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Open Mike 03/02/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 3rd, 2018 - 284 comments
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284 comments on “Open Mike 03/02/2018 ”

  1. Ed 1

    John Roughan is a reactionary fool.

    He is still struggling to accept National’s defeat.
    He still does not understand MMP.

    One excerpt shows his true colours.

    He moans about Labour’s “feel-good but useless exercises like a three-year royal commission of inquiry into orphanages that no longer exist. Or a winter heating grant for everyone over 65, or a free year of tertiary education.”

    What a selfish uncaring git.


    • Ad 1.1

      The Ardern government set up a series of easy targets, achieved them, and only the free year of education has had any material effect yet.

      It’s mid year before citizens feel more than the feel-good.

    • AB 1.2

      The objection to the enquiry into abuse in state care seems particularly dim – even for Roughan.
      Ok, he’s a right winger and therefore his imaginative range is narrow, pinched and distorted by crude notions of ‘personal responsibility’. What seems to bother him is that the particular institutions may no longer exist and therefore there’s no-one to punish, shut down, fine or imprison. Blame cannot be cast off onto the guilty leaving his own conscience in pristine condition. Instead, something that the right-wing mind truly hates may occur – the collective apology. (Why should I apologise, I never abused anyone!)
      And that’s leaving aside the fact that he has given no though at all to what the victims might need psychologically, which is callous as well as dim.

    • Morrissey 1.3

      Roughan wrote a hagiography of St. John a few years ago.

      A couple of years ago that old yes-man Mike Williams claimed that Roughan was a “good journalist”…..

      Open mike 21/09/2015

      And, a propos of nothing, Roughan is also utterly ignorant about rugby….


      • Stunned mullet 1.3.1

        I didn’t know you had your own blog Moz.

        • Morrissey

          I registered it several years ago, put a couple of items on it, then left it dormant until December 2017. I have decided to gather as many of my contributions as I can from whatever source I can and put it on The Breen Report.

          I had another blog at one stage, called The View from Northcote Point, but I don’t know where it is.

    • Incognito 1.4

      The Editorial on Stuff was quite good but had an unfortunate headline: A new era of feelgood politics. It opens the door wide to framing it in a counter-productive and antagonistic way; just read the comments section to see what I mean.

      Feel-good or happiness are not identical to wellbeing (neither is material wealth for that matter). Child poverty is about wellbeing as is mental health, for example. Our mental health is in a state of emergency. Our environment (and climate) is in a bad state too. No matter what subjectivity you throw at these problems is going to change the fact that our wellbeing is under a tremendous threat and in a precarious state.

      Unfortunately, many people seem to believe and wish that positive thinking and attitude is enough to lift us to a better & higher plane – it’s all in the mind … A whole industry is feeding this dangerous and often selfish illusion. These same people lack imagination and guts and they fearfully, rigidly, and obsessively focus only on simple aggregate numbers and indices such as GDP. They stubbornly refuse to see the much more important dimension of our wellbeing in all its facets and nuances.

      As far as I can tell this (new) Government is pandering to big (and small!) businesses on the one hand and on the other hand it wants address poverty, deal with social inequality & injustice, protect the environment, etc., and they seem to think that it is possible, necessary even, or is trying to find a way to do both. It is an interesting conundrum and I believe that at some stage they will have to choose which aspect is the fundamentally more essential one and make the other subsidiary …

      • Morrissey 1.4.1

        The writer was fully aware of the implications of “feelgood.” It’s a subtly pejorative, demeaning term, like “do-gooder”, “well meaning”, “worthy”, “virtuous”, and “bleeding heart”.

      • Ed 1.4.2

        Stuff is owned by large financial corporations.

        • cleangreen

          Hi Ed \

          Yes the corporate have cornered the whole media platform to mind control; us all, but I am watching and listening less and less every day and finding i am more relaxed, and less pent up about the sick stuff that now has taken over our lives if we hear it all the time.

        • indiana

          So create your own newspaper. Don’t be a big corporate. Media is a business, not a “feel good” enterprise.

  2. chris73 2

    Enough with the talk of taxes, this was commissioned by the MOH:


    Taxes do generally appear to be passed through to prices and some reduced demand is likely

    Estimates of reduced intake are often overstated due to methodological flaws and incomplete measurement

    Price elasticities from early studies with fundamental methodological flaws have later been used in a number of other studies to assess the impact of sugar taxes, resulting in significantly overestimated reductions in demand

    There is insufficient evidence to judge whether consumers are substituting other sources of sugar or calories in the face of taxes on sugar in drinks

    Studies using sound methods report reductions in intake that are likely too small to generate health benefits and could easily be cancelled out by substitution of other sources of sugar or calories

    No study based on actual experience with sugar taxes has identified an impact on health outcomes

    Studies that report health improvements are modelling studies that have assumed a meaningful change in sugar intake with no compensatory substitution, rather than being based on observations of real behaviour.

    The evidence that sugar taxes improve health is weak.

    • Ed 2.1

      You obviously didn’t listen to the Panel when a corporate shill from the NZ Institute Eric Crampton was asked which big sugar interests his organisation received money from. They did. Panellists Dr Ella Henry and, Garry Moore made mincemeat of the American Crampton’s corporate spin.

      Eric Crampton and you are doing Coca Cola’s work.
      Eric gets paid by Coke to spin, Do you get paid?

      You link to Crampton’s paid propaganda.
      The man is a tool of big sugar.

      You, like him, are a ‘Merchant of Doubt.’
      People like you ran lies for tobacco from the 1960s to the 1990s.
      People like you ran lies for the fossil fuel industry from the 1980s.
      Please go away and stop spinning big sugar’s lies.


      • chris73 2.1.1

        He may well do but, and its a very big but, the report was commissioned by the Ministry of Health so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest they have people there that can check the validity of the findings

        • Ed

          If you read Crampton’s site, know where he gets his money from and still believe hiim, more fool you.
          Just don’t spread his manure here.

          • chris73

            The report was commissioned from the MOH, he merely got the information under the OIA

            Its from the MOH. The MOH. MOH.

            • Draco T Bastard

              And that doesn’t actually change the fact that Crampton is a shill for Big Business.

              • I was writing about the topic as early as 2012, when I worked at the University of Canterbury.

                I know it’s easier to ignore arguments you don’t like if you demonise the person making them, or pretend that they’re not honest in their arguments and are instead just fronting for some interest group, but it sure doesn’t suggest you’re really interested in truth-seeking.

                • I just do reality:

                  Mexico’s sugar tax appears to be having a significant impact for the second year running in changing the habits of a nation famous for its love of Coca-Cola, and will encourage countries troubled by obesity and contemplating a tax of their own.

                  An analysis of sugary-drink purchases, carried out by academics in Mexico and the United States, has found that the 5.5% drop in the first year after the tax was introduced was followed by a 9.7% decline in the second year, averaging 7.6% over the two-year period.

                  It’s difficult to take seriously anyone who says that something won’t work when real instances of the ‘something’ are actually working.

                  • Ed

                    CocaCola Amatil are members of the NZI.

                  • You could try actually reading his argument. It says right there in his blog post, quoting from the MoH report:

                    Taxes do generally appear to be passed through to prices and some reduced demand is likely

                    The significant bits are further down, viz:

                    There is insufficient evidence to judge whether consumers are substituting other sources of sugar or calories in the face of taxes on sugar in drinks

                    Studies using sound methods report reductions in intake that are likely too small to generate health benefits and could easily be cancelled out by substitution of other sources of sugar or calories

                    No study based on actual experience with sugar taxes has identified an impact on health outcomes

                    Studies that report health improvements are modelling studies that have assumed a meaningful change in sugar intake with no compensatory substitution, rather than being based on observations of real behaviour.

                    Noting, yet again, that these are the Ministry of Health’s findings, not the New Zealand Institute’s.

                    • It’s a study that seems to be assuming that a decrease in sugar intake from sugary drinks is automatically compensated for elsewhere.

                      My link says:

                      Mexico has high rates of obesity – more than 70% of the population is overweight or obese – and sugar consumption. More than 70% of the added sugar in the diet comes from sugar-sweetened drinks.

                      I’d say that it would be very difficult to substitute such a massive intake from any other means.

                      And please note that I tend to favour sugar taxes rather than sugary drink taxes. Which should have a far more wide ranging effect.

                    • It’s a study that seems to be assuming that a decrease in sugar intake from sugary drinks is automatically compensated for elsewhere.

                      It’s just pointing out that studies supporting a tax tend to assume that lower drinks intake weren’t compensated for elsewhere and that that isn’t an assumption those studies are entitled make. Which is quite correct.

                    • No, it’s assuming that sugar intake remained the same despite the decrease in sugary drinks intake but doesn’t show that.

                    • I’m honestly not seeing how you draw that conclusion from this statement:

                      There is insufficient evidence to judge whether consumers are substituting other sources of sugar or calories in the face of taxes on sugar in drinks

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  So what’s your excuse for pretending that minimum wage increases cost jobs?

                  You believe it very very hard?

                  Your brain has adapted to dishonesty?

                  You can get paid to author some sophistry that makes it look true? There’s nothing wrong with making ‘mistakes’, until your ‘mistakes’ start to show a pattern.

                • Eco Maori

                  Tax sugar add a 200% .
                  People who say that a sugar tax won’t work are pissing in the wind .
                  The money saved on health cost can be used on other good causes like getting rid of fossil fuels.All one has to do is look at photos of people that were taken 40 years ago when sugar was not consumed as much to see a tax would work ka kite ano

              • Ed

                Yes, the membership list includes such wonderful organisations such as
                Sky City
                Imperial Tobacco
                British American Tobacco
                Coca Cola Amatil

                Eric call this “a broad membership base.”

                Looks to me like a list of corporations whose businesses need some good publicity, given the industry they are in.

                I just wish RNZ would tell the public where this group gets their money from.
                Good on the panellists yesterday for challenging Crampton on funding by big sugar corporations.

                • Ed

                  The NZI ‘s membership includes Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco.

                  Eric said this……

                  “”Once you put in the [Government] savings to the superannuation scheme, it’s almost a universal truth that any country to have a combination of high excise taxes, public superannuation and public healthcare . . . smokers are net contributors to the public purse.

                  “[The tax increases] are not justifiable. The harmful effects on poor households who continue to smoke are so large relative to the number of people who might stop smoking based on it.”


                  • Eric said this…

                    It looks pretty accurate to me. Do you have some objection to it?

                    • Ed

                      pm, are you being deliberately contrarian?

                    • Not at all. His argument is quite straightforward: in monetary terms, smokers are a net gain to society when you take into account the excise taxes they pay, and the fact that they tend to die relatively young from things that kill them quickly (thereby saving the health system and the welfare system shitloads of cash). It’s therefore not justifiable to further raise excise taxes on smoking.

                      That argument makes sense to me, so I’m surprised you quote it as though it reflected badly on him.

                    • smokers are a net gain to society when you take into account the excise taxes they pay, and the fact that they tend to die relatively young from things that kill them quickly (thereby saving the health system and the welfare system shitloads of cash).

                      Which is probably wrong. Someone living a long time in good health is better for society and the economy. They get to pass on their knowledge and experience and, if they continue working, also continue to be productive.

                      Our problem is that we tend to throw old people on the scrap heap rather than seeking that knowledge and experience that they have and so they become a drain on society rather than a benefit.

                    • David Mac

                      Smoking is a stupid habit. It’s impossible for an intelligent person to construct or defend an argument for the vice. It’s the argument 10 year old kids win. “Do you want to die Dad?”

                      With regard tax on drinks, if we’re doing it for the bread, just whack GST up to 20%. The infrastructure is all there.

                      If we’re doing it to stop rotting so many young teeth and to rope in runaway waistlines…test it. That’s what business would do. Have a pilot launch in New Plymouth, match the media buy planned for the whole country in a test market.

                      Stick a range of taxes on the culprits in a couple of smaller test markets and have the doctors and dentists that service those centres record results.

                      Lets not just check if it works but also what works best.

                    • Smoking is a stupid habit. It’s impossible for an intelligent person to construct or defend an argument for the vice.

                      No argument from me on that one – I’m a non-smoker and wouldn’t want to start. That’s not what’s under discussion, though.

                    • Ed

                      Eating sugary drinks is also a dumb habit.
                      I’d put the tax at 100%.
                      Then add 10% per year for the next 10 years.

                    • No argument from me against that one either. But again, it’s not what’s under discussion.

              • Ed

                Some Crampton’s other work.
                I’m sure the big supermarkets, Coca Cola and Sky City were very disappointed by Crampton’s conclusions……
                He assures us that the NZI is independent.
                It has no environmental, union, or advocacy groups as members.
                I wonder why.

                “Increasing minimum wage will cost jobs”

                “The new government has suggested a $20 minimum wage in 2021, is the same as a $17.50 minimum wage today. Eric Crampton tells Mike Hosking there are already good numbers from MBIE around the effects of minimum wage increases. He says if today’s minimum wage was $17.50, it would cost jobs and the country. ”


            • Ed

              And Crampton is pushing it.

            • McFlock

              Its from the MOH. The MOH. MOH.

              then why isn’t the link to the MoH website?

              It’s from the NZIER.

              It was apparently commissioned by the MoH, just as they contract others to conduct other research. What other reports did they commission on the topic? Did any conflict with the NZIER publication?

        • Rosemary McDonald

          “…the report was commissioned by the Ministry of Health.”

          That’s the second time you’ve said that like it means something. Like anything the Misery of Health publishes has veracity. Like seriously, they’re not overburdened with brains. Please don’t demand evidence of this because the files I got from them recently under an OIA are like mega huge…as your friends at https://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2018/02/sugar-taxes-nziers-advice.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed:+offsettingbehaviour+(offsetting+behaviour) found out.

          You say “I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest they have people there that can check the validity of the findings.”

          I sincerely hope for your sake that limb is strong. Although, should it snap and you fall and break your neck, you will be under ACC and they at least ACC have a plan for looking after tetraplegics.

          For instance….a routine part of the daily support for a tetraplegic is manual bowel care. ACC has this on the list of tasks that Contracted Providers need to perform. Since about 2000, the Ministry of Health has refused to provide funding for manual bowel cares. I have this in writing. Tough shit, literally, for the Ministry of Health clients needing this as part of their core care needs.

          So…please don’t pretend that the Ministry of Health has ‘people’ capable of rational, reasoned thinking.

          • chris73

            “So…please don’t pretend that the Ministry of Health has ‘people’ capable of rational, reasoned thinking.”

            Maybe but I’d put money on it they they’re more capable than Ed of rational, reasoned thinking

            But thats fine tell me where the report is wrong or blighted or whatever, if the findings are wrong it should be fairly easy to prove

            • Ed

              You trust Crampton?

              • You shouldn’t trust anyone – trusting in authority figures is the source of many of the logical fallacies in your comments. In this particular case though, I’d certainly rate Eric Crampton’s ability to form an argument way, way ahead of yours…

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Ok then. The report cites seven pages of bibliography. The only meta-analysis in that bibliography concludes that:

              Taxing SSBs may reduce obesity…

              …and the lead author’s name is Maria A Cabrera Escobar. so I suggest you choose your words carefully 😉

        • patricia bremner

          Sometimes the Minister chooses to ask a question of a sympathetic group to obtain the required answer!! That happened often in the last 9 years.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            “That happened often in the last 9 years.”

            And, sadly, during the last Labour Government. I am hoping this one will be different, but the jury is still out.

      • Psycho Milt 2.1.2

        Eric gets paid by Coke to spin,

        You appear to have a lot of confidence in The Standard’s lawyers, not that it has any.

        I can’t decide whether the particular logical fallacy you’re peddling here is an association fallacy or a non sequitur fallacy. Either way, it’s an appeal to emotion rather than an expression of logic.

      • Psycho Milt 2.1.3

        I notice that Crampton actually addressed your claim in the blog post Chris73 linked to:

        Anti-sugar campaigners have framed opposition to sugar taxes as reflecting the pecuniary interests or ideology of those opposing those taxes. The evidence instead suggests that those taxes would have little discernible effect on health outcomes and would be unlikely to pass any cost-benefit assessment.

        Still, I suppose he didn’t need to be a genius to see that one coming.

        • Ed

          You do know that the New Zealand Institute receives funding from about 50 corporates?
          Why would they give it money?
          Would you regard the NZI as independent as a consequence ?

          • Psycho Milt

            They fund the New Zealand Institute because it’s a right-wing lobby group, and its publications should be read with that in mind.

            However, the report in question isn’t a New Zealand Institute report, it’s a Ministry of Health report that was prepared by the NZ Institute for Economic Research, an organisation completely unrelated to the NZI. Crampton is pointing out the findings of the report because they suit the NZI’s agenda, but that doesn’t say anything about the credibility of the report.

      • Incognito 2.1.4

        Dr Eric Crampton is Canadian by birth.

      • The Initiative lists its members on its website. Having a broad membership base means independence. I’d sooner we lost a member than skewed our work to suit the preferences of any of them. Since there’s 50 of them, none of them have any power to sway things – and I’ve not seen any try.

        But that’s all irrelevant. My only role in this one was in helping to get MoH to allow NZIER’s study to be released. That’s it. The Ministry of Health commissioned it; NZIER did the work. And they reached the same conclusions that we did in our 2016 report.

        Put some weight on the possibility that sugar taxes in the ranges that have thus far been observed just don’t work.

        • Ed

          If research came out damning one of your menmbers, would the NZI publish it?
          Because there has been a lot of scientific research damning sugary drinks.
          And yet you are quiet on those.

          • red-blooded

            Ed, I don’t have a decided opinion on taxing sugar. I do think it’s worth noting that no-one’s arguing that sugary drinks are a good thing, though. Sure, there’s plenty of research to prove that they are a health hazard. What’s being discussed is whether a tax on some products is an effective way of encouraging people to cut down on sugar (and thus improve their health profile), especially when sugar is so readily available in multiple other forms.

          • gsays

            Gday Ed, I am curious as to your opinion on the sugar alternatives.

            My hunch is that they will replace the sugared products.
            While I do not deny sugars impact is not flash, these chemical alternatives are not the harmless panacea they are made out to be.

            Ironically they are heaps cheaper than sugar and it galls me for the state to be leading the charge against sugar, ushering in acceptance of these acumulative neuro-toxins

    • Stuart Munro 2.2

      Personally I’d prefer incrementally decreasing regulated maximum sugar levels. They would not be cumbersome to administer. Taxes are not the answer to everything, and sugar taxes applied fairly might cover a surprising range of products.

      Same goes for plastic bags – don’t charge for them, eliminate them.

  3. Ed 3

    This could cause recession in the rural economy or forced sales of farms.
    From smallholders to large corporations and foreign owners.
    We should renationalise the banks.
    They do not work in our citizens’ interests.

    “Banks tell dairy farmers: it’s time to pay it back.

    Dairy farmers who are coming up for air as milk prices recover, are now being asked to pay back $5 billion in bank support loans made during the slump.”


    • chris73 3.1

      You mean banks want farmers to pay back loans? The audacity of it all, next thing you know banks will be demanding people pay their mortgages!

      • Ed 3.1.1

        For someone who has just spewed out bid sugar’s lies and propaganda, you do not come over as a poster to be relied on.

        You should do some research on our system of banking.
        Fractional Reserve Banking.
        Watch money as Debt.


        • chris73

          Considering you want everyone to go vegan that’d have a much bigger effect on farming in NZ than bankers wanting loans repaid so take your faux concern elsewhere

          • Ed

            That would mean farmers would farm differently.
            We do need to eat….

            • mauī

              and eat from a plant based diet avoiding the use of sentient beings.

            • chris73

              So every farmer converts to crops, brilliant because vegetables are already pretty cheap as it is so even more vegetables will drive the prices down and that won’t bother the farmers that’ll have to take out even more loans to convert to crops

              Of course because of even more vegetables out the supermarkets will pay even less so the farmers will make even less money but have even more loans to service

              I’ll it with this last thought as to why this isn’t a good idea:

              “This could cause recession in the rural economy or forced sales of farms.”

    • tc 3.2

      this was as predictable as night following day in an industry full of overleveraged operators.

      Cue the ‘we’re to important to fail’ meme whilst they continue their loss making ways in a sunset business as Fonterra have sold out the kiwi know how to China, Uruguay etc

    • Pat 3.3

      The “conversation” between farmers and their banks had changed in the past six months, he said.

      Between the financial pressure, the vagaries of the milk payout and weather extremes, even the most positive farmers were being “worn down”.

      Nobody should be surprised as this is standard banking practice……they have the time and control that the borrower does not and will use that imbalance to shift the losses.
      Banking is not an industry for those that care more about making friends than money

    • CHCOff 3.4

      Clueless rural community being driven off their farms, while they vote for National, the party most in bed with this old financial scam, because it’s the cultural thing to do.

      It was only a matter of time before they would start being driven off, the silly uninformed muggers. Corporate farming model coming down the pike, well duh!

      • Ed 3.4.1

        Yes farmers sadly think National cares about them when the party has more concern for international and foreign finance and banking interests.
        Key now at ANZ.
        Say no more.

    • To be honest, it’d probably do farming in NZ a world of good if those particular farmers went out of business. They’re obviously incompetent.

  4. Son of Don 4

    The Greens are like a toothless pensioner; living on yesterday’s memories while offering “words of wisdom” occasionally but they have no bite or power.
    Peters calls the shots in the current CoL and the Greens know that. Their “sellout” in not voting against the Peters “Waka Jumping” Bill was shameful especially as the Greens exist because of the “Waka Jumping” from its original MP”s.
    The latest debacle regarding medical marijuana was a jok; blame the opposition but the reality is the CoL has a majority but can only muster it if Peters agrees.
    Greens are heading towards irrelevance thanks to Peters and Liarbor deciding their future lies with NZF

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

    [I don’t write posts so that people who hate the Greens can use the comments section to further that hate. If you want to take part in the conversations, try and make your comment relevant to the post (simply talking about the Greens isn’t enough) – weka]

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      Toothless pensioners have no power?
      How naive you are SoD.
      Don’t The Greens look fresh and energetic though! Have you ever seen such a vibrant group of politicians before, and all in the same party! Think of National, when they were in Government: their crew looked rotten.

    • Cinny 4.2


      It’s rather amusing that each time I copy paste part of your comments either whale oil or kiwiblog comes up first on the google, are you not getting enough attention on the tory blogs? Freaking funny and rather sad for you.

    • Macro 4.3

      sod – why don’t you just sod off?

  5. Pat 5

    Looks like the ten year cycle might be playing out…..interest rates on the up…keep your fingers crossed.


    • Ed 5.1

      Thank you for sharing.

      “But a number of risks lurk in the background, including rising tensions over trade between the Trump White House and the rest of the world, or the re-emergence of geopolitical tensions or from rising indebtedness in China.”

      The crash is coming.
      Independent economists have been warning us about this for a while.

  6. dv 6

    Re the waka jumping bill.
    It seems to me when an MP is elected there is a ‘contract’ with the electorate on the basis of how they were elected.

    List MP are elected from the vote the party received from the electorate.If the MP leaves the party then the ‘contract;’ with the electorate is broken
    Then they must leave the list. The next on the list would be elected to parliament.

    Electorate mps to a certain extent are elected on the basis of the party.
    Thus the mp leaving the party must go to the electorate again to renew the ‘contract’

    • List MP are elected from the vote the party received from the electorate.If the MP leaves the party then the ‘contract;’ with the electorate is broken

      That’s the way I’m figuring it. They’re not there as themselves but as representatives of the party. If they leave the party then they also must leave parliament as they’re no longer representatives of the party. The next on the party list will take their place.

      As far as the voters go they voted for the party and an MP leaving the party is stopping representing their vote.

      Electorate mps to a certain extent are elected on the basis of the party.
      Thus the mp leaving the party must go to the electorate again to renew the ‘contract’

      The electorate vote is complicated as, by law, they’re voted for by the electorate as individuals. But you’re right in that many people will vote for a politician in electorate votes because they’ve got the party logo next to them and not because they’re voting for the individual.

      That legal definition means that they can’t be removed just because they left the party.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    Sometimes the Minister chooses to ask a question of a sympathetic group to obtain the required answer!! That happened often in the last 9 years.
    Sorry, this was meant to be about the sugar debate … a bit of a jump and arrived here.

  8. savenz 8

    You have to wonder about the NZ family court system when they rule against the ruling of another country in Europe and reward people for defrauding court systems.


    In this case sounds like marriage break up and the mother refused to follow the custody arrangements set by the court in Europe. Then when the courts awarded full custody to the father after the Mother breached the court orders repeatedly, the mother provided false information to immigration to steal the child away to NZ.

    Apparently the father is ‘controlling’ for wanting to have a relationship with their child and someone ran over his foot??? ( which seems to have traumatised the child). This is the NZ system that needs urgent attention to having fair solutions for children where they have access to BOTH parents unless there is proven abuse (aka hospital reports, real reports from others, not just the other parents allegations).

    In this case taking a child away from their original country sounds like a destabilising effect on the child caused by the mother, of which the reversal is now being is used to keep the child in NZ. Aka destabilising effect of taking the child from NZ. The person who did it first should be censored the most!

    In NZ it seems like parents who wrote copious allegations about the other (and bear in mind they were the ones who had the relationship with the other and had a child together, but suddenly when the relationship breaks up, the other party suddenly turns into some abusive monster, so you have to wonder about their state of mind in the first place and ability to sole raise a child, if that is how they behave).

    The children should be protected by the controlling behaviour of the other parent trying to stop the other parents court access not rewarded for it, like they are in NZ.

    No wonder we have so many sole parents and people in poverty in this country. The NZ system wastes police time, wastes court time and ultimately takes away a child’s ability to have a relationship with both of their parents and both of their parents extended families and the combined resources they have to provide for the child.

    It takes a village to raise a child. In NZ it seems those who seem most controlling and remove children to their sole care because they believe they are the best parent and are prepared to lie and cheat to do so, are the most rewarded. It’s very sad.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Sounds like assumption and supposition by you savenz. The laws set up are not always the best for the child and parent carrying out the major parenting, morals teaching and socialising. Too often it ends up in a Solomon’s solution decided by the Court.

      According to Raymond Westbrook, the story is essentially a hypothetical problem, introduced to the recipient as a pure intellectual challenge and not as a concrete juridical case. In such problems, any unnecessary detail is usually omitted, and this is the reason why the characters in the story have no distinctive characteristics. Also, the description of the case eliminates the possibility to obtain circumstantial evidence, thereby forcing the recipient to confront the dilemma directly and not seek for indirect ways to solve it.
      (Raymond Westbrook (1946–2009) was a scholar of the legal systems of the ancient Near East.)

      • savenz 8.1.1

        @ greywarshark, Just relying on the facts as presented by the herald (which may or may not be accurate). It is odd that NZ is quite happy to set aside a court order from Europe and decide they know better and let the person off for immigration fraud. There doesn’t even seem to be any allegations apart from control which is a very subjective and overused word in these situations. Don’t have kids if you don’t like your partner, should be the mantra! If you are attracted to that type of partner maybe not such a good parent yourself!

        It’s pretty well known now, how susceptible children are to stories that are told to them, therefore becomes very difficult and sadly seemingly prevalent if one parent is prepared to do what ever it takes to get revenge on one’s partner. Who knows if that is the case in this instance, but does happen and steps should be made in the interests of phycological damage to children to prevent it.

        How does a child feel growing up, hearing about what a monster/abuser/miserable human being one of their parents are. It clearly is not going to be good for their self esteem if one parents becomes obsessed with that.

        Clearly there are abusers out there, but apparently the first things that happens in many custody cases, is pages of allegations against the other to deprive the other partner and their child of joint care from both parents.

        Maturity, common sense and decently seems to go out of the window in custody battles. And it’s the children that suffer, if one parent becomes obsessed to prevent the other by location and constant dramas and misuse of the court system, from seeing and raising their own children.

    • red-blooded 8.2

      This situation happens reasonably often in other jurisdictions too, savenz. I know a parent who had shared custody – the other parent took the child to Germany on holiday with an agreed date of return, then refused to return. When the NZ parent went to the courts to have the child returned, the German courts found that the child had become habituated to Germany and should therefore remain there. The Court of Appeal made the same decision. She comes to NZ for holidays (loves it, often says she’d like to live here) and the NZ parent visits, but the only way to regain shared custody would be to go and live in Germany.

      There are international agreements that bind countries to recognise the decisions of each others’ courts, and in custody cases the case is tried in the country that the child is in. That’s my understanding, anyway.

      • savenz 8.2.1

        @ red-blooded, I guess the situation there is that the child still has contact with both parents and I assume it must be cordial to make the travel arrangements so maybe both parents doing what they can, and therefore the child is secure with both parents and the arrangement, by the sound of it.

        It sounds like in this case, the mother refuses the father having a relationship with his child, and it is against what the original court in Europe has ruled.

        There is also supervised access type situations in place ‘in case’ there is potential harm to the child which could be utilised.

        My view is if there are allegations maybe both parents should be investigated with an open mind. There are plenty of controlling fruit loops out there making allegations of ex partners, and using the courts bias to their advantage.

        In NZ there is an huge problem of child death and abuse by step parents, not just the parents, so there is many reasons to maintain links with both biological parents to keep an eye on children in these situations.

        • red-blooded

          Actually no, the relationship between the parents is very strained and the one based in Germany is pretty damn uncooperative in terms of travel arrangements, the idea of shared costs, visits and regular Skype sessions (which are part of the court order). The child is also kept away from her paternal grandparents (who also live in Germany).

          I agree that a child has a right to a relationship with both parents and that the courts should try to promote this. I guess what I’m saying is that the issue is bigger than the NZ court system, and it’s actually a pretty complex legal issue. I doubt that there are many cases in which one parent is completely good and the other completely bad.

          • savenz

            Sounds like an all too familiar situation… sad that so many people who once had a relationship and children then turn so hostile to each other… the courts inadvertently promote this is what I am alluding too.

            There should be more weight and legal responsibility on uncooperative spouses using the courts to get their own way and stop access and make it deliberately hard on the other parent. Probably that is why the European court ruled for the husband in the first place due to the spouse refusing the courts arrangements, but now NZ’s problem by the sounds of it.

          • greywarshark

            Here is a case of one parent being completely bad. And I think that it is not uncommon for an aggrieved parent to be unco-operative in checking their

        • RedBaronCV

          The single biggest problem in the child situations is the one that the Courts absolutely refuse to deal with because the main bulk of the offenders are male. Parenting arrangements at great expense are carefully crafted ( leaving the bulk of the care to the mother) and come the fine day he is supposed to turn up – no show. Parenting arrangements need to be a contract enforceable on both.

          • greywarshark

            It is very hurtful to the children that the parent doesn’t turn up which implies no respect or love for them (even though it may have been totally impossible because of events). Then the remaining parent may need to defend the other who is actually a blot on the landscape, so as to maintain the relationship for the future, and to limit the upset.

            • RedBaronCV

              Look, these parents who don’t turn up are no longer children & don’t need to be pandered to. It’s their responsibility to enhance their relationship with their child – not dump it on the main caregiver as you seem to be suggesting..
              And lot of this type of contact is awarded so kids see that parent as they really are and don’t dream golden daydreams about the parent they don’t know.
              But there is no excuse for the whole system giving these parents a free pass to control a caregivers life by default, to wreck their social & economic outcomes which also impacts on the children. Without a free pass the other parent will either grow up, very desirable, or arrive at the same outcome sooner.

  9. Gristle 9

    Aren’t we at the end of the Government’s 100 day period? Who is running a scorecard?

    • red-blooded 9.1

      All the commitments have been met, except setting a binding emissions target. The work for this is underway.

      • Cinny 9.1.1

        Chatting to a friend today who has been a long time nat voter, this time around she voted two ticks for Labour. She said to me how pleased she is with the new government because they have fulfilled all commitments made for the first 100 days.

        • red-blooded

          Great! Labour has to be mindful of people like your friend – not automatically left leaning, but willing to be convinced.

  10. greywarshark 10

    While the argument about taxes on sugar rages above, the bad effects on children’s teeth are continuing. Could the Ministry of Health adopt an approach that looks at the most likely causes and run pilots controlling each one separately, keeping tabs on information about results which would take at least two years to gather over sufficient time to monitor and compare to see if there was a trend. Then start on the next possible cause.

    If there is going to be so much argument about theory and methodology and authority etc etc it would be time wasted. We need to have some action immediately and increasing action following, both on availability and dosage of sugar, and on education about effects and prevention in a way that it will be both understood, and alternative behaviours be adopted, as suggested by trusted advisors.

  11. Ed 11

    Isn’t Michael Laws an absolutely appalling man?
    Listening to him on Kim Hill’s show.
    The arrogance seems out of every pore of him.

    • Ed 11.1

      Morrissey this interview deserves your expert transcript!!

      • Rosemary McDonald 11.1.1

        In the meantime, let’s travel back a wee bit and remember this…

        https://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?id=105891 possibly his finest hour…

        ” Keith Maynard….

        People with Down syndrome only suffer due to the ignorance of other people. They are generally very happy and enjoy life to the fullest.
        But this is beside the point that I would wish to make. Parents that receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome should be given access to full and unbiased information so that they are able to make an informed decision. A decision which is not based upon the alarmist and most often times, ignorant advice given by a so called health professional. Should they then still wish to abort for whatever reasons then it is purely and simply their choice to make.
        Advocating for fair and reasonable information for expectant parents can surely not place me in the ‘extremist” camp, but rather, among the ranks of a rational caring human being.

        Michael Laws replys
        Let’s be honest shall we: you lot had the really bad luck to have a Downs child.
        For some twisted reason, because you’ve drawn the short straw, you think others should share your fate. Sorry, but the rest of us don’t want to have severely disabled kids: couldn’t think of anything worse. We choose and would choose to abort such … and fascists like you want that test and choice denied.

        Michael Laws
        You’re a liar: I’ve read the official policy of your group.
        And I don’t see Downs as anything other than a serious disability that is best avoided.

        Keith Maynard
        what group ? Saving Downs ? I follow them on Facebook I am not involved with them at any level. I am not very popular with them as I advocate for informed personal choice as I am doing with you.

        Michael Laws
        Downs is a bad thing: its a serious disability. If we can eradicate it, we should.

        Keith Maynard
        Mr Laws your whole stand on this does seem very reminiscent of 1930’s Germany. We all know how well respected the Fuhrer is now. But you accuse me of being a fascist ? Ignorance is a far greater disability than Down Syndrome, and you Sir, are very obviously ignorant in this matter.

        Michael Laws
        You’re a complete retard raising Nazi Germany: normal parents don’t want Downs kids and I intend the expectant parents keep having the choice to abort them and that choice be Now promoted to them.

        Keith Maynard
        Oh Dear, dropping the “R” bomb. sorry its not going to get a raise from me. It does however show just how uninformed and ignorant.
        Good luck with your master race plan. I’m sure that history will reveal you for what you really are. Seriously Mr Laws you need professional help.

        Michael Laws
        You’re a retard.”

        as some wit on tdb at the time said…


        “He is high up in my top 20 puke inducing things just behind sliding down a hill face first into a bloated cow corpse.”

        • Psycho Milt

          Laws may be a deeply unpleasant man, but his annoyance with Down syndrome activists is easily understandable.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            ffs….Keith Maynard is not a “Down Syndrome activist”!

            And even if he were…can you not understand where the Down Syndrome activists are coming from?

            If I recall, they found MOH documents outlining protocols to ensure that when screening indicated a ‘problem’, parents were to be encouraged to abort. Thus saving $$$ to the taxpayer….an argument wholeheartedly supported by Laws.

            Saving Downs and the Spina Bifida group wanted parents in such a situation to be given information from both sides…like talking with people with Down and SB and their parents, for, like balance.

            Ironically, around the time of this particular disability shit storm I asked around young women of childbearing age what they would do if screening indicated a disability and two of these women said they would terminate based solely on seeing the strife friends with children on the severe end of the autistic spectrum went through to get supports.

            There is no pre-natal test for autism.

          • weka

            “but his annoyance with Down syndrome activists is easily understandable.”

            How so?

            • Psycho Milt

              Because they’re essentially anti-abortion activists, albeit with a specialised focus. Like some of the more generalist “pro-life” activists, Maynard framed his opposition to aborting Down syndrome fetuses in terms just wanting pregnant women to have all the information, with the same intent. I dislike that intensely – by all means don’t abort your Down syndrome baby and by all means let’s ensure you’re properly supported to raise them, but other people’s pregnancies are none of your or my business.

              EDIT: on reading that back, I should clarify I’m talking “you” as generic you, people in general, not “You, weka”

              • weka

                I don’t know anything about him other than what I am reading in the comment above, but he doesn’t sound anti-abortion to me. He said,

                “Should they then still wish to abort for whatever reasons then it is purely and simply their choice to make.”

                What is wrong with that?

                • He wants them to make their choice only after they’ve been given the kind of information he’d like them to have, which is an approach also used by “pro-life” groups wanting to appear balanced and reasonable. And Maynard is way less extreme than many of them – there are quite a few who would like screening for DS stopped, eg http://www.savingdownsyndrome.org/press-release-dont-screen-us-out/.

                  • This one’s even worse – it’s predicated on the “abortion kills a baby” argument that anti-abortion activists use: http://www.savingdownsyndrome.org/human-rights-commission-to-address-prenatal-discrimination/

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    Psycho Milt. You are entering rocky waters here….emphatic navigation warning issued.

                    If you are at all capable of real empathy…and I don’t mean that rudely, it can be difficult….think how someone born with a disability feels when they hear that an exemption to a late term abortion is permitted in cases of a disability such as theirs.

                    Or that a “normal” baby is more worthy of life than a baby with a disability.

                    Most disability groups would defend a woman’s right to choose abortion to the death…because they see that choice as a basic human right.

                    BUT, all disability advocates whose work I have read on the issue object vehemently to abortion solely on the grounds of disability of the baby.

                    This is a hugely complicated and nuanced issue…extreme caution advised.

                    • BUT, all disability advocates whose work I have read on the issue object vehemently to abortion solely on the grounds of disability of the baby.

                      Well, yeah, exactly. That’s what I said – their anti-abortion activism has a very specific focus. Thing is, it’s none of our business on what grounds a pregnant woman decides to terminate her pregnancy, as long as no-one’s exerting undue influence. And no matter how much empathy we have, there’s no basis for telling a woman that she can’t have an abortion because it might make someone she’s never met feel bad.

                  • McFlock

                    I think it’s a bit more subtle than that.

                    Part of the issue is whether the negative effects of Down syndrome are intrinsic to the syndrome itself, or merely how society treats people with DS and supports caregivers.

                    There are some high-frequency medical co-morbidities, yes, but we’re not necessarily talking about kids who can only expect and exceptionally short and painful life. Neither are we necessarily talking about kids who might be completely dependent and unable to communicate for 80 years, requiring a team of 24hr carers for basic bodily functions.

                    Down syndrome can be a serious disability where quality of life considerations need to be made when considering continuing the pregnancy, but it’s not as binary a consideration as Lhaws expresses.

                    • RedLogix

                      Let’s put it this way. Having lived through exactly a child born with a genetic re-arrangement similar to, but much rarer than Downs, my position is simply this; we love and cherish our daughter and have always been amazed and proud of how well she has done despite a very grim outlook at birth.

                      However if we ever had a choice we’d never voluntarily put ourselves (and her siblings) through such a thing ever again.

                      OK so that isn’t a definitive answer, but in the end it’s one of those ethical dilemmas that I believe are best left to the individual conscience. While it’s ok to express general opinions and feelings about it, the rest of us really have no business poking our noses into individual circumstances and choices.

                    • I think the nature of Down syndrome is irrelevant. Even if the thinking of the mother is “Yuk, disabled kids give me the creeps, I don’t want one,” that mother may suck as a human but that doesn’t mean we get to decide whether she’s allowed to have an abortion or not.

                      But the thinking is more likely along the lines of “OK, this kid could be pretty much fine, or it could be I get to look after in perpetuity a small child with the strength and sex drive of an adult. On balance I’ve decided I’m not going to take the risk of outcome 2.” That strikes me as an entirely reasonable risk-management-based approach, but how it strikes me or anyone else is irrelevant – not my decision, so my opinion on it counts for shit.

                  • weka

                    “He wants them to make their choice only after they’ve been given the kind of information he’d like them to have”

                    Still not seeing it. Unless you have more information about him (please do share), I can’t see how you’re thinking he wants to do the equivalent of showing dead foetuses. Do you know of him from somewhere else?

                    “Parents that receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome should be given access to full and unbiased information so that they are able to make an informed decision. A decision which is not based upon the alarmist and most often times, ignorant advice given by a so called health professional.”

                    I’m guessing it’s the second sentence you have a problem with, but unless we know what health professionals usually say it’s a bit of a moot point.

                    • I don’t know anything about Maynard beyond news reports of his argument with Laws, but my original comment was about Down syndrome activists like Saving Downs, who are very much anti-abortion activists, albeit in a niche market.

                      If we’re focusing specifically on Maynard, he’s obviously at the least extreme end of the scale, but I can see only one reason why a parent of a Down syndrome child would want parents who receive a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome to be given information minimising the likely difficulties they’d face if they go ahead with the pregnancy.

                      EDIT: I guess the above doesn’t really address your last paragraph. It’s not a moot point, the burden of proof was on Maynard to demonstrate that health professionals have been giving people bad advice. I’m not saying it’s an unbelievable claim – I’ve had plenty of shit advice from health professionals, mostly related to telling me what I should eat. But when I claim it’s shit advice it’s up to me to provide evidence of why that is, or people are entitled to ignore my claim.

          • Morrissey

            Just like those pesky Palestinians, huh?

            • Rosemary McDonald


              • Morrissey

                Rosemary, yesterday our contrarian friend Psycho Milt took objection to my pointing out that Hollywood’s glittering heroines du jour, the “Me Too” women, had not uttered a word of solidarity with Ahed Tamimi.

                His display of contempt for those who support Downs Syndrome children is of a similar character to his insistence that those rich women had no moral imperative to support a pretty little nobody from the Occupied Territories.

                • Rosemary McDonald


                  Yes, I briefly perused that exchange. Sometimes, and I’m guilty of this, the brick wall does not get any softer the more we beat our heads against it.

                  And I did get what you were getting at…I was over the celeb #metoo fairly early on…

                  • Morrissey

                    I support the Me Too movement. But I wonder how many of them actually do any reading, and have even heard of Ahed Tamimi. I’m sure some of them have—but they made a decision not to speak out in support of her and her family.

                    I am absolutely certain that one Harpo Winfrey was fully aware of Ahed’s plight, but she didn’t make a single reference to it during her Obama-like sermonizing at the Golden Globes.

                • Funny you should mention that thread, in which you got into trouble for responding to a reasonable argument with “Idiot. As I suspected, you are viciously prejudiced, not merely ignorant.” Laws isn’t the only one who lets his mouth run away with him.

                  • Morrissey

                    Unlike Laws, I apologized.

                    Now, could you tell us why rich Hollywood women need not trouble themselves with expressing solidarity with the victims of Israeli brutality?

                    • OK, I think we can agree you’re not as bad as Michael Laws, although that’s admittedly a very low bar.

                      Now, could you tell us why rich Hollywood women need not trouble themselves with expressing solidarity with the victims of Israeli brutality?

                      Do I really need to explain human agency to you?

                    • Ed

                      I find pm highly aggressive in his debating technique

                    • Morrissey

                      Do I really need to explain human agency to you?

                      Oh, I understand. I agree with you that they are not obliged to speak up for Ahed Tamimi. I’m just intrigued why they don’t.

                      Actually, you know and I know why they don’t. Uttering even a hint of solidarity for those untermenschen in that shithole would bring down a firestorm of abuse comparable to that which was unleashed on the Herald cartoonist Malcolm Evans in 2002.

                    • Ed

                      The Israeli lobby is particularly strong in Hollywood

                    • Morrissey

                      The Israeli lobby is particularly strong in Hollywood

                      Harvey W. Einstein was, and no doubt still is, one of the loudest and most abusive thought vigilantes in Hollywood. Rob Reiner, who really is a meathead, is equally brutal.

                    • Ed

                      Please enlighten me.

                    • Ed

                      Wonder how they feel about giving him that award now.

                      “as he accepted the Humanitarian Award at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “

                    • Morrissey

                      The Simon Wiesenthal Center, far from hunting down Nazis as its name might suggest, routinely conflates Judaism with Israel. And its speakers are anything BUT anti-Nazi….


                      Also in 1988, look who the Wiesenthal Center honoured for his “humanitarianism”….


                      And here’s the moral paragon who founded the Center….

                    • David Mac

                      I’ll have a guess, Hollywood is traditionally bank-rolled on money provided by people with Jewish names. Wallets and sentiments with ties to the old country.

                    • I find pm highly aggressive in his debating technique

                      That’s pretty funny. Various Ed statements in this very thread:

                      Eric gets paid by Coke to spin…

                      The man is a tool of big sugar.

                      You, like him, are a ‘Merchant of Doubt.’


                      For someone who has just spewed out bid sugar’s lies and propaganda, you do not come over as a poster to be relied on.


                      You aren’t just ignorant.
                      Bur willfully ignorant.


                      People like chris73 are muddying the water so children’s teeth suffer.


                      Isn’t Michael Laws an absolutely appalling man?

                      How would Ed describe Ed’s debating style, I wonder?

                    • red-blooded

                      Morrisey, it’s true that you apologised (thanks again for that). I still think you’re way out of line to expect that every woman who speaks out against sexism and sexual predation will name-check the one young woman in the world that you think is worthy of special mention, though. That’s patently absurd. There are hundreds of thousands – probably millions – of women living in situations just a dire as Ahed’s, and for reasons just as unfair. There are (as I pointed out yesterday) women living under the hugely unjust system of shariah law – should they all get name-checked? What about the millions of women who have had their clitorises cut away – should each of them be named whenever a woman complains about sexism? There are women who are kidnapped and gang-raped, forced to bear children to the men who have plundered their villages and murdered their families. Should we make a list and name them all whenever the issue of sexism is discussed publicly?

                      The fact that I don’t know the names of each of these women doesn’t mean that I dismiss the seriousness of their situations, but if I was talking to an audience of NZers about sexism and sexual abuse in NZ, I wouldn’t feel obliged to name every woman in the world who was a victim of prejudice or injustice.

                      And, BTW, it seems to me that this young woman isn’t being held in custody because of her gender anyway (and remember that the focus of the speeches you are so unimpressed by was gender-related). She’s in custody because she hit a soldier. Yes, there’s a bigger story and a cultural and political context that helps us to understand her motivations, but the fact remains that her case has nothing whatsoever to do with the issues that women are addressing in public in the States right now. Nothing. Not a thing. Nada – zero – zilch.

                    • Morrissey

                      Morrisey, it’s true that you apologised (thanks again for that).

                      You’re welcome, my friend.

                      I still think you’re way out of line to expect that every woman who speaks out against sexism and sexual predation will name-check the one young woman in the world that you think is worthy of special mention, though. That’s patently absurd.

                      I didn’t just pick her out of the blue. She was arrested just before the “Me Too” divas made their show of bravery at the Golden Globes.

                      There are hundreds of thousands – probably millions – of women living in situations just a dire as Ahed’s, and for reasons just as unfair. There are (as I pointed out yesterday) women living under the hugely unjust system of shariah law – should they all get name-checked? What about the millions of women who have had their clitorises cut away – should each of them be named whenever a woman complains about sexism? There are women who are kidnapped and gang-raped, forced to bear children to the men who have plundered their villages and murdered their families. Should we make a list and name them all whenever the issue of sexism is discussed publicly?

                      There have been many statements of support in Hollywood and in Congress for women victimised by Sharia law and by genital mutilation. Not one of those statements of support was ever met with savage denunciation and accusations of anti-Africanism—in stark contrast to what happens whenever anyone speaks against the depredations carried out by the Israeli regime.

                      The fact that I don’t know the names of each of these women doesn’t mean that I dismiss the seriousness of their situations, but if I was talking to an audience of NZers about sexism and sexual abuse in NZ, I wouldn’t feel obliged to name every woman in the world who was a victim of prejudice or injustice.

                      Fair comment, red-blooded. But the fact is, in this case we DO know, and so do the “Me Too” heroines, the name of the young woman being persecuted. That they all chose to be silent about it is because they know the consequences of speaking out.

                      And, BTW, it seems to me that this young woman isn’t being held in custody because of her gender anyway (and remember that the focus of the speeches you are so unimpressed by was gender-related).

                      I wasn’t unimpressed by them. I was just disappointed that they chose to ignore what the whole world could see was a young woman being brutalized by the rogue state noisily supported by Harvey Weinstein and his cronies.

                      She’s in custody because she hit a soldier.

                      Are you serious? That soldier was there illegally. He had no right to be there. He and his brave comrades were heavily armed—and one of them had just shot her cousin in the face.

                      Yes, there’s a bigger story and a cultural and political context that helps us to understand her motivations,

                      You’re reducing this to some dull formula that sounds about as compelling as a Wayne Mapp speech. “Helps us to understand her motivations”?!!??!? Do you have any understanding of what is happening every day in the Occupied West Bank?

                      —- but the fact remains that her case has nothing whatsoever to do with the issues that women are addressing in public in the States right now. Nothing. Not a thing. Nada – zero – zilch.

                      You are joking. Right?

                    • red-blooded []

                      No, I’m not joking. I find it incredible that you cling to the concept that there was a moral obligation to speak out about one particular person that you care about, whose position is totally unrelated to the issue that was being discussed. It’s a ridiculous assertion. I think I’ve explained my reasoning thoroughly and hopefully people other than you understand it.

                      And yes, I do have an understanding of the awfulness of the day-to-day oppression of people in the West Bank. There are also people living in dreadful conditions in Syria, in North Korea and many other places. When you comment about Palestine should you automatically mention all those other people in other places? Name check every individual?Because that’s what you’re expecting of the women in Hollywood.

                    • Morrissey

                      No, I’m not joking. I find it incredible that you cling to the concept that there was a moral obligation to speak out about one particular person that you care about,

                      A young girl is arrested by an illegal occupation force, just before the Me Too glitterati make their grand speeches at the Golden Globes—and not ONE of those diamond-encrusted “activists” mentions the girl’s name or condemns her oppressors. Of course you are correct that no one is obliged to speak out for her—but there’s something sinister and dispiriting about the fact that they maintained a uniform silence. This cowardice is nothing new of course—in 1940 Hattie McDaniel was forced to sit apart from her white Gone With The Wind co-stars at the Academy Awards ceremony, and not one of her fellow Oscar winners supported her, or mentioned her plight in their acceptance speeches. So the blanket silence of these “brave women” about Ahed Tamimi’s plight—not one of them has mentioned her yet— is not a great surprise.

                      …whose position is totally unrelated to the issue that was being discussed.
                      The arrest and the ongoing campaign against other young women like her is “totally unrelated” to the aims of the Me Too campaign? Really? So is it just for rich American and English women?

                      And yes, I do have an understanding of the awfulness of the day-to-day oppression of people in the West Bank. There are also people living in dreadful conditions in Syria, in North Korea and many other places. When you comment about Palestine should you automatically mention all those other people in other places? Name check every individual? Because that’s what you’re expecting of the women in Hollywood.

                      Hollywood celebrities and politicians routinely speak out against Syria and North Korea—that’s because it’s politically acceptable. Ahed Tamimi is one of the untermenschen—like Hattie McDaniels was in 1940—and is therefore not to be even mentioned by rich women who still want to work in Hollywood for militantly pro-Israel producers and directors like Harvey Weinstein and Rob “Meathead” Reiner.

            • Ed

              PM is deliberately contrary.

          • greywarshark

            PM 12.17pm
            And vice versa, except the Down syndrome activists are not deeply unpleasant.

        • weka

          Thanks Rosemary. I didn’t think my opinion of Laws could sink any lower, but there you are. I can’t even bear to imagine what goes on inside his heart and mind.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            “I can’t even bear to imagine what goes on inside his heart and mind.”

            The truly distressing and depressing thing is that we DO know what goes on in his mind because of what (shit) comes from his mouth, regularly.

            And yet, although it speaks much about The NZ Rodeo Cowboys’ Assoc that they have him as their media filth spewer, the good folk of Dunstan elected this eugenicist as their representative on the Regional Council.

            THIS makes me really, really sad.

            That there are fellow New Zealanders who actually believe in what he stands for.

            And we don’t know who these people are who believe Michael “Kill the Disabled” Laws is a good person…they could be anyone…

            • weka

              Honestly, I think most people don’t even think that much about disability unless they have to, and even then they’re not thinking about the politics (I’m guessing that that is not news to you)

              • Rosemary McDonald

                Thing is…that my wheelchair -using man and I go out into the world and speak with literally shit loads of people with some association with disability. They mostly get it, and I’m hoping they would not vote for a miserable scrote like Our Friend. Or maybe they have short memories or can separate the man and his politics from his eugenicist opinions.

                But vote for the…..thing….they clearly do.

                Drops head upon desk and weeps.

                • weka

                  pretty much. I can’t fathom it either, but that’s also true of other reasons why people vote/don’t vote the way they do.

        • Morrissey

          I’m sure everyone has noted the alacrity with which Laws turns to puerile name-calling. He did the same to me in 2012 when I objected to his behaviour on Radio Live. On that occasion the target of his dehumanizing animus was not disabled children but poor Māori….


          A few months later he was targeting Palestinians….

          Open mike 16/11/2012

      • Morrissey 11.1.2

        I might do a little bit of it, but I haven’t got the heart to do the whole thing. Laws is a pretty impressive performer, I must admit. I think it’s because he has made a career out of being a contrarian—not in the good sense—and defending the indefensible. It began when he was a student at Otago, and was an implacable defender of the apartheid South African state. Chris Trotter was an opponent, but also an admirer, of Laws.

        This morning he was utterly unflappable. At one point, Kim Hill asked him if he thought the SPCA was extremist, and he said, without demurring, that it was. Imagine if Labour Party people and representatives of decent organizations spoke so plainly and uncompromisingly.

        • Ed

          Impressive because he just makes outrageous statements?

          • Morrissey

            No, Mike Hosking and Duncan Garner make outrageous statements every day, but nobody with an IQ above room temperature respects what they say. Laws doesn’t always speak effectively—he makes an ass of himself every time he comments about Israel/Palestine, for example. But this morning he spoke clearly and compellingly. I disagreed with most of what he said, but I found his performance impressive nonetheless.

            • Ed

              He was upset Kim Hill asked him if he was paid to speak as he did.
              Crampton found he panellists questions on the same issue of funding awkward yesterday. Wasn’t the Panel an improvement without Mora?

              • Morrissey

                In 2006 Laws called King Tāufaʻahau Tupou IV, who had just died, “a fat Tongan slug”.

                The Standard featured his anti-Maori rhetoric in 2011….

                Lhaws’ lhabours lhost

                I’m sorry to say I missed Eric Crampton on the Panel yesterday. But I enjoyed hearing Guy Williams asking similarly hard questions of Cameron Slater’s hapless offsider Jordan Williams.

        • David Mac

          I agree, when on his game, Laws is an impressive performer. Escoteric wit and an eye for a story or an angle.

          Great talk-back host, can stir a hornets nest up out of a knitting circle.

          Constructs compelling arguments – good speech-writer.

          But the guy has no soul. It’s easy to imagine Chris Trotter bouncing grandkids on his knee. Just as easy as it is to imagine Law’s Grandies getting the ‘Grandad is busy now’ treatment.

          I think Laws would be a sensational PR operative, a crisis generator for hire. He has the unfortunate skill of being able to write a brilliant speech for either Churchill or Hitler. Great wordsmith, shame about the heart.

    • OncewasTim 11.2

      I just listened to the podcast from afar. What a complete wanker. It was like his macho ego was being challenged. Nothing’s changed with the guy since he left politics.
      There goes a man destined to become a BOQ

  12. savenz 12

    My god, Granny’s trying both long format and local investigative journalism???


  13. Rosemary McDonald 13

    And Stuff too has an excellent long form article from award winner Nikki MacDonald on the mental health services crisis.


  14. weka 14

    Minister for Climate Change and Green party leader James Shaw said his party was seeking to repeal the 2013 Amendment to the Crown Minerals Act which prohibits protest activities that interfere with seismic-blasting vessels.

    “The Green Party has always supported people’s right to non-violent protest,” he said on Thursday.

    “We’re absolutely seeking to repeal what we call the ‘Anadarko Amendment’. At the time we argued strongly that the existing trespass law be adequate and we would argue that continues to hold.”


  15. rightly or wrongly 15

    As in most things, when Americans do things they do things big – especially when it comes to dirty politics.

    Having read this infamous memo I was wondering what it would be like put into a New Zealand context.

    Think of this scenario:

    1: Leading up to the 2020 election, the Labour party reelection committee pay for ‘research’ that turns up unverified and unproven allegations that Bill English (or his successor) or his staff have been involved in group orgies and talking to members of the North Korean government.

    2: This research is then passed on to the Police and the SIS.

    3: The Police and the SIS then use this information to seek Surveillance Warrants (which are initially approved by the Police Commissioner and head of the SIS) without informing the issuing Judge that the information was prepared by the Labour party and aimed at National leading up to an election.

    4: This results in secret surveillance being undertaken, the results of which end up back in the hands of the Labour party reelection committee.

    If anything remotely like this occurred in New Zealand, the msm, commentators, the Courts, and the public would be up in arms shouting about corruption.

    In the US it seems to be business as usual.

    It certainly appears that Obama and the Democrats, despite their appearance of being holier than thou, were not above using coercive state powers to try and swing an election.

    Maybe having a Bufoon as president is better than having a corrupt one.

    • joe90 15.1

      You missed the bit where Carter Page was under investigation long before tRump hired him or the Steele memo existed and the bit about the Papadopoulos information triggering an FBI investigation in late July, again, before the Steele memo was written.

    • Andre 15.2

      You also missed the bit where all of the investigators supposedly involved in getting warrants inappropriately would be National party members. And that the private research into the dodgy goings-on was initiated by National party rivals to English before they dropped and Labour took it over. And that the warrants got renewed three times at 90 day intervals on the basis of new evidence turned up by the surveillance.

      You would also have to arrange that all the information formally released and leaked from the investigation was damaging to English’s opponent and that everything damaging to English was successfully kept under wraps.

      Also in your scenario, the Labour re-election committee didn’t actually use any of the damaging information prior to the election.

    • red-blooded 15.3

      The Nune’s Memo released by the Repugs is about as full of holes and alternative facts as a typical Trump speech. Researcher Seth Abramson (who’s been researching the Steele Dossier for a year) rebuts their main legal arguments and claims of bias on Twitter with a focused series of tweets (and a link to the text of the memo) over on Twitter.

      And, BTW, are you REALLY claiming that Trump ISN’T corrupt (as well as being a buffoon)?

  16. Incognito 16

    I would expect that before signing a new set of glittering figures will be produced to entice exporters to leap to the defence of CPTPP. However a brief look at the available data would clearly bring them little joy.


    I don’t expect a large charm offensive or PR campaign to try and sell us the spoils of CPTPP. It seems the every neoliberal in NZ is already on board with it and the ‘argument’ largely centres on who deserves and gets the credit.

    We have long ceded our sovereignty to businesses, corporatisation, and globalism and this Government is not aiming for a revolutionary reversal as is evident by how it panders to the business community.

    This CPTPP is simply a formal confirmation, a symbolic stamp of approval and nothing more, of this ongoing process of erosion of sovereignty. As a result of globalism the fabric of our society is changing and with this our socio-cultural identity. As so-called global citizens we become an incohesive collection or mass of consumers in a selfish pursuit of material accumulation rather than being a collective of people held together by common (or overlapping or at least not mutually exclusive) goals & values.

    I don’t consider myself a sentimental or nostalgic conservative with regressive ideals, far from it, but to close my eyes to what’s been happening for years and to what gain end is denying reality.

    Our future as humans, as people, does not lie with privatisation of everything and trading & selling everything for (personal and economic) profit & growth. In my view, it lies with realising our place in the world that we inhabit, that feeds and sustains us, for now, and that we are not atomised god-like Übermenschen but part of something much bigger …

  17. Ed 17

    Tinkering won’t solve our housing crisis.

    “A Tauranga mother of six fears the city’s unaffordable rental market will force her family into homelessness – again.
    Tangiwhetu Williams, 34, her six children aged 4 to 15, and her 25-year-old partner, Michael Sabbeth, live in one of Te Tuinga Whanau Social Services Trust’s emergency houses in Greerton.
    The eight family members share two bedrooms, and another family lives in the third.”


      • David Mac 17.1.1

        Germany has a much larger percentage of state owned properties than us. Enough to set trends. They’ve had 1000’s of years (interrupted by bombardments) to get themselves into this position. Savage carried the dining table into our first state home decades ago.

        I think capping rents in the current climate will compound Tangiwhetu’s situation. Fewer rentals available.

        When there is a broader choice, there is less pressure on pricing escalation and a range of rentals available. The young cop and his nurse wife used to apply for and get a groovy little flat in Westmere. These days they’re applying for the houses our Tangiwhetus used to apply for and get.

        Right now, I think capping rents is a stink move Ed. I wonder if it’s not the right time to be promoting a Housing NZ initiative that creates compelling reasons for Mum and Dads to be investing in rental housing, not bailing out en masse.

        • Ed

          Great so let’s build a lot more state houses.

          • David Mac


            Yeah = We’ve got cold and hungry people tonight, we need to act accordingly.

            Nah = I think we should be aiming for next to no State Houses. All of us wallowing in pride of ownership. I don’t think there is any better catalyst for creating a sense of community.

            Chasing a Utopian Paradox? I don’t believe so.

  18. Incognito 18

    For crying out loud!

    Businesses as usual for the Crown

    This is a very concise summary by Jane Kelsey of the TPPA:


    • Whispering Kate 18.1

      Incognito -Did anyone think it would be different – I think not. I am only glad that I did not vote for Labour or NZ First – the Greens are the only party we have that has vision for the future and is concerned about things that truly matter. In the end when we are frying or drowning who is going to give a tinker’s cuss over trading rights and being done over, nobody will be , they will be fighting for their lives. What a future we have for future generations – bleak and full of fear.

  19. Ed 19

    We were lied to about Russiagate.
    We were lied to about the Ukraine.
    We were lied to about Georgia.
    We were lied to about Syria
    We were lied to about The Crimea.

    This Russophobia knows no ends.
    It has seeped everywhere.
    It is amazing the kind of idiots who believe all this propaganda.

    You would have thought 2003 would have taught them to be sceptical of what the Americans say.

    • Stunned mullet 19.1

      Yes it certainly is amazing what idiots believe.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.1


      • Ed 19.1.2


        Idiots the lot of them

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Oops. I thought Stunned Mullet was talking about you.

          • David Mac

            hahaha ‘If you’ve been sitting at the table for a dozen hands and haven’t been able to work out who the donkey is, it’s you.’…or me as the case may be.

        • red-blooded

          Ed, it’s possible to agree with someone on one issue and disagree with them on another, you know. These guys aren’t all idiots, but none of them is always right, either.

    • red-blooded 19.2

      And yet you seem very eager to believe what some American say, Ed! Lied to about Russia, eh? Now which American has been saying that..?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 19.2.1


        Ed has chosen a side: the white supremacist side.

        • Morrissey


          MEMO Editors: Are people allowed to lie like this fellow without any consequences?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Are you denying that white supremacy is a recurring theme in Russian society? Are you denying that white supremacy is a recurring theme in the Trump White House?

            I am not alleging that Ed is a white supremacist: far from it. He has chosen a side though.

            Meanwhile, I can’t recall you getting your panties in a bunch when Ed made false statements about me and my allegiance and motivation a while back, so hey stenographer, [deleted]

            [The only reason that deleted instruction didn’t bring down a ban OAB is because of the time that’s lapsed. Hopefully you’ve pulled your head in by now. But any repeats won’t be let slide because of any time considerations] – Bill

            • Ed

              I chose the side that George Galloway supports.
              He is not a white supremacist.
              You should listen to him.

              • McFlock

                He might not be a white supremacist.

                But he, like you, is on their side.

                • Morrissey

                  Criticising and identifying the lies of Clinton and her cronies doesn’t make one a supporter of Russia or Trump.

                  • McFlock

                    Exagerrating the role of the DNC and ignoring all the other evidence, including emails released by the Trump team themselves, definitely makes one a Trump defender.

                    Therefore puts one on the side of white supremacists.

                    Hatred of Clinton makes strange bedfellows, but they’re still bedfellows.

                  • red-blooded

                    And saying “Lied to about Russia“, in this context, allies oneself with Trump (the one who’s claiming it’s all lies).

                    Why would the FBI, who shat all over Clinton’s bid for the White House by reopening their investigation into her emails and announcing it to the world days before the election, be making up lies about the connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign? Trump appointed Muller (a longtime Republican) to replace Comey when he fired him (and let’s remember the lies about why he did that! and the lies about whether he had tried to coerce him into keeping the investigation away from him…). Presumably he trusted his judgement thought he could get a favourable finding out of him at that stage.

                    Ed, the media aren’t always wrong, you know. And in this case, you’re choosing to listen to outfits like Fox News and discount much more reputable sources. It doesn’t make sense.

                    • Andre

                      Uh, Comey’s replacement as FBI Director is Christopher Wray, a long time Republican, appointed by the Chump and confirmed by the Republican majority Senate with no Repugs voting against confirmation (6 Dems voted no). Wray is also apparently part of the deep-state conspiracy out to get the Chump.

                      Mueller, a long-time Republican, was appointed as Special Counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a long-time Republican appointed by the Chump and confirmed by the Republican majority Senate with no Repugs voting against confirmation (5 Dems voted no). Rosenstein is also apparently a member of the deep-state conspiracy out to get the Chump.

                    • Bill

                      If you stepped out of this blinkered world of black and white, or in this case Republican/Democrat, you might begin to move towards answers for your questions – that’s if you’re interested in answers, above just pinning your colours to a mast and then insisting that anyone who hasn’t followed your lead must have pinned their colours to some other, and diametrically opposite mast of your imagining.

                  • Ed

                    Totally correction.
                    I would have voted for Jill Stein.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I agree we aren’t much better, hence the strike-out in my comment. The White House though, they’re donkey deep in it.

          • Ed

            Thanks morrissey.
            That was a ghastly smear.

            • David Mac

              If I was to suggest to a narcissist that they go fuck themselves would they thank me for the handy advice? Probably quite a good test. If the invitation is met with ‘Well thank you very much and I just might.’ We’re plainly dealing with a narcissist.

              The information highway is fantastic, it’s a shame it’s littered with vehicles with dodgey WOFs. Driver beware!

        • Ed

          Smearing me with such comments is disgusting.
          Be careful.

          My views coincide with those of George Galloway, hardly a white supremacist.
          I listen to his show and agreed with him.

          Listen at 1.37.15 or for the first 10 minutes.


          • One Anonymous Bloke

            If you can’t summarise his argument for yourself I doubt you understand it, so your affectation of agreement means nothing.

            And that still doesn’t get the white supremacists in the White House off the hook, no matter how much you dislike But But But Hillary.

            “Russiagate” has so far yielded two guilty pleas that we know about. The alleged criminals are white supremacists and your attempts to minimise it say something about you. Tough biccies.

            • Ed

              Take an anger pill.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Stalin used to allege that his detractors were mentally ill too, Ed. The company you keep.

                • Ed

                  I summarised at start.

                  We have been lied to about Russia.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    We have been lied to about Russia.

                    We’ve been lied to about all sorts of things, not least by you (although I realise you believe the things you write very very hard). However, your initial remark was that “We were lied to about Russiagate”, which isn’t quite the same thing.

                    Who tells the most lies about “Russiagate”? Why, it’s the white supremacist serial rapist in the White House.

                    Nothing about what But But But Hillary did can change that, Ed.

    • OncewasTim 19.3

      I wonder whatever happened to that big red reset button in a yellow casing.

    • Bill 19.4

      Thinking some people need to up their game when it comes to disagreement or debating opinions.

      Finding fault with the whole Russia/Trump line does not automatically place anyone finding fault on “the side of white supremacists” or “Trump”, any more than would being critical of (say) NZ Labour make one a Tory, or of the western narrative on Syria an Assad supporter…

      And away from an environment of childish sand-pit nonsense (like say a blog that opens up the possibility for people to discuss and debate across a wide range of issues) it would be hoped no-one would be subjected to such mindless tosh…either directly or in even having to read people indulging in it.

      • Ed 19.4.1

        I just heard Galloway ‘s show and thought I’d share the opinions.
        We forget the lies otherwise.

        • Macro

          I understand Ed that you are not a fan of Killary…
          But consider what the world might be like today had she been elected as per the popular vote, verses the Electoral College.
          1 The US would still be signed up to the Paris Agreement and not heading down a path of increasing GHG emissions.
          2. She would not have appointed Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. The damage this man has done, not only to the environment and environmental science in less than a year, is immense and is systematically destroying decades of research that is irreplaceable
          3. She certainly would not be signing executive orders willy nilly allowing National Parks and wildlife refuges to be mined for coal and gas and oil. Thttps://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/01/donald-trump-arctic-wildlife-refuge-drilling/
          4. She would be protecting womans rights – not destroying them at every opportunity.
          5. She would be protecting the rights of the LBGT community
          6. She would not be threatening the UN at every opportunity and would ensure that the US played its proper role in funding UN activity.
          7.She would not be carrying out xenophobic threats, and calling Africa a “shithole”.
          8.She would not be defunding the paltry medical insurance scheme that currently exists and replacing it with nothing.
          9.She would not tweet from bed in the early hours of the morning and call other heads of state names such as “little rocket man”
          10.She would not have granted herself and her friends a massive tax break at the expense of the majority.
          I could go on.
          The fact that the world is now in a less stable place than it was a year ago seems to bear little recognition from you. There is ample evidence, which we will all see later this year, which supports the current investigation by Mueller. (Mueller is not going to let you, or Fox, or NY Times, or the Washington post, or Fisk, or RT, or Pilger, or anyone in the media know what he knows until such time as it is presented in court). Were that not the case this investigation would have ended months ago. Just what the relationship with the Trump camp and Russia is remains to be seen. Both Clinton and Trump were under investigation by the FBI during the run up to the election. Only the Clinton investigation was released publicly just a few weeks before the election date when the result was that there was little of substance. However the Trump investigation is still ongoing which suggests that there is something of substance there. The fact that several of Trump’s associates are already facing court and 2 have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI cannot be denied.

          • Ed

            I would have voted for Jill Stein.

          • Ed

            I agree with most of your points. Trump has been a disaster for many many reasons.
            Had Clinton won, we would probably had a hot war over Syria or the Ukraine.

            • joe90

              Yeah, luckily we only have threats of bloody nose strikes on the Korean peninsula and nuke tests for political purposes.

              • Ed

                I agree with you. Trump has been a disaster.
                He has followed the military industrial complex and the establishment and beat the drums of war in Korea.
                And Clinton would have meant war in the Middle East.

            • Macro

              Well you believe that if it makes you feel better.
              However under Trump In the first four months of 2017, the US dropped 14,192 rockets, bombs, and other munitions on ISIS. That’s a 50 percent increase during the same period of 2016.
              A September 2017 Pentagon report showed that the US had 1,720 troops in Syria. That’s up from the 94 troops — yes, 94 — that the US had in Syria at the same point in 2016.
              The US dropped 4,361 bombs on Afghanistan in 2017, as compared to the 1,331 US bombs dropped in 2016. There are 4,000 more troops in Afghanistan and they are now there indefinitely.

              • Ed

                Yes Trump is a disaster for world peace.
                And Clinton would have been a disaster.

                The US is a rogue state.
                Its interventions in the Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Korea, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and Afghanistan have destabilised each nation and caused mayhem and mass destruction.

                It is happening under Trump.
                It happened under Obama.
                It happened under the Clintons ( Bill and Hillary)

                • Macro

                  Ed your pushing shit up hill to suggest that Hillary Clinton would have caused a world war.
                  She is a far greater Stateswoman than that.

                  • Ed

                    You may think that.
                    The people of Libya, Yemen and Syria might disagree with you.

                    Like them , I see her as a warmonger and a lackey of the military industrial complex.

                  • Ed

                    I place Cockburn above Buzzfeed as a source.

                    I see both Trump and Clinton as warmongers.

                    You don’t.
                    You see Trump as a warmonger and Clinton as a stateswoman.

                    We disagree.

              • One Two

                All the comment illustrates is that POTUS is not ‘in charge’…as if that needed to be said…

                Military forces and ‘the ‘intelligence agencies’ are running the show…

                Whose controlling those entities…or are they out of control…

          • Bill


            The fact that several of Trump’s associates are already facing court and 2 have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI cannot be denied. Well, no-ones denying that, but…

            Paul Manafort, at one point Trump’s campaign manager, has pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to register his public relations firm as a foreign agent for the Ukrainian government and concealing his millions of dollars in fees. But all this occurred before the 2016 campaign. George Papadopolous, a foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to the charge of lying to the FBI about his bungling efforts to arrange a meeting between Trump’s people and the Russian government – an opportunity the Trump campaign declined. Mueller’s most recent arrestee, Michael Flynn, the unhinged Islamophobe who was briefly Trump’s national security adviser, has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the FBI about meeting the Russian ambassador in December – weeks after the election. This is the sort of backchannel diplomacy that routinely occurs during the interim between one administration and the next. It is not a sign of collusion.

            The full piece (it’s long and thorough) …


            • Ed

              Thanks Bill.
              I was feeling beleaguered dealing with all these Clinton devotees hammering away.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Clinton devotees


                This is why you get accused of “taking sides”, Ed: because it exactly mirrors the accusations you level at others.

                “Do as you would be done by”.

                • Ed

                  From memory at least one poster called her a great stateswoman.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Relying on memory is rarely a good idea.

                    What Macro actually wrote was:

                    Ed your pushing shit up hill to suggest that Hillary Clinton would have caused a world war.
                    She is a far greater Stateswoman than that.

                    In my book, the bare minimum for “statespeople” is that they don’t start wars: Macro’s benchmark is set very low. Then again, it’s still set way above Trump’s performance.

                    Further, the ability to recognise someone’s qualities is not the same as devotion, just as making your mind up about “Russiagate” before you hear all the evidence is not the same as being a white supremacist.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              This is the sort of backchannel diplomacy that routinely occurs during the interim between one administration and the next.

              [citation needed]

              If true, it seems a little odd that Flynn et al felt the need to lie to the FBI about it, and were advised to plead guilty.

              And what does Jackson Lear’s long list of DNC failings tell us about the alleged crimes of the Trump campaign? Nothing, unless “she did it too!” has suddenly become a valid argument.

              …the centrepiece of the faith, based on the hacking charge, is the belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated an attack on American democracy by ordering his minions to interfere in the election on behalf of Trump.

              I don’t know who Lear thinks he’s speaking for here, but from my perspective, the centrepiece of the allegations involves money-laundering and blackmail.

              • Bill

                There’s no citation needed at all. You honestly believe there are no meetings or communications between representatives of foreign nations and incoming admins or governments of whatever other nation? Can you point to some precedent or “rule” of international diplomacy on that point?

                There’s been a lot of willy waving going on from identifiable sections of the DC Establishment, or whatever you might want to call the groupings that are “going” Trump, on the Russian front. And now there’s a Nunes memo which is a lot of counter wily waving.

                Those same actors “going” Trump (the ones who are elected) voted to extend Trump’s surveillance powers,- which is extremely ‘odd’ given their supposed concern about his Presidential suitability.

                As I’ve said before, and on more than one occasion, this Russia crap seems to boil down to nothing more than preserving an “accepted” way of doing business. And as I’ve also said, Sanders would have been subjected to a similar onslaught by the same people who are going Trump…just like Corbyn is subjected to the same type of bullshit by those occupying that same space in UK politics.

                If there has been blackmail of Trump, then it’s down to those making the charges to present conclusive or concrete evidence. If they are saying “wait for the trial” (that may never come), then it seems reasonable to assume they have no evidence beyond the say so of various people who were told something, or who heard that somebody told somebody else something – that the whole caboodle is a political “game” or “beat up” in line with, but more powerful than, the birther crap Obama was subjected to.

                As for money laundering, that’s hardly surprising if true, given the people we’re talking about and the circles they move in. And anyone accused on reasonable grounds of laundering money, ought to be brought to trial and if found guilty sentenced appropriately. But that’s got nothing to do with Trump unless he’s the one being charged with money laundering.

                Lying to the FBI? If I was in some position of power in the US right now, and had some, even innocent dealings with anything Russian, I’d be sorely tempted to be “omitting” any mention of it, due to what I’m taking to be the general atmosphere around ‘all things Russian’ there right now, and the possibility/probability that the nature of any contact or dealings would be twisted and blown up to suggest some nefarious goings on. And of course, that plays out really well if or when the FBI then turn around and say “About those Russian contacts you said nothing about…”

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There’s no citation needed at all.

                  cf: the Logan Act.

                  Have you read Glenn Simpson’s testimony to Congress? The picture you’re painting of these “identifiable sections of the DC Establishment” doesn’t match the reality of what they’re saying.

                  According to the Guardian, Christopher Steele believes his “dossier” to be 70-90% accurate. Are those the words of a partisan actor?

                  You appear convinced of Trump’s innocence; I haven’t made my mind up one way or t’other.

                  Edit: Those same actors “going” Trump (the ones who are elected) voted to extend Trump’s surveillance powers

                  The FBI doesn’t have a vote on the matter. I couldn’t give a stuff for the partisan charade in Congress.

                  • Bill

                    You doing an Ed?

                    Throw up a pile of reading links with no attempt to state your case in any reasoned way because…heaps of reading that will “prove” my unstated points, my unstated arguments and my ungrounded assertions?

                    Trump, Clinton and the whole awful shower are guilty of being despicable human beings as far as I’m concerned, and should be sidelined for that reason alone. Everything else they’re slinging at one another is secondary. And I won’t be taking sides in their bullshit goings on, because they’re all essentially on the same side having a bit of a spat about how their game should be played and who should be team captain.

                    At least Sanders appears to be a decent expression of humanity. And no, I’m not putting that out as a “why not Sanders”, but merely to indicate that some involved in government and rule (Corbyn being another) will get some measure of conditional support from me, even though the game they’re involved in stinks to high heaven.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Not at all. The Logan Act prohibits

                      any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States

                      My emphasis.

                      One of the allegations is that there was discussion regarding sanctions against Russian citizens. If so, this doesn’t fall into the category of “normal” back-channel activity, and therefore undermines Lear’s argument.

                      The Simpson testimony is too long to cite directly, since it’s the tone that comes through that I’m drawing attention to. Fusion GPS isn’t some partisan player: their clients require straight information; without it their brand would be worthless.

                      Context: we have the FBI’s existing informant in Trump’s organisation (whether predating the run for president is unclear from Simpson’s evidence), Papadopolous’ drunken boast to Downer, and apparently, independent CIA evidence of “kompromat”. Probably a few other things that don’t immediately come to mind too.

                      Clinton and Trump may be equally vile (I think there’s probably a gradient of vileness between them but whatever). That means the occupant of the White House is vile, and possibly a criminal, and if the latter, should be removed from office. This or that or the other about Hillary has no bearing on the matter.

                    • Bill

                      That’s a fairly vague allegation and depending on timing and content of any conversation as well as the “heft” of those having the conversation. It seems more likely to be a nothing rather than a something given the vagueness. Swap out the Russian for an Australian and the exchange being about Manus island refugees. That too could be a something or a nothing depending on a lot of factors.

                      What’s the odds Manus Island (or something else to do with US/Oz relations) came up during that Papadopolous and Downer piss-up?

                      Thing is, no-one is bothering to ask, even though there was a meeting with the rep of a foreign government. And that’s reasonable in my opinion. But throw in “Russia” and the sky’s falling in because there must (according to the script) be some nefarious intent.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      As Seth Abramson on Twitter (h/t Red-Blooded) points out, the FBI has multiple sources:

                      …understand that the FBI had information beyond the information in the Steele Dossier when it secured a FISA warrant on Carter Page, and that the warrant went through judicial review, and that it was renewed multiple times because it had yielded actionable intelligence.


                      Recall that the former CIA Director was telling law enforcement and members of Congress throughout the summer of 2016 that, per allied intel agencies, Trump aides were meeting Russians in foreign cities.

                      At the least, it’s all a lot of nothing. Or perhaps the Oval Office is being run by the Russian mafia/government. Extant indictments and guilty pleas support the latter scenario more than they do the former. Either way, or something in between, I’m not surprised the FBI is taking a look at it.

                    • Bill

                      Yup The FBI have multiple sources. And sources don’t have to be neutral. That’s why I said the Nunes memo was just another instance of willy waving. (The Steele dossier, for what it’s worth, might have been used initially. But it couldn’t have been used on its own to get those 90 day renewals)

                      And as has been pointed out (I think it’s on the Intercept) Trump could also declassify any and all information/evidence supporting the Nune memo.

                      But he hasn’t and he wont – because what’s passing for US political debate these days, and what’s passing itself off as informing the public these days, is just bullshit from this side, and bullshit from that side, designed to get folks all in a lather.

                      Manafort has said he’s innocent of “stuff” from the time before the 2016 campaign.
                      Papadopolous admits he lied to the FBI about having met Russian people. (Big deal) – Although maybe that was used for one of those 90 day roll-overs?
                      And Flynn lied to the FBI about having met the Russian ambassador weeks after the election. (Maybe that was used for a roll-over too?)

                      If so, that’s really weak sauce. I can’t be arsed to figure the dates around Papadopolous and Flynn with regards that warrant stuff getting renewed and sure, there might have been something of substance put forward. But for the most part, the information we actually have is all just so much soap sud.

                      edit – And again. Sanders would have been subjected to some kind of campaign to undermine him and his Admin by the very same people who are trying to undermine Trump. That’s the elephant in the room.

          • adam

            On the environment, your logic fails if she started a war. As it stands the US military is the world’s biggest polluter. Add another war, and they keep burning carbon, bombing people and killing people – with them still being huge polluters.

            As for the tax breaks, who knows with the corporate democrats where that would have ended up – well at least they extended the power of trump to spy on us all.

            And medical cover, it’s a joke in the USA, a bad joke. Which kills disabled people in droves, no matter who is in power.,

            You know marco, you sound just like the white liberals who walked on Martin Luther King after he joined all the dots, and realised that economics plays a major part in all our oppression.

            Freedom is there for those willing to stand up for it, not those who say my side is better than your side.

          • One Two


            It’s pointless to make statements about ‘what would have/not happened’ had the Clinton dynasty continued..

            It can never be known…

            • Macro

              We can say for certain the Scott Pruitt would never have been appointed to trash the EPA.
              We can say for certain that the US would still be a member of the Paris agreement along with every other nation in the world.
              We can say for certain that the US would not now be mining in the Arctic sanctuaries or their National Parks for oil and gas, or trashing the waterways in the greedy rush for “beautiful clean coal”.
              We can say for certain that woman’s rights would have been protected.
              We can say for certain that the Affordable Healthcare Act would be protected.

              However – to give Trump his due.
              The rise of the Resistance Now movement would have been delayed.
              The impending clean out of Repugnants from the House and Senate would most likely not occur.
              The impending influx of black, hispanic, women, and the LBGT, into positions of office throughout the US would not be as great.

              From within the darkest cloud a new light will shine.

              • One Two

                We can say for certain”

                No, Macro. You can’t be ‘certain’

                Surely you understand why it’s impossible to be ‘certain’

                Surely ?

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                  Because proof cannot exist outside Mathematics. However, 99% certainty with 99% confidence will do just as well.

                • Macro

                  “We can’t be certain”
                  And are you certain that you exist?
                  Skepticism occasionally has its usefulness, but as a philosophical standpoint it is well and truly dead. I advise you to to look at the use of words and their context. Had Clinton been chosen as President, Scott Pruitt would have been the last one on her calling card to head the EPA. Only someone who wanted to eradicate the EPA would have chosen him.
                  I’m well aware of epistemology and the extent or otherwise of knowledge – I have a degree in Philosophy, Mathematics and Logic.

      • mauī 19.4.2

        From the late great Robert Parry: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/31/an-apology-and-explanation/

        The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process – and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media’s approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read the New York Times’ or the Washington Post’s coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? For instance, the full story of the infamous Magnitsky case cannot be told in the West, nor can the objective reality of the Ukrane coup in 2014. The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the “other side of the story.” Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a “Putin apologist” or “Kremlin stooge.”…..

        …..As I said earlier, much of this approach was pioneered by Republicans in their misguided desire to protect Richard Nixon, but it has now become all pervasive and has deeply corrupted Democrats, progressives and mainstream journalism. Ironically, the ugly personal characteristics of Donald Trump – his own contempt for facts and his crass personal behavior – have stripped the mask off the broader face of Official America.

        • Ed

          The idiots who know nothing

          And on the other side – the experts
          Psycho Milt

          • Bill

            Ed. That kind of bullshit comment adds nothing to debate. It’s just bloody squawking.

            • Ed

              Seen the grief I’ve got from those jokers?

              • Stuart Munro

                What do you expect endorsing a tyrant like Putin? Do your homework on him – and that means not on RT.

                • RedLogix

                  All modern states are tyrannies in some degree; Putin’s version may be different to Trump’s in the detail, but neither has the slightest scrap of moral high ground on which to posture.

                  But the point which most western media outlets persist in missing is plain enough; in many hundreds of years of a brutal political history, Putin is objectively the best leader the Russian people have ever had. Head, shoulders and bare rippling torso.

                  And remains massively more popular with the people he leads than any contemporary Western leader.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    And yet Putin has dashed the hopes of Russian democracy – an espiocrat who has cemented the rule of the oligarchs and routinely arranges the murder of political opponents and stymied the nascent efforts to develop the rule of law. Only by a ‘strong man’ interpretation of history can he be made out to be anything but a crook – and a similar stance lets the likes of Mussolini off the hook.

                    • Bill

                      Hey Stuart. Why is it that Putin has such wide-ranging powers in the first place? (Hint: Yeltsin). Look up the history of Yeltsin and who and what sat behind his rise to power. Then come back and write all about who and what “dashed the hopes of Russian democracy”

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Bill – when Putin took power the president was limited to a single five year term. So how come he’s still there? Yeltsin isn’t responsible for that.

                    • Bill

                      Uh-huh. Except that’s not true. Yeltsin was President from ’91 through ’99. No person can be President for more than two consecutive terms…but the constitution is mute on non-consecutive terms.

                      Now about that range of powers as opposed to the mere length of office…

                    • Stuart Munro

                      And do you suppose the term limits were carried over from the soviet period to the Yeltsin era, or were new rules made at that time – an era bright with promises of freedoms that had been suppressed for most of a century.

                • Ed

                  I am not endorsing him.
                  I am merely pointing out the lies perpetrated by our media and by many of our leaders.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    No, you aren’t. You assert that they lie then expect people to watch a video to find out what you’re on about.

                    Then, it turns out that the video relates opinions rather than facts, and if anyone points that out, you start calling them names and assassinating their character.

                    • Bill

                      I’m not going to field a day of sand-pit crap OAB. Jist sayin’.

                      Keep away from personal attacks and firmly on the ball.

        • Bill

          this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together

          That’s the point a whole pile of people (or so it appears) just don’t seem able to grasp. All of this is about “a way” to do things. And Sanders would have been “gone”, just as Trump is being “gone” – and by the same people.

  20. The sandflys were swarming hard in Tauranga today they don’t like the link of there spy m8 being caught selling drugs and using the National police computes for his own intimidation. There actions are like water off a ducks back. But what I can not defend myself against is if the get some person to make false charges against me I can see the sandflys getting that desperate I can see it .But you know that I would never give the sandflys a check mate ka kite ano

    • eco maori 20.1

      To my neighbors you see the person who has moved in with the old couple next door to me well she is a actor planted there by the cops to try and frame me . She has been there for 2 weeks .This is the dirty low down things these cops will do to win there farcical game against me the big picture is ECO MAORI Respects all people . . Ana to kai Ka kite ano

      • eco maori 20.1.1

        You are wondering where this is all coming from well while I was in Auckland some one informed me that A private detective/ex cop had Interviewed them and during the interviewed the detective informed them that a person I know was framed by the Gisborne cops/ Gisborne man he was framed for a bad crime and this person has been in jail for 10 years + . So 1=1 =2 ka kite ano

  21. eco maori 21

    The Cops are spinning lies again they are saying that I’m a Larry Nassar how do I know this well it the people they are parading around me while I mow my lawns. So let examine this do the cops have a motive a reason to lock up
    ECO MAORI well yes I have informed all the people that the set People up bait them mostly Maori the pay people to lie to lock people up mostly Maori get locked up because of this they let people off mostly there informer /contracted liers or people that part of there extended family and friends mostly European. And than the biggest thing I found and new a story of a spy selling drugs and committing all sorts of crimes and who makes excuses for the person the police force you see its the police force that get promoted to work as a spy. They will lock up a Maori as soon as look at US guilty just because of of our Maori culture .
    They want to silence ECO MAORI buy locking me up no Internet in jail.
    Eco Maori say come on Aresst ECO Maori and let’s dance on those hot coals of the NZ courts and we will see who’s ass/asses get burned as soon as the police do I will run a give a little page and get funding from the people to fight this WAR against the Cops. If the cops are to scared then tell them to
    Shut the FUCK UP neoliberals scared bigots.
    Ana to kai

  22. eco maori 22

    The independent police conduct authority is a sham
    Ana to kai

    • eco maori 22.1

      Here is how the police don’t stop people other police from using there special policeing tool not very secure and so the national police database is not secure evether open for abuse by bad cops

      Killer cop stole police radio


      Ben McLean stole the communal radio from work before murdering his wife, exposing a flaw in detecting missing equipment.

      Killer cop stole police radio

      Ben McLean stole the communal radio from work before murdering his wife, exposing a flaw in detecting missing equipment.

      • eco maori 22.1.1

        I can see what you are trying to rally my Neighbours against me you are going to give me more witnesses to be cross examined and more Mana fools bring it on I can not wait let dance on those hot coals I have done nothing wrong it the cops who have been blasting their sirens up setting people with your lies PS I do have a Ace up my sleeve.Pukana. Ana to kai

  23. Ad 23

    Enzo for New Zealand Labour Policy Council.

    Represent! 🙂

  24. joe90 24

    Talk of a bloody nose strategies, nuclear tests for political purposes – the prick’s going to have his very own major event.

    L: Trump's comments today R: Trump's comments from two weeks ago on how 9/11 helped Bush and the GOP pic.twitter.com/TzD3Dksqcr— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) January 30, 2018

    Since 1993, the Department of Energy has had to be ready to conduct a nuclear test within two to three years if ordered by the President. Late last year, the Trump Administration ordered the department to be ready, for the first time, to conduct a short-notice nuclear test in as little as six months.

    That is not enough time to install the warhead in shafts as deep as 4,000 ft. and affix all the proper technical instrumentation and diagnostics equipment. But the purpose of such a detonation, which the Administration labels “a simple test, with waivers and simplified processes,” would not be to ensure that the nation’s most powerful weapons were in operational order, or to check whether a new type of warhead worked, a TIME review of nuclear-policy documents has found. Rather, a National Nuclear Security Administration official tells TIME, such a test would be “conducted for political purposes.”


    • Eco Maori 24.1

      Tax sugar add a 200% .
      People who say that a sugar tax won’t work are pissing in the wind .
      The money saved on health cost can be used on other good causes like getting rid of fossil fuels.All one has to do is look at photos of people that were taken 40 years ago when sugar was not consumed as much to see a tax would work ka kite ano

    • Eco Maori 24.2

      I tried to stay out of the Trump debate joe90 as i know how far his tentacles can reach around Papatunuku. I new the sandflys would use anything they can to silence Eco Maori. But fuck Trump and the sandflys my mokos and our worlds future is more important to me than my safety .This is what couruption does to a society it gives the ultimate destructive power to idiots who lives in there own world were the SUN revolves around his EGO WTF.This is why I figured out that Ladys are more intelligence and humane than men And is one of the reasons I back Ladys Equality one other is I have 7 granddaughter and counting I definitely want them to have equality and a good happy health life.So Trump is unfit to rule over America and the world .As America imposses it ideals on the rest of the people on Papatunuku /World enough said Ana to kai Trump to the rest Ka kite ano P,S me thrashing Trump is one of the reason the sandflys swarmed me today

  25. Stunned Mullets 25

    Looks like the UK also has their share of ‘interesting’ vegans.


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