Mondelez – The Good News And The Bad News

The good news is that Mondelez International (which owns, amongst many things, Cadbury in Dunedin) reported a first quarter 2017 operating profit of 39.4%. It is paying out a quarterly dividend of $0.19 (US) per share to shareholders.

This is wonderful for our New Zealand Superfund which has over $21 million worth of Mondelez shares, and the ACC investment fund and the Kiwisaver investment funds which have Mondelez shares in their investment portfolio.

The bad news is it has cost 350 Cadbury workers in Dunedin their jobs. Continue reading

Cleaning Up The Mess Neoliberals Left Behind

Former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger has admitted Neoliberalism was a mistake. It is music to the ears. May he be the first of many to recant.

It would be churlish (but tempting) to point out that the Alliance Party and others warned at the time that Neoliberalism would be a mistake. Neoliberalism, we said, would lead to poverty, inequality, and unaffordable housing and all the social problems associated with this.

The Left was right. But now is not the time to gloat. Too much damage has been done. Now is the time to talk about how to clean up the mess the Neoliberals have left us. Continue reading

Paying It Forward Not Payback Or Paywalls

Inequality and crime go hand in hand. There is enough research now to make that abundantly clear. We can have more police to catch people who take what they want but will never be able to afford to buy. We can introduce harsher sentences. We can build more prisons. But we will never have a safe place to live until we address the root cause – some people have far too much and others not near enough. Continue reading

We Don’t Need Mondelez, Mondelez Needs Us

When Kraft, parent company of Mondelez, staged a hostile takeover of Cadbury in 2009, it was not interested in Cadbury’s factories. Factories are two a penny. What it was after was the brand, and with it the markets. Where the products were made was irrelevant.

The enterprising and innovative CEO’s of the big multinationals have got it all worked out. Maximum profits for minimum effort. Why bother to create and establish a market for your own brand of product? You can use your investors’ money to buy an established company that has done all the hard work, keep the brands you want and eliminate the competition in one foul swoop by closing down their plants. Continue reading

Focusing On The Big Picture, Asking The Hard Questions

Soon the election year lolly scramble will begin. Politicians of all stripes will throw out handfuls of the sweets they think people like the most – that will get them the most votes. Nothing wrong with that. No votes no power, after all.

But a good government needs good policies, not just charismatic popular politicians who give the sound bites people want to hear. To avoid Brexit/Trump style disasters, voters need to be a lot more savvy than the politicians that seek to represent them. Continue reading

Chasing The Big Money

Our government and local bodies are becoming embarrassingly desperate to attract rich people to our country and our cities. Nothing is too much bother; building five star hotels, luxury conference venues, changing our laws so they can cut corners on labour costs for their movies, or just making them New Zealand citizens even though they don’t live here, or even want to live here. Continue reading

Everyone’s House Is Their Castle

Housing is set to be an election issue. Rightly so. Far too many people are without a warm dry home. Far too many people pay exorbitant rents. Taxpayers are forced to stump up a large portion of this rent for people whose employers do not see it as their responsibility to pay their workers a wage that would enable them to afford the extortionate rent charged by their landlords.

Only a few people are able to afford buy a home to live in. Most of those people live in the less populated/popular areas where sanity has prevailed and houses are still regarded as somewhere to live, not an easy way to make a quick buck.

We all get the problem, but this election let’s not just talk about how many new houses the government – or whoever they delegate the job to – should build over the next ten years. Whatever the amount, if nothing else changes it won’t be nearly enough. Continue reading

Corbyn Calls For Cap On Excessive Earnings

A maximum wage – Franklin D Roosevelt first called for it, Bernie Sanders called for it, and now 75 years after Roosevelt, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, has called for it. It’s long overdue.

Corbyn says, “What we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn in two and a bit days what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.” Continue reading