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Open mike 03/12/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 3rd, 2022 - 43 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 …

43 comments on “Open mike 03/12/2022 ”

  1. Ed 1

    Bryan Bruce’s excellent documentary on Tuesday showed the consequences for our nation when we abandoned socialism for extreme neoliberal policies. It was a rare reminder of reality in our highly propagandised nation.

    It demonstrated how we have destroyed our society for the benefit of the ultra rich. It’s not just the poor who are suffering now. They were thrown under the bus in the 1980s. It’s now the middle class who are being devoured by this extreme form of capitalism.

    We have neoliberal managers now – not politicians. The country is owned and run by large foreign owned corporations thanks to the wretched work of Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.

  2. Ed 2

    Caitlin Johnstone is another important voice to be heard in our increasingly propagandised world.

    An Australian writer with real insight and style, she offers a refreshing alternative to the 24/7 neocon world view we are subjected to.


    • Jenny are we there yet 2.1

      Hi Ed I took your advice and endorsement of Caitlan Johnstone and clicked on the link your provided, only to discover that Caitlan Johnstone is a big supporter of Russian imperialism and war.

      "Bryan Bruce’s excellent documentary on Tuesday showed the consequences for our nation when we abandoned socialism for extreme neoliberal policies……"

      Following the popular people's revolt that toppled the Soviet Union, neo-liberal oligarchs formed from ex-soviet bureaucrats seizing their opportunity subjected Russia to an even more extreme form neo-liberal take over than that suffered by New Zealand.

      Russia Under Yeltsin and Putin: Neo-Liberal Autocracy on JSTOR

      The neo-liberal model in Russia, as in other countries, was based on two fundamental principles: privatization and financial stabilization. By the beginning of 1998 it seemed that both tasks had been achieved. The ruble was stable, and the remaining state enterprises could be counted on one’s fingers…..


      The Crisis of Neo-Liberal Economics in Russia

      The neo-liberal paradigm was forced upon the Russian people, turning the 1990s into a chaotic nightmare……

      Boosted by high oil prices, Putin managed to alleviate the crisis of the 1990s and to provide a short-lived sense of prosperity in the 2000s….

      …..despite the restoration of some of the Soviet symbolism, corporate capitalism engendered by the reforms of the 1990s has been consolidated.2 Putin’s economic agenda remains neo-liberal to its core.

      ….The structure of the economic development and the character of domestic and international economic ties are overlooked in the economic analysis. This is done intentionally to conceal the true nature of imperialist economics in general,….


      Big nations will try to dominate small nations. Small nations will resist.

      This is the nature of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

      Ed, what Caitlan Johnstone and other pro-invasion, pro-war ideologues don't acknowledge, is that Russian expansionism is also a product of the neo-liberal orthodoxy of perpetual growth on a finite planet which leads nations not just into conflict with the natural world but into conflict with each other. Just as every other major imperialist country, Russia is trying to outsource its economic crisis to other smaller subject nations if it can.

      • Beverly 2.1.1

        Hi Jenny are we there yet , I've been reading Caitlin Johnstone for a while now and find her take on Russia and US refreshingly free from what I assume to be propaganda. My take is that she's not taking sides, has an anti-war stance and sees what unfolds quite clearly – ie she sees through the propaganda.

        • Joe90

          My take is that she's not taking sides, has an anti-war stance and sees what unfolds quite clearly – ie she sees through the propaganda.

          On both her site and twitter account Johnston fails to dislose her position as an OP Ed columnist for Russia Today.

          She's taken a side.


          • RedLogix

            Another agit-prop pundit who never saw a totalitarian regime she couldn't love. A quick scan of her website reveals a veritable potpourri of anti-Western memes and smears – that ironically enough she could only publish freely in the same western countries she hates so much.

            All the while pleading a fake 'neutrality'; yet the big tell is who they do not criticise.

            I have come to the conclusion that people like this are essentially attention-seekers, thriving on contrarian positions as an extended form of click-bait.

            • mikesh

              Russia was never going to transition from a communist dictatorship to democracy overnight. Boris Yeltsin tried that, and what a disaster that turned out to be; one cannot blame the Russians for being distrustful of democracy post Boris. Gorbachev seemed to have the right idea, ie to liberalise more slowly, promoting glasnost and perestroika as a start.

              It's quite narrow minded to simply write off autocracy as a form of government if circumstances are not right for it. Democracy took many centuries to develop in the West.

              • RedLogix

                A fair point to some degree. I would go on to add that I think the current forms of democracies we are familiar with in the west are not necessarily ideal or final either. We cannot be complacent nor smug about our own record or state of development – all politics being in a process of evolution.

                For a broader perspective this interactive map gives shows the various degrees of democratic development globally.

                From this it can be seen that across the Asia land mass, the Middle East and the northern swathe of Africa, democracy is either nascent, fragile or downright missing in action. It is not an original geopolitical observation to note the nations with good access to maritime trade and securable borders tend to be further down the democracy path; while the land locked powers are frequently stalled in authoritarianism. (Why this should be so would make for another interesting thread.)

                Nonetheless it is a matter of profound regret to see Putin and Xi Xinping actively driving their regimes away from the modest progress they had made – regressing deeper into authoritarianism and tyranny. Comparing countries on a scale of democratic accountability is fraught because there are so many historic and geopolitical variables to account for – but you can ask 'what direction are they heading in?'

                • mikesh

                  Are any of the so called "democracies" providing Russia and China with suitable role models? Certainly not the USA or GB, or even the EU. Russia and China are at least not embracing neoliberalism. Neo liberalism seems to have been introduced into Russia under Yeltsin. Putin is struggling to stamp it out.

                  • RedLogix

                    Let me know if you can spot any of your favorite authoritarian non-neoliberal countries on this list:


                    (There a lots of such lists online – Russia does not appear on any of them.)

                    • mikesh

                      I wouldn't want to live in Russia. Did I ever claim hat I would.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well about 20 years ago I did live there. There was a moment in my life when I was single, I had employment and friends. After working for four months I found myself very much at home with the people, although initially I had found public life grim and foreboding. I almost stayed; there was a moment getting on a train to leave when my life could have easily taken a completely different path.

                      In private the people I was with were intelligent, well read and good company. But there was almost no trust in the public domain. Generations of trauma have left a terrible mark on them, and I think part of the casual brutality we are seeing in Ukraine now is a manifestation of this. Life is tough, especially for the men. I would not want to romanticise it, but a hard country that produces a tough people capable of surviving it. An along with this has come a culture imbued with paranoia, and a sense of always being second best to the West.

                      There is no single factor to blame. They live in a crap geography, with a relatively poor agriculture, transport and climate. They have been historically invaded over 50 times, from the Mongol hordes onward. And the horrors of the Stalinist era they did to themselves; as they did the collapse of the 90's. Yes an ill-conceived lurch toward unconstrained market economy was a bad start, but the Soviet system had collapsed under it's own contradictions, and only the security services capable of holding the empire together. With no democratic accountability it all folded in on itself in a kleptocratic collapse.

                      The city I was living in was still very much a Soviet one, and it reeked of that terrible failure. Poverty in a hot country is one thing, in a cold country it is terrible to see.

                      Until about 2008 I was hopeful Putin might lead Russia into the modern world, but the wounds of the past remain unhealed, unreconciled. His was a historic opportunity and he failed it. And here we are tragically at war with them again.

                      Do not imagine for a second I do not feel the grievous waste of life and treasure in the Ukraine. On both sides. But a sick, wounded Russian empire is in it's violent, dangerous death throes and the rest of us are involved whether we like it or not.

                    • mikesh

                      The main lesson learned from WWI was that in future wars the countries with oil, or with access to oil, would have an enormous advantage over those that lacked that resource. I think WWII started because, with Germany lacking oil, Hitler wanted access to a source he could be sure of: hence the launch of Barbarossa to capture Russian oil fields, and possibly Rommel's activities in the Middle East

                      Since then, with oil being traded in US dollars, oil has underpinned the status of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. The US is determined to keep things that way and sees Russia, a major oil producer, as threatening the dollar's status, so they see a need to hobble Russia. I think the war in Ukraine has been fomented by the US for that purpose. Putin I think has played into their hands. Still, the outcome is not yet certain.

                      The irony of it all is that the "oil age" may shortly be coming to an end – being killed by global warming.

      • mikesh 2.1.2

        The fall of the Soviet system was brought about by a collapse of oil prices – there was, at the time, a world wide oil glut. This caused such great hardship that Gorbachev had little choice but to dismantle Sovietism, though I think Yeltsin may have forced his hand.

      • mikesh 2.1.3

        Russian expansionism is also a product of the neo-liberal orthodoxy of perpetual growth on a finite planet which leads nations not just into conflict with the natural world but into conflict with each other. Just as every other major imperialist country, Russia is trying to outsource its economic crisis to other smaller subject nations if it can.

        Russian expansionism is a myth. What Russia is trying achieve in Ukraine is reestablish the status quo ante 2014 when they had the use of Crimea with access by land through the (ostensively) friendly Ukraine. Though of course they would like to stop Ukraine joining NATO as well.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    Co-governance work set to be put on hold

    "An election-year halt on co-governance work is the likely outcome when Cabinet meets this month to decide the next steps to fulfil commitments under the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."


    • weka 3.1

      disappointing but this is probably sensible for two reasons. One is I want Labour to be able to form government again at the end of next year. Two is that I want us as a country to take the time to work through the issues and bring people along. There's some chance of the former, I don't hold a huge amount of hope for the latter, but expect that there will be many people working away in the background and in communities on that.

  4. Same. If Jacinda Ardern's parents had wanted her name to be Jacinta they would have registered this name.

    But they did not.

    Case closed.

    • Mac1 5.1

      Imagine the furore if he had allowed 'Jacinta'! Between Scylla and Charybdis on that one.

      • Robert Guyton 5.1.1

        If they allowed "Jacinta", they also have to give the nod to "Jabcinda" and "Taxcinda".

        A conundrum of Homeric proportions.

      • Anne 5.1.2

        Wilful ignorance (and this Jacinta thing is exactly that) should never be rewarded.

      • Muttonbird 5.1.3

        Easy enough to manage, all he needed to do given they got the right person is to accept the answer with a note and correction of the spelling.

        They are Brits so the NZ PM is not front and centre for them every day.

        Those people should be celebrated. The Chaser, who had zero idea, not so much.

  5. Robert Guyton 6

    "Well I feel very indigenous – how Māori are you?’”

    Kaipara mayor asks Māori ward councillor: 'How Māori are you?'

    Worth checking the article out just to see the photo of the mayor (warning: it will solidify your prejudice 🙂

    The spelling in the link is another 🙂


    • Nic the NZer 6.1

      Isn't it the mayors natural role to wind all the councilors up and prevent the council from actually achieving anything?

  6. pat 7

    "Driving EVs could be banned in Switzerland unless in cases of “absolutely necessary journeys” in stage three of the power conservation plans. The country also plans a stricter speed limit on highways in the recently proposed action plan, which has yet to be adopted."


    Less than 4% of the Swiss fleet is currently plug in.


    • Poission 7.1

      Switzerland is on Eurogrid,they import from Germany,France,and Austria (reexporting some to Italy) 2022 car registration rules require 15% of new cars to be electric this year,increasing to 50% by 2025.

      The absurdity is they are at present importing around 27% ( of capacity) from Germany with a co2 content of 625g /kw/h .

      They are also paying 8 euro a megawatt for the euro certificate to say they are using high carbon electricity.

      Here with EV there will be increased load constraints for Auckland,and there will be increased limits on when charging will be available,as the project for charging constraints starts to rollout (similar to ripple control) with smart metering and time windows>

      • pat 7.1.1

        Yes saw their power imports and the fact that over 20% of current vehicle sales are plug in….capacity problems in a wealthy country with less than 4% of the fleet demonstrates the scale of the problems ahead for all of us.

        Energy is the basis of our productivity and we will have to apportion it by mechanisms other than solely relying on markets.

        • Poission

          The projected costs for NZ to 2030 are 33 billion$,to bring us to 98% renewable electricity and enable electrification of the Vehicle fleet to around 50%.

          The pricing is around 1/3 each for generation,transmission,and distribution.One emerging problem is the increase of generation from overseas actors,where profits will go off shore (to reward investment),which is somewhat dampened by industry looking to increase its distributed generation lessening both grid reliance,and transmission and distribution costs and losses.

          Europe in more trouble with coal shortages in Germany and Poland ( causing spike in Australian newcastle index to 400 a ton),drawdowns of gas inventory underway as demand increases with severe cold forecasts.

          • pat

            Those numbers look very aspirational….from memory our average vehicle lifespan is something like 14 years….and probably just as well if we are relying on generation/distribution investment….8 years might just about get it signed off.

            • Poission

              Well the reviewers when they kicked the renewable policy into the future,suggested that the government objectives were aspirational,whilst a number of companies are just getting on with efficiency gains and installations that do not need RMA or consultation or even worse for the politicians a ribbon cutting event.

              This year demand will be down around 1500 gwh,around the lowest for 15 years,and with record hydro storage at present,reduced need for irrigation,there will be good reserves till the winter high risk period.

  7. joe90 8


  8. Muttonbird 9

    Subclass 444 Special Category visa. It's all in the name.

    Australia has shown their colours and this piece of administration has to go. Kiwis should have to apply for visas to Australia just like citizens from any other country. That way Australia could vet who they wanted to accept and we would not have them dumping their highly trained criminals on our doorstep.


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