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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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  • Andrew Little visits Zaatari refugee camp
    Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, has visited the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world, Zaatari in Jordan, a day after seeing New Zealand troops at Camp Taji in Iraq. Mr Little spent several hours in the camp, meeting… ...
    29 mins ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    9 hours ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    22 hours ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    1 day ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    1 day ago
  • OIO must explain Argentine pollution prosecutions
    The Overseas Investment Office (OIO)has questions to answer about how it safeguarded our sensitive land by allowing foreign investors with criminal prosecutions to purchase Onetai Station in Taranaki, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe.   “Rafael and Federico Grozovsky… ...
    1 day ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    1 day ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    1 day ago
  • Murray McCully needs to come clean over Tokelau ferry debacle
    Foreign Minister Murray McCully needs to come clean on why a New Zealand aid-funded vessel intended to service the Tokelau Islands is delayed, over budget and failed its sea trials, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The new ship… ...
    1 day ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    1 day ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    1 day ago
  • Andrew Little visits NZ troops in Iraq and refugees in Jordan
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has visited New Zealand troops at Camp Taji, Iraq. Mr Little also met with Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obedih and senior military officials from the Coalition forces in Iraq. He now heads to Jordan to see… ...
    2 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    2 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister must come clean on implications of landmark settlement
    Gerry Brownlee has urgent and serious questions to answer in the wake of today’s landmark EQC settlement, which potentially has major implications for thousands of Cantabrians, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. ...
    2 days ago
  • Mossack Fonseca links to OIO approvals must be investigated
    The Minister for Land Information must investigate and disclose how many applications to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) have links to Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Labour can now reveal the OIO approved an application from… ...
    2 days ago
  • Mossack Fonseca links to OIO approvals must be investigated
    The Minister for Land Information must investigate and disclose how many applications to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) have links to Mossack Fonseca, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Labour can now reveal the OIO approved an application from… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt complacency leaves RB no room to cut
    The Government has put the economy in a holding pattern, leaving the Reserve Bank Governor with little room to manoeuvre as he tries to balance a rampant housing market with non-existent inflation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt complacency leaves RB no room to cut
    The Government has put the economy in a holding pattern, leaving the Reserve Bank Governor with little room to manoeuvre as he tries to balance a rampant housing market with non-existent inflation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler… ...
    2 days ago
  • Dam not out of doldrums yet
    Ruataniwha Dam promoters Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) still has hurdles to clear and a lot of work to do before ratepayers and taxpayers will have confidence in the scheme, says Labour’s MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti Meka Whaitiri.“We need sustainable… ...
    2 days ago
  • New study shows Smith’s insulation fails Kiwi kids
    A new Otago University study shows Nick Smith’s inadequate insulation standards will see hundreds of children unnecessarily hospitalised for housing-related illnesses every year, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. ...
    3 days ago
  • Government out of touch on foreign trusts
    John Key’s poor handling of the foreign trusts issue is starkly revealed in a poll today which shows the majority of Kiwis are worried about the country being a tax haven and almost half think the issue has been badly… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government out of touch on foreign trusts
    John Key’s poor handling of the foreign trusts issue is starkly revealed in a poll today which shows the majority of Kiwis are worried about the country being a tax haven and almost half think the issue has been badly… ...
    3 days ago
  • Biggest trade deficit for 7 years a warning for Govt
    The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The biggest driver has been the fall in… ...
    3 days ago
  • Biggest trade deficit for 7 years a warning for Govt
    The biggest trade deficit for seven years shows the Government can’t be so complacent about the economy and must take action to diversify and encourage exports, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The biggest driver has been the fall in… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government’s record on climate change under fire
      The Royal Society’s latest report on climate change has made it clear that it believes the Government’s current approach to climate change is inadequate, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “The report, ‘Transition to a low-carbon economy… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government’s record on climate change under fire
      The Royal Society’s latest report on climate change has made it clear that it believes the Government’s current approach to climate change is inadequate, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Megan Woods.  “The report, ‘Transition to a low-carbon economy… ...
    3 days ago
  • Mainfreight director agrees with Labour on rail funding
    Richard Prebble – in the past accused of ruining rail and now a director of Mainfreight – agrees with Labour that secure funding for KiwiRail is the best way to minimise congestion in our major cities, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • Mainfreight director agrees with Labour on rail funding
    Richard Prebble – in the past accused of ruining rail and now a director of Mainfreight – agrees with Labour that secure funding for KiwiRail is the best way to minimise congestion in our major cities, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government to Reserve Bank – Rock or Hard Place?
    The Government’s complacency on the housing crisis and the economy has put the Reserve Bank Governor in a no-win position as he contemplates the OCR tomorrow, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler is stuck between a rock and… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government to Reserve Bank – Rock or Hard Place?
    The Government’s complacency on the housing crisis and the economy has put the Reserve Bank Governor in a no-win position as he contemplates the OCR tomorrow, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Graeme Wheeler is stuck between a rock and… ...
    3 days ago
  • John Key’s land tax could push up rents
    A land tax proposed by John Key as the answer to the housing crisis could push up rents and risks having no effect on skyrocketing prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Government needs to explain why the thousands… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government should ban foreign speculators
    The Prime Minister’s musings about a land tax on non-resident buyers is just more tinkering, and the Government should just ban foreign speculators as the Australian Government has done, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This is classic John Key.… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government must protect Pharmac as promised
    John Key must tell New Zealanders that he will not bow to pressure from wealthy drug companies or their US negotiators and put Kiwi lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.   “News reports today have the drug… ...
    4 days ago
  • Action not words, needed on housing speculation
    John Key should be taking action to crack down on speculation in our overheated housing market, instead of random musings on land tax, Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said.  "John Key suggested today on TVNZ's Q and A programme that… ...
    6 days ago
  • Tertiary education cost rising 7x faster than inflation
    New figures show the cost of tertiary education is rising seven times faster than inflation, putting post-school education out of the reach of many, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.  “Figures release this week show how much more students or their… ...
    6 days ago
  • Buying Lotto is not an arts funding strategy
    The Government must rethink the way the arts are funded after falling Lotto sales has left the sector with declining resources and increasingly vulnerable, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.  “Our arts sector is in a sorry… ...
    6 days ago
  • Parents hit in pocket by Government under-funding
    Parents and families are left forking out more and more for their kids’ education as a direct result of Government under-funding, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “The latest data shows that the cost to families of primary and secondary… ...
    6 days ago
  • Scientists ‘gasping for oxygen’ under National
     Steven Joyce's claims to be creating a science and innovation hub in New Zealand are a sham based on PR fluff, says Labour's Science and Innovation Spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “A damning critique of the science funding model by the New… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scientists ‘gasping for oxygen’ under National
     Steven Joyce's claims to be creating a science and innovation hub in New Zealand are a sham based on PR fluff, says Labour's Science and Innovation Spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “A damning critique of the science funding model by the New… ...
    1 week ago
  • Water for grass
    Last Saturday, my colleague Eugenie Sage took me for a drive across the Canterbury Plains. I had seen from the air the landuse changes across the plains in recent times; a patchwork of crops and stock raising has been transformed… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Water for grass
    Last Saturday, my colleague Eugenie Sage took me for a drive across the Canterbury Plains. I had seen from the air the landuse changes across the plains in recent times; a patchwork of crops and stock raising has been transformed… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Thousands of invalid votes likely after National refuses to change rules
    National’s refusal to make it easier to enrol and vote could result in tens of thousands of votes continuing to be ruled invalid at general elections, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The Justice and Electoral select committee today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Social Development stats don’t add up
    Today’s figures released by the Ministry of Social Development show that despite a drop in the number of beneficiaries, fewer people are going into paid employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Fonterra sticks with high pollution goal of increasing milk supply
    This week’s reported comments by Fonterra chair John Wilson that dairy “volumes were only going to keep increasing”  are troubling. Mr Wilson was supporting a potential renegotiation of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Under the FTA dairy products such… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Coleman’s ‘efficiencies’ strangling health
    New Zealand’s district health boards have made ‘efficiencies’ of more than $672 million over the past five years at the expense of everything from new drugs to elective surgery, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “This is a body blow for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman’s ‘efficiencies’ strangling health
    New Zealand’s district health boards have made ‘efficiencies’ of more than $672 million over the past five years at the expense of everything from new drugs to elective surgery, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “This is a body blow for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Record debt to income ratio shows economy out of balance
    National’s complacent attitude to debt to income ratios rising above pre-financial crisis levels will be a concern to many New Zealanders and the Government must take action to rebalance the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.   “The borrowing… ...
    1 week ago

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