Life, in the curious state of limbo…

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This was the view as I came down the driveway on Thursday night…pretty much the same thing I see every night when I get home…maybe a few more puriri on the concrete and the grass…tis the season…

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…and, like most nights, a little dog waits…

I had expected that the previous night would be the last time that this view would be truly mine, that by Thursday evening I would be someone else’s tenant after ANZ sold my home at auction on Thursday morning…

But just after 10AM…

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…less than an hour before the auction was due to commence…

Our assumption is that ANZ New Zealand found 1 News’ attentions rather unwanted and inconvenient and pulled the pin to neuter the story planned to air on Thursday evening. We can only assume that because ANZ has still not contacted me to tell me why the auction was cancelled – or even to tell me that it has been cancelled – or indicate where the journey may take us next; or even propose a way ahead…

Well, it’s not entirely true to say that I haven’t heard from ANZ: they did send me a new bank card yesterday…

…but its silence of this more dramatic turn of events is a major concern. Not so much that it has failed (again) to keep me informed but as a sign that ANZ New Zealand simply does not get it. It doesn’t get the most basic functions of customer service or even the most fundamental survival skill of not digging its hole any deeper…

Perhaps, I am so scary that the members of its board and or executive team are still drawing straws to see who gets to contact me. If so, team you need to harden up and start living some of the leadership stuff you are always talking about. Leadership is not about mega-profits or meeting targets; leadership is about taking it on the chin when one of your crew (or a few of them in this case) screws up…leadership is about doing the right thing…

So, ANZ New Zealand, here’s the expectation, just for future reference…I would expect that if you are going to put someone through the forced sale of their home, and then cancel that sale at the last minute – for any reason – you will front for that decision and tell me personally. You have my email address, my home address (that’s the place you were selling from under me, you get that right?), and my phone number…

I would certainly expect that some THREE working days later, you would have summoned up the moral fortitude to explain yourselves and why you have decided to commit me again to this limbo of the unknown…

By now I had expected to be well engaged in plan after this, knowing what, if anything, I walk away with after the auction, developing options, hopefully sussing out a small piece of land on which to start again, or, worst case, making plans to depart the Mountain community…

What’s your plan now, ANZ New Zealand? Will you wait till all the furore over the FMA/RBNZ report dies away and the media is distracted elsewhere to have another go at an auction…? Will you play divide and conquer with me and my ex-partner to still try to regain the money that YOU so recklessly loaned without proper security or process…?

Before you stick your hand back in the fire, please…remember that the matters you found so uncomfortable when when the media asked you about them are not so much those of the initial lending but your conduct over the last five years where you applied deception and misdirect to obstruct any opportunity for a fair resolution to the issues at hand…

In parting, I can leave you no more damning an indictment than that written by Patrick McInerney on Thursday morning…

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Not only are Pat’s words great in their own right, in distilling a complex issue down to a few short paragraphs, there are also a humbling reminder of the communities of which I am a part, even those where actual contact lies deep in the past…

I have been quite blown away by the response to my plight…I have been stopped in the street by people with inquiries or best wishes, called and messaged by comrades who I have not seen in over a decade…this all has been a reminder that we are never truly alone and nor should we feel that way…

Signing off today from Limbo…

#ANZdotherightthing

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Into the unknown….

All the way in

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Crunch day….in less then three hours, ANZ New Zealand will be auctioning off our home…

The TV1 News team is onto this story now and we did an interview at home yesterday. I wasn’t sure how to talk about this on air – far more used to being a fixer than a fixee – but the reporter was really able to draw it all out. It should screen tonight, not sure how long the item will be or the specific angle that it will take, but I do know that the TV1 background inquiries have got some interesting responses from ANZ…

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If ANZ really does want this whole thing to go away, it knows what it needs to do. Selling my home will not silence me – ask anyone!! – and will only make me more determined to expose ANZ New Zealand’s scungy record and hit them where they will hurt the most, in the $$$$$ bottom line…

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The FMA/RBNZ report released on Monday is only the tip of the iceberg. Banks like ANZ have been exploiting ordinary Kiwis unchecked for decades. Ordinary Kiwis deserve an opportunity to present submissions to a full inquiry, better still, a Royal Commission to the full depths of banking conduct in New Zealand can be exposed.

New Zealand needs a proper and empowered banking watchdog that is accountable to the Government and the people. The Office of the Banking Ombudsman, despite passionate and caring staff, needs better, more consistent processes to make sure that it can and is holding banks accountable for their obligations under New Zealand law and the Code of Banking Practice. If banks like ANZ are not acting fairly and reasonably towards all their customers, in a consistent and ethical way, the Banking Ombudsman should be all over them.

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All over them….with steel-shod boots…zero tolerance…big penalties…

The decision maker

Values…customer focus…accountability…

Antonia is ANZ’s Managing Director for Retail and Business Banking and a member of ANZ’s senior executive team. She responded to me when I raised my concerns with ANZ’s board a week or so ago…

If you watch this or nay of the other videos of her online, she speaks well and is clearly a smart person who will probably be leading many of the changes looming for New Zealand’s banking industry…

It seems that she is the one who makes the decision…

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Since Antonia’s response, things have gotten a bit wobbly for ANZ and the other big banks in New Zealand. They are being slammed for posting grossly large annual profits, none larger than ANZ’s; and  yesterday’s release of the joint FMA/RBNZ report into banking conduct in New Zealand has surprised few and angered many.

Hi Antonia

Thanks for such a swift response…

My apologies for taking so long to respond…this ‘went noisy’ once the first auction sign went up on my front fence (I was always clear that this would be the catalyst for me to bring this out into the open). In the last week or so, I have been humbled and embarrassed by the amount or moral and practical support from my family and local and professional communities…it has really stretched me just keeping up with emails, messages and phone calls of moral and practical support.

There’s no uncertainty about what may happen to my home. It is being forcibly auctioned by ANZ. In Taumarunui. On Thursday. At 11AM.

But it’s not too late…

Yesterday we saw the FMA and RBNZ release their findings from their joint inquiry into banking conduct in New Zealand. I doubt that there were many surprises there for either of us. It is quite clear that, while perhaps not on the same scale of the findings of the Australian Banking Commission, bank’s management of conduct risk in New Zealand could have been much better and ANZ is up there among those that ‘don’t get it’. I’ve tried to discuss conduct risk with some of your senior staff as part of trying to resolve our current issues, and they just didn’t get the concept…at all…

Even putting aside (for a moment) the original lending that started all this, ANZ’s conduct in my case since this all started in November 2013 (the 11th, so five years ago today week) has not been flash. It certainly has not been what we should expect from a  major banking institution, although the sad truth is that it has probably been exactly what we have come to expect from the major banks.

ANZ officers have said that the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act prevented them disclosing information on the company to me. As I am sure you – and they – knew, this Act, by definition, only covers personal lending. It does not even mention company lending, let alone discuss any rules for or against disclosure by banks to guarantors of company lending. Surely we should be able to credit bank officers in management positions with adequate knowledge of the legislation that does or does not apply to different lending environments? Once might be a honest mistake but when the same ‘mistake’ happens at different levels in different locations in the same bank…well… “Mr Bond, they have a saying: Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

Even today, your staff insist that they had no authority to disclose any information on the company to me. I had no access to the company’s documentation for two and a half years, until mid-2106.  When I gain that access I found that the loan documents contained a clause specifically authorising ANZ to release information on the company’s financial position to guarantors. Does ANZ really want us to believe that its staff aren’t aware of the contents of its own loan documents? Really…? Once again, Mr Bond…

Was ANZ also unaware of the Privacy Commissioner’s determination in 2012 that a guarantor’s interests and rights in jointly owned property used as security bring that information within the scope of ‘personal information’. This means that this information should be releasable under the Privacy Act. ANZ staff – your staff – should have known this.

The Code of Banking Conduct is clear that member banks, like ANZ, have an obligation to disclose information about lending to any party providing security for that lending. The guarantee and loan documents are equally clear that, for ANZ, guarantees are types of security. Instead of accepting and honouring this, ANZ invented a definition of the term ‘security provider’ that it attributed to the Code to support its position that the Code’s disclosure obligations for guarantees and security are different. The truth is that the term ‘security provider’ does not appear in the 2002, 2007 or 2012 versions of the Code, not does this term appear anywhere in the text of these documents. What is that about? Did ANZ not think that someone would eventually call it on this quite blatant fabrication? Or would ANZ have us believe that this was just a(nother) mistake, a miscommunication? In a formal letter..? A pop culture beer billboard springs to mind…

At the end of September, I met with ANZ in Wellington at its invitation. The stated purpose of this meeting was for ANZ to discuss the reasons for the mortgagee sale and to address any questions I may have. I was excited to finally have an opportunity to discuss these issues with ANZ. Frustratingly, ANZ was unwilling to discuss any of the reasons for the mortgagee sales beyond repeatedly assuring me that ANZ was comfortable that it had done it could and was comfortable with its position. If that is the case then I would respectfully suggest that there is something seriously wrong with ANZ’s moral compass. I travelled four hours each way, anticipating a frank and open discussion and instead only found staff who were unprepared and unable to discuss the reasons for the forced sale of my home.

And this is what is so frustrating…that ANZ remains unable or unwillingly to justify its position. If ANZ has a serious contrary argument – beyond “we don’t agree” – then I want to hear it. I don’t want ANZ or anyone else to agree with me unless I’m right – and that’s also the question that I have asked friends, professional colleagues, lawyers etc and no one can show me that reverse smoking gun that undermines the position that I have put to ANZ for five years, come next Friday.

If ANZ had been as willing to resolve this in 2013 as it became in 2016; if it had reduced my liability under the guarantee in 2013 as it did in 2016, both our positions would be considerably more favourable. Instead, ANZ embarked on this bizarre course of obstruction (to put it politely) in the apparent belief that it wouldn’t or couldn’t get caught out.  It could have done the right thing then and now I would probably be defending it, as a bank that did the right thing,  over the contents of the FMA/RBNZ report.

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The predicament that ANZ finds itself in now in one solely of its own making. I sympathise…to a point. I think it’s entirely likely that this situation was caused by staff from a bank (NBNZ) that no longer exists now, for whom management oversight was not as good as two banking systems merged. Certainly, I’ve found my personal banking services since NBNZ was finally subsumed totally by ANZ have been a lot better – not perfect, still enough there for me to support the FMA /RBNZ findings, but better – than there were previously. But the fact remains that staff, who ultimately belonged to ANZ, behaved recklessly in their lending processes, and avoided the obligations placed on banks in the Code….

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The obligation to act fairly and reasonably, in a consistent and ethical way.

The obligation to only provide credit or increase credit limits when the information available leads the bank to believe the debtor will be able to meet the terms of the credit facility.

The obligation to inform any party providing security, of the debtor’s obligations when a credit facility is approved.

I know that banks like ANZ are people…people who go home every night to loved ones and normal lives, people who are professional and proud to work for ANZ. From what I have seen of you in the last week, that probably you. It’s unfortunate that this situation was created over a decade ago by people who possibly don’t even work for a bank now; and that even those responsible for the actions above are only the smallest minority of ANZ’s overall staff. Harry Truman said “The buck stops here” and that’s a philosophy that resounds across the communities that I am honoured to be a member of, the community that has rallied around me at a time of difficulty. Leadership and responsibility flow from the top; regardless of where the fault may have occurred, leaders take it on the chin.

And that’s pretty well where we are now. In the last week we have seen the chair of the ANZ board and the CEO of ANZ Group both speak out for a better banking culture. We have seen ANZ post an annual profit disproportionate to its market share, a profit of almost $5.5 million a day (for context, I average around $100/day, maybe a little more if I pick up some guiding work in summer). We have seen the FMA and RBNZ release a joint report that finds significant weaknesses in the governance and management of conduct risks in the major banks in New Zealand and conclude that the overall standard of banks’ approaches to identifying, managing and dealing with conduct risk needs to improve markedly.

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Home

These events are not just catalysts for improving the conduct of our banks into the future; they are also a call to repair, as best they can, the damage that has been done in the past and the decisions to start that process can only come from the top, from you and your colleagues on ANZ’s executive team and board. And it’s not hard – it may feel hard but it’s not really: the anticipation is always worse than taking the plunge – you can do the right thing in not much time than it would take you to offer any comment on me or the horse I rode in on…in April 2016, ANZ said that it accepted my position. My position had been clearly stated and ANZ did not feel a need to qualify its acceptance in any way. All you need to do is just honour that statement…it might even look something like this:

Hey, team, I’ve reviewed  this again and were not gaining anything by pushing this. We said we accepted Simon’s position two years ago and we didn’t conduct ourselves that well leading up to that point. All this springs from the time that ANZ was absorbing the National Bank and it’s likely that there were some cultural conflicts in the at process. Let’s just get it sorted and not inflict any more of this on Simon, his family and ourselves. We’ve got enough on our plate now with the FMA/NBNZ report and this is now just a distraction…

Up to you…it is the right thing to do…

The email version didn’t of course have any pix…but who wants to look at a wall of text where avoidable…?

Just to keep the record complete, here’s the original email I sent to Antonia via LinkedIn:

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An Open Letter to Sir John Key

Dear Sir John

I am writing to you in your capacity as the Chair of the board of directors of ANZ New Zealand.

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On 8 November, ANZ will be forcibly auctioning my home. It is doing this to recover debt that accrued after ANZ, through its then subsidiary the National Bank of New Zealand, to my ex-partner’s company. Through Antonia Watson [Managing Director Retail and Business Banking for ANZ New Zealand] I understand that my case has been discussed within the board, so you are probably aware of it.

For the last five years, I have been challenging this lending with ANZ on the grounds that it should have disclosed or even sought my approval for any extension of credit against my guarantee. ANZ’s position is that it had no obligation to disclose this.

There is no direct legislative compulsion for disclosure on ANZ for company lending as there is for personal lending under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003. That notwithstanding, ANZ’s position is weak at best:

  • The Code of Banking Practice places an obligation on ANZ to act fairly and reasonably towards its customers, in a consistent and ethical way. ANZ’s conduct in extending these loans to my ex-partner without disclosing them to the guarantor was neither fair, reasonable or ethical. ANZ’s conduct since I first raised my concerns with it in the way it has withheld information, misrepresented the law and fabricated information has also been neither fair, reasonable or ethical. ANZ has been consistent however that’s not always a good thing.
  • The Code also places an obligation on ANZ to only provide credit or increase a credit limit when the information available leads it to believe the customer will be able to meet the terms of the credit facility. It is difficult to accept that a company with inconsistent income and a director earning less than $50k p.a. could meet the terms of lending on loans totalling over $400k.
  • Most importantly, the Code places specific obligations on ANZ to inform any party providing security, of the customer’s obligations when a credit facility is approved. ANZ has stated that the Code’s requirements in this area apply to guarantees and security differently. While that may apply for some banks, ANZ’s own documentation, including the original guarantee and loan documents, lists guarantees as forms of security.
  • Various bank officers have said that ANZ does have an obligation to disclose lending to guarantors.
  • In 2016, ANZ accepted my position without qualification or modification. It reduced my liability under the guarantee to the value of the one loan that it not only disclosed to me and but for which it required my approval. ANZ staff have said that this was a result of my persistence arguing my case. This reduction (approx. 75-80% of the debt at the time) is not the action of a bank that is in the right.

If I was an independent guarantor, this reduction might be attractive however as the company remains joint property, I am still liable for 50% of its total debt. I have argued that the total debt should be reduced to this amount and that this reduction should take effect from the time that I first raised my concerns.

I do not hold my ex-partner responsible for this additional lending against her company. During the period of this lending, she was not well and recovering from what we know now was a serious head injury. By concealing these loans from me, ANZ denied me any opportunity to make informed decisions about continuing the guarantee or to prevent of mitigate her lending.

ANZ’s position is further weakened by its conduct since I first raised my concerns

  • I requested that ANZ keep me informed of the company’s financial position. ANZ said that it had no authority to disclose this information. When I finally obtained copies of the loan documentation in 2016, there was a specific clause authorising disclosure of this information to guarantors. ANZ had no grounds to withhold this information from me.
  • Further to that request, in 2012, the Privacy Commissioner determined that information relating to jointly-owned property used as security under a guarantee should be considered personal information for the guarantor and be releasable to the guarantor when requested. It is not credible that ANZ would not be aware of this determination.
  • ANZ has cited the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 as preventing disclosure of this information to me. That is not true. By definition, this act does not apply to company lending. It is not reasonable that ANZ would not know what legislation applied to various lending circumstances.
  • To support ANZ’s position that the Code of Banking Practice, a senior manager fabricated a definition of ‘security provider’ that he attributed to the Code’s glossary. In truth, this term does not appear in the glossary or the text of the 2002, 2007 or 2012 versions of the Code.
  • ANZ told us that the company’s default on its loans would affect our daughter’s home as well. As a result, her and her partner cancelled their wedding and took on considerable additional debt to renovate it to increase its equity, so they could get an independent mortgage. Once they had committed to this course of action, ANZ changed its mind and apologised saying that staff had look at an incorrect title.

ANZ’s conduct has added extra years to the resolution of this issue. It has also caused immeasurable stress on me and members of my family. In your position and the chair of the board, I am requesting that you encourage the board to:

  • Cancel the impending auction of my home on 8 November.
  • Recalculate any debt from November 2013 when I first raised my concerns with ANZ. The delays from this point are a result of ANZ’s conduct and we should not be penalised for them.
  • Honour ANZ’s acceptance of my position in 2016.

 

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In writing to you at this time, I note the massive profit just posted by ANZ New Zealand, recent comments by yourself and ANZ’s CEO, Shayne Elliott, on the conduct of banks in New Zealand. ANZ has also recently removed incentives for retail sales and I would offer that such incentives may also have been a factor in this reckless lending.

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ANZ has suggested I take responsibility for my actions – I am happy to – but in this case I would respectfully suggest that it is past time for ANZ New Zealand to take responsibility for ITS actions and do the right thing…

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#predatorfreeNZ #ANZdotherightthing #ANZNewZealand

PDF version: Letter to Sir John Key

 

View from the Top

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We all scoff at LinkedIn and question its true usefulness for anything, well, useful…yeah, we do…it’s like social media but just for the boring stuff…apart from keeping in touch with one or two people who don’t do the social media thing, LinkedIn is rather ‘yup’…

It has its uses though and, last week, I was able to use my one free month introductory special offer of LinkedIn Pro, specifically the InMail credits that come with the demo, to engage ANZ New Zealand board of directors….you can’t really reach much further than the very top…

From an academic perspective, I was interested to see if I even got a response, and if I did, how long it would take, noting the loooong time it takes ANZ staff to respond, especially if the subject matter is not to their liking. Recently the CEO of ANZ Australia – a Kiwi – said that  he “…answers every email he gets and responds to all written correspondence from customers usually on the same day…” So there’s a standard of sorts…

In all fairness, the board of ANZ New Zealand responded in less than two days. Disappointed in their response? Actually no and not surprised either…this is an organisation that has lost its way so badly that it can no longer see the moral forest for the trees. If the board had suddenly turned against ANZ’s position for the last five years on this issue, you would have to seriously question its competence as a major banking institution.

Today, Stuff posted a story “ANZ makes almost $2b from New Zealand banking” That, apparently, represents 40% of the total banking profit in New Zealand in that twelve month period. 40%! From a single bank! Are the others doing something wrong…or perhaps are they doing things right…? $1.99 billion dollars. Almost $5.5 million dollars EVERY day – by afternoon smoko on any given day, ANZ could clear RAL’s loss for 2018 – and not even blink. For that money, it could probably operate the Defence Force…

The culture of Gordon Gecko springs to mind…
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I think banks have, like a lot of companies, we did lose our way.

“We became unbalanced in terms of the pursuit of financial metrics and success which again are very seductive.

“It is like anything — people in any industry or any team want to win and if the score is about profit or return it becomes really easy to focus on that at all costs.

Shayne Elliot, CEO ANZ, 2018

My situation aside, it’s clearly time for change…let’s kick it off with our own Banking Royal Commission and go from there….

Please sign and share our petition of change in the New Zealand banking industry

 

The little dog that ran away…

…pretty well sums up my day…three times I’ve been out in the rain chasing the little ratbag…I didn’t used to worry too much but she has been out on the road a couple of times now…

…she ran away at breakfast time, just in time for a fire call across to Whakapapa Village; got back to confiscate the tunnel and fill in the wooden horse…the next time, I was a little slow with the door bringing in firewood and was almost late – but definitely wet – for my FENZ annual health check; for the trifecta, she bolted past me as I was loading the RARO laptops for a SARTrack training session at the school, putting in an appearance at the gate and being confined – noisy little yap dog – in the back of the truck til I finished fire training – fun with extinguishers – tonight…

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Our movie treat – and it truly was a treat – tonight was Darkest Hour, the lesser known story of Britain’s darkest hour in May 1940 when all appeared lost, the German juggernaut unstoppable and poised to cross the Channel. When surrender, at best, negotiated terms, was entirely on the cards as Britain stood alone…when  the unpopular and anguished Churchill defined the fate of the nation…

I was singularly unimpressed by last year’s Dunkirk; the semi-comedy Finest Hour was more Dunkirk than Dunkirk…Darkest Hour captures that time, with France and the rest of Europe fallen, a disastrous and expensive campaign in Norway that achieved naught when Britain had to chose between standing and falling…

The pivotal underground scene probably never happened, some artistic license around the great man’s occasional habit of delving into the people. I don’t remember it from any of the histories or bios that I have read and we’ll probably never know what brought Churchill to the point of open defiance and the legendary speech that concludes:

…we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

The full text is on the Churchill Society site, or listen to it:

It’s worth a listen as Churchill describes the collapse of campaign in France. This is indeed mobilising language and sending it into battle, a rare art…

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Little dogs aside, it’s been a good day, a community day…I should have been writing letters and continuing the campaign but after so long, I’m just over it. Someone came up to me in the Village today and said that he used to be in the banking industry and knew a bit about it. He’d read something I had written a couple of days ago (detail hereand just wanted to make sure that he’d understood it. “Here it comes” I thought, “finally the reverse smoking gun from someone who knows that points out an obvious hole in my campaign with ANZ”.

But no, he agreed with me, for personal and commercial lending, disclosure of additional lending to guarantors is expected and required. This is what is so frustrating…giving up and walking away is just not me, even less so when everything I know says that we;re in the right…but how do you poke the bully in the eye hard enough to divert it from its course?

Five years ago, this all started with an ANZ branch manager; now it’s been escalated all the way to the board of ANZ New Zealand Ltd who still intend proceeding on their juggernaut path; who had the gall to suggest that poor ANZ might not be able to recoup all the money it loaned so recklessly; who really don’t seem to get the concept of taking responsibility for their actions, or as leaders, the actions of their subordinates…

They may be trite but the words of Ben Parker still ring so true…

With great power comes great responsibility…

Actually…Voltaire said it first: With great power comes great responsibility.

Others prefer a more-recent attribution, citing Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben in Spiderman.

Winston Churchill said: The price of greatness is responsibility.

But the sentiment rings true…maybe Antonia Watson, David Hisco and their bud son the board need to reflect on that and do the right thing

On not winning…

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Always hating hanging around like a third wheel at open homes, so we  disappear on Sunday mornings…coffees and carrot cake at The Station Cafe today, then off to Taupo for a touch of Stress Induced Shopping Therapy (here on in referred to as SITS)…

Now that I’ve seen it, it’s a little ironic that this chapter of the Marvelverse is about not winning – not really a spoiler as I must be about the last person on the planet not to have seen Infinity War – being brought up on John Wayne and Thunderbirds, it’s always a little hard to accept that the good guys don’t always win…even in real life…

It’s actually quite tough, knowing that this battle is one that I’m probably not going to win. It’s not about being right. I’m pretty confident that I am right – just upgrading to my fourth lawyer and expecting his feedback tomorrow – that’s not arrogance or pollyannaism or bias…it’s the result of years of research, investigation and analysis work and having to present the results of that work to a fairly unforgiving audience…

It would be unpalatable to find the reverse smoking gun that proves me wrong but at least then I could suck it up and move on…but I can’t (find it, that is, not not move on…well, actually I can’t move on because I’m in the right but let’s not get wrapped around that)…the thing is that being right doesn’t always equal winning….

And it’s not really about winning or losing…that’s too black and white…I never wanted to know everything about counter-insurgency but on a dim dark Waiouru day (most Waiouru days and dim and dark) Gandalf aka Chris Parsons set me off on an unexpected journey into the world of COIN…and I still find daily parallels with that journey…

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…that there is no real victory in COIN..not in the sense of VE or VJ days…successful COIN is about a return to normalcy…not the normalcy that some might seek to inflict (certainly not ANZ ‘normal’ last week where it expected me to sympathise with any loss it may incur…) but normalcy for me…little things like being able to come home  and not have to worry about whether I will have a home or not next month; to not have to spend hours and hours researching legal and banking documents; to be able to dedicate time to relationships and hobbies and stuff; even little things like perhaps getting a roomie; not having to worry about the dogs if this goes wobbly(er)…normal’s all most people want…

In fact, the dogs are my biggest worry…Louie will probably rehome easier enough to people with no cats, good fences and who need a walking carpet…Kala Littledog still has a lot of issues to work through…

Not winning will be a new experience, certainly on this scale…with less that a fortnight til the hammer drops (literally), I’m still fighting…no real choice now to ride it on in and see what happens…

It’s just so damn frustrating that ANZ simply won’t man up – can I say that if the key point of decision is a woman? – admit its error and move on into fixing it up. But then, bullies rarely acknowledge their mistakes and just try to bulldoze their way on through and hope they will get away with it…

…and that’s all you are, ANZ, a bully that screwed up and that lacks the moral fibre to front up…

 

Should I stay or should I go now?

 

When this all blew up at the end of 2013, I’d just left the Air Force. Had I known of this mess before my departure, I may have looked at staying on but after eighteen months working for a sub-optimal boss, I pretty much just wanted to be gone…

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Happy Air Force days…

Looking back, then, I wasn’t that attached to this place, the area, the district…the whole time that I had been living up here, just over nine years at that point, I had essentially been working out of the district – the only people I had any sort of relationship with was whoever was pumping gas at the National Park Service Station. Seriously…

Looking back through my albums, most of my pix are either here in Raurimu, or around New Zealand or the world…no pix of National Park Village at all

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Not National Park…

I didn’t really want to move back to Auckland or Wellington…I still think that central Wellington is a great location centrally but after ten years here, Wellington’s become “…a great place to visit but wouldn’t want to live there…” I was applying for jobs in the provincial centres, mainly in my local or central government comfort zone…I saw myself eventually living in the rural periphery of someplace like Hamilton or Tauranga, possibly a South Island centre but never really looked that far…

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Happy Meal treat

Staying north or moving south…either way, it’s moving away from and towards family. It probably seems silly but a lot of the decision making revolved – then – around these guys…any solution that didn’t include them was unlikely to be a goer, more so since this was well before I discovered Tracy’s Rottweiler Rescue & Rehoming New Zealand as a means of rehoming the fur babies if it came to that…

My Air Force role had been pretty intense and so, like when I departed the Army, I granted myself some headspace time before actively seeking something new. I’d enjoyed working as a census collector for the 2013 census as this was a license to explore my local patch and so when DOC advertised a casual role , I thought it’d be pretty good to get paid to wander around the Park over summer 13/14. That’s when my roots started to grow in volcanic soil…

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I never thought for a second that I’d have been able to fend off ANZ this long and the uncertainty has been part of me over this five year campaign…now the question really looms…

Do I stay or do I go now…?