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Open mike 01/06/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 1st, 2021 - 101 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 Policy).

Step up to the mike …

101 comments on “Open mike 01/06/2021 ”

  1. Ad 1

    Local government politics in its truly lowest form: the Manuwatu District Council argues about Maori Wards, with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor repeatedly undercutting councillors and plotting vigorously to stop them, but then finally at the last minute folding under pressure … all set out in LGOIMA'd (political Darwin Award) emails …


  2. Pataua4life 2

    What are the odds on Mickey S writing a post about Nick Smith leaving parliament under some controversy?

    Better that even I say.

    • Pataua4life 2.1


      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        And your point is?

        Analysis of the continued destruction of the main right wing party in Aotearoa I think is something that needs to be analysed and written about.

        • Pataua4life

          Just that you don't write any thing else apart from a critic of the right. Your views seem very myopic and head in the sand stuff. The fact that I correctly called this adds weight to my point.

          • mickysavage

            I write a fair bit about the right but only because they present such easy targets. Over the past month I have written about UK politics, Samoa, the budget, fair pay agreements, how I thought the Government’s public sector wage freeze was wrong and how Trevor Mallard overstepped the mark when he made allegations against a former staffer.

          • Red Blooded One

            The sun will come up tomorrow, there I've predicted it. Aren't I clever /sarc

            I would have been disappointed if MS hadn't written something about a long standing member of National losing his job under controversial circumstances. It was a headline news topic last night so very topical today. That's what authors here are expected to do.

            There is plenty of critiquing of this Government on this site as well.

          • Incognito

            You have been commenting here for over four years, as far as I can tell, and your first comment here (https://thestandard.org.nz/daily-review-09032017/#comment-1308153) is perfectly aligned with your displeasure and misplaced criticism of MickySavage’s posts on this site. Why do you confirm and conform to stereotype RW whinger instead of offering something for robust debate, e.g. strong counter-views supported with good arguments? Your comments (AKA oeuvre) on this site have been paper thin, biased, and off-putting. So, please give me a break and take your complaint somewhere else, thanks.

          • greywarshark

            Just a suggestion Pataua4life – you could well change your pseudo to GetaLife. We are discussing how we might get a better life for NZ if we can make changes in past and present thinking so that we end up with better results for all.

            You just like to take a poke at what goes on here, showing your lack of concern about others and our country. I presume you are a person with money to spend and time to spare. Can you find something useful to write about with your time instead of going 'yahboo' at people's efforts to think, understand, devise forward plans that fit our needs.

  3. Stephen D 3

    Quoting Newsroom here:

    "Morrison stepped in as wingman, saying he concurred with Ardern and then went on to indirectly blame China for that line of questioning.

    “I think as great partners, friends, allies and indeed family, there will be those far from here who would seek to divide us, and they will not succeed.’’

    “I have no doubt there will be those who seek to undermine Australia and New Zealand’s security by seeking to create … points of difference, which are not there,’’ he said."

    One wonders if the Chinese have already infiltrated the Aussie media. Which is why they are shit stirring. Under orders from Beijing.

  4. dilettante



    1. a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts,….
      "a wealthy literary dilettante"


      dabbler · potterer · tinkerer · trifler · dallier · amateur · non-professional · non-specialist · layman · layperson

      • archaic

        a person with an amateur interest in the arts.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

  5. Ad 5

    Insert inappropriate jokes about Ashburton being cut off from the world.

  6. weka 6

    Why biological sex matters. Four important points here:

    1. women need separate spaces from men, based on biological sex, for safety reasons. Physical safety and mental health safety
    2. women in prisons have few rights and access to political agency or change
    3. Trans people can and should be supported in their own safety, without compromising the safety of women. Third spaces are a good idea.
    4. Self ID allows any man to ID as a woman or female, whether trans/NB or not. In this piece the point is made that soon we will be unable to count biological females separate from makes, we literally won’t have the data to make policy decisions on. Stats NZ already takes the view that gender ID should take precedence over sex, and Labour want to pass self ID legit this year.

    The women with whom I spoke – currently and formerly incarcerated at “Chowchilla” prison (as the Central California Correctional Facility is colloquially known), this state’s highest security women’s prison – are watching as biological males begin to self-identify as females and transfer in. Washington state, which has a similar policy, has already allowed a rapist and serial killer of women to transfer into the women’s prison. As is true in Washington state, California requires no sex reassignment surgeries or hormones for men to become eligible for transfer to the women’s prison. Self-identification is enough. With good reason, these women are terrified.


    • greywarshark 6.1

      Seem good points to consider weka. Fairness for all should be the outcome.

      • weka 6.1.1

        Indeed. No good reason we can’t protect women and trans people.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          What is the danger to women from transpeople ? Women prisoners form their own hierachies long before trans people have been in incarcerated with women, where they would be a small minority anyway.

          Unfortunately without good evidence to show 'dangers' are any greater than the normal confrontations that any prisoners face it would seem to be without justification.

          When I lived in Melbourne a friend lived next to small pub which he said had a lesbian night every saturday and the revving motorbikes at closing time would keep him up. I saw for myself the fights between women at closing time, something you might expect at any pub on a saturday night. Woman only spaces arent as violence free as might be expected.

          In US one of the reasons for racial segregation of residential areas was the supposed need to protect white women and families from the 'more violent blacks'

          • Nic the NZer

            There have already been a small number of sexual assault cases in the UK following self id transfer to womans prison.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Prisons have existing methods to deal with prisoners who are danger to other prisoners on a case by case basis.

              After all they are prisons and have special wings for violent prisoners and different ways of segregating them from the general population.

              Low security prisons are that because the prisoners are almost no danger.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            What is the danger to women from transpeople ?

            That question is answered in the article weka linked to…which of course you read?

            Nearly all women who commit violent crimes, they told me, do so under the influence of a brutal man (normally a domestic partner). That does not excuse their crimes, of course. Their victims deserved justice; the women deserved incarceration. But it does provide context to their understanding of their new roommates: men, in their experience, are frequently vicious and terrifying. Now, they will be trapped in close quarters with male bodies. Being terrorized in this manner was never part of their sentence.

            Many of these women are victims of sexual abuse. Rochelle Johnson is currently serving a life sentence in Chowchilla for felony murder (she was not the killer, but participated in a robbery in which the victim was stabbed). “How are you going to force me to live with somebody when you don’t know what I went through as a child–you don’t know what I went through to make me dislike men?” she said.

            Almost no one cares about these women. As convicted felons, many of them have lost their right to vote. Their social and political power is nearly non-existent. But when I sat down with them, I met women who spoke more sense about the reality of sex differences than I find almost anywhere.

            • weka

              why bother listening to women, or even reading links.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                Im not a student in a classroom who has to comment or reply on all of the statements or links in order to get a 'pass grade'

                Isnt the blog process supposed to be summarise lengthy links to show its relevancy ?

                • weka

                  I did that in comment 6. People don't have to read links, but if they then make arguments that ignore what is said in the link they risk appearing stupid (especially when the topic is ranging over a number of threads/days and the link answers questions that were raised) and it does tend to make debate messy when it's complex issues and hard held opinions on all sides.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  Your question strongly indicated you hadn't even read what was quoted in the original post…never mind that you clearly lack sufficient interest to read the entire article.

                  Why did you bother replying? Did you just read "trans people" and make the usual kneejerk response we've come to expect from many here?

                  This might help for the future…https://careersure.co.nz/effective-reading

          • weka

            "What is the danger to women from transpeople ?"

            Not trans people. Males. You know what rape is.

            Unfortunately without good evidence to show 'dangers' are any greater than the normal confrontations that any prisoners face it would seem to be without justification.

            Yes, let's allow women to be raped and assaulted while we gather data. We already know that males are dangerous in different ways than females. If you want to argue that trans women are less dangerous than other males, you'd need to produce some evidence.

            • weka

              fwiw, I think that most trans women aren't dangerous. I think the danger here is from a subset of trans women, and from men. Read the link, there's enough there to be concerned with.

              There's also the issue of self ID. If all that is needed to be a woman is a statement of self ID, then how does society tell the difference between men pretending to be women, and trans women? This is a serious question.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                I have no problem with gender self ID…whatever floats your boat and puts a smile on your dial. Although I do think its more than a little saddening that we still feel the need to identify as any gender. FFS, just be yourself and learn to be at least accepting of your own skin.

                Sex self ID on the other hand…I'm going to put a stake in the ground and say stop with the 'sex assigned at birth' crap and follow the science. Whatever the chromosomes say, 98% of babies are clearly either male or female and the remainder are intersex. This is how it has been for many, many decades. There is no good reason to change this convention unless the actual biology has changed due to some seismic evolutionary event.

                And it is "Sex" that is required for a birth certificate.

    • millsy 6.2

      A separate section for transgender prisoner seems to be a better idea.

      • McFlock 6.2.1

        I thought they were already supposed to have a seperate section for any prisoner who posed a threat to other prisoners. Seems like a basic duty of care thing.

        • Sacha

          Yes, imagine if they segregated based on actual propensity to violence rather than genitals or sexual attraction?

          • weka

            Like conviction for sexual assault?

            Fucks sake you two, you've been in this debate long enough to know these things:

            1. putting males in women's prisons is a problem for rape and sexual abuse survivors irrespective of any future acts of violence. There's also the issue of pregnancy.

            2. assessing for propensity for violence is already failing. Bear in mind that there are men with convictions for sexual assault being housed with women and raping them. This is already happening. Saying women can be collateral damage to gender ideology and prisons making mistakes is fucked up.

            3. men as a class are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of sexual violence, and women the recipients. It doesn't matter if you analyse that via ideas about genitals or hormones or socialisation or whatever, we know that that is true.

            • Sacha

              And we're mixing up sex and gender again. I really can't be bothered with this if you cannot get the basics straight. It is obviously an emotionally-driven argument and those feelings are quite real and reasonable. The pretzel logic applied afterwards, not so much.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                And we're mixing up sex and gender again.

                Excellent Sacha! You've created an opening for me to ask you to define "sex" and "gender".

                Take your time.wink

              • weka

                I'm not confused and I'm not mixing up sex and gender. I'm using the words men/women to apply to sex. Where I mean trans woman/trans man specifically, I will say.

                If you accept that there is a such a thing as sex as a class (with some variation in intersex people), then what I described above is coherent. Males refers to biologically male people irrespective of gender ID. Women means biologically female.

                I'm doing trans women a favour there by implying that the men self IDing into women's prisons and raping women are in fact men pretending to be women. But let me change one word, in 2, so it's crystal clear,

                "Bear in mind that there are men males with convictions for sexual assault being housed with women and raping them."

                It's actually really clear. If you think I am wrong somehow there, it's on you to point out where and why. If you can't follow the logic, just ask for clarification and stop writing off the now huge body of work that gender critical feminists have produced.

                • McFlock

                  And trans women have been sexually assaulted in men's prisons.

                  Maybe there might be some sort of security assessment based on an idnividual's case records to assess their tendency to target or be targeted by other prisoners, and their assigned space within a larger facility be controlled accordingly.

                  Revolutionary idea, for sure. /sarc

                  • weka

                    yeah, but no-one's actually arguing here that TW should be housed in men's prisons, are they.

                    revolutionary if you still consider women to be collateral damage I guess in this day and age. Assessment is always going to be flawed. I'd rather see the baseline being third space, with assessment being used to make exceptions eg a post-op, fully transitioned trans woman.

                    What's your argument against third spaces for trans women and men IDing as women? There's still the issue there of men who pretend, but it makes the issue the problem of the justice system, society and trans activists rather than women being the fall guys.

                    In a country as small as NZ, there are going to be issues. Trans women in women's prisons segregated from women will end up living in isolation. Third spaces will mean moving trans women to one or two parts of the country probably. Do trans women have particular cultural needs? I think so. Which is yet another reason why the no debate approach has been so damaging. Assuming that TWAW and acting on that is causing damage, when we could have been working through all these issues collaboratively.

                    • McFlock

                      My basic argument against third spaces is the same argument. Put transwomen and transmen together in this third space? There will still be the potential for harm between prisoners. Or are we up to four spaces now?

                      So it comes back to looking at each prisoner and minimising the harm they can do to others if they are assessed to be inclined to do so.

                    • weka []

                      So you think trans men should be housed in men’s prisons. Doesn’t that put them at risk?

                      I’m think you are missing a critical point here. The problem raised is males in women’s prisons. This is not a problem for the opposite: men aren’t at risk from trans men being in male prisons.

                      It’s like saying men experience sexism too, as if sexism is some abstract oppression that affects both sides. Whatever prejudice men experience from women it requires a distinct analysis rather than treating it as the flip side of sexism against women.

                      So it comes back to looking at each prisoner and minimising the harm they can do to others if they are assessed to be inclined to do so.

                      translation: women are collateral damage.

                      women have good reasons to be protected from males, it’s regressive to remove that protection.

                    • weka []

                      I mean, if we had any way of knowing which men are going to rape ahead of time the world would be a much safer place for women.

                      It’s more complex too,

                      But according to Tyrina Griffin —who served 20 years at Chowchilla for second-degree murder and whose wife, Rachelle Johnson, is currently serving a life sentence there—many of the men who are transferring there aren’t even on hormonal medication. “They’re getting a full erection,” she said. “So you’re locked in this room, 24/7, with a man and there’s nothing you can do about it. If you tell the police you don’t want to live with a man, or you’re afraid or whatever, you’ll get a disciplinary infraction. So you’re basically punished for being scared.”

                      Because female inmates are typically far less violent than male ones, women’s prisons like Chowchilla don’t separate inmates based on the severity of their crimes. “We’re all mixed together,” Ms. Ichikawa said. “The people who’ve murdered their children are in the same room as the people who’ve stolen boxers fromWalmart. ”

                      Also unlike men’s prison, inmates at Chowchilla are housed eight to a room, with a sink and toilet inside the cell and only a cowboy door for modesty. The California law specifically states that no inmate may be denied a housing request for “any discriminatory reason,” including “genitalia” or “sexual orientation.” According to some surveys, a majority of biological men who identify as trans women are sexually attracted to women. “How are you going to prevent these people from having sex?” Ms. Ichikawa said. “And how do you then decipher what’s sex and what’s rape?” The women told me—and studies confirm—that the vast majority of incarcerated women are sexual-assault survivors.


                    • McFlock

                      "The problem raised" is one of prisoner safety. To maintain your framing that leaves transwomen as collateral damage, you'd rather suggest an entire new class of prisons in which trans people could still be victimised.

                      Maybe bunking 8 people together with one toilet and no privacy isn't a particularly good thing in any prison.

                      Heck, maybe prisons should look at each prisoner and assess their risk criteria for causing or being the victim of violence, rather than just throwing them all together according to a general classification of "male" and "female". But no, let's build a prison for another general classification of person and hope that everyone in the "other" category gets on well together there.

                    • weka []

                      The problem raised is the safety of women. If we are talking prisoner safety generally that includes men, it’s prison reform and a different conversation.

                      How would trans women be victimised by being housed in their own building?

                    • weka []

                      It’s not a general classification of male and female as if for no reason. We have women’s prisons to protect women from men because men have really high levels of violence against women. You appear to be arguing that there is no particular reason why women in prison should be protected from men. Do you think this is true in general society?

                      as I said, if you have a way to predict which men will rape, let us know, most women on the planet will be very interested. In the meantime please stop treating women as collateral damage.

                      as also said, there are multiple reasons to have separate spaces for women in prison. Very high numbers of women in prison have been sexually assaulted, they shouldn’t be forced to share close and intimate space with males. And pregnancy (even if people don’t care about the well-being of women that one should be raising alarm bells).

                    • McFlock

                      Except we don't agree on the definition of "women".


                      How would trans women be victimised by being housed in their own building?

                      if some transwomen are such a danger to women, those individuals might pose a danger to other transwomen, no?

                      And are transmen left in womens’ prisons, are they in a combined “trans” facility, or are we up to four prison categories now?

                    • weka []

                      I don’t know what that’s in reply to, can you be more specific?

                    • McFlock

                      if you have a way to predict which men will rape, let us know, most women on the planet will be very interested.

                      A "rapist and a serial killer of women", regardless of self-id, for a start should probably be declared a safety risk around women, be the woman a prisoner, a guard or other staff member, or a visitor, no? Regardless of prison type?

    • Sacha 6.3

      Third spaces? Are you saying it is OK for trans women to be around trans men, but not around non-trans women?

      Is 'transperson' a separate gender now?

      • weka 6.3.1

        I think that's up to trans people to sort out. And NB, and the 3,000 genders or whatever it's up to now. Third space is about male/female/other. Other can be more than third, but as Milt points out, the argument has to be made for society. As far as I'm concerned, trans people have made the argument for their class, and there are plenty of trans people arguing for the third space approach. Maybe have a read of them.

        More specifically, if we still accept that sexual violence is gendered (quaint term meaning sex), then it's biological males that need to be segregated from females for the sake of females. Whether testosterone confers problems for women in terms of trans men, I'm good with that being explored and solutions found. Obviously all trans people need to be protected from men including trans women. These are really not hard concepts to get to grips with if one doesn't try and erase sex. Throwing women under the bus from the get go undermines any credibility for arguing that trans people should be safe too. Unless one believes that women are lesser somehow, and there are certainly trans activists that do. It's a new version of garden variety misogyny.

        • Sacha

          Have women who do not want to mix with trans women considered setting up their own female-only spaces? Leaving all the other women's spaces to those who do not share the fear?

          • weka

            ok, this more than anything tells me you really don't know what is going on. I don't mean to be rude, but you are so far behind the curve on this.

            If I put up post on TS arguing for what you just said, I will be called a transphobe and will experience various forms of blow back online. If I continue to post like that the ante will be upped. Women using their real life names risk losing their jobs, being banned from online and real life spaces.

            Women HAVE been trying to have female only spaces and they are being ostracised, banned, fired, abused, and subjected to intimidation including via online sexualised violence. The TA agenda is to erase sex and remove single sex spaces. This is literally the centre of the battle in the UK, the push to change legislation.

            Lesbians have been talking for *years about the disappearance of lesbian only spaces and what happens to them when they try and maintain female only space. Did you see this?


            And the follow up

            Women get banned on dating sites for saying biological female only.

            Read the history of Michfest, one of the truly great female spaces and what happened to that over the fallout regarding trans women. Make sure you read the feminist versions as well so you get the bits about about how much penises figured in that. That was the 90s. None of this is new. Women have been talking about it a long time.

          • weka

            and, it's not just about fear. There are a whole ranges of reasons to value women's spaces. Women who are afraid doesn't deserve to be segregated from normal society.

            There's a women's library in the UK that won't hire out spaces to groups that want female only events. It's ok to exclude men, but not trans women, or NB people including NB males. Please explain that last bit to me, because no-one has been able to.

  7. Joe90 7

    Sweet. Less than five minutes on 0800 to book a covid vaccination.

    • millsy 7.1

      That is good. From what I understand, most of the C19 call centre workers are doing it from home, using their own PC's.

  8. joe90 8

    Bugger, wrong Kissinger.

  9. Andre 9

    There's been a lot of political chatter and posturing about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Here's a couple of science-oriented articles discussing the likelihood of various possible origins:



    tl;dr: By far the likeliest origin remains a zoonotic origin – it transferred from wildlife to humans through some mechanism such as bushmeat, a human visiting a cave with lots of bats.This kind of zoonotic transfer happens very frequently. None of the features of SARS-CoV-2 cited as evidence of a non-zoonotic origin are in fact unusual in the wild, so they really are not evidence in favour of a lab origin hypothesis. The likelihood of proving a zoonotic origin remains very small – there are many many separated populations of animals that may have been the original source, so it's kind of a needle in a haystack search but much harder. Furthermore, the original source will also have been evolving in different directions to the human virus, so even if searchers come across it, it may be enough different by now to be unrecognisable as the source.

    Lab leak of unmodified virus: well, yes, it's possible. But unlikely. A smoking gun could possibly be found in records that have so far been concealed, or in retained blood sample from lab workers, or … But there really shouldn't be anything much read into the Chinese authorities' reluctance to unlimited open-slather access to the lab and records. No matter how much access is allowed, those that want to believe in a lab origin will always continue to believe something could still be hidden, and the Chinese authorities are well aware of that. There's just no upside for them in allowing open-slather access, particularly given their predisposition to secretiveness and authoritarianism.

    Read the articles for the actual useful information.

    • Incognito 9.1

      I’ll know the truth when I see it and I’ll see it when I believe it; I’m a believer cheeky

      • Andre 9.1.1

        Yeah, nah.

        I doubt we'll ever get convincing evidence one way or the other. I'm ok with that. We've been searching for the wild animal reservoir for ebola since the 70s and haven't found it yet.

        And like I've said before, there have been plenty of systemic vulnerabilities identified that enable a bunch of potential different origins of the pandemic. I'm even a little worried that if a specific origin is actually identified, all the attention will go on just that one problem and all the other vulnerabilities forgotten about and just left there.

        • Incognito

          Agreed. As long as we keep hunting for the emotional junior lab worker who let the virus out, we will keep intruding into wildlife habitats and increase the chances of zoonotic transfer. In fact, we will keep doing the latter regardless.

    • Poission 9.2

      Lab leak of unmodified virus: well, yes, it's possible. But unlikely.

      More like,likely to more then likely,due to prior documented errors with SARS,and an absence of a natural reservoir (the bat that didn't ping).

      This is the third outbreak of SARS to have been traced to a laboratory: small outbreaks occurred in Taiwan and Singapore last year. “The WHO may call for a containment policy for SARS to reduce the number of samples of the virus and the number of laboratories handling it,” said Dr Hall.

      Although the authorities reacted swiftly once the alarm was raised, there was a delay of almost a month from the date of first infection to when the index case of infection was announced. By that time all the other cases of infection had already occurred.

      The index patient received medical care in both Beijing and Anhui but was still allowed to travel while sick, despite her high risk occupation and the fact that her mother also had a fever. The mother subsequently died.


      • McFlock 9.2.1

        So because a different variant infected a worker each at two different labs outside of PRC, it's more than likely a global pandemic was cause by a lab outbreak rather than the wet market in the same area?

        Not so sure on that.

        • mauī

          Given that most of the contextual evidence that has come out so far points towards the lab, and not towards the wet market. Yes

          • McFlock

            "Contextual evidence" is it? Good-oh.

            • Incognito

              I think they meant conceptual evidence or proof of concept, which only shows that something is realistically possible, that it might have happened, but not that it did actually happen.

            • mauī

              Context is everything… virus emerged from one of the very few places in the world that does work on bat coronaviruses.

              • Anne

                Context is not everything. Just because something happens in a region which also has a region-related aspect to it, does not mean there is any link between the two. That is nothing more than a conspiratorial response and such responses invariably turn out to be wrong.

                Both historical and scientific conclusions thus far indicate the chance this virus was sourced from a wild animal jumping across the species chain to a human far outweighs the possibility it was the result of a manufactured event in a laboratory. It could be years before we have any substantive verification and until such a time conspiracy theories should be avoided.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  Just because something happens in a region which also has a region-related aspect to it, does not mean there is any link between the two.

                  Exactly. Remember this…https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/wet-market-coronavirus-racist_ca_5ebad4bec5b6dd02e421a876

                  Both historical and scientific conclusions thus far indicate the chance this virus was sourced from a wild animal jumping across the species chain to a human far outweighs the possibility it was the result of a manufactured event in a laboratory.

                  Link, please.

                  • Anne

                    Link please.

                    If you had read the many papers/articles written by internationally acclaimed professionals that have appeared in all the reputable newspapers and journals – many of which have already been linked to on this site including yesterday – then you wouldn't be making this demand.

                    Play your games elsewhere.

              • McFlock

                Context is king, but is often selective and is always circumstantial.

                Virus emerged at a wet market (US intel sources notwithstanding) in a city that had one of several labs looking at a variety of viruses that were of global interest because of their potential to cause a global pandemic, possibly including this exact variant. Or possibly not.

              • Incognito

                Perception is everything, it even trumps reality and the truth.

    • RedLogix 9.3

      Read both articles carefully. Unimpressive, lots of misdirection and appeal to emotional argument.

      In particular the article repeatedly points to the zoonotic origin hypothesis, yet fails to mention that it too remains without any confirming evidence. This remains the key point I was at pains to point out earlier, that while there is no confirming proof for either lab or natural origin, any reasonable assessment of the context cannot ignore the established facts of the location of the first outbreak, and the fact of WIV working with coronavirus' in what can only be called 'gain of function' research that could readily in principle produce SARS-COVID-2. This is established contextual evidence, confirmed by published papers from years prior.

      We also know lab-leaks do happen, and may well be a lot more common than we have been led to believe. I have personally met while we lived in Tawa, two separate individuals who both fell seriously ill with infections they caught at their work in NZ's own ESR Institute in Porirua. Both people we met socially quite by random in a short five year period. And in both cases the ESR management went to a lot of trouble to cover the matter over as best they could.

      The core problem here is that too many of these experts we are depending on for accurate information have a either a direct, or generally professional, conflict of interest which unavoidably taints their credibility. By contrast much of the discussion supporting the lab leak hypothesis is coming from qualified and competent people not directly involved as virologists, but in closely related fields who know enough to detect compromised narratives when they see it.

      The problem here is obvious, this is potentially bio-tech's Titanic moment. If the lab-leak is generally agreed upon as the most likely cause, the blow-back on the people involved will be immense. And rightly so.

    • RedLogix 9.4

      The likelihood of proving a zoonotic origin remains very small

      Yet somehow within less than a year we managed to establish precisely the species involved for SARS1 and MERS. We even managed to do this decades ago with relatively primitive technology for HIV.

      The strongest argument in favour of the zoonotic hypothesis is indeed there is good precedent for it – but if you're going to lean on that then you also have to accept the precedent that we also managed to find the intermediate host and prove the hypothesis in every recent case.

  10. weka 11

    Why sex matters, part two

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.1

      The reason for the bans on posters is the readers comments are a large scale breach of standards. Has happened on Covid origins posts as well as the comments quickly turn a massive anti chinese racism

      As there automated methods pick up the atrocious comments , they ban the whole lot rather than picking out the ones or the lead post taht are acceptable

      • weka 11.1.1

        yeah, nah. If that were true across the board and there was no women hating going on, all those objectification of women boards would be gone too.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          You could be right as they do give this about facebook pages

          'We define hate speech as a direct attack against people on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and serious disease.
          We define attacks
          as violent or dehumanising speech, harmful stereotypes, statements of inferiority, expressions of contempt, disgust or dismissal, cursing and calls for exclusion or segregation.

          Calls for exclusion or segregation are defined as 'attacks'

          • weka

            so women wanting to have separate spaces from men is an attack?

            disabled people wanting separate spaces from ables?

            Maori wanting their own spaces?

            Lesbian separatists?


            The social media giants were developed by a certain class of men who are basically socially inept. Along with the desire to make money, this has created online culture that is very unhealthy. It's no surprise that women aren't protected on reddit, FB, or twitter.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Its calls for exclusion or segregation based on a persons gender identity.

              The safety is just a cover story in my view, which unfortunately has been used for discrimination reasons in other settings.

    • roblogic 11.2

      Aimee Challenor was abusing her power as a Reddit admin.

      Tencent has a large stake in Reddit, make of that what you will

      Reddit is just like any other social media, mostly utter trash, but harsh against any serious political movement that challenges official corporate dogma.

  11. greywarshark 12

    Concerning a certain Oz Scombag I found this interesting little piece about him working for us and National last century. Hey-up – actually it was published in Feb. 2020!


    ScoMo Dundee: A future Aussie PM's role in New Zealand's great tourism wars

    …Within weeks of his arrival in Wellington in 1998, the future Australian prime minister had plunged headfirst into a messy political saga – dubbed by media at the time as 'the Tourism Wars'.

    "Like a cross between Rasputin and Crocodile Dundee," was how former Dominion Post political editor Nick Venter described Morrison after the extent of his involvement in the scandal was revealed…

  12. Muttonbird 14

    Darth-Ju in trouble again, this time for endorsing a tweet by a far right social media user who allegedly likened hongi with a head-butt.

    'Our leader supports the hongi': National MPs defend Judith Collins amid backlash over controversial tweet

    A controversial tweet by Judith Collins, which led many to believe she endorsed a view likening a hongi to a head-butt, has been brushed off by National as a misunderstanding.

    The tweet in question was a response to a woman who advised Collins ahead of her meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to "treat him like a civilised human being and don't head-butt him".

    Collins responded: "Indeed…"


    Hard to say with this one. There is plausible deniability around the original tweet, and JuCo’s reply. But is does highlight that Collins cannot stay out of trouble. She didn't need to reply on Twitter to a person who is clearly a fringe nut job. I'm certain the account was known to her.

    It's clear Judith has either very poor comprehension, or very poor discipline, and probably both. These are terrible attributes in a leader. She either accepted the possible hongi comparison and agreed with it, or she was too stupid to understand that others would make that connection.

    She'll claim innocence and purity of mind on this, but really, another nail in the coffin.

    • AB 14.1

      Maybe Jude has been reading Chris Trotter – and thinks here is vast reservoir of anger at 'separatism' that she just needs to tap into to rocket back to 40%.

  13. mac1 15

    I have a little sympathy with Collins on this one having never ever heard anyone refer to a hongi as a headbutt.

    The lady in question has obviously never experienced a 'Liverpool kiss' to know the difference!

    • greywarshark 15.1

      I once heard MC Beaton refer to a Glasgow Kiss and it didn't sound ladylike at all though she was referring to a critic about her romance books.

  14. greywarshark 16


    Getting super duper expensive computer system making it a great opportunity to put out all of NZ at once, doesn't cheer me from Andrew Little. Neither does the lack of change in the way that nurses are trained so that it becomes part in hospital, with block tech courses. And perhaps some accolades to assist these hard working people who we rely on more than we rely on politicians. Perhaps we should be run by people with medical training and hospital work experience who understand people and how to lead them to better outcomes.

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