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Blogs and election fatigue

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, August 18th, 2020 - 28 comments

One of the characteristics of a political blog in New Zealand is the way that our operations reflect the political cycle. Coming into an election after mid-year, we have a steadily increasing level of traffic, posts, and comments. Moderators, commenters and even authors start showing a more cranky disposition. Now we have a extra month of the campaign. Be kind. Because there tends to be a problem when the system operator gets cranky.

Let them have gardening leave…

Written By: - Date published: 6:59 pm, August 17th, 2020 - 25 comments

“A bunch of retired MPs will now have to come back to work as well, which they will no doubt hate. But at least with current border restrictions, they are unlikely to have fled the country.”. Uh – why exactly? They are almost a sixth of the current parliament. They’re out the door, and there is no substantive work for them to do. I’m sure that puritans of thought will think otherwise – but I think gardening leave is appropiate.

Extend advance voting

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, August 17th, 2020 - 11 comments

One thing that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should look at asking the Electoral Commission to do would be to extend the period of Advance voting. This was more than a third of the votes in 2017, and is ideal for pandemic voting. It allows to the pressure on polling places to reduce to something similar to queuing for the supermarket.

Covid-19 vs 1918 influenza

Written By: - Date published: 5:29 pm, August 15th, 2020 - 67 comments

Reading a number of articles in the NZ Herald in recent days calling for change in how we handle outbreaks of covid-19 in NZ. The implied precept is the damage covid-19 poses to the population of NZ over time is less than the immediate economic damage. That covid-19 is like the flu and results in herd immunity. However it is far worse than the influenza pandemic of 1918, much longer lasting and we probably won’t reach herd immunity naturally for generations. 

Well that is a bit shit. Auckland level 3. Rest of NZ level 2

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 pm, August 11th, 2020 - 48 comments

Four cases of community transmission from the same family – presumably without an obvious cause. Lock down for 3 days in the Auckland super city area at level 3 starting noon Wednesday. Level 2 for everywhere else outside of Auckland. Allows time for contact tracing and a later decision once facts are known. Good response.

Mea culpa

Written By: - Date published: 12:48 pm, August 2nd, 2020 - 33 comments

Back in 2017 I was upset, we had a leadership vote only in caucus – just before the election. I didn’t realise at the time that Andrew Little was actually stepping down in favour of Jacinda Ardern. She’d had the potential, but I hadn’t realised that Little thought she was up for the task. I’m delighted with the result. Thank you Andrew.

Quarantine costs – critics fruitlessly whine

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 am, July 30th, 2020 - 28 comments

I’m reasonably happy with where the coalition wound up on the quarantine cost recovery. It sends a clear economic signal to businesses and the fools who want to travel during a global pandemic. It will discourage some of the stupidity of the travel addicted. It also balances the legal position. Something that most of the critics clearly aren’t thinking through and cause them to whine without realistic alternatives

Pandemic: a flourishing enterprise. Business needs to get real.

Written By: - Date published: 9:49 am, July 28th, 2020 - 40 comments

A few weeks ago we were at 14 million cumulative confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide. A million more cases in just 4 days. Now a few weeks later, we are at 16 million confirmed cases worldwide. The lobbyists and business groups affected by our blocked borders need to get real. We won’t be opening our borders until we get a widely used vaccine later next year (at the earliest). It is too expensive to do so.

COVID-19: A human adapted virus

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, July 24th, 2020 - 23 comments

It has been obvious about COVID-19 that it is very well adapted to humans. It has evolved a good entry system to the humans, often has mild symptoms, long pre-symptomatic infectious period, and doesn’t kill many of its hosts. What has been less obvious is where it came from. It looks more like South East Asia rather than China.

Authorised by me

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 23rd, 2020 - Comments Off on Authorised by me

I finally perused the June 2020 Third Party handbook put out by the Electoral Commission. This morning I activated my authorisation notice. Activists should consider what adverts or promotional material that they’d like me to put up in the right column on the site. It must be directly related to the election day for parliament or for the referendums. And conform to the handbook.

National needs a safe pair of hands: Amy Adams

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, July 14th, 2020 - 98 comments

I realise that National probably won’t appreciate my advice. However I actually would like to have a viable competent opposition. I don’t even want an election to be as much of a pushover as this one is likely to be. If I was a stalwart National supporter or a member of their caucus, I’d be pushing for Amy Adams.

National’s ethics

Written By: - Date published: 10:05 am, July 13th, 2020 - 49 comments

There is a particularly resonant piece by Tim Watkin in Pundit. “National’s problem with privacy and privilege”. I’m only surprised that he seems to think that the National party is redeemable. They’re so into their internal myths that they fail to regard anyone or any threat as unless their voting base poll well on it. But that is National for you – they’ve consistent…. Stupid, unhelpful and short on ethics.

Requiem for a smelter

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, July 9th, 2020 - 53 comments

New Zealand was always a odd place to have a aluminium smelter. Untapped hydroelectricity capacity at the bottom of the world. But thousands of kilometers from raw material sources. Tens of thousands of kilometers from the major markets. Now our ever rising electricity prices show that we really need that 13% of power in our electricity market rather than making aluminium. 

National’s dilemma – business as usual is failing them.

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 am, July 6th, 2020 - 99 comments

Audrey Young’s take in Granny Herald was interesting. “No ordinary Labour speech by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern”. That is because the political ‘business as usual’ approach by the business orientation of National campaigning using the politics of fear and envy doesn’t work well in times of crisis. Business simply has too short a viewpoint to be acceptable in government at present – or increasingly in our uncertain future.

Judith Collins – dirty politics hypocrite.

Written By: - Date published: 1:31 pm, June 28th, 2020 - 19 comments

I’ve just been reading Andrea Vance’s review of Judith Collin’s released biography. One thing that usually infuriates me is whining arseholes. I have always thought Judith Collins has always been one of them. Vindictive, small-minded, and ignorant. She whines even through a review that merely quotes her.

We don’t know how lucky we are

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, June 24th, 2020 - 32 comments

Looking at the rises in covid-19 infections worldwide is just damn depressing. Looking at the media and Nat supporters, the world, and covid-19 -ll I can say is thank you for the internet. And the kiwis who aren’t listening to the whining about here because they can see the slow disaster unfolding elsewhere with incompetent governments.

Humans – doing it to themselves

Written By: - Date published: 11:48 am, June 23rd, 2020 - 30 comments

About the only thing that surprised me was that it took so long for a pandemic to really break out into the modern world. Because our evolutionary and recorded history is mainly punctuated and constrained by disease and environmental change. We invented large cities many times in the past and lost them to plague or drought. It looks like we’re going through that phase again – just at a larger level.

Viable treatment – cheap and proven

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, June 17th, 2020 - 9 comments

A medical treatment of drug used since the 1960s in medicine has proven to be effective in reducing the worst effects of human body over-reactive immune responses to covid-19 infections. This will be a boon for the countries with under developed hospital systems that are at the forefront of the current rising wave of infections. And it isn’t quack ‘science’.

Covid-19 still raging.

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, June 15th, 2020 - 25 comments

A quick look at rising second wave in the US as covid-19 digs deeper into the less populated states and counties. Because of its deliberate lack of governmental cohesion, the US is a rack of petri dishes testing different strategies. When that comes to disease control and covid-19, that strategy is a bit of a disaster.

Direct small business loan scheme is now working

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, May 27th, 2020 - 26 comments

It was interesting reading this morning that the updated small business owner loan scheme is now working (unlike the previous guarantee through the banks version). National’s new Small Business shadow minister Todd Muller should be all over this between now and the election offering helpful suggestions. I’m going to be fascinated looking at those to see what type of small business he is trying to help…

The current National party.

Written By: - Date published: 3:06 pm, May 24th, 2020 - 62 comments

The change of leadership inside of National is essentially meaningless. All it seems to have started is exposing the kind of internecine factional warfare that is lurking below their party surface. I can’t see the inexperienced National team, even with Amy Adams back in it, being able to make the kinds of long-term decisions required in a modern world.

Don’t infect your feline master!

Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, May 16th, 2020 - 16 comments

In terrible news, our feline masters can both get covid-19, and they can infect other cats. Fortunately so far they have largely been asymptomatic apart from some big cats.

We don’t know if there can be cat to human transmission. But I suspect it is likely. Obvious implications about being a issue for breaking transmission chains.

Covid-19: may be endemic

Written By: - Date published: 8:51 am, May 15th, 2020 - 53 comments

Like measles, covid-19 could become endemic. Never dying out entirely. Needing to be controlled in human denser populations into the indefinite future. That is the warning from top World Health Organisation officials. Like me, they’re looking at reported research into covid-19 immunities and the picture isn’t encouraging. This is no time to be complacent.

Viruses love liberty – they can breed more.

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, May 14th, 2020 - 25 comments

Viruses and other diseases simply don’t care about abstractions like ‘human rights’. They just want to breed. We need a better legislative toolkit to deal with epidemics. There is only so long that a draconian state of emergency should be maintained. Like 1918 we need to start thinking about the future Health Act with reserve powers like level 2 and 1. In the meantime, we’ll deal with the virus with this imperfect act as a tool.

Dimwitted habeas corpus duo

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, May 11th, 2020 - 28 comments

The well-known duo of Dermot Nottingham and Robert McKinney were the appellants in habeas corpus High Court case against Arden, Bloomfield, and Stuart-Black over the covid-19 lockdown. As was usual for this pair, the grounds that they made their case on were completely flawed, failed to be presented correctly, and make a damn good case against self-representation from vexatious litigants like them.

Transmission Gully PPP

Written By: - Date published: 10:46 am, May 7th, 2020 - 56 comments

I’d agree with what No Right Turn says..
“The entire project looks to be an expensive failure. Rather than transferring risk to the private sector, it turns out to be the usual scam of privatising profits and socialising losses.”

dear sysop: on covid-19 debt

Written By: - Date published: 3:33 pm, April 25th, 2020 - 60 comments

We put in guest posts occasionally.  These days I’m the person who runs the email account and sees the general ones. Mostly I don’t give any feedback as much as anything else because a lack of time. But I should. This is the first to get that editorial attention. The topic itself is worth discussing. What is the process of raising debt for the cobid-19 economic response.

New electorate boundaries

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, April 20th, 2020 - 37 comments

I missed it, but we got the new electorate boundaries on Friday. Now electorate boundaries simply don’t matter as much as they used to because of MMP. These days mostly the only people who notice them are electorate MPs, political parties that are too close to the 5% list party boundary, and of course sock-puppet parties like Act and their National party hand. Plus of course political blog sites.

Don’t plan on a vaccine or persistent natural immunity.

Written By: - Date published: 3:42 pm, April 18th, 2020 - 93 comments

Don’t plan on a vaccine or persistent natural immunity. Unless we’re incredibly lucky, neither are very likely for much of the coming decade. We don’t have the bat immunity systems. Learn to embrace the bets of the future rather than the clinging to the comfy blanket of the past that has now gone.

From the inside out

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, April 8th, 2020 - 62 comments

I feel that many kiwis are quite unaware exactly how exceptional our plague performance has been so far. It is interesting reading the perspective published in the Washington Post by a recently returned kiwi. Less interesting was the mathematical illiteracy on the MP David Seymour who managed to ignore all medical facts while advising on how to bulk kill our citizens.

Bill Gates – lets prevent the next inevitable epidemic!

Written By: - Date published: 9:56 pm, April 5th, 2020 - 37 comments

Bill and Melinda Gates have been plowing wealth into mitigating and preventing epidemics over the last decade. Like the World Health Organisation and just about anyone with any sense of medical history, he predicted very accurately the type of epidemic we are now facing – a worldwide respiratory pandemic. He talks about the current pandemic, and how to prevent the next one.

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