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Cheeky darkie Holmes at it again

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, July 10th, 2011 - 196 comments
Categories: culture, racism, racism - Tags: ,

Paul “cheeky darkie” Holmes is at it again:

No place here for burqa

To hell with the burqa.

No Paul, to hell with racists.

It has no place here. This is my considered opinion after giving the matter extensive thought.

This is Paul’s considered opinion after wallowing in his racist prejudices.

It really is an offensive piece of medieval kit that speaks of medievalism and religious extremism.

It may speak to you in that way Paul, but how it speaks to others, and other cultures, really isn’t yours to decide. And if we’re going to play the “medievalism and religious extremism” game, would it be fair for other cultures to despise catholics for their ritual cannibalism?

But in this country the burqa seems to be an imprisonment of women. It just seems mad.

The only valid kernal of truth in Paul’s rant lurks in here. Of course it is perfectly valid to advocate for better treatment for women in any culture (including our own). But (like the theory underlying the West’s trade with China) this has to be a process of constructive engagement. Leading by example, reason and reward. Fundamental cultural changes cannot be imposed by force, and certainly not by discriminatory laws like “banning the burqa”. Like it or not, some women choose to wear it of their own free will (in as much as any of us have “free will” of course).

There’s more of the same, but I really can’t be bothered. I’ll finish with just this last snippet:

[the mask / niqab] says: “I am not part of your filthy heathen community. I’m here enjoying all of the privileges the enlightened West can provide, but I don’t really approve of you all and have no desire to be part of you.

Yeah that’s what is says to you Paul, but you’re an aging racist. I wonder if you have ever actually talked to any of these women? Do you know any? You might be amazed. They’re humans Paul, just like us.

Update: See Sunday Star Times: “Women in bid to lift veil of ignorance”.

Update 2: I’ve said this in comments, but will say again up here – the comment about catholicism in this post was never meant as any kind of attack or slur on catholics (some of my best friends are etc…). It was intended as an example of one of “our” cultural practices which could be perceived and portrayed by other cultures in a negative way.

196 comments on “Cheeky darkie Holmes at it again”

  1. Yep Paul is showing his age and his xenophobia.

    The Burqa is a piece of material that has cultural significance for some.   It is not threatening, it is not associated with criminality or health difficulties.

    For some to demand that all races and cultures in NZ should conform to a manufactured norm is obscene.

    Shame on Mr Holmes. 

    • rosy 1.1

      It is not threatening, it is not associated with criminality or health difficulties.

      Yes it is – Vitamin D deficiency – a reduction in the absorption of calcium.

    • Sam 1.2

      Paul Holmes’ comments about the burqa are not racist, it is a “cultural” thing only for some sectors of Islam.
      The burqa is not a symbol of race, it is a symbol of oppression towards women.
      I would have thought that left leaning people would welcome any move to improve the status of women, wherever they are from.
      After all the outcry over Alisdair Thompson was enough evidence of that.
      Double standards here?

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Holmes has been watching way too much Hannity and Beck on US Fox News.

  3. lprent 3

    Paul Holmes has always been a obnoxious git. Over the decades I have avoided his shows because he is and always has been pig-ignorant, a silly showoff, smarmy, bigot, and produces dreadful TV.

    No real surprise that he has become more so as he enters his dotage.

  4. higherstandard 4

    I wonder what QoT thinks of the wearing of the burqa ?

    • QoT 4.1

      Ask and ye shall receive, HS!

      It’s a bit of a tricky one, though. I respect women’s choices and don’t want to buy into the dominant Western narrative in which burqas become a simplistic sexist device to lend credence to Western military incursions in Muslim/Middle Eastern nations.

      Of course there’s also a number of issues around Abrahamic religions and cultures hiding and shunning women’s identities and presence and sexuality, and inherently sexist assumptions about women’s bodies/men’s impulse control. But I’m a white girl born and raised in Epsom; it’s not an issue I get to lay down the law on.

      When it’s bus drivers in NZ barring women from travelling because of their religious choices? I say YOU GO GIRL and damn the pretty obvious Islamophobia attached to their barring. Even IF we assume all face-covering is sexist and oppressive, and even IF we assume we as white Westerners have a duty to “save” Muslim women (who don’t all wear hair/face coverings) (or other non-Muslim women who culturally cover their hair/face) we don’t fucking help anyone by saying “Hey oppressed women, prepare to be extra oppressed by white Westerners who are totes on your side and prepared to extra-limit your options and lives based on bullshit assumptions about your culture and faith!”

      (QoT apologises if this is a tad incoherent, she’s a bit pissed. Yes, on a Sunday. She is truly the face of Gen Y binge drinking culture.)

  5. Morrissey 5

    This latest anti-immigrant tirade is just more of the same from Holmes….

    Eight years ago, his fury was directed at the U.N. because it refused to back the U.S.-U.K. aggression against Iraq. Of course, Holmes saw it all in terms of skin colour….

    “That Kofi Annan, I have got to say to you, he has been a very cheeky darkie overnight. It is all very well giving a darkie that secretary general’s job. We will only take so much, I am sorry. We will only take so much. We are not going to be told how to live by a Ghanaian.”
    Paul Holmes, Newstalk ZB Wednesday 24.9.03

    Later the same day, and the next day, Holmes uttered a stream of self-serving and cynically dishonest “apologies”…

    “I think regret would be an understatement. I’m sick in my guts about it actually. It was wrong, it was stupid, it’s not how I think, it’s just something you toss off in the morning.” – Paul Holmes,
    One Network News interview, Wednesday 24.9.03

    “I L-L-L-L-L-L-LAUGH at racism…. I am not a racist….. I made a mistake. I am a good man. I am not a racist.” – Paul Holmes, National Radio interview, 9-30 a.m., Thursday 25.9.03

    “I should not have said what I did. It was tongue in cheek. It was the shock end of the spectrum, it was a bit mad probably…. You pour it out on a show like this, year after year, month after month, day after day. You work close to the line because people like you to work close to the line and sometimes you might cross the line.”

    “But I shouldn’t have said what I did and I shouldn’t have tried that routine so I am sorry if I have offended you. I am sorry if you were upset and I know some Maori people and Samoan people were upset and that really upsets me. I understand some immigrants were hurt and offended and upset and I am sorry about that as well because it is not what I think.”

    “It is not what I am like. I am not like that, you know that. If you listen to this programme for years, looked at my work for years you will know that.”

    “I ask you to remember my record on race. In all my years in broadcasting I have defended Maori against the bigots. I have never joined the Maori-bashing brigade, I have never been part of that, I have never worked that end of the market.”

    “So much racism is coded. You hear it in other broadcasters. I know the codes. I have never gone there either. I have never been part of that. I have never judged people on how or where they were born. I celebrate difference and I look for similarities in people.”

    “I love the variety of people coming to New Zealand to find new lives, I LOVE the great ethnic mix, it brings in so much colour and vibrancy.”

    “I defended the Middle Eastern people and the African people who came to New Zealand.”

    “I am no racist. I am no Maori basher. I hate racism, well in fact more than hate it. I LAUGH at it. I think it is absurd but by God it is out there.”

    “But, anyway, I am not going to fight you on those comments yesterday. They offended some people deeply, I know, and I am very upset about that.”

    “Whatever I was trying in the full flight of a radio programme didn’t work and I know it didn’t and I am sorry.”

  6. monty 6

    You guys would be amazed how many people out there would agree with Paul. But then I guess it’s understandable, given the weird little echo chamber you inhabit.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Yep. Commercial media keeps the likes of Henry and Holmes around because it suits them – particularly bacause they do have an audience and they do sell in terms of selling advertising.

    • Morrissey 6.2

      Our friend “Monty” tries, unwisely, to be clever…
      ..given the weird little echo chamber you inhabit.

      The only echo-chamber evident here is in Monty’s calcified brain, which is apparently on an endless, horrific Michael Laws-Paul Holmes-Leighton Smith loop.

    • felix 6.3

      That’s a fair call monty. Paul, in this instance, really is saying what a lot of other people say/think.

      I don’t agree with his view, and his way of expressing it is pretty offensive, but he’s not a distant outlier in this discussion.

    • Lazy Susan 6.4

      You guys would be amazed how many people out there would agree with Paul

      No not amazed Monty but saddened. Knee jerk racism bubbles under the surface of all societies.
      People look for scapegoats and the race card is an easy one to play. Unchecked this can lead to atrocities such as what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

      The likes of Holmes, Laws and talkback radio cynically play the race card for their own commercial gain and ego. Intelligent, reasoned debate is not on their agenda.

      • Hennie van der Merwe 6.4.1

        LS

        Whilst I fully agree that PH is an idiot and should not be allowed a public hearing (that is by us,the viewers) I also cannot understand how the racism card is being played here. For all you know there might be a snow white european hiding behind the veil! What has race to do with this issue? IMO it is a religious matter and should be treated as such.

        What I find truly amazing is that the societies where these people originally came from has zero religious tolerance – how can they then complain when when they are being treated similarly in other more tolerant societies? I can not understand why one would want to go and live in a country where the majority of the people do not share your values and in the process make it difficult to assimilate? Would I go and live in Saudi? Hell no!

        One other comment – I noticed in a video clip on TV1 that these women were driving cars – how can that be? It seems to me to be a bit hypocritical to wear a burqa and drive a car – apart from the fact that it is down right dangerous.

    • MrSmith 6.5

      “You guys would be amazed”

       Monty telling “us guys” that “we” would be amazed because “we” are not real people just a weird bunch in a “little” echo chamber.

      Do right for paul’s scripts monty?

      • MrSmith 6.5.1

        That last line was meant to read ‘Do you write Paul’s scripts monty?’ sorry

         

    • Monty, you mean being a bigot is acceptable in your narrow minded world – fuck off back to Kiwiblog you aging troll.

      • RedLogix 6.6.1

        Nah… I’m not going to echo you here Ian.

        As felix states very cogently, while Paul Holmes expresses his case clumsily… what he is saying is not too far off what many, many New Zealanders also think.

        The left frequently make the mistake of thinking tolerance must always be the highest principle that trumps all others. Well it ain’t. All too frequently it just finishes up as a proxy for being too lazy or apathetic to stand up for what is right.

        The burqa is a symbol of an intensely patricarchal culture that is deeply unjust towards women.

        Justice is the highest principle.

        • Puddleglum 6.6.1.1

          It’s a hard one RL.

          If the burqa is a sign of an intensely patriarchal culture so are many religions and their practices. Should they be banned too? Also, less concealing garments worn by Muslim women (headscarves with full robes and the like) are presumably also signs of an intensely patriarchal culture?Ban them too?

          You can see where I’m going? Well, let’s go all the way (and I don’t think it’s ‘ad absurdum‘).

          How about supposed ‘women’s fashion’ and make-up in our own country? Certainly has signs of patriarchy woven into it from where I’m standing (infantilisation of women, subordination and incapacitation via ‘culturally preferred’ women’s clothing – e.g., cupey-doll lipstick, high heels, etc.). Ban all of that too? If not, why not? Because individual women claim they like it? Well, many Muslim women like their ‘culturally preferred’ clothing. Also, I’m sure I could find more than a handful of New Zealand women who feel pressured and even coerced into wearing clothing that they would prefer not to wear (e.g., too ‘revealing’ but goes with the job).

          I think it’s important to distinguish between supporting the liberation of people from oppression and understanding when the people we want to liberate don’t feel oppressed or, if they do, they make a judgment that now is not the time to liberate them or to liberate them via our particular preferred strategy (e.g., banning some clothing).

          Slavery was something that needed to be abolished and needs to be abolished in any humane society (of course it lives on and even thrives today). In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were massive and repeated slave revolts that resulted in the death and slaughter of many slaves (and not a few slave owners). There was ample evidence that not just virtuous Europeans but slaves, too, wanted slavery stopped. Patriarchy is also well worth abolishing but, unlike slavery, there’s no straightforward legal ‘fix’ to abolish it.

          In fact, even in the case of abolition of the slave trade and the consequent ending of slavery in the British Empire, many slaves’ circumstances took a drastic turn for the worse (they became very lowly paid, immobile, ‘wage slaves’). It wasn’t a simple stroll into the Promised Land.

          In that vein, it’s also important to know what the likely consequences of a self-righteous act (such as banning a type of garment) might predictably be, such as trapping some women within private dwellings and making their lives worse. Tinkering with the burqa and leaving the rest of the ‘intense patriarchy’ intact may not be helpful to the women involved. [The lack of thought about such consequences in Paul Holmes’ reflections suggests that liberation of women is not the main motive. Looks more like fear to me (i.e., xenophobia, itself ‘dressed to the eyes’ in a full cover burqa of ‘freedom for women’).]

          There might well be a better way of prising the tight little fingers of the patriarchy off these women and my guess is that they (the affected women) will be the ones to show the way on that. Then ‘we’ (New Zealand society) should definitely come to the party in their support.

          Imagine this: Muslim women start to become activist and say, forget about the burqa, what they really need is easier access to divorce, a more generous DPB (including criteria for getting it) and fast=-tracking of permanent residency. I wonder how many of those New Zealanders who are now so concerned to liberate Muslim women by banning the burqa would pay those kinds of prices for their liberation?

          And a small quibble – justice is not the highest principle in my book. Love is (otherwise known as seeing something clearly and fully as it is). Hence mercy and forgiveness are virtues.  (And that is from a socialist atheist, for want of a better label).

          • RedLogix 6.6.1.1.1

            I think you answered your own question PD. As you say liberation is never a stroll into the Promised Land. History is full of unintended consequences.

            Patriarchy is also well worth abolishing but, unlike slavery, there’s no straightforward legal ‘fix’ to abolish it.

            Oh yes there is. Like racism there are two major forms of it. There are the explicit overt forms that are embedded in the legal system as for instance the apartheid regime of South Africa, or the Jim Crow laws in the South. Or the right to ‘beat a child for the purposes of discipline’. There is always a straightforward legal fix to this aspect. Change the law.

            And then there are implicit, assumed behaviours embedded in people’s beliefs and values. These are harder to change because you cannot to legislate for what people think.

            But at the same time there is a strong mutually interdependent link between the two; the law reflects both cultural values and can also lead it.

            For instance at the time of the abolition of slavery there remained a very strong body of opinion against it. Certainly a majority of the wealthy and powerful were very unenthusiastic… yet because it was the morally right thing to do there was a certain inevitable force unleashed by law change which proved unstoppable. Regardless of the unintended consequences.

            Nowadays we look back on the slave trade, a trade that had flourished in the Atlantic for four hundred years prior….with unalloyed horror. Slavery had been a part of almost all large scale civilisations since the time of agriculture, some forms of it being perhaps somewhat more benign than others…. yet ultimately when confronted with the power of justice… it crumbled. It also rather helped that the Industrial Revolution was about to make it’s primitive ‘chattel slavery’ form obsolete.

            And it is of course only a short step from the ‘ownership of other humans’ to the ‘ownership of women’. If slaves were non-entities, female slave had to be double non-entities.

            So how about envisaging a future when our great-grandchildren look back on the patriarchy, and all it’s symbols with the same horror as we now regard the slave ships that plyed their cargoes out of Africa?

  7. Lazy Susan 7

    Saw the headline to Homes opinion piece and couldn’t bring myself to read it. Thanks Anthony for offering a precise that confirms Holmes little rant is everything I feared it would be.

    This is my considered opinion after giving the matter extensive thought.

    If this is all Holmes can come up with after “extensive thought” it’s a good indication how narrow his little brain has become.

    His behaviour during the Hobbit fiasco was appalling referring to the Australian Union as “left wing filth”.

    20 years ago he was almost liberal. He sold out though while at ZB having to tow the right wing line – mixing with the likes of Smith, Williams and Woodham has got to be bad for you. He’s now a rich, comfortable tired old hack who has nothing to contribute. Hope he joins Act soon and self-combusts with the lot of them.

    • Morrissey 7.1

      20 years ago he was almost liberal.

      Really? Paul Holmes? What evidence do you have to support that statement?

  8. freedom 8

    a bit off topic i know but Holmes was a bloody joke this morning.

    Apart from the ridiculously scripted agenda of an Innovation Special that was populated by a wide variety of people yet he communicated with but a few, the telling moment was when he had Wayne Mapp sitting there talking about how National has increased funding to R&D in New Zealand. After spitting coffee you have to ask yourself what planet do these people inhabit?

    He has the gall to call himself a journalist yet when faced with an undeniably innaccurate statement from a MP, (what your Mother would have called a lie) he says nothing.
    Just sits there doing the gnome nod.

  9. Sookie 9

    Another issue where I completely depart from general leftist thinking and scarily agree with Paul Holmes (although definitely not the sentiment in which his views are expressed). I absolutely detest the burka/niqab. It is not a religious right, its pure sexist barbarism that most people of the Islamic faith have no time for. And I certainly don’t want to see women being cajoled into wearing such garb in NZ while the male members of their family get to prance about in comfy western clothes. There is NO reasonable arguement in the universe for women wearing such things, especially none with a feminist basis. I expect to get my ass kicked for this but I will never change my mind. Vive la France I say.

    • Terry 9.1

      Well, Sookie, I truly hope you do get your ignoramus ass kicked. Have you seriously studied Islam (as I have for an honours degree)? How dare you even attempt to speak for Muslims? Through serious study I have much respect (as a Christian) for Islam, a religion which the West scandalises. Please try, with such brain as you have, to get real!

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Well Mr Honours Degree… quote me the parts of the Koran that specify that women MUST wear a burqa… not just something about modesty. The burqa in specific detail.

      • Sookie 9.1.2

        Ahh, the know it all student. When you’ve travelled the world and read a bit more widely and met more people from outside your comfort zone, you’ll look back on the time when you said such stupidass things and cringe. Believe me, I know.

      • Hennie van der Merwe 9.1.3

        Terry,

        Should we also allow them to stone woman to death for committing adultery?
        I definitely do not intend speaking for Muslims but sure as hell will speak against them.

    • Vicky32 9.2

      It is not a religious right, its pure sexist barbarism that most people of the Islamic faith have no time for. And I certainly don’t want to see women being cajoled into wearing such garb in NZ while the male members of their family get to prance about in comfy western clothes. There is NO reasonable arguement in the universe for women wearing such things, especially none with a feminist basis. I expect to get my ass kicked for this but I will never change my mind. Vive la France I say.

      And yet, Sookie, so many Muslim women I have spoken to say they prefer to wear it! They especially like the freedom from being “eyed up” as if they are pieces of meat at the butcher’s shop, which they (especially the younger women) have to put up with in New Zealand.

    • Vicky32 9.3

          It is not a religious right, its pure sexist barbarism that most people of the Islamic faith have no time for. And I
      certainly don’t want to see women being cajoled into wearing such garb in NZ while the male members of their family get to prance about in comfy western clothes

      And yet, Sookie, so many Muslim women I have spoken to say they prefer to wear it! They especially like the freedom from being “eyed up” as if they are pieces of meat at the butcher’s shop, which they (especially the younger women) have to put up with in New Zealand.

      • Reality Bytes 9.3.1

        I think there are valid issues to be concerned about in terms indecent female subjugation here. But I also feel Paul Holmes is lacking in tact and is doing a bit of a disservice to the issues at hand. His heart might be in the right place, but reading his rants, it’s hard to know for certain, it’s very hard to align with his opinions.

  10. Tangled up in blue 10

    Of course it is perfectly valid to advocate for better treatment for women in any culture.
    But this has to be a process of constructive engagement. Leading by example, reason and reward. Fundamental cultural changes cannot be imposed by force, and certainly not by discriminatory laws like “banning the burqa”.

    This is a crucial point Holmes misses. Banning the burqa will only make life more difficult for women within oppressive relationships where they are forced to wear a burqa before they leave the house.

  11. Gus 11

    Acceptance of the Burqa is no different to acceptance of Female Circumcision, Child Brides or Honour Killings. Each of these are acceptable in various countries around the world and we in New Zealand need to decide whether these things should be acceptable within ours.

    When it comes to the Burqa the only questions I need to ask myself is would I want to have to wear one? and Would I want my mother, wife or daughters to have to wear one? Overwhelmingly the answer both these questions is no, and while the argument can be made that some woman choose to wear the Burqa in most of the patriarchal societies that still embrace it use the Burqa is a tool used my men to control, dominate and subjugate women to their will.

    As a result in a society like ours that advocates the equality between Men and Woman, is prepared to protest for equality of representation and pay between the sexes I can see no way that we can accept or tolerate the Burqa.

    • felix 11.1

      “Acceptance of the Burqa is no different to acceptance of Female Circumcision”

      Um, it really is, in so many ways. I understand the point you’re making but to say they’re no different is just fucking batshit insane. A moment’s thought please Gus.

      • Gus 11.1.1

        Felix I think perhaps you should perhaps give a moments thought before starting down the name calling and abuse. Female circumcision in my mind is an abhorent act however like the wearing of the Burqa, in the minds of many people around the world female circumcision it is an acceptable practice and part of their culture.

        • felix 11.1.1.1

          So they’re similar in that particular sense. I’m sure there are other parallels you can find too.

          However to say they are “no different” as you did is blatantly obviously ridiculously untrue and does your argument no favours at all.

          • QoT 11.1.1.1.1

            And eating pizza is totes similar to cannibalism in that, um, humans have found both to be delicious at various points in time, and therefore no different! This game is fun, ay Felix? :P

            • felix 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Well yeah, if you accept pizza you pretty much have to accept cannibalism. There’s no way around that. And pizza can be eaten hot or cold, just as human flesh can.

              Same/same.

              • QoT

                And that’s why pizza is so delicious, because that’s how the authoritarian religions get you.

      • RedLogix 11.1.2

        Sorry felix but I suggest you’re making the mistake of interpreting this on a purely materialistic level. Yes of course circumcision is physically different to a burqa.

        But the cultural values and behaviours that enable both are the same.

        • felix 11.1.2.1

          I disagree. I think acceptance of a repressive clothing tradition – while not something I’m comfortable with – is several orders of magnitude from acceptance of female circumcision or honour killings.

          • Gus 11.1.2.1.1

            While you may see the issue of the Burqa, Female Circumcision and Honor Killings as being of different magnitudes the issues shouldn’t depend on how much they are right or wrong but simply whether they are right or wrong.

            From my viewpoint within a modern society where Men and Women are supposed to be equal like our own then quite clearly the Burqa it is wrong. As a result we shouldn’t be tolerating it or making excuses for those who feel that there is an appropriate place for it but rather condemning it for the archaic, misogynistic device that it is.

            • felix 11.1.2.1.1.1

              Ok Gus.

              Stealing lollies is no different to murder.

              • Gus

                Yes in the manner that both acts are criminal and perpetrators should be punished.

                Obviously those punishments should be different however the fact that they should be punished remains the same.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  How about a marriage where the female takes the males name? Think carefully about the history and meaning of that Gus. Is that just like female circumcision? Shall we ban that shit?

                  • RedLogix

                    How about a marriage where the female takes the males name?

                    Yup… firmly rooted in the notion of ‘woman as property”. Fortunately a practise which is no longer mandatory in the west and many younger folk are coming up with interesting and creative alternatives.

                    One family I know, the daughters use the mother’s name, the sons the father’s.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But should we ban it?

                      And it’s not just about property. It is a denial of the existence of the woman as a legal entity in a way that goes far beyond the covering of the the burqa, The burqa deliberately hides the identity, traditional marriage obliterates it. This is the reason that spouses cannot be asked to testify each other. It’s not about respect for the bond between them, but about the fat that they were traditionally considered to be one person. The man person. The female ceased to exist as a separate entity.

                      And sure, the name changing is becoming less the norm, though it still is the norm for ‘family names’. But do you ‘tolerate’ it, for those that choose it, in a way that you say you shouldn’t have to with the burqa?

                    • Yes, RL “no longer mandatory” – but last time I looked, the practice wasn’t banned.

                      Are you calling for it to be banned with the same gusto you are calling for the burqa to be banned? Is it as urgent to have banned?

                      What other practices common in New Zealand might also be on the ‘urgent’ list? Women wearing white at weddings? Women having wedding rings (when men don’t)? The bride being given away by the father? Certain well known marriage vows?

                      There’s going to be a very long list even before we get to the ‘wedding breakfast’. Patriarchy is everywhere when you start to look for it.

                      [One thing I would ban is cold callers trying to sell things who say to my wife “Am I speaking to Mrs Puddleglum?” – makes my wife feel like she’s being mistaken for my mother.]

                    • RedLogix

                      Nah you are drawing a false equivalence.

                      The burqa is associated with a very old cultural theme that essentially obliterated the woman from the public domain.

                      It remains alive and well in many parts of the Middle East today.

                      The western world has it’s own history with ‘woman as property’ as well… but the difference is that in the west the legal equality of women, their legal status as equals with men is well established. It is no longer the case that in marriage the legal existence of women is obliterated.

                      Sure remnants and echoes of our own earlier patriarchal memes are still with us… but the system they were once symbols of is fast passing.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Nah you are drawing a false equivalence.

                      I don’t think I am. You’ve said you oppose the burqa because of what it symbolises rather than what it is. These things symbolise the same things, things that do not legally exist in our society. So why tolerate one thing that symbolises something that doesn’t exist in our society, and but not another. The symbols are either powerful statements of support for what they symbolise, or they are not.

                    • RedLogix

                      Sorry PB… spend some real time in the Middle East. I’d hope the experience might alter your perspective some.

                      I’ll be real plain. The burqa/niqab is a very visible and prominent symbol of a culture that is deeply unjust and prejudicial towards women. It’s nothing to do with Islam. In fact in it’s early and classic era Islam was exceedingly liberal and enlightened around the status of women. You only have to learn something of Mohummad’s own first marriage to Kadijah to realise how many women of the era lived quite independent lives.

                      But the Middle Eastern world is far from monolithic culturally… huge portions of it were also locked into an ancient system of purdah, the practise isolating women from men.

                      It is still very much alive in the world today.

                      By accepting the burqa/niqab, it’s most prominent symbol, into our own society were are condoning, enabling this ancient misogyny. Lending it a legitimacy when we should be shunning it.

                • felix

                  Gus, I think I see the problem.

                  Do you get the distinction between the following statements:

                  1. There is no difference.

                  2. There are some similarities.

        • mickysavage 11.1.2.2

          But is a Burqa that bad that it has to be banned?  What if an enlightened westernised woman wishes to wear one?

          Interesting to see the diversity of opinion that is emerging.  For me banning a burqa is really nanny statish.  Interesting that Monty et al should be happy with this particular exercise of nanny statism. 

          • Gus 11.1.2.2.1

            Micky you’re wrong to be thinking of this as an issue of Nanny Statism it is rather and issue of equality between the sexes.

        • Vicky32 11.1.2.3

          But the cultural values and behaviours that enable both are the same.

          Really, no, they’re not.

    • Chills 11.2

      Of course the wearing of a burqa is a signal to us all that the wearer is living in a repressive environment that we as a progressive people should always work towards eliminating…

      But if we take the example of the incident that sparked this debate, as a bus driver would you deny service to a woman or child with a black eye, or someone else that has an obvious sign that they live within an oppressive social arrangement?

      Yeah, let’s add to their oppression by further alienating them, sure it will do them a world of good…

  12. happynz 12

    Bus drivers here in Christchurch don’t seem to suffer from ‘maskaphobia’ (whatever the hell that is), or they make a good fist of stifling their irrational fear of masked mums pushing prams, as women wearing the veil have no problems here using public transport.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      The focus on burqa wearing risks another level of unwanted and unwelcome attention for these women. Let’s be clear – the burqa is an outwardly visible sign or symptom. Banning it may help make the underlying issues less visible, but it may not in itself make those womens’ lives better.

      I’d be interested to know how muslim women themselves position on the issue.

  13. RedLogix 13

    The Burqa is a piece of material that has cultural significance for some. It is not threatening, it is not associated with criminality or health difficulties.

    Umm.. it is nothing to do with Islam. This form of clothing pre-dated Islam. While the Koran and Hadiths do have verses that make reference to modesty in dress, there is nothing to justify these all-enveloping, shrouded, walking prisons. For much of the classic Islamic period they were completely unknown and only became commonplace some centuries ago in the more backward, fundamentalist parts of the Islamic world… such as Afghanistan and Yemen.

    Most cosmopolitan, educated and liberal Moslems are as appalled by it as we are. Personally I find it an offensive symbol of a backward, oppressive Middle Eastern ‘honour culture’ that treats women as nothing more that the chattels of a patriachal extended family.

    It’s as offensive as a Klu Klux Klan robe, as dressing up in a Nazi/Brownshirt uniform, wearing the Orange while marching through a Catholic part of town, or a gang-patch for the purpose of intimidating people. It’s not the piece of cloth that is the problem, it is what it represents. If you had spent any length of time in the Middle East (as I did some decades ago) the demeaning, oppressive and downright cruel treatment of women that is casually on display day in day out will leave an impression on you. I vehemently reject it. And I do not want it in my country.

    And this is the point. If you want to wear this clothing, wear it in your home country were it is acceptable. When my partner travelled in these countries she respected the local custom and dressed appropriately, yet these Moslem women KNOW that the burqa (and it’s close derivatives) are not accepted here in NZ, they make people uncomfortable and uneasy, yet they insist on doing so despite this. Really it is deeply disrespectful for them to wear it here.

    Banning the burqa will only make life more difficult for women within oppressive relationships where they are forced to wear a burqa before they leave the house.

    Which really has to be my fucking point. How bizzare is it for the left to be enabling this ignorant medieval behaviour… that a woman is not free to choose what clothing she wants to wear?

    • r0b 13.1

      Not often that we’re on the opposite side of a debate RL!

      My problem with your point of view is that you’re assuming that you know more about these women’s lives than they do.  What if you’re wrong?  Do read the Sunday Star Times piece linked at the end of the post.

      Having said that, of course I’d like to see the burqa gone too.  I just don’t think that legislation is the right way to do it.

      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        Yes I did read it …. earlier today as it happens. The line that jumps out at me is:

        “Being in New Zealand, we always talk about freedom of religion, freedom of practice, diversity, understanding.

        Again I repeat the point that the burqa and it’s close derivatives, are NOT specified anywhere in the Koran or the Hadiths. There are of course verses that clearly point to the notion of modesty in dress, but backward fundamentalists interpret them literally … perverting sage advice into a something that takes away a woman’s right to any form or expression of public identity.

        This form of clothing pre-dates Islam; it only became associated with Islam because it was a pre-existing component of the underlying Arabic culture, and in some backward places it became a specifically religious fetish.

        She said many people assumed that women did not choose to wear it and that it was forced.

        No I’m not assuming that at all. I realise perfectly that this is how these women are accustomed to be in public. But when they came to NZ did they think nothing would change?

        “When we look at a nun, who is all covered, we see peace and tranquility and we give it that respect.

        A rather dated comparison. When did you last see a nun in a full habit? The Catholic Church has not required it for decades. Again it was nothing to do with Christianity, it was just a religious fashion. Besides.. it never covered the entire face obliterating the person’s identity.

        “I think it’s very strong of them to do it in a western society.”

        And what would she say if a western woman wore her normal western clothing in an eastern country? That she was being a slut and deserved the abuse she was getting from the men?

        • r0b 13.1.1.1

          Again I repeat the point that the burqa and it’s close derivatives, is NOT specified anywhere in the Koran or the Hadiths.

          So what?  You won’t find worshipping icons of the virgin Mary in the bible either, but it is long established catholic tradition.

          But when they came to NZ did they think nothing would change? 

          No one moves to a new country expecting nothing to change.  But they did expect “freedom of religion, freedom of practice, diversity, understanding”.  Is that going to change?

          And what would she say if a western woman wore her normal western clothing in an eastern country? That she was being a slut and deserved the abuse she was getting from the men?

          I hope not.  Why would you assume that it was? 

          • RedLogix 13.1.1.1.1

            OK so we can agree the burqa is a ‘cultural tradition’.

            Now while I can accept that religion and tradition are often closely intertwined, they are not the same thing.

            Religion has an inner and outer aspect. The inner aspect is eternal and essential, it is that sense of awe which urges us to reach out to that which is larger than our purely material being, to seek an understanding of the nature of the Divine qualities, justice, purity, sincerity… modesty even.

            But in this world a religious community creates for itself an outer aspect, communal themes and traditions we call churches, rituals, laws and institutions. All these things are man-made interpretations, they are temporary and have no permanent significance, yet usually become so entrenched that they obscure the essential.

            Moslems are perfectly free to practise their religion in this country. But that does not mean that every non-essential cultural practise that they are accustomed to associate with it will be acceptable.

            When you move into another country, you move into another cultural mileu… and you make changes. If you didn’t want any change… stay at home.

            I hope not. Why would you assume that it was?

            Because from direct personal experience… that is exactly what the women would say.

            • r0b 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Now while I can accept that religion and tradition are often closely intertwined, they are not the same thing.

              Not the same thing for you maybe.  Do you speak for everyone?  Our religions are what we make them.

              Moslems are perfectly free to practise their religion in this country. But that does not mean that every non-essential cultural practise 

              Do you get to decide which is which for them?

              Because from direct personal experience… that is exactly what the women would say.

              My experience is different. 

              Cheers and I’m enjoying the discussion, but gone now until tonight… 

              • RedLogix

                Our religions are what we make them.

                In that case, we can un-make them too.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  But who gets to unmake them Red? Insiders or outsiders?

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    History tells us both do.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      And what should liberals do. Use force, or set examples? How about Christians? same question.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Liberals should ensure as I posted earlier that everyone gets a secular education through childhood.

                      That’s partly force, that’s partly setting an example.

                • Reality Bytes

                  I think you make some good points. There is a huge challenge for an oppressed Muslim women living in a strict society (as is common for too many religions/cultures). To protest against and enact any real difference from their status quo is usually against insurmountable odds. Occasionally things do change for the better, but it is frustratingly rarely. It happens much the same as it does with other groups who have struggled in the past (womens suffrage etc). Things will improve in good time soon. Sooner rather than later I hope!

          • Vicky32 13.1.1.1.2

            You won’t find worshipping icons of the virgin Mary in the bible either, but it is long established catholic tradition.

            Sorry, I just have to jump in and say that Catholics do not worship icons of the Virgin Mary, nor do they worship Mary herself! I know you probably don’t think that they do, but I want to make that plain, as “worshipping Mary” or “worshipping statues” are slurs I constantly have to fight against.

            • Descendant Of Smith 13.1.1.1.2.1

              “slurs” is a bit strong. Misconception maybe.

              Yeah technically you only venerate and pray to Mary. But even that is the cause of angst between Protestants and Catholics.

              It is equally true of course that Mary should have been stoned to death for bearing a child out of wedlock.

              • Vicky32

                It is equally true of course that Mary should have been stoned to death for bearing a child out of wedlock.

                As my son would probably say “Lolzwut”? Are you one of those Ben Pantera believers? I really don’t know where to start… and here is not the place, anyway. I recommend the Dawk site for you and Zug.. :)

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  It’s quite simple – she was espoused and in the 10 to 12 waiting period before consummation. The consummation of the marriage was still some time away. She was found to be pregnant which was equivalent to committing adultery which was punishable by stoning to death.

                  It was the intervention of an angel to Joseph that persuaded him that she had not been unfaithful and that she had been blessed by the Holy Ghost.

                  There was provision where a women had been raped for only the man to be punished and provision for betrothed couples to then betroth.

                  It wasn’t compulsory to be stoned to death of course but was well within the law at the time.

                  BTW I have no idea who Ben Pantera is. I just have a historical curiosity that makes me look to see how things occurred – like where did raining cats and dogs come from – it’s just a quaint curiosity.

                  • Vicky32

                    BTW I have no idea who Ben Pantera is. I just have a historical curiosity that makes me look to see how things occurred – like where did raining cats and dogs come from – it’s just a quaint curiosity.

                    Don’t worry about it! I thought you were saying something different from what you actually were. It’s okay.. I see what you meant..

            • r0b 13.1.1.1.2.2

              Apologies Vick32, I had no wish to offend.  I guess it’s clear that I’m not a catholic!

    • Tangled up in blue 13.2

      Which really has to be my fucking point. How bizzare is it for the left to be enabling this ignorant medieveal behaviour… that a woman is not free to choose what clothing she wants to wear?

      You missed the point. Banning the burqa won’t change any “ignorant medieveal behaviour” as it will just result in these women will not be allowed to leave the house. Though banning the burqa will discriminate against women who choose to wear it.

      If it’s not a public safety concern then the Govt. shouldn’t dictate what people can or cannot wear and doing so isn’t justified by some misdirected aim to change the negative aspects of a culture.

      • RedLogix 13.2.1

        Sure.

        Maybe it’s a bad idea for the state to ‘ban the burqa’… but can the state also force me to tolerate something I find intolerable?

        As a shopkeeper do I have to allow someone to enter my shop wearing one?

        Do I have to tolerate a workplace colleague wearing one?

        Do I have to sit next to someone on a bus?

        Am I forced by law to say nothing?

        • Tangled up in blue 13.2.1.1

          You can act as bigoted as you like so long as your intolerance doesn’t equate to discrimination based on prohibited grounds under the Human Rights Act.

          All you’re doing is discriminating based on a generalisation you have made about the lives of women dressed a certain way.

          • RedLogix 13.2.1.1.1

            So you’d have no problem with me prancing about in KKK white robe then?

            Or would you start generalising about my life and come all over a little bigoted about it?

            • chris73 13.2.1.1.1.1

              You’ve made your point so well that I couldn’t really add anything

            • Tangled up in blue 13.2.1.1.1.2

              I wouldn’t like that you were wearing it, but I would defend your right to wear it. Though if tested in court it could be seen as an incitement to violence.

      • Gus 13.2.2

        You’re wrong Tangled if you believe that Banning the Burqa wouldn’t result in any change.

        At minimum if there was a total ban of the Burqa in public places the men in these relationships would have to choose whether or not the enforcement of their traditional views of women was worth the disruption to them and their families lives. Women in Burqa’s wouldn’t go out shopping, pay bills, take children to/from school, sports etc and the men would have to either a) pick up these tasks themselves or b) alter their position to one where women were more equal.

        • Tangled up in blue 13.2.2.1

          I’m not sure that someone fundamental about their religion will be that easy to change.

          Going by what’s happening in France atm women are just ignoring it or not going out.

            • felix 13.2.2.1.1.1

              Oh that is clever.

              • QoT

                Fuckin’ awesome, innit? Like, how do you tell that woman that her choice of headgear is unconstitutional/un-French? I AM ARRESTING YOU FOR, um, DISPLAYING THE FRENCH FLAG WITH PRIDE, YOU FILTHY TRAITOR. Wait, I’m confused.

                • RedLogix

                  Fuckin awesome innit? Like if I coloured toilet paper red white and blue you’d still call it a Tricolour?

                  • QoT

                    You know, RL, this would be a remarkably logical comment from you if there weren’t, like, a whole context around French laws against face-coverings specifically targeting Muslims for this image.

                    • RedLogix

                      Most Muslims don’t wear the dammed things. Most are as appalled by it as I am. It’s really nothing to do with Islam. I’ll probably get to repeat that about another hundred fucking times and still everyone will stick with the same stupid misconception…

                      And that’s why Islamaphobia and the French reaction to the burqa have been so tightly linked together… a dumb arse mistake.

                    • Most Muslima, RL, that would be Muslima!

                    • QoT

                      Most Christians don’t have a problem with women wearing pants – let’s ban Exclusive Brethren women from wearing skirts in public. Most Christians don’t believe in literal transubstantiation – let’s ban Catholics from making any references to it! Gosh, this is a fun game which has no actual relevance to people’s choices and freedoms of belief.

                      Because seriously, if we’re going to start with telling people what they are and aren’t able to accept is part of their own damn faith, let’s just go hog-wild. It’s for their own good, after all.

                    • Most businessmen don’t have a problem with a small select group wearing pinstriped green stone washed suits but it is so demeaning really for the male gender to have to wear such a uniform so let’s ban those too.
                      Oh no… that asserts status so we can’t bans those. it might damage the egos’ of said men. Ha, I could really get into this!!!

        • Puddleglum 13.2.2.2

          OK Gus, let’s speculate.

          The man finds it’s intolerable doing all the outside domestic duties himself. He either has enough money to get a ‘nanny/servant’ to do that OR he tells his wife to get a western friend/acquaintance to do it OR he tells her to wear the burqa and go out and get arrested and she goes to jail, gets fined, or whatever OR they all go home to where the woman is likely to have an even more ‘constrained’ existence.

          Just put yourself into ‘his’ shoes. He’s unlikely to turn himself into a domestic child-caring goddess overnight, is he? (what with being part of an intensely patriarchal culture himself.). 

          • RedLogix 13.2.2.2.1

            Pretty much similar arguments you could use to defend a man who was violent towards his partner.

            Anything to avoid him changing his behaviour eh?

            Besides from what I’m hearing others say it is the women who like to wear the burqa/niqab… you know to stop all us disgusting western males leering at them like pieces of meat?

            • Puddleglum 13.2.2.2.1.1

              No, violence against women is banned here – non-Muslim or Muslim.

              Also, I was using the case of a woman who was being oppressed into wearing the burqa and so would want to be out and about (i.e., I was accepting Gus’ premise). Of course, a woman who wanted to wear the burqa and did not want to be in public without one would have a self-imposed exile within the family home. 

              “Anything to avoid him changing his behaviour eh?” – no, my point was that banning the burqa would not change his behaviour because he would find ways around it that would not threaten his domination of women (or his ‘maleness’).

              Please try to be charitable in your interpretations. I have no more tolerance for oppression of women than you do. I just think we should follow the women’s views of how they wish to be emancipated. 

              • RedLogix

                I just think we should follow the women’s views of how they wish to be emancipated.

                Which we are not likely to hear are we? I’ve don’t like these cultural relativism arguments at all… ultimately it merely dumps the responsibility onto the victim.

                Please try to be charitable in your interpretations.

                Oh fair enough, but frankly to me this issue is as open and shut as was the fight against apartheid in the 80’s. Sure we can ankle-snap this debate around the block until it expires from boredom, but if what you say is true, that you have no tolerance for the oppression of women… then you get to draw a line in the desert sands somewhere.

                And for me that line is that the burqa/niqab is a highly visible symbol of an oppression that has no place in the western world.

                • QoT

                  Which we are not likely to hear are we?

                  Hear ye, hear ye! Women in the Middle East and women of Muslim faith are completely unable to have any agency or play any part in their own “liberation”, for a white dude sayeth so! Carry on laying down your Western interpretations of Muslim/Middle Eastern (oh who am I kidding, they’re the same, right?) women’s issues and struggles because they sure have no voice to call you on it!

                  Oops: http://muslimahmediawatch.org/resources/

                  • RedLogix

                    As an Epsom white dude I get to call on you on your bullshit too. Sure you’re expert level on it… but you are still full of it.

                    First up we get you waxing lyrical about how wonderful purdahh culture must be, then from your safely tipsy couch you get to tell us how fucking liberated the Middle Eastern world is because you’ve gotten a linky thing on the interwebby.

                    Lets try this linky. oops

                    What about this one? oops

                    • QoT

                      Mate, if that’s what you’re choosing to take from my comments you must be more pissed than me and I can only congratulate you on your excellent lack of drunk-typos. Wait, no, I mean, OH MY GOD, YOU ARE SO RIGHT, ONE ARTICLE ABOUT A REPRESSIVE REGIME (please note, readers, no repressive regime has ever existed sans Muslim religious overtones) AND ONE LINK TO AN UNOWNED, EMPTY DOMAIN NAME, GOSH, YOU ARE SO RIGHT, YOU KEEP TELLING THOSE WOMEN WHAT’S GOOD FOR THEM.

                      … wait, what?

                      [lprent: Please less SHOUTING. Hurts my eyes. Irritates me whilst moderating. ]

                    • RedLogix

                      If you’re too pissed to RTFT then I’ll guess I’ll have to repeat myself… the burqa/niqab have nothing directly to do with Islam, and everything to do with the purdah culture widespread throughout the Middle East. An oppressive culture that has no place in the modern world.

                      Like if I’m not a black African I’m not allowed to protest apartheid; if I’m not a child, I’m not allowed to deplore child slavery….how long do you want this list?

                      Or can I just sit on my fat privileged white arse and say fuck it… you liberate yourself … I’ve got nothing to say?

                    • QoT

                      You know, RL, descending into “SO I CAN NEVER SAY ANYTHING, HUH? HUUUUUH?” ridiculousness is always a good sign of a privileged person who wants to dictate how oppressed people can/should act without actually bothering to listen to those people’s voices.

                      All I said was that I do not feel qualified to lay down the law on whether hijab is objectively an evil, oppressive thing, and that the whinging by people like yourself is very often a repulsive exploitation of real women’s struggles in an attempt to justify your own Islamophobia/racism. You may pick which.

                    • QoT

                      Well RL some of my best friends are white dudes so I’m really glad you’ve let me know that this means you can never accuse me of hating white dudes again.

                      You realise, don’t you, that where you have been and what you have done has five-sixths of bugger-all to do with changing the fact that you remain a pompous, privileged white dude who is presuming to lecture a subset of women from a certain culture/religion (the two of which tend to get lumped together as the same thing by mainstream Western narratives) what they should or should not believe?

                      Because, um,*that’s* the problem. The fact that you happily whinge about performing the hajj while continuing to buy into Islamophobic rhetoric is just a bonus.

                      [Sorry ’bout the shouting, lprent, people making nonsensical arguments has that effect on me sometimes.]

                  • RedLogix

                    Fuck off QoT.. you assume too much.

                    When I said I had spent much time in the Middle East I guess it was remiss of me not to mention that I once performed the hajj. Yes that’s a surprise isn’t it? So you can cross off the Islamophobia option.

                    So I guess that leaves you with the ‘repulsive exploitation’ option to justify … I dunno… I’m white, male and privileged. Can’t you just reflexively loath me without all the BIG LETTERS and whiny preamble?

                    • Why did you perform the hajj?

                    • RedLogix

                      It came about in a rather odd way. In those days the Saudi authorities were not so diligent about checking everyone who arrived in Mecca, and the Iranian family I had lived and worked with for about a year were happy for me to accompany three of them.

                      I spent much of the first half of my adult life actively engaged in several non-Christian religions. Of all of them Islam has to be the one most impenetrable for Westerners. The Koran is just SO different to what we expect it to be. Almost every attempt to read it literally, or in the way you are accustomed to reading the Bible, you get sideswiped. It has to be read symbolically…and that has to be taught. You really cannot just pick it up and expect to get it.. or at least I couldn’t.

                      But what I did learn is just how much of what we think of as purely Western culture really has it’s origins within the Islamic period between roughly 1000-1500AD. At a time when most of the west was still mud huts and petty warlords huddled in primitive rock forts… the Islamic cities had miles of paved and lighted streets, safe and flourishing markets, doctors, schools and universities. (The oldest University in the world is the one in Cairo, now over 1000 year established.)

                      What we know as the ‘Rennaisance’ was at least in part seeded by the intense contact with the Islamic world brought about by the Crusades, yet sadly most of what we ‘know’ about Islam in the west is founded on old Church propaganda, misconceptions and ignorance.

                      And the hajj was truly profound. I did perform it properly and it remains one of several very important moments of my life. And then there were other adventures too…

    • Sookie 13.3

      Redlogix, you put the arguement far more eleoquently than I have. I have been fuming about this all morning and wondering why the hell ‘the left’ is bothering to defend the indefensible.

      Afghanistan = child marriage, acid and gas attacks on women daring to go to school, burqa.

      Saudi = child marriage, female migrant worker slavery, women can’t vote/drive/go out in public without a man, female circumcision, niqab.

      If I was a Muslim woman, I’d be horrified that westerners were accepting these things as cultural practices worthy of defense. And they’re all part and parcel of the same thing, female oppression which has bugger all to do with religion.

      • Puddleglum 13.3.1

        Think about your lists Sookie.

        Child marriage – banned here.
        Acid and gas attacks on women daring to go to school – banned here.
        female migrant worker slavery – banned here
        Women can’t vote/drive go out in public without a man – banned here
        Female circumcision – banned here.

        But we allow women to wear a burqa or niqab in public. And, for some reason, you interpret that as ‘the left’ defending the other things on your list? I don’t see anyone on the left advocating we ‘un-ban’ those other things, do you?

        Here’s another way of thinking about it – if, miracle of miracles, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan became thoroughly liberalised in all those other things would you still want the burqa and niqab banned? If not, why not? If ‘yes’, why?

        • RedLogix 13.3.1.1

          if, miracle of miracles, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan became thoroughly liberalised in all those other things would you still want the burqa and niqab banned?

          At which point in time the burqa would become a quaint historical curiosity rarely seen outside of a few museums. And the power of it’s symbolism would have been largely neutered.

          At the same time you might want to consider that we’re still not all that keen on people wearing KKK robes or Nazi uniforms in public either.

  14. Herodotus 14

    No place here for burqa
    To hell with the burqa.
    No Paul, to hell with racists.

    Rob – how is this a racist comment? There is no “RACE” that wears a burqa. It is cultural.

    • r0b 14.1

      Strictly speaking you’re correct I guess.  But its also the case that most of that culture are also of non “white” race. And Holmes’ fear and prejudice clearly springs from the same dark well as his cheeky darkie bullshit.

      • Herodotus 14.1.1

        Rob as so many people mis use this term, IMO it is important for as many as possable to use the term appropiately.
        The term is used by many to incite emotional reaction and to take away from any real indepth discussion, especially when those entering into an arguement are void of anything of substance.
        Now is PH comments culturally insentive, is he standing up for the oppressed, or is he a product of his times and upbringing? But for me his comments are not racist.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism

  15. BR 15

    Should a bank, say, be permitted to refuse entry to someone because their face is covered?

    The reason why a bank would want to do this is glaringly obvious.

    Should burqua wearing be banned in public?

    If a poll was run that asked the question, “do you agree with state sanctioned apartheid?” the results would return a predictably resounding “no” and rightly so. Freedom of association is fundamental. If certain individuals or groups wish to associate with or do business with each other (illegal drugs and other criminal behaviour notwithstanding), there would be few if any who would argue that the state should have the power to stop them.

    How about freedom of disassociation? Should the state be permitted to force individuals or groups who may not wish to associate with other to do so? A landlord or an employer is not allowed by law to run advertisements which exclude members of certain groups from applying for a job or a tenancy. If a landlord or employer does not want to employ or rent to a Maori, a Caucasian, someone under six foot three, or someone over 5 foot six, or someone with red hair, etc, the law disallows them from making these disqualifications public. No matter. The employer or landlord will choose whom they wish from whatever applicants they get, and may even decide to withhold the job or tenancy if none of the applicants are considered suitable.

    However, such restrictions are more difficult to impose for businesses like restaurants or hotels. One may not exclude persons based on their race, colour or appearance etc.

    This clearly violates the principle of freedom of association. Being free to associate is not the same as being FORCED to associate. That is as serious an assault on personal freedom as apartheid. Being forced to associate with people with whom one does not wish to associate is as bad as being forbidden to associate with those whom one does wish to associate with.

    Back to the burqua.

    The state should not have the right to impose dress standards on the public (indecent exposure excepted), therefore the state should not ban burqua wearing in public. Of course there are situations when one should be required to show one’s face for identification purposes. Gang patches should not be banned from being worn in public either.

    However, when it comes to private property, any business owner should be permitted to refuse to do business with whomever he wants, and should be allowed to make public any restrictions he cares to impose. That includes wearers of the burqua, skullcap, dreadlocks, red hair, dark hair, light skin, dark skin, freckles or indeed anything he damn well chooses.

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      However, when it comes to private property, any business owner should be permitted to refuse to do business with whomever he wants, and should be allowed to make public any restrictions he cares to impose.

      Yep. I’ll do business with whomever I wish to, and without state inteference thanks. And it’s definitely nothing personal but no chinks, no queers and definitely no unwed mothers, please.

      I’m glad to have your support Bill.

  16. Blue 16

    I think most Kiwis don’t have a problem with the hijab, which covers the hair but not the face (in the same way that the Christian nuns cited in the SST article cover their hair but not their faces).

    Many women and girls who wear the hijab I have found friendly, warm and happy people, and they are accepted in society well.

    The burqa or niqab is a different kettle of fish. I think it is a basic human need to see the face of the person you are interacting with. And no amount of justifying is going to change that. Talking to someone when you can’t see their face is a very off-putting experience. Humans operate on being able to use facial features for identity recognition and facial expressions for judging how a social interaction is going.

    Women who choose to wear the burqa or niqab will always be on the margins of society, and that’s a choice, one which they may be happy to make.

    If they are being forced into it, it would be disgusting, but if it is their own free choice to do this, then it is their right.

    I may think these women are misguided for choosing to wear the burqa or niqab, but they have as much right to woolly thinking as Paul Holmes has.

    • Descendant Of Smith 16.1

      It’s my understanding that exclusive brethren women are not allowed to wear trousers and that they must wear dresses – preferably with stockings as to not appear overtly sexual, have their hair long and wear a scarf.

      I’m slightly struggling to see the difference between one set of religious requirements and the other.

      Both are oppressive, religious and unnecessary.

      Neither should be legislated against.

      In both cases all children should have to attend a secular school and their religious instruction should be at home.

      Religious schools should be told to piss off and having received both a secular and a religious education during their childhood they should be free to make there own minds up once they become adults.

      No religious schools should get any state funding what soever.

      • RedLogix 16.1.1

        I’m slightly struggling to see the difference between one set of religious requirements and the other.

        Well yes, they are both expressions of oppressive, unjust attitudes towards women. But the burqa goes further and obliterates a person’s right to a public identity.

        Now as much as I detest them, I’m still open-minded on whether legislating against them as the French have done will prove to be a good idea or not. The French went through a massive debate to reach the point they did and maybe the rest of the world would do well to learn something from their experience as it unfolds.

        But equally I’m not at ALL comfortable with political leaders telling me I must ‘tolerate’ people wearing them in the name of religious freedom. No more than I would try and justify burning witches alive at the stake… because it was once a Christian tradition.

        • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.1

          “public identity”

          Whatever that might be.

          I’m assuming you mean the somewhat limited ability to be visibly seen.

          I find the inability to commune with the general public, including own family members who may no longer share your religious views – as far more preventative in having a public identity. Several religions in NZ practise this horrible behaviour.

          The choices seem to be tolerance, education or legislation.

          I’ll go for the middle one.

          If the latter is to be used then it would be only fair and just to include the inability for any religous group or employer to force you to wear any type of clothing except for physical safety needs.

          If my church can’t tell me what to wear then my employer certainly shouldn’t be able to.
          After all god is mightier.

          • RedLogix 16.1.1.1.1

            “public identity” …Whatever that might be.

            Oh don’t come all over literalistic on me DoS… you are way better than that. One of the central practises of this tradition we are talking about is complete exclusion of women their entire adult lives from ANY contact with any male outside of the family.

            Their movements are strictly controlled, they live in a different part of the house, they cannot choose who they associate with, who they marry, what education they might receive, what medical care they can expect. They will have no economic choices, little ability to determine how many children they have. Any infractions of these rules meet harsh and often violent retribution for having brought ‘shame and dishonour’ on the family.

            All their lives will revolve around the household. Their purpose is to breed children, and serve the needs of the men. On those occasions where for practical reasons where it is necessary for them to leave the house they are enclosed in a walking prison that in effect ‘takes the house with them’. While they may be in a public space, they are still essentially a prisoner of the household.

            In essence their lives are entirely private. It may often be quite tolerable on it’s own terms, but they can never aspire to any ‘public life or identity’, as say for instance… Helen Clark did.

            PS. Oh and this still has nothing to do with Islam.

            • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah but the burqa is a symptom of those practices and banning it in itself won’t change the other practices and why should it be singled out more than say the brethren dress code.

              On one hand there has to be religious tolerance and on the other the ability to allow all to have freedom of association and expression.

              Maybe what we need is an overall encompassing right not only for religious freedom but for individual freedom not to be constrained by any religious beliefs or edicts except voluntarily.

              Giving the legislative backing for women not to wear the burqa, for catholics to use contraception, for brethren women to wear trousers, for Jehovahs not to be shunned.

              Send a clear message that you cannot be coerced into doing any of these things.

              • QoT

                One is tipsy and thus also feels the perverse need to point out that equivocating “no public identity” with “no ability to interact with a male [outside the family]” is a wonderfully patriarchal concept.

                Because of course women who go out in burqa can always just go to a friend’s house or other place only inhabited by women and de-veil (such is my understanding); but that of course cannot count as having a “public identity” because if men can’t see them then they can’t be real.

      • Vicky32 16.1.2

        It’s my understanding that exclusive brethren women are not allowed to wear trousers and that they must wear dresses – preferably with stockings as to not appear overtly sexual, have their hair long and wear a scarf.

        Did it occur to you that some women prefer to dress like that? I do, and I am not in the Exclusive Brethren. Wearing stockings can be considered very sexy (as one boyfriend of mine said.. and they certainly help in New Zealand’s winters which are unbelievably harsh.

        In both cases all children should have to attend a secular school and their religious instruction should be at home.
         
        Religious schools should be told to piss off and having received both a secular and a religious education during their childhood they should be free to make there own minds up once they become adults.
         
        No religious schools should get any state funding what soever.
         

        Bigotted much?

         
         

        • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.2.1

          Not bigoted at all.

          I’m highly tolerant of others views but not shy about disagreeing with them or putting an alternative view.

          I’m quite happy for you to believe what you wish and for you to show me the same courtesy.

          I do draw a line at separation of church and state – that doesn’t in any way make me bigoted. It’s quite a well defined principle that has historically come about for good reasons.

          The language you use shows far more bigotry than my own – where misconceptions are called slurs, where criticism is called bashing.

          Make you should work out what bigotry is – it’s has nothing to do with disagreeing with religion – unless you want to be specific about religious bigotry.

          I rail against the compulsion on those women to wear dresses not their choice and against religious teaching in school not at the freedom to do that at home.

          Both those things give a high degree of tolerance.

  17. Shona 17

    “The burqa is a symbol of an intensely patricarchal culture that is deeply unjust towards women.”
    On the money as always RL.
    It is an overt symbol of the opression of women.
    Nz is a secular state. We do not have to sanction/tolerate the wearing of this obsencity in this country.
    I am not surprised to see that the wearing of the burqa in NZ is supported so eloquently by by a MALE academic.What the women who wear the burqa think is clearly irrelevant, they have no choice, no freedom they are the chattels of their male masters.
    This monstrosity of misogyny has no place in NZ.
    It is on a par with foot binding, shotgun weddings, male guarantors, the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, female circumcision, and spousal abuse.
    It does not represent cultural freedom of any kind.
    It represents power / control of the male gender over the female gender.

    • MrSmith 17.1

      Unfortunately Shona Most organized religion have oppressed women for centuries and still do today.
      An example would be priests still mainly being male.

      • Sam 17.1.1

        ut have you realised that in these religions, the men wear dresses –
        catholic priests, islamic mullahs etc.

    • r0b 17.2

      I am not surprised to see that the wearing of the burqa in NZ is supported so eloquently by by a MALE academic

      I am not surprised to see my point of view completely misrepresented. Nor do I see what my profession has to do with anything, unless it is some kind of knee-jerk stereotyping that you have going on?

  18. ak 18

    Blue The burqa or niqab is a different kettle of fish. I think it is a basic human need to see the face of the person you are interacting with.

    Precisely my good man. This cursed telephone contraption will never catch on; and don’t start me on those damnable tinted spectacles…..

    Shona What the women who wear the burqa think is clearly irrelevant, they have no choice, no freedom…

    But…..

    Regina Rasheed said it was a personal choice whether a woman chose to wear a burqa, and that should be respected.

    Afifa Chida Of the approximately 45,000 Muslims in New Zealand, only about 150 wore a burqa

    Sounds like a fair bit of choice actually Shone…..and yep, Red, you don’t have to sit next to them on the bus, but it’ll be your loss: take it from me at least two of those 150 are the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

    • Blue 18.1

      Personally I hate talking to people on the phone, and talking to people who are wearing dark sunglasses.

      Same reason – you can’t see that person’s face.

    • RedLogix 18.2

      This cursed telephone contraption is just that… at a distance. It’s not the same as being physically in the same space with them; since the first letter was sent we understood the difference.

      Personally I’m not that fussed with the ‘can’t see their face’ argument. Yes we are accustomed to seeing a person’s face in public and that is a good thing for a variety of reasons others have often mentioned; but I do not see it as the essential thing.

      take it from me at least two of those 150 are the nicest people you’ll ever meet

      Yes there are only a small minority of women who by and large appear to choose to wear the burqa in NZ… although quite a few more do wear the niquab which has much the same effect really. But whether they do it from choice, or because the males in their family insist, or for some mix of these or other reasons is not relevant to what it represents.

      Yes they may be perfectly nice people, but what they are wearing is a symbol of something that is not.

      And that’s the shame of it.

  19. zug zug 19

    I have to agree with Holmes here. I am a Green Party voting lefty. I am 28 year old male.

    I admit that I have not visited the middle east and have had limited contact with muslim people in my life.

    I am however a staunch atheist and have read many books and listened to many discussions by intellectual heavyweights like Chomsky, Hitchens, Dawkins and Sam Harris. I have also read ‘Infidel’ by Hirsi Ali.

    The rights of WOMEN trump all cutltural/traditional/religious garbage. EVERY TIME!!!

    It’s the same as that time that woman (forget her name and couldnt find the link) challenge Marae protocol by speaking at the same time as men.

    ANYTIME A WOMANS RIGHTS ARE DIMINISHED BY TRADITION THE CORRECT RESPONSE IS TO SAY FUCK YOU TO THAT TRADITION AND REJECT IT!!!

    This is indefinsible, I couldnt give a shit if I am called culturally insensitive, ethnocentric or whatever for this.

    What really fucking gets my goat though, is how religion and cultural traditions are always shielded from critiscim in a way that no other thing in our society is. This is bullshit, and its not fair.

    I fucking hate how exemptions are made for people because of their religion.

    Here’s a little Role Play of me getting my drivers licence photo taken.

    Person: “Please take off your hat sir”

    Me: “Umm, actually this hat is a part of my religion and I’m not taking it off”

    Person: “Sir, you are wearing one of those hats with the beer cans and the straws going into your mouth”

    Me: “So?”

    Person: “No religion I know of wears a hat like that…”

    Me: “So? Does a religion have to have a minimum amount of followers to be legit?”

    Person: “Ok then, what is your religion?”

    Me: “It’s called Kopimism. Look it up.”

    Ok, this might seem churlish, but my point is there is no meaningful way to distinguish a ‘real’ religion and a fake one. If i genuinely was on a path of spiritual enlightenment and was following a religion that formed 2 weeks ago people would say “That’s not a real religion, you are not really religious”

    Based on what? Is there a time limit on when a religion is founded or follower size that makes a religion legit?

    The reason why it’s so hard to tell a ‘real’ religion from a bullshit one is BECAUSE ALL RELIGION IS BULLSHIT.

    George Carlin does a really great bit on this, look it up.

    • Morrissey 19.1

      I am however a staunch atheist and have read many books and listened to many discussions by intellectual heavyweights like Chomsky, Hitchens, Dawkins and Sam Harris.

      Christopher Hitchens? Are you serious?

      Christopher Hitchens is not an intellectual heavyweight. Two people who definitely ARE intellectual heavyweights are Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky. Both of them have written damning condemnations of Hitchens. Finkelstein has nothing but contempt for him, calling him a “repellent showboat” and makes fun of his lightweight political posturing….
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgB20YmqN6A

      Chomsky has a similarly low regard for Hitchens. Several years ago, in an interview with Kim Hill, Chomsky said Hitchens was “incoherent”. In a recent interview, Chomsky said Hitchens was a liar, and trying to argue with him was like arguing with a Soviet commissar.

  20. zug zug 20

    The argument that some women choose to wear is bullshit and doesn’t make it right.

    I am SURE that I could find some brainwashed hyper-christian young adults (that is old enough to make some of their own choices but still under their parents protection) who would say they don’t mind being disciplined physically by their parents because their parents are righteous.

    So when the cops turn up, and the kid has been bashed within an inch of their life and suppose because the kid is so brainwashed with religious garbage they say it is perfectly fine and they ‘chose’ to be disciplined that way that makes it ok?

    We have laws like section 59 to tell society that something is wrong AND IT DOESNT MATTER A DAMN if the person ‘chooses’ to go along with it, it doesn’t make it right.

    And while we are on it, there really is no REAL CHOICE about what religion you adopt when you are brought up in a religious family. It is all forced down your throat until you are brainwashed into believing it.

    Hmm, do I make life easy for myself and just go along with this religion or reject it and have my entire family and social life fall apart… Yeah… so much for a REAL CHOICE.

    Same old bullshit the Right uses to say that unemployed people choose to be poor because they are too lazy to work.

    [lprent: Limit your SHOUTing. It irritates me. Irritating me whilst moderating is dangerous. ]

    • Vicky32 20.1

      I am SURE that I could find some brainwashed hyper-christian young adults (that is old enough to make some of their own choices but still under their parents protection) who would say they don’t mind being disciplined physically by their parents because their parents are righteous.
       
       

      And I am sure you couldn’t find any such thing. (It’s called ‘making shit up’ zug, and I’ve seen you do a heap of it here. I’ll say the same thing I have said to 100 000 teen atheists I’ve come across on sites over the past five years – what would you to say to the three out of five of us sibs, all brought up by atheist parents in an atheist home, who are now Christians? So, the atheist brain-washing didn’t take did it? Given that, why are you so cocksure that all Christians were brainwashed into it? 

       

      • felix 20.1.1

        You seem to be having a little trouble with the blockquote tag today Vicky.

        You might want to make sure you’re closing the tag correctly ( /blockquote ) at the end of the bit you’re quoting.

        • Vicky32 20.1.1.1

          i just use the WYSIWYG thingie, Felix! I was having massive connection problems which led me to do double posts, and also to have to re-post things I had already done, hence the problems… Sorry, I will (I hope) do better in future, I hate not being readable…

  21. Bill 21

    So patriarchy sucks. And the attitude of many men sucks.

    And it’s dealt with in the same broad way in societies that insist on women covering up to protect men from dealing with their own dick head led ways and in societies where women are stripped down to mere sexual objects by popular culture thereby ‘normalising’ dick head led ways. In both instances it is women who carry the can for male shit.

    I honestly can’t see how one can be seen as ‘more enlightened’ than the other.

    • RedLogix 21.1

      At least in the west we can say the word ‘patriarchy’….

      I can see where you are coming from Bill. All but a tiny handful of indigenous cultures in the world today are essentially patriarchies; it’s only a matter of degree really.

      But that doesn’t mean we still cannot condemn the worst excesses of it.

      • Bill 21.1.1

        I just don’t think one scenario is more excessive than the other. In both instances, men get to blithely ignore their own shit and how that impacts on women while imposing male expectations on women.

        Seems that what we have is the opposite ends of the same (bullshit) spectrum.

        It’s not so long ago that the expectation of women here was that they ought to be ‘lady like’ and cover up. (Think ‘ankles’?) And even now in the west, veils are still worn on occasion. (Mourning, marriage etc)

        Meanwhile, without overt compulsion some people prefer to cover up, whether under hoodies, behind glasses or beneath layers of make up or whatever.

        But the expectation these days seems to be that women should titillate. And that brings with it a whole different raft of oppressions, complexities and difficulties.

        • RedLogix 21.1.1.1

          I just don’t think one scenario is more excessive than the other.

          Well I do. At least in the west we have begun to talk about it. Women do get the platform and opportunity to call us males out on our attitudes and behaviour. You and I are having this conversation.

          But the expectation these days seems to be that women should titillate.

          Yet no expectation that women should be able to claim an expression of their sexuality as they choose?

          Yes the place we are at is an awkward one, neither fish nor fowl. Capitalism is such an intensely ownership oriented system that it is very difficult for an alternative model with matriarchal elements to flourish.

          Indeed the patriarchal mindset is so entrenched in our thinking most of us can only imagine a matriarchy are the same as a patriarchy, but with the gender roles reversed. ie the women get all the ownership privileges.

          While perhaps in a matriarchal world the whole concept of ownership is simply less relevant. And that makes it very hard for us to imagine it, much less recognise one if we saw it.

          • QoT 21.1.1.1.1

            At least in the west we have begun to talk about it.

            [Citation needed] that non-Westerners haven’t started to talk about it.

            • RedLogix 21.1.1.1.1.1

              I dunno.. I guess you could always try voting, or driving a car in Saudi.

              • stargazer

                I dunno.. I guess you could always try voting, or driving a car in Saudi

                and of course the whole muslim world and every single muslim resides in saudi. and of course there wasn’t a huge protest by saudi women challenging the driving ban on june 17th, that had a significant impact. and they haven’t been moving towards voting in municipal elections, slowly making progress on other issues.

                and the arab spring just didn’t happen, in which no women were involved in protests. nope, we’ve been waiting for you, the white crusader with your smug superiority and blinding arrogance to save all us poor muslim women who can’t possibly think or act for themselves. and our expression of sexuality couldn’t possibly include the notion that we don’t give men the right to view it.

                you have filled this thread with crap, and just because you happen to know muslims or have lived in muslim countries doesn’t mean you speak for us, nor that you know what’s best for us. if you can’t bear to sit next to a burqa-wearing woman in a bus, then best you don’t use buses. because you, a man, have no right to dictate what women wear. and if someone’s beliefs don’t fit into your notion of what islam should be, that’s entirely your problem & no-one elses.

                you don’t care about muslim women, you don’t care about women, and in this thread, all you’ve shown is that you want to dictate to others what they should think and believe. it’s a shame that we have people like this claiming to be on the left.

                • RedLogix

                  and of course the whole muslim world and every single muslim resides in saudi. and of course there wasn’t a huge protest by saudi women challenging the driving ban on june 17th, that had a significant impact. and they haven’t been moving towards voting in municipal elections, slowly making progress on other issues.

                  Great… and only about 100 years after the rest of the world. But yes it is progress, and it came about the only way it could… that the women in Saudi had the not inconsiderable courage and commitment to their cause to bring it about.

                  nope, we’ve been waiting for you, the white crusader with your smug superiority and blinding arrogance to save all us poor muslim women who can’t possibly think or act for themselves.

                  Arrant bullshit.

                  and our expression of sexuality couldn’t possibly include the notion that we don’t give men the right to view it.

                  By all means dress modestly in public. This is a common theme in all the great religions… but again this has nothing to do with the purdah culture which seeks to entirely isolate women from all non-family male contact. And nothing really to do with Islam.

                  Besides you insult all your fellow male believers if your mode of dress implies we are incapable of looking into so much as your face without ‘improper thoughts’. In fact precisely the opposite is likely to happen… the more you attempt to hide something desired from view, the greater the urge to seek it.

                  I could be a tad mischievous and suggest you visit a nudist group sometime to get a sense of how non-sexualised the environment is.

                  and just because you happen to know muslims or have lived in muslim countries doesn’t mean you speak for us,

                  Actually I was speaking for myself. This kind of argument is a bullshit line that really amounts to nothing more than a bullying attempt to silence me. I do have an opinion about this, and it’s one based on some pretty strong experiences… and you are not going to silence me.

                  you don’t care about muslim women, you don’t care about women,

                  I’ve been blogging here for many years. I’ve been abused by all sorts and I don’t offend easily… but truly you have no idea what you are talking about. The fact that you would make such utterly stupid and wrong assumptions about me, when you truly know nothing of me and my life, is both thoughtlessly arrogant… and not a little scary.

                • grumpy

                  Wow, scary….

                  ….and I guess there is not much chance of…..(say)……a Christian asking for the same kind of tolerance in Saudi is there?

                  I have been following RL’s contributions here with mounting admiration, obviously a person who’s experiences and overall philosophy has led to strong and principled opinions on this subject.

                  Great that we have a society where both RL and stargazer can express opposite opinions freely.

  22. BR 22

    “Yep. I’ll do business with whomever I wish to, and without state inteference thanks. And it’s definitely nothing personal but no chinks, no queers and definitely no unwed mothers, please.

    I’m glad to have your support Bill.”

    Quite right. A private business should be allowed to refuse entry to whomever they like on what ever grounds they see fit, and be allowed to state publicly that will not allow chinks, queers or unwed mothers onto the premises if that is the criteria, and even if it is personal.

    I’m glad you concur with most of what was said. I was expecting a more spirited debate here, but it seems that many people, including you, agree with me.

    Bill.

  23. zug zug 23

    The more I think about it the more this debate seems to be like the one that was held for section 59.

    But some children choose to be disciplined physically…
    SO WHAT? IT’S STILL WRONG

    But it’s always been my families/cultures method of child discipline for years now, you are not respecting my beliefs!…
    SO WHAT? IT’S STILL WRONG

    But it’s not your place to tell ME how to discipline MY kids. It’s my choice, my freedom you are imposing on etc

    YAWN…

    And yes, you do sometimes need to legislate morality. Ban it because it is sexist. Issues of equality between men and women must come before any of pandering to traditionalist/cultural bullshit and trying to be culturally sensitive.

    The Swedes found that after they introduced their section 59 years ago that there was a marked decrease in the rates of child abuse. Sometimes a society’s morals are more advanced than our laws (for example sensible people support decriminalisation of lesser drugs like cannabis yet our laws lag behind) and sometimes the law is more advanced than society’s morals (for example section 59)

    When I see a woman in a burqa, I see a woman in a prison, a prison put there by a man, and its wrong, no matter how u slice it, it is wrong

  24. Jum 24

    I have a problem with the burqa itself. I know many women wear it because they choose to, some because they are forced to, some (not necessarily women) because it is a good cover for criminal activity.

    Because it was never part of the original teachings (cover up modestly was) but is an add on I don’t see any reason why it cannot be removed for identification purposes or better still to be able to drive safely.

    There also appears to be two reasons for wearing this cloth over the face. Some say it gives them the freedom to be themselves; their brain is presented instead of their face. Yet to me it makes them unapproachable and invisible. This could be an east/west thinking divide; I want to show people when I am angry or sad or pleased or happy with what they have done or said to me or for me.

    Others say because the face is covered the other person cannot get a sense of what the covered person is ‘saying’ from a smile, a grimace, etc. I cannot see how any human being can indicate their true meaning when their face is covered. That to me is dishonest.

    This debate is a bit like the descriptions that accompany ‘black’ and ‘white’; some would say black is dark, evil, prohibitive and white is pure, clean and classy. Others would say black is powerful, dynamic, elegant and white is insipid, colourless and bleached and a thousand other contrasting adjectives depending upon the speaker and every one of those descriptions is true, according to the speaker.

    The East/West divide is not the problem; it is how fundamentalist the beliefs are that are foisted physically or mentally on to the other side.

    What I don’t like more importantly is that the intention of covering up as far as the male fraternity goes is that that female is sacrosanct and must be protected from attack but that anyone not in that type of dress is somehow less worthy of protection; Australia had a multi rape case several years ago where a woman was lured to a place, her attackers were invited to attend by texted and words used towards her indicated that she was not a respectable person, not of that religion; ‘she was asking for it, because of her dress, because of her friendly/polite attitude.

    How do you change that sort of thinking with people that have been brought up with that belief and I include many New Zealanders, both men and women in that group, that target victims for dress, wrong place, wrong time, didn’t fight back, did fight back, etc. This is a type of prejudice and I have my own prejudices; I always blame the males who actually did the rape – go figure.

    I personally cannot have a conversation with a person with a covered face – like a bike helmet should be removed in order to speak to me or anyone else, so should the face cover be removed; to me that is MY belief of manners and I do not envisage changing my mind – to those who think I should. In this democratic non-Islamic state of New Zealand everyone can.

    Maybe a sheet of the common requirements that will allay any particular group in society from being insulted should be printed and we can accommodate those as far as we personally want to. That’s democratic and empathetic.

    PS – I have always wondered how well burqas would be received in New Zealand where at least 1 in 6 people have Asthma; with Asthma you are fighting for breath. I don’t understand how anyone could bear to wear a total body cover when they can hardly breathe. That would be a form of torture for the Asthmatic.

    • QoT 24.1

      There also appears to be two reasons for wearing this cloth over the face. Some say it gives them the freedom to be themselves; their brain is presented instead of their face. Yet to me it makes them unapproachable and invisible. This could be an east/west thinking divide; I want to show people when I am angry or sad or pleased or happy with what they have done or said to me or for me.

      Others say because the face is covered the other person cannot get a sense of what the covered person is ‘saying’ from a smile, a grimace, etc. I cannot see how any human being can indicate their true meaning when their face is covered. That to me is dishonest.

      Well, Jum, obviously if you feel a way about certain things it must totally be objective and true and not a product of subjective Western socialisation. *nods sincerely*

      • Jum 24.1.1

        QoT

        I don’t do ‘sincere’ so cut the crap.

        If you really wanted to say something interesting explain to me how people could deal with Asthma attacks under a face cover.

        • stargazer 24.1.1.1

          jum, no-one has any obligation to change their lives and their beliefs just to make you feel comfortable.

          as for asthma, easy. just put the puffer under the cloth, into your mouth and breathe. your extreme concern for the health of these women is noted. it would be nice if you could actually be concerned about their right to practice their beliefs, and learn how to interact without looking at their faces. if you can’t even be bothered to do that, then why bleat on about asthma?

          • grumpy 24.1.1.1.1

            stargazer, you seem to be identifying yourself with Saudi womanhood. Perhaps you can advise us if Saudi women in NZ work or drive cars? Perhaps some of their “core beliefs” are less core than others?

          • Jum 24.1.1.1.2

            24.1.1.1
            11 July 2011 at 1:21 pm

            (‘Jum, no-one has any obligation to change their lives and their beliefs just to make you feel comfortable.’)

            Absolutely correct stargazer and nor do I. I can avoid people who make me uncomfortable because life is too short. I found that out a few years ago.

            (‘as for asthma, easy. just put the puffer under the cloth, into your mouth and breathe. your extreme concern for the health of these women is noted. it would be nice if you could actually be concerned about their right to practice their beliefs, and learn how to interact without looking at their faces. if you can’t even be bothered to do that, then why bleat on about asthma?’)

            When I was a teenager, on the hot humid windless nights in my home town I had to sit on the floor with the front door open trying to get the slightest bit of air into my lungs during an asthma attack. I could not bear much clothing around my shoulders never mind around my head or my neck or face. Obviously, you do not have attacks or you do not have asthma or you would not have made such a stupid unfeeling statement.

            You are wrong if you think I am concerned about New Zealand women who wear the burqa; they made their decisions what to wear in New Zealand; I can do nothing about the women in other countries apart from defend their rights to their own choice of dress should the occasion ever arise. I am more concerned about my rights and my personal safety if I choose to dress according to my tastes should fundamentalists try to tell me how to dress in my own country. How dare you tell me to ‘learn how to interact without looking at their faces.’ I don’t need to, unless you are trying to tell me something about the continuing future of New Zealand as a democratic secular state.

            If these New Zealand women are not being protected by New Zealand laws re the freedom to wear garments of their choice that should be brought to the attention of the government agencies and to the attention of any National Council of Women members or like minded woman’s organisations that would then publicise it and shame the government.

  25. Vicky32 25

    It’s a good post, and Holmes thoroughly deserves a good bollocking – but… I wish you hadn’t included the dig at Catholics. There are so many people here on the Standard who don’t need any encouragement to bash Christians, especially Catholics, but who will nevertheless welcome it!
    The point is, that in NZ, there are only a minute number of women who wear the burqa. I’ve taught some of them in language schools. They do no harm to others, and a minimal amount to themselves.

    • Descendant Of Smith 25.1

      Drawing a historical parallel, promoting secular viewpoints and disagreeing with particular religous viewpoints is not the same thing as “bashing”.

      Christian religions can’t even agree on things and I’ve yet to see a secular person banning anyone from having contact with Christians – whether they be Catholic or any other Christian persuasion.

      Most left wing commentators here in my view have a high degree of tolerance for expression of different thought – including religious.

      Personally as someone who often is critical of religion to equate that with the notion of violence against those who do believe I find abhorrent.

      I’m well aware that there is both good and not so good Christian behaviour – genetically we’re all pretty much the same – you can’t beat several hundred thousand years of evolution. It’s also why race and cultural differences are pretty much irrelevant in the long run as well.

    • r0b 25.2

      It wasn’t meant as a dig at catholics Vicky, and I apologise if it came across as such.  It was an example of one of our cultural practices that it would be easy for other cultures to criticise if they felt so inclined.

      • Vicky32 25.2.1

        That’s okay r0b! I get your point – it’s just that I am a bit over-sensitive about that because of my experiences on another board… :)

  26. kriswgtn 26

    To get bk on topic re Holmes
    Quite simply the prick needs to be sacked

    • felix 26.1

      If he were a horse he would’ve been disposed of long ago. More of an ass though, isn’t he?

  27. r0b 27

    Thanks all for some very interesting and passionate contributions to this discussion. And all conducted in a respectful way.  It has certainly given me plenty to think about!

  28. BR 28

    “Should it be ok to put a sign in my shop window that says “No Niggers”?”

    Yes, of course. It probably wouldn’t be very good for business, but that doesn’t mean it should be forbidden by law.

    Bill.

    • felix 28.1

      Interesting, I hadn’t really expected your answer to focus on the commercial dimension.

      Quite revealing.

    • RedLogix 28.2

      What about a sign that says “No Gang Patches”?

      And can you think about how would that be different to a sign saying “No Maoris”?

    • Descendant Of Smith 28.3

      Nope it’s not.

      You want to do business in a community that community should be free to do business with you without having to get your permission.

      They should be able to freely walk in without fear or favour.

      You should be able to trespass someone who is causing you problems but you shouldn’t be able to stop anyone coming in and shopping.

      Freedom of access to all should take precedence over your personal preferences on who you might want to deal with.

  29. Adele 29

    Please, not all gang patches are worn by Māori. Sometimes, we actually like to wear other things, you know, like florals and silk.

  30. Irascible 30

    Can anyone tell me why it is alright for the Pope to insist that women should cover their faces & hair with a veil when in audience with him or to enter a Duomo and not alright for Muslim women to wear a Hijab or ans abaya?
    There are numerous photos of the Presidents of the USA, Kennedy, Reagan, Carter and others along with the British PMs – Blair all with their wives shrouded or veiled in response to a sanction by the chief priest of the Catholic church.
    I presume that “Cheeky Darkie Holmes” will now write a horrified blast against the tyranny of a Christian sect as he has over Muslim women wearing a similar covering??

    • higherstandard 30.1

      Here you go

      http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/show/184

      Remarks stating that if God was great the Pope might die soon and that he had bizarre
      religious interpretations which prevented women from having more power were made
      by Paul Holmes on Newstalk ZB on 5 September 1994 about 7.20am.

    • Locus 30.2

      Asking someone to wear a veil in an audience with the pope is a little different than the views of some adherents of Islam regarding the wearing of burqa.
      For example

      You should note that women’s observing hijab in front of non-mahram men and covering their faces is something that is obligatory as is indicated by the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Prophet. If we think about unveiling and women showing their faces to non-mahram men, we will see that it involves many bad consequences. Even if we assume that there are some benefits in it, they are very few in comparison with its negative consequences. Those negative consequences include:

      1 – Fitnah (temptation). By unveiling her face, a woman may be tempted to do things to make her face look more beautiful. This is one of the greatest causes of evil and corruption.

      2 – Taking away haya’ (modesty, shyness) from women, which is part of faith and of a woman’s nature (fitrah). Women are examples of modesty, as it was said, “more shy than a virgin in her seclusion.” Taking away a woman’s modesty detracts from her faith and the natural inclination with which she was created.

      3 – Men may be tempted by her, especially if she is beautiful and she flirts, laughs and jokes, as happens in the case of many of those who are unveiled. The Shaytaan flows through the son of Adam like blood.

  31. BR 31

    “Interesting, I hadn’t really expected your answer to focus on the commercial dimension.

    Focus?

    Quite revealing.”

    Really? What does it reveal?

    “What about a sign that says “No Gang Patches”?”

    I have seen some signs which display exactly that.

    “And can you think about how would that be different to a sign saying “No Maoris”?”

    That is an absurd question. There is a huge difference. Only a very small percentage of Maoris wear gang patches.

    And in case you ask, yes, I would support a business owner’s right to display a sign that said “No Maoris” in the same way that I would support the right to display a sign that said “Maoris only”.

    Bill.

    • felix 31.1

      “Really? What does it reveal?”

      It is probably the single most hurtful, offensive word in the English language, loaded with hatefulness and judgement and carrying the pain of hundreds of years of murder, torture, suffering and oppression.

      It’s quite revealing that you don’t consider the effect that using this word in such a casual way in a public space might and will have on a considerable number of people.

      Instead, you consider the negative consequence to be that it might be bad for business.

      What does it reveal? It reveals your priorities.

  32. Jum 32

    ‘QoT
    Jum 24.1.1
    10 July 2011 at 10:48 pm

    QoT

    I don’t do ‘sincere’ so cut the crap.

    If you really wanted to say something interesting explain to me how people could deal with Asthma attacks under a face cover.’

    I am still awaiting your reply to my question. I didn’t ask it for fun.

  33. BR 33

    “It is probably the single most hurtful, offensive word in the English language, loaded with hatefulness and judgement and carrying the pain of hundreds of years of murder, torture, suffering and oppression.”

    To quote a rather more dignified response from an ex-prime minister, and from the sanctity of the debating chamber: diddums.

    If you are so easily able to be hurt by a sign on someone’s private property, perhaps you seek psychiatric help. No one should have the right to be protected by law from being offended. One only gets offended if one chooses to.

    “It’s quite revealing that you don’t consider the effect that using this word in such a casual way in a public space might and will have on a considerable number of people.”

    If a sign on someone’s private property is capable of causing “a considerable number of people” to take offence, then that is a sad indictment on the society that this country now represents. A bunch of wimpy mealy-mouthed complainers and whiners. The law should never be used to protect the sensibilities of such people. What next?

    “Instead, you consider the negative consequence to be that it might be bad for business.”

    You see, you miss the point entirely. Businesses need customers. Even sensitive crybaby sooks are welcome if they have the money. No business operator, unless he wants to commit commercial suicide, would deliberately do things that would discourage customers of any description from buying his product. A law forbidding such a display is both unnecessary and undesirable.

    “What does it reveal? It reveals your priorities.”

    Freedom of expression.
    Freedom of association.
    Freedom of exchange.

    Those are my priorities. What are yours?

    Bill

    • Colonial Viper 33.1

      Those are my priorities. What are yours?

      They are priorities you have for yourself, not for others.

    • felix 33.2

      So you think your right to display, in a public space (shop window) the most offensive, degrading, hurtful statements imaginable…

      …should trump the right of everyone else to peacefully go about their business.

      “One only gets offended if one chooses to.”

      Ah, that old chestnut. You think black people offended by that word are choosing to be offended? What incredible ignorance. Are you 12? Are you Peter McCaffrey?

      How about rape victims being offended by rape jokes? Their choice?

      Grow up, kid. Get your nose out of the Rand books and learn some humility.

    • Pascal's bookie 33.3

      No business operator, unless he wants to commit commercial suicide, would deliberately do things that would discourage customers of any description from buying his product.

      So those “no Irish or Maori” signs never existed then, nor all those ‘Whites only’ shops in the Jim Crow south. Moron.

      • Vicky32 33.3.1

        So those “no Irish or Maori” signs never existed then,

        Actually, no they didn’t! (The “Whites only” signs were real, but as I read recently, the No Irish, no Maori signs are an urban legend.)

    • Jim Nald 33.4

      “Dogs and Chinese not allowed”

      Shanghai, 1903 regulations of the Public Garden
      http://www.urbanvintner.co.nz/Shanghai%27s_%22Dogs_and_Chinese_Not_Admitted%22_Sign

  34. BR 34

    “They are priorities you have for yourself, not for others.”

    Why should such freedoms not extend to every law-abiding citizen?

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 34.2

      You’re playing the Freedom card which has worked so well for the US right wing

      Now they are all free to be poor over there or be shot, the largest prison population in the world with the largest police state in the world, that’s Freedom

      Lets talk about Human Rights instead, like the Human Right not to be descriminated against because of your gender, race, religion or age.

  35. BR 35

    “So those “no Irish or Maori” signs never existed then, nor all those ‘Whites only’ shops in the Jim Crow south. Moron.”

    So what if they did? If at the time the proprietors believed, rightly or wrongly, that admitting certain types of people onto their premises was bad for business, then they have every right to exclude said groups from their custom, and to make the wider public aware of such restrictions in advance. No individual or group should be forced to associate with another. Such compulsion is every bit as reprehensible as apartheid.

    “Shanghai, 1903 regulations of the Public Garden
    http://www.urbanvintner.co.nz/Shanghai%27s_%22Dogs_and_Chinese_Not_Admitted%22_Sign
    Reply ”

    This website deals with a LAW that disallows people of a certain race from being in certain designated public places. It is a law to be deplored. This has NOTHING to do with private property. It is a bylaw set down by government officials. The government has a duty to represent everyone equally, a private business or individual has no such duty.

    “You’re playing the Freedom card which has worked so well for the US right wing”

    OK, so you think that the fundamental freedoms of the citizenry should be restricted. Who should decide which freedoms should be restricted and to what degree? People like you?

    “Now they are all free to be poor over there”

    Perhaps a law could be passed requiring everyone to be rich.

    “or be shot,”

    If one is determined enough to being shot, one can shoot oneself.

    “the largest prison population in the world with the largest police state in the world, that’s Freedom”

    Perhaps the prison system and the police should be abolished. Would that suit you better?

    “Lets talk about Human Rights instead, like the Human Right not to be discriminated against because of your gender, race, religion or age.”

    No such right can be granted to anyone. No one has the power to grant it. Attempts by the state to bestow such rights have always been at the expense of individual freedom.

    Bill.

    • Pascal's bookie 35.1

      Sorry, I thought you believed that:

      No business operator, unless he wants to commit commercial suicide, would deliberately do things that would discourage customers of any description from buying his product.

      • Colonial Viper 35.1.1

        The research is pretty clear that many business operators have descriminated and discouraged customers from buying their product.

        Keeping Blacks out of White neighbourhoods and out of White private schools was seen as crucial to real estate values and upholding private tuition fees for instance.

        Sometimes racism and ethnic cleansing is extremely profitable. Ask those who sold arms to the Bosnians and Serbs.

        I really suspect BR has no fucking idea.

  36. BR 36

    “You think black people offended by that word are choosing to be offended?”

    Are you talking about all black people, or just a select few?

    “What incredible ignorance. Are you 12?”

    Anyone can play the insult game. It does nothing to further what little argument you have.

    “Are you Peter McCaffrey?”

    Never mind who I am. I am a voice in the darkness that disagrees with your sort. There are many like me.

    “How about rape victims being offended by rape jokes?”

    How about them? Have you asked any rape victims whether they would favour a ban on rape jokes?

    “Grow up, kid.”

    I am not the one throwing temper tantrums.

    “Get your nose out of the Rand books and learn some humility.”

    I do not take orders from the likes of you.

    Bill.

    • Pascal's bookie 36.1

      There are many like me

      There are many like many things, but proportionally you are insignificant. Self styled ‘Libertarians’ tend to get around 0.5 % of the vote in most democracies. In NZ they got an order of magnitude fewer votes than ‘Bill and Ben’ at the last election.

      There are a lot of you making noise on the internets though, to be sure.

    • Colonial Viper 36.2

      I do not take orders from the likes of you.

      Bet you don’t like to take orders from women, gays, blacks, jews and disabled people either.

      Just guessin’

  37. BR 37

    “The research is pretty clear that many business operators have descriminated and discouraged customers from buying their product.”

    Well that’s just too bad. No business should be forced by law to do business with anyone, any more than an individual should be compelled to buy products from a particular business. You can’t argue with that. All you can offer is distractions, misdirection and insults.

    “Keeping Blacks out of White neighbourhoods”

    Only a government can keep certain groups out of particular neighbourhoods. Such a policy decision by a government not only infringes on the rights of the excluded group, it also compromises the rights of a property vendor or landlord who would be less able to sell or rent his property in an artificially diminished market.

    “and out of White private schools was seen as crucial to real estate values and upholding private tuition fees for instance.

    Private schools are like any other business. They have the right to accept or reject any applicants who apply to enrol. It is highly unlikely in the 21st century that any school would publicize a “No Blacks” or a “No Whites” policy of course, but that doesn’t mean that doing so should attract the attention of the criminal justice system.

    Yes I know. Private schools receive public money.

    If all the private schools were to close, the government would be required, at the taxpayer’s expense, to educate the kids who formerly attended the private schools. The private schools SAVE the taxpayer money, and the economy and the education system would be worse off without them.

    “Sometimes racism and ethnic cleansing is extremely profitable. Ask those who sold arms to the Bosnians and Serbs.”

    What’s that all about? You’ve gone from racism and schools to civil war in two sentences. What are you saying? That the arms dealers started the war, or that they were just not helping matters?

    “I really suspect BR has no fucking idea.”

    Wow. You’re going to convince a lot of people with that rebuttal.

    “Bet you don’t like to take orders from women, gays, blacks, jews and disabled people either.”

    I would be happy to take orders from members of any of these groups as long as I was being paid the agreed rate.

    “Just guessin’”

    Do you ever do anything else?

    “There are many like many things, but proportionally you are insignificant. Self styled ‘Libertarians’ tend to get around 0.5 % of the vote in most democracies. In NZ they got an order of magnitude fewer votes than ‘Bill and Ben’ at the last election.”

    What makes you think I’m a libertarian? I am something of a libertarian in an economic sense, but I disagree with them on other issues. I am a conservative. Libertarians are far too obsessive about legalizing drugs, which to me is a low priority issue. I have also heard them saying that there should be no tax at all, and I would never agree to that. There should be a massive reduction in tax for sure, but there are legitimate functions of government that everyone has a stake in, and they need to be paid for.

    “There are a lot of you making noise on the internet though, to be sure.”

    A lot of who?

    Bill

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    Last week we mentioned about how Auckland Transport was launching a new PT brand. That occurred yesterday and as well as new look buses, they have also launched a new brand for their public transport operations – AT Metro. Auckland Transport has...
    Transport Blog
  • Whales, dolphins, and ‘gunshots’
    I've just returned from seven days on board SV Vega as part of a small team monitoring the impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals off the west coast of Northland. No research has been done in this area, so...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • Meat workers need Jobs that Count
    The CTU is supporting todays Meat Workers Union campaign to combat insecure work in a core New Zealand export industry. Photo:  ...
    CTU
  • 2014: A Venture Capital Odyssey
    Fresh off the wire from Hong Kong, from your friends and mine at io9: Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it's an "equal member" that...
    Polity
  • Buzzfeed takes the Herald
    Here's a Herald article this week, titled (I kid you not): 20 somewhat horrible things I do to my kids that I don't feel guilty about [Facepalm] I want the Herald to be good. I really do. I know some...
    Polity
  • Sad
    There's a lot of non-cheery news out there in the lead up to Christmas. There's the Taliban school massacre, the Sydney siege, the US Torture Report, and - at a much lower level, and closer to home - the Treasury's...
    Polity
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement...
    Greens
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act...
    Greens
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki...
    Labour
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries...
    Greens
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    Greens
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It...
    Labour
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
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  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
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  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
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  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
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  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
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  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
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  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
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  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
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  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
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  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
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  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
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  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
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  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
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  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
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  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
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  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
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  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
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  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
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  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
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  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
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  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
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  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
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  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
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  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
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  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
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  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
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  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
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  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
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  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
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  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
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  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
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  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
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  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
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  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
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  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
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  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
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  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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