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Open Mike 04/04/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 4th, 2018 - 155 comments
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155 comments on “Open Mike 04/04/2018 ”

  1. chris73 1

    Immigration is good 🙂


    J Ravel born in India
    BJ Watling born in South Africa
    C De Grandhomme born in Zimbabwe
    I Sohdi born in India
    N Wagner born in South Africa


    • millsy 1.1

      Full credit to the BC’s for a series win against England, but they still played pretty poorly. Again, we seem to struggle with consistency, and have been over the past 25 years or so.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Sport is useless and so I don’t see confirmation from that list that immigration is good.

      • Stunned Mullet 1.2.1

        “Sport is useless….”

        Surely a citation needed – live by the citation die by the citation and all that…

        • Draco T Bastard

          Can’t say it produces anything of value. Doesn’t produce cell phones, or computers or anything that can actually be used. Ergo, useless.

          • Stunned Mullet

            😆 What a sad view of life.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I have a great view of life – it just doesn’t include the bludgers that play sport for a ‘living’ or the fat cats that get even richer from it.

              • Stunned Mullet


              • Enough is Enough

                You have a great view of life?


                Your thousands of posts predict misery and destruction. I cannot find one positive post from you, or anything which suggests you enjoy anything

              • Bearded Git

                I was at the game for the last 4 days Draco-just a fantastic time for me and everyone there from both countries.

                Hagley Oval is a credit to NZ.

                Surely you can manage to find something positive to say about this.

                • JohnSelway

                  No he probably can’t. Draco has a genius level IQ apparently so if he doesn’t like something neither should you

                • Sanctuary

                  Test match cricket is just the greatest game there has ever been. As one of the English commentators said on the radio as the match slowly drew to it’s nail biting draw, “You can’t hold your breath for this long in T20”.

          • Planet Earth

            So art, music, literature, drama – nothing? No joy (literally) from all of those as well? Isn’t the giving of joy a use?

            • Draco T Bastard

              I do my own art and get enjoyment from seeing the art others. Same as I do my own sport – I don’t watch sport though.

              What I don’t do is expect to get rich by bludging off of everyone else for it. Watching sport is simply boring – much better to get involved.

              • Enough is Enough

                Yes – the thousands of people that turn up at venues around the country every weekend to watch, or watch it from the comfort of their home or local pub are clearly bored…

                And you claim RWNJs live in a fantasy world??

              • Brigid

                What software did you use to create your art and would it run on any Linux OS?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  For the starship model I used Groboto – which seems to have stopped development with the lead developer developing leukaemia. It was only ever Windows and Mac.

                  For the rendering I used Vue. I haven’t heard of it being ported to Linux.

          • Enough is Enough

            What is value Draco?

            Does something have to be tangible and physically used to be of value?

            Sport brings happiness to many people. Evidently not all people – but many people.

            These immigrants brought happiness to many Kiwis over the summer through their sportsmanship and efforts on the field.

            They should be, and thankfully are, celebrated as great New Zealanders.

          • SpaceMonkey

            Actually no. Sport can produce an understanding of strategy, tactics, teamwork/cooperation all of which have value in the business world. And then there are the health and wellbeing benefits. Still so sure sport has no value?

            • Draco T Bastard

              Sport can produce an understanding of strategy, tactics, teamwork/cooperation all of which have value in the business world.

              If you’re engaged in it – yes. That’s not what’s happening for the majority of people though – unfortunately. They’re just watching it on the screen – and usually getting drunk and obnoxious at the same.

              • Enough is Enough

                But they get enjoyment from that. Just as you do from art.

                So why would you describe sport as useless?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Because it is. I see value in actually doing sport but it doesn’t produce anything of use. And for some there may be value in watching it but not to the extremes that it supports rich bludgers.

                  • JohnSelway

                    That’s a very utilitarian way of looking at things.

                    What’s the value in listening to music? Reading a book? Watching a play?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’ve said that there’s value in those – They’re also useless.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Wow……inspiration, understanding, the depth of thought music and literature can bring is…. useless.


              • McFlock

                Nah, gotta call bollocks on that, and I don’t even like sport either.

                Watching top-level sports is like watching craftsmen at work – why they do little tweaks, how they set up their opponent. In many ways, the tactics and deception in sport is more obvious when watched on telly than when in the field. And the pre-amble, the head-games between competitors, all really interesting. There’s a great video somewhere of Arnie psyching out Lou Ferrigno before the Mr Universe contest, over breakfast, in front of Ferrigno’s parents.

                Even boxing can be a thing of beauty to watch, when done by experts. Yeah, I don’t like most of the audience, but I’ve been around a few bouts before, during, and after, and it’s more than just beating the shit out of each other, it really is. It’s all a head-game. Ironic, really.

                Should theatre actors be paid? They also perform art for a live audience, inspiring passion and thought. Hamilton! apparently has minimum ticket prices of over a thousand bucks on Broadway. Shouldn’t the performers get a piece of that?

                • JohnSelway

                  I agree – I’m a cricket fan and watching a captain set his field for one type of bowl the bowler is about to perform in order to trap the batter into making the exact type of shot required to get him caught is a thing of beauty and takes a huge amount of skill, planning and training.

                  • In Vino

                    You neglected to mention luck – an important element in all sports. Why else shape a rugby ball that way? A cricket player can easily go from hero to zero, as can a sailor or a half-back.
                    But the essential point is that sport is a luxury, and while people enjoy it, sport is vastly overrated and used as a distraction from serious issues. As a control freak, I would like to see only 5 minutes max in an hour of news given to sport, with similar limits in the press, etc.

          • crashcart

            Are you against the arts then? They don’t produce anything like cell phones or computers. It does however broaden the mind and uplift the spirit. Just like sport does for some.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Open Mike 04/04/2018

              • gsays

                I can’t let the sport is useless line pass without a challenge.

                I coached kids rugby and cricket for a few years.
                I would cite cooperation, patience, tolerance, skills improving with practice as some examples of the benefits of sport.

                I take yr point of the commercialization of sport.

                I still celebrated the cricket result especially in the aftermath of the Aussie ball tampering and our team being an example that our Tasmanian cousins could emulate.

                • Andrea

                  “I would cite cooperation, patience, tolerance, skills improving with practice as some examples of the benefits of sport.”

                  Did you ever manage to convince the screechy parents on the sidelines???

                  • gsays

                    The parents were beyond my brief.

                    • In Vino

                      I also coached many school sports teams over the years. Sports can bring evil out of people just as often as the good that many claim… I tried to encourage the good aspects, but often got criticised for not enough emphasis on winning. Sorry gsays – Andrea raises a very good point.

                    • gsays

                      I don’t disagree with Andreas point.
                      I, too, got criticized for my approach. (Played the star batsman at 8 as he was late getting to the game.)
                      I saw my role as developing players.

                      As a spectator I witnessed a parent punch a coach.
                      Then provided statement to police and parent got conviction and lifetime ban.

                      None of the bad behaviour is the fault of sport.

          • Stuart Munro

            Cricket is really. But trout fishing produces smoked trout. Different kettle of fish altogether.

      • bwaghorn 1.2.2

        Its the health benefits of kids and adults who are inspired to get of their arses that make top level sport good

        • Draco T Bastard

          Is there any evidence that watching people play sport on TV inspires kids to do sports?

          I suspect that actually playing sport is more encouraging – just so long as they don’t get bullied out of it by others.

          • SpaceMonkey

            Anecdotally yes. In my experience as a coach of a children’s football team… when they’re rocking up citing a professional player like Lionel Messi or Harry Kane as their inspiration then you know that to be the case. And they’re much more engaged to boot (excuse the pun).

          • monty

            I commented in daily review about this. As a kid my brothers and I and the local nippers used to love watching the footy or Cricket then going outside and playing and pretending to be our favourite cricketer or rugby player.

            Saturday morning sport was one of my favourite times and i had a dream of playing test cricket for NZ. Sadly, didn’t happen but I could still dream about it

            • In Vino

              No – this is wrong. Adoration of superstars works temporarily – until the kids know that they are not going to make that level themselves. Then they leave the sport in droves. This is not the way to promote anything. I think Draco has suggested that getting them to enjoy doing/playing the sport is wiser. If so, I agree.

      • Gabby 1.2.3

        That’s Art, dear boy.

    • OncewasTim 1.3

      Immigration is good – especially if your name is Howard Levarko
      … until it isn’t.

  2. francesca 2

    So now Porton Down can’t establish that the novichok came from Russia
    Anybody still believe that May and Boris don’t lie?

    here’s Boris , in full flight with an outright lie speaking to a German reporter
    “When I look at the evidence, the people from Porton Down, the laboratory, they were absolutely categorical. I asked the guy myself, I said: ‘Are you sure?’ And he said: ‘There’s no doubt.’ So we have very little alternative but to take the action that we have taken.”
    total lie
    So now we’re down to special intelligence that the Brits can’t possibly share, because of national security .Pretty shabby
    And Yulia?
    Will her family now be allowed to contact and visit her?


    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      Hmmm. The Guardian reports “probably”

      Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), said the poison had been identified as a military-grade novichok nerve agent, which could probably be deployed only by a nation state.

      where the Independent reports something more definite:

      Gary Aitkenhead, the chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, Wiltshire, told Sky News that the substance required “extremely sophisticated methods to create something only in the capabilities of a state actor. We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent.”

      • francesca 2.1.1

        The comments below the Independent piece gives a good indication of how the readership views May and Boris
        A few ups for Corbyn

      • Bill 2.1.2

        That’s “probably” a nation state, not “probably” Russia. (And is to do with deployment)

        The former suggests the possibility of non-state actors while the latter excludes them. Big difference.

        And when the head of the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory also says there is no known anti-dote to Novichok….

        I think the story may well be about to unravel very fast.

        Fighting a rearguard action, I see The Guardian is attributing stuff to Lavrov in sub-headers that he didn’t actually say- stuff that falls within the same ball park as nonsense coming from official UK government pages that OAB linked to as an example of Russia being mocked, but which staggers between mockery and self parody.

        Throw in Iran having openly synthesised Novichok and the likely unsavoury circles of an ex-spy in a country fair hoatching with dubious and powerful rip off merchants from the days when the USSR collapsed….

        • Wayne

          What possible motive would Iran have to attack an ex Russian spy?
          Absolute certainties are not possible in this area. But the totality of the evidence, the nerve agent, who it was used against, previous Russian form paints a compelling picture. All other explanations are far fetched and in some cases are the stuff of conspiracy theorists (such as Poton Downs did it).

          • Barfly

            ” Russian form paints a compelling picture. All other explanations are far fetched and in some cases are the stuff of conspiracy theorists ”

            Motive and form Wayne if this is your criteria I’ll happily nominate Mossad

            Form – one of the most prolific assassinator’s in modern times.

            Motive – Russia working with Iran, Hezbollah and Assad’s Syrian government

            • SpaceMonkey

              My thoughts too.

            • McFlock

              Shooting’s more Mossad’s style, but true, they’d be up for it.

              So how does this drive a wedge between Russia and Iran (strange bedfellows at the best of times) or Russia and Assad/Hezbollah? If anything it would reinforce any alliances along those lines.

              • Barfly

                It’s not about driving a wedge it would be about “punishing” Russia for their temerity to support Assad along with Iran and Hezbollah.

                • McFlock

                  So why would Russia connect the sanctions resulting from this incident with their support for Assad etc?

                  Bit of a useless punishment if the punished person doesn’t connect it with a transgression they can avoid repeating.

                • Ed

                  And its temerity for preventing the coup d’état by Ukraine reaching the Donbass and Crimea.

          • francesca

            Nobody is suggesting that Iran would want to attack an ex British spy!!!
            Bill is pointing out positive proof that other states are perfectly capable of producing Novichok type chemicals.I find the whole Russia did it narrative utterly far fetched. Most of all it depended on Russia being the only country capable.Novichok=Russia
            In case you missed my many postings of this , and in answer to your demand that someone give evidence of the UK lying about the Salisbury events, here is Boris, the foreign secretary of the UK lying his arse off about what Porton Down told him

            So now we are down to all the murky”past form” and endless propaganda
            In case you have not noticed,western media treatment of all things Russia has become even more decidedly partisan since Putin took over from the supine Yeltsin , reversed the decline of living standards and put a stop to the general rape and pillage of state owned assets
            The propaganda has become so transparent in its desperate nature, that even I, a total apolitical hermit , started to notice about 5 years ago
            For a lot of people now, it is simply not working.
            so pardon me if I dont accept innuendo and propaganda as evidence, we’re meant to be more civilised than that

          • Bill

            I didn’t remotely suggest Iran attacked an ex-British spy.

            You’re right enough that absolute certainties aren’t possible – which beggars the question as to why May’s previous pronouncements?

            The totality of the evidence is that two people were admitted to hospital.

            There are UK Government claims a certain nerve agent was used, but no verifiable evidence so far.

            Previous form schmorm.

            The bullshit of western propaganda leveled at anyone or any country “the west” disapproves of, has such an obvious stink that I’m left somewhat speechless by the fact so many liberal conservatives smell nothing but roses when they sniff around it.

            If and when it becomes established that the Russian state had diddly squat to do with this, you gonna jump up and scream “conspiracy!” on the grounds that “all other explanations are far fetched”?

            Or will you do the fall back mambo and point to something that just “cropped up” to explain any volte face on your part?

            • McFlock

              Three people hospitalised. Not two.

              The thing is, if it’s demonstrated that some other party launched a massively convoluted plot to kill two people in a way that almost everyone with any knowledge of the mortality rate amongst Putin’s opponents would simply say “oh, it’d be him again”, then that would be pretty spectacular.

              But that’s the thing about additional information: it should change opinions if those opinions are inconsistent with actual information (vs bullshit). This isn’t actually somethig to mock, it’s how an information-based opinion system should work.

              • Bill

                You talk of an “information based opinion system”. but it’s fairly clear from your comment. that only gets to kick in when the ideological perspective you’re holding to is no longer tenable.

                There has been no demonstration that any party tried to murder the Skripals. And yet “Russia!”

                • McFlock

                  Yes, the hypothesis (to avoid the word “theory” which has dual use, I’m using hypothesis to be clear that this is what I’d mean if I used the word “theory”) has to fit the facts.

                  But if my assessment of the most likely (by a mile) scenario is affected by my ideological perspective, what do you think the most likely scenario is: Two people, one a traitor to Russia, are found in an English town frothing from the mouth and with pinpoint pupils. Are English gastropubs known for their shoddy fugu preparations, perchance? What do you think are the most likely causes of this event?

                  • Bill

                    I have no “most likely”.

                    But I’m fully aware that what’s being touted as the “most likely” is being fueled by long running ideological antagonism that runs very deep in what I’ll call “the corridors of power” in western society.

                    So what emanates from there ought to be treated with due caution and skepticism. Obviously.

                    And non-political actors (the scientific community at Porton Down) are finally getting the message out that no, they haven’t fingered Russia with their chemical analysis, contradicting what politicians have been so keen to insinuate and have “taken as read”.

                    People can figure for themselves the likely road we’re on with all this if they just take a second to step back.

                    • McFlock

                      The likely road is some ineffectual sanctions and putin and may continue kleptocracy as usual. No elite on either side is going to risk losing money over this, and any real confrontation here will lose them money.

                      And your geopolitical agnosticism becomes pretty farcical when we look at the mortality rate of putin’s opponents, the reported symptoms of the five injured (three hospitalised) people, and the record of one of the victims. The refusal to acknowledge that something even looks like a duck eventually becomes a sign of one’s own ideological blinkering rather than intellectual integrity.

                    • Ed

                      Breaking news.
                      The lie has unraveled.

                      Craig Murray explains.

                      “The government has attempted to control the narrative by finally admitting, as they have known for three weeks and just ahead of the OPCW experts coming out and saying so, that there is no evidence the substance used in the Salisbury attack was made in Russia.”


                    • McFlock

                      breaking news: not every opinion piece you agree with counts as “news”.

                      We’ll see, anyway.

          • AB

            Wayne demands obeisance to the status quo. This must take the form of condemning the crimes (real and sometimes imagined) of our official enemies. Meanwhile the crimes of our official friends (US drone programme) and our own crimes (Operation Burnham) must pass without remark.
            He comes across like a star-performing, Brezhnev-era ideological worker.

        • joe90

          And when the head of the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory also says there is no known anti-dote to Novichok


          This is completely absurd. The antidotes for nerve agent exposure are atropine and oximes. You do not need Novichok to produce atropine and oximes. This is insipid idiot-fodder designed to appeal to morons. https://t.co/GAUGFrwkjR— Dan Kaszeta (@DanKaszeta) April 3, 2018

          Specific treatment

          Antidotes to nerve agent poisoning must be given immediately (see below). It should be noted that some Novichok agents have been specifically designed to be resistant to standard nerve agent antidote therapy.

          Atropine repeated as required – page 322.

          Pralidoxime – page 323.

          Diazepam – page 325.

          ‘Combi-pens’ – page 326.


          • Bill

            Yup. Really.

            Aitkenhead said Porton Down was continuing to work on the substance to try to provide additional information that might help.

            He also said there was no known antidote to novichok but said Porton Down had advised Salisbury district hospital on how to treat the Skripals.


          • Incognito

            Atropine is only a useful antidote if the mechanism of poisoning is through irrveresible inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) but only when given early on after exposure.

            The toxicity of these binary agents does not rely primarily on the inhibition of AChE, but it is thought that it causes permanent neuropathy. Consequently, conventional nerve agent antidotes may not work. Reactive oximes such as potassium 2,3-butanedione monoximate may be useful in detoxification.

            Novichok agents are reported to produce more permanent injury, even following appropriate nerve agent antidote treatment.

            Inhibition of NTE, aging, and the process of following the OP binding to an active esterase site that prevents the reactivation of the site are important for selection of an antidote against certain OP nerve agents. It is of primary concern for the Novichok agent.

            Taken from your link.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        told Sky News that the substance required “extremely sophisticated methods to create something only in the capabilities of a state actor.

        Which is, of course, a load of bollocks. Almost all drugs we consume, which also have “extremely sophisticated methods to create’ are made by the private sector. It may be somewhat unlikely that the private sector would produce it as there just isn’t that much demand for it but the private sector could most definitely produce it.

        And we have plenty of experience of the private sector doing dodgy stuff for profit.

      • mauī 2.1.4

        So a “military-grade” substance which one of the victims makes a miraculous recovery from.

        A substance that doesn’t seem to be classified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) due to it’s murky nature.

        What type of “novichok” did they identify it as? From the layperson perspective, this isn’t just one chemical but more a grouping of chemicals. It would be good to see some detail on that.

        Not good when the explanation means more questions than answers.

        • Stuart Munro

          It’s not the murky nature but the development date that excludes novichok from OPCW literature.

          But it is still covered by the agreement, it was developed (illegally) after it was made, and thus not specified, though it is covered by the definitions.

    • veutoviper 2.2

      According to this Herald article this morning, a cousin is being issued a visa to visit Yulia and her father in hospital in Salisbury.

      • francesca 2.2.1

        Yes, thats great.In a BBC interview some days ago she said she was getting nowhere with the hospital or the British authorities
        And later it was said the Brits were “considering” her visa .
        Glad if its now gone through
        It must be absolute hell for them

  3. Ffloyd 3

    Awesome. Guyon on a hiding to nothing from Jacinda. Elegantly done Jacinda. My day is looking better after that little whipping of the Esp.

    • Cinny 3.1

      Hehe….. just heard that interview too 🙂

    • veutoviper 3.2

      Here is the video. Guyon really did not like it and ended the interview abruptly!


      • Sanctuary 3.2.1

        Espiner’s “gotcha!” Interviewing style gets old real quick. He also does the public a disservice, because he spends his whole time trying to foot trip his interview subject rather than getting information out of them for voters.

        • OncewasTim

          But but but…. he’s almost as gorgeous as his former mentor (at least as far as a boyz nite out on the town) Garner.

        • Ed

          Espiner is just another paid puppet for the establishment.

      • Anne 3.2.2

        For all Jacinda’s defence of her, there’s a problem with Clare Curran. She seems to be one of those people who never learns from mistakes and goes on to commit more. She has past form in this regard, and I was surprised the caucus elected her to be a cabinet minister. Looks like some in caucus have some learning to do as well.

        • veutoviper

          I agree, Anne. I had a little hope after watching her Q & A interview at the weekend, but then head hit desk again yesterday when I heard she had contacted Griffin directly re the Select Committee appearance. That is exactly the type of situation/action Griffin will play for all its worth from my experience of him.

          JA is in a quandary timing wise with the Budget coming up and the Chairman contact running out in a few weeks, and because Curran’s mistakes are not individually sacking issues. But the ongoing lack of nous makes Curran increasingly a liability not an asset. Curran needs to be put on a very tight lease in the meantime – with a minder checking her every move before she makes it.

          • Anne

            That is exactly the type of situation/action Griffin will play for all its worth from my experience of him.

            And from my understanding it is exactly what he did… contacted that venal old hack, Barry Soper and told him all about it.

            • veutoviper

              Old friends and compatriots – and drinking buddies and partners in related/resultant “activities” – for many decades, if my memory is correct.

          • Reality

            Mike Jaspers’ move to a strategic role overseeing all ministers may help situations like this.

            • veutoviper

              Hopefully, but they need that Chief Press Officer position filled asap by someone very competent. Any rumours?

          • patricia bremner

            Veutoviper, Funny you should say Griffin is like that. It went through my mind that Claire Curran would be desperate to get the record straight quickly, and as he has nothing to gain or lose Griffin perhaps was “letting her sweat”.

            When I heard about the letter, I thought, I wonder if he already knew that and let her walk into the second situation, knowing she is going away shortly she would tell him of the other method, which would “suggest” she didn’t want him to appear.

            I watched Richard Griffin on past Political discussion panels, and he played “gotcha” tactics quite often, rather like someone I worked with at that time. I had to be constantly thinking “How could he use this to undermine me.?”

            I think Claire Curran has to realise they may be in the same field but they are not wanting the same things. To deal with him use someone else to forward information, as that makes it impersonal. IMO

            • veutoviper

              Past personal experience, patricia, which I have mentioned here a couple of times in recent days. https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-28-03-2018/#comment-1467180 And that has a link back to an earlier one.

              It all came to a massive -but very funny end – which I would love to recount but can’t for confidentiality reasons. When I am feeling down, I remember it and roar with laughter. Nothing like playing someone like him at his own game. And I know I am not the only one who has done so and won.

              To be fair though, I have to say that over the years, he has actually admitted to his own failures from time to time. But it does not stop him continuing to operate the way he does and play the ‘no holds barred’ game, nor expecting others to do the same.

          • OncewasTim

            I agree, ditto. Her intentions are good, but I’m not sure she’s actually up to the task in reforming one of the most important roadblocks this coalition faces.
            Indeed, i just got through a discussion with my sister who was hob nobbing and taking blue-haired selfies at that Wairarapa retreat Labour held post election. That’s CC.
            As much as I tried, i couldn’t seem to get her to understand the second bigest roadblock (our public/civil service) senior and muddle management.
            Admittedly the Chardonnay, and whatever other vintner’s ecstacy was probably flowing.
            I had to listen to her relating to me how she was assured with the charge and the reform agenda. An I L-G for example told her of the horrific stories affecting immigrants and generally the dealings had with our gNatsed Public Service.
            The problem I had with her blind faith (as a comfortably off Labour stalwart)…..not unlike a Stace, was that example after example I gave, she (and I FEAR the Jacinda) whose combined selfie I was sent whilst overseas) still do not understand the shit they face.
            Still….I’m prepared to give it a little longer but the clock is tikking.

    • tc 3.3

      Curran was meant to be whipping that neolib echo chamber into shape and Gluon’s behaviour shows he’s pretty confident of his tenure or got plan B sorted IMO.

      If Curran’s the ‘fixer’ who can blame him.

    • Venezia 3.4

      Jacinda was brilliant.

  4. Cinny 4

    Media appear to be burying Tim Keatings resignation….. why is that??

    How many resignations have there been now by those who called the shots for Operation Burnham? john key, bill english, johnathan coleman and now keating. Special mention for spin doctor joyce.


    • Freddo 4.1

      No one is “burying” Keating stepping down. Three to four years is the normal term for a NZ CDF in recent decades, and that is how long Keating has now served in that role Wikipedia CDF NZ. It is just a completely normal end of term for Keating, nothing more.

      Also in my opinion, if we waste our time getting falsely excited over things like the routine end of term of a Defence Force commander rather than concentrating on real problems for the government and NZ , like reducing homelessness, or the risks of having people like Clare Curran and Shane Jones as Ministers, we are just improving the chances of a Tory government in 2020.

    • mac1 4.2

      I am on the present information appalled at Operation Burnham. But Keating’s resignation is for the end of his first but renewable term as Defence Chief. He has had the role for four years. His term is not out of the ordinary and does not seem to have been cut short. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_of_Defence_Force_(New_Zealand)

      So, connections being made are based on timing. How many Defence Chiefs took up a second term? They all did 2-4 years in the job.

      All, the same, I’d bet he knew not to go seeking a second term because of Operation Burnham’s fallout. Less embarrassing to retire than not be offered the second term. But that, too, is conjecture.

      What is more useful to know is what affect will his tenure end have upon further investigations into Operation Burnham? Will he still be able to be questioned, records examined, sanctions imposed if needed? Will his going affect the true carriage of justice?

    • veutoviper 4.3

      Quite a few out there, Cinny.



      Question is whether it is an actual “resignation” or a case of him announcing that he is not seeking/wanting reappointment when his current appointment runs out on 30 June. The Herald is running with the latter.

      [Different subject – did you get to the bottom of the bible pushers at your daughter’s school tuck shop? ]

      • Cinny 4.3.1

        Hey VV, school was fine with it as it’s the Gideons (new testaments in the motels outfit). Lmao, yeah ok then. Bit of a waste many ended up in the rubbish bin.

        Oh wells, at least my girls know that Easter has been around since before Jesus was born 🙂

  5. Sanctuary 5

    The irony of the right wing British press accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being anti-semitic by going to a seder because they were the wrong sort of Jews…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Um, what?

    • Siobhan 5.2

      Indeed…a sense of irony is something missing from all the coverage of all the major news stories these days, not to mention all the ‘major’ news stories that are, infact, not all that ‘major’ to anyone other than the owners of the MSM and their friends…

  6. adam 6

    So theater – political theater is the main game in town. How about we act in the interests of the labour movement, ignore the theater and talk about economics.

    Here if you have half an hour free, On Contact with Richard Wolff.

  7. dukeofurl 7

    Guess where the location of the UKs chemical research centre ,Porton Down is located?

    just under 6km from the outskirts of Salisbury. Yes the same city where the Skripals lived.

    • james 7.1

      Are you trying to imply it was from the UK?

    • francesca 7.2

      Duke of URL
      I suppose the OPCW will of course compare samples from the Skripals with samples from Porton Down’s own catalogue
      Why do I suggest Porton Down has novichoks of its own ?

      Considering that Porton Down has significant collaboration with the Pentagon on experimenting with chemical warfare agents


      and that the US had inimpeded access, indeed control over exSoviet novichok facilities, plus Soviet novichok chemists like Mirzayanov,… links provided on request…
      I find it implausible that the US would not develop and share its own novichok program, with Porton Down chemists
      Note that Porton Down has not outright denied it has novichok samples of its own,rather denying that novichoks could escape from its 4 walls

  8. patricia bremner 8

    I hear on RNZ news Shane Jones has approved funding towards the Napier Wairoa Rail line saying it will remove 5000 trucks from the roads. Some on the Standard were asking for this.

    • veutoviper 8.1

      Cleangreen, but he and others want it extended to Gisborne, and not just to Wairoa. There are apparently reasons for not doing so, but I am not familiar enough with those issues. I am sure we will see more on the issues in due course.

      Kia kaha patricia.

  9. Pete 10

    The problems of Clare Curran from another perspective:

    1 Clare Curran makes a ‘mistake’ every time she does something which someone doesn’t like.

    2 Clare Curran does things which don’t fit traditional protocols she’s guilty of heinous crimes and she should be hung – or at least sacked. Steven Joyce and John Key doing things which didn’t fit traditional approaches and protocols was showing refreshing approaches demonstrating their ‘hands on’ interest.

    3 Richard Griffin is longer in the tooth than Jason Ede and knows how to play the game to suit himself.

    4 Is Richard Griffin appointed to the board with an expectation to enact Government policy or is Richard Griffin appointed to the board to keep everyone in the picture when something happens which he thinks is political?

    5 Does Richard Griffin have a direct link to Kiwiblog so he can keep them in the loop? If not why not? He may as well have.

    • veutoviper 10.1

      Pete Griffin has been Chair of the RNZ Board since 2010. His latest two year contract signed by the National Govt in 2016 expires on 30 April 2018 – ie in only 4 weeks time. It is not expected that he will be reappointed by this government.

      So he is out of the picture in a few weeks – and has nothing to lose.

      He doesn’t need Kiwiblog. IMHO all signs suggest that he has just been going direct to Melissa Lee with information allowing her to keep the anti-Curran meme going in Question Time in the House. And also IMHO probably to his old mates like Barry Soper to keep things going in the MSM.

  10. veutoviper 11

    For anyone interested, today is a Members Day in Parliament, which means they will be considering Members’ Bills, not Government Bills.

    As I/S has kindly pointed out on his NRT blog, today two National Bills come back from Select Committee consideration.

    As it is relatively short, here is what I/S says as he says it better than I would:

    Today is a Members’ Day, and after the flood of first readings we’ve had recently, we’re now into the boring bit. First up are two National Party bills which have come back from select committee – Alastair Scott’s Crimes (Increased Penalty for Providing Explosive to Commit Crime) Amendment Bill and Brett Hudson’s Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill. (Note Para break is mine, VV)

    In both cases the select committee has gone “yeah, nah”, pointing at significant flaws in the bills. Whether they pass or not is going to depend on New Zealand First, and how much stupidity they’re willing to indulge in to appear “tough on crime” and appeal to elderly arseholes.

    Once they’re out of the way, the House should move on to Denise Lee’s misnamed Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill (which is intended to make it harder for women to get equal pay) and Harete Hipango’s Health and Safety at Work (Volunteer Associations) Amendment Bill. (Again para break is mine, VV)

    If the House moves really quickly, it may make a start on Chlöe Swarbrick’s Election Access Fund Bill, but it really depends on how much time they waste on those second readings. There should be a ballot for at least one bill tomorrow.

  11. Penny Bright 12


    (Wednesday 4 April 2018)

    A ‘malicious prosecution’ to force the rating sale of my home?

    Information, facts and evidence which support my considered opinion that the forced rating sale proceedings against my home, authorised by Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town are a ‘malicious prosecution’.


    What’s Wrong With This Picture?
    By Vince Siemer / April 3, 2018

    She is an unpaid, full-time public advocate who Transparency International New Zealand recognised as instrumental in advancing transparency into how billions of dollars of ratepayers’ monies are spent in Auckland.

    She has an unrelenting, brash and uncomfortably in-your-face style – and she prolifically spouts facts and figures as her first line of attack and defence.

    He is a local public servant who earns almost a quarter million dollars a year morethan the New Zealand Prime Minister. $690,000 per year.

    He is the distinguished bureaucrat who manages how Auckland ratepayers’ monies are spent; a position which brings many potential suitors to his door.

    Perhaps tellingly, the ratepayers pay his exorbitant legal bills which he would doubtfully authorise if it was his own money.

    More on this in a bit.

    Penny Bright, whistleblower v Stephen Town, Chief Executive of Auckland Council.

    The battleground is now Ms Bright’s house which Auckland Council last week published it intended to tender sale by 24 April 2018.

    Ms Bright owes Auckland Council over $20,000 in rates on her freehold Kingsland house.

    She says she is refusing to pay the deficit until Auckland Council “opens the books” on what Auckland Council is paying independent contractors.

    In addition to asserting ratepayers are entitled to know where their money is spent, she believes the existing model is rife with conflicts of interest and backhanders.

    With legal costs her outstanding bill stands at $47,000, and Auckland Council is now seeking to force sale of her home to collect the debt.

    Mr Town on the other hand has long considered information on what private contractors are paid to be proprietary, alleging any financial disclosure on how ratepayers’ monies are spent would compromise the business relationships Auckland Council enjoy with private contractors.

    As to her forced house sale, Town says it is unfair to other Auckland ratepayers if Bright is not forced to pay her back rates – which have skyrocketed to the equivalent of 1 ½ weeks of Mr Town’s salary.

    Ms Bright cannot help believe there is some bad blood acting out, having sued Mr Town for defamation in a case which never went to trial.

    The catalyst was an Auckland Council-funded October 2014 press release in which Town claimed “Ms Bright has made wild and inaccurate accusations about the Council and it’s probity”


    • Stunned Mullet 12.1

      Look on the bright side Penny, the media scrum surrounding the sale of your house will give you an excellent opportunity for exposure of your opinions.

  12. Beatie 13

    Excellent article from Stuff about the reality of having a chronic illness and having to rely on Winz. I was heartened by the mostly positive comments and also by the offers of financial help.


  13. Kay 14

    Hey Weka (and anyone else interested) following on from yesterday’s comments.
    I just came home after meeting with my MPs staffer who is now VERY well informed about the Accommodation supplement/TAS issue. And several other issues around dealing with WINZ while I was there (might as well!)
    I wrote up all my numbers to give her an idea of how the punishment works, but emphasised this is happening to a hell of a lot of people, especially those in private rental and it’s not like we even have the option of moving to Social housing anymore.

    She was very good to talk to, end result is she’s going to send a letter to our lovely Minister. I was just about to include details but I won’t given this is a public forum and don’t want to sabotage anything. While obviously no miracles are expected- and I let her know that- she stands a much better chance of getting a reply from Carmen than a mere beneficiary ever would.

    She also encouraged me to get the people I know having WINZ concerns to go to the office in person if they could; they get a lot of phone call and emails but personal visits can make a bigger impact (words to that effect). So something to think about for people easily able to access electorate/list offices of Government MPs?

    • weka 14.1

      Very good Kay!!

      I have been thinking about pushing this with the Greens too. I can’t get to an office so am thinking through other options. I would really like to know how aware they are of the issue too.

      What kind of figures did you give the staffer?

      • Kay 14.1.1

        Old and new SLP rate
        Old and new AS rate
        Breakdown of my full payment (SLP/DS/AS/TAS) old and new
        What I’d be getting with the increase if I wasn’t getting TAS
        How much my TAS was cut
        Total increase (a whole $2.18!!)

        • weka

          Did you put those through the full formulas?

          • Chris

            I’ve just seen this now so am coming in cold, but I suspect the issue you’re talking about is how the annual CPI increase to main benefits means a drop in the rate of accommodation supplement, and then in turn a drop in TAS? I couldn’t find the comments from yesterday.

            • weka

              Pretty much. Also, landlords thinking beneficiaries are all getting a $35/wk rise and putting rents up, but some benes are getting bugger all rise, so do they end up with a net decrease?

              • Chris

                I’m not sure if it can result in a net decrease, but it does mean that a person’s overall payment does not increase by anywhere near the touted CPI increase. This is because that while main benefits are purported to increase according to the CPI, the accommodation supplement is calculated on the basis of 25% of the main benefit i.e. a person is meant to put the first 25% of their income towards accommodation before any other help kicks in. That’s the theory behind the calculation. So if the main benefit increases, the 25% figure used to calculate the accommodation supplement increases.

                For example, if the main benefit is $100 a week, the “entry threshold” is $25 (25%). Accommodation supplement is calculated by subtracting the entry threshold from the rent. If rent is $50 this comes to $25. The final amount of accommodation supplement is arrived at by taking 70% of this, which comes to $17.50, rounded up to $18 a week accommodation supplement, subject to the caps based on region and family size.

                Do this again on the basis of an increase of main benefit to, say, $110 a week, means an increased entry threshold to 27.50, rounded up (I think from memory, although it might be rounded down unless it’s over .5, can’t remember) to $28. $28 from $50 rent is $22, and 70% of this is $15.40, rounded up to $16 accommodation supplement a week.

                So the upshot is that main benefits being increased by the CPI (or for any reason) will mean a drop in accommodation supplement, therefore a person’s total income does not go up by the CPI percentage. It’s built in so any change will require change to the legislation.

                Further anomalies include the accommodation supplement for people under 25 being calculated on the basis of the 25 and over benefit rate, in other words according to income that’s higher than what’s received, and the calculation of the entry thresholds for people with children including the family tax credits. The latter never used to be the case and was introduced by the 1999-2008 Labour government and amounted to a benefit cut, all done totally under the radar, of course.

                (I needed to edit this version from the one originally put up because I forgot to include the rent amounts in the examples.)

                • weka

                  Thanks, I didn’t know that was how the AS was set.

                  By net decrease I meant that if someone was at their maximum AS because of the Area cap, and the landlord thought she was getting an extra $35/wk and put her rent up $35 a week, but the cap only went up $5/week then she would have an overall decrease in her income after accommodation costs even with the CPI increase to the base benefit. More complicated with TAS, but if a beneficiary’s total increase this year on April 1, after recalculating AS and TAS and taking into account the CPI increase, is only a few dollars but their rent goes up by $25 or $35, then they are substantially worse off.

                  (I haven’t run this through the various formulas yet, so am not 100% certain about what I have just said).

                  Adam talked about this in one of the other threads. His rent went up $25 recently, presumably because the landlord knew about the govt’s announcement.

                  I have no idea how common that scenario will be, but I can already see that many long term people with disabilities will be particularly at risk because they have no way of earning other income.

                  • Chris

                    You can be 100% certain that this is the case for a lot of people who are either relatively close to the cap or who have accommodation costs that mean they’ve hit the cap i.e. that there will be a net decrease of income after rent is paid. And things do get complicated further by the disability allowance and temporary additional support, particularly for those with disability costs either at or over the maximum. There’s also a particular group who have assets that still allow entitlement to an accommodation supplement but which knock out entitlement to temporary additional support, so there’s no leveling out at all. This is a different issue, though, to the CPI increases and how the accommodation supplement is calculated: it’s about landlords lifting rents in a belief, rightly or wrongly that the tenant’s income has increased.

                    • weka

                      This is what I thought 🙁

                      “This is a different issue, though, to the CPI increases and how the accommodation supplement is calculated: it’s about landlords lifting rents in a belief, rightly or wrongly that the tenant’s income has increased.”

                      I see them all part of the same thing. Labour wanting to do something, but being hampered by their unwillingness to view welfare as a good thing. They knew about the landlord issue and not only went ahead anyway but skited about the increase on social media. That’s what fucked me off. I get that it will take time to fix WINZ but I just don’t see Labour getting it yet, what the real problems are. Hence Kay’s comments about talking to her local MP who had no idea about their own party’s welfare policy impacted on people in real life.

                    • Chris

                      The wider problem began with the 1991 benefit cuts which made the add-ons so much more important in terms of overall income. The difficulty with relying on the add-ons is that they’re harder to get because they’re either asset or income tested or discretionary or dependent on tightly prescribed criteria. One of the first things that needs to happen is acknowledgement that the balance between main benefits and add-ons are way out of whack and that main benefits need to be raised. This won’t stop greedy landlords who think it’s their right to take that off tenants who’re poor, though. A real shame when incomes are already way behind anywhere near liveable in the first place.

                  • Chris

                    There’s also the issue for people who’re not at the accommodation supplement cap but who receive temporary additional support. The accommodation supplement goes up but the temporary additional support goes down because the accommodation supplement is income when assessing the level of temporary afdditional support. So landlords put the rent up, again based on a perceived increase in overal income. Theoretically the beneficiary tenant’s temporary additional support then goes up because costs (rent) have increased, but there are so many variables like precise costs an individual has, the various caps, asset tests etc that it’s seldom a simple matter of increasing temporary additional support by the same increase in costs.

            • weka

              btw, have you come across this before? Disability Exception amount,

              The Largesse

    • McFlock 14.2


      Good call about not including details – not because sabotaging anything, but tories will try to make your life hell.

      MP offices list is this excel workbook, available from the bottom of this parliament page here. Lots of them have just post boxes though – maybe the, er, phone book? Old school? Or phone the office and make an appointment and they’ll give the address? Weird.

      • Kay 14.2.1

        Yeah that is weird McFlock. Maybe some of them don’t want the great unwashed masses to find them?
        My guy was easy to find- electorate MP and the office has been there for years, but I wouldn’t know how to find a Wellington based Green/NZ1 MPs office (if they even have one) , or if there even is one. So emailing @parliament would have to be the initial approach.

        • McFlock

          Well, that list is from december, so maybe some hadn’t leased places yet? Or maybe they work out of party offices so there’s some issue along those lines.

          I’d call – immediate communication once you finally talk to a human being. Maybe even in the same town.

      • Anne 14.2.2

        No not weird McFlock. There’s been several incidents over the years where staff at electorate offices have been threatened. To my knowledge no-one has been hurt but I know Parliamentary Services (who fund the electorate offices) take security measures very seriously. One of them could well be… don’t advertise your electorate office address.

        I have a faint recollection of threats being made to Helen Clark’s office staff when she was PM. I think they ended up having a security guy present during working hours.

  14. Ed 15

    Good to see John Campbell shaming Brownlee, National and EQC over Canterbury.
    Brownlee hasn’t accepted an interview on Checkpoint for 2 years.
    His and National ‘s contempt for democracy and the citizens of this country beggars belief.

    • Pat 15.1

      Still continues to miss the point that it was a deliberate policy designed to reduce costs…..that is the most galling aspect of the whole sorry affair. None of this is news and the ample evidence provided over the years that was ignored or minimised by Brownlee, Simpson et al is the key.We can but hope and expect that with better access to records the truth will out….It will only take one to break ranks.

  15. Great viewing – the Ex-Nat government got a real hiding on Checkpoint from 5pm to about 25 past –

    First Megan Wood saying Brownlee made a real botch of re-repairs after the ChCh earthquake.

    Then Brownlee hanging up on John Campbell on the same issue.

    And last Chris Faafoi slammed the last government for doing f-all about a possibly fatal airbag problem.

    • Chris 16.1

      Surfing around looking up Tim Selwyn lead me to this.


      Is more apt than ever now given what’s now happening at local MSD offices, that is, they’re empty, nobody’s going there anymore because of the army of thugs they’ve plonked in every office. Goes hand-in-hand with the decades-old practice of gatekeeping. Two sides of the same coin. The only exception to empty offices is every Friday when the AAAP set up camp outside two or three offices in Auckland to assist people access entitlements. What happens there is that people sleep outside the office and in cars to get a place in the queue.

  16. eco maori 17

    Good morning The AM Show those were my thoughts to if we held the Common Wealth Games we could spread the competition in 3 or 4 Citys being so close.
    Amanda that’s the way don’t be shy to mention climate change it will cost us billions more in the future if we don’t Act now I
    planning and changing the way we do things goods made to last 20 years. I agree with Sefton we need to balance this change so we don’t make any changes that the negative effect out way the benefits. Ka kite ano

    • eco maori 17.1

      The AM Show Mark S. There is nothing wrong with being nice Mark Richardson is Ka pai in ECO MAORI book so Ka kite ano

  17. eco maori 18

    I see one man crying and string the human emotions pot saying they are going to take his ferrari off him I would say retire him and his elite idealistic views but he is only a few years older than me. Another saying crowing that the steps that the new coalition government is taking to mitigate climate change will hurt the poor the most. Lets get this straight the real effect of Global warming will hurt the poor common people the most look at Fiji and Tonga they are not wealthy countries they cannot afford to rebuild every 2 years or build houses that can with stand hurricanes they need help. The poor common people will end up paying the most cost in loss of habitat and lives that’s a fact We need to combat climate change immediately to save lives enough said Ka kite ano

  18. eco maori 19

    Newshub starting a trade war with Tariffs are a fools game one would think that some had figured that out.
    Martin Luther King was a great passive man fighting passively for equality for all coloured Americans his shooting turned him into a Martyr Kia kaha.
    Racially profiling people is a act of racism and should be shunned as we have good and bad in all cultures bad people are not exclusively just in minority culture. Kia kaha to all our athletes at the Gold Coast Common Wealth Games.
    Ka kite ano

    • eco maori 19.1

      The Crowd goes Wild TV 4 James and Makere it good to see Sir Richard Hadley give the award to our fast bowler Trent boult.
      Mulls you lucky bugger that’s a good view of the basketball V I P Box a good on you e hoa. Surfing is a great sport you have to be fit for that sport some good breaks in Te tairawhiti.Kia kaha Ka kite ano

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