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Open mike 31/07/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 31st, 2012 - 85 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…

85 comments on “Open mike 31/07/2012”

  1. Press Release – Hakanoa

    They say children are a blessing, but it’s fair to say no parent sets out wanting a ginger child. So ginger beer maker Hakanoa has given those parents unfortunate enough to be cursed with ginger children the opportunity to swap them for something …Hakanoa gives parents the chance to swap their ginger children for ginger beer.

    Disgraceful, disgusting, hard to think what more can be said about how inappropriate this is.

  2. Socialist Paddy 2

    A chilling comumn by the Guardian’s George Monbiot on Neo liberalism.  In a particularly memorial passage he says:

    Two questions arise. The first is familiar: why has the public response to this assault on public life and public welfare been so muted? Where are the massive and sustained protests we might have expected? But the other is just as puzzling: where is the economic elite?
     
    Surely the corporate class and the super-rich – the only people the government will listen to – can see that these policies are destroying the markets on which their wealth relies? Surely they can see that this scorched-earth capitalism is failing even on its own terms?
     
    To understand this conundrum we should first understand that what is presented as an economic programme is in fact a political programme. It is the implementation of a doctrine: a doctrine called neoliberalism. Like all such creeds, it exists in its pure form only in the heavens; when brought down to earth it turns into something different.
     
    Neoliberals claim that we are best served by maximising market freedom and minimising the role of the state. The free market, left to its own devices, will deliver efficiency, choice and prosperity. The role of government should be confined to defence, protecting property, preventing monopolies and removing barriers to business. All other tasks would be better discharged by private enterprise. The quest for year zero market purity was dangerous enough in theory: distorted by the grubby realities of life on earth it is devastating to the welfare of both people and planet. 

    • Bored 2.1

      Paddy, good questions from Monbiot, so some commentary on points and further questions…

      Surely the corporate class and the super-rich can see that these policies are destroying the markets on which their wealth relies?

      Good question, but might we equally check the historic record and ask why the Caucescus were oblivious to their doom, why the Soviet Union hierachy did nothing to avert the fall of their system, why the Germans supported the Nazis to the last?

      Neoliberals claim that we are best served by maximising market freedom and minimising the role of the state

      At the opposite end of the scale communists expect that we will be best served by absolute control of markets and the dominance of the state…that has proven not to work either. Might we not question the absolutism of isms?Is it not true that no one position holds the monopoly on the truth?

      The quest for year zero market purity…

      Do not all the great materialist political / economic theories move toward a year zero nirvana, such as the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, the “1000 Year Reich”, the “Festival of the Supreme Being”?

      Is what we are talking about not the use of absolutist theories to justify personal gain of power, position, privilege?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        The elite (say any household earning over $200K pa in NZ) are well insulated from the rough and tumble that neoliberal political economics is causing. Their social circles, where they shop, where they live, their sources of information, all put big distances between them and the life of drudgery and constant economic stress experienced by the commoners.

        Many of the elite will be genuinely surprised when the ungrateful wretches turn up on their door steps with torches and pitchforks.

        • KJT 2.1.1.1

          I wouldn’t say those over 200k. Up to 350k covers a lot of people who have earned their pay, including surgeons, SME owners, entrepreneurs, engineers and others with exceptional skills.

          Note that the ones who have genuinely worked their way up are not usually the ones who advocate low taxes, for themselves, and low wages for others.

          It is not that their pay is too high. Rather too many are paid too little.

          Rentiers, Bankers, speculators and overpaid state welfare bludgers (http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2011/03/kia-ora-yeah-we-should-be-doing.html) have claimed too much of the results of our efforts. .

          • Bored 2.1.1.1.1

            Going back to Monbiots question of why the super rich appear to be destroying the fabric that creates their wealth I think their high income levels have little to do with the behavior. Maybe it demonstrates a failure of imagination..a failure by the masses to imagine a different system and force a change… a failure of the elites to imagine that their privileges are becoming a liability.

            Other expressions for lack of imagination might be lack of self awareness, lack of balance, lack of restraint. The elites are very good at externalizing their societal costs (welfare resulting from their greed becomes “bludging”). The masses are poor at externalizing their woes as being the result of the elites avarice (so they read mags on the rich and famous as a wya of being “them”)..

            Either way all parties suffer if they refuse to see the cliff approaching at full speed and keep their foot on the accelerator.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.2

            Yes understand what you are getting at, and I won’t hold an attitude against a skilled value adding worker like a surgeon or a software engineer who earns a good pay packet.

            Nevertheless my point is less about a high level of financial security, and more about how that provides a kind of socio-economic insulation which can then slow or distort a person’s understanding of how the temperature is changing in other less well off parts of the community.

    • Carol 2.2

      Thanks, SP, for the link.

      And this (that comes directly after your above quote):

      As Colin Crouch shows in The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism, the state and the market are not, as neoliberals insist, in perpetual conflict. Instead they have united around the demands of giant corporations.

      Another excellent article from Monbiot.

    • KJT 2.3

      It is, in fact, a religion, with all the counterfactual bullshit and cunning self interest from those at the top apparent in religious organisations.

    • Funny thing here…

      National is planning to buy up large tracts of land in Christchurch to facilitate the re-build of the CBD. Billions will be spent through acquisition of public land. The State will co-ordinbate the re-build.

      The free market wouldn’t have a hope in carrying out this gargantuan enterprise. Like fleas on a massive State Beast, they can only come along for the ride, and do their little bit.

      Hopefully, though, the “free market” can construct buildings that won’t collapse in the next earthquake…

  3. Carol 3

    Following the GFC, austerity programmes, increasing inequalities, siphoning off of wealth by the elite, some people in the US are living in tents and some in London, just meters from the Olympic Stadium, are living in sheds with beds.

    While it’s not such an extreme housing and living crisis here in NZ, the process seems to be similar. The juxtaposition of a fancy stadium alongside a major, and neglected housing crisis, reminds me of Nero Fiddling Gerry sipping Champagne in Christchurch last night.

    London’s East End is experiencing squalor last seen in Dickensian London, while there seems to be an (unstated?) policy of social cleansing – hoping the poor will leave the city to the wealthy – shades of New Orleans, and, unfortunately maybe also Christchurch..

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-25/east-end-has-thousands-in-illegal-squalor-near-olympics.html

    Armed with a thermal map produced by a flyover in March, Lyons is searching for unlawful “sheds with beds,” as the borough council calls them. There are as many as 10,000 outbuildings where people may live illegally in the 14-square- mile East End district, she says. Raids have found as many as four people sleeping in a single backyard shed and sharing a filthy shower and toilet that aren’t always properly connected to the sewage system.
    [...]
    Britain is more polarized over inequality in housing wealth than at any time during the mortgage financing era, which began in the Victorian period of the 19th century, according to Danny Dorling, a University of Sheffield professor. He published a report on housing inequality for Shelter in 2004 and says the rise in top prices since means that disparity has widened.

    • Bored 3.1

      Carol, a comment…Following the GFC…do you not think that the whole antisocial housing and economic position belongs to a recent era (post Crash event) or to a much longer term condition?

      I yesterday contended that rental housing markets would always tend toward extreme bad housing and disadvantageously high rents if left to the market only, that public housing was required to force the market toward fair rents and high standards. In Britain public housing may have been deliberately left to run down by successive neo lib regimes (Labour and Tory). We appear to have gone the same way.

      On the up side I have watched the Wellington Coucil do complete refurbs on their Newtown and Central Park blocks……

      • Carol 3.1.1

        Carol, a comment…Following the GFC…do you not think that the whole antisocial housing and economic position belongs to a recent era (post Crash event) or to a much longer term condition?

        The latter, bored. When I lived in London in the 1980s and 90s, I went in houses/flats that were pretty dire, including some on council estates in the East End. And, of course, soon after Thatcher gained power the numbers of people living on the streets noticeably increased.

        But I think the dire housing situation has intensified since the GFC.

        And this article I have been reading – a transcript of an interview with an author and illustrator for a book, outlines how, in the US, it goes back to the dislocation of Native Americans, using the example of Pine Ridge.

        http://truth-out.org/news/item/10494-journalist-chris-hedges-on-capitalisms-sacrifice-zones-communities-destroyed-for-profit

        There are forgotten corners of this country where Americans are trapped in endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness, and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed. Journalist Chris Hedges calls these places "sacrifice zones," and joins Bill this week on Moyers & Company to explore how areas like Camden, New Jersey; Immokalee, Florida; and parts of West Virginia suffer while the corporations that plundered them thrive.

        These are areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. We're talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed," Hedges tells Bill.

        [...]
        Chris Hedges: Well, Pine Ridge is where it began, Western exploitation. And it was the railroad companies that did it. They wanted the land, they took the land, the government gave them the land. It either gave it to them or sold it to them very cheaply. They slaughtered the buffalo herds, they broke these people. Forcing a people that had not been part of a wage economy to become part of a wage economy, upending the traditional values.
        [...]
        Bill Moyers: Fit this all together for me. What does the suffering of the Native American on the Pine Ridge Reservation have to do with the unemployed coal miner in West Virginia have to do with the inner-city African American in Camden have to do with the single man working for minimum wage or less in Immokalee, Florida? What ties that all together?

        Chris Hedges: Greed. It's greed over human life.

        • Bored 3.1.1.1

          I can remember a pair of old crones who literally had a monopoly on run down flats around Christchurch in the 70s, neither of whom ever did a thing to even maintain the already disgraceful state of their rental properties. They just sat and got fatter bank accounts. As bad as anything in London, just in a slightly better climate.

          I also remember train rides into Waterloo East in the early 70s wondering how people lived in those houses you looked down on from the viaducts, scummy squalid places. Last time I took the same ride nothing had changed.

        • Olwyn 3.1.1.2

          “London’s East End is experiencing squalor last seen in Dickensian London, while there seems to be an (unstated?) policy of social cleansing – hoping the poor will leave the city to the wealthy…” While we do not seem to have reached the dire extremes of London, the hope here, at least in some quarters, appears to be that the poor will leave the whole bloody country to the wealthy. Australia has already absorbed a large percentage of our population, who have found it impossible to gain a foothold here.

          Let’s face it. When you don’t need the masses for manufacturing any more, what are they needed for? A percentage of them for low paid service jobs, and beyond that, to put pressure on wages and the putative worth of property. How to fight back is the problem, when the lower levels of haves express their fear becoming have-nots by despising them, and our politicians seem to have been seduced into maintaining the status quo, however bad it gets for the people at the bottom of the heap. People found the will to stand up to slavery in the nineteenth century, and somehow or other we need to find a similar will.

          • lostinsuburbia 3.1.1.2.1

            They also house a lot of illegal immigrants – handy to run your service industry on below legal wages with staff that can’t complain.

            I’ve worked on enforcement actions against illegal development in East London – while the problem gets worse and worse its been a long term problem. A lot of the development has been there many years, but landlords just stuff more people into overcrowded houses – plus put up dodgy outbuildings and sheds to fit a few more people.

            The subdvision controls are a lot more lax in the UK, you could go to the Land Registry and get new titles issued without proving legal subdivision (whereas here you have to get sign off from your local Council first). This lead to a lot of illegal subdivision and mortage fraud (I saw countless cases of houses being split into leasehold titles for illegal flats or back sheds cut off as new sections).

            The lower end of the housing market has similar problems in terms of overcrowding and people living in poor conditions, but its hidden more by the lower density of our development and the fact that is often shut away in poorer areas of our cities.

          • the pink postman 3.1.1.2.2

            In my childhood we lived in SE London slum owned by the then Duke of Westminster .Rent 2%6 a week if not paid you were throw out in the street.
            Yet the majority voted for the bloody Tories every time. The working people here do the same.Last election Solo mums and unemployed saying “Key”s the Man”

        • millsy 3.1.1.3

          I dread the day when Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher dies because every newspaper and dignitary (inc. those who should know better) will go on and on and on about how bloody wonderful she was, and that Britain was better off because of her.

      • bad12 3.1.2

        Helen Clark possibly deserves the ‘ups’ for the current ‘do up’ of the Wellington City Council flats, if my memory serves me right, there was a deal struck with a previous Council by the Clark Government giving the Council X amount of cash for refurbishment if they agreed to not sell or change to market rents for X amount of years…

      • millsy 3.1.3

        I belive that the governments shrinking of the state housing will result on a similar outcome here.

    • gareth 3.2

      I tend to think the large influx of eastern Europeans has exasperated things in London, Coupled with the fact that many work in the grey economy for very little pay (It wasn’t uncommon to find poles earning as little as 20 quid a day as laborers) as such they are forced to live in squalid cramped conditions. It seemed at the time that there was very little appetite for addressing this as middle classed people loved their extremely hard working cheap cleaner or cut price builder meaning politicians were loath to address it.
      It also put downward pressure on the wages as their were plenty of people suddenly available who were prepared to work for next to nothing.

      A tories wet dream I suppose ….

      • grumpy 3.2.1

        My son lives down by Woolwich, truely an eye opener.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.2

        A tories wet dream I suppose ….

        Wage deflation leads to living standard deflation and working poverty, and also lowers business costs driving increased corporate profits and dividends to shareholders.

        See how it works?

  4. urban rascal 4

    Woke to the Disturbing news of Tony Blair’s return to the debate in the UK. Obviously war crimes aren’t enough to keep Blair off the masthead 10 years on.

    http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=692:the-return-of-the-king-tony-blair-and-the-magically-disappearing-blood&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69

  5. Pete 5

    Is it perhaps a little too easy to start a business in New Zealand?

    The European Union became concerned enough that last year it struck New Zealand from its so-called “white list” of countries that require only minimal customer due diligence for transactions involving financial and credit institutions. Concerned that New Zealand could be prone to money laundering and terrorist financing, the EU reaffirmed this year that New Zealand wouldn’t be on the list, which includes Australia, Canada and the U.S.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10823341

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      We did the neo-liberal thing and dumped regulations and now we’re beginning to find out what that actually means. Corruption abounds in a society once mostly free of it and, due to the lack of regulation and oversight, we can’t actually find it.

  6. Jackal 6

    Bob Jones – Asshole of the Week

    The Treaty of Waitangi talks about rights that are not lessened through the passage of time… It talks about sharing New Zealand so that all Kiwis can reap the rewards of living in this great country…

    • fender 6.1

      Good on ya Jackal.

      This gold plated asshole should stick to sitting in the audience at another corrupt boxing bout. Jones is an irrelevant voice with his racist rants and should not be given space in the Herald or anywhere else. One can only assume he has some kind of Gina Rinehart hold over this news outlet.

    • Bored 6.2

      Article 2 of the Treaty states “Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession;

      To me that means Maori unless they have gifted, sold or otherwise agreed with the Crown have full and exclusive possession of the river….as a proponent of “property” rights which bit of it does Bob Jones fail to understand? Or does he think Maori property rights are second class and invalid?

    • mike e 6.3

      No wonder his daughter ended up in the sex industry.

      • Bored 6.3.1

        Tell me more, sounds like some salacious gossip, could be fun.

      • Colonial Viper 6.3.2

        Sadly, lots of women do, who can’t make ends meet, or can’t access the financial resources needed to take different options.

        • QoT 6.3.2.1

          And stunningly, some sex workers choose sex work willingly because it suits them and they enjoy it!

          • Colonial Viper 6.3.2.1.1

            Given that her family is worth many millions of dollars, that is also a possibility.

          • felix 6.3.2.1.2

            And either way it’s not really something to slag someone off for just because their Dad’s a bit of a dick.

    • millsy 6.4

      Interesting how the right wingers seem to support the undisturbed right of New Zealanders to enjoy our natural resources, ie rivers, beaches, lakes etc…

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    The prime minister is literally an ass. http://bit.ly/PfHUkC

    • fender 7.1

      ..”the law is an ass”

      ..”but I’m comfortable with what he’s done”

      Fits in well with Frankly Speaking: Identifying a hypocrite

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Ah, so John Key admits that he’s comfortable with fraud (signing a document without reading it), lying (just how many convenient memory leaks did Banks have) and apparent bribery (saying that help will be available if a donation is forthcoming). We know he’s comfortable with this as he hasn’t fired Banks.

      • Vicky32 7.2.1

        Ah, so John Key admits that he’s comfortable with fraud (signing a document without reading it),

        I heard Trevor Mallard ping him well, on 1 News tonight! :D

        • Morrissey 7.2.1.1

          John Key admits that he’s comfortable with fraud (signing a document without reading it)

          Remember the way the corporate media went after Helen Clark in the absurd “Paintergate” furore? Which is more serious—Clark carelessly scribbling her signature on a piece of paper at a charity event or Key signing his name to indicate he has read documents that in fact he has not read?

          • Carol 7.2.1.1.1

            In the House this week, Banks used the eg of Clark and the signed painting as something far worse than anything he’d done:

            http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/5/e/4/50HansQ_20120731_00000007-7-Schools-Charter-Progress.htm

            Hon Trevor Mallard: Will the curriculum in charter schools include a unit on ethics; if so, will it make it clear that it is unethical to lie to the media and, through them, to the people of New Zealand?

            Hon JOHN BANKS: It could include a provision for the teaching of ethics, and the charter school kids might be taught that one should not sign a painting if one did not paint it, because that is forgery—that is forgery.

            PS: what if a celebrity signs a painting of themselves that they didn’t actually paint?

  8. Johnm 8

    Privatization: The Big Joke That Isn’t Funny
    by Paul Buchheit

    The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That’s more than a joke, it’s an insult, it’s a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.

    Various studies have identified the ‘benefits’ of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. These studies have concluded that:

    “Public good” and “profit motive” don’t mix. It’s a cruel joke to put them together, except in the distorted world of people who view the needs of society as products to be bought and sold.

    Link:http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/30-2

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Good link. I think this sums it up:

      As summarized by the UN’s International Policy Centre, “Privatisation has failed on several counts…the focus of investors on cost recovery has not promoted social objectives, such as reducing poverty and promoting equity.”

      The League of Women Voters takes the position that “Privatization is not appropriate when the provision of services by the government is necessary to preserve the common good, to protect national or local security or to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.”

      “Public good” and “profit motive” don’t mix. It’s a cruel joke to put them together, except in the distorted world of people who view the needs of society as products to be bought and sold.

      And we’ve seen that in NZ. The failure of the privatised telecommunications to get us the services that we need while pulling billions out in profit is proof that privatisation fails the community.

      • framu 8.2.1

        also from the same article (but down in the comments)
        ———————
        As a resident of North Fulton County, I can tell you of a few things that allowed Sandy Springs take this path. At the time of incorporation is was pretty much build up, all infrastructure was already in place, they haven’t had to build any thoroughfares or other capital intensive public works. The tax base was already there, lots of businesses and many very well of neighborhoods, and very few poor ones (but even these look rather fancy if you compare them to some places in South Atlanta).
        ——————
        I lived in Sandy Springs for 5 years. I agree with gandalfhah. Also, they haven’t done a very good job of keeping up the infrastrucutre…try getting from Johnson Ferry Road to Perimeter Mall at 5 pm.
        ——————-
        Whilst outsourcing is a good idea for some things a government does, I’m not convinced that every city can and ought to engage in such widespread outsourcing. As others have noted, the city started out with good infrastructure already – and more importantly, I don’t think we should find it surprising that a rich suburb, which thus has better access to tax revenues, and less costs associated with poorer residents, is in rude financial health.
        ———————
        How about interview some residents that can attest to the level of service now provided by these companies. There is a flip side to every coin and I think you should show that in your article.
        ——————-
        so maybe not the randian nirvana your trying to sell it as

        (whats with the cloud pop up – its really annoying when your trying to edit something)

        • McFlock 8.2.1.1

          not to mention the wonders on can do in an extremely affluent town, compared with the rest of the country. I.e. the citizens can afford to pick up where the city falls short.

      • mike e 8.2.2

        It looks like the destiny church head quarters

  9. David Clark has come up with a cost for increasing the minimum wage – $427m.

    It’s not clear if that is just estimated wage increase costs or if it includes normal wage overheads. It’s also not clear if it includes wages currently at or greater than $15 that would be pushed up.

    What seems to be clear is Clark’s lack of understanding of business fundamentals. It also seems clear he’s out of touch with Dunedin business group leaders.

    He dismissed the arguments put forward by Mr Scandrett and Mr Christie, saying BusinessNZ was running the “same line” throughout New Zealand.

    Clark seems to be treating them like opposing politicians rather than groups in his electorate he should be working alongside.

    http://yourdunedin.org/2012/07/31/david-clark-versus-employers/

  10. Carol 10

    Touche, Trev……. supplementary to Banks about Charter Schools curriculum, reading – will it include something teaching children to read documents before signing them,…etc, etc…. and another supplementary about forgetting donations.

    • gobsmacked 10.1

      Banks coped with it easily enough. As soon as the question was tabled this morning, it was obvious what the follow-ups would be about. Labour in the House never seem to ask themselves the basic question: “Can you see it coming?”. In this case, anyone could, even Banks.

      They had an hour of free targets to play with, and they only really hit Pita Sharples, which is like candy from a baby.

      • Carol 10.1.1

        Well, I didn’t see it coming, was expecting a serious question, and laughed at the question that came. At one stage Banks looked a little miffed and emotional, but then he recovered and retaliated.

        Yes, Pita looked pitiful.

        • gobsmacked 10.1.1.1

          No offence, but it was Banks’ first day back since he got off, and the media were only asking him about one thing, and it wasn’t charter schools. So an experienced MP would have known exactly what to expect in a supplementary question from Trevor Mallard, regardless of the primary pretext.

          Here’s another predictable one, from today …

          David Shearer: “Is his conclusion from the police report that where they said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute, that is the same as complying with the law?”

          Rt Hon JOHN KEY: “Well, if there was a case to be answered, a prosecution would be taken. I know the Labour Party members would know about that, because they face lots of potential prosecutions.”

          (italics added)

          The follow-up? It’s been a recent post on the Standard, so it’s not hard … compare and contrast, the case of Bradley Ambrose. Key said – in Parliament – that Ambrose was guilty.

          “In the light of that answer, does he stand by his statement in this House … (etc)”

          How could the leader of the Opposition not be prepared for that? A goldfish memory? He lost his bit of paper? Nobody in his office saw it coming?

          Not good enough.

          • gobsmacked 10.1.1.1.1

            Correction to my previous comment:

            Key said of Ambrose “At the end of the day, his actions have been deemed unlawful.”, but I can’t find a record of him saying it in Parliament.

            That doesn’t change the essential point – Key found Ambrose guilty, and Banks not guilty. And since it took me a few minutes on dial-up to find the quote, it beggars belief that Shearer’s staff couldn’t.

  11. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_careerists_20120723

    The Careerists
    Posted on Jul 23, 2012

    By Chris Hedges

    The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.

    Good. Evil. These words do not mean anything to them. They are beyond morality. They are there to make corporate systems function. If insurance companies abandon tens of millions of sick to suffer and die, so be it. If banks and sheriff departments toss families out of their homes, so be it. If financial firms rob citizens of their savings, so be it. If the government shuts down schools and libraries, so be it. If the military murders children in Pakistan or Afghanistan, so be it. If commodity speculators drive up the cost of rice and corn and wheat so that they are unaffordable for hundreds of millions of poor across the planet, so be it. If Congress and the courts strip citizens of basic civil liberties, so be it. If the fossil fuel industry turns the earth into a broiler of greenhouse gases that doom us, so be it. They serve the system. The god of profit and exploitation. The most dangerous force in the industrialized world does not come from those who wield radical creeds, whether Islamic radicalism or Christian fundamentalism, but from legions of faceless bureaucrats who claw their way up layered corporate and governmental machines. They serve any system that meets their pathetic quota of needs.

    These systems managers believe nothing. They have no loyalty. They are rootless. They do not think beyond their tiny, insignificant roles. They are blind and deaf. They are, at least regarding the great ideas and patterns of human civilization and history, utterly illiterate. And we churn them out of universities. Lawyers. Technocrats. Business majors. Financial managers. IT specialists. Consultants. Petroleum engineers. “Positive psychologists.” Communications majors. Cadets. Sales representatives. Computer programmers. Men and women who know no history, know no ideas. They live and think in an intellectual vacuum, a world of stultifying minutia. They are T.S. Eliot’s “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men.” “Shape without form, shade without colour,” the poet wrote. “Paralysed force, gesture without motion.”

    It was the careerists who made possible the genocides, from the extermination of Native Americans to the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians to the Nazi Holocaust to Stalin’s liquidations. They were the ones who kept the trains running. They filled out the forms and presided over the property confiscations. They rationed the food while children starved. They manufactured the guns. They ran the prisons. They enforced travel bans, confiscated passports, seized bank accounts and carried out segregation. They enforced the law. They did their jobs.

    Political and military careerists, backed by war profiteers, have led us into useless wars, including World War I, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And millions followed them. Duty. Honor. Country. Carnivals of death. They sacrifice us all. In the futile battles of Verdun and the Somme in World War I, 1.8 million on both sides were killed, wounded or never found. In July of 1917 British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, despite the seas of dead, doomed even more in the mud of Passchendaele. By November, when it was clear his promised breakthrough at Passchendaele had failed, he jettisoned the initial goal—as we did in Iraq when it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and in Afghanistan when al-Qaida left the country—and opted for a simple war of attrition. Haig “won” if more Germans than allied troops died. Death as score card. Passchendaele took 600,000 more lives on both sides of the line before it ended. It is not a new story. Generals are almost always buffoons. Soldiers followed John the Blind, who had lost his eyesight a decade earlier, to resounding defeat at the Battle of Crécy in 1337 during the Hundred Years War. We discover that leaders are mediocrities only when it is too late.

    David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs: “[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”

    Here you have the explanation of why our ruling elites do nothing about climate change, refuse to respond rationally to economic meltdown and are incapable of coping with the collapse of globalization and empire. These are circumstances that interfere with the very viability and sustainability of the system. And bureaucrats know only how to serve the system. They know only the managerial skills they ingested at West Point or Harvard Business School. They cannot think on their own. They cannot challenge assumptions or structures. They cannot intellectually or emotionally recognize that the system might implode. And so they do what Napoleon warned was the worst mistake a general could make—paint an imaginary picture of a situation and accept it as real. But we blithely ignore reality along with them. The mania for a happy ending blinds us. We do not want to believe what we see. It is too depressing. So we all retreat into collective self-delusion.

    In Claude Lanzmann’s monumental documentary film “Shoah,” on the Holocaust, he interviews Filip Müller, a Czech Jew who survived the liquidations in Auschwitz as a member of the “special detail.” Müller relates this story:

    “One day in 1943 when I was already in Crematorium 5, a train from Bialystok arrived. A prisoner on the ‘special detail’ saw a woman in the ‘undressing room’ who was the wife of a friend of his. He came right out and told her: ‘You are going to be exterminated. In three hours you’ll be ashes.’ The woman believed him because she knew him. She ran all over and warned to the other women. ‘We’re going to be killed. We’re going to be gassed.’ Mothers carrying their children on their shoulders didn’t want to hear that. They decided the woman was crazy. They chased her away. So she went to the men. To no avail. Not that they didn’t believe her. They’d heard rumors in the Bialystok ghetto, or in Grodno, and elsewhere. But who wanted to hear that? When she saw that no one would listen, she scratched her whole face. Out of despair. In shock. And she started to scream.”

    Blaise Pascal wrote in “Pensées,” “We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us from seeing it.”

    Hannah Arendt, in writing “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” noted that Adolf Eichmann was primarily motivated by “an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement.” He joined the Nazi Party because it was a good career move. “The trouble with Eichmann,” she wrote, “was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

    “The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else,” Arendt wrote. “No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.”

    Gitta Sereny makes the same point in her book “Into That Darkness,” about Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka. The assignment to the SS was a promotion for the Austrian policeman. Stangl was not a sadist. He was soft-spoken and polite. He loved his wife and children very much. Unlike most Nazi camp officers, he did not take Jewish women as concubines. He was efficient and highly organized. He took pride in having received an official commendation as the “best camp commander in Poland.” Prisoners were simply objects. Goods. “That was my profession,” he said. “I enjoyed it. It fulfilled me. And yes, I was ambitious about that, I won’t deny it.” When Sereny asked Stangl how as a father he could kill children, he answered that he “rarely saw them as individuals. It was always a huge mass. … [T]hey were naked, packed together, running, being driven with whips. …” He later told Sereny that when he read about lemmings it reminded him of Treblinka.

    Christopher Browning’s collection of essays, “The Path to Genocide,” notes that it was the “moderate,” “normal” bureaucrats, not the zealots, who made the Holocaust possible. Germaine Tillion pointed out “the tragic easiness [during the Holocaust] with which ‘decent’ people could become the most callous executioners without seeming to notice what was happening to them.” The Russian novelist Vasily Grossman in his book “Forever Flowing” observed that “the new state did not require holy apostles, fanatic, inspired builders, faithful, devout disciples. The new state did not even require servants—just clerks.”

    “The most nauseating type of S.S. were to me personally the cynics who no longer genuinely believed in their cause, but went on collecting blood guilt for its own sake,” wrote Dr. Ella Lingens-Reiner in “Prisoners of Fear,” her searing memoir of Auschwitz. “Those cynics were not always brutal to the prisoners, their behavior changed with their mood. They took nothing seriously—neither themselves nor their cause, neither us nor our situation. One of the worst among them was Dr. Mengele, the Camp Doctor I have mentioned before. When a batch of newly arrived Jews was being classified into those fit for work and those fit for death, he would whistle a melody and rhythmically jerk his thumb over his right or his left shoulder—which meant ‘gas’ or ‘work.’ He thought conditions in the camp rotten, and even did a few things to improve them, but at the same time he committed murder callously, without any qualms.”

    These armies of bureaucrats serve a corporate system that will quite literally kill us. They are as cold and disconnected as Mengele. They carry out minute tasks. They are docile. Compliant. They obey. They find their self-worth in the prestige and power of the corporation, in the status of their positions and in their career promotions. They assure themselves of their own goodness through their private acts as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They sit on school boards. They go to Rotary. They attend church. It is moral schizophrenia. They erect walls to create an isolated consciousness. They make the lethal goals of ExxonMobil or Goldman Sachs or Raytheon or insurance companies possible. They destroy the ecosystem, the economy and the body politic and turn workingmen and -women into impoverished serfs. They feel nothing. Metaphysical naiveté always ends in murder. It fragments the world. Little acts of kindness and charity mask the monstrous evil they abet. And the system rolls forward. The polar ice caps melt. The droughts rage over cropland. The drones deliver death from the sky. The state moves inexorably forward to place us in chains. The sick die. The poor starve. The prisons fill. And the careerist, plodding forward, does his or her job.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      You really don’t need to copy/paste the entire article.

      Hey, LPrent, maybe a 500 word limit enforced server side?

    • McFlock 12.2

      On the flipside, you have career administrators who enable doctors, teachers and fire fighters to work more effectively. 
               
      Not all bureaucracy is bad. It’s the politicians and politically-appointed managers who direct whether a bureaucracy is good, bad or indifferent.

      • Morrissey 12.2.1

        Not all bureaucracy is bad.

        Hedges did not make that claim. Once again, you haven’t read something thoroughly.

    • marty mars 12.3

      maybe i just don’t get it. It seems to me that blaming careerists is similar to blaming the elite.

    • Colonial Viper 12.4

      If define a “careerist” as someone who operates in a role or organisation with the sole aim of furthering or buttressing their position and influence in that organisation, then yeah its a bad thing.

      If you define it as someone who is dedicated to their profession and organisation, gathering new experience and expertise over the years and striving to improve how they add value daily, then its a good thing.

  12. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10823341

    Has this had anything to do with Adam Feeley’s resignation?

    How come on Mr Feeley’s watch, Don Brash and John Banks were never charged for signing Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme registered prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009 which contained untrue statements?

    The ‘old boy’ network protecting DODGY John Banks?

    That’s how I for one ‘perceive’ it.

    [John Banks is the Leader of the NZ ACT Party and MP for Epsom, upon whose pivotal vote the Mixed Ownership Model Bill (which allows 'partial privatisation' of essential electricity assets) was passed 61 - 60. ]

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    Attendee: 2010 Transparency International Anti-Corruption Conference

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

  13. jellytussle 14

    Couldn’t help but chuckle at news thump today……I can see Bennett getting ideas from this!

    http://newsthump.com/2012/07/27/majority-of-paralympians-fit-enough-to-work-insists-iain-duncan-smith/

    • marty mars 14.1

      LOL – that was very good.

      I can imagine bennett saying all of that – “Enough is enough is enough is enough” indeed.

    • Vicky32 14.2

      Couldn’t help but chuckle at news thump today……I can see Bennett getting ideas from this!

      Goodness, I am dense! It took me about 5 minutes to realise – whew, it’s satire, though knowing him…

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  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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