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Open mike 03/03/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 3rd, 2012 - 80 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

80 comments on “Open mike 03/03/2012”

  1. http://whoar.co.nz/2012/scientists-shocked-to-find-antibiotics-alleviate-symptoms-of-schizophrenia/

    “…Chance discovery of link between acne drug and psychosis may unlock secrets of mental illness..”

    phil-at-whoar.

  2. Today’s ODT editorial looks at ‘Tackling the costs of welfare’.

    …it would be a pleasant surprise for many New Zealanders were the parties to get round the table and form a consensus approach on how to tackle a severe and escalating problem.

    The starting point for just such an approach could be a simple and overriding position: welfare should be a safety net, not a way of life. This is a philosophical rallying point around which most reasonable people could assemble.

    Is this a reasonable starting point for a cross-party approach for a Universal Welfare Philosophy?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      The starting point for just such an approach could be a simple and overriding position: welfare should be a safety net, not a way of life.

      Why is work the only acceptable ‘way of life’?

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        I don’t think it suggests that, it’s referring to welfare as not a way of life. There’s other options to work, and variations to what ‘work’ is.

        • Uturn 2.1.1.1

          If welfare exists to sustain life, then isn’t welfare an option as way of life? Once you move past the small perspectives of NZ, is there a rule that says humans cannot attempt to stay alive in any way possible? Is a human obliged to starve themselves for a moral position they are either unaware of or do not accept? Who has the right, by universal law, to enforce a moral postion on another person? Yes, man can create laws and enforce them with guns, but that is legal, not moral. They have no moral superiority to enforce their choices on another person.

          It is all a question of control: those who wish to control others for their own gain; and those who don’t care, or control themselves, try to survive and let others be.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.2

          The problem I have is that your simple ‘working definition’ excludes the most powerful solution to the entire welfare/tax system problem … the UBI or GMI.

          A Guaranteed Minimum Income recognises that all people are entitled to a certain basic income to allow them to feed, clothe and shelter themselves. In pre-industrial times most people had some access to the resources (land, crops, stock, wild foods, etc) that enabled them to achieve this for themselves.

          But the modern world locks up most of these resources into private hands, or makes access expensive and limited. In this world the principle means of survival is a paid job (some people survive ok outside the system, but it’s not an accessible option for most.) This fundamentally alienates people from the means to survive, the right to survive, in the absence of a job.

          The GMI idea restores that fundamental right; it says that in return for privatising the means of basic survival into the hands of a few, then society pays with a universal basic income to recompense for this.

          • Olwyn 2.1.1.2.1

            @RedLogix, in response to your initial post about UBI or GMI: I love these ideas, and agree with your points in support of them. The difficulty though is in making them sacrosanct.

            “In pre-industrial times most people had some access to the resources (land, crops, stock, wild foods, etc) that enabled them to achieve this for themselves.”

            Yes, but since pre-industrial times, and occasionally even before then, capitalists and industrialists etc, have sought to undermine these conditions. The land clearances, for example, which robbed people of the subsistence farming option and left them with a choice between the factory and the poor house. This continues in various ways in the present day. I have read of people opening a mine in a subsistence farming area, and lobbying governments to impose the relevant taxes, so that the farmers will need to work in the mine to pay them. In another case, introducing booze to an area, so that the subsistence farmers would work on their project to buy it.

            Our own neo-liberal revolution is a version of the same kind of thinking: close off other options (like the public service, etc), so that people are forced to work under whatever conditions are imposed, at whatever price is imposed. There is a minimum wage, sure, but it is far from being a living wage.

            The hard bit with the UBI would be maintaining its value under pressure, so that it was not reduced to nothing at the behest of the capitalist minotaur.

        • muzza 2.1.1.3

          I have respect for most people, but very few of them seek power over others, or pretend they care about the greater good to try disguise their power cravings. Generally speaking I have zero respect for the politicians who run our cities and country, there are a few minor exceptions, sure/

          Lower than politicians, but still at base level, are those who hang off them, and aspire to be them, they are fluffers of the political world!

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.4

          Petey you neglect to mention the group of beneficiaries who present by far the biggest threat to the affordability of social welfare.  This is a group whose number has increased dramatically and their numbers will continue to increase for many decades to come.  

          And yet this particular class has an expectation that the benefit will be available for them.

          They truly see it as a lifestyle choice but this Government, the coiffured one included, have refused to so anything about the problem.  In fact some of the decisions made last term will make the situation far worse.  And the PM has refused to do anything about eligibility.

          Yes Petey these people are the retired.  Everyone would be best if they focussed their efforts in dealing with this particular group. 

          • Pete George 2.1.1.4.1

            I didn’t mention a lot of things. I was quoting an editorial and looking for reaction to that.

            I agree (and have often said) that National are dragging the chain on Super. But I don’t think Labour had the right approach last election either, especially for their supposed working class consrtituency, and I think they knew that, they didn’t push their ‘just raise the age’ policy very hard.

            UF had a quite different approach to any other party on Super and some form of graduated option giving people choice is worth a better look from the other parties.

            • mickysavage 2.1.1.4.1.1

              But Petey these people are “aging for a business” if you apply Jrationales thought processes on beneficiaries.

              Labour was the only party that had a coherent policy in the area.  This government, add ons included, clearly does not.  It is walking blindfolded over a cliff and taking us with it.

              UF’s “grand plan” only further confused things by totally ignoring the issue.  It’s “solution” did not solve a thing.
               

            • mickysavage 2.1.1.4.1.2

              But Petey these people are “ageing for a business” if you apply John Key’s thought processes on beneficiaries.
              Labour was the only party that had a coherent policy in the area.  This government, add ons included, clearly does not.  It is walking blindfolded over a cliff and taking us with it.
              UF’s “grand plan” only further confused things by totally ignoring the issue.  It’s “solution” did not solve a thing.

              • Greg, the UF proposal addressed up front a major deficiencyin Labour’s half hearted attempt.

                When Labour got a bollocking for clobbering those like the weak (after a life of hard physical labour) and sick in their policy they quickly included addons that crudely moved it towards a similarity to the UF proposal.

                • Petey this has been addressed a number of times.  Workers who are unable to work would be entitled to other benefits and would not miss out.  You have been told that repeatedly.  You have also been asked repeatedly about how future generations are going to afford to continue superannuation in its current form but you have never addressed this properly.

                  Given the coiffured one’s support for this Government I can understand why. 

                  • ” You have also been asked repeatedly about how future generations are going to afford to continue superannuation in its current form but you have never addressed this properly.”

                    No one has addressed this properly. To do so would require serious cross party discussion looking for a consensus long term plan. Especially with Super the nit picky politicking approach is failed practice.

                    I know you weren’t a fan of Shearer for leader but if you want to genuinely want to help Labour rebuild you should try to follow his lead.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No one has addressed this properly. To do so would require serious cross party discussion looking for a consensus long term plan.

                      1) Labour did address the affordability of retirement issues in the 2011 election campaign. National and UF ran from them.

                      2) Are you saying that UF will hold talks with Labour over a long term consensus over NZ Super?

                    • Petey you are still avoiding the question and trying to change the subject.

                      There is this meteor hurtling towards us and it is called the retirement crisis.  Our current leaders, the haired one included, have got their heads in the sand and are ignoring it.  Whenever you are asked about it you talk about something else.

                      In the interests of the country’s future don’t you think that politics as usual is not acceptable?

                    • In the interests of the country’s future don’t you think that politics as usual is not acceptable?

                      I’ve been saying that for quite a while now.

                      I’m not avoiding the question, I just don’t have the answer to how we should make Super more affordable and remain fair. Neither does anyone else have an overall answer, just partial possible solutions.

                      I’m only speaking for myself here, but I think all parties should agree to work together on this – and find a consensus solution. That John Key doesn’t appear willing to do this has been one of my strongest criticisms of him for some time (since before I connected with UF).

                      Any consensus solution will have to involve compromises.

    • just saying 2.2

      The fact is, with structural unemployment and no sign of that changing, it has to be “a way of life” for many. There are also those with significant disabilities including many elderly people.

      So, welfare is necessarily a “way of life”. The alternatives are crime and starvation.
      What we have a choice about is whether we poinlessly harrass and torment those who are forced into the position. I know what choice you’ve made, Pete.

      • Bill 2.2.1

        A simple and quick cure to structural unemployment is to put the bill for welfare squarely on the shoulders of business through a progressive levy or tax.

        I appreciate that some working people feel aggrieved paying tax to support people without jobs while they themselves are compelled to get up every day for the sake of a shit job. I don’t think that’s right.

        And it’s only a slight variation of ‘user pays’ to hold that those who benefit from current economic configurations ( ie business) should be the ones who pay for the welfare of those who they exclude.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          put the bill for welfare squarely on the shoulders of business through a progressive levy or tax.

          1) I feel that it is important to distinguish between small businesses, many of whom are at marginal viability because of the continuing economic circumstances and the large corporates who are making a killing ticket clipping on our core economic infrastructure.

          2) Your proposal needs to be modified IMO to capture those who have structured their affairs to hold large amounts of asset and property wealth but recognise very little earnings from that wealth.

          • Bill 2.2.1.1.1

            I agree that small businesses shouldn’t be hammered. That’s why I used the term ‘progressive’. Far greater minds than mine could work out the details of a fair system, but in basic terms…

            Divy up the relevent facets of the welfare bill (allowing for exemptions) by the number of businesses in NZ (470 000 as at Feb 2010). In each year, the tax levied on business would be to cover the cost of the previous year….so a simple floating %age working on a retrospective basis.

            And make it a progressive regime based on, for example gross or net profit or number of employees or some combination of those factors.

            And whatever the finer details of the final structure, the government would know the exact amount it was seeking to recover from business…the previous year’s welfare bill….and therefore be able to set a precise tax without too much difficulty.

            If it inadvertantly took too much, that could be off set in the following year. If it took too little, that too could be taken into consideration in the following year.

            Point is, it would suddenly become cost effective for business to ‘soak up’ any reservoir of ‘jobless.

    • mikesh 2.3

      Perhaps we should adopt Gareth Morgan’s suggestion (in his book The Big Kahuna) and pay every adult person $11,000 pa., giving them the choice of either living on that, or supplementing it with earnings from employment. That would be fair and equitable since the $11,000 would be paid to everybody.

      • rosy 2.3.1

        Agreed… Link for Pete, because some very smart people have been thinking about this for a long time The Big Kahuna The Big Kahuna is just one iteration of the idea of a Guaranteed Minimum Income, but is significant because it’s a New Zealand solution.

        All people should be provided with the means for survival, and these days, that means money… RL (2.1.1.2) says it well.

      • RedLogix 2.3.2

        More importantly the GMI idea treats everyone exactly the same and gets rid of all the stupid distortions that are inherent in the existing system.

        What people forget is that everytime the system targets a benefit or tax in some way; it automatically creates high marginal effective tax rates everytime you migrate out of the target group. The GMI system gets rid of this distortion.

        It also amounts to an effective job creation incentive. At the moment there is not a huge difference between for a family being on a benefit and working in a below median wage jobs, and along with the ‘stand-down’ periods, it creates distortions of another kind.

        With a GMI and a flat PAYE tax rate, for every dollar earned the same fixed 65% after tax is always kept. This means that regardless of how part-time or low paid the job is… you are always better off working. This has to be the very best ‘incentive’ for both employers and workers.

        I’m totally past fiddling with the existing system. It’s obsolete and no longer meets our needs as a society. Time to ditch our preconceptions and make the changes that Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie have described.

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.2.1

          Yeah pretty much. You’d think that a simpler system with much less overhead to administer which encouraged people to work and not stay on a benefit would be exactly what National would want to implement. Except for the fact that it would kill a whole lot of the tax rorts their mates are relying on presently.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.1.1

            IMO, Another reason why NAct don’t like it is that they wouldn’t be able to force people to work for shit bosses in atrocious conditions. People would have the choice of going to work or telling the boss to fuck off.

            • the pink postman 2.3.2.1.1.1

              Unemployment is the best way the Tories and their friends are able to keep wages down .Plus its the weapon they are able to use to make sure unions are short of members. The political Right are also masters at manipulating language, note how they have changed Social Security to the insulting word of welfare , We people of the Left should revert to using social security instead of the degrading word of welfare.

              • Colonial Viper

                Agreed. We cannot let the Right control the use of terminology as they have been. And people must understand that NZ’s social security system comprises a far more comprehensive system than just benefit payments.

              • Vicky32

                The political Right are also masters at manipulating language, note how they have changed Social Security to the insulting word of welfare , We people of the Left should revert to using social security instead of the degrading word of welfare.

                Absolutely right! I said that some time ago, the use of the word ‘welfare’ is recent – the last 8-12 years? Since then, state houses have been defined as ‘welfare’ (they never were before about 2000) and then there’s the coinage ‘workfare’, which has existed in the USA for some time, the UK for maybe the last 3 months, and is apparently coming here…

                • felix

                  Yes, the insertion of the word “welfare” into NZ usage has been a very obvious and deliberate campaign by the right.

                  I’ve even heard that the Nasty Nats have gone as far as changing the bank statement references for benefit payments, so where a payment from winz used to appear as “Work and Income Benefit” it now appears as “Welfare”.

                  Perhaps someone could confirm if this is true.

                  • Vicky32

                    so where a payment from winz used to appear as “Work and Income Benefit” it now appears as “Welfare”

                    Mine still says W&I benefit, but someone who has been on a benefit for a shorter time, may find that theirs is different…
                     

            • the pink postman 2.3.2.1.1.2

              Unemployment is the weapon the political Right use to keep,wages low and to lower work conditions. It also reduces Union membership and power. They are also master at manipulating language , Note how they have changed Social Security to welfare. Its time people of the political Left refered to the Social Security system instead of the degrading word welfare when refereing to the needs of people who are in unfortunate circumstances. Oh for compusory unionism .

        • KJT 2.3.2.2

          A GMI makes total sense.
          1. Simplifies welfare. A lot of the present costs of determining eligibility and entitlements is removed.
          2. Gives effect to the principle, @ Redlogix  above, that everyone has the right to food and housing. Once we all had access to commons to grow basic necessities. That common right has been grabbed to make a few wealthy.
          3. Encourages entrepreneurship. Can have a go at a business without worrying about your family doing without if it fails or takes a long time to succeed.
          4. You are always better off working. As employers need to pay a wage above the GMI to get workers and 120% abatement rates are removed.
           
           
          Though I think the rate should be about the equivalent to NZ super.
           
          So no one in NZ is in poverty.
           
          Paid for by progressive taxes on very high incomes and wealth.
           
          Very high incomes and accumulations of wealth are socioeconomically dysfunctional, as we know.

          • Fortran 2.3.2.2.1

            Have you tried living on Govt Super, with particularly local government taxes continually rising, along with seasonal food prices ?

            • RedLogix 2.3.2.2.1.1

              Kiwisaver should bridge the gap between the GMI and the current National Super.

              In addition the Gold card system can be extended to a wider range of essential services to ensure those costs are held.

            • KJT 2.3.2.2.1.2

              What I am trying to say is that, like super, a GMI should be enough to live on.
              Equal to the present super would be a good starting point.
               
              And, unlike the UB, super is enough if you have paid off your mortgage.
               
              Anyway, since national super, poverty amongst the elderly is about 3% compared to over 20% amongst children.
              http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/super
               
              Got to get the principle established first.

              • RedLogix

                Agreed.. there are a number of forms it could take. Personally I’d prefer to start with a system that set the UBI at around the current Unemployment Benefit, a flat PAYE tax rate of 30%, a GST of 15% and a moderate Capital Gains tax of around 15%.

                Often overlooked in this discussion is the aproximate $1b of costs around the administration of WINZ and IRD that would be eliminated as well.

                1.Treating all taxpayers exactly the same eliminates all the distortions and resentments that undermine and derail the current system. It prevents special interest groups from exploiting them for their own political purposes.

                2. A progressive tax recognises that the wealthy are the ones who have most benefited from society, therefore owe the most in return.

                3. A flat marginal tax eliminates all the high marginal tax rates, fiscal drag and poverty traps that the current system is riddled with.

                Remarkably the UBI/GMI system combines all three features at the same time! I first became aware of this idea over a decade ago (and it is of course much older than that).. and there really is not a single problem with the existing system that is not solvable if we made the change. It isn’t of course immune to the politics of the day.

                From a right wing perspective they might want to lower the UBI and lower the PAYE rate, while a left wing perspective might push in the opposite direction. But these are very plain and open changes… it would not be hard to write legislation which required the system to be self-funding /revenue-neutral and for political parties to clearly signal and commit to their tax plan before each election.

                If a government/central bank needed to do a spot of ‘quantative easing’ (like the USA does) then all that would be required is a small increase in the UBI; and the opposite if the economy was overheating. Far more direct and efficient than mucking about with interest rates. Again any such changes would be a plain and totally transparent transaction to the entire electorate; as it would effect everyone in exactly the same way. No government could afford to anger all voters simultaneously by either reducing the UBI too much or increasing the PAYE/GST rates too much. It’s more or less self-balancing politically.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  1.Treating all taxpayers exactly the same eliminates all the distortions and resentments that undermine and derail the current system.

                  So, would you get rid of all tax deductions or, considering that going to work is a business, extend them to everybody?

                  Personally, I’m leaning towards the former for two reasons:-
                  1.) Tax deductions are where tax avoidance loopholes originate and
                  2.) If extended to everyone then determining what is a legitimate business expense (breakfast, lunch and dinner with $200/bottle wine etc) and enforcing them becomes far too complicated and thus expensive.

                • Vicky32

                  Agreed.. there are a number of forms it could take. Personally I’d prefer to start with a system that set the UBI at around the current Unemployment Benefit,

                  IMO it would have to be much higher than UB! I am surviving on UB only because I have savings from when I last worked 3 and a half months ago, they’ll run out soon – and can use them to pay phone, power etc. My nett UB is $190.90 -50.00 rent, $140.00 a week for food, cleaning products, and anything else that comes up – bus fares for job interviews, mobile phone etc… $140.00 a week.

            • Vicky32 2.3.2.2.1.3

              Have you tried living on Govt Super, with particularly local government taxes continually rising, along with seasonal food prices ?

              Hey, I’d love to live on Govt Super! It’s considerably higher than Unemployment Benefit. I am getting $190.90 a week, (because of a debt that ought to have been paid off a year ago, and possibly was, I am just scared to ask). Seriously. They seem to have forgotten I exist, but if I remind them, heaven only knows what they might decide to do to me…
               

    • Kevin 2.4

      Getting around the table for another chat about welfare is pointless. Invariably these discussions are inittiated by people who are basically petty and vindictive.
      The solution to welfare is to get the economy moving, breaking into new markets with our primary products, and by attracting investment.

      • Bill 2.4.1

        Don’t you understand what the term systemic or structural levels of unemployment is referring to?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.4.2

        Can’t possibly work:-

        1.) Every country is capable of massively over producing which means that there aren’t enough “markets”
        1a) We need to cut down on the production of primary products so that our rivers and lakes recover from the pollution that is presently killing them
        2.) Peak Oil means that we won’t be able to cost effectively export
        3.) Foreign investment is a delusion as all we do when we get it is work from the resources we have here already

    • lefty 2.5

      Welfare is not a way of life desired by anybody. It is a way of surviving for people who have no other choice.

      There should never be agreement around the sort of nasty and untrue assumptions and stereotypes about people on benefits Peter George is putting forward.

      His undisguised hatred of beneficiaries absolutely disgust me and every other hard working,fair minded, taxpaying New Zealander.

      I have a counter proposition though.

      It would be a pleasant surprise for many New Zealanders if the parties were to get round the table and form a consensus approach to how to tackle a fast growing and escalating problem.

      The starting point around which every fair minded person could rally would be a simple proposition that we can no longer afford to let thieving capitalist bastards and the various other types of pricks in suits steal the fruits of the labour of decent Kiwis while others go without.

    • millsy 2.6

      Despite what the right might think, I doubt that it would be possible to lead any sort of ‘way of life’ on $200-300/wk.

      It wasn’t for me when I was a WINZ client, years ago (a period in my life I would rather forget, for reasons far greater than my unemployment).

      And forcing those on benefits into low wage insecure jobs (and lets face it, they will be) while providing dodgy looking baby farms (laudanum is complementary) for them to put their kids in isnt going to fix anything, probably just create a lot more misery.

      • Colonial Viper 2.6.1

        Despite what the right might think, I doubt that it would be possible to lead any sort of ‘way of life’ on $200-300/wk.

        $300 pw yes possible for an individual but tough – but probably not in AKL. Ideally you would want to be in a situation where you were not paying rent, or sharing rent with others. If you have children – $300 is no way.

    • Foreign Waka 2.7

      Tackling to cost of welfare…..for me this means that many people who, for the first time, apply to enter the workforce and/or trying to get a job after being made redundant will loose their pride, their will and dignity to became cynical, disengaged and demotivated to change their dependency. The true cost of welfare is therefore the human cost that has been bought with commercial profit. Regardless whether anyone is on the political right, left in the middle or in the sky for all that I care, it is a RIGHT to sustain oneself, be it through growing crops or holding down a job. Any other option would imply that some people are not worth a dime and ultimately should be just put on the scrapheap.

    • QoT 2.8

      No it’s not, and if you were intellectually honest you’d acknowledge it. Clue: the framing is bullshit.

      Kinda like if someone said “Here’s a reasonable starting point to discuss the future of United Future: the party should have actual principles, and not be a home for failed candidates wanting to push conservative, classist bullshit under the guise of “common sense”.”

    • Vicky32 2.9

      welfare should be a safety net, not a way of life.

      Begging the question! It has never been established either that ‘welfare is a way of life’ or that there are people who think it is or should be! :(

      • Pete George 2.9.1

        Sue Bradford was on Breakfast (TV1) recently saying people should have a choice and shouoldn’t be “harrassed” into looking for work.

        I know people who have turned down jobs because they didn’t like the job, and I know someone recently say they would stay on the benefit until a Polytechnic course because they didn’t think it was worth working for just few months. And a woman who’d been separated for 8 years but didn’t think she was yet ready to go to work.

        Many people know of beneficiaries by choice.

        As there are many reluctant beneficiaries who would take any half decent job offered them.

        • McFlock 2.9.1.1

          Well pete, two of your cases were using the dole short term for possibly very good reasons, even if they didn’t choose to communicate those reasons to you. The last case suggests that maybe you know less about her situation, and particularly mental health, than you think you do.
               
          But feel free to judge, anyway.

  3. Uturn 3

    Here are a couple of questions for those who are interested in discussing art. The question isn’t posed as a the “truth”, so calm yourself. Calm? Good.

    Let’s say a person listens to some music. They enjoy/like the tune, they hear the sounds of the musical instruments themselves; they hear the lyrics, and include them in the definition of a musical instrument of sorts. The listener does not understand the lyrics because they are written by a person who has a particular style of speaking, or they are a form of obscure poetry. They hear the words, but the meaning is different to the literal meaning of the phrases in the lyrics. This is not unusual in modern/pop music. For example, a person sings about licking an ice cream and what they really mean is they enjoy oral sex. Or they sing about malted milk, and really they’re singing about getting drunk on whiskey. The lyrical codings get more complex from there.

    If the listener does not understand the meaning of the song/art work, but is attracted to it anyway, why is that? If the artist, on investigation, is the kind of person that moves in circles that the listener would never enter or would be excluded from by the artist should they meet, how is it the listener can be attracted to the artist’s work? For example, let’s say the artist is a NY hipster, moving in circles of designers, musicians and avant guard thinkers and the listener is a middle class chino and light blue shirt wearing IT professional with dreams of owing his own house, who also enjoys listening to the Eagles, Phil Collins and growing tomatoes in the summer. Is there any relevance at all between the conscious, real life of the artist, and the artwork?

    Let’s say the music now is not some higher definition of art. Let’s say it’s is a manufactured boy band, singing by-the-recipe, bordering on gibberish pop songs, or a youngster who’s father owns a recording company singing things such as they like Friday afternoon. Apply the same contradiction of realities between singer/manufacturer and listener. Now a NY hipster is listening to it, and “likes it”. How could they enjoy the music? What are they really listening to? How is it that a person can hear something completely at odds with the intended message in a lyric or tune? Is there any rule that says an artist will create a tune, that matches the lyrics, that matches some aspect of who they are in real life. Will a dark tune always attract dark lyrics, from the mind of a artist with a tendency to express dark things – no matter what they might try to do.

    If we remove the idea of post-modern “anything means anything you want it to”, “you can like anything for any reason” , what answer do we get? This may be the question, does art have any structure, at all? Which is probably as widely scoped as asking what is the point of life on earth. But I’d like to hear some ideas.

    When a musician creates a tune and sells it to a recording company and they send it down the marketing chain and it ends up on commercial radio as filler between advertising, would a percentage of listeners who cannot hear the intended message actually be eavesdropping on private communication between the artist and the artist’s intended audience? Is it necessary to know the intended true message of music to honestly – on all levels – tell yourself you “like it”.

    What do you think?

    • Descendant Of Smith 3.1

      Whether art or music or sculpture or a speech etc the first consideration is I either like it or I don’t.

      If there is some substantial meaning and intent behind the work I might likely  appreciate it and if the two come together I have a much stronger emotional involvement with it.

      Like may come before I know meaning and intent and meaning and intent may come before like. Either way I might seek out the other.

      It’s one of the reasons I enjoy “making of” programs. To see what was intended.

      It’s also one of the reasons I might hunt out artists I have not heard of – cause the story is compelling.

      It will still ultimately get back to I like it or I won’t though and a good story won’t make me like something I don’t – though I might appreciate the effort.
       
       

    • fender 3.2

      “If the listener does not understand the meaning of the song/art work, but is attracted to it anyway, why is that?”
      Music/art work can affect the central nervous system and even if you don’t want to like it on a conscious level it can get to you anyway.
      Some people choose to like a certain music if they feel it fits in with the image of themselves they wish to portray to the wider world.

      “How is it that a person can hear something completely at odds with the intended message in a lyric or tune?
      Universal meanings/interpretations is natural as everybody is different and the artwork is seen/heard through their filter of feelings and life experiences.
      A great work will often have that universal meaning in abundance (even though the artist didn’t intend it that way)

      “If we remove the idea of post-modern “anything means anything you want it to”, “you can like anything for any reason” , what answer do we get?
      There doesn’t have to be a reason, its attraction can be as primal as an attractive scent.

      “This may be the question, does art have any structure, at all?”
      Like you say, very wide scoping!
      Good artwork is well structured in its ability to touch/reach ones/our sensibilities by the artist.
      Art in its totality has no structure other than it’s like a multi-streamed flow of creations that come together like a braided river.

      ” Is it necessary to know the intended true message of music to honestly – on all levels – tell yourself you “like it”.”
      No.
      Art works best when the conscious mind is not giving instructions to the viewer/listener. Let the subconscious and central nervious system decide what you like and leave it to them to tell the conscious mind it’s liked. Although in the case of lyrics the conscious mind is needed to decide if there’s validity in the words being used (from your point of view of course).

      Well those are my thoughts for what they are worth Uturn.

  4. ianmac 4

    An artist paints according to his view of things. It means something in particular to him. But the moment he puts it out for others to see, it is open for any interpretation the viewer wants, and the artist loses “ownership” of his view. Art, Music, writing. Some creators get cross if you don’t “get it” but that is the nature letting others see it.

    • fender 4.1

      The artist might lose his/her exclusive interpretation, but he doesn’t lose ownership of it.
      Everyone who sees/hears etc it becomes the owner of another interpretation.

  5. Te Reo Putake 5

    Reasons to love Morrisey, No94: The Islands Formerly Known as the Falklands.
     
    And, in case youse guys missed it, Heaven Knows John Key is Miserable Now. How good is David Shearer, eh? Despite the whingers, he’s getting the job done.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      How good is David Shearer, eh? Despite the whingers, he’s getting the job done.

      In any future Left leaning coalition, the contribution of NZ First and the Greens to the outcomes our country needs cannot be safely ignored by Labour supporters.

      • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1

        You’re not wrong, CV. The good news is that Labour have good experience at stitching together coalitions, and even though Winston has previously baulked at going with the Greens, I suspect he’ll be on board this time round. I also think there will be less talk of ‘junior partners’ from Labour in the next Government and it will be a more inclusive cabinet.

    • Morrissey 5.2

      Reasons to love Morrisey, No94…

      I see you’re a Private Eye fan, Te Reo.

      • Te Reo Putake 5.2.1

        Too right! My writing style (and politics) owes a lot to both PE and the punk era NME. Got the latest airmailed issue of the Eye here. Perfect day for reading on the couch, while my personal assistant and occasional masseuse, Rita Chevrolet, stokes the fire …

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      NATIONAL (45.5%) MAINTAIN BIG LEAD, BUT LABOUR (31.5%)
      IMPROVES FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT MORGAN POLL

      That headline is rather interesting as previously they’ve consistently referred to the government and not the main party in the government.

      If a National Election were held today the National Party would be returned to Government.

      Looking at the numbers, that doesn’t appear to be true.

      Labour 31.5
      Greens 13
      NZ1st 5
      Mana 1
      Total 50.5

      National 45.5
      Act 0.5
      UF 0.5
      Maori 1.5
      Total 48

      That’s just the percentages, if an election was held today I would be surprised if Act and UF got back in at all. So, why is Morgan Polls saying that National would be returned to government when that, according to their own numbers, would be unlikely?

      • McFlock 5.3.1

        NZ1 abstaining is my guess.
          
        But it’s early days yet

        • Jackal 5.3.1.1

          Isn’t the Roy Morgan on average 7% out in favour of the right? But that’s OK because polls don’t win elections.

          • McFlock 5.3.1.1.1

            yeah, but remember that it’s still two and a bit years until the next election campaign…

  6. Morrissey 6

    Malvinas Islands belong to you, Morrissey tells Argentinian fans
    British singer is latest artist to support Argentinian sovereignty of south Atlantic islands as diplomatic tensions rise

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/02/falkland-islands-belong-argentina-morrissey

    The singer Morrissey has become the latest celebrity to endorse Argentina’s claims over the Malvinas Islands, telling a crowd in the Argentinian city of Córdoba, “we know the islands belong to you”.

    Diplomatic tensions between Argentina and the UK have been mounting ahead of the 30th anniversary of the invasion of the islands by Argentina on 2 April 1982. Last month British diplomats accused Argentina of trying to isolate the Malvinas by putting pressure on Chile to end flights there. On Monday, two British cruise ships were prevented from docking at an Argentinian port.

    Morrissey’s comments follow similar endorsements by the US actor Sean Penn and the Pink Floyd bass player Roger Waters. “The Malvinas Islands, everybody knows they belong to Argentina,” Morrissey said from the stage of the Orfeo stadium in Córdoba. “So please don’t blame
    the British people, we know the islands belong to you.” The comments brought enthusiastic cheers from the crowd before he launched into the 1984 Smiths track “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.”

    Morrissey’s support for Argentina’s claim, contested by Britain and the 3,000 British inhabitants of the islands, follows an interview broadcast on Friday on Argentine and Chilean television in which
    Waters said the Malvinas “should be Argentine”. The musician, who is playing nine sold-out stadium concerts in Buenos Aires starting next week, said Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron had used the Falklands question “for narrow political ends”.

    Penn was the first major artist to come out in favour of the Argentinian position, after a meeting with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Buenos Aires two weeks ago. He criticised Britain’s “ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology” and the deployment of Prince William to the islands on a tour of duty as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

    “There are many places to deploy the prince,” Penn said. “It’s not necessary, when the deployment of a prince is generally accompanied by warships, to send them into the seas of such shared blood.”

    The pro-Argentina statements have come as Kirchner has increased pressure on the islands. She announced on Friday that she wants to start direct flights between Buenos Aires and the Malvinas, to replace the current flight linking the islands with the mainland via the
    “neutral” Chilean port of Punta Arenas.

    “Our main concern is that we keep our link to Chile,” said Nigel Haywood, British governor of the islands. “We’re in the middle of a current Argentine policy which seems to be to isolate the islands and to dictate to them what they should be doing – from harassing fishing vessels to closing ports to cruise ships. At a time when every act that Argentina takes towards us seems to be a hostile one, I’m not too sure why we should view this with any degree of enthusiasm.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/02/falkland-islands-belong-argentina-morrissey

    • millsy 6.1

      There seems to be a lot of speculation recently about another conflict in the Falklands, usually by journalists looking for attention grabbing headlines.

      Neither side would be willing or able to bear the huge financial and political burden that a Falklands War II would require, especially not for some barren islands, even if they were sitting on shitloads of oil.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Reading the history would indicate that they don’t belong to Argentina.

      Sovereignty over the islands became an issue in the second half of the 20th century, when Argentina saw the creation of the UN as an opportunity to pursue its claim. Talks between British and Argentine foreign missions took place in the 1960s but failed to come to any meaningful conclusion. A major sticking point in all the negotiations was that the inhabitants preferred that the islands remain British territory.

      If the people who live there want to be British then that’s their choice. Of course, governments aren’t noted for listening to the voice of the people they’re looking at conquering.

      • Vicky32 6.2.1

        If the people who live there want to be British then that’s their choice. Of course, governments aren’t noted for listening to the voice of the people they’re looking at conquering.

        Seconded!

  7. marsman 7

    More of Bill English’s bullshit ides exposed as just that, bullshit.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6516437/2500-jobs-gone-but-state-service-saves-only-20m

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Annual savings should easily surpass $100M. The fact that the savings are so low is very suspicious – where have the predicted savings in salaries and overhead gone to?

      • Campbell Larsen 7.1.1

        Paying ‘downsizing’ consultants? Redundancy payouts? Just another exercise in trickle up.

      • mik e 7.1.2

        When you look at the increase in spending on consultants[Nationals mates] of over a $100 million
        .Another broken promise conjob

    • seeker 7.2

      @marsman@11.37am

      Could this be the reason that Bill English resorts to BS so often. I read this comment in the Herald today:

      “…..Is he (Key) pandering to his goldman sachs bosses? You can betcha. The events since he has hi-jacked the political landscape is evident, he installed english as the stooge finance minister the real finance minister is Philip Borkin an economist with goldman sachs ltd in auckland, this would explain english’s vauge knowledge of policies, his confusing statements, because simply he hasn’t been informed on the facts of what is afoot financially.”
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-government/news/article.cfm?c_id=144&objectid=10789575

      Is this Philip Borkin the reason New Zealand is being kneecapped by National??

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Good dissection of NActs kick in the goolies welfare reforms for those on the DPB.

    When are we going to start investing in our families? Really investing. Not just Working for Families schemes, not just minimal paid parental leave, not “flexible, family-friendly workplaces” in principle, but tangible support for people who don’t happen to have investment accounts. Support that doesn’t come with a close-your-legs-clause, or a time’s up countdown, or an allowance for only one parent to take time out of work. Support that says hey if we’re going to suddenly get really worried about this country’s children we should probably invest in them and their families, huh?

  9. Kotahi Tane Huna 9

    Stuff reports:

    “FARMS OFFERED FOR SALE INDIVIDUALLY IN ASIA

    Potential New Zealand buyers were told the 16 Crafar farms could only be sold profitably by bundling them together but the Star-Times has now learned the farms were advertised for sale individually in China and Singapore.

    The advertisements, in the South China Morning Post and Singapore’s Straits Times, emerged in documents released to the Sunday Star-Times by the Overseas Investment Office under the Official Information Act.”

    Nail, meet coffin.

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    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
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  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
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  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
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  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
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  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
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  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
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  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
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  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
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  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
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  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
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  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
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  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
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  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
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  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
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  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
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  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
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