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  1. #71
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    auckland New Zealand
    Posts
    5,236

    Default

    Hi Sarah. My blog purely reflects my convictions. I endeavour to do what God tells me to do, that's the beginning and end of it.

  2. #72

    Default Better to die on your feet than live on your knees

    Quote Originally Posted by sarahk View Post
    ... you may feel ethically obliged to make some noise (whether those feelings are inspired by one's religion or some other source) but the personal cost may be too great to bear.

    I wonder if that was Dean's real motivation back when he posted his blog, and it was financial conservatism that was behind his silence rather than "the big guy" having a yarn with him.
    I’m pretty sure I had a call from this same NBO outfit -- fortunately after I'd seen some negative publicity about this type of operation elsewhere, which put me in a position to ask some pointed questions. They were definitely not a straightforward business operation, in my experience.

    With me, they used a "we’re contacting you about renewing your listing" approach. This is also favoured by those dodgy fund-raising/community service/advertising invoice scam artists that call businesses about supporting a road safety magazine that doesn't exist, or the web domain registry that wants to charge double the 'real' price for registering a website name and sends plausible-looking paperwork looking for suckers, or an accounts department that’s not on its toes.

    Why they're going so hard after Sarah K is a bit mysterious. I guess worried about derogatory comment (even if true) circulating the internet forever.

    But on the issue of the possible costs of 'speaking out'... yes, it's a tough situation, isn't it?
    On the one hand, stay silent and watch the rort continue to snare new victims (earlier in this thread I posted an article quoting former MP John Luxton's unsatisfactory excuses for walking away from his Blue Chip board position in silence) on the other, make yourself a 'target' for speaking up.

    On Thursday (I'm not making this up) at a conference morning tea I got talking with a retiree who'd been invested in Lombard and was still feeling very, very angry with Doug Graham (another former MP who'd lent his name and credibility to an enterprise that turned out to be, sadly, shonky.) Her emphatic view was those directors hired for window-dressing should all give back their fat fees -- and put that money into a pot for the investors. She was outraged at what she saw as their lack of forthrightness and their silence in the face of financial wrongdoing.

    Of course ‘the baddies’ are often bullies. As Blue Chip was going down (so I am told) their lawyers frequently hassled the NZ Herald to keep bad PR at bay as long as possible. What we know now is that they were still selling BC 'deals' -- even to their own staff -- almost until the last minute.How much better would it have been for those victimised as the ship went down if Luxton or Irvine or someone else had the guts to blow the whistle a year or two earlier? (Same with the Blue Peak fiasco related to this thread.)

    --

    The threat is often “defamation proceedings” just as Sarah is facing (the threat, not the action). Defamation is an extraordinarily expensive course of legal action to take, according to most lawyers you’ll talk to -- and a real gamble. Even if statements in question are 'proven' to be ‘untrue’, the injured party has to prove financial damage as a direct result of their publication.

    So for example, while you might at first blush consider it pretty easy for Matthew Gilligan to prove Phil Jones's negative comments about Gilligan and GRA’s professional competence and ethics around the tax liens argument earlier this year were ‘damaging’ to their reputation ... it’s quite a different matter for Gilligan to show a financial loss has resulted. In fact, if I recall, Gilligan posted that GRA had "lost NO clients" as a result of Jones’s smear. (A shot in his own foot?) Although the offensive blog has been removed, pending... what?... the process has been expensive.


    So it may be with these business directory wallahs. It’s one thing to say: “Oh those statements are technically untrue and my feelings are hurt”, quite another to show demonstrable financial harm (a drop in sales, cancelled subscriptions etc) as a result of the ‘bad’ publicity or those specific comments. Hence, I guess, the implausible effort by their lawyers to show that Sarah’s comments were somehow ‘made in the course of business’ - i.e. subject to the Fair Trading Act. Grasping at straws, if you ask me. Trying to intimidate her.

    Of course, the financial cost of having the argument: instructing lawyers to answer letters, respond to a summons or statement of claim as necessary, and preparing a ‘defence’ can be extremely challenging. It’s too much for most people, especially if, like Sarah, they’re not directly victims but are rather just speaking out as a good citizen.

    That’s why it’s common for people to cave in or crumble under the pressure and financial risk. They walk away. I can understand that, can’t you? Choose your battles.

    --

    It’s quite a different matter to pursue someone for redress.

    My own experiences suing Richmastery for copyright infringement taught me a lot.

    In his summary of ‘lessons’ drawn from the 1987 sharemarket crash as recorded in Lost Property, Olly Newland records:
    4. Remember that all too often justice comes through the cheque book. If you can afford the huge costs of a court battle you are far more likely to get a fair go. If you cannot pay you will probably miss out. Tough luck.
    Olly’s absolutely right. I recently had the pleasure of a long talk at the Empower Education offices with a client of ours who was the plaintiff in an early 1990s High Court case against a large real estate firm which had, the courts eventually found, acted deceptively when it sold him a property.

    The case is now in the legal textbooks and quoted as a precedent in judgement after judgement. Among other things, it demonstrates real estate agents can’t use disclaimers to ‘contract out’ of their legal obligations to the purchaser.

    But it cost him a great deal of money, time and energy and saw him and his family deal with stress and provocation by the agents and their lawyers. He came through and won his case, but at a very high cost -- and he was chasing something he’d lost, not just speaking up for principle.

    Edmund Burke got it right with:
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
    Eventually, each of us has to locate the line in ourselves that, once crossed, provokes or inspires us to action -- sometimes that will mean speaking out or taking a principled stand in the face of potential reprisal.
    Peter Aranyi
    Blog: www.ThePaepae.com

  3. #73
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7,540

    Default

    I got a call from Mark Bryers in the early days of the Blue Chip thread. As you know the thread remained and (the way I see it) it gave the investors the opportunity to share their experiences and work out they needed to fight this wrong-doing together. Fighting the battle on your own is tough - however as shown with Blue Chip when you work together as team you stand a much better chance at being heard.

    We (PropertyTalk) get threats often. However we have to stand up for 'freedom of speech' (within our rules ). There will always be bullies and I agree sometimes the threats turn really nasty and force you to weigh up your options. Good legal advice is a must - know what you can and can not do and stay true to it.

    If you have to stand down - I guess you have already made your point and it hasn't gone unnoticed....especially in cyberspace with google caching pages etc. You may be forced to remove information from your site but it will still be found in google searches ....and there's not many people willing to take on google.

    Cheers,

    Donna
    PropertyTalk Blog - property articles

    BusinessBlogs - the best business articles are found here



  4. #74
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Auckland
    Posts
    3,936

    Default

    With me, they used a "we’re contacting you about renewing your listing" approach. This is also favoured by those dodgy fund-raising/community service/advertising invoice scam artists that call businesses about supporting a road safety magazine that doesn't exist,
    This was one of the reasons I was not happy also and together with other factors declined paid advertising with them.

  5. #75

    Default Another HAZARD of being forthright ...

    I posted this as an inspiration when this book came out ...

    Why speak up at all?
    So many books try to expose bad behaviour and even worse practice but stop short of presenting specific examples. Despite the mass destruction to New Zealanders' wealth that the financial sector has wrought, the avenues of redress that ordinary folk have are so woefully inadequate that justice and accountability remain elusive. This reality is something our regulators should be ashamed of and it requires urgent redress if the individuals behind the offending companies are to be stopped from once again performing their tricks with impunity on another generation of Kiwi saving suckers.
    Gareth Morgan - from his new book 'After the Panic'

    I heard today from the publishers of this book: "there is a mistake in this book and it must be corrected" -- they're recalling all the unsold copies of the book and replacing them with a new edition.

    In my experience THAT very expensive procedure is only triggered under threat of defamation or some other serious legal problem. (The Zero Taxes author Peter Sibbald had a book recalled for "serious copyright infringement" in 2007, I recall ... and didn't Michael Laws(?) have a book held up while they put stickers into it?)

    I wonder WHOSE FEATHERS Gareth Morgan's new book has ruffled?

    Good on Morgan, I say. The trouble is, one has to be so super careful to get the facts right... and have the evidence in support of any 'controversial' statements.
    Last edited by PeterEmpowerEd; 13-07-2009 at 05:36 PM.
    Peter Aranyi
    Blog: www.ThePaepae.com

  6. #76
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    1,520

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Letfus View Post
    Hi Sarah. My blog purely reflects my convictions. I endeavour to do what God tells me to do, that's the beginning and end of it.
    Why is it that lots of people who get sick, injured say that they got miraculously cured by god?

  7. #77
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7,540

    Default

    I am guessing you would have read the book by now Peter - who could be going for Gareth?

    No harm discussing the book - is there?

    Cheers,

    Donna
    PropertyTalk Blog - property articles

    BusinessBlogs - the best business articles are found here



  8. #78

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by donna View Post
    I am guessing you would have read the book by now Peter - who could be going for Gareth? No harm discussing the book - is there?
    I have some 'candidates' in mind but it would be mere speculation to identify them. (But God's not telling me to 'cover' them, I promise you!)

    Random House obviously sees potential 'harm' or the mega expensive recall process would not be underway. - P
    Peter Aranyi
    Blog: www.ThePaepae.com

  9. #79

    Default

    Of course it makes EE's remaining stock a collectors' edition!

    This is a joke!! [Before I get lambasted as a hypocrite (again)]
    Last edited by PeterEmpowerEd; 13-07-2009 at 06:06 PM.

  10. #80
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    High up above and deep down under
    Posts
    10,915

    Default

    Ha ha I already have a copy.
    I wonder which part they want to change?
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx


 

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