Many clients that I have had that are finance companies have told me that everything is legit and that they are different than other finance companies. They even get right down to the specifics of how they are lending short term only and therefore there won't be a risk to investors etc. Then they go under. Many of them were really honest straight-up kiwis caught in a crash. Others were greasy pieces of crap that made you feel like taking a bath after meeting with them. One guy tried to hire us 2 days before he went under (for $20 million) and was still saying that his firm was sound and the future was bright. We've been lucky to stay in business over this period by avoiding the worst ones. I was stunned when companies like Dominion Finance went under. They seemed so safe and dependable and they had good staff for example.
The industry is inherently risky and prone to collapse during a dowturn. All of them are similar to Ponzi schemes in that when new depositers aren't found or existing depositers decide to withdraw their funds they collapse.
The government should give some sort of capital guarantee on investments in NZ-owned listed firms instead. We need the money that was pushed into property to be diverted to business instead. The current guarantee scheme does the opposite. All that we need to do is sort out NZX regulation as well so that we can't be re-Feltexed in future. Can you believe they found those Feltex directors not guilty? What does it take to be done for lying and ripping off $200 million in this country?
Islander - please don't take any of this personally. It's just under-reported stuff that should be taken into account by the government when deciding whether to finance those industries including potentially tipping $1.5 billion into SCF in case agriculture firms are harmed. Apparently it will cost us $600 million to just take over SCF under the government guarantee and that's the minimum we're up for as taxpayers.
We should be trying to protect our environment more and the "extractive" industries need to change how they operate before gaining our future support. What is the best way of using our land? Currently we turn water into milk. That makes sense. What's the most future-proofed way of achieving that without ruining our environment? It's not top-of-mind for many farmers considering the huge number who didn't bother complying with Fed Farmers self-regulation request around fencing waterways.
Forestry is a potential polluter and getting the Japanese involved didn't help for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juken_Nissho
We are decimating our fish stocks mainly with the help of the government: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3890482/Orange-roughy-fishery-collapse-continues
And the government is just dying to mine in conservation areas.
And in the mean time our local bodies are fighting tooth and nail to stop renewable energy projects. http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/campaign-launched-against-canterbury-wind-farms-125628
Currently a lot of people are employed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries but they still would be if we changed the whole system.
But while the Fed Farmers president is Bill English's brother I don't expect much will change. Water, Environment Canterbury blah blah: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/federated-farmers/news/article.cfm?o_id=357&objectid=10551388
And Fonterra desperately wants to allow foreigners to own them but have settled for a better solution in the meantime but one that opens up the possibility of the majority of it being owned by one very wealthy farmer: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/business/farming/3872506/Farmers-vote-to-trade-Fonterra-shares
I wonder if the Chinese consortium that managed to buy Crafar's farms is able to join Fonterra and then buy out other investors?
If we are charged less for dairy products and other produce than people in the UK and USA are by our farmers then I may be more willing to see them as heroes. http://www.stoppress.co.nz/news/2010/05/newbies-head-to-the-dairy-shine-sets-up-a-bank-account/
I lived on farms growing up and know how hard it a job can be - but most of that work is now done by share milkers and hired managers and the farms are ten times as large as they were.
When we are all being negatively affected anyway then singling out asset-holders for protection seems unequal treatment.
Why don't the government just dish out $1.5 billion equally to all kiwis instead? That would help more sectors of the economy more.
This is The Australian newspaper's commentary about their stimulus package that targeted everyone instead:
The Government's economic management is most strongly supported by Labor voters and younger people. High numbers of 18- to 34-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds - the ALP's strongest areas demographically - believe they will be better off as a result of the package.
People aged over 50, including pensioners and self-funded retirees who have been hit hard by losses in superannuation and investments, are the most opposed to the package.
What does "too big to fail" really mean? The government has protected farmers by propping up SCF thus far because they are a big agricultural lender. Why do our 38,000 farmers get government assistance above all other industries yet still have the gall to charge us the same prices for their produce as they charge overseas purchasers? They are almost all sitting on huge assets and many seem quite happy to take the money and sell the farm to overseas interests when it suits them. The funniest one was John Key announcing a drought relief package earlier in the year. Those are our dollars...
The government is propping up our economy by borrowing. That borrowing will be paid by future generations. If the government didn't prop up the economy then those with assets would lose some of them. You have to have assets or be an investor to be affected by the collapse of the finance firms. I can't see any reason to prop them up.
The government is papering over the cracks and it's costing future generations a lot while the rich get richer still.
Reverse mortgaging is fine as long as the property doesn't end up being owned by an international (including Aussie) bank or multinational investment fund.
"We must fight against tax evasion but also defend the rights of tax evaders, or companies that make mistakes". Silvio Berlusconi in 1996. Who knows if 42% is a correct figure but they netted the tax from US$137 billion in earnings in their last amnesty.
And in answer to Steve Black, John Key and his team seem to trust the owners of finance firms unless they've done something really wrong previously that could be a PR risk. Like Nick Wevers from Government Property Services having been a CEO of Blue Chip before founding Viaduct Capital - and they were still guaranteed at first.
The government guarantee propped up finance firms when they should all have been left to fend for themselves. The investors losing the money they chose to invest seems fairer than all of us paying.
Thaks Andin and Islander for your thoughts.
For Andre's info, babyboomers were born between 1945 & 1960. In ANZ, very few of us are able to access a reverse mortgage - yet. But people like my 83yrold mother ...have every right to choose to do whatever they want within the asset-rich (but income-poor) situation they're in.
I think that we are being made to pay so that the older generations can continue to remain "asset rich". If they all sell their assets off to foreigners when they die there won't be much left for future generations of kiwis. And currently there is no regulation stopping this from happening (which it is). And new reverse mortgage products keep on popping up.
Do you really think that the next generations should pay to prop up wealthy investors with in most cases only a small part of their wealth in finance companies? That's just wrong from my viewpoint.
How many MP's have something at stake here financially through the huge investments in SCF from Pyne Gould Corporation, George Kerr etc?
Paying $1,500,000,000 to a load of South Island farmers and retirees really doesn't seem fair. The average farm price is $3.8 million. The average house price is five times what most younger kiwis can afford etc. Let them swing. The government guarantee scheme is ripping off an indebted younger generation for $6.9 billion on behalf of a wealthy one. That's while they borrow a billion a month from overseas to prop up the property-value driven economy anyway.
In Italy commentators say that 42% of the population are tax evaders and they keep voting berlusconi in because he turns a blind eye to it and legislates so tax evaders get off free. Here the government that is most able to prop up house values and reduce mortgage rates is voted in by most kiwis. The baby boomers are ripping us off. And now they are taking "reverse mortgages" as well to ensure that there is nothing left when they die. ban overseas land sales before we become a tenant nation.
I've also got to wonder how much of the (IMO) blatantly deceptive election ads run in Australia would get past the Broadcasting and Advertising Standards Authorities here
Unfortunately our organisations policing advertising laws are actually very weak in my experience and love to water down their decisions if at all possible. They are really into self-regulation so if there is any way to get the complainant to back down they will take it. We had an opponent lying in their ads to compete with us and it took almost 3 years and 3 different authorities to get them to desist.
Our political parties might not be allowed to run ads predicting what their opposition are going to do if they take power but if they did then Asset Sales would be top of the agenda if I was writing Labour's ads here. In fact the whole Time Warp concept works.