Open Mike 03/03/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 3rd, 2018 - 233 comments
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233 comments on “Open Mike 03/03/2018 ”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    Green Party goes for more transparency for themselves – bans kickbacks to MPs, and staff (basically bans being treated by corporates.

    They’re hoping to lead by example to take the money out of politics and lobbying. Very good move, I think.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Retaining a separate identity from the larger Government has become one of the main focuses of the co-leadership election, where Women’s Minister Julie Anne Genter is facing off against backbencher Marama Fox.

      Wtf! Sort yourselves out Stuff!

      • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1

        Written by the guy who interviewed Davidson this week!

        And he DOES seem to favour Genter.

        • Macro

          Not really wanting to put my oar in on this one – but the white middle class seem to find the activist māori rather threatening.
          We need diversity. Being seen as a party of white middle class makes it too easy for the pundits to think of the Greens as being only a one issue party.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            We need diversity

            …and not just for appearance’s sake, although that’s important too. Diverse groups make better, more inclusive, more robust decisions.

            • xanthe

              Thats an oft repeated assumption. There are actually more important things than “diverse” ie non partison , informed, and sound process. Far better to look for the person who can and will do the job properly for the benifit of all. searching for diverisity is mostly ephermeral based on obvious and largely irrelivant things like skin colour , gender, whilst ignoring more important indicators such as class, social group, and outlook.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Those are also forms of diversity.

              • weka

                That argument is predicated on the idea that one of those women cant do the job properly, presumably the brown one.

                • xanthe

                  thats just bullshit, try again

                  • You’re simply ignorant.

                  • weka


                    Macro said the Greens shouldn’t be seen to be a white middle class party.

                    OAB said,

                    “We need diversity”

                    …and not just for appearance’s sake, although that’s important too. Diverse groups make better, more inclusive, more robust decisions.

                    In other words, how the Greens are perceived is important, but diversity is a good goal/value in its own right.

                    Your reply implied that that was an assumption which isn’t true, but you didn’t put up any evidence of that. Instead you stated *your preferences* i.e. it’s ‘more important’ to have a non-partisan, informed and sound process.

                    This implies that the Greens doing diversity means they are partisan (not sure what that means in this context tbh), uninformed, and have shitty process.

                    You then said that rather than diversity being one of the criteria it’s ‘far better’ to look for the person who will do the job properly. Again, the implication is that valuing diversity somehow means *not choosing the person who will do the job properly.

                    In this case, I can’t see either of those women not doing the job properly, so I’m wondering what the point is. You either believe one of the women is not suitable, or you agree that both are in which case why would diversity be a problem?

                    My response was to point out that if it’s the former, then it’s likely to be Davidson that is not the suitable person, because so much of her work is around diversity. In her case, that’s not separable from her being Māori e.g. Genter could have all the dedication in the world to diversity but she’s not going to have the background, understanding of issues or connections that MD has simply because of who MD is. Being Māori is an asset in this situation.

                    Given that the Greens have a serious commitment to Te Tiriti, this isn’t a Pākehā trying to be inclusive thing, it’s actually core to the whole kaupapa of the party.

                    If instead of MD, there was say a GP member up against JAG who didn’t have the experience/background/connections or skill that MD has and didn’t have the skill to do the job properly, but was Māori, then I would expect the party to choose JAG as the leader.

                    On the other hand, if you are saying that both women *can do the job properly, then you are actively arguing against Māori women having representation in parliament and the party and that instead we should favour class issues. The irony there is that MD also is representative of working and underclass people, and is a big part of the reason for why the Greens are able to be credible continuing to do that work after Turei. But maybe those aren’t the right kind of class issues because they are very visibly taking into account the class issues of Māori and Pasifica.

                    searching for diverisity is mostly ephermeral based on obvious and largely irrelivant things like skin colour , gender, whilst ignoring more important indicators such as class, social group, and outlook.

                    Well let’s take that to its logical conclusion. We’d then have men standing for the (female) co-leader position. And everyone would be ignoring gender and ethnicity but focussing on class, interest groups, and world view. But those class, interests and world views would have to be colour and sex blind. Then we’d have something akin to the National Party Caucus.

                    No commitment to women’s issues or Te Tiriti, which would then mean that the GP was no longer the GP.

                    Which is of course exactly what you want. You can run your anti-identity politics arguments, but in the end you are basically advocating for white men to be running the show, because when you take out sex and ethnicity that is what our society defaults to. Even if you don’t care about that, the big flaw in your argument is that the default is also wealthy men, so you can forget about class being taken into account in any meaningful way.

                  • weka

                    On the issue of process, the problem here isn’t that the GP use unsound process. Their process is very sound and robust, esp by NZ political standards.

                    I think what you are saying is that their process shouldn’t try and help women and Māori (and presumably other ethnicities, disabled people, the queer community etc), but instead is only sound if it actively ignores those people and issues and instead focussed on class. I’d love to see a modern sound process designed that does that btw (I think it’s an oxymoron myself, but see if you can provide some examples). Some of us are old enough to understand that left wing politics used to be exactly that. Politics that suited white men focussed on class and white women were on their backs or making cups of tea. Where were Māori women?

                    This was an important part of the genesis of second wave feminism as white women in particular in those communities left to organise their own politics because the men were incapable of attending to women’s issues. That’s right, women left traditional left wing groups *precisely because of them organising around the values you are promoting here. So unless you are suggesting that women give up their own politics and do what men want, it’s very hard to see how that would work. Either way, sound process doesn’t come into it.

                  • weka

                    btw, if you don’t mean any or all of those things, it’s on you to clarify. Because otherwise you just look like you are running the same tired old lines telling women to step aside.

                • Tamati Tautuhi

                  Got a couple of new brown ones over at the National Party and I don’t think they will be able to do the job either ?

              • Wrong

                • Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time.

                • Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions 2X faster with 1/2 the meetings.

                • Decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60% better results.

                • xanthe

                  you are conflating diversity and inclusiveness. and the results seem to show most gains from inclusive decision making as expected. so that would suggest that the ability to engage “inclusively” is a higher priority than “diverse”

                  I am not suggesting that there is not positives for diversity just that there are rather more important considerations

                  As well I am questioning what seems to be an unquestioned assumption that Marama represents more “diversity” , she may well do so! but it requires a lot more consideration than “cause she is brown”! I actually do not have a preference at this time as i do not have sufficient info (yet!) . All I am saying is i do not accept Marama = diversity = good thing without a lot more analysis

                  • you are conflating diversity and inclusiveness. and the results seem to show most gains from inclusive decision making as expected. so that would suggest that the ability to engage “incusively” is a higher priority than “diverse”

                    No I’m not. The article was quite clear:

                    “Diversity and inclusion must go hand-in-hand to drive results,” said Laura Sherbin, CFO and Director of Research at the Center for Talent Innovation. “Cloverpop’s research bolsters the case that employers who build diverse and inclusive teams see the best outcomes.”

                    According to the research, teams outperform individual decision makers 66% of the time, and decision making improves as team diversity increases. Compared to individual decision makers, all-male teams make better business decisions 58% of the time, while gender diverse teams do so 73% of the time. Teams that also include a wide range of ages and different geographic locations make better business decisions 87% of the time.

                    “This research highlights the potential value of team diversity as a practical tool for architecting decision-making processes,” said Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino. “That our decisions get sidetracked by biases is now well established. While it is hard to change how our brains are wired, it’s possible to change the context of decisions by architecting the composition of decision-making teams for more diverse perspectives.”

                    You seem to be reaching to prove that you were right when you were obviously wrong.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                non partison [sic] , informed, and sound process

                None of which are threatened by greater diversity.

                look for the person who can and will do the job properly for the benifit [sic] of all

                The meritocracy paradox demonstrates how ineffective this approach is.

                Oh, and it isn’t an assumption. Check out a few meta-analyses and you’ll find a small positive correction between performance outcomes and group diversity.

          • Psycho Milt

            …the white middle class seem to find the activist māori rather threatening.

            I think it’s not so much that we find Davidson threatening as that Genter is one of us, so of course we prefer her. The question is how many will be able to see past their personal preferences to think about what would be best for the party – it will be interesting to watch.

            • weka

              Both dynamics will no doubt be happening. I’d be very disappointed if that was happening to the same extent within the active GP members (or at least people need to get past what makes them comfortable).

          • savenz

            Macro, look how much diversity we have with Simon and Paula!

            Ethnicy and gender politics are meaningless to most people.

            Only excites media and box tickers which increasingly both alienate normal people who see too much of it, in their day to day lives.

            Fuckwits come in all genders, ages and ethnicities. Ordinary people are aware of this fact, but it seems to be surprise to those in media circles.

            • weka

              What diversity is there from Simon and Paula?

            • solkta

              alienate normal people

              What the fuck is a “normal person” anyway? Are people who care about issues of gender and ethnicity abnormal? Should I feel insulted?

              • joe90

                Well I’ve got the impression normal person means white people and ethnicity, gender and orientation are blithely reduced to an irrelevant abstraction, so fuck yeah, it’s insulting.

      • patricia bremner 1.1.2

        There you go Weka. As I said Henry Cooke is NO friend of the Left.
        He thinks of Marama Davidson as an “activist” (Fox) and Julie Anne Genter as “like him” so acceptable. If you Greens have to have another leader, this is his choice.

        He is a lazy self serving pratt, who behaved in a similar manner towards Jacinder Ardern during her campaign. He would say things like “Another school am”
        “Made a speech to the faithful in the town hall pm” He made it plain it was all under sufferance and faintly beneath him. While the reporter following Bill English raved about every thing Bill did. So I marked his card as they say.
        Stuff’s going to be swallowed by Granny Herald so we need to watch this space.

        • weka

          I watched the interviews the other night, and he didn’t behave as you suggest at all.

          He thinks of Marama Davidson as an “activist” (Fox) and Julie Anne Genter as “like him” so acceptable. If you Greens have to have another leader, this is his choice.

          whereas I see the surname mistake as just that (he’s not the only one who has made that mistake). And there’s nothing in that piece to suggest that he prefers Genter, or that in doing so it’s an ethnicity issue (I think you utterly made that up).

          He’s under no obligation to be a friend of the left, he’s a journalist.

          I get that you don’t like him, but short of linking to some things he did last year and describing what is wrong, I can’t made much sense of what you are referring to.

          e.g.He would say things like “Another school am”
          “Made a speech to the faithful in the town hall pm”

          I can’t see what is wrong with sentences like that, not least because I have no context.

          “While the reporter following Bill English raved about every thing Bill did.”

          How does that have anything to do with Cooke?

          The Stuff article from today is pretty much all reporting of what the GP are doing, with a small amount of commentary at the end. I’m highly critical of the MSM too, but I think we have to give them credit when they get things right, and the kind of neutral reporting in that piece is exactly what I want to see more of.

          Maybe I’m missing something, feel free to point it out.

          • patricia bremner

            Perhaps I am over reacting to him, and I’m biased and cross. Sorry. I’ll try harder to be dispassionate in future.

        • veutoviper

          Oh come on Patricia. Give the guy a break and don’t condemn him for life as if he is an old hand/hack such as Barry Soper.

          Henry Cooke is all of 24/25 years old – just a couple of years out of his tertiary studies and employed as a political reporter at Stuff for only a year or two (probably on a very low salary). Pretty good going actually, to be a Parliamentary political reporter at the age and level of work experience.

          We all make mistakes, particularly when we are young and learning – and old like me.

          AND he did have the courtesy of replying last night to your comments on the Gender and Davidson post (which I see you have now responded to after posting this comment).

          For others, his reply on that post is here

          On a personal note, I know people who know Henry well and consider him to be an exceptionally nice young person with a real concern for people with disabilities, mental health issues and those in need etc. (Some of those people are in those circumstances themselves.) Very far from a right wing whatever. And a big dog lover.

          • savenz

            A big dog lover, ok that’s fine then, if he has memory issues and can’t even get right what names goes with what party they represent as a political reporter. No problems!!!

            • veutoviper

              I knew that would be the draw card for someone. You take the booby prize. Well done.

          • patricia bremner

            Thank you for that balance veutoviper. See my reply to Weka. I accept perhaps I read more into both things than I should have done. If you read this Henry, Sorry.

            • veutoviper

              Not a problem Patricia. I thought it was probably a misunderstanding or a case of mistaken identity. I am sure Henry will fully accept that.

              I often have a quick look at his Twitter account and those of other political media types as it is a really good way of finding out news before it even hits the media websites! I have a massive and complex collection of bookmarks – and then wonder why my old PC is slow.

              Anyway no mention on there etc, and he is excited as tomorrow he is off to the Pacific for 5-6 days with the PM, Deputy PM and other Ministers/MPs including James Shaw on the annual Ministerial visit to the Pacific nations with which we have strong ties – this year, Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook islands.

              • Patricia

                Veutoviper – is Henry Cooke related to you ??

                • veutoviper

                  LOL – no! I have not even met him to speak to but have seen him in person a number of times and as I said we have mutual friends/acquaintances. Saw his excitement etc on his Twitter feed.

                  I’m in Wellington and Wellington City itself is a small world – a town not a city. Ditto the Government work environment in which I grew up and then worked for many years of Parliament, Govt Head Offices, and all related organisations etc – unions, media etc. – is an even smaller world/community. You blot your copybook in that small world and don’t expect to work there again. While I am now retired I am still in touch with many people still in that world. And I also sometimes bump into people like Andrew Little and have a chat in the local shops etc.

              • greywarshark

                Hey NZ politicians, it would be good if we could give some regular allocation of foreign aid to those Pacific Islands and be the major shareholder and operator in a ferry/freight boat for each major island. That would be real practical help in fair weather or foul.

                • patricia bremner

                  Talking of aid. To hear the Aussie PM say to Jacinda and the press that they gave a million in aid each year during the stand up with media ( and NZ sent $750 000 to Tonga after Gita. ) Their aid should be 5 X greater by population.

                • veutoviper

                  NZ has always had regular formal allocations of aid to the Pacific Islands, greywarshark, This is through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which has a separate section dedicated purely to this work.

                  I don’t have time right now but will do a fuller comment on this in the next day or so.

                  Winston Peters gave a keynote speech on Thursday on increases in aid and other assistance to the Pacific Islands with which we have strong relationships; and there will be more to come in the next five days during the Ministerial mission to Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands this week by the PM etc which I mentioned in my above.

                  • weka

                    I’m appreciating these updates vv.

                  • greywarshark

                    Thanks vv
                    I have heard about shonky ferries and irregular shipping for some time to the PI. But if left to whoever there they can be overloaded and undermanned. So that would be a good bit of expenditure for us and really helpful.

                    • veutoviper

                      Here are a few links for you on NZ aid etc to the Pacific Islands from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website. NZ has always had and still has considerable responsibilities in respect of many Pacific Islands as some were directly administered by NZ before becoming independent, others are Commonwealth members like NZ, and one or two are still under NZ’s direct administration ie Tokelau.

                      As a result of these responsibilities, NZ has been providing financial aid, and other forms of aid and assistance (health, education, safety, energy infrastructure, transport (eg ferries etc) for many decades.



                      These links have many links in them on specific topics, types of aid provided etc

                      Under the Nat govt, aid (including $$$) to the Pacific was cut back considerably. The new Govt is going to reverse this and it will again be a priority as outlined by Winston Peters last Thursday night in a speech to the Lowry institute in Sydney.

                      There will be much more on this in the next five days as the PM’s Ministerial Mission goes around the Pacific.

                      You do know that the PM’s parents have been living for about the last 10 years in the Pacific (Niue, then Samoa and then back to Niue) where her father has worked for the NZ Govt first in the area of police liaison until his retirement from NZ Police and then for the last four years as NZ High Commissioner to Niue. They are due to move back to NZ in the next month or so and will be here to help with their soon to be grandchild. But father is also now becoming the NZ Administrator of Tukelau – so will still be working in the area of aid and assistance to the Pacific.

              • patricia bremner

                Veutoviper, My current Codeine meds make me a crab!! So I have to watch that.. I’m glad it is working out for him. I did not realise how young he is. They don’t earn much and getting to all the campaign whistle stops can also be an issue, so being included in the group going with the PM and all would be really exciting for him. I’ll read his posts with interest, and far less bile!! Cheers.

                • veutoviper

                  Understand – I am somewhat high this week on pain killers myself having been rushed into hospital for a few hours on Monday with an acute attack of (diverticulitis or kidney stones – yet to be determined, have both) and an aftershock (like earthquakes!) a few days later.

                  Kia kaha

                  • patricia bremner


                  • greywarshark

                    Hope your ailments get dealt to. You people who can still find time to discuss the wider matters while personal stuff is going on are great.

          • Louis

            Having read his articles on stuff, I think Patricia is pretty much spot on.

        • Louis

          +1 Patricia, good description, that’s how he often came across in his articles on Stuff, a real National party sycophant.

          • patricia bremner

            Perhaps Louis, but when I looked back at my diary, I thought perhaps I had over reacted. So I’ll follow his travels with interest Cheers.

    • They’re hoping to lead by example to take the money out of politics and lobbying.

      Good idea. Companies spend money on this because it works. I’ve experienced plenty of it myself and it’s a hell of a job to take a dispassionate approach to the people you just had a great time partying with, even if you don’t feel anything much for their employer. You tell yourself you’re not and won’t be influenced by it, but would they be fronting up all that cash if you weren’t? In my case it’s not a big deal if one company manages to get a slight edge over another, but as Shaw says, in the case of politicians it is a big deal:

      “Generally speaking it isn’t community-based organisations or environmental groups that have the resources to do this kind of bidding. They’re not usually organisations who advocate for the homeless or for single mums, or groups that are fighting to protect our water, or native bush.”

      “They are usually deep-pocketed corporates, or lobbyists acting on their behalf, who have a financial interest in preserving the status quo.”

      • Sanctuary 1.2.1

        I’d like to fund political parties three ways:

        Membership fees – capped per annum. Imagine if the most you could charge to be a member was, say, $500 per year.

        Vouchers issued to voters as they vote. A voter on election would be issued with a voucher for (say) $10. They deposit the voucher in a box for a political party they wish to get the money. If they refuse to fund anyone, the money will be split after the election along the lines of the percentage of votes achieved.

        A payment for each vote achieved, scaled. So (for example) your first 100,000 votes get you $5 each, the next 200,000 $4 each, the next 400,000 $3 each and all subsequent votes $2 each. Thus, a million votes = $3,100,000.

        That is it. No other source of funding allowed.

        • greywarshark

          Reading Sanctuary on funding politics I thought what a good idea. And then I just kept going sop hope someone can bother to read this and give a thought as to whether this change would have good effects on numbers voting.

          I thought that Sanctuary’s proposal would make voting both seem more important and allow definite direct choice – of money to the Party supported. The whole apparently simple ritual is being overshadowed by all the hype from Parties, from individuals, from the media and very influenced by the money flowing around.

          Time to put a stopper on that, reduce it to a steady trickle and leave room to listen to the pollies, have meetings where people put huge wish lists on whiteboards and then debate what things could be done to fulfil them, how much it would cost, where the money would come from. Some politically and economically trained person would explain how the economy is presently working now, and how that would be affected. Shouting would be allowed until silenced by a bell then a siren or loud-hailer! Seriously, if people are to take part and start questioning things then it would be best to allow for irritation and anger, with strict limits.

          A coffee cart would be there and after an hour there would be a short break. Then perhaps people could choose groups they were interested in or which they related to – and make bullet points headings of the main subjects with, ten word description of items that people had seen as important. ie Health –
          Maternity – more time with help, recovery before going home.

          At present it is very anti-climactic. If you vote at home, this important matter will be in a mental list, perhaps after you go to town, play sport etc. If first thing, then it is done in the spirit of ‘Get this over and done with now’ possibly with not much thought before or when carried out. Same if doing it over your phone device. There is little sense of occasion.

          If you travel to a polling booth, you have to look up maps perhaps, make a journey. Hard perhaps if in Auckland just getting there. It’s not as big as travelling to Bethlehem on a donkey when Jesus Christ was born during a census, but transport and distance can cause problems.

          When you get to the polling booth there is the procedure, you make your mark, drop your voting paper through the right slot, and then, well that’s it. If we want people to take voting seriously which is needed, then make something of the day, a celebration that we have democracy which we take for granted, it’s been hard-win and eady to lose like money. Throughout the day a series of performances by local artists, school children, a reading
          from a NZ book for half an hour, to anyone who cares to listen. Make something of it to remember and talk about till next time. Rules apply, singing the actual credo of a Party with backing group, would not be allowed. But at present you can’t have rosettes, balloons in Party colours. Only people who have no ideas or values to motivate them would be influenced by such things. Drop the sterile atmosphere. Put limits on top of behaviour not right at the bottom to stop anything advantaging one or the other.

          Let’s celebrate, be glad, be serious, and encourage people to participate!

          • patricia bremner

            Yes I thought Sanctuary had some excellent ideas. Celebrating franchise is also needed. Perhaps historical presentations of the history of democracy?
            Children could take part.

        • red-blooded

          Sorry, Sanctuary, but i think that’s a dreadful idea. How would a new party (which would have no funding from votes) ever break through? Your system would entrench the two-party hold on most of the funding. Even a party like the Greens would really struggle.

          Parties already get allocated campaign money on the basis of their previous election result, but all parties have ongoing running costs and that includes in non-campaign years.

          Plus, I don’t know if you’re a party member, but your figure of $500 is hugely above the current costs of party membership. The annual membership for Labour, for example is $5 for unwaged members, rising in stages to $60 for those earning more than $45000. If income from other sources was cut, membership costs would have to rise hugely, meaning lower income people wouldn’t have a chance to be members. Is this what you want?

          Parties currently fundraise in all sorts of ways – raffles and garage sales and quiz nights and shared events… My branch of Labour has had a wonderful guy keep us afloat for many years by skip-diving at the end of the year, rescuing text books being thrown away by students and then putting them up for sale at the start of the next year. Brilliant – reduces waste, saves money for the next set of book-owners and raises money for a cause he believes in. Why should that be seen as a problem?

          Yes, allowing private funding opens the door to big money influencing parties, but decent disclosure laws and caps on funding from single sources can help to mitigate that. I certainly wouldn’t endorse your approach.

        • AB

          Interesting ideas.
          I agree with the first idea, but $500 is quite high – out of reach for many. I’d prefer something pegged to the median wage and topping out at about $200. I’d add that these should only be individual members – no corporations, trusts or unions.Getting back to the days of mass membership parties would be a good thing.

          The second and third ideas are good in principle though I feel that each is effectively the same as the other in terms of the outcome they would produce. In which case you may need only one of them and the voucher idea is possibly better in terms of involving the voter.

    • alwyn 1.3

      Is that what they have been up to?
      I would much rather be shown that they had been carrying out the Ministerial duties for which they are so handsomely rewarded.
      The Census is probably the single most important thing that the Stats Department are going to be doing during Shaw’s tenure as Minister. Shouldn’t he have been ensuring that it was being done properly, rather than discussing whether or not he is allowed to accept a cup of tea and a biscuit when he is asked to open Venable Villa’s Vegan Vegetables for Velociraptors Greenhouse?
      It is a bit late to be showing an interest in the subject by delivering some forms to a retirement home just a few days before the Census date.
      Can we expect a shambles like the Australian one in 2016?

      • Molly 1.3.1

        “The Census is probably the single most important thing that the Stats Department are going to be doing during Shaw’s tenure as Minister. “
        Given the priority you seem to have placed on the census, what is your opinion of National deciding not to do the 2011 census. Despite the declaration of a national emergency – it was a regional one. And all the preparation had been done. It would have been the first indication of the state of the nation after the government had taken power. As it was we had to wait another two years, and a further year before that information was available to the public.

      • RedBaronCV 1.3.2

        The census was set by the Nact’s before the election. So Shaw winds up presiding over their mess unfortunately.

        It also has delivery flaws (deliberate?) that will compromise lesser enabled groups.
        Firstly the mail has to arrive and coverage of that is far from perfect. If it doesn’t then we are relying on pickup from radio? television/ posters ?? some thing else because a lot of people are going to be blindingly unaware that this is even happening.

        To fill it in on line means that a household has to have a computer and the ability to pay about $900 per annum for the various line fees.

        Otherwise some one has to phone ( on a prepay?) and hang on until the money runs out (and hope it is answered first) to get a form delivered.

        And then it appears that the lot is going to be entered in that great big Nat database that we should all be very worried about.

        • greywarshark

          Exactly RedBaronCV
          It’s a worry about today’s governments. To me it seem they are behaving more like arrogant monarchs not true representatives of the people. Government to them, is a place that rich people further enrich themselves, or middle incomers can make really good contacts for future gain.

          And statistics – mostly it’s bad news. If you don’t bother with stats you save yourself a lot of grief think the politicians. Simple! We were lucky we haven’t yet had a PM or Cabinet Minister with the attitude of Canada’s pre Trudeau. (If Shaw tried this we would have his guts for garters, and I can’t think that he ever would do something so against our interests.):

          Stephen Joseph Harper PC is a Canadian economist, entrepreneur, and retired politician who served as the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada, from February 6, 2006, to November 4, 2015. Wikipedia.

          This faux politician took some political duties very lightly especially records on the environment and ordered, allowed the throwing out of decades of historic records.
          (Thought, when that mixture of economist, entrepreneur etc shows up in some pollies CV, pass them by.)

        • alwyn

          The date of the census was set very simply. It is simply five years after the previous one. It was the postponement of the 2011 version to 2013 that was different.
          Shaw has been in the job for nearly five months now. Thus the bulk of the organising will have been done since he got the responsibility and he has had plenty of time to see that it runs properly. It’s his baby and if it gets screwed up its his fault.
          Someone like Twyford in Housing can justifiably blame the preceding Government for a full term. That is, as long as he can show that improvements are taking place and there is some real progress by that time. If there are only a trivial increase in houses during the first term he deserves to be kicked but he cannot be expected to have solved all the problems in 3 years.
          Not so with Shaw and the Census. Any problems were caused while he was in charge and he should, justifiably carry the can for anything that goes wrong. Hopefully, of course, everything will go smoothly.

          • Incognito

            It has been 128 days since swearing in of this Government on 26 October 2017 so this hardly equates to “been in the job for nearly five months now”. I’ll give you a bonus point for effort though.

            Have you got first-hand experience with organising the Census or are you simply making wild claims & accusations?

            You also seem to like playing the blame-game; do you think this is helpful in any way, shape or form?

        • David Mac

          The number to ring for census forms is an 0800 number. It is free, a mobile phone with no credit will get through.

          All information is kept confidential and protected by the Statistics Act 1975

          • RedBaronCV

            Right & despite all the so called confidentiality somehow we have this large data base for “social investment” that was created without anyone having a say so people can be tracked . we should believe you??

            Having had some years ago the experience of our local community newsletter publishing the data from our local mesh blocks to find I was pretty much identifiable even the old system had massive flaws.

            And of course the Statistics act can be changed by any future government to give themselves access to the data???

            • David Mac

              Hi Baron, I don’t mind if you believe me or not. I don’t care how many languages are spoken in your house or the age of the occupants.

              I feel the information gathered is a very useful tool for planning for our country’s future. Where will we need new schools in 10 years, how many effected by a 1 metre sea rise etc. If you disagree with me, yes I can see how you would feel any information requested of you would be unnecessary delving into your private life.

              Yes a government could change the privacy laws as they relate to the Statistics Act at will. Just as they could ban recreational fishing, like a fool, I still bought a new reel.

              I understand much of the data for Social Investment was gathered from Work and Income. Again, personally, I’ve found that having as much information as possible prior to formulating a plan has assisted me in making better decisions. If I could identify a region where there are many unemployed youth not in training and a shortage of housing I feel it’s an effective way of determining where I should be establishing a Trades Polytech.

              • RedBaronCV

                Okay so we can agree it’s not particularly confidential.

                As to being a useful planning tool for the countries future , There is plenty of information available of the type you are discussing on other data bases.
                And FYI the questions about house ownership were first put in about 15 years ago at the instigation of the IRD who plan only how to collect taxes.

                But note there are not too many questions in there trying to measure the aggregation of wealth in the hands of How many???
                It doesn’t ask how many houses people own, or the number of hectares of land so how can we make good decisions with slanted information? Does it ask people how many times they have been downsized or laid off . What is their workplace attitude to unions?

                It doesn’t ask businesses about how many jobs they have outsourced or their pay bands. whether they have moved jobs off to Auckland or not?

                And you say social investment is taken from MSD – but it was a great deal more than that. And why is it only okay to see social investment or cost around MSD. It’s then just bash a beneficiary database. What about tax cheats , those who minimise taxes or go to private schools with large subsidies?? Massive costs to the community.

                With the large amount of data now collected from other sources and over shared the census is just another excessive intrusion.

      • Patricia 1.3.3

        So many people will be missed off the 2018 census.
        Many homeless people I work alongside have no access to computers or home addresses where paperwork can be delivered. They also missed out on voting last year.
        And many elderly people with no computers and little support from families able to assist have just given up.

        • David Mac

          Nor were the homeless included when papers were hand delivered to households.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          At the library where I work, staff were expecting an influx of people using library computers to fill in the census forms – so far it doesn’t seem to have happened.

          So, I am wondering also if many less well of people won’t complete a census form.

          Last night I submitted an online request for a paper form – I don’t trust submitting that much of my info from my internet connection. At the end it said allow a week for delivery of the forms. Well, it took at least a week for them to collect my last census form (2013?) – even though I completed it on census night.

          • RedBaronCV

            I’ve just looked at the stats website. Unless its hiding some where pretty obscure they don’t have any postal addresses for themselves on the site.

              • RedBaronCV

                Which does not have a postal address – or phone numbers if you look.

                • Incognito

                  When I’m trying to be helpful I usually don’t provide completely useless links 😉

                  When you click on the link you land on a page with the following question:

                  What do you want to contact us about? *This question is required.

                  Select the following:

                  I want your general contact details

                  Scroll down and you’ll see:

                  Send post to a Stats NZ office

                  Our postal addresses and physical locations in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch are:

                  With maps even!

                  You’re welcome 😉

  2. Antoine 2

    I thought this was an interesting read:
    Issues about what to do with houses too close to the sea…


    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      No-one mentioned one of the obvious ways to recoup some costs. As the Insurance Council says, this is no accident. Fossil fuel companies and those who’ve attacked science and scientists are responsible for this crime.

      • Antoine 2.1.1

        You want to put a tax on climate change deniers??

        • Macro

          Large fines for perpetuating fraud might be more appropriate.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Yep. No new laws required. Fraud, for personal financial gain. Motive, means, and opportunity.

            • Antoine

              Meanwhile on Earth

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                states are suing rather than applying the criminal law.

                I wouldn’t rule out criminal charges just yet.

                • Antoine

                  Well, let us know when you can get a NZ court to award tens of millions of damages against oil companies for causing global warming.

                  In the meantime, people need to figure out what to do with coastal property.


                  • Anne

                    They’re not causing global warming. They’re contributing to it on a very large scale without taking meaningful steps to mitigate the environmental damage.

                  • Actually, the charge should be mass murder because that’s what these companies that are actively opposing change that will stop our contribution to climate change. That’s what they’re actually doing – committing mass murder.

                    • Antoine

                      (Despair intensifies)

                    • David Mac

                      Oil companies are the weapons manufacturer. I’m pulling the trigger and shooting the environment.

                      I can choose not to have a gun and buy a horse, natural fibre shirt and sail rather than fly.

                      The oil companies are merely meeting my demands. The damage is down to me, not them.

                    • Are we doing that though?

                      Or is it that the we want the gun removed but the lobbying by the gun manufacturers of the politicians keeps the guns available?

        • savenz

          Hopefully they start large lawsuits, just like tobacco.

  3. Pat 3

    “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s.

    “We are here and they will get to know us. We would like a reasonable relationship to the United States, but we cannot simply put our head in the sand.”

    And thats their friend and ally Europe….cant wait for the Chinese response

    • Katainen, who is also the former prime minister of Finland, points out that protectionism helped to create the Great Depression of the 1930s.

      The causes of the Great Depression were complex but protectionism wasn’t one of them:

      One thing you hear all the time is that protectionism caused the Great Depression. I’ve always seen this as an attempt at a Noble Lie; there’s no good reason to believe that it’s true, but it has been used to scare governments into maintaining relatively free trade.

      But the truth is quite different, as a new paper by Barry Eichengreen and Doug Irwin shows. Protectionism was a result of the Depression, not a cause. Rising tariffs didn’t even play a large role in the initial trade contraction; like the spectacular trade contraction in the current crisis, the decline in trade in the early 30s was overwhelmingly the result of the overall economic implosion. Where protectionism really mattered was in preventing a recovery in trade when production recovered.

      So let’s tell it like it was. If free trade is a good idea — which it mostly is — it should be sold on its genuine merits, not with scare stories.

      In fact, when I was at Uni we were taught that trade in the early 20th century was freer than what we have now. So, it’s more accurate to say that free-trade caused the Great Depression.

      Same as it caused the GFC.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        “In fact, when I was at Uni we were taught that trade in the early 20th century was freer than what we have now. So, it’s more accurate to say that free-trade caused the Great Depression.”

        Meh…go to a new start point and you could argue the opposite….the point of interest is the impact on the current situation of a trade war…and irrespective of the original cause the impact will not be positive (at least in the short term)

        The markets are a time bomb waiting for a trigger…..

        • Draco T Bastard

          The re-writing of history is a very important point as it means that the wrong lessons are learned.

          I shouldn’t need to say that.

          • Pat

            and while youre busy trying to feel superior the fact remains that once again the dispossessed of the world are very likely to be shafted yet again.

  4. Jenny 4

    Self styled “independent journalist”, Vanessa Beeley makes the slaughter of civilians acceptable, drawing a laugh from her credulous audience by making the suffering of babies and their desperate caregivers subject for ridicule.

    • These talks have been hosted by the Communist Party of Great Britain Marxist-Leninist (CPGB-ML), which openly supports and glorifies Josef Stalin.

      Worth keeping in mind that there are parts of the left barely distinguishable from fascists. Not surprised they love Assad’s work.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Here’s Vanessa Beeley’s response to a piece on her Bristol presentation by Clara Connolly (that the Amr Salahi piece appears to lean on quite heavily)

        Worth noting that she characterises the SSUK as a hard-line proponent of regime change in Syria, promoting active intervention by NATO state powers, including a Libya-style no-fly zone. Its narrative assumes a ‘popular revolution’, the total veracity of Western propaganda, and the validity of propaganda constructs like the White Helmets.

        In other words, the SSUK promotes the self same line as interventionist western governments.

        And I haven’t ever met a Marxist Leninist who would have anything good to say about Stalin btw, so fuck knows where Amr Salahi gets that line from. 🙂 But if Marxist Leninists are barely distinguishable from fascists, then what of the Trot orgs that are full on behind western interventionism? They obviously don’t “love Assad’s work”.

        So, where’s the fascism residing? Or is it just one of those lazy pieces of bullshit you like to throw at people who’s politics you don’t like, understand, or oppose?

        • Psycho Milt

          …I haven’t ever met a Marxist Leninist who would have anything good to say about Stalin…

          And I haven’t ever met one who accepted that the murderous totalitarian regimes instituted by Marxist-Leninists last century had anything to do with Marxism-Leninism, nor one who would fail to defend those very same regimes (eg, “the Red Army saved Europe from the Nazis!”).

          So, where’s the fascism residing?

          In supporting the violent overthrow of democratic government and its replacement with the absolute authority of a political party with totalitarian aims, an expansionist outlook and a ruthless willingness to crush dissent, maybe? I get that Marxist-Leninists like to pretend that’s not their aim, but given that it’s been the outcome every time they’ve had a go at it, what they say their aims are counts for shit. It’s results that count.

          • Bill

            You skirt the point you were challenged on.

            If it’s no surprise that Marxist/ Leninists would “love Assad’s work” (being that they’re fascist and all) then how would you explain the position of the no less fascist Trots who call for Assad’s overthrow?

            Assad and the Syrian government were voted into office btw. And their election process (whatever the faults) was much more legitimate and more widely participated in than that for Poroshenko of Ukraine.

            I do find it odd how liberals in general seem to have no problem with Poroshenko – and that in spite of the Ukrainian governments overt fascism (not “indistinguishable” from, but actual) – while routinely calling for the violent overthrow of a government in a country where the country’s armed forces are slogging it out against the supposed no. 1 enemy of western governments and even (some say) western ideas of civilisation.

            It wouldn’t be they so thoughtlessly and eagerly buy into the “evil Russia” line of neo-cons and liberal interventionists that even thought becomes an enemy lest it renders the veil of western benevolence and humanitarian virtue to reveal a monster – that might not really be so distinguishable from fascism. It’s just a thought.

            • Psycho Milt

              You skirt the point you were challenged on.

              The point I was challenged on was “there are parts of the left barely distinguishable from fascists.” I’ve explained the basis for that claim, ie parts of the left “…supporting the violent overthrow of democratic government and its replacement with the absolute authority of a political party with totalitarian aims, an expansionist outlook and a ruthless willingness to crush dissent…”

              I didn’t address the fact that some of these leftist totalitarians disagree with other leftist totalitarians on some things because I don’t see how it’s relevant to my point.

              I do find it odd how liberals in general seem to have no problem with Poroshenko – and that in spite of the Ukrainian governments overt fascism (not “indistinguishable” from, but actual) – while routinely calling for the violent overthrow of a government in a country where the country’s armed forces are slogging it out against the supposed no. 1 enemy of western governments and even (some say) western ideas of civilisation.

              It ceases to become odd if you take into account that liberals don’t accept your framing.

              …lest it renders the veil of western benevolence and humanitarian virtue to reveal a monster – that might not really be so distinguishable from fascism.

              OK, now it’s your turn. How might liberal democracy not really be so distinguishable from fascism?

              • Bill

                The pretty obvious inference from your comment, and the one I questioned, was that (barely distinguishable from) fascists are supportive of fascists (ie – in your view, the Syrian government).

                But you can’t explain why Trots (no less barely distinguishable than Marxist Leninist’s) wish to see the overthrow of the very same Syrian government.

                I’m happy enough to enter into a discussion on liberalism and fascism once you’ve cleared that one up in some way that makes sense.

                • It already makes sense if you take it as written rather than inferring things from it. As written:

                  …there are parts of the left barely distinguishable from fascists. Not surprised they love Assad’s work.

                  1. Parts of the left share features of fascism.
                  2. So does the Assad regime.
                  3. Therefore it’s not surprising if they support Assad.

                  You seem to be assuming that if you present a leftist totalitarian group opposed to Assad, my argument (being generous to it) above is refuted. I don’t see how – my conclusion leaves open the possibility of not all leftist totalitarian groups supporting Assad. In fact, you’d be mad to treat leftist totalitarians as monolothic, they seem to hate other factions more than they hate capitalism. It’s not hard to see why Trotskyists would hate a Stalinist outfit like the Baath Party, just as its not hard to see how the Stalinists would be keen on the Baath Party. In short, I’m not seeing your point.

                  • Bill

                    The Ba’ath Party formed as a separate entity to the existing Communist Party of the time. It’s very much about Arab identity and anti-colonialism. So it really is a stretch to suggest it has Stalinist roots or is currently Stalinist.

                    That aside.

                    We’ve got to the point where, in spite of your original comment to the contrary, it actually can be surprising if parts of the left barely distinguishable from fascists support the Syrian government.

                    And that’s leaving aside how fascist or not fascist the Syrian government may be.

                    • The concept “not surprising if this group of authoritarians likes a particular authoritarian regime” is not incompatible with the concept “but perhaps this other group of authoritarians doesn’t like that particular authoritarian regime.” That was as true this morning as it is this evening, so we haven’t really got to any point with this baffling dispute.

                    • Bill

                      A difference between your first comment and your latest one is that you’ve (potentially) put yourself in the picture. 😉

                      From ‘fascists’ (or barely distinguishable from) to simply and much more broadly ‘those with a penchant to follow’.

                      And that cuts up the same in the bigger picture, no matter which side’s mast any liberal, leftist or fascist authoritarian may choose to pin their colours to.

                    • Whatever. For my part, the idea that enthusiasts for totalitarianism might favour an authoritarian dictatorship over liberal democracies shouldn’t be a controversial one.

                      Also: a cubic zirconium is “barely distinguishable” from a diamond. That doesn’t make it a diamond. If we’re going to get pedantic about definitions, let’s do it properly.

                    • Bill

                      Your idea isn’t controversial. The bit your missing is that authoritarianism (fascism as far as this exchange is concerned) lies in the act of following. And as far as that’s true, the seeds of fascism already exist in liberal democracy where we’re habituated to the idea of following. All that’s required then, is some particular set of circumstances for fascism to flourish.

                      In terms of Syria (and this feeds somewhat into the stuff Sabine was saying) it’s then incidental whether support is lent to something characterised as authoritarian or not.

                      What matters is that support is being lent; that people representing grand ideas are being followed. That gifts the “high priests” of whatever political ideology the power and ability to extend their power and to bomb, maim and create general misery to achieve that end.

                      Some Stalinist supporting the Syrian government is not in a position that’s any different to some granny McTavish supporting western governments, or to some East London kid supporting whatever Army of God.

                      It’s all the same unless a position of exceptionalism is mounted for “our team” – which is kinda what everyone who supports a, b or c tends to do. And so the hellish mess roils on.

    • francesca 4.2

      Why don’t you submit a post separately from Open Mike
      A lot of readers just aren’t interested and the subject seems to attract a lot of trollish ad hominem responses.
      Those who aren’t interested would be spared the inconvenience of wading through a lot of inflammatory retorts
      I myself don’t agree with you but am willing to enter into debate without rancour
      I don’t blame people for resenting the ugliness that appears on these threads, from all sides

      • Brigid 4.2.1

        Why don’t you submit a post separately from Open Mike”

        Yes please do Jenny

      • weka 4.2.2

        I’ll be moderating pretty tightly, but I think people got the message yesterday that the abuse and personalised attacks have to stop. Jenny has the same rights to post in OM as anyone else, so long as she doesn’t spam the site, and keeps within the rules herself.

        If on the other hand you are wanting these comments generally to happen outside of OM, check out Antoine’s suggestion below. I’d welcome feedback on that.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Perhaps a ‘NZ politics and current affairs’ OM, and another for everything else?

          • weka

            it’s definitely the Syria, and US/Russia conversations that are the problem though, so I wouldn’t want to put NZ pol in with that.

            • Bill

              Are the conversations themselves the problem, or is it how people are engaging?

              Open Mike is for people to discuss whatever interests them. It’s never going to be the case that every thread of conversation is to everyone’s liking (not their cuppa).

              The reason no posts have gone up about Syria (just speaking for myself here, but besides CV, I’m not really aware of who else was putting up Syria posts), is that engagement as thoughtless personal abuse, always coming from the same predictable quarters, alongside the same old debunked lines getting recycled ad nauseam was just too much of an arse to be bothered with.

              • Antoine


                It’s all very well for you to criticise other commenters. But what you are missing, is that the problem this site has with Syria discussions, is in large part your fault.

                You lose your rag, abuse people and (if it’s your thread) hand out bans.

                Even today, the day after the Open Mike splurgle, here you are launching into PM with “Or is it just one of those lazy pieces of bullshit you like to throw at people who’s politics you don’t like, understand, or oppose?”


                [three day ban. Don’t attack authors. – weka]

                • weka

                  As people should now be able to see, I’m taking a zero tolerance position on attacking authors. I’ve been talking about this issue for some time, including that having authors willing to write here is a priority for the site (that’s not just my thing btw, it’s a concern of all the authors). It looks like some people still aren’t listening to that, so expect some of those bans to not have personalised warnings.

                  To be very blunt, authors are way more important than commenters (for what should be bloody obvious reasons).

                  If you want to talk about moderation or an author, you need to learn to do so in respectful, no inflammatory ways. If you are unsure, ask. If you are still unsure, then just don’t say anything, or take your risk.


                  • red-blooded

                    Weka, I accept that authors are important to the health and ongoing vitality of the site. No argument. However, they’re not flawless and they do sometimes need to have inconsistencies or unfairnesses pointed out. When an author who often makes personal attacks complains about personal abuse, what would you see as a reasonable response?

                    [deleted]It’s possible to respond to disagreement without being abusive, but the shoot first, take no prisoners approach can set up an aggressive dynamic that isn’t helpful and doesn’t promote a genuine exchange of views.

                    • weka

                      I suggest you try running that argument past Lynn and see how you get on. I also suggest you spend some time looking at historical moderations done by Lynn and then try telling him that he needs to reflect on his personal style. I learned this as a commenter. There are ways to talk about moderation e.g. ask questions, but as soon as you start telling the authors what to do like you have just done, then there is a problem.

                      Read the Policy. Commenters don’t get to tell authors how to run the site.

                      You may think that authors need to have unfairness pointed out but you are still missing some fundamentals. One is don’t attack authors. Even naming an author like you just have is hard to see as anything other than having another go at them based on your own views. It is still in breach of the Policy as far as I am concerned, particularly because you have been banned for this in the past in a situation where an author was being attacked on a number fronts. You could have asked some questions about moderation without naming an author so I’m basically going wtf? at this point.

                      As I have said, I don’t care what problems someone has with an author, if they can’t respect these boundaries then they are going to cop a ban.

                      Instead of banning you I’m going to edit your post, but please take this as a warning. Stop having a go at authors. If you don’t like any commenters style, then don’t engage with them and talk to other people instead. Respect moderation and the authors is the best way to get an improvement on TS.

                    • weka

                      I’m just going to say again, that while moderators try to be evenhanded, ‘fairness’ isn’t the top priority and the sooner the commenters get this the better. Moderation is often about limiting the amount of time an author has to spend moderating. I learnt that from Lynn btw.

                    • red-blooded

                      So how about replying to the question, then? What would you see as a reasonable response? It’s a genuine question and I think it’s a genuine issue for this site.

                      Just saying “avoid that author” doesn’t work when any author can moderate any discussion and start dropping personal attack into their comments, and that is the dynamic that was being discussed here.

                    • weka

                      Right, so instead of acknowledging the moderation and explanations, you’re now demanding an answer and more time from me.

                      here it is again. Walk away. If you don’t have the wherewithal to engage with any commenter in a way you are ok with, then don’t. .

                      It’s nothing to do with authors, it’s about how you are engaging here. I saw it in the comments that led to your ban and I am seeing it here now.

                      TS isn’t fair in the way you want it to be. The robust debate ethic takes priority over fairness. But it is possible to be here if one learns the boundaries. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past 2 days explaining that and you are still not listening.

                      Fwiw, I think you would make a great author here. But instead of us talking about that, or doing something proactive about improving the site in ways that are real, here we are rehashing the same old bullshit.

                      For the last time. Don’t attack authors. Don’t tell us how to run the site. Don’t wast moderator time. Until you get that and abide by it, you don’t get to comment on how things here can be better by the site being run differently. By all means talk about how commenters can improve the place, that would impress me.

                      At the moment you are part of the problem. I really hope you turn this around for yourself, because I think you bring a lot to the site, but this is just getting ridiculous now and I’ve pretty much reached my limit.

                  • mauī

                    “TS isn’t fair in the way you want it to be. The robust debate ethic takes priority over fairness. But it is possible to be here if one learns the boundaries. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past 2 days explaining that and you are still not listening.”

                    Hi weka, I’ve just copied and pasted part of what you said to red-blooded above that was important to me. Thanks for explaining the aim of moderation, I have probably been one who hasn’t got the jist of moderation for a while.

                    Perhaps, if I’m understanding correctly if moderation is firstly seen as a way of stopping or cleaning up debate that has gone off the rails. Any bans coming from that shouldn’t be seen in the light of a bias for or against certain people, but instead primarily as a way to put a stop to bad behaviour asap.

                    It has been very helpful to me anyway that you’ve outlined what the moderators are trying to do and where you are coming from.

                    I would like to talk a bit more around the “bias” issue of moderation that doesn’t sit quite right with me, but I’m not sure if it’s safe for me to go there?

                    • weka

                      Thanks mauī

                      Yes, it’s mostly about behaviour where that behaviour is causing problems for the site (which can mean various things).

                      Often there are factors in that that are unapparent to other commenters.

                      A big part of it is the time moderation takes. So often decisions are about limiting the amount of time that needs to be spend on moderating. We’re volunteers here, and time spent moderating is time not writing posts or enjoying the discussion.

                      There also seems to be a misconception that commenters have the same rights here as authors. They don’t.

                      Re talking about bias, I’m personally ok for now if that’s a general conversation about principles e.g. whether moderation should or shouldn’t be bias free. I don’t think you can talk about specifics though, because I don’t trust the commentariat to not make it an attack on authors/moderation. Asking questions is good, telling the site how it should be run is off limits.

                    • mauī

                      I fully understand that moderating probably isn’t fun and the less time wasted on it the better. Probably easy to forget too that the mods are volunteers, will have to remind myself of that I think.

                      The bias thing is probably to do with the fairness thing. If a mod steps in and someone is banned then it can look like they are taking a side and I wonder if that could cause distrust in the commentariat. That’s essentially my concern.

              • weka

                Thanks Bill. Even if it were my area, I wouldn’t be putting up posts about Syria either. For the same reasons. However I see the abuse and bullshit in those conversations as coming from all sides. Some of it is around the politics, but a lot is around the commentariat’s behaviour. So I agree with you that the main problem is how people are engaging. I’m hoping that the tighter moderation will help with that.

                “Open Mike is for people to discuss whatever interests them. It’s never going to be the case that every thread of conversation is to everyone’s liking (not their cuppa).”

                I agree and I can’t for instance see a problem with Jenny having made two comments today. But where a topic dominates OM to the extent it is putting people off, that’s a problem. If the quality of debate improves, maybe it ceases to be a problem.

                But it’s possible for the quality of debate to not improve even with people stopping the more obvious abuse stuff, in which case the problem is just one of quantity. I’m thinking more of the US election where it was the sheer volume of comments that became a problem and so we temporarily provide another space for those conversations so that OM could be a good place for people not interested in them.

                Am happy enough to see if it settles down for now though. It would probably help if we had more posts going up (on other topics).

                • Bill

                  The bullshit and nonsense comes from all sides. I didn’t mean to suggest it was limited.

                  And yes. More posts. I’ve been quiet, but then (too often) I come to the site and see…well, stuff like I saw yesterday. And it’s fucking disheartening.

                  • weka

                    Totally. I’m feeling like that too, like what is the point. I’ve stopped trying to find new authors in the meantime. I can see it would be even harder for you because the topics you tend to write on are more likely to get this whole polarised, aggravated shit going on. I still tend to not write on the topics that I know will be more work for me in the comments 🙁

    • Bill 4.3

      The headline is rather (how to say?) eyecatching.

      But the article itself doesn’t bear out the claim made in the headline. The closest we get to “children’s trauma is a laughing matter” is the claim of “70 people laughing at a premature baby caught up in a deadly airstrike and the traumatized medical staff rescuing him.”

      But then, there was no premature baby (there was the corpse of a baby). There was no air strike. There are no medical staff rescuing him.

      You might disagree with that. But that would most definitely be what Vanessa Beeley was presenting as reality in the face of, what she claims to be ghoulish propaganda.

      So to claim there were 70 people laughing at a premature baby caught up in a deadly airstrike and the traumatized medical staff rescuing him. is bullshit no matter how you want to cut it.

      And yes, I’ve seen that footage of the dead baby being taken from the incubator and presented as alive. It’s sickening.

      I disagree with Beeley’s broader politics, but there’s no questioning her motivation and heart when it comes to her Syria reporting. Time and again, despite not inconsiderable effort being put into discrediting and silencing Beeley, Bartlett and others, they have been shown to be correct time after time.

      It took a while, but some mainstream journalists like Fisk and Cockburn got to publishing actual journalistic pieces in mainstream outlets (some of Fisk’s reports were from within Syria) among all the stenography of government propaganda that passes itself off as journalism across the liberal interventionist media of “ours”.

      • Psycho Milt 4.3.1

        The closest we get to “children’s trauma is a laughing matter” is the claim of “70 people laughing at a premature baby caught up in a deadly airstrike and the traumatized medical staff rescuing him.”

        But then, there was no premature baby (there was the corpse of a baby). There was no air strike. There are no medical staff rescuing him.

        Might well be so. That doesn’t make these arseholes any different from the ones on Whaleoil deriding “Pallywood” propaganda every time the Palestinians fake video of Israeli atrocities. The fact it’s a fake doesn’t make them less of an arsehole for their derision of the people suffering the attacks.

        • Bill

          We have no idea what occasioned the laughter or what form the laughter took. Was it belly laughing? Was it dark and painful? Did it even happen?

          All we know with any certainty (at least those who have paid any attention to Beeley), is that what was written in that article on the laughter front is bullshit.

          The claims of derision and what not is baseless speculation on your part.

          edit – the vid will be available at some apparently.

    • Brigid 4.4

      “Self styled “independent journalist””

      Of course she is a self styled independent journalist. She IS an independent journalist.

      Perhaps you could read her accounts of the situation in Syria that she has made while in Syria.

      I just wonder why you accept the report from Orient-News. Who are they? Have they any journalists in Syria?

  5. Jenny 5

    Muhammad Najeem, the Ahed Tamimi of Eastern Ghouta

    • weka 5.1

      Jenny, you need to put some of your own content in comments or at least cut and paste something from the link that shows what your point is.

      • Jenny 5.1.1

        Kia ora weka. Criticism taken. To expand on the point I was trying to make; It is my honest opinion that Muhammad Najeem is similar to Ahed Tamimi, in that Muhammad, like Ahed, both use the internet and social media, to hold a mirror up to show to the world the naked face of the entity that is killing his friends and family and intent on reasserting it’s brutal rule over his community and suburb.

        From July 2010, (the year that I was there), Nadim Houry describes the same repressive pressure cooker police state society that I personally saw and have tried to describe.

        As Human Rights Watch’s researcher for Syria, I have interviewed many of the Syrians who in good faith and sincere hope for their country’s future took up the mantle of criticism and democratisation, and were arrested as a consequence. They include a former member of parliament who Syria’s rulers decided was too “independent”; human rights lawyers who denounced rampant torture by the country’s notorious security services; bloggers who criticised everyday corruption; and Kurdish activists who demanded official recognition of their language. (Assad’s human rights record is reviewed in a new Human Rights report here.)

        Nadim Houry is Human Rights Watch’s senior researcher for Syria and Lebanon, and director of the Beirut office. Previously, he has worked as deputy counsel for the UN investigation into the UN Oil-for-Food Programme (the Volcker Commission) and as a lawyer at Shearman & Sterling.

        I will endeavor to be more in depth in future.

    • Bill 5.2

      You sure that wouldn’t be the Bana of Eastern Ghouta?

      Y’know, the seven year old girl who was exploited to the max by her Jihadist parents during the occupation of Eastern Aleppo (and afterwards), whose every word and pronouncement our glorious mainstream media swallowed and regurgitated with not the merest hint of inquiry or doubt being allowed to enter into the picture?

      You remember her, surely?!

      Why Ahed Tamimi and not that most obvious of comparisons?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1

        So many crisis actors everywhere.

        [As per Andre, with the exception you’ve been warned time and again. Banned for 16 days] – Bill

      • Sabine 5.2.2

        so is then everything she said wrong? I never followed the girl, i don’t follow anyone for that matter, but really what i would like to know is simple. Is what she said wrong, or is it right, but does not mesh with whom you are currently supportive of?

        Are russian bombs more benevolent the n US bombs?
        Is being killed by turkish forces more rightous then being killed by Assads forces.

        And above all, would any of the armchair warriors, or those that subscribe to the 101st keyboard brigade have actually any idea what really is going other then utter destruction of property and live by all sides?

        Or has Syria, much like Iraq in 2003 just simply become a pissing match between people who have actually no idea of anything, but want to be right!!!! And atm Russia good, but US bad – while as the past has shown on more then one occasion neither Russia – the government and ruling class – nor the US – again government and ruling class – give a flying fuck about Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Jemenis, Afghanis, Palestinians or even their own Citizens? Where will that leave us? We have to take sides, and are not allowed to point out that blimey, but really, the Syrians might really not care at all which foreign force is doing the killing, just get the fuck out and let us be?

        • Brigid

          Syria does have and has had since the 1970s an alliance with Russia though. All Russian forces in Syria have been invited by the Syrian Government.
          The US forces and NATO,UK,Saudi US funded terrorists? Not so much

          • Sabine

            . And again, i ask, do the dead care if it was a russian bomb or a us bomb that blew them to smithereens?

            Do the limbless care that it was a russian bomb that took their legs, or a US bomb?

            Does the mother care who killed her child? Does the father care ? Do the Grandparents care while trying to find their dead in the rubble?

            At the end would we care if it were us?

          • Stuart Munro

            And how legitimate is a Syrian government that is a hereditary military dictatorship? People don’t find it hard to work out in the case of North Korea.

            • Bill

              Syrian governance isn’t predicated on the notion of there being a hereditary military dictatorship. So there you go. (Illegitimate) question answered.

              • Stuart Munro

                Right – so Assad’s dad wasn’t a military dictator and his dad wasn’t either – good to know.

                “In schools, children were taught to sing songs of adulation about Hafez al-Assad. Teachers began each lesson with the song “Our eternal leader, Hafez al-Assad”.

                Now, where have we seen that before Bill?

                • Bill

                  There have been democratic elections in Syria.

                  Assad’s grandfather wasn’t president of Syria. Here’s a link to Syrian Presidents. if you look at it really closely, you’ll see that even under Baathist one party rule (there are now multi-party elections) there are five Presidents with different surnames.

                  edit – God save the Queen 🙄

                  • Stuart Munro

                    The Gulf Cooperation Council, the European Union and the United States dismissed the election as illegitimate. Attempts to hold an election under the circumstances of an ongoing civil war were criticized by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, and it was widely reported that the elections lacked independent election monitoring.

                    • Bill

                      You mean the very institutions and groupings that are seeking to overthrow the government of Syria dismissed the government elections as illegitimate?! Well, well, well.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Oh I don’t think the EU can be just fitted into that argument Bill – you’ll have to do better than that.

                      But I don’t imagine you will.

                    • Bill

                      There are no crippling EU sanctions being applied to Syria Stuart?

                      What makes you think the EU doesn’t want the Syrian government replaced? What effect do you imagine sanctions are meant to have?

                    • Stuart Munro

                      “the EU doesn’t want the Syrian government replaced”

                      Well of course the EU wants the Syrian government replaced – it’s a hereditary military dictatorship. Any reasonably progressive group wants it replaced.

                      The EU changes the character of the endorsement however – the US has been known to subordinate humanitarian policy to imperial policy – as Russia does. And often they can take the UN with them – especially when more progressive nations have round-heeled and backward regimes like Key’s. The EU neither has particularly expansionist foreign policy nor is it reliably a US poodle.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    “God save the Queen” – in a monarchy yes – lifetime rule for a president? Only if they’re a sham like Park, Putin, or Assad.

                    • Bill

                      The reference to God save the Queen was merely in response to you being apparently aghast at school kids being encouraged to nurture or exhibit a sense of adulation.

                      I could have picked up on US school children “saluting” the flag every morning. Same thing. Adulation.

                      Monarchy, presidency, a flag….it’s all the same.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      No it’s not.

                      “Eternal leadership” is at odds with pretending to any kind of democracy. The Poms have a workaround by running their monarch in parallel to the current government. But the Assads are more dynastic, like the Kims.

            • Brigid

              How legitimate is the Syrian government? Ask these observers.

        • Bill

          The tweets purporting to come from seven year old Bana were in fact written by her Jihadist mother (Bana, unlike her mother, speaks very, very little English), contained very adult concepts and invariably reflected the regime change narrative of western governments.

          But it was good propaganda to have all this stuff seeming to come from a seven year old girl.

          There have been questions asked as to whether the tweets could even have been coming from East Aleppo given cell phone and net coverage issues. All I know for sure is that Bana’s family showed up in Turkey straight after the recapture of Eastern Aleppo having a private audience/photo op with Erdogan.

          • Sabine

            as i said, i don’t follow this. I have long given up trying to find reason in war, no matter who drops the bombs.

            What i do know is that neither you nor i live there, and that the women writing the tweets has more rights to an opinion then you do. She is living there, she has seen her country be blown to rubble, her live upended to never return, friends die. This is something that you can’t just ‘brush’ aside as propaganda – btw, propaganda that you don’t support 🙂 – that is her reality, even if you don’t support her politics.

            I don’t support either side, i want all sides to get the fuck out and go home. That includes the Russians, the Turks, the US, and any other band of merry mercenary that is there to make a killing.

            We- and yes, WE die (cause they would do the same to us if they find enough reason in it) and the weapon manufacturers laugh all the way to the bank, while people discuss whose bombs are more righteous.

            • Bill

              The woman had and has the right to say whatever she wants.

              The right to exploit a seven year old child in order that what she says gets carried in lead news stories in the west? Not so much.

              And as is the case with anyone saying anything, it’s helpful to know who they are and where they’re coming from. Stuff isn’t neutral.

              So a woman who’s just a citizen in a war zone saying stuff is very different to a Jihadist saying stuff where they are directly responsible for the war.

              And a Jihadist saying stuff but passing themselves off as just a citizen ought to be “called out”. Using a seven year old girl into the bargain just compounds the deceit.

              (And yes, it’s fairly well established that Bana’s parents were jihadists engaged in combat)

              edit – I agree wholeheartedly that all groups “messing” in peoples’ lives (whether government approved/sanctioned or not) should fuck off and disappear, never to be seen again.

            • Brigid

              “i want all sides to get the fuck out and go home.” Really

              And what do you think Syrians want?

              • Sabine

                I don’t know. I don’t pretend to know what they think, but i would assume that they are tired of the destruction of their country and that if they could vote they would want anyone who comes with bombs, death and destruction and excuses for bombs death and destruction to fuck off.
                But again, i don’t know what they want, i am not a syrian.

                • Brigid

                  “if they could vote”
                  They did vote. In 2014. A 80something% turnout. 77% voted for the present government and President.
                  Mind, this was 2 years into the war so I guess they chose the party and leader they felt most capable of ridding the country of the mercenary headchoppers.

                  I don’t know every Syrian in Syria, but those I do know most certainly want all ‘who comes with bombs, death and destruction and excuses for bombs death and destruction to fuck off.’

                  • Sabine

                    if you do know that, than i don’t know what your comment to me was about.

                    Again, i don’t have a side in this, i am not affected by this – other then being a human who is very much against the dropping of bombs in order to win a pissing match.

                    And i consider the bullshit between Russia and the US nothing more a pissing match at the very least and at the very worst a positioning for geopolitical influence in which the locals are the ones offered up for slaughtered in order to win a suburb, a neighborhood, or as it was said a long time ago, nothing new on the western front.

            • francesca

              Wouldn’t we all Sabine.
              Not only that but for all the foreign backers of various groups to shut their wallets and their arms transfers
              For all the uninvited powers licking their lips at the prospect of the spoils of war to be divvied up ,to fuck off and once and for all leave the MENA alone.
              And while we’re at it , arms dealing made illegal
              Shut down the arms trade and we might see a bit of traction.
              Meanwhile, whats the Syrian govt to do?
              Roll over and let , for instance the Saudi funded militants in East Ghouta keep on firing hell cannons and mortars in to schools and residential areas in Damascus?
              How about leaning on the Saudis to lean on their protogees in E Ghouta to stop firing on humanitarian corridors created to allow civilians to get the hell out?

      • Jenny 5.2.3

        You sure that wouldn’t be the Bana of Eastern Ghouta?…..

        ……Why Ahed Tamimi and not that most obvious of comparisons?


        Kia ora Bill. You are not the first to raise that comparison.

        And I agree, it is apt one.

        Najem is not the first to take to Twitter to call attention to the plight of civilians in Syria. In the fall of 2016, Bana al-Abed, then 7 years old, attracted thousands of followers when she began tweeting with the help of her mother about her life in Aleppo, where her family struggled to survive during the siege.

        But she faced intense criticism, even after many of her photos and videos were verified and her story corroborated by other residents. Some doubted she was in Aleppo at all, others suggested she was being used as a propaganda tool to push the rebel agenda. At the time, Aleppo was sealed off to Western journalists and there was no way to verify the details of her story. Still, her mother Fatemah defended her decision to open the account. “We decided to go to Twitter because of direct access to the world,” she told the New York Times in October, saying that she wanted to raise awareness about their hardships in Syria.

        In answer to your question:

        I could have referred to Bana al-Abed, then 7 years old case, and thank you Bill for bringing it up.

        It is just that Ahed Tamimi’s experience and example seemed to me, to most resemble fellow teenager, Muhammad Najeem’s.

        • Ad

          Post an actual argument Jenny.

          Set out a position.

          • Macro

            I think Jenny’s position is quite clear Ad from the first comment she made on Open Mike yesterday where she posted an open letter to the Russian Consulate in Auckland calling for a Russia to actively support a humanitarian ceasefire.

            I have to say I agree with her stance

            There are many here who, for what ever reason I cannot fathom, do not.

            • francesca

              The ceasefire does not cover ISIS, Al Queda, ALNusra or affiliated groups. The Saudi sponsored Army of Islam and the Qatari sponsored Failak al Rahman share the territory with those forementioned terrorist designated groups
              Its that problem of “separation” again
              So Russia is called upon to rein in the Iranians and Syrians, but are the Sauds and Qataris being called upon to rein in their protogees?
              So far I have not heard of such a thing.
              For the ceasefire to work , ALL parties signed up to it must comply, not just one side.

              • Macro

                The main armed groups in eastern Ghouta sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday saying they were ready to abide by the cease-fire and guarantee protection for aid convoys to their areas.

                Representatives of Jaish al-Islam, Failaq al-Rahman and Ahrar al-Sham also agreed to expel, within 15 days of the truce going into effect, elements of banned groups Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the Nusra Front and al-Qaida who have taken refuge in eastern Ghouta.

                Of course they will not cease fighting until the bombing and bombardment from Russian backed forces also stops. It takes time for a ceasefire to work – the 5 hour stoppage (in contravention to the pledge the agreed to in the Security council) is little more than a cynical “lolly”.

                • francesca

                  Good old Voice of America eh?
                  And so the Qataris and Saudis and Turks in the case of Ahrar al Sham have been told to leverage their protogees to comply?
                  Which was my point.
                  And I say good luck to them in their turf wars with al Queda , Al Nusra,and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
                  Nice guys ,all of them , salafists and sharia law fanatics
                  I’m SURE they’ll abide peacefully
                  and their promise to expel those banned groups is little more than a buying time device, as it was in Aleppo

                  • Macro

                    Yes I’m sure RT is far more authoritative.
                    But AFAIK the UN has not denied the report of the letter.
                    13.1M People in need of humanitarian assistance
                    5.6M People who fled the country
                    6.1M People internally displaced by violence

                    • adam

                      What a lame line – oh you watch RT. Why don’t you just use the other attack lines against people – Russophile, Putain supporter or what your new one – that right, alt right. It would be at least a bit more honest.

                      But lets address RT, it has an editorial approach which is simple to understand, and then decode – it’s Pro-Russia. Bit like the BBC, with its pro British establishment stance. Sorted, watch RT know your getting Russian propaganda. However and I think you comment is a bit off becasue francesca raised concerns about head choppers and other groups of far right fundamentalist persuasion.

                      Coupled with the problem of their continued support by foreign governments. Instead you run with the line Russia did it. It’s a civil war – DID YOU MISS THAT. It’s messy as all hell, by its very nature. To yell and scream one side is bad guys just does not help. Try looking at the bigger picture rather than thinking the propaganda your spewing on here, is somehow better than anyone else’s.

                      For the record just in case you forgot – the only people I support in all this mess in the Kurds, and they are being attacked by the Turkish government and far right fundamentalist as we speak.

                      17 Kurds were killed by Turkish air force dropping bombs yesterday. No ceasefire there.


                    • One Two

                      Where is the RT reference, Macro?

                      Or is that a deliberate tactic to minimize, while appealing to ‘your authority’…

                      You appear to be in denial about how those stats you’ve quoted, climbed as high as they have…

                      Taking sides is an amateur move…

                    • Macro

                      @ Adam and 12
                      francesca wanted to deny the report by diminishing it, implying that anything from Voice of America could not be taken seriously.
                      Nowhere has the UN denied the word of their spokes person Jan Egeland, the Special Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria.
                      Russia and Syria are promoting delaying tactics to implementing a ceasefire, in a fight where millions of people are in a humanitarian crisis – even thought Russia has agreed to the UN resolution of a ceasefire.
                      In fact the ceasefire resolution does address the groups francesca mentioned. The main offenders during the 5 hour ceasefire were not from those groups, but bombing and chlorine gas attacks by Syrian forces.
                      This is a conflict that has been ongoing for 8 years now. It will not be settled by fighting, and to continually ignore the plight of noncombatants is an indictment on all of us.
                      Adam – whataboutism is not a logical argument, and this fact has been pointed out to you before.
                      12 – if you doubt the validity of the statistics – I suggest you take that up with the UN.

                    • One Two []

                      Macro, are you doing it deliberately or is that your level?…

                      Delaying tactics from Russia, gas attacks by the Syrian forces…

                      I did not question the report, I questioned your bias which is farcical…really it is…

                      You appear to be in denial about how those stats you’ve quoted, climbed as high as they have…

                      Bold so you can see the words…

                      American Saudi and Israeli funded and armed ‘moderate rebels’

                      Why do you keep ignoring that mainstream fact?…

                    • Macro

                      I’m not the one showing bias 12.
                      The figures I quote are taken directly from the UN. If you have a problem with that then as I suggested above – take it up with them.
                      I suggest you take a few minutes to actually read the most recent report on the crisis as described by the UN.
                      Here is some of that report here:

                      About the Crisis
                      As the Syria crisis enters its seventh year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life. 13.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including close to 3 million people in need trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, where they are exposed to grave protection threats.

                      Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times. Children and youth comprise more than half of the displaced, as well as half of those in need of humanitarian assistance. Parties to the conflict act with impunity, committing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

                      Among conflict-affected communities, life-threatening needs continue to grow. Neighbouring countries have restricted the admission of people fleeing Syria, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded in deplorable conditions on their borders. In some cases, these populations are beyond the reach of humanitarian actors.

                      my bold so you can see the statistic that has been quoted.

                      For more read the above link.

                      To see the figures I quoted above to franseca wrt to number leaving the country and internally displaced you need to follow that link that I posted there. Those too are figures given by the UN wrt Syria.

                    • One Two []

                      It is deliberate…you’ve confirmed that…as if it wasn’t already obvious…

                      Your comprehension simply can’t be that poor…copying/mirroring my approach…you’re not a child…

                      Do you understand that figures inside the UN report (accurate or not) have been contributed to by uninvited and illegal foreign invaders?…

                      Do you understand that innocents have been killed maimed displaced by uninvited and illegal foreign invaders?…

                      Does your chronic and farcical bias allow to you accept that blatant ‘truth’…

                      Certainty does not appear so…

                    • Macro


                      Do you understand that figures inside the UN report (accurate or not) have been contributed to by uninvited and illegal foreign invaders?…

                      So the UN is an uninvited invader?

                      The OCHA Syria Country Office works with other OCHA offices responding to the crisis inside Syria in Jordan and Turkey to support the development, implementation and monitoring of the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) and Response Plan (HRP). These provide an overarching framework for the humanitarian response inside Syria from Damascus or across the Turkish and Jordanian borders, helping to prioritize resources for the most affected areas and people in need, increase access and response capacity and advocating for increased protection through more joined up responses across the three hubs (Syria, Jordan, Turkey).

                      The OCHA Syria Country Office operates from Damascus with sub-offices in UN hubs in Aleppo, Homs, Tartous and Quamishli.

                      You can find out more about the UN’s humanitarian response to Syria here:
                      I think they know a little more about the situation in Syria than you do.

                      Do you understand that innocents have been killed maimed displaced by uninvited and illegal foreign invaders?…

                      You do understand that the Assad regime is not innocent in the murder of it’s civilians?
                      The UN resolution para 7

                      “7. Reiterates its demand, reminding in particular the Syrian authorities, that all parties immediately comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, as applicable, and international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians as well as to ensure the respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, and to fully and immediately implement all provisions of all relevant Security Council resolutions;

                      Does your chronic and farcical bias allow to you accept that blatant ‘truth’…

                      I think you should be looking in the mirror when you say that. When you deny the resolutions of the 15 member states of the UN security council – including Russia and China. You deny the very people on the ground in Syria who beg for this cease fire. And in doing so you deny humanity.

                    • One Two []

                      So the UN is an uninvited invader

                      WOW…That’s where you’re at now…such a steep decline…

                      Point to where I’m talking about the UN, Macro..Or Denying the report…

                      US SAUDI ISRAEL funding and arming terrorists

                      Along with others are illegally waging war inside a sovereign nation without permission to be operating inside its boarders…

                      You can’t bring yourself to acknowledge that fact…which is why you’re acting the dolt by deflecting and avoiding…

                      As I’ve said…

                      Taking sides is an amateur move, and you’re comments are a farce…

                      Along with your inability to call out anyone not named Assad or Putin…

                      What happens if you call out US SAUDI or ISRAEL..?

                    • Macro

                      I think it’s time for your bed time 12
                      Your comments are becoming more and more irrational and FYI “whataboutism” is not a valid form of argument.
                      I’ve laid out my argument clearly, Citizens of the world look to the UN to be involved and to help resolve matters of conflict and aid in areas of humanitarian crisis.
                      I’ve said my piece – mainly as an means of conveying information to the rest of the Standard community because I realise that any attempt at sensible discussion where you are involved is useless. Should you reply to this comment – don’t expect me to respond as I’m fed up with trying to reason to a closed mind.

                    • One Two []

                      You’re claiming to be avoiding ‘whataboutism’ as an excuse for your naked bias, Macro…

                      You ‘think’ I’m using ‘whataboutism’…nah …there’s something more going on with you here…

                      My questions and requests have been unabiguous, so you have no excuse…

                      I’ll speculate that you’ve possibly been brainwashed by the ‘jobs’ you’ve stated as having…

                      Your ‘career’ in the public service is a disservice to NZ and humanity in general, if using your tactics and comments as evidence…

                      As a human being who is free from bias and CAN call out all sides as being responsible**…

                      I find your naked bias and those who share your ethos to be as culpable as those dropping the bombs…

                      Closed minds choose sides, macro…you’ve chosen sides…shamelessly…

            • Bill

              As far as I’m aware, that ceasefire doesn’t have a start date. Most in the UN security council (I have no idea where China stood) originally wanted an immediate 30 day ceasefire. Russia vetoed because of that word “immediate’. In the end a 30 day ceasefire was agreed, but the date from when it should commence wasn’t fixed.

              Meanwhile, opening up corridors for five hours a day isn’t a nothing. It’s certainly far more than was ever on offer for people similarly trapped in Mosul and (though constantly monkey-wrenched by the city’s occupying terrorists) worked for some residents of Aleppo.

              And it’s certainly much, much more than anything Turkey is doing.

              • Macro

                Security Council Demands 30-day Cessation of Hostilities in Syria to Enable Humanitarian Aid Delivery, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2401 (2018)
                The Security Council, acting unanimously today, adopted a resolution demanding parties to Syria’s seven-year-long conflict to cease hostilities without delay for at least 30 consecutive days, ensuring a “durable humanitarian pause” to enable weekly humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded.

                By the terms of resolution 2401 (2018), the 15-member Council demanded that, immediately after the start of the cessation of hostilities, all parties would allow safe, unimpeded and sustained access each week for the humanitarian convoys of the United Nations and their implementing partners to all requested areas and populations — particularly the 5.6 million people in 1,244 communities in acute need and the 2.9 million in hard-to-reach and besieged locations, subject to standard United Nations security assessments. It also demanded that the United Nations and its partners be allowed to carry out safe, unconditional medical evacuations, based on medical need and urgency.

                • Macro

                  Bill – it takes hours for a cease fire to be implemented. There has already been an attempt to institute a 5 hour cease-fire which saw continued if lesser firing and thus no possible chance for delivering humanitarian aid. According to the aid agencies currently waiting to deliver aid they need far more time than 5 hours for their convoys to get in and out safely certainly no time to evacuate the seriously wounded, etc.

                  as for China’s position:

                  MA ZHAOXU (China), condemning all acts of violence targeting civilians and civilian objects, welcomed the resolution’s unanimous adoption. The text contained several important elements including respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the protection of civilians and ensuring delivery of humanitarian aid. Noting that China had played a constructive role in building the consensus, he said the text reflected the broadest possible consensus among Council members.

                • Bill

                  It would be useful to read (and quote from) the resolution attached to the press release instead of just quoting from the press release.

                  • Macro

                    Ok the resolution is at the end of the link I gave above It’s a long worded document and I didn’t want to quote it in full preferring to use the preamble in the UN press release – which actually simple repeats in part the call for a ceasefire without delay.
                    Here is the first paragraph of the Resolution as agreed by the UN (there are a large number of humanitarian reasons listed as to why this ceasefire has been called and they precede the resolution):

                    “1. Demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay, and engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation of this demand by all parties, for a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria, to enable the safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded, in accordance with applicable international law;

                    • Bill

                      “Without delay” is an elastic term with regards time and preparation Macro. I think you’re missing that point.

                      If you read through the resolution, and beginning with the words following immediately after the words “without delay”, there are a number of demands that suggest rather open ended time scales and processes.

                      And (I guess) that why Russia, rightly or wrongly and for cynical or genuine reasons, vetoed the initial 72 hour time scale for the cessation of hostilities.

                    • Macro

                      Yes I can see that “without delay” could be interpreted in that way – however the next phrase does suggest immediacy – “and engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation of this demand by all parties”. So instead of saying “ok! you have 72 hours to arrange the ceasefire” the resolution now says “Right you are to start immediately to arrange a ceasefire” I don’t think really that leaves a lot of wriggle room.
                      The sad fact is that despite this resolution Russia and Syria choose to ignore it.

                    • Bill

                      Turkey’s certainly ignoring it.

                      Whether Russia and Syria are would have to be open to question seeing as how Russia could simply have vetoed it.

                      Were some actors, cynically or genuinely seeking a ceasefire off the back of a very quick implementation period? Were some actors, cynically or genuinely seeking a ceasefire off the back of a slower implementation period?

                      Perhaps there’s cynicism all round? Whatever, I doubt if there’s all round genuine intentions.

                    • Macro

                      From a humanitarian point of view bill there certainly are people who are desperate for a ceasefire the aid agencies in support of the UN OCHA have truck convoys lined up ready to go whenever they get the clearance from the Syrian authorities.
                      see here:


                      Thank you, Mr. President
                      We have received a lot of questions about resolution 2401, which you passed on
                      Saturday, and its demand for a cessation of hostilities, without delay, for at least 30
                      consecutive days throughout Syria.
                      I want to start today by answering the questions we have received.
                      – Is the United Nations ready to deliver to people who need humanitarian
                      Yes. We have convoys ready to go to ten besieged and hard-to-reach locations. They
                      include a 45-truck convoy with aid for 90,000 people to Douma in eastern Ghouta.
                      – Are you ready to support medical evacuations from eastern Ghouta?
                      Yes. We are working very closely with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the
                      Syrian Arab Red Crescent and other health partners on that.
                      – Has Security Council resolution 2401 been implemented? Is there a ceasefire in
                      No. And no.

                      I personally don’t see anything cynical in this desire to give aid to those innocent people who are suffering in this conflict.

    • Brigid 5.3

      Bana al abed 2.0?

  6. Antoine 6

    Radical suggestion here, what The Standard could do with is a daily Foreign Affairs thread.

    Then Open Mike could be renamed to ‘Open Mike So Long As You Don’t Want To Talk About Putin Or Syria Or Both”.


    • weka 6.1

      Cheers A. I have been thinking the same thing e.g. like what we did for the US election. Tricky for a couple of reasons. Do all international comments go there? Where’s the line? That’s not an insurmountable problem, but needs thought.

      It also presents some moderation issues in that initially at least it would require tight moderation. But doable I think and would probably increase the quality of rebate across the whole site.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.1

        I’d suggest a separation of pro-Russia/Assad and skeptical of Russia/Assad.

        The true believers aren’t about to change their minds. Separate articles once a week should do it – without the argument neither group probably has a lot to say.

        • weka

          No way in hell am I considering putting up posts with content. The only thing I would consider doing is a generic post like we did with the US election.

          And I can guarantee you that if we put up Notices and Features of both of those sides the arguments would continue under both posts.

        • Sabine

          and then you will need a thread for those that are neither for nor against either party but are pro end war and endless bombing.

      • Sacha 6.1.2

        “Do all international comments go there?”

        Yes please.

      • veutoviper 6.1.3

        I am hesitant to raise this as a possible example of how to divide up what currently goes into OM for fear of being hung, drawn and quartered … !!!

        A certain blog based in Dunedin has a set of four daily posts, which actually seem to work quite well:

        (EDIT. Damn – I really should attribute the quotes below to the blog – YourNZ. I read there but don’t comment but as PG is an early riser I find the topic posts he posts each morning a useful guide/shortcut to what the media topics of the morning are. LOL. Thanks PG).

        For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

        Media Watch
        Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

        A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

        A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

        Open Forum
        This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you.

        If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

        Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

        X is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

        If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
        Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

        General Chat
        “Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

        Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

        That breakdown would seem to pretty much cover the various types of subjects that arise on OM. Obviously you would probably want to change the titles and if necessary /desirable Worldwatch could be further broken down. Also would suggest, examples for General Chat could include gardening (serious), and veganism (me stirring).

        Why reinvent the wheel …

        • weka

          He doesn’t have the number of comments we get though so the moderation load is different. I’m not convinced this commentariat would be that good at understanding the different categories and where the best place to post is.

          Also, 4 posts triples the amount of work for one author at a time we are thin on the ground.

          I was more thinking about a temporary post, a few times a week, where those conversations can be directed.

      • Incognito 6.1.4

        For many & various reasons, it can be risky to speak up about anything to do with commenting & moderation here on TS but you welcomed feedback @ 4.2.2 so here goes.

        I don’t think moving certain posts out of OM will lead much to an overall improvement. IMO one the issues is the style & tone of commenters and their (idiosyncratic) ways of debating; they will carry these with them wherever & whenever they go, here on TS, and elsewhere, assuming they don’t hide behind their alias and adopt a separate TS persona just here on and for TS …

        Many commenters here on TS have been around for some time and in some cases this has raised antibodies with others. Antibodies don’t think; they simply react and bind to the target for destruction, the invader or the infection, by the immune system – the immune system in some cases being a larger posse group of commenters or the wider TS community of regular commenters. I’m very tempted to name names, by way of illustration, but I won’t because it is a general issue IMO and the people here are smart enough to realise what I’m referring to.

        Moderating this behaviour, because that’s what it is, is almost a mission impossible IMO. Moderating is sometimes perceived, particularly by but not limited to the ones on the receiving end, as punitive, biased, unfair, etc. Sometimes people rejoice in a ban (of others, obviously) … By and large, moderation feels, to me, like a constant picking up of litter, dousing fires, policing, acting as an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff (or the only mature adult on a pre-school playground).

        On the other hand, moderation also aims to make commenters aware of the effect their comments have on others, the overall debate and the general environment & atmosphere here. The moderators try to educate and appeal to self-moderation and self-correction. This does seem to work in some cases albeit briefly; after a while people slip back into old habits – old habits die hard.

        People have different styles, they have different levels of understanding, different levels of self-awareness, etc., and these differences are not always appreciated and tolerated by others as much as they perhaps could be. Yes, it can be extremely frustrating dealing with some here – my tongue is often a bleeding mess and my jaws ache – but respect and patience for others seems thin on the ground and perhaps we could all adopt a little more of the motto “live and let live”?

        What I see/hear much here on TS is this analogy: people don’t like the music because of the composer and/or the performer; they don’t like the performer because of the instrument or the music; they don’t like the instrument because of music; they dislike the instrument because of music, and a many more variations on a theme; you get the drift. There’s much criticism (or cheering on) but more often than not it ignores, avoids, or is simply blind to the larger picture and the fact that everything is connected.

        Disclaimer of Hypocrisy: I am as ‘bad’ as anyone here of the negative habits & traits mentioned above – I don’t always (!) publically show it as much …

        • weka

          Thanks Incog. I wasn’t actually asking for feedback about moderation (rather the idea of a dedicated post for Russia/US, or Syria discussion like we did for the US election), but I’m fine with people talking about moderation like you just have. There’s no risk in that unless the person does something like attack an author, or wade into a shit fight and criticise moderation while it is active. I know this from before I was an author and I used to talk about moderation a lot, including when Lynn was moderating. My bottom line is respect that the person doing the moderation has the right even where I disagree with them. I can think of one time I overstepped the mark, and I’m guessing my generally respectful approach gave me some leeway from getting a smack down.

          I like the anti-bodies analogy.

          I don’t think the moderation is a mission impossible, because we don’t actually moderate the behaviour you are talking about. Sometimes people get banned because they fail to take notice of a moderation note or they argue back against it disrespectfully. Other times people get a ban because it’s just the best thing to do to both change the dynamic (e.g. a flame war) and limit the drain on moderator time (this is what happened yesterday). I expect that to happen more, because we have two regular authors now saying that what happens in the comments is putting them off writing. That is not good.

          “Moderating is sometimes perceived, particularly by but not limited to the ones on the receiving end, as punitive, biased, unfair, etc.”

          I really wish that people would understand that that is actually the point of moderation. I don’t call it punitive, but Lynn calls it educational. If people won’t self regulate their behaviour then the moderation process gives them a chance to change or they are out. As I said yesterday, fairness isn’t in the top three priorities for me.

          I basically don’t care if people are fucked off with an author, and I don’t care if that anger is justified or not. If they can’t be respectful then I will choose protecting the author. If we don’t have authors there is not site. Commenters are expendable. Yes I am being very blunt here. I do try and protect commenters who I see being a net contribution to the site, e.g. by giving shorter bans, or by intervening before another authors comes along. But ultimately if they cross over a line, they’re just not worth the time and energy.

          Fortunately the readership stats are still good for the site, so hopefully this is just a cyclical thing with the commentariat. I do feel like we could do with some new blood, but I think that is dependent upon us having good posts going up and thus we are back at what is good for the authors and the site.

          “but respect and patience for others seems thin on the ground and perhaps we could all adopt a little more of the motto “live and let live”?”


          • Incognito


            Please let me know whether you would like to draw a line under this here & (for) now or continue receiving feedback. Your call.

            • weka

              I have no problem with people talking respectfully about the community including moderation 🙂 (what I’ve been objecting to is attacks on authors, criticising active moderations etc).

  7. mauī 7

    Feel bad for Ed. Hope this cheers you up a little Ed.

  8. francesca 8

    That article was like some kind of crude hasbara. is solely owned by an expat seriously rich Syrian businessman ,Ghassan Aboud, who has dabbled a lot in PR and export of vehicles…Toyota Hilux pickups amongst them!
    Great in the desert.
    Aboud’s choice of vehicle… is purely focused on Syria and makes no bones about its bias

    The reason I ask Jenny, if she’s serious, to submit an article dedicated to Syria, is so that only those truly interested could participate. It might also cut out the flippant one line artists with very little to contribute

    • Bill 8.1

      I’m basically aware of what is and where it comes from.

      Regardless, I thought I’d invest the few minutes to come up with some reasoned argument in response to Jenny.

      One reason for that is that I hate “cut and paste wars” between people who seem incapable of forming their own opinions, and to who nuance is a filthy foreign concept.

      Also late yesterday, I came across the shat all over mess that was passing for “Open Mike” and Weka’s valiant but belated mop and bucket efforts. Actual argument containing relevant points (whether agreed with or not) can help stop the likes of yesterday’s sad ad hom nonsense in its tracks.

      Jenny submitting a post on Syria would be a welcome departure from her cut paste and dump trolling across every post on Syria from a year back that got her a year long ban.

      I notice there’s only been one “below the belt” or potentially inflammatory comment/remark today. I guess some heads have been pulled in?

      • francesca 8.1.1

        Hope so
        Thanks for all your well written and argued comments

      • Jenny 8.1.2

        The reason I ask Jenny, if she’s serious, to submit an article dedicated to Syria, is so that only those truly interested could participate. It might also cut out the flippant one line artists with very little to contribute


        Jenny submitting a post on Syria would be a welcome departure from her cut paste and dump trolling across every post on Syria from a year back that got her a year long ban.


        I will try and put some time aside to do up a post on Syria for The Standard to post.

        Cheers J.

        P.S. Work full time during the week. And next weekend is fully booked with activities.

        I should find some time in the evenings.

        As the saying goes if you want something done, give it to a busy person.

        If you want some one to do something for you and it needs to be done promptly and well, ask a busy woman to do it. Don’t ask a woman who has plenty of time. She will never get it done. You may be sure she is going to do it, but in the end for some excellent reason she disappoints you.

  9. ropata 9

    Whaleoil has gone really septic against National and is airing their dirty laundry. Some snippets provided if you can’t stand visiting the toxic wasteland…

    Then there is the long-standing campaign by Bill English against my father, out of spite… simply because he dared to speak against Bill and Michelle Boag and the terrible farce their leadership of the party was.

    I will never forget that insult to my family by John Key and Bill English.

    Bill English always gets people to do his dirty work for him. The whispering campaigns in caucus against Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins are two of the nastiest underhanded things he instigated. Against Maurice Williamson for calling for the boil to be lanced after the 2002 debacle that English presided over and against Judith because she is way smarter than Bill. He is not the compassionate man he likes to portray himself as. He is as dirty, if not more dirty, than any other politician you care to mention.

    The attacks on Todd Barclay show that. That was all orchestrated and run out of the leader’s office. Poor Todd Barclay didn’t know what hit him. He was actually a popular MP and doing a good job. But, the old guard wanted him rinsed and so they set about undermining him with false complaints to police, whispering campaigns and the enlistment of former staff of Bill English

    John Key stood in parliament and exclaimed, when in opposition, that Working for Families was communism by stealth. He was right then. However, upon gaining power he set about not unravelling the communism by stealth but, rather, proudly extending it. The sycophants lapped it up. John Key could do no wrong, John Key could walk on water, John Key is the man. You’d think his shit didn’t stink either from the abject sycophancy and cult of personality that surrounded what was ultimately a very vain, conceited and self-centred man.

    For years I have stayed silent about what went on behind the scenes after Dirty Politics. As I remain and those traitorous cowards in National resign I will start telling the truth when they can no longer hide behind parliamentary privilege. There are many stories to tell and many MPs who will shudder in shame at their behaviour.

    Got my popcorn ready, will watch with interest.

    • weka 9.1

      “Bill English always gets people to do his dirty work for him.”

      As always I can never tell is that is a stunning lack of self-awareness, or if he simply doesn’t care because hypocrisy is just another tool in the Dirty Politics tool box.

      “For years I have stayed silent about what went on behind the scenes after Dirty Politics. As I remain and those traitorous cowards in National resign I will start telling the truth when they can no longer hide behind parliamentary privilege. There are many stories to tell and many MPs who will shudder in shame at their behaviour.”

      I have no problem if they eat themselves. It could just be hot air though. Or the threat may be enough to garner him more power on the condition he shuts up.

    • francesca 9.2

      Thats wonderful,comic!
      Wonder if he’s still doing his PR work for Israel
      There’s a great NZ sitcom in the making there
      Dirty Politics it could be called
      Someone should do it

  10. Ms Fargo 10

    The i word…
    Did anyone else think Simon Bridges was incoherent on TV Politics interview at 9.30 today?

  11. eco maori 12

    Here’s a man that knows that minority and minority indigenous cultures are suppressed by the neoliberals western systems he knows that indigenous culture are kind caring cultures he is doing his bit to fix the wrong that have happened in Canada past Ka pai Ka kite ano heres the link Kia kaha

  12. joe90 13

    Crowd funded blood money. What a world they’ve made for themselves.

    Victims' fund that started as GoFundMe effort will pay $275,000 to the families of each of the 58 people killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 3, 2018

  13. Pat 14

    “Many would have assumed that seven years would be long enough to fix every quake-damaged house but that proved optimistic. There are still 2600 cases to go, nearly half of which are re-repairs, and there is a very good chance that further re-repairs will emerge.”

    A timely warning to the rest of the country…..the comments are enlightening

    • greywarshark 14.1

      EQC Christchurch – a bad earthquake, what else could go wrong when we had our own fund to handle this type of disaster?

      This from Pat’s link.

      Former EQC Minister Gerry Brownlee declined to appear on the same programme to talk about how EQC performed under his watch. He did however comment to Stuff that EQC had delivered “exceptional results” and Wevers was “pivotal to the EQC’s remarkable response”.

      I’ll scratch yours, if you scratch mine stuff eh.
      But Dame Annette King has managed to get a very nice photo in a striking dress.
      Good photos are a matter of luck I think.

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    You talking about me?  The neoliberal denigration of the past was nowhere more unrelenting than in its depiction of the public service. The Post Office and the Railways were held up as being both irremediably inefficient and scandalously over-manned. Playwright Roger Hall’s “Glide Time” caricatures were presented as accurate depictions of ...
    3 days ago
  • A crisis of ambition
    Roger Partridge  writes – When the Coalition Government took office last October, it inherited a country on a precipice. With persistent inflation, decades of insipid productivity growth and crises in healthcare, education, housing and law and order, it is no exaggeration to suggest New Zealand’s first-world status was ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Have 308 people in the Education Ministry’s Curriculum Development Team spent over $100m on a 60-p...
    Rob MacCulloch writes – In 2022, the Curriculum Centre at the Ministry of Education employed 308 staff, according to an Official Information Request. Earlier this week it was announced 202 of those staff were being cut. When you look up “The New Zealand Curriculum” on the Ministry of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • 'This bill is dangerous for the environment and our democracy'
    Chris Bishop’s bill has stirred up a hornets nest of opposition. Photo: Lynn Grieveson for The KākāTL;DR: The six things that stood out to me in Aotearoa’s political economy around housing, poverty and climate from the last day included:A crescendo of opposition to the Government’s Fast Track Approvals Bill is ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Bank of our Tamariki and Mokopuna.
    Monday left me brokenTuesday, I was through with hopingWednesday, my empty arms were openThursday, waiting for love, waiting for loveThe end of another week that left many of us asking WTF? What on earth has NZ gotten itself into and how on earth could people have voluntarily signed up for ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • The worth of it all
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.State of humanity, 20242024, it feels, keeps presenting us with ever more challenges, ever more dismay.Do you give up yet? It seems to ask.No? How about this? Or this?How about this?Full story Share ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • What is the Hardest Sport in the World?
    Determining the hardest sport in the world is a subjective matter, as the difficulty level can vary depending on individual abilities, physical attributes, and experience. However, based on various factors including physical demands, technical skills, mental fortitude, and overall accomplishment, here is an exploration of some of the most challenging ...
    3 days ago
  • What is the Most Expensive Sport?
    The allure of sport transcends age, culture, and geographical boundaries. It captivates hearts, ignites passions, and provides unparalleled entertainment. Behind the spectacle, however, lies a fascinating world of financial investment and expenditure. Among the vast array of competitive pursuits, one question looms large: which sport carries the hefty title of ...
    3 days ago
  • Pickleball On the Cusp of Olympic Glory
    Introduction Pickleball, a rapidly growing paddle sport, has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions around the world. Its blend of tennis, badminton, and table tennis elements has made it a favorite among players of all ages and skill levels. As the sport’s popularity continues to surge, the question on ...
    3 days ago
  • The Origin and Evolution of Soccer Unveiling the Genius Behind the World’s Most Popular Sport
    Abstract: Soccer, the global phenomenon captivating millions worldwide, has a rich history that spans centuries. Its origins trace back to ancient civilizations, but the modern version we know and love emerged through a complex interplay of cultural influences and innovations. This article delves into the fascinating journey of soccer’s evolution, ...
    3 days ago
  • How Much to Tint Car Windows A Comprehensive Guide
    Tinting car windows offers numerous benefits, including enhanced privacy, reduced glare, UV protection, and a more stylish look for your vehicle. However, the cost of window tinting can vary significantly depending on several factors. This article provides a comprehensive guide to help you understand how much you can expect to ...
    3 days ago
  • Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas? A Comprehensive Guide to Diagnosing and Fixing the Issue
    The pungent smell of gasoline in your car can be an alarming and potentially dangerous problem. Not only is the odor unpleasant, but it can also indicate a serious issue with your vehicle’s fuel system. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why your car may smell like ...
    3 days ago
  • How to Remove Tree Sap from Car A Comprehensive Guide
    Tree sap can be a sticky, unsightly mess on your car’s exterior. It can be difficult to remove, but with the right techniques and products, you can restore your car to its former glory. Understanding Tree Sap Tree sap is a thick, viscous liquid produced by trees to seal wounds ...
    3 days ago
  • How Much Paint Do You Need to Paint a Car?
    The amount of paint needed to paint a car depends on a number of factors, including the size of the car, the number of coats you plan to apply, and the type of paint you are using. In general, you will need between 1 and 2 gallons of paint for ...
    3 days ago
  • Can You Jump a Car in the Rain? Safety Precautions and Essential Steps
    Jump-starting a car is a common task that can be performed even in adverse weather conditions like rain. However, safety precautions and proper techniques are crucial to avoid potential hazards. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed instructions on how to safely jump a car in the rain, ensuring both your ...
    3 days ago
  • Can taxpayers be confident PIJF cash was spent wisely?
    Graham Adams writes about the $55m media fund — When Patrick Gower was asked by Mike Hosking last week what he would say to the many Newstalk ZB callers who allege the Labour government bribed media with $55 million of taxpayers’ money via the Public Interest Journalism Fund — and ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    3 days ago
  • EGU2024 – An intense week of joining sessions virtually
    Note: this blog post has been put together over the course of the week I followed the happenings at the conference virtually. Should recordings of the Great Debates and possibly Union Symposia mentioned below, be released sometime after the conference ends, I'll include links to the ones I participated in. ...
    3 days ago
  • Submission on “Fast Track Approvals Bill”
    The following was my submission made on the “Fast Track Approvals Bill”. This potential law will give three Ministers unchecked powers, un-paralled since the days of Robert Muldoon’s “Think Big” projects.The submission is written a bit tongue-in-cheek. But it’s irreverent because the FTAB is in itself not worthy of respect. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • The Case for a Universal Family Benefit
    One Could Reduce Child Poverty At No Fiscal CostFollowing the Richardson/Shipley 1990 ‘redesign of the welfare state’ – which eliminated the universal Family Benefit and doubled the rate of child poverty – various income supplements for families have been added, the best known being ‘Working for Families’, introduced in 2005. ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • A who’s who of New Zealand’s dodgiest companies
    Submissions on National's corrupt Muldoonist fast-track law are due today (have you submitted?), and just hours before they close, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop has been forced to release the list of companies he invited to apply. I've spent the last hour going through it in an epic thread of bleats, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • On Lee’s watch, Economic Development seems to be stuck on scoring points from promoting sporting e...
    Buzz from the Beehive A few days ago, Point of Order suggested the media must be musing “on why Melissa is mute”. Our article reported that people working in the beleaguered media industry have cause to yearn for a minister as busy as Melissa Lee’s ministerial colleagues and we drew ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand has never been closed for business
    1. What was The Curse of Jim Bolger?a. Winston Peters b. Soon after shaking his hand, world leaders would mysteriously lose office or shuffle off this mortal coilc. Could never shake off the Mother of All Budgetsd. Dandruff2. True or false? The Chairman of a Kiwi export business has asked the ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Stop the panic – we’ve been here before
    Jack Vowles writes – New Zealand is said to be suffering from ‘serious populist discontent’. An IPSOS MORI survey has reported that we have an increasing preference for strong leaders, think that the economy is rigged toward the rich and powerful, and political elites are ignoring ‘hard-working people’.  ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Melissa Lee and the media: ending the quest
    Chris Trotter writes –  MELISSA LEE should be deprived of her ministerial warrant. Her handling – or non-handling – of the crisis engulfing the New Zealand news media has been woeful. The fate of New Zealand’s two linear television networks, a question which the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to April 19
    TL;DR: The podcast above features co-hosts and , along with regular guests Robert Patman on Gaza and AUKUS II, and on climate change.The six things that mattered in Aotearoa’s political economy that we wrote and spoke about via The Kākā and elsewhere for paying subscribers in the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The ‘Humpty Dumpty’ end result of dismantling our environmental protections
    Policymakers rarely wish to make plain or visible their desire to dismantle environmental policy, least of all to the young. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the top five news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Nicola's Salad Days.
    I like to keep an eye on what’s happening in places like the UK, the US, and over the ditch with our good mates the Aussies. Let’s call them AUKUS, for want of a better collective term. More on that in a bit.It used to be, not long ago, that ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Study sees climate change baking in 19% lower global income by 2050
    TL;DR: The global economy will be one fifth smaller than it would have otherwise been in 2050 as a result of climate damage, according to a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and published in the journal Nature. (See more detail and analysis below, and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-April-2024
    It’s Friday again. Here’s some of the things that caught our attention this week. This Week on Greater Auckland On Tuesday Matt covered at the government looking into a long tunnel for Wellington. On Wednesday we ran a post from Oscar Simms on some lessons from Texas. AT’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Jack Vowles: Stop the panic – we’ve been here before
    New Zealand is said to be suffering from ‘serious populist discontent’. An IPSOS MORI survey has reported that we have an increasing preference for strong leaders, think that the economy is rigged toward the rich and powerful, and political elites are ignoring ‘hard-working people’.  The data is from February this ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Clearing up confusion (or trying to)
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters is understood to be planning a major speech within the next fortnight to clear up the confusion over whether or not New Zealand might join the AUKUS submarine project. So far, there have been conflicting signals from the Government. RNZ reported the Prime Minister yesterday in ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • How to Retrieve Deleted Call Log iPhone Without Computer
    How to Retrieve Deleted Call Log on iPhone Without a Computer: A StepbyStep Guide Losing your iPhone call history can be frustrating, especially when you need to find a specific number or recall an important conversation. But before you panic, know that there are ways to retrieve deleted call logs on your iPhone, even without a computer. This guide will explore various methods, ranging from simple checks to utilizing iCloud backups and thirdparty applications. So, lets dive in and recover those lost calls! 1. Check Recently Deleted Folder: Apple understands that accidental deletions happen. Thats why they introduced the Recently Deleted folder for various apps, including the Phone app. This folder acts as a safety net, storing deleted call logs for up to 30 days before permanently erasing them. Heres how to check it: Open the Phone app on your iPhone. Tap on the Recents tab at the bottom. Scroll to the top and tap on Edit. Select Show Recently Deleted. Browse the list to find the call logs you want to recover. Tap on the desired call log and choose Recover to restore it to your call history. 2. Restore from iCloud Backup: If you regularly back up your iPhone to iCloud, you might be able to retrieve your deleted call log from a previous backup. However, keep in mind that this process will restore your entire phone to the state it was in at the time of the backup, potentially erasing any data added since then. Heres how to restore from an iCloud backup: Go to Settings > General > Reset. Choose Erase All Content and Settings. Follow the onscreen instructions. Your iPhone will restart and show the initial setup screen. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup during the setup process. Select the relevant backup that contains your deleted call log. Wait for the restoration process to complete. 3. Explore ThirdParty Apps (with Caution): ...
    4 days ago
  • How to Factory Reset iPhone without Computer: A Comprehensive Guide to Restoring your Device
    Life throws curveballs, and sometimes, those curveballs necessitate wiping your iPhone clean and starting anew. Whether you’re facing persistent software glitches, preparing to sell your device, or simply wanting a fresh start, knowing how to factory reset iPhone without a computer is a valuable skill. While using a computer with ...
    4 days ago
  • How to Call Someone on a Computer: A Guide to Voice and Video Communication in the Digital Age
    Gone are the days when communication was limited to landline phones and physical proximity. Today, computers have become powerful tools for connecting with people across the globe through voice and video calls. But with a plethora of applications and methods available, how to call someone on a computer might seem ...
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #16 2024
    Open access notables Glacial isostatic adjustment reduces past and future Arctic subsea permafrost, Creel et al., Nature Communications: Sea-level rise submerges terrestrial permafrost in the Arctic, turning it into subsea permafrost. Subsea permafrost underlies ~ 1.8 million km2 of Arctic continental shelf, with thicknesses in places exceeding 700 m. Sea-level variations over glacial-interglacial cycles control ...
    4 days ago

  • Justice Minister to attend Human Rights Council
    Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith is today travelling to Europe where he’ll update the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Government’s work to restore law and order.  “Attending the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva provides us with an opportunity to present New Zealand’s human rights progress, priorities, and challenges, while ...
    9 hours ago
  • Patterson reopens world’s largest wool scouring facility
    Associate Agriculture Minister, Mark Patterson, formally reopened the world’s largest wool processing facility today in Awatoto, Napier, following a $50 million rebuild and refurbishment project. “The reopening of this facility will significantly lift the economic opportunities available to New Zealand’s wool sector, which already accounts for 20 per cent of ...
    11 hours ago
  • Speech to the Southland Otago Regional Engineering Collective Summit, 18 April 2024
    Hon Andrew Bayly, Minister for Small Business and Manufacturing  At the Southland Otago Regional Engineering Collective (SOREC) Summit, 18 April, Dunedin    Ngā mihi nui, Ko Andrew Bayly aho, Ko Whanganui aho    Good Afternoon and thank you for inviting me to open your summit today.    I am delighted ...
    13 hours ago
  • Government to introduce revised Three Strikes law
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to bring back the Three Strikes legislation, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee announced today. “Our Government is committed to restoring law and order and enforcing appropriate consequences on criminals. We are making it clear that repeat serious violent or sexual offending is not ...
    13 hours ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced four new diplomatic appointments for New Zealand’s overseas missions.   “Our diplomats have a vital role in maintaining and protecting New Zealand’s interests around the world,” Mr Peters says.    “I am pleased to announce the appointment of these senior diplomats from the ...
    13 hours ago
  • Humanitarian support for Ethiopia and Somalia
    New Zealand is contributing NZ$7 million to support communities affected by severe food insecurity and other urgent humanitarian needs in Ethiopia and Somalia, Foreign Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters announced today.   “Over 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance across Ethiopia, with a further 6.9 million people ...
    13 hours ago
  • Arts Minister congratulates Mataaho Collective
    Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Paul Goldsmith is congratulating Mataaho Collective for winning the Golden Lion for best participant in the main exhibition at the Venice Biennale. "Congratulations to the Mataaho Collective for winning one of the world's most prestigious art prizes at the Venice Biennale.  “It is good ...
    1 day ago
  • Supporting better financial outcomes for Kiwis
    The Government is reforming financial services to improve access to home loans and other lending, and strengthen customer protections, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly and Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced today. “Our coalition Government is committed to rebuilding the economy and making life simpler by cutting red tape. We are ...
    2 days ago
  • Trade relationship with China remains strong
    “China remains a strong commercial opportunity for Kiwi exporters as Chinese businesses and consumers continue to value our high-quality safe produce,” Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.   Mr McClay has returned to New Zealand following visits to Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai where he met ministers, governors and mayors and engaged in trade and agricultural events with the New ...
    2 days ago
  • PM’s South East Asia mission does the business
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has completed a successful trip to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, deepening relationships and capitalising on opportunities. Mr Luxon was accompanied by a business delegation and says the choice of countries represents the priority the New Zealand Government places on South East Asia, and our relationships in ...
    3 days ago
  • $41m to support clean energy in South East Asia
    New Zealand is demonstrating its commitment to reducing global greenhouse emissions, and supporting clean energy transition in South East Asia, through a contribution of NZ$41 million (US$25 million) in climate finance to the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-led Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM). Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts announced ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister releases Fast-track stakeholder list
    The Government is today releasing a list of organisations who received letters about the Fast-track applications process, says RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop. “Recently Ministers and agencies have received a series of OIA requests for a list of organisations to whom I wrote with information on applying to have a ...
    3 days ago
  • Judicial appointments announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister David Jonathan Boldt as a Judge of the High Court, and the Honourable Justice Matthew Palmer as a Judge of the Court of Appeal. Justice Boldt graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1990, and also holds ...
    4 days ago
  • Education Minister heads to major teaching summit in Singapore
    Education Minister Erica Stanford will lead the New Zealand delegation at the 2024 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) held in Singapore. The delegation includes representatives from the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) Te Wehengarua and the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa.  The summit is co-hosted ...
    4 days ago
  • Value of stopbank project proven during cyclone
    A stopbank upgrade project in Tairawhiti partly funded by the Government has increased flood resilience for around 7000ha of residential and horticultural land so far, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones today attended a dawn service in Gisborne to mark the end of the first stage of the ...
    4 days ago
  • Anzac commemorations, Türkiye relationship focus of visit
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will represent the Government at Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula next week and engage with senior representatives of the Turkish government in Istanbul.    “The Gallipoli campaign is a defining event in our history. It will be a privilege to share the occasion ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister to Europe for OECD meeting, Anzac Day
    Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium. “Science, innovation and technology have a major role to play in rebuilding our economy and achieving better health, environmental and social outcomes ...
    4 days ago
  • Comprehensive Partnership the goal for NZ and the Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines. During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon and President Marcos Jr discussed opportunities to ...
    4 days ago
  • Government commits $20m to Westport flood protection
    The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town. This measure will significantly improve the resilience of the community, says Local Government Minister Simeon Brown. “The Westport community has already been allocated almost $3 million ...
    4 days ago
  • Taupō takes pole position
    The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. “Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks ...
    4 days ago
  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    5 days ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    5 days ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    5 days ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    5 days ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    5 days ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    5 days ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    6 days ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    6 days ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    6 days ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    6 days ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    7 days ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    7 days ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    7 days ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon acknowledges legacy of Singapore Prime Minister Lee
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today paid tribute to Singapore’s outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.   Meeting in Singapore today immediately before Prime Minister Lee announced he was stepping down, Prime Minister Luxon warmly acknowledged his counterpart’s almost twenty years as leader, and the enduring legacy he has left for Singapore and South East ...
    1 week ago
  • PMs Luxon and Lee deepen Singapore-NZ ties
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While in Singapore as part of his visit to South East Asia this week, Prime Minister Luxon also met with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.  During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon ...
    1 week ago
  • Antarctica New Zealand Board appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made further appointments to the Board of Antarctica New Zealand as part of a continued effort to ensure the Scott Base Redevelopment project is delivered in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  The Minister has appointed Neville Harris as a new member of the Board. Mr ...
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister travels to Washington DC
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to the United States on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Five Finance Ministers group, with counterparts from Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  “I am looking forward to meeting with our Five Finance partners on how we can work ...
    1 week ago
  • Pet bonds a win/win for renters and landlords
    The coalition Government has today announced purrfect and pawsitive changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64 per cent of New ...
    1 week ago
  • Long Tunnel for SH1 Wellington being considered
    State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the Government has also asked NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to consider and provide advice on a Long Tunnel option, Transport Minister Simeon Brown ...
    1 week ago

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