bigger they are the harder..", they say and so when 50 per cent in the polls slumps to 44 the thrashing machine is quickly in full swing.
Sludge says "sorry diddums" to the business community. After all it would be understandable if the new government with their centre left industrial law policies would scare businesses who, as we all know have had it their way for the last 16 or so years. Poor dears. "Good faith bargaining" - a frightening prospect indeed.
This morning a bank chief economist is reported today criticising Michael Cullen's performance as Finance Minister. Cullen, it appears, hasn't given overseas investors any "confidence" - err. what does this slim-on-details slight mean?
Sludge knows - it means the economist is probably a paid up member of some far right economic party, and, of course, his job is in the overseas owned banking sector - the very same one which is currently being criticised by the Deputy Prime Minister for ripping off consumers.
As for the piping from the Carter Holt Harvey CEO who might be considering relocating his company overseas - he too was starting to sound like a orchestration of the same far right party - until - late in the interview with Kim Hill last week he mentioned that the previous government had also given businesses no reason to stay in NZ.
Perhaps he should have waited for the budget to come out. Maybe he would see some difference then? Perhaps?
Turning Our Children Into Drug Users, Dealers and Abusers
The New Zealand obsession with doping its children to the gills with speed (an ever growing number now in the tens of thousands of NZ Children are on Ritalin) to control them would have to take a prime position in the Sludge "lets turn a blind eye" stakes.
No doubt the parents who think their dear Johnny should be doped in order to stop him fidgeting will also be the same ones who will campaign to prevent Johnny - once he reaches his teens - from being exposed to the awful harms of cannabis.
They should indeed be fearful as Johnny will almost certainly find it difficult to control his moods once he does reach his teenage years after spending his childhood in a chemical straightjacket. Now we hear that parents are selling Johnny's drugs and campaigning for "slow release" ritalin to protect him from other children stealing his medication. In Sludge's view this is child abuse, pure and simple, a disgrace.
Sierra Leone - Defence of Brits Well Made But Sludge Remains Skeptical
Two Sludge readers have been quick to come to the Brits defence over their involvement in Sierra Leone. One pointed out that the two servicemen from NZ are in fact stationed aboard a UK boat on "monstering" duties off the Coast. Sludge apologises if anyone was misled in earlier Sludge reports on this subject. But while Sludge concedes that the Brits may be doing more good than harm in Sierra Leone at present, Sludge's view is that it is vitally important that they remain aware of the dangers inherent in engaging in any foreign policy adventures in someone else's country. Meanwhile, with the BBC gushing incessantly about the UK involvement in Sierra Leone, Sludge thinks continued skepticism over this point remains constructive in the debate.
Sludge Report # 6 - Compiled by - C.D. Sludge - Monday, 22 May 2000
© Sludge 2000