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  1. #1
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    Default Should companies who were perfectly entitled to claim the wage subsidy pay it back ?

    My opinion as clearly espoused on the HLG thread is that the Govt imposed a lockdown and some companies had to completely shutter their operations.
    The wage subsidy reimbursed SOME of the costs of companies keeping their staff employed and this was a far better option for everyone than mass layoff's.

    Some people are getting very high and mighty on their moral sanctimonious horse and saying these companies should now pay this wage subsidy back because its the right thing to do.
    They use the (in my opinion) perverse logic that a company who pays a dividend for the FY20 year should replay this subsidy but somehow they completely overlook the fact that this dividend is very likely to have come out of the profits from the other months when Covid wasn't in effect and its very likely that the affected companies lost serious money while the lockdown was in effect, only recovering some of the costs of keeping employees on the payroll and none of the multitude of other overheads and costs.

    I would go further and say words are cheap. Its very easy to take the moral high ground with other people's money. One wonders what altruistic programs / worthy charities these people run with their own money if any ? Maybe its their guilt speaking that they do nothing for charities of their own volition ? Who knows.

    For mine, the wage support system wasn't perfect but it has been a major support for many employees who have kept their jobs. This benefits them primarily and their mental health in what has been an extraordinarily tough year for almost everyone.

    Maybe those crying foul should put up or shut up. Write a cheque for a few thousand dollars from their own money to a worthy charity...do something to make a difference. "Deeds not words"
    Last edited by Beagle; 12-11-2020 at 12:52 PM.
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    The scheme certainly would have enabled some staff to remain in employment during lockdown. I can see there could be a case for a sermon from a high horse, where companies may have actually increased the dividend payment for the period in which they claimed the subsidy.

    ‘Charities have certainly been struggling to attract donations. High accomodation costs and house prices must be a factor in that. Perhaps more cash poor but asset rich people could include charitable legacies in wills or trust deeds.

    Back in the old days, one partner in a couple could often spend time doing voluntary work. Nowadays it’s often all hands on the grindstone to pay for mortgage and living costs.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beagle View Post
    My opinion as clearly espoused on the HLG thread is that the Govt imposed a lockdown and some companies had to completely shutter their operations.
    The wage subsidy reimbursed SOME of the costs of companies keeping their staff employed and this was a far better option for everyone than mass layoff's.

    Some people are getting very high and mighty on their moral sanctimonious horse and saying these companies should now pay this wage subsidy back because its the right thing to do.
    They use the (in my opinion) perverse logic that a company who pays a dividend for the FY20 year should replay this subsidy but somehow they completely overlook the fact that this dividend is very likely to have come out of the profits from the other months when Covid wasn't in effect and its very likely that the affected companies lost serious money while the lockdown was in effect, only recovering some of the costs of keeping employees on the payroll and none of the multitude of other overheads and costs.

    I would go further and say words are cheap. Its very easy to take the moral high ground with other people's money. One wonders what altruistic programs / worthy charities these people run with their own money if any ? Maybe its their guilt speaking that they do nothing for charities of their own volition ? Who knows.

    For mine, the wage support system wasn't perfect but it has been a major support for many employees who have kept their jobs. This benefits them primarily and their mental health in what has been an extraordinarily tough year for almost everyone.

    Maybe those crying foul should put up or shut up. Write a cheque for a few thousand dollars from their own money to a worthy charity...do something to make a difference. "Deeds not words"
    I dont think your looking for anyone else's opinion Beagle, your simply stating your own strong views on the matter.

  4. #4
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    There does appear to be some (misdirected ?) moral outrage at the so called disease of rampant capitalism that would dare allow companies to participate in a lawfully endorsed Govt subsidy scheme to keep employees employed in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century with serious economic consequences. How dare companies avail themselves of Govt resources to cover just a modest fraction of their overall costs during lockdown ? Lets have a witch hunt of these morally bankrupt companies shall we and start boycotts and protests for their morally repugnant behavior. (Where's my vomit bag ?).

    How disgusting...surely it would have been far better for these companies to engage in mass redundancies...opps, maybe not...that would have cost the Government more with unemployment costs and mental health issues. How many more would have committed suicide ? I know one who did and trace that back to Covid pressure...how many more people made redundant would have committed suicide if it were not for the Govt's wage subsidy scheme saving hundreds of thousands of jobs ?

    Many are polluting other threads with their repetitive sanctimonious cries for social justice. Such an easy thing to do with other people's money isn't it I just thought when you have a circus you have it in one place rather than polluting every thread with the musings of these so called socialist expert guru's.

    Have you got something to contribute to this debate other than to speculate on my motivation and intentions for starting it ?
    Last edited by Beagle; 12-11-2020 at 02:33 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beagle View Post
    There does appear to be some (misdirected ?) moral outrage at the so called disease of rampant capitalism that would dare allow companies to participate in a lawfully endorsed Govt subsidy scheme to keep employees employed in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century with serious economic consequences. How dare companies avail themselves of Govt resources to cover just a modest fraction of their overall costs during lockdown ? Lets have a witch hunt of these morally bankrupt companies shall we and start boycotts and protests for their morally repugnant behavior. (Where's my vomit bag ?).

    How disgusting...surely it would have been far better for these companies to engage in mass redundancies...opps, maybe not...that would have cost the Government more with unemployment costs and mental health issues. How many more would have committed suicide ? I know one who did and trace that back to Covid pressure...how many more people made redundant would have committed suicide if it were not for the Govt's wage subsidy scheme saving hundreds of thousands of jobs ?

    Many are polluting other threads with their repetitive sanctimonious cries for social justice. Such an easy thing to do with other people's money isn't it I just thought when you have a circus you have it in one place rather than polluting every thread with the musings of these so called socialist expert guru's.

    Have you got something to contribute to this debate other than to speculate on my motivation and intentions for starting it ?
    You know my views on the subject and I don't wish to get into a dog fight. PS-As far as charities go, for the last 20 odd years I have had 3 World Vision children at a time as well as supporting Child Cancer and the Cancer Society.
    Last edited by couta1; 12-11-2020 at 03:08 PM.

  6. #6
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    I agree with couta1. It is very hard to see that you set this thread up for any serious discussion with an opening post like you did Beagle. Maybe you should take a deep breath and think about what you said in that post. It is highly offensive.

  7. #7
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    Stimulating debate it should be seen as. Not intended to be offensive but very thought provoking. Its telling that those making their monotonously repetitive calls to boycott companies that haven't repaid the wage subsidy haven't bothered to come on here and try and articulate their viewpoint. I've called those out on the HLG thread with their socialist agenda keen to make contributions with other people's money and make no apology for doing that.

    I don't see why as a shareholder of HLG I should be compelled to be part of repaying a subsidy that the company legitimately received to assist with some of the costs of employing staff during the lockdown. What part of "some of the costs" of employing staff and none of the other overheads of the company is so hard for people to understand ? Its the staff that have benefited from this subsidy, not me as a shareholder. Blind Freddy can see that HLG made a lot less money in the second half of FY20. Why should I as a shareholder of HLG repay a share of the subsidy that benefited employees ? I received no benefit, the company has received no net benefit so what the heck is the issue ? Why is it so morally repugnant for a company to pay a reduced dividend for the year from profits they made when the stores were not in lockdown ? Does anyone actually want to debate the actual issues or are we just here to throw rocks at someone who dares to start a thread and have a strong opinion on such a controversial subject ?
    Last edited by Beagle; 12-11-2020 at 03:42 PM.
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    PWC in their guidelines in applying for the subsidy included this question the company should ask itself -

    Can you evidence that you have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and if so is this enough to support a claim?


    Should be read in context of govt suggesting cash reserves are a mitigating factor

    I assume HLG management asked themselves this and said yes
    “What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end”

  9. #9
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winner69 View Post
    PWC in their guidelines in applying for the subsidy included this question the company should ask itself -

    Can you evidence that you have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and if so is this enough to support a claim?


    Should be read in context of govt suggesting cash reserves are a mitigating factor

    I assume HLG management asked themselves this and said yes
    They deferred the interim dividend for many months, (a step not even taken during the GFC), and then reduced it so I think that answers your question mate.
    I know some shareholders were really gutted they deferred the dividend and acted on that disappointment.
    I think its very easy to forget now (with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight), that at the time companies like HLG had no idea how severe the economic effects were going to be or how enduring.
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    Beagle has given his very strong point of view and has invited other posters, especially moka and bull, to give their equally strong views.

    I cannot see what’s wrong with that - unless the differing views have no grounds to stand on.

  11. #11
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    I agree, the "off market discussions" thread seems the ideal place to discuss off market discussions

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    It is highly offensive.
    What exactly is offensive about the post? I'm genuinely curious to hear others opinions on this. Change my mind but do it in this thread without polluting threads dedicated to individual stocks. What was so offensive?

  13. #13
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    Default Putting the size of HLG's subsidy into its proper context.

    I think some people have very conveniently overlooked the fact that year in year out all the way back to 1947 HLG has paid company tax ($12.4m in FY20), provided gainful employment to huge numbers of staff (total staff wages in FY20 $54m which will have had PAYE by my estimate of at least $10m PAYE deducted and paid to the Govt), and collected tens of millions in GST for the Govt each year. For the Govt to offer to pay them a one off $5m grant, (this wasn't HLG's idea) to keep staff employed (some of that $5m has already come back through PAYE on those staff salaries), really this needs to be kept in its proper context. The Govt's support for HLG in their case is literally a drop in the ocean when compared to taxes the company has provided to the Govt for the last 73 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beagle View Post
    I think some people have very conveniently overlooked the fact that year in year out all the way back to 1947 HLG has paid company tax ($12.4m in FY20), provided gainful employment to huge numbers of staff (total staff wages in FY20 $54m which will have had PAYE by my estimate of at least $10m PAYE deducted and paid to the Govt), and collected tens of millions in GST for the Govt each year. For the Govt to offer to pay them a one off $5m grant, (this wasn't HLG's idea) to keep staff employed (some of that $5m has already come back through PAYE on those staff salaries), really this needs to be kept in its proper context. The Govt's support for HLG in their case is literally a drop in the ocean when compared to taxes the company has provided to the Govt for the last 73 years.

    I think people lose sight of what was an implicit social contract. In the past we had it as tax payers and business were just another entity with the same social contract. Debt broke this contract, tax became less relevant for funding and this relationship was broken. Business consolidated and became international, community business died. Although became all about "me" in this country for a generation or two we now have the blow back, we have the social justice BS.

    We certainly have anti-business mentality now, in part as people simply don't understand or relate to real substantial business built through new enterprise. Look at what they what they see out there, which is essentially a few large businesses usually with market dominance or business which is in part government funded.

    So few people build a real business here from a start up and those now with the talent leave NZ or don't bother as property investment has been a simpler, easier and sufficient to make a few bucks.

    MSD contacted me about employment opportunities constantly for their clients during & post lockdown and constantly said i should apply for the wage subsidy across business as "we were entitled". So is it not funny what the social contract has become.

    The best decision I made in my life was 25 years ago, that was to build a business in an enterprise culture and that place they was in the USA. Today I would still consider there yet more likely parts of Asia.

    As my daughter sums up today view, she says why do the hard work, life is short, when getting hooked into the public sector and its funding is where it is at and comes with the status.

    If not then property investment, is that not what private sector business is now? lol

    Back to the question, if legally you meet the legal criteria then you are entitled. Any social contract was broken long ago. Any other basis is open for bias, bashing of different groups and making victims of a cancel culture.
    Last edited by Raz; 13-11-2020 at 05:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferg View Post
    What exactly is offensive about the post? I'm genuinely curious to hear others opinions on this. Change my mind but do it in this thread without polluting threads dedicated to individual stocks. What was so offensive?
    Since you asked, I find the below quotes offensive in an opening post on a thread that apparently is setup to discuss differing opinions (which it clearly isn't) :
    "Some people are getting very high and mighty on their moral sanctimonious horse"

    And this making huge and totally mad assumptions about people that disagree with him:

    "I would go further and say words are cheap. Its very easy to take the moral high ground with other people's money. One wonders what altruistic programs worthy charities these people run with their own money if any ? Maybe its their guilt speaking that they do nothing for charities of their own volition ?"

    "Maybe those crying foul should put up or shut up. Write a cheque for a few thousand dollars from their own money to a worthy charity...do something to make a difference. "Deeds not words""

    I recall my friend Beagle saying on the SKC thread a long time ago that he could not morally invest in a casino, so did couta1. I could have said get off your "sanctimonious horse" but respect both of them for holding a view different to mine . I see no need for such offensive labels and direct attacks just because I don't agree with them.
    Last edited by iceman; 13-11-2020 at 08:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz View Post
    ...

    Back to the question, if legally you meet the legal criteria then you are entitled. Any social contract was broken long ago. Any other basis is open for bias, bashing of different groups and making victims of a cancel culture.
    Sadly I agree with most of your post!

    Investing in business is pushed behind investing in real estate/land in NZ. However I Think fundamental tax and legal reform is needed. A social contract can become part of companies and business. With reform perhaps NZ can encourage more business to develop and to remain based and listed in NZ.

    I think the Labour Government Minister of Finance Roger Douglas was the harbinger of the loss of the social contract between NZ business and the NZ people.
    Last edited by Bjauck; 13-11-2020 at 09:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjauck View Post
    Sadly I agree with most of your post!

    Investing in business is pushed behind investing in real estate/land in NZ.
    Actually investing in real estate is pushed behind investing in businesses. e.g. the bright line test on residential property.

  18. #18
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Balance View Post
    Beagle has given his very strong point of view and has invited other posters, especially moka and bull, to give their equally strong views.

    I cannot see what’s wrong with that - unless the differing views have no grounds to stand on.
    Exactly, this thread and especially the opening post was aimed directly at these two protagonists with their repeated theatrical attempts to undermine the integrity of HLG as a corporate citizen.
    The silence from these two is deafening and if it continues leads to only one conclusion, which is what you've referred too.

    Interesting post Raz,
    Consider this folks. We have arguably one of the most widespread and costly social welfare systems in the developed world for individuals. Many large families pay very little tax because of an extremely generous family support system which pays them for their choice to have a large family. There is no hesitation to pay people unemployment benefits, domestic purposes benefits retirement superannuation regardless of other income e.t.c.e.t.c.e.tc.

    Once in nearly three quarters of a century HLG has received a very modest wage subsidy that benefits not the company itself, but just part of the cost of keeping people employed. This saves jobs, it saves unemployment benefits being paid, its saves a massive load on the mental health and health system generally, it potentially saves lives, (more than 600 suicides' in N.Z. last year from memory) but we have a few "rocket scientists" who can't even be bothered coming on here in the appropriate thread and articulating their point of view vilifying this company as an evil corporate citizen full of nothing but naked greed.

    Folks, I put it to you that their viewpoint is is nothing better than the ugliest naked Envy. How dare you shareholders do well when the Govt has provided some support to the company during the year ! There is no more thought put into it than that. There is no logic behind it, no understanding that this money went to employees as only part of the cost of supporting them in lockdown, no appreciation that HLG did completely close down its operations...all they see is envy, how dare the company pay a dividend and how dare shareholders do well.

    This is anti capitalist anti business propaganda at its absolute worst. I'd bet my last dollar people like that wouldn't hesitate for one minute to claim a benefit if they were unemployed regardless of how much financial reserves they had and it would never cross their mind to pay it back.
    Last edited by Beagle; 13-11-2020 at 10:10 AM.
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  19. #19
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    @iceman I wouldn't call that offensive; I would use other words to describe what you have quoted.

    There are three parts to that being the sanctimonious horse, questioning the motivation and hypocrisy.

    Regarding the sanctimonious horse comment, that is more inflammatory rather than offensive and IMO was designed to provoke a reaction. And whilst it is blunt, accusatory and somewhat cutting, it is no way offensive and it partly achieved what it was designed to do, which was to get a reaction. It is not offensive. If you choose to find it offensive then that is on you, not Beagle. In addition, IMO it was aimed at two rather vocal individuals from the HLG thread, and not you. So there is no reason for you to personally find it offensive.

    Regarding questioning people's motivation. This is actually a bad faith argument technique rather than offensive. In the HLG thread where I put up a post explaining the rationale as to why I thought morality did not come into it, a poster there questioned my motivation. Their entire argument was along the lines of "you would say that because you have a vested interest" without actually addressing any of the points I raised. It is bordering on an ad hominem attack in that you question the person and their motivation, rather than address their points. So I gave it the treatment it deserved and simply ignored it, but I certainly did not take offence at someone questioning my motivations in that instance (but I digress).

    However, in the original post, Beagle was using it as an example to point out the hypocrisy of people rushing to spend other peoples money, aka virtue signalling as part of the trendy and misguided cancel culture. In other words he was challenging others (not you) to put their money where their mouth is, namely moka and bull, who seem to be very vocal on this issue. And given you touched on the issue of hypocrisy, you picked up on that theme. So again it is not offensive, it is merely a debating technique and again if you choose to find that offensive, then that is your issue and not Beagle's.

    On the subject of hypocrisy I'm sure we can all trawl through each others posts seeking out such examples, but to what end? Whilst it can be a useful debating technique at times, it has lost it's impact given it has been over-used and people will misinterpret words or intent and/or not consider the context of the original statement. A wiser man than me once said something like "beware the man who deliberately misinterprets another mans words". It might have come from Arrian in his book on Alexander the Great, but I cannot find that quote.

    My advice is to not to be too quick to take offence, especially on behalf of others. For that is the end of rational discussion.

    Have a nice day.

  20. #20
    Hunting for more dog food Beagle's Avatar
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    You are a wise person Ferg. Thank you for unpacking very accurately the intentions behind my opening post. If I haven't already welcomed you to the forum forgive me, your obvious high level of intelligence adds greatly to this place so a very warm welcome to you.
    Kind regards
    Beagle
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