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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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    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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