Friday, May 30, 2008

PRIMETV PRESENTS: The Great Global Warming Swindle

Sunday, 1st June at 8.30pm

 Watch TGGWS on the net here

Global warming is the biggest threat facing the world today, but not in the way you may think. The Great Global Warming Swindle blows the whistle on the biggest swindle in modern history. The theory of global warming has been postured as fact and as such does not need to be questioned but what if man’s CO2 emissions were not the cause of the problem? In fact there is overwhelming evidence, and has been for some time, showing that it’s solar activity that determines temperature.

Many solar scientists attest to the fact that during the late 20th century we experienced the highest levels of solar activity for centuries. Global Warming is the morality tale of the decade – politicians are eager to pander to middle class green prejudice, and are throwing vast quantities of public cash into scientific research aimed at supporting an unsupportable theory.

It’s a tale of scientists fearful of speaking out, of upsetting the funding applecart and jeopardising the many thousands of research jobs generated for them by the global warming scare.

WARNING: Content May Offend

**NB: there is a one hour discussion of The Great Global Warming with skeptics and loony believers alike. Leighton Smith, talkback host on Newstalk ZB is one of the skeptics !

There have been attempts from some devotees of Global Warming to appeal to the Broadcasting Standards Assc to have the programme removed so nobody can watch it. This is typical of the GW zealots who dont want others to see the the other, more believable side to the GW "debate".

Related Political Animal reading

Unstoppable global warming
Global Warning: Tax Iceberg Ahead
Kyoto critic comes to town - Sunday Star Times
Carbon Credit trading puts Global markets at extreme risk
Of Tulip Bulbs and Tooth Fairies
Ponder the Maunder - 15 Yr old Kristin Byrne explodes the GW myth

c Political Animal 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NZ HERALD: Latest political poll and Political Animal commentary

As election day draws near the gap in polling between the National and Labour party stays constant.

Budget bribes, small as they were, clearly didn't work and Labour will have to make them bigger and more plentiful as we near polling day.

They have already started by bribing 44 thousand public "servants" with another weeks leave.

Bet your bottom taxpayer earned dollar though, Labour are going to raid the taxpayer purse to try to get back into power. They did it back in 1989, when they admitted a pre-election $89 million surplus but after their election bribes and when the books were uncovered post election we were over 1 billion in debt!

Is anyone listening though?

New Zealand Herald Poll story

Budget fails to do the trick for the Government

5:00AM Friday May 30, 2008
By Audrey Young
Helen Clark ranks below John Key as preferred prime minister, according to the poll. Photo / Getty Images

Helen Clark ranks below John Key as preferred prime minister, according to the poll. Photo / Getty Images

Labour's tax-cutting Budget has had no immediate impact on its poll rating in today's Herald-DigiPoll survey, the first major poll that includes a large post-Budget sample.

The economy has moved into top spot as the issue most likely to influence voters in this year's election, just nudging out tax cuts, which is the second most important issue.

Labour has moved down one point to 36.2 per cent but National has also moved down fractionally, by 0.6 to 51.5.

The gap between the two main parties has barely budged from last month's poll: 15.3 points, compared with 14.9 last month. National would still be able to govern alone.

National leader John Key continues to poll just ahead of Helen Clark as preferred prime minister, 44.6 per cent to 42.3 per cent.

If anyone received a lift from the Budget, it was New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who claimed significant gains for the elderly.

His personal ratings as preferred prime minister more than doubled to 6.7 per cent.
But that boost has not been replicated in support for his party (1.9 per cent, up 0.4 points)

The poll of decided voters was taken over three weeks in May. Two-thirds of respondents were polled before the Budget and almost one-third (418 people) after it. The margin of error on the post-Budget sample is bigger than the pre-Budget sample.

The support levels for the parties changed slightly in the samples taken before and after the Budget. Labour was on 36.5 per cent before the Budget, and 35.3 per cent after it.

National was on 51.7 per cent before the Budget and 51.2 after it.

On the basis of this poll the Greens would comfortably get over the 5 per cent threshold and return to Parliament with eight MPs, two more than now.

The poll's pre- and post-Budget movements were more pronounced for Helen Clark and Winston Peters in the choice of preferred prime minister.

Helen Clark dropped 3.6 points and Winston Peters jumped 4.3 points in the post-Budget sample.

Overall, compared to last month's poll, Mr Peters is up 3.5 points, Mr Key is down 3.4 and Helen Clark is down 3.

Economic news dominated the headlines in May with the price of petrol passing $2 a litre and a lot of coverage on interest rates and stress on household budgets.

The Government announced a delay in including liquid fuels in the emissions trading scheme,which National announced it would not support.

The head of the Immigration Service, Mary Anne Thompson, resigned in disgrace. And Finance Minister Michael Cullen set out plans for $10.6 billion in tax cuts over three years.

Translated to seats in the House, National would get 63 and could govern alone.

When respondents were asked which issue was most likely to influence their vote at the election, 26.7 per cent said the economy, 22.5 per cent said tax cuts and 11.7 per cent said hospital waiting lists.

Mr Key said last night that the economic issues the country was facing were weighing directly on the polls. "On the back of that, the Budget doesn't appear to be having any major impact because the dominant factor is the economic malaise that is washing over the country."

Helen Clark could not be contacted.

* The poll of 1279 respondents was taken between May 5 and May 28 and the margin of error on the total sample is 2.7 per cent. The margin of error on the 418 polled after the Budget is 4.6 per cent. The percentage of undecided respondents was 13.8 per cent.

Related Political Animal reading

At least Robin Hood was honest: Labour will buy the 2008 election
Pointing fingers in the playground
Labour's State control out of control

c Political Animal 2008

Peter Marshall deserves longer sentence

The sentencing of Peter Marshall, former head of the failed online broker, Access Brokerage, to 3 years jail today surprised me.

I was expecting a far lesser sentence and perhaps even home detention for a fraud Marshall perpetrated on small shareholder/customers, when he was CEO of the brokerage and it collapsed owing millions at the end of 2004.

Marshall's plea for leniency because of "poor health" showed all the hallmarks of fraud cases heard in the US several years ago over accounting fraud and dubious businesses practices but Judge Bruce Davidson wasn't having a bar of it.

Marshall really didn't deserve the courts leniency anyway as he pleaded not guilty and his defence argued his innocence all the way:

The Crown maintained the offending was significant and "took issue" with any suggestion of real remorse, as Marshall maintained he had done nothing wrong.

While I was expecting a lesser sentence, I personally don't think 3 years is long enough. Marshall's lack of remorse clearly shows he hasn't learnt anything from his experience and for this reason alone the sentence should have started at 5 years.

We don't have to look much further than collapsing finance companies, and their advisors and
Money Managers advocating their clients to invest in dodgy companies to see that financial markets in New Zealand are still largely the domain of the wild west.

We need a few more sheriffs (and judges) in this town to send the message, and make an example of those who would wish to part you with your hard earned moola in nefarious ways.

Related Share Investor reading

Blue Chip's Mark Bryers at top of shaky pyramid
Money Managers Saga-3 story wrap
Money Manager's First Step gives investors the middle finger

c Share Investor 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Be an active investor

Reading the news today about 94 New Zealand Housing Corporation employees ensconced at a luxury resort in Tongariro at taxpayer expense, got me thinking about accountability of management amongst our listed companies and shareholder involvement or lack thereof in the businesses that they have invested in.

Even before investing in a listed company, you would do well, as part of your research to get in touch with the management of the company and have a chat. You maybe surprised who you might get hold of and you could even find yourself talking to the CEO, or the company secretary at the very least. They can only say no. I myself have talked to several leaders of the companies I own a part of and you can glean quite alot from a quick chat.

Of course if you do business or become a paying customer at one of the businesses you have a shareholding in, it doesn't hurt to give your feedback, positive of negative, about your experience. How the employee/manager at the end of the phone or across the desk deals with your feedback can say alot about the company you are invested in.

Shareholders should at the very least tick all the boxes in the forms that they get in the post come annual general meeting time. The form that you get will allow you to vote on remuneration, cast your ballot for directors and vote on any extraordinary decision the board may put to shareholders in a particular year, amongst other things.

These kinds of votes become even more important when your company has a takeover or merger offer made. Don't ignore these requests for your input. They are important, even though you might think you have only one vote, you do have ownership of a part of the company-exercise that ownership.

Go to annual meetings. You don't have to be a Bruce Sheppard, the head of the NZ Share Holders Association, but listening to the other shareholders ask questions, the ability for you to give your point of view on company direction is going to be a benefit to your decision to hold or fold.

Sadly in the 10 years I have held shares I have never been to a meeting, they are always on in the middle of the day when I am busy but that dear readers is another column.

New Zealanders are a passive bunch at the best of times. Foreign shareholders are far more involved and tend to have more say in the company's' that they own.

Remember, it is your money invested and you do have a say in your part share of the listed company that you own. It doesn't have to be a completely hands off experience and getting involved makes that investment a more exciting prospect that a certificate in the top drawer or an electronic company code on your computer screen.

Related Share Investor reading

Stick to what you know
Investors can learn from my stupidity

From Amazon

The Development of Equity Capital Markets in Transition Economies: Privatization and Shareholders Rights (Contributions to Economics)

The Development of Equity Capital Markets in Transition Economies: Privatization and Shareholders Rights (Contributions to Economics) by Dirk Willer

c Share Investor 2008

The Vietnam apology that rings hollow

When NZ withdrew its troops the trauma for many of us was just beginning. We were brought back on a civilian aircraft in civilian clothes and were told to get off the aircraft and go away. The official word from the army was not to tell anyone you'd been in Vietnam. We were aliens in our own country. A march down Queen Street in Auckland turned into a riot. We were pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables. People were screaming out 'baby killers!' That wasn't much good for the psychological state of the soldiers who had just returned from a war zone. Some returned soldiers suffered physical and psychological injuries. I would think the problems (for vets) have been created out of neglect. Neglect on the part of the government, neglect on the part of society and to some extent neglect on the part of the army."

Rick Thame Victor Five Coy

Helen Clark, Phil Goff and a large number of other Labour Party members are going to "apologise" on behalf of the New Zealand Government this Thursday 29 2008 over Vietnam Veteran's appalling treatment by the government of the time and subsequent administrations. There was no government assistance for soldiers as there was in other wars, no welcome home, no acknowledgment of the bravery shown in battle against the Vietcong and they were told to shut their mouths and not talk about their horror again.

Many Vets committed suicide, became hospitalized with mental problems and have a myriad of health problems. Some of these things also happened to subsequent generations of family members.

They will never forget what happened, during the war and after.

I just have one question.

Will Helen Clark, Phil Goff and her Labour colleagues personally apologise for spitting in the soldiers faces during the Queen Street riots?

It must be election year.

c Political Animal 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

NZ HERALD: Poll reveals we're still smacking our children

In the wake of the acquittal of Chris Kahui for murdering his 2 young children and not a thing said in the media by Sue Bradford, she is out again today trying to make good parents who give their children a corrective smack criminals and normalise that-Political Animal

Sue Bradford celebrates the passing of the anti-smacking law in 2007. Photo / Mark Mitchell
5:00AM Monday May 26, 2008
By Angela Gregory
NZ HERALD : Almost half of parents with children under 12 have smacked them in the past year, a survey has found.

The Family First lobby group commissioned a market research company to poll New Zealanders on their attitudes to parental discipline since the anti-smacking law came into effect in June last year.

It found that 48 per cent of respondents with children under 12 had smacked their child after the law change.

The changes to the Crimes Act outlawed the use of parental force against children for purposes of correction.

The issue polarised New Zealanders.

The law change was led by Green MP Sue Bradford, whose private member's bill removed from the Crimes Act the statutory defence of reasonable force to correct a child.

But it was passed only after last-minute changes, approved by a large majority in Parliament, which directed the police not to prosecute inconsequential offences.

Family First's national director, Bob McCoskrie, said he was surprised the polling found so many parents admitting they had flouted the law.

He said 51 per cent of mothers had admitted continuing to smack.

Related reading

Anti Anti-smacking petition a slap in the face for out of touch Politicians
Sign the anti smacking petition
Sacha Cobern's letter to NZ Herald Editor
Cindy Kiro gets violent
Anti-smacking law puts young boy at risk

"For a new law to be ignored by so many people who are willing to risk a police or [Child, Youth and Family] investigation indicates just how out of step with reality this law is."

The nationwide poll surveyed 1018 randomly selected respondents, with a fairly even spread of men and women aged from 18.

About a quarter of the respondents had children under 12.

Mr McCoskrie said the poll followed a similar one done in June last year, just after the new law came into effect.

In that survey, 78 per cent of parents said they would smack their child to correct their behaviour if they believed it was reasonable to do so.

Ms Bradford said yesterday that the new poll indicated an improvement in attitudes, as a year on only 48 per cent admitted having done so.

"We are well on the way; that is a great result," she said.

But Mr McCoskrie said the new poll showed the percentage opposed to the anti-smacking law had risen to 73 per cent from 62 per cent last year.

Men, people aged more than 60 and those from rural areas opposed it most strongly.

He said only 19 per cent strongly or somewhat agreed with the new law despite the police discretion clause, down from 29 per cent last year.

Almost half of those surveyed - 47 per cent - strongly disagreed with the ban on smacking.

Mr McCoskrie said 85 per cent of those polled - up from 82 per cent a year ago - agreed the new law should be changed to state that parents who gave their children a smack that was reasonable and for the purpose of correction were not breaking the law.

He said the polling sent a clear message to political parties seeking support for this year's election.

When asked whether their support for a party would be affected if it promised to change the law, 37 per cent said they would be more likely to vote for that party. This was up from 31 per cent last year.

The number of people whose vote would be unaffected by a policy to change the law fell from 59 per cent last year to 53 per cent this year.

Mr McCoskrie said the results showed New Zealanders had not been fooled by the anti-smacking lobby's claim that smacking was child abuse.

"They haven't been duped by arguments that children are damaged by reasonable smacking, and they have understood that our unacceptable rate of child abuse has far deeper root causes than a loving parent who corrects their child with a smack on the bottom," he said.

Asked if they thought the new law was likely to help reduce child abuse, 79 per cent said it was not at all likely. This figure was up from 77 per cent last year.

Organisers of a petition to reverse the anti-smacking law change have until the end of next month to gain the number of signatures needed to force a non-binding referendum at this year's election.

Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro said yesterday that she had not seen the survey.

But she urged people to move on and learn better parenting skills.

"The key message is, 'For goodness sake, can't we move on?' So much energy has been wasted debating this."

Dr Kiro said people needed to learn and be encouraged in positive parenting.

She believed there was a trend away from physical punishment.* The poll was conducted during the week beginning May 12 and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Labour and their Last Crusade

“We just don't believe in tax cuts - it's against our fundamental philosophy - after all we are socialists and proud of it.”

Dr Michael Cullen

No wonder Dr Cullen found it difficult to announce his meager tax cuts in this weeks 2008 budget announcement, because his party simply does not fundamentally believe that personal tax cuts are deserved by the working people of this country.

Cullen of course believes that he knows best and that he should hold on to most of your money because he knows best how to spend it. He has done that for 9 years now and simply because it is election year he is giving your money back at an average $16 per week. The price of a ticket to the latest Indiana Jones movie.

We all know that tax cuts do stimulate economies but this is far too little and far too late. Costs imposed on individuals and business by Labour put us way behind where we were in 1999 and most workers would require $200-300 to have them back at status quo.

Related Political Animal reading

Michael Cullen's history on tax cuts comes back to haunt him
Pointing fingers in the playground
At least Robin Hood was honest
The black economy makes sense
Labours State Control out of control

We can exclude so-called "working for families" from the tax equation because it is welfare and we are talking about tax cuts here and not handouts.

The focus of this budget on yet more welfare, through working for families, higher student allowances and unemployment benefits and higher profligate spending on embassies, Governor General house renovations and train set purchases just shows where Labour's priorities lie. The extra spending on these u necessaries far outweighs their meagre cuts in taxes and in these dire economic times you cut back on spending, you don't spend more on luxuries.

That is where the wriggle room for National comes in promising more money going back to those who earn't it in the first place.

A far better tax cut regime would have been the first NZ$10000.00 tax free and a progressive rise to around 20% tax rate to $30,000 of income then a tapering off to 10% after that as incomes go higher-an incentive to work harder/smarter, instead of the current disincentive as the tax rates go higher the more you earn. That ain't going to happen under National either but one can dream nonetheless!

If this was a budget to help pout those in need because of the current blow out in oil, food and service prices then the October 1 cuts would have been brought forward to June 1 but there will be an election not long after Oct 1 and as Michael Cullen rightly says:

My view is that tax cuts are largely offered as a political bribe, not because of beneficial economic or social effects.
Dr Michael Cullen

Cullen's maxim doesn't not apply to National as they have always been consistent on personal tax cuts. They believe in them, they always have and it has always been one of that party's main economic tenants-that is, kiwis know best how to spend their own money, not the government.

A chorus that has been sung by Labour since our economy went pear shaped and reiterated in the budget is that "global economic conditions" have affected our economy. Sure they have, but the largest negative affect by far has been Labour's mis-management of the economy for the last 9 years. Hard work by our businesses and middle classes (those that provide the bulk of taxes) provided the best economic conditions in generations but the good times were squandered by Labour. High taxes, regulation and reckless government spending have led to a doubling of mortgage rates, higher food and energy prices and inflation. These things happed before any global slowdown and it is simply a lie to say otherwise.

What was needed in the 2008 budget was a vision for its people. That is, a strong focus on hard work and personal responsibility and incentives to enable that. What we got was more of the same. Energies channeled on State involvement in our lives and a tax and spend policy that would extend into a Labour 4th term should we all be unlucky enough to have them foisted upon us again for another 3 years.

We will leave the second to last word(because I always get the upper hand over her) to our Aunty Helen:

Tax cuts are a path to inequality. They are the promises of a vision-less and intellectually bankrupt people. Helen Clark, speech to 2000 labour Party Conference

Tax cuts are actually the path to fairness, equity and personal responsibility, the intellectually bankrupt tag goes to those who disagree or would cut personal taxes weeks before an election.

c Political Animal 2008

NZ Stockmarket set for discontent Winter and Summer

Pressure on the New Zealand stockmarket has been coming from the global credit squeeze and the subsequent fallout from that but negative influence from the local economy has also held sway.

We have seen over 10 finance companies collapse over the last 2 years and the local real estate bubble has started to deflate. A record number of people losing their jobs in the last quarter, negative consumer spending, the lowest ever business confidence index and pressure from ever higher food prices, sustained high mortgage rates, record oil prices and continued reckless government spending forecast in the 2008 Budget don't make for a pretty picture at all.

The New Zealand stockmarket has held up reasonably well to this news over recent months but these economic influences are going to impact on real company results come next reporting season.

We have already seen retailers report their latest profits for the March year and few did well, clearly things look even worse for these retailers come October.

Discretionary retail spending is one thing but impacts are going to be felt in every sector of the market; building, real estate,infrastructure and agriculture, but a few. The only listed companies unlikely to be affected at all are our electricity energy retailers and generators-we still need to heat our homes as we hunker down for this winter of discontent.

Long overdue tax cuts come October 1 are too small to stimulate our economy very much, and perhaps the only thing they will stimulate is inflation and therefore mortgage rates because the tax cuts don't come hand in hand with government cost cutting-very important when you have tight economic times.

I don't pick market bottoms, it is almost impossible to do and it can get awfully smelly if gotten wrong, but hopefully if you have picked your portfolio well and add to it as the bargains come then you will be well positioned when the upswing comes.

Mine is still around NZ$25,000.00 in the green but I'm still prepared to get into the red when the proverbial really hits the fan.

Lets hope the spray back doesn't hit a full blown gale!

Share Investor Sites

Share Investor Business News- Get more business news
Share Investor Stockmarket forum -Discuss this topic further

c Share Investor 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Commodities bubble set to burst

Jed Clampett struck crude in his backyard while a hunt'n and he ended up living the high life in Beverly Hills and lived a very happy life with Jethro and the whole clan. He would have been even wealthier today.

As we speak, the price of Nymex crude futures is US $134.40 a BBL, LME copper futures are US$8299 a metric tonne, wheat futures US $787 a bushel and a whole host of the worlds other commodities: gold, steel, aluminum etc are at record prices and show little sign of slowing down their upwards trajectory.

Sure, much of the reason why these commodities keep climbing are because of unprecedented demand from the likes of China and India and the use of soy, maize and other food crops to make Bio-fuel, are having an impact on food prices but one cant underestimate the effect speculators and traders are having on commodity prices.

At just shy of US$135 bucks the oil price has far outstripped the upward pressure that pure demand would put on it and just like any other bubble, the commodity bubble is inevitably going to burst.

When is not clear but just like the stock booms of the past, the tech bubble of 2000 and the current real estate collapse, what goes up inevitably comes down. It would simply defy history for this not to happen.

So what is the problem? you might ask. Well the big headache will be that this sector of the investing market is now getting manifold increases in money being invested; by individuals, hedge funds, banks, pension funds and all the other derivative, bond holding, debt laden fund raising schemes(that I don't completely understand) that were involved in the Sub-Prime mortgage sector.

This wouldn't be so bad if the direct investors were the only ones burned when things go pear shaped but as we know these things have a tendency to effect the real economy and therefore the average man on the street.

These speculators have bailed from the stockmarket and real estate and are now creating another bubble that will burst like Elle May Clampet out of her gingham top.

The consequences of a commodity bubble bursting though will be a whole lot less attractive than Elle May's d├ęcolletage.

Share Investor Sites

Share Investor Business News- Get more business news
Share Investor Stockmarket forum -Discuss this topic further
Share Investor Forum's new member GIVEAWAY!!

c Share Investor 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008 New Zealand Budget News

Michael Cullen will be making probably his last budget and will be pulling out all the stops to retain the power he and his mate Helen crave.

Come and check out a full wrap of news, opinion and facts from the 2008 New Zealand Budget here

Phil Goff interview on ALT TV

From the individual who tried to have the age of consent for "two consenting teenagers" lowered to 12 now comes the Gaff of all Gaffs, submitting to the pip squeak lefty interviewer Oliver Driver that Labour may lose the 2008 Election.

Whether they think they will lose the election or not, the unwritten rule is not to say you might lose!!

Has Phil Goff gone off his medication or is there an element of truth to his slip-up?

Heavens has this man not learn' t anything in 25 years of sponging off the taxpayer ensconced in his comfy leather chair in Wellington?

Even though I dislike Aunty Helen more than the sane world dislikes Al Gore, she is the best person for Labour and the 2005 election, even though its looking like a big loser

Even though Helen and Phil are bestest mates from Auckland University days, he would have been hauled into the 10th floor office for a dressing down over this.

The video is comedy gold by the way.

2008 New Zealand Budget News

c Political Animal 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why did you buy that stock? [Ryman Healthcare]

With Ryman Healthcare [RYM.NZ] announcing its annual results for the year ending 31 March 2008 to the market on Thursday 22 May 2008, I thought I would elaborate on some of the reasons why I bought the stock in this latest of a series of columns.

Ryman, the operator of approx 3000 retirement units,
up from 900 eight years ago, increased profit by approx 20% in November 2007 and has future plans to grow at a similar rate in the medium term.

Why did you buy that stock?

Why did you buy that stock? [Kiwi Income Property]

Why did you buy that stock? [Hallenstein Glasson]
Why did you buy that stock? [Briscoe Group]
Why did you buy that stock? [Fisher & Paykel Healthcare]

Why did you buy that stock? [Pumpkin Patch Ltd]
Why did you buy that stock? [Michael Hill International]
Why did you buy that stock? [Mainfreight]

Why did you buy that stock? [The Warehouse]
Why did you buy that stock? [Goodman Fielder]Why did you buy that stock? [Auckland Airport]
Why did you buy that stock? [Sky City Entertainment]

The historical aspect of company performance initially attracted me and once again that has got to be down to good management. The company has managed to grow in spectacular fashion without asking shareholders for additional funds and has positioned itself well for the future.

Now there are quite a few different companies that will give you exposure to the New Zealand listed property market and one other listed retirement village operator, Metlifecare [MET.NZ] but I chose Ryman over Metlife because of the size of its current land bank for future use, approx enough for 2000 units.

Although currently the real estate market and property values are suffering from a downturn and that should be reflected in the announcement on Thursday(although having said that shares were up by more than 4% on good volume today possibly indicating something good on Thursday) , the other reason I like Ryman is that its revenue streams are multiple and set to grow dramatically as we all grow older and wish to stay in the more independent villages that the likes of Ryman and Metlife offer.

The first revenue stream is income derived from developing and selling the units, continuing revenue to take care of residents and property and another cut when the unit is on-sold.

This provides a good cashflow for the company to function well and during the tougher times, this makes it easier for the company to sustain their business model.

Another easy to understand business, this encouraged me to buy and its ability to differentiate itself from other single property residences in the form of a strong brand of villages countrywide help keep the competition at bay.

I have held the company for around 3 years and it has cost me approx $1.75 per share. I would purchase more at lower than cost levels, given the ability of my wallet to allow it.

Ryman Healthcare @ Share Investor

Share Price Alert: Ryman Healthcare Ltd 2
Ryman Healthcare Ltd: 2011 Half Year Profit Review
Gordon Macleod on Ryman Healthcare's Australian Expansion
Share Investor Q & A: Ryman Healthcare's CFO Gordon MacLeod
Ryman Healthcare: Interview sneak peak
Ryman Healthcare Ltd: Australian Expansion Needs Care
Share Investor Q & A: Reader Questions to Ryman CFO Gordon Macleod
Long Term View: Ryman Healthcare Ltd
Stock of the Week: Ryman Healthcare Ltd
Why did you buy that stock? [Ryman Healthcare]
Long VS Short: Ryman Healthcare Ltd
Time for retirement?

Discuss Ryman Healthcare @ Share Investor Forum - Register free 

c Share Investor 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Restaurant Brand's gives KFC a push

It will seem strange to regular readers of this blog for me to be praising Restaurant Brand's [RBD] management but after some reasonable on site research of one of the company's brands, KFC, I do believe they might have got one aspect of the company almost right.

Restaurant Brands is the franchisee operator of KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks and has had a very chequered operating past since listing in 1997. Sales have been declining, levels of service poor and menu and food quality dubious at the best of times. Profit and revenue have also consistently fallen in the last decade as a result of the poor management.

There has been a 2 year focus on KFC to resurrect the company's only profit maker. Millions have been spent to remodel the 89 store chain with new menu items to give the image of KFC and the Colonel's old deep fried chicken a healthier look and judging by my own survey of a couple of Auckland's North Shore stores, Takapuna and Browns Bay, the extensive rejig of the menu seems to be keeping declining customer numbers at an even keel.

The choice of salads, burger meals, various new types of snack foods and smaller chicken pieces from the old KFC menu make for more choices for customers but management risk diversifying too much and alienating their core customer (thats me folks) who still comes for the fried chicken, if they go further.

Stick to what you know guys and don't try to reinvent too much. McDonalds have just successfully redefined their menu in a healthier way, while adding a large chicken menu to their roster and too many similarities between the 2 chains chicken products should be avoided at all costs. KFC's main point of difference, and it has been that way for nearly 40 years in New Zealand, is their 11 herbs and spices recipe. Don't kill the very chicken that lays the golden stuff !

Related Share Investor reading

McDonalds playing chicken with KFC
Restaurant Brand's Pizza Hut faces increasing competition
RBD sales analysis
RBD saga continues: CEO leaves
The secret recipe is out
2007 FY profit analysis
Delivering increased profit in October 2007
No reason for optimism in latest sales figures

Russel Creedy, who was appointed as CEO in September 2007, has made some good moves since his appointment and the continued development of KFC from previous management head Vicki Salmon has stemmed the previous hemorrhaging of the KFC unit.

What Creedy must do now though is consolidate his relative success at KFC and sell the loss making Pizza Hut New Zealand while there is someone willing to buy it.

Starbucks, while still growing revenue, mostly from inflation, is nonetheless still losing money overall and a sale back to the franchisor would be the best for all participants.

RBD management don't have the depth of expertise to manage 3 brands to the maximum benefit of their shareholders, and as proven ever so slightly so far, their concentration of efforts seems to be paying off at KFC.

Related links

RBD New Zealand
Yum ! RBD's franchisor

Share Investor Sites

Share Investor Business News- Get more business news
Share Investor Stockmarket forum -Discuss this topic further

c Share Investor 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

STUFF: Fairfax poll & Political Animal commentary

The latest fairfax political poll continues the trend from last year where National started to show a wide gap. This gap has not only continued but has got wider as time goes on.

It is clear to voters, Labour or National, that voters want their money back, in the form of personal tax cuts. Not State sanctioned welfare like working for families or one off dollops from those that earn the money to those that haven't. They simply want their own cash back in the hand on a weekly basis, without state apron strings involved or mixed up in loony taxpayer subsidised "savings" schemes like Kiwi saver.

The billion dollar plus price tag for a train set and not dividends in their pockets, seems to be yet another motivator for long suffering middleclass taxpayers to get on track to get back what they deserve.

Their own moola!

Political Animal Reading

Michael Cullen speaks with forked tongue
Pointing fingers in the playground
At least Robin Hood was honest
The black economy makes sense
Labour's State Control out of control

Stuff poll and commentary

National is on track for a landslide election win with a 27-point poll lead over Labour.

On today's Fairfax Media poll, Labour faces an election night rout that would oust 14 sitting MPs and deliver National a 13-seat majority.

Finance Minister Michael Cullen is now under huge pressure to deliver an election-winning Budget next week or face the backlash from voters seeking relief from rising pressure on household budgets.

But on today's result, voters have already written Labour off and it may take more than the modest tax cuts signaled by Dr Cullen to turn that around.

The Nielsen poll for Fairfax newspapers suggests that not just the size but the timing of any tax cuts could be critical, with voters saying they want relief now, even if that puts pressure on interest rates.

Just over half of those questioned - 51 per cent - don't want to wait for tax cuts, even if that means interest and mortgage rates stay higher for longer.

It suggests that Dr Cullen's argument that early and sizeable tax cuts will only push up interest rates and delay relief for heavily mortgaged households does not wash with voters.

Kiwibank cut its two-year fixed-term home loan rate to 8.99 per cent yesterday and other banks are expected to follow in anticipation of a cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank.

Today's poll will send panic through Labour ranks. National's lead is a turnaround from polls which had Labour closing the gap - the previous Fairfax poll had National and Labour 18 points apart.

National Party leader John Key said yesterday that voters were sick of Labour.

"They're tired of the fact that they're so out of touch with issues that concern them in their daily life."

National would fight the election on tax cuts, which would be a defining difference between the two parties.

"All the messages that Labour has given off in the last two months is that tax cuts will be relatively small."

Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is in South Korea, could not be contacted for comment.

The poll put the Greens on 6 per cent - safely above the 5 per cent threshold, where they were joined by NZ First on 5 per cent.

That could put NZ First leader Winston Peters back at centre-stage in any post-election deals, though on current numbers National could easily govern alone.

The poll questioned 1091 voters between Wednesday May 7 and Tuesday this week and has a margin of error of 3 per cent.

Discuss Politics

New Zealand Budget

c Political Animal 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Something in the State of New Zealand is rotten

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse for the New Zealand Labour Party, along comes the scandal to beat all scandals, one of Helen Clark's ex employees, Maryanne Thompson, is tarred with the corruption brush and Ministers knowing this chose not to disclose and are now not talking to the media.

Lets go back a bit though.

In the last few weeks we have had a major u turn on the nonsense "climate change" policy, Michael Cullen's failed 9 year fiscal policy continuing to have a dire economic fallout, Phillip Field's corruption trial finally given the go ahead after a prior 2005 election cover up by the Labour Party, the massive hypocrisy of Auckland Airport being bared from a sale but Vector assets sold to our new friends in China, revelations that Alexandra school children were being taught in shipping containers, Michael Cullen caught out lying about the cost of "kiwi rail", the worst economic figures in generations; 29000 less people working and fatal retail sales and a list as long as your arm of ministerial gaffs and malfeasant behavior.

The latest scandal is fraught with much speculation but this is clear. Ministers from the Labour cabinet are involved and knew what was going on with Maryanne Thompson.

Thompson fudged her credentials, gave relatives quick shift through our immigration department to illegally obtain New Zealand residence and favoured friends and family in rewarding large contracts, as the taxpayer money slipped through her fingers like so much confetti .

Trevor Mallard was the Minister responsible at the time and there are rumours that he was aware of the shady business of Thompson and her co-workers. He was aware of Phillip Field and his pre 2005 Election corruption and kept it mum, so why would this case be any different.

Labour voters really cant have alot of confidence in their political masters, the Labour Party.

Their modus operandi is secretive and corrupt. A party that has had secret donations made from Owen Glen, a wealthy billionaire, has stolen taxpayer money to buy the 2005 election, has done their best to stop opposition to the 2008 election by passing the fascist Electoral Finance Act and has had their leader, Helen Clark been caught out lying several times and simply cannot be trusted.

The latest polls reflect that Labour is set for one of the biggest losses in their party history but is only going to be tempered by the large amount of working New Zealander's taxes that are going to be handed out to buy the votes of those too selfish to think of others or simply ignorant of the real state of the nation and how much Helen Clark and her merry bunch of socialist misfits have contributed to it.

We the voter shouldn't forget the Watergate scandal from the 1970s, that brought down the Nixon Government. It was predicated by a break in and a cover up of that break in. Much worse has happened during the 9 years of labour.

Where are our Woodward and Bernstein when we need them?

Discuss Politics
New Zealand Budget

c Political Animal 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stick to what you know

One thing alot of people do in life,especially when they get bored, are particularly ambitious(or turn 40!) is to go outside one's comfort zone to challenge their personal or professional skills, this can be quite rewarding in many ways, a sense of achievement comes from trying new things and the risk of failure can often be forgotten in the heat of excitement.

While this approach to life in general is much to be admired, this sort of approach to investing is probably one of the easiest ways to lose your hard earned bucks.

When deciding to buy a business or part of a business, as stocks are, one of the most important aspects you must consider is if you understand what it is the company does and how it does it.

Look for either a good business that you yourself may have industry experience in or is simple enough to understand with a minimum of interpretation of company reports.

Food companies, retailing, steel making and strong brands like, Coca Cola and McDonald's are easily understood even by the most green of investors.

This basic investment tenant can also be applied to the management of any business or enterprise. Watch closely at management of any company who also want to go out of their comfort zone or level of experience and therefore competence.

A successful toilet paper company that suddenly decides to use their excellent profits to expand into the new car business is one that you don't want to invest in and if you are already invested you should roll yourself right out of there.

Coca Cola tried to mess with the formula to their main product in 1985, they didn't need to, they were still number one, but the CEO decided to go outside his level of expertise and change their simple successful 100 year old product. It would have meant the end of the company had the decision to recall the old formula not been made.

The formula of sticking to what you know clearly goes across all asset classes as well.

Be it bonds, of either the Sub-prime or "prime" variety, stocks, real estate, gold, oil, pork bellies or carbon trading, you must stick to what you know first. If you want to get into something you don't know, either you don't, or you do your homework and become as competent as you can.

It is very easy to look at glowing company reports, prospectus' or advisor recommendations of companies but when those businesses are more complex than a real estate agent's patter on explaining why the view in the advertising looks nothing like the view from the house itself, don't go along with the hype.

K.I.S.S. keep it simple stupid!

Who in their right mind would get into a company like Blue Chip New Zealand, their company was structured like a pyramid within a maze, but people looked past the complexity and "invested" anyway.

While of course good management, good company history and growing revenue and profit are also essential ingredients in the investing cake, removing complexity from the mix is going to make one's decision a more profitable one in the long run.

Understanding a business or investment is a really good start along the road of success and the new challenges will lie in continuing to keep the business/investment simple. Keep the challenges for the weekend and bungee jumping in Queenstown.

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c Share Investor 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

History of Warehouse takeover players indicates a long winding road

With The Warehouse Group [WHS.NZX] shares taking a dive over the last week or so because of their weak sales data and grim outlook in the medium term, the attractiveness to speculators wanting to get an even better slice of the company and flog it off to Woolworths Australia [WOW:ASX]-I don't think Foodstuffs are in the game because of their shallow pockets-is an opportunity going begging for.

Given that the Overseas Investment Office has already given its approval for Woolworths OZ to acquire the owner of the Red Sheds the only stumbling block for the big W will be for them to lose their defence of an appeal by the seriously malfeasant Commerce Commission(CC), who want to put the brakes on any possible deal to stitch up The Warehouse with Foodstuffs or Woolworths OZ.

The Warehouse Group @ Share Investor

Long vs Short: The Warehouse Group
Warehouse bidders ready to lay money down
The Warehouse set to cut lose "extra" impediment
The Warehouse sale could hinge on "Extra" decision
The case for The Warehouse without a buyer
Foodstuffs take their foot off the gas
Woolworths seek leave to appeal to Supreme Court
Warehouse appeal decision imminent
Warehouse decision a loser for all
Warehouse Court of appeal decision in Commerce Commission's favour
MARKETWATCH: The Warehouse
The Warehouse takeover saga continues
Why did you buy that stock? [The Warehouse]
History of Warehouse takeover players suggest a long winding road
Court of Appeal delays Warehouse bid
The Warehouse set for turbulent 2008
The Warehouse Court of Appeal case lay in "Extras" hands
WHS Court of Appeal case could be dismissed next week
Commerce Commission impacts on the Warehouse bottom line
The Warehouse in play
Outcomes of Commerce Commission decision
The fight for control begins soon

Share Investor Forum-Discuss this topic

Much of the Commission's case relies on the potential of The Warehouse Extra to provide competition to the current "duopoly", stunningly a duopoly that the Commerce Commission itself voted for when it initially allowed Progressive to merge Foodtown's brands with Woolworths NZ in 2002. Woolworths Australia then bought that merged entity in 2005.

Dr Farmer said the High Court at Wellington was wrong in fact when it concluded it was unlikely the Extra store concept would be expanded and even if it did succeed it was unlikely to exert competitive pressure.

"It would be ironic that the firm, which has the potential to expand and which is already exerting pressure on the incumbents, should be able to be the subject of acquisition by one or other of those incumbents, thereby subjecting consumers once again to the duopoly," Dr Farmer said.

James Farmer QC April 30 2008.

Ironic indeed Dr Farmer, have you read your client's former cases that initially advocated a duopoly in 2002?

The Warehouse itself has stated that the Extra format hasn't achieved the potential that they thought it would and it seems unlikely that they will expand the current 3 stores to the 15 planned ones.

Farmer then spent much time grasping at straws by arguing over what the term"likely"might mean.

There is fierce competition for market share in the supermarket sector though and if you look at the trail of litigation over the Progressive/NZ Woolworths merger of 2002, where an appeal was taken all the way to the Privy Council by Foodstuffs, lost, and then writs and a judicial review taken regarding the Overseas Investment Commission and their decision to allow the merger. The whole process began in May 2001 and was only rectified towards the end of 2002.

As I have indicated in earlier columns, even if the appeal to the High Court is lost by the CC, and I think they will lose-they lost their 2002 case after changing their initial positive stance to allow a merger, due to a small change in competition law- they can still put their tail between their legs and run off to the Supreme Court in Wellington and start yet another appeal. The history of these supermarket players and the Commerce Commission would indicate that the Supreme court is the most likely scenario. In which case any decision, either way, will be closer to the end of 2008.

The Warehouse shares were down 2.8% to NZ$5.20 or 15c on over 1 million shares traded today and any further weakness in share price is an opportunity for a good short to medium term play.

Related Reading

Warehouse takeover battle in court TVNZ
NZ retail duopoly court case begins The Australian
Woolworths still keen on NZ's Warehouse - report Reuters

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The Warehouse Financial Data

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Share Investor News

I am pleased to announce another website from the Share Investor stable.

At Share Investor News ,investors can keep themselves up to date with investment and finance news from the likes of Reuters, BBC Business video, Forbes, and more, with much more content to come.

It is all updated live via RSS feeds and of course available from the Share Investor sites links to the left column of this page or by typing into your browser.

The news site is part of the coming new permanent home for the Share Investor Forum,, where investors can discuss the minutia of investing to their hearts content.

I hope you find the new news site useful and if you have any suggestions or comment please contact Darren.

c Share Investor 2008

Why did you buy that stock? [Michael Hill International]

I initially resisted buying shares in Michael Hill International, [MHI] the operator of approximately 200 Jewelry stores in New Zealand, Australia and Canada because the dividend wasn't big enough.

Buying Michael Hill shares would be contrary to my investing belief that an investment should pay good returns, right from the beginning, when you plunk down those hard earned sheckels.

Why did you buy that stock?

Why did you buy that stock? [Mainfreight]
Why did you buy that stock? [The Warehouse]
Why did you buy that stock? [Goodman Fielder]
Why did you buy that stock? [Auckland Airport]
Why did you buy that stock? [Sky City Entertainment]

I then watched over the years as MHI management continued to have a sustained success in their business and have 20 plus years of good revenue and profit growth behind them.

I then re thunk my position on dividends and returns and decided to look longer term, where I thought Michael Hill's main prospects lie.

Therefore the main reason I bought MHI shares was in the company and its good long-term prospects, 5 years and up. Granted, it is doing well currently but its big future lies in the long-term management and progress of the company for even better investor returns.

Its position in my high dividend portfolio as a "growth stock" marks it out only with Pumpkin Patch Ltd [PPL] in that respect. My portfolio was previously lacking in such growth stocks and it is probably prudent for investors to have one or two in their portfolios.

Good management marks this company out from many others listed on the NZX and as you might know, as a seasoned investor, good management of a company is the most crucial part of a business, save the product or service being sold. Management for me is another key reason for picking Michael Hill. This is embodied in Michael Hill, the man himself, and he has provided a culture where his other managers are able to run the company the way he would want and therefore the transition to another CEO in the future will be relatively easy-another good long-term indicator.

Once again, and it seems to be a recurrant theme that runs through the businesses that I pick to invest in, they are easy to understand. Like the other retailers in my portfolio, Pumpkin Patch Ltd [PPL] Postie Plus Group [PPG] and The Warehouse [WHS] they simply sell goods to the public. Easy peasy.

For me, having Michael Hill has part of my portfolio provides an opportunity for me to participate in a growing business in which the full benefits of that growth, in terms of larger profit , a bigger company and revenue are still many years down the track. Along with excellent management and and easy to understand business any significant dips in share price would be a good opportunity for me to acquire a much larger stake than my current 1000 share holding and I wouldn't hesitate to take that opportunity.

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