Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kiwis storm Courthouse

It looks like Nick Dalton, business editor at the Cairns Post, popped into the Courthouse Hotel on his way back from lunch and discovered a new publican behind the bar. Some of the detail in this report is a bit vague perhaps reflective of liquid refreshments on a Friday afternoon?

Dalton reports that "Sydney-based Bodium (sic) Operations" is now the new manager. Bodiam is actually wholly owned and controlled by New Zealand's Perpetual investment group with a parent company listed on NZX. Judging from the crowd at previous rugby tests KS had been under the impression that the Courthouse had already been stormed by the Kiwis?

We can confirm for Nick that "the ASX-listed IEF Real Estate Entertainment Group"  does indeed own the property, which he was not able to confirm himself, albeit within a restructured entity. IEF was previously associated with ING who have exited. The restructure combines IEF and Bodiam to create a stapled security listed on ASX with the property held with IEF and the business operations within Bodiam.

Bodiam have moved to take control of operations from struggling leasehold tenants who had fallen into arrears which included the Courthouse. Effectively that means both the freehold and leasehold are now held within the same group. Operating as a hotel this heritage listed building has now been through a few receiverships and controversies.  IEF bought the Courthouse back in 2006 with cost to date more than $11 million. Current valuation in the books is down to $5.2 million.

The new publican's reported comments seem positive however the proposed strategy doesn't really seem too different from the past format? There have been previous proposals to return the Courthouse to a public facility such as gallery or museum space. The previous two councils both looked at this but it was rejected because the cost was regarded as prohibitive. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

a perspective on class war

"In her book A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century, Barbara Tuchman writes about a peasant revolt in 1358 that began in the village of St. Leu and spread throughout the Oise Valley. At one estate, the serfs sacked the manor house, killed the knight, and roasted him on a spit in front of his wife and kids. Then, after ten or twelve peasants violated the lady, with the children still watching, they forced her to eat the roasted flesh of her husband and then killed her. That is class warfare. Arguing over the optimum marginal tax rate for the top one percent is not." - blogging the bookshelf

Friday, May 18, 2012

regions v capitals

Possum Comitatus has twittered a table from yesterdays ABS employment with a comparison of unemployment rate between the capitals and the rest of the state for each state. It's the resource states of WA and Qld which show higher unemployment in the regions than their capital city.

Perhaps there are demographic or regional characteristics which explain this. Unemployment in the south western region of WA has previously been noted here at loose change. Treasury has also demonstrated a relationship between unemployment and dispersion across regions.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

FNQ employment stuck in neutral

The typically problematic and volatile regional employment numbers from the ABS are out today and the news for the Far North is really no news. The unemployment rate nudged down to 9.3% with nothing really of any statistical significance. Any improvement from seasonal factors in upcoming months will be of interest.

There has been past comment on how useful, relevant or valid the regional numbers are, and this month there was also some debate on the national numbers from ABS related to population benchmarks. Ricardian Ambivalence reminded that the design purpose of the ABS survey is to derive an unemployment rate and not the number of jobs.

Despite that I would hope the ABS numbers on employment are not so wildly inaccurate as to be misleading over time? Employment in FNQ also appears to have been going nowhere in recent months.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

i'm back!

KS has finally returned from a few months sojourn to southern climes for an annual reacquaintance with family. So I missed the Council election period entirely which may have been a blessing? There was actually much excellent material to blog on during that period. I may cheat and backpost some half completed thoughts.

However, my restriction was not entirely because of absence but enhanced by technical computer problems. A progressively more dysfunctional keyboard made trying to write anything a waste of time. That was followed by a couple of weeks for warranty repairs on the laptop. Being forced away from the computer and communications does have some personal rewards but also makes you realise more how critical this form of communication has become.

The family retreat on the shores of Port Stephens is only slightly remote from the nearest post office but is restricted to three postal deliveries a week. This really isn't a problem as most stuff in the post has become administrative stuff like bank statements which are not time sensitive anyway.

Josh Gans posted on this last year related to a postal strike in Canada and whether anybody would notice if delivery was reduced? My dear old Mum still writes a weekly letter to my niece in Boston which can take ten days for delivery.

Maybe the Guvmint should do as it did with analog TV and announce a cutoff date when postal services will begin to reduce?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

employment v rates cut conundrum

National employment numbers today have surprised on the upside, coming so soon after the RBA cut rates by 50 bps. I have never known such confusion and dichotomous debate on the state of the economy. Regional numbers are released next week. A couple of graphs on unemployment: Peter Martin on trend employment by State for year to April. Australia v USA unemployment since 1978