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Open mike 04/03/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 4th, 2023 - 69 comments
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69 comments on “Open mike 04/03/2023 ”

  1. PsyclingLeft.Always 1

    Cyclone aftermath: More coastal shipping needed as roads, rail taken out

    Far North Mayor Moko Tepania

    "Coastal shipping is something that we definitely want to see happen," Tepania said.


    And ..absolutely ! NZ NEEDS Coastal Shipping. It is essential. The Kaikoura earthquake highlighted this.

    Other Standardistas have also pointed our need for Coastal Shipping.

    I have linked this previously..its a PDF so I'll just give link.


    We need to get past NZ's unsustainable truck/trailer obsession. Driven of course by the large and loud lobby group of truckers. And supporters.

    Coastal Shipping. Now.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.1

      Kaikoura earthquake 2016…

      Rail near Kaikoura likely out for a year, 'unprecedented' damage to highway


      When the transport security and the costs of fixing the rail and road network are considered, coastal shipping suddenly looks a lot more viable and efficient in the long run.


      • Belladonna 1.1.1

        Following Cyclone Gabrielle, Northern line out for months with major repairs needed, ditto the Hawke's Bay one. The Napier-Wairoa line will be even longer (if, indeed, it's ever repaired) – major rail bridges down and really significant washouts.


        Rail just doesn't seem to be a resilient transport solution.

        • weka

          I'd like to know what the engineers are saying. It seems like a decent chunk of our rail is built in vulnerable places, so are there better places to put new rail?

          • Belladonna

            I can't find any discussion of changing the route for rail. Probably due to the major (as in trillions of dollars) cost involved.

            The most recent (apart from Gabrielle) major rail repair was in the SI following the Kaikoura earthquake. And, IIRC, there was no discussion over re-routing it from the seashore route.

            NZ is a mountainous country (in general), rail needs to follow, as much as possible, a level pathway (trains don't cope with significant grades), which pretty much means running alongside rivers through gorges (yes, there are exceptions – but it's the general rule); and through cuttings through the hills. So significant risk both from river rise/flooding/bridge washout, and from landslips down the neighbouring steep terrain.

            There is no route from Wairoa to Napier (the one I'm most familiar with), which does not involve significant and rugged hills/mountains.

            My understanding is that the northern route had more than 50 slips over the railway- this is through gentler terrain, but got hammered even harder by the weather.

            • weka

              I can't find any discussion of changing the route for rail. Probably due to the major (as in trillions of dollars) cost involved.

              That wasn't quite what I meant. I meant were engineers talking about the vulnerability of each line and what that means for events that take out the line (quakes, tsunami?, floods, slips).

              I expect transition engineers are talking about it, I'll have a look.

              As for costs, what's the cost of losing a line for a year? (rebuild and disruption costs). Then what happens if that happens 4 times in a decade? At what point do we start designing and redesigning for the world we now live in.

              Build back better is old world thinking. We need to be transitioning.

              Kaikoura is a good example. I'm not suggesting moving the bits that can't easily be moved. I'm saying that if we centre physical reality as we know it now, it looks quite different than when that line was built. Because of our knowledge about quakes and because of climate.

              Sustainability design wouldn't start with 'we have to have a rail line and there are no options but here because it's too expensive'. It would start with what are the specific needs that this line exists for. Freight, public transport. what else?

              Then look at the best ways to meet those needs in terms of sustainability and resiliency. eg to what extent can rail freight be replaced or supplemented by shipping or road (EV)? How can we integrate those systems so that when there is a disaster, the surviving systems are robust?

              There's a further aspect that, which is why transition (whole systems) rather then build back better needs to be the conceptual frame. How much of the goods and people we are moving are essential? Necessary? Unnecessary?

              How much food is being moved along that rail line? How much by road or sea? What would happen if we relocalised food production and supply?

              Likewise, if we shifted from a consumerist society to a regenerative one, do we need to be travelling as much? Do we need to by buying as much Stuff?

              Your argument is usually no-one will want to do that. Well no-one wants to abandon their house to silt damage either. Looking at the broader options rather than just BAU helps people to see that life could change for the better in a lot of ways if we transition. Both by creating resiliency, but also by creating lives that have a different kind of meaning, are less stressful and more pleasurable and where our core values are centred (I'm still betting that most New Zealanders don't place consumerism at the centre if they felt like they had a choice).

              • Largely the cost of losing a railway line for a year isn't great – transport shifts to trucks (almost never to shipping), and just continues.

                The cost to repair is also far greater than roads – and the ability to divert around breakages is less.

                In NZ rail lines are not a trivial engineering challenge. See this about the original Napier to Gisborne line.


                It was closed in 2012 after significant storm damage, and re-opened (Wairoa to Napier only) in 2020 for logging transport only. [That's not to say other items couldn't be shipped, just that they weren't]

                The line through to Gisborne was never re-opened, and probably won't ever be – just not enough transport need to justify it.

              • "How much of the goods and people we are moving are essential? Necessary? Unnecessary? "

                Who decides what's necessary or unnecessary?

                Does it simply become a cost factor (the rich can travel, the poor can't)?

                • weka

                  take the easy stuff first. Staple foods are essential. Things like this aren't,


                  Does it simply become a cost factor (the rich can travel, the poor can't)?

                  Are you familiar with the concept of Just Transition?

                  What do you think happens to poor people during and after a disaster?

                  • So your artificial fern would be available in Auckland (international shipping port), but not in Gisborne. Or are you suggesting that it would be denied import permission (so no one can have it)?

                    [I have to say, this is not something I would ever contemplate buying – regardless of availability – by clearly there is a market]

                    Moving to things which are luxuries – we're all familiar with the black market which arises when they're banned or restricted. When, indeed, only the wealthy can afford them.

                    Just transition seems to operate at a macro level (e.g. the funding which went into Taranaki after the oil and gas exploration ban) – rather than at an individual level.

                    In a disaster in NZ, the poor people get quite a bit of immediate support – it's the middle class (what there is left of it) who struggle.

                    As an illustration, ATM we have 2 staff at work who had red-stickered houses. The one renting, has simply rented a new place – yes, they've lost furniture and possessions and personally important mementoes – but they're moving on with their life. The one who owns (well, owes the bank) the house, has to manage renting, as well as all of the other costs, stress and worry associated with dealing with government and Council and insurance, etc. Their bills (mortgage, rates, etc.) continue, as well as the costs of renting. They are much worse off than the renter.

                    • weka

                      Banning isn't where I would start. I'd start with the conversation about values and what really matters.

                      You can see it with those people in the Muriwai meeting. It's like the Chch quakes never happened. They're going through exactly what happened a decade ago. I remember watching the process by which the rest of NZ switched off from Chch and just moved on. If someone wants to stand up and make an argument for the right to buy plastic ferns, they can have at it. But more will stand up and talk about the need for housing and food security.

                      Just Transition is the idea that when we decarbonise and move to a regenerative economy, we build in from the start processes that take into account socioeconomic disparities.

                      Your staff sound like two middle class households (or at least, your example isn't inherently class-based). A poor family would struggle to replace clothes, food staples, their car if they even owned one.

                      WINZ had a 90 minute wait on the call centre last week. Imagine being so poor that you don't have enough money to buy food and you have to spend 90 minutes on the phone just to *ask for a food grant (no guarantee you will get it). How do you even do that if you have a job?

                      Which isn't to say the house owner isn't going through a heap of major stress. They are.

                    • Responding to this "Your staff sound like two middle class households "

                      That's a pretty whopping assumption, when the only information I'd given is that one family owned a house (with a huge mortgage) and the other was renting.

                      The family renting are certainly not middle class. Minimum wage employee. Very solidly in the (rather struggling in NZ) working-class.
                      Found a new rental (smaller than the previous one, but needs must) – and can just walk away from their previous tenancy because red-stickered. Have had new-to-them (but in good condition) appliances and furniture donated via charities; food and toiletry parcels from other charities (to get them back on their feet). Have lost family mementoes (which is sad), and there’s nothing that can make up for that.
                      They’ve had a shock, and lost some stuff – but aren’t materially in a much worse position than they were pre-floods.
                      NB: They tried talking to WINZ – but basically gave up – it was just too hard.

                    • weka []

                      That’s a pretty whopping assumption, when the only information I’d given is that one family owned a house (with a huge mortgage) and the other was renting.

                      There was a bit more information

                      The one renting, has simply rented a new place – yes, they’ve lost furniture and possessions and personally important mementoes – but they’re moving on with their life

                      that and what you’ve just shared tells me they’re not on the bones of their arse. But fair enough, and I was expecting to be corrected.

                      I do think it’s worthwhile acknowledging the strata within the working and underclasses (and middle class). That they could give up on WINZ is a signifier of some degree of resources despite working class life having financial struggle.

                      They’ve had a shock, and lost some stuff – but aren’t materially in a much worse position than they were pre-floods.

                      We measure things in different ways. You’re comparing people who were not well off to begin with just getting on with it, with people who were well off and have lost significant materially.

                      I’m talking about people that are poor all the time and what happens to them during and after a disaster.

                      I think both are valid.

                      We started talking about that I think because I raised Just Transition and asked “What do you think happens to poor people during and after a disaster?”

                      I asked that because you seemed to think that in transition the rich can still travel and the poor can’t. That’s already the case. My line about poor people was a lazy point about we don’t have a just society now, that translates into emergencies, and it will translate with catastrophic climate only much, much worse. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can both prevent the worst of CC, and we can transition Justly.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Easy, the staff member with the mortgage gives the insurance payout to the bank and walks away. Then they are "simply" renters like the other staff member.

                      Problem solved.

                  • Your definition of 'poor' seems to be beneficiary-only. Not just ordinary working class.
                    I'm not arguing that WINZ (and many other Government departments) have done a good job – because I don't think they have. The waiting times on 'hold' are a shocking indictment – and even worse that this is the new 'normal'. I'd have a hell of a lot more respect for Sepuloni if she was sorting that out at WINZ, rather than swanning around emergency shelters.

                    But people who truly have nothing are in the emergency shelters, they are the ones being put into temporary accommodation (even though it may be not particularly desirable temporary accommodation), they're getting the food handouts – they're already in the 'system'.

                    The next step up the economic scale just get ignored.

                    • weka

                      Your definition of 'poor' seems to be beneficiary-only. Not just ordinary working class.

                      Not at all. The person who doesn't have time to spend 90mins on the phone just to get through has a minimum wage job. Probably several. My definition of poor/not poor doesn't hinge on whether one own's a home or rents. It's about whether one can afford the basics.

                      The next step up the economic scale just get ignored.

                      not sure exactly who you are referring to but anyone without sufficient income or savings can get an SNG for food, not just beneficiaries.

                      I would count people who can afford insurance as probably not poor, but maybe you are talking about the group of people who are about to drop down a class, possibly permanently, as they use up their small amount of savings while waiting for the house situation to be sorted out and then struggle to ever recover. I feel for these people, especially if they've not been there before. This is the story of many New Zealanders in past decades.

                      I'm less confident than you that the really poor are being looked after, but you have more local knowledge. Mostly I think that lots of people are suffering and struggling, some with support some without, and that as a country we're better at acute emergencies, but not so good with the long weeks and months after.

              • "Well no-one wants to abandon their house to silt damage either."

                I certainly agree with this.

                Take a look at Auckland's west coast beaches – Piha, Muriwai, Karekare. Inhabitants would have to be some of the 'greenest' of the Auckland population (on average) – but they'll be fighting tooth-and-nail against managed retreat – which is the obvious option for that area – unstable steep cliffs, housing either on the cliffs (landslides); or at sea level (storm surge damage and rising water levels).

                They're already holding public meetings demanding to know when the Council/Government are going to let them back into their houses.


                They like their lifestyle – and want to stay where they are.

                As a city, Auckland would be better off rescinding all housing permission from the cliff edge down, and removing the roading infrastructure – retaining hiking tracks only.

                • weka

                  Watched the video and read part of the article. The main thing that stands out is that there is a major comms issue. People are understandably stressed and council is giving clear enough rationales, but that's not enough in a situation like this, you have to meet people where they are.

                  eg residents want an ETA on getting back to their house. Council can't give that for the area that is too dangerous to inspect. But they could tell residents what the conditions are that need to change to do further inspections and when that might happen eg do they need a fortnight of dry weather? Not guarantees but information about the process.

                  The stuff about people not knowing if their pets are ok is just a complete fail, and bullshit. Humans that are traumatised need emotional safety in addition to physical safety. Helping resolve the pet issue is low hanging fruit.

                  Agree that building on cliffs (and down stream from cliffs) like that just has to stop. That we still build in so many stupid places is an indictment of just how much councils have been neoliberalised.

    • Molly 1.2

      Ports can act as hubs, but it needs to be planned, and the service both reliable and cost-effective.

      Rail needs to improve connectivity, capacity and price.

      Then local deliveries can then be the bulk of road freight. But the first two are not currently in place.

      Transition discussions should be able to identify the obstacles without resorting to demonising handy political targets.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.2.1

        without resorting to demonising handy political targets.

        Ah, where was that?

        • Molly

          "We need to get past NZ's unsustainable truck/trailer obsession. Driven of course by the large and loud lobby group of truckers. And supporters."

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            lol….you are maybe hunting for something if you think thats demonising ! And..I gave plenty of Links supporting Coastal Shipping. Have a Nice Day : )

            • Molly

              Fair enough if you consider "demonising" is too strong an adjective. Perhaps vilifying or blaming, but replacing the word with something milder doesn't affect the point I was making.

              Why conclude an informative and thoughtful comment with that parting shot – to an industry not responsible for shipping at all?

    • Ad 1.3

      In the first set of storms that hit Auckland, for over 24 hours you could not get in or out by plane because the airport was smashed, by rail because there were multiple track stoppages, and or by State Highway since that had multiple floods. We were completely cut off.

      That's supplies and exports cut for 33% of NZ's population and 45% of its economy.

      We totally need coastal shipping now.

      Three weeks ago from Gisborne through to Napier for 3 days we had no flights in or out, no rail because it was smashed, and no state highway access from any side. The final resort for Gisborne was to bring in the NZNavy's HMNZS Manawanui.

      Just in case it needs stating, the NZDF are our last thread when the whole of civil society is shredded. For a solid week we were on the bones of our ass. Thankyou NZDF for your collective work.


      By the way congratulations to Commander Fiona Jameson, taking command of frigate HMNZS Te Kaha today from Commander Kane Sutherland.

      In case it needs saying again, we need more coastal shipping to prepare for deep crisis, and the natural team to run it would by the NZNavy.

      • alwyn 1.3.1

        "for over 24 hours you could not get in or out"

        That was in a city where the cyclone actually struck. The Cook Strait ferries, which are of course coastal shipping were also cancelled for the same time period. That was in places that weren't even directly hit by the cyclone.

        Why do you expect coastal shipping to help in the future as it doesn't seem any more available than planes or trucks?


        • Incognito

          Nope, that was on 27 January when there was no cyclone anywhere in sight; Gabrielle came 2 weeks later in mid-February.

        • KJT

          At the same time the rest of our coastal shipping was running fine.

          Apart from congestion caused by lack of port infrastructure, which has been ongoing for some time.

          • Molly

            "At the same time the rest of our coastal shipping was running fine."

            Coastal shipping reliability has been compromised for a while now.

            Bookings are changed or cancelled at late notice, while costs have increased significantly.

            International shipping is notably unreliable, but there's issues domestically as well.

        • alwyn

          Yes, the storm he was talking about was not during the cyclone. However the cyclone didn't hit Wellington and the weather on the day they cancelled all the ferries had weather which seems to have been very similar to the Auckland event a couple of week earlier when the planes were out.

          The weather in Wellington wasn't very nice but it was exactly what we get half a dozen times a year. It is quite normal for the ferries to not sail and it merely illustrates that the ferries, which are coastal shipping, are quite routinely disrupted by our normal NZ storms. I don't think having coastal shipping available is really going to provide greater reliability than aircraft or roads do.

      • Scud 1.3.2

        The biggest problem with the NZDF atm is the massive separation rate from NZDF which is over +30%

        Army at +17.2%

        Navy at +12.5%

        The Regular Army is struggling to force generate manpower to deal with concurrent HADR Ops in NZ on top of not having a enough equipment or spares as capabilities have been allowed to run down over the last 30yrs & I including the Reserve Forces who have actually made up the bulk up of the Army's Response.

        It's got that bad in the Army Engineers side of things, that they had call a upon QAMR to deploy a Cav Sabre Tp C/S V22 to do Route Reconnaissance which is QAMR/ RNZAC Wartime Role as the Engineers had no spare manpower.

        The Navy isn't much chop either, some ships haven't deploy due to manning or for a lack of maintenance due to a manning.

        The Airforce is lacking Fix & Rotary Wing Assets.

        Only 6 of the 8 NH90's were flying, one has been waiting for a new gearbox since 2018 & additional funding has been denied by Robbo to get this fixed! The other one is in for deep level maintenance. The current 8 NH90's flying already have highest flying hrs for it's type in world for any user & yet RNZAF is still below the minimum required number for it to under sustain concurrent Operations which is 12 NH90's.

        The A109's were meant to have taken up some of the slack & help reduce the amount flying hrs of the NH90's, but they proven to be so bloody useless as expected by RNZAF when the A109's was forced on by the Labour Alliance Coalition & NZ Treasury! That they are good for Training Pilots, Crewman & VIP Flights!

        The scary thing about this, is Ron Mark forewarned the NZG that this was coming when he delivered his CC speech & what it might for the NZDF which also included his enhanced DCP.

        But previous & this Stupid Labour Government kicked the bloody can down the Rd again like every other bastard NZG has done since the 90's.

        NZ has dodge a bullet this time round & given the amount damage this time round! It won't be so lucky next time especially if the NZDF is busy elsewhere in NZ on a HADR or somewhere in the Sth Pacific or further afield on a Peacekeeping or HADR Op!

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.3.3

        Good old Navy (well, not so old really : ) and all our NZ Services. Respect !

      • Belladonna 1.3.4

        24 hours is not really a significant period.

        SHI south was open (so far as I recall) – it was only the route further north which was closed.
        Whenuapai was open (indeed that's how Hipkins got to Auckland) – which perhaps should raise the question (again) of an airport north of Auckland – given the vulnerabilities of Auckland Airport which is virtually at sea level.

        Apart from the areas badly affected by flooding and/or slips – which are relatively small, though tragic for those involved – Auckland was pretty much operating as usual 48 hours after the flooding. Our (as in the business I work for) imports and exports (national and international) were running as usual – though there were local delivery impacts across the country (we're still not delivering to Wairoa, for example).

        The fragile nature of the infrastructure around Gisborne isn't new (only 2 roads in/out). The main SH are regularly closed for a day or so following major storms to clear slips.

        Gisborne is a shipping port – mostly logs – but could easily accommodate other vessels – transport costs, timing and flexibility will be the limiting factors. According to family in Gisborne, the frustration now, is over limited water supplies – the water pipeline was damaged and will take months to repair), and over other flood repairs – not over transport.

        Wairoa (which is still effectively cut off) is not really a suitable shipping destination – the bar at the river mouth is highly dangerous, and shifts frequently (not surprising in a major river) – dredging is only of limited use.

        I'm not arguing against coastal shipping – but it is only one option in the mix following a disaster.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    An interesting short video on the early days of covid from Peter Zeihan.

    As Zeihan points out, there is now more official opinion that Covid was the result of an accidental lab leak rather than a jump between species.

    But, as Zeihan points out, that is not really the main issue. The main issue is that China shut down its domestic flights when it realised there was an issue, but allowed international flights to continue. Thus, the virus was allowed to spread internationally.

    That suggests a degree of intentionality on the part of Chinese authorities in that they appeared to realise there was a dangerous pathogen on the loose. They appeared to be prepared to try and protect their own population while at the same time enabling the spread of it worldwide.

    • tWiggle 2.1

      It was blindingly obvious to me at the time that China knew it should shut down international travel by expat Chinese for the Lunar New Year. The virus spread to Italy from returning Chinese workers, for example.

      The other immoral/agressive act was ordering Chinese companies around the world (all, not just medical) to buy up available PPE in the time before the pandemic became full-blown. I read in an article round that time, from abc I think, that Chinese firms had bought up and sent 8,000 tonnes of high quality PPE from Australia alone back to China. Then, of course, China kept the best, and resold what it didn't need at inflated prices back to the countries it had come from initially.

    • Graeme 2.2

      Pretty sure China stopped their citizens travelling internationally very early, the Chinese tourism market was the first sector to shut down here and that was before Chinese New Year. Americans and Brits on the other hand kept demanding to come here, then ignored isolation requirements, saying they had been here two weeks but unable to say where they had been for that two weeks.

      By the time they were welding apartment doors shut in Wuhan the horse had well and truly bolted internationally. It's unfortunate that most of the world wasn't able to take the measures that China and a very few other countries, NZ is one of that few, were able to take and contain the virus in it's early forms.

      • tWiggle 2.2.1

        I remember the Chinese government kicked up a stink, and officially complained to Jacinda Ardern's government when we closed our borders, saying it was an affront to China. So they were still happy to export their citizens round the world well into March.

        • Graeme

          We may have got in first closing the border on 3/2/20, but China also stopped issuing passports for overseas travel very early in the pandemic

          From discussion with a Chinese businessman almost next door to us at the time the two actions were pretty much coincidental, his view was that China got in first but didn't say anything, people's passports just didn't arrive, then it was made official a bit later. There were some parts of the Chinese government doing very much the right thing, and other parts being stereotypical Chinese autocrats, but that happened in a lot of other countries too.

          It was the WHO that dropped the ball with travel restrictions early on.

        • tWiggle

          Yup, I got the lockdown dates wrong. Here's one article where China complained about NZ's lockdown.


          Before the lockdown, in January 2020 my son and I had already caught covid, based on the sweats, the body aches and dry bradykinin cough. We only worked it out afterwards. My son had ongoing chest and lung pains and fatigue for three months after. That was before any government diagnostic testing, and we didn't get sick enough to need medical help.

          Where did we get it from? When my son went to the supermarket a few days before he got sick, an elderly Chinese man with blood-shot eyes was hacking and coughing his lungs out at the checkout. My son thought at the time that he looked too sick to be out and about, not to mention the anti-social behaviour of spreading whatever flu he had.

          So, based on our (first) personal experience of covid, we reckon that Chinese NZ resident had either caught covid while coming back from China, or from his returning relatives. I'm pretty sure the government knew that there were already quite a few unreported cases across NZ at the time of lockdown, and that's why they 'went hard'. And no, we don't live in a main centre.

          So why, if China knew it was letting overseas Chinese return to their countries with likely infections, did they pressure NZ to stay open?

          • Belladonna

            This is pure racist dogwhistling.

            You have no idea whether this 'Chinese seeming' elderly man was from China (or was a Kiwi of Chinese origin who'd been here for 4 generations); whether he was ethnically from China (or any of the other Asian countries Westerners often confuse with China); if he was from China, that he'd come from the very small area affected by Covid in January 2020; and, indeed, if he or members of his family had been travelling at all.

            Your 'reckons' are pure racism.

            If you did have Covid (which is highly unlikely at that date), then you actually have zero idea of the vector.

            • tWiggle

              Did I call for this man's death on the basis of his race or threaten violence or retaliation? No. Did I or my son personally abuse him? No. I stated the facts.

              An elderly, extremely ill, ethnic Chinese man tottered around a large supermarket, coughing and sputtering, We got sick, my son three days, and me five days later, with an illness so similar in symptoms to the covid we had again later, that gosh, it was covid. We didn't socialise elsewhere in that time.

              Was there any judgemental comment about him that I made, except to say, as for any sick person, of ANY race to be so ill and to cough all over others in a public space is anti-social? Did I suggest he knew he had covid and was making us sick on purpose? No, because I don't believe he was.

              And, no, I don't hate him personally for his behaviour, because, hey people get sick and don't think straight. Even if I did, it still wouldn't be racist, because it's an opinion about an INDIVIDUAL'S behaviour, not about a RACE'S perceived traits.

              It is not racist to criticise a GOVERNMENT, which is what I have been doing. One poster put forward weak ANECDOTAL evidence that China slowed the egress of Chinese citizens informally. China didn't stop expat individuals, almost certainly some sick with covid, returning from China. Direct Shanghai-Auckland flights, for one, were still running at the time of lockdown.

              I put forward plausible personal anecdotal evidence in response. Nothing I wrote was racist, so take that slur off the table, thanks. I infer from your behaviour that you would believe criticising the STATE of Israel for political choices that ghetto-ise West Bank Palestinians is an attack on Jews as a RACE, rather than valid criticism of extreme Zionist policies that are themselves racist.

              And below is a link to valid, substantiated reports that the Chinese GOVERNMENT surreptitiously stockpiled and bought huge amounts of PPE internationally in late 2019 and early 2020, by commanding overseas Chinese companies of any sort to buy and ship PPE back.

              NZ nurses wearing binliners comes to mind. Hmm. Surely, this GOVERNMENT action undeniably compromised other countries' health response to covid, and resulted in avoidable healthworker deaths in other parts of the world.

              news.com australia article on China stockpiling of PPE

          • Graeme

            Chinese tourists with really bad flu wasn't that uncommon, and often they picked it up here. Got to bear in mind that China didn't have much of an idea what was going on either, combine that with the CCP administrative culture and Chinese bureaucracy right up the chain will be a bit resistant to anything that might rock the boat. Once they figured out what was going on the place got shut down pdq.

            Working in tourism I was watching this unfold and contradictory statements by most governments, often on a daily basis, were common. We look back on it now and think politicians and bureaucrats were being duplicitous, but in reality they were doing their best in an unknown environment. We also have the disadvantage of viewing it from the position of a very effective and co-ordinated response, in a lot of countries it was complete chaos in February 2020.

            Credit to the Chinese government that they were able to shut it down once they figured out what was going on and how to deal with it. That Chinese bureaucratic machine is a huge beast, turning it from maintaining social cohesion and status quo to responding to a novel pandemic is going to be a bit inconsistent, I'm impressed how effectively they responded. If USA and EU, and WHO, had been as emphatic and effective the world might be in a much better place right now.

  3. Peter 3

    Let's give Mark Mitchell the publicity he so desperately craves. He's challenged Stuart Nash to meet him in the ring in a charity boxing match.

    Mitchell said participating is a “no-brainer". If it's to be a no-brainer Mitchell won't need any opponent in with him.


    • PsyclingLeft.Always 3.1

      Well, Old…. self proclaimed "tough guy" Mitchell has had previous. And there was this of course.

      When private security contractor Mark Mitchell returned cashed-up from Iraq with an interest in politics, he engaged the one operative in New Zealand whose tactics were as militant: Simon Lusk.


      "If" it ever happened, the Ref would need to be on his toes watching for low blow Dirty Tricks

    • Peter Kelly 3.2

      Mitchell's challenge raises some serious questions for National's leadership to answer. 1. Was it ok'd by Luxon? 2. What is National's and Luxon's view on boxing for fundraising?

      For me this challenge demonstrates (again) an unhealthy macho aspect to Mitchell's character; does National condone and maybe even encourage this trait.

      • Shanreagh 3.2.1

        I think this is ghastly. These are untrained wannabes. Mitchell should not be going anywhere near competitive sports where head injuries are common.

        I hope Nash turns him down for something like gym endurance, bench pressing etc, rowing machine, etc. Even a day & a night relay team.

    • Johnr 3.3

      Perhaps the mods on this site need to have a rethink of their policy. Couple of days ago I was reprimanded for offering to give "ghost who walks" a smack in the mouth. I accept that. But,

      We have this discussion about "fight for life" and the violence that ensues.

      Interesting that Mitchell has suffered brain damage, which explains to me a lot of his attitudes. Should he be heading into a violent situation again.

      And, given this sites anti violent policy should it even be a subject

      [You were moderated for your comment and I am still waiting for you to comply with your moderation (https://thestandard.org.nz/daily-review-01-03-2023/#comment-1937312). It will decide whether you receive a one-month ban or not. You’ll have until Sunday night to finish your task or cop the ban – Incognito]

    • Graeme 3.4

      Mark Mitchell will have to hope it doesn't go the same way as the last Lusk protégée to try their hand a charity boxing, they got KOed in first round

      [image resized]

  4. Visubversa 4

    Looks like "Take Your Paraphilia to Work Day" is finally over. This is what happens when you add the "means what I say it means" terms like "Gender Expression" to your anti discrimination laws.


    • Molly 4.1

      I tend to think this was a long game, played by the teacher for personal benefit, but highlighting the contortions people in positions of authority will do in order to meet gender ideology demands.

      After being incapable of addressing his use of fetish wear in the classroom – because it was deemed an expression of his gender identity – this man has essentially been stood down for what he wears at home.

      Either way, it was a guaranteed road to a discrimination case.

      Good thread here:

      • roblogic 4.1.1

        what happens when a society rejects reality and embraces fantasy identities and magical thinking?

        those who see through the illusions and use them for cynical means will take advantage

        the truth will only be spoken in whispers

      • weka 4.1.2

      • Visubversa 4.1.3

        The only reason I saw that it could be a piss take was the fact that he wore comfortable shoes. Usually, the standard autogynephiliac wardrobe includes stripper high heels.

  5. ianmac 5

    So Mr Luxon is to present his much practised "State of the Nation" speech tomorrow Sunday at 11am, after church. He will give it to a selected bunch of friends who I suppose includes Jessica MM and Mr Coughlin. No doubt we will get a medicated/sanitised version.

    • Incognito 5.1

      I expect the speech to be published in full, as is custom, so that we can judge for ourselves without the punditry and spin put on it by others.


      When in doubt, ask ChatGPT to analyse the contents of the speech and prompt it with a few simple questions:

      • Is it good for the wellbeing of all New Zealanders?
      • Does it provide new genuine solutions to longstanding problems in New Zealand?
      • How much does it sound like populist propaganda?
      • On balance, does it stoke or alleviate fear?
      • How much does it resemble the National Party Leader’s speech of the previous year (ChatGPT cannot truly answer this) and the previous years?
      • Does it sound like the speech of a winner or a whiner?
  6. rod 6

    Yes ianmac, and quite a lot more of his devoted poodles will be in attendence too.

    • ianmac 6.1

      Surely a would-be PM would want to wow the public and even so called Journalists. If not why not? Can't hide forever.

  7. Incognito 7

    Intrusive, informative, or imperative?


    I’ve already seen some here on TS getting hot under the collar about it.

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