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Open mike 04/10/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 4th, 2022 - 60 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 …

60 comments on “Open mike 04/10/2022 ”

  1. gsays 1

    A distrust of media has been part of the zeitgeist for a wee while now.

    I took the time to read this:


    It turns out the experts were Waka Kotahi national manager maintenance and operations Neil Walker, Waka Kotahi Bay of Plenty system manager Roger Brady and National Road Carriers chief operating officer James Smith.

    The first two 'experts' blamed the rain (I am reminded of the closed railways in the UK in the mid '90s that had 'the wrong kind of snow') and the trucking interests spokesman blamed poor build quality.

    The rain blamers mentioned the water freezing beneath the road surface. I know it is spring, but it ain't been that cold lately.

    Where is the analysis of axle weights and the relative damage? Those Fonterra trucks, fuel tankers, Pak 'n' Save trucks and logging trucks have got nothing to do with it.

    Are we to blame the increase of e-bikes for the damage of our roads?

    It all reeked of a puff-piece after too many motorists were effected by potholes.

    A bit of a shotgun blast first thing, aiming at trucking, lazy (or bought) media and the inevitable result of neo-liberal approach to road maintenance.

    • tc 1.1

      Axle weights that were increased a few times under our previous govt.

      Their impact on shoulders which appear to disappear, bridges etc .

      They left the maintenance budget alone when a significant lift was required to match their roads of national significance program.

      And here we are.

    • Jimmy 1.2

      Road to Zero ……….maintenance.

    • Bearded Git 1.3

      Trucks do hudreds of times more damage to roads than the average family saloon.




      "When an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler full of cargo is compared to a 4,000-pound passenger car, the truck is 20 times heavier than the car. But taking the 4th power of the relative loads, the semi would cause 160,000 times more road damage than the car.”

    • aj 1.4

      In NZ it has nothing to do with freezing in most places. And nothing to do with e-bikes.

      Any weakness in a road surface will allow water into the basecourse. This softens the ground and allows a shallow hollow to form which holds more water when roads are wet.

      Wheels hitting a cm of water force it down into the tarmac and basecourse, causing further damage. The pool deepens then the road surface breaks up. A hole, holding more water. The heavier the vehicle the more force is exerted by water. Heavy vehicles don't help, but the main problem is traffic volume and the persistence of wet weather. An otherwise good looking road can turn to custard quick quickly if the seal is old.

      Chip seal roads have a life span, as the chip seal mix becomes brittle over time. I think it's less than 10-15years. So roads need resealing to protect the sub-surface from getting wet. Apparently there is a lot of deferred maintenance in the last 10-15yrs 'to save money' and thousands of km of roads are becoming brittle, and the weather has been very wet.

      • joe90 1.4.1

        The depths of low load bearing capacity and moisture sensitive soils make it uneconomical to excavate bases and replace them with more suitable road foundation materials and use superior pavement layers.

        So we're stuck with having to fill and re-contour road bases and continually relay flexible pavement layers.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Where is Mark Lambert?

    AT have known about the rail shutdown for seven months, but they only deigned to tell elected representatives one week out from local body election. The CEO of Auckland Transport, who earns around $600,000 a year, can't be bothered to front the media or indeed inform his notional superiors of what his organisation is up to.

    This is a massive "fuck you" to the commuters of Auckland and a display of incompetent arrogance from AT. How are you supposed to use the much touted train and bus PT link to the airport from Puhinui If the the train line is kaput for months?

    If you were suspiciously minded then on top of the white antting of light rail this is sufficient evidend to raise questions as to whether or not this amounts to deliberately sabotage of the train network just as the CRL is completed.

    The board of AT needs to be sacked.

    • Sabine 2.1

      Couple that with the return of the fuel excise tax.

      Hey, maybe the commuters should buy an E-vehicle, those who can't afford should spend 2 grands on an E-bike and cycle on the awesome cycle ways in Auckland.

      And for those who can't afford the vehicle or bike, walk.


    • And this is why Aucklanders are cynical about the point of voting for local representatives. We know that the vast majority of the stuff which affects us on a daily or weekly basis is decided by bureaucrats, or even worse, bureaucrats in COOs – which are deliberately designed to keep politicians at arms length. Elected representatives have little influence on decision-making and less control.

      AT have form. We have documented instances where they have flat-out lied – both by implication (plans presented which don't reflect the actual design or built reality); and explicitly (time-frame for a wharf rebuild, which was completely untrue) – to local community boards over issues specifically affecting their community.

      'Consultation' is a sham box-ticking exercise. Another reason that people are reluctant to waste their time engaging with them. They quite simply do not listen to any view which doesn't align with what they've already decided to do.

      And they (or their contractors) regularly waste vast amounts of time and money – both at the trivial level (road cones set out and taken up 10 times, before a small project actually begins) and at the seriously expensive level: roads dug up and re-surfaced multiple times because of poor quality; moving to chip seal (because it's cheaper), without understanding that you have to replace it more frequently, it causes damage to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, potholes more frequently, and washes into stormwater drains; roundabouts replaced 3 times because the design was poor, or they didn't liaise with other major utilities, etc.

      AT care about neither politicians nor democracy. They like the current situation just fine.

  3. Adrian Thornton 3

    No free speech allowed in Labour UK..no surprise about that I guess…

    Labour conference delegate suspended after opposing arming Ukraine

    "A LABOUR conference delegate who spoke against uncritical support for the Ukrainian government on Tuesday has been suspended.

    Angelo Sanchez of Leicester South CLP was the only speaker to oppose Composite 13 at conference, which backed sending more weaponry to the authorities in Kiev as it battles the Russian invasion.

    Pointing out that the Ukrainian government has ripped up collective bargaining rights and banned opposition parties, Mr Sanchez had told conference: “It means that the future Labour government would be sending money to a government, the Ukrainian government, that is repressing the left in their own country, a government that is criminalising socialist parties and imprisoning Ukrainian activists."


    • Barfly 3.1

      Well Churchill jailed this bloke and banned his party


      So I figure Zelenskyy is in good company when banning pro Putin/Russia parties.

      • Adrian Thornton 3.1.1

        I assume you mean this Churchill…not sure if I like the sort of company you are keeping there pal…

        Churchill urged US to ‘wipe out’ Moscow with A-bomb
        former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill privately became an advocate for an Anglo-American first strike atom bomb attack against the Soviet Union, as once secret FBI records indicate. Churchill’s 1946 speech at Fulton, Missouri, warning against his former Communist ally during World War II, set the stage for a new conflict known as the Cold War, which lasted for decades and still haunts international relations today."

        The British planned to start World War III by invading Russia with the German army

        But then again, the Liberal class seem to have morphed seamlessly into a scary new class of imperialist war hawks…so maybe Churchill is exactly the right sort of company for you?

        • Barfly

          Whilst not a fan of war – I think that East Germany, Poland. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria probably wouldn't have minded not having the Bolshevik's foot on their throat for nearly 50 years

      • Bearded Git 3.1.2

        That is a dumb argument Barfly. Churchill was far from an angel.

        Zelensky has banned a party (For Life) that had popular support in Ukraine and might potentially have unseated him in an election.

        "Led by oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, the party controlled 44 out of 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament, surpassed only by the ruling Servant of the People party of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Prior to Russia’s invasion in February, several opinion polls showed the Russia-aligned party leading hypothetical parliamentary elections or finishing second."

        ” [The] For Life party publicly denounced Russia’s invasion of the country and called for negotiations to quickly end the war.”


        • Belladonna

          However, I believe the point was not what is happening in Ukraine (where democracy, I agree, is shaky at best); but, rather, what is happening in the UK.

          Do you agree that a Labour conference delegate should be suspended for disagreeing with full support for Ukraine?

          I don't agree with him. However, I firmly support his right to be heard. And, if his point of view is unpopular with the majority of delegates (as it probably is), then he will be voted down.

          That is democracy. Suspending someone because you disagree with them, is not.

          Mr Sanchez was suspended yesterday, the Morning Star understands – despite Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer claiming in his own conference speech to stand for tolerance of differing opinions within the party.

          [Quote from initial link]

          • AB

            Yes totally. Suspending the guy just shows how gun-shy Starmer's Labour is. They saw how the antisemitism smear was weaponised – indeed they encouraged it in order to remove the former leader. So they are well aware that a 'pro-Russia' smear could be up Rupert's sleeve too.

          • Bearded Git

            I agree with you totally on this BD. I also agree with AB's post above.

            I can't stand Starmer-his behaviour towards Corbyn-basically accepting that Corbyn is an anti Semite which is bollocks, and his acceptance of the Israeli definition of anti-semitism, which involves not criticising Israel, is reprehensible. (Well done Aljazeera-shame on The Guardian)

            As for singing the National Anthem at the Labour Party conference and going against the conference's support for PR (FFS)-he is a dinosaur.

            In fact he is the new Blair.

            • Binders full of Women

              Is 'being the new Blair' a bad thing? it's been 45 years since Britain elected a Labour PM not called Blair…

              • Bearded Git

                Blair supported the Iraq war despite millions in the streets protesting against it….he was in bed with Rupert Murdoch…he began the privatisation of the NHS…..the list is endless

        • Barfly

          ” [The] For Life party publicly denounced Russia’s invasion of the country and called for negotiations to quickly end the war.”

          Negotiate ? What are you thinking? Negotiating with Putin is lunacy it is simply how much of your country do you had over to a lunatic dictator that has invaded you.

  4. joe90 4

    Interviews with Russians fleeing to Kazakhstan.


    • joe90 4.1

      Mobilisation is going well.

      In the Moscow region , in the military unit of Alabino, mobilized Russians beat contract soldiers, as they demanded equipment and mobile phones from them. Baza writes about this in the Telegram channel.

      According to the publication, due to the conflict, 20 contract servicemen were injured in the unit. Those who arrived at the unit did not endure the demands of the contractors, which caused a mass brawl.


      Earlier in the Sverdlovsk region , three Russians called up as part of partial mobilization died . Two of them died on the territory of the Yelansky garrison of the training center of the Ministry of Defense in the village of Poroshino. Another died after being sent home. This information was confirmed to the publication by State Duma deputy from the Sverdlovsk region Maxim Ivanov .


      google translate

      • tsmithfield 4.1.1

        Have you seen the list of gear conscripted soldiers are expected to provide themselves?

        The guy doing this video, (an ex army vet) said that American soldiers are told to supply their own personal items such as shaving gear etc. However, it looks like the Russian conscripts are expected that they provide nearly everything themselves including sleeping bags, wet weather gear, a helmet and body armour.

        A lot of that stuff isn’t cheap. So, likely many will turn up without it.

        Sucks to be conscripted to the Russian army. There is snow on the ground already in Ukraine, so I expect many of these poor sods will freeze to death.

  5. Bill Drees 5

    Britain is Colonising Itself. I post this piece on Truss & the Tories in full as it is behind a paywall.

    Una Mullally: It has been clear for some time that Britain is colonising itself


    • Adrian Thornton 5.1

      Thanks for that, though it is a shame that the author fails to point to the complete and conscious dismemberment (led by all UK media..non more so than 'Liberal press led by The Guardian) of any serious Left Wing opposition that could be a foil to the 'self-colonisation process'…it seems that the Liberal class would rather have any type of awful outcome…subject even their own children/granchildren to a future of total dispair, than see a real Left Wing Socialist project get a chance to see what it could do…and this is the same in the USA, Australia and NZ.

    • weka 5.2
      1. you can't copy and paste long pieces like that (it's too much scrolling for people that don't want to read it, think about people on phones). Use selected quotes (clearly marked as quotes) alongside your own views instead.

      2. you also can't post whole pieces, that's a copyright breach.

      3. doesn't matter if it's behind a paywall, you still have to link.

      I've deleted the long piece with no link. You are welcome to post again with the link and making it shorter. thanks.

  6. joe90 6

    The kids are alright.

  7. For those of us who have tried to support the Canary but have felt a little underwhelmed…https://www.thecanary.co/feature/2022/10/03/for-the-first-time-ever-the-canary-is-under-workers-control/?fbclid=IwAR1feQjSKfVwSpfDvQtZV6-jFuqhHXrmFGuf0vyiCAH-g6Cmwwv6GEbW6B

    So, we shall see how this pans out ..I wish them well.

  8. Grrr.
    So, trying to do my best for the environment – but being frustrated….

    I have a trip to make from Auckland to Hamilton (family reasons) this Saturday.

    Rather than take my car – I'd thought to use the new Te Huia train link.

    Only to be foiled. There is no morning service Ak to Ham on Saturdays – only an evening one; and no Sunday service at all (so I couldn't even stay overnight and come back the next day)


    This is in addition to the inconvenience of being stranded at Frankton (with apparently no bus services)


    Given that the usage figures show greater numbers on Saturdays (rather than weekdays) – indicating that the market is not commuters, but rather day trippers – the failure to provide full weekend services seems…. counterintuitive.

    The report found commuter (during the week) trips averaged 30 passengers per journey for a 20 per cent load factor. Weekend trips averaged 146 passengers per journey for a 74 per cent load factor.


    Guess I'll be driving…..

    • Alan 8.1

      That great idea is an abject failure, it is costing tax payers millions, it should be shut down today.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.2

      "lest our readers think that all we ever do is complain about what’s wrong."

      If you'd tried to book earlier you might have scored a seat on the Northern Explorer for your Saturday trip to Hamilton, and travelled back to Auckland on the Sunday service.

      Travel by rail is the way of the future, but it's not for everyone. If you're interested in using more environmentally-friendly public transport for your trip, then consider the Intercity bus service – it's currently faster and cheaper, and (most importantly) there are still seats available!

      Here, have some hardcore fantasising [14 Sept 2022]

      Submissions are open until 6 October 2022 (hmm, seems to have been extended to 21 October?), for the Parliamentary Inquiry into the future of inter-regional passenger rail in New Zealand.

      Here’s the official page for making submissions.

      Here’s the submission guide by Save Our Trains.

      Hope the Te Huia service makes a go of it during the remaining 3.5 years of its trial.

      • Belladonna 8.2.1

        Chances of me travelling on an intercity bus – cheek-by-jowl with a whole lot of potential Covid spreaders are pretty close to zero.

        That's not a comment on the class of bus patrons, but rather the super-spreader environment.

        Aucklanders are pretty reluctant to take even local bus journeys – bus patronage (despite the half-price fares) is still way down on pre-Covid.

        Trains (or at least the images of the Te Huia carriages) have more passenger space.

        I did see the train fantasising link, when I was looking at Te Huia services – and have used overnight trains in Europe and America (love the sleepers). I'd even consider a sleeper service to Wellington (though probably not for business – it just takes too long). I hope that I wouldn't need one to Hamilton!

        If the Waikato Council want to 'make a go of it' then they should consider re-jigging the timetable – to provide daily services in each direction on the weekend (morning and evening). That (according to the survey) seems to be where the demand is.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Chances of me travelling on an intercity bus – cheek-by-jowl with a whole lot of potential Covid spreaders are pretty close to zero.

          I don't travel much by bus either (no need – pity the many with no choice). On those rare occasions, I'm typically "cheek-by-jowl" with one other passenger at most. Perceptions of public transport do vary, I'll grant you that.

          Aucklanders are pretty reluctant to take even local bus journeys – bus patronage (despite the half-price fares) is still way down on pre-Covid.

          Pretty unsurprising, although buses patronage is increasing again (also not surprising), with a little over 4.5 million passengers in Auckland in August 2022, an encouraging increase on 2021 (~3 million) and 2020 (~2.5 million). For comparison, from 2009 – 2016 Auckland bus passenger numbers in the month of August increased from 4.4 to 5.8 million, and in 2017 – 2019 from 6.3 to 7 million.


          Modeling the Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Public Transport [February 2022]
          It is shown that the risk is reduced most efficiently if loud speaking is avoided and a FFP2 (N95) mask is worn correctly. Only these two measures create a reduction of the virus load of over 99% for both those in the close range of the infected person and those farther away.

          Only a simulation – have no idea of the extent to which the “super-spreader environment” of buses might still be contributing to the transmission of COVID-19 in NZ, but wearing a mask will help.

          Of course Kiwis who can afford them love their cars.

          • Belladonna

            Yeah. Amazing how public transport users (including some Standardistas) aren't convinced….

            Perception is Reality.

            NB: I’m not choosing to fly either – for the same perceived risk reasons.

            I’ve had a quick look at your model link – and I can’t find whether the mask-wearing and/or loud speaking are for the infected person, or the rest of the passengers, or both. It seems logical that the greatest protective effect would be for the infected person to both wear a high-quality mask, and not talk.

            While I can control my own behaviour – observationally, the numbers of other people wearing masks in any public environment have dropped drastically, and continue to trend downwards.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              I'll continue to wear a KN95 mask in public indoor spaces (when I remember!) until the number of new COVID-19 cases in NZ drops below 5000 per week – my arbitrary cut-off. And if the numbers go up, then the mask's going back on.

              Perception is Reality” is an odd belief. We know that’s nonsense – it’s not like there are 8 billion realities all jockeying for position.

              Perception Is Not Reality
              Just because you think something is reality doesn’t make it reality.

              • As an avid SF reader, I'm perfectly willing to believe that there are 8 billion realities jockeying for position. The multiverse rules (or as, the late, great Terry Pratchett put it, the Trousers of Time)


                The point is that popular perception influences perceived reality. Indeed, it's the reason PR exists – to shape popular perception and thus guide it to the reality of their choice.

                Does perception change actual physical reality? No, of course not: if you think that there's a bridge, when there isn't one, you will still fall off the cliff. Gravity is not deceived.

                Does perception change behaviour? You bet. If people think that politician A is corrupt, it doesn't matter very much whether they are, or aren't – the end result is the same – people's voting choices are informed by that perception.

                And, perception is a very tricky thing to shift. Facts rarely do it (a mistake make by earnest policy wonks throughout history). The narrative has to change.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  I'm perfectly willing to believe that there are 8 billion realities jockeying for position.

                  I'm willing to believe that there are (a minimum of) 8 billion human perceptions of reality jockeying for position, some with good reason.

                  The chair of the board of DuPont was quoted as saying that ozone depletion theory is "a science fiction tale…a load of rubbish…utter nonsense".

                  The insulating comforts of modernity might lead a few to become so enamoured of their perceptions that they lose touch with reality more often than is good for anyone – a manifestation of exceptionalism.

                  Imagination is wonderful, and reality always brings us down to Earth, which is wonderful also, in its reliability and in other ways.

                  The point is that popular perception influences perceived reality.

                  A truism; perception (popular and otherwise) does indeed influence what is perceived. When I block my ears, (nah nah) I can't hear you. When I close my eyes, I perceive that it gets dark, but that doesn't change day into night. A lovely example of the unequal 'struggle' between human (mis)perception and reality is the idea that ‘daylight saving’ exacerbates curtain fade.

                  Fighting fading curtains in the Sunshine State [2017]
                  The late premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen insisted the “extra” hour’s daylight faded curtains while in an appeal to dairy farmers claimed their cows needed to be milked an hour earlier for the milk to be collected on time.

                  Perception is Reality. [@4:43 pm]

                  Does perception change actual physical reality? No, of course not.
                  [@5:51 pm]

                  One of these statements is not like the other wink
                  If your contention is that perceived reality ("Perception is Reality") has its limitations, one being that it is not always in harmony with"actual physical reality", then I heartily agree. There are many aspects of reality that are puzzling, and many more still that humanity is utterly unaware of (the unknown unknowns) – still, we continue to discover, while we can.

                  Re SF, I'm a fan too – imagine the computing power required to maintain 8 billion perceptions of reality, 24/7 – imagine

                  • Re SF, I'm a fan too – imagine the computing power required to maintain 8 billion perceptions of reality, 24/7 – imagine

                    That's what all the dark matter is for


                    [Tongue in cheek – of course]

                    Do you also want to discuss the point I was making over perception is reality ?

                    "Does perception change behaviour? You bet. If people think that politician A is corrupt, it doesn't matter very much whether they are, or aren't – the end result is the same – people's voting choices are informed by that perception.

                    And, perception is a very tricky thing to shift. Facts rarely do it (a mistake make by earnest policy wonks throughout history). The narrative has to change."

                    Or shall we call it a night – neither of us having convinced the other.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Or shall we call it a night – neither of us having convinced the other.

                      We're probably writing at cross purposes – I mistakenly took your statement @ ("Perception is Reality") at (unadorned) face value, and it seemed contrary to my understanding that 'Reality' is composed of that which is 'real', and exists largely if not wholly independent of perception (yes, there are wheels within wheels, but the bedrock is Reality). Whereas (human) 'Perception' (and/or misperception) is largely if not wholly dependent on reality for input. What is real and what is perceived may be more or less the same, of course, but then again they may not (be.)

                      For example, we could agree that your perception matches the reality that there is no Auckland-to-Hamilton Te Huia train service on Saturday mornings (your original "Grrr" @8). And hopefully we could also agree that it is possible (provided you book early enough) to travel from Auckland to Hamilton by train on Saturday mornings, and to do the return trip on Sunday ("so I couldn't even stay overnight and come back the next day" @8). But who expects they might need to plan travel arrangements more than a few days ahead of time now.

                      It's not that I disagree with your answer to your own question ("Does perception change behaviour?"), it's just that I failed to perceive that question in your "Perception is Reality." statement.

                      We only perceive a small fraction of reality, and much of that indirectly, so we owe it to ourselves to interpret what we peceive as objectively as possible – not that I could often be accused of that.

    • AB 8.3

      That's the pain, expense and mess of retrofitting something that should have been designed-in 70 years ago after WW2. It sucks – and because it sucks, the sort of jerks who would have opposed it as a socialist/collectivist plot if they'd been alive 70 years ago, take it as confirmation that it was always a bad idea and we shouldn't be retrofitting now because it's a socialist/collectivist plot. (God help us).

  9. weston 9


    I watched the PM being ridiculed on the Jimmy Dore show recently she was giving a speech somewhere promoting her vision of internet censorship as a means to countering misinformation .

    Is there a liking of the idea of a ' ministry of truth ' anywhere ?

    If Ardern mentioned misinformation in MSM from time to time or even once ! she might have some credibility but otherwise just comes across as woefully ignorant especially on the Ukraine conflict along with her foreign affairs minister who seems as aware of all the nuances as your average plank of wood .

    In a world where boomeranging sanctions are crippling economies and bringing down governments all our own leaders can come up with is more of them !!

    Where once JA was widely perceived as a savior she is increasing being seen as a tyrant imo .

    • AB 9.1

      Where once JA was widely perceived as a savior she is increasing being seen as a tyrant imo .

      Interesting how that last sentence in your post sort of confirms what's in the first sentence – the one that mentions misinformation. A perfect, if unintended, circle.

  10. Bill Drees 10

    It has been clear for some time that Britain is colonising itself

    Last week’s market freakout was merely what happens when a Tory government’s chaosonomics meets reality.

    Una Mullally, Irish Times, gives an additional context to the stunts of the latest version of English Tory.

    Just because dragging a country into the gutter may not be a goal of this radical Tory era in Britain, doesn’t mean it won’t be an outcome.

    Apathy pre-emptively dismantles the tools of resistance. If this trajectory continues, social unrest in Britain is inevitable.


  11. Chris 11


    Right-wing media merchant Manch decides this is worth writing about. Solomon Island politicians didn't seem to think so. Manch is such an idiot.

  12. Gosman 12

    Looks like we have the first poll for a while where there is more than daylight between the two major political blocs.

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