Days to the General Election: 28
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.

BusinessDesk: "It's as if the Earth now has two moons instead of one and both are growing in size like a cancerous tumour"

BusinessDesk: "It's as if the Earth now has two moons instead of one and both are growing in size like a cancerous tumour"

Equities failed to find direction as concern about Europe's ability to solve its debt crisis resurfaced and tensions heightened after the European Union threatened to ban Iranian exports.

The latest US data did little to alter the mood, sending mixed messages on the state of the world's largest economy.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index barely budged, up 0.02 percent and 0.04 percent respectively. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.11 percent.

While the US Commerce Department said orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8 percent in November, following two straight months of declines, orders for non-defence capital goods excluding aircraft - seen as a gauge of business confidence and spending plans - dropped 1.2 percent.

Throwing water on hopes for a better year for investors, Bill Gross, the manager of the world's largest bond fund, called the current market environment "paranormal."

Gross said this year will be characterised by "credit and zero-bound interest rate risk."

"It's as if the Earth now has two moons instead of one and both are growing in size like a cancerous tumour that may threaten the financial tides, oceans and economic life as we have known it for the past half century," Gross said in an investment letter released on PIMCO's website.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index dropped 0.6 percent. UniCredit’s plan to sell shares at a massive discount in order to increase its capital renewed concern European banks need to raise more money to keep ahead of the EU's fiscal crisis. That offset a generally positive reception for the sale of German 10-year bonds.

“The European debt crisis has never really abated,” John Plassard, director at Louis Capital Markets SA in Geneva, told Bloomberg News. “Even though 2011 ended relatively well, 2012 remains at risk."

The concern about Europe's problems also contributed to oil's slide. Crude for February delivery was 0.4 percent weaker at US$102.56 a barrel at 11.48am on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil had risen earlier in the session, climbing in excess of US$1 in six minutes on a report that the European Union had agreed to a ban on exports from Iran, according to Bloomberg News.

“There is still concern about Europe and people are playing very defensively in the market,” Rich Ilczyszyn, chief market strategist and founder of in Chicago told Bloomberg News. "The EU’s ban of Iranian imports is big news and spurred oil’s gain.”

A report showing that services and manufacturing output in the euro zone contracted less than initially estimated in December failed to bolster the mood.

A euro-area composite index based on a survey of purchasing managers in both industries rose to 48.3 from 47 in November, London-based Markit Economics said. The German composite output gauge rose to 51.3 from 49.4.

In other news, Yahoo! appointed Scott Thompson chief executive officer, four months after firing Carol Bartz. Thompson was most recently president of EBay's PayPal unit.


We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


 "While the US Commerce Department said orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8 percent in November,"...and why?....because of a string of tax handout cut bailouts that had to be taken before the end of the the data is highly misleading.

don't believe me huh...go read for yourself...

so the "recovery" is crap....2012 is heading down the hole

Here's a message for you...

What does it tell you about this woman...this American lawyer...her culture...?

The judge should be free to make the un-PC declaration of "buyer be thick" and dismiss the case.

Guess what's coming down the red tape Council pipelines for all those with residences built on or near or above cliffs and banks of any kind anywhere in NZ.....

Yes it's a demand for a geo technical engineers report on your property....$$$$$$$$$$$

The Christchurch City Council's controversial chief executive has defended his $68,000 pay rise, saying it is recognition of his performance during a year in which he has "never worked as hard in my life".

Tony Marryatt rejected calls to refuse the 14.4 per cent pay rise, saying it was a reflection of his performance and the market rate for his job.

"I am not refusing the pay offer and I am not giving it to charity. That is on the principle that I feel I should be paid the market remuneration for the job and what is appropriate for my level of performance. That is how I treat people in this organisation and that has been my philosophy in 30 years," he said.

Marryatt was speaking publicly for the first time since his pay rise was announced on December 18, taking his remuneration from $470,400 to $538,529 a year, effective from July 1, 2011. The increase has prompted public outrage, a barrage of critical letters to The Press and a protest at council headquarters. Read more 

The market rate for this and similar NZ jobs are set by self serving, egregious civil servants way beyond the renumeration levels available to those in similar positions in other western countries. 

Our own RBNZ governor is paid the thick end of NZD 600,000 while  Ben Bernanke , his Washington counterpart is drawing a measly USD 199,700.

A population of 4.3 million people cannot support such outrageous emoluments for these self-ordained princes of public service.

All very true Stephen but the govt doen't give a dam. You will note the CCC CEO found the time to defend his fatter salary...!

Well I will give him a challenge. Im shearing my ewes next week, full wool, how about he pop's up and does a day in the shed on a handpiece, then he can tell me he still thinks his job is hard.  My shearers earn less in a year than his pay increase. These puplic sector workers are out of touch, lets give them some real work.

Rick Ellis CEO TVNZ allowed the board to give him a 20% increase to around 1Million. He also feels its what he is worth. This of course was after the multi million dollar Tivo cock up... Seems to be going around!

Hahaha, you reckon he can fleece your ewes as well as he has feeced ratepayers?  I also know a lot of people in the real word, who actually work hard everyday, every year, and he isn't worth one of them, let alone 10.  The sheer arrogance to think he has earned it, out of touch, but pleanty of connections.

Perhaps the higher relative salaries for senior government officials is the price we (society at large) pay as compensation for the relative absence of crony capitalism (a kinder way of saying "bribery and corruption") in NZ government circles.    

Ironically, we the taxpayer therefore foot the bill for being one of the least corrupt Western democracies. 

But, these senior officials still curry favour with big business (e.g. Fletchers virtual monopoly in the CHCH residential rebuild).  And why do they do so if indeed there are no backhanders? 

I think it's got to do with the unwritten understanding that the favours they do whilst in political power will be returned by way of preferential employment in the private sector once they decide to leave government (e.g. Simon Power).





Kate - I think you've nailed it.

But it's inconsequential in the big scheme of things - which always begs the question: What's the real agenda of those doing the slagging-off?

I'll slag off without an agenda, pigs wallowing in the public trough, and saying they deserve it, don't understand the meaning of Public Servant.

Kate your logic has some merit. But I cannot believe the extension of the deposit guarantee scheme to South Canterbury Finance was undertaking by Treasury with dispassionate indifference to those most likely to be affected by an unsupported default. 

Furthermore, the RBNZ imposition of an extended 'emergency' rate OCR @ 2.5% is nothing more  than a policy reflecting support for the indolent at the expense of the diligent. I leave it to you to choose who might represent the indolent class.  

Re the extension of the guarantee to SCF - I wonder whether an OIA request would (eventually after legal challenge) deliver a list of SCF investor/benefactors of that extension.

My guess is there would be a fair few higher salaried public officials (elected and non-elected) amongst them... after all, didn't Alan Hubbard himself seem genuinely puzzled when his 'good friend, John Key', eventually failed to come to the rescue?

On the OCR issue - I'd go for replacing the words indolent and diligent with punters and prudent. 

We have just lived through a multi-decadal era that favoured the punters (and I include myself amongst them). And now that all bets are basically bad - we have converted to prudent and are screaming "unfair".

I appreciate that's a generalisation but at least it's an honest one.  As a BBer who lived the high life during those golden years, I believe what many of us are most disturbed by is the lack of opportunity for our children and grandchildren that we have collectively effectively created.


Talking in a relative terms... I do wonder...  seem to be just talking about timing of the payoff and if it is direct or indirect...depends also how you define crony capitalism. The English approach or american. If it influences policy does it really mean its any different?

At least in the US it is more transparent..simply look at the pork added to bills and see where the money flows. Look at the contracts...

I think you will find many trying to get a decent job done through EQC and Fletchers may see it as crony capitalism. Look where the share price went post announcement with Fletchers etc. who received the benefits...handy to have the information on hand at the right time isn't it.


The way Chch is wobbling around at the moment I doubt if theres going to be a need for a council at all - might as well relocate the bulk of people that want to stay down to Ashburton or somewhere

Days to the General Election: 28
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.