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Open mike 03/05/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 3rd, 2020 - 134 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

134 comments on “Open mike 03/05/2020”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Rolling Stone has a response from Bill McKibben to the Michael Moore polemic:  https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/bill-mckibben-climate-movement-michael-moore-993073/

    "I’ve spent the past three decades, ever since I wrote The End of Nature at the age of 28, deeply committed to realism: no fantasy, no spin".  Yeah, as if the end of nature is a realistic proposition.  Gaia laughed.

    An admirable, tough-minded stance though.  I couldn't do it.  I prefer a balanced mix of realism & idealism, liberally laced with fantasy for entertainment.

    “I have never taken a penny from green energy companies or mutual funds or anyone else with a role in these fights. I’ve never been paid by environmental groups either, not even 350.org, which I founded and which I’ve given all I have to give.”

    So Moore’s using a deceit strategy. To remind us that he’s a typical leftist, I presume. Or perhaps he will blame the film-maker: “We producers have a hands-off attitude. I just thought a critical appraisal of the Green movement is a good idea.” No problem with that – it is. Negative feedback is essential to stabilise systems, both in nature and in humanity.

    • Andre 1.1

      So Michael Moore has discovered that pandering to the prejudices of gullible congenitally disgruntled rabid anti-capitalists with over-active poorly-aimed middle fingers turns out to be quite lucrative? Who'd'a thunk it?

    • Dennis Frank 1.2

      McKibben:  "Much has been made over the years about the way that progressives eat their own, about circular firing squads and the like. I think there’s truth to it: there’s a collection of showmen like Moore who enjoy attracting attention to themselves by endlessly picking fights. They’re generally not people who actually try to organize, to build power, to bring people together. That’s the real, and difficult, work — not purity tests or calling people out, but calling them in."  https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/bill-mckibben-climate-movement-michael-moore-993073/

      Yes, the downside of negative feedback:  division.  Polemics are effective when an exclusive point of view frames the advocacy.  Yet inclusive frames are what we need.  You can actually do a critique as a reality check in a constructive spirit.  I think Moore, as a life-long partisan, is incapable of comprehending that the common good is enhanced by building bridges.  He would rather burn them.  Hasn't evolved.  Still fighting as if the 1960s never ended.

    • Gabby 1.3

      What's this 'typical leftist' horseshit denden? Is it your praxis to smear so broadly?

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.1

        Just as valid as any other generalisation, huh?  Machine-politicians marketing themselves as progressive then, when elected, serving the establishment without making an iota of progress have been a feature of leftist politics all our lives.  Or haven't you noticed?

        • Gabby

          Just left'ist' politics denden? Sounds like self serving bullshit to me.

          • Dennis Frank

            Yeah, self serving bullshit comes from both left & right.  Rightists tend to be more honest about selfishness though – they have an ideology exalting it.  The left masks it with the label progressive, hoping nobody will notice.

            • KJT

              You mean they pretend to be "Left" to get votes rather.

              Even right wing politicians do that.

              Trump's saying he will look after the working class is just one, example.

              Watch New Zealand's National party crocodile tears about "the recently jobless" lately.

  2. McFlock 2

    And in "clusterfucks we have lately sidelined", the UK is still being a dick about post-Brexit trade protocols. The sneaking suspicion that bojo wants to go back to the 1980s seems to be becoming more solid.

      • Morrissey 2.1.1

        That was written by one Nick Cohen. Even in the horrible world of British journalism, he is one of the most horrible.


        • Incognito

          Your contributions to the discourse have been dutifully noted.

          Make snide remarks about messenger.

          Provide link to another messenger ‘in support’.

          Nothing of any substance.

          End of ‘contribution’.

          • Morrissey

            Incognito, I was not being snide about Nick Cohen. I was serious, as was Craig Murray in the article I linked to. 

            Are you suggesting that I routinely contribute "nothing of any substance" to this forum?

            • Incognito

              Finally, the penny has dropped, or has it?

              • Morrissey

                You obviously haven't read many of my contributions to this forum.

                • Incognito

                  Over the many years that you have been commenting here you’ve made many comments, many of which I haven’t read because they largely or solely consist of links to your preferred sources and heroes and to your own blog site. TBF, not all of your comments are of that low quality. Unfortunately, you do have a habit of sniping at the messenger and providing nothing but links to opinions of others. I would not call that a contribution but rather opinion harvesting and aggregation, which is handy if you like to build an archive of these, for example (on) your blog spot. None of those is conducive to solid and genuine debate, IMHO.

      • Bearded Git 2.1.2

        I despise Nick Cohen for the complete lies he told about Corbyn and anti-semitism-he deviously and misleadingly used his platform in the Guardian to try to destroy Corbyn.

        I despise Nick Cohen for his one-eyed view on Israel, where the Palestinians don't seem to exist. (The irony that Israel has created a huge concentration camp in Gaza is lost on him).

        For these reasons his journalism will, for me, for ever be tainted. How can he ever be seen to be balanced, fair or honest again?

        However, he can write; the charlatan article forensically takes apart the idiots that are running the UK. He destroys them with a few choice phrases.

        (Note: Scotland is actually run by a very competent  politician)  


  3. Tricledrown 4

    Australia's  covid tracing  app still not working  

    • RedLogix 4.1

      It's working fine at the app end.

      He said the app was already logging users' close contacts, and that information could be accessed at a later date.

      "That facility is still to go live, that will be happening during the current week," Professor Kidd said.

      "But the important thing is that if people have downloaded the app and they have it running in the background on their phone, it's already gathering details of people you've been in close contact with.


  4. Stephen D 5

    A puff piece about Tova O’Brien on a rivals website. 
    Is the press gallery feeling under pressure from their televised performances?


    • Morrissey 5.1

      Incredibly, on RNZ National's The Panel on Friday, the normally astute Paula Penfold doled out unearned praise of Tova O'Brien. She must have forgotten about O'Brien's simpering behaviour at an Orwellian outrage organized by the British High Commission last May….


    • I Feel Love 5.2

      She's still using that womans dead step father to justify her calls to sack Clark, that's what she got a lot of criticism for, personally I just find her untrustworthy and shallow.

      • Morrissey 5.2.1

        Untrustworthy, shallow, and as shown by her appearance at that farcical British High Commission event last May, way out of her depth. 


    • Gabby 5.3

      She asks the stoopid questions so noone else has to.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.4

      Media organisation in search of a merger.

    • Herodotus 5.5

      Why are those who report our news having their profiles raised ? Shouldn't it be about the strength of their reporting that their profile is foundered on?

      I present additional evidence ( No issues regarding the story) BUT why is there a picture and placed in high prominence of of the writer ??


      • Incognito 5.5.1

        Good points.

        These profiles are intended to build a relationship with the presenters based on familiarity (recognition), credibility, and trust. They are like social influencers who gather loads of followers, usually to generate advertising revenue (clicks and time spend on page & site). Newsreaders have always had an elevated position and profile. Remember ‘Mother of the Nation’, and Paul H. is back on our screens too with a most emotively entitled ‘show’. Hooray for the good old days.

      • Sacha 5.5.2

        It is a regular opinion column, not news, predicated on our confidence in the writer (whose photograph appears in each one). He just happens to be a genuinely smart guy rather than a shallow self-promoter like the ones we have all heard of.

        • Herodotus

          I can appreciate that BUT with the online article why is Mike O’Donnell's picture about 1/3 of a page ? (is this a standard layout size)

          Also would not the editor/sub editor decide to use this picture? If so then Stuff is building up Mike's profile. Should it not be sufficient his story and  "* Mike “MOD” O’Donnell is a professional director, writer and strategic advisor. " so we can build up in our consideration of how much credence we place on the article e.g. is it from a union affiliate, Chamber of commerce, tax payers union, competing industry/brand etc.

      • Morrissey 5.5.3

        One of the most appalling examples of raising their profiles was the "Wendy, she's hot!" campaign on Television One.


    • Sanctuary 5.6

      If I go out in a company car and get caught dangerous driving on camera and that is shown on telly, I will very likely get fired, due to the risk of reputational damage to my employers brand in the public mind.

       Letting the public see on telly the sort of car-crash that Tova O'Brien is every day at 1pm is reputationally pretty much the same thing.


      • I Feel Love 5.6.1

        That's what I don't like about this type of reporting, sure report the fact Clark drove his kids to the beach during lockdown, but then it's up to the public to make up their own minds whether they think it's "good" "bad" "indifferent". I don't need her POV, unless she wants to get into the Hosking, Garner talkshow thing? 

  5. Dennis Frank 6

    Michael Reddell:  "New Zealand’s foreign trade now is a bit less (share of GDP) than it was in 1980".  https://croakingcassandra.com/

    So Muldoon told NZ Inc to diversify away from commodities, the Rogernomes & all subsequent neoliberal cheerleaders held to the `yeah, do that' stance ever since, and the kiwi business community yawned & went `nah, can't be bothered'.

    A 40 year flatline.  NZ consistently out-performed by other small countries. [see his graph – I copied & inserted it but the site then claimed that my message was too long so I had to delete it]  So much for foreign trade addiction. 

    Drug pusher:  "Here, have a hit of this.  Latest design, will get you even higher."

    Drug addict:  "Nah, got off a while back & I'm cool cruisin', thanks anyway.  Nice of you to offer."

    • Nic the NZer 6.1

      I have found Reddell a bit self contradictory on this point for quite some time. He constantly focuses on this productivity thing including being competitive in exports. On the other hand New Zealand has been running a trade deficit since forever and despite a fairly free and open economy, so its not something which the economy (de-regulated) then fixes for you. Also there is a strong similarity between the metrics for productivity and higher wages, but all his suggestions are riddled with things which will have a negative impact on wages (at least long term). I myself suspect one of the best ways to grow productivity is to support domestic demand and let the international trade side of things largely take care of itself. I don't know enough to demonstrate it but I suspect Reddell is laboring under a paradox of composition in his arguments for a lot of how to address New Zealands productivity.

      Also (as he acknowledges) New Zealand has a high level of work force skill, but still suffers from low wages in many sectors and limited investment in capital. So its not like the cause of this problem can really be the responsibility of the New Zealand work force.

      • KJT 6.1.1

        One of the Neo-liberal dreams was that we were going to become wealthy, by out exporting "competing" countries. The unspoken idea behind all these trade agreements.

        Our balance of trade shows what a crock of shit, that is.

        Even the fantasy that countries like China and the USA would sit back, and let us take a net profit from them, was always just wishful thinking.

        Successful countries have a thriving domestic sector. 


        • roblogic

          john key made a lot of people rich and fulfilled their wet dreams by selling out the remnants of our tattered economy to his foreign masters

          neocons and neoliberals are a rotating roster of fools and thieves eroding the common wealth of this land

      • roblogic 6.1.2

        The interview on RNZ was telling. Reddell kept pushing the line that NZ property sector is over regulated and we have to free up more land. Prof Steve Keen says no, the problem is we're awash with easy credit from greedy banks and being killed by debt. So yeah Reddell thinks the market will sort everything out, despite all the evidence of failure and crashes of the last 30 odd years since deregulation.

  6. Peter 8

    It must be hard being a journalist. When there is no news there has to be news. You go to a press conference where there is not likely to be anything more than dry bread. If you're lucky bread and butter.

    You think and think to try come up with some unique perspective. More unique than all the others who are at the same time trying to come up with some unique perspective.

    You go to the conference with questions to fill out enough words for your unique piece.

    Bonus points are available if it is unique enough for it to make even in the tiniest way,  a headline using 'shock, or bombshell, or explosive, slams or rejects.' Questions are directed to elicit any response likely to gain those points.  

    Sunday, traditional day of churching. I'll just check The Book to see if there are a couple which've been overlooked  …

    9  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour

    10  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife

    11  Thou wilt have new news every day

    12  If thou does not have new news every day thou shalt make it up.

    • Sanctuary 8.1

      "…You think and think to try come up with some unique perspective…"

      By sticking lipstick on the same pig and pretending it has a different name?

      OK, I have got some to ask instead of forever trying to play gotcha.

      1/ Does NZ plan to create and retain an ability to manufacture/develop vaccines, given we will be last in the queue for doses when one is developed for COVID-19?

      2/ Does the government have a wider strategy of ensuring greater self-reliance across a range of strategic industries, for example medical equipment or light manufacturing capacity?

      3/ If not, has the government learnt any lessons from this pandemic at all? 

      4/ Is our lack of preparedness for a pandemic effectively being paid for now by our most vulnerable workers?

      5/ Do we have a long term idea of what NZ will look like when COVID-19 is eliminated/eradicated? For example, could we establish quarantine zones around around airports to allow foreign visitors to come and conduct f2f meetings in approved hotels or facilities without the need to have a 14 day quarantine?

      4/ If no to 1, 2 and 5 above, how does that square with the stated desire to get back to BAU as soon as possible – for example, help tourism get restarted ASAP?

      Also, go out and find and interview people who have actually lost their jobs, so far not one retail or hospo worker has really been properly interviewed – just heaps of regurgitated whining from business sector lobby groups.

  7. Anne 9


    Your comment should be writ on every bill board in the country!  🙂

  8. RedBaronCV 10

    Interesting and positive story about local manufacturers investing in hi tech machinery, looking at the positive role that government contracts can play, and indicating parts  of the supply chain that could be shored up or improved by some government investment. Good on them.

    Then at the bottom of the story EMA (Employers & Manufacturers Assoc) chief executive Brett O'Riley decides that they also need to dump on the people like the  taxpayers who are needed to support and invest in some of these projects.

    "More supportive policy from the Government, such as flexible labour market, abolishing minimum wage hikes, reinstating 90-day employment trials, "


    • Gabby 10.1

      He didn't mention abolishing executive severance packages. Must've slipped his mind.

      • RedBaronCV 10.1.1

        Good call – along with reducing the executive take of the total payroll – where they are undertaking management roles not entrepreneurial ones..

        Interestingly  though, I have seen research in the past that suggests most people distinguish pretty sharply between

        " executives receiving entrepreneurial rewards for management roles" and the rewards generated ( up to a point) for the actual entrepreneur. The likes of Sam Morgan (trade me) get a bigger pass than the overpaid power company CEO. Though for the record even Sam thought he should have paid more tax.

  9. Muttonbird 11

    Apparently, Judith Collins has been involved in spreading fake news again. This time about suicide:

    "We're particularly disappointed some politicians such as Judith Collins have recklessly retweeted this rumour," Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson told Newshub.



    • I Feel Love 11.1

      She's similar to Trump. 

    • Muttonbird 11.2

      Turns out Judith replied to the original comment and Lizzy Marvelly of all people retweeted it.

      I think Lizzy needs some good people around her because repeating fake news is not a path you want to go down.

    • millsy 11.3

      Wouldnt mind knowing how many people killed themselves when National were in power.

      Oh that's right they were beneficaries and low paid workers, who are expendable, not farmers, exporters and business owners.

  10. Morrissey 12

    Biden's anything but a good candidate, but he's better than "Mayor Pete"

  11. adam 13

    Good piece from Matt talking about censorship and the problems of the finger waving brigade.  



  12. Hi, Adam. If you reckon Bill is cutting up rough, for Christ's sake don't click on this link:


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

    • Ad 14.1

      Back in the pre-Twitter era when we could get 400+ comments here

      • Incognito 14.1.1

        Every cloud has a silver lining. As far as I’m concerned, some ‘popular topics’ here could move permanently to Twitter. Just my 2 cts.

      • te reo putake 14.1.2

        Hi, Ad. The level of comments at Kiwiblog, the new WO and The Daily Blog have remained the same or, in KB's case, increased over the years. The reason comments have dropped so dramatically here at TS is not Twitter, though a clue might be found in Incognito's response to your comment.

        • Ad

          That is just damn depressing. 

          Why is The Standard being out-competed for commenters against Kiwiblog and The Daily Blog?

          I do my best with contributions, so it is immensely frustrating to see us simply become less important in the media. 

          I certainly don't want to waste my time here if our viewership is in sustained decline.


          • lprent

            It depends what your time horizon is. And what you’re looking at.

            Comments are only one part of the framework, and only a small proportion (<10%) of our readers actually leave comments.

            The short answer is that we’ve slightly reduced in our overall readership since the 2017 election – which is pretty much what always happens to ‘government’ blogs. We’ve massively increased in our regular readership compared to 2014 or 2017. The bounce rate is way down and the overseas reads are diminishing – mainly reflecting the slow changes in the google search algorithms. The number of people who read us daily and weekly is up.

            It is all a far cry from pre-2014 levels (ie pre-Dirty Politics) because the sustained active level of readers is much higher. But less than the period including and between 2014 and 2017 when there were more authors and more posts because the political temperature was much higher.

            You should probably get me to add you to the analytics at the back end.

            • Ad

              I don't have access to this 'back end'. 

              Mickey should introduce me I'm sure. 

              Thanks for the slightly more positive commentary concerning readership. 

              It would be good to hear of the topic areas that are more popular for readers. So I can get cracking on them.

            • roblogic

              The Left is acting a bit calmer now that "our" parties are in government and doing a good job. It's not like the days when Key, Collins, Bennett and the gang were lying to the nation on a daily basis and wrecking the lives of their victims.

              Now the right wing blogs are losing their shit and spinning desperate narratives about how the socialists are going to steal their children, or something

              • Muttonbird

                The left is calmer, and I think that's one of the major reasons.

                The other is, in my opinion, more strict moderation results in fewer comments.

                Not saying the policy, or the enforcement of the policy, is wrong but it does have a dampening effect. The site is tidier, but quieter.

                People aren't perfect and moderation which sort of asks them to be is daunting.

                • lprent

                  We tend to have several general modes that run. There are topics that are

                  • societal and specific (say the corona virus ones) and tend to have quite large numbers of longer comments or
                  • more philosophical ones that usually  attract a small audience and few very long comments or
                  • humour like posts that 
                  • immediate political issues that have twitter like comments. 

                  The latter generate a lot of comments, but most of them could be regarded as of little value to any debate. So you'll get posts that have 400 comments and another post with less than 100 – but with same total numbers of words in each post's comments in total. When I look at them with a lexical analyzer, there is completely different pattern to the complexity of the content.

                  But the types of issues that the right have been trying to raise over the last two years tend to be somewhat ludicrous. They're almost pathetically petty and inane or they are just made up (like Hooten's Greens-Left leadership thing a few days ago) and not really worth bothering with getting involved in – classic silo messaging preaching to the base (and having little voter political effect).

          • roblogic

            Comments at TDB are low quality and Bomber's moderation makes it slow to publish, like a day later if at all. They don't really have much discussion there, just a sequence of disconnected screeds from the regulars.

            I do read a few things at TDB but the site design is a complete mess. Bomber's intemperate rants are entertaining and well informed.

            ("Bomber" = Martyn Bradbury)

            • weka

              that's what I see on the occasions I pop over there. Pete seems to have better conversations under his posts than TDB.

              • lprent

                I seldom read the comments at TDB these days.

                The ones at YNZ are actually not bad on current topics.

          • weka

            When writing, I pay more attention to the reader stats than the number of comments. In part because it's always hit and miss which posts will get lots of comments. It's pretty easy to write an inflammatory post to garner more comments if that's what one wants, but I want the people reading the post and thinking about it and that's often in the quality of responses rather than the quantity. I'll take people engaging with the post over lots of shitposting and/or arguments, although when commenting I also love much of the hard debate too.


      • lprent 14.1.3

        It was always pretty variable just how many comments we got on posts.

        There was and is a correlation between the number of posts and the number of comments we received in total during a day. 

        There was and is a correlation between a low number of posts in a day and the number of comments in the day's OpenMike. 

        There was and is a correlation between the number of comments and a political event like an election of a scandal. Conversely there has always been an inverse relationship between the height of a political event and the average number of words per comment. Same for the average lexical analysis score per comment (basically the spluttering did little for the quality of the content).


        • te reo putake

          There is certainly a correlation between an issue not covered in a post and comments on that issue in that day's Open Mike, however that doesn't explain the huge drop off of overall comments in the last couple of years.

          I agree that the lack of engaging posts in recent times has contributed to the fall in comments, however the problem is wider than that. If, as Incognito indicates, some TS folk are actively discouraging engagement then that seems to me to be far more likely to explain why commentary on the site is fading away.

          It's really simple; keep telling people to go away and eventually they will.


          • Anne

            … as Incognito indicates, some TS folk are actively discouraging engagement then that seems to me to be far more likely to explain why commentary on the site is fading away.


            There is a tendency nowadays for a small group of learned technocrats to indulge in lengthy debates only the qualified can understand. While it may absorb those debating, it is off-putting for everyone else. Rather than introduce another topic of conversation, I suspect many have gone away and found another source of more general stories to discuss.

            Don't get me wrong. The 'debaters' I'm referring to contribute enormously to the whole sum of the information we glean from a blog site such as TS,  but sometimes they do get carried away.

            Also, as Weka has repeatedly pointed out, women have not always been welcomed with open arms here. Unintentional though it may have been, there has been the odd macho tendency to drown out the female voice. Some of us can shrug our shoulders and move on but others have found it hard to overcome.

            • RedLogix

              There is a tendency nowadays for a small group of learned technocrats to indulge in lengthy debates only the qualified can understand. 

              Yes I've often contemplated that myself. And pondered my own contribution to it.

              I'm not going to pretend I fully understand why we've narrowed the commentariat here down so much. But my sense is that the barrier to entry for new participants has become too high. It now takes considerable skill and experience to navigate the undercurrents that swirl in the background here that novices all too often fall afoul of. We just don't make new voices all that welcome, and are too unforgiving of their faux-pas'.

              As for whether TS is more or less welcoming for women I cannot speak to directly. Only women themselves can really answer that. But the reason originally given was the unattractive aggro and pissing contests that characterised so many of the threads here for at least the first seven or so years of TS's existence crowded out and silenced the feminine voice. So we set about changing that with what were good intentions. Over time moderation has definitely scrubbed us up a lot; but I'm still seeing women participate at about the same level as they always did.

              But in doing so we too often moderated on content not behaviour (see trp’s comment at 14.3 below for a proximate example), and that has an unavoidably chilling effect on open, robust debate. If you look at that marathon 461 comment thread, most of the names on it are long gone.

              • Anne

                … the unattractive aggro and pissing contests that characterised so many of the threads here for at least the first seven or so years of TS's existence crowded out and silenced the feminine voice.

                I attempted to put it a little more politely but your summing up is accurate. 😛

                I think the main culprits have gone now but there is still a tendency among some male commenters to be a bit 'nonchalant' of the experiences and problems many women (but its not entirely confined to women) have to contend with.

                We've seen a number of court cases of young women reporting profoundly serious sexual assaults within both the Defence Force and the Police Force in recent times – the outcomes of two of them in just the past fortnight. What those young women had to go through in order to achieve justice was mind boggling and distressing to read. It serves to confirm that the macho culture inside both organisations has still a long way to go before it is deemed acceptable.

                This is a topic we could and should discuss in a more in-depth way from time to time – preferably by people who have knowledge and experience of them. In particular, how to change the mindset of authority and the judicial system in general so that the victims – regardless of the nature of the crimes committed against them – can trust they are going to be taken seriously and proper investigations undertaken if they choose to come forward.

            • weka

              Thanks Anne. The ways that women don't want to comment and write here are still very real. Lynn has said that as far as he can tell (via general stats) women readers have increased, so that's a good sign. Still hopeful that at some point more of the dudes will get on board with having women's content being a good thing (politically and for the site) and be willing to support that.

              Also appreciate the point about the technical debates putting some off. It's something I'm familiar with with US political discussions here, but do  you think it's broader than that? Any thoughts on what might make a difference? eg more Lefties on the Standard, or How to Get There type posts?

              • weka

                To be clear, TS in the past five years has lost at least 5 solid feminist authors, some of whom contributed a great deal, because of the cultural issues here around gender (front and back end). Even the current regular female author doesn't write feminist posts atm. This is an obvious *decrease in women's involvement in TS.

                • lprent

                  This is an obvious *decrease in women’s involvement in TS.

                  I’d agree that there has been a decrease in women authors. And specifically because of ‘cultural issues’ (nice phrase).

                  However, if you look at analytics you’ll find that as a percentage of users and authors there has been a significiant shift in gender participation in the site.

                  In 2014 from when google analytics started reporting on gender, we had between a quarter and a third of the sessions being female – generally closer to a quarter. These days it has tended to be higher – usually above a third and recently more like 50:50.

                  Of course this depends on where the gender data comes from (they have dropped from having about 45% of the data gendered to having 25% since 2014). But I’ve been happier that it has been steadily getting more balanced.

                  It is also the same trend that I get when I’m looking in the comments and based on what I know about commenters.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                Yes, I agree.  And it's not just technocrat discussions.  I read some posts if the topic interests me.

                There's a core of males who comment frequently here, often with long comments.  Some of them I just scroll through – same old sense of being an authority on some topics, with or without supporting references. 

                There always seems to be more guys putting lengthy comments out there than women.  Don't know where their motivation or sense of having important things to say comes from.  But it gets boring. I'm now very selective about whose comments I read ie whether I think it's going to be informative, something a bit new, etc.

                • weka

                  Socialisation? That speaking is more important than listening?

                • lprent

                  And it's not just technocrat discussions.  I read some posts if the topic interests me.

                  My usual fast scroll through through tends to be on topics that I cannot be bothered with. Either I can't see their application to the current world (I refer to them as 'pin-dancing' comments for the theological reference), or they are well worn subjects reprising material that I read through on usenet. 

                  I read heavily on topics that I don’t know enough about. But often what I’m looking for is supporting links as much as the argument.

                  Some of them I just scroll through – same old sense of being an authority on some topics, with or without supporting references. 

                  I'm definitely one for long comments when  I have time – usually on topics that I'm digging into at the time.

                  I find that leaving links is a particularly effective way of leaving a notes trail for myself. Coupled with the search system I can usually find the damn things later on when they become relevant again.

    • The Al1en 14.2

      First time I've seen that thread. Certainly one way of outing the ranch sliders. 

    • Dear anonymous moderator, the comment was on topic and relevant. Get a grip.

      • lprent 14.3.1

        Don't blame the mod for the anon..

        It is a single button 'Open Mike' on the moderation side, and anon because I didn't code the handle in. As much as anything else because the handle is currently free-form things like "MS".

        I had to code it to not only move the comment, but also all of the replies down the hierarchy, and to handle replies that were in the process of being written. By the time I got that level of complexity working I wasn't up to doing the finesse elements.

        • te reo putake

          Yeah, fair enough, Lynn. It's a good tool, when used intelligently. However, I note that the moderator in question remains anonymous and has failed to front up either here on this thread nor on the back channel request for clarification. I assume they now realise that moving the original comment was an error 😉

          • lprent

            Who knows. I could find out. But I think I’d prefer to just put the handle into the automatic note.

            • weka

              I quite like it being anonymous. It depersonalises it and the automatic note makes it clear that it's a general, somewhat superficial moderation that doesn't need a lot of work or engagement. A mod can add a note if there's something more that needs to be said, and the commenter whose comment was moved can ask if they want clarification.

    • millsy 14.4

      If you go on CV's Twitter feed he it still singing the same old song. 

      For me, any reason for religion vanished when the great Charles Darwin published his findings.

      FYI: They dont teach evolution in Israel but do in Iran.

      And this whole BS about religion being needed because it give people ‘meaning’. Heaps of people get meaning from other places. The hundreds and thousands of medical workers who are stopping COVID from cutting great swathes through our population, their lives have meaning.

      And yes, I would close down all the Catholic schools and have athiest schools in their place. And they will teach LGB rights and evolution.



      • Incognito 14.4.1

        Your comment is steeped in ignorance, intolerance, and insensitivity. As to your ignorance:

        Catholic Schools are integrated schools since 1983 and must teach the NZ Curriculum.

        The New Zealand Curriculum specifies three sets of achievement objectives for biology:

        • Life processes
        • Ecology
        • Evolution


        • McFlock

          As I recall in my Catholic school, we weren't even taught creationism let alone banning evolution theory.

          There were a lot of issues with that place, but anti-evolutionism wasn't one of them.

      • roblogic 14.4.2

        CV isn't the best example to support your argument…

        Religion isn't just about abstract philosophy or supernatural beliefs, not all of us live in our heads. Religion also provides community, culture, identity, and a moral code. As well as hope and meaning.

        “PIPPIN: I didn't think it would end this way.

        GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

        PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

        GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

        PIPPIN: Well, that isn't so bad.

        GANDALF: No. No, it isn't.”

        • millsy

          "Religion also provides community, culture, identity, and a moral code. As well as hope and meaning.".

          Thousands of New Zealanders find it on Saturday mornings each winter (and summer) then they involve themselves in grassroots sport.



  13. https://thehill.com/opinion/international/495823-the-pandemic-winner-will-it-be-sweden-or-new-zealand

    We seem to be a bit of a curiosity in the States, quite  happy being here in the comments there are a few kiwis sticking up for us.

    • Editractor 15.1

      The odds are stacked.

      The article implies that herd immunity is not proven but then goes on to assume it is when assigning handicaps.

      • I Feel Love 15.1.1

        The virus is wiping out care homes in Sweden (which they're blaming on the foreign workers looking after the elderly), and of course their death rate per million etc. I'd rather be here. 

  14. Morrissey 16

    David P. Farrar's vile propaganda never stops

    Farrar, that slimeball, has just compared those violent right wing loons who stormed the Michigan state parliament to anti-fascism protestors.

    Call me old fashioned but I don’t regard armed people who storm a parliament as “very good people”. They should be treated the same way as if armed antifa activists stormed a state capitol.



    • Peter 16.1

      I read in an American paper that anti-vaxxers are prominent in the protests. Kind of ironic putting everyone at risk of the virus being spread and they might be there protesting about a vaccine for Covid-19 being produced. 

      The carrying of guns draw comments of course, like who are they going to shoot?

      One Former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania has interesting views:


      • Anne 16.1.1

        Tell you what… I'd vote for that man if he was still in politics. Shows there are always good people on both sides of the political spectrum who can sort the wheat from the chaff. The US is the poorer for not having enough of them.

    • Bazza64 16.2

      I think David Farrar is being very honest about this armed crowd & treating them the same way as Anti-fa activists. You seem to think they are right wingers therefore bad, but Antifa & its appalling violence is OK cause they are left wing & anti-fascist.

      Farrar denounces both groups which is the right thing to do, but your comments indicate you’re happy with violence if it’s your preferred political group.

      maybe I have misinterpreted your stance on this ?

    • Farrar, that slimeball, has just compared those violent right wing loons who stormed the Michigan state parliament to anti-fascism protestors.

      Does seem a bit unfair.  After all, the gun-toting alt-right wingnuts don't seem to have actually smashed anything while they were there, which would be very unusual for Antifa wingnuts.

  15. pat 17

    "Warren Buffett, the legendary American investor, has sold his firm’s entire holdings in the four major US airlines, warning that the “world has changed” for the aviation industry because of the coronavirus crisis."


    Well thats a serious vote of no confidence

    • Dennis Frank 17.1

      True, but unusually slow off the mark for old Warren.  I told readers here that it was time to disinvest in airlines & tourism back when the news broke of the epidemic in Wuhan about five months ago.  As soon as the rate of spread got reported.  And I'm no economic prognosticator, just someone quick to spot a trend & intuit the apparent trajectory.

      • pat 17.1.1

        Sadly investors dont tend to follow the wisdom of DF from down south.WB on the other hand….

      • Bazza64 17.1.2

        Dennis you financial whizz & predictor of future events ! No doubt you also warned people of the threats due to SARS & MERS & told people to disinvest in tourism & airlines back then, but neither had any effect on those industries. I guess if you make enough premonitions then eventually one will come right.

         I don’t think Warren Buffet was slow off the mark. when he sells he has to unload a massive amount of shares so large buyers have to be lined up before a sale can be put through.

      • Graeme 17.1.3

        It happened at the very start of April, so at about the time it was becoming obvious the shit was going to hit the fan in the airline industry.  And about the last point there was going to be a buyer for that amount of airline stock.

        Wonder how the buyers feel right now….

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