Open mike 02/05/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 2nd, 2012 - 145 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 link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

145 comments on “Open mike 02/05/2012”

  1. tc 1

    I’d like to suggest a policy change to ban people who are trolling in a rather more subversive manner.

    They link whore to their own sites, hijack threads and generally create dross all over this site in an attempt to dilute a theme or divert it.

    You’ll find theses folk pick and choose the posts and leave the ones where it would be obvious they are a troll. I don’t mind debate or those who are openly trolls or being reactionary but the bloggers I’m referring to are making this site very boring with their endless pontificating, refusal to admit when they’ve been caught cold or just plain denial and ignorance when challenged.

    I think itd make this site more focused on its core left of centre approach leaving these bloggers to their own and the many right wing sites like KB etc where their kindred spirits live.

    We need a decent left sided site and this is superb at it but these folk appear to delight in filling it up with their endless so called moderate dribble.

    [If it was left up to me to ban everyone who annoyed me The Standard would have only a few dozen commenters left after a month or two. And I’m the ‘nice’ moderator round here….RL]

    • Carol 1.1

      I rarely read their comments. They just clutter up the place – like spam.

      • Vicky32 1.1.1

        I rarely read their comments. They just clutter up the place – like spam.

        I feel differently, as I will read their first, at least… but if it gets into a long, tedious and above all repetitive argument, I will just skim subsequent posts. I also tend to skim anything that isn’t paragraphed, as I hate reading on screen, and will do it only for things that are interesting and clear…

    • Uturn 1.2

      I’m just happy the first post in Open Mike wasn’t what we all thought it would be.

      (Just to clear up, this isn’t a left-leaning site. The best it comes to describing itself is that the contributors generally support the “broad labour movement” and gives a wiki-link definition, which is not at all definitively leftist. Still, as you say, it is a good site to read.)

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      Linking to your own site is allowed here, as long as it’s on-topic.

    • and generally create dross all over this site in an attempt to dilute a theme or divert it

      Do you mean dross like whingefests about people and comments that have nothing to do with the topic? If you want to help make this a decent site then try enriching it with worthwhile contributions.

      If you prefer a circle jerk you might have more luck starting your own rather than trying to convert a blog that’s popular for it’s diversity.

      Be aware that most “folk pick and choose the posts” they have time and interest for, and manage to ignore the rest without whinging.

    • BLiP 1.5

      We need better tr0lls.

  2. AnnaLiviaPluraBella 2

    Simon Power is the only Nat who comes out relatively cleanly in the DotCom residency story. He declined the property purchase requests. And Simon Power got out while his reputation was intact. He must have seen a lot of shenanigans to turn his back on the Nats.

    • Socialist Paddy 2.1

      +1

      • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1

        I wonder how long the government and the FBI were talking about Dotcom before the arrest. It’s not at all beyond plausability that Power knew Dotcom was on a hitlist at that stage, so vetoing it was a no brainer really.

  3. muzza 3

    This is how news editors control the average news readers mind, while controlling the narrative

    Perhaps with Napolitano here, we might soon see in NZ

    1: Radiation body scanners – They have them, or are getting them in Oz
    2: See something say something campaigns – Dont trust anyone other than your government messages
    3: TSA style airport , hands in pants and all over your wife, kids and granny, “safety checks”
    4: Inland TSA “road side” checks

    When Homeland Security are sending lowly officials and air marshalls to Europe, why have we in little old NZ been sent the head of the department!

    Authorities say there was no danger to the public because their explosives were inoperable and were controlled by an undercover FBI employee.

    Notice how many references there are using such words as “undercover, anarchists and confidential source”

    But hold on, I thought the first artcile I linked to said that AQ was the threat, with belly bombs etc..Oh wait on, we have to make sure people are really scared, because “anarchists” (read – white faces), are invovled, not just brown faces..

    Fear everything, everyone, only trust your government!

    • BLiP 3.1

      Trust the government? Don’t be silly. Best thing to do is put in a tender for the supply of stage props security equipment . . . nice little earner, that, and doesn’t really matter if it works or not. http://youtu.be/-6QYz-kZTxU

      Dunno WTF Janet Napolitano is doing over here – maybe to give John Key a cuddle for ensuring his citizens can be searched and surveiled at any time for any reason? Or pat his bottom when he goes all macho on that flotilla of refugees waiting just off-shore? Impose a immigration data-sharing protocol? Who knows? Skullduggery of some sort, no doubt.

      Best to keep our wits about us. As the Dept of Homeland Security says, terrorists are everywhere. Like you say, fear everything, everyone, trust your government. Spooky.

  4. captain hook 4

    is the FBI going to do anything about the looming extinction of the New Zealand native long finned eel.
    Over fishing, pollution of waterways and depletion of habitat mean that the eel is nearly gone.
    Only Northland Maori seem to be concerned.
    How can the population in general be galvanised to save this fish?

  5. just saying 5

    http://stillhavetoprotest.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/the-war-on-women-and-the-roots-of-womens-oppression/

    Trishe Kahle from ‘I can’t believe we still have to protest this shit”. A socialist perspective on the global war on women and why the left can never afford to marginalise issues of womens’s oppression. Well worth a read imo.

    … Sometimes, it’s an overt attack, such as when the Democrats led the charge on welfare “reforms” that targeted poor women and women of color. Politicians often try to pass welfare off as a budgeting issue—or a “waste” issue, but as welfare rights activist Johnnie Tillmon explained, “Welfare’s like a traffic accident. It can happen to anybody, but especially it happens to women. And that is why welfare is a women’s issue. For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women’s Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare it’s a matter of survival… But when the politicians talk about the “welfare cancer eating at our vitals,” they’re not talking about the aged, blind, and disabled. Nobody minds them. They’re the “deserving poor.” Politicians are talking about us¾the women who head up 99 percent of the A.F.D.C. families¾and our kids. We’re the “cancer,” the “undeserving poor.” Mothers and children.”….

    …The 2011 happened. From Cairo to Madison, Karala India to Nigeria, working people around the world have taken a stand. Egypt, the second country to topple a long-term dictator in what has become known as the Arab Spring, is still fighting for its revolution. As Elizabeth Schulte noted: “in Egypt, Syria, Greece and other recent sites of revolt and rebellion, women and men mobilized and organized together in unprecedented ways. During struggles on this scale, workers’ ideas change–men’s ideas about women, and women’s ideas about men and also about themselves. In the process of confronting their shared and powerful enemy, such as the state and its police, men and women workers come to see their potential power as a united force.

    Ideas like sexism are exposed for what they are–useless and destructive–not only because they are wrong, like misconceptions about what women are capable of, but because they divide the working class. They are exposed for their real purpose–to keep those at the top in power by dividing the masses below.”

    • Olwyn 5.1

      I think that the divisive power lies in the link between liberalism and privilege rather than feminism per se. Take away the privilege, and in many instances liberalism becomes illiberal: you have a right to be a single mother, for instance, but only if you can provide for yourself. Given the conditions under which we live, with two incomes propping up a family, to be able to provide for yourself is increasingly to be privileged, and yet this is the ground upon which you are open to censure. This sort of divide arises on a number of levels, and to me it is one of the most pressing concerns with which the left is faced. In fact I would go so far as to say that while it is not addressed, the social liberal and economic justice sides of the left remain very much open to each others contempt. The conservative establishment that the liberal rails against is a dead horse – it no longer exists, and the actual conservative, often seen as dumb and uneducated by the liberal, is often poor and trying to cling to the few remnants of protection he or she has left. Meanwhile, liberal victories that are applauded among the urbane middle class at best mean nothing and are at worst a threat to the person who is finding it hard to keep a roof over her head. I am inclined to think that the broad acceptance of liberalism depends upon economic justice, since this is the precondition of choice having meaning.

      • just saying 5.1.1

        Meanwhile, liberal victories that are applauded among the urbane middle class at best mean nothing and are at worst a threat to the person who is finding it hard to keep a roof over her head.

        Sorry I’m lost. Can you give me an example of what you mean here please?

        • Olwyn 5.1.1.1

          The anti-smacking bill is one example: the people most delighted by it were the people least likely to find themselves falsely accused under it, or to have such an accusation stick.

          Legalised prostitution is to a small extent another; and I have read of people being denied the DPB, with the case worker suggesting they go on the game. Now I am sure that the case worker will have been overstepping the mark, and have been censured, but it remains that while such a move is legal, it is possible to deprive people of other means of support without depriving them utterly. I am not suggesting that prostitution should be illegal, I am suggesting that if anything is to be choice, alternative choices must also be genuinely viable. And alternative choices are not, in all cases genuinely viable, even where they are theoretically available. Which I think is one of the reasons why the working class left are often more socially conservative than the middle class left. In any case, you are not necessarily going to rejoice in minor liberal victories when you are staying with a man who beats you because that beats going on the DPB (where all of society can have a go at you) in your estimation. And if you look at the euthanasia thread, the fear is that it will be accompanied by a reduction in palliative and aged care; again removing viable alternatives. See what I mean?

          • just saying 5.1.1.1.1

            I see what you mean, but I think “liberal victories” are certainly not necessarily minor for the people affected, nor do they necessarily come at the expense of the working class. I well remember how Maori and the LGBT people were treated when I was growing up. There are more than just socio-economic means of making lives a living hell.

            “I am suggesting that if anything is to be choice, alternative choices must also be genuinely viable. And alternative choices are not, in all cases genuinely viable, even where they are theoretically available. I completely agree with you here.

            I support euthanasia, but I have reservations about how such legislation would be misused especially in the current phase of neoliberalism. To me it’s like when they closed the psychiatric institutions. It definitely needed to be done, those places were cruel and inhumane. But all it turned into was a way of saving money, and the money saved was never used to help those suffering psychiatric distress. They were just dumped and left with virtually (or actually) no care. I’d like to see well-resourced palliative care services (and we don’t have that now) introduced simulatneously to any law change, as well as very tight controls. There is more and more pressure by the right to take resources away from those they consider “useless eaters”.

            In some ways I shared your unease about the smacking bill being imposed on the working class by the middle class, even though I completely supported it. The middle class always smacked their kids less in my experience, even as a child. And if you have all the help and support in the world it’s much easier not to too. I know it felt to my mother that she was being judged and found wanting by her social “superiors”. That middle-cass busy-bodies were trying to tell her, a working class woman, how she should have raised her children. And they were. But that doesn’t mean that they weren’t right in the matter imo. And for all the offence caused, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of parents being falsely accused, or unjustly criminalised for minor lapses. Every person deserves their human rights to be protected by the law. Surely no group needs to be left out.

            • Olwyn 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I certainly do not think that all of the liberal victories have been minor, and would not like to see the gains gay people have made, for instance, undone. Same with feminist and race issues. But I also think that the conditions that make the difference between some x or others being liberating or oppressive need to be taken very seriously if we are not to go on being divided and ruled by the right. Take euthanasia, for example: if you were to permit it with a view to bringing palliative care up to scratch when economically possible, the pressure to do so would be significantly reduced by euthanasia’s availability. Those who were able to pay would not notice, and those who were not would probably not be heard. What is more, left wing parties are sorely tempted to support such moves without addressing the attendant conditions because it allows them to feel daring without scaring the economic horses. And even if no one has been falsely accused of slapping a child, some people, accustomed to being on the wrong end of the stick, have more reason than others to fear it.

              • just saying

                Take euthanasia, for example: if you were to permit it with a view to bringing palliative care up to scratch when economically possible, the pressure to do so would be significantly reduced by euthanasia’s availability. Those who were able to pay would not notice, and those who were not would probably not be heard

                I completely agree with you and the issue is very close to me right now. I have someone very dear to me contemplating suicide because she has a condition for which she needs a lot of home care, and is being forced prematurely into a resthome (she’s not elderly) because it’s cheaper to care for her there. She always supported euthanaisia and wanted the opportunity to have help when her condition progressed to a point she could no longer bear. But it’s economic pressure that is making it unbearable fo her now, not the condition itself. Pretty heart-breaking.

                • Olwyn

                  My heart goes out to your friend, Just Saying. You would think that policy makers would be able to take into account the fact that disabling illness is a terrible burden in itself, without compounding it by adding further burdens and humiliations. And as you say, she would not be contemplating suicide at this stage if it were not for these compounding factors – when you think of it, she is is really asking for very little, that would make a very big difference to her quality of life.

              • Vicky32

                And even if no one has been falsely accused of slapping a child, some people, accustomed to being on the wrong end of the stick, have more reason than others to fear it.

                I know of at least one woman who was afraid of having an accusation of such activities being used against her in a child custody case. (Whether she’d actually done it or not!)

          • Vicky32 5.1.1.1.2

            See what I mean?

            I do, and I agree! 🙂

            • Olwyn 5.1.1.1.2.1

              Hi Vicky, yes custody cases and neighbourhood quarrels and the like raise those fears in people. I don’t know how to do those little smiling faces, so I cannot reply in kind.

  6. freedom 6

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10802780
    “there are so many other moving parts in the economy and the economic mix at the moment and obviously a big part of that’s the rebuild in Canterbury that’s got to get under way at some point in the next while you would think.”

    Not exactly screams of confidence in the progress of NZ from the agricultural export market.
    So if our exports take a big hit, the tax take slumps even further, the employment potential nosedives, the local economies get even weaker and so on and so on the inevitable cycle continues and JK will do what?

    A: Add another $20 to a packet of smokes? (and lower overall tax take even further)
    B: Double the Student loan repayments? (and lower the savings potential of the graduates)
    C: Return the tax rates to 2008 levels ? ( tumbleweeds through the halls of commonsense)

    • millsy 6.1

      Any increase in student loan payments will pretty much blow my budget out of the water. Not all graduates are in high paying jobs that wont even notice such an increase, like doctors, lawyers, engineers and so on.

      The government is hell bent on making our universities and polytechs open only to the very wealthy, and the very poor (who can get scholarships and the scraps of support), those in the middle, or those who have spent most of their lives working and want to upskill or those who want to study part time because that’s only way they can afford to get a qualification (a student allowance/loan does not support a champagne lifestyle, despite what people might think), are told to piss off.

      The universites will be loving this, for years they have wanted to keep out all the riff raff, and only let the children of the wealthy in, no mature students, no poor people (apart from those lucky to get scholarships), they might actually get there now.

  7. Blue 7

    Before the election I suspected National were up to something with regard to student loans. It’s all come out now:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6841106/Student-loan-borrowers-face-Budget-pay-cut

    Lots of students who didn’t vote are going to get a big surprise over this one. Yet another big change that National failed to talk about before the election.

    • Before the election many people realised that the cost of student loans – in particular the amounts that have to be written off due to many ex students not fulfilling their financial comitments – was a concern among many people.

      If less people buggered off avoiding paying the loans that enabled them to have the education of their choice then the students who do honour their commitments wouldn’t have to carry the burden along with the country’s tax payers.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Fancy words except our National government has no idea how to create $16-$20/hr jobs for said graduates you want to keep in the country.

        • gareth 7.1.1.1

          It’s probably a good thing, it might make people look at other viable career paths rather than head to Uni get average results and end up in a shitty job with a big loan.
          Interestingly within my group of friends from high school (all early 30’s now) those of us that ended up in trades or started out at the bottom in a business are now earning considerably more than those that did degrees and chalked up big loans.
          I think to many students get pushed towards uni when there are other options, Speaking for myself at high school the career advisor told me I shouldn’t take up the apprenticeship I had been offered and instead head to Uni. Personally I’m glad I didn’t heed that advice.

          • millsy 7.1.1.1.1

            What about those who dont want to go to uni, or dont want to learn a trade either? Not everyone wants to have their head under a car bonnet all the time.

            • gareth 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Like I said there are other options not just trades, depends on what you enjoy really. I’m in horticulture, one friend now runs the sport shop he started out at as the boy, another has his own car yard.
              My advice is to find something you enjoy doing, be as good as you can possibly be at it and either find a company that rewards you for the work you put in or learn the business and work for yourself.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.2

            My opinion is that universities are not serving our society fully right now.

            • Campbell Larsen 7.1.1.1.2.1

              @CV – I tend to agree – especially under categories (i) and (v)

              Under Section 162 of the Education Act (1989) a university is defined as having the following characteristics:

              (i) They are primarily concerned with more advanced learning, the principal aim being to develop intellectual independence:
              (ii) Their research and teaching are closely interdependent and most of their teaching is done by people who are active in advancing knowledge:
              (iii) They meet international standards of research and teaching:
              (iv) They are a repository of knowledge and expertise: and
              (v) They accept a role as critic and conscience of society.

              I am particularly struck by the irony in the claims that our uni’s must do better in international ratings in order to attract more international students and that is answer is seemingly to reduce the number of NZ students. Whose universities are they? They are our universities, and they are supposed to serve the people of NZ first and foremost.

              The University Chancellors (aka aristocracy) have an agenda which is virtually indistinguishable from that of the neo liberals – the flowing article by Stephen Turner highlights some of the problems.

              http://www.arena.org.au/2011/06/the-idea-of-the-university/

              • Carol

                This afternoon I posted quite a long comment on how the unis (or rather education generally) have been captured by the neoliberal ethos, under the National elite education thread. It’s got stuck in moderation….too long maybe?

                Good article by Sturm & Turner as well! Yes, the humanities (and much of the social sciences) have been somewhat undermined since the neoliberal turn in the 1980s, in favour of more voctionally-focused courses and subjects.

                • Funny. I often hear (elsewhere) complaints that the education system has been taken over by socialists who are brainwashing everyone.

                  …in favour of more voctionally-focused courses and subjects.

                  Shouldn’t the main aim of University be to train for vocations? I wouldn’t mind (on a selfish basis) if government funded me to go full time to University as a hobby, but that wouldn’t be a good use of public funds.

                  • Campbell Larsen

                    Read the Section 162 of the Education Act (1989) again Pete.

                  • Carol

                    Actually, universities originally had a much broader focus than the vocational focus of technical colleges and later polytechnics. certainly that was the case prior to the rise of “neoliberalism” in the 1980s.

                    At some point they were considered places where the knowledge of humankind was fostered, taught and maintained. The ancient Greeks and Babylonians also had that broad notion of education. This is an idea of a critical, questioning approach to knowledge and learning. And, for those interested in participatory democracy, the idea is for such a broad notion of education being important for democracy to thrive, as well as providing a platform for innovation.

                    • ianmac

                      Bob Jones reckoned that the only course at University should be Philosophy. All other subjects should be taught in-situ by the employer. The plan would be to be taught how to think, analyse and communicate and would leave the graduate (graduand?) well ready to learn any subject.
                      Friends from way back reckoned that they learned far more outside the lecture rooms than in them.

                  • mike e

                    what are you saying that your boss was wasting tax payers money when he did uni
                    well your right on that account all he’s dunne is sit on the fence split hairs for a living.

                  • A ‘vocation’ is a ‘calling’.

                    Precious few people (let alone students) are motivated by callings. In fact, in this mentally, technologically and socially cluttered, chaotic and fragmented world we live in, most of us wouldn’t recognise one if it was shouting through a megaphone at us.

                    We’re generally distracted by sideshows like the pursuit of ‘success’, ‘income’ and ‘jobs’ to notice – or give any credence to – callings.

                    “Still, small voice …” and all that.

                    But, I agree, university’s should be places where people are given an opportunity – through being given the mental, emotional space and time – to see if they do, indeed, have a vocation.

                    Student loans and the corresponding emphasis on income earning prospects are obstacles to discovering and pursuing vocations, of course.

                    And if universities are into brainwashing young people with socialism then they could certainly be criticised for not being very effective at what they are attempting to do. 

              • KJT

                Well as we now know, the Neo-Liberal university is the one that can get the most fee paying bums on seats. While cutting costs the most.

                More fake competition, like the ports!

                Bring back the University of New Zealand.

                • ianmac

                  I think that Universities are now measured by amount of Research done.
                  A friend was mentoring post graduate courses online but was made redundant because he was fulltime mentoring and not researching. (They re-employed him a year later because they could not manage the mentoring that he had been doing.)

                  • Colonial Viper

                    And aren’t our universities doing so much better for our country, and for our students, since this research based funding metric was introduced.

                    Not.

      • ianmac 7.1.2

        ..in particular the amounts that have to be written off due to many ex students not fulfilling their financial comitments…

        Wow. Is that possible? My two sons with about $100,000 debt between them would welcome the “how to”.

        • Pete George 7.1.2.1

          It means going overseas and not coming back.

          I’m pleased to say both my daughters went overseas to work and paid off their sizable student loans within three years and still had some pretty good OE.

          I don’t know what happens to people who stay here and never earn enough to get on top of their loan let alone pay it back, I presume it remains a debt against them. I don’t know at what stage they right loans off, but they say a substantial amount of value is written off each year. Maybe it’s just an revaluation estimate on the whole liability.

      • rosy 7.1.3

        Before the election many people realised the cost of superannuation was a concern among many people

        If fewer people were entitled to superannuation, stopped hiding their money, and didn’t get it while still working, the taxpayer wouldn’t have to carry an unnecessary burden.

        Any other tax payouts you want to play this game with?

  8. muzza 8

    So the $NZ rises when the US data is bad, or they “QE”, and the $NZ also rises when the US data is favourable

    “The New Zealand dollar rose after better-than-expected US manufacturing data reignited investors optimism that the world’s largest economy is on track, boosting demand for growth-linked assets such as the kiwi”

    So in the next day or so, look out from data which obcures, or confuses sentiments about the “investors optimism that the world’s largest economy is on track”

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, does it?

      Sometimes when the US$ falls so does the kiwi (when it’s driven by ‘fear’), other times when the US$ falls the kiwi goes up (when it’s driven by ‘poor data’).

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        In other words, its a media driven smokescreen obscuring the underlying speculative/manipulated nature of the currency markets.

        Basically, with computerised High Frequency Trading algorithms in use by all the major investment banks, no major market movement occurs without their say so.

        • muzza 8.1.1.1

          That’s right, and the media (owned), just plays along with the charade, so the people might feel the markets are in fact “market driven”, and while their private pensions, and indeed, sovereign nations investment vehicles continue to be fleeced, they remain in the dark!

          Really it sums up the world we now live in, which is driven and dominated by smoke, mirrors, and flat out deceipt!

        • freedom 8.1.1.2

          The artistry of it all is quite breathtaking sometimes. A soft trade here, a regime change there, the elite do have a certain undeniable nuance in their never ending performance of the Emporer’s New Clothes.

  9. The Government is considering closing down some Community Law Centres and replacing them with an 0800 phone number. Existing centres will be expected to tender for the work so there will be “winner” centres and “loser” centres.
     
    The Community Law Centres do an extraordinarily good job with limited resources.  Given the cut back in legal aid their need is even more important.  Yet this Government chooses to cut them back.
     
    Are they mad?  What do they have against the poor?

    • I agree that it’s important that Community Law Centres should be maintained.

      But are there poorly performing centres using limited resources at the expense of the better ones?

      The Ministry of Justice was not available to comment, but said in its consultation document there is a need to improve the consistency of community legal services and ensure the overall quality and range of services is lifted.

      Are they cutting funding? Or trying to use funding as efficiently and effectively as possible?

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        So if someone is doing badly you just cut them? What the hell?

        And what if part of the problem is that their low performance is a result of under-funding? Will they magically get better if you cut their budgets even further?

        FFS get into the real world.

      • mickysavage 9.1.2

        Dunno Pete
         
        You are doing your normal trick of asking a pile of inane questions in an attempt to stuff up the thread.  Please don’t do that.  It is very frustrating and is one of the reasons why people pour scorn on you.  You should ask your mate Coiffured Hair these questions and then enlighten us.  We could then have a proper discussion.
         
        I can say with some certainty that there will be no more resources for Community Law Centres but there is going to be a significant growth in need as the legal aid cuts hit.  Bottom line is that ordinary people’s access to justice will be reduced.

        • Pete George 9.1.2.1

          They’re valid questions if you want to examine the whole issue. Are you against discussion and debate or something? Don’t Labour want to engage more with people? Or do they want to control the questions?

          I agree that there are serious issues regarding funding of Community Law Centres and legal aid.

          I don’t like the idea of 0800 as a replacement, but it may be a useful supplement, many quick queries may be able to be dealt with but face to face is often important.

          If some Community Law Centres aren’t performing as well as others (all are on limited budgets) then shouldn’t that be examined? If they are not using their resources as efficiently as others they should at least be pushed to improve shouldn’t they?

          Tendering is one way of forcing an evaluation of how resources are used. It can work, it can highlight poor administration, but it can also add an administration overhead that sucks meagre funds.

          Isn’t there a lot more to this than one radio news report and you on a blog?

          • just saying 9.1.2.1.1

            Don’t Labour want to engage more with people? Or do they want to control the questions?

            Sorry Pete, you’ve got the wrong site.
            What you’re looking for is Red Alert.
            I’d provide a link, but I can’t be arsed.

            • Pete George 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Greg Presland is far more Labour (chair of the Auckland Northland Regional Council of the Labour Party) than I am UF (5 minute member and ex one time candiate south of the Bombay Hills) and I get asked questions about UF frequently.

              Greg asks me about UF, so it’s reasonable to expect him to talk about Labour.

              • freedom

                Who? What? Where? I see no references to a Greg Presland anywhere.
                I thought there were some pretty clear rules on outing a Standard contributor!
                I for one like that the choice of anonymity is that of the commentator, not the choice of a thin skinned weathervane with views akin to somnambulism

                • Colonial Viper

                  Yeah Greg’s come out before on The Standard. What is interesting is how much daylight PG seems to want to get between himself and the one man political failure that is United Future.

          • mickysavage 9.1.2.1.2

            Dear Pete
             
            I am no more “the Labour Party” than you are “Peter Dunne’s coiffure”.
             
            What I don’t want to do is troll through 20 silly questions that you post every time to destroy the thread.  I suggested that you should go out and learn something before hitting your keypad.
             
            Try it.  Add some substance and advance the discussion.  Instead of gringing it to a halt with your silly questions.

      • prism 9.1.3

        Are some Community Law centres poorly performing? A similar scrutiny could be applied to the value and outcomes we get from government and parliament receiving funding for the latest brainstorm, repeated each term of (service?).

        This strict measuring performance routine can’t be applied to everything in our lives. We are not workers in a factory doing piece work that can be measured easily and neither are Community Law. They are handling diverse people with diverse problems – no sense in trying to judge their efficacy with league tables is it! And the government’s rules and controls are ever increasing and harder to understand and cope with – so the idea of reducing assistance to an 0800 call or similar when there is no other affordable and reliable guide is anti people.

        • Pete George 9.1.3.1

          This strict measuring performance routine can’t be applied to everything in our lives.

          Neither can there be an open chequebook and no checks on efficiency and effectiveness of use of public funds.

          • millsy 9.1.3.1.1

            And what if services are cut? You seem to be into cutting services. If people like you had your way there would be nothing, except things that make a profit.

      • millsy 9.1.4

        And what about the people who use those centers? They are largely those on lower incomes who are having problems with creditors, landlords, the courts system etc. Shall they just get knotted?

    • Pete 9.2

      Back when I was a law student I used to volunteer at a community law centre. They do vital work, although in my experience they can sometimes be clogged by users on some sort of personal crusade. It’s been a decade since I volunteered – so they would have changed a bit since then, but they could work closer with Citizens Advice Bureaux, for example – especially around those process areas e.g. “How do I go to the privacy commission?”, “I’m being paid less than minimum wage, who can I see about that?”

      An 0800 number is a bad, bad idea. Lots of people are emotionally vulnerable when they have a big legal problem and they need that face-to-face client care.

      • millsy 9.2.1

        Most of the people who are likely to use community law centres cannot afford a landline.

      • David H 9.2.2

        Then the next thing the NACTS can do is put the 0800 centers in Manilla. Imagine the joy that would cause…

        And how many 0800 numbers are they thinking of having?? 0800 Housing, 0800 lost passport, heading for 0800 Police etc etc.

        • Pete 9.2.2.1

          They want everyone to have an igovt login and do everything online. Now that’s okay for someone like me who is comfortable with using computers (and indeed, can afford a PC and broadband), but there’s a whole portion of the population (generally older, more conservative types), who won’t be so confident.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2.2

          Don’t be silly, that’d be 0900 police and the bill will be covered by your private insurance (if you have any).

        • Rob 9.2.2.3

          We do have 0800 police, its called 111.

    • freedom 9.3

      yeah that is such a good idea, because when you have been traumatised by crime and need advice on how to garner some visage of justice when the legal system has completely failed you, you really want to be chatting to a faceless voice and then another and another before being told to upload personal and confidential information into a central database. But hey, if it saves a couple of hundred thousand dollars what does it matter that victims get the sharp end driven in even further.

      • Jim Nald 9.3.1

        There are hardly any votes for Natz from folks who use Community Law Centres so Natz can cut them?

        • Colonial Viper 9.3.1.1

          Time to close down most of Northland in that case.

          • Rob 9.3.1.1.1

            Well might as well.  The main transport and frieght road dosn’t deserve an upgrade with your thinking.

            • mike e 9.3.1.1.1.1

              but the holiday highway goes right past keys holiday home’s front door.

      • mickysavage 9.3.2

        Agreed Freedom.  The human face to face touch is so important.  A civilised society provides these sorts of services.

    • Bill 9.4

      Seeing as how all poor people have broadband and scanners or fax machines to ping off paperwork, an 0800 number will function just fine.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.5

      What do they have against the poor?

      They’re poor and, in their eyes, take money away from the rich.

  10. dd 10

    I had a look at Peter Dunne’s twitter today. He’s pretty nasty and clearly pretty anti Labour.

  11. joe90 11

    Evo Morales celebrates May day by seizing nationalising the national grid.

    Morales did not say how much Red Electric would be compensated, but the nationalization decree says the state would negotiate an indemnization fee.

    Morales said only $81 million had been invested in the grid since it was privatized in 1997.

    The government, meanwhile, “invested $220 million in generation and others profited. For that reason, brothers and sisters, we have decided to nationalize electricity transmission,” he said.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      This is not going to help Spain’s declining financial position.

      But Morales did exactly the right thing for his people, stopping foreigners from pumping wealth out of his nation while giving nothing back to it’s backbone.

    • freedom 11.2

      it must be nice to have a Government that actually considers the needs of its society, not just its creditors. Sure there are numerous issues on the ground, most of which can be squarely laid at the feet of the golden idol that is borne of capitalism’s unwavering greed.

    • joe90 11.3

      This is not going to help Spain’s declining financial position

      I don’t think Spain has the capacity for any gun boat diplomacy so I doubt Morales give a rats about her financial problems.

      The Argentinean senate has backed the nationalising of Respols share of YPF so I expect we’ll see more of the same with their sights set on former state assets that the IMF forced countries to sell following debt defaults.

  12. prism 12

    What retaliatory power does the electricity company have against Bolivia?

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      It’ll be the Spanish Government that Bolivia has to be nervous of.

      But given that Bolivia used to be a subject to Spain I think that this nationalisation has a pretty good feeling for them, for now.

  13. prism 13

    Latest non action by Jerry ‘No crisis” Brownlee – this time as Transport Minister thinking about roading – money needed there taken from other more-needed spending, rise in future petrol prices – still affordable while reliable wages are as constant as strobe lighting, and planning and implementation for alternative transport fuel – duh!

    About his Christchurch accommodation problem I’ve been told it seems to be crisis level to people there. But the runner with the information baton is still on his way up the South Island to Wellington and will probably arrive this week. Either our colonial message system is very slow or Jerry’s brain is a bit of a laggard at perceiving and dealing with real problems to the people of Christchurch.

  14. Dv 14

    Apparently Wanganui Collegiate has received $800k from the Nacts govt this year to allow it to remain operational in 2012 while negotiating to become a state integrated school.

    • KJT 14.1

      What happened to businesses being allowed to fail.

      Another private business which needs tax payer funding!

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1

        What happened to businesses being allowed to fail.

        Depends, is the business owned by rich people or poor people? The former will be saved and the latter will be allowed to fail.

  15. Georgecom 15

    According to a Radio NZ news report this morning the Green Party stated oil prices could reach $5 per litre in the next 10 years. Ministry of Roading Gerry Brownlee described that figure and the assumptions behind it as questionable. Maybe it is a little questionable and maybe the figure needs to be revised downward. Something around $3.50 or higher would be a more conservative estimate.

    However, is Brownlee trying to use that as justification for his massive road spending? If so, the assumptions behind his justifications are questionable.

    Brownlee describes NZ as being a ‘dynamic economy, a growing economy’ and therefore needing roading investment. Er, no. Under 4 years of a National Government we have been a sluggish economy, a stagnant economy. Bill English couldn’t grow a lettuce, never mind an economy. Based on Brownlees stated justifications for extra roading, there is no justification.

    A man from AA stated that motorists will manage fuel price increases in their existing budgets, that they will cope. Or in other words, he expects then to tread water as best they can.

    So, once again, no justification there for Brownlees massive roading spend up.

    I guess the approach from Brownlee is, if you come across something that challenges your poorly thought out plans, rubbish it and make something up in an attempt to justify your actions.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      $5/L petrol in next 10 years???

      $5/L by the 2017 elections I reckon.

    • John72 15.2

      Many people still alive will remember when The Average NZ Family only had one car, stored it in a garage and cleaned it every week. Many could not afford a car. Bicycles were popular and widely used. Public transport was more economical. London is at present spending Billions of Euros upgrading it’s Underground railway. We are living in a very comfortable country (over all). Do not think that it will last for ever. WW I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”. It took another war to recover from the Great Depression.
      So often we do not realise that what we see is just the “tip of an iceberg”. Someone described lying in a British field with his girfriend, watching contrails forming in the sky and listening to the rattle of machine guns. They were watching the Battle of Britan being fought. Recently we lay under a table while the house rocked and watched the top of the chimney next door collapse. Christchurch’s CBD was being destroyed. People in town were being killed.
      So often what you see are just the symptoms. Make sure you are not being complacent What is happening to the world economy? What is happening to the NZ economy? History does repeat itself.

      • bad12 15.2.1

        Yeah you have got that right,my opinion,is that many of the wars that have been fought throughout history are on the basis of our ‘leaders’ having f**ked things up so badly and angered the population to the point of open rebellion,

        WW1 in particular has in my family been described as the fear reaction of the European ruling classes as the Socialist message spread like a fire across old Europe…

  16. Whatever you may think of a few people, some from Ohariu, protesting and trying to pressure MPs (I think they have every right to do that if reasonable), the so called People Power Ohariu, Ohariu Citizens Select Committee (isn’t that much the same thing) along with the Mana Party (or someone from it) have overstepped with their latest stunt.

    I think that desecrating war memorials for political purposes is disgraceful and is likely to annoy a lot of people. Some may be more annoyed than they are about part asset sales, and this is likley to detract from the legitimate and reasonable protest of others.

    More at People Power and Ohariu

    • ianmac 16.1

      Seems OK to me.
      Did they cause destruction? No.
      Did they cause disruption? No.
      Did they connect the wars that were fought to defend democracy? Probably.
      Good on ’em.

    • Te Reo Putake 16.2

      Nothing in there about them desecrating war memorials, Pete. What they did do was hang a flag from a single memorial (the Carillion in Buckle St), then take it down. Nah, the real offensive behaviour is an MP claiming to be driven by the local community on his website, but refusing to meet with his local community when he doesn’t want to do what his local community wants him to do. Peter Dunne, hypocrite.
       
      Ps, Pete, in my youth I used to get drunk and then climb the outside of the Carillion, because the view of Welly from the top is outstanding. Was I desecrating the memorial, or just celebrating the freedom the soldiers died for?
       

    • A war memorial represents the deaths of many New Zealanders, and many others who served and suffered. It’s akin to a mass gravestone.

      Not surprisingly, from From Newstalk ZB:

      Disappointment over National War Memorial protest

      There’s disappointment over a political protest in Wellington this morning.

      A group opposed to the Government’s partial asset sales programme tied a banner to the National War Memorial that said ‘No Asset Sales.’

      The Memorial’s Curator Paul Riley says it wasn’t the right location for the protest.

      “It’s a sacred place the National War Memorial and it certainly is not the place to go around putting banners on scaffolding for a political cause. We’re trying to put security measures in place now to prevent it happening again.”

      Mr Riley says the banner was pulled down just after 7am by contractors working on renovations to the building.

      Wellington police have been notified of the incident.

      I’d word it a bit more strongly than “disappointment”.

    • freedom 16.4

      would this be the same war memorial that is so sacrosanct they want to drive a highway flyover through the middle of it instead of respectfully building a cut and cover tunnel and thus having a grander more ceremonial stage for the annual remembrance of lost lives and colonial lies.

    • Te Reo Putake 16.5

      A more erudite explanation than contained in Pete’s piece of faux outrage can be found in the Dom:
       
      A forestry and conservation worker originally from Northland, McIntosh said the National War Memorial was chosen to emphasise the generations of New Zealanders who had fought hard to “make New Zealand what it is today”.
       
      “Whilst living war veterans expressed their opposition to the sell-off of state assets on ANZAC Day, let’s not forget our Maori and Pakeha ancestors who struggled so hard to defend and possess this land in the wars of the 19th Century: to sell our farms, minerals and state assets overseas is to slight the memory of their struggle for this land.
       

      • Pete George 16.5.1

        That’s pathetic justification.

        Also pathetic is your “faux outrage” comment. I get criticised for not taking strong positions on things, and when I do the attacks continue, they just flip flop their lines.

        • Pete George 16.5.1.1

          You could dream up any weak excuse to desecrate any monument, graveyard, church, marae or whatever, but it doesn’t make it reasonable.

        • Te Reo Putake 16.5.1.2

          Poor old, Pete, we’re always picking on you, eh?
           
          Remember it is you who claimed that they ‘desecrated the memorials’, yet the truth is they did no such thing. And if you’d bothered to look at the photo in the Dom piece, you would have spotted that the banner isn’t even on the memorial, it’s on scaffolding being used by renovators.
           
          So, Pete, like it or not, ‘faux outrage’ is an entirely appropriate phrase to use when dealing with your wilful and witless exaggerations in this case.

          • Pete George 16.5.1.2.1

            You’re wrong and baseless (again).

            Both my grandfathers served during WW I. As it happens one returned to a job as engineer on the Mahingerangi power project, He also served in WW II and was still in the army when he died. My father was serving on J-Force and wasn’t here for his funeral.

            And my other grandfather emigrated here and worked through WW II on the Monowai power station – while one son had his life wrecked serving on HMNZS Leander, and another son was buried in Italy.

            I feel strongly about a handful of people who have ample opportunities to protest choosing to politicise the National War Memorial. I think it’s very poor.

            • felix 16.5.1.2.1.1

              Politicise now? Putting aside the observation that war is about as political as it gets, you haven’t been claiming politicisation until now. You’ve been claiming desecration.

              • The Memorial’s Curator Paul Riley said “It’s a sacred place the National War Memorial and it certainly is not the place to go around putting banners on scaffolding for a political cause.”

                I think there will be quite a few people who will think “to divest of sacred or hallowed character ” is an appropriate description, also any of “defile, violate, dishonor, pollute, outrage”.

                • felix

                  Yeah, or “politicise”.

                  Glad you’re not stooping so low.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  And yet none of those words apply to the putting of a banner on a piece of scaffolding. Just for fun, I googled Wellington War Memorial and desecration and, quelle surprise!, the only person in the entire country who thinks its a desecration is you, Pete.
                   
                  Even the curator doesn’t agree with you, assuming you have quoted him accurately in your comment above.

                  • I think I’m allowed to have my own opinion and not just parrot others.

                    • felix

                      Of course, and good for you.

                      But it takes a bit of the shine off “I think there will be quite a few people who will think…”

                      edit: Of course you may well be right about that though. Probably are now I think about it.

            • mike e 16.5.1.2.1.2

              Pompous Git those guys fought for freedom to protest and came back to this country to get a fair deal. the govt you support is only interested in those that are already rich such as Dotcon

  17. Janet Napolitano the US Secretary of Homeland security is talking with John Key and the minister of customs. If this doesn’t scare you you have not been paying attention.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 17.1

      But Ev. Everything scares you.

    • higherstandard 17.2

      If I hover my mouse over you link it says Heinrich Himmler is talking with John Key, I’m pretty sure that Heinrich committed suicide in 1945………… hmmmmmm plot thickens !!!

      • McFlock 17.2.1

        All thoroughly explained in this documentary about escaped Nazis in hiding for 70 years (documentary apparently due for NZ release soon). 
                
        Quite shocking, and I believe includes the role of former Nazis in covering up the 9/11 conspiracy, too.  
           
        Hand on heart… 😉 

        • higherstandard 17.2.1.1

          I suspect they are controlling us all via the immunization scheme.

    • mike e 17.3

      Rev its nationals new policy to stop the number of people leaving for Australia as all there others policies have failed.

  18. Cross party support for the teaching of te reo is great but it is a case of one step forward and two backwards with ERO’s latest report on science achievement: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/science-education-underdone-in-new.html
    If National had listened to the profession, this wouldn’t have happened.

    • BLiP 18.1

      . .. If National had listened . . .

      . . . we’d all be frollicking in the wonderous pastureland of New Zealand collecting baskets of unicorn shit for the rose compost.

    • McFlock 19.1

      well, that defense worked for Reagan in Iran-Contra. 

    • John72 19.2

      Before I was 21 years old I was taught by people from 4 different organisations “Lead by Example”.
      They preached this standard and demonstrated it. They were good leaders. Would it be reasonable to expect a standard like that from our politicians? They sought the position. They are not doing us a favour. We are not priviledged to have them. They constantly have to justify their existance. They sought the position, why are they there? Are they there to serve us or or earn a large income. So many seem to have lost the plot.

  19. Pete 20

    Just heard from someone who knows someone. The proposed move of the Treaty of Waitangi and other consititutional documents from Archives New Zealand to the refurbished National Library building has been approved by Cabinet – although I understand they will stay under the care of Archives NZ staff.

  20. ianmac 21

    Kim DotCom’s open letter to Key tonight on Campbell Live.

    • ianmac 21.1

      Wow! Not the open letter! Its the very peculiar situation that the PM of NZ knew not even the name of Kim Dotcom until the day before the arrest. On tape. Yet a large circle of others did know him for ages even years. Very eird. If you haven’t seen this on Campbell Live do so. There will be pretty strange repercussions. I bet!

  21. james 111 22

    When is Grant Robertson going to make the move on Shearer? How will that go down with David Cunnlife do you think

  22. SteveW 24

    Could Chris Trotter be losing his prophetic political powers?

    After a blistering attack on David Shearer in the Dominion Post last week it would seem, that in fact, Shearer isn’t doing too badly at all. At 34.6% in the Herald-digi poll Labour is clearly moving in a positive direction under Shearer’s leadership.
    Perhaps, the voters do not really want those things that seem so important to Trotter: flowery rhetoric and “juicy red meat” policies.
    Instead, maybe Shearer’s style and approach of appealing to all New Zealanders is just what will get Labour back into power.
    Can we expect another “confession” of the “aw shucks I was wrong (again)” variety from Trotter in the near future?

    • ianmac 24.1

      Tend to agree with you Steve. It is intriguing that the apparent left is so keen to beat up on a Left Leader. Did it to Goff and now Shearer.Would make sense if it was the right attacking/denigrating but from the Left?

      • bad12 24.1.1

        My view of it is Pol Pot could be head of the Labour Party at the moment and still be going up in popularity,

        Slippery and National have ‘bought’ the last 2 election victory’s off of tax cuts and asset sales,but,as has been shown befor such incentives to vote for a particular party are only a temporary glue and the actions of National and its support party’s are making Shearer and labour look saintly by comparison…

      • SteveW 24.1.2

        Yes, Ianmac, or it’s also some of the Left being sucked into a game being played by another party and not necessarily the Right, trying to capitalise on their own leaders position.

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