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Open mike 21/08/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 21st, 2012 - 118 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…

118 comments on “Open mike 21/08/2012”

  1. Bored 1

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/7513835/ERO-drops-decile-ratings-from-reports

    The latest sick message from Min Ed Spindoctors (Dept of Lying)….
    “Dont mention deciles, we dont want people to make the link between school “performance” and social disadvantage. Put the pressure on the teachers to achieve the unachievable…blame the poor for their failure to meet our cosy pampered private school standards….justify Charter schools”.

    • marsman 1.1

      The reason the ministry spokes-person gave on TV One news last night is that people misunderstand the numbers used for deciles! Children? What children?

  2. Did anyone read the interview with Anton Oliver in last weekend’s Sunday Star Times.  It does not appear to be online.

    In the article Oliver indicated that he was considering a political career.  I wonder which party he is thinking of.

    Conventionally you would expect an ex all black to go with National but Oliver is not conventional.  He is a deep thinker and is a committed environmentalist.

    Perhaps he is thinking of Labour or the Greens.  It would be great to see him run in Central Otago. 

    • Carol 2.1

      I don’t know. Oliver’s line on the environment doesn’t really match that of the Green Party either. And his currently the ambassador for Fonterra.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/opinion/columnists/7508709/Huge-gulf-divides-All-Black-captains

      Maybe a Blue-Green?

      Sunday Star Times, 19 August 2012: p1 – from Press Display:

      Now based in London – where he is completing an Executive MBA at Cambridge University – he said he would not be so hesitant to knock back future approaches. ‘‘ Perhaps, I wouldn’t say no to that,’’ Oliver told the Sunday StarTimes. ‘‘ It is an everchanging picture in New Zealand.’’
      While he rejected approaches to run at last year’s general election, he still made his presence felt in the lead-up to polling, fronting a campaign to retain MMP as our electoral system. ‘‘ I did stick my head up out of the parapet to support MMP. Any electoral system is flawed. I just think MMP is less flawed than the rest.’’
      Oliver supports reforming the electoral cycle, including increasing the present term from three years to four or even five, believing the country would benefit from a longer term. ‘‘A lot of the policies we see being put in place by national and local government are short- term focused because politicians and councillors have to get re-elected. We need to get some long- term thinking in place because at the moment it’s non-existent, everything is short- term profit- orientated and it’s not smart.’’

    • Rosie 2.2

      Hey Mickey,

      I did see the headline for that article about Anton Oliver on the cover of STT at the supermarket but thats it, I haven’t read it. I was vaguely interested because Anton Oliver does come across as a thinker, unlike his other rugby collegaues I dare say. He once spoke out, several years ago about their (AB’s) boozey violent culture which was impressive and brave.

      He was also once on the panel of the Roger awards, named after Roger Douglas, who handed out annual awards to the worst multi national corporates operating in NZ. That, I thought was interesting too. He’s deeply anti windfarms however and was involved in action to prevent a large scale wind farm going ahead in the South Island several years ago. Sorry, I don’t have references for that, its just from memory. Those living in the area of the proposed wind farm might be able to shed some light on that issue.

      I’d be surprised if his flavour was left, maybe it’s centrist, or like Carol suggests, maybe that odd group of Blue-Greens.

    • Vicky32 2.3

      Did anyone read the interview with Anton Oliver in last weekend’s Sunday Star Times.

      My first thought was ‘who’? Seriously, there’s something wrong in the fact that All Blacks have an ‘in’ because people (many people, not all!) know who they are.
      3 News banging on about the thugby career of one of the people killed in Afghanistan. As if it matters.
      Mike McNitwit then says ‘he was just x years old when the Taliban struck’. So now, TV3 reporters believe that the perpetrators of 9/11 were the Taliban?
      He was also a ‘boy’s boy, a man’s man’. lolwut?
      How American are we exactly?

    • Morrissey 2.4

      Conventionally you would expect an ex all black to go with National…

      Wrong. Chris Laidlaw and Ken Gray—-to name just two ex-All Black Labour MPs….

  3. burt 3

    from Stuff: ERO drops decile ratings from reports

    I’m not sure if I think this is a good thing in that we can review a schools performance without the decile information and focus primarily on the outcomes it produces or if I think this is a bit of a whitewash to hide the effect the socioeconomic environment has on schools.

    One thing is sure though, it masks information about the makeup of the school role and I think that’s a mistake. You can’t manage something if you can’t measure it.

    • millsy 3.1

      Yeah well, I dont know about you, but I like having an education system where people of all backgrounds go to the same schools, rather than rich/middle class parents sending their kids to private and intergrated god bothering schools across town because they might end up coming in contact with one of those messy poor kids that they talk about. God forbid that for their little darlings.

      • chris73 3.1.1

        I like people having choice about where to send their kids

        • millsy 3.1.1.1

          Choice is all good, but there is something wrong when you have the levels of socio-economic stratification that parents sending their kids to the rich schools across town get you…

          • chris73 3.1.1.1.1

            Don’t try to muddy the waters. If you don’t want to send your kids to charter school then don’t send them to a public school. If you think a charter school is best for your kid then send them there.

            One size does not fit all.

            • felix 3.1.1.1.1.1

              If you don’t want to send your kids to charter school then don’t send them to a public school.

              Eh?

              • Te Reo Putake

                I blame Chris’s teachers, felix. Any composition problems Chris has are clearly the responsibility of the public schools that so badly let him down. If only his parents had the option of sending him to remedial reading classes at a top notch charter school, these embarrasing blunders would not be blighting his adult life.

              • chris73

                “If you don’t want to send your kids to a charter school don’t, send them to a public school instead.”

                Hey I thought I did pretty well considering I’m trying to finish max payne 3 at the same time

                • RedBlooded

                  And if you want a charter school, use your own money, not public money. Sounds fair to me.

                  • Bored

                    Thanks RedB, with neo-libs and their acolytes it helps to turn their arguments back on them. You are “on the money”, C73 only understands life in terms of money and transactions. It’s sad how reduced this can make the world appear.

                  • chris73

                    Fair enough, can’t argue with that. So whos in charge of the public? Oh thats right, Nationals in charge of the money, not you or me.

                    Guess we’ll wait and see what happens.

                    • Bored

                      C73, I never commented on your honesty which definitely stands up to scrutiny.

                      As I said, it is a sad and reduced world view. Given it reduces us all to a measurable transactional status maybe calling yourself Chris73 is very appropriate.

  4. Carol 4

    I guess all is not well in Rodney Hide’s super-city – you know the one he claims as one of his greatest achievements. Senior staff have been leaking their views to the media about bullying in the organisation from a top level manager.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10828341

    One IES manager yesterday said senior management were closing ranks and supporting Mr Dragicevich while asking staff to trust all was good.

    “There has been lots of fob-off bull**** from management telling us we could have faith in the ‘process’ … and a lecture about not talking to media,” the manager said.

    A former council staff member said there was a strong division between senior management and other council staff, many of whom had taken stress leave after pressure from the top.

    “The Super City has brought some things together, but it has destroyed any positive working culture that the previous councils had,” the former staffer said.

  5. just saying 5

    A must-read from Giovani at Bat-Bean-Beam:
    http://bat-bean-beam.blogspot.co.nz/

    I’m not going to get into the speech in any great detail, or restate the abundantly obvious, as it wouldn’t add anything to what’s already been said. What was surprising to me – and heartening – was in fact how many people voiced their anger. Entire networks that had up to that point either actively supported Shearer’s centrist line or maintained a degree of public discipline turned aggressively onto the leader. There were renunciations and denunciations, as well as much calm and dispassionate analysis. Most damningly of all, the speech was unanimously exposed as a cynical ploy: a dishonest attempt at triangulation from a leadership that, nine months into its tenure, has comprehensively failed to define itself or articulate an alternative and bold political vision for the nation. What this failure might suggest is to what extent Labour misjudged the political moment when it chose an inexperienced leader whose best, whose only idea seems to be to enact a soft version of Blairism, but also that third-way political strategy has become too transparent to be feasible. Nobody buys the stuff anymore. So in this instance, whilst there may be a broad support in the country for the odious welfare reforms enacted by National, the Labour Party finds itself unable to plug into that sentiment without coming unstuck at its core.

    What remains is a disconnect whose depth is truly difficult to measure. After linking to one of the harshest responses to the speech, I had the following brief exchange with deputy leader Grant Robertson:….

    Embolding mine.

    He’s talking about Bill’s post here. I waiting for a reply from my (Labour) MP to whom I sent a copy with a letter.

    Whether Salmond et al like it or not – this has become a line in the sand.

    • deuto 5.1

      Thanks for that link – I agree it is a Must Read. A very well thoughtout blog by Giovanni.

      The comments also led me to a related opinion article by Deborah Russell on Stuff this morning, which is also well worth reading

      https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/7512486/People-who-need-a-benefit-should-get-it&sa=U&ei=G8AyUOi9CqPi2gXBsIH4BA&ved=0CA4QFjAD&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNF1q6Q5kPMp56a_eLsUcGpsNKTEsQ

      … Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to pay taxes have a straightforward reason to support the welfare state: it’s simple prudence. One day, it may be our turn to depend on the state.

      But when we criticise people who receive welfare, we are not just imprudent. We also undermine the security of our friends and family members and fellow citizens who depend on the welfare system.

      If we complain about teenage mothers, and insist that someone ought to control their income and make them stop having babies, we make every sole mother worry about interference. If we mutter about a person on the dole who spends time working on his house instead of looking for a job, we tell unemployed people that their every action is subject to scrutiny. We become a surveillance society, rather than a civil society. We are ever ready to pop our heads over the back fence, and complain about the neighbours. We turn everyone who receives a welfare benefit into an object of suspicion. That creates a society where no- one trusts each other, and where each person must always act with an eye to staying on the right side of those in power.

      Our health and welfare systems are based on need, not some notion of worthiness. If we are in need, we are entitled to assistance, and that means that we may live as free citizens. It means that we are secure from economic fear, secure from absolute want, and secure from the interference of our neighbours. That freedom and security makes all of us beneficiaries of the welfare system.

      The disclosure at the end states that Deborah Russell is a lecturer in taxation at Massey University and has recently joined the Labour Party and that Richard Long is currently on leave. Hope it is a long leave and that they continue to use Deborah in his place!

  6. Carol 6

    Otago Daily Times have an article today on the changes to Youth Benefits that came in yesterday. No other paper seems to have covered it. It involves a significant amount of privatisation through contracting out the services to ticket-clippers that can surely only add to the costs of provisions?

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/222477/welfare-reforms-affect-17000

    The first stage of the Government’s welfare reforms came into force yesterday, with a shake-up to youth benefits, as services were contracted out to 43 different local providers.

    Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the changes introduced yesterday would affect about 17,000 youths and targeted those between 16 and 18 who were either on benefits or not in education or employment, and parents under the age of 19 on benefits.

    As part of the changes more than $148 million was being invested in support services aimed at helping young people become independent and not reliant on benefits, Ms Bennett said.

    The changes also saw the introduction of 43 different “youth service” providers, selected through a tendering process.

    The main provider mentioned is an organisation with charity status, called Community Colleges NZ:

    http://www.comcol.ac.nz/

    I’ve never heard of them before, but the name is one that echoes the US community college system (in the UK and Aussie when I worked in the equivalent state provided tertiary sector it was referred to as “further education” and targeted students over 16 years who had failed at school and/or did not have qualifications to go to uni).

    I’m glad that the new provisions put a focus on education and training for beneficiaries, but I’m not happy that it’s been contracted out to a little known organisation that operates largely in only one of NZ’s two main islands.

    Yesterday I commented that the new provisions also include promotion of long term contraceptives for young women:

    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-20082012/comment-page-1/#comment-510397

    https://provider.midlandshn.health.nz/news/financial-assistance-for-female-beneficiaries-contraception

    rosy also commented that
    So they’ll give teens a controversial long-acting contraception with significant side-effects, including osteoporosis, delayed return to fertility and an increased risk of STDs … but nothing to protect against STDs and HIV infection.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-20082012/comment-page-1/#comment-510778

    She provided this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depo-Provera

    Why is this not getting wider media coverage and comments from left wing MPs?

    • millsy 6.1

      Another important thing is that these NGO’s have now been brought into the system. Previously, a WINZ ‘client’ could go to these organizations and get help with dealing with the likes of WINZ ie, a youth worker would come to someone’s appointment with WINZ as a support person, etc. Now they are dishing out the money on behalf of the government, they become embedded into the system.

      • Carol 6.1.1

        Stuff has an article (out of Hamilton) and comments section on the changes (nothing about contraception though):
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/7513942/Rules-hard-on-jobless-teens-who-want-work

        The thing grabbing attention is something manager Leigh Finlay says and some of the teens confirm off their own bat.

        It’s that a third of them are prepared to tear up their benefit card, shrug off the support of family, friends and Government and wing it to Australia.

        The latest changes to the dole will bring hardship, no question, but it’s really peripheral to any kind of life plan going on in this city basement. They don’t want it, they want the work they can’t find.

        On a Waikato day beaten up with rainstorms, serving in Perth or digging mines in the desert seems way better.

    • Pete 6.2

      Gordon Campbell has a great article on public-private partnerships in this month’s Werewolf.

  7. Te Reo Putake 7

    Dunno if this has been picked up elsewhere, but one of the soldiers killed yesterday had this to say on facebook a few days ago about the PM bunking off to the States instead of doing his job:
     
    “If I was a leader of a country I would attend the funerals of our fallen soldiers….. I wouldn’t be at a f****** baseball game!!”
     
    Ironic that Key will have the last laugh at Corporal Luke Tamatea’s funeral, eh?

    • Carol 7.1

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10828343

      One of the three soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Sunday had criticised the Prime Minister for not attending the funerals of two soldiers killed earlier this month.

      Just days before he was killed, Corporal Tamatea voiced his belief that the Prime Minister should have stayed in New Zealand to honour the slain soldiers.

      “If I was a leader of a country I would attend the funerals of our fallen soldiers….. I wouldn’t be at a f****** baseball game!!” he posted on Facebook on August 9.

      • chris73 7.1.1

        http://www.3news.co.nz/Three-Kiwi-soldiers-dead-in-Afghanistan/tabid/423/articleID/265979/Default.aspx#ixzz243uTzRS5

        Heres another viewpoint:

        R.D wrote:

        As a former NZ infantry soldier and having deployed to Afghanistan I believe I can comment on this thread. This year alone I have lost 4 friends in Afghanistan, having served closely with 3 of them, most recently Corporal Tamatea. As sad as the situation is the consensus among all my mates still serving is that the last thing they want is to be withdrawn from theatre. As far as they’re concerned they have a job to do and a duty to uphold which they haven’t fulfilled. To them, 2013 is to soon to come out. All this talk about John Key having no respect? He went to the homes of my friends(Durrer and Malone) and offered his personal condolences then, remember he also has a family and an obligation to them. Ask anybody serving now and they’ll tell you that’s how they feel. On backing Labour because they would prefer that our troops were withdrawn sooner rather than later. We were sent in by labour in the first place, I served in Afghanistan under a Labour government. In summary, as soldiers they know the risks of deploying to such environments as Afghanistan, they know there is a chance they could pay the ultimate price. As a former infantryman I know that Luke would be happy that he died doing what he loved to do- soldiering. He was an excellent operator, with exceptional “soldier skills”. Today there are a lot of heavy hearts in the NZDF because of this tragedy. Mourn for them and their families, and pray that nothing else happens to the rest of our brave men and women serving there but know that they would all rather be there making a difference than here. All my currently serving friends want to deploy to do there part(some again).

        • Ant 7.1.1.1

          or perhaps:

          “If I was a leader of a country I would attend the funerals of our fallen soldiers….. I wouldn’t be at a f****** baseball game!!” he posted on Facebook on August 9.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10828343

          • chris73 7.1.1.1.1

            Shock, horror! A large group of people have different views…oh the humanity

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Distraction.

              Its the values the view represents which is important. As you well know. Sorry Mr Key, sometimes you have to be PM first, not Father first.

              I’m glad that Key has already said that nothing will keep him away from the latest funerals. Not rugby, not baseball, not league, not snowboarding, nothing. Good on you for expressing your values as PM.

              • aerobubble

                The question of Key’s non attendance was irrelevant to begin with, a media ‘hot’ issue, not worthy of comment, since that what deputy PMs are for as its understood stopping
                government would be a victory for terrorists.

                The problem with Key is his tendency to popup on TV and smother an issue to breathless boredom, which came across for me, as highly inappropriate give the deaths.

                I suspect soldiers, in theater, all have a good inappropriate rant, again not news.

            • Morrissey 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Shock, horror! A large group of people have different views…oh the humanity

              Polls in the United States show that most Americans believe the U.S. should leave Afghanistan immediately.

              Polls show that an overwhelming percentage of another group of people believes that the foreign troops must leave Afghanistan immediately. That group? The people of Afghanistan.

              Oh, the inhumanity.

              Not that you would care, of course, with your smug right wing certainties.

        • Dr Terry 7.1.1.2

          If Key has such a big obligation to his family, why does he not pull out of his job and give them his full attention? After all, he can afford to!

          • chris73 7.1.1.2.1

            I don’t think hes doing this job for the money.

            • McFlock 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Agredd.
              Ego, hobby, favours for big business, gongs, meeting celebrities and international players, a nice DPS entourage . . . anything else?

              • Colonial Viper

                Yeah his next level promotion up the Goldman Sachs/JP Morgue/Citi Bankster hierarchy.

        • Fortran 7.1.1.3

          Chris73

          Proud of your comments.
          Thanks, could not have said better.
          I have military family too.

          • chris73 7.1.1.3.1

            Cheers.

            I re-posted it because it’s something I would have like to written myself (I’m not the wordsmith I’d like to be) but I think its important to provide a balance to the (sometimes) OTP reactions of people on here.

          • Morrissey 7.1.1.3.2

            I have military family too.

            Was any of them bullied into handing over Afghani captives to possible torture and summary execution?

    • Blue 7.2

      Well, that disposes of the myth that Key’s fan club were putting about that all the soldiers in Afghanistan were totally supportive of Key’s decision to skip the funerals.

    • RedBlooded 7.3

      Yeah but come hell or high water he’s gonna attend these three funerals, even flagging the Asia Pacific Conference (so work can be missed for a funeral but not baseball) That is, of course, unless Max-a-million’s Tiddle-wink competition clashes. Moveable principles are so hard to keep up with.

  8. Bored 8

    A question: I seem to recall Pollywog was going to sail the ocean on a waka? I saw the waka returning from an epic round Pacific voyage on the News recently. Polly, are you out there? Anybody heard anything?

    • joe90 8.1

      Been wondering about that myself B. Here’s his post about the proposed 2012 voyage and a follow up post but the last activity on his blog was Christmas day last year.

      Mr PW, are you out there?.

    • deuto 8.2

      Great minds and all that …. Having probably heard the same news item yesterday as you, I too was wondering about Pollywog and the journey.

      I have just spent a fascinating half hour on the website for the journey which I found through Joe90’s first link. Seems that the journey has not yet concluded but has been inspirational for all involved. I certainly came away from the link feeling that the world was a much better place and there is hope for the future after all.

      http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/

      Really recommend people go there . Pollywog was/is on the Samoan vessel – Gaualofa.

  9. All welcome – this meeting is open to the public.

    SPEAKING RIGHTS CONFIRMED!
    COME ALONG AND HEAR WHY THE AUCKLAND COUNCIL CEO IS NOT ‘FIT FOR DUTY’.

    Wed 22 August 2012
    10am
    Auckland Town Hall

    _____________________________________________________

    21 August 2012

    Good morning Penny
    Thanks for your request to speak for 5 minutes during the Public Input section of the CEO Review Subcommittee.

    The Committee meets in the Council Chamber on the Ground Floor of the Town Hall at 10.00 am Wednesday, 22 August 2012.

    Regards
    …………| Committee Secretary
    Democracy Services
    ____________________________________________________

    Subject: OPEN LETTER: Request for speaking rights at Auckland Council CEO Review Subcommittee 22 August 2012, 10am Auckland Town Hall.

    17 August 2012

    REQUEST FOR SPEAKING RIGHTS AT THE CEO REVIEW SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING
    to be held on Wednesday 22 August 2012, 10am,
    Council Chambers, Auckland Town Hall, 301-305 Queen Street, Auckland

    SUBJECT MATTER:

    1) The failure of the Auckland Council CEO Doug McKay to meet his statutory duties under s.42 2(e) of the Local Government Act 2002 re:

    “maintaining systems to enable effective planning and accurate reporting of the financial and service performance of the local authority; ”

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0084/latest/DLM171859.html

    LGOIMA REPLY 21 November 2011 from Darryl Griffin (Manager for Democracy Services)

    “The Auckland Council Annual Report:

    1) Is the Auckland Council, in a truly ‘open,transparent and democratically-accountable’ way, going to ensure that citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region are going to be given the ‘devilish’ detail, so we can see exactly where out rate monies are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors?

    a) Are the names of the consultants/contractors; the scope,term and value of these contracts going to be published in the Auckland Council Annual Report so that they’re available for public scrutiny?

    b) If not – why not?
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    (ANSWER) Not at this stage. There are 5,000 contracts related to 12,500 suppliers.
    To collate and publish these would be a major exercise logistically and cost-wise. ”
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    2) The alleged ‘conflict of interest’ of CEO Doug McKay in being a member of the unelected private lobby group – the Committee for Auckland, in his capacity as CEO of Auckland Council.

    IE: Is the CEO of Auckland Council primarily working in the interests of the public majority of citizens and ratepayers or a private minority of big business /corporate interests?

    http://www.committeeforauckland.co.nz/membership/member-organisations

    Doug McKay Chief Executive Officer Auckland Council http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

    (Is this the reason why Auckland Council rates keep going up?

    Because the primary reason for the establishment of the Auckland SUPERCITY was to ensure bigger contracts – for (fewer) but bigger private contractors, an unknown number of which have been awarded to member companies of the Committee for Auckland?)

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

    [lprent: Off topic. Moved to OpenMike. ]

  10. freedom 10

    Daises and puppies and marshmallow rainbows
    (will all be explained soon)

    • re above 10.1

      I was sent an FB post this a.m. regarding a bizarre registration at the NZ Registrar of Companies Office. Three attempts to post the following information from my phone resulted in a force close of my browser each time. This has never happened on any page, on any blog, email, comment box, or other net service in the seven months I have had the phone.

      I contacted some people I know who had shared the info and they also had experienced some odd behaviour on their phones, but things seemed ok on their machines. Despite the repeated apparent failure to post from my phone, the miraculous success of the above test, followed by another two failures, I decided that the information would be of enough interest to others that i would walk the six km to my nearest Public Internet connection and try again to share it. Odd thing is, it is obviously a prank registration but how it happened does surely need some explanation;

      search : 3238729 Limited
      or simply: NZ Police Limited

  11. Arthur 11

    Isn’t SERCO lucky not to be on a 90 day trial period.

  12. chris73 12

    This is a really good idea

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/shearer-outsourcing-war.pdf

    Hat tip to whaleoil

    Why has the international community continued to persist with negotiated settlements and even-handedness in cases where one side was clearly at fault? The reason, for the most part, is self interest. Such an approach avoids direct intervention and the subsequent political risks.

    GIVE WAR A CHANCE

    Outright victories, rather than negotiated peace settlements, have ended the greater part of the twentieth century’s internal conflicts.

    The private military sector can allow policymakers to achieve their foreign-policy goals free from the need to secure public approval and safe in the knowledge that should the situation deteriorate, official participation can be fudged.”

    As the political and economic costs of peacekeeping continue to escalate, it may increasingly make sense for multilateral organizations and Western governments to consider outsourcing some aspects of these interventions to the private sector.

    Western countries are more reluctant to intervene militarily in weak states, and their politicians are disinclined to explain casualties to their electorates. Furthermore, Western armies, designed primarily to fight the sophisticated international conflicts envisaged by Cold War strategists, are ill equipped to tackle low-intensity civil wars, with their complicated ethnic agendas, blurred boundaries between combatants and civilians, and loose military hierarchies.

    UN peacekeeping efforts have fallen victim to Western governments’ fears of sustaining casualties, becoming entangled in expanding conflicts, and incurring escalating costs.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      So, you and other RWNJs are saying that governments should just hire mercenaries and tell them to win no matter what and that they should do it this was because the public won’t get to have a say get so upset.

      • chris73 12.1.1

        I’m saying its an idea worth looking into. I’m just surprised that it was David Shearer that came up with it.

        • bad12 12.1.1.1

          Dave reminds me of those who have fried their brains with one too many acid trips, the little ‘private armies thesis’ just adds proof to the assertion,

          it should have been titled, ‘Back to the future with Dave as seen through a multi-coloured prism of light,

          Perhaps subtitled, ‘the acid years, how i went from Mango skins to high public office’…

          • Bored 12.1.1.1.1

            All a rather amusing and ill informed concept. The Italian condotierri experience in the fourteenth century is more than adequate proof that mercenaries are just that, mercenary. They fight for the highest bidder, no moral authority required or practiced. No holds barred if you are paying, and open to any counter bid. It is a sad commentary upon how much we have become subservient to the concept that money can sanction whatever we want, in this case lets “buy” expendable mercenaries rather than risk death for our own people. “Outsource”, make the provision of deadly force contractual.

            • chris73 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Takes a PPE to a whole new level

            • bad12 12.1.1.1.1.2

              It’s an extremely dangerous concept, an army of such a size to be able to pacify something like the ongoing conflict in Somalia still has to be paid for by someone,

              One must assume that Dave sees the UN in the roll of paymaster in this instance,

              However, it would become a lottery if such a force would, after having fulfilled it’s mission be happy just to disband and quietly go home,

              Such a rouge army would simply see a far more profitable future in ‘owning’ which-ever ‘weak’ country it was let loose into…

              • chris73

                I dunno, theres a difference between winning a war and running a country (look at the middle east) far easier to bank the cheque and move on to the next one

                • bad12

                  My point being, what happens to such an army once there is no ‘next one’ to bank the check from???

                  Should that army,(company), decide it need a ‘retirement complex’ while not ‘on contract’ what’s to stop them becoming like the present mercenary army presently masquerading as ‘freedom fighters’ in Syria…

                  • chris73

                    Much easier for a western democratic govt to blitzkrieg a mercenary ruling force I would suspect.

                    Let the mercenary force know exactly what they can do and what would happen if they don’t play ball

                    • bad12

                      Which is simply ridiculous, negating any ‘profit’ from having such a mercenary force in the first place,

                      Exactly the answer you were meant to give of course…

              • gobsmacked

                Yawn. This was dug up 3 years ago by the Nats, to chuck at Shearer in the Mt Albert by-election. Melissa Lee had other plans …

                Next – Chris discovers re-runs of Friends.

    • Mark 12.2

      Isn’t a certain ex Labour MP over there being paid by Herr Klark to corrupt young Afghani boys? Wonder how many “refugees” he will sponsor into West Auckland.

  13. Sadly Kate Wilkinson is doing what many National Ministers do, reinterpreting the law and ensuring the “facts” are shaped to suit their agenda. Considering the amount of stress and anxiety she is causing amongst those of us who care about preserving our natural heritage within our conservation parks I think she should be called the Minister of Consternation.
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/kate-wilkinson-minister-of-consternation.html

  14. Carol 14

    Peters has just staged a kind of protest by using a point of order to continually question the truth of John Key’s reply with regard to the Minister of (Overseas Development?) on his explanation to the House on the Wang affair.

    So Peters has been slung out of the House.

    • Carol 14.1

      eh? That’s not the issue Peters was ordered to leave the House over – total mis-representation by Stuff.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7519333/Peters-ejected-as-soldier-tribute-marred

      • deuto 14.1.1

        Agreed, Carol. That is a complete distortion of what happened by Tracey Watkins, who should know better.

        • Carol 14.1.1.1

          The Herald’s report on it is closer to the truth, but omits the questioning of ministerial veracity – the main point Peters was taking issue with:

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10828456

          He repeatedly used points of order to question Mr Key’s answers on whether he had confidence in Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson.

          Mr Smith said Mr Peters was incorrectly “litigating” answers using points of order.

          “This is parliament and we’ve just had a serious debate about New Zealanders losing their lives overseas and we carry on like spoiled brats,” Mr Smith said.

          When Mr Peters kept interjecting, he was ordered to leave the house.

          PS: I don’t think peters was acting like a spoilt brat, but, think Peters is just gettin POed with the way Key and co to get away with slippery and untruthful statements, and with the way Lockwood -Smith sometimes protects Key and co from having to answer truthfully.

      • gobsmacked 14.1.2

        That is a disgraceful headline and report by Stuff/Watkins.

        I’m not defending Winston, only the simple facts. It was a row during Question Time, after – and nothing to do with – the tribute to the soldiers.

        Then Steven Joyce was forced to withdraw and apologise by Lockwood. So … “Minister mars tribute to fallen, apologises”. Why not?

        • Carol 14.1.2.1

          OK, It’s been updated – maybe because Peters called a press conference on it. So it now includes Peters criticisms of the government, ….and of Lockwood-Smith:

          The exchange occurred during normal parliamentary business and question time after MPs delivered speeches honouring the dead soldiers. Mr Peters was disputing the way Prime Minister John Key had answered a question.

          Mr Peters called a press conference following his ejection from the House.

          “The New Zealand public, I think, is entitled to answers,” he said.

          NZ First was seeking clarification about the Crafar Farms issue.

          Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson should admit that he misled Parliament, Mr Peters said.

          “We don’t stand around excusing incompetent behaviour in this business, surely?”

          Williamson last week had to correct himself after earlier telling Parliament legal action against Crafar farm bidders Jack Chen and May Wang was over.

          It is not.

          Peters said Prime Minister John Key should consider sacking a minister who could not answer “basic questions” like Williamson.

          And Speaker Lockwood Smith’s behaviour today was “appalling”.

          Peters said his own behaviour was not inappropriate.

          “I’ve been pursuing this issue now for considerable time.”

          He said Smith was being pedantic.

          • Carol 14.1.2.1.1

            And Peters is also critical of Tracy Watkins reporting of the issue:

            http://nzfirst.org.nz/news/fairfax-reporter-gets-it-seriously-wrong

            New Zealand First says Fairfax reporter Tracey Watkins latest diatribe on events in Parliament today is a disgraceful piece of journalism

            He also mentions the tributes to the dead soldiers that he attended, and that he didn’t see Watkins at any of them.

            • gobsmacked 14.1.2.1.1.1

              Instant rebuttal.

              See how it’s done, Labour? Not six meetings and a bland statement tomorrow.

              • Carol

                Yes, and Peters press conference and response seems to confirm my view that Peters wasn’t being a brat, but was staging a bit of a protest aimed at media attention for a government minister misleading the House…. because it was being masked by Key’s slippery response.

  15. joe90 15

    Pussy Riot’s new single: Putin Lights Up the Fires.

    This state may be stronger than time in jail.

    The more arrests, the happier it is.
    Every arrest is carried out with love for the sexist

    Who botoxed his cheeks and pumped his chest and abs.

    But you can’t nail us in the coffin.
    Throw off the yoke of former KGB!

    Putin is lighting the fires of revolution
    He’s bored and scared of sharing silence with the people
    With every execution: the stench of rotten ash
    With every long sentence: a wet dream

    The country is going, the country is going into the streets boldly
    The country is going, the country is going to bid farewell to the regime
    The country is going, the country is going, like a feminist wedge
    And Putin is going, Putin is going to say goodbye like a sheep

    Arrest the whole city for May 6th
    Seven years isn’t enough, give us 18!
    Forbid us to scream, walk and curse!
    Go and marry Father Lukashenko

  16. oh dear, mora is going to have an exCIA on the program talking about lying – as james said they will learn from the torture inflicted on others – that seems morally wrong to me – come on morrissey we need one of your excellent posts on this.

  17. joe90 17

    Theists, revolting people, the whole fucking lot.

    The Theological Roots of Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” Comment.

    • Vicky32 17.1

      Theists, revolting people, the whole fucking lot.

      I was going to fix your sweeping statement, but it’s so extreme as to be unfixable.
      I assume you’re actually bright enough to know that this American Idiot (think Green Day, I am) – doesn’t come close to representing the billions of theists in the world…
      As soon as I saw the word ‘Calvinist’ in that woman’s article, I felt ill – which is how Calvinism makes me feel… but I don’t know if you can even grasp that there is a difference, let alone what it is.

  18. Rosie 18

    Last week Bill wrote an article on the reality of living on a sickness benefit, in response to Shearer’s inappropriate and ill considered remark regarding the sickness beneficiary painting his roof. In the following comments some one asked Bill for his permission to post his article on Red Alert, which he gave, and hence it was posted. Today’s online Dom Post has published an article counterting beneficiary bashing. It’s written by a Labour Party member and tax lecturer at Massey

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/7512486/People-who-need-a-benefit-should-get-it

    I wonder if the author has been reading Red Alert……………………

    • chris73 18.1

      More likely to have been reading the standard…

    • aerobubble 18.2

      Bennett claims poverty is alright since kids just drop back over the line into non-poverty.
      so that’s okay right. What did they get a job, any chimneys to sweep gov???
      Or did they get a benefit stand down, and were without food….
      Bennett ‘out’ as best I can peg it, is that she did not breach privacy because she
      just hazarded the guess about the two beneficiaries entitlements she exposed,
      doing so however required her to count the children, which means invading their
      privacy, but even that, since using the wrong information is still a breach as we
      can’t check the figures, their private damnit. which means that citizens rightly
      fear the MSD exposing their information, as they have no way to remedy the
      matter, Key and Bennett both are happy that no breach occurred.
      Its a sad day for parliament that such obvious misleading goes on there., I mean
      how seriously can we believe it, that the privacy took such a long time to
      declare nothing untoward occurred, that they released their report the same
      day a gold medalist was found guilt of cheapening the Olympics by having taken
      drugs. When even a impartial commissioner knows how weaselly Keys government
      is, and need to frame the timing of the release, leaving poor Bennett hanging for
      months. And don’t get me started on Joyce, what a numbskull, his prescription
      to weather a rain storm is to strip off and do a dance for more rain.

    • deuto 18.3

      Hi Rosie

      Just saying at 5 above provided a link to a blog by Giovanni Tiso which I think you would appreciate. Deborah Russell, the author of the Stuff opinion piece which you refer to, is one of the commentors on Giovanni’s blog which led me to read her article which I thought was well written and thought out IMO. Also hope that she will replace Richard Long, currently on leave, for a very long time!

  19. Draco T Bastard 19

    I’ve seen pretty diagrams like this before, now where was it it? Oh, I know, it was here.

    • QoT 19.1

      Draco! How dare you question the Holy Septagram of Innovation! At least they managed not to embed any highlighted spelling errors in this one. But then, that’s because Innovation has nothing to do with any pesky second official languages we may have …

  20. gobsmacked 20

    I’d tried to debate this on several threads, but people (hello BM, DJ, Steve W, etc) just disappear when asked.

    So, once more –

    Is an early withdrawal from Afghanistan “cut and run”?

    Why is it “running away from terrorists” if proposed by the opposition, but “managed redeployment” (or other euphemism) if decided by Key? Why aren’t the troops staying until 2014? Or late 2013?

    If you want them to stay, please say so, and why. Then e-mail the PM.

  21. Ianmac from Vietnam 21

    Noticed on BBC News last night that Australia have introduced a “world first” beneficiary debit card. Only certain shops may be used to purchase certain goods. Alcohol is not allowed. Some cash is also given.
    Wise use of taxpayers money or an insult to beneficiaries?

    • chris73 21.1

      A good start but will probably require some tweaking

    • muzza 21.2

      Its a slippery slope that one….

    • Vicky32 21.3

      Noticed on BBC News last night that Australia have introduced a “world first” beneficiary debit card.

      I had heard that on BBC WS radio yesterday.. Isn’t that what the youth benefit card is? The same thing?

      • Ianmac from Vietnam 21.3.1

        Same principle Vicky but in Australia it seems that all Beneficiaries are on it, not just youth. As for “world first’ ???

  22. aerobubble 22

    I worried about the Wellington lawn, all those evil protestors destroying the place….
    …but wait, if only they’d driven madly around wellington sticking their bums out the
    window. Seriously though, when does a gathering become a riot? when the participates
    use their cars threatening, to disturb, to raise all hell? Yes, I fed up with being harassed,
    this time a car at around 3.30am this morning, I recorded myself sleeping and a car was way
    louder than my snoring – which can be beached whale loud. These boring people who
    rework their cars to mimic v8 motors are really creepy, they push the pedal to the
    metal and then you hear of kids being hit in driveways, as some dick needed to make
    his point about their lack of virility by slamming on the speed… my 2 cents.

    • Rosie 22.1

      Feel for you there aerobubble. My new neighbourhood has FWits with dancefloor speakers installed in their BMW 4WD’s and Mercs that make it sound like an earthquake is coming. The chorus usually builds between 7-9am and 5-10pm weekdays and peaks all weekend long but also occurs at random hours post midnight – 6am. Are they boy racers? The odd one is but mainly they are brattish wealthy ill mannered ‘people’ from the flash end of the hood. There may be a recession but some are profiting, and they’re showing off their toys in the tackiest and most annoying way possible. Like JK’s lot from the 80’s.

      • aerobubble 22.1.1

        Its worse than tacky, its anger, its leads to aggressive vehicular behavior, kids run over in
        driveways, kid run over, kids driving into power polls and trees. Its happen before, they were
        called I believe, Dandies. People who need attention but unlike Mods and rockers have no
        actual artists ability, but unlike Dandies their street ballet culture leads to vehicles being
        used as toys rather than the actual weapon they are. Laws in this country do not reflect
        the harm a vehicle even at low speed can do, if people went around wield a hammer to
        get attention (without actually harming anyone, just waving it), Police who lock them up.
        Yet do the same with a car, and its a lifestyle choice. Humbug,

  23. Draco T Bastard 23

    So an OIA request was made to see where John Key got his costings of how much the looter bonus would cost. The reply was, paraphrasing, John Key made up unrealistic figures to show that the MSM were being unrealistic.

  24. lprent 24

    Fixing a problem with some of the caching. Hopefully the odd effects from today are now gone.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.1

      Definitely gone batty. My reply to Carol had FireFox asking for a security certificate (The address was showing https:) and clicking reply to do this message has the comments all over the place (Picture worth a thousand words).

      • Draco T Bastard 24.1.1

        And the edit function seems broken as well.

        This is the message I’m getting with the security cert request:

        thestandard.org.nz uses an invalid security certificate.

        The certificate is only valid for the following names:
        ssl2137.cloudflare.com , todaperfeita.com.br , *.bestchromerims.com , *.boxpn.com , *.cakinberk.com , *.flipviewer.com , *.hosthorde.com , *.mbx.com , *.mikro.com , *.staskulesh.com , *.techhounds.net , *.todaperfeita.com.br , bestchromerims.com , boxpn.com , cakinberk.com , flipviewer.com , hosthorde.com , mbx.com , mikro.com , staskulesh.com , techhounds.net

        (Error code: ssl_error_bad_cert_domain)

        • David H 24.1.1.1

          Yeah I am getting the same problem also the site loading is a bit of a lottery as well as to what I will get and thats between pages and I too have the same security cert problem as well..

      • lprent 24.1.2

        Ok. That should fix it. Turned all SSL off (and I have no idea how it got turned on).

        The cache was getting severely mucked up earlier today on mobiles so I killed all of the caches. Seems to be taking some time to get operational. That SSL option has a strange set of effects when on. In particular the SSL between cloudflare and the main server

  25. Anne 25

    No. It’s gone batts.

    I’m a pc dummy so can’t tell you what’s wrong. All I can say is: there’s a heading ‘OUT NOW’ followed by ‘CD/DVD/DIGITAL’ and a thing that says ‘FLY MY PRETTIES’. From there it’s all over the place -hard to follow. 😯

  26. captain hook 26

    anyway how is the PM’s carbon fotprint after jettingoff to the US last wekend.
    how many trips has he made to the US this year?

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