Open mike 02/02/2024

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 2nd, 2024 - 63 comments
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63 comments on “Open mike 02/02/2024 ”

  1. FrankMann 1

    Stand down everyone, Tova says it's ok to flip-flop… as long as it's National doing it.

    [Please don’t change user names and from now on stick to the other approved name here, thanks – Incognito]

    • Incognito 1.1

      Mod note

    • Sanctuary 1.2

      Tova says it's OK because the whole caffeine is as bad as tobacco thing is in the NZF manifesto and well, they "won" the election (with 6% of the vote – 94% of us didn't vote for a corrupt party).

      That would be the same manifesto the MSM refused (because serious political discussion in our determinedly unserious MSM doesn't rate) to tell the public about during the GE. So you see, it is the public's fault for not knowing about something the media couldn't be bothered telling them about.

      And of course, well, this is the big game in the big house and boys will be boys and girls will be girls and no one actually knows anyone with a smoking related disease so it is all consequence free jolly japes and reckons – until it isn’t and then the journo will turn into an insufferable bore on the topic because THEIR favourite aunt or uncle died a horrible death from lung cancer.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Looks like Costello may be off the hook…

    Between Tuesday and Thursday there was also, of course, a helluva lot of pressure on the prime minister and his associate minister of health, Casey Costello. RNZ revealed she’d sought advice about freezing tobacco tax hikes – something we’ve done as a country, in part, to disincentivise smoking – and then Costello said she hadn’t sought the advice.

    Costello puts it down to dumping a whole load of old notes, NZ First policy documents, Hansard records and the like onto health officials to guide their advice and that she “certainly did not specifically request a proposal on excise freeze”.

    Okay so just a fumble then.

    Costello’s notes also say that “Nicotine is as harmful as caffeine“, which while shocking to many, is not a new position for NZ First. In fact, it’s in the party’s 2023 policy manifesto:“NZ First supports age-appropriate access to nicotine, which in adults, is generally as safe as caffeine is.”

    All those pesky stats about extreme addiction causing cancer can just be air-brushed out of the picture…

    • Muttonbird 2.1

      Still using the public service to develop NZF policy then.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Could be. Just now on AM Lloyd Burr is interviewing Willie & Goldie simultaneously, Willie was on about this govt being tainted by ties to tobacco – quite rightly. Kept jabbing Goldie with that, who grinned his eye-roll a few times in response & kept reiterating that the legislation is working well, getting the harm stats increasingly reduced.

        So the guts is consensus between Nat & Lab policies which all the hoo-ha is masking. While perception often defeats reality – can't blame the media for any focus on competitive framing though, eh?

  3. Bearded Git 3

    I think Trotter gets it wrong today on both the Treaty and the SNP.

    The current interpretation of the Treaty has been developed over 40 years largely through the independent judiciary. It should not be permitted to be derailed by populists like Seymour and Peters.

    The SNP do have problems but Starmer's continual move to to he Right (witness his recent support for massive bonuses in London's financial sector) will mean anybody in Scotland who supports the “real” Left will vote for either the Greens or the SNP.

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      "…Trotter gets it wrong today…"

      In other news the sun rose in the east and the pope is still a catholic. Gawd, even Bradbury has kicked Trotter into touch from his site. Trotts has a new audience these days. Middle aged incels and boomer racists over at the "democracy" project.

  4. Hunter Thompson II 4

    Stuff report (2 Feb 2024) states: "Algal bloom prompts health warning" . Apparently 11 South Canterbury rivers are affected.

    Stuff makes no mention of what caused the algae. Anyone know the reason?

    • Barfly 4.1

      My guess is hot weather and excess nutrients (cow shit and urine)

    • Belladonna 4.2

      From the official health warning

      Algal blooms are influenced by a combination of available nutrients in the water and sediments (such as nitrogen and phosphorus), a sustained period of low and stable flows, and favourable weather conditions (e.g. increased temperature, calm days).

      Given that the factor most likely to have changed recently is the weather (temperature/wind) – that's what will have triggered the bloom.

      • Hunter Thompson II 4.2.1

        The official health warning carefully scrubs around the question of why the "available nutrients" are in the rivers.

        That omission speaks volumes to me.

        • weka

          to be fair the health authorities job there is to notify the public of the danger and risk, not delve into the causes.

          MSM on the other hand, should be headlining this. It's worth noting that the authorities are generally concerned when it gets to the point of killing dogs or making kids sick, but the problem started long before that.

          My understanding is the causes generally are:

          • climate change affecting local weather
          • weather/heat making the water warmer for algae to bloom
          • weather/low water flows making the water warmer, and less disruption to the algae
          • munted rivers because of:
            • low water flow from agricultural water take
            • low water flow land use fuckery eg from deforestation
          • pollution from farm runoff
            • artificial inputs
            • animal outputs

          Probably not a complete list, but those are the main ones I'm aware of.

        • Belladonna

          Or why the temperature is rising?

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          This is a useful site for looking at trends in water quality over time.

          For example, of the five monitored sites in the vicinity of Palmy with a decent data record (10+ years), one (Kahuterawa stream at Kebbles Farm) is "likely improving", one (Turitea stream at No 1 Dairy) is "likely degrading", and three are indeterminate.

      • I'll play Patsy, and ask a rhetorical question….Any moves by this government to improve things Belladonna?


  5. Reality 5

    What a week. This government's performance has been awful. To think they went round the country electioneering they were going to get the country back on track! Luxon escaping to visit a school amidst all the messiness in Parliament. Suspect he does not much like having to deal with difficult issues.

    • Anne 5.1

      "Luxon escaping to visit a school amidst all the messiness in Parliament."

      Its traditional for PMs not to be present in parliament on Thursdays. Ardern and Hipkins never were, nor were Key and English – nor their predecessors.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    On the 10th December 1941 the British capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk by Japanese torpedo bombers in the South China Sea. HMS Prince of Wales was a brand new battleship equipped with the latest anti-aircraft weapons. It was an inflection point. For the first time in history, a fast modern battleship manouevering at sea was sunk by airpower. It marked the end of the battleship and the dawn of a new age of naval warfare.

    On the 2nd of February, 2024, Ukrainian naval suicide drones sank a Russian corvette in the Black sea in a surgically coordinated attack. The attack was controlled by satellite and was ruthlessly efficient. First two drones blew the stern off – immobilising the target – and then two more precisely struck the ship amidships, setting off the ships missiles in a huge explosion. For the first time in history, a fast modern warship manouevering at sea was sunk by naval drones directed by satellite link.

    Make no mistkae, this is an historic moment and – if you consider how easily the Houthi have been able to close the Red Sea using technology that is now common to many countries – something that is going to have profund implications for a nation as utterly dependent on sea trade as NZ is.

    • Tony 6.1

      That clip is not at all convincing and I can find zero confirmation from any other source,

      • Sanctuary 6.1.1

        lol it literally shows the ship exploding. But hey, keep up the copium.

        • Tony

          As I said it's not at all convincing, a clip from X shows a ship being hit, strange it's not reported in any other media? Can you provide another source which confirms it, otherwise I am calling your copium pathetic.

      • Belladonna 6.1.2

        What evidence would you find convincing?

        Coverage in the standard media sources makes mention of the ongoing disinformation prevalent on both sides of the war.

        However, there has been no denial from Russia that the ship has been sunk; or that it was sunk as a result of drone strikes (as opposed to surface mines, or torpedoes, or any other explosive source). One would have expected a speedy response from Russia – if there had been no truth in the Ukrainian claim.

        • Tony

          Some actual evidence would be helpful, a grainy clip on X without any ship identification doesn't do it for me. Show some evidence from other sources will help, Sanctuary has a bad habit of putting out anti Russian propaganda.

    • Sanctuary 6.2

      following on from the above – US legislators call for president Biden to strengthen US maritime power –

      This chap discusses the call well –

      Note the annoyance at the US being expected to defend ships built in China, crewed oout of India and registered in Liberia. If we are not careful we can expect a back to the future moment where naval powers only protect their own shipping. People don’t realise that it used to be that way until first the British and then the Americans swept away pirates and chancers and illegal state actors in the name of global free trade and freedom of the seas. We may have a future where if a Liberian registered, Chinese built container ship is hit by a ballistic missile or hijacked by pirates, don't expect a passing US warship to do anything about it.

      What Mr. Mercogliano doesn't say is a US rebuild of it's ship bulding capacity – along with the laws required to make it competitive and ignoring non-US or allied ships under attack – would be a huge blow to globalisation. Globalisation relies on sea transport costs that are next to nothing. If transport costs rise, the whole cost equation of building factories in China or Vietnam or anywhere else changes.

      • Anne 6.2.1

        Apologies in advance if my question is naive, but I am far from an expert on such matters:

        What does this mean for NZ if we become part of the AUKUS treaty albeit the second tier of association?

        Its clear to me Collins and Co. have always intended signing up to AUKUS. The palaver in Aussie is, in part, to soften up the NZ voters for the coming announcement. The right have always had as their goal to kill the anti-nuclear legislation or at least render it irrelevant.

        • Dennis Frank

          Not naive! Answers will be speculative however…

          "We are in the exploration phase because it's not defined as to what is in it or not in it," Luxon said of pillar 2. "And that is something we are interested in learning more about."

          Can't join something that's not actually there! Like a rat baffled by the smell of cheese wafting in the air, where no cheese exists, Lux is attracted to the prospect of alignment without actually aligning, so as to have it both ways. Rat cunning.

        • Sanctuary

          Sea denial now completely dominates littorial surface naval warfare. That means keeping sea lanes open for freedom of navigation around littorial choke points is going to potentially become a much more violent affair and require a lot of effort from nations dedicated to retaining thwe current world order – which includes freedom of navigation on the high seas and in key waterways. Arguably, it makes being in a bloc with the premier naval power vital. NZ is a security price taker, not a price setter. As a country we've never had to exist in a world where we are not a client state of the dominant global naval power, with all the security and trade advantages that accrue from that. First the Royal Navy then the US Navy guaranteed our frozen sheep and milk powder made it to market without fear of piracy or subject to arbitrary taxes and levies from the navies of states whose coasts our cargo happens to pass. We may be required to have a bigger navy and contribute warships to ensuring the Red sea stays open for our shipping.

          If the US (re)introduces protectionist maritime laws in would be a signal to everyone to re-establishment their own shipping companies to guarantee otheir export cargoes have ships to carry them and local crews to crew them (apparently being shoved to the bottom of the destination list by the big shipping companies during the pandemic disruptions wasn't a big enough clue to the neoliberal wishful thinkers in our bureaucracy that we might need to revive our shipping tonnage).

          Ultimately, if the costs of imports rise significantly due to transport costs then demand for our products will weaken as import subsitution enters the equation for everyone including NZ. That would affect the balance of payments and would make for higher costs for consumer products, although I'd imagine it would help the balance of payments and provide more jobs.

        • SPC

          We can participate in AUKUS 2 and retain our nuclear free policy.

          It's useful, because we are a defence partner with Oz and it relates to tech development co-operation – defence, cyber security, IT, AI etc. Keeping up will help our local industry.

          It does not involve any compromise to our defence and foreign policy independence.

          It will make it appear that we are more a part of the "western hegemon", but given we are already an associate of NATO, it is consistent with existing co-operation

          NATO and New Zealand are strengthening relations to address shared security challenges in areas such as science and technology, cyber defence, and climate security, and to contribute to upholding the rules-based international order. They also cooperate as part of NATO’s broader relations with its partners in the Indo-Pacific region. New Zealand has made valuable contributions to NATO-led operations and missions.

          NATO has of late indicated an interest in defence co-operation in the Pacific – complementary to the QUAD – India, Oz, Japan and USA that Kurt Campbell, a sort of Knight of the Pacific, organised.

          We are not a member of QUAD.

          • Anne

            Thank-you both Sanctuary and SPC. That was all very interesting.

            My primary concern was that NZ's independent foreign policy and our stand against the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be compromised. I take your word it will not be which is reassuring – at least for the time being.

            • SPC

              For Oz, AUKUS (1) is nuclear powered subs so they can sustain a longer period at sea – part of an upgraded capability.

              Proliferation would not result from that, and Oz already hosts nuclear weapon capable vessels (ship and sub). So no change there.

              Our separation from that allows us to sustain our historic policy on non proliferation, especially as to the Pacific.

              The best way forward there is to use our separation from QUAD and some of the rhetoric of USA and Oz on Taiwan to broker positive developments as per Korea, Taiwan and the South Sea atoll/fake islands to reduce regional tensions.

      • Ad 6.2.2

        New Zealand exports about $66b and imports about $70b by sea. We are massively exposed to all of this. By volume, our exports are 99.7% by sea.

        The warning signals are increasing to this risk:

        • Drought in the Panama Canal has forced a cut in through-shipping of 36%
        • Most Russian-flagged ships are no longer able to enter the EU and indeed most OECD countries, both of which have knock-on effects in marine trade worldwide.
        • Most Black Sea and Azov Sea commercial shipping has collapsed
        • Russian oil company ships have been forced to use the Baltic Sea, where they are under really high NATO-country scrutiny.
        • Russia is hardly building any new tankers at the moment, so the average age of tankers is going up fast
        • Red Sea freight traffic has decreased by 25%, and that includes all major lines that service New Zealand
        • And of course Somali pirates are back in action against freight off the African coast

        What we now need to watch in the next 24 hours is whether Iran escalates with a Strait of Hormuz retaliation to the US counterstrike against its own base.

        We also need to watch any threat to Ballance and Ravensdown ships who supply 94% of our fertiliser from Morocco. That chokes pasture productivity ie milk and meat volume.

        Thankfully Indian and Chinese insurers are filling on for their own fleets, so far.

        We are in such a delicate trade point, it will take very little to turn this into a trade-related recession that is very hard to pull out of here. Something akin to 1979.

        Sure hope we've offered to support the Malacca Strait Patrol with its constituents of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

    • Ad 6.3

      Very encouraging.

      Great to see this drone swarm tech innovation being used at sea, and of course on Russian oil refineries.

      • Sanctuary 6.3.1

        Kremlin trolls like to push the narrative that Ukraine can't win, that Russia through the impacable will of it's blood drenched dictator will continue to feed manpower straw into the battlefield furnance until victory has been achieved. However, war isn't just about throwing men into frontal assaults with all the concern for human life of Stalin.

        Ukraine has been actively targeting Russian EW and SAM systems for a while now, things Russia has great difficulty replacing. It is now producing long range attack drones that will force Russia to deploy it's anti-aircraft missiles away from the battlefront to defend refineries and power plants in Russia – and since Jake Sullivan has no say in what Ukraine can and cannot atack with it's own weapons that is exactly what they are doing. That is leaving gaps for missile ambushes and Russian airpower os being heavily degraded. Russia might be able to refurbish large numbers of 80 year old tanks and empty it's prisons and ethnically cleanse it's minorities for manpower, but they can't replace AEW aircraft and they produce hardly any modern jets, whilst theit potent attack helicopter force is so worn out they are cannibalising airframes to try keep a few flying. Oh – and notice how few advanced missiles they are firing nowadays? Russia is relying on North Korean ammunition and missiles and Iranian drones to stay competitive, it is now every bit reliant on its third party suppliers to stay in the war as Ukraine is.

        Remember, Russia's key weapon in halting the Ukrainian attacks in the past summer was massively mined defensive belts heavily defended by aviation assets. Also remember Ukraine is only a 25km advance away from cutting land routes west from Mariupol and being able to hit the Kerch bridge. Once Ukraine has F-16s and gets back it's US ammunition supplies (although the Germans are now supplying huge amounts of weapons to Ukraine, this war is rapidly turning into a Russo-German conflict, who had that on their bingo card in 2021?) things might just look up for them next summer.

      • Sanctuary 6.3.2

        I wouldn't get to pleased about drone swarms though. We are seeing a pace of technology development not seen since the first/second world war. Both sides are using AI drone technology to overcome EW interference of FPV signals. The Ukrainians for instance now use a "mothership" drone to deposit 6-12 AI killer drones on the ground in isolated locations near roads and choke points, while other drones watch for traffic. Once movement is spotted, the AI drones are activated, they rise into the air use AI to identify a target, talk to each other to ensure they are targetting the same vehicle/person and destroy it.

        So the human is now out completely out of the kill loop. Welcome to the rise of the killer robots. It is completely terrifying.

        • Ad

          Machines destroying machines as a concept of war also has upsides.

          Imagine war without useful capital ships even aircraft carriers and big land craft, or bomber jets in a massive scale, or tanks.

          At some point there could be rules of war where two country teams just Warhammer and call it a win.

          Long way from Terminator yet.

        • SPC

          Electric battery powered lasers provide cheaper air defence and can be used against drone swarms.

    • Macro 6.4

      I once worked with a survivor from HMS Repulse. He was a Gunner CPO on Repulse, and after the sinking the survivors ended up on the Malaysian Peninsula by Desaru. The Japanese Army chased them down to Singapore where they managed to get a small boat and sail out of Singapore Harbour under the eyes of the Japanese Army and they made it to Indonesia. He was then sailing from Indonesia to Perth Australia when a Japanese Cruiser came over the horizon and shelled the ship, sinking it, and then sailing off without picking up any survivors. They were in a lifeboat for some days almost dying when the last ship from Perth heading to India happened to pass close by, saw them, and rescued them. After recuperating in Madras (now Chenei), he was repatriated back to England, and posted to a destroyer that was to support the Anzio Landings. That ship was sunk after being dive-bombed on the day of the landings. Fortunately another was was at hand and the crew stepped from one ship not the other. He said that was the easiest sinking to survive. Although he suffered 3 sinking during the war he never received the 3 lots of survivors leave to which he was entitled.

      We always encouraged him to write it down. It was a great story.

      I'm Lt Cdr RNZN (Rtd.)

  7. Reality 7

    Yes Anne I knew that but it struck me as convenient for the PM to be away from Parliament after this week in particular.

    • Dennis Frank 8.1

      Using the politics of kindness, she carefully refrained from calling Jacinda chief tinker:

      "We are not a party of tinkering. We are a party of transformation."

      There was immense frustration in the community "with tinkering when they were promised transformation".

      "Only the Greens can be trusted to continue to push for, and to win concrete gains on that necessary transformation," Swarbrick said.

      Asked if Labour was no longer the voice of the left, Swarbrick said she was not there to talk on behalf of the Labour Party.

      She had felt during the 2023 campaign that the "rhetoric of transformation was met with the reality of tinkering". "That is not good enough."

      Hipkins has not yet said "We need to tinker more!" Give the poor man time, he's still thinking it through, weighing up whether the focus groups will be bowled over by the notion of yet more tinkering.

      • Robert Guyton 8.1.1

        "Hipkins has not yet said "We need to tinker more!" Give the poor man time, he's still thinking tinkering it through…


  8. Jilly Bee 9

    Oh dear, Tama Potaka getting his arse spanked at the National Iwi Chairs Forum at Kerikeri – oh dear, how sad, never mind. I suppose he's trying to inject a bit of humour into the proceedings. I have no time for David Seymour by the way and I'm not trying to defend him, but Tama, of all people should get his facts correct before mouthing off. Of course, nothing on Stuff or the Herald – yet, and I won’t die holding my breath.

  9. Ad 10

    US Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer is promising a vote on the border security – Ukraine armaments bill next week.

    The utterly frustrating thing about this is that the deal was clearly possible through 2023, so why didn't the White House gt its shit together then with the Republican house majority instead of turning into election dynamite.

    Sure it's not as bad as our Three Waters, but it's poor handling.

    • Barfly 10.1

      Ukraine would have had its supplies assured if the Democrats had supported McCarthy against the hard right Republicans instead of cheap political point scoring

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    The Government has granted $6.6 million to clean up four historic New Zealand landfill and dump sites vulnerable to extreme weather events and coastal erosion. At the BlueGreens Forum in Paihia today Environment Minister Penny Simmonds said that the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund grants will go towards fixing former landfills ...
    7 days ago
  • Dry weather triggers extra support for farmers and growers across the top of the South Island
    The coalition Government is providing support for farmers and growers as dry conditions worsen across the top of the South Island. “Conditions on the ground across the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts are now extremely dry and likely to get worse in the coming months,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said. ...
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister heads to Abu Dhabi for key WTO negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay travels to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today, to take up his role as Vice Chair of the negotiations. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body within the WTO and meets every ...
    1 week ago
  • Appointment round for King’s Counsel announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced an appointment round for King’s Counsel will take place in 2024. Appointments of King’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint King’s Counsel in recognition ...
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  • Retiring Chief of Navy thanked for his service
    Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia.  “I would like to thank ...
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  • Indonesian Vice President to visit New Zealand
    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
    1 week ago
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    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
    1 week ago
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    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
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  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
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    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    1 week ago

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