Open mike 04/02/2024

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 4th, 2024 - 87 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 …

87 comments on “Open mike 04/02/2024 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    His wife is Chilean, but he has a dual nature by birth too, that provides an internationalist perspective:

    Boris Sokratov is a Bulgarian-Māori and has whakapapa to Te Rarawa, Ngāti Haua. He was the producer of the Nutters Club Radio Show. He helped establish the Key to Life Charitable Trust that supports mental health advocate Mike King.

    I want to thank David Seymour for doing what no Māori leader has ever been able to do – “unify Maori.”

    Yes, it does seem an unprecedented achievement. It exposes the reality of cultural/political/ethnic Aotearoa – a social contract based on history. Seymour reckons it's time to renegotiate that contract. Maori are uniting to oppose doing so. Makes me think of the Springsteen song of 1980: The Ties That Bind. Bondage constrains.

    The electoral franchise established under the 1852 New Zealand Constitution Act was supposed to be colour-blind. Truth is it wasn’t (on purpose) because voting was linked to private land ownership. And guess who owned the majority of private land? Only men who owned land were entitled to vote. Māori land ownership was collective.

    That meant the majority who were Māori (80,000 people) were excluded from voting. While the settler population (6000) could. On top of that Māori wāhine weren’t allowed to vote until 1893. Only 100 or so Māori voted in the first general election in 1853, out of a total electorate of 5849.

    The Treaty preserves the political contract between Crown & Maori chiefs. It is largely seen as an ongoing social contract between pakeha & Maori – so widely that it approximates common sense to see it that way. Encoded into law, this interpretation has become authoritative in recent decades. Seymour wants out of this tradition, but his rationale – same rights for all – is mere ideology.

    In 1859 the British Crown Law Office confirmed that Māori could not vote unless they had individual title granted by the Crown.

    Anchoring democracy in property rights was valid insofar as it brought feudalism through into the 19th century, which suited the empire just fine. Our state was six years old then, and the constitutional framework has evolved somewhat since, but not to the point of including indigenous rights as far as I'm aware. So those rights conferred by the Treaty remain chiefly and are not specifically allocated to other Maori, which makes them contestable…

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Here's a helpful summary of what Seymour wants to overthrow:

    In 1986, the government passed the State-Owned Enterprises Act, which included a provision stating that “nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi”. A year later, our highest court was required to determine what those principles were. Much of what we know about the principles still comes from that case. Among other things, the court discussed the principles of partnership (that te Tiriti/the Treaty was a partnership between Māori and the Crown), active protection (that te Tiriti/the Treaty creates a duty on the Crown to actively protect certain Māori interests), and of redress (that breaches of te Tiriti/the Treaty oblige the Crown to compensate Māori).

    It also discussed the obligation on both Treaty partners to act reasonably and in good faith towards each other [which] remains central to understandings of te Tiriti/the Treaty today. Treaty principles are also increasingly included in legislation. There is a trend towards provisions being more specific, requiring the Crown to take specific actions in order to uphold its Tiriti/Treaty duties.

    That outlines the legal view, which sees the Treaty as an ongoing contract between partners. The obvious flaw that the judiciary seems blind to is that Maori generally were not partners: only their chiefs were. Trying to pretend that the social contract extends to all Maori is delusional when there's no historical basis for doing so. I presume the judiciary feels that they & the govt have created sufficient law to make it so – but who will believe them??

    To summarise so far: the principles have evolved over time, come from multiple sources, and for most of the past 40 years have been the main way in which lawmakers, public officials, and courts have navigated the differences between the two texts of te Tiriti/the Treaty.

    Putting aside the myth of the cession of sovereignty, it is perhaps unsurprising the Government has stated that further clarity would be useful. The problem, however, is that what is being proposed is not really an attempt to clarify Treaty principles, but an attempt to erase them.

    Erasure of judicial decisions can be achieved by parliamentary legislation, since parliament is supreme law-maker. Is doing so in our national interest? Not obviously, and very likely only feasible on an evidently mutual-interest basis. Any positive alternative to the status quo would have to spell that out clearly for all to agree.

    • Descendant Of Smith 2.1

      "The obvious flaw that the judiciary seems blind to is that New Zealand European settlers were not partners: only the wealthy male landowners were. Trying to pretend that the social contract extends to all European is delusional when there's no historical basis for doing so."

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Quite so! Imagine being born into a cultural matrix in which history proceeded on the basis of historical misconceptions. Who would take them seriously??

        True believers in democracy, that's who. Democracy is a cerebral concept that keeps believers within the mental strait jacket it was devised to clamp them down in.

    • mikesh 2.2

      I don't see that "only the chiefs were partners" is a problem. The chiefs would be presumed to be acting as representatives of their people in any discussions or negotiations with the crown.

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    Lively few days ahead.

    "Opposition MPs from the Green and Labour parties described the governing parties as lions willing to rip the nation apart, spiders coming to plague te ao Māori, taniwhā to be feared, and hoariri – enemies – akin to the red suits of the New Zealand wars who came to kill Māori and steal their taonga.

    These speeches, from Labour’s Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis and Green MP Teanau Tuiono, were unequivocal in their dire assessments about the current state of Crown-Māori relations.

    What’s worse for the Government is how warmly mana whenua welcomed these MPs to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds."

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    LOTs of great reading this weekend: Pablo piece on our very own junta is excellent, if troubling.

    "In October an election was held in which the major rightwing party (National) did not reveal its true policy intentions, preferring to instead focus on the usual canards of lower taxes, high crimes rates and too many regulations and bureaucratic red tape on property owners. They were assisted by a compliant corporate media interested in generating clickbait material rather than dealing deeper into party policy platforms, and who supported the “change for change sake” attitude of the NZ public by focusing on personal scandals within the Labour-led government ranks. It mattered little that, in public at least, the major rightwing party had little to offer. What mattered was that it win, be it in coalition or outright. As it turns out, it needed coalition partners in order to do so.

    The more extreme rightwing parties, ACT and NZ First, were a bit more honest in their campaigns about their reactionary intent, but the corporate media chose to ignore the extent of their connections to extremist groups and foreign donors/patrons such as anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists and Atlas Institute seed-funded astroturf groups such as the overlapping Free Speech Coalition/Taxpayer’s Union that contributed to their campaigns. Nor did the political press seriously look into the backgrounds of candidates in these parties, instead preferring to focus on the leaders and their immediate subordinates."

    • Anne 4.1

      Great minds think alike Robert. I linked to those two paragraphs yesterday on OM. 🙂

      Good to see you repeat them because, imo, they lay bare some of the bullshit we have been fed by some on this site as well as in the media. The whole post needs to be read to see the full impact on the election.

      Comprehending the real reason behind the loss is a big stepping stone towards regaining control of the narrative and getting the misguided amongst us back on track.

      So here's hoping Labour, the Greens and Te Pato Maori are listening to Paul Buchanan – along with other good commentators like Nick Korero and David Slack.

      • Anne 4.1.1

        A further important quote from the link:

        Given how fundamental the Treaty is to NZ self-identity, at that point it is an open question whether the repressive apparatuses of the State– the police, the courts, the intelligence services, even the military– will side with the elected authoritarians. Stay tuned.

        It will be interesting indeed. Given their warrior background, the military has many Maori soldiers, sailors and airmen in their ranks. Maori are also well represented in the Police. I wonder what they are thinking right now?

        • Obtrectator

          Something to think about there. What price Craig Harrison's Broken October now? A totally outdated social, political and technological scenario, of course, but it can still pose some disturbing questions.

    • Dennis Frank 4.2

      In October an election was held in which the major rightwing party (National) did not reveal its true policy intentions

      The notion that a political party ought to reveal future intentions seems to be embedded within the psyche of the author. Such moral finger-wagging is presumably being recycled from an earlier epoch of history since I've been observing politics for approx 6 decades and I've never seen any evidence of conformity to the proposition.

      It would be helpful if the author could specify when in history this actually happened, to validate his thesis. Otherwise readers are likely to see it as a sign of dementia.

      • Anne 4.2.1

        "sign of dementia"? A bit of of projection going on there.

        • weka

          if I see you making that kind of comment again, I will ban you. To make it clear:

          • don't harass other commenters
          • don't do subtle gaslighting about other commenter's mental health.
          • do respond to political arguments instead, with your own thinking
          • Anne

            Sorry if you have taken offence, but that was a tongue-in-cheek reversal of a word D Frank used against another person and is clearly untrue. D Frank can bombard this site with thinly disguised smears about others with impunity.

            [the only offence taken here is you wasting my goddam moderator time. Again. Up to you whether you want to learn here or not. My original mod note stands, I’m sick of explaining it to you – weka]

            • Jilly Bee


              • weka

                if you don't like something another commenter says, then say so clearly and explain what the problem is. This is helpful to moderators and the community. Flamming another commenter is really unhelpful and just builds up ill will over time.

                • Jilly Bee

                  Sorry Weka, but I'm out of here for the duration, I thought Anne's comment was as usual very thoughtful and made a good point about our fellow traveller Dennis Frank's 'thinly disguised smears about others with impunity'. It's been a worthwhile journey hearing what other left leaning commenter publish here, but so as to not earn a life time ban from you, I'm not going to partake for a long while, if ever again.

                  • weka

                    You're not even close to being on my moderator radar Jilly, I have no idea why you think you might get banned.

                    Anne on the other hand has a history and pattern of behaviour that is a problem. Short sharp bans have long been used in this way on TS.

                    From a moderator's pov, if commenters don't like a specific commenter and they choose to harass that commenter instead of explaining what the issues are, it just creates a bad atmosphere and more work for the mods.

                    So like I said, anyone can point out the problems with people's commenting style, and this is helpful for moderation as well as the community.

                  • mary_a

                    Sorry to see you take leave Jilly Bee. I have found your comments relevant, thought provoking and highly constructive, as are Anne's.

                    Both you and Anne in IMHO, have always had a great deal to offer from those of us of the senior left perspective, as does Patricia Bremner. You will be missed.

                    Kia Kaha my friend.

              • Anne

                Thank you Jilly Bee for your support. I will miss your equally thoughtful responses to those commenters who use this site for mischievous ends.

            • weka

              mod note.

      • Robert Guyton 4.2.2

        Dennis, are you implying that Pablo has dementia?

        • Dennis Frank

          Nope, I just pointed out how he had set himself up sufficiently for readers to jump to that conclusion. The guy must be old enough to take responsibility for what he wrote. If he wanted his vapourings to be taken seriously, he would not have set himself up like that. He would, instead, have pointed to an historical rationale for his opinion: that democracy incorporates a rule requiring parties to declare their future intentions at each election.

          You may also believe democracy contains his imaginary rule. If so, why not have a go at providing the historical evidence? Presuming he is incapable of doing so, you'd be doing him, and us all, a good turn. smiley

          • Robert Guyton

            Ah, victim blaming, I see.

            If Pablo hadn't said those things, you'd not have had to link his name to the disease.

            Not feeling the love.

            Anne was right to comment, though not quite careful enough with her reflection, imo.

            Sorry to see Jilly Bee announcing a holiday.

            • Dennis Frank

              You think he's a victim of his incompetence? That angle hadn't occurred to me but I suppose you're right. However I don't blame him for being himself – he can only perform at the level he naturally slots into. smiley

              [While being a sanctimonious and patronising arse isn’t technically against the site Policy, there is the discretion for moderators to step in on patterns of behaviour that cause problems for the commentariat. You now have multiple people taking potshots at you, and you seem to be quite poor at taking feedback on what is pissing people off.

              Maybe you don’t care. I do though, and I’m giving you a holiday from the site for a week to let things cool down. This is to reduce moderator load, but I strongly encourage you to think about how how you communicate here. I will note you’ve had feedback on this kind of thing before here As always, feel free to ask for clarification about anything when you return. – weka]

            • Anne

              Yes Robert. An impulsive response to a nasty little dig at someone with both national and international mana and respect. If it had been a one-off I would have passed, but its not.

              • weka

                and as I have pointed out, if you had named the problem without throwing something at another commenter, then that would have been helpful. The moderation issue here is that you seem to think you are above moderation.

                • Anne

                  No weka, I have never ever considered myself above moderation. Do I respond impulsively from time to time? Yes I do. Do I try to keep some comments too brief thus not making myself clear? Guilty as charged. Am I bit too forthright sometimes? Yes.

                  Some of the recent bullshit on this site has riled me and I can't be the only one. It must be even more frustrating for the authors who put time and effort into the site. It also turns some people off commenting for fear of ridicule. That's a shame because TS has the power to be very influential and with all the astroturfing going on at present, it is even more desperately needed.

                  There are only a small handful of people responsible, and they only turn up when there are major controversies in progress as is currently the case. They troll the regulars or fill the pages with distorted facts and misinformation.

                  They need to be discouraged, but have just picked up you have started. Thanks.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Anne – it's difficult for those of us who love pith, as in pithy, comments.

                    Detailed, drawn out descriptions are an invitation for some to nit-pic words and phrases; pithy one-liners seem an elegant way to stifle that sort of film-flam, but the down-side of being brief, is…apparent 🙂

              • Pablo

                Thanks Anne and Robert, for linking to the Kiwipolitico post.

                The odd fellow who disparages me in this thread does have a point when saying that there is no universal rule of democracy that says that political parties should and must campaign honestly and transparently about their true policy agendas. Of course not. But that was not my point. My point was that, like many authoritarian-minded cabals who know that announcing their true policy agendas during campaigns will never see them get elected, the recently installed junta deliberately concealed their true intentions while hiding under milquetoast rightwing talking points about taxes, crime and housing. They fully knew that their true agenda would be rejected at the polls if announced in advance, so they deliberately hid it from the electorate, as well as the fact that many of their policy prescriptions were basically written by their big political donors and sponsors.

                This amounts to a type of false advertising or "bait and switch" campaigning. It is utterly cynical and dishonest at its core. It is a clear manipulation of the electoral process, which it sees in instrumental terms (a means to achieve power and pursue their real agenda even if it runs against the public good) rather than as an intrinsically valuable form of political voice for the electorate. But sure, it did not break any ironclad rule of democratic politics even if it demonstrates utter contempt for the public who otherwise would have never voted them into office had they known what the junta is really about and who it really serves.

                I will say that by pulling the thread into a meaningless sidebar, the odd fellow has performed a textbook example of successful trolling, so credit must given where it is due. Cheers!

                • Robert Guyton

                  Well, yes; meaningless sidebars serve their purpose, I suppose.

                  The "false advertising" from this junta, as you title it, causes them to recoil in a faint when charged with opaqueness, and they'll point to sidebars of their own that clearly state what they intend to do; details of the minor party's platform are available to the public and prove they have been open and transparent. It's a tricky discussion for the average Jo, but reeks of sinister behaviour from Seymour, Peters and co, imo.

                • Anne

                  Thanks Pablo for responding. As Robert Guyton has said… its a tricky discussion for the average Jo (and Mary) who don't study the intricacies of politics. For my part, Seymour is the truly dangerous one. He has been very well schooled in the art of astroturfing and stands to cause a level of strife in this country never seen before.

      • SPC 4.2.3

        He wrote

        "In October an election was held in which the major rightwing party (National) did not reveal its true policy intentions

        You wrote

        The notion that a political party ought to reveal future intentions seems to be embedded within the psyche of the author

        The topic was not about ought to, as political practice, but comment on what National was doing and placing the direction of – in it for the few – as posing the risk of a junta era (use of fear of being the next target after Maori for conformity to the roused majority). Such methods of distraction draw attention away from the elitist oligarchy being established.

        Your point that expectation of honesty (from those involved in the political practice) was not based on observation is mere cynicism – the risk of experience creating a curmudgeon is well known.

    • Sanctuary 4.3

      Apropos to our authoritarian minded junta and it's corporate media enablers.

      Pretty obvious the groundwork is being laid for the government to punish Wellington's left leaning politics but sacking the council and appointing a commissioner.

      • Chess Player 4.3.1

        This situation could have been avoided if repeated councils over the last 30 years had not ignored the impending issues.

        Some other councils around the country have managed to plan, and find solutions to these types of problems, but seemingly not the coolest little capital.

        Someone has to clean up the mess.

        • Robert Guyton

          Can you name those councils, give examples of their problem-solving and link to evidence, Chess? Please.

  5. Hunter Thompson II 5

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    That seems to be the case with the government's new policy which, yet again, involves gutting the environment to prop up our economy:

    The underlying approach is one of "getting things done" without pesky objections like community values standing in the way.

    And you can bet the house that anyone objecting to this approach will be introduced to the Natz old friend TINA – there is no alternative.

  6. Ad 6

    Fine for opposition MPs to speak well at Waitangi, but National have set the map for future Treaty discourse.

    With 16 years to the Bicentennial, both Maori and National are showing there's nothing to do but start talking properly right at the level of principles.

    Labour/Greens/Maori Party may not like it but it's the right thing to do and at the right time.

    • weka 6.1

      start talking properly right at the level of principles.

      can you please explain that a bit more?

      • Ad 6.1.1

        A simple opening question would be:

        How do we talk to each other again after 3 Waters?

        Principles of re-engagement are what you do first, well before trying to dialogue content.

        • weka

          completely agree. It's the core political need across a lot of things now.

        • Robert Guyton

          "How do we talk to each other again after 3 Waters?"

          Firstly by exposing then neutering the agents that caused its rejection.

          • weka

            out of curiosity, how do you propose to expose and neuter me?

            • Robert Guyton

              Wrapping in a towel?

              (Meant as a joke).

              Neuter isn't the right word; I meant neutralise 🙂

              Were you opposed to 3 Waters?
              Were you one of the agents actively seeking to destroy it?

              I wasn't.

              • weka

                I thought 3 Waters had a number of problems and was badly instituted, which is part of why we are where we are. The debate around it likewise, because there were plenty of people like me who objected to how it was being done but the debate often called dissenters racist as if that could be the only objection.

                If we deny there were problems with it, and frame it solely as objectors to be neutralised, we are throwing fuel of the culture war fire. A war we are currently loosing badly.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Ah, but I didn't say "objectors", I said "the agents that caused its rejection", by which I meant the monied players who enabled and encouraged the take down, with their mass-email programmes, their expensive billboards and so on.

                  I'm guessing you weren't one of those agents.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I'm still mystified why Labour chose not to explain 3 Waters and its (apparent) co-governance rationale. Consequently it became evident that their choice was producing a negative reaction.

                    Since I've often commented here in support of their policy initiative (whilst being agnostic re co-governance), I'm puzzled at your reluctance to admit that Labour shot themselves in the foot.

                    Isn't it obvious that the right won by default due to Labour choosing not to fight for the thing??

                    • Robert Guyton

                      The agents I referred to, and the mechanisms they employed to create strong opposition to 3 Waters, are not the only factor in the failing of the proposal, but they are significant. If they were not active, the Government could have succeeded, through tailoring the programme and it's media, differently.

                      It was a good idea, shot down by agents from the opposite end of the spectrum, using money as ballistics, imo.

                  • weka

                    I'm not one of those agents. But this is the problem with the debate. People make unclear statements that end up being catchalls.

                    But now that you have clarified 🙂 I don't see how neutralising those people will solve the problem Ad is talking about. It might be necessary but it's not sufficient.

                    And talk of neutralising may in fact make it more difficult for large parts of NZ to relearn how to talk with each other.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "Counter", then. If those Atlas-backed agents have free-rein here in NZ, we will be shepherded by them, into the yards – not a comfortable place to find yourself in, imo.

                    • weka []

                      Completely agree and it’s a serious risk.

                      “counter” seems a useful framing.

                      In addition to that, I think we also at the same time have to build common ground with the people are are leaning towards the people representing those energies and politics, and call them back in. If we only tell them that those evil people over there must go or be stopped, this doesn’t tell them what is good and useful about our own position. Doubly important where people are being told that they themselves are bad/wrong because they haven’t accepted the progressive demand.

                      Maybe Joanna Macy is useful there. The three pillars of the Great Turning

                      1. holding actions
                      2. structural changes
                      3. consciousness shifts.
  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Another explainer:

    So are the principles different from the Treaty proper?

    Yes, they are. Despite Te Tiriti o Waitangi being New Zealand’s de facto constitution, we are one of only five nations without a proper written constitution. Because of that, Te Tiriti itself doesn’t feature explicitly in our law – but that’s where the principles come in. They are the Treaty’s representative within law, which seek to define the Treaty’s role in modern Aotearoa-New Zealand.

    Really, what about postmodern Aotearoa? Not there yet? Well try & keep up, huh?

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      He cites a triad:

      the principles are determined on a case-by-case basis. The three Ps – partnership, participation and protection – are the most well-known principles. Together they ensure Māori opportunities to provide input into decision-making and require the government to protect rangatiratanga (Māori authority).

      • Partnership: the Treaty created a relationship between Māori and the Crown and both parties must act with the utmost good faith.
      • Participation: the Crown will provide tāngata whenua with opportunities to engage with decision making processes at all levels.
      • Protection: active protection of Māori interests, rights, taonga and rangatiratanga must be a government priority.

      Some other principles include kāwanatanga (the Crown’s right to govern), equality, redress, cooperation (concerning common issues), consultation, development (applying the Treaty to modern resources/technology) and informed decision making. Others include the Crown’s obligation to act in the best interests of Māori and that the law affirms iwi control of their taonga.

      Okay that seems to create a list of 11 elements (endecad). Sufficiently complex as to keep law lords puzzling the complexity out for several months if not years.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        The Treaty of Waitangi would be better replaced with a proper constitution.

        It's a vague, poorly translated, unstable and over-freighted document that mostly just pisses people off – Maori and everyone else.

        Do we really get how deeply 3 Waters has divided us, if we didn't understand the election result?

        There's all to gain from a fearless reassessment.

  8. Rolling-on-Gravel 8

    I massively support Chloe Swarbrick for co-leader of Greens. I think she's the only real successor to James Shaw and I hope she carries on the pro-disability mahi that the Greens are doing.

    • Bearded Git 8.1

      Agreed gravel……she is eloquent and understands the issues…..but she has and is working on many other issues in addition to disability over the years.

  9. Descendant Of Smith 9

    "Do we really get how deeply 3 Waters has divided us"

    nah the divisions were already there. They just became more acted upon and expressed in part due to the same happening in the US with Trump.

    Very few Europeans and immigrants even bother to interact with Maori at a social level – white flight from schools, white enclaves such as Havelock North over in Hawkes Bay, or the Euro/Asian enclave of Epsom have very little to no experience of day to day activity on a marae.

    During COVID-19, and indeed in other civil defense situations, the Maori response on the ground was quite impressive. The organising of food packages, the contacting of the elderly, the delivery of firewood, the clear protocols and explanations, including historical context, to restricting access to tangi and so on. These things continued throughout the pandemic. It was interesting that my European mother was contacted three times by iwi and not once by any of the usual health / welfare mechanisms during lockdown to make sure she and her neighbours were OK.

    This is the view of Maori rarely shown in the media and talked about in on-line forums but more reflects the day to day reality of activity and why we should not be afraid of partnership with Maori as the courts have indicated.

    This Waitangi Day how many European will be there at local ceremonies celebrating the signing of the Treaty – based on previous experience no more than half a dozen locally. Europeans don't value the Treaty and until they do any attempts to change to a constitution should be treated with the disdain it and they deserve.

    Until we express and value those positive characteristics of Maori society and embrace them as meritful and worthy then we should have no say cause we have no respect. Some of those values are in conflict with the values that European capitalist values have constructed eg individual versus communal land ownership, looking longer term to the future in terms of land use, etc not just an extractive way of thinking and others are different and poorly understood eg kawanatanga. Maori have had to adapt and understand European concepts – we need to reciprocate.

    I'm more than happy that my children have had a far better education in this respect than those of us did when we were young. The last people that need to be deciding the future are those that are about to die over the next twenty years – their future is a past they only wish existed and is more about now.

    • Kat 9.1

      Good comment DOS, those on the Right of the political spectrum, some on the Left and some misguided Maori included, are just carrying on the British Empire superiority complex attitude that saw colonisation as a gift that should be accepted with gratitude, especially by people with a so called "stone age culture".

      Basically its an 'our way or the highway' attitude that refuses to evolve, except perhaps as just recently in Ireland where the younger generation is making great strides in reforming and uniting a once troubled and divided society racked by six hundred years of colonisation.

      • Chess Player 9.1.1

        My view is there’s an unwillingness to evolve from some people on both sides of the relationship.

        Very entrenched fundamentalist views that may never be changed.

        Those of us who are more recent arrivals to this country, or their children, tend to sit at the side waiting for those heavily invested to sort their shit out, while we just get on with life.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Do you not make some effort to engage with local Maori communities?

          Why sit on the sidelines – all that is is avoidance and leaves you in a vacuum that can only be filled via media or social media. It seems a weird thing to say/do. If I moved to another country I'd always be trying to engage with the local community.

          Maybe it is why you think this.

          "Very entrenched fundamentalist views that may never be changed."

          • Chess Player

            I took a short course on Te Reo as I thought I should know how to pronounce words correctly, but I have my own mix of cultures that I feel comfortable in so don’t feel a great need to adopt someone else’s.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              It isn't about adopting it is about understanding that Maori are much more hospitable and engaging and want a better future for all – not just for themselves.

              A picture quite different that that painted by media and social media. so you don't believe this sort of nonsense.

              "Very entrenched fundamentalist views that may never be changed."

  10. SPC 10

    Treasury advises government that more revenue would assist the government manage its budget (it would also be mindful of infrastructure deficits, so does not reinforce the governments focus on spending cuts).

    And its advice suggests a broader tax revenue base is the right direction to go to realise that.

    But it said constraints on the personal tax system were creating increasing pressures and constraining the options for reform.

    That was coming from the difference between the personal and company tax rates, and the lack of tax on capital and capital gains.

    “These limit options to raise revenue, alter the mix of taxes, or make changes that would meet distributional and economic objectives.

    “The lack of a comprehensive capital gains tax restricts the ability to manage gaps between company rates and personal rates and increases costs of income taxation. It has also contributed to higher house prices.

    “Based on principles such as sustainability, efficiency and fairness, our first best advice is to address these two structural issues,” Treasury said.

  11. SPC 11

    NZF and partner want a Crown Monitor for the WCC, she cites Daran Ponter as wanting the same.

    The head of Wellington Water Nick Leggat and Daran Ponter (Chair of the Regional Council) are working as partners of National in

    1.pressure on WCC to give more money to Wellington Water

    2.require water meters, or impost financial sanctions up to 50% of water cost charges.

    The cost of water meters is money not then available for pipe repair, so until they are at at the capacity to fix the pipes they already know they need to fix, adding extra knowledge of leaks via metering adds little.

    3.User pays for pipe problems on ratepayer property.

    Of course there would be charging of ratepayers for water leaks on their own property (and so ratepayers would be liable until they found someone to fix the pipes at their own expense).

    Water meters are essential to provide an asset value for the sale of council assets. Though at first half might go to government – so they have an asset to borrow against when granting money to councils (this allows both the council and government to later sell their half shares to reduce debt).

    • feijoa 11.1

      Wellington's water…

      Watch, as Council incompetence is splashed all over the media. The Coalition government steps in, twisting the council's arm….

      Then water meters……

      And VOILA! Privatisation!!!!!!!!!!!! Which was the plan all along , of course.

    • Graeme 11.2

      Jeez…. what is it with New Zealanders and water meters.

      The things are seen as existential threats by all sides of the political spectrum. Righties see them as an insult to their integrity and self worth, and 'you're going to give it to a Mawries'. Lefties see them as a portal to privatisation and TEOTWAWKI

      Water meters are an essential tool for network management and without them you really haven't a clue where the water is going. In Wellington's case there's a good chance most of the leak problem is on private property, or a proportion of residents who are gross (ab)users. Some people will get by with 300 l/day, most households a bit more. A broken 20mm lateral could loose 20,000 l/day or more.

      Without good data on where the water is going the managers are just flying blind and fixing leaks once they come through the ground. In Wellington's climate it's going to be a good leak to do that, and they're a small percentage to the number of leaks. The multitude of small leaks will go un-noticed (in our dry climate in Central Otago even quite small leaks are quite apparent in summer) and will add up to a lot of water.

      • SPC 11.2.1

        There is

        1.a case to fix the known leaks first with available funding.

        2.this might give time to look at equity in meter charging.

        • Graeme

          Sorry, but I found your linked article a jumble of confused and just downright incorrect thinking. Things like,

          Council-backed loans could cover the cost of repair with repayments added to the rates bill and attached to the property, not the owner.

          Wellington's, and every other municipality in New Zealand's, water problem is due to a very longstanding practice of ratepayers not being willing to pay for the construction and maintenance of water infrastructure.

          We can't see it and as long as there's water coming out the tap, all's good. Oh, and we can use as much as we like because it's 'free'.

          Mr Osborne's assertion that water charges are regressive doesn't account for reality and human nature. In 40 years of involvement in the water industry I've seen a pretty strong correlation between property value / income and water use. It's very unlikely that a gross user (>10x average use) lives in the bottom end of town, and water use goes up dramatically once you get into the House and Garden set. Under current rates based charging practices this is something worse than regressive, it's downright theft.

          From your points,

          1.a case to fix the known leaks first with available funding.

          Well either Wellington Water is incompetent, or they are being incompetently led by the elected Council. Or the rate payers won't pay the Council enough to fix the problem. Generally it comes back to the rate payers not being prepared to pay for it.

          2.this might give time to look at equity in meter charging.

          Have a serious look at the equity of current rates based charging first, and how that charging regime shapes usage / entitlement perceptions. I don't see much equity between Mr & Mrs Fancy Garden using as much water as they can get out the tap, and the family at the other end of town who treat every drop of water as their last, because they treat everything like that to get through to the next pay day.

          Osborne does have a point around the issues in separating water charging from property charges, particularly in residential rental situations. Water charges should remain with the property, so that the owner is incentivised to fix leaks. In a gross usage situation there will probably be other tenancy issues that the landlord can act on.

          Metering and Volumetric Pricing do not necessarily follow. Many water providers have installed meters for data collection to get a picture of where the water is going. QLDC and Central Otago have done this with considerable success. There's also a discrete supply (several hundred properties) where volumetric charging has sorted a very extreme usage / entitlement problem that threatened the viability of the supply.

          • weka

            It's very unlikely that a gross user (>10x average use) lives in the bottom end of town, and water use goes up dramatically once you get into the House and Garden set

            Right, but what about the household that has two large low income families living in it, who pay nothing now, but would face a new charge with water metering?

            Surely the solution here is to provide a certain amount of water per household without charge and to then charge for excess use?

            While someone watering a 3 acre lawn is a problem, won't they just pay for the extra charges if they are wealthy? So the council generates some income, but doesn't solve the problem of excess use. Changing land use culture would go a long way to helping alongside other approaches.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              Maybe street / small area water meters rather than individual household meters can solve most of the problem.

              Less cost and would still give a very good indication of usage and where to investigate for issues and high usage.

              This is why we don’t trust them. Already our power companies are doing the same thing.


              • weka

                that was one of the issues with 3 Waters right? Whether the legislation was Tory-proof enough to stop them from privatising. Better to not have 3W than to end up in the situation we are with power. I'm sure many would disagree with that, but that's part of the resistance.

              • Graeme

                In most cases small 20 or 25mm meters at the individual boundary are the cheapest and easiest option. The lateral is in a known location and already quite shallow (< 0.5m) and there's already a valve there. If the valve was installed in the last 20 years installing a meter can be a 10 minute job. Street or neighbourhood meters get expensive, the main is often a couple of meters under the street or footpath so quite a crater and disruption, and everything is bigger so costs go up exponentially.

                It's wrongheaded to attack the engineering, we should be focusing on the council and government leadership that wants to try and privatise or use rates reduction, and subsequent under investment, to get elected. Fortunately water privatisation is going to be a hard sell to a New Zealand electorate, rates or tax reduction not so much.

            • Graeme

              who pay nothing now, but would face a new charge with water metering?

              They do not pay nothing now. If they live in a town or city they are paying for water now through their rates. There's a lot of averaging that goes into setting rates, especially water, and low users are getting screwed by the current system. If they have good water habits then volumetric charging should be in their favour.

              I feel for low income people under the current rating system as the costs of water failure come through, in many places the rates rises will be brutal. Gore is a town to keep an eye on.

              Very much the devil is in the detail of how the charge is set up, some have a base rate pretty much as normal rates based charging with an excess charge on top, others it's a seperate invoice to rates. It depends on whether the water supply entity is council in-house or some sort of arms length entity. If there's going to be amalgamation of utility provision (essentially what 3 Waters was) then charging will get tricky, but with clever design could still be charged through rates. We'll see what National's "Local Water Done Well" brings, but I'm inclined to think they'll find it too hard and nothing changes from pre 3 Waters.

              From what I've seen excess charges certainly change behaviours. You'd be surprised how tight entitled arseholes are, they haven't amassed their wealth by spending it. Trick is to make excess town water dearer than alternatives like storage or alternative sources.

              Land use change, or more like expectation change is coming. There's a new golf course development coming up across the road. Residential lots (80 odd) are restricted to 100m2 of lawn to restrict water use and the developers have done a lot of deals buying irrigation shares to get water for the course. One little bit of the basin will be bright green and a lot will become fallow.

          • SPC

            1.a case to fix the known leaks first with available funding.

            Well either Wellington Water is incompetent, or they are being incompetently led by the elected Council. Or the rate payers won't pay the Council enough to fix the problem. Generally it comes back to the rate payers not being prepared to pay for it.

            That is irrelevant. $300 M for water meters, is $300M not spent on fixing pipes. Ratepayers will be paying, whatever the $300M is spent on.

            2.this might give time to look at equity in meter charging.

            Have a serious look at the equity of current rates based charging first, and how that charging regime shapes usage / entitlement perceptions. I don't see much equity between Mr & Mrs Fancy Garden using as much water as they can get out the tap, and the family at the other end of town who treat every drop of water as their last, because they treat everything like that to get through to the next pay day.

            In Wellington there is already a water use regime that limits garden watering. And in any case those with a large section (often a lot of trees and owned by older couples) currently pay more rates because of the land component of the capital value and would be better off with a move to water charging than those with larger families in infill sections.

            For mine the move to $300M for water meter charges is not a move to equity, because of the opportunity cost of $300M not being spent fixing pipes.

            For mine the focus on water metering, when they are so short of money to fix pipes, reflects an intent to set charges to force ratepayers to fix up pipes on their land.

            The question is why DP and NL want to prioritise that over spending $300M (they do not yet have) to fix pipes on public land?

            Is it because they intend to charge the cost of the water meters on top of rates?

  12. joe90 12


    Many people discovered The Taxpayers' Union today after they attempted to criticize the government funding of @davidfarrier& @DylanReeve's critically acclaimed and financially profitable documentary 'Tickled.' So for the initiated, here's a primer on The TPU.

  13. SPC 13

    Elon Musk claims that the illegal immigration is a Democratic Party/Biden's plan to make them legal residents for the purpose of a one party state.

    "Biden’s strategy is very simple," Musk wrote.

    "1. Get as many illegals in the country as possible. 2. Legalize them to create a permanent majority – a one-party state."

    "That is why they are encouraging so much illegal immigration. Simple, yet effective."

    “No laws need to be passed,” … “All that is needed is an executive order to require proof before granting an asylum hearing. That is how it used to be.

    In the USA Detainee stuff.

    Page 18 on

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