Why are business lobbyists such utter dickheads?

First there was Ken Harris, the head of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, who couldn’t count. Now there’s Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Alasdair Thompson, who’s insisted that women are paid 12% less because they have periods.

According to Stuff:

[Thompson] today admitted there was a gender pay gap – 12 percent according to figures – but said women took the most sick days. “Why? Because once a month they have sick problems. Not all women, but some do, they have children they have to take time off to go home and take leave,” he told NewstalkZB. Therefore their productivity was lower. “I don’t like saying these things because it sounds like I’m sexist, but it’s a fact of life.”

The issue isn’t that he sounds “sexist” – the issue is that he sounds like a brainless moron. Leaving aside his demeaning and insulting view of the world, the facts aren’t exactly on his side.


It’s apparently never occurred to Thompson that if his idiot theory was correct, post-menopausal women or those without children would be paid as much as their male colleagues. Obviously they aren’t, otherwise the statistics – gathered over 40 years, remember – would reflect this. But expecting business lobbyists to use their brains is apparently a bit much to ask. We’ll leave the last word to CTU head Helen Kelly:

CTU boss Helen Kelly said the comments showed Mr Thompson needs to retire. “He passed his best when he stopped being the Mayor of Thames.” Mr Thompson’s ideas showed the latent sexism of those advising the business community, Ms Kelly said. She said the gap between women’s and men’s pay was mainly due to workplace discrimination. “Look at the EMA board. It’s all white men.”

Stupid white men, going by the evidence.



Why is Hubbard being charged, but Hotchin is still a free man?

We’ve been rightly critical of the South Canterbury Finance bailout, so it was interesting to see that Allan Hubbard is being charged by the Serious Fraud Office … but hang on a sec, wasn’t Allan Hubbard the bloke who was tipping $60 million into his old company as restitution to investors? And why is he being charged when Mark Hotchin, scumbag of the investment community and Gold Coast refugee, is still walking around without a home detention bracelet attached to his ankle? Hotchin has consistently raised two fingers to every investor he bilked, hasn’t committed to repaying a single dollar of his ill-gotten gains, yet it’s Hubbard that’s being charged? How come the double standard, SFO?

Could it be that Allan Hubbard’s real crime was to loan to dairy farms in the South Island, and any collapse of South Canterbury Finance would damage the inflated capital values of National’s support base? And that the SFO had to make a scapegoat of Allan Hubbard because it’s the rural base that really matters to National, not the life savings of a bunch of urban retirees?

Shit, these days it’s just one rhetorical question after another.

These two assholes deserve one another, international edition

The Guardian is reporting that Goldman Sachs, fresh from the difficult task of looting the US economy, has taken the next step in cementing its reputation as the pre-eminent investment house for incompetent morons masquerading as fund managers:

A bitter rift has opened up between the world’s most powerful bank and one of its most fearsome dictators after Goldman Sachs invested $1.3bn (£790m) of Colonel Gaddafi’s money – and lost virtually all of it.

Yup, a big chunk of Libya’s sovereign wealth fund has been pissed against the wall by Goldman, apparently because those high-powered investment advisors bet that asset values were on a tear:

Goldman lost the money – which it invested between January and June of 2008 in a range of options to buy currencies and shares at a future date for a stipulated price – after the collapse of Lehman Brothers panicked the markets and caused the underlying securities to crash in value. The investments, in a basket of currencies and the shares of six energy, utility and banking companies including Citigroup, amounted to a bet on a rise in the underlying value of the assets. However, since their values plummeted they became virtually worthless.

And given Gaddafi’s penchant for shelling his own citizens, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer chap. As Shakespeare so eloquently put it, a plague on both your houses.

But there does seem one unanswered question: who was on the other side of those options contracts? Was it another of Goldman’s gilt-edged clients? Wouldn’t that be interesting to know …