Archive for March, 2008

Obama faces challenging times

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, March 23rd, 2008 - 10 comments

Some commentators have been drawing parallels between John Key and Barack Obama’s style of appeal. That was all very well when it appeared to be going Obama’s way but now in this recent article in the Guardian suggests that Barack Obama is also facing challenging times. Barack Obama looks at his wireless device in Beckley, […]

Clarke and Dawe on the sub-prime crisis

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 am, March 22nd, 2008 - 5 comments

Steve posted a stick-figure explanation of the sub-prime mortgage crisis earlier in the week. Here are ABC commedians Clarke and Dawe giving their take:

John’s quick act sets up another flip

Written By: - Date published: 1:24 pm, March 21st, 2008 - 19 comments

Two days ago we ran a piece called ‘If I were ACT’s campaign strategist‘ which suggested ‘ACT needs to lay claim to the true right, without going so extreme that National has to disown them, by articulating a series of classic right-wing policies including: tax cuts, spending cuts, asset sales, and deregulation’. I didn’t realise […]

Whatever, Roger

Written By: - Date published: 5:38 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 74 comments

NZers’ wallets will bulge under Act, says Roger Douglas. Sure they will Roger – with the bills from our kids’ user-pays schools, our privatised hospital fees, water charges, private accident insurance premiums and, if your party gets half a chance, the privatised oxygen from the air we breathe. Because we all know who gets rich […]

Five years of hell

Written By: - Date published: 3:10 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 93 comments

It is five years since the US and allies invaded Iraq, and the war is far from over. Every day, there is fighting and people continue to die. Four million Iraqi children have lived their whole lives during war. World-famous economist Joseph Sitglitz estimates the war has cost the world US$6 trillion – the annual […]

Key, the Kiwi Ken

Written By: - Date published: 2:39 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 70 comments

For harmonious holiday gatherings of family and friends it’s sometimes said that the topics of religion and politics are best avoided. At least one among us has nothing to worry about however. As with his politics, it turns out that when Slippery John talks religion he’ll be whoever you want him to be. Agnostic John […]

‘Try the dead rat, it’s delicious’

Written By: - Date published: 1:18 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 18 comments

Hat tip: Chris S in the comments.

GDP up; parents’ time with kids plummets

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 18 comments

One of the most interesting questions from the audience at the Stiglitz interview in Wellington last week was whether he thought we were focusing unduly on “economic growth” as the sole indicator of societal wellbeing. The point being that, as in the headline, it’s easy to imagine situations in which GDP’s rising but quality of […]

Obama vs Key

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, March 20th, 2008 - 18 comments

With Barack Obama doing so well in the Democrat primaries and being seen as the candidate of change, National wants to paint John Key as the kiwi Obama. And some in the media have lapped it up pointing to such amazing similarities as: ‘they were both born in 1961!’, ‘they both have two children!’, ‘they’re […]

Rodney’s weightloss secret revealed! (maybe)

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, March 20th, 2008 - 22 comments

We’d assumed it was all the dancing but perhaps there’s another explanation. Stuff reports that: ACT on Campus – the youth branch of the party – apparently sold BZP party pills last month for $1 each to Auckland University students as an inducement to get them to join ACT.

Nats talk up crime, policy absent

Written By: - Date published: 5:04 pm, March 19th, 2008 - 20 comments

As part of its ‘New Zealand sucks’ campaign, National is on its high horse over an international survey that shows New Zealand’s crime victimisation rate is one of the higher ones in a group of 30 developed countries. Comparing crime levels across countries is bloody hard because of different laws, reporting practices, and reporting rates […]

Is it a recession Mr Key?

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, March 19th, 2008 - 26 comments

I am intrigued by the recent coverage of the state of the economy. We have reports that things will get bumpy from some economists, with others saying dire predictions are “premature grandstanding”. Cullen doesn’t appear too worried, saying the economy’s in better shape than most to weather the storm. It was nice to hear this […]

If I were ACT’s campaign strategist

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, March 19th, 2008 - 27 comments

What strategy should the parties pursue ahead of the election? This series of posts will attempt to answer that question, party by party, starting with ACT. ACT must gain support from hard-right voters who are dissatisfied with John Key’s wishy-washy centrism. They’ve made a good start of it by getting back Roger Douglas, the Dalai Lama of big […]

What the hell is the sub-prime crisis?

Written By: - Date published: 10:46 am, March 19th, 2008 - 48 comments

The sub-prime crisis is at the heart of the world’s current economic problems. It all boils down to financiers playing fast and loose with the rules of how money works, and the US government not keeping an eye on them. Essentially, they created a whole new class of interest-bearing pieces of paper that were supposedly […]

National still evasive over KiwiSaver plans

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, March 19th, 2008 - 17 comments

You do have to wonder sometimes what it takes to get a straight answer out of a National party MP. Having recently given Brian Connell a bollocking for being evasive on camera, Bill English has now pulled out a performance of his own. He was far more polite of course, and at no stage made […]

Join the great Sydney exodus

Written By: - Date published: 5:07 pm, March 18th, 2008 - 9 comments

Has the prospect of a Kiwi winter made you think longingly of a move across the ditch? Well if Sydney was your destination you may want to think twice. A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald points out that: “The latest Herald/Nielsen poll found 21 per cent of people surveyed are thinking of leaving […]

Guest post: Simon Tegg on Peak Oil

Written By: - Date published: 1:57 pm, March 18th, 2008 - 16 comments

Meet Guest post. Guest post is 32 years old, he likes long walks on the beach and lively political debate. He is our new vehicle for experts on interesting and relevant topics to contribute posts to The Standard. Our first guest is Simon Tegg, who has done research on peak oil. It says something about […]

Counting our collective coin

Written By: - Date published: 1:44 pm, March 18th, 2008 - 9 comments

Check out this groovy little gadget. You put your money in the slot and it gets counted, with the power of ‘digital’! Maybe we could all chip in and get one for the IRD. Seriously though, quite a cock-up on the IRD’s behalf, using the wrong figures so tax revenue was undercounted by $600 million […]

Under the bed

Written By: - Date published: 1:39 pm, March 18th, 2008 - 10 comments

More on mental health

Written By: - Date published: 12:36 pm, March 18th, 2008 - 8 comments

After reading Steve’s piece about suicide prevention and the subsequent comments I’ve decided a short history lesson on this issue is needed. In the late eighties and early nineties the mental health model was shifted from an institutional model to the ‘recovery model’. Effectively this meant mental health patients were shifted from facilities such as […]

They know their man

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, March 18th, 2008 - 6 comments

This week’s NBR editorial, titled “Smarten up, John Key”, frets that Key keeps showing himself to be a slippery, policy lightweight (can’t have people seeing that side of him until the election is safely won). They have three recommendations for how Key can smarten up: ‘First, is to keep his mouth shut when asked questions […]

New Ansell billboard

Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, March 18th, 2008 - 4 comments

Nationalise Air New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, March 18th, 2008 - 64 comments

The recent scandal over Air New Zealand underpaying its Chinese workers to the tune of four times less than their New Zealand counterparts comes as no surprise given the sick management culture at our national carrier, and highlights some serious contradictions in the airline’s ownership structure. Here we have a company that’s 80% owned by […]

Focus on suicide

Written By: - Date published: 9:02 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 28 comments

The Government has launched a new suicide prevention action plan. Suicide is a tragedy that has touched several Ministers personally and it is good to see them putting more effort into confronting it. The aim of the strategy is to improve mental and social well-being for at risk people as well as providing more effective […]

The Hawke’s Bay DHB report

Written By: - Date published: 4:52 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 34 comments

The report into the Hawke’s Bay DHB is out and, like everything to do with DHBs, it makes boring reading. That tireless muck-raker, Tony Ryall, won’t like it but the report reveals no corruption just sloppy work by DHB board member Peter Hausmann and the DHB Board. Hausmann worked for Healthcare NZ on a tender for […]

Colmar Brunton

Written By: - Date published: 3:39 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 11 comments

TVNZ had another Colmar Brunton poll last night. The gap between National and Labour remains substantial, but has closed by four points since last poll. UPDATE: In a comical twist that bodes poorly for Jim Anderton and Peter Dunne, it seems Colmar Brunton has the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party now polling as high as both […]

Family First to support “love vacation”?

Written By: - Date published: 2:57 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 13 comments

Finnish MP Tommy Tabermann (SDP) has proposed granting all employees a paid 7-day “love vacation” once a year. According to Tabermann, the purpose of such vacations would be to prevent relations from disintegrating and the spouses from drifting apart. During the seven days, couples could devote themselves to each other ‘both at an erotic and […]

John Ansell’s reverse Midas touch

Written By: - Date published: 2:07 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 21 comments

Oh dear. It started with Roger Douglas and now political ad-man John Ansell has got on board the ACT train to electoral oblivion as well. Ansell’s most famous work to date is the National Party’s racist iwi/kiwi billboards of the 2005 election but our sources tell us his stocks dropped considerably with the party after […]

SST recycles discredited National party spin

Written By: - Date published: 12:28 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 7 comments

Rob Stock apparently holds several awards for personal finance reporting but looks unlikely to win another based on his rehash of National Party lines in the SST this weekend. I can understand the desire to get these pesky articles to the publisher when the sun’s shining and there are better things to be doing outside […]

Reacting to the Tibet unrest

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, March 17th, 2008 - 22 comments

The clashes between rioters and police in Tibet that have left up to 100 dead are a particularly tough issue for New Zealand to address. Our principles tell us we should support human rights, the Prime Minister has said that New Zealand supports the right to peaceful protest and condemns any disproportionate violence against even […]

Communists on the move in Germany

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 pm, March 16th, 2008 - 5 comments

Here’s a lead line from a Washington Post article that will strike fear and horror into the heart of any self-respecting rightwinger: “Nineteen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the old East German Communist Party is making a comeback.” “Known these days simply as the Left, the ex-communists have broadened their appeal by […]

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