Open mike 04/08/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 4th, 2023 - 43 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

43 comments on “Open mike 04/08/2023 ”

  1. Ad 1

    With a National government now somewhat more likely, it's worth taking in National's transport policy in some detail.

    Matt the good unit at GreaterAuckland has analysed the proposal for us in a reasonable amount of detail. Check out what project may be coming near you:

    https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2023/08/03/nationals-2023-transport-policy/

    • bwaghorn 1.1

      You've waved the white flag early.

      • James Simpson 1.1.1

        Unless there is a 2017 type event between now and election day, like when Jacinda took over and there was a massive jump for Labour, it is very unlikely that the polls will move much, in my humble opinion.

        There are no good news stories on the horizon for the government. The PREFU is likely to show the books are not in great shape interest rates will stay high, inflation will stay high, and possibly increase with the recent fuel price rise, crime stats won't change in the next 2 months.

        In short I can't see anything happening that will reverse the current trends.

        • mpledger 1.1.1.1

          The big deal is the undecideds. I have seen polls take big swings when the undecided firm up their choices.

          There is nothing Labour can do about the economic position as we are screwed by global trends with the added bonus of unfortunate weather events. The Right will play that up as if it is Labour's fault but you can bet the things that National and Act will want to do won't make ordinary people's life any easier. Seymour was pretty clear on Nat Rad yesterday that all he cares about is wealth i.e. making things better for the people who already have it.

        • Bearded Git 1.1.1.2

          A week is a long time in politics, let alone 12.

          • James Simpson 1.1.1.2.1

            It is a long time, but other than 2017, can you name an election where the poll trends have changed substantially during the campaign?

            I'm hoping something reverses the current polls but its hard to see what will as there won't be a leadership change now.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 1.1.2

        No surprise.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    There was a 3-all draw in a parliament select committee, then controversy:

    The head of MBIE has apologised to a Parliamentary Select Committee as a senior MP accused staff of “devious” conduct in preparing a report despite clear direction it had not been requested. The issue came about after the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee was unable to agree on whether a bill to allow warrantless detention of asylum seekers for up to 28 days should become law.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/mass-arrivals-bill-mbie-chief-executive-carolyn-tremain-apologises-to-parliament-select-committee-as-staff-accused-of-devious-conduct/2PN2DDPKVVHMRIKVZVNYLNUWQE/

    So Labour conspired with departmental officials to do an end-run around conventional democratic process?

    The committee is made up of three Labour MPs who were in favour, and two National and one Green MP who were opposed.

    Committee chair and Labour MP Jenny Salesa said today that due to that 50/50 split, they were unable to reach a majority position on the bill and so had not sought a department report, which usually occurs when there is agreement. Despite this, department officials prepared a report anyway, which Immigration Minister Andrew Little said would be used to inform any changes he would make to the bill as he proceeds to the second reading.

    Brownlee deemed this behaviour devious. Little deemed the select committee unbelievable.

    Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said she was “quite concerned” to hear Tremain’s response, saying it was very explicit that a report was not sought.

    “This was not a process error. So I think that with respect, you need to stop characterising it that way. They knew that the committee did not want a report.”

    Little "accused National of being “opportunistic” and the Green Party of “being their usual selves”. Looks like he got that right. "She said the committee not agreeing was “how democracy should work”. An Iranian view – understandable due to their inability to do democracy. Folk in western countries believe democracy should work by agreeing to decide something collectively.

    • Ad 2.1

      That's MBIE reminding the Select Committe that while they can't handle the truth, MBIE can. Brownlee's staff will remind him that MBIE is the kind of Ministry they will need next term – especially for the luckless fool who gets assigned Immigration.

    • Shanreagh 2.2

      What a petty point of view Greens/Nats.

      Labour is not beholden to the Select Ctttee and can press on with the bill if it wants and this does not mean the end of democracy as we know it.

      Good though that the report will be useful as Little uses it in progressing the Bill.

      Reports are written all the time, depts have a usual timeline at which usually reports will be required, and it seems the mistake was in sending it to the SC. Should have kept it in house for advice to the Minister.

      Usually though thinking MPs keep their concerns to themselves and work through the Cttee chair if they felt something needed to be done.

      But good grief……

      • Cricklewood 2.2.1

        One hand you are right on the other we cant have unelected departmental staff circumventing or overuling parliment and its rules. It turns into a very slippery slope that undermines our democratic institutions. The dept head needs to fall on his sword imo.

  3. Thinker 3

    "Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has revealed his vision to transform the city's port, with plans for a seaside amphitheatre, exhibition centre, and a saltwater pool. The new plan covers a 2km stretch of land, most of which is currently owned by the Ports of Auckland, and could begin in as little as two years, according to the mayor." https://www.1news.co.nz/2023/08/03/auckland-mayor-explains-vision-to-transform-ports-waste-land/

    Suddenly Auckland Council has money. Or, maybe the idea is to excite people about the plan, then tell them the only sources of funds are from the sale of airport or port shares, but I think Aucklanders will see through that by now (fingers crossed).

    Maybe a journalist could craft an article about where the Mayor anticipates the city will source the funds to pay for this from. It would make popular reading, I imagine.

    • SPC 3.1

      Golf course land, some reduced to only 9 holes and half for a park or housing, others half for a local park and half for housing.

    • Ad 3.2

      The CIIB, NAB, CommonwealthBank, Westpac and the big developers like LendLease, Meriton, Packer, Lang Walker and the rest will be lining up around the block for this one. Just cut Ngati Whatua a slice and Bob's your uncle. Auckland Council could also consider vending in their own port share as a % holding into the development entity.

      This has been pretty well rehearsed during America's Cup when the Wynyard Point was cleaned up ready for redevelopment and Wynyard Quarter was completed.

      A deal custom-built for National government and National-aligned mayor and Council.

      And TBH it will be very popular (unless there is major foreshore encroachment). Auckland has been begging to constrain the port or just eradicate them. So selling is intuitive.

  4. SPC 4

    The Civilian by the Babylon Beehive can reveal (our spy Onion in JEHB) that local police plan to keep groups from two religious sects apart, to prevent any kettling.

    One group believe their party leader is the second coming and want him declared king without any validating election, and the other say prove it, win a second election – if he can.

    It has been compared to the time a self declared prophet who (claimed to have) met God and his son who came to earth to adore anoint him, ran for POTUS to fulfill the prophecy of William Miller that the 1843-44 election campaign would result in an advent of a man on earth to rule for 1000 years. He was of course shot dead and James Polk was elected to steal land off Mexicans (the thou shalt not steal commandment proves this was not a son of God).

    Live coverage of the Babylon exilarch returning to claim his inheritance.

    Live

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-us-canada-66390992

  5. Karl Sinclair 5

    Hi, good morning

    Ukraine 400,000 KILLED 2 MILLION WOUNDED DISABLED –

    As NZ supports the US Dem’s NEOCONs war, rather than pushing a diplomatic peaceful solution I wonder how Chippy, Jacinda and Luxton et al consciences are feeling? Is this “who we are”? No doubt your cost benefit analysis to suck up to NEOCONs sealed the deal.

    MFAT: $10.59 million to the NATO Trust Fund for Ukraine
    $7.5 million to contribute to weapons and ammunition
    $4.1 million to support commercial satellite imagery

    Odd… Trump being the man who was going to end civilisation yet it seems Biden was the chosen one👹

    Have a great day NZ Inc

    “400,000 KILLED 2 MILLION WOUNDED DISABLED – EXCLUSIVE: Ukraine’s suffering utterly unsustainable massive war losses, Intel Republic can reveal.

    New satellite images show at 1 cemetery alone, pictured above – Matveevskoye in Zaporozhye, Kiev-held East Ukraine – 104 THOUSAND square meters more grave space has been dug. In just 7 of the cemeteries, there are 123,000 fresh graves.

    Cuckoo Kiev/media admit barely 2% of that toll. To see the math go to telegra.ph @IntelRepublic”

    https://t.me/IntelRepublic/25183

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      Ah yes, Telegram – that upright paragon of news lol

      • Karl Sinclair 5.1.1

        Ah yes, RNZ, TVNZ, CNN, MSMNBC, BBC, FOX those upright paragon of news lol

    • SPC 5.2

      You won't find this on Telegram channels so …

      It was Trump's determination to withdraw from Afghanistan that made the US look weak. Biden could have determined otherwise, but did not. The USA only starts or continues foreign engagement when both parties agree.

      The GOP leadership in Congress have supported US aid to Ukraine. Continuing to look weak (failed policy in the ME leading to Islamic State) has consequences.

      It all began with

      1. not heeding George Keenan's advice (1990's)

      2. the influence of the PNAC on GWB after Gore did not demand a full recount in Florida.

      They want to make a stand because they do not know how to build relationships (see 1) and have yet to resolve an impasses with China over Taiwan, Korea and the South China Sea atolls/fake island military bases.

    • Sanctuary 5.3

      Actually, the OP is a completely junk cooker post. Should be deleted IMHO.

      • adam 5.3.1

        Censorship in the face of death and misery of ordinary Ukraine citizens.

        What next, the justification of war crimes?

        Oh wait you already been there and done that.

        How low will you go?

    • Ad 5.4

      All Ukraine's state supporters should retreat immediately and let Russia do to Ukraine what it has stated in black and white it wishes to do.

      Then you take the credit for what happens next.

    • SPC 5.5

      Ukraine according to Fox News – Desi from The Today Show explains this and more.

  6. SPC 6

    My defence and national security strategy would be to ask MFAT to develop a strategy to find a partner to work with to mediate the Taiwan, Korea and South China Sea atolls into islands issues.

    The obvious savings in our own defence and security costs make the effort worthwhile and success would allow a transfer of global resources from military spending to global co-operation goals – such as climate change action.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/threat-of-chinas-pacific-presence-driving-new-zealands-new-defence-and-national-security-strategy/XJC4Z4TJXJAY3I4BOUSHUSK7OE/

    • Res Publica 6.1

      Bold of you to assume the status of Taiwan, the Korean peninsula, and China's position vis a vis the South China Sea are issues that can be resolved via mediation.

      You can't negotiate in good faith when one side has no leverage, and the other has made its position the basis of its regime.

      There is absolutely no way China will ever accept anything less than annexing Taiwan in full. None of this "one country two systems" shenanigans: which they only accepted half-heartedly to help speed the UK along out of Hong Kong. Bear in mind this was also before they had sufficient confidence in their military and technological capacity to start throwing their weight around.

      Ditto with North Korea: One of the pillars of the regime is the idea of re-uniting (by force if need be) the entirety of Korea. If they gave up on it, the whole facade would collapse. Which would absolutely trigger Chinese intervention. Because as bad and embarrassing an ally Kim Jong-Un is, it's a lot better than having a democratic, and worse, US-aligned and unified Korea next door.

      The only way of preserving the status quo in North Asia is to maintain a sufficient military force in situ to deter any overt Chinese/DPRK aggression while at the same time maintaining alliances with as many of the other countries in the region as you can.

      This means being prepared to counter Chinese influence (read bribes) in the wider Pacific region, keeping India onside (despite its democratic backsliding), and backing Taiwan to the hilt. Oh, and hoping the US manages to keep its shit together well enough and long enough to act as a counterbalance.

      Barring the death of Xi Jiping or some kind of internal coup, it's likely China will continue to pursue a muscular and irridentist (in their view) foreign policy backed up by naked force. And they will be prepared to exploit any "weaknesses" they see in the West.

      • SPC 6.1.1

        Next you will be arguing climate change action is too hard.

        And it will be more difficult still if global resources are transferred into an arms build-up.

        Some people see the world the way it is and say why and some people see what could be and say why not.

        A nuclear free South Pacific zone and all that before the withdrawal of missiles from western and eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War.

        • Res Publica 6.1.1.1

          I think climate change and geopolitical tensions in Asia as being two separate problems with separate solutions.

          It's in everyone's best interests to cooperate on climate change and do it right now as it's a global-scale, existential threat.

          But it also doesn't necessitate China recognizing Taiwan or the Koreas giving up on their ongoing armed standoff. In their view, you can very much have one without the other.

          And in fact, in an increasingly multipolar world, being a first mover on climate change gives China (and other less democratic) states an opportunity to seize the moral high ground and win some global legitimacy while the West continues to dither and fiddle while the planet burns.

          • SPC 6.1.1.1.1

            The capability of nations to act on climate change is not enhanced by prioritising a military build without any serious effort at diplomacy (is anyone better off because there was diplomatic failure in eastern Europe – war is no a successful outcome).

            As the IMF might say there needs to be investment in infrastructure resilience and zero carbon. And that is in western nations – then there is the cost of global assistance to other nations (food security and the like and renewable energy transfers – promises made in the past and most not kept because of GFC./pandemic and now military build up).

      • Dennis Frank 6.1.2

        Seems like we ought to factor this in too:

        In the span of only one month from mid-December 2022 to mid-January of this year, Japan revised large parts of its post-1945 security posture and replaced it with a new strategy that—if implemented—would create a more robust and forward-leaning Japan. Tokyo’s policy shifts may signal a Japan that is not only more willing and capable of involving itself in geopolitical issues beyond its own narrow, defensive interests but also more likely to act in ways commensurate with its strategic position, regional interests, and economic might.

        At the close of 2022, the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida released three new strategic documents: a new National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and Defense Buildup Plan. Then, in January, he and his foreign and defense ministers traveled to Washington to meet their U.S. counterparts. There, Japan’s new strategic thinking was on full display in joint statements with U.S. President Joe Biden as well as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Tokyo has announced the intention to increase defense spending by nearly 60% over five years, abandoning an informal budget cap of 1% of GDP that was put in place for political purposes back in the 1970s. This alone represents an almost revolutionary departure from long-standing defense practices.

        In addition to an array of sophisticated military equipment, Japan also seeks to acquire counterstrike missiles: long-range precision-guided munitions designed to deter an adversary’s attack, something Tokyo has historically eschewed. Other key changes include the creation of a permanent joint operational headquarters, the transfer of authority over the Japan Coast Guard to the Ministry of Defense during any conflict, the establishment of a robust cyber-defense, and a new commitment to intelligence capabilities.

        https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/02/06/japan-china-taiwan-russia-geopolitics-defense-security-strategy/

        Our foreign minister ought to go to Japan to discuss their prospective role as a re-arming regional player, so that other regional nations see us as not putting all our eggs in the Aukus basket. Both inside & outside any tent simultaneously is cool…

        • SPC 6.1.2.1

          Japan is already part of the QUAD-bike with India, Oz and the USA.

          It is not part of AUKUS because that is about Oz being brought into the nuclear sub capability with the help of UK and USA. They will likely be part of AUKUS 2 (as we might be in the next term) which is about more general co-operation in tech development.

          • Res Publica 6.1.2.1.1

            Well, we're going to have to pick a side at some point. And if we are, we might as well pick the one that broadly aligns with our values and ideals.

            • SPC 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Our values – multi-lateralism, working with the international community. This includes collective security.

              Ukraine is a recognised member nation state of the UN, Taiwan is not. It is part of China.

              That the forces of NATO and also QUAD are not prepared to fight to defend Ukraine, but some say they are prepared to fight to defend Taiwan from China is inexplicable in international law.

        • Res Publica 6.1.2.2

          That's an interesting proposition: but also one that comes with its own risks. For one it drastically increases the chances of some kind of conflict brewing up (i.e. a Thucydides Trap) given China's longstanding beef with Japan. And we also have to bear in mind that even though they are a democracy (if you ignore the LDP's virtual monopoly on power and history of corruption and pork barrel politics) the Japanese don't necessarily share our values.

          That said, better to have more allies than fewer. And as a small country, we can't really afford to be all that choosy about who they are.

          • Dennis Frank 6.1.2.2.1

            As geopolitical strategy, my suggestion uses optionality. The basic idea is you maximise your survival prospects by retaining more options on a sound basis – works as well for human groups as it does for persons.

            Foreign policy thrives on nuance. The entirety of non-alignment does to some degree – forceful moves to align other players tend to be counter-productive.

            Having been reclusive so long, Japan's fresh stance deserves some reciprocity. Our govt, no matter who wins the election, ought to enhance diplomacy by being proactive in engaging to explore mutual interests…

    • Sanctuary 6.2

      The new defense review represents a pivot away from the post cold-war "peace dividend" and towards the need to prepare our military for potential high intensity combat. It is undoubtably influenced by Russia's brutal and illegal imperialist aggression in the Ukraine and the growing confrontation in the Pacific between the Anglophone nations (and allies) and an increasingly xenophobic China. I haven't read it but it would be impossible for its authors not to have been influenced by the lessons from the war in the Ukraine.

      The war in the Ukraine has brought home some brutal realities about the human and material cost of full scale peer conflicts. Just having a really good SAS won’t cut it anymore. The lessons we in particular need to grasp are:

      1/ Any future conflict may involve theatre ranged weapons (ballistic missiles, cruise missiles) that can hit our homeland. We will need the ability to shoot down these weapons.

      2/ It isn't enough to be able to defend against cruise and ballistic missiles – you need to be able to hit back in even limited kind, to give your opponents pause for second thoughts.

      These first two point require a platform for launching long-range cruise missiles and anti-ballistic missiles. The most likely candidate for this capability will be new warships & the P-8s.

      3/ Numbers are important in protracted conflicts with high combat losses. The Ukraine was able to call upon a huge number of partially trained manpower at short notice to create hastily formed militias to resist the Russians. For example, anyone who has watched videos of Ukrainian tank crews is struck by how many of them are men in their fifties and sixties who operated these vehicles as Soviet conscripts in the 1980s and were quickly able to take up the cudgels again. For NZ, that means reviving and expanding the territorial force.

      4/ The need to modernise and expand our artillery.

      5/ The need to increase the number of P-8 MRPAs and integrate them with some kind of Class III HALE drone.

      6/ Modernising our drone warfare and combat engineer capabilities.

      That will all add up to a pretty penny.

      • Res Publica 6.2.1

        Agreed. We're better of investing in drones + new frigates + long-range surveillance and strike capability and reconfiguring the army around fighting a high-intensity, amphibious war in the Pacific with at least some organic AT and ABM capability.

      • adam 6.2.2

        More jingoistic shitfuckery.

        Proving once again, that the authoritarian left are just as shit and scummy as the authoritarian right.

  7. Res Publica 7

    The government of the Republic of China, and about 24 million Taiwanese might beg to differ.

    Or is international recognition and UN membership the sole determination of whether a country and people are worth defending or not?

    Because if that's the case then we can safely let Serbia have Kosovo back as its independence isn't recognized by 13 UN states (including I believe Russia and China). Ignore the war crimes that would no doubt ensue.

    There's a bunch of people who have argued that we shouldn't even be defending Ukraine. Because reasons.

    The only reason that Taiwan isn't recognized as an independent state is that China won't allow it, or deal with anyone that does. So we try to work around it by pretending the PRC is the sole legitimate Chinese government but by treating Taiwan as de facto independent irrespective of it's de jure status.

    As long as we don't appear to recognise Taiwan officially, everyone is (reasonably) happy.

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      There's a balance between principle & pragmatism in geopolitics, in which state autonomy is a principle used by the UN, only to have pragmatism prevail in special cases. As the old saying goes, the exception proves the rule. Bit like quantum tunnelling eh? In Green thought minority rights are fundamental, so Taiwan must have a collective right of self-determination. Call it natural law.

      Apologists for tradition hate autonomy – they prefer control systems & enforcement. So you get animal spirits driven by biodiversity vs whatever shit history produced.

      • Res Publica 7.1.1

        It's one of those fun little quirks that help grease the wheels of international diplomacy.

        It's like the status of Israel's nuclear program. They have nukes. We know they have nukes. They know we know they have nukes. But we all pretend they don't because acknowledging that fact would be dreadfully inconvenient for everyone.

    • SPC 7.2

      Ukraine is a recognised member nation state of the UN, Taiwan is not. It is part of China.

      The government of the Republic of China, and about 24 million Taiwanese might beg to differ.

      Really, those there know Taiwan is not a member state of the UN and never has been. They also know there is no recognition (and never has been) of there being more than one China.

      There is a nebulous concept of the ROC surviving on Taiwan, but then bowing to reality and making way for a democratic civil society on the island. It continues with the idea of the ROC being reborn in this way and thus one China in two areas, which might, or might not, one day unite. Others on the island just want independence from China.

      https://www.brookings.edu/articles/thoughts-on-the-republic-of-china-and-its-significance/

      So we try to work around it by … as long as we don't appear to recognise Taiwan officially, everyone is (reasonably) happy

      The we, is a bit we decide the rules for mine. China is not happy. If Ukraine can take back Crimea and the Donbass by force (without plebescite to determine what the locals want, because these were/are part of Ukraine), why not China with that island to the east?

      Or is international recognition and UN membership the sole determination of whether a country and people are worth defending or not? Because if that's the case then we can safely let Serbia have Kosovo back

      There is an expectation of collective security of member nation states. Kosovo was a region of Serbia within Yugoslavia but is now self-governing – recognised by many, but not a member of the UN.

      A number of states, Serbia and Russia have warned the West about the Kosovo precedent – Abkhazia and South Ossetia the Donbass and Crimea.

  8. adam 8

    Good interview about the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter and the death penalty handed down.

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