Cullen press conference at 1 pm

April 7th, 2009 at 11:21 am by David Farrar

is holding a press conference at 1 pm.

The expectation is that he will announce the date he is going to resign from Parliament.

Judith is getting closer and closer to returning!!

I’ll update with the details after 1 pm.

UPDATE: Transtasman have just said that Cullen is going to be appointed as Chairman of not one but two SOEs – NZ Post and Kiwibank.  I think that is a crappy crappy move from the Government and a slap in the face to its thousands of volunteers and supporters.  I fully appreciate Cullen’s skills, but appointing him to Chair an SOE while he is still an Opposition MP, and just weeks after you were talking about prosecuting him for Public Finance Act breaches sends out a confused message.  Any future appointments for Cullen should have been decided on their merits, and left until long after he has retired from Parliament. Not be part of some shabby backroom deal, as this appears to be.

UPDATE2: Transtasman has it a bit wrong, and not quite as bad as thought. Cullen is appointed to NZ Post only, and is expected to become only deputy chair in the medium term. No word on Kiwibank, but I guess that is appointed by NZ Post Board?]

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150 Responses to “Cullen press conference at 1 pm”

  1. Monty (966 comments) says:

    Labour’s talant pool will be exposed as puddle deep with Clark and Cullen both gone. and Tizard is only a heart beat away from returning.

    Like Clark’s departure – I celebrate Cullen leaving Parliament and say good riddence to both

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  2. Bryan Spondre (225 comments) says:

    Lets hope Judith returns, I’m looking forward to following @judithtizardmp :-)

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  3. peterwn (3,213 comments) says:

    Should do it at two o’clock:
    Speaker – first question in the name of Hon Dr Cullen
    Cullen – my question is addressed to the Leaser of the House – what would be his response if I said I was going to resign from the House today?

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  4. jacob van hartog (309 comments) says:

    Now the election is won , the pretense of campaigning on policies for the future is cast aside, and its smear tactics about someone who isn’t a candidate for Mt Albert .

    what has happened to DPFs dream candidate former shoe salesman, Wellington Mayor and party hopper par excellence Blumsky, unwanted by his voters,who was a failure as a MP ( for national).

    look in your own fouled nest

    [DPF: How it is smearing to say Judith will soon be back. It's a fact - as much as you seem to not like it. Personally I am happy with it]

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  5. davidp (3,557 comments) says:

    The Labour Opposition will be strengthened in the mid-50s never-had-a-proper-job single-woman always-living-off-the-taxpayer lazy-bint demographic. They’ll welcome Tizard back.

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  6. casual watcher (289 comments) says:

    I will be very disappointed if the Nats generosity of spirit extends to giving Cullen a job as chairman of an SOE. I have bitten my lip over Clarks UN job but could not take Cullen in such a role. PLEASE DON’T DO IT JOHN KEY !!!

    [DPF: Bad news - see update]

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  7. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Trans Tasman release

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  8. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    The only way I’m prepared to accept this is if they then sell the SOEs that he is chairing and the new owners have promised to fire him. Other wise its crap city.

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  9. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    You know what they say.

    Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!

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  10. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Key shafts his supporters with the very worst action he could conceivable make. Two SOE chairmanships! Two. Speechless.

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  11. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    conceivably. The worst news for many, since the election. Gutted.

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  12. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Votes up for grabs, only used for one elction by owner who no longer has any use for them.

    Apply New Zealand public.

    Slick move John Boy.

    But congratulations on “building consenus” between me and greenfly. Only two more signs to go.

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  13. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    But think of the squirming as NZPost will need to continue reducing staff over time – a paragon of leftism at the top as people are forced on to the dole.

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  14. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Who had the completely stupid idea of giving Cullen anything other than a conviction for his misleading the country over the state of the economy. So there is only one choice now and that is to rename the two organisations he will ruin. I vote for MuppetBank and MuppetRail.

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  15. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Key shafts his supporters with the very worst action he could conceivable make. Two SOE chairmanships! Two. Speechless.

    A variation on Keysian compromise – knowing the public would never stomach the gift of a SOE Chair to Cullen, he compromised and gave him two. :lol:

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  16. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Geeeeez Appointing Cullen to NZ Post and Kiwibank would be the biggest pisstake to Nat/Act supporters

    What gives with JK/BE Have they lost their marbles. Cullen would rate as the most inappropriate person to chair a financial instutution

    Granny would have more governance skills and ability And have some ethics and morals to boot.

    its like appointing a drunk to Chair a brewery company.

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  17. jacob van hartog (309 comments) says:

    All because Brownlee is useless as leader of the government business in the house, Cullen out foxes him repeatedly.

    How come Cullen is offered a job like this is Jenny not available? She would seem to fit this sort of position to a tee.

    The high altar of expediency seems to in the place the doormat usually is

    [DPF: Jenny is too busy with her multiple private sector directorships]

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  18. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Putting a shark in charge of a swimming pool springs to mind.

    Let me guess what his first decision will be: KiwiBank to pay people to take out mortgages bigger than their property values – Oh wait – Cullen’s economic management has already done that.

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  19. Razork (375 comments) says:

    I’m absolutly gutted and disenchanted over this.

    [DPF: Same]

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  20. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    DPF – This crap about appointing Cullen to anything more serious than the position of a game show host is surely a wind up?

    [DPF: Sadly no]

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  21. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    Hahaha!

    DPF is right – Key and English just kicked all you lot square in the teeth. Turns out they did not believe for a second that Cullen is a poor economic manager, despite their electorally-focused spin. That argument has just been conceded by National, and by John Key in particular.

    From now until you all get the message, whenever one of you says Labour were shitty economic managers, we will ask why, if that is true, your supposed heroes Key and English gave our economic architect so much mana and responsibility.

    Everyone thought DPF’s post about the RBNZ thing was an April fools’ day joke – turns out he was pretty close to the mark. Joke is on you, Kiwiblog Right.

    Next!

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  22. 2boyz (255 comments) says:

    The appointments will ensure Cullen becomes more of a ‘Rich Prick’ it’s a mistake and a big one. Jobs for the boys network for sure. I guess I am disappointed as I expected more from JK and co and it really seems to be rewarding him when from where I sit he didn’t do a particularly good job.

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  23. KiwiGreg (3,218 comments) says:

    Post and Kiwibank are the same thing (one is a sub of the other) so its only one.

    But that is still one BIG bad stupid dumb idea

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  24. Razork (375 comments) says:

    Rodney Hide; say something!!!

    Surely act must be against this?

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  25. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Righto Neville Key, that is it as far as I am concerned.

    Your time as leader of the National party has come and gone

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  26. Tim Ellis (253 comments) says:

    I think it’s a good move. Replace that traitor Jim Bolger who swallowed so many dead rats to do Labour’s bidding, with Michael Cullen, who will be seen as a traitor by the Labour Party for having to swallow dead rats to do National’s bidding.

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  27. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    Polies looking after polies. Nothing changes I am absolutely disgusted with this.

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  28. davidp (3,557 comments) says:

    Key could have whipped his member out of his pants and pissed on National supporters, and it would still have been less offensive than appointing Cullen to chair a SOE board.

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  29. tvb (4,254 comments) says:

    I am happy with this, Cullen clearly has skills, he is a very effective critic and this will silence him.

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  30. NX (603 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond:

    whenever one of you says Labour were shitty economic managers, we will ask why, if that is true, your supposed heroes Key and English gave our economic architect so much mana and responsibility.

    Before that high horse get’s lost up your arse entirely; consider this – Labour reappointed Don Brash as Reserve Bank Governor.

    Anyway – what the hell does a chairman actually do…? If he’s just a running meetings then he can’t do much damage.

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  31. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    That pillock salmond is right, the right supporters have been shafted.
    I personally would not give cullen the smell off my shit, but what do we know???
    Old boys club for certain.

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  32. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Oh yeah Rob Cullen is an economic wiz.

    Hang on, that seems to be our economy that is fucked and fucked well before any global recession provided a smoke screen. And is that our unemployment going to break 7.5%? Or are you going to blame that on National because you guys still haven’t stopped blaming the pevious National government from ten years ago.

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  33. jacob van hartog (309 comments) says:

    What are the 7 stages of grief ? Are we seeing the first here.

    Cant wait for the bit where they turn on each other( wait till he gives the seabed back to the Maori party, who then claim rent for all the reclamations)

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  34. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I think it’s a good move. Replace that traitor Jim Bolger who swallowed so many dead rats to do Labour’s bidding, with Michael Cullen, who will be seen as a traitor by the Labour Party for having to swallow dead rats to do National’s bidding.

    You don’t think it should be about say, general competence?

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  35. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    What I don’t understand is why Cullen wasn’t put in charge of ACC and told to find a way to reduce levies like he said we could before the election. Thenif he failed to do what he said could be done when he was lying to win votes he could have been sacked.

    There must a longer game in all of this… please tell me there is… Is National going to sell KiwiBank & KiwiRail so they can see Cullen sacked by the new owners who would take about 0.00000000000001 seconds of talking to Cullen to work out he’s a complete Muppet who couldn’t run a cake stall.

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  36. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    This is pretty priceless – the reality is that modern politics is about people who agree on 99% of all principles competing for the same job, and whipping their supporters into a frenzy over the 1% of policy on which they differ. You guys have been suckered by the Nats into seeing Clark and Cullen as evil tyrants, but recent events have shown that English, Key et al didn’t believe their own propaganda for a second – I propose that the reason y’all are so furious is because you were dumb enough to swallow a fairly obvious set of lies and are just starting to realise you’ve been played for chumps.

    [DPF: In some areas you agree 99% such as health. When it comes to fiscal policy and economic policy the disagreements are massive. That is why this pisses so many off. No one disputed Clark was pretty good at Foreign Affairs. I do dispute that Cullen's economic policies were at all good.]

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  37. Inventory2 (10,177 comments) says:

    Tim Ellis said “I think it’s a good move. Replace that traitor Jim Bolger who swallowed so many dead rats to do Labour’s bidding, with Michael Cullen, who will be seen as a traitor by the Labour Party for having to swallow dead rats to do National’s bidding.”

    Interesting take Tim – I don’t know why else Key would reward Cullen like this. Then again, if NZ Post is going to have to downsize, who better to oversee it than the man primarily responsible for the bloated public service – it’s somewhat karmic ;-)

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  38. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Danyl Mclauchlan

    Not so sure on that. I suspect that Keys knows that NZPost ( and therefore KiwiBank) will be bankrupt within about of year of Cullen’s management and then the “big nasty” aussie banks will have carte-blance in the NZ banking arena.

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  39. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    Turns out they did not believe for a second that Cullen is a poor economic manager, despite their electorally-focused spin.

    Rob, say it’s not true?

    I propose that the reason y’all are so furious is because you were dumb enough to swallow a fairly obvious set of lies and are just starting to realise you’ve been played for chumps.

    But Danyl, if that’s true, it includes the oracle of Farrar?

    I’ll offer only one variation on this theme: Cullen’s uniquely qualified to govern a large semi-autonomous national service provider and to navigate political and commercial imperatives in a way that doesn’t annoy Ministers and delivers value to the public. That’s why he got the job, that’s why he was a good Minister and that’s why despite kiwibloggers hue and cries, Key’s done the right thing… plus it elevates Gerry from the bottom quartile of parlimentary operators.

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  40. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    When it comes to fiscal policy and economic policy the disagreements are massive.

    I don’t think they’re massive – they just seem that way because our debate about these things takes place within such a limited sphere. Everyone in the major parties agrees about the need for a progressive taxation system, for example, but disagrees ‘strongly’ about how to calibrate it.

    [DPF: Cullen does not believe there is any merit to lower taxes equals higher GDP growth. This is about as fundamental a disagreement as you can get and is a litmus test issue between most left and right. From my point of view he squandered the opportunity of a lifetime (transformation to a lower tax higher growth economy) on low quality badly targeted bribes.]

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  41. Circe (13 comments) says:

    Key is proving to be as pragmatic as Clark on many issues. Cullen will do a good job, as Bolger did a good job, and putting him out to pasture would be a waste of his talents and experience. Plus he knows where a whole lot of bodies are buried. I applaud the fact that commonsense is prevailing – the country will go further with this than petty party politics.

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  42. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    So will the cost of postage now become means tested ? Will rich-pricks need to pay thousands to send a letter while low earners are all paid to write to eachother to keep volumes up so the new Muppet manager can pretend that his policies have not decimated the business.

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  43. Tim Ellis (253 comments) says:

    Inv2, if National supporters will be smarting, imagine how Labour Party supporters are feeling that their icon, Michael Cullen, has taken a few cushy jobs to work for the Enemy. They’ll be thinking of Cullen as a total sell-out. Just as National supporters felt about Jim Bolger.

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  44. Rich Prick (1,633 comments) says:

    Oh I think there is a bigger picture. Key wants NZ Post and Kiwibank out of business by lunch time so the private sector can get on with providing those services. And Cullen is the obvious choice on merit to achieve that. Shrewd indeed.

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  45. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    Oh I think there is a bigger picture. Key wants NZ Post and Kiwibank out of business by lunch time so the private sector can get on with providing those services. And Cullen is the obvious choice on merit to achieve that. Shrewd indeed.

    Okay, so we’ve gone through shock and anger and moved to denial. I think bargaining comes next.

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  46. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Oh I think there is a bigger picture. Key wants NZ Post and Kiwibank out of business by lunch time so the private sector can get on with providing those services. And Cullen is the obvious choice on merit to achieve that. Shrewd indeed.

    This is a pretty odd thread – so Key is so smart that he’s put Cullen in there to decrease the value of those SOEs so the government gets less money for them when they get sold!

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  47. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    How that fat cat board member Cullen looking now – Socialist and proud of it …. wharrrrp thanks for playing Muppet.

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  48. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Ron Salmon (12.56)

    Following your tortured logic, no one in Labour would be able to copmplain about National’s policies of the 90′s, because Labour had given the then-National PM some significant SOE jobs.

    Somehow, that doesn’t tally with my recollection of Labour messaging of the past decade.

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  49. oob (194 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond wrote: From now until you all get the message, whenever one of you says Labour were shitty economic managers, we will ask why, if that is true, your supposed heroes Key and English gave our economic architect so much mana and responsibility.

    I’m really looking forward to the sycophants’ slobbering, cross-eyed squeals three years from now, when National responds to the endemic mismanagement of Kiwibank by sacking Michael Cullen and privatising it.

    “In hindsight” said a contrite My Key, “appointing Dr Cullen proved as disastrous for Kiwibank as his nine years as Finance Minister proved disastrous to the New Zealand economy. New Zealand will recoup some of the costs of this disaster by the sale of Kiwibank and its assets. A full investigation into Dr Cullen’s activities will be undertaken by the Serious Fraud Office.”

    Oh happy day.

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  50. dime (9,664 comments) says:

    Cullen is nothing but a fuckin scumbag!

    I know for a fact Key doesnt like him at all… so why give him this?

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  51. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    Cullen does not believe there is any merit to lower taxes equals higher GDP growth.

    I doubt this is true; if our taxes were up at 80% then I’m pretty sure Cullen would look at the robust economic data indicating that taxation at those kind of levels is indeed bad for GDP and lower taxes. What Cullen (and, I suspect, English and Key) don’t agree with is the notion that tax cuts are a magical panacea for all fiscal problems no matter what your economic situation is.

    Once again this is a calibration debate, in which there is broad general agreement on an issue and then heated debate over the precise details.

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  52. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Now lets all play a game of spot the difference.

    When Key screws up we kick the snot out of him. When Clark screwed up the other team explains this is actually genius at work.

    Discuss.

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  53. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    Key must know something we don’t. He just must, I can’t think of any reason to give Cullen such a job.

    Only a few weeks back when we were talking about Prefu and ACC, Cullen gave National a big “fuck you”.

    Key may be many things but I don’t believe for one second he is stupid or naive. He has done this for a reason.

    What is more flabbergasting is Cullen accepting. Doesn’t he see that he just sold out to the “rich prick” ? I knew Cullen had no ethics or principals when it comes to politics, but it also appears the man has no shame.

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  54. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    Where to begin?

    NZ – You are right – Labour (correctly) believed that Brash was a good monetary policy analyst. Hence the RBNZ job. His problem came when he started to think more broadly about New Zealand and New Zealanders. Not so many jobs for him doing government policy work after 2006…

    Murray – Actually all those reports about how NZ’s fundamentals are especially solid and well able to weather the international storm, you know the ones coming from reputable international agencies like the OECD and the world bank, they are all votes of confidence in Cullen’s economic management. Now we can add Key’s and English’s endorsements.

    Danyl – Nice, nice work. Certainly I agree that partisans on all sides play up (pretty small) differences in order to cover over (pretty large) agreements in order not to bore the citizens away from the booth.And I am now looking out for evidence of bargaining.

    bobox – (1) who is Ron Salmon? (2) I think you’ll find that Labour recognized Bolger was a salesman, not a policy architect, in the Nat-lead administrations of the 1990s. He’ll sell pretty much anything, which is why we employed him. Richardson and Birch, they were the architects. I don’t think they got a whole lot of SOE positions from Labour. The difference here is that everybody recognizes that Cullen was the main economic architect in Labour, and National are keen to use exactly those talents.

    oob – I guess you’re still stuck in (delusional) denial. Follow Danyl’s advice: move to bargaining.

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  55. dime (9,664 comments) says:

    Is it because Cullen is Labours only effective MP in the house?

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  56. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Not sure Dime

    It gets Cullen out of parliament, which could be a good thing.

    It strokes Cullen’s ego by the charade of having two SOE positions, when NZPost and Kiwibank are joined at the hip.
    Kiwibank is still the minnow of the retail banking sector, so Cullen can’t do any real damage. It’s not like having the directorship of the BNZ say. And as an SOE director, what he can say in the public arena will be more tightly constrained than as an MP.

    Energy players possibly didn’t want him heading any energy SOEs because of Cullen’s connections to iwi interests, so options in the energy/infrastructure sector may have been blocked there.

    As finance minister, Cullen showed great fortitude in hoarding cash, so this might be a skill useful for a bank manager.

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  57. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    A full investigation into Dr Cullen’s activities will be undertaken by the Serious Fraud Office.

    Reminds me of the guy who called for Labour and the Greens to be arrested before they fled the country with our billions of dollars. Would pay to see what he has to say about all this.

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  58. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    This is a disgraceful day in the history of a National government.
    John Key – you should feel ashamed You’ve rewarded the man that so many of your loyal supporters despised so much.
    Cullen screwed so many of us over repeatedly, and you reward him in this manner? Sorry – but I don’t turn the other cheek

    However you like to spin it – it’s snouts in the trough- jobs for the boys- it’s a disgrace

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  59. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Rob aside from the river how is Egypt?

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  60. dime (9,664 comments) says:

    make him head of kiwibank then sell the thing!!!! watch as the new owners fire his ass. that would entertain me!

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  61. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    I miss my edit function.

    I have already considered that Key actually thinks Cullen is capable and discounted that theory. I also discounted the jobs for boys theory. Not that it is below JK, it just doesn’t fit this situation.

    I really get the feeling that Cullen has been set up here, which could be a very risky move. Is Key that machevallian?

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  62. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    Murray – I dunno. Maybe “dry.” Do you have a point?

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  63. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Little slow on the uptake as well as being in that river I see.

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  64. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    FFS The guys got no credibility I mean Pleaaaaaaaase How could anyone with a modicum of good governance knowledge appoint a person who screwed up an economy over 9 years and thats without any international assistance to be a director of a sizable corporate.

    The other directors should resign or face the ridicule they deserve from those who understand good governance This is not Mannies Music Parlour buts thats how its being run.

    Its like appointing a failed kicker as half or fullback in the All Blacks on the grounds that really a good bloke.

    Heh and when did any Prime Minitser get to play fast and loose with an SOE Throughly disappointed in JK/BE They have failed at the first hurdle

    Bad judgement call guys Makes you look like a pair of prize chumps. At best you are toadies at worst you are guilty of gross cronyisim

    And thats bad governance in itself.

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  65. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    Once again this is a calibration debate, in which there is broad general agreement on an issue and then heated debate over the precise details.

    I remember a Business NZ forum (election 05?) when the finance ministers were on a panel. The presence of Winston, and Copeland and the Greens showed how steady the new orthodoxy is. All this business nobody had heard of twenty years earlier and now we can’t imagine doing anything differently.

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  66. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    Murray

    Omigod, are you trying to tell me Labour lost the 2008 election! Really, is that true? Holy crap! Thanks for pointing that out, that was a very relevant and instructive point. There was me thinking Michael Cullen the finance minister had resigned from parliament after being appointed by John Key, opposition leader, to head some SOEs.

    Now go take and hat and join expat and d4j in the corner. Next.

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  67. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond

    You often question (quite arrogantly I am sorry to say) the level of naked hatred many on the right have for your particular style of politics.

    However when we hear things like “we won, you lost” etc and then read your childish rant at 12.56 then it is no wonder many of us detest the left.

    I expect that type of shit from greenfly and the other trolls, I had thought you were better than that.

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  68. Ruth (178 comments) says:

    Key is a risk taker extraordinaire and IMO this could be his biggest risk yet. Like Obama he seems to want to be ‘everybody’s friend’ and this move looks a bit desperate. Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire. Maybe he can see something long term that we can’t.

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  69. oob (194 comments) says:

    The only thing more ironic than Rob Salmond’s triumphalism in response to the regularity with which he’s getting owned on this thread, is the appointment of an ardent Marxist to the board of a bank.

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  70. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Lets hope it DOES backfire bloody quickly.

    I want this to blow up in Neville Key’s face as soon as possible, then he, Nick Smith, Richard Worth and English can fuck off and form their own party.

    Give me Crusher Collins as PM as soon as possible.

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  71. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    big bruv – Yeah I’ll admit to being a bit over-exuberant on this thread. Normally, as you suggest, I’m more measured. I guess when you haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about, then you cheer especially loudly when you get the chance.

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  72. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    oob – hint: if you’re going to try and play referee on the thread and decide who got owned, it pays not to make an idiot of yourself in the same post by calling a finance minister who ran the 5th free-est economy in the world for nine years an “ardent Marxist”. Kind of destroys your credibility. Go to the corner with expat, d4j, and Murray.

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  73. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Key must know something we don’t. He just must.

    Holy Crap! Key loves Cullen!

    Newsflash! Key to offer Tizard Plum Role!

    In other news – Kiwiblog Spontaneously combusts! Many burned!

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  74. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “the regularity with which he’s getting owned on this thread”

    yeah – for someone who claims to have a top 20 world debating ranking he is getting his cheeks parted with great regularity

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  75. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond

    I guess we can’t blame you for getting all excited. It’s not often that any form of confidence is expressed in Cullen by people who are not dependent on his redistribution policies for their livelihood.

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  76. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    “yeah – for someone who claims to have a top 20 world debating ranking “

    OMG, a person who justifies what “his party of choice” get up to based on “others did it too” in the top 20 debating ranking…

    I must encourage my 9 year old son to get into debating – he is good at yelling “he did it too” while pointing at his brother everythime I catch him doing something he was told not to.

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  77. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    I have just had a phone call from our local MP, she invited me to a get together over the Easter break.

    I thoroughly enjoyed telling her that I was the last person she would want to spend the weekend with as I would now be actively working to see her removed from office because of the decision of her boss to appoint the fiscal fool to this board.

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  78. oob (194 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond wrote: ..a finance minister who ran the 5th free-est economy in the world for nine years an “ardent Marxist”.

    This “5th free-est economy in the world” seems to have become something of a mantra amongst the sycophants, a mechanism to deny reality.

    Michael Cullen is a Marxist. His nine years as Minister of Finance were entirely focussed on redistributing wealth from the productive to the undeserving. Cullen nationalised as much industry as he could, doubled the size of the Public Sector, taxed private enterprise to a standstill, taxed the productive into poverty, spent on welfare handouts like there was no tomorrow on welfare and introduced as much bureaucracy as possible to inhibit the operation of the domestic markets.

    Michael Cullen is as far from free-market Capital as Pol Pot, yet now that he and Hulun have joined (at least in the tiny little minds of our local communists) the pantheon of Marxist Saints,* we’re getting this re-write of his personal history based on flimsy pretexts like “5th freest!”

    (*) Karl! Leon! Hulun! Michael!

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  79. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    This is an affront to every thinking kiwiblogger! Cullen! Our most-hated. Favoured by our messiah! Tooooo much! Tear my hair and rend my garments!

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  80. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Well, Key needed to appoint someone.

    Board chair is an important role, but it isn’t like they get to set strategy. They review what the CEO is doing, they veto some stuff, but they aren’t operational management. Lots of meetings, lots of chairing stuff, and a fair bit of governance and government management. Cullen would probably be OK at that – he has a reputation for digging through his brief quite comprehensively, and sweating the details. We’re not asking him to run the whole economy (he wasn’t all that good at that), rather just to second guess the decisions of a CEO in an increasingly irrelevant SOE. I think he’ll be an OK chair.

    If we accept he’ll probably be OK in teh role, the question then is why Key would want to do this. I would suggest:
    – not too many other candidates who are halfway competent and want the job
    – looks like a bi-partisan move – gives the illusion of being a centrist without really costing anything (important to hang on to those centre voters)
    – gets Cullen out of the house
    – brings all Labour’s worst nightmares home with the dead wood who’ll be dragged back into parliament.

    I’m not so interested in why Key did it, as why Cullen accepted. He’ll be seen as a traitor, and he’ll also cause enormous problems for the Labour party. He clearly doesn’t care anymore – which tells us something. He must need the money awfully badly.

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  81. Chris G (106 comments) says:

    “Michael Cullen is as far from free-market Capital as Pol Pot”

    Hahahahahah you lot crack me up.

    This is just fantastic!!

    Hahaha go big bruv! You sound like your going to bomb the National caucus tomorrow! Please do!

    More importantly and seriously: – Were you all this up in arms when Cullen appointed Jimbo as boss of Kiwirail???

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  82. Captain Crab (351 comments) says:

    C’mon guys, the headline says “Cullen resigns from Parliament”
    Thats the best news all day. Lets face it, his new job aint a stellar one. Heck, those businesses are run by reasonable management teams so dont think this is a prestigious appointment. Shit, they made Bolger Chairman, which proves my point.
    All he’ll be doing is reading Board reports and attending meetings. A far cry from running the country-poor diddums.
    Oh and I see the left are still trying to rewrite history using selective “facts” a la Rob Salmond whilst ignoring all other measures which shop Cullen as a failure. (The ACC thing is a shocking example of self serving deceit)
    Cullen was and is a fuck wit when it comes to economics.
    So just look at NZ Post as being the backwater we send useless pollies to. Nothing to stop Key pursuing breach of PREFU when hes gone from Parliament either….

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  83. AG (1,803 comments) says:

    oob,

    “we’re getting this re-write of his personal history based on flimsy pretexts like “5th freest!””

    I’m confused, oob. (I know, I know … no surprise there … I mean, I’m more confused than usual.) The claim that NZ is the 5th freest economy in the world is made by the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/index/Default.aspx). It believes economic freedom has risen since its last survey. Under Michael Cullen’s watch as Minister of FInance. So don’t you think you owe some sort of explanation as to why the premier conservative think-tank in the USA believes NZ has become more economically free under a so-called Marxist Minister of Finance? Either (i) they are idiots, or (ii) you are somewhat confused in your analysis, and are allowing wishful thinking (“He MUST be a Marxist … I hate him so much he MUST be”) to infect your commentary.

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  84. greenfly (1,059 comments) says:

    Key eh! What a subtle strategist. Trouble with clever strategies is collateral damage. You guys.

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  85. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Actually, returning to an earlier point on the fundamentals, someone has been using rose-tinted spectacles.

    The four benefits NZ had moving forwards into the international recession were:
    (1) a low-debt public sector
    (2) high interest rates (which created scope for cuts, not possible in other countries- but normally, this is not regarded as a good thing)
    (3) an export focus on food & similar commodities (good thing we’re not depending on super yachts and our film industry now, huh?).
    (4) a sound banking system (despite the absence of a deposit-insurance scheme, good job that RB).

    Nonetheless, the risk factors are also mentioned in evaluations of NZ’s position. These are:
    (5) the high level of household debt
    (6) the appalling external position in the current account, leaving us dependent on the rest-of-the-world lending us 6-8% of GDP annually to meet import demand. If Japanese households ever decide not to lend us the forex again, you’ll see our dollar shrink to a few cents to the greenback.

    Now, the blow-out in household sector debt and the external account was symptomatic of bad economic management. The economy had growing imbalances that were getting worse. The imbalances were due to a government that was content to run a dual-economy. A hot domestic sector run on debt-consumption (keeping unemployment artificially low) and a sick export sector (take out the cows, and you find that we’ve got net deforestation and sheep farmers pulling in annual incomes of $18k after costs).

    Productivity growth rates slowed down during the Cullen years, implying we ended up a lot less richer than we could have- if these rates were maintained. But the knowledge-wave- and everything else talked about in a similar vein- couldn’t even sustain that.

    Given exchange rate movements, our ‘national income’ has already been corrected to 20-30% less of what it used to be.

    Cullen was not a sound economic manager of the economy. At the end, the goals of transforming it into a faster and more productive economy, became a transformation into an imblanced economy, burderned by a weak export sector. That is why the economy had already been driven into recession before the international financial crisis.

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  86. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Perhaps AG you should read what oob wrote, rather than depend on a US thinktank to do that for you. I’m not convinced that the Heritage Foundation for instance, factors in fully the RMA in their ranks.

    Did Cullen nationalise industries?- yes
    Did Cullen increase taxes? -yes
    Did Cullen expand welfare programmes?- yes

    Ergo, he was no champion of a free society.

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  87. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    Who cares, honestly. So Key and the National government gave a job to Michael Cullen. Not a big deal. big bruv – you don’t represent National voters. You represent the fringe that is the far right. I find it simply astounding that you believe you know what the right in this country thinks. You don’t. You know what the far-right think but not the mere right. Its about time you got used to it.

    This thread surprises me with the amount of hysteria simply because Cullen wasn’t give a seat on a SOE board.

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  88. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    gingercrush

    I assume you are a youngster as you obviously have no idea how the so called far right saved this country back in the 80′s, in case you missed it we are in a very similar situation now.

    Centrist policies and politics do not work, the policies I want to see are tried and tested, where as Neville Key wants to fuck around with all this centrist rubbish.

    Before you make a fool of yourself again go and check out these two names, Sir Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, these are people with real vision and people who we need right now.

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  89. AG (1,803 comments) says:

    Chthoniid,

    I did read oob’s rant. Light on detail, large on rhetoric. So yes, there is no doubt Cullen did some things that were redistributional in intention. He was, after all, a Labour Minister of Finance. But c’mon. A hard-core Marxist? On a level with Pol Pot? You really want to tie yourself to THAT particular mast?

    The point of the Heritage Foundation report is that it is a perspective from outside the rather hothouse atmosphere of NZ politics, where praise for Cullen along one vector is automatically assumed to be endorsement of everything Labour ever did on anything. In other words, it offers the chance to calm down a bit. Which oob needed to do. That’s all.

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  90. tvb (4,254 comments) says:

    Transtasman might not be so wrong – deputy chair of NZPost instead of Ken Douglas – and Chair of Kiwibank

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  91. Minnie (96 comments) says:

    Its hard to see what damage Cullen could do as…possibly…Vice Chair in the medium term of NZPost. It will surely piss a few Nats off to see someone as acidic towards them as Cullen has been, being appointed, but its hardly a strategic blunder for them, or a triumph for Labour either.

    What it does is negate any claim that the Nats are as biased as Labour appeared to be in any future appointments they make. Thats enough to justify it.

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  92. tvb (4,254 comments) says:

    Whaleoil has written a very sensible blog on this issue – probably after speaking to his father who I know is a very very sensible person – and his mother who I like very much.

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  93. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    I am youngish. If 25 is young. I have much respect for both Roger Douglas who pushed the necessary reforms and Richardson who continued on with those reforms. But I also think they went too far and too fast hence why other countries have a long way to go. I consider the neo-liberal experiment to be admiral. But the selling of so many assets for such cheap prices was plainly a mistake. I think its remarkable that Cullen and Clark so hated by some on the right didn’t repeal those reforms. They brought back Air NZ and rail and some other things but they certainly didn’t repeal those reforms. National themselves are open to private partnerships in Prisons. Opening ACC to competition. And I’m sure there’s other stuff out there. But New Zealand didn’t vote for a hard right agenda. So National should never be expected to deliver hard right policies.

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  94. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Hmm, how do you know the assets were sold too cheap Gingercrush?

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  95. jacob van hartog (309 comments) says:

    And its Brash as chair of Transpower.

    The guy knows nothing about electricity.

    Lesson one . There are two types of power( the electrical sort) when looking at transmission lines

    I suppose all the wall st job offers he made the special trip to NY 2 years ago didnt come through ..LOL

    [DPF: He isn't Chair. As usual you get the facts wrong]

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  96. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (858 comments) says:

    The only plus here is that Cullen gets to be Bolgers bitch

    should be entertaining, for both of them.

    and as whale points out, Cullen has now sold out the Labour party following his having sold out NZ.

    still i cant say i like the appointment though.

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  97. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    gingercrush

    But the selling of so many assets for such cheap prices was plainly a mistake.

    Yes that’s a common lie propagated by the same people who call the necessary reforms “the failed policies of the past”.

    Let me tell you a little about Railways;

    Before it was sold it employed 22,000 people. Train drivers were (in 1983) paid about $70K a year and that was a time when the average wage was about $20K. The cost of rail freight was ridiculous. For example it was cheaper to put crushed cars in Wellington onto a ship bound for Korea for melting down than it was to put them on a train to Auckland. After the sale of Railways ( and the restructure ) there were 5,000 employees and train drivers salaries dropped down to about $50K ( only 250% more than the the average salary). The cost of sending crushed cars to Auckland was suddenly cheaper than sending them to Taiwan…. Before the sale tax payers money to the tune of millions of dollars was required every year to keep things going. Investment in infrastructure was years behind even then. In short Railways (like NZ post at that time) had become a sheltered workshop that the govt used to hide unemployment.

    In an accounting sense Railways was not a state asset – it was a state liability. Sure it was a service, but it was a very expensive and inefficient one.

    The story of NZ post is much the same, months to get a phone connected. Terrible line quality and millions of tax payers $$$ required every year to keep it going. Like Railways, in an accounting sense NZ Post was a liability.

    You really need to read the facts about these things and listen to the old bastards that were around at the time, the politcial lines are just that – political lines.

    NZ Post… Well same story sad to say.

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  98. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    gingercrush

    It’s a pity the Railway workshop closed in Woburn… The “lost” railway wagons that were oh so common before Railways was sold (and made accountable) frequently turned up there for staff to pick over. Unlimited Railway sleepers were also available if you knew they guy on the gate, if you didn’t know him a dozen large bottles made him look the other way while you drove the trailer full of them out.

    The good old days…. Paid for by the tax payer ! Lets hope Cullen can restore some of the “pre failed policies of the past” to NZ post eh – it is afterall the model of NZ that he seems to think we should be heading back to.

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  99. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    I bet he thinks he’s a clever bastard, form waste master general to postmaster general.

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  100. beautox (436 comments) says:

    He should be in prison.

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  101. DMS (54 comments) says:

    You guys are priceless! You beat yourselves up into a frenzy over the election time, and believed what the focus groups were saying. Helengrad, meglamaniac Cullen, economic incompetence, ra,ra. You got the right voted in on Labour lite, expecting to be able to cynically revert back to the privatisation scams of the past.
    But Key has changed the script a fraction. Oh dear, oh shame: Michael Cullen is recognised as an astute, careful manager.
    Now watch as the porridge hits the fan over the mega-city concept. Little Rodney will be out of his depth, and the tide will go out on the move to the right amongst Auckland voters.
    Keep up the good work Kiwiblog. Fawlty Towers has some competition at long last.

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  102. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    DMS

    Michael Cullen is recognised as an astute, careful manager.

    Guess that is why we were the first OECD country to be in recession well before the global economic crisis was starting to slow down other countries. Man he must have been careful, he made sure we had more experience at living in a recession when it really mattered.

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  103. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    DMS

    Actually it is a bit like Faulty Towers. You lovers of big ineffective govt and stagnant shrinking economies which create welfare dependency call Cullen a Siberian Hamster. The rest of us call him a rat.

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  104. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    DMS, you are of course welcome to worship at whatever alter you choose. However he’s treated now (and for whatever politically motivated reasons), I still regard Cullen as one would toxic waste on their cornflakes.

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  105. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    burt, filligree.. only one in shop :)

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  106. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    beautox – hopefully a privatised, Maori ran prison 8)

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  107. DMS (54 comments) says:

    GS, nothing to do with worship, but in my mind, an objective response to economic management. When you resort to emotive responses toxic waste on cornflakes, I worry that too many Nact decision makers rely too much on people who spend their days talking to their keyboards.
    You had it wrong about Helen Clark, you have it wrong about Cullen; I think you have it wrong about Key who may be a more courageous centralist than many expected.
    The best adult pacifiers GS are nuk5s.

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  108. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    DMS

    Repeat after me: Recession bad – growth good. Cullen cause recession – Cullen bad.

    Try it… It’s called being objective – you know that thing you talk about when you completely ignore the facts and repeat the party lines… I’m waiting for you to say the special words; Prudent financial managers – move on. Go on…

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  109. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    DMS – some facts

    -as a %age of our GDP NZ government spend/taxation is up there with the top socialist countries
    overtaxation slows growth

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  110. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    DMS – sorry, no time for exhaustive response. I started work at 6am this morning and I’m still going. The trials of being self-employed. If that Nats rely on anything it’s the export earnings and tax I’m paying to help dig NZ out of the ideological sinkhole so masterfully excavated by Cullen. So have another chardonnay and read a bit more Marx in the safe knowledge that I’m not the only one picking up the pieces.

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  111. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    DMS, the skill-set required to be a director or chair of an SOE are unlikely to be the same as that of a Finance Minister, as the latter involves rather more formidable challenges. Like preparing the Government budget. Hence, an SOE appointment does not represent an endorsement of Cullen’s economic management skills.

    As for where Key sits, it was the lefties that were painting him out as a dangerous, secret-agenda privatising SOB during the election. Key campaigned as a centre-right givernment and is delivering on that. I don’t see that Cullen’s appointment is any sighnal that Key has moved on that. Nor do I see it as an endorsement of Cullen’s perfomance as the finance minister.

    Now, I’m quite happy to discuss Cullen’s performance as an economic manager, and in any objective analysis, we would like to know why the NZ economy was already in recession before the international crisis.

    I would also like to know why the growing macroeconomic imbalances (household debt, external accounts) could be construed as indicators of superior economic management.

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  112. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    DMS – Fawlty Towers! Then Basil would be??? The Cullen Slam Dunk has rocked the rank and file, while at the same time the anti-Maori Super City Big Noise is rocking the City of Sails boat dangerously. The great Red Underbelly is stirring! Banksies supercillious grin will alienate droves of Key’s adoring fans and the sight of Rodneys chiselled head will repell the remainder. What a stimulating couple of days!

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  113. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Ultimately this is nothing more than one bunch of corrupt wankers handing out jobs to another bunch of corrupt wankers.

    Every three years these pricks (National and Labour) try and con the public that they care, today’s events prove that the only thing they care about is keeping their noses in the trough for another three years.

    Lets be honest here, we have roughly 120 of these pricks pretending to care about the nation, they pretend to empathise with us when the reality is that not one of them is facing the prospect of losing their jobs or their home for at least another three years, there are literally thousands of Kiwi’s who would give their eye teeth for that type of job security right now.

    Cullen lost his job last November, the bastard should be joining the the ranks of the unemployed rather than being handed another job by his “mates” in the house.

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  114. Viking2 (11,275 comments) says:

    Do you think that Key placed Cullen in this post so that he would not hired by Maori to demand Treaty Rights. It was suggested that he could head that direction. God Forbid and save the taxpayers.

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  115. DMS (54 comments) says:

    Burt, Cullen caused the recession! Let Wall St know; let the Chinese money men know; let Gordon Brown know. We have found the weak link. Hallelujah!

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  116. Chris G (106 comments) says:

    ah burt, “Let me tell you a little about Railways;” Perhaps – ‘Let me tell you about the half of the railways that makes my point sound good’

    You conveniently left out the part where the railways under private control by the Greedy Fay & Richwhite among others who owned TranzRail systematically let it run in to an absolute shit heap that it needed to be bailed out by the government in 2002 or else the trains would have stopped running! Then after more shit heap operation by ANOTHER greedy company – Toll – The government finally bought it back.

    Heres the legacy of private control for the railways:

    - Insider trading
    - Lack of investment and maintenance
    - 3 time winner of the Roger award for Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in New Zealand and first inductee in to its ‘Hall of Shame’
    - Bailout by the ‘big bad government’

    Then just for a laugh we chucked the very man who SOLD it in the first place back in charge of the now State owned KiwiRail!

    = ~15 year experiment FAIL

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  117. Viking2 (11,275 comments) says:

    Personally think that this will cost the Nats in votes. Its one of the reasons that they never got mine. Just knew that they don’t have what it takes to go for the kill. Ironical that Key was talking about sacking Worth the other day for minor stupidity and now he has handed Cullen this despite knowing full well that Cullen should be before court for breaking the law over fiscal responsibility. Not very clever thinking.

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  118. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Burt, Cullen caused the recession! Let Wall St know; let the Chinese money men know; let Gordon Brown know. We have found the weak link. Hallelujah!

    And what, pray tell, has this to do with objective commentary.

    Burt has correctly identified that the NZ economy was in recession before the international crisis. Not only that, but the structural surpluses in the government’s accounts that was supposed to be ongoing, disappeared as soon as growth dropped to 2%- and were in deficit below that. For someone whose primary job was to tidy out the ups and downs of economic cycles, this was pretty damning.

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  119. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Chris G

    You miss the point. gingercrush said they were sold to cheaply. I’m not disputing that the private owners continued the under investment in infrastructure that was already well established. I’m not arguing that the private managers could have done better. But the point is that it was sold for fair value as at that time. As was NZ Post when it was sold. The fact that after a few years of private management the book value was massively increased from the book value under state mismanagement is not sufficient grounds to state it was sold for too little. Telecom as part of NZ post was a complete failure, much like most monopoly state providers it lost money by the truck load and became a sheltered workshop to hide unemployment.

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  120. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    DMS

    If I overcharged my customers I too could reduce my credit card debt and buy a few nice BMW’s. Under Cullen personal debt grew and state debt diminished. Basically we saw a transfer of wealth from the people to the state. No more no less. No substantial investment in infrastructure, no income producing assets developed, no structural changes in the economy. Simple and dim transfer of wealth from people to state. Any twat given the mandate to increase taxes could do that.

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  121. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    Start again – bring back the edit function – where is Buck when you need him?

    DMS – some facts

    - as a %age of our GDP NZ government spend/taxation is up there with the top socialist countries
    - this %age grew substantially during cullen’s regime
    - tax take increased tens of billions of dollars
    - overtaxation slows growth
    - the workhorses of NZ (the middle class – not the rich) were no better off at the end of 9 years of cullen’s policies and in fact where worse off
    - a surprising no of the disadvantaged elements of NZ where actually worse off than before cullen started
    - saving while one still has debt (the cullen fund) is downright stupid
    - ACC blowout
    - 20+ thousand extra civil masters measuring our trouser length, tie colour etc
    - government employees now get paid more on average than commercial employess who actually take some job risks
    - I’m bored and will now stop

    Cullen an astute careful manager?

    Are there two cullens?

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  122. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Look at who Cullen is replacing. Ken Douglas.

    NZPost is now highly diversified, owning outright brands like Kiwibank, Express Couriers, Courier Post and Datamail as well as the thing most people still think of when they think of Post.

    It also has significant holdings in other ventures like a 30% holding in Datacom, a 50% holding in ReachMedia and a 50% holding in a joint venture in Australia with DHL.

    It’s a highly diversified logistics business that recognised decades ago that its traditional business of paper letters would eventually disappear, as its been doing for years and now rapidly accelerated by the GFC.

    At the same time it has the highest volume of touch points per day in the NZ market and a consequent high fixed-cost network structure, since it costs the same to deliver a half bag of mail as it does two bags. That’s why it’s difficult to wring profit out of that high capital investment. It’s the nature of the business as opposed to say manufacturing and that’s why Post doesn’t return particularly high ROI relative to other SOEs but it doesn’t do badly considering.

    Cullen’s appointment can be explained in one word: Unions. The vast majority of the delivery workers in Post are union members. Post has always been a major if not the major, employer of union-based workers, in NZ. Look it up.

    That merits someone on the board who’s understanding of the union cause. Ken Douglas used to be that person. Now it’s Cullen.

    Bad choice by Key? A most wise choice, I would say.

    The GFC is going to decimate the mail volumes as business after business turn to electronic means to deliver their invoices, statements, etc. Combined with those high fixed costs and the declining volumes and the fact that once those major customers leave, they will never come back, Post has to transform itself.

    Who would be better than Cullen to (a) give the board foresight and insight into what might be coming up (b) have national and international contacts that could be called in to mitigate the effects and (c) mitigate the upcoming ructions which no doubt will cause significant unrest, as the full effects of the GFC hit NZPost.

    Personally, my respect for Key has trebled, over this appointment.

    Bolger as Chairman of the Board has ultimate responsibility for reviewing the external operating environment and positioning the business for those conditions. Even though he joins many other Chairmen in being surprised by the GFC,

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  123. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    reid

    Excellent list of operations to boycott. Cheers.

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  124. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    ignore the last sentence, I was going to say I was disappointed in Bolger’s foresight, since he obviously did nothing to position the business, but what’s the point.

    DPF, bring back edit, dammit….

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  125. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Reid. A fair amount of explanation went into your post, however my questions may not be simple. Do you think;
    1. Ken Douglas was appointed as the most appropiate person in the first place?
    2. prior to what you have mentioned there were significant union problems with NZ post that warranted Douglas’s appointment?
    3. I dont subscribe to the union issue so given Cullens track record how many people could do a better job?

    IMO Cullen would have resigned from parliament anyway so this was not ‘taking him out’. This is nothing more than a quid pro quo

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  126. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    yeah – bring back the edit.

    reid – i dont believe Cullens appreciation of the GFC was so sharp considering his gross acquisition of a certain rail company

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  127. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    I agree Patrick, however given all the alternatives, Cullen has had to have recent exposure to some of the most astute advice in the land and also he’s a lot brighter perhaps than some of the other members.

    John Allen the CEO of Post is an extremely smart cookie and Cullen and he would be a formidable combination.

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  128. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Patrick, re: your 8:58.

    1. I don’t know.
    2. I don’t know, but possibly – I suspect he was a hack. Greg Fortuin was also on the board till recently, for example. What value did he add?
    3. Probably quite a few, but how many are available, now, and also solve the political problem of giving him something?

    Some may say Key should not give any of the former Liarbore govt anything, but that would be churlish, counter-productive and unwise, in my view.

    I’m coming round to Key’s perspective re: ignoring ideological impediments and looking logically at the problem. If the best possible candidate happens to be someone who insulted you or colleagues in the House, so what? Just because they did it, doesn’t make it the best tactic. We all here deplored such tactics at the time Liarbore did it. If it was a mistake then why is it right now, if Key does it.

    I guess it revolves around your question 2. Was he the best possible candidate available? Who else might have been better, right now, that would have done it?

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  129. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Cullen admitted himself he was out of his depth with the economy.

    The article in the Herald has been removed… but on the 12th September last year Cullen was quoted as saying;

    Economy over the worst: Cullen – NZ Herald. 12 Sep 2008

    Finance Minister Michael Cullen thinks the worst of the economic recession is probably over – and that Labour’s tax cuts will help to push the economy back into positive growth just as voters head to the polls.

    Just as voters headed to the polls…. that’s all Labour ever worried about – redistribution (the great socialist dream and failure) and the polls.

    The link to The Herald was: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&bjectid=10531795

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  130. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    burt, I was warning people at the time – look up my posts back then. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Cullen in my view, did a good job with managing the economy.

    I’m merely saying he’s quite bright and he’s had access to some of the best advisors in the land. His former position gives one certain insights into where to look, who to talk to and what to look for, one assumes.

    If he proves to be a complete fool then I’d be most surprised and I think odds are, that’s most unlikely.

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  131. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    I’m sorry reid. as much as I’d like to believe Key as being extremely astute I think this is nothing more than a quid pro quo and unwritten convention amongst parliamentarians.

    I remind you of Keys decision on the SIS investigations on sitting MP’s. This is nothing more than placing yourself as an elite (and in an MMP environment he’s wrong)

    What I’d really like to know is was this Keys decision – or the advice of an advisor? He’s either over-estimating Cullens talents or he’s just ‘playing the age old game’

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  132. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    ladies & gentlemen

    NZPost is supposedly a commercial operation – with irritating components like making a profit – reducing operating costs and increasing revenue – of course cullen would not have a clue how to do all of the above – tax, tax, tax a bit more, oh and we forgot a bit of tax there does not work in a commercial environment

    Key is just removing an irritant from parliament and putting him in a set of circumstances he will be unable to cause issues for national going forward – admitedly a painful exercise but probably the best in the long term

    Could be seen as very pragmatic or very cynical

    Reid – brightness does not equate to effectiveness

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  133. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    “Reid – brightness does not equate to effectiveness”

    Yes but Cullen’s obviously being positioned to take over as Chairman from Bolger.

    Whom of those two would you rate “most likely to succeed?”

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  134. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Whom of those two would you rate “most likely to succeed?””

    you almost agree

    “nothing more than a quid pro quo and unwritten convention amongst parliamentarians.”

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  135. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    reid

    What worries me is exemplified by this,

    NZ Parliament Order paper, 1. Economy—Recent Developments – 12th April 2009

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: Prior to the Reserve Bank forecasts today, which confirm that the economic outlook is consistent with the pessimistic views of Treasury before Christmas, I saw one comment from Dr Cullen in September. He was quoted as saying that the worst was over now and he was very confident the economy would start to pick up in December.

    Hon Dr Michael Cullen: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You may recall your ruling previously, that Ministers are not responsible for any comments they made before the election. It is hard to see, therefore, how they can be responsible for comments that I made before the election—even less so.

    He has no more idea than the rest of us but he rambled on with his own conviction anyway. How much did we pay for Rail? Who said it was looking up and ACC levies might come down?

    But sure he can play the rules; shamelessly in fact.

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  136. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    What contempt the National Party must have for the people who put them into power.

    Just as well there will be health competition for their votes from ACT in 2011.

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  137. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    If I wanted someone who was a walking encyclopaedia Britannica on parliamentary law, or someone who could give a smug answer in a debate I would probably chose Cullen. However if I wanted someone on a BOD to make a business prosper he would be the last person I would choose

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  138. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    Patrick Starr

    Cullen is more of a Wikipedia administrator rather than a bound edition of Britannica. Bound editions can’t be retrospectively changed.

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  139. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    reid

    Whom of those two would you rate “most likely to succeed?”

    It’s actually a good question. I would actually rate Bolger as more likely to succeed. He’s a smarter operator in my opinion. Bolger also had a life before politics outside of academia.

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  140. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    He’s either over-estimating Cullens talents or he’s just ‘playing the age old game’

    Well Cullen’s talents are quite considerable. You don’t get to become a master of the house in the way he has, without some clues. Possibly his operational strategy isn’t very well developed, but that’s why you have other minds like the CEO and the other Board members there.

    The Board’s role is to assess the external environment: i.e. analyse trends and risks and develop exploitative and counter-strategies. Maybe Cullen is lacking in various aspects due to his somewhat commercially restricted academic/Parliamentary background, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t lacking in everything that’s needed and he does have other members to fill the gaps.

    We don’t know what Key/Power has planned for future appointments but one thing I’ll bloody put money on, they won’t be making appointments for purely ideological or political payoff reasons in the same way the previous mob did it. He’s not driven by the same calculations that Hulun was. This is not power at all costs and it’s not cheap payoff to avoid some trivial consequence at the expense of the taxpayer. This is about building a future. Key is focused on that in the same way that Hulun was focused on power. That’s how I’m starting to measure his decisions.

    (I’m standing with hand on heart whistling “God Defend…” right now….)

    How much did we pay for Rail? Who said it was looking up and ACC levies might come down?

    Look absolutely, burt. But just because he did some really fucked things doesn’t mean he doesn’t have talent…

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  141. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    reid

    I kind of buy the Union position. My mother was a postie, one a bike (I blame her for my love of cycling). Anyway long story short. Local postie is pedaling down the street here a few months back swerving like he was drunk. I watched him approach and noticed he had a flat tyre. I offered him a tube, it takes but minutes to change one. He refused, said he didn’t have far to go and continued off to do more damage to his back rim.

    It’s not his bike, why would he care about it. Piss all of the bad ‘the company is rich it can pay’ mentality has been kicked out of Post at the grass roots. There is much shaking to occur and a sympathetic union guy on the board will grease the cogs.

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  142. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    a sympathetic union guy on the board will grease the cogs

    Yes but I rather suspect the EPMU will take one look at Cullen and mutter something like ‘rich prick’ which would be pleasing but not particularly productive or in line with my comment above.

    If you want my prediction, the Post Group will be prepared for break-up over the next three years. Cullen said tonight that he would not have joined the Board if Post was being prepared for sale, but as I said above, Post is a highly diversified group.

    National’s instinct is that the market is best and state companies can’t operate effectively due to political considerations compromising commercial imperatives. The GFC is entering a phase where that issue is going to surface, big-time.

    The postal delivery function as we know it can’t operate profitably without volume. OTOH, other companies in the group like Kiwibank in the last quarter just had extremely high growth.

    So what’s the Board to do? What would you do, if you were Key, looking at that?

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  143. Haiku Dave (273 comments) says:

    you bitches been played
    just like a bunch of snooker
    balls, only not red

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  144. burt (8,025 comments) says:

    reid

    So what’s the Board to do? What would you do, if you were Key, looking at that?

    Fair call. However I don’t think I would want somebody who would think it was just perfect to fleece the profitable side of the business more (while denigrating them and disenfranchising them) to prop up the failing side of the business so it has no need to change it’s ways. I don’t think Cullen is the right person to manage structural changes. He’ll be stumped if he can’t just put up postal rates and employ more people to get all the indicators looking good.

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  145. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    reid says
    “Look absolutely, burt. But just because he did some really fucked things doesn’t mean he doesn’t have talent…”

    means he has a talent for doing really stupid things

    1 more time – being intellectualy smart is of surprisingly minimal benefit in business – most academics are crap in the real world – being pragmatic, principled, focussed, consistent, detail oriented, understanding and getting on with people and lots of other character traits have a more signficant bearing on success than the ability to do sums in one’s head.

    For instance, his apparent inability to recognise and learn from his failures is very strongly against him as that ability is often seen in successful commercial people. At least Bolger has pragmatism on his side – another trait of successful people.

    cullen’s behaviour over a long period indicates he does not have the right commercial traits.

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  146. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    “over-exuberant ” is apprently code for obnoxious dickhead today.

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  147. bobux (349 comments) says:

    Rob

    Your 2.20 explanantion makes even less sense than your original claim.

    Appointing a former finance minister to an SOE board validates the decisions the government made on his watch, but appointing a former prime minister to an SOE board doesn’t? If you say so, Rob, if you say so.

    Your suggestion that Richardon and Birch were the power behind the throne in the last National government shows that you are either completely ignorant of the dynamics of that government (such as the significant policy differences between Richardson/Birch) or that you are just spinning. Or both.

    I can only imagine how disconsolate Labour bloggers must be if the Father of the House resigning to become Chair of NZ Post sparks such an outbreak of exuberence. Ahem, deputy Chair. Ahem ahem, deputy Chair at some point in the future. Its almost as if he was desperate not to have to sit around in caucus with towering intellects like the Hon. Parekura Horomia, George Hawkins and Ashraf Choudhary

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  148. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Cullen and Key – backroom conspirators who go way back. It’s obviously further evidence of the corruption of Liarbore. Even when a Nat govt is in power. :-P

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  149. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,820 comments) says:

    Given the MOU with the Greens we can now understand John Key’s enthusiam for recycling the trash.

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  150. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    OK – its a late post but I noticed DPF’s ‘Random Quote” and had to slot it in:

    “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office”
    — Aesop, 600 BC

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