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Open mike 15/01/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 15th, 2013 - 55 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…

55 comments on “Open mike 15/01/2013”

  1. coronial typer 1

    Any sign that members will get to have a vote in February about Labour’s leader?

    • Te Reo Putake 1.1

      Happy New Year, CT. Thanks for bringing up last year’s issue again. I can report that the membership driven changes to the leadership election process are going to work in exactly the way conference endorsed.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        But I wonder if they’re going to work out in exactly the way some in caucus would prefer. And even if they do, and a membership vote is avoided, stymied or ‘just not happening’, by reason of whatever background manouverings take place prior to a 60% +1 vote of confidence being achieved, what prospects then for the Labour Party? “Not good” would be my prognosis.

        But we’ll see.

      • felixviper 1.1.2

        lolz re- “last year’s issue”. Last year it was ‘can’t you all just shut up until February?’

  2. No sign that I can see but then I think it is up to us to give our MPs a sign that a member vote is what we want, what the Party really needs to unite and fight the next election. Anyone got creative ideas for giving our MPs a sign?

  3. karol 3

    What a sad and heroic story. 26 year old Aaron Swartz, Internet freedom activist, hounded by FBI, facing possible years in jail, committed suicide. Glenn Greenwald:

    At the age of 14, Swartz played a key role in developing the RSS software that is still widely used to enable people to manage what they read on the internet. As a teenager, he also played a vital role in the creation of Reddit, the wildly popular social networking news site. When Conde Nast purchased Reddit, Swartz received a substantial sum of money at a very young age. …

    Swartz had little interest in devoting his life to his own material enrichment, despite how easy it would have been for him….

    Specifically, he committed himself to the causes in which he so passionately believed: internet freedom, civil liberties, making information and knowledge as available as possible. …

    But in July 2011, Swartz was arrested for allegedly targeting JSTOR, the online publishing company that digitizes and distributes scholarly articles written by academics and then sells them, often at a high price, to subscribers. As Maria Bustillos detailed, none of the money goes to the actual writers (usually professors) who wrote the scholarly articles – they are usually not paid for writing them – but instead goes to the publishers.

    This system offended Swartz (and many other free-data activists) for two reasons: it charged large fees for access to these articles but did not compensate the authors, and worse, it ensured that huge numbers of people are denied access to the scholarship produced by America's colleges and universities.

    In response to Swartz’s death academics liberate thousands of articles, making them freely available online. Anonymous crashes MIT website. According to the Mail Online:

    The statement came as hundreds of academics posted links to copyright-protected journals online in tribute to Internet activist Swartz.

    The movement appears to have started on Swartz’s own site Reddit and was echoed by Anonymous on Twitter, who wrote: ‘Please share: Academics posting their papers online in tribute to Aaron Swartz using hashtag #pdftribute #ICYMI.’

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 3.1

      RIP with honours Aaron Swartz.
      More explanatory stuff behind this story of a man who has given up on the hypocrisy and lust for power and riches gained from mining information veins as valuable as gold, and the desire of leading figures for absolute control of it and to subvert the rights of people in a democracy to information they need, and indeed have paid for through their taxes, in the USA.
      These are further excerpts from the Glenn Greenwald article which explains about this judicial wrong:

      Swartz never distributed any of these downloaded articles. He never intended to profit even a single penny from anything he did, and never did profit in any way. He had every right to download the articles as an authorized JSTOR user; at worst, he intended to violate the company’s “terms of service” by making the articles available to the public. Once arrested, he returned all copies of everything he downloaded and vowed not to use them. JSTOR told federal prosecutors that it had no intent to see him prosecuted, though MIT remained ambiguous about its wishes.

      But federal prosecutors ignored the wishes of the alleged “victims”. Led by a federal prosecutor in Boston notorious for her overzealous prosecutions, the DOJ threw the book at him, charging Swartz with multiple felonies which carried a total sentence of several decades in prison and $1 million in fines….

      To say that the DOJ’s treatment of Swartz was excessive and vindictive is an extreme understatement. When I wrote about Swartz’s plight last August, I wrote that he was “being prosecuted by the DOJ with obscene over-zealousness”. Timothy Lee wrote the definitive article in 2011 explaining why, even if all the allegations in the indictment are true, the only real crime committed by Swartz was basic trespassing, for which people are punished, at most, with 30 days in jail and a $100 fine, about which Lee wrote: “That seems about right: if he’s going to serve prison time, it should be measured in days rather than years.”….

      I believe it has more to do with what I told the New York Times’ Noam Cohen for an article he wrote on Swartz’s case. Swartz’s activism, I argued, was waged as part of one of the most vigorously contested battles – namely, the war over how the internet is used and who controls the information that flows on it – and that was his real crime in the eyes of the US government: challenging its authority and those of corporate factions to maintain a stranglehold on that information. In that above-referenced speech on SOPA, Swartz discussed the grave dangers to internet freedom and free expression and assembly posed by the government’s efforts to control the internet with expansive interpretations of copyright law and other weapons to limit access to information.

      That’s a major part of why I consider him heroic.

    • Huginn 3.3

      Horrible, just horrible.
      JSTOR indicated that they were not interested in pursuing this but the US DoJ refused to let it go.

    • QoT 3.4

      For bonus horror, here’s AlterNet’s list of 10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced.

      Because liberating monetized public documentation is so much worse than distributing child pornography. *headdesk*

    • Murray Olsen 3.5

      I’ve always objected to the government (a bit less now that it’s the Aussie one) paying for me to perform research, the results of which effectively become the private property of some publishing company. To keep my job, let alone get promoted, I have to publish or perish, and I have to publish in what are called “high tier” journals. Granted, the results of my research might not be anything earth shattering, but shouldn’t they at least belong to the people who pay for them through their taxes? I include the population of the whole world here, because research is not something that can be done in any one country in isolation. I think what Swartz did was morally correct and have always made pdfs of my work available freely to anyone who’s been interested. Nevertheless, for most of the world, they are hidden behind paywalls. On a final note, there may only be three or four people on the planet who have any interest in what I do anyway :-)

  4. Dr Terry 4

    I am sure I must have got it wrong – I thought the membership vote (with particular reference to February) was “a given”. Could it be possible that Shearer has already put a stop to that possibility?

    • Bill 4.1

      If 60% +1 of caucus give Shearer their confidence in Feb, then there is no wider vote. So you might want to have a wee word in the ear of your local mp about their future selection prospects in the event that they are thinking of denying the membership a wee bit of democracy via endorsing Shearer in the caucus vote.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Indeed. Caucus control the ‘trigger’ mechanism allowing the wider membership to have a say or not. Caucus (34 individuals) can veto the democratic membership process for thousands of members and affiliate members by not pulling that trigger.

        • Jane 4.1.1.1

          Sadly I predict there is zero chance of a wider vote happening, the impact of weeks of public campaigning between DS & DC would be caustic and the fallout for the losing side significant. The thought of this will prompt caucus to support DS by at least the needed 60% +1 out of self preservation, it’s wrong but it’s what I predict.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            Sadly I predict there is zero chance of a wider vote happening, the impact of weeks of public campaigning between DS & DC would be caustic a

            Your prediction is actually the OPPOSITE of what happened in the previous leadership contest – the media and the public became engaged, hundreds flocked to town meetings around the country, and the Labour Party gained a huge new membership.

          • bad12 4.1.1.1.2

            I think it would be sad for the Labour Party if the Caucus didn’t trigger a Party wide leadership vote in February,

            I can well imagine a traveling ‘townhall’ type leadership contest capturing not only the 6 o’clock news for it’s duration but also capturing the interest of a wide section of the voting population,

            A 4 week nationwide townhall type contest is likely to help Shearer’s public image as much as it would Cunliffe’s, for all we know Shearer might just shine in an Aro Valley type atmosphere where candidates get to mix it not only with each other but with the public as well,

            It’s a pity that Labour didn’t hand the ‘trigger’ by vote to the Labour Party annual conference which would have removed from the Caucus the need to ponder questions of self preservation which you have alluded to,

            My view is that if Labour ever address the question again at a Party level they should consider extending the Party wide vote to also include voting for who would make up the Labour Government Cabinet,

            Should such a vote have been possible during the Lange Government the likes of Sir(spit) Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble may well have become seat warmers on the back-bench before such major damage as they did inflict upon us ever had the chance to flower…

            • Murray Olsen 4.1.1.1.2.1

              I suspect Douglas, Prebble and a few who are still there would have formed ACT earlier in that case and disappeared into the dustbin of history.

          • Fortran 4.1.1.1.3

            +1

        • Te Reo Putake 4.1.1.2

          CV, it’s worth remembering that the members (and the DC camp in particular) wanted this system. And, just for clarities sake, it does not go to the members to decide if Shearer fails to get sufficient support in caucus. It goes to caucus, affiliates and members. Remember, this is the system Cunliffe wanted. It’s not Shearer’s fault if it doesn’t work the way his opponents want it to.

          34 members (caucus) do not ‘veto’ democracy if they endorse Shearer. They will be following the brand new democratic process that the wider membership and affiliates voted for at conference. Can’t get more democratic than that, comrade.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2.1

            Remember, this is the system Cunliffe wanted.

            Moira, Tim and NZ Council all wanted the general system. Shearer and Robertson have both said they supported it. The specific % threshold however was a different matter and really, the only bone of contention. It probably should have been set at a UK Labour matching 20% but that wasn’t an option even put on to the table.

            34 members (caucus) do not ‘veto’ democracy if they endorse Shearer. They will be following the brand new democratic process that the wider membership and affiliates voted for at conference. Can’t get more democratic than that, comrade.

            Yes, there are always limitations to democracy in every constitutionally enshrined system. And having a very small group decide if and when everyone else gets a say, is (in my books at least) an example of such a limitation to democracy.

          • Galeandra 4.1.1.2.2

            Comrade??!!
            Sanctimony or Sarc?

            If there’s no indication of concern in the caucus about addressing the calculated injustice of 2012 by allowing the members to sit in judgement then, comrade, you can push your own barrow from now on.

          • blue leopard 4.1.1.2.3

            Well here is hoping that at least members of caucus are “reading” their potential support base correctly, because from reading these pages it would appear useful to give the opportunity of leader endorsement to the wider members. This would ensure that the outcome was solid endorsement and would squash the strength of rumours regarding manipulation and lack of confidence. My guess is that if this doesn’t occur, NZLP will lose a great deal of members.

            I have merely formed these opinions on the subject from what I read on this blogsite and write them because I am losing confidence that those involved in this issue in the caucus* are capable of rational thought and ensuing pragmatic actions to clear up the matter.

            *and including those expressing the belief that criticism must be silenced before the date of the leadership vote, i.e prior to when the issue can be resolved.

            • King Kong 4.1.1.2.3.1

              Dear Blue Leopard,

              The caucus of the NZ Labour party acknowledges your threat but reiterates our position of not taking seriously the rantings of a hundred or so delusional shut ins.

              By the way we have a card here from the National Party addressed to you and your mates at the Standard thanking you for all your hard work.

              Regards
              The Caucus (well most of us)

              • Its not a threat, I made very clear this is a personal opinion predicting what I consider the best way to deal with the issue.

                I suggest, King Kong, that you keep the National Party card because your name-calling and apparent inability to respond intelligently to clearly stated reasoned opinion, most suits the divide and rule tactics of the right.

                The whole “do not be concerned, do not criticize” and “the left is divided” is such a pack of right-wing spin, I just do not why anyone other than extremists are buying into it. Its time to throw those memes out.

                In short: thanks but no thanks. Your spin will not affect this writer.

              • McFlock

                Can I just say that if KK really was a member of the Labour Party caucus (or involved with them in any polite or professionally-tolerated way ), every criticism about team shearer, ABC, etc would be well-deserved if not completely understated.

          • Another Viper 4.1.1.2.4

            TRP, the gift that keeps on giving.

            Welcome back from the hols. Whatever the DC camp is, I’m sure they love the way you re-enforce the perception that the insiders in the Wellington beltway believe that everything will be rosy in the garden if Cunliffe goes away.

            Who has been offered Annette’s seat? And Trevor’s? And Phil’s And Ross’s?

            And New Lynn?
            And Waitakere we already know.

            When everyone sits on their hands and shuts and nods obediently all will be hunky dorey? Yeah Right.

            • Fortran 4.1.1.2.4.1

              Annettes’ to Helen Kelly – a natural selection.
              Caucus needs her nous and skills.

            • The Voice of Reason 4.1.1.2.4.2

              Greetings to you too, AV.

              Sorry my regular doses of reality don’t sit well with you, but there’s nothing I can do about that, you’ll just have to get up to speed all by yourself. Shearer is the leader now and he will be endorsed by caucus in a few weeks. Cunliffe is not going to be leader. It’s over for him. That’s just the way it is and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change that scenario.

              • ianmac

                +1 VOR. The reality is hard for dreamers.

                • muzza

                  Are you referring to the reality of of NZ’s sham democracy?

                  • ianmac

                    VOR: Shearer is the leader now and he will be endorsed by caucus in a few weeks. Cunliffe is not going to be leader. It’s over for him. That’s just the way it is and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change that scenario.
                    Said simply and in my opinion correctly assessed. The constant grizzling from some is Scotch mist Muzza. Unimpressive mist at that.

                    • The Al1en

                      “The constant grizzling from some is Scotch mist Muzza.”

                      Or voters two years out from the real election, telling the Labour caucus they’ve got it horribly wrong and had better fix it, or else.

                      “Unimpressive mist at that.”

                      But much clearer than the Labour party fog/smoke machine.

                    • Um ianmac as much as I respect you and TVOR I think the party activists need to have a chat about things like party principles and the best way to ensure that the Caucus respect these principles.

                    • Anne

                      Concur mickysavage.

                      Ignoring the fact that a group within the Labour Caucus behaved in an extremely unprincipled manner late last year does not make the problem go away. Indeed, it may cause them to behave in such away again if the rank and file don’t stand up to them and tell them enough is enough.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Thanks, Ianmac. I’m finding quite curious that posters on TS, who are for the most part, intelligent, thoughtful and politically sound, haven’t spotted the bleeding obvious.

                    And, Muzza, you’ve been exposed as a sham participant here anyway, hoist majestically on your own petard, so your thoughts on democracy, or anything else, have little cachet round here.

                    • muzza

                      I’m not the one carting around the handle of *The Voice of Reason*, clinging onto a dying labour party, pretending they represent, “the left”.
                      I would suggest talk of sham participation might be, oh, let’s call it, ironic!

                    • felixviper

                      You’ve rumbled yourself muzza.

                      Thanks to your sad little efforts to impress your sad little friends, nothing you write here is ever going to be seen as anything but a sad little experiment.

                    • McFlock

                      good point FV.

                      MUZZA: SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR “EXPERIMENT”:
                      What content analysis tools and other methodologies do you use?
                      What format do you keep your notes in?
                      What’s the null hypothesis you’ve set out to test?
                      What’s the theoretical basis behind your experiment?

                      Why are you experimenting on human beings without their knowledge or consent?
                      What ethical approval process did you go through?
                      Will subjects be informed of the purpose and results of the research?
                      Will any papers resulting from this experiment be peer-reviewed?
                      Will subjects be anonymous in any publications resulting from your experiment?

                    • muzza

                      All three of you, again, sheesh its become too easy!

                      Felix – Are you a (DIC)? How have I rumbled myself, and who do you think my friends to be? Indications are, you had your nose (ego) put out of joint, and if you believe that I’m interested in trying to impress people, it serves only to project, your own self, further into the light. In a reference McFlock can understand, the linguistic stroking/wanking/posturing) here is a remarkable insight, which begins with the head. Remember its online sunshine, but the personalities scream through loud and clear!

                      McFlock – It’s not that formal bro (and ive stated on here more than once that I was using it for personal interest only), but what I started with was curiosity in getting to understand the positive impact, if any, that sites such as this can have , in real terms! No need to capture information to build towards a conclusion, let’s just say that herd mentality/fear/ego, will prevent meaningful change in NZ, and that this site illustrates nicely the barriers/constraints!
                      Call it too much hui, not enough do-ey, call it anything you like, but don’t believe its making any difference, if in fact that is what you care to impart during this life!

                      QoT – We live/function, inside of, and surrounded by the lies, and shams of systems/people, you do understand that eh!

                    • McFlock

                      so basically, your “research”is not recorded and you don’t plan to share any knowledge gained in a verifiable way. You are the perfect judge of the form the “research” should take and even the most subtle implications of its results.

                      That’s not “informal” or “personal” “research”. You just pretend it is in order to avoid admitting that all you’re really interested in here is to reinforce both your undeservedly inflated ego and you monomaniacal delusions. And to think that you have the unmitigated gall (or lack of self-awareness) to accuse everyone else here of whacking off.

                  • QoT

                    Question, muzza: is your use of “sham democracy” a real expression of your opinion, or just part of your personal research project?

        • The Al1en 4.1.1.3

          “Caucus (34 individuals) can veto the democratic membership process for thousands of members and affiliate members by not pulling that trigger.”

          And the leadership gun that killed DC lies smoking under which one of those 33 beds?

      • Rosie 4.1.2

        “…you might want to have a wee word in the ear of your local mp about their future selection process……….”

        Yep, done that! I’m not a Labour Party member, just an ordinary voter but feel its so important to let our Labour MP’s know just how voters are feeling about the current leader. I have no idea whether they know or care how strong the general feeling is about Shearer but I do believe its important that voters speak up and that the Party listens and takes note.

  5. Well done Rosie. I’ve had a ‘wee word’ too. Problem is my MP is not listening and is firmly in the King/Mallard camp. That’s why I was hoping for some creative ideas for lobbying MPs, something beyond the ‘wee word’.

    I really want to see all aspiring MPs put themselves forward and the members (and yes TRP), affiliates and caucus voting on them all. Apart from the unequal resourcing in late 2011 when the Leader’s Office put all its resources behind one candidate, I thought the leadership race then was a healthy and positive process for the Party. I understand those earlier issues can be managed with new rules to ensure the Leader’s resources cannot be unfairly used again.

    So rather than a caustic process, this is a fantastic opportunity to parade the candidates, generate new interest in the Labour Party and create new policy ideas.

    I think the much more caustic option is a confidence vote in Shearer that few believe in. For Shearer to lead he needs to be endorsed via the new constitution. If he’s the best MP for the job, then he’ll shine through. Afterall, he’ll have had 15 months in the role and that’s a big incumbent advantage.

    To all Labour MPs: Vote for democracy and to allow Shearer the opportunity to be anointed under the new constitution. Let all other interested MPs show us their stuff: Robertson, Cunliffe, Little, Parker, Goff, Jones et al. The caucus vote in February is a positive opportunity. Don’t be driven by fear by faction play in the caucus…..this is your one opportunity to unite the Party before the next election.

  6. hush minx 6

    I’ve one idea if you’ve talked to your mp but they weren’t of a mind to listen- talk to a few more! And perhaps those who are in the middle ground, rather than entrenched positions. A few of the ones who I think are in the not sure camp would be people like Ian Lees-Galloway, Andrew Little, Raymond Huo, Maryan Street, William Sio, David Clark. Actually I’m not sure it’s awaste of time letting any mp know, regardless of the strength of their opinion – they should at least be interested to hear from you (and the fact that your local mp wasn’t open to listening!)

    There also the party president and general secretary. If there’s strong feeling in the party they should be part of representing the members views to caucus (actually could they recommend to caucus that there’s a vote? Can they do that sort of thing?)

    • Another Viper 6.1

      “Much harder to fathom is the self-defeating hostility of Labour MPs who were, until last year’s party conference, considered to be on the left of the caucus. One might have thought that Phil Twyford, Clare Curran, Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little would have welcomed the opportunity to travel in the slip-stream of an ambitious left-wing policy aggressor. After all, the best chance a left-wing Labour MP has of “making a difference” is surely when the massive tensions built up under a climate of stress are suddenly released in a torrent of radical reform.”

      This is what Trotter had to say about the aligning instincts of MPs.

      The ‘shut-up-or-get-out’ attitude of Mallard’s goffers on this page only confirm that Trotter in on the right track.

      And that is why the members voted for the low trigger point: they do not trust the antics of Trevor n his ilk.

  7. The discussion around the definition of mandate reveals much about our expectations of what constitutes good governance. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/chris-trotter-and-mandate-word.html

    • weka 7.1

      Just when you thought Trotter was in the process of redeeming himself he comes out with that crap. Thanks Dave.

  8. millsy 8

    Currently doing a few personal projects at the moment, one is OIA’ing various public bodies, (councils, govt departments, SOE, Crown Entites, etc) about outsourcing, I got a response from the Kaipara DC today with what they outsourced, and what they do in house:

    Outsourced Activities:

    Dog and animal control, noise control.
    Refuse collection.
    Kerbside recyclable collection
    The operation of the refuse transfer stations in Paeroa and Waihi.
    Road maintenance.
    Roading professional services
    Street light maintenance
    Legal services
    Commercial cleaning of Council corporate buildings
    Valuation services
    Some resource consents

    In-House Activities:
    Library activities – operational and management
    Swimming pools – operational and management
    Sports Fields and Recreation Reserves – operational and management
    Pensioner Housing – operational and management
    Town Halls – operational and management
    Cemeteries – operational and management
    Non Recreation Reserves – operational and management
    Waihi Events Centre – operational and management
    Public Toilet – operational and management
    Maintenance of land drainage system
    Maintenance of stormwater drain system
    Maintenance of sewer network
    Operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants
    Maintenance of water supply network
    Operation and maintenance of water treatment plants
    Footpath maintenance

    Results will be placed in the Standard’s ‘Open Mike’ posts as and when they become available. I hope to do all public bodies over the next 12 months. I will also place the results online elswhere in a yet to be determined format…

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