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Ex-Business Round Table heavyweight Lindsay Fergusson wants my comments on NBR banned – so I MUST be ‘on target’!

Treasury: drop all screening of foreign investment

Acting Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf

Acting Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf

Acting Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf has hit out at critics of foreign investment in New Zealand, saying Treasury has consistently recommended removing all screening.

The British civil servant who arrived in this country 15 months ago told the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs that lowering foreign investment would be counter-productive to growth ambitions.

Small, high productivity economies relied heavily on international connections of people, capital, trade and ideas, he said.

He advocated the reduction of costs and distortions associated with capital inflows, particularly tax.

“If we are to continue to screen foreign investment, and Treasury has consistently recommended removing all screening, it needs to be kept to a minimum and under constant review,” he said.

He said it had become fashionable to question foreign direct investment, arguing there was a loss of control of land assets and profits were exported.

The issue was really how the land was used, rather than who owned the land, Mr Makhlouf said.

Regulatory mechanisms governing land use applied to all land owners irrespective of nationality.

“Some of you might have followed the story of the big Swedish furniture outlet called IKEA, and its attempts to find a site for a store in the North Island,” Mr Makhlouf said.

The company ran into so many obstacles that it eventually abandoned its plans to establish a New Zealand branch. Domestic policy settings relating to roading infrastructure, the Environment Court process and the approach of the local council managed to sink IKEA’s plans.

“New Zealand requires foreign investment to meet the gap between national savings and national investment. If the idea of foreigners earning a return on New Zealand investment is unpalatable to some, there are two alternatives — lowering national investment or increasing national savings,” Mr Makhlouf said.

A higher rate of national savings would provide New Zealanders with greater scope to own assets that they want to retain control of, and entitle them to any returns on the investment.

Commenting on the world economic outlook, he said the picture was mixed.

“While there are signs the global economy is recovering, there have been some set-backs recently. The recovery is being driven by emerging economies, in particular China and other Asian countries, and there are some additional benefits for New Zealand via Australia.”

Activity in the major developed economies has been slower to rebound.

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Comments and questions


Where is the ‘Register of Interests’ for Treasury staff – including Acting Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf ?

What are his connections, and whose interests is he serving?

How can ‘conflicts of interest’ be avoided if interests are not declared ?

Declared in a form which makes them readily available for public scrutiny – given NZ’s lack of an ‘Independent Commission Against Corruption’ or the like – who’s tasked with PREVENTING corruption and educating the public about corruption?

(Unlike the Police or SFO whose focus is more upon investigation of corruption AFTER the event, rather than PREVENTION ?)

Penny Bright

Penny Bright | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 4:14pm

Dear Mr Editor. IF we want Fonterra and OTHERS to expand in China. Well, yes I would agree, but why dont you do your homework and go and interview Fletcher Construction who was expanding into China in the 1990’s, and ask them why they gave up and pulled out.

whitecloud | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 4:19pm

Penny , the guy says something you don’t agree with so therefore you imply corruption.No wonder this country is struggling to get ahead with people thinking like that.
We have had foreign investment from day one in this country and will always need it — our own capital base is too small.
The example Key gave the other day of Synlait is a classic example — they tried or looked hard at a public float and saw it would not be successful so went off shore to raise capital and hopefully for them they get better market access as well.
Companies like Sealord have had foriegn shareholders for decades.

In response to Ross12 | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 4:26pm

errr…. no.

I have been raising the need for ‘disclosure’ of the interests of those responsible for property and procurement for some time.

This is a continuation of the same theme…

Where is the genuine ‘transparency’ if ‘interests’ are not publicly disclosed and available for public scrutiny?

Penny Bright

Penny Bright | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 4:42pm

Agree with foreign investment as long as its ‘clean” Dont want Mafia money Drug Cartel monet etc etc. Then we will have corruption as this always follows ‘dirty”money.

And we dont want dear Penny B to be proved right

Back from holiday now Penny…so how about answering those questions pertaining to your own transparency and corruption now you little neo-marxist cougar you?


Victrix | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 5:47pm
In response to Penny Bright | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 4:14pm

Penny your as corrupt as FIFA

Anonymous | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 6:26pm
In response to Penny Bright | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 4:14pm

Your comments are becoming repetitive and tiresome. It is time the NBR banned your posts. This last one borders on defamation. If you don’t have something intelligent to say why not just shut up?

Lindsay Fergusson | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 9:21pm
In response to Lindsay Fergusson | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 9:21pm

Lindsay Fergusson | Thursday, June 2,
2011 – 9:21pm

Your comments are becoming repetitive and tiresome. It is time the NBR banned your posts. This last one borders on defamation. If you don’t have something intelligent to say why not just shut up? ”
(grumpier) old man Lindsay?

Thought you (used to?) support ‘freedom of expression Lindsay?

Or – have you got something to hide perhaps?

Wanting to have my posts ‘banned’?

Goodness me – I MUST be on target to cop that sort of flak, from someone with your Business Round Table background.

You and your mates ever seen this?

Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

by H. Michael Sweeney <>
copyright (c) 1997, 2000 All rights reserved

(Revised April 2000 – formerly SEVEN Traits)

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. Should a commentator become argumentative with any success, the focus will shift to include the commentator as well.

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for ‘conspiracy theorists’ and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of ‘artificial’ emotionalism and an unusually thick skin — an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. This likely stems from intelligence community training that, no matter how condemning the evidence, deny everything, and never become emotionally involved or reactive. The net result for a disinfo artist is that emotions can seem artificial. Most people, if responding in anger, for instance, will express their animosity throughout their rebuttal. But disinfo types usually have trouble maintaining the ‘image’ and are hot and cold with respect to pretended emotions and their usually more calm or unemotional communications style. It’s just a job, and they often seem unable to ‘act their role in character’ as well in a communications medium as they might be able in a real face-to-face conversation/confrontation. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later — an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game — where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat ‘freudian’, so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

I have noted that often, they will simply cite contradictory information which neutralizes itself and the author. For instance, one such player claimed to be a Navy pilot, but blamed his poor communicating skills (spelling, grammar, incoherent style) on having only a grade-school education. I’m not aware of too many Navy pilots who don’t have a college degree. Another claimed no knowledge of a particular topic/situation but later claimed first-hand knowledge of it.

8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Recently discovered, with respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:

1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT – FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.

2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR – there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to ‘get permission’ or instruction from a formal chain of command.

3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay – the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

I close with the first paragraph of the introduction to my unpublished book, Fatal Rebirth:

Truth cannot live on a diet of secrets, withering within entangled lies. Freedom cannot live on a diet of lies, surrendering to the veil of oppression. The human spirit cannot live on a diet of oppression, becoming subservient in the end to the will of evil. God, as truth incarnate, will not long let stand a world devoted to such evil. Therefore, let us have the truth and freedom our spirits require… or let us die seeking these things, for without them, we shall surely and justly perish in an evil world.

Penny Bright | Thursday, June 2, 2011 – 11:30pm

June 2, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting corruption internationally, Human rights

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