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Open mike 26/12/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 26th, 2012 - 66 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…

66 comments on “Open mike 26/12/2012”

  1. AwakeWhileSleeping 1

    http://livenews.co.nz/2012/12/special-extended-iv-labours-jacinda-ardern-joins-selwyn-manning-to-talk-about-the-big-issues-of-2012/

    Articulate and a very good spokesperson for Labour. I notice she avoids personal attacks which I particularly like as it indicates good character. She can laugh at the sweetie comment by zippy. My new favourite politician.

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, AWS. It’s one of the excellent Beatson Interviews from Triangle TV (how I will miss Triangle when it goes off air next year). This interview was done by quality journo Selwyn Manning.

      My response to this interview is pretty much how I’ve been re-Ardern lately – mixed feelings. At the start of the interview, Ardern’s hand movements were irritatingly distracting – as the interview went on I realised this was because it was a symptom of Ardern trying to hard to be lively, engaging and emphatic. And she just seems to lack sincerity (too often the smile seems forced, real emotions lacking) – maybe because she’s trying too hard to push the Team shearer line, and isn’t really saying what she thinks – or she’s just a career politician.

      That said, Ardern does say things I agree with. She has said some good things about reducing poverty and inequalities – other times her performance in the House have been poor, lacking strong research and deep thinking e.g. on transition to work payment being used to fly people to Aussie.

      • Dr Terry 1.1.1

        At least Ardern is full of promise and hope, and this much is so rare in almost any politician of the day.

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          I was pleased that eventually, after some questioning, she began talking about the need for more state housing. She started out with the official Shearer line focused on making home buying more affordable, ignoring people who rent (whether from choice or necessity).

        • dumrse 1.1.1.2

          “Full of promise and hope” …..my arse. Full of herself maybe.

      • muzza 1.1.2

        Adern is a lighweight, never operated outside the boundaries of political life, and is of course adept at being able to say some of the right things, heck any idiot can say the right things!

        The hope people have about Adern, is that she has yet to prove herself conclusively useless, and just another politician, no worries, she will get her chance to confirm what is already clear.

        Those who are not convinced already of her (in)ability will be shown to be correct, not that its a help to anything productive, it just consumes time, and energy.

        If these young politicians want to prove themselves then they can, regardless of the role they are playing, speak out against the monetary ssytem which should be particulary close to Aderns scope, as it is one of the primary contibuters to the inequality. and poverty, which she pays lip service to by ignoring. Saying she is not the shadow finance spoke, is not any reason why she could not get creative.

        Lets hear some speaking out against the primary causes of so much pain in NZ!

      • AwakeWhileSleeping 1.1.3

        You have a point with the flying people to Aussie thing, although I don’t see anyone else looking for issues in welfare that haven’t been brought up in response to changes to the Social Securities Act.

  2. Te Reo Putake 2

    Swaziland steps boldly forward into the 1970’s, finally working out who’s really responsible for sexual assaults. No, its not Julian Assange:

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/swaziland-bans-rapeprovoking-miniskirts-20121224-2buqh.html

    And China’s one child policy has a sizeable side affect:

    http://www.theage.com.au/world/onechild-policy-linked-to-chinas-diabetes-epidemic-20121224-2buke.html

    • Populuxe1 2.1

      What about Julian Assange in a miniskirt?

    • weka 2.2

      Not even going to bother with the first link (any chance we can avert an *ss*ng* squabble?).

      The second link is so full of problems I don’t know where to begin. I’m sure that the big pharma companies are pretty happy with the increase in diabetes being blamed on something out of everyone’s control like birth order. Never mind that diet in China has changed drastically in the same time frame. We know from pretty much every other country in the world that has done this that when you have populations taking up the western diet the rates of diabetes, heart disease etc sky rocket.

  3. felixviper 3

    I see Golem is celebrating Christmas by telling lies about The Standard: http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/12/the_standard_and_red_alert.html

    • karol 3.1

      Seems Golem is mistaking “labour movement” for Labour Party/government, and equating being one in the room, with leading/controlling the establishment and development of TS.

      • felixviper 3.1.1

        Haha, very generous of you to call it “mistaking”.

        His readers will do the mistaking, his part is called “bullshitting”.

    • karol 3.2

      And my response has gone into moderation…. what’d I say?

    • weka 3.3

      Why are you calling DPF Golem?

      • felixviper 3.3.1

        Because he’s a horrible man who creeps around in the shadows, whispering lies, deceiving friends and enemies alike in an all-consuming quest for power.

        Also, he looks like Golem.

        • QoTViper 3.3.1.1

          Surely “Gollum”? (I’m only being pedantic because the Golem is a very different kettle of fish.)

          • felixviper 3.3.1.1.1

            Right you are. Although…

            In modern Hebrew golem is used to mean “dumb” or “helpless”. Similarly, it is often used today as a metaphor for a brainless lunk or entity who serves man under controlled conditions but is hostile to him under others.[citation needed] “Golem” passed into Yiddish as goylem to mean someone who is clumsy or slow.

  4. Rogue Trooper 4

    (Golem is in the dark)
    Check out newsnow.co.uk for some Light :)

  5. Rogue Trooper 5

    rotary hoe;
    The Times They are a’ catching
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt076twzblU
    (just tidyin’ up some loose Enz);well the piranha, has sharp teeth dear…Attack
    RNZ korero a.m; “not the political will to develop and fund second language”;exposure to all that
    Pacifica not palatable enough.
    “I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?”…falls on the righteous and the wicked.Just the same.
    Tamati Kruger is a person of the year; moor Survivors-Nga Morehu (Judith Binney and Chaplin)
    now there was a vision Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki chose those women.
    Back in the Bay “looking for adventure?…head out on the i-Way” (borrow a bike)
    Nothin’ rude about sharing Gods Love in a wholesome way. pornea is idolatry-nothing more profane
    “We’re gonna ride, ride like a one-eyed Jack of Diamonds with the devil right beside”
    “She’s got the Jack jack jack she’s got the jack”
    Today! if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion
    (this is still the day of divine grace and opportunity to trust God, yet it will not last indefinitely)

    Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be care-full that none be found to have fallen short of it.(the “message” they “heard” was of no value to them because those who “heard” did not combine it with faith)
    Fore
    The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to
    dividing soul and spirit, joints and barrow;
    It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
    Now
    Bring us our Broadsword, and clear understanding (or join a Slow Marching Band)
    It is all Cash around here with nothin’ goin’ round but the rent.

    Deeply yours,

    -H.M (without the Purple Haze) 😉

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    100.70 (FM) is just alright with me
    provided this mans’ “best friend” with a Red Tee this x-eve
    XL; hope it fitted Horey: Ahh…the Mighty Red Machines
    meanwhile Boxing On (selling out)
    The Big Questions Series, ed Simon Blackburn: Quercus. is reading OK; “God” by Mark Vernon
    “philosophy works out the cost of the meal called life, and can write you a bill, but (faith)
    offers you the meal itself” We know Major Tom’s a junkie.
    Now, forgive me moderators, just some filing to do:
    -Madame Guyon 1648-1717-inner life
    -Count Zinzendorf 1700-1760-fellowship
    J.N Darby 1800-1882-exposition
    A.B Simpson 1843-1919-life
    Andrew Murray 1828-1971-subjective experience of the spirit (feelings are facts to those experiencing them you CBT control freaks)
    Jacob Boehme 1575-1624
    Peter Bohler 1712-1775
    Brother Lawrence 1605-1691
    Meister Eckhart 1260-1327
    George Muller 1805-1898
    A.W Tozer 1897-1963

    John Polkinghorne; Wolfhart Pannenberg
    Iain McGilchrist-“Master and Emissary”
    Jerome Bruner-“Actual Minds-Possible Worlds”

    So do not be afraid of them; There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made know; What we tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight;What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

  7. karol 7

    A must-read posted by Chris Trotter in the last hour.

    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/who-is-david-shearer-revealing-back.html

    “Who Is David Shearer? Revealing The Back-Story To The Back-Story”

    It is about how Shearer has been parachuted in to Labour candidacies more than once; his pragmatic rejection of the left-right divide; his presence in NZ during the 4th Labour Government, and not appearing to have had any strong objections to the neoliberal shift under that government; his fascination with militarism in his roles for the UN and jobs researching for intelligence operations; his favouring of private military options as a pragmatic solution in some crucial conflict zones.

    Well worth the read – those with a stronger background of UN and international military operations, how accurate is Trotter’s analysis?

    • bad12 7.1

      That’s well written by Trotter who i have come to not favor as a commentator on the politics of the left in recent times,

      I have read neither article written by Shearer on the subject of ‘private armies’, but nonetheless heard of His attachment to the idea of such private forces,(think i might have commented on it a week ago),

      While i can (slightly), see where He is coming from in such use as an aid to the delivery of aid and the security of those who do so i still recoil from the need for such forces,

      As has been shown over and over such forces are likely at any time to ‘go rogue’ and we should all remember that Al Qaeda started out as a ‘private army unit’ fighting as a proxy for the US in the Aghan v USSR conflict of the 1980’s, paid and armed by ‘private foundations’ in the US, Al Qaeda was answerable to God knows who, as the US Government was at the time claiming not to have knowledge of them….

      • karol 7.1.1

        I have just read this 2001 article, courtesy of Auckland Libraries Digital Library:

        http://www.questia.com/library/1P3-78339397/privatising-protection

        Shearer’s argument is that the UN has difficulty raising peace keeping forces, except when the contributing countries have regional interests in the area. He says that use of private armies would only be limited to a small number of conflicts where there was a moral need to protect civilians from genocide, rape, violence and looting.

        He says at the point of his writing the article private armies had only been used in the following circumstances:

        Private security companies – those protecting private interests – are a booming business in countries where there is instability. Fine for those who can afford it. But these more benign security tasks are a different order from their military cousins. Rather than offering protection only for those who can pay, military companies are hired to influence the overall strategic situation – to protect the public or end the war regardless of ability to pay.

        And earlier in the article Shearer produced this argument:

        Most evidence suggests that private companies are likely to be cheaper. Executive Outcome’s total fee for the nineteen months it was in Sierra Leone was $35 million – against more than $600m for the current number of troops. The reason is simple: companies tend to front load their military deployments and hold little in reserve.

        Perhaps more importantly, most companies will only work to a clear mandate and are more likely to insist on what exactly they have to do to get paid. Imagine a situation where a company loses a contract if it is unable to safeguard civilians it has been charged to protect. The current model offers little come back aside from some handwringing.

        Many factions are increasingly motivated by economic gain through the control of diamonds, gold or minerals. Why not award the concession to a company which will mine and protect the resource, thereby keeping diamonds out of the hands of rebels who will sell them to finance their war? Stemming the flow of illicit diamonds from Sierra Leone is unlikely despite the valiant efforts being made to clamp down on the international diamond trade. There are simply too many loopholes for miners to sell their gems through other channels.

        Southern Cross Security, for example, a company headed by a former Executive Outcome officer, has protected Sierra Leone’s titanium dioxide mines from total destruction throughout the war. That single effort is likely to be the most important factor to guarantee the country’s economic future once the war finally ends.

        So Shearer is all for using private armies to support capitalist interests?

        • bad12 7.1.1.1

          Hmmmm, can i withdraw my comment above where i ‘slightly see’ what He is on about, His support for ‘private armies’ would seem to go way deeper than just protecting those who deliver aid,

          I wonder what ‘use’ such armies would be put to if there were a lack of contractual work available, a ‘hostile takeover’ of one of the weaker African country’s perhaps, in such a situation Dave could always raise ‘another’ private army to oust the former i suppose…

        • QoTViper 7.1.1.2

          (Psst, karol, you should totally do a post on this ’cause it would be awesome)

          • karol 7.1.1.2.1

            Thanks, QOT… the viperish one. But I don’t think I could better Trotter’s post on it.

        • muzza 7.1.1.3

          Very good link to the Trotter post Karol, the importance/relevance of which is self evident.

          1: So which entity was responsible for the parachuting of DS into first two failed attempts, then the successful Mt Albert bye election, and would that same entity be the people who backed DS as leader?

          2: Who/what is pulling the strings, and executing the instructions inside the LP, and what is Phil Goffs true purpose?

          3: IISS/Chatham House funded by who/what, working for who/what!

          4: Private armies working to * defend conflict* for their corporate masters who have created/sponsored that same conflict, while working in unison with the *state* owned military, whose strings are pulled by the like of IISS/Chatham House, whose influences of sending nations to war is well documented!

          5: MBE – Working for who officially then?

          Well done Trotter for picking up on this *back story*, like John Key, it is a carefully crafted spin cycle, where the humanitarian worker Shearer comes back to *save his country*. Remember that JK was *the best person to steer NZ through hard economic times*, so Shearer must be the best person to *steer NZ through its poverty/inequality nightmare* – We should all feel very safe in knowing that these are the *chosen ones*, who will direct NZ ….. Into the hands of the private owners!

          And in case that does not work out as planned, then there is the *Boston International* man, Cunliffe, or the other *chosen one* , Norman, whose back story is even more opaque than Shearer or Key!

    • Bill 7.2

      Puts a new spin on ‘market forces’ dunnit.

      • karol 7.2.1

        heh. Well, his arguments do not have any kind of clear anti-market angle. He favours a regulated market over a “free-market” of private armies, as argued in his earlier 1998 article, ‘Outsourcing war’, Shearer, David. Foreign Policy 112 (Fall 1998): 68-72+

        However, he has a lot of faith in the effectiveness and aims of corporations. He differentiates the current private armies over mere mercenaries because they are legitimate corporate entities, operating within the law:

        They have a distinct corporate character, have openly defended their usefulness and professionalism, have used internationally accepted legal and financial instruments to secure their deals, and so far have supported only recognized governments and avoided regimes unpalatable to the international community.

        Shearer argues that rpivate armies were more common in earlier times, and nation-state armies are a pretty recent phenomenon, that he almost sees as an aberration. He doesn’t have a problem with the fact that such corporate entities are a central part of the military-industrial complex.

        Military companies are unfettered by political constraints. They view conflict as a business opportunity and have taken advantage of the pervasive influence of economic liberalism in the late twentieth century. They have also been quick to adapt to the complex agendas of civil wars.

        Another trend, reminiscent of the privateers of earlier centuries, is the willingness of private military companies to act as proxies for Westem governments. MPRI has specialized exclusively in military services, originally for the privatization-minded U.S. Department of Defense. MPRI’S first two major international contracts were with the Croatian government in 1994 to update its Warsaw Pact-oriented military. When the sophisticated Croatian offensive, Operation Storm, took the Serb-held Krajina enclave in August 1995, there was inevitable suspicion that MPRI was involved. …

        Other American companies have also worked to further administration policy. Corporate giants such as Science Applications International Corporation and Braddock, Dunn & McDonald, Inc. and its subsidiary Vinnell Corporation are primarily high-technology suppliers to the military-industrial market but have also diversified into military training. They are contracted by the Saudi government to upgrade and train its armed forces in the use of mainly U.S. weaponry. Some British companies have also supported government interests: The London-based Saladin Security, for example, trains Omani government forces working alongside British Army officers who are seconded there.

        Would I trust this guy being in charge of NZ’s secret TPP negotiations?

        • Bill 7.2.1.1

          Military companies are unfettered by political constraints.

          Gee…and that’s not a problem?! That’s shear – er, madness! Here’s a thought. If he sees nothing wrong with corporate militaries, then what would he see as being wrong with private police forces or a more privatised NZ army….?

          • McFliper 7.2.1.1.1

            Well, to me it looks like a pragmatic work-through of the problems the UN faced and still faces. Problems which will only be resolved when the UN has a standing army of its own.

            Basically, for current tactical security and local stability UN operations have three options: member-country regular military, local combatant military, or private armies/security (on a sliding scale of intensity form one to the other). 1 reduces strategic independence, 2 drags the aid workers into partisan politics, and 3 operates within clearly defined roles with no mission-creep and as much reliability as the money lasts.

            It’s a bit like the difference between a spouse in a difficult but long term and robust relationship, an insecure to the point of paranoia gf/bf, or a prostitute. If all you really need is a shag, pay for the prostitute.

            Edit:Oh, and all three might be sub-par, but only the prostitute is covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.

            • Crimson Nile 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Making the case for the pragmatic private sector solution. It’s excellent to see how far we have come in such a short space of time.

    • Coronial typer 7.3

      Everyone who reads this site should read Trotter’s article. Everyone. It should chill you.
      Do I need to point out that the (aspirant) leader of a country actually has to support its armed forces?

      To me this is a deep disqualification for being Labour’s leader: Shearer believes in fully privatised military expedience instead of strengthening the state for itself, and its armed forces.

      I dont mind a certain degree of internationalism in a politician, if they are a statesman. Like Peter Fraser. But David Shearer cannot be leader of this country if has so little patriotic core.

      • karol 7.3.1

        I agree that everyone should read Trotter’s piece.

        Shearer believes in fully privatised military expedience instead of strengthening the state for itself, and its armed forces.

        Actually, no he doesn’t. Shearer has argued in the past for limited use of private armies, in certain circumstances, and in a way that is well-regulated. He particularly advocated for their use in the case of “weak states”, whee there is a conflict.

        However, Shearer’s interest in this option seemed very strong at one stage in his life. He wrote several articles on it. I have yet to see anything from him on the problems we now have due to the neoliberal shift – a shift that also saw an increase in private armies used by the US, especially.

      • GeoffCartwright 7.3.2

        Hmmm I read and retread this and the original article…when states govt fail and the national army is corrupt and murders ect and the globalised responce weak or politicised and ineffectual where does a good person turn, to trained professional soldier who will do the assigned job…simple.
        Have you been to rhwanda or Liberia somali perhaps, have you seen death, murders rapist from within and from outside forces corrupted by power a gun a drug or ignorance…shearer has and these experiences formed his belief.
        Better to have a private professional trusted law abiding army that none to protect.

        Get the program…labour victory at all costs.

        • Coronial typer 7.3.2.1

          Try that principle on any part of public life here.

          • Coronial typer 7.3.2.1.1

            Try “the state has failed in x policy area so we need a well regulated private y to take over”.

            Health.
            Education.
            Social welfare.
            Banks.
            Insurers.
            Construction.
            Safety.

            And now…
            “the state has failed in x policy area so we need a well regulated private y to detain them”

            Jails.
            Immigration.
            Customs.
            Police.
            Courts.

            And now…
            “the state has failed in x policy area so we need a well regulated private y to have guns and kill them as expedience dictates.”

            Takers for that “program” anyone? how many Labour policies from the 2008 manifesto does it cross out?
            Perhaps this needs clarifying by Shearer: what are the limits to the private sector in New Zealand? In black and white thanks.

            • GeoffCartwright 7.3.2.1.1.1

              That question is being asked loudly.
              Show us the new direction, the new language, the open discourse and give us the tools the message organisational structure to prepare the ground for a prolonged shift in the social well being of this country.
              so mr sheared and co stand up please…

              • karol

                so mr sheared and co stand up please

                Tonight I already drafted a post with a very similar title – just in case, if/when I post it, you think I stole your words.

      • Crimson Nile 7.3.3

        I think that some people here better read up on how Blackwater Security performed in Iraq, and how they treated i.e. killed Iraqi civilians.

        • karol 7.3.3.1

          To be fair to Shearer, he wasn’t talking about as wide a use of privatised “security” as happened in Iraq post 2003. Shearer’s last article on the issue was written in 2001.

          I’m more worried that there’s little else then or since that Shearer seems to have been motivated to write or speak on in any depth.

          • GeoffCartwright 7.3.3.1.1

            Thats the trouble at present…we know little about this man apart from the humanatrian work and is gaffe goffs mate from school.
            No wait he doesn’t believe in old framed language like left and right…maybe maybe just in people, fairness opportunity and equality…hmmm

            • Anne 7.3.3.1.1.1

              I think it’s time to put the record straight. They weren’t mates at High School. They went to the same school but at different times. Phil Goff is 4 to 5 years older than Shearer.

              • GeoffCartwright

                Thanks for the correction Anne.

                • Anne

                  No problem. You’re not the only one. It was a false MSM meme which seems to have gained credence across the board – like so many of their false memes.

                  • GeoffCartwright

                    Just did my own homework too.
                    Interesting enigma this shearer.
                    I know many on here back cunliffe, I did too when I met him but well I am a realist and have one objective.
                    One united strong labour party that will win 2014.
                    If only sheared was a better speaker. Damn it.
                    Oh well plan b…team approach.

                    • Jenny

                      If only sheared was a better speaker. Damn it.

                      GeoffCartwright

                      It is nothing to do with how good a speaker David Shearer is. Michael Joseph Savage was a lousy speaker but the crowds adored him.

                      Matt McCarten suffers from a terrible stutter yet he is asked to comment on every major political event.

                      It is because David Shearer has got nothing coherent to say.

                      If David Shearer was passionate about something he would find the words.

                      It is because his political views are so lousy that he is verbally inchoate. Making him come across so badly.

                    • felixviper

                      Exactly Jenny.

            • Tim 7.3.3.1.1.2

              “No wait he doesn’t believe in old framed language like left and right…maybe maybe just in people, fairness opportunity and equality…hmmm”
              ….. a Tony Blairism if EVER I saw one ! and a good excuse to cover for a multitude of sins by politicians who come to like their positions of comfort (going forward)

          • Rhinoviper 7.3.3.1.2

            To be fair to Shearer, he wasn’t talking about as wide a use of privatised “security” as happened in Iraq post 2003. Shearer’s last article on the issue was written in 2001.

            Well, that’s the problem right there. In 2001 he was writing about his nice, elegant, crystalline, even ethereal theory…. and in 2003 we saw the bloody implementation of that beautiful theory in the real world away from all his precious reports and spreadsheets. Oops… well, it was probably reality that was at fault.

        • GeoffCartwright 7.3.3.2

          My knowledge from Iraq and Afghanistan is second hand from within my family, most served at one time or another, some still do and need a signed authorisation to entry or leave new Zealand.
          Not debating War my friend, right or wrong,

  8. Rogue Trooper 8

    from the Good Doctor;
    …and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty “days” he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them he was hungry.

    The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”
    He answered, “It is written, Man does not live on bread alone”

    Deuto,

    “but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”

    The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world and he said to him; “I will give you all their authority and splendour for it has been given to me and I can give it to anyone I want to; Soooo, if you worship me, it will all be yours.” (thats the wordly Key)

    He answered, “It is written; Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”

    Deuto,

    “Alright then (he’s gettn’ a little desperate around about now, it is hot where he’s comin’ from and he needs the water, like Lazarus) If you are the Son of God”, he said, “throw yourself down from here.”

    He answered, “It says, Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

    Deuto.

    So, Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
    (Do not conform any more to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God’s will is-His perfect and pleasing will)
    (it may even be universal) 😉

    God? joy is the strength of love
    peace is the security of love

    Others? patience is the endurance of love
    kindness the conduct of love
    goodness is the character of love

    Self? faithfulness is the confidence of love
    gentleness the nature of love
    SELF CONTROL the victory of love

    (be gentle on yourself and i will be seeing you soon)

    -Dog Soldier,
    (Live Free, Ride Free)
    :) :) :)

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Bryan Gould: Parata’s meteoric rise part of her downfall

    Such is the flak she is now taking that it is easy to forget that her predecessor, Anne Tolley, had an equally difficult time. Those tribulations afflicting two education ministers in succession reflect not so much the particular deficiencies of the individual ministers as the deep flaws in the education policy pursued by the Government as a whole.

    The Key Government has quite deliberately set out on a policy that flies in the face of our long and largely successful experience in creating an excellent education system in this country. The Government has preferred to play upon the fears, prejudices and just plain ignorance of some parents and – in the course of putting in place policies such as national standards – defied the evidence and the accumulated expertise of education professionals and experts from both at home and overseas.

    Little wonder that conflict has been the leitmotif of education policy and that education ministers have struggled.

    Chances are it’s actually both – inherent incompetence and failed policies pushed by the government.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    A short and direct article on why “controversial” political subjects aren’t controversial and why people need to be better informed.

    Ars Technica has never been afraid to cover so-called “controversial” issues in science and culture. Here is why we routinely cover them—and why we reject calls for us to be silent on such issues.

    I put “controversial” in quotes for a reason. Many of the topics that are supposedly controversial are not really contentious at all among people who are properly informed and rely on a scientific understanding of the physical world around us. However, due to the fact that scientific literacy is sadly lacking on this great planet of ours, “controversy” emerges when individuals, groups, societies, and nations are forced to confront their nonscientific worldviews with the findings of science. Of course, skepticism is a healthy and powerful thing. But skepticism in the face of overwhelming evidence is not healthy, so long as you remember what the word “overwhelming” means. And facts themselves are not controversial.

  11. Ianmac from Vienna 11

    Crikey. Just as well there is so much written about mr Cunliffe to provide scope for intensive interpretation and misinterpretation of every part of his philosophy, as a balance to Shearer fairly given analysis and commentary.

    • Coronial typer 11.1

      Otherwise Shearer would need a full time staff, an entire party, and the entire mainstream media to get his “analysis and commentary” out and counteract anything Cunliffe is ever doing or ever will do.

      Oh wait …. Whoops.

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  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    7 hours ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    9 hours ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    11 hours ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    14 hours ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    1 day ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 day ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 day ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    1 day ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    1 day ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    2 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    2 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    2 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    2 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    3 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    4 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    4 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    5 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    6 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    7 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    7 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago

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