User's guide to KiwiSaver; Psychological tips for successful stock investing; Confessions of an account junkie; Why small investors will miss out; Reality bites

By Amanda Morrall

1) KiwiSaver user's guide

Regulars to our site will know by now the ins and outs of KiwiSaver. For the benefit of those still trying to come to term with the basics, Morningstar NZ's Chris Douglas and myself helped to produce this segment for Radio NZ's This Way up programme. We'll have a second instalment in a few weeks time so stay tuned.

2) Psychological tips for investing

The more things change, the more they stay the same? Personal finance blogger decided to put that piece of wisdom to a test looking at whether investment writer David L. Markstein's psychological tips from his 1960s' "Build a Fortune in the Stock Market" were still relevant today. Mostly.

3) Confessions of an account junkie

The advent of internet and mobile banking has made keeping tabs on bank balances easy. I expect, the process and habit will continue to improve as revolutionary new apps and systems for personal banking come on stream. Keeping track of your financial condition will undoubtedly lead to better long-term outcomes if it remains front of mind. Here's a confession from a self-professed account junkie from

4) Missing out?

Have small time investors been priced out of the financial advisory market by the new regulation? In her latest blog, Wellington's Liz Koh of MoneyMax. explains how regulation has ironically damaged the relationship.

One of the unfortunate consequences of increased regulation of financial advisers is that some smaller investors now find themselves squeezed out of the market for personalized investment advice. There are two types of investment advisers who are able to give advice to the public: Authorised Financial Advisers (AFAs) and Qualifying Entity Advisers (QFE advisers). Whereas AFA’s can give investment advice on a wide range of investment products, QFE advisers can give investment advice only on products offered by the company they work for. QFE’s are generally large companies such as banks and insurance companies. There are less than 2000 AFA’s in New Zealand, and many who hold the designation do not give advice to the general public. Just to make it even more confusing, some of the AFA’s work for QFE’s such as banks. An AFA working for a QFE can give advice on a wide range of investment products from different providers.

With the limited number of AFA’s available, many advisers and QFE’s are now setting minimum limits on the size of investment portfolio they will advise on and manage. These limits can be anywhere from $100,000 to $1million or more. At the other end of the spectrum, QFE’s such as banks are using the large number of QFE advisers in their branches to sell KiwiSaver and savings and investment funds for small lump sums or regular contributions. It is increasingly difficult for investors with small to average portfolios to find advisers who can advise them on a wide range of investment products from different providers. Getting advice on whether to purchase shares in the proposed Government asset sell-down is a prime example of this, as advice will need to be obtained from an AFA, not a QFE adviser, many of whom will not be interested in smaller investors.


5) Reality Bites

On Friday, contributor Terry Baucher hypothesised about the negative tax implications for The Block TV show's winners.  Assuming they do have to pay tax on their winnings, the effort expended takes on a different light. Greg Ninness takes a similarly sobering view in this article  published on  by taking into account the real risks and more probable outcomes faced by the average do-it-yourselfer looking to make money in the residential property market.

To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Ah The Block, a quality bit of bogan programming originally from Australia. It's just another reality TV show that has the appearance of being unscripted but is carefully planned to make it look like it's possible for any Joe-Bogue to renovate a house and make money.

As pointed out by the Stuff article - even before the taxman passes his glad eye over your 'profits' - once the costs of the production company to purchase the properties and pay for the renovations are taken into account, there is no profit to be had. The same thing was pointed out here about 2 months ago when The Block finished in Melbourne.

Also as well as all the hidden costs Stuff points out like interest payments on the loan, insurance etc, there is the lost opportunity costs to be realised - lack of rental income while renovating, lack of personal income while doing the renovations etc. The only way it really makes money is if you buy a house to live in that needs a makeover, do it while you live in it (painful!) and then flick it as your personal property and avoid the taxman (no more than once a year).

I've done up a few places both in London and NZ (and have the full range of De Walt power tools and a Paslode nail gun) and can attest to how ridiculously unrealistic shows like The Block and DIY Rescue are. What you don't see are the teams of tradies fixing stuff up off camera, the team of people running around getting consents and inspections (off camera), the teams of people measuring up and running around after 3rd party suppliers getting all the fittings and doors and windows etc made and delivered on time etc etc.

One of the hilights of DIY Rescue for me (apart from knowing one of the rescue team who filled me in on the REAL details of how much work goes on offscreen) was the team chainsawing a hole in an exterior wall, getting some bifolds lifted over the fence and into place, and all sealed and fitted IN A MORNING. Yeah right. Try getting a consent for that, getting the bifolds made, getting a guy to deliver it and someone with a small digger to lift it over the fence, and then getting it into place without 4 other burly guys. Then seal it and paint it and get it inspected. Get back to me in a month or so's time when it's done.

The Block - never seen it, never want to.

I concur.
Interesting that it turned up about the time Olly N made his 'Good News for You' comment.

The Westpac Consumer Confidence report out today found that we are all terminally depressed,  we feel worse off than we were a year ago, the Nz economy will be worse in a year, & no it's probably not time to buy the $3000 leather lounge suite from Harvey Norman....
Things can only get worse,   before they get better.

"Now for the really bad news. Any critical thinking person should realize the Federal Government has been systematically under-reporting inflation since the early 1980’s in an effort to obscure the fact they are debasing the currency and methodically destroying the lives of middle class Americans. If inflation was calculated exactly as it was in 1980, the GDP figures would be substantially lower and inflation would be reported 5% higher than it is today. Faking the numbers does not change reality, only the perception of reality. Calculating real median household income with the true level of inflation exposes the true picture for middle class America. Real median household income is lower than it was in 1970, just prior to Nixon closing the gold window and unleashing the full fury of a Federal Reserve able to print fiat currency and politicians to promise the earth, moon and the sun to voters. With incomes not rising over the last four decades is it any wonder many of our 115 million households slowly rot and decay from within like an old diseased oak tree. The slightest gust of wind can lead to disaster. "
Change a few names and you have an accurate comment on New Zealand...think about it!
We are a nation in debt...where very little remains of a once dominant culture of thrift...where most are being farmed by a bank or two...where wannabee politicals strive to buy votes on the back of promises that will grow the debt...
Pretty soon the socialist mob of liars will offer up a new vision of kiwi utopia promising to borrow more and boost the stupidity that already pervades NZ like a cancer...Parker will return, full of himself and stuffed with 'new ideas' on how to borrow our way to growth.

Interesting, yesterday. A few Labour types started tag-team commenting - and someone climbed out of his longdrop. Someone who bounced along until election run-up, then started being a screaming National supporter. Then subsided.
Here we are again - a reasonable piece (which no thinker would/could disagree with) but then an attempt to associate it with Labour. Acftually, the current Govt are making the Clark crowd look like babes in the woods, in terms of rate-of-disenfranchisement.
Currently, NZ'ers own their electricity supply. Sure, theres the nonsense that they make a 'profit' out of themselves, but nevertheless, they own it. Soon, they won't, and sooner or later an increasing portion of the 'profit' will go overseas. If that isn't an undermining of their wealth, what is?
Add the elimination-by-degree of Kiwirail, the de-democratising of Local Govt, the PPP's,  and the vast majority are getting screwed.
Mind you, we were all going to get 'poorer' on average; what I resent about the current mob, is that they help a small number to stand on the heads of others.

Oh gosh PDK did I get it all wrong..there I was thinking Parker was off on a junket to learn at the feet of the Keynesian masters of the greater debt filled universe.

Considering Keynesian economics identifies the problem, (zero bound) and has a proven/workable process/policy for getting out of it, where no other economics school does he could do far worse, like say the UK, Ireland, austerity...
However I dont think he's gone for a keynesian brush up....I think he's gone to find an alternative to the broken mantra of growth...

PDK - NZ'ers actually bank rolled the State electricity infrastructure/supply via taxes.  There is absolutely no benefit to the people of these State owned asset, except that whatever the Government earns from it should offset some of what they spend.  They used taxes to obtain the Capital input into these projects.
Government then supplies electricity to the final consumer at market rates which have already been set.  There is no benefit or return to the taxpayer. The taxpayer lost the use of their own money by compulsion to fund a project which if the Govt sells will offset other Govt accumulated debts of which the taxpayer is liable for anyway. If people only realised that all Govt spending and Govt debt is actually the responsibility of all taxpayers maybe they would not be so keen to see Govt's having debt.
If Private enterprise wanted to undertake such a project it would have to bank roll the entire project on its own and then price final supply cost to the competitive market.
The fact that Govt can bank-roll via the tax  system for anything it wants to spend up on and the taxpayer is liable for any debt that the Govt creates is where all the problems lies. 
Labour increased it's purchasing of assets at the expense of all taxpayers for the duration of its reign during 2000's. I think this is severe mismanagement on Labours behalf and if a Director of a Company acted so incompetently they would have been investigated.
Far too many people are confused about what the hell an asset is already. They don't even consider that an asset might have caused a debt in the system. In the case of asset purchasing that has been undertaken there are two components which have and economic effect, 1, the withdrawal of money via taxes from the system, 2, Other debt the Government might accrue because of that asset purchase.
The current financial mess is actually the hangover effect of, earlier decisions and spending, earthquakes, GFC, open market entanglement with free market, offshore owners of income producing assets which repatriate profits, unproductive bureaucratic expansion, endless money printing etc.
The vast majority are getting screwed because they don't understand the system they keep voting for.  They vote instead for what Govt's promise them at the expense of the shrinking private enterprise and the ability of private enterprise to keep funding these costs.
Different Govt's stand on different heads and that is the only thing that differs.

notane - wrong.
lotta words but wrong.
I think you share Misty's belief in things monetary.
Yes, some of that infrastructure (Clyde dam being a classic) was overly  'bankrolled'. But we own it, all of us. Whether we pay at 'market rates' (a bollocks in the circumstance, it's totally contrived, an ideological nonsense) or whatever, we are the shareholders. I comes back to us.  If the shareholding goes overseas, we lose that percentage. Remember that 'Govt' is us.
Whether the White Star Line or the passengers owned the deckchairs, the ship sank. Arguing that the ownership would make a difference, would have been to deny the slope of the deck. I'm saying that the bows are under.

The linked article certainly painted the real life US situation for many families, so thanks for that. It certainly reinforces why we should try and avoid the same fate, assuming we actually have. Its only your last paragraph that intrigues me. You seem to have been taken in by the National people who surely are very likely to perpetuate the banker and top 0.1% thriving at the expense of everyone else that seems to be the premise of the article. Since they have come in our fiscal deficit has exploded, although they have a largely valid excuse with the GFC. A key frustration to me, is their wilful expansion of the current account deficit (remembering that the world's current accounts are zero- there is no GFC excuse. In fact our terms of trade have been as good as they ever have been during the last 4 years.).
As a country the current account is the best measure of our continued and expanding indebtedness. I wonder why National are so determined to have it grow, at the expense of all of our futures. (Your linked article hints at reasons they may- it works for their mates is the clue). Do you really think Labour would make that worse; they are at least talking about taking measures to address it? 

StephenL, I thought you wished to start an emergency round of currency debasement here  - the outcomes will be no different to those which Wolly's commentator alludes to - Coming off the Gold Standard was just the first step. 

Indeed I would like the currency to be fairly priced, to give exporters and import substituters a reasonable chance; and I would like the current account to be a core target as the current deficit by definition is adding either to our indebtedness or loss of assets as a country. The deleveraging we need to do is to slow that down and reverse it. The deleveraging the US needs to do is in their middle classes, as the article notes. Given they are primarily a domestic economy; and we are primarily a trading one, the focus is likely to be different.
Still, if I was them I would give tax cuts at the bottom of the income scale, (not the top, as Romney would advocate. Trickle up works, trickle down does not) putting money directly into all income earners hands, but particularly those who need it. Giving more money to the banks, as Bernanke is doing, may well not work, given the banks need borrowers to be able to repay any loans they make. I would fund the tax breaks with money printing, keeping their currency down, helping their manufacturers and exporters; at least until inflation starts to gain momentum. For this purpose QE has worked well for them.
For us, the current account deficit is the best score to demonstrate that the NZD is overvalued. There are opportunities to bring it down; although I would not advocate the US approach of buying mortgage debt off banks merely so they can boost their balance sheets. I personally would buy back enough of our foreign debt, using printed money, as needed to get the currency at fair value.

Stephen L, If you continue with this crusade to uproot a market based discovery mechanism to determine the value of the NZD/USD currency pair you have a duty to provide research to convince us which level is approriate and the exit strategy, other than the polling booth, the chosen non-elected body would employ to correct any disastrous consequences thereafter.
I am sick and tired of waiting for empirical proof of successful economic outcomes beneficial to society as a whole that will flow from currency debasement - and I do not need the Swiss thrown in my face - they run a whole country based on financialising all aspects of human endeavour - their arms industry exports are just a cover - I spent many days of my life visiting counterparty clients who only had corporate foreign wealth to put into play for the particular size games I was playing.

If it makes you feel better that you are not alone in being grumpy, I'm somewhat sick and tired of us either selling assets, or borrowing, to fund an extra $15 billion a year that we have not earned. 
I would have thought it is fairly self evident that such a large current account deficit is very much linked to an overvalued currency; but following is further evidence as I see it.
Since November 2008 (when the Nats came in) the NZD has appreciated against the Euro by 37%; against the USD by 41% and the GBP by 35%. Only against the Aussie has it declined, by 10%. A minor part of this massive appreciation may have been due to terms of trade or economic fundamentals; but again it would seem self evident to me that nearly all of it is due to those countries printing money, either directly or indirectly, to make their currencies competitive. The surplus countries- Germany, China, Japan, Switzerland have all taken similar steps to depreciate or hold down their currencies.
So without any action, our currency is, again it would seem self evidently, way overvalued. Evidence for that remains a very high and growing current account deficit. (where surely over time a fair value is a balanced current account).
Further self evidently it seems to me, any exporters and manufacturers that have survived a 30-40% drop in their competitiveness, through no fault of their own, but rather through sitting on their hands by the government and Reserve Bank, are heroic indeed. Note a plea of despair yesterday from John Walley, of the NZMEA.
Then there is our process out of our addiction to foreign funds and indebtedness; I thought Kiwidave pointing us to the following paper on relatively good and bad deleveragings, made logical sense.
You wouldn't wish having to deleverage on anyone; but when you are in a position as needing to do so; then the paper points to having a competitive currency; and to well directed money printing.
What evidence do you have of fixing a massive and ingrained current account deficit by other means?

Ok - if you don't want to start the work, here goes:
Check the RBNZ data:  Current A/C balance as a % of GDP open CurrentA/C tab
Try fitting the NZD/USD rates to the above and for now note if there is a strong corrrelation between the two releases - something to give reason to advance the study.

A fair challenge. Have correlated the exchange rate USD/NZD with the current account, from 1990 until 2012, as you've suggested. Excel comes up with a 42% correlation, which I would have thought was quite high. Perfect being 100%, and random no relationship being 0.
Has that whetted your appetite for more work?

Absolutely not - 42% needs to be 80% - I think you need to ascertain why a fall in the currency value may not necessarily cause your desired outcome - a fall in the current A/C deficit.
I think Les Rudd and Bernard should also be concerned that this scoping exercise has not been that forthright in confirming strongly held views that if executed as stated could lead to catastrophic cost of living increases for many individuals without obvious national benefit.
Maybe it's a case of the market knows best and nanny state interventions should be left in the incubator until rigorous analysis has proven otherwise.

On what is a meaningful correlation, we will have to disagree apparently. I actually thought I was using understating language around what seems a massive correlation. Of course there are other things at play, such as terms of trade for key commodities imported and exported; a dotcom boom and bust in the US, terrorism and wars; and not least the GFC and massive money printing; as well as very significant capital flows into NZ chasing yield and cheap assets. With all that, a 42% correlation standing up seems very significant indeed.
On the question of cause and effect, I have separately  lagged each of the current account and the USD exchange rate by a year, to test for which may cause the other. 
The lagged current account has a 22% correlation; the lagged USD rate, an 18% correlation. This does support the idea that there is cause and effect both ways, which makes sense. A higher NZD does cause a higher current account deficit; and a higher current account deficit does then lead to some drop in the NZD. Given the 42% rate within the same year, the suggestion is that a change in either will have a fairly quick effect.

Good luck - I would not let you trade your own money never mind mine if it was up to me.

I've used the microsoft excel (correl)ate function, for two data sets of annualised figures over 23 years. Am not sure how many standard deviations that ends up with, or indeed exactly how microsoft works the formula. Have also charted the figures, (but am not sure whether its possible to load a chart here) and the charts show a clear relationship. As it happens if I stop the data at 2008, the correlation is 68%. 2009 was an outlier year where the current account deficit improved dramatically, despite the exchange rate. I suspect at the start of the GFC capital flows around the world clogged up (keeping the exchange rate at reasonable levels); while from memory also food prices suddenly shot up, no doubt helping export receipts. Normal service resumed from 2010; and given todays CA figures is heading exactly where you would expect given the exchange rate.

Stephen L -
"As a country the current account is the best measure of our continued and expanding indebtedness".
That's a lie. A demonstrable lie. And it's a Labour, as much as a National, lie. Tell your mob to get it together, thank you.
The only TRUE accounting includes Natural Capital at real cost - depletion of the finite obviously ends in infinite cost, pollution has to be mitigated real-time (not by some future generation sans the finite resource needed to do so, squandered by your generation), and any dip below a sustainable rate of anything, has to be panalised to the point where it ceases. That goes for all 'Current Accounts, public and private, globally. Which skews any figures currently held, to the point of meaninglessness.
Do you not understand that arguing about who gets which deckchair is a waste of time - a socially-criminal waste of time - at this point in time? While Shearer/Parker et al tout growth, and deny limits, they're lying. We can argue as to whether they're lying to themselves, or to the electorate, but that's what they're doing.
How about starting a debate in your ranks? You're no use until you have.

Its going to be interesting when the lying becomes obvious to even the eyes wide shut brigade........I ownder how the pollies will spin the last 5 odd years of denial and do nothing in the face of evidence.
Lamp post & rope anyone? 

Be careful what you wish for;
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"

Yeah....but I dont wish it...I worry about it.  If leaders by lying or just by ommision bring disaster upon us....should they be surprised if the dis-enchanted wish to get personal?  Just look at the greek parliment making sure thier escape exit was clear...

Stephen Hulme - that comment is not only stupid, it's a lie in itself.
I've made the point here, many times, that emotion has nothing to do with it. Why the insistence on 'wish'? Who stated it was a wish?
A warning is not a wish. Sorry to sound as if I'm talking to a 5 year old, but it seems to be needed.....
Yes, this particular bell tolls for everyone. There are two ways to address the limits placed on growth by the finite nature of the planet. One is to acknowledge them, and aim to get onto a sustainable footing as soon as possible. (The only valid approach, in terms of sirvival of the species, and indeed societally).
The other is to accelerate into the limits, carrying the biggest planetary population, biggest (finite-fossil-fuel-based) infrastructure ever, and the most aquifer depletion, erosion, desertification, atmosphere-changing, runoff-pollution, ever.
To follow the second one, you have to lie. Either to yourself, or to the punters, knowingly.
Which applies to you?

"Knowlingly" MK Hubbard made a speech in the 1950s? 60s? warning of the mathematical certainty of peak its sure a few generations of lying.

Grow up pdk - my comment was directed at the stupid and unnecessary "Lamp post & rope anyone?" rhetoric.

I try and keep thoughts of retribution at bay myself (they being a diversion and a waste of limited remaining time), but when folk in a position to make a difference, avoid addressing reality - "I'll take my chances" comes to mind - I must admit to the occasional mental right hook. Make that left hook.

So the Greek Parliment was stupid and it was un-necessary to make sure they had an escape route?
Saddim Hussain farce of an excution didnt happen?
Riots in the UK recently were "un-justified" according to the UK Prime Minister.  When you have little hope left, or worse none but see others doing very well or better thank you....just how stable is your society?
Back in history the winners didnt hang / suspend the losers along road sides as examples?
The point is our leaders and "betters" seem dis-connected from the populace...I would suggest continuing along those lines could be un-healthy.

Mist42NZ - you hit the nail on the head with that post. And anyone selling anything, hope included always appear to use - Ethos - Pathos - Logos. 

The other is to accelerate into the limits, carrying the biggest planetary population, biggest (finite-fossil-fuel-based) infrastructure ever, and the most aquifer depletion, erosion, desertification, atmosphere-changing, runoff-pollution, ever.
But what could possibly go wrong!?

Sorry, you lost me there. Did you reply on the wrong thread?
My logic is simple (and listening to the 'best song ever written' chappie on Nat Radio yesterday, it is shared by folk who can think dispassionately. (It requires both  :)

Bollocks Mist.
Stick with you monopoly game. Me. I'll just point out that when the pile of bricks cannot supply the demand for them, no amount of bidding will make more of them appear.
Unlimate scarcity, no substitute (scarcity applies to all substitutes, so 'economics' is shyte on that, time being the only variable) is the problem. The exponentially-increasing pace of that scarcity, has to be a problem all the way down from peak. and the peak was reached with exponentially-increasing speed.
Linchpin resource energy.
But you go and get more dollars. I'm sure they mean a lot to you

...... see , that's the third time today someone has mentioned " peak bricks " .......
Surprised that Hickey hasn't cottoned onto " peak bricks " ...... seeing as he's thrown most of his at the NBR ......

"Money is important. Capital.  With capital you can acquire bricks"
Bollocks Mist.
If there are no bricks, you cannot acquire them. End of story. If there is an increasing scarcity of bricks, en route to there being no bricks, your 'money' won't acquire you as many, whatever you call it.
That dissonance is a cranial problem you share with more than a few, but it's your problem, not mine.
The kind of planet which underwrites endless spending has to be flat and infinite. No other configuration supports endless resource-based growth. There has been a tendency over recent centuries, to ridicule flat-earthers.
Just a thought.          :)

Told ya ! ...... finite planet ..... has to be a limit  ...... " Peak Bricks " is upon us ...

Mist - sorry, but if there is no more of a resource, there is no more of a resource.
I suggest you go for a drive. I'll allow you a full tank, and since you seem to value it, all the time you need. Oh, and you can take unlimited dosh, any denomination.
Did you go forever?
No? What a bugger.
And, you know, the only difference between your tank and the global oil supply, is scale. Same goes for all extracted finite resources, and all finite substitutions.

It seems you are un-willing or un-able to take on board the concept of a) there will be no more per day oil from now on, b) at some point the output will decline (and that's within 5 years, max of 2020...I'd even say 2015 is 95% certain). By 2050 fossil fuels will be long finished as the energy of a global economy. c) The price now moving forward will be above $80USD (and its beginning to look like $90)
for most of the time effectively stopping any further growth and indeed causing a permanent recession.
Sure if you are bill gates with your platinum you will be able to drive your bugatti on bio-fuel around a short race track...the other 99% of us wont have cars and wont need or have money/tax for roads for [fast] cars.
Proof is on multiple sites,
Even IEA
Just because you cant put 2 and 2 together isnt a good reason for denial.

I rest my case.
You couldn't do it without getting resources from outside your car. Read: planet. Only diffo is scale.
So you need an infinite one, then.
As I said, flat.

Just reminded me.........way way back in the day, some Dude made his way up in the Tower of Notre Dame just in time to find Quasimodo appearing in readiness to ring the Bell. 
 He noted there was no Bell rope and inqiured of Quasi how he rang the Bell.  When Quasi shook his head and pointed to his ears the stranger realizing Quasi was deaf, gesticulated the question again.
Ah..! Quasi's face lit up as he pointed to his own head and then the Bell, again his own head then the Bell. The stranger gave him a look of bewilderment at which point Quasi rushed the bell head down...Dong went the Bell,.... again slamming his head in ...Dong went the Bell...
 The stranger almost deafened but exhilarated by the experience motioned that he'd like a turn at it to complete the adventure.....
 Quasi smiled a toothless grizzly smile and nodded...The stranger took a few steps back and rushed the Bell, face planting it for lack of technique...Dong went the Bell and as it did the stranger stunned by the impact was struck firmly by the returning bell...dong ..went the bell, ooohhfff ! went the stranger as he hurtled over the belltower balcony......and splat..he hit the ground killing him instantly.
 Quasi stood and stared in stunned silence as a crowd gathered below including Claude  Frollo, Quasi's caregiver since birth...
 Looking up Claude beckoned him to come down , Quasi hurried down as fast as his hunch would allow.Using sign language he had taught Quasi as a child, he inquired as to the strangers identity  , the gathered crowd were also anxious to learn who the stranger was and how he came to fall from the Belltower.
 Quasi realizing this did not look good, became sheepish and a little uncertain.....
Claude Frollo signed again the question, with more urgency this time..Who was this man..?
With a flailing of arms and fingers Quasi replied to the Acheacon Claude Frollo....and then looked  upon the deceased stranger in a puzzeled way.
The gathered crowd, emotions rising to pitchfork status, jostled the Archdeacon wanting to know what Quasi had said.
 The Archdeacon replied......He said , he doesn't know , but the face rings a Bell.!

In the morning the Gummy bowel tolls me to be first onto the long drop before the others in the Gummster clan get there to release their weapons of chemical warfare ........

Did it get that far in Greece? cant the ppl of Ireland see it? Iceandics saw it pretty quick?
Not sure to be honest...
There is enough in the media to throw hints....let alone looking yourself.....
Sit back and see how it goes, not much to do really.

Am perfectly happy that the environment should be an important criteria in any decisions we make- either because we are running out of stuff (I thought your particular priority) or because of global warming, or pollution generally. I am happy that we should try and be ahead of the world even, in environmental actions, but am not convinced that New Zealand can do that on its own, or exactly how hard it should try, if the rest of the world is not.
In the meantime we have sold or mortgaged all our deckchairs (although have them on a kind of temporary leaseback), and don't have any life boats either from an economic point of view. 

SL - fair reply.
 It is still valid to take the appropriate actions, even if nobody else does. Brinksmanship is stupid at this stage; the old goals already being invalid.
The hydro and rail infrastructure can't be removed overseas, will be 'owned' by the local population (which may be decided by force, mind) ie Nationalised.
Current economics is based on growth. There has to be a new model - but that'll be interesting, even Daly's model doesn't really stack up. Look to a point, not far ahead, where there is no 'money' to pay for services, which will be deemed needed by society. Health, teaching, that kind of thing. Voluntary hours countd as in-lieu-of-tax/rates perhaps? Time Dr MacMillan, J.T.Paul, Jack Lee and the rest, came up with a New Deal.

And therein lies the problem Stephen L.
I am happy that we should try and be ahead of the world even, in environmental actions, but am not convinced that New Zealand can do that on its own, or exactly how hard it should try, if the rest of the world is not.

If we all think/believe that then we may as well carry on as we are.  The issue isn't whether we can acheive it as a nation but whether we believe as individuals that something has to be done.  It is up to us as individuals (no matter what nation we belong to) to take the first steps.  But first we must look at ourselves and challenge our own beliefs and expectations.
Inspirational reading/food for thought?
It is that we have been using an economic point of view that has got us into this situation in the first place.
"The signigicant problems we face today can not be solved by the same thinking that created them" - Albert Einstein
Disclaimer - I also have the same challenge.  Although I am aware (at least believe I am) of the issues we face I still have to face my own fears and challenge myself before I can take the next step.

Nothing like ignorance is there wolly. Hows infaltion doing now tomatoes are back to $10 a kilo...taking off eh?
The point is to actually look at the trend and do apples with apples comparisons and be as accurate/balanced as possible. So you could go both ways, take the old way and use it today and say oh my god...or take the new way and apply it to old data....
I'd be interested in that outcome. 
".where most are being farmed by a bank or two"
Indeed, and that farming is becoming more and more intense...and now the farmers like ANZ etc are looking to move to India where there is an up and coming middle class who dont have CCs etc....they in turn get farmed....teh answer is dont go into debt....but that's a lesson that is coming to us really soon via a Greater Depression....
"socialist mob of liars"
Who is actually doing the borrowing? its the so called middle class looking to speculate on property...or to fund their "lifestyles"  Whos the biggest proponent of that? National.
"borrowing", Look up Steve Keen's defination of an entrepreneur

Had to laugh at this
"The Fed just put a heating pad under the corpse. See, its not dead. Thermometer indicates a slow but steady recovery, but let's keep the heating pad on anyway."

Anything to get Barry re elected and keep BB in a job.

Only three things will really get Obama re-elected Wooly.
1. A voter turnout that is resigned to the new chant  ...."Maybe, we could have ".. while appreciating.... "No we didn't "
2. Fear of Romney,  fear of Mormon idealism 
3.developing a sudden aversion to conflict.

Ok four things Wooly.,....of course I left off the obvious...
4. Romney would develop a severe case of  Foot in Mouth while attempting to demonstrate you can be even dumber than Bush and still run for office........wot a dumass.

Wolly isn't wooly , Count ...... romneys are ...... uh , Romney , sorry ... foot & mouth in America , it seems .......
...... oh deer , deer ..... it's not that Mutt said anything untrue , it's just the candour of his delivery , and at a $ 55 000 per table fundraiser dinner too .......dumb mutt ....