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Open mike 02/08/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, August 2nd, 2019 - 144 comments
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144 comments on “Open mike 02/08/2019 ”

  1. A 1

    Disappointing article on the MMR vaccine which highlights the fact that vaccinated people still contract and pass on measles.

    I'm posting because it is well referenced and because of the growing number of measles cases I was doing some checking to make sure I do all I can not to get sick. Figured people would be interested.


    • mpledger 1.1

      Some vaccinated people still contract and pass on measles. And that some is a very small number.

      People are highly variable and live in high variable environments so medicine doesn't always work the same way for everyone.

      This doesn't mean we should abandon vaccinations – they are still the best way we know of protecting the most people.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        I think reacting to an account from an individual or group indicating problems should be taken with a 'grain of salt'. Someone who knows how to set up a website that looks professional, doesn't mean that the person behind it is a professional at anything of substance and is just good at raising uncertainty, doubt and distrust.

        This is a report on measles immunisation efficacy from the USA NCBI (National Centre for Biotechnology Information).


        I note here that I had to go to the bottom of the page, then to the About page, just to find the actual name of the entity! I like to know the facts behind statements, and knowing who or what is making the statement is of vital importance to me in deciding whether they might be trusted or not. Seeing that we live in such a twisted world with hyperbole and almost hypnotically-spread propaganda, I don't think it wise to accept anything of importance at face value.


        Can I get the measles if I've already been vaccinated?

        Answer From James M. Steckelberg, M.D.

        It's possible, but very unlikely. The combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is a two-dose vaccine series that effectively protects against all three viruses.

        In fact, more than 93 percent of people who get the first dose of MMR develop immunity to measles. After the second dose, about 97 percent of people are protected.

        (This backs up what mpledger says – that all people aren't the same and will not react in the same way – because of their personal health and circumstances when being vaccinated. We are not robots, all the same off the factory line.)

        WHO (World Health Organisation) info on vaccination in general. https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/86/2/07-040089/en/

        • One Two

          Betrayal of Public Trust & Institutional Corruption: Vaccine Safety Ratings & Vaccine Science Falsified

          The doubt and distrust propagates outwards..

          It's all there.. for those who take the time.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          I think reacting to an account from an individual or group indicating problems should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

          I think that instead of simply dismissing or 'de-platforming' these these individuals or groups who cast doubt on the safety and efficacy of vaccines they should face charges. In court. In front of a judge and jury. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Let no stone go unturned and no piece of peer reviewed research go unchallenged.

          These individuals and groups have supposedly caused so many to opt out of vaccination programmes thereby causing sickness, disablement and even death that it is surprising that the more prominent proponents of vaccine caution have not already faced criminal charges.

          [lprent: I ‘de-platform’ them occasionally, usually when they try to capture or drag posts off-topic or when they start abusing other commentators or making the site liable. I’ve afraid that their mindless fervour makes me treat them like trolls.

          Like any other trolls, I’ll usually experiment on them first by tearing into them and their assertions in the same manner that they are using on others to see if they can handle criticism. It is a pretty good test that few of them seem to pass.

          Same as I’d do for any other arsehole abusing these pages. ]

          • One Two


            Closed doors and cover-ups.

            [lprent: If you are going to put something that is potentially defamatory up, especially as a quote then at a bare minimum – link to it. It isn’t your arse in court, it is mine.

            Searching for a couple of quotes in the material yielded no exact results, which leads me to conclude that you’re just either making this up or that you’re selectively quoting. In the absence of anything to substantiate your claim, that is what I have to conclude you are doing it deliberately.

            Banned for 3 months. Wasting my time and making the site liable. ]

    • Pingau 1.2

      I found this a useful website when checking to see if I needed to update my vaccinations for measles.


      There is a fact sheet "measles" under the "other resources" heading.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.2.1

        As an older person who survived The Great UK Measles Epidemic of 1961, some 7 years before the roll out of the measles only vaccine, I take some interest in the stats on this potentially nasty disease.

        There were 763531 notified cases and 152 deaths from measles in the UK in 1961.

        Measles epidemics tend to be biennial, and the next outbreak in 1963 (which I also luckily survived) was well studied.


        There were about 2 deaths per 10,000 cases and 2 per 1000 cases were admitted to hospital with 'complications'…

        Most of those who died had pre-existing conditions and some of those admitted to hospital were for 'social reasons'…probably there were reasons why they were not likely to get proper care and support at home.

        There were some long term neurological effects mostly due to encephalitis and some survivors suffered hearing damage due to secondary ear infections. There were also some survivors with degrees of respiratory conditions.

        Luckily I seemed to have dodged a few bullets, as like the vast majority of measles victims of those times I got sick and better with no long lasting side effects other than lifetime immunity to this nasty disease.


        Interesting that our Ministry of Health in your link Pingau has a total for 2019 of 431 cases of measles, and of these 161, nearly a third of victims,

        had to be hospitalised.

        The handy fact sheet has a list of complications from measles which states that for every 1000 cases of the disease 1 person will die despite treatment.


        Now I'm no maths genius, but based on that death rate, out of the 763,531 cases of measles in the UK in 1961 there should have been some 763 deaths.

        But there were only 152 deaths.

        About 1/5 of those who can be expected to die from measles today.

        And today there is a much higher rate of hospitalisation for measles than in 1963.

        Unless my maths is totally wrong.

        • McFlock

          Not wrong. The Swansea outbreak had 1200 cases and 1 death, so roughly the expected number.

          While the virus might or might not have changed, what is missing from your math are the confidence intervals. Mortality rates are retrospective reflections, not precise predictions. So some outbreaks kill more, others kill less. E.g. ISTR specific ebola outbreaks vary in mortality from 30% to 90%. Some people get lucky sometimes. Others unlucky.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            …1200 cases and 1 death, so roughly the expected number.

            Confidence intervals are outside the limits of my stats competency, however what I don't understand is why the expected death rate in 2013 and 2019 from measles is so much higher than the actual death rate recorded in 1963.

            Deaths have indeed declined rapidly in recent years to about 2 per10,000 notifications,and a recent study has shown that about half the deaths occur in persons with serious chronic disease or disability.


            Further, in the UK…

            Prior to 2006, the last death from acute measles was in 1992. In 2006, there was 1 measles death in a 13-year-old male who had an underlying lung condition and was taking immunosuppressive drugs. Another death in 2008 was also due to acute measles in an unvaccinated child with a congenital immunodeficiency, whose condition did not require treatment with immunoglobulin. In 2013, 1 death was reported in a 25-year-old man following acute pneumonia as a complication of measles. In 2016, one death was reported in a 10-month-old infant who suffered complications due to a secondary infection.

            All other measles deaths since 1992 shown above are in older individuals and were caused by the late effects of measles. These infections were acquired during the 1980s or earlier, when epidemics of measles occurred.


            • McFlock

              CIs hurt my brain, but not as much as standardised rates lol.

              There are basically two possibilities: the actual mortality rate has been constant over 55 years, or it has increased.

              If the mortality rate has remained constant, but the individual instances today have higher than expected mortality, that could just be statistical "noise". When you get down to a few cases per thousand or whatever, the actual noise might result in one-off datapoints being double or treble the rate. Confidence intervals are a shorthand of recognising this, based on a couple of assumptions and not actually looking at the observed variance in the dataset.

              An accessible NZ example is in the NZ Child Poverty Monitor: children who die from assault in NZ. Numbers are the columns and lefthand scale, rate is the line and the righthand scale. They did double-year aggregates because the numbers are so low, and the rates still bounce around from roughly 1.4 to 0.3. But the confidence intervals on the rates generally overlap, so we can't say there's and real change in the rate of kids getting killed. But even the one datapoint that doesn't overlap confidence intervals, that in itself might just be a random outlier based on the 95% assumption of the confidence intervals.

              But if the measles death rate has changed, that could be any number of factors – maybe the virus has changed, or maybe clinicians are less good at treating it because it's so rare these days, but still highly infectious (could infection control measures actually hamper treatment?). Does that mean we'd be better off if it was more prevalent? No, because more people would die even if we were better at treating individual cases.

              So overall we get fewer deaths these days, but the rate might be higher.

              And looking at your UK link, dozens of people died every year. Now there are years with no deaths whatsoever. How is this a bad thing?

              • Rosemary McDonald

                McFlock, I didn't make myself clear….

                The actual rate of deaths from notified cases of measles in the UK in the 1963 (pre-vaccine) epidemic was 2 per 10,000 cases. Looking at the data supplied in( https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measles-deaths-by-age-group-from-1980-to-2013-ons-data/measles-notifications-and-deaths-in-england-and-wales-1940-to-2013) the annual rate of deaths from measles from 1963 through to 1992 ranged from 0.75 deaths per 10,000 cases to 2.8 deaths per 10,000 cases.

                For the total number of notified cases of measles between 2005 and 2015 the death rate was 0.2 per 1000 cases.

                Yet here in New Zealand according to the 2017 IMAC fact sheet states that for every 1000 cases of the disease 1 person will die despite treatment.

                This is a significant difference. Why are there so many more deaths from measles in New Zealand….assuming that the IMAC figures are based on the same type of data base as the UK?

                The last year in the UK dataset were the death rate from measles was above 1 per 1000 was 1947.

                • McFlock

                  Any number of reasons.

                  Maybe IMAC is using global or OECD or NZ mortality, not just UK or US.

                  Maybe the IMAC figure reflects our age distribution.

                  Maybe the confidence intervals around their measles mortality measure overlap a simple "about 1 in 1000".

                  Maybe it's a typo they didn't pick up.

        • I got measles in 1965 as did my brother. We both have hearing loss attributed to the disease. Needless to say all three of my children were vaccinated.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    "The education minister is working hard to provide certainty" and, in an uncertain world, the valour and nobility of his Don Quixoteism deserves acclaim. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/02/711610/gentle-approach-smooths-way-for-training-overhaul#

    Hipkins worked out early that the best way to rise in Labour ranks is to present as a keen, earnest, 13 year old. So far, so good.

    However, he's now up against Tim Shadbolt, whose measured, deadly, depiction of the Hipkins power grab delivered to AM show viewers this morning seemed ominous. Framing it as big govt gone wrong, yet only in relation to southerners rather than articulating the general principle, struck me as a canny response from Tim.

    He did generalise insofar as he evoked the spectre of a general reaction of provincials against the Wellington suit-wearers, but sensibly left it to the other provincials to decide if the bureaucratic umbrella is more likely to hamstring than help them.

    "Last year alone, the Government pumped $100 million into bailing out the polytechs, and more are on the cusp of needing a state handout." Yeah, we get that the problem needed sorting. The minister is doing well to respond with a plan. But is it the right plan? Retro socialism could be a good idea, but beware the little hitler syndrome!

    • millsy 2.1

      Tim Shadbolt is basically a rusted on establishment figure now, with his nose right up the arse of the Rotarian hacks that run the place.

      The reforms will hopefully move tertiary education from being a commodity to being a public service like it was before 1989. Most polytechs are full of junk courses that dont really lead to anything substantial and are more focused on getting a return for the provider. I looked through SIT's course list, and that one is no exception.

      • aj 2.1.1

        Totally agree. Shadbolt is using this as an election platform, assisted by the old guard in Invercargill.

        • greywarshark

          Seems to me that the above comments negative about Tim Shadbolt are prejudiced against him, and lack balance.

          He made the point that the southern polytechnic which has been a no fees one for certain courses, is looking financially healthy. DFs point about Hipkins seeming like a young, keen bloke with new ideas, is a point to note. To me there is the ghost of Labour past, eager to break a deadlock and apparently redundant system by a complete change.

          Why not leave the polytechs and tech institutes that are running successfully to continue, with perhaps updated programs to ensure they are onto current needs? The others that are not doing well should meet, confer on their particular faults and changing patterns, and they can form a group that integrate so they don't individually mine the available students with duplication in courses etc.

          • aj

            No I agree he's fought well for Southland in the past but he's done the sort of political flip flop Prebble did. It's not the first time he's attacked labour while they are in Govt but he's never said a bad thing about National. There is no balance in his stance against these proposals despite the SIT concerns being largely listened to, and taken on board. He's lined himself alongside other well known indentities in the region to undermine Labour, and promote his own political survival. The polytech sector was teetering during National's 9 years in power, but true to form the Nats did nothing to stop the rot. Same old, same old. It's neglect of reforming the sector over a long period that has made such wide changes necessary. The process is far from completed but the reaction last night and today is all out war.

            • greywarshark

              OK aj. I know he is not now the man he set out to be when younger. I have the feeling that the licensing trust down there has a scent of corruption that he may have become tainted with. Just an impression.

              But SIT? is doing pretty wellisn't it? Best to not to pull plants out when they are growing okay. Great new schemes by new politicians can be just part of this pathetic need to gain kudos in a new position, put your stamp on it by being a 'change agent'. Something I dread to hear now just as I dislike the conservative who wants to cling on nostalgically to tired programs.

          • Graeme

            so they don't individually mine the available students with duplication in courses etc.

            Which is what SIT has been doing with their Zero Fee structure. ICC is subsidising SIT to bring young people from all over to Invercargill to replace the young who have been leaving the place in droves because they find little opportunity in the place. Which has been relatively successful.

            While this is a laudable motivation, it does tilt the playing field a tad.

            • greywarshark

              True Graeme. But in the neo lib climate all is fair in love and war so to speak. Education is like a business and the SIT has played its hand well and brought some dosh to the locals. They can't be blamed it's the system and the way it works is you're either quick or you're dead. Pragmatism rules okay.

      • Gabby 2.1.2

        The obvious simple solution is to run the all new brightnshiny Polytechnetwerk from Invercargill.

        • Graeme

          Well it's not going to be in Auckland or Wellington, so something like that is happening. Suppose deal is being done, somewhere, as we speak

          • ianmac

            Apparently the Centre will be in Christchurch.

            • Graeme

              Makes sense, there'd be some pretty good deals going for office space, and the town badly needs outwardly focused organisations.

    • greywarshark 2.2

      This approach to vocational education is confusing – downplaying sills and training?

      23/7/2019 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1907/S00586/out-with-the-skilled-in-with-the-old-and-inexperienced.htm

      CEO of New Zealand business OneHQ, Hamish McLachland, says that while technical skills are highly important in roles such as medicine and law, other sectors can benefit by prioritising and taking into consideration softer skills over technical abilities in order to compete in today’s tight market.

      “The value of someone on the phone who can communicate really well with a client or supplier changes the whole relationship. If you’ve got a bubbly person in the office, someone that really loves talking with everyone, it lifts the whole feel of the office.

      McLachland says that when people with positive personalities are employed, the whole business is affected, as well as the other employees.

      “The office is more upbeat; people are more productive, and people engage with each other more. I think often, it’s too easy for people to get caught up in what they’re doing. If they get out and talk to their colleagues, people will learn new things, get different ideas and be more productive because they’re more energised.”

      (It used to be that people were told not to talk, get on with your work! I think employers are a lot of dissemblers about what they want. Is this an excuse for choosing a more ‘attractive person’, or younger, with no qualifications but cheaper than a skilled person who has paid to get a qualification and needs a living wage?)

      • greywarshark 2.2.1

        The government can look at how the Gnashionals have limited education and training across the board to NZs, discouraging learning and lively minds as one reason that polytechnics are scrabbling. NZ has turned its back on learning in general, and especially for young people. The thinking of education advisors and narrow-minded politicians is to concentrate on technology and science, everything else is an 'externality'!

        But particularly government should look at the need to help those at the bottom, and particularly solo parents, to keep thinking, to learn systems that will ensure employability, to be able to attend along with children in nearby creche and during school times, and not force them into low paid work away from their homes for long hours and availability to care for their own children. Give employers incentives to provide part-time work that is in the middle of the day and enables them to be home after school ends.

        This is the biggie need in NZ, we need young NZs getting fitted for the work force and also their important duties of being role models of good citizens to their citizen children. Stop bringing in overseas students who really need to work to support themselves while they are studying. That is no way to fund our education system!! It is running the whole country down, and often ends up as a nasty scam on people who are trying to get ahead from poor beginnings. Present numbers of overseas students, the way that they are being 'milked', are unsustainable and damaging to our country's reputation and are probably negative on our own economy and lower-income people.

        The government needs to nurture and teach parents, then we can send Oranga Tamariki back to history. Give parents the skills they require, have a regular small bus route that picks them up, with their children at home and takes them all to a good learning environment with creche. That is a big part of what polytechnics can do that is needed by this country. Regard good parenting as a skill that can be taught as a foundation course for a better life. This country should act and think like a modern first world country, and not the shambles that the careless and callous wealthy have driven us into.

        I suggest follow the pattern of educational drive that Susan Baragwanath set up Mr Hipkins. Follow a NZ model of young people's education that works, not some one-size-fits-all that is based on overseas programs and ideology dreamed up to make Labour sound capable and wise.

        An Eisenhower Fellowship was helpful in getting Susan Baragwanath's idea started. It is interesting that this post WW2 initiative from a former General and President carried forward his ideas for ensuring a better world. These unfortunately were over-ridden, but we really need to look Back to the Future at Eisenhower's vision.


        In this article, Susan Baragwanath makes some forthright comments about teaching youngsters of a lower age than those who would go to polytechnics. But talking about realities that would affect who goes to polytechnics, and who would finish courses successfully – because that has been a problem for some polytechnics who have low achievement statistics of students completing. Where they have come from makes a big difference as to where they can go to in life, and early interest would make a huge change in stats of success.


        Also Mr Hipkins – perhaps there are lessons to be learned from the In Zone program. What can you learn from its success. Have you looked or heard about it?


        InZone provides Māori and Pasifika youth with the opportunity to immerse themselves in ordered residential and school communities with high expectations and a focus on achievement in their academic, sporting and cultural activities.

        And can you increase the number of students to get into the Youth Guarantee programs such as the Star Secondary so they go from school into tertiary vocational – without giving them time to drop attendance and study habits or get disappointed.

        The Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) delivers additional operational grant funding to all state and state-integrated schools with year 11–13+ students. STAR is designed to help schools provide students with relevant, coherent learning experiences, aligned to the Vocational Pathways.


        • greywarshark

          This from Gordon Campbell at Scoop doesn't make me feel good. Hipkins is sort of rolling over to industry and getting his tummy rubbed.

          But the ITO etc were given the right to lead and find the fit that perfectly suited them decades ago. If that worked we would not be in the state we are today. So how can the below be regarded as the way to go.

          Grand Polytech Merger: Sweeping Vocational Training Reform Plan

          “The changes we are making will give industry greater control over all aspects of vocational education and training, making the system more responsive to employers’ needs and to the changing world of work.

          “Industry and employers will identify skills needs, set standards and approve qualifications and credentials, and influence funding decisions. ,,,

          “New Zealand needs to lift productivity and for that to happen we need more companies to be involved in training and taking on more apprentices.

          Now productivity has been examined and that it is not high in N has been identified as resulting from wages being too low, leading to a constraint on business investing in up-to-date machinery but instead just employing more low-paid workers. So continuing to do that instead of having a better mix of machinery and workers (without going into full-scale automation) is just the same old. How can Hipkins’ advisors be rolling out this tired old line?

          Note: “Currently however, nearly nine out of 10 of our businesses are not training through industry training. Yet at the same time, 71% of employers surveyed say there is, or will soon be, a skills shortage in their industry area.

          Having more trainees in polytechnics getting skills for inadequately run businesses with no stability because of sham accounting, or overseas takeovers, is only plugging gap now. People at polytechnics need to be learning trade skills, and also self-reliance and be encouraged to think further on developing their own businesses and finding alternative self-employment if needed.

          Neither industry, business or the government can apparently be trusted to see that we have good basic education sufficient to handle our affairs and understand the changing world. And talking about the changing world of work is just a miasma to cover the harsh truth which is the changing world of non-work, precariat work, demeaning attitudes of business to applicants for work (one sad person I heard some time ago had sent out say 100 applications and not had a reply from any – something very similar to that figure).

          And a local secondary school will only teach children using laptops. We must hold onto basic skills or we just become helpless in the hands of these immensely rich people, with layers from meta, to mega, to a huge amount of dosh, to considerably wealthy, to comfortably off but aspirational – and none of those seem to care about anything but themselves, their families and class, plus a fleeting concern for the cause of the day.

          The people in the lowest class are the vast majority and where is the concern of the government for them; I note in the UK the political scientist commenting on Labour coming fourth in the Wales by-election. Labour has lost touch with the peeps, the Greens tend to be clear-thinking people about the environment and the damage we have done to the planet and the needs of animals, but the lumpenproletariat gets lumped together as being not-good-enough. I fear that the concern gets used up on whatever is the identity politics focus at the time. The rest of us get little thought and need to be dragged into line with the requirements.

          People are already forming pseudo parties to lobby for the concerns that they know are out there. Money that should be spent at an early stage of small problems, isn't and the problem grows and that reveals that there is bias against many people. It used to be said that money should be invested in people and from an economic point of view it gave good returns. Money now could be spent and it would make good economic sense, but there is a hardness in the minds of people especially of the RWs who seem to despise people who aren't aspirational and conform to their ideas of the right way to be and behave. There is a lot of that in NZ.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Dr Neal Curtis is Associate Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Auckland. In his role as expert media communicator, he's foreshadowing the next trend in democratic politics, as it shifts away from neoliberalism: "The term aristocracy comes from the Greek words aristos meaning best and krasis meaning rule." The best way to rule.

    "And, so, to Boris. Last month in The Guardian his former editor at The Daily Telegraph said: “There is room for debate about whether he is a scoundrel or mere rogue, but not so much about his moral bankruptcy, rooted in a contempt for truth”. Johnson is a man who refers to gay men as “bum boys”, black people as “pickaninnies”, Muslim women as looking like “bank robbers” and “letterboxes”; he has conspired to have a journalist beaten up; he was sacked from the shadow cabinet for lying about an affair; ran a Brexit campaign based on disinformation; was fired from his job at The Times for making up quotes; was deemed an embarrassment by civil servants during his brief stint as Foreign Secretary; and is widely regarded as having little grasp on any of the portfolios for which he has been responsible."

    An excellent catalogue of reasons why democracy selected him for its top job in the UK. The system is working extremely well. Keep voting for it – it needs your support.

    • mikesh 3.1

      I think "aristocracy" refers to rule by the "best" people rather than "the best way to rule".

      • Gabby 3.1.1

        Franko means in praxis it's the bexest way to rule.

        • Dennis Frank

          If it meant rule by the best people to the Greeks, hard to argue with their logic. I didn't notice the academic dude coming out in support though. The devil, in the detail, ensures that people are unable to focus on the best way to select the best people. Consequently people chose democracy, and hence mediocrity instead. Thus Boris. Simon is gambling that this logic will still apply next year…

    • greywarshark 3.2

      Latest on Boorish's Brexit from The Telegraph. 1/8/2019

      Voters in the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency, in South Wales, are voting in a by-election. [

      The sitting Tory MP, Chris Davies, was convicted of filing false expenses and 18,000 voters signed a petition to recall him. The Conservatives then shocked many by selecting Mr Davies to stand again,…

      The Liberal Democrats are heavy favourites to win the election, having made a pact with the Greens and Plaid Cymru to ensure theirs is the only pro-Remain candidate. The party has also put forward Jane Dodds, their leader in Wales, as their candidate and are chucking huge resources at the campaign.

      There’s also an expectation that the Brexit Party will pick up a few thousand votes that would otherwise have gone to Mr Davies.

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/01/the-view-from-brecon-and-radnorshire-voters-byelection 1/8/19

      In truth, the byelection is just about the last thing Johnson needs. It is his first major test as prime minister and if, as is widely expected, the Liberal Democrats win, his working majority in the Commons will be reduced to just one.

      The byelection was called after the sitting Conservative MP Chris Davies was embroiled in an expenses scandal that resulted in him being ousted when more than 10% of the registered voters signed a petition to remove him. To the surprise of many Davies was re-selected to fight the byelection for the Tories.

      Voting is underway. 1/8/2019

      • Dennis Frank 3.2.1

        Cool, sounds good. A working majority of one is a knife-edge in a parliament of what – 600 or so? A single death producing a by-election in a marginal seat, or someone going independent, will put the skids under Boris.

        • greywarshark

          And they have gone American in the UK – the forces of malevolence started shooting politicians. But just an ecoli bug in the lettuce would do the trick. Let us pray?

      • Dennis Frank 3.3.1

        Thanks, I forgot. He took an interesting perspective but didn't really take it far enough for me: "kakistocracy is not entirely new, however. It is a form of government that also includes the removal and denigration of experts in various specialised fields. This was an integral part of neoliberalism’s success, where professional specialists in areas such as health, education, and environment were replaced by managers schooled in new business models".

        Having noted that his proposal and neoliberalism are both characterised by bias against experts, he fails to explain what he thinks his new thing does that is different neoliberalism (other than being nastier). Nor does he even attempt to explain why democracy is producing this shift!

        I mean, you'd think the purpose of having a brain is to use it, eh? This academic trend to assume doing so is too hard is most unhelpful…

        • Neal Curtis

          Do you want to talk to me?

          • greywarshark

            Hello Dr Curtis I have just been reading your thinkpiece for the Newsroom. Every day I strike a new terror as something I thought I knew disappears over the horizon. Now democracy I must regretfully give up on, but meritocracy I thought still existed.

            It was puzzling though contemplating Canada and Harper, Toronto and Mayor Rob Ford and brother Canadian Premier Doug Ford, then Trump, and now you say we are seeking our pollies on the floor of the bird cage. We did have John Key weeing in the shower and being interviewed sitting in a cage, all for the delectation of a populist radio host and his agog audience; is this the rise of the common man and woman? But the common man and woman are not rising, they are sinking economically and really on all past standards. So have they given up, and is the elite now triumphant and dismissive of the populace they have very largely cowed.

            I think that this explains the attitude of the Australian government to us – dismissive and under their thumb as they own our major banks and have us dancing to their tune really. Is it all part of the same zeitgeist as you refer to in the paragraph below.

            You describe it this way:

            This also leads to one other issue. With the noxious blooming of our kakistocracy we now need to say our final goodbyes to the deeply outmoded idea that we live in a meritocracy, unless of course merit is now understood solely in terms of a self-serving, conniving, dissembling thirst for power.

            • Neal Curtis

              Dear Mr. Warshark

              The problem as I see it is that we have something of an internecine struggle between two factions of the governing/corporate class; those who believe in neoliberalism. which while being hostile to the idea of society and the role of the state nevertheless supports a minimal element of the welfare state that defines the post-war consensus; and those who want to return to a completely naked capitalism without any safety nets modelled on some ridiculously obscene romance about the striving individual.

              This latter group also seems committed to the return of belligerent nationalism (the collective version of the individual) and have used myths of nationhood, which includes the naming of an enemy (immigrants, mostly, but also the poor, Muslims, liberals, feminists, etc.) as a form of distraction while they proceed to maximise their wealth.

              This is the section of the governing/corporate class currently in the ascendance, and the course they are setting is distinctly post-democratic, if not authoritarian (of the fascist variety). The media plays an especially important role in the promotion of these characters, but an analysis of how that is done is beyond a comments here.

              Ultimately, we are moving towards a politics that is mobilising our baser instincts in an effort to draw attention away from the real structural problem which is the development of an unaccountable oligarchy.



              • Incognito

                Dear Neal,

                I appreciate you engaging here.

                It seems that while the need for true and real leadership is higher than ever, we are moving in the exact opposite direction. The issues facing us are more complex and urgent than ever and can only be tackled through coordinated systemic and global approaches but the establishment is doing everything it can to prevent any changes.

                I always believed the way forward depended and relied on an educated and well-informed citizenry and that media played a key role in this by raising public awareness and vigilance in order to hold the (democratic) powers accountable. However, the media are owned by the establishment and used to maintain status quo.

                The way I see our current dilemma is that we are killing ourselves and that a minute group of self-serving, self-enriching, and self-aggrandising people stand in the way of us saving ourselves.

                Best wishes,

                Incognito (sorry, I can’t reveal my real name)

              • greywarshark

                Hi Neal

                It would be good to keep the flow going, and not be baulked by Dennis Frank and his present querulous opinions. His are good, and raise the bar here, and yours have also been great. Please come again and talk! You might like to visit regularly on Sunday's post 'How to Get There' where we are thinking of how we could be in the future, and generally letting our minds free to wonder, consider, learn about things from gardening hints, what the climate will do, how can we manage ourselves and carry through the learnings from the past in intelligent and kindly ways etc. Robert Guyton is the 'gaffer' for the post which is open to all comments and would welcome more thoughts expounding on our future.

                • Neal Curtis

                  We have recently started a Social Futures research group at the University that looks to draw together Arts, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Economics to imagine alternative and possible futures. Once up and running we will increasingly look to bring in non-academic or citizen groups.

                  For me, the future is a collective and common project, but it can't be driven by the "old left" tied to nineteenth century European analyses. Changes to the mode and ownership of production remains absolutely crucial, but it needs to be developed alongside a radical re-imagining of technology and the human (or human/nature dualism), and supplemented by what I would call (for lack of a better word) indigenous knowledges that understand and practice forms of care.

                  I also think Boomers need to get out of the way, or rather use their status and influence to enable young people do what needs to be done. The major problem is circumventing the corporate oligarchy and its propaganda machine. This is a difficult task, but not an impossible one, which is why I try to write in newspapers, do other media and write blogs.

                  Supporting new forms of collective action and enabling new, radically diverse forms of dialogue and community are the priority, though, which is why we started the Social Futures group so we could try to work these out.

                  • greywarshark

                    That sounds really good. If you could drop in occasionally here it would help also. There can be an ennui that affects people, they drop out for different reasons, and with a lack of diversity it sometimes is like masticating a lump of last week's porridge. If people in your gathering could drop in giving your thoughts and views or just telling us, and our readers, what is going on with your Social Futures, it would help a bunch. We would love to hear the positive moves happening.

                    Incidentally I suppose you are all clued up about the Santa Fe Institute, USA which specialises in cross-disciplinary relationships and projects. It sounds similar to what you are founding.


          • Dennis Frank

            Possibly, Neal. It depends if you are inclined to address the point I made – which, to rephrase it, was about the effect on the interested reader when a theory is introduced and then not developed.

            My grouch, if you didn't get it clearly, is to do with the general dumbing down of society, that being led by the dumbing down of acadaemia in particular…

            • McFlock

              dude, it was a newsroom opinion piece, not a phd thesis. Get over yourself.

              • Dennis Frank

                Yeah but even newsroom readers would benefit from learning something new. Particularly if it helps them understand why society & politics are trending the way they are. No reason a writer can't pitch subtle stuff in everyday language. I've seen plenty of instances of that mix being successfully achieved. Lots of excellent contemporary science books are being written for lay readers, for instance, and that trend has been evident since the '80s.

            • Neal Curtis

              Dear Mr. Frank

              You seem to be content to call me dumb. Perhaps we should leave it at that.



              • Dennis Frank

                I didn't call you anything. I understand your need to retreat to the ivory tower, but I'd prefer you to engage the issue. The left & right have been playing the dumb & dumber game an awful long time now. We in the Greens have been intent on providing a positive alternative but unfortunately our parliamentary wing has parked itself in a leftist ghetto.

                You correctly pointed to the cultural effects of the left/right race to the bottom. That's mere analysis of the problem. Publishing analysis of a political problem without theory or solution doesn't get us anywhere. Writers here have bemoaned the problem for years. Better to add value, to advance our common cause. Therefore I hope you will do so!

                • McFlock

                  A "positive alternative" would have been to ask the columnist who engaged with you a specific question with the possibility of a clear answer, rather than just doubling down on the abuse.

                  I still don't quite get your issue. Marx described a problem very well, but produced a solution that was a bit pants, to put it in the patois of the street. That doesn't mean his contribution was worthless or "dumb".

            • Neal Curtis

              I don't thinking insinuating someone is dumb because they don't write what you want is a particular helpful approach to dialogue. I also don't think repeating the assumption is an especially productive way to start a conversation once someone suggests it.

              Academics and higher education (especially the Arts and Humanities) are regularly derided and disparaged by the media and the population that consume that media, so simply repeating such prejudice is lazy.

              Despite the privatisation of higher education, which has done its best to turn students into customers; academics into customer service providers; universities into corporations; courses into a game of "bums on seats"; and research into "impactful" contributions to maintaining current dogma, academics have done and are doing everything they can to protect the values of challenging teaching and experimental research.

              In this, our only allies are the students themselves, the majority of whom still want to know what the hell is going on in the world that politicians are slowly destroying, and they still want to be pushed, intellectually and morally. They make me think there is still hope.

              • Incognito

                You paint a bleak picture because it is. There are and always will be people, including students, or should I say particularly students, who have not given up hopes and dreams that we can turn the tide of neo-liberalism and its evil twin sibling corporatism. The pressures on students with regard to their career prospects and on academics with theirs – they are on different rungs of the same ladder AKA rat race – relinquish the idealists to fighting a rear-guard action against Establishment. All is not well when the ‘critic and conscience’ of society has succumbed to the manipulative forces of Establishment. In a perverse twist of reality and victim blaming, the academics who speak out often are accused of being out of touch with reality. The irony, albeit unescapable, is lost on many.

                I too hope you will be a returning visitor here and I’ll keep an eye out for the Social Futures research group.

      • Anne 3.3.2

        “It’s a good article.”

        Indeed it is and so eloquently presented.

        As someone who experienced the worst effects within a NZ government agency in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I can attest to the accuracy of his synopsis.

        The mindless devotion to an ideology which was irrelevant to the work of that particular department was mind-boggling. Fortunately after a few years, common sense did seem to prevail. Had it not done so, I believe that department would have been brought to its knees and may have ceased to exist.

        Such a scenario could have opened up an intriguing consequence which has since caused me to wonder if it was the aim of the exercise by a small group of individuals. But that is another story.

  4. Ric 4

    How CTF use Facebook to influence public opinion is explained in some detail in today's Guardian. NZ needs legislation that requires Facebook (and others) to reveal who is behind paid campaigns on social media.

    (recent revelations) "expose a major flaw in Facebook’s political transparency tools, which make it possible for Crosby’s company – which boasts on its website that it deploys “the latest tools in digital engagement” – to use the social network to run professional-looking “news” pages reaching tens of millions of people on highly contentious topics, without apparently disclosing that they are being overseen by CTF Partners on behalf of paying clients."


    • Wensleydale 4.1

      Crosby Textor does 'news' in the same way Metallica do nursery rhymes. Whaleslug used to do the same thing in concert with odious turds like Carrick Graham. "Let's make it look a bit like news, but really it's a heavily skewed opinion piece authored by a mercenary in the employ of vested interests. The general populace are dumb and they'll never know!" People need to start asking 'Who wrote it?', 'On whose behalf was it written?', and 'What do they stand to gain from its publication?'… and then fact-check the living crap out of it. A lot of the time you'll find if it's not full of outright falsehoods (you know, the prosecutable stuff), it's loaded with dodgy stats, heavily selective research and glaring omissions — all of it by design. Nobody is trying to enlighten or inform. They're attempting to deceive.

  5. aj 5

    Voter manipulation by powerful cliques within the establishment, using tools such as Facebook, is the threat to democracy. The enemy is within. CTF. Cambridge Analytica.

  6. soddenleaf 6

    Trump has advisors. He has media advisors. Those advisors clearly deliberately find nonsense spewing through the ether that is the internet, to keep us all googled eyed to what crap Trump is talking. It's up to media to stop looking and turn the page, they don't, so we can't move on as a democracy. Always mired in insubstandal distraction. But hey who needs the truth bout brexit, or China trade, or whatever, when we have Tories behind the scenes working tireless to kep banker from jail, etc.

  7. A 7

    Had to post this awesome video before I go to my meeting.


    “Desperately fighting to save land at Ihumātao from development, Pania Newton leads a determined collective of protectors in the fight to save the site considered sacred.”

  8. Anne 8

    Oh look who is coming to NZ next week for a wee chat:


    Defence and security cooperation is an important pillar in New Zealand's overall relationship with the United States, where engagement occurs at all levels including shared defence deployments,….

    Oh yeah…?

    • greywarshark 8.1

      They will be wanting us to buy some of their 'defence' weapons the making of which is the main manufacturing prop for the mismanaged USA and we will help reduce their trillion dollar deficit mostly because of weapons etc.

      (Seconded by the UK – same general financial standing.)

      The English speakers are best – so up with the English and USA – and down with the rest. Paraphrasing Flander & Swann.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        Will Ron Marks be able to keep his head when his nose senses scents of khaki or airforce blue wool? Could he be led by his nose with us having to trot behind?


        Meanwhile, Defence Minister Ron Mark will be meeting with Mr Esper in Auckland.

        Mr Esper was sworn in as the United States' 27th Defense Secretary on 23 July.

        Mr Mark said the main business of the visit would be a bilateral Defence Ministers' meeting.

        "New Zealand shares a longstanding friendship with the United States, founded on a mutual interest in a free, democratic, secure and prosperous world," Mr Mark said.

        "I look forward to meeting with my US counterpart and discussing, amongst other things, some of the challenges to New Zealand and United States shared interests in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as defence capability."

    • Wensleydale 8.2

      It could be worse. It could be John 'Kill Everything' Bolton.

    • Robert Guyton 9.1

      Dirty dairying is still with us, Naki man (I can send pictures) but these guys are planting trees and I'm fully supportive of that. Shading creeks with trees is a step in the right direction after decades of mal-development; removing trees, straightening creeks and allowing nitrates and phosphates to dribble into those sensitive environments. Trees are the answer; agriculture is the problem.

        • greywarshark

          From the Herald link above. It seems that there was some frank talk. Now to walk the walk.

          Green MP Chloe Swarbrick thanks Fonterra for leadership on issue of climate change

          Fonterra's Andrew Kempson also said that from the end of the current season it would be providing all of its farmers with a bespoke unique report telling them about their farm's emissions.

          "We want to support farmers to be able to understand their numbers because that awareness will help us a long way in terms of appreciating their impact and the risks as well.

          Fonterra is a co-operative owned by about 10,000 farming families.

          It employs about 20,000 people, most in New Zealand.

          It runs 33 manufacturing plants and has a significant transport fleet.

          Green MP Chloe Swarbrick thanked the Fonterra submitters for their" leadership in this space."

          "It has been incredibly important."

          Fonterra is a co-operative owned by about 10,000 farming families. It employs about 20,000 people, most in New Zealand. It runs 33 manufacturing plants and has a significant transport fleet.

          The Climate Leaders' Coalition, a group of 110 chief executives, also called for a bipartisan approach in its submission today.

          Neal Barclay, the chief executive of Meridian Energy, said it was time to "collectively stop admiring the problem and move to action, and action soon."

          "Political consensus is the key…

    • Gabby 9.2

      Planting's a good idea isn't it NastiMan.

    • mauī 9.3

      How many Naki farmers frolic in their "crystal clear" streams and creeks that run through their properties in the summer time? That would be the real test… my guess would be stuff all.

  9. Kevin 10

    House Judiciary report detailing the White House push for US nuclear technology to be sold to the Saudis. Fucking insane.


    • Gabby 10.1

      Next thing, EU sanctions on yankistan, pommy ships seizing yankistani tankers?

    • greywarshark 10.2

      The Saudis where journalists disappear, and which founded the rebel group? that rammed planes into the World Trade Centre, very embarrassing for the close and comfortable relationship of the Shrubs and various Saudi elites who had to be got away from the uncomfortable situation and were flown out toot sweet. A triumph of international relations conducted labyrinthine-style.

    • Stuart Munro. 11.1

      Hardly – they ran the Corbyn antisemitism smear pretty relentlessly.

      • Morrissey 11.1.1

        It's a reasonable question. There is no evidence that the Labour Party is institutionally anti-Semitic, but the Graudani has been a shameless, willing vehicle for the campaign of absurd and vicious character assassination run by old Yenta Hodge and her hapless assistant, the Witchfinder General Tom Watson.

    • Wensleydale 12.1

      Poor BNZ. And they don't have Teflon John to smooth away the wrinkles and make comforting cooing sounds to lull the media into submission. "Transparency is important to us here at ANZ… except when it comes to all the dirty shit we've been hiding from public view. Nothing to see here, move along."

    • Graeme 12.2

      I'm sort of waiting for one of them to come a gutsa because one of their highly profitable deals has blown up in their face

  10. Rosemary McDonald 13

    Some of you may have been keeping up with the Funded Family Care thing…the shit from National in 2013 that Labour/Greens/NZFirst all promised to sort out in their 2017 electioneering.

    Labour to repeal ban on family caregivers seeking justice

    You may have been cheering momentarily as the Current Mob announced a generous $32 million over four years to 'restore fairness to family carers.'

    If you were even dozing it would have registered that the $32 million was not going to restore fairness at all and that either this Mob were being as parsimonious on this issue as the last or that they simply failed to do their sums…


    All is not lost.

    It turns out that for the first four years of Funded Family Care the total spend was $22.5 million. That is just shy of a quarter of the much publicised generous allocation of $92 million allocated in 2013.

    Leaving $73.5 million of unused funds specifically earmarked for paying family carers ostensibly (according to the response I received today from DSS) returned to the Government coffers.

    So, ok, Current Mob….you stuffed up with your premature announcement the other day by failing to check to see if the allocated funding was going to be sufficient to fulfill your promises….here’s a bloody lifeline.

    There’s $73.5 million already allocated that you can surely draw upon to do this work properly. Taking the yearly funding from a mere $8million to a workable $26 million.


    • Dukeofurl 13.1

      Doesnt government funding mean 'use it or lose it'
      $73 mill unused from previous years is gone!
      Once its moved into another year it has to be re authorised. AND its not just a pot of money, the bureaucracy establishes rules and processes which each claimant has to 'be eligible'

      What were individual circumstances that werent being funded and should have been?

      • Rosemary McDonald 13.1.1

        What were individual circumstances that werent being funded and should have been?

        You've not been keeping up have you?

        Funded Family Care was the response by National/Maori/ Party Act to successive losses in the the HHRT and courts claiming that family carers providing the supports a MOH DSS client had been assessed as needing should be paid as any other carer performing those tasks.

        FFC was equally discriminatory and designed to fail. Barely a quarter of the 1600 carers that funding was allocated for took it up. Most were better off on the benefit or keeping their paid job and leaving their loved one in the care of strangers.

        Considering those with disabilities under MOH are constantly being told how expensive they are to care for it would be great if it were acknowledged that there's $73 million that was counted as an expenditure but actually wasn't.

        It's about telling the truth.

        Getting the numbers right.

        Painting an accurate picture.

        • Dukeofurl

          Funny you use the term 'better off' . Surely it should be foscused on whats best for the person needing care.
          Im sorry if Ive not been keeping up, but I was hoping for a specific example

          Its a terrible way at looking at any government program, I see its now being used by Schools and the governments offer of an amount per pupil instead of charging 'school fees'

          Right on cue comes the claim by some Principals that 'they were better off' by sticking with charging parents fees. Its seems there are many schools definitely will drop the school fees completely a few in the middle who could go each way ( but who want to be better off) and of course schools who wont consider it – but are mostly high decile schools and not eligible

        • Dukeofurl

          Are you saying Genter is wrong ?

          "She said she took issue with associate health minister Julie Anne Genter's claims that there wasn't widespread discontent with the recent changes announced by the government."

          Predictions that there isnt enough money are all very well, but you are saying there is 'left over funding money'

          For outsiders , 'both sides cant be right'

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Yes. Genter is wrong. There is widespread discontent…more than she will ever know.

            However, Genter is no longer the AssMin in charge of MOH DSS, this hot potato has been passed to Salesa and is not on er list of either priorities or interest.

            I doubt very much if Salesa will take any more notice than Genter of the many emails myself andothers have sent to express our 'discontent'.


  11. greywarshark 14

    oh the Diddle-oh!


    41 minutes ago

    Brecon and Radnorshire by-election: Lib Dems beat Conservatives

    The Conservatives have lost a closely-fought Brecon and Radnorshire parliamentary by-election.

    Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds overturned an 8038 majority to beat Chris Davies by 1425 votes.

    Mr Davies stood again after being unseated by a petition that followed his conviction for a false expenses claim.

    Labour were beaten into the fourth place by The Brexit Party….

    Political analyst Professor Roger Awan-Scully, from Cardiff University, said: "Labour need to look very closely at this result. Everything points to not just tactical voting for the Lib Dems but also dissatisfaction with Jeremy Corbyn and [First Minister] Mark Drakeford".

    Is that where the Brecon Beacons used to be. They would be blazing with this news.

    • Dukeofurl 14.1

      Doesnt the good prof of political science know any thing about by elections where the smaller parties up turn previous results.

      Means nothing .!
      Turn out was less than last GE

      • ScottGN 14.1.1

        Turnout was high for a by-election though. Labour’s vote has collapsed as predicted. The prospects for them at a GE look pretty grim. UK Telegraph is running a poll that claims that Boris is on for a majority win in an election provided he gets to call it AFTER Brexit has been achieved. His new majority of 1 in the Commons is very parlous though.

      • McFlock 14.1.2

        It's not exactly a Labour seat, either. Conservative or libdem since 1979.

        Solid Labour up until then – I wonder if there was a demographic shift.

        Either way… bojo's majority down to 2. Fucksake.

        • greywarshark

          I thought down to 1, or are Lib Dems in cahoots with Johnson for voting?

        • Dukeofurl

          Boundary changes ?

          Happens here a lot and explains the shift from one party to another

          Rotorua used contain Tokoroa and Kawerau- elected labour Mp.

          Now doesnt have either but because of gerrymandering by national includes their stronghold of Te Puke which has no connection to the city.

          examples all over the country , especially around Hamilton

        • ScottGN

          Thatcher happened in 1979 of course and then after that mine closures across South Wales probably spurred on the demographic shifts.

      • greywarshark 14.1.3

        MMmm The point is what will the public think, and what does Labour think. Just because by-elections can get skewed results doesn't mean that they are of no account. And as for turn-out, there was an interesting petition about the removal of Davies the standing Cons member over a fraud, which had a considerable support. That effect on the voting and where it went instead of the Cons, is of interest.

        In February 2019, the incumbent MP, Chris Davies, was charged with expenses fraud. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to community service and fined £1,500. This triggered the recall petition and on 21st June 2019, it was announced that 10,005 registered electors had signed it (19% of the total electorate) triggering the by-election itself.


        And a comment from Corbyn is interesting:

        Mr Corbyn has hinted he will look at calling a no confidence vote in September, after the new MP is sworn in, when it will take potentially just a single disaffected Tory to rebel and bring down the Government, forcing a General Election in the autumn.

        Several, including former Attorney general Dominic Grieve, have said they were willing to back such a vote if it was the only way to rule out a no deal Brexit.

        And with Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister put in charge of no deal planning by Mr Johnson, saying the Government is now operating “on the assumption” the UK is going to leave in such a scenario, the result of the by-election is crucial to how any such vote may play out.


        • Dukeofurl

          No. Losing a no confidence motion doesnt mean a new election at all. Under fixed term election rules it takes 2 separate no confidence motions.

          All the first motion would do is that Johnson would resign but immediately form a new government and likely prorouge parliament to avoid another one. Harpers conservatives did a similar scenario when they were a minority government facing a no confidence motion they would lose ( no fixed terms law either)

          • ScottGN

            Yep. And Harper went on to win a majority in the election following his shutting down the parliament in Ottawa.

            • greywarshark

              And what a s..t he was. Throwing out climate records because he didn't want to know what changes were happening. There is something wrong in the state of democracy, by Jove.

      • swordfish 14.1.4

        Long history of the Lib Dems (& antecedents) winning constituencies from the Tories in By-Elections with the help of Labour supporters voting strategically (usually in seats where Labour have historically come a poor third).

        Then again, as you probably know, the UK nationwide Polls are suggesting a collapse in Labour's 2017 vote (significant Remainer desertion to Lib Dems) while, ominously (& predictably) enough, the Tories begin to swiftly revive under Boris, with former Tory defectors to Farage's Brexit Party slowly-but-surely heading on home. First, a trickle … then a flood.

        • The Al1en

          Ignoring the fact that the brexit party will die if an election takes place after a withdrawal, and those votes will likely revert back to blue, where they came from, the lib dems are on course to be the second biggest party at the general election.

          Labour is tanking. They know it, the people know it, and there's only one way out. Corbyn has to go to save the party from a likely third placing.

          • greywarshark

            Yes watching from here I feel he has done his time, served his party by revitalising them at a low point, but is probably hoist on his own ideological petard now. Probably he is waiting for some particular event to happen that will fit some preconceived left policies.

            Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. They need to be bold not timorous, they are on the point of losing so much, now is the tipping point – all the cliche's but they are truisms. Who do you think could and would step in to replace?

            Or are they to go down with a whimper and a sigh? Pathetic Labour, ‘undermined’ since Thatcher closed down everything. The young need to rise together, and do something positive, not riot in the streets. Keep Calm but do Carry On, keep up the spirits – outside the pub.

    • ScottGN 14.2

      Brecon Beacons is the name of the actual sandstone hills in that part of South Wales greywarshark. They were called that though because of the signal fires that used to be lit on their summits to warn of marauding English attackers.

      • greywarshark 14.2.1

        Marauding English attackers eh! Rise Scotland, rise Wales, and face the blonde destroyer astride his hobby-horse, with a mad glint in his eye.

  12. Bazza64 15

    One Two has been banned for 3 months – where do I get my laughs from now ??

  13. greywarshark 16

    Well that is the explanation for all our problems –

    Milky Way galaxy is warped and twisted, not flat

    we are all twisted and warped. Now I understand, I feel better.


  14. McFlock 17

    So California has just passed a law that requires presidential candidates to release the last five years of tax returns to appear on the ballot in California primaries.

    Who cares if it works – it'll put the wind up the cheeto-in-chief

    • Andre 17.1

      Nah. The land of fruits and nuts is irrelevant to whether he gets back in 2020. If it makes it through the court challenges, he'll just not bother with California. He'll use it to whine about Pelosi and the rest of the Dems trying to cheat. His base will love it, him sticking it to the liberal coastal elites.

      • McFlock 17.1.1

        Yeah, but I liked the bit about it maybe giving other states ideas.

      • greywarshark 17.1.2

        Can't California impeach him or something? If he won't declare his honesty and law-abiding persona? The gummint got Capone on his tax cheating.

        Could California secede from the USA?

        • Andre

          New York has the best chance of holding him accountable. It's where he's lived and been loathed all his life. There's been a ton of seriously dodgy shit he's done that he's managed to get let off of before, but now he's a much bigger blowfish some ambitious prosecutors might try harder to make something stick. There's not much California can do. Bugger-all of his asset base is there, and they can only go after him for state crimes.

          There isn't a process for a state (or group of states) to secede. The only precedents are the Civil War (where the precedent set is no it won't happen) and a Supreme Court ruling in the fallout from the Civil War basically saying no a state can't unilaterally secede.


          • greywarshark

            I looked up Donalds Wikipedia page

            This was interesting – at eight?

            Trump has often said that he began his career with "a small loan of one million dollars" from his father, and that he had to pay it back with interest.[105] In October 2018, The New York Times reported that Trump "was a millionaire by age 8", borrowed at least $60 million from his father, largely failed to reimburse him, and had received $413 million (adjusted for inflation) from his father's business empire over his lifetime.[106][107] According to the report, Trump and his family committed tax fraud, which a lawyer for Trump denied; the tax department of New York says it is "vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation" into it.[108][109] Analyses by The Economist and The Washington Post have concluded that Trump's investments have under-performed the stock market. Forbes estimated in October 2018 that the value of Trump's personal brand licensing business had declined by 88% since 2015, to $3 million.

            Trump's tax returns from 1985 to 1994 show net losses totaling $1.17 billion over the ten-year period, in contrast to his claims about his financial health and business abilities. In 1995 his reported losses were $915.7 million...

            Trump obtained the rights to develop Trump Tower, a 58-story, 664-foot-high (202 m) mixed-use skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.[127][128] To make way for the new building, a crew of undocumented Polish workers demolished the historic Bonwit Teller store, including art deco features that had initially been marked for preservation.[129] Trump Tower was completed in 1983 and houses Trump's primary penthouse condominium residence and the headquarters of the Trump Organization.

    • Gabby 17.2

      His Supreme Court stooges will declare that unconstitooshnil.

  15. ScottGN 18

    54.6% of the vote in Brecon and Radnorshire by-election went to Leave parties. That’s up 2.5% on the Referendum result in that seat. Johnson probably just needs to hold his nerve and Brexit on All Hallows’ eve is on the cards.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      Halloween how appropriate. What will his strategy be if the UK farmers protesr robustly like the French ones have? I think they burnt down a police station too. How will he and the Cons bluff their way out of the disaster to come?

  16. Stuart Munro. 19

    Lest it be thought Russia is lonely in running Facebook campaigns, Bellingcat have busted a Saudi effort. From the Daily Beast.

  17. greywarshark 20

    We have had a lot of fog lately. Is it possible to guide single planes in an 'envelope' so there is no possibility of collision with good tower control and extra sensing instruments?

    This is a good video.


  18. The Chairman 21

    White, old and privileged? Yeah right.


    With soaring rents and the decline of home ownership we can expect more of this.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 21.1

      "Home ownership rates lowest in 66 years according to Statistics NZ." [January 2017]


      From 2009 to 2017, the National-led government tried fiercely, mightily and (alas) in vain to reverse the trend of falling home ownership rates – why wouldn't they? Of course, they did also allow immigration rates to increase – why wouldn't they?

      But for the 'efforts' of those brave and principled National government MPs, just imagine the home ownership mess NZ would be in now!

      Why can’t Labour, NZ1st and the Greens see the light and ask National party MPs to help sort it – just use some of that well-known National party ‘magic touch‘.

  19. Eco maori 22

    Kia ora Human caused Climate change is Our REALITY.

    The climate change deniers have the IQ of a ancient moss and that's insulting the moss they can not see past the own WANTS so don't threat to much tangata who believe in Human Caused Climate because the intelligent tangata will WIN.

    Record heatwave 'made much more likely' by human impact on climate

    Scientists say July at least equalled and may have beaten hottest month on record

    The record-breaking heatwave that roasted Europe last month was a one-in-a-thousand-year event made up to 100 times more likely by human-driven climate change, scientists have calculated.

    Around the globe, July at least equalled and may have surpassed the hottest month on record, according to data from the World Meteorological Organization. This followed the warmest June on record

    Temperature records were broken in many countries, wildfires continue to devastate vast areas of Siberia, the Greenland ice sheet is melting at a near record rate, and the risk of drought has grown more acute across wide continent.

    The extreme heat is particularly unusual because it is not an El Niño year – the phenomenon usually associated with prolonged temperature surges. Instead, scientists say it is driven to a large extent by carbon emissions from car exhausts, power plant chimneys, burning forests and other human sources

    How much these factors loaded the dice in the two- to three-day heatwave during the last week of July was the subject of an attribution study by a consortium of meteorologists and climatologists at the UK Met Office, Oxford University and other prominent European institutions.

    It found that the extreme heat in France and the Netherlands, where temperatures peaked above 40C, was made at least 10 times and possibly more than 100 times more likely by climate change. In the UK, which set a record of 38.7C on 25 July, the human impact on the climate made the high temperatures at least two to three times more probable.

    There was considerable variation from place to place, but in all the studied locations the scientists said it would have been 1.5C to 3C cooler without climate change. Ka kite ano link below.


  20. Eco maori 23

    Kia Ora Newshub Nation.

    I agree that simons statement about Our Prime Minister is sexist.

    Eco Maori tau toko The Green Party 100 % I, , Marama the Green party has had a lot of positive effects on new policies like banning plastic bags carbon tax and mass transport and poor common people being treated with RESPECT from other governments agencies.

    It is sad that a capital gains tax was not taken up by our Coalition Governments Ma te wa Jamie.

    I think eazer house perches is a must for the common person we have to pay rent and most times thats more than a mortgage. Whats up with that capitalism at its best a transfer of wealth from the common person to the 00.1%.

    Yes Eco Maori thanks The Green Party for there campaigns to combat the effects of human caused climate change KIA KAHA.

    I agree Chris The System is not delivering the correct people with the correct skills to grow Aotearoa in a positive way heaps of people get trained in skill at a higher level of Education than they do end up using in their working life.

    That is the way get the education organization to share their knowledge on what works in training there students.

    I agree the education system has dropped the ball on the region like North Land and The East Coast you have Hawksbay and Gisborne and the University was planted in Palmerston North it Should have been built in Hawksbay if the intention was to Educate all te tangata.??????? Palmerston North has a close University in Wellington

  21. Eco maori 24

    The Australia get treated much better in Aotearoa than we get from them The dream of a good life in Australia can quickly turn to mud

    This can add tens of thousands of dollars to transaction costs. As an example, an A$800,000 ($834,398) house in New South Wales attracts stamp duty of A$31,719, but if you still reside in New Zealand and don't pass the 200 day test, the duty becomes A$95,719.

    In Queensland, an A$800,000 house incurs $24,466 of stamp duty for a local buyer, but blows out to AUD$80,466 for New Zealanders who remain resident at home.

    * Pension: It's like a Lotto win for Kiwis aged 65
    * Why being loyal is a bad idea
    * Winter Energy Payment now looks a lot less enticing

    It's another example of Kiwis being treated as "foreigners", while our own property market treats Aussies as locals.

    As New Zealand citizens, we can buy a home in Australia and don't require permission from their Foreign Investment Review Board. The same etiquette is extended to Australians who are not restricted by our Overseas Investment Act.


    Advertise with Stuff

    Each state in Australia imposes a different stamp duty regime (except the Northern Territory). We don't have an equivalent tax, so there's no tit-for-tat when they buy our houses. No gripes with that, it's unavoidable.

    If Australians move here, they get the pension, even if they wouldn't have been eligible for it in Australia.


    If Australians move here, they get the pension, even if they wouldn't have been eligible for it in Australia.

    Yet here's the sting. The introduction of Additional Foreign Acquirer Duty. This is a second layer of stamp duty for "foreigners". There's an exemption for Kiwis who hold a special category visa (known as subclass 444).

    We are all entitled to this visa so many New Zealanders believe if they jump on a flight to Oz, get the visa and sign the house contract, all is swell.

    Well it's not. In NSW you need to live in Australia for 200 days to avoid the foreign stamp duty surcharge. You can live there prior to the house purchase or complete the 200 days in the first year of ownership.

    In Queensland, things are similar. If they believe you entered Australia to get the visa and avoid this additional duty, they'll deem you liable for it.

    You should expect your movements to be checked with border control.

    Two of the most popular destinations, NSW and Queensland, view us as foreigners and more states could follow suit. Yet Aussies are welcome to buy holiday homes anywhere in New Zealand and not reside here. We don't let other "foreigners" do that.

    Given the size of the tax it's easy to see how some house sales are falling through, when New Zealanders find out what they're liable for.

    Janine Starks: "The lesson is to reside in Australia permanently, but that comes with warnings, too."


    Janine Starks: "The lesson is to reside in Australia permanently, but that comes with warnings, too."

    The lesson is to reside in Australia permanently, but that comes with warnings, too. If you're over 65 years old and a teeny bit rich, they'll swipe your superannuation. If an Australian makes the reverse move, we pay them super, even if they're not eligible for the Australian Age Pension.

    A clever retiree leaving New Zealand for a single stint of 200 days to avoid the surcharge might pull it off. The government stops your super if you go on holiday for more than 26 weeks and if you stay away for 30 weeks (210 days) you have to repay it from the date you left. That gives ten days to hot-foot it home and avoid the big pension-payback.

    Neil Finn must have had a crystal ball when he sang: "There's a battle ahead. Many battles are lost".

    What can you do if you're desperate to own a property in Australia or want to retire there and not lose your super?

    1. Don't buy in NSW or Queensland. Look at opportunities in other states of Australia where the special category visa doesn't come with additional strings. You simply need to be in Australia when you complete and settle the contract.

    2. Retirees; don't live in your Australian home for more than 26 weeks a year to preserve your New Zealand Super and buy a home outside NSW and Queensland for stamp duty purposes.

    3. Retirees; upsize rather than downsize your home when you move to Australia permanently. Currently the value of your home is not included when they means-test your assets to determine your New Zealand Super entitlement. Keep less than A$400,000 in other assets. Downsize when you run out of money. It's fraught with risk though, incurring up to 10 per cent in transaction costs, over exposure to the property market and your savings not being properly invested in shares and bonds.

    4. Take legal and tax advice from a firm with Trans-Tasman experience.

    In NSW you need to live in Australia for 200 days to avoid the foreign stamp duty surcharge.


    In NSW you need to live in Australia for 200 days to avoid the foreign stamp duty surcharge.

    Kiwis moving to Australia:

    -No access to unemployment benefits

    -No sickness benefits

    -No disaster relief

    -No access to student loans, university fees must be funded upfront

    -Pay the disability levy, but are blocked from the benefits

    -New Zealand Superannuation cut to zero if a Kiwi couple have a home and A$860,000 (NZ$895,000) in retirement assets

    -Super only paid in full once retirement assets fall to A$394,500 for a couple and A$263,250 for a single pensioner

    -Foreign stamp duty payable on NSW and Queensland property if still residing in New Zealand

    Australians moving to New Zealand

    -Family Tax Credit on arrival

    -Superannuation paid, even if not eligible at home

    -Welfare benefits after two years

    -Student loans after three years

    -Not treated as foreigners for property purchases

    Ka kite ano link below.


  22. Eco maori 25

    The sandflys are stuffing with my device I could not edit this post above

  23. Eco Maori 26

    Some Eco Maori music for the minute.

  24. Eco maori 27

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    All the climate change deniers are fools the redrightnecks allways cheat bill got caught ripping off parliament accommodations allowance by $40.000 they said the national parties leaders didn't mind him ripping that system off they were more upset that he got caught.???

    Extreme weather is causing havoc in Britain over loading a dam that is close to collapsing. You see people the leaders like borris a human caused climate change denier actions are putting many lives at risk people believe there lies no skin off their nose they will be the first people to run be evacuated leaving the 99.% to survive the disaster by ourselves muppets.

    Cool that Wahine equality is getting better in Saudi Arabia Wahine getting the right to get there own passport with out a mans consent.

    Phil that is a awesome move a E Tugboat for Auckland harbor times are changing lets just speed up the change to environmentally friendly everything that's Eco Maori GOAL. Ka kite ano.

  25. Eco maori 28

    Kia ora te ao Maori news

    I had to use 3 devices before I got one the sandflys didn't block I had to use my mokopuna tablet.

    And it looks like they have blocked that one too thats 4 devices..

    Never mind Whanau tomorrow night I will Tau toko Te Ao Maori News I will be watching it on a freeview solar power TV thanks for all your support Whanau. Ka kite ano

  26. Eco maori 30

    the warehouse Rotorua is mud Whanau you know what to do .You know what it means if they are stuffing with Eco Maori

    Ka kite ano

  27. Eco maori 31

    Here you go Whanau more proof that the wealthy rob the common poor people and give it to their wealthy m8 .When they get COURT there billions and millions gives them a get out of the shit/ jail free card .

    Adele Ferguson on investigating our banks and why whistleblowing matters

    Our big banks are under scrutiny again, and wilting as a result – and that's further testament to the dogged and expert efforts of Australian investigative journalist Adele Ferguson

    What does the book tell us about all of corporate life? Does it have implications beyond the banks

    It does. This book is about the financial services sector but it does apply to the corporate world where the population's trust is being eroded over a number of years. And it happens in telecommunications, it happens in the health sector, it's happening in the aged care sector. It's where profit is put before people, and those people have nowhere to go.

    It's not just eroding trust, it's ruined lives, hasn't it?

    Yes. It's institutional abuse of the vulnerable. Particularly with life insurance, where you've got people who are sick and dying, and they've spent money on life insurance policies hoping they'll never have to draw on it, because they only draw on it when something terrible happens in their lives.

    And then you find the banks had had medical definitions that were a decade out of date, so it made it very difficult to make a legitimate claim

    It does go right back to the 1980s and deregulation, so it could be really heavy, but I've explained it through the eyes of Senator John Williams, who was a farmer. There was a drought on and he couldn't pay his bills, so he goes to the local Commonwealth Bank branch to get a loan for $200,000, and comes out with a loan for $640,000, and it's not your normal bog standard loan – it's a Swiss franc currency loan.

    They tell him it's got a much lower interest rate – then two weeks later the currency changes, and now the loan is now costing him $1.5 million.

    And his life fell apart. His marriage broke down, and he ended up in a $2000 caravan. So [the book] is telling the story that way. What happened with deregulation is that they just didn't have regulators in place to make sure the banks were doing the right thing

    AF: Jeff Morris is a hero, yes. He was a financial planner at Commonwealth bank and he saw people coming into his branch, really sick, old people crying, hysterical that they'd lost everything. And as he looked at their files he realised a financial planner called Don Nguyen, who was the number one planner for Commonwealth Bank in the country, had been signing up these old people to products that were really high risk, and they didn't know, and then when the GFC [global financial crisis of 2008-09] happened everything fell apart.So Jeff exposed all of that to the regulator, and they did nothing

    Are you confident that things have/will change?

    No I'm not. I think the Royal Commission was great in that it put the spotlight on the industry for 12 months and we saw a lot of stuff come out, but it didn't go far enough. It was too short, the budget was too tight and the final report didn't really tackle some of the structural issues. The banks are chastened for now, but we'll just have to wait and see.

    Banking Bad, Adele Ferguson's book about the story behind Australia's toxic banking culture, is published by ABC Books on August 5, a division of HarperCollins, rrp $36.99.

    Buy this book Whanau this Mana Wahine needs tau toko for her excellent mahi.

    ka kite ano link below.


  28. Eco maori 32

    Mana Wahine the neanderthal haters are IDIOTs The many will rise a take mana from the 00.1% so all Tangata are treated fairly Equality is what is needed for JUSTICE. For this to happen we need all the strong Wahine to put their neanderthal men in line and face them down the correct path to Equality for all living things.

    After a chant of “send her back” broke out at Donald Trump’s rally in North Carolina last week, the Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar responded by posting several lines from the Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise on Twitter

    The Guardian and Pen America asked a number of writers and poets including Min Jin Lee, Gregory Pardlo and Andrew Solomon to share favorite lines from poetry and literature about overcoming hatred

    “Remember the earth whose skin you are:
    red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
    brown earth, we are earth.
    Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
    tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
    listen to them. They are alive poems.
    Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
    origin of this universe.
    Remember you are all people and all people
    are you.
    Remember you are this universe and this
    universe is you.
    Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
    Remember language comes from this.
    Remember the dance language is, that life is.

    Ka kite ano link below.


  29. Eco maori 33

    This needs to change wealthy people giving wealthy people 10 million a minute we need to invest 10 million @ minute into slowing our climate change.

    Just 10% of fossil fuel subsidy cash 'could pay for green transition'

    Redirecting small portion of subsidies would unleash clean energy revolution, says report

    n tackling the climate emergency. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

    Switching just some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables would unleash a runaway clean energy revolution, according to a new report, significantly cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis.

    Coal, oil and gas get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy, the IISD said.

    Ending fossil fuel subsidies has long been seen as vital to tackling the climate emergency, with the G20 nations pledging in 2009 to phase them out, but progress has been limited. In May, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, attacked subsidies, saying: “What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money – which means our money – to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word: to destroy the world.”

    The new analysis shows how redirecting some of the fossil fuel subsidies could decisively tip the balance in favour of green energy, making it the cheapest electricity available and instigating a rapid global rollout.

    Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF

    “Almost everywhere, renewables are so close to being competitive that [a 10-30% subsidy swap] tips the balance, and turns them from a technology that is slowly growing to one that is instantly the most viable and can replace really large amounts of generation,” said Richard Bridle of the IISD. “It goes from being marginal to an absolute no-brainer ka kite ano link below.


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