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Open mike 03/06/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 3rd, 2013 - 122 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

122 comments on “Open mike 03/06/2013 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    In all the gushing posts on how “Democratic” the Greens are. It might pay to take a sober look at the reality.

    The Green Party conference is being conducted in relative secrecy, held away from the media spotlight. With not even reports of the conference being carried on their own website.
    There may be good reasons for this. Apart from media hostility and false reporting I can’t think what they might be. Surely on their own website they would be safe from that. So there must be other reasons for the news black out of the conference.

    Whatever the reasons for this news black out. One of the consequences of it, is that only the speeches of the top two leaders have been released.

    Is that it?

    Have the other Green MPs got nothing to say that can be reported? Let alone the members.

    In the light of the fact that the Labour Party is wedded to climate changing, and environmentally damaging policies, like deep sea oil drilling and fracking, and the coal mining of the Denniston Plateau.

    One of the issues that I thought might be discussed, and possibly even voted on, is the proposed coalition with the Labour Party.
    But from Russel Norman’s speech, I gather that a deal will be done with Labour is a forgone conclusion. Not only that, but according to Russel Norman the Green Party will have “no bottom line” in reaching this agreement.
    Does this mean there will be no say from the membership as to what is agreed to?

    Is this top down direction, what Green Party members have really signed up for?

    The consequences of the Green Party entering into a binding government agreement with Labour will be that the Green Party MPs will not be able to put up any legislation that opposes government policy. Effectively stymieing any action against climate change.

    As looks increasingly likely all opposition to climate change will wind up on the cutting room floor of the coalition talks, without a murmur of opposition from the members.

    • Ad 1.1

      A tighter conference merely shows they are organising their media bursts with precision.

      Good lesson for Labour after the 2012 conference free for all. Oxygen supply means everything.

      Norman has already explained to caucus that any member should be able to take on any portfolio. Don’t even presume Genter for transport.

      If Greens can sustain this discipline over both caucus and party, others will read it as ‘tight’ and hence ready for a significant coalition ‘ask’.

      • handle 1.1.1

        “Does this mean there will be no say from the membership as to what is agreed to?”

        Jenny, how you get to this is a mystery to me. Unless you can offer us evidence that the Greens have changed their internal process?

      • weka 1.1.2

        “A tighter conference merely shows they are organising their media bursts with precision.”

        Can I just say ‘morris dancing’?

    • Paul 1.2

      I think doing it this ways protects member’ rights to talk.
      Other conferences, because they are broadcast in front of the media, ban all dissenting voices, making the whole conference a presidential event. The National conferences and American party conferences are like this.
      Or, if they don’t, then a hostile media hijacks the conference …Labour 2012. If that had been held behind closed doors, I don’t think Shearer would be leader any more.
      So it makes sense to protect fragile grassroots democracy from the hostile media. The little that the media has reported shows they are really keen to do anything to paint the Greens in a bad light.
      Best not to play Rupert Murdoch’s game.
      “Well we’ve got news for SkyCity: unlike other political parties we didn’t take your campaign donations and we didn’t go to your corporate box at the rugby; your tools of crony capitalism don’t work with us because we work for the people of New Zealand and if the people of New Zealand tell us to turn off the tap on your blood money, then we bloody well will.”
      Substitute Sky City for the corporate media.

      • Tigger 1.2.1

        The media would report that X picked their nose while Y farted during a speech. I applaud the Greens. If you want entry to a party’s inner workings then pay a membership fee.

    • QoT 1.3

      Russel Norman’s conference speech – this one – makes no mention either of “no bottom line” nor “Labour” nor even future government (except as relates to the Sky City deal.)

      Care to provide an accurate citation for your anti-Green accusations for once?

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        Seems to me like Jenny wants all the benefits of telling the Greens what to do without doing any of the work or having any of the responsibility of being an actual Green party member at their conference.

      • farmboy 1.3.2

        Are you serious there has been countless times metria has said we dont have bottem lines anymore try watching the news instead of asking for links.

        • QoT

          I am very serious. Jenny asserts that “according to Russel Norman the Green Party will have “no bottom line” in reaching this agreement.”

          You saying “Metiria has been on the news heaps saying that” is completely irrelevant to that assertion.

          Not to mention the fact that there’s a huge difference between someone like Metiria Turei being upfront about the Greens’ willingness to negotiate, and Jenny’s completely-not-backed-up insinuation that the Greens are sellouts.

          • Jenny

            Jenny asserts that “according to Russel Norman the Green Party will have “no bottom line” in reaching this agreement.”


            I didn’t assert it, as you claim QoT. I gave the the quote from the stuff.co.nz article I had previously linked to. From a report written by Andrea Vance of “talks” she had with Russel Norman on the eve of the Green Party conference.

            There are no more joint-policy launches planned for the near future – although the Opposition parties will announce the results of their manufacturing inquiry later this month.

            “They’ve got their schtick, we’ve got ours,” Dr Norman says. He has no bottom lines for post-election negotiations.

            Andrea Vance stuff.co.nz


            QoT, if you are telling us that this is not Russel Norman’s position, and that this is a fabrication by Vance. Then you better show some proof.

            Maybe you could take it up with Vance, or indeed with Russel Norman himself.

            If Russel Norman says that this is not his position. I will be the first to lay a complaint with the press council against Vance, and stuff.co.nz

            And by the way QoT. I have pointed to the Green Party’s deliberate policy of playing down climate change. I have warned that if the Green Party sign up to a government that agrees to deep sea oil drilling and fracking and the mining of the Denniston Plateau this will be in my opinion the biggest political sell out since Rogernomics. This is different to just calling them “sell outs”.

            My sincere hope is that the Greens will alter their current course, and stick to their principles.

            • Colonial Viper

              Did you notice how Norman didn’t use the term “bottom line” himself? That it’s the journalist’s phrase, not his?

              • Jenny

                Yes, I did notice this.

                The piece by Vance is described as “Greens co-leader Russel Norman talks to Andrea Vance” So while it is generally very short on actual quotes I imagined that this account is supposed to convey Russel Norman’s views as related to Vance in these “talks”.

                If this is just the reporter’s opinion, and not related by Dr Norman to her. Then Andrea Vance is one of the worst reporters ever.

                And if Vance didn’t get this from Norman, then where did she get it?

                • felix

                  We can’t know where Vance got it, as she doesn’t say.

                  The point is you got it from Vance but you said you got it from Norman.

                  • Jenny

                    If I have been misled in thinking that this is the Green Party position toward the coalition talks.

                    Then when Dr Norman distances himself from this statement. And tells us the Green Party will no longer be giving interviews to Andrea Vance for her incorrect reporting of his “talks” with her. Then I will apologise for my mistake. Until then.

                    Take it as read:

                    “He has no bottom lines for post-election negotiations”.

                    Andrea Vance

          • handle

            Jenny is right about that phrase being used by Metiria recently, including TV interviews this weekend. But it does not mean they are sellouts.

            • Jenny

              I was not aware that Metiria had used this phrase.
              Either Andrea Vance is quoting Metiria Turei in her “talks” with Russel Norman. In which case she should have said so. Or Russel Norman confirmed this point with Vance in their talk.

              Either way, the Green Party leadership have not resiled from this statement. And I think we can take it, that this is the actual position of the Green Party leadership to the Coalition Talks.

              “There will be no bottom Lines”

              The question I would like to have answered. Did the membership agree to this?

              Since this was all announced pre-conference, I doubt it.

              Instead what I imagine happened (and I could be wrong) is that the Green Party membership have been presented with a fait a compli.

              Apart from the undemocratic nature at how this position was arrived at. Surely this is the worst negotiating tactic ever. In effect what Turei and Norman are saying is that they will agree to anything to get cabinet positions.

              • handle

                Unlike some parties, both Green leaders would be capable of maintaining an identical line like that.

                If media reports at the time were correct, the previous conference of members discussed coalition arrangements.

                Refusing to be drawn in public about negotiating positions does not mean a party is sidelining its members or ‘selling out’ or ‘will agree to anything’. No matter how much you seem to need it to be.

                • Jenny

                  Refusing to be drawn in public about negotiating positions does not mean a party is sidelining its members or ‘selling out’ or ‘will agree to anything’.


                  Saying that you have no bottom line, is not “refusing to be drawn”. It is spilling your guts.

        • McFlock

          TV News reports are online.
          Therefore you should be able to provide a link.

    • Saarbo 1.4

      The way the Greens are handling the media just shows how superior they are to the way Labour handled the media at the November conference. I just looked at the Herald “Politics” section. All 4 windows are on Green issues a)Keep Identity in Coalition: Aus Senator b)Sue Kedgley: bring Back School Food Guidelines c)Greens Pledge to Kids d)Green leader tears into “Smiling” key.

      Well at a similar stage at Labour’s November conference, the Media was covered with bull shit allegations of a possible coup. The Labour Conf was actually a real success, I was there but the way the media reported it was atrocious.

      This Green party are on top of their game and the way they are handling the media looks pretty good to me.

  2. Furrball 2

    New Zealand…

    • Second-most expensive country in the world to live in, according to Deutsche Bank.
    • The average household net-adjusted disposable income is 21 892 USD a year, lower than the OECD average of 23 047USD. Average disposable income below that of Poland.

    Bloody expensive with low wages and salaries. Couldn’t believe how so many friends of mine were struggling even with the basics when I visited for the first time in over two decades. There should be no reason why NZ products are cheaper in London than NZ, there should be no reason for such exorbitant energy prices.

    There should only be one over-arching issue in this coming election to which everything should connect: raising living standards for the large majority. There’s no virtue in poverty.

    • Jenny 2.1

      I agree, but I think survival should be up there too.

      • Furrball 2.1.1

        Survival in what sense, Jenny?

        • Jenny

          I take it Furrball, that you don’t think that climate change is an existential issue?

          • Furrball

            New Zealand’s contributions to global greenhouse emissions is about 0.2% of the global total, a pittance. Whatever New Zealand does will not affect the outcome. It may provide a moral veneer so that New Zealand can use what little clout it has in international negotiation, but this issue will be decided by the perceived national interests of China, the United States and the European Union.

            Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the rise in infectiouse diseases, cases of malnutrition, freezing expensive houses, the soaring cost of inequality… this is starting to rival third-world status. Where are the well-paying jobs? Why is a quarter of the population living abroad, a Kiwi diaspora that rivals Ireland, another relatively poor country?

            The people of New Zealand have far more pressing and immediate problems than climate change. Besides, only by increasing the wealth of the majority will public services be able to maintained, restored and in some cases, extended.

            • Jenny

              New Zealand’s contributions to global greenhouse emissions is about 0.2% of the global total, a pittance. Whatever New Zealand does will not affect the outcome.


              I beg to differ. Way above our relatively small quantitative emissions, what New Zealand does has a major qualitative effect on the world stage.
              In the sense that we have shown what is possible by example, New Zealand in the past has been a world leader. We need to be so again. For instance, we were the first in the world to give women the vote. We were world leaders in Social Welfare, providing a model for bigger countries to follow. We spearheaded the world movement away from nuclear weapons and apartheid.
              On the negative side of the ledger New Zealand led the world in implementing neo-liberal reforms of the 1980s much admired and copied by Margaret Thatcher.

              Our closest neighbor and friend, Australia is the biggest CO2 emitter per capita in the world. It is also the world’s biggest exporter of coal. Australia is also the country most likely to suffer some of the worst effects of climate change.
              If we can show what can be done, it will shine a beacon of hope to Australians.

              Also Furrball, fighting poverty, or fighting climate change is not a one or the other option, as you try to pose the argument. This is just intellectual laziness.

              Fossil fuels are preferred over all other methods of energy production because of their relatively low labour input making them much cheaper, and more profitable over more labour intensive cleaner technologies. Furrball, do you deny that de-carbonising our economy would provide thousands of new jobs, lifting many families out of poverty?

              • Furrball

                New Zealand has little weight and influence in international affairs. Sorry, and I write as a proud Kiwi who has lived in the UK for over 20 years, but all those things you claim, apart from women’s voting rights, was done earlier in other countries. It’s part of the New Zealand myth that people believe this stuff.

                To suggest that the fight against the fight against apartheid or anti-nuclear politics was trailblazed in New Zealand is laughable, likewise that Thatcher copied Roger Douglas. She’d been in power for five years when Lange was elected and had been influenced by Keith Joseph since the mid-70s. Australia doesn’t pay a lot of attention to New Zealand, either, unless they’re poking fun at their poorer cousins.

                Fossil fuels are not preferred because of their low labour input. They’re preferred because pound for pound, nothing else is as portable and packs as much energy into a given mass. To suggest otherwise is scientifically illiterate.

                The biggest source of greenhouse emissions in New Zealand is the agricultural sector. And yes, I utterly refute the idea that de-carbonising the New Zealand economy would provide thousands of new jobs. When was the last time a large train order in New Zealand went to a local supplier? Unless you’re suggesting throwing up trade tariffs which will only be reciprocated, large-scale manufacturing of green technologies in New Zealand will invaribly be outsourced to countries where wages are even lower, nearer large population centres and economies of scale can be attained.

                Green issues are important, yes. But to suggest they should take precedence over raising living standards for the large majority of New Zealanders is folly, as well as playing electoral smallball. Yes to increasing insulation standards, yes to increased public transport, yes to a reduction in water pollution etc… but there are even more pressing issues right now for much of the country, which is that by and large, by developed world standards, New Zealanders are becoming increasingly poor.

                • Foreign Waka

                  THANK YOU

                • Lanthanide

                  I hope you stick around Furrball, I like your style.

                • Bill

                  New Zealand has little weight and influence in international affairs

                  Although, it was due to NZ that India got access to nuclear weapons technology…hardly a little thing that. And NZ was (rightly or wrongly) a source of anti-nuclear inspiration as well as neo-liberalism through the 80’s. ( Not aware of anyone who claims that Thatcher was inspired by Douglas, but hey) And then there was the power of that ‘clean and green’ myth abroad…

                  The biggest source of greenhouse emissions in New Zealand is the agricultural sector.

                  Maybe so, but serious scenarios for carbon reduction that are based on the available science focus (for good reason) on the energy system, not agriculture.

                  Not an adherent to the belief in green growth btw – just pointing out some stuff in relation to your claims. And then further wondering if you have actually considered the likely impact on the international arena of an English speaking ‘Anglo Saxon’ country, that has sat at the heart of the neo-liberal experiment, ‘leaving the church’?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Furrball and Jenny detail the conundrum this civilization is in. Higher living standards mean increased energy and materials consumption. Which means higher GHG emissions. And our current ex-nihilo money/profit driven political economy guarantees that most of the employment from that increased production for consumption will occur overseas.

                    In summary – if we are going to get out of this trap, we need to do it for ourselves, screw “being an example to the world” as a motivation.

                    • Furrball

                      Not necessarily. For instance, newer cars which are more expensive, yet use fewer resources to build and run than older second hand cars.

                      For the record, I’m no spin doctor. Just a concerned Kiwi who marched in Wellington against the tour, voted for David Lange because Muldoon was beyond the pale, then left the country, now with a background in the third sector, a passion for politics and a desire to see the left remain useful, which means that it needs to strive for power and most importantly, relevant to the majority of people’s lives and immediate concerns.

                      People in New Zealand are skint on the bones of their arses, for christ’s sakes and have enough in their lives before dealing with catastrophic environmental scaremongering. I’ve just seen a charity appeal to buy pajamas for kids in hospital in Auckland… this kind of shit has to come to an end first.

                      Bill’s made some good points, but I’m tired. It’s late here. 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Not necessarily. For instance, newer cars which are more expensive, yet use fewer resources to build and run than older second hand cars

                      I’m afraid you’ve made the classic error of not taking into account embedded energy.

                      Refining and shipping the materials and components needed to build a new Toyota Prius is wasteful and expends far more fossil fuels than simply driving around in your old already long built Vauxhall.

                      In fact, it would probably take a full 10 years of running for the Prius to break even, from a GHG emissions point of view, and by then it’s battery is fucked and you’ll need a new one. More mining in Bolivia and materials processing/shipping needed.

                      In comparison, to fix up your old Vauxhall you probably only need to visit the scrap yard and pick up a salvage part for 20 quid. No more manufacturing needed, no more fossil fuels to be burnt.

                      People in New Zealand are skint on the bones of their arses, for christ’s sakes and have enough in their lives before dealing with catastrophic environmental scaremongering.

                      You do know that this country is populated by people whose ancestors chose to leave the gold-paved roads of London in order to come out to a poor, primitive, wilderness colony?

                • Jenny

                  Furrball, I could argue all day with you about the details of what leading role, or none, that New Zealand has played in the world, or could play.
                  I could pull out Margaret Thatcher quotes praising Roger Douglas and advocating the same for Britain. And you wouldn’t be convinced.
                  I could pull out quotes from Nelson Mandela saying that the New Zealand anti aparthied demonstrations was like a ray of sunshine in their darkest days. For you only to dismiss it.
                  I could describe the huge struggles that stopped the world’s biggest navy in its tracks. For you to denigrate them.
                  All we really need to know about you, is that you are a spin doctor who makes excuses for doing nothing.

                  Green issues are important, yes. But to suggest they should take precedence over raising living standards for the large majority of New Zealanders is folly.


                  Furrball. Ignoring climate change will depress living standards by amounts and in ways, we can’t even comprehend. If you were really concerned about raising, or even just protecting the living standards of the majority of New Zealanders, then you would be arguing to make every possible effort we could to avert the calamity that will fall on us, and if not on us, on our children.

                  What we need to address both climate change and poverty is a Green New deal.

                  P.S. By the way Furrball. Nowhere, did I suggest that the fight against climate change “should take precedence over raising living standards for the large majority of New Zealanders”. That is just your nasty spin on what I was saying.
                  What I have been saying, and will continue to say, is that all political parties, especially those that make claim to being concerned about the environment, should stop ignoring climate change for narrow political gain. And instead of playing down the danger, publicly rail against climate change, and loudly and demand that all parties must take a stand.

                  The danger is upon us.

                  Business as usual is not an option. That is if you truly care.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Oh please, nothing in Furrball’s reply amounts to ‘spin’.

                    • Jenny

                      Saying that climate change should not be ignored or traded away for cabinet positions. Is not the same as saying: climate change “should take precedence over raising living standards for the large majority of New Zealanders”

                      If this is not spin then what is it?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Civilisations fall Jenny. The changes you want are coming, unfortunately they are likely to be disruptive, disorganised and late in nature.

                    • Populuxe1

                      So quite frankly I’m quite happy to add or indeed increase our pitifully low greenhouse emissions to the mix if it means we can be reasonably secure going forward into the chaos that lies ahead. Basically the damage is done and a pretty horrific geopolical future is inevitable.

                    • ghostrider888

                      so resigned Pop

                    • Colonial Viper

                      P1 – indeed. I’d advocate for expending materials, fuel and treasure within this nation to get us ready for this difficult future, yes. In the mean time, it’ll also provide lots of jobs and lots of skills to NZers.

                    • Jenny

                      Civilisations fall Jenny. The changes you want are coming, unfortunately they are likely to be disruptive, disorganised and late in nature.

                      Colonial Viper

                      Probably CV. But I hope you won’t mind if I continue to demand that our response instead should be: Collective, Organised and Early. And that the Green Party should be leading this charge in making this demand in parliament, of all parties. Instead of what they are currently doing, playing it down or dispensing with this demand as a bargaining chip for cabinet positions.

                • xtasy

                  While I cannot agree with some of your views, you are right that rather than leading on major issues, it is usually New Zealand following certain policies that were started overseas, for good and for bad.

                  Also is New Zealand on the basis of income compared to purchasing power and thus general, “affordable” living standards not one of the leading countries in the OECD. Low income taxes, low regulation, freed up import export rules, and so much more, have not led to the growth in incomes and living standards for most here.

                  While New Zealanders may enjoy more space and a “greener” environment (admittedly more in danger under the present government), too many freeze in uninsulated, cold homes, too many pay exorbitant rents, too many pay high interest on credit for whatever, and too many are forced to compensate for low income by working extra hours, just to keep on top of things.

                  I know what you are talking about, having been back in Europe a couple of times over the years. Going to a supermarket in so many countries in Europe will be a revelation to many New Zealanders, about how they are robbed left right and centre here. Only petrol is cheaper, but there is also poor public transport here.

                  The Greens have good ideas, but I miss some more substance, more details, and a proper plan, to deliver on maintaining and improving living standards and quality, while at the same time being pro environment. I am sure it can be done, but one must be realistic about the limitations.

                  In the long run, though, the whole economic and energy systems we have at present worldwide, will largely be unsustainable, and major changes are needed. I worry that New Zealand has neither the capital, the manpower, the know how and more, to become a leading alternative energy technology country, unless it invites certain experts, investment and so from overseas, to establish development and high end production facilities here.

                  New Zealanders are becoming increasingly poor, but that is not all of them. Some do quite nicely, and I see this here around parts of Auckland. They are the suburbs that traditionally vote National anyway, and the Nats make sure they look after their base, and they crap on the rest. There are plenty of flash cars around the streets of certain parts of Auckland. It looks grim elsewhere. Sadly too many of those slipping down the social and economic slope are a bit slow realising what is going on.

              • xtasy

                “We were world leaders in Social Welfare, providing a model for bigger countries to follow.”

                Jenny, you may be surprised to learn, that the first ever slight forms of a “welfare state”, albeit in conservative, rudimentary form, were created under Bismarck in Germany:

                “Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of Germany, created the modern welfare state by building on a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as in the 1840s, and by winning the support of business. Bismarck introduced old age pensions, accident insurance and medical care that formed the basis of the modern European welfare state. His paternalistic programs won the support of German industry because its goals were to win the support of the working class for the German Empire and reduce the outflow of immigrants to the United States, where wages were higher but welfare did not exist.[17][18] Bismarck further won the support of both industry and skilled workers by his high tariff policies, which protected profits and wages from American competition, although they alienated the liberal intellectuals who wanted free trade.[19][20] ”


                This was largely due to the rapid growth of the Social Democratic Party there under the Germany Empire in late 19th centure and up to the time of the First World War.

                Workers became organised and demanded rights, and the empire got worried, so they offered some modest insurance schemes, to assist workers to save for state paid retirement and the likes.

                The modern welfare state developed later:
                “Examples of early welfare states in the modern world are Germany, all of the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Uruguay and New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the 1930s.”

                (see also Wikipedia under the same link as above)
                So New Zealand was of course amongst the leading countries, but it is not correct to claim that welfare was kind of invented and started in New Zealand.

                New Zealand is amongst others “leading”, but with the situation since the early 1990s, and given own personal experience in Europe and here, I dispute that welfare support in NZ is now amongst the top leading in the western, developed world.

                • Poission

                  Bavaria (on the basis of jenners work) introduced compulsory innoculation in 1807

          • muzza

            Jenny – Until youre putting a case forward, including discussion about geo-engineering, you are not open to dicsussing the broader issues, and putting a false case forward, lacking in balance.

            Climate Change, it wont be stopped, it can’t be stopped, because the causes, are not being discussed in a full, frank and open fashion.

            Geo-Engineering, is attempting to control weather patterns, through intervention, in non natural ways, which will have unknown (or perhaps known) consequences, and could be contributing (IMO is), towards these extreme weather *events* we are witnessing.

            Sheesh, its not like geo-engineering is a secret of any sort, quite the opposite in fact!

            • Jenny

              For future generations under conditions of extremis, as a last ditch, geo engineering will be attempted.

              But long before we get to that desperate stage, we must at the very least cut back our greenhouse gas emissions.

              What are you suggesting muzza?

              Why don’t you tell us what you think we should doing right now in the present time?

              Are you suggesting that we leave it up to future generations to sort out?

              Are you just another incarnation of the ignore it and do nothing brigade? (see above).

              • muzza


                Geo-engineering has been developed, live tested on earth, for scores now, some reading would assist your understanding around the history.

                There will be no cutting back of emissions, not under the current models, the results are priced in, so to speak, the care factor for humanity, appears to be null.

                My suggestion – Live your life, with honesty, integrity and love. If what you’re doing brings you joy, and you bring joy to others, then people are on the right path, its about as much as a human being can offer, this world!

                We are too deep into the mess now Jenny, for the outcomes to change, which is why its important to find enjoyment in life, through balance!

                Ignoring it is not an option, any more than depriving yourself of life is, while trying to fight a battle that was finally lost, in 1913.

                • Jenny

                  I could have guessed it. More delusional sophistry dressed up as a rationalisation for doing nothing.

                  muzza, I may have to add a new category of climate change ignorer just for you.

    • prism 2.2

      Why are you writing from the UK? A country that desperately needs a good talking to about more than numerous issues. They need you and your advice and comments. With all their intellectual and economic resources the Brit government seems to be unable to preside over a well-run country with opportunities and jobs for all whose more than basic needs can be met from a thriving economy. We are too unimportant for your deep expertise, give it to your country of domicile. And if you are a NZer don’t bother to sit over there and tell us we are shit and useless.

      • Furrball 2.2.1

        Hello prism. I’m writing from the UK because that’s where I now live. I left Wellington in the 80s for medical reasons, but carry my NZ passport. My family all live in the North Island and when I was there last year, the first thing I did after leaving the airport was to find some fish and chips.

        I’ve never claimed to have deep expertise, that is just your perception. Just bringing my voice and opinion to this site which seemed to be pretty groovy. I haven’t insulted anyone, nor have I said NZ was shit. However, if you’re going to deny the existence of the country’s serious problems, then it makes it difficult to highlight them and communicate them to others.

        Sorry to have upset you.

        • Populuxe1

          To be fair, it doesn’t take much to upset prism – the skin is very thin

          • Furrball

            To stay sane during online discussion — blogs, forums, whatever — means taking things seriously without taking them seriously.

            After all, we’re strangers to each other and while it’s tempting to ascribe the worst motives to those we disagree with, it’s all a bit silly really, as there’s a risk that it might say more about the accuser than it does the accused.

            Just a dozen or so posts and I’ve been accused of being a spin doctor, enamoured of neo-liberal speak and overly self-important which helps me to gauge elements of this community, but guys, gotta watch that tall poppy syndrome. No matter how far we’ve moved from Otaki or Levin to the other side of the planet, us Kiwis can still spot it a mile off.


            • Lanthanide

              “Just a dozen or so posts and I’ve been accused of being a spin doctor, enamoured of neo-liberal speak and overly self-important which helps me to gauge elements of this community, ”

              I don’t think the people you’ve interacted with so far are particularly typical of this community.

              Please, stick around.

              • pollywog

                I don’t think the people you’ve interacted with so far are particularly typical of this community.

                …the fuck they aren’t 🙂

              • Furrball

                I can’t stick around.

                I’m only posting here at the moment because I’m going through a bout of insomnia which will come to an end soon. It’s way past 5am in London and through parsing here and there — blog, press, tv clips, anything I can get my paws on — I’m trying to make sense of a country I left behind through no fault of my own, born and went to school there before some of you were even born, a country I’d like to live in again one day… but a country I fear has moved economically to the right, further to the right than the UK for there are things that Thatcher would never have touched like paying to see your GP, and things may never swing back again, or perhaps not in my lifetime.

                And that kind of complacency pisses me off. Perhaps she’ll be right isn’t bloody good enough.

                I read sources both left and right, for no-one has the monopoly on truth… and sometimes, when I read of what’s going on there, I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Perhaps it’s residual guilt. If I’d known what Roger Douglas had in store and the genies he unleashed, perhaps I wouldn’t have voted at all.

                • Lanthanide

                  I didn’t mean in the sense “stick around and never ever go offline”, but in the sense of “please keep coming back to this blog and posting comments in the future”.

                • karol

                  You are making some unsubstantiated assumptions Furrball. I left NZ in the 70s, and was in London for the whole of Thatcher’s time in power and beyond. London in the 70s was more left wing than here. I got most of my political education in the UK. But after Thatcherism, it seemed that it was no better than here.

                  One thing I learned was that each place has its pros & cons, and that you need to spend some time in a place to get the real feel of it.

                  Yes I thought the National Health Service was a way better experience than the health service here. And things are much more expensive here. But there still isn’t the ingrained upper class consciousness that still exists in the UK. And who needs a lot of expensive designer stuff anyway.

                  And ultimately, NZ is where I feel most grounded, for all its faults. If you stick around NZ left wing blogs long enough, you will see complacency is far from being the dominant MO. Many commenters and posters also get frustrated at the apparent complacency of many Kiwis outside the blogosphere.

                  • Furrball

                    Agreed with you on ingrained upperclass consciousness, but I’ve had to occasionally deal with and negotiate through that on a professional level, utterly aware of being somewhat inoculated through being a Kiwi… and more importantly to them, white.

                    I wouldn’t dismiss the need for a higher standard of living as merely an impulse to acquire ‘a lot of designer stuff’ because I wouldn’t presume to judge other’s buying behaviour, especially when the basics of living in New Zealand are so absurdly over-priced for those on a median salary. Calvinism isn’t a vote winner and Henry Ford was smart enough to pay his employees enough to afford one of his cars.

                    Before I visited last year — to walk in the Sounds and eat ice-cream in Waiouru on the way up North — I spoke with my brother and I said ‘what do you think of New Zealand these days?’

                    His reply:

                    ‘It’s become really Americanised.’

                    That has a deeper truth and resonance than some would realise. Elements of the Southern Strategy finding roots in New Zealand, amongst the fertile soil of the Rotary Club and the bowling club.

                    As Driftglass says: There is a club and you’re not in it.

                    Hasta la vista.

                    • karol

                      Yes, agreed, Furrball on many of your points. But, you’re not telling us anything we don’t know about how much of a struggle here it is for those on a low income. You’ll find many posts and comments here, over a long period, on that very issue.

                      On upper class consciousness – I was referring also to cultural attitudes associated with those economically better off in the UK., that is still stronger than here. And, from what I’ve seen of the UK from afar, and from friends back there, there’s a pretty vicious attack on the poor, and a strong privatisation programme going on there too.

                      Yep, it has become far more “Americanised” here than when I grew up here. But it’s always been between US & UK/European imperialism here – see RedLogix comments on that on the ‘Lusk papers 2- Selling out to America’ thread.
                      However, the US Imperialist cronyism, plus China-Imperialist syndrome have intensified under John Key’s watch.

                      When I first came back here from the UK via a stint in Howard’s Aussie., it was a bit of a relief to be living under the soft neoliberalism of the Clark government. However, that government just got into a bit of a holding pattern rather than truly turning things around. It’s been all down hill since then.

                      I’m pleased that you’re interested in politics here and in contributing. But don’t assume most lefty wingers here are politically unsophisticated country hicks. Most of the people here seem to have a pretty good idea of what we are up against – albeit, each with slightly different takes on it.

                      This blog is the site of pretty robust debates. And there’s a few round here who have been at the tough end at the forefront of left wing political struggles on the ground for a long time (I’m not talking about myself). I learn a lot from some of them.

                      And many here are continually looking to work out a more successful way of furthering left wing politics. There’s no quick easy fixes.

                • pollywog

                  We do set the bar pretty low.

                  It’s that work/money, quality of life trade off.

                  Is it wrong to not aspire to oecd measures of success, to want to be “rich” at the expense of others ?

                  It’s a simple common tragedy we face here but i still count my blessings compared to most other places.

                  She’ll be right, in the long term. Meanwhile soldier on…

            • handle

              That’s a fair assessment, Furrball. Some very black/white thinking from some.

            • prism

              Tall poppy syndrome. Does that apply to you furrball. We have had a genuine tall poppy on this blog? Actually that syndrome is a common one, possibly originally British. It is annoying but not as common as reported.

            • muzza

              Just a dozen or so posts and I’ve been accused of being a spin doctor, enamoured of neo-liberal speak and overly self-important which helps me to gauge elements of this community

              And yet in some way it may assist the understanding, of how NZ has found itself in the pedicament, it’s in now, during the time you’ve been abroad, Furrball.

              It doesn’t take long to get the, *vibe* of this site sussed out, as you have eluded to.

              For what it’s worth, your comments have been well reasoned and sensible, in my opinion!

          • prism

            Populuxe 1 Mirror Mirror on the wall who is the fairest of all. You?

            • Populuxe1

              Sorry prism, what was that? I couldn’t hear you over the shrill, persistant whine of your holier-than-thou self righteousness.

    • farmboy 2.3

      Try getting some friends that work.

      • Furrball 2.3.1

        I’m guessing that’s a reply to me, implying that my friends in New Zealand don’t work? Well, you’re wrong, my farmboy friend.

        I’m guessing that we wouldn’t agree politically, but take your non-argument, such as it is, up with the OECD and a barrage of international studies that clearly illustrate New Zealand’s decline of median standards of living since the 80s… as well as the peculiar fact that New Zealand is so expensive to live in.

        Why some should be so proud of this state of affairs — being ripped off to this degree by those who run things — is something I can’t quite explain. If it takes someone from outside to remind some people of these facts, then tough. Suck it up and do something about it.

        Thanks for playing.

  3. idlegus 3

    another good piece of comedy writing by Armstrong, says in no way could that nice guy Key be compared to that old meanie Muldoon, heres one of the last paragraphs with some arguments from me

    “Muldoon’s use of the SIS to target, monitor and discredit prominent trade unionists”
    Key instead gets his childhood mate to run the Govt Secret Service

    “his cynically allowing the 1981 Springbok tour to go ahead to ensure National kept its grip on provincial electorates”
    Key talks about WMD instead

    “banning journalists from press conferences”
    Key damands journalists offer questions in writing before he answers

    “handing out big subsidies to National-voting farmers”
    D’oh, how many millions are going to irrigate canterbury farms?

    ” describing the leaders of African independence movements as having only “just come down from the trees” ”
    Key talks about joining a war against North Korea, calls Daid Beckhan thick, gets sleazy with South American Presidents wives, etc…

    “effectively awarding himself a knighthood”
    why did he brings the titles back in? if not to grant himself a knighthood


    • Dv 3.1

      Muldoon ran the cossack ads and canceled the super scheme.
      Key calls LabGreen far left and the devil beast and reduces contribution to kiwisaver.

    • Naturesong 3.2

      To be fair, David Beckham is pretty thick.
      He’s also more interesting and has better manners than John Key.

      • idlegus 3.2.1

        i actually dont think david beckham is thick at all, he might be a bit dim, but thick? i was just thinking of some poor statements by key about overseas ppl, theres plenty more.

      • Populuxe1 3.2.2

        And gorgeous, don’t forget gorgeous. A splendid specimen.

      • rosy 3.2.3

        “To be fair, David Beckham is pretty thick.
        He’s also more interesting and has better manners than John Key.”

        How can you criticise a man who knows how to make pots of money, be charming and have a gorgeous family? What else matters? I think he should be our PM! 😉

        (Actually I’m a Beckham fan, and don’t think he’s particularly thick. Just not a fan of people thinking people who know how to make money know how to run a country).

  4. tc 4

    Yes the sad old trougher doesnt seem to care he shows what a shill he is when he defends his lovechild Shonkey…..and they brought back QC’s and immediately granted one to fundlayshonk.

  5. AsleepWhileWalking 5

    Frankly Speaking: Crony Watch! http://fmacskasy3.wordpress.com/

    Might be worth emailing in any you are aware of but aren’t yet on the list.

  6. wyndham 6

    Pretty strong criticism of the dear departed Robert Muldoon ! Was Armstrong a political journalist during the Muldoon era ?

    If so, what did he have to say ?

    • karol 6.1

      Apparently Armstrong has been a political journalist since the 1980s.

      But John Armstrong, chief political reporter for the New Zealand Herald, says Mr Peters is a difficult man to cosy up to.

      “He was fairly close to the media in the early years but he’s had a snitch with the coverage of certain media,” he says.

      Mr Armstrong has been working in Parliament since the 1980s and he writes columns about the political heart of the Beehive – Government announcements, budgets, legislation as well as the “rows and distractions” he says go on in Parliament.

      He says the relationship between the media and politicians is symbiotic. “We need them to sell newspapers and they need us to get noticed, so they can get coverage.

      “We are all in bed together.”

      He says the best journalists are those who know how to get good sources. “It’s our job in the press gallery to make contact with personalities and it’s how we get stories. We have got to get to know them.”

      Curiously, there’s not a lot of background on Armstrong online.

      • Bearded Git 6.1.1

        I noticed the lack of information on Armstrong online too Karol. I can’t even find his out his age.

      • Morrissey 6.1.2

        A tired and depressed John Armstong came off second best when he foolishly took on the superior Gordon Campbell last year.

        Google it, fellas—it’s very, very entertaining.

      • veutoviper 6.1.3

        We must have been googling Armstrong’s background about the same time! And it is curious about how little there is about his background. I seem to recall having heard/read somewhere that he is originally from the UK – and that he has never become a NZ citizen. But cannot recall where or when so cannot verify that – or whether it was an unfounded claim about him.

  7. ianmac 7

    I remember Mr Key saying during the 2008 election that he admired Muldoon. Maybe, if my memory is correct, this could be used by Mr Norman.
    Anyway the real point of the speech was the diminishing of Democratic rights currently.

  8. Morrissey 8

    How much anguished speechifying by politicians was there after this hero murdered 16 Afghan CIVILIANS?

    The US Army staff sergeant charged with killing 16 villagers in one of the worst atrocities of the Afghanistan war has agreed to plead guilty in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

    11:29PM BST 29 May 2013

    Robert Bales is scheduled to enter guilty pleas to charges of premeditated murder on June 5 at a military base in the US, his lawyer John Henry Browne said. A trial for Bales’ sentencing is set for September. The judge and the base’s commanding general must approve a plea deal.

    “The judge will be asking questions of Sgt. Bales about what he did, what he remembers and his state of mind,” Mr Browne said.

    Bales slipped away from his remote southern Afghanistan outpost early on March 11, 2012, and attacked mud-walled compounds in two sleeping villages nearby. Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were piled and burned.

    The killings drew such angry protests that the US temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan.

    A plea deal could inflame tensions in Afghanistan. In April, relatives of the victims became outraged at the notion Bales might escape the death penalty and even vowed revenge.

    “For this one thing, we would kill 100 American soldiers,” said Mohammed Wazir, who had 11 family members killed that night, including his mother and two-year-old daughter.

    Mr Browne previously had indicated Bales remembered little from the night of the massacre. But as further details and records emerged, Bales began to remember what he did, the lawyer said.
    Bales is contrite about the killings, Mr Browne said.

    Edited by Bonnie Malkin for telegraph.co.uk

  9. The UK Tories are reeling from another sex scandal, this one centered on 10 Downing Street. There is apparently an interim injunction preventing publication of details, good luck with that …

    One aide said that the situation was ‘dynamite’ and a ‘complete mess’.

    Initial speculation was that it was Cameron’s wife Samantha and Boris Johnson! Current speculation is that it is Press Secretary Alex Cameron & disgraced News of the World phone hacking editor Rebekah Brooks.

    But the news will come out. Don’t they realise the Internet always wins?


    • karol 9.1

      Snap. My google search brought up the PM’s wife & Johnson. But I thought it was both/and the Coulson-Brooks one, not either/or..

      • mickysavage 9.1.1

        Oops I meant to say Andy Coulson – not enough coffee …


        • rosy

          Can’t see a Brooks/Coulson affair being much of a scandal. They collude, confide anyway – an affair is just a more personal expression of that, and only of concern to their families. A bit of a push to call Coulson middle-aged, imo.

          Now if it was an affair between a formerly seemingly unconnected political/media power pair that’s a completely different situation.

        • Puddleglum

          Maybe you were remembering these texts?

          • rosy

            I certainly was 🙂 rather flirty, but why not, if it gets access? A good warning for politicians and bureaucrats to keep a distance from media people. But apparently that’s not the connection (not someone in government), hence the Coulson rumours, I suppose.

    • North 9.2

      I thought (hoped) that Brooks bitch was in jail. As a proxy albeit for the Evil (I Own Several Sovereign HaHaHa States) Rupert. Couldn’t be Whatever The Name Is Madame Cameron. One mortal in one lifetime could not possibly twice engage such wicked taste ! Surely ?

    • North 9.3

      Interim injunction what ? The ruling class serving the ruling class !

      • mickysavage 9.3.1

        There is a bit more information coming out. It sounds like there is no interim injunction but the papers were “reminded” that certain issues were sub judice. This almost confirms that it is Brooks and Coulson who are still facing trial over the phone tapping allegations.

        • rosy

          It does rather. Making it a gossip story rather than enlightening, given their already close relationship. Just panic that Cameron should have known so will look a bit silly or deflection?

  10. karol 10

    No country seems to do political sex scandals like the Brits. Will it detract from Andy Coulson’s right wing media manipulations? And now the whole Downing Street thing.

    Sheesh – takes cronyism to a new level.

    • North 10.1

      True, the Brits do it excellently. Bonyism on top of (or however you like it) Cronyism.

  11. Herodotus 11

    Is there are increase in scaremongering to temper the absurd Auckland property market or is there an increasing warning being issued ?
    Poverty in many people’s mind is nz’s no. 1, yet the implications of this continuous expanding bubble is just as destructive and wide ranging.

    • karol 11.1

      It looks to me like those that have a vested interest in the property market are running scared and not sure which way to turn right now.

      Sooner or later their bubble will burst. The best solution is for Kiwis to move away from trying to increase their wealth through property ownership & speculation. However, the vested interested are bound to take a hit. Most of the MSM journos who write on it, are not helping.

      • Herodotus 11.1.1

        Auckland market corrects say 20%. What are the implications ?
        Here are some:
        As long as the mortgagee is earning the bank is still protected, the homeowner bears the entire cost in the terms of lost equity, house construction dramatically drops, council spending continues yet their rates base does not grow at the same rate = increased debt or rates increases. Interest rates increase. We become slaves in our own country working for diminishing wages as it becomes dog eat dog as each of us fights to survive. And politically, whoever is in power at the time is kicked out, on the other side property increases in value = current govt is rewarded with another term in power.
        Govt debt is not the real issue, our private debt and the consequences of all this debt servicing being exported.

  12. felix 12

    I reckon seeing as Dunne is Minister of revenue, his party registration should work the same as my car’s registration – continuous.

    i.e. he should be paying to de-register, and if not then any suckers who want to join have to pay up right back to when his rego ran out.

  13. muzza 13


    But city councillor Dave Macpherson said the decision not to include the authority was, in hindsight, a “whoops moment”. He said it would have been useful to have the authority directly involved in the leadership group.

    “It wasn’t a deliberate snub but I think it’s fair to say we overlooked it. A problem we often have in council is we think we have all the answers without checking sometimes,” he said.

    Um, yeah, ok Dave!

  14. ghostrider888 14

    (this film sums things up nicely).

  15. Tautoko Viper 15

    I see that TVNZ are suggesting that the buildings and grounds of schools that have been closed in Christchurch may be in demand by those wishing to set up charter schools. If the rationale for closing the schools was because the student numbers were insufficient to make the school viable then why should the Government be able to direct public funds for a charter school on that site?

    • Puddleglum 15.1

      Because charter schools will be such a boon to the low achieving, low decile children …

      I can see the rationale now: ‘Well, if they [the charter school proposers] think they can make a go of it then good on them. It’s up to them to work out a way to meet the rigorous contractual obligations we’ll impose on them. Private sector efficiencies, after all, are so much greater than in the public sector [that we are running!].’

  16. North 16

    Hear Hear Tautoko Viper ! You wouldn’t put it past those crooks ShonKey Python, Heki Pirau, and Botox Banks. More public asset applied for the benefit of the already filthy rich.

    “It’s the best for the nation don’t you know ?”

    In a completely different context, maximum prejudice to David Cameron, the Hurrah Henry Bastard of Britain ! It’s probably his latest Mr Humphreys, or am I confusing “Yes Minister” with “Are You Being Served ?” I suspect I am. The Westminster ministerial help was “Sir” somebody wasn’t he ?

    Whatever. Tory arseholes pick their help terribly badly if that’s the case. (Coulson). Couldn’t be the “downstairs” people. They’d just be sacked and sent home on the Tube with a mortified Hurrah Henry flea in the ear and no reference.


    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if it was just a good old root that knobbled the bastard ?

  17. karol 17

    Is the F-word making a come back? In the UK at least? A Guardian article on the new generation of digital-savvy feminists reckons it is.

    It was a remarkable victory when the social networking giant Facebook caved in to pressure last week and promised to “do better” to tackle anti-women hate pages on its site. A campaign by three women succeeded where many previous efforts had failed, forcing Facebook to take action over content celebrating rape and domestic violence.

    It took just a week for the campaigners to rouse hundreds of thousands of supporters, thanks to a growing digital network of women who are part of the “great feminist revival”. Spare Rib magazine is soon to relaunch, women’s groups are enjoying a growth in interest, and online feminism is flourishing in blogs and tweets. Beyoncé and Madonna were in London for the Chime for Change concert, promoting global empowerment for women and girls.

    Madonna and Beyonce aren’t top of my list of feminists to take notice of. I am interested to know more about Laura Penny who the article describes 26, author, feminist, socialist and columnist.

    She blogs and tweets under the name Penny Red and is now a contributing editor at the New Statesman.

    “There is a lot of fighting out there at the moment within feminism over what it is and what it should be, and it’s exhausting but necessary. It’s part of the process,” she says.

    And she’s written, Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism (Zer0 books, 2011).

  18. Anne 18

    I see Craig Heatley has been made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit (NZOM) for services to business. His donations to the National Party (via the Waitemata Trust?) must have been substantial.

  19. mac1 19

    With regard to the Nisbet cartoon, I am sorry to say that the Marlborough Express has not retracted but compounded its error with tonight’s editorial. The editor who is a decent enough man did however have the gumption to print nine letters criticising his stance directly under his editorial.

    It says firstly the cartoon was “possibly” offensive but not racist, according to the ruling by Susan Devoy, which the editorial writer says found the cartoon “beneath the official threshold required for racism.”

    It says it “was intended as a provocative comment on the Right-wing stereotyping of those who may try to take advantage of the Government’s new ‘food in schools’ programme.”

    Funny way to do that, I would have thought.

    Anyway it seems that those of us “who saw skin colour first, above all else, might like to consider whether they were guilty of that sentiment.”

    The editorial criticised emotively those of us who wrote “hate mail” and who were “screaming racism.” I think that is called blaming the messenger.

    • North 19.1

      That’s bullshit that it was intended to lampoon the right wing. I heard the guy being interviewed and there was no way he was lampooning the right. He was actually quite feisty and said nothing about lampooning the lunatics. He sounded to me like one of those know it all superior white bastards who have not just a subliminal anti-Maori number about them but also a conscious negativity and sneer. Which they’re cunning enough to moderate somewhat in their talk after the event. It still comes through though.

      Nisbet’s a provincial racist prick using his platform to peddle his own racist shit. Not lampooning anyone but (unwittingly) himself and his provincial little shit hole. And (deliberately) Maori.

      • Populuxe1 19.1.1

        I just love it when some arrogant, presumably JAFA tosser starts flinging around “provincial” as a perjorative. It just reveals what utter contempt you have for the rest of the country.

        • felix

          I’m amazed you can type this stuff with what appears to be zero irony or self-awareness.

          • Populuxe1

            That’s a bit rich coming from someone as pompously oblivious to irony as you, felix. I would almost describe it as condescending, except that would imply you had some level of authority to begin with.

  20. Mark Robertson 20

    I am amazed at the complete lack of coverage of the latest Roy Morgan poll which came out on the 29th May. Nats down to 41%— Surely thats headline material you would have thought. The Roy Morgan poll has been the most accurate by far of all the polling companies at the last two elections yet is consistently overlooked. Goes together with the complete lack of coverage nationally of Ch-Ch voters turning on the Nats. Latest polls down south have led the editor of the press to suggest that Christchurch is going red. Now all we need is the MSM nationally to report whats happening. Vain hope I know.

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