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Open mike 02/11/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 2nd, 2020 - 85 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

85 comments on “Open mike 02/11/2020 ”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Rise and fall of the White Helmets – Guardian story.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Tracey Martin points out that The Greens have signed up not to oppose Labour at any Select Committees stage. This is unprecedented, she says, and needing of attention.

    Any thoughts here?

    [comments about the deal start around 6m 43s – weka]

    • Tricledrown 2.1

      Winston should have handed over leadership to Tracy Martin she is straight up.

      • Mika 2.1.1

        She's the one NZF MP I was sorry to see go. She was great in Internal Affairs. Demonstrated a real willingness to listen and engage.

    • That's not what James and Marama have been saying in interviews where they have been explicit that the party can publicly criticise and not vote for any policy not covered by Cabinet solidarity rules.

      Are you stirring here because you oppose the deal Robert?

      • weka 2.2.1

        Robert has consistently been in favour of a deal, and then supports the one that was signed. Here he raises an important political point about the deal.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.2

        Hi Bearded; not stirring, just seeking clarification on a point raised by Tracey. My thoughts were as weka's ; the Green's "cultural difference" may make Tracey's concern redundant but it's still an interesting one to explore. As to "the deal"; I'm still celebrating! Few deals are perfect though. I support The Green's new role whole-heartedly.

    • Stuart Munro 2.3

      I'd find her position more credible if she hadn't prefaced in with a formalist position on marijuana – that the habit of not using it created by its legal status somehow has intrinsic merit and must therefore be continued.

      In principle it is a considerable impropriety that the Greens lose their power to oppose at the select committee level, and I wonder what clown set that condition. But NZ First had made opposition within the coalition an electoral strategy to differentiate themselves from Labour, in some instances politicising their stance in select committees to that end. In practice I doubt it will make much difference – the Gnats & ACT were hardly about to back any environmentally positive decision, even for the not inconsiderable pleasure of spiting the government that so thoroughly humiliated them.

      • weka 2.3.1

        "In principle it is a considerable impropriety that the Greens lose their power to oppose at the select committee level, and I wonder what clown set that condition."

        Is that your reading of the Agreement?

      • Robert Guyton 2.3.2

        I too found her cannabis view stunted and her criticism of Chloe, tainted by something – probably personal/political.

        • Bearded Git

          Taking Auckland Central was such thick icing on the cake on the night. Now if only 67 per cent of specials can vote yes….

    • weka 2.4

      "conversational agreement" Don't know where TM got that phrase from. The agreement is named a "cooperation agreement".

      "If you don't have a majority on Select Committee, you can't change a piece of legislation…"

      She does explain that, but I think there are some problems with her analysis. One is that we don't know if it's true that the Greens won't oppose. I'll post the relevant bits of the agreement below. The other is that she is saying that if you don't have a majority in the SC you can't make changes. But later says that NZF voted against some Labour bills. This whol analysis is predicated on a few things: NZF holding the balance of power (the Greens don't), and Labour not having a majority (they do this time).

      I'm guessing there is a cultural difference here too. NZF rely on hard man power and leverage, the Greens are much more about the relationships.

      I'll be interested to hear what the Greens say.

      • weka 2.4.1

        Nature of agreement

        3. The Green Party agrees to support the Labour Government by not opposing votes on matters of confidence and supply for the full term of this Parliament. In addition, the Green Party will support the Labour Government on procedural motions in the House and at Select Committees on the terms set out in this agreement. This will provide New Zealanders with the certainty of a strong, stable Labour Government with support from the Green Party over the next three years.

        37. Both parties commit to a ‘no surprises’ approach for House and Select Committee business. Protocols will be established for managing this.

        41. The Green Party will support the Government on procedural motions in the House and in Select Committees, subject to consultation being undertaken. This excludes urgency, which will be negotiated on a case by case basis. The Labour Party Whip and Green Party Musterer will establish protocols to ensure these processes work effectively to meet the expectations of both parties.

        42. The Green Party undertakes to keep full voting numbers present whenever the House is sitting where the Green Party has committed to support the Labour Government and on matters of confidence and supply. The Green Party also undertakes to keep full voting numbers in Select Committee, unless otherwise agreed.


        Looks like it's not as black and white as Martin is making out.

    • Sacha 2.5

      A link to whatever you are discussing, please?

  3. RedLogix 3

    An interesting read on the geopolitical consequences of the US election, and how it may play out in our part of the world. Australia focused, but relevant all the same:

    The problem, however, remains China.

    “The Australian government is likely to favour Biden taking a tougher approach to China than did the Obama administration. So it may find itself weighing into the restorationist versus reform debate,” Wright concludes.

    But the Lowy Institute’s Roggeveen questions the resolve of any future US president.

    The Cold War, he says, was won because the US convinced the world it had the principles and commitment to suffer a war – even a nuclear one – on behalf of its friends.

    “The critical question for America’s adversaries and allies in Asia today is whether any of them would believe the same thing. Does the US still have that kind of resolve?” he asks.

    “Despite the change in rhetoric in Washington, there is no sign that the US is actually gearing up for a struggle on that scale. Neither presidential candidate is promising to restore America’s military edge in Asia. No matter who is in the White House, Asia’s security system will evolve from one of American dominance to a balance of power.”

    And finding that balance means tough times ahead for Australia and its region.

    Roggeveen warns: “No matter who wins next month, Australia faces a future in which maintaining our security will increasingly be a job for us alone.”

    • Ad 3.1

      Lowy Institute are always worth a read on our place in the world because we're in most senses a function of Australia's place within it …

      … except, well except for China. Australia's Federal positioning on China is a whole bunch more assertive than ours. Even after the CCP move against Hong Kong, New Zealand released a finely nuanced response with noticeable differentiation from other 5 Eyes member responses.

      Maybe Scottie could hire Winston as his new Ambassador to China 😉 I have a sneaking suspicion that our slightly less Aligned status has something to teach Australia with respect to China.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.1.1

        Australia-American Imperialism’s faithful Pacific deputy dog since WWII.

        Scott better not go swimming, there could be a passing Chinese submarine about…

    • alwyn 3.2

      The question that really worries me about China is that, if Biden was to win the election, the Chinese Government may decide that he will provide more support to Taiwan than Trump.

      If that is the case they may decide to invade Taiwan before January 20, 2021 while Trump is still President. I doubt that he would really go to war to support Taiwan during the dying stages of his term,

      I really hope that that is paranoia on my part but after that changes that Beijing is imposing on Hong Kong I am scared it may not be.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        Yes, what has been overlooked by many here is that Biden has on the face of it been even more hawkish on China than Trump. He's been around a lot longer than Trump after all and has seen the US Sino relationship degenerate from optimism to downright hostility over the past three decades.

        Plus at least part of the Democrat movement will be well aware that much of the decline of the US middle and working class, can be laid directly at the loss of good paying jobs to China, and anything that reverses that flow now has considerable bi-partisan support in Washington. It may well be one of the few things everyone agrees on.

    • Anne 3.3

      The Cold War, he says, was won because the US convinced the world it had the principles and commitment to suffer a war – even a nuclear one – on behalf of its friends.

      Given NZ history of the past 30-40 years, I would say we have been largely on our own when it comes to US protection. Certainly NZ did not see any 'protection' during the 80s and 90s after our rejection of the policy of nuclear one-up-man-ship between East and West and the subsequent proliferation of nuclear weaponry.

      In fact an RNZ article today serves to suggest that the support and assistance was pretty one sided- ie. NZ working for the US (and its UK toady) not the other way around.


      • Anne 3.3.1

        Apols. I linked to the wrong version:


        It contains what looks like an interesting new addition to the “The Service” podcast series released around six weeks ago.

      • RedLogix 3.3.2

        I think you're rather overlooking the very real indirect benefits that small countries like NZ gained from the post-WW2 US led trade order.

        The first one that is that whenever a ship left NZ full of our goods, it was always going to arrive safely. And we didn't have to pay a cent for it's security; like it or not it was the massive US Navy that provided that implicit security guarantee.

        Equally importantly the mechanisms and rules that meant we could trade on reasonably fair terms and actually get paid reliably were largely devised and supported by the US.

        And then of course there is the reality that NZ was able to spend a much smaller fraction of it's GDP on defense than would have otherwise been the case if the US had not been the dominant power.

        Most of what we take for granted in the modern world was only possible because the US was willing during the Cold War to pay for much of the necessary security and continuity. It's entirely understandable from their perspective that in return they wanted us on their side.

        • Anne

          Yes, there is truth in what you say RedLogix but I am inclined to believe that the US motives were not entirely altruistic. As a super power locked in a battle with the Soviet Union for ultimate world supremacy, the US wanted the Western world to be allied and totally subservient to them. When lil ole NZ at the bottom of the globe declared its independence by banning nuclear powered and armed ships into its waters, they stamped their feet and sulked… and threatened to pull the rug from under our feet. They didn't, and credit to David Lange for ultimately recognising it was mere bluff and bluster – not unlike the methods used by Trump today.

          • RedLogix

            but I am inclined to believe that the US motives were not entirely altruistic.

            I totally agree; the US motive was to win the Cold War against the Soviets. They could not do it on the ground in Europe, so effectively they paid for a global coalition … a massive bribe if you will … to oppose them collectively.

            That this global order came with so many development benefits for most of humanity was almost an accident, a happy afterthought if you will. The only problem with this plan is that it worked rather too well, and once the US won the Cold War so conclusively, there was no political vision or consensus in Washington about what to do next.

            It's been slowly at first, and now rather more rapidly, downhill ever since.

    • Stuart Munro 3.4

      No matter who is in the White House, Asia’s security system will evolve from one of American dominance to a balance of power.

      It will be some considerable time before China could project military power in the region at a level that challenges the US. Their carriers for example, are by no means state-of-the-art.

      More at issue is America's will to contend, which once was clear, but now seems murky. Taiwan might be invaded while the US temporizes, and their commitment to overturn a fait accompli is questionable. Mind, short victorious wars have been tried before, and frustrated at Tsushima and in the Korean wars. Xi seems autocratic enough to try it – but being mired in an unprofitable conflict is a good way to lose the game.

      • alwyn 3.4.1

        China doesn't need carriers if there aim is simply to keep the US carriers out of the South China Sea. They have some very effective surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles that can keep the US nuclear carriers well away from Taiwan. That will also keep their aircraft out of range of supporting Taiwan from an invasion from the mainland of China.

        The island is, after all, only a bit over a hundred kilometers away from the Chinese mainland.

        Obviously the Chinese carriers aren't nearly as sophisticated as the US nukes. If you are asking can they oppose the US anywhere in the world the answer is no. Within a thousand km of China though they don't need them. Conversely though they US can't really afford to let such enormously expensive craft get close enough to be hit by a Chinese missile. At about $13 billion for a carrier and probably about $30 billion for a task force and its aircraft you really don't want to let them get too close to a missile launcher.

        The US navy love them of course. After all it's a great job if you are an Admiral commanding one.

        • Stuart Munro

          Carriers are more a matter of extending the conventional power envelope than simple local attack strength. If the South China Sea is the area in contention, then of course China's land-based aircraft will suffice. As distance grows from the mainland however, the possibility of interdicting such forces increases.

          A hypothetical parity of forces over the China Seas should not trouble us or Australia greatly, though it is rather consequential for Taiwan. Where it might be problematic for us is if that sphere were to be extended to the south and west, or into the Pacific. At this time, China is not well-placed for such an expansion. The Covid crisis must suffice for the short term at least.

          • RedLogix

            China remember is a nation heavily dependent on both imported inputs for both it's agricultural and industrial sector … and the moment they invaded Taiwan all exports the Western world would cease in an instant.

            Hell the marine insurance companies alone would simply have every China bound ship stopped in it's tracks.

            The US Navy does not have to operate anywhere near China in order to bring the CCP to it's knees. A naval blockade on shipping enroute to or from China virtually anywhere in the world would do the trick in a matter of a month or less. And it doesn't have to be the US who does all the work, the Japanese, Indians, French and Brits all have more than adequate capacity to do this.

            By contrast the PLAN, while it has a lot of ships, has relatively little capacity to project that power reliably past the first island chain.

            • Stuart Munro

              Yes. The more likely outcome of an increase in China's force level would be to shield a third party like North Korea in some localised action, or to take some contentious real estate unopposed – the Sprattlies for instance. Sabah and The Philippines might be most vulnerable to creeping erosion, in terms of the power imbalance. Push the clock forward 30 years, and retiring US tech, or new tools like drone carriers might change the odds.

              Then again, our trade circumstances might be affected by any chilling of the US China situation. The US does a lot of agriculture, and isn't keen on taking our products. Absent China our dairy 'miracle' would look rather wan. The UK would like our stuff, but much more of Boris and they won't be able to afford it.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Absent China our dairy 'miracle' would look rather wan.

                Absent China is just a matter of the time needed for China to build up its own dairy herd.

                The UK would like our stuff, but much more of Boris and they won't be able to afford it.

                I'm pretty sure that the UK would love to buy food – especially considering their own problems with the sudden lack of imported labour:

                Farmers are desperate for help. Without their usual influx of migrant workers from the EU, thousands of tonnes of food risk going to waste in fields up and down the country, just as the summer crops come into season.

                BAU is showing that its not up to the task.

              • RedLogix

                Totally agree. The immediate strategic goal of any senior PLAN strategist must be to gain control over the first island chain, otherwise their ability to project beyond would be forever crippled. This is why Taiwan is so very high up on their 'to do' list.

                Whether the rest of Asia, and the world at large, is willing to tolerate such an expansionary action is another question altogether.

                While China may well be dominant right now other parts of Asia, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand have a long and proud history of successfully resisting Han imperialism. It would not take much to re-ignite this sentiment from embers of resentment into a hot conflagration. And there is little doubt on whose side much of the rest of the world would be on. India would be first in the queue, then probably Indonesia.

                And backed by Western technology and funding, suddenly China would be looking at formidable obstacles.

        • RedLogix

          Conversely though they US can't really afford to let such enormously expensive craft get close enough to be hit by a Chinese missile.

          Sink a US aircraft carrier and you've declared unrestricted warfare, which is a massive consideration.

          None of us here are military strategists so I try to avoid pretending to be one. It seems to me that while the US will likely avoid exposing it's carriers to the obvious missile threat, they have plenty of other assets they can deploy in order to make an invasion of Taiwan messy and expensive, such as their extremely capable attack submarine forces. Plus of course the US has missiles of it's own.

          Nor is Japan, with it's exceedingly capable navy, likely to stand by idly; they too have strong interests in maintaining an independent Taiwan.

          We also rather overlook that Taiwan is not defenseless. While on paper the CCP holds all the cards, an actual invasion is constrained by weather (apparently only two months of the year have reliable weather) and landing zones (there are only 14 beaches that are viable). Plus the entire country has been planning for an invasion for decades, with intricate defenses and in depth intelligence systems that would make life miserable for any force that got itself established.

          All the Taiwanese have to do is hold out long enough for the rest of the world to get in place sufficient counter forces to make the invasion too costly and politically disruptive for the CCP to sustain. China has it's own internal vulnerabilities and an invasion of Taiwan would likely activate them as well.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Conversely though they US can't really afford to let such enormously expensive craft get close enough to be hit by a Chinese missile.

          The Chinese missile has to hit and that is actually quite unlikely. Most naval vessels have decent missile defences but the US missile defences are pretty much the best.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.4.2

        This is a better article on China's aircraft carriers:

        Rather, China is hoping to use its carriers to help secure the important Indian Ocean trade routes that are the maritime part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

        “That’s the real value of these, and it’s worth bearing that in mind when we start to question why they are willing to spend so much money on building carriers with limited air capacity,” Heath said. “For that mission, it may be enough.”

        Which means that somewhat under powered aircraft carriers are fine. I'm amazed that they're not nuclear powered though as China does have nuclear power.

        Taiwan might be invaded while the US temporizes, and their commitment to overturn a fait accompli is questionable.

        I'd say non-existent unless there's going to be a serious military backlash from the conquered area.

        Mind, short victorious wars have been tried before, and frustrated at Tsushima and in the Korean wars. Xi seems autocratic enough to try it – but being mired in an unprofitable conflict is a good way to lose the game.

        History has shown that its damn near impossible to maintain effective control over an invaded area over the long term. Still, China has shown their willingness to attempt to do so.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      Roggeveen warns: “No matter who wins next month, Australia faces a future in which maintaining our security will increasingly be a job for us alone.”

      That's the position that we're in as well.

      Of course, not really alone as we do have friends and potential allies but the changing global circumstances does mean that we have to build up our defence forces.

  4. Chris 4


    Perhaps the addition of the third person might make things a bit different, but up until that time Social Welfare's benefit fraud unit investigators would almost undoubtedly try to say this kind of arrangement was a relationship in the nature of marriage and treat the individuals accordingly. It would either mean refusing to grant a benefit on the basis of the other person's income, or granting a married rate of benefit, and/or potentially establishing a large overpayment and/or prosecution for fraud.

    Just another reminder of the importance of individualising benefit entitlement. Let's hope this government cares enough to make it happen.

  5. WeTheBleeple 5

    A friend from NZ First informs me that Winston Peters insisted on a cannabis referendum rather than a members bill. But I'm failing to find evidence this is so.

    It would make an interesting piece of journalism if it is true. Winston's legacy rising from the grave & thwarting progressive efforts.

    Or not. I certainly find it an interesting angle.

  6. Chris 6

    Good to see Brigitte Morten on RNZ this morning – must be scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find someone to do the right's work.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Just now. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/429655/kelvin-davis-to-focus-on-backbenchers-making-a-difference-for-maori

    "I came into politics for two reasons, one to represent Te Tai Tokerau, and the other, to make a difference for Māori. And that's what I've been doing and I'll continue to do,'' he says.

    The caucus of 64 MPs is very big and Davis says that will require some management especially with the backbench and he's happy to take on that role and leave the deputy prime minister role to someone else.

    Before the election Ardern and Davis spoke about the deputy prime minister job and she told him it was a decision for him to make alone…
    The Labour caucus will elect the members of Cabinet and the wider executive in its caucus meeting being held currently.

    Ardern will publicly announce her ministers, including the deputy prime minister, at 1pm.

    It’s expected senior MP Grant Robertson will be announced as both finance minister and Ardern’s deputy.

    • Treetop 7.1

      What is the difference between deputy leader and deputy PM?

      I always thought they were the same thing and they appear not to be.

      • Craig H 7.1.1

        Usually they are, but not always – last term with Winston Peters, and previously with Jim Anderton as deputy. The deputy leader not being deputy PM when the role is available is unusual though.

  8. Treetop 8

    I am waiting to see what the cabinet line up will be at 1pm. On midday news on 1, Davis made a statement that he did not want to be the deputy PM before or after the election. I think Hipkins will get it.

    • AB 8.1

      I would have thought Hipkins is too important in big operational portfolios to risk with adding anything else? They might want someone from their Maori caucus – though obviously that would be an invitation to Garner, Hosking, Tova et al to circle for the kill like they tried to do with Davis. The person most immune to their slavering glee at any sign of weakness or indecision, would be Parker.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      A real loss. So few journalists of stature left.

    • Bearded Git 9.2

      Shame….fantastic and brave journalist….his coverage of the middle East second to none

      • greywarshark 9.2.1

        For Robert Fisk.

        Richard Burton reads Do not go gentle into that good night.

        Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night….

        Do not go gentle into that good night,
        Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
        Because their words had forked no lightning they
        Do not go gentle into that good night.

        Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
        Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
        And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
        Do not go gentle into that good night.

        Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
        Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

        And you, my father, there on the sad height,
        Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
        Do not go gentle into that good night.
        Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


    • gsays 9.3

      Thanks Sacha.

      I have read his Great War for Civilisation twice. Time to give it another going over.

  9. Koff 10

    For anyone who has been debating the merits or otherwise of NZ Greens having any part of an arrangement with Labour, it's worth noting that in NZ, the Greens got 7.6% of the party vote (minus specials) and 10 MPs. In the recent Queensland state election, the Greens got 9.2% of the primary vote and 2 MPs and one of those was mainly because of preferences from the LNP to spite Labor. In the last British GE, the Greens only had 2.7% of the vote, but with a 650 seat Parliament that should still have translated into 17 MPs, but only 1 was elected (Carolyn Lucas). Whether the NZ Greens had stayed on the opposition benches or struck a deal with Labour, MMP still gives them more clout than in any FPP system.

    • Bearded Git 10.1

      I have said a few times here that under the so called terrible election result in 2019 Corbyn would now be pm in the UK if they had MMP….with the support of the greens SNP and lib dems

      • greywarshark 10.1.1

        It was quite a fight to get MMP through and support was beginning to falter near decision time, but it passed and enabled us to see the society we have and to give voice to others besides the settled majorities.

        Pity that other countries can't be as far-seeing and determined to hold onto what's good in their country and politics as we are. And we're holding on by our fingernails! But we'll be safe, they're good and strong because of all the calcium in the cow's milk we drink. We're all grown-up bonnie babies and many of us hope now to hold onto that good past to pass on to our children and grand-children. Good on us.

  10. Treetop 11

    Little was a surprise pick for health minister.

    I missed who got justice?

  11. RedBaronCV 12

    Looking back – the covid spreadsheet that Michelle Boag released. Does anyone know if she pays or is likely to pay any penalty or be prosecuted for doing this? Or is this level of privacy violation just waived through no downside whatsoever?

  12. Craig H 13

    Can we please get a separate post for the new cabinet? Full list is here: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-cabinet-focused-covid-19-recovery

  13. Draco T Bastard 14

    And Sean Connery:

    Legendary Scottish actor Sir Sean Connery, who first brought James Bond to the screen, has died at the age of 90.

  14. weka 15

    Robert, WeTheBleeple and others might find this interesting.

  15. greywarshark 16

    Interesting the USA media that attempts to be responsible, as I read it, is censoring itself and is not printing content that criticises Biden and his son. It seems that they feel that they are on the edge there and hesitate to take another step because of a likely void in front.


    • Andre 16.1


      Responsible and credible media have examined the claims about Hunter Biden’s laptop and found them completely lacking in credibility.

      It's nothing more than smears from the least credible member (and that's sayin' something) of a political campaign who claims to have evidence (with a truly incredible story of how he came by the evidence), yet refuses to share that evidence around for examination.

      That Caitlin Johnstone and Greenwald and other convergence moonbat media are throwing tantrums over other media not shouting it from the rooftops just shows how far gone they are. Which is extra ironic, considering how hyperactive they all were in minutely examining evidence around russian fuckery to find any minutiae they could inflate into something they could misrepresent as disqualifying the entire mountain of evidence.

      There is every reason imaginable to be suspicious of the Hunter Biden story. Rudy Giuliani is, to put it mildy, an unreliable source. The story about Hunter’s laptop being left in a repair shop is so fishy it stinks. The unwillingness to provide a full set of documents to reporters is an obvious tell that something is amiss. And even if it turns out that all the emails and other documents are legitimate, they still don’t implicate Joe Biden. They merely show what we already knew: that Hunter Biden would occasionally trade on his name in his business dealings.


      Having been suckered by conservatives over the email story in 2016, is it any wonder that reporters wanted at least a little bit of confirmation before splashing yet another conservative smear campaign on their front pages? And that they became justifiably dubious about the whole thing when Rudy Giuliani resolutely refused to let anyone see the entire document cache?

      Of course not. The mainstream media did try to report the Hunter Biden story, but they ran into blockade after blockade. In the end, there was nothing there.


      • Gabby 16.1.1

        Then Tuckwit Carsehole claims the evidence got lost in the mail, or the dog ate it, or sutin.

        • Andre

          If you're into weird conspiracy theories, the latest on that is the package was sent deliberately improperly closed. So when the usb stick inevitably fell out, they could do a song and dance about it. But that kinda didn't play out as planned when UPS found the USB stick.

          Yeah, I know. It doesn't make any more sense than any other part of the story, but hey.

    • KSaysHi 16.2

      They are on the edge enough to build a "non-penatrable barrier" around the Whitehouse. Tweety is from the NBC News Whitehouse correspondent.

      • Andre 16.2.1

        Cut off the food supply, then after a couple days wave around a bucket of KFC outside the fence in view of the Oval Office. He'll come running out quick enough. Well, waddling anyway.

  16. Whispering Kate 17

    Hi Robert

    With all the turmoil in the world going on its nice to see our nature cycle operating well in our garden. Pegleg our patriarch of the blackbirds has one again mated with a female and is now feeding his family like his life depended on it. Gammy leg and all he stuffs his beak with food and flies in and out of the hedge like its Auckland Airport runway. He is now nearly eight in the new year and still looks glossy and sure of himself. He is also very territorial and we have witnessed some fantastic aerial acrobatics fighting off younger cock birds. Oh the beauty of life for a super studsmiley

    • The Al1en 17.1

      Not to butt in on your conversation, but Blackbirds, always my favourite in NZ.

      When I was gardening in my last job they used to follow me around wherever I was cultivating, weeding or planting for a feed. Always up front without fear and, though not quite like the easy riders on the backs of Rhino, close enough to give me a chuckle. Love the call songs, too.

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