Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Front page fever

It's been another one of those marking weeks, I'm afraid. Full service should resume Thursday or so but, in the spirit of treating your crack-like addictions to news-rage, I offer the following observations on the content of today's front page.


"Swine flu risk from hidden carriers", offers the Herald today; if you weren't already worried whenever you see someone sneeze near you, now you have to watch out for people not sneezing as well. Quite how that is supposed to influence my behaviour I am unsure.
"Experts keep fingers crossed NZ's death toll will not hit 200."
Well, hopefully they're doing more than that.


Now, I do a lot of complaining... but even to me, some complaints seem outrageously unsympathetic. In general, nothing bores me quite as much as the very wealthy complaining about tax... but lottery winners?

Big Wednesday's biggest draw - a $30 million jackpot of cash and prizes - will definitely go to at least one ticketholder tomorrow night.

And while the winner, or winners, will probably want to share the wealth with family and friends, such generosity can be taxed.

Oh good lord. Do you mean that if I should win $30m of untaxed lottery income - about as unearned as you can get without finding a briefcase of money on your doorstep - and want to show my, erm, "generosity", I may have to pay some tax? It's enough to make you want to drive your two new luxury cars into the swimming pool of your new $750,000 bach. Fortunately, the Herald isn't above offering tips on tax avoidance:

But there are ways to make sure the taxman is not a recipient of any Lotto largesse.

Liz Koh, director of Moneymax, said winners could avoid paying gift duty by setting up an interest-free loan repayable on demand.

"You can have it set up in your will so that when you die the loan is wiped."

Of course, when we say "the taxman", we mean the government coffers that pay for social services, infrastructure, police, firefighters, prisons and so on. Anyway, setting up a phony loan that you never intend to claim back seems like an ethical way to deal with the situation.

Spicers Wealth Management senior financial adviser Jeff Matthews said winners wishing to distribute their wealth could claim they bought their ticket for a syndicate.

[...] "If you had argued that you went in and bought it with your 10 bucks, but you were doing it on behalf of your family syndicate, who is going to argue they didn't give you a dollar each?

Not anyone who works at the Herald, that's for sure. One can only hope that karma brings APN an IRD audit this year.


Christine Rankin pops up again on today's front page - another unwelcome surprise over the morning cup of tea. This time it's because she's very close to crossing John Key's claimed line and "campaigning" in favour of the referendum question on smacking, despite having been appointed to the Families Commission. It seems that she made the following quote in an interview with Investigate magazine:
"That's what I don't get. You get these families...
Wait, what? Investigate magazine? You mean the one edited by Ian Wishart? The conspiracy magazine for right-wingers sick of all this talk about 'human rights'? If it's not New Zealand's government being illegal, it's climate change being made up on behalf of the "climate-industrial complex"; if it's not white people living in New Zealand before Maori colonisation, it's the undercover Marxist machinations of the parliamentary Green Party. I honestly thought this magazine had gone out of business years ago - who is buying all the copies that keep it running? Unless, that is, it's bankrolled by the International Zionist Conspiracy. I've already said too much.

Anyway, what was my point? Oh, that's right. I just thought it was crazy that the Families Commissioner did an interview for Investigate. Or at least I did, until I saw who was on the cover of the latest issue...

Meanwhile, in the secret headquarters of the 'Vote No' campaign, inside a live volcano somewhere off the coast of Canterbury...

Ms Rankin's name was initially on the list of speakers for yesterday's opening of the "Vote No" campaign led by Family First lobbyist Bob McCoskrie, but it was withdrawn at the last minute.

Mr McCoskrie said inclusion of her name was a mistake that he had moved to correct.

Of course it was, Bob. You were just thinking of Ian Rankin, the Scottish crime writer. And, erm, Christine... Fletcher?


  1. That IRD audit would be quite bad for APN wrt. the employees they treat as contractors.... who dont actually have any contract at all. Better to not name names at this stage but they are trying to avoid paying public holidays and holiday pay by not offering employees a contract and treating them as contractors.

  2. "Or at least I did, until I saw who was on the cover of the latest issue..."

    Isn't Christine "Ian" Rankin on the cover of the latest issue?

  3. Ha, possibly. The issue currently on the Investigate website has none other than John Key on the cover. I suppose I haven't done my research, but actually looking for a copy of Investigate is a step too far for me.

  4. That's the March 2009 edition. Phil Goff (and "Labour's search for meaning") was on the April 2009 edition, and Helen Clark and her mission to mold the UN into the biblical army of nations on the May 2009 edition.

    But -- surprise -- John Key (or "John Keys" to at least 20% of the population) is also on the June 2009 cover. So 50% of the last 4 issues have had JK on the cover, so saying "John Key is on the cover" is as good a guess as any.

  5. The March 2009 is currently top left of the IM website. I guess it's easier to leave a cover of JK up than change it.