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Open mike 04/07/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 4th, 2020 - 194 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

194 comments on “Open mike 04/07/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Britons rebel against business as usual: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/coronavirus-four-day-week-poll-rishi-sunak-corbyn-a9595201.html

    Nearly two-thirds of the public and more than half of Conservative voters believe the government should explore the introduction of a four-day working week in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a new poll shows.

    When more than half the UK conservatives support a radical political move, it starts to look like the Labour/National slow learners here will notice there's a realistic basis upon which to replace their congenital timidity with courage. Let's hope they do!

    The concept has previously been floated by the Green Party and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose manifesto at the 2019 general election pledged to reduce average full-time working to 32 hours per week, with no loss of pay, by the end of the decade.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    "Clare Curran speaks for the first time about the brutal end to her political career" to Donna Chisholm. https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/04-07-2020/clare-curran-interview-donna-chisholm/

    "Curran received six to eight months of psychological treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after that disastrous afternoon. “I’m not Shane Jones. I didn’t have a pat answer. I don’t do bluster and I was trying to answer honestly and I couldn’t come up with the words and my mind went blank. It was the worst nightmare in front of everyone. I remember a sensation of pressure that built up, and quite honestly, during those first few days I felt like I was literally going to die. I felt physically that I was going to die because the stress had got so much and there was nowhere else for it to go.”

    It's a timely reminder that clinging to representative democracy and the adversarial politics it institutionalises makes victims out of the participants. Best if we stopped doing so then, eh?

    • I Feel Love 2.1

      Yes, we probably don't give them as much credit as they deserve, and why there aren't many truly "nice" people in parliament, it's fairly harrowing, and like the police and army and managers seems to attract a certain pathological umempathic type. Unfortunate really.

    • weka 2.2

      thanks for that Dennis. That was an incredible read. And yes, best we stopped doing that, even more so at this time when we need people with heart.

    • RedLogix 2.3

      @ Dennis and IFL

      Good comments both, I'm with you 100% on this.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.4

      Best if we stopped doing so then, eh?

      I've been suggesting participatory democracy for some time but many seem opposed to anarchism.

      What do you suggest?

      • Dennis Frank 2.4.1

        It was widely agreed in principle in the GP in the early '90s but I can't say if it survived through the Alliance saga & became GP policy when MMP kicked in.

        A couple of years ago I reported here the submission I sent in response to a govt request for public feedback: reviving the old upper house, but in a novel way, so as to integrate collaborative and competitive politics.

        I envisaged the collaborative format to be flexible & inclusive, allowing for input from public, interest groups, activists & politicians. Focus on consensus decision-making. Conservatives claim select committees do that function somewhat – nowhere near enough though.

        The Legislative Council Chamber is a very grand room surrounded on its upper floor by galleries similar to those above the Chamber of the House of Representatives. The room features a puriri canopy and Italian marble pillars. The walls are panelled in varnished rimu and a deep red carpet covers the floor. Puriri and tawa are native New Zealand timbers.

        The Legislative Council Chamber’s most important role today is as the venue for the State Opening of Parliament after each general election.

        The Legislative Council Chamber is also used for a wide range of functions hosted by members of Parliament. The public can visit the Legislative Council Chamber as part of a guided tour of Parliament from the Visitor Centre.

        So why not use those vacant periods in between state functions to host a collaborative politics forum that facilitates participatory democracy?

      • weka 2.4.2

        we could change the culture of the current parliamentary system away from aggro/macho to relationship based. Once that happens it will be way easier to see a pathway to better forms of democracy than we have now, including participatory. Much of the blocks to that come from people in power wanting to retain power for themselves rather than holding other values including how to share power. Imo that is rooted or bound up in macho politics and won't change until that is addressed. MMP was a big gain for us but we have seen what people like Peters, uber power mongers, do with it.

  3. I'm a big fan of Chris Martenson, an American pathologist who has consistently been ahead of the game over Covid-19.


    Have a look at about the 35 minute mark for praise of Jacinda.

    Then he goes on to point to this virus being man made in a laboratory. Gain of function experiments have possibly triggered this world wide pandemic which still has a long way to run.

    • Andre 3.1

      You got any linky for the assertion Martenson is a pathologist? From his online presence it appears his training and background is in economics which he's leveraged into lucrative clickbaiting on goldbuggery, dooming and saying stuff on other topics du jour that he has no apparent expertise in.

      edit: his bio sez he has a PhD in neurotoxicology. But that doesn’t appear to be informing his online stuff.


      • tc 3.1.1

        stating it's man made is juicy clickbait for sure Andre. I’ve meet folk taking that and running off with it and other influencer themes. Its an interesting angle in these fact light times.

        • gsays

          By your comment, are you dismissing the man made possibility?

          • Andre

            Many credible actual microbiology experts have looked at that question and found no reason to believe the virus is a product of anything other than natural evolution.

            Furthermore, suggesting it is man-made carries overtones of biological weapons. As a potential bioweapon, SARS-CoV-2 is spectacularly ineffectual. In terms of bioweapons, it's only interesting characteristic is its long period of apparent infectiousness without the victim showing symptoms.

            So yeah, while there remains a very slim theoretical possibility it is somehow man-made, asserting it to be so without very good evidence is irresponsible clickbaiting.

            • mauī

              Yeah.. the virus just happened to emanate from the same city where they do extensive research on bat-human coronaviruses, where researchers already have access to the closest known virus relative to Covid-19.

              But hey wet market!

            • I put the link up because of the praise of our PM. As for the virus being man made, it is obvious you didn't view the video.

              But hey, I'm not prepared to die in a ditch over whether the virus came out of a lab or not – time will tell. Chris Martenson does reference another scientist – but what do I know?

            • RedLogix

              Many credible actual microbiology experts have looked at that question and found no reason to believe the virus is a product of anything other than natural evolution.

              And yet when you track down the influence network, about who is citing who, it seems to boil down to a relatively small number of individuals. And of course 'natural causes' is the easy, safe claim to make. It means there are no political ramifications, no blowback to the credibility of your profession, no chance your job will get 'cancelled'. That doesn't invalidate their views, but it's worth keeping in mind when judging their motives and credibility.

              Yet alternate viewpoints are also being made with considerable technical depth.

              The Norwegian virologist that Martenson references, makes a solid case for a lab derived.

              At this point I'm with Martenson, that substantial balance of probability makes it a lab derived virus. The onus of proof lies with those who would claim otherwise.

              • Andre

                I have neither the expertise nor the inclination to offer point-by-point rebuttals of the first piece – indeed, it's recent enough that it seems rebuttals have yet to appear. But the subject appears somewhat outside the author's usual fields of interest, which are themselves … erm … sufficiently esoteric to arouse skepticism.

                Sorensen's claims have been out for long enough to attract comment, and it's not favourable. Plus, Sorensen's agenda in attracting funding for further work on his vaccine by claiming unique insight seems nakedly obvious.

                eg: https://fullfact.org/health/richard-dearlove-coronavirus-claims/

                Bigger picture, my structural engineering skills and forensic engineering experience are enough to make my opinions on the building collapses on 9/11 actually have some value. That means I've gained some insight into how false conspiracy ideas get created and spread, using 'experts' talking apparently knowledgeably using technical jargon, creating a shit-ton of unnecessary work for actual experts to try to rebut the BS in terms the general public can understand. I'm seeing exactly the same patterns here.

                And no, the onus of proof doesn't lie with trying to prove the negative that it wasn't man-made. The variety of what's out there in nature and the vast number of pathways for this virus to have arisen without human intervention really really make trying to prove it wasn't man-made an unproveable negative. Hell, just proving its true origin was even inside China is difficult enough, unless a host population with effectively the exact same virus is found (or a smoking gun is found in a Chinese lab). The onus of proof properly lies with those who make the specific claim that some person or organisation pro-actively created this virus.

                None of this requires taking anything the CCP says at face value, or even assigning them any credibility whatsoever. Just like figuring which technical stories about the 9/11 collapses are credible doesn't require assigning any credibility to various US government agencies.

                • RedLogix

                  my structural engineering skills and forensic engineering experience are enough to make my opinions on the building collapses on 9/11 actually have some value.

                  And while I never practiced in the civil field, like all engineering students I did the common structural courses, enough to be able to make sense of a technical report if I have to. And like a lot of other engineers, I remain less than 100% convinced by the official 911 story. Bottom line, if all tall buildings really are that fragile by nature, then perhaps anything over 4 stories should be demolished.

                  Combine that skepticism with the veritable three ring circus of other truly weird events surrounding that day, I remain to this day open to the real possibility that we were never told the whole truth.

                  As for seeing a pattern; well the problem all humans have is confirmation bias. The entire scientific method is the attempt to overcome it, and the core requirements are an earnest endeavour to discover the facts of our existence, and honest skepticism about how these facts are interpreted. This isn't easy.

                  There are as many examples of the 'expert consensus' being proven utterly wrong with time. Yet the great power of the scientific method is that it can replace weak ideas with good ones, and do this without limit.

                  If for example we are inquiring into the nature say the atom, then we have the advantage that there is no shortage of atoms to experiment with, and the laws they obey are very constant. So it's possible for generations of physicists to repeat the same trials over and over, until the results are refined beyond all doubt. Many of the hard sciences fall into this pattern.

                  It becomes harder when the experiment is only run once, and can never be repeated. Or there is no possibility of a control group. Climate science falls into this category, we have only one planet to experiment on, and this made it much harder to arrive at the consensus.

                  And extreme events like 911, or the origins of SARS-COVID-2, not only have no control to compare with, the event can never be repeated. This makes forensic analysis of this category of event much less like science, and more like detective work. In this all possibilities must remain open unless and until they can be conclusively ruled out.

                  Airline accidents are a good parallel; and the industry has a remarkable record of deep dive investigations, total transparency and formal processes to ensure every possible aspect of the event is recreated and considered. Before a conclusion is reached.

                  And so far nothing remotely like this quality of trusted investigation has happened for the COVID event; therefore nothing can be ruled in or out.

              • Ed1

                The onus of proof surely lies on anyone saying dogmatically that it was or was not a lab derived virus. Similarly for whether surviving Covid-19 gives immunity, and if so whether that is temporary or long lasting . . .

                • RedLogix

                  The onus of proof surely lies on anyone saying dogmatically

                  Note carefully, no-one is being dogmatic on the point.

                  Similarly for whether surviving Covid-19 gives immunity, and if so whether that is temporary or long lasting . . .

                  Which is a very useful point. It certainly has to give real pause to claims of the 'herd immunity' crowd.

                • Incognito

                  I’d argue that the onus of proof is on both sides. Science doesn’t concern itself with simple binaries. It aims to understand. If a virus jumped to humans we should figure which virus, from which species, where & how, and how it adapted to the new host species. If it was done in the lab, we need to know many of the same questions and how it escaped the containment lab(s). To prevent or be better prepared for another outbreak/pandemic it is actually quite important to figure out what happened. Unfortunately, this is hampered/made impossible by those who try lay blame and try score (political) points.

            • RedLogix

              Furthermore, suggesting it is man-made carries overtones of biological weapons. As a potential bioweapon, SARS-CoV-2 is spectacularly ineffectual.

              That is a flawed argument from two perspectives.

              One is that it pre-assumes the Gain of Function (GoF) research was always intended to be a standard bio-war weapon for front line military use. That is certainly not the case, GoF research has been going on for at least a decade with the justification that would advance fundamental knowledge and help develop better vaccines. In this view COVID-SARS-2 is most likely a GoF program that has backfired badly.

              The other view, and given the Wuhan lab's tight links with the Chinese military is not wholly unreasonable, is that it was intended as a bio-weapon, designed to cause substantial economic and social disruption with a high degree of deniability. In this it has been spectacularly successful. I've no evidence to support this case, but neither can it be ruled out either.

              And there is the nub of the problem, no-one trusts a single fucking word the CCP says. They lie like you and I breathe.

              • The Chairman

                Bang on Red (@ 10.29 am & 10.16 am)

              • Draco T Bastard

                The other view, and given the Wuhan lab's tight links with the Chinese military is not wholly unreasonable, is that it was intended as a bio-weapon, designed to cause substantial economic and social disruption with a high degree of deniability.

                There's another option that chains from that one in that development hadn't finished but the virus escaped the lab, aka, Resident Evil.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                IMHO the idea the Covid-19 was engineered in a laboratory is fanciful – not impossible, but over-imaginative and unrealistic. Yes, of course there will be a scattering of scientists who claim they can see evidence of this engineering, not dissimilar to the smattering of scientists that claimed (and still claim?) anthropogenic global warming is a hoax – one can only guess at their motives.

                It's the willingness to give more credence to minority scientific opinions because they are consistent with a particular worldview that I find most alarming. I do hope that such people never find their way into positions of power and influence – just imagine someone like Donald Trump as president of the USA!

                Asked on April 30 by a reporter if he had seen evidence that the virus emerged from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Trump responded: “Yes, I have. Yes, I have,” going on to accuse the World Health Organization of being “like the public relations agency for China.”

                On May 3, Pompeo said on ABC News that there was “enormous evidence” that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab. Both men claimed they were “not allowed” to reveal what this evidence was, suggesting their information came from classified intelligence.

                Fact check: US government did not engineer COVID-19

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  IMHO the idea the Covid-19 was engineered in a laboratory is fanciful – not impossible, but over-imaginative and unrealistic.

                  Back when, quite a way back when now, China happily let the world have the map of this novel Covid 19 genome. Within hours and for the next day Natrad reported that 'top scientists see evidence this virus was lab made'.

                  Then we learned about 'wet markets' and 'bats' and 'pangolins' etc etc and no further mention was made of the possibility of us fighting off a manufactured chimeric virus with a nifty wee GOF property.

                  As if any one would be that stoopid…

                  Fill your wee booties.






                  There's more…

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    I'm sure there is more Rosemary, but IMHO the relevant question is whether or not the Covid-19 virus causing the current pandemic was actually engineered in a laboratory. I'm basing my personal opinion (that's all it is – my personal opinion carries no more or less weight than your own) on the consensus opinion of expert scientists.

                    For every consensus scientific opinion there is (at least) one (expert) minority opinion (human vaccination is bad for you; water fluoridation is bad for you; anthropogenic climate change is a myth, etc. etc.) – I tend not to spend much time on minority reports, and in any event if they have some validity then the scientific consensus will typically shift (sometimes rapidly, sometimes very slowly) to encompass them.

                    I'm a (retired) scientist, and I'm well aware that science, like all human endeavours, has its flaws. That's precisely why I tend to rely on consensus expert opinion – don't have the time or the expertise (outside my own field, and increasingly not even there) to evaluate the evidence in support of minority opinions.

                    I believe that non-experts are more likely to embrace scientific (consensus and minority) opinions that are consistent with their own worldview. Whereas those without a pre-existing bias will naturally tend to find the consensus opinions more persuasive. Just my opinion, of course.

                    An excerpt (most near the start) from each of your links (in order):

                    "Scientists say there is no evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus escaped from a lab."

                    "Editors’ note, March 2020: We are aware that this story is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus."

                    "The data are clear. Collectively, labs researching PPPs, including H5N1, are playing Russian roulette with the lives of many people." [article from 2012]

                    "In the wake of a handful of biosafety lapses at federal research facilities, the US government is temporarily halting funding for new studies aiming to give novel functions to influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses." [article from 2014]

                    "Together, these data and restrictions represent a crossroads of GOF [Gain Of Function] research concerns; the potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens. In developing policies moving forward, it is important to consider the value of the data generated by these studies and whether these types of chimeric virus studies warrant further investigation versus the inherent risks involved." "Synthetic construction of chimeric mutant and full-length SHC014-CoV was approved by the University of North Carolina Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Dual Use Research of Concern committee." [reported in 2015]

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the true origin of this wee nasty that is besieging our world will not be revealed any time soon. Probably not in our lifetime.

                      Yes, 'Science'. Yes, 'Evidence'. Yes, 'Consensus'. Yes, 'Facts'.

                      But sometimes, do you ever get the sense (yeah, I know, pretty airy fairy woo sounding…) that what we are told are the 'Facts' just don't add up?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "But sometimes, do you ever get the sense (yeah, I know, pretty airy fairy woo sounding…) that what we are told are the 'Facts' just don't add up?"

                      Yes, yes – I absolutely do. And it's then that I ask myself 'Do I feel that way because the facts don't appear to add up, or do I feel that way because I don't like the way the facts are adding up.
                      Or maybe I just don’t trust who/whatever is presenting the ‘facts.

                      That last one gets me a lot, particularly regarding ‘political facts‘!

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.2

        And here: https://www.resilience.org/resilience-author/chris-martenson/

        Chris Martenson, PhD (Duke), MBA (Cornell) is an economic researcher and futurist specializing in energy and resource depletion, and co-founder of PeakProsperity.com (along with Adam Taggart). As one of the early econobloggers who forecasted the housing market collapse and stock market correction years in advance, Chris rose to prominence with the launch of his seminal video seminar: The Crash Course which has also been published in book form (Wiley, March 2011).

        I read that book about five years ago & it did a reasonably good appraisal of the prospects. Collapseniks do better than doomsters due to not being so simple, but even then you get an unbalanced view from them…

        Oh, just found confirmation here: “He has a PhD in pathology from Duke University”. https://www.postcarbon.org/our-people/chris-martenson/

  4. The Chairman 4

    Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show voters will "see some significant differences" between the Greens tax plan and Labour's. Stating,"that is their policy it's not ours".


    Considering National were quick to lie and rundown the policy while lumping Labour in with the Greens, some may think it was logical for Labour to attempt to distance themselves.

    However, to others the distancing somewhat undermines the Greens and their new policy while helping reaffirm National's spin that there's something wrong with the policy, hence it requires distancing from.

    Whereas, Labour could have maintained their autonomy by stating they largely support the Green's policy and its aim but believe they have a better way to achieve it. Instead of publicly having a dig at it (claiming there's some fairly heroic assumptions in there) further undermining the policy, thus the Greens.

    As for the chances of the Green's policy being implemented, that would largely require the Greens to vastly grow their vote (which seems unlikely considering their polling trend and traditionally lower voter support on the day) or make the policy a bottom line in negotiations. Which, apparently, they've yet to decide.

    At the least, the policy has got the discussion happening putting pressure on Labour to come up with something better.

    • Wayne 4.1

      Why would a major party basically just endorse a minor party on something as fundamental as tax policy? It would be crazy politically.

      I appreciate that a lot of the commenters on The Standard are partial to Green Party policy generally, but I reckon you are fundamentally misunderstanding Labour's support base, particularly that part of the support that actually wins government.

      Obviously Labour's support covers a spectrum.

      There is the welded on support. That will be left or centre left. They keep Labour as a major party, but they don't win it government.

      To win government means crossing the divide, that is, winning centre voters. These have come from National, where they were once part of Nationals 47%. These voters don't vote for Green Party economic policy. At most they will vote for moderate Labour Party policy.

      So naturally Labour has to have a moderate tax policy, as opposed to simply implementing Green tax policy. I predict Labour will have a 36% tax rate for income above $120,000, but won't go for a wealth tax or a CGT. Or if it it did go for a wealth tax (unlikely in my view) it would be wealth much higher up. In excess of $5million.

      The Green Party wealth tax would catch just about every household in Auckland with a house worth more than say $1.5 million, and a reasonable KiwiSaver or say a rental. Literally hundreds of thousands of households fit into that. Such a policy might appeal to the Green Party, but it would consign Labour to Opposition.

      I might note the same principle applies to National. National never adopts Act's flat tax policies.They are way too radical. Instead National goes for moderate tax policies that are likely to endure, even when they are in Opposition. And that is what has happened.

      The tax deal that was done in 2010, which I had a fair hand in designing (specifically the 33% rate), remains the tax policy of the current government. And would have done so for 2020 to 2023, but for Covid.

      • Just Is 4.1.1

        Great analysis Wayne, agree whole heartedly, people seem to forget we live in an MMP environment.

        The current Govt now represents the broadest group of interests ever seen in NZ politics, many don't like or understand some of the outcomes, I don't always agree myself either, but I do accept that MMP is about give and take, accepting we're not always going to get exactly what we want, but still way better than having to endure the policies from National & Act

      • The Chairman 4.1.2

        Why would a major party basically just endorse a minor party on something as fundamental as tax policy?

        Unity and avoiding publicly undermining your coalition partner for a start. Moreover, they're aiming for the same goal. The reduction of poverty. Which requires a correction to the status quo.

        This policy is touted to negatively impact around 6% of voters while being an economic stimulus to many more (including those just right of centre) such as struggling business owners. And with that 6% unlikely to even vote Labour, they (Labour) really have nothing to fear in expressing a little support for it.

        • AB

          While the Greens are ahead of everyone else on this, I think they have made the mistake of regarding a wealth tax as something you do to raise revenue for redistribution. That's why they have cast the net reasonably wide (6% of people) and are consequently running into problems with the messaging.

          If we set the question of revenue-generation aside, then the proper purpose of a wealth tax becomes clearer – it's to limit the political and economic power of the rich. The net can then be cast narrower and higher rates imposed. If this stimulates an orgy of evasion, the tax code can be adjusted in ways that criminalises such activity. The tax code would need to include some broad statements about the primacy of the intent of the wealth tax, and regard complexity of tax affairs as in itself evidence of evasion.

          As always, the problem would be defending a wealth tax from changes in government. And in fact it can't be defended without the sort of shift in public consciousness that I don't think the Greens' wide net approach is going to produce.

          • Bearded Git

            I disagree that 6 percent is too wide a net. I've always argued that the top 5 per cent of western nations can be categorised as rich.

          • The Chairman

            6% isn't really that wide a net. However, as RedBaron has pointed out, it will capture some that aren't that well off but live in a city where the price of housing has boomed.

            Additionally, it (the net) does have some gaping gaps. For example, take the banking sector. They own very little in assets, yet make a shitload of money, which they largely send offshore in the form of bank profits. This tax won't capture that.

            As for those that live in a city where the price of housing has boomed. Perhaps the Greens could make some adjustments for that?

            Furthermore, it would also be good if it were inflation adjusted. So as those that own a home currently valued at say 700k aren't later capture by the tax when the value of their home further increases going forward.

        • RedBaronCV

          Having said pretty much the same as Wayne the other day on who it hits ( but including Wellington (& Queenstown) ) why does everyone simply assume that the 6% is correct?

          I know the greens have outlined the methodology but a look at house prices suggests some thing is flawed.

          For starters 300,000 taxpayers is around 7.5% of the adult population. It suggests only around 200,000 households – half single ownership, half couples.But around 300,000 houses have no mortgage and up to around 400,000 will have minimal amounts so 700,000 owned and debt free and the bulk in the main centers. Plus a lot of the rural properties.

          Add in some retirement savings and that gives a potential pool a lot higher than the greens are estimating. Yes I know it is $2m but a $1.5 m house plus some savings or a beach bach and it’s there.

          It is also a tax heavily skewed towards those over about 40 who bought a property over 10 years ago, those who are single ( and a lot if those will be older women) and who have some minimal retirement savings. They also vote.

          And to say these are people who don't vote for the Greens is naive. The Wellington Central and Rongotai electorates for starters vote well towards the greens and a lot of the electorate fit the profiles above.

          They would have been better to go for a higher threshold but also a higher tax rate over say $250k. The quickest way to stop excess wealth accumulating is to stop it at source. A wealth tax is a back up.

          The sad thing is that this will overshadow the Green environment message that we so desperately need. The next poll will be interesting.

          • Incognito

            The sad thing is that this will overshadow the Green environment message that we so desperately need. The next poll will be interesting.

            I so agree! This was a major policy announcement, not some 3-page discussion paper from a think-tank. The Green Party should have controlled the narrative from the outset. It is about inequality and poverty, not about taxing a bach in Raglan. Similarly, with their environment messages and policies. Spray & walk away while the media hyenas, story-starved pundits, and populist politicians rip your carefully thought out plans, ideas, aspirations, hopes, and dreams to pieces. Every time!

            • weka

              How specifically should they have controlled the narrative apart from the launch, media interviews, and multiple posts on social media? Really curious to know what they should/could have done.

              • Incognito

                I am not a PR expert. The whole Poverty Action Plan got hijacked because of the proposed Wealth Tax. The Party could have seen that one coming and their PR and Communication experts could have done their jobs properly. The PAP is now tainted forever. How will that help? You tell me.

                They botched up again in the communication department, again. No wonder that they barely make the 5% threshold. If they cannot get their story out properly and repeat it at every occasion so that the NZ public pays it the attention it deserves then they might as well give up trying to be a Party of influence. FWIW, the Greens’ PAP has set the bar and Labour will not be able to come up with something better, far from it. However, Labour has a very effective communicator, more than one, in fact.

                Learn, adapt or die.

                • weka

                  People keep saying this about GP comms, and it makes some sense to me, but I've yet to see anyone say how they could do it differently. What agency they have with that, rather than waving a magic wand and making the MSM and the public talk about the things the GP wants them to talk about.

                  I don't think the welfare policy was hijacked because of the tax plan, the tax plan is part of the welfare policy. It was always going to be something that people would get agitated about and need to discuss. I suggested in my post the other day that the left don't let the right control the narrative, but apparently the left want to talk about tax not welfare too /shrug. We could have been talking about both.

                  If the Greens want change not power, then what I see happening is they've picked up the baton that Turei handed them, and they've started running again. It will make Labour up their game, hopefully in useful rather than reactionary ways. It's pushing NZ to talk, again, about welfare. It's also put tax back on the table, as well as taxing wealth. All conversations well overdue.

                  Yes, Labour have a very effective communicator. What do you expect the Greens to do? Manufacture an Ardern?

                  The biggest comms failure I see from the policy is the acronym PAP 😉

                  • KJT

                    Here lies the problem. Even the comfortable middle class "Chardonnay Socialists" on The Standard who constantly talk about "doing something about poverty" go into conniptions when any mention is made of them paying a little for it. In fact we that have a comfortable life need to all contribute to reducing inequality. The Greens policy will cost little compared with what we have. The rewards, in social cohesion, reduced crime and a safe and fair society far outweigh the costs. It is definately letting the right control the narrative when costs are mentioned before benefits. And nothing about other parts of the policy like extending ACC to illness which even my Nat voting mates think is a good idea.

                  • Incognito

                    If I had the answer(s) I’d tell the Greens hoping that they’d listen although Dennis seems to think they are slow and reluctant learners. It always annoys me when he says these things but today I think I can see a hint of what he means 🙁

                    Yes, initiating discussion is good but this is a major policy announcement in the pre-election period. They should have released discussion documents ages ago. What sticks in people’s minds is PAP = Wealth Tax. End of discussion. Welfare, poverty, inequality, disability never stood a chance. When a large tree falls over in the forest, there is eerie silence and even the birds stop singing. The onus was on the Green Party to avoid those traps; they pay people good money for that. As I see it, the Green Party dug a hole for itself and fell in it with its eyes wide open. The only thing I don’t know is whether they were smiling knowingly that this would happen or having their mouth wide open in paralytic bewilderment. I don’t even know which is worse …

                    The GP caucus has talented people and skilled and effective communicators. WTF are they doing? They are apologising for the Party screwing up badly with an MC who volunteered her services to the Party launch. FFS!!

                    They plopped PAP in front of us and it flopped, as good as. They have to save it from certain death and spend much time & energy on damage control. It makes me angry, grrrrrrr.

                    • weka

                      What do you think they should have done with the Matafeo situation?

                      "They should have released discussion documents ages ago."

                      Do you mean they should have released the policy earlier? Or discussion documents before the policy release?

                    • Incognito []

                      What should they have done? They should have avoided it; it should never have been an issue. Just so that we’re on the same page:

                      “MPs aren’t involved in organising party events or arranging speakers,” a spokesperson for the party told Newshub. “Unfortunately, this seems to be the result of a miscommunication within the party.”


                      Yet, one MP had to spend her precious resource (i.e. time) on this unnecessary and avoidable distraction. It was as stupid as Muller’s MAGA hat. In fact, it was more stupid, IMO.

                      “I have no relationship with this person, so I am feeling a little confused. I reached out last week to ask why and still have had no response. Gutting! Still gonna vote Green though.

                      They should have replied straight away, even if it was just to acknowledge Rose’s message. Instead, they created an information vacuum that led to speculation and wrong conclusions on Rose’s part and one thing led to another.

                      Re. the policy, I think they should have released documents before the policy release and used feedback to sharpen the policy and take off the sharp edges 😉

            • KJT

              How can the Greens "control the narrative" when most of the avenues of publication are actively hostile. Even Adern and Blomfield found that being as accurate as they could be for an hour each day, was spun and lied about by the right wing media.

              • Incognito

                Yes, fair comment. However, if a political party can’t get its message out and communicate this effectively to and with the public it is missing a vital skill/ingredient. I think this is why so many vote on feeling and gut instinct. These are relatively easy to manipulate. Another large segment is tribal and votes habitually and loyally for the same tribe every time, no matter what.

                Please remember that we here are communicating on a political blog. We are not representative of the general public in that sense.

                Lastly, politics should be a two-ways street in which parties and people engage in an ongoing conversation, IMO. After all, we elect politicians as our representatives.

          • The Chairman

            Around 300,000 houses have no mortgage and up to around 400,000 will have minimal.

            That well may be the case. However, you haven't shown that all these homes you've mentioned (despite many being in main centres) are over the million dollar threshold. Some may be apartments/small townhouses, some may be rundown, etc. Therefore, have failed to show the Green's numbers are vastly incorrect.

            6% vs 7.5% is little more than splitting hairs.

            • RedBaronCV

              10 years ago there were around 1.2 million houses with around 700,000 largely debt free. We now have some 2 million homes and looking at what's been built especially in Auckland a large lump of those are the townhouses and apartment blocks.

              Basically I've excluded all those newer dwellings so I've erred on the cautious side but given house price inflation people who have owned for over 10 years should be at the low end of the mortgage scale.

              And don't forget rural holdings and that a number of mortgages for business purposes are secured against houses.

              A quick glance at the real estate listings for Wellington show that even a basic dog box on a section is $700k plus and the non apartment market in Auckland is similar or higher. House hunting friends confirm this. The apartment market in Auckland appears to be dropping but so far that's it.

              But this tax is going to hit everyone in my street and I suspect pretty much everyone in the suburb not living in a unit. We are a pretty middle class bunch of people ( the rich suburbs are the next two over) so again those figures could do with checking.

              Or as another commentator said " you're going to punish people who live in Auckland Wellington and Queenstown"

        • Incognito

          We are in the pre-election period and this when you’d expect party policies to dominate over and transcend Government policies. In fact, the accepted consensus is that Government does not make any major policy announcements during this period. The formal ties between coalition partners will become loser and dissolve almost completely on Election Day bar the caretaker Government during fresh coalition negotiations.

          Your framing is off. Not wholeheartedly embracing a policy from a coalition partner is not the same as undermining the partner.

          Your framing is off. What is the negative impact on 6% of voters?

          You are making assumptions. What evidence do you have that those 6% of voters are unlikely to vote Labour?

          • The Chairman

            The formal ties between coalition partners will become loser and dissolve almost completely on Election Day bar the caretaker Government during fresh coalition negotiations.

            Perhaps, however ties between coalition partners tend to be vital when forming partnerships and potentially the next Government.

            Not wholeheartedly embracing a policy from a coalition partner is not the same as undermining the partner.

            Perhaps. But it doesn't make them or their new policy shine. Moreover, Jacinda went beyond that with her little dig.

            You are making assumptions. What evidence do you have that those 6% of voters are unlikely to vote Labour?

            Yes, it was purely an anecdotal and historical assumption, Nevertheless, if incorrect it's largely irrelevant. 6% policy disapproval is still nothing for Labour to fear.

            Your framing is off. What is the negative impact on 6% of voters?

            The new tax burden they would have to face.

            • Incognito

              Perhaps, however ties between coalition partners tend to be vital when forming partnerships and potentially the next Government.

              In what way are they “vital”? Have you asked Winston Peters about the ties that bind?

              Perhaps. But it doesn't make them or their new policy shine. Moreover, Jacinda went beyond that with her little dig.

              What “little dig”? Does that equal to “undermining a coalition partner”?

              Yes, it was purely an anecdotal and historical assumption, Nevertheless, if incorrect it's largely irrelevant. 6% policy disapproval is still nothing for Labour to fear.

              I appreciate your honest honesty. The 6% could make the difference between an outright majority or not. It could make a vital difference in coalition talks.

              The new tax burden they would have to face.

              I put “negative impact” in italics. Your reply is just another negative framing. How are wealthy people negatively impacted if they have an individual net wealth of over $1 million?

              • The Chairman

                In what way are they “vital”?

                In numerous ways. Good ties between coalition partners provides a better working environment for them to work together. Improves voter perception of them being able to work together. And as for Winston Peters, his party isn't polling too well.

                What “little dig”?

                Publicly claiming there's some fairly heroic assumptions in there (the Greens policy/numbers).

                How are wealthy people negatively impacted if they have an individual net wealth of over $1 million?

                When faced with a new tax, they will be negatively impacted fiscally.

                The 6% could make the difference between an outright majority or not. It could make a vital difference in coalition talks.

                First that's assuming all that 6% would vote Labour and secondly, disapprove so much of that one policy to change their vote.

                Additionally, we’ve yet to factor in the potential additional votes that policy could bring in. The missing million for example.

                • Incognito

                  In numerous ways. Good ties between coalition partners provides a better working environment for them to work together. Improves voter perception of them being able to work together. And as for Winston Peters, his party isn't polling too well.

                  All true, but none of the things you mention “vital” as such, which is the word you used. Think about it, MMP would not work as intended. Only bottom-line policies are make-or-break stuff, everything else is negotiable, as we know. What has NZF’s polling to do with my Q about the “ties that bind”?

                  Publicly claiming there's some fairly heroic assumptions in there (the Greens policy/numbers).

                  Thanks, but I would not call that “undermining a coalition partner”. A little dig is just a little dig.

                  When faced with a new tax, they will be negatively impacted fiscally.

                  Ok, we’re not making much progress with this one. Can you qualify your statements? For example, will it cause bankruptcies or mortgagee sales? Or more of the order of one less coffee + cake a day?

                  First that's assuming all that 6% would vote Labour and secondly, disapprove so much of that one policy to change their vote.

                  I never made that assumption. I think you did and you said this @ 4.1.2: “And with that 6% unlikely to even vote Labour”. Doesn’t seem to involve this policy proposal. Even a 2% swing could be important; one MP/seat is roughly 0.83% of the votes.

                  Additionally, we’ve yet to factor in the potential additional votes that policy could bring in. The missing million for example.

                  As is stands, this seems unlikely. I think nobody has a good handle on this. One single policy won’t make any difference IMO. An active prolonged campaign to engage and improve engagement with voters, all voters, is a job the Electoral Commission should do. No harm in trying to tap into this amorphous mass of non-voters but I reckon it is an exercise in futility.

                  • The Chairman

                    It's ill-considered to publicly have a dig at your coalition partner. And this instance, it was unnecessary. It's risks creating animosity between the two, harming public perception and their working relationship.

                    Moreover, it (the dig) publicly damaged the credibility of the Green's new policy. Credibility they have been working hard to build.

                    It's vital to maintain and grow party ties rather than create unnecessary animosity. Especially when likely to be shortly entering into new party negotiations.

                    You stated the 6% could make the difference between an outright majority or not. It could make a vital difference in coalition talks.

                    For there to be that 6% one has to assume the 6% touted to be negatively impacted would all initially vote Labour. Which I said was unlikely.

                    Poverty tends to lead to disengagement. Therefore, it would be logical to assume beneficiaries would make up a number of the missing million. This policy of more money would appeal to them, thus one would assume it would encourage more to vote. Especially if they believe there will be a good chance it will be delivered. For example, if it was made to be a bottom line, thus will be strongly fought for.

                    And the corresponding economic stimulus as a result of more money for beneficiaries would also appeal to businesses more reliant than ever on the local spend. Therefore, the potential loss of the 6% touted could well be offset by the gain in votes from those that support it.

                    Which leads me to question something you recently said regarding this policy. You said: "They plopped PAP in front of us and it flopped, as good as."

                    Why do you believed it "flopped"?

                    Do you have a poll to point to backing your assertion it "flopped"?

      • RedLogix 4.1.3

        Thanks for this Wayne. As a centre leftie I really appreciate the pragmatic common sense of this.

        Nonetheless I can appreciate how frustrating it is for people who can see the flaws of status quo, and wish for fundamental change. Hold them back for long enough and the resulting backlash overshoots into revolution, which is always a bad thing.

        In this both major parties do need to be open to incremental, evolutionary change where it is possible. And the Covid crisis has shifted the ground, opening up fresh possibilities.

      • Incognito 4.1.4

        Good comment, thanks Wayne.

        The Green Party wealth tax would catch just about every household in Auckland with a house worth more than say $1.5 million, and a reasonable KiwiSaver or say a rental. Literally hundreds of thousands of households fit into that.

        I hope you do realise that under the Greens’ proposal an Auckland couple who have net wealth of $2 million will not pay a cent in Wealth Tax?

      • millsy 4.1.5

        Our health and education systems seemed pretty good when we had a 66pct top tax rate.

        The lower the tax, the less hospital beds we have. Among other things.

        • Just Is

          Very observant of you, I imagine National thought if the cuts in spending were incremental, no one would notice, I know English boasted about the increase in the Health budjet, but the increase was usually less than inflation, hence, effectively reducing funding.

          The most abhorent outcome was Doctors and Nurses didn't recieve their annual salary increases, same with Teachers.

      • KJT 4.1.6

        Wayne thanks for confirming what I've always considered the case. Nationals constituency are the greedy and self centred.

        They will never vote for the Greens, so why should we pander to them.

    • xanthe 4.2

      As long as the Greens carry a significant baggage of "I will never ever vote for greens in government or coalition" The labor party has no choice but to distance themselves from any initiative that comes from there. The greens have brought this upon themselves to the detriment of us all and our environment. The best thing the greens could do now for people and environment is to dissolve the party.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        The greens have brought this upon themselves

        How'd they do that?

        • Herodotus

          For having a half thought out policy. Even Their leader in an interview stated that he "discounted" the IRD and Household surveys by reducing the assets estimated & tax by a 1/3. Perhaps The Greens accept that those who are expected to pay the heavy load of the tax Will Not 🤫Also those calculations that were mentioned in the interview of wealth exclude quite a few assets like unlisted companies, pensions etc. If you want buy-in then how about giving this a bit more thought than some CRAP calculations on a few beer mats.

          So where is the honesty and what about the at a minimum at the additional $4b per year that this tax will raise (Based on the HHS and IRD).

          How is that on How the Greens have brought this upon themselves ??

        • xanthe

          "How'd they do that?"

          The greens adopted polarisation as a primary electioneering tool. While that strategy did help push them over 5% in the early years of MMP. The long term effect of building a hard opposition was inevitable. The worst part is that many who really do care about the environment and equality (like myself) are in that group. Quite simply the green party has borked the environmental movement. The planet cannot afford the Green party They need to just go away!

          • KJT

            Bull. It is the dishonest opposition to the Greens that have bought it on us. I don't see an answer unless we can get rid of the dishonesty and self interest exhibited from so many in the media and the other parties, who comment on Green policies. Not likely while big money is allowed to buy the other parties.

            • xanthe

              I totally agree with you about the dishonesty of the media and other players. However the use of polarisation in electioneering is something the Greens must own (and stop!) themselves

              • KJT

                I don't see that.

                What I see is the Greens bending over, often too far in my opinion, to gain consensus and compromise.

                Compromising what is otherwise good advance in welfare policy, by accepting Labour's refusal to allow CGT, is an example.

  5. mac1 5

    I have a concern that as we move into the September election period, the use of Face Book ads and 'jokes' will also move into unattributed and thinly disguised politicking.

    Yesterday I got a 'joke', a Tui ad, on David Clark's resignation doubting whether he made the decision to resign. It was posted, btw, by a National party electorate chairman.

    Today, I got an advert on Face Book from a group criticising the five years that it claimed it took for medicines to be approved for prescription funding.

    The ad came from Fairness in Focus. Go to their website and we find the following.

    "Fairness in Focus is a public awareness platform managed by Medicines New Zealand, the industry association representing pharmaceutical companies operating in New Zealand. We advocate to improve access to modern medicines for all New Zealanders."

    Are these attack ads? Are we in the beginnings of another form of dirty politics in the social media?

    Next we’ll have “Freedom of the Airways” criticising the tax on tobacco and find out it’s a blind for the cigarette industry.

    Should there be a series of Tui Ads based on the existence of the homeless man, the ‘fake doorknocking’ MP from Clutha-Southland saying his press release was not racist, doubting claims that Muller’s MAGA hat is not an expression of white power, scorning the idea that the 25% of sitting National MPs who have announced their retirement since 2017 are for ‘family reasons’.

  6. Pat 6

    Nicky Hager doing the work that others appear incapable of or disinclined to do…..as said, this has an odd odour


    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      Stinks to high heaven, as the old saying goes. Classic case of corruption is the impression I get, thanks to excellent analysis & reporting by Hager, and good luck to all the Maori folk involved who are not feeding at that trough and are fighting against it in the courts. When a con works, keep doing it:

      Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust (PNBST) — bought a significant piece of Wellington central city public land at 2.18pm on a Tuesday (20 November 2018) for $1.4 million, then sold it straight on at 2.18pm the same day for $1.6 million to Wellington property developers (Commercial Properties Limited), who had a buyer already because they on-sold it at the same 2.18pm to the US Embassy for $5 million. PNBST made a $200,000 on-paper profit and the property developers made $3.4 million.

      This has happened repeatedly, for instance in 2017, when PNBST bought surplus public land in Jackson St, Petone for $2 million and sold it on to property developer Ian Cassels' The Wellington Company (TWC) for $3 million. Ian Cassels is a director and shareholder of TWC, with Patricia Taylor. The Jackson St sale was a bargain for TWC, who had space for 54 units on the land. The point here is that it has become profitable for property developers to become best buddies with iwi and use them as a means to get cheap public land. The iwi groups don’t make enough money from these deals to achieve economic independence — just enough to struggle on, while the property developer makes a healthy profit.

      • ianmac 6.1.1

        Yes Dennis. You identified really dodgy aspects of the operations. Iwi became spectators of their own land while speculators hid under iwi trust. Hope Nicky doesn't get raided by police for being so credible in exposing corruption.

        And how about all the other areas in NZ being "developed?"

      • aom 6.1.2

        The Shelly Bay saga has the same taint as other deals that waft around the waterfront and Conference Centre. Different developers but the deals were seemingly driven by same Council administration staff that were taken in-house after saddling the ratepayers with a multi-million dollar debt on land that was gifted to the city when the Harbour Board was dissolved. Once again, Mr Hagar deserves kudos for his undoubted ability to untangle the manipulations and corruptness that we are constantly told don't exist in NZ.

        Hopefully Paul Eagle MP has read digested and reflected on his part in the saga. Good grounds for his never being considered as a potential Minister.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Corruption abounds in NZ and seems to be helped by the city councils.

      We need a government strong enough to do something about this, to stop it and jail the corrupt.

  7. Gabby 7

    Ministry of Health still hasn't got the minister it wants I guess, no idea how covid patient details could have been leaked. Must just be another system failure.

    • Kiwijoker 7.1

      What’s the bet the leaker is a paid up member of the Nats

      • Chris T 7.1.1

        Can't actually see anything any political party would gain from it.

        Would imagine it is probably human error and wrongly sent email attachments.

        It wouldn't be a first given the history of our govt departments.

        • I Feel Love

          Agree with Chris T here, just some inept bozo, if Nats were involved the list would be public. Good on Stuff for not publishing and not getting in touch with people on the list … let's see if Tova has the integrity to keep these peoples lives private.

          • Gabby

            Todmunter getting up and calling on Labour to give up trying to govern, gives a pretty clear idea who stands to gain.

        • Rapunzel

          Maybe if it went to "Mrs Brown of 47 Smith St" but oddly it always seems to turn up in the inbox or similar of some media person or other, besides that I don't imagine that many people are in a position to even have need to access and therefore accidentally send something that just happens to be nationally topical & of interest to media right now – that's way too coincidental & convenient for me to buy

      • Byd0nz 7.1.2

        Yes, has a National lies stink about it.

        • Chris T

          To me it has a more senior person saying "This idiot has sent this attachment to me and all these others!?"

          "This is ridulous. Maybe showing the media what is happening on agreement they don't publish details will buck their ideas up" feel to it.

    • peterh 7.2

      What the hell it got to do with a man been in a job two days some people need to get a life

    • aom 7.3

      Disagree Gabby – the ministry now has the Minister it needs. Being the Minister of State Services as we gives him at least twice the clout to sort out the recalcitrance that is floating around within the Ministry.

  8. joe90 8

    Live stream.

    Keystone, SD – Thousands of Trump supporters, as well as counter-protesters, are expected to converge today in a small town in South Dakota’s Black Hills for the Trump/Pence 2020 rally scheduled to take place this afternoon. Keystone is near Mount Rushmore, a monument to Presidents Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln which is visited by over 2 million tourists annually.

    In the 1920s, South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson sought to promote tourism in the state. He got the idea to build a national monument, and to help accomplish the task he hired sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who had recently helped construct a memorial to Confederate leaders in the state of Georgia.

    Gutzon was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Some of the funding for the Mount Rushmore project came from the KKK.

    The mountain that was chosen for the site of the monument is known as “The Six Grandfathers” (Thuŋkášila Šákpe) by Lakota peoples, named after the Earth, the Sky, and the four directions.


  9. Dennis Frank 9

    Pedant pushes pedagogy: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/11/radical-politics-and-pandemic-nightmares/

    In this wide ranging interview with educators from the University of Barcelona , I analyze the Covid-19 crisis as part of more comprehensive crisis of politics and morality through what I label as pandemic pedagogy.

    In my view, the pandemic has revealed the toxic underside of neoliberal capitalism with its assault on the welfare state, its undermining of public health, its attack on workers’ rights and its affirmation of the economy and the accumulation of capital over human needs and life itself.

    Telling us what we already know is a clever move in rhetoric, eh? Lecturer & audience bonding on the basis of identity politics becomes so much easier.

    One consequence is that truth, evidence, and science fall prey to the language of mystification and legitimates a tsunami of ignorance and the further collapse of morality and civic courage. What this pandemic reveals in shocking images of long food lines, the stacking of dead bodies, and the state sanctioned language of Social Darwinism and racial cleansing is that war has become an extension of politics and functions as a form of pandemic pedagogy in which critical thought is derailed, dissent suppressed, surveillance normalized, racism intensified, and ignorance is elevated to a virtue.

    Yeah, okay, that's more to the point. Metanarrative explication constructs a channel thro which meaning is handed down from on high. Academic praxis exemplified.

    The full-blown pandemic has revealed in all its ugliness the death producing mechanisms of systemic inequality, deregulation, the dismantling of the welfare state, and the increasingly dangerous assault on the environment.

    Cool, he's revved up into third gear now.

    The pandemic crisis has shattered the myth that each of us are defined exclusively by our self-interest and as individuals are solely responsible for the problems we face. Both myths have completely broken down

    One must always signal that one has moved on from deconstruction, particularly when French. New millennium now: demythologising is the way to go.

    The pandemic has torn away the cover of a neoliberal economic system marked by what Thomas Piketty calls “the violence of social inequality.” Inequality is a toxin that destroys lives, democratic institutions, and civic culture and it is normalized through what can be called a pandemic pedagogy produced by a right-wing media culture that has become nothing more than a sounding board for the rich and powerful.

    Sacré bleu! Leftists are gonna slurp this up like gravy. So deft he doesn't mention the liberal media corporations at all!

    [Put quotation marks in the correct place to distinguish your words from cited text from link. Please pay more attention next time, thanks – Incognito]

    • Incognito 9.1

      See my Moderation note @ 12:17 PM.

      • Dennis Frank 9.1.1

        I did so. If you believe I haven't, can you explain why??

        • Incognito

          Please check your comment and please let me know if I made a mistake in moving the quotation marks. Thanks.

          • Dennis Frank

            I've had a look but can't see any difference, so dunno what I may have got wrong – but if I did, thanks for rectifying the situation.

            • Incognito

              Sacré bleu! Leftists are gonna slurp this up like gravy. So deft he doesn’t mention the liberal media corporations at all!

              These were your words and not the pendant’s I presume.

              You’re welcome 🙂

    • Gabby 9.2

      What do you imagine your commentary added?

    • roblogic 9.3

      The pandemic has torn away the cover of a neoliberal economic system marked by what Thomas Piketty calls “the violence of social inequality.”

      All that stuff seems obvious to Kiwis but USians obviously need it spelled out to them

  10. observer 10

    These two things have happened:

    1) A Labour candidate ranked number 68 has withdrawn because he tweeted a stupid thing in 2013. Correct decision.

    2) The National leader – ranked number 1 – has claimed that he has never seen his own party's attack ads (specifically, the lies about tax). Source: Todd Muller's press conference, Thursday.

    Only one of these has become a news headline. And it isn't Muller's brazen BS. Hmm.

  11. joe90 11

    Arlene Foster for the trifecta.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Scotland showing style with a plaid mask. Wales with the best deaf language signs I've seen yet. Time for all sorts of other innovations to come from the nether nations!

  12. observer 12

    No new Covid cases today. No community transfer.

    10 days since Todd Muller said: "I suspect what we're going to find is it is out more in our community than what we have been told" (June 24).

    • Incognito 12.1

      The way I read that quoted text by Muller is that he’s alleging that even if there were community transmission we would not be told. If that’s not undermining trust in Government, I don’t know what is. Community transmission would be impossible to keep secret and hide from the public IMO; the MSM are always on the prey for a screw-up or scandal and are happy to ‘assist’ manufacturing a story that will lure & captivate (click bait) their readers.

      • ianmac 12.1.1

        The National whole program is aimed to undermine the pandemic protection process in NZ and yes Muller's comment will do just that . Less well informed people will no doubt believe the "hidden " results and then vote for National, or maybe not.

      • greywarshark 12.1.2

        Oh he is so in tune with Trump they should set up as a duet. Don't tell us and we won't ask! All's fair in love and war.

        Randy Newman might sing this with a tongue in cheek.


    • Just Is 12.2

      Poor Tod, he's just about run out of reasons for criticizing the Govt, no health minister, no community transmission, the border controls running like military clockwork the rest of the world looking on in admiration, and a reported 95% return of businesses.

      I'm still waiting for the details of Tods economic plan for the election, it will almost certainly be the same one they rolled every other election, which in realityy is no plan at all

  13. Just Is 13

    Wow, Australia had 254 new Corona Virus cases yesterday and 104 so far today, contact tracing must be working overtime.

    This increase is likely due to taking their foot off the brake too soon.

    I hope those who are promoting the relaxing of border controls to allow visitors and students are aware just how dangerous this scenario could be.

    • Incognito 13.1

      I reckon they should open the Trans-Tasman buble at the beginning of September, just in time for a flood of news cases to emerge on the 18th.

      • Just Is 13.1.1

        If your name was Tod you would

        • Incognito

          Yet, opening the door a wee bit would send a powerful sign to the electorate that better times are ahead and that ‘everything will be fine’.

          • Just Is

            But everything is fine, Robertson reported earlier this week in his speech in Parliament that 95% of all businesses are back at work, elbait, with fewer staff numbers for many, the main businesses effected are those associated with Tourism, Tods mates.

            • Incognito

              No, everything is not fine, everything is awesome! Except for a number of sectors that are suffering, some badly. I realise that Robertson doesn’t want to scare the horses or upset the apple cart but the world is under siege and we’re not immune to that [pardon the pun].

              For example: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/121983140/ticking-timebomb-of-the-covid19-mortgage-holidays

              So, where is Big Bold Plan, Grant? Jacinda? Crickets.

              • Just Is

                Perhaps there is a plan, simply waiting for the right environment/opportunity to release it, too soon and the opposition will annalise the hell out of it and then describe it from their own POV, negatively, highlight some eccentric interpretation they've placed on it

                And then, maybe there is no future plan, make decisions and plans as necessity requires, flexibility may be the real answer.

                • Incognito

                  Ok, here’s my problem. I have no idea what Labour is planning. I should have an inkling by now. The electorate doesn’t like surprises. Businesses don’t like surprises. Only children like surprises, at Christmas time, from the imaginary guy in the sky with his imaginary little helpers and imaginary flying object (IFO). So, Labour is going to surprise us big time or it will be BAU and variations on the same old theme(s) and SFA change.

                  Political leadership means creating policies and opportunities and inviting people/voters in. You don’t wait for the right moment/opportunity, you create the opportunity and the right moment is now. It is a campaign and campaigns take time, preparation, strategy, and long lead-time, step-wise execution, and, above all, tightly controlled communication.

                  Flexibility, or the other rhetorical buzzword ‘pragmatism’, shouldn’t be a euphemism for flip-flop and broken promises.

                  • Just Is

                    Yes, certainly I'd like to see some indication of what is planned for the future, it doesn't necessarily mean there is nothing, but I get the feeling they're waiting on the opposition to come up with a policy first so then the public can have a clear choice

                    I read your comments on the Green Party Tax Policy release and you can see immediately how it wasn't handled as well as it should have been, it will now only be known as the wealth tax, not an ideal term, for Green voters it's great, but unlikely to attract a whole lot more voters.

                    Labour were branded early in the last election, the $11B hole that never existed, but if it's repeated enough times, voters aren't completely sure,

                    Certainly a vision for the future of NZ would be great, but I doubt whether they will promise more than they can deliver, as you well know, some policies didn't quite make the mark, but not for the want of trying but because logistics were never going to enable the desired outcomes

                    Only time will tell.

                    • Incognito

                      I tend to under-promise and try to over-deliver. Don’t always get it right either.

                      Please note that I have not criticised the coalition Government for its implementation of policies during this term. At least, not specifically. I’m frustrated with the apparent lack of progress and although there might be many (good?) reasons for this, I believe much of it has to do with the ‘leadership’ at the top.

              • greywarshark

                That was a terrible pun Incognito. Keep it up. Great lively discussion dispels the stench of death and decay from many of our pollies.

                I am sure that there are dedicated souls here who watch Question Time etc and check that those aren't cardboard replicas placed quietly behind the gesturing speakers? I shudder what we will get if they develop holograms in the future. At present dainty business people here and overbearing landlords overseas try to run their farms on remote control, the wealthy would do that for Parliament at a pinch, and cut salaries back by 10% to show the efficiency effects.

                • Incognito

                  Our politics are stagnant and our democracy is going backwards because people are losing interest. Parties need to rejuvenate and inject some vibrancy into political discourse. I don’t mean turning it into bread & circuses, infotainment spectacles, et cetera. National and local/regional politics are as relevant to our daily lives as our employment conditions, for example. I think the lockdown was an extreme example of the impact of politics (can have) on our lives. People seem to have already forgotten that we still are in Alert Level 1; even the online media are pushing this into the background. People have short memories and attention spans yet democracy requires eternal vigilance. What is going to happen if nobody is prepared to keep vigil? Do we now have to rely on woke warriors? God help us all!

          • RedBaronCV

            Really ??? One look at plague ridden Australia getting a free pass and everyone would just stay home. Besides I suspect a lot of people see an open border as a return to a lot ills they don't need not a sign of better times. Excess tourism and migration

            • Incognito

              Opening the door a wee bit =//= giving Ozzies a free pass and/or complete return to open borders as they were before the pandemic hit. Sending a signal (symbolism) is what I said. If I were to give you a Lotto ticket with a chance of winning big, you’d be grateful and excited. However, it is just a piece of yellow paper with some stupid numbers and a barcode on it and may give you a Bonus ticket, if you’re lucky. Psychology matters.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Tech IPOs are being badly mispriced, as Lemonade and Agora double in market debuts

    For a second straight week, a tech company has more than doubled in value upon its stock market debut. Last week, it was Chinese cloud software developer Agora, which surged 150% in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. And on Thursday, insurance-tech company Lemonade jumped 139%.

    There's two possibilities here:

    1. The people running sharemarkets have no idea what they're doing or
    2. They've been purposefully mis-priced so that initial 'investors' can make 100%+ profit in less than a week while doing nothing (otherwise known as bludging).

    I figure its the latter else these mis-pricings wouldn't happen pretty much all the time.

  15. Labour sacks candidate who praised racist 'Wogistan' column

    Labour has sacked a candidate from its list after it emerged he once praised a column describing Islam as a "Stone Age religion" and its followers as a "sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan".

    Kurt Taogaga was ranked 68th on the party's 84-strong list to contest the election in September – on recent polling an outside chance of making it into Parliament. Taogaga stood in Helensville in 2017 but lost to National's Chris Penk.

    In 2013 – before entering politics – Taogaga said on Twitter "we need to see Islam for what it truly is". He linked to a news article about what he called a "brave" column by then-New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser in Investigate magazine.


    Should anything deemed to be a transgression against whatever in social media in the past rule out standing as a political candidate?

    I thought that Prosser's column was fairly crap, but isn't this cleansing of lists over the top?

    This will deter and discourage people from getting involved, and is likely to result in more blameless and bland candidates and ultimately MPs.

    I think social media and politics has become far to unforgiving, but it's hard to see anything but it getting progressively worse.

    • Ad 15.1

      Not much damage done to anything at Number 68.

      The primary way to become an MP now is: work for an MP.

    • Incognito 15.2

      Don’t use your real name on Social Media and don’t get caught (out). I was going to add, don’t say stupid things, but realised this would be hypocritical and weaken my argument unnecessarily.

      • Pete George 15.2.1

        Too late for a lot of people not too use their real names. It can be hard to erase the online past.

        I understand why some want to remain anonymous, those who are open with their identities shouldn't be penalised simply for doing that.

        The main problem is that some see fit to scour the net looking for something they can publicise to damage someone else's reputation or political career. That's far less kind (to use an Ardern ideal) than saying something silly in the past.

        I've said things I now don't agree with, having learned from mistakes. At one of my first campaign meetings I stated that I thought that civil unions were sufficient and I didn't see the need for full marriage rights, and someone got up and quite emotionally challenged that. After the speeches I went and discussed it with them and others, and came away convinced that equal rights to marriage were essential.

        As an example it's possible someone could quote my initial comments now to try to discredit me without the full context of what happened and what eventuated.

        And the problem now is that social media can quickly do sufficient damage to stuff someone's chances on (sometimes deliberately) partial information.

        • Incognito

          Yes, I agree. He made the comments in early 2013 but was allowed to stand in Helensville in 2017. Apparently, his values and views had not been an issue or had not raised any flags with Labour since 2016 but all of a sudden, he needs to be sacked!?

          He did apologise but to no avail. People learn from mistakes. People who own their mistakes and take responsibility have my respect. I believe in redemption. I believe in rehabilitation.

          • observer

            Sorry, but he is responsible for monitoring his own Twitter account. We don't know if he had previously raised the issue with the party, before 2017. If he did and was told "no problem" then the blame lies with them. If not, then he failed in his obligation to the wider team – who are the only reason a candidate might become an MP.

            I believe in redemption too, but that comes from facing one's past. Not hoping nobody finds out about it.

            • Incognito

              If he had simply deleted his tweets, it would have been ok?

              I don’t know what his chances are were of becoming an MP at #68 on the list but I’d rate them slim.

              Here’s the thing, he commented on Prosser’s tweet in early 2013, well before he entered politics. His tweets have been there all along. Have there been other, more recent, tweets? Has he shown any other, more recent, behaviour to raise concerns that he is was not a good fit for the Labour Party? If not, I think this whole sacking business is odd, to say the least.

              He owned his tweets and made a sincere apology. Apparently, not good enough. Maybe he should offer to amputate the tip of his little finger?

              So, as I see it, a few tweets made when he was 29, three years before he entered politics and joined Labour, have led to his prompt sacking. I detect an over-reaction on behalf of Labour and a distinct lack of natural justice. As is stands, Labour’s actions are not aligned with my personal values. But let’s keep moving.

    • Andre 15.3

      Should anything deemed to be a transgression against whatever in social media in the past rule out standing as a political candidate?

      To state the bleeding fucking obvious, it depends on how bad it was, how long ago, and whether it's repeated behaviour, plus some other factors. In this case, yeah, even as a one-off I'd consider it disqualifying for a party like Labour or Greens.

      For NZFirst on the other hand …

    • observer 15.4

      It's a fair general point, Pete (though in this case it was handled fine, right decision I think).

      I said stupid things in my youth, but in the pub, not on Twitter which didn't exist. It's a safe bet that if we had tapes of everything today's MPs said back before social media, there would be lots of resignations.

      The main lesson for aspiring candidates is to go through their own digital record with the finest toothcomb, because the opposition will (and that's presumably where the "gotcha" came from today). Then fess up to your own party so they get the story before the media.

      • Pete George 15.4.1

        Why should that be necessary? Should only people who have successfully scrubbed their pasts and are lucky enough for historic eyewitnesses to remain silent be able to stand for election?

        Surely there has to be some acceptance of less than perfect online and offline behaviour in the past.

        We're in danger of increasingly deterring quality candidates from even considering opening themselves up to unfair nitpicking and scrutiny.

        If you really want diverse representation then imperfect pasts should be seen as something we all have and are mostly acceptable experiences.

        Dirty politics is now practiced by more people – anyone with access to the internet can try to be a reputation destroyer, and there seems to be plenty trying. I have experienced this from supporters of National, Labour and Greens.

        • observer

          I think you missed my last point. It's not about having a perfect past. It's about being upfront about it.

          Candidates can have a criminal record and still stand. They can be recovering alcoholics or ex-gang members. A redemption story can be an asset ("here's what I was, but I turned my life around"). It's not a "gotcha" if it's already public.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Candidates can have a criminal record and still stand.

            Depends upon the crime. If it has more than two years jail time as a maximum then that person is disqualified from running for parliament.

    • RedLogix 15.5

      Well if he had said exactly the same things, but about Christianity … no problemo!

      • Incognito 15.5.1

        Exactly! Double standards following hype lines and Twitter trends. What is La Valeur du Jour?

      • McFlock 15.5.2

        What's the Christian equivalent term for "wogistan"?

        • greywarshark


        • RedLogix

          "Sky Fairy" is popular here at TS, but the list of religious slurs is extensive.

          • McFlock

            Doesn't really have the same ethnic double-down, though, does it?

            Feel free to look up your own list to find an equivalent.

            "exactly the same things, but about Christianity"? Sky fairy doesn't cut it.

            • Ad

              You must have missed how actively anti-Christian multiple commenters on this site are. Christians are just supposed to shut up and take abuse because somehow they're a ruling order of things.

              Neither Christianity nor Islam have "ethnic double-downs", unless you're really looking for trouble.

              • weka

                I agree there's a fair amount of abuse of Christianity here, and it can be a problem. The fact that Christians in NZ aren't generally subject to racism or institutional bigotry makes a big difference though. It's two different dynamics at play.

                Bigotry against Muslims is both religious and based in racism. The Chch shooter wasn't only anti-Muslim, he's a white supremacist. 'Wog' is an inherently racist term and was used by Prosser because most Muslims have non-white ethnicity. I can't think of an equivalent for Christians in the English speaking world.

                • RedLogix

                  The tired old 'OK to bash white people's beliefs because they have all the power' argument.

                  Bullshit. Especially considering how a very large fraction of Christians are not white.

                • Ad

                  So what you've said above is that abuse of Christians is more acceptable than abuse of Muslims, because when you abuse Muslims there's racism piled in as well.

                  Not only is that illegal in New Zealand under BORA, it's also lies.

                  The majority of Christians in New Zealand aren't white either.

                  • weka

                    I'm not saying that at all Ad, I'm saying that the underlying dynamics are different, and if we want solutions understanding those dynamics helps.

                    As McFlock pointed to, there is no equivalent here of the wogistan comment, a comment that specifically targets religion *and ethnicity.

                    "The majority of Christians in New Zealand aren't white either."

                    you might have missed the point, which is that Christians in NZ don't have racism directed at them because they are Christian.

                    The closest equivalent I can think of is the animosity that is directed at Catholics sometimes, where Catholicism is both a religion and culture. But it doesn't have that specific racism aspect here.

                • roblogic

                  Unfortunately the more outspoken segment of the Christian population of NZ are not mild mannered liberals, but Trump-loving conspiracy nuts fuelled by social media rubbish.

                  It does seem like there is a cultural change in the USA where that malignant form of "reconstructionism" or "dominion theology" is losing its grip because it's been exposed as a sham faith in service to capitalism and military power.

                  The Kingdom of God is not bound to human empires or cathedrals; but it is in humble places where people choose to love their neighbour

                  • weka

                    Trump, or the existence of 45, has emboldened many here 🙁 I hope you are right about a change in the US, for our sake here as well.

            • RedLogix

              If you are a non-believer I don't think you get to make the call on whether 'sky fairy' is offensive or not.

              Otherwise what Ad said.

              • McFlock

                I didn't say it wasn't offensive.

                It's just nowhere close to "wogistan".

                "exactly the same things, but about Christianity"

                • RedLogix

                  Not. Your. Call.

                  • McFlock

                    As if the comparative impact of "wogistan" is "your call" to make.

                    "exactly the same things, but about Christianity"

                    The other funny thing is that I was "a believer". And yeah, I got hurt when people mocked my beliefs. Poor fucking me, white dude participating in the dominant belief system. Such a victim.

                    But I was never worried that I'd be beaten up by thugs using those words, simply because of my religion or where my parents or grandparents were from.

                  • RedLogix

                    Poor fucking me, white dude participating in the dominant belief system. Such a victim.

                    Oh look playing the 'white guilt' card.

                    And next time you're in a mosque try out that ever so cute 'sky fairy' crack. With luck they'll be polite about it.

        • Pingao

          Wog. Kike. Nigger. Chink. Faggot. Cunt. … nope, can't think of anything that is the equivalent and certainly never heard any of the lads I did my apprenticeship with use any alternatives.

        • Gabby


    • https://twitter.com/KurtTaogaga/status/1279170594106298368

    • McFlock 15.7

      Personally, I think too many parties these days are happy to forgive sub-mediocrity and that too many party "supporters" expect perfection.

      As for liking Prosser's rant, yeah that should discount anyone wanting to represent a party of inclusion. Played well for NZ1, not for Labour or the Greens. Maybe not discount them permanently, but it's a problem.

      • weka 15.7.1

        it's also possible that there are other issues with the candidate that we don't know about. I expect timing is something to do with it too, this close to the election and the tove terriers on the loose.

        • McFlock

          Oh, definitely the timing is important. The difficult question is whether he was the target (maybe for reasons you suggest), or Labour was.

  16. Andre 16

    Tucker 2024!! For all those 'Muricans that haven't enough of emptyheads with zero qualifications except excessive TV exposure, enough narcissism to supply the entire continent, and a shit-ton of inherited money.


    • greywarshark 16.1

      If another Tucker was still around, the USA might have a man with real body not just a facade, and integrity. IIRR he was responsible for safety glass becoming standard for car windscreens.

      Car manufacturer, run out of town so to speak. Taken to Court on flimsy charges. They said that he never intended to build cars as an industry, though he had numerous well-made models already running. His defence attorneys said:

      "It is impossible to present a defense when there has been no offense". In his closing arguments, Kirby [William Kirby Defense Attorney] became tearful and emotionally told the jury to "stop picking at the turkey," .. He then invited the members of the jury to take a ride in one of the eight Tucker '48s parked in front of the courthouse before they made their decision…. At the trial, the Tucker VP Lee Treese testified that they were 90% ready with industrial machinery at the Chicago plant to mass-produce the vehicle…

      They found him not guilty but the scandal had sunk the company.,,

      Otto Kerner, Jr., the US attorney who had aggressively pursued the Tucker Corporation, was later convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges for stock fraud in 1974. He was the first federal appellate judge in history to be jailed. He was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $50,000…

      Today the remaining 47 Tucker cars are highly collectible. Some examples in very good condition can command prices of up to $3 million each.

      Today, remaining original stock certificates for Tucker Corporation common stock, circa 1947, are valuable to collectors, and are worth more than when originally issued. Over 10,000 stock certificates were personally signed by Preston Tucker, making these the most desirable.

      He died in 1956, at age 53. Perhaps that was the end of the age of great USA innovation, true competition and development.


      In 1988 the movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tucker:_The_Man_and_His_Dream

      Short: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty93RYkzYQQ

    • Ad 16.2

      Tucker V OAC 2024.

      Rambo 1 versus Eleanor Roosevelt.

      • RedLogix 16.2.1

        Watching the Dems sideline a succession of good candidates has left me cold; there is something deeply corrupt in that party if Biden is the best they can do.

        As for Tucker, well the GOP will have to put someone up for the job, he's arguably not a psychopath as Trump is, and an order of magnitude more coherent.

        They could do a lot worse.

  17. observer 17

    So Labour's new slogan is "Let's keep moving". Bit meh. I was hoping for "Be Kind, Smash Evil Tories Nicely".

    • Incognito 17.1

      You’re joking, aren’t you? Why not “Let’s keep chasing our tails”? How on Earth will this establish a connection with voters? It is so cheesy that it needs a cracker.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 17.1.1

        "Team New Zealand" is better, IMO – we're all in this (whatever ‘this‘ is) together.

        And, of course, "We don't know how lucky we are."

        • Incognito

          I’d go for “Join The Best Team”.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            Like it. An offer/injunction ('Join'), and 'Team' is always good. The 'Best' is simply the best; better than all the rest.

            • Incognito

              It captures the mood of the Nation and how we collectively dealt with the pandemic, especially during the lockdown. It also capitalises on Ardern’s enormous political capital without explicitly saying it.

      • Dennis Frank 17.1.2

        Unlikely to inspire, but indicates a sense of dynamism, however muted. Moving in what direction though? A slogan ought to motivate members, make them feel good about helping the team effort – best to do that if you choose one that succinctly summarises why people ought to vote for them, as you imply.

        Perhaps an essay rationalising the choice will show up here soon. For the author, an intellectual, philosophical, literary & political challenge. Should be fun. 😎

        • Incognito

          Agreed. A rallying cry needs to resonate and give you the chills or at least an instant and intuitive recognition and reaction. It shouldn’t be an intellectual crossword or Rorschach Test were your first response is: WTF?? IMHO.

        • Incognito

          I apologise for yesterday. I was feeling stressed and you bore the brunt of it.

          • Dennis Frank

            Oh, is that what it was. Thanks. Take time out when stressed! I'm so thankful I no longer have a high-stress career, but I did eventually become competent at managing stress with a mix of both physical & mental methods.

            Actually, the worst aspect of it is when you feel you're on top of that, then become aware decades later that you have unknowingly embodied the stress. It becomes stored in the muscles & repressed emotions in the psyche. Takes a lot of time & sustained effort to unwind & release that stuff…

  18. greywarshark 18

    Team NZ. Most strange that this scam re Hungarian bank account is only being heard about now. Big money, big earnings for handling the finances, big responsibility, big trust in expertise and integrity. Is this a case of private interests in the financial sector scornfully playing fast and loose, or casually, with government?



    Dalton though said that Team New Zealand has fallen victim to a scam.

    "[In] November last year a sum of money was paid to a legitimate contractor who's involved heavily with the TV production in Europe to a non-legitimate bank account.

    "Now why the two things are important be it the money is gone is that let's call them the informants – one of them was the guy who pushes the button that sends the money and it's a duty of care if nothing else by accountants, particularly when the sum of money is that high …. but when you're in that sort of money you should check that the bank account is correct and it wasn't."

  19. joe90 19


    A Hamptons insider was stunned to arrive at a house in Bridgehampton on Saturday night to find a packed party that looked “as if COVID had never happened” — with Donald Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle among the revelers.


  20. Fireblade 20

    Sign the Petition

    "We the undersigned demand Chinese Spy Jian Yang be removed from National Party List. It is unacceptable for a major New Zealand Political Party to have an alleged Chinese spy in their Caucus and he must be removed as a candidate on the Party List before the 2020 Election."


  21. Fireblade 21

    Van Jackson is a senior lecturer in international relations, think tanker, author and former Pentagon official.

  22. Ad 23

    Just in case the left in the United States think it's an overblown conspiracy to believe the establishment are after them, Trump is really, really clear today that yes, he and all law enforcement really are after them.

    It's getting reasonably close to the levels of Joseph McCarthy.

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