Open Mike 05/01/19

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 5th, 2019 - 279 comments
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279 comments on “Open Mike 05/01/19 ”

  1. I want to pick up on a curious comment made by mickysavage where he described me:

    He is tribal conservative but has reached a position where he thinks the centre provides the best result in a goldilocks sort of way.

    I accept that is what ms genuinely thinks, but I have no idea what he bases it on (possibly in part on the many misrepresentations made here) and in some respects at least i think it is a way off the mark. I doubt that many if any here have much idea where I sit politically. So I will state my political case here.

    Last century I tended to vote Labour (never National). Early this century I voted Green, and Labour in 2005 to help help Don Brash out of power.

    I approached Labour in 2009 thinking I could contribute to them rebuilding, but didn’t follow through because they (primarily Clare Curran) gave me the impression they wanted workers but not thinkers or contributers.

    I have never considered being involved with National or NZ First. I have considered Greens but while I’m in line generally with their environmental ideals am not in favour of their radical social goals – in particular because they are unproven ideals.

    I don’t think “the centre provides the best result in a goldilocks sort of way”. I considered myself centre-ish for a while, but my preferences are wider than that, depending on the issue.

    I was never a fan of Colin Craig’s Conservative Party, and what I’ve seen of the New Conservative Party leaves me cold, they are not my thing at all.

    My political preferences are similar to the more liberal National MPs like Nikki Kay and Chris Bishop and also similar to moderate Labour MPs – certainly not in line with conservative National MPs (including Simon Bridges). I agree in part with others more leftward, like James Shaw, Julie Anne Genter.

    I’m sure I have some conservative-ish views, but on social issues I think I am usually not conservative aligned at all.

    Homosexual law reform – strongly in favour, the laws up until the 1980s were terrible.

    Smacking children – strongly against, except in very mild cases (tap/smack and not whack/smack). I voted against the smacking referendum. I am strongly anti-violence in the home.

    Marriage equality – I supported the civil union law reform as adequate, but shifted to supporting full marriage equality after talking with people at a gay group meeting.

    Marriage generally – I guess I’m conservative on this to an extent, I value marriage as a way of showing commitment to a partner. However I ‘lived together’ for several years prior to both my marriages – this is commonly accepted practice this century, but was quite a bit more radical first time round in the 1970s and certainly not conservative.

    Abortion – I strongly support moves to make our abortion laws line up with our abortion practice, scrapping the ridiculous requirements women have to comply with now, making it women’s choice up until about half term.

    Euthanasia – I support euthanasia in principle, and i think i will probably vote for if it goes to a referendum, depending on what we actually get to vote on.

    Cannabis law reform – I have strongly support cannabis law reform and have campaigned politically on this. The current drug laws are not working, causing more problems than they solve. I want the legal, medical and social mess cleaned up. I have never used cannabis or any other recreational drug except alcohol.

    MMP – I have supported MMP as a better than most of the rest option, albeit flawed. I oppose FPP. I strongly support lowering the MMP threshold, preferably to 2-3% if not scrapped entirely. The priority should be put on making as many votes count as possible. The 5% threshold is a large party imposition to protect their positions by excluding small parties, I think this is appalling and undemocratic.

    Tax and benefit reform – I support a major rethink of our tax and benefit system. I’m disappointed by the timidity shown by the current Government with their hobbled tax working group – with the economy currently strong it would be a good time to change things more radically. I’m interested in some sort of universal basic income. I have some reservations, but in a total reform package it should be considered in the mix.

    That’s just a few issues, but ones where I think I am far from conservative.

    I’m interested to hear why Greg thinks that I was or am ‘tribal conservative’. I really doubt he has any real idea, my views have often been misrepresented here at The Standard – since I started commenting here about ten years ago thinking it might be the political blog most in line with my thinking – i still laugh about that.

    I am interested to here a response from ms on where his perception comes from.

    • Dennis Frank 1.1

      The leftist splitter syndrome is interesting, eh? Better to develop common ground, even though it is human nature to differ. I mentally file you with MS as typical Labour folk: I agree with their common-sense views, and disagree when they fail to grasp subtleties (just as often).

      Thus I agree with most of your list of positions. Been Green half a century, so from the radical sixties wave I’ve trended towards pragmatism and away from idealism, and consequently am an untypical GP member. I still think marriage is more likely to damage people than help them, though. Neither I, nor the two women I married, ever believed in it. We did so to reduce the trauma of other family members.

      I ended up with the same position as Key on the anti-smacking law. Worth a try as a social-engineering experiment. A joke, which history has validated, to my surprise. I recall smacking my daughter a couple of times during the toddler period, when she lost the plot. It worked. You can’t let kids do dangerous stuff just because they want to. Boundaries must be enforced. But yes, I give Sue Bradford credit for that law.

      It was me who put cannabis law reform into the Greens justice policy draft when I became convenor of that working group in ’91. I also “strongly support lowering the MMP threshold, preferably to 2-3% if not scrapped entirely.” I also agree with you re more radical reform of taxes & benefits. Not just UBI either. Financial transactions taxation is essential to disincentivise capitalism.

      As regards goldilocks centrism, obviously it is the crucial factor which is making the coalition successful. Dunno why you seek to avoid the tag, and I don’t share your assumption that MS uses it as a perjorative. If he is, he may be in denial of the fact. Reference to the govt as Labour-led could serve as evidence of that. Pretence doesn’t really work very well in politics. If they were ever to start leading the coalition, we could then rate them on the quality of their leadership. This year??

    • mickysavage 1.2

      Well done Pete. You do surprise me. My perception is based on what I anticipated your beliefs to the trade union movement was.

      I guess it is easy to misinterpret being critical with being negative.

      Welcome to the collective comrade!

      • Nic the NZer 1.2.1

        “Welcome to the collective comrade!”

        Strikes me Pete sees himself as more of an individual (in a ‘we are all individuals’ kind of a way).

        • greywarshark

          There is a card in the supermarkets with a row of kids dressed in hero suits with one slightly different and caption saying something like ‘you are a special individual just like everybody else’.

    • millsy 1.3

      You support privatisation of education via charters, the competitive model of Tomorrow’s School’s, the Americanization of healthcare, the privatisation of utilities and infrastructure and the liberalization of labour laws and reduction of trade unions roles.

      Pretty right wing to me. Supporting the right of two blokes to marry each other is pretty irrelevant IMO.

      • R.P Mcmurphy 1.3.1

        agreed millsy. its abit like I used to vote labour but I changed my mind this election. yeah right.

        • Chris T

          This may come as a surprise to you.

          I have no idea why as it is incredibly obvious given govts changing, but there are an awful lot of voters that agree with somethings from some parties and some from others and when the election comes round, they vote for which has the most at the time.

          You may have heard of the name

          Swing voters

          And sometimes a party someone has always voted for can change so much that this happens reluctantly

      • Pete George 1.3.2

        Millsy – you’re are making stuff up there, applying incorrect policy positions to me that I disagree with.

        Of course I do support some policies that could be labelled ‘right wing’, as everyone probably does if they are honest. But as you have asserted here you are wrong.

        Those are not black or white policies. I support unions for those who want to belong to them, and I believe they have had a major positive impact on work conditions over the last century, but I also think belonging to one shouldn’t be compulsory. Voluntary union membership does not appear to have been much of a problem.

        “the Americanization of healthcare” – apart from that being vague I think it is a ridiculous assertion. I think that the US health system is awful for many people – one of my brothers died recently in the US, and it appears that is because he couldn’t afford adequate health care.

        “the competitive model of Tomorrow’s School’s” – I have no idea where you get this from.

        “privatisation of education via charters” – small scale privatisation of someeducation seems fine to me, when it meets needs not being catered for well by state education. But I don’t support ‘the privatisation of education’, as a blanket claim that’s nonsense.

        “the privatisation of utilities and infrastructure” – this is far too complex to deal with briefly here.

    • Robert Guyton 1.4

      “I started commenting here about ten years ago thinking it might be the political blog most in line with my thinking – i still laugh about that.”

      So, Pete, if this is not the political blog most in line with your thinking”, why have you bothered to, a: visit & b. outline all of your positions?
      If the unsuitability this blog to you and your unsuitability to it, makes you laugh, why do you return, again and again?

    • Tricledrown 1.5

      Narcissistic Pete George a legend in your own mind. Thinking you are more relevant than anyone else.

    • Tricledrown 1.6

      Perpetually Goaded as Wayne says explaining is loosing

  2. Jenny - How to get there? 2

    Cortez humiliation fail

    Far Right attempt to humiliate Senator Cortez flops

    It raises the question of why the Far Right single out Senator Cortez for the ire.

    What is it about her that they hate and fear so much?

    Her gender, which challenges their love of patriarchy?

    Her Hispanic heritage, which challenges their racist stereotypes?

    Her activist roots which challenges their love of authoritarian rule?

    Her basic decency, and optimistic world outlook which challenges their dyspeptic jaundiced view of the world?

    All of the above?

    • Wayne 2.1

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a congresswoman in the House of Representatives, representing a New York City district. One of 435 representatives in the House.

      I personally think the Republicans are stupid to play up everything she she says and does. She must be very happy to get such attention, since it has given her a huge national profile. Just the sort of thing you need if you want to become a Senator, either in New York or a neighbouring state..

      • Jenny - How to get there? 2.1.1

        Wayne 2.1
        5 January 2019 at 7:43 am
        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a congresswoman in the House of Representatives, representing a New York City district. One of 435 representatives in the House.

        I personally think the Republicans are stupid to play up everything she she says and does……

        What you are not understanding here Wayne, is the qualitative nature of leadership.

        Cortez maybe a only one of 435, but her presence among them and the message she brings, is a direct challenge to business as usual, and one which can’t be openly derided, or ignored.

        Which is why the GOP has had to resort to attacking Cortez using underhand methods.

        I always think of the example of Winston Churchill.
        After breaking with the Liberal Party, Churchill was elected back into parlirament as an independent ‘Constitutionalist’.

        From a minority position on the back benches, Churchill led a blistering non-stop attack on the dangers of fascism, at a time when the British establishment were almost all, pro-nazi.
        When the crisis hit, the leaders of the establishment parties were found lacking, and without answers, leading to Churchill’s surprise elevation to the Premiership.

        This is called leadership, and it is often not a quantitative factor. Many times it springs from a minority position. Rod Donald’s campaign for MMP is another example; From a minority position, Rod Donald changed the whole political landscape of this country.

        This is what I mean, when I say, that leadership is a qualitative factor and not a quantitative one. It doesn’t matter how many seats you have in the house, it doesn’t matter if you are a voice of only one. If you are sure of your message and your message has resonance in society you are a force to be reckoned with.

        This is what you can’t see Wayne.

        And is why the Republicans can’t ignore Cortez, as you suggest they should.

        • Wayne

          I get that she is different to many/most congress members. And I am sure she will shine. Though as a self declared socialist that will limit her nationwide support in a country like America. But I am also sure she will modify her positions, just as Jacinda has done in the ten years she has been in Parliament.

          I still think it is foolish for the Republicans to be obsessed with her.

          • millsy

            You would be quite surprised about the extensive influence of socialism in the USA, Wayne.

            • Jenny - How to get there?

              Watch this space

            • Wayne

              Yes, I would be.
              After all, NZ is allegedly more partial to socialism than many countries, but I don’t see the current government implementing much of it. The PM used a lot of socialist rhetoric in her early years in Parliament, but in her role as PM I don’t see any real evidence that she is about to implement the socialist nirvana.

              • millsy

                It seems you are not as intelligent as you think you are, despite your cultured credentials.

                The USA has extensive public ownership and control of infrastructure, and a state sector more comprehensive than ours would ever hope to be. All the airports, seaports, ferrys and terminals, as well as most electricity and water reticulation in NY City for example, are owned and controlled by public entities. With a public service mandate (IE not commercial SOE’s). As well as that, you have mutuals, co-ops, and union run pension funds with various levels of involvement in the economy.

                Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is essentially a New Deal Democrat, not so long ago, her political positions would have been pretty centrist. The universal health Care system that she proposes would still use privately run health services, but have a government service pay for it. ACT would probably endorse it here.

                • Dennis Frank

                  A good response. Residual socialist infrastructure is usually not recognised as such, and that’s a social deficit. Gnosis around mutual-benefit-generating social design would spread if folks orientated themselves more towards the social transmission of wisdom. On the basis of stuff that works, I mean. Using examples. Teachable moments.

                  • millsy

                    Wayne didn’t respond to my post.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Probably can’t think of a good response. Partisans find it hard to transcend ideological bias. Sometimes it just means commentators forgot to check for a response, or got too busy with other things – often the case for me. 😎

          • Tricledrown

            Wayne the far/alt right are obsessive OCD. That’s why they look up to another obsessive nut job Trump.

      • Morrissey 2.1.2

        The way you write of her, you make her sound like a shallow narcissist a la Donald Trump.

        In fact, she’s highly intelligent and formidably well read, and her public statements are notable for their solid commonsense and compassion. Not qualities that are respected in the National Party, of course,

        • Wayne

          I presume you are talking about the PM. Quite the contrary to what you suggest.

          The PM has worked out (like any senior politicians attaining high office in Labour) that in societies like ours you practically can go no further left than being a social democrat.

          To go further left requires powers of the state not readily implementable in a democratic state that respects individual rights. Hardly the mark of compassion or commonsense.

          • millsy

            The US Army Corps of Engineers own and operate 30% of the hydro dams in that country. The Americans seem to be comfortable with that ‘social democracy’s.

          • Tricledrown

            Wayne Labour is the new National Party with a heart. Emotional aloufness
            Is at the heart of the National Party.

    • Andre 2.2

      I reckon all of the above. And more. But here’s some other thoughts on that topic.

      Meanwhile she’s happy to own it and keep going with it.

      All of the hating on her just helps her make her case. Since most of her proposals are actually quite popular, hopefully it will help clarify who actually wants to work to improve the lives of the vast majority of Americans, and who is blowing smoke and bullshit while trying to funnel ever more towards those who are already the wealthiest and most powerful.

      • Jenny - How to get there? 2.2.1

        ……. it will help clarify who actually wants to work to improve the lives of the vast majority of Americans,…..

        It is why they cannot attack her openly, or ignore her.

        A point that poor old Wayne just can’t comprehend.

        I’ll try and explain it a bit more succinctly for him.

        First they ignore you.

        Then they laugh at you.

        Then they attack you.

        Then you win

    • Stunned Mullet 3.1

      Wow that’s some landslide.

    • WeTheBleeple 3.2


      A savvy person might track the plume of soil in the ocean and fish any sea mounts either side of it for the next few years then through the center after that.

      Free nutrients, just sayin…

  3. Andre 4

    Genetic modification to dramatically improve photosynthetic efficiency. It could help us deal with the challenges of a world on its way to 10 billion humans. If only the rabids can get over their blind kneejerk opposition to genetic modification *because Monsanto*.

    • Opponents of GE may face a dilemma if viable GE solutions are found to carbon emissions in New Zealand agriculture.

      Any new forms of plant are a risk, but so is not doing enough about climate change. Which is the bigger risk?

      • Andre 4.1.1

        That’s already happening. AgResearch has developed a “high metabolisable energy” ryegrass that allegedly doesn’t need as much fertiliser and other inputs, and because of it’s makeup, allegedly animals that eat it produce less emissions.

        But our local rabids are continuing their blind kneejerk opposition, because it’s genetically modified.

        • Robert Guyton

          Andre – are you classifying all opponents to GMOs as “rabids”? If so, it’s offensive.
          Could you clarify your position please.

          • Andre

            I am classifying all blanket opponents to genetic modification that are unwilling to consider things on a case-by-case basis as rabids.

            So if you’re opposed to AgResearch’s HME ryegrass being used in New Zealand simply because it’s genetically modified, yes I would consider you a rabid.

            • Robert Guyton

              Andre – do you believe everybody who expresses concern about GMOs is a “blanket opponent to genetic modification” and if so, why do you assume such a thing?
              Your position on this issue seems intemperate.
              You say, “if” I etc. you would call me rabid. Are you aware of how unsound the “if” argument is?

              • Andre

                Then go ahead, put up a more nuanced argument against AgResearch’s HME ryegrass. Or an argument against modifying crop plants to have more efficient photosynthesis.

                In both cases, the benefits are clear and real. Reduced impact on the global environment by being able to produce more food from less land and less input of other resources.

                The counterargument needs to be much stronger than vague hypotheticals. Vague hypotheticals includes claims that markets on the other side of the world might be willing to pay a bit more on the basis of their consumers’ vague hypotheticals.

                I continue to be gobsmacked at the opposition to precise genetic modification techniques, while organisms produced by older scattergun mutation breeding techniques seem to get accepted without question. Particularly since there have been cases of actual harm from organisms produced by the older techniques, such as the swedes that poisoned those southland cattle a few years back.

                • solkta

                  Organic produce is worth more in global markets, nothing hypothetical or vague in that.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Well, you didn’t answer my question, Andre, which is irritating.
                  I’m not arguing those points you make; that more efficient photosynthesis can be drawn from a plant through altering its genetics, though I’m curious as to why nature, in all the time She’s had to refine the process, hasn’t settled on the best formula yet; just waiting for us clever-clogs humans to up Her game, I guess. The details of the science are easy for the scientists and their supporters to argue (genetic modification can result in some plants have more efficient photosynthesis, sure) but those same people seem to have tunnel vision and not be taking into account factors outside of the rude science. I suspect there’s little point in you and I arguing the toss any further, for that reason. Also, I have an event to prepare for and have to get busy preparing the venue, so must absent myself for a few hours. I’m still annoyed at your labelling me “rabid” though 🙂

                  • Andre

                    “I’m still annoyed at your labelling me “rabid” though 🙂”

                    Surely you appreciate that a more lively conversation is likely to ensue if you rark it up at the start.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Oh, and the Southland farmers, or at least an number of them, deny that the HT swedes poisoned their cows – it was the weather that done it, they claim.

                • One Two

                  Precise genetic modification

                  Believe whatever you like, Andre…

                  GM is, as digital technology to the natural world…

                  An unnatural manmade intrusion which ‘we’ can’t control, and are not included in the discussions about risk…

                  Demands for nuanced counter aguments are the tactics of minds which believe they understand the valuables and could control the outcomes…

                  That’s already proven to be false in the GM space…and yes Monsanto are a poster for why that will always be the case…

                  GM is tabacco science, repeated…

                  Gobsmacked…yes, sure…

            • Dennis Frank

              Ideology vs pragmatism. My bias is to share Green fundamentalist aversion to unregulated genetic engineering, to the extent that I believe GE foods ought to be tested on an experimental batch of humans before being allowed into the market.

              Ideological proponents of GE make themselves the ideal batch! Once these people practice what they preach, and consume GE foods for enough years whilst being scientifically-monitored to detect any negative health consequences, we would have results sufficient for public health policy. I’d go for a seven-period for the evaluation trial. If no common health problems emerge, I’d allow that GE food to be sold with a label specifying that it is GE food attached so the consumer can make an informed choice.

              • Robert Guyton

                Nice! Total support.

              • Andre

                That comes down to the issue of considering the characteristics of the modified organism, whether any of the characteristics of the organism cause concern (whether those characteristics are modified or unmodified). If there are characteristics that cause concerns, then how those characteristics have come about then becomes a matter for consideration because the technique used affects the risk of those characteristics spreading.

                As far as testing GMO products on human subjects goes, hundreds of millions of North Americans have happily participated in that trial over the last several decades. I’m not aware of any negatives coming out of it. Unless anyone wants to try claiming the obesity epidemic is fundamentally causing by GMO crops, rather than people snarfing down way too much refined carbohydrates.

                As far as labelling foods that include ingredients from GMOs goes, meh. It’s a very small added imposition on manufacturers. If that small concession to the evidence-free beliefs of a small minority of irrationals helps allow broader use of something that really can help make a difference, then I’m OK with going along with it. BTW, afaik GMO labelling is already in place in some jurisdictions.

                • One Two

                  The quality level of your thought, is low, Andre…and it comes out as narcissism in your comments…

                  *I’m not aware of any negatives

                  *Evidence free beliefs

                  *Small minority of irrationals

                  *I’m ok to go along with it

                  It’s all about you, Andre…

                  Keep to the engineering…anything else is out of your lane…

                  The juvenile insults and use of name calling are a giveaway…

          • Psycho Milt

            It’s the flip side of referring to organic food as “clean” and any GM cross-pollination as “contamination.” Both sides have their blind spots.

            • Robert Guyton

              “Sides”, PM?
              I believe the debate involves a far more nuanced following that “two sides”.
              There seems to be a great deal of simplification/polarizing going on here in this thread.

              • The issue itself is more nuanced than that, sure. However, on these discussion threads, there are definitely two sides: those who endorse GM as an additional technique for plant breeding, and those don’t.

                • Robert Guyton

                  How about heritage then, PM?
                  Traditional varieties sullied, in the eyes of the keepers of the gods-given taonga plants, by new man-made genetic material. Many of those peoples believe they are the plant, the plant is them. The health of those individuals, “actual” and spiritual, can be severely harmed by the loss of their taonga. The scientific view is not the be all and end all. A down stream effect of the “better” varieties offered by the GMO marketers is the rapid loss of these heritage varieties due to the pressures of both the market and the purveyors of the seeds. It may be that you believe that science trumps all, but I don’t and neither do many of the growers of traditional crops, I have to imagine.

                  • Andre

                    Those heritage varieties are mostly threatened by the places they are grown getting taken over by new varieties, whether those new varieties are produced by the oldskool long slow imprecise process of selectively breeding from random mutations and crossbreeding and hybridization, or the slightly faster but wildly imprecise and high risk of unintended consequences process of mutation breeding, or the latest very precise and very low risk of unintended consequences process of genetic modification.

                    Protecting those heritage organisms is a valuable thing to do. But the threat is loss of the space where they are grown, rather than the technique used to create the organisms replacing them. The appropriate response is protecting the places they are grown, and the peoples growing them. Getting hung up about what techniques may or may not get used to create the organisms that displace the heritage does nothing to protect that heritage.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Not true, Andre, you lying toad! (see 🙂

                      The GMO seed companies actively destroyed those saved, heritage seed varieties in a number of important locations where such practices as saving seed from the previous harvest existed and levered their “must buy from us every year” GMO seeds into the space they created with their propaganda. They bought up the stocks from individual farmers, ending those lines forever and rendering the farmers entirely dependant upon the company, their seeds and their chemicals. The suicide rate amongst Indian farmers following this programme is appalling.

                    • Andre

                      Robert, those shitty large corporates would be doing those exact same malicious things whether they were trying to impose their way using non-GMO products or if they are pushing their GMO stuff.

                      It’s corporate behaviour and the expanding powers and rights we seem to be willing to continue granting them that’s the problem. Not the tools they use to create a few of their products.

                      Banning everything created by those tools does precisely nothing to curb that shitty corporate behaviour. But it really restricts the capabilities of organisations such as our government research labs that are genuinely trying to do beneficial things.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Andre – what do you think growing GM plants (pasture grasses in particular, the focus here now) in NZ might achieve that couldn’t be done by changing the management of such crops?

                    • Andre

                      Robert, if the HME grasses get anywhere close to what’s claimed for them, and that’s something that can really only be answered by field trials in NZ, then for most given levels of environmental impact (fertiliser and other input use, stocking levels, externalities such as emissions and water pollution) use of HME grasses should result in increased production and farm profitability. I support the idea of farmers making profits,

                      I would hope that if HME grasses become available and have a positive effect, then farmers would choose to take advantage of the improved productivity to reduce their impact and other resource use. As well as adopting other changes that reduce their environmental impact. But sadly I suspect that without regulation and taxes, most farmers would choose to grab the benefit of the HME grass to just increase production with the same disregard for externalities they have now.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “most farmers would choose to grab the benefit of the HME grass to just increase production with the same disregard for externalities they have now.”
                      Well, that’s the thing, Andre. A bit like Golden rice really, the unintended consequences that science doesn’t recognise and that’s where my argument comes from. You still seem reluctant to talk about the readily available changes that could be made to the culture of farming, the management of land that could solve the problems (and others) that GMO promises to solve. That is, there are significant changes that can be made, and have to be made in the face of climatic changes and other factors, that are being sidelined because GMO, GMO!! It’s a delaying, BAU tactic that will not help our situation, imo, largely because it’s a sop and makes us believe that we can do much as we have always done. I don’t believe that.

                    • Andre

                      Here’s the thing, Robert. Nobody is trying to oppose those who wish to use the farming techniques you’re trying to promote. I even agree that widespread adoption of at least some of those techniques will help improve the situation for the future, even though there’s likely to be some small drop in total production from a given area of land compared to current intensive techniques.

                      On the other hand, with your blanket opposition to GMOs, you are trying to prevent the use of a powerful that could be a big help in improving things. Opposition based on nothing but hypothetical irrational beliefs here and among consumers in faraway markets that a few growers here believe they can extract increased profits from.

                    • One Two []

                      *Hyothetical irrational beliefs…

                      *You are trying to prevent


                      *Big help in improving things

                      Hubris, prevents you from understanding the fallacy of your comments…

                      Nature, is already perfect, Andre…human beings can only work in aligmment with that perfection, or work against natures perfection…

                      You don’t understand the ‘science’…you don’t understand the basic issues with way you push your irrational beliefs on this subject…you’ve done it a number of times…

                      Projection comes from narcissism…

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Afterall ‘they’re’ only plants…

                      “Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. That is, until 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR – a revolutionary new technology that she helped create – to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences – to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans. Writing with fellow researcher Sam Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery and describes the enormous responsibility that comes with the power to rewrite the code of life.”

                      If humankind collectively exhibited the capacity for self-control in this pressure cooker of our own making, then I’d be all for the use of genetic technology as a stop-gap measure to give ourselves and the planet breathing space to recover from our excesses. But isn’t it much more likely to be used to continue with business as usual?

                      From a purely selfish point of view, I’m keen on BAU – on using technology to keep the whole impressive edifice tottering along for another generation or two. Would just like a bit more reassurance that ‘we’ll’ use that time wisely.

                    • Ed

                      At One Two.
                      I totally agree.
                      ‘Nature bats last.’

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “On the other hand, with your blanket opposition to GMOs”
                      I don’t have such a thing.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “If humankind collectively exhibited the capacity for self-control in this pressure cooker of our own making, then I’d be all for the use of genetic technology as a stop-gap measure to give ourselves and the planet breathing space to recover from our excesses. But isn’t it much more likely to be used to continue with business as usual?”
                      I think that’s well-expressed, Drowsy and probably why I’m anxious about these developments, despite Psycho Milt’s relentless logic. His argument is pretty faultless, but there’s this nagging feeling that … well, you’ve expressed it better than I can.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Happy New Year Robert – frankly I’m at a loss. Our best chance is for more people (such as yourself) to lead by example, demonstrating various alternatives to BAUNZ.

                      Many more examples are needed. BAU is a siren luring us onto the rocks – it enables some to ‘get ahead’, or at least keep their heads above water as we all gradually go down the gurgler.


        • greywarshark

          A Roundup by any other name still doesn’t act sweetly.
          Nevertheless, its use in UK farming has increased by an astonishing 400 per cent in the past 20 years, government figures show.

          One-third of Britain’s crop-growing land is now treated with glyphosate (Monsanto’s patent for Roundup has expired, but while there are now more than 20 suppliers of glyphosate in Europe, Roundup remains the market leader, earning it some £1.5 billion a year worldwide).

          Now its use is effectively being challenged in a landmark legal case in America.

          In San Francisco, DeWayne Johnson, 46, a father of three and former school groundsman, is taking Monsanto to court.

          He has a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells that caused cancerous lesions to form over most of his body. Doctors say he may have only months to live.

          Also, the Daily Mail, along with its celebrity crap, does seem to have good articles that give a lot of info plus excellent images (without video). What do TSs think about its reporting quality (disregarding its body and breast and pregnancy fetishes)?

          • Andre

            Roundup resistance is a good example of the kind of genetic modification I oppose, on balance.

            I’m not thrilled about how the genetic modification was done, it apparently used a technique that has a high risk of spreading the modification to other organism, with definite downsides from those traits actually spreading. As I understand it, the glyphosate resistance was achieved by inserting small free-floating segments of DNA into the cells. It’s easy for organisms to exchange those small free-floating DNA segments with other organisms, it’s one way antibiotic resistance spreads. So it’s reasonable to suggest that glyphosate resistance would spread to other undesireable plants via DNA exchange as well as oldskool evolutionary selective pressure. I vaguely recall seeing stuff claiming that had actually happened. But newer techniques, CRISPR in particular, directly modify a much more stable part of the genome with much lower risk of transferring that genetic info to other organisms.

            I’m quite anti the motivation for that particular modification. It was done by a large corporate for the purpose of locking farmers into buying the corporate’s seeds and chemical products. That kind of corporate manipulation and domination really turns my stomach.

            On the flipside, using the glyphosate resistance apparently did result in overall reduced input and better profits for the farmers using it. But not enough to come close to balancing my distaste for the two points above.

            But in the instances of the HME ryegrass or golden rice or the improved photosynthesis efficiency, none of those negative points apply that I’m aware (I don’t know details of how the genetic modifications were achieved). They’re are done by government funded research labs with no profit motive and the intent to make it available to all interested users, rather than an effort to lock users into a corporate’s products. I’m also struggling to come up with a downside of those genetic traits spreading to other organisms. They generally make a plant more edible, so it’s hard to imagine those traits thriving in the wild.

            • Robert Guyton

              Golden rice, Andre? Really???
              You’re making yourself a very easy target there – you must have read the arguments destroying the credibility of the Golden rice claims!!

              • Andre

                The valid arguments against golden rice are whether it actually achieves what it tries and claims to do. That golden rice apparently falls short of the goals set for it is an argument that every new product should be carefully scrutinised against the claims made for it by its creators. That’s true for every new product that’s ever been created in the history of mankind, even the ones that aren’t being sold for profit.

                That golden rice apparently doesn’t meet its stated goals isn’t an argument against genetic modification in general. Like all other other tools, techniques and processes, sometimes genetic modification gives good results, other times not so much.

                Getting negative about the organisations behind golden rice because they are using some of the same tools as malicious corporates such as Monsanto is just weird. IRRI aren’t trying to lock farmers into something that makes them a huge profit, they’ve explicitly rejected trying to profit from it. They’re genuinely trying to create something that improves nutritional outcomes for huge numbers of people currently suffering from nutritional deficiencies.

                I’d personally like to see more efforts along similar lines, and if better results can be achieved through techniques other than genetic modification, more power and support to those other efforts. But really all I see in that area is blind opposition to golden rice and IRRI’s efforts, *because Monsanto*.

                edit: Yes, I specifically chose to mention golden rice rice because I figured that would help rark things up again.

                • Robert Guyton

                  “That golden rice apparently doesn’t meet its stated goals isn’t an argument against genetic modification in general.”
                  I wasn’t using it for tha. It is however a very good argument against Golden rice, which was my point.
                  “They’re genuinely trying to create something that improves nutritional outcomes for huge numbers of people currently suffering from nutritional deficiencies.”
                  They may be genuine, but they could well be barking up the wrong tree. Again, I’ll ask:

                  • greywarshark

                    On balance! I quote a philosopher about the workings and thinking of the minds of men and women that applies to the thoughts put for and against, genetic modification and its glittering, rainbow, illusory benefits.

                    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. Bertrand Russell
                    Read more at:

                    “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
                    –Bruce Lee
                    (I hope that applies to those trying to be wise on TS. There is plenty of opportunity for practice.)

                    Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and made a bad decision. … Bertrand Russell, “The Triumph of Stupidity” (1933-05-10)

    • mauī 4.2

      I know let’s get rid of grandma’s bad traits by letting the ‘doctor’ change her genetic makeup. Then lets fast forward 5 generations and see how it all turned out. Who’s keen? Completely fucked up.

    • WeTheBleeple 4.3

      Too much rain gives animals the shits the protein in the food is lacking. Now we face elevated CO2 and that causes a similar problem. But science is gonna save us with plants that photosynthesise better because look we’re amazing there won’t be any roll on effect…

      If they’re so clever how about they make a rubisco like catalyst and capture the carbon without plants. They can make statues and awards out of it to give to themselves.

      The planet desperately needs biodiversity. How will these clonal organisms fare in the face of change?

      Typical corporate fare dressed up as saving the world. And don’t y’all love the idea of more (American) patents on plants.

      Our diet’s are already reduced to species poor, bland monoclonal fare… Leave the food alone.

      Biotech – ‘we’re better than nature’ – no, you myopic children, you’re not.

      Kick the chemists out of agriculture, meddling fucking morons.

      • Robert Guyton 4.3.1

        Hey! A rabid!
        (I’m with him 🙂

      • Dennis Frank 4.3.2

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but golden kiwifruit were evolved via GE from the green kind? If so, where’s the viability of a blanket rule? Plant hybrids have more than a century of development without attracting ideological opposition. Is there a line between GE and hybridisation? If yes, how is it specified? And why did it not emerge into the media during the controversy about twenty years ago?

        • solkta

          You are wrong:

          On some fronts not a lot has changed. Consumer perceptions continue to shape market considerations. I still remember Zespri politely informing the Royal Commission that any field trials on GM products could ruin the emerging trade in the then relatively new gold kiwifruit. Zespri’s view was the public could easily come to believe that what is a different species might be a genetically modified green kiwifruit.

        • Robert Guyton

          I don’t believe that’s the case, Dennis. I have a plant growing here called a Manchurian Gooseberry which I believe is the original form of the golden kiwifruit. That is, another in the Actinidia family and found naturally (in Manchuria, I guess 🙂

          • Dennis Frank

            Oh, okay. Does it produce a fruit that looks like those on the market? If there’s a visual difference, that could be due to genetic modification. Then the question is: what caused the difference? Selective breeding or GE? That Stuff article Solkta linked to has this:

            “Fifty years of molecular biology has produced results requiring a deep rethinking of basic evolutionary concepts. Instead of proving the hard genetic wiring of living things by an all-determining genome, molecular biologists now understand much more about how microbes and organisms regulate the expression, reproduction, transmission, and restructuring of their DNA molecules.”

            “Since the Royal Commission on GM, molecular biologists have established that natural genetic modification (NGM) plays a substantial role in evolution. These processes are significantly different from what GM-Free NZ opposes and Dr Rolleston proposes.”

            “NGM does not proceed by selection of random mutations in DNA. Things thought to be impossible less than 20 years ago, such as gene transfer between different species, are now known to be the norm in microbes, and to play a key role in evolution. NGM most commonly occurs by the rearrangement of existing DNA sequences, and in a surprising large number of cases the rearrangement of whole genomes.”

            Seems to be along the line of Bruce Lipton’s specialty (epigenetics). Evolution proceeds via interaction with environment. Holist rather than reductionist thinking is the paradigm shift bringing this about.

            • Robert Guyton

              Yes, the science and practice has “come a long way” but many of the social/cultural/spiritual aspects have not changed and are still important to those affected. Science doesn’t account for that. People can though. That’s where the argument, and especially that of Dr. Rolleston, with whom I’ve argued publicly, seems both myopic and dangerous to me.

            • greywarshark

              Dennis Frank
              Nobody wants to consider slow guided evolution as a possibility is why it didn’t emerge in the media. And after we have had such frequent discussions about the downsides and twistedness that the media minds can be subject to, why would you think that they would ‘about 20 years ago’ be any better than now. They have always been open to hyperbole and wilful blindedness and other problems peculiar to themselves.

              And the greens and informed and thoughtful have been so concerned about letting in GM that they have tried to resist any body getting a shoe-in in the door. Because there are so many money-focussed people who love tinkering with everything, and love science because it gives them so many tinkering opportunities that they would embrace GM and we would be stuck with it, and paying out for the disasters for ever. Which would be covered in sticky lies, and the public covered in confusion about them, and there would be ongoing rich pickings for the unscrupulous subversives.

          • veutoviper

            Hence the old name for kiwifruit of “Chinese Gooseberry” presumably …?

      • Ed 4.3.3

        Totally agree.

  4. Robert Guyton 5

    “only the rabids can get over their blind kneejerk opposition to genetic modification”
    What about the thoughtfuls who oppose genetic modification for well-founded reasons?

    • Wayne 5.1

      After thirty years of GM foods, there is no evidence of health harm. So what are the “well founded reasons”?

      Probably just about all the soy consumed in New Zealand is GM modified.

      I can understand the precautionary approach as it was applied in New Zealand twenty years ago. That was why National never made a fuss about the GM ban back then. But in the twenty years since we actually know that all the doom laden scenarios spoken about twenty years ago haven’t actually materialised. It is why Sir Peter Gluckman said in 2017 that New Zealand needs to take a fresh look at the issue.

      • Robert Guyton 5.1.1

        I didn’t claim “health harm”. Just one “reason” for rejecting proposals to grow genetically modified crops in New Zealand could be the loss of market opportunity for non-GM exports. If there’s a substantial and growing market for “clean” food world-wide, we will throw away the chance to benefit from that. New Zealand could market itself successfully, Imo, as producers of “food grown the way nature grows it” or some such label. That’s just one reason. It’s easy for pro-GM commenters to argue against “unsophisticated” claims made by early anti-GE opposers, but the real, reasonable, responsible debate is not being had. Yet.

        • Andre

          So a small part of the farming community have fantasies they might get more money from their market of a few irrationals way way away on the other side of the world because they can claim “genetic modification free”.

          So on the basis of this, they expect to impose their irrationality on everyone else to deny them the benefits of reduced climate changing emissions, reduced input resource use (including land)? And then claim they are holding some kind of responsible position?

          After 30 years of the techniques being in use, surely if there’s any kind of actual risk, opponents could point to it. Instead of just invoking vague hypotheticals.

          • Robert Guyton

            Andre – why is the belief that non-GMO produce could offer a market advantage “irrational”?

            • Ed

              Andre is quick to throw insults at those who disagree with him.
              As soon as people resort to ad hominems , you know their argument is weak.

          • WeTheBleeple


            That’s the problem with people who can’t think outside of their own box, nobody else makes sense to them.

        • greywarshark

          I got an amazing lot out of Christopher McDougalls book Natural Born Heroes. In it was reference to the Cretan diet. And the ‘weeds they eat. And their health.

          Here is a piece i haven’t yet read but that goes into their diet which references their ancient patterns of their regular foods.

          • Dennis Frank

            Very interesting, thanks for that! Notable that “average olive oil consumption in Spain is 12 liters/person, Italy 11 liters/person and the US runs about 0.5 liter/person annually. In Crete, it’s 25 liters per person per year.”

            However I recall Graeme Sait telling an audience here about ten years ago that the only cooking oil on the market that was still free of genetic modification is coconut oil. So Cretan health cannot be replicated here if they still use traditional olive trees as their source of the oil.

            • veutoviper

              Eureka. Thank you. I have been trying to refind a link to that site for a long time. Could not remember Graeme Salt’s name or the name of the site.

              The particular article I was trying to refind was this one:


              In particular for this bit (my bold):

              1) A demineralised mutant

              The hybridized, green revolution grains, upon which most of our modern bread is based, attracted a Nobel prize for Norman Bourlag. It can be easily argued that his slap on the back should probably have been a kick in the rear. He did not use traditional hybridization techniques to create this more squat variety, which was much less prone to lodging. Instead, he irradiated the original wheat varieties and selected a mutant that became our main food. The mutant solved the problem related to the yield loss linked to the difficulties in harvesting wheat that had fallen over in the wind (lodged). However, the compromise was a massive loss in nutrient density. In fact, the wheat varieties we largely consume today take up 50% less iron, 30% less calcium and magnesium and 20% less trace minerals than the original, open pollinated varieties.There is one mineral that this compromised cereal can no longer uptake at all. This is the rarely-considered trace mineral, cobalt. You might assume that this loss of cobalt in our diet is insignificant in the big picture. However, you would be wrong! Cobalt is the building block for an incredibly important nutrient called vitamin B12. A key reason that many of us are now lacking this energy vitamin relates to the loss of cobalt in our most popular food.

              This reply I did to Robert Guyton yesterday explains why briefly.


              As I said there, I can write a thesis on B12 deficiency although my PA is presumed to be familial/gene related. I am involved in worldwide related (reputable) medical research/support blogs etc. and the subject of the hybridization of wheat in particular is of interest.

              For example, many people who are intolerant of gluten (as opposed to totally allergic such as Celiacs) can tolerate wheat from Italy for example, where hybridization has not happened to nearly the same extent as in the big wheat producing countries such as Australia, Canada, US etc. So some people find that they can tolerate Italian duram wheat flour and pasta imported from Italy whereas they have trouble with Australian/NZ wheat and NZ/Australian made pasta.

              But enough. Thanks again for the link.


              • Dennis Frank

                You’re welcome. 😊 Glad to be helpful (along with flippancy & critique)! I hope we get our cobalt in trace amounts from other sources.

                I’ve been making my own bread (breadmaker) most of this millennium, using wholemeal wheat as base, but with various additives. Currently the latter are: sorgum/besan/tapioca/buckwheat/quinoa/amaranth flours (around half a heaped tbspn of each) plus chia seeds and LSA.

                • veutoviper

                  Most people get their cobalt from foods containing Vitamin B12 as cobalt is an element of B12 which is cobalamin. Vegans and to a lesser extent, vegetarians, must be careful to supplement their diet with B12 as the only foods containing B12 are meat, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs. OTH people like me who are unable to absorb B12 because of autoimmune metaplastic gastric atrophy etc must inject to bypass the gastric system.

                  Before being diagnosed I was highly dairy intolerant and gluten intolerant, hence my knowledge re the difference in Italian wheat etc. B12 injections plus raw apple cider vinegar daily (low stomach acid goes hand in hand with Pernicious Anaema) means I can now tolerate both dairy and gluten much better, but still keep it low gluten. I sometimes also still make my own (breadmaker and by hand) bread using glutenfree flours – worth making your own bread for the smell alone!

                  Interested to see you listed sorghum first. I have trouble getting sorghum flour here in Wellington. The gluten free Weetbix is sorghum, and love it compared to the wheat one. I read recently that a portion of wheat growers in Australia are changing over to sorghum for the higher returns and lower water needs.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I had a quick google: presume you’ve tried ? Doesn’t actually say, so a phone call required. This does though:

                    • veutoviper

                      Thanks for the links. Being in south Wellington I tend to forget about BinInn and Davis shops in Petone. Yet I really love Petone and its unique character. I can see a trip around the harbour happening in the near future.

                      By the way, I now realise that the link in my earlier comment to OM 3 Jan was bad, so here is the proper one.

                      In brief I was finally diagnosed a couple of years ago with Addison-Biermer Syndrome aka Pernicious Anemia – B12 deficiency due to autoimmune metaplastic gastric atrophy. I now have to inject B12 frequently eg now weekly to stay alive but years of not getting a proper diagnosis meant that a lot of damage is now irreversible. But the biggest positive of B12 supplementation has been to my memory and mental capabilities. Highly recommend it for that alone. There are some B12 advocates who reckon that checking B12 levels and supplementation in the over-60s (very cheap) would save massive $$$$$s in keeping the elderly in their homes and functioning mentally etc rather than many ending up in rest homes and dementia wards needlessly.

                • patricia bremner

                  Not if you live in the King Country Dennis. Cobalt has been added at 0.1 parts per million to fertiliser. Prior to that sheep died of sleeping sickness caused by this lack leading to no uptake of vit B12.
                  For cattle it is 0.06 cheers. Several volcanic areas are deficient in this mineral.

                  • lprent

                    Similarly selenium

                  • veutoviper

                    The interesting thing I, and others, have found re human B12 deficiency is that veterinarians and pharmacists – and midwifes – have a much greater knowledge of B12 and related problems than GPs AND specialist doctors.

                    Many of the latter are virtually ignorant and misinformed and people find it really difficult finding a doctor who has any knowledge, and tests and treats B12 deficiency correctly.

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.2

        The reasons aren’t well-founded.

        Within the Green Party, the primary reason given for opposing GM is that organic certification requires organic produce to be GM-free and that can’t be guaranteed if we have GM crops growing as well (due to wind-borne cross-pollination).

        So, the reason effectively is that the Green Party believes the organic food industry’s unreasonable restrictions against GM must take precedence over the rest of the country’s agricultural sector. As a reason, that’s anything but “well-founded.”

        • Robert Guyton

          The argument that GM crops threaten the integrity of organic, non-GM crops is entirely correct, PM and therefore entirely well-founded. Your extrapolation, that there are flow-on effects on the “rest of the country’s agricultural sector” may be true, but doesn’t change the validity of the organic industry’s claim.

          • Psycho Milt

            GM crops do not threaten the “integrity” of organic crops, they make it difficult for organic crops to meet an unreasonable requirement of organic certification. So, the argument is that we must ban GM crops in order to satisfy an irrational requirement of an unreasonable sector group. That argument is only well-founded if we accept that the unreasonable is reasonable, which we shouldn’t.

            • greywarshark

              GM crops through their pollen contaminate natural crops and stop the production by the plant of the natural seed in just one season of growth.
              Then that seed produced is contaminated for ever. Monsanto could trace their product in the ‘natural’ farmer’s product after it had been contaminated by pollenation and sued the farmer!

              That is another reason to control manipulated product being used in NZ. It is a plan to control the crop plants of the world by corporates. People who love practical outcomes from science are obsessed with them and ignore the real consequences as externalities to a theory.

              • 1. There are no “natural” crops. All of them are the result of “manipulation” via one mechanism or another.
                2. The term “contaminated” is a meaningless pejorative in this context.
                3. The role of corporations in agriculture is a separate issue from genetic modification of crop plants, and a much larger one, and applies to organic farming as much as it does to any other type.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Nothing (or everything) natural, perhaps, but lines can be drawn, for example, where the genetic modification of human genes is concerned, there are ethical boundaries set (presently) and beyond that boundary, the results of such modifications are called, “unnatural”. Why not with plants? Manipulation “via one mechanism or other” sure, but not by any mechanism at all. We humans make judgement calls. This is one.
                  The term “contaminated” isn’t meaningless – it has meaning to most who read it. It may well be perjorative, but it still carries meaning, imo.
                  I disagree that “The role of corporations in agriculture is a separate issue from genetic modification of crop plants”. You may wish to seperate the two, but you’d have to explain your reasons for doing so. Your wish to do so strengthens the argument that too narrow a focus on the science will produce a dangerously narrow action and result.

                  • Why not with plants?

                    It’s thousands of years too late to close the stable door on that one. We humans make judgement calls about ethics, but the ethics of modifying a plant are pretty clear: we’ve been doing it for a very long time, all human civilisations have been based on it, and no compelling ethical argument for not doing it has been offered. If people want to claim that a particular mechanism for modifying plants is ethically unacceptable, it’s up to them to make the case for why that particular mechanism, but not others, is unacceptable.

                    The term “contaminated” isn’t meaningless – it has meaning to most who read it.

                    It’s a straightforward pejorative, intended to imply a health threat from GM that doesn’t actually exist. You might as well refer to a cup of coffee as having been “contaminated” by sugar – it lets us know what you think of sugar in your coffee, but doesn’t really do anything else.

                    You may wish to seperate the two, but you’d have to explain your reasons for doing so.

                    Genetic engineering is a technology, not a corporation. Like electrical power generation, it can be carried out by public sector organisations, anarchist cooperatives or sufficiently-knowledgeable individuals. The things multi-national corporations get up to that are against the public interest and should be opposed make a long list, but it’s a separate list.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      I’m not promoting the closing of the “plants” stable door, I’m warning that throwing it wide open is irresponsible and that we humans have to take responsibility for what we do, especially where it involves other beings/organisms. The people who are claiming that a particular mechanism for modifying plants, GM, is ethically unacceptable, are making a case, as I am endeavouring to do. Do you not see any evidence of such a case being made, PM?
                      I think it’s you who is reading the pejorative into “contaminated” it’s a straight-forward concept/word; something (foreign) from outside becoming inside. Sugar can indeed be regarded as a contaminant, even when you’ve added it yourself.
                      Your “Genetic engineering is a technology, not a corporation. ”
                      seems a similar argument to the gun-lobby’s, “guns don’t kill people, people do” – do you subscribe to that also?

                    • In that case, we’re both in full agreement that unregulated genetic engineering would be a very bad idea. Fortunately, NZ is pretty good at applying regulations to things, and genetic engineering here is mostly carried out by public-sector organisations. And an ironic unintended consequence of banning genetic engineering in well-regulated countries like NZ would be to leave genetic engineering to those countries where good regulations and ethics oversight aren’t the norm. As with nuclear fission, the genie isn’t going to get back in the bottle for us.

                      What is the ethical case against direct genetic modification of plants? I’ve seen an economic case (it would make it difficult for us to market GE-free food to irrational consumers), and various irrational ones (eg the allegedly-natural is good, the scientific is bad). Any ethical argument against direct rather than indirect genetic modification of plants has passed me by so far.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      ” NZ is pretty good at applying regulations to things,”
                      Like … oil exploration?
                      Most “consumers” probably make “irrational” decisions about the things they consume; that’s not a charge you can direct to organic food buyers alone.
                      “Any ethical argument against direct rather than indirect genetic modification of plants has passed me by so far.”
                      Have you explored the statements from the representatives of various indigenous cultures that loudly proclaim their soulful objection to GMOs?
                      How have you not heard these?

                    • Ah, OK. I’ve heard those, but “We don’t like this sort of thing” isn’t an argument.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Nor is your interpretation, “We don’t like this sort of thing” a sign that you’ve any understanding of what they are really saying.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      You talk a lot of shit dressed as facts.

                      ‘Thousands of years’…. of what exactly?

                      Selection. You know, that evolutionary principle.

                      ‘You may as well think of coffee as contaminated by sugar’

                      Really. That’s what you got?

                      And corporates and GE are obviously separate oh you speak the gospel Milty boy!

                      Except the funding, the research, the funding for the research, the plans, the implementation, the legalese, the patents, the global advertising, the PR campaigns, the huge fees, the cover ups…

                      The witless champions.

                      Not corporate at all.

                    • …what they are really saying.

                      I’m sorry if I’ve misinterpreted it, but what argument is being made?

                    • You talk a lot of shit dressed as facts.

                      If I valued your opinion at all, I’d probably care that you think that.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  “If I valued your opinion at all, I’d probably care that you think that.”

                  I’m possibly the most qualified here on evolution having a 2016 masters degree with 1st division honors in the subject. Papers in biotech, chemistry, biochemistry… You can’t talk scientific shit to me I went off and made sure of that. Also helped teach genetics and biotech at university level.

                  But I’m a buffoon right, cos I lean left and green. And you’ve read some science blogs.

                  Selective breeding is inherently different – inherently… to genetic engineering. The difference is not nitpicking it is a fundamental shift. From the mixing of parent materials to produce variant offspring – the ‘favorable traits’ chosen for crops… to the insertion of ‘favorable genes’ to a target organism.

                  Favorable traits are part of an entire genome and may involve whole suites of genes. A selected organism still has phenotypic plasticity due to breeding. The generations of breeding adapt organisms to soil types, climates and conditions. Clones force the forcing of environments to produce crops or are simply production units for factory farming e.g. salmon.

                  Favorable genes are the products of reductionist science where considering only what’s under examination is acceptable. These genes are ‘selling points’ used to pimp out and displace whole lines of typical fare. The nutritional value doesn’t matter, only shelf life, aesthetics, production and ownership…

                  It’s a corporate jizz rag. And for the scientists who think they’re playing god, it’s still just a jizz rag.

                  Scientific enough descriptor for ya?

                  • I didn’t say you were a buffoon, I said your comments give me the impression you don’t know what ‘rational’ means. I’m flattered that you value my opinion enough to care that I think that, but your comments since haven’t changed that opinion.

                    What argument are you trying to make in the comment above? It looks like your argument is that, because direct genetic modification is different from the indirect genetic modification that results from selective breeding, direct genetic modification is therefore a Bad Thing. There also appears to be a secondary argument that, because private corporations are involved in genetic engineering, genetic engineering is therefore a Bad Thing.

                    Both of those are non-sequiturs. Your personal preference for selective breeding isn’t an argument for it, and genetic engineering in this country is the preserve of public-sector institutions, not private corporations. And the scientists involved aren’t “playing god” so much as “doing their jobs.”

                    • greywarshark

                      Doing their jobs, scientists can often be funded by private corporations directly or through funding a Party or Minister surruptitiously? to get their plans furthered, You make such sure statements, it is as if you were ten and hadn’t learned anything about the string-pulling and puppet-dance that goes on always except we don’t hear about it till a whistle blows. Time out for oranges!

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      My point was that selecting an organism is hugely different from selecting a gene. Both in its scope of focus, and it’s lack of holistic understanding.

                      Your argument that selective breeding is comparative to GE is, to speak plainly, plainly bullshit.

                      We have broken the planet and still arrogantly declare we have mastered the genetic code, meanwhile we can’t even spell out what drives evolution – after 200 years of debate. (actually, I can, but it’s still up for debate…)

                      Biodiversity (including within a species aka genetic diversity) is crucial. Especially in times of rapid change. Extinction or simply functional extinction is a result of the loss of the ability to adapt. The ability to adapt and biodiversity are intrinsically linked – So are climate change and rapid environmental alterations.

                      Meanwhile the delusional carry on banging about in the dark and calling themselves illuminated.

                      Give nature, and us, a fucking break.

                    • One Two []

                      Psycho recently returned from a lengthy ban…

                      This specific subject is one which milt has previous form and patterns…

                      You are experiencing a repeat of PM’s patterns…and the constraints/limiations of his ‘thought process’…

                      The ‘science acolytes’…not as dangerous as the scientists who believe they can ‘control’ …but equally as ‘dumb’…

                      Problems can’t and won’t be solved using the same approach which created them…

                      It’s all very simple…except to the acolytes…

                    • Doing their jobs, scientists can often be funded by private corporations directly or through funding a Party or Minister surruptitiously?

                      If human activity being subject to human nature is an argument against genetic engineering, it’s an argument against every other human activity as well.

                      Also: I see you still can’t comment without giving me a personality assessment while you’re at it.

                    • One Two []

                      I was wondering how long it would take for that ‘argument’ to be made…

                      It speaks to the survival rate of our species, but alao speaks to the lack of wisdom which has left the planet and environment in its present state…

                      Scientists, and those who direct them, fund them, manage the outputs and seek to control the paths taken simply CAN NEVER control the unlimited variables….

                      Talk of ‘precise’ GE is flawed thinking of the most fundamental type…

                      There are unlimited possible consequences which could follow from a single dna/gene alteration…which can NEVER be tested…

                      Once a GMO is released into the environment, those outcomes can’t be undone…

                      Believing that it is about ‘precise’…is anything but , precise thinking…

                      The wisdom to stop what is being done…the wisdom to know that those who have created the problems are NOT the solution to them…

                      But they will keep going…with the support of people who are blinded by the ‘awesome’ of ‘progress’, ‘advancement’ …


                    • Robert Guyton

                      Is Psycho Milt the reincarnation of Mr Spock?

                    • Your argument that selective breeding is comparative to GE is, to speak plainly, plainly bullshit.

                      They’re different tools for doing the same job, with GE being a faster and more precise tool. Someone who chooses to protect in a plant a natural mutation that’s useful to the person but would be evolutionarily disadvantageous to the plant isn’t taking a “holistic” or “natural” approach any more than a genetic engineer does. They’re both just using the tools they have to achieve a desired outcome.

                      Your statements about “breaking the planet” and biodiversity are claims about human population growth and industrial farming in general, not genetic engineering in particular. The entire planet could outlaw GE tomorrow and the problems you’re referring to would still exist, and could conceivably be worse. This is a common problem with the arguments of GE opponents, ie the arguments often do not support the conclusions claimed.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “This is a common problem with the arguments of GE opponents, ie the arguments often do not support the conclusions claimed.”
                      Yes, I think that’s true.
                      I also think the arguments of the GE proponents lack the “buffers” that come from outside of pure logic, buffers which come from somewhere other than the brain. The same issue is found in medicine, where the precise extract of a plant, synthesised even, becomes the medicine, rather than the plant itself, which contained the buffers that moderate the effects on the body. The two schools rarely mix, though I met a GP yesterday who practices both.

                  • Psycho recently returned from a lengthy ban…

                    Thank you! Yes I did, and it’s very kind of you to notice.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      For what reason were you banned?

                    • veutoviper

                      And as WeTheBeeple may not be aware being a relative newie here, it is great to see you back as one of the longest term commenters here at TS.

                      I get what you are saying, PM and your comment at 7.54am is an excellent summary.

                      EDIT – for Robert Guyton. A very complicated misunderstanding between two moderators which is now history and best left as such. PM’s ban was rescinded very shortly thereafter but PM has only recently learned this and returned.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      You’re our resident historian, veutoviper!
                      Psycho Milt has a laser-like mind.
                      I’m a soft-tone incandescent myself 🙂

                    • veutoviper

                      I have a great memory these days Robert. Its all that Vitamin B12 I have to inject to stay alive! Highly recommend it.

            • Dennis Frank

              Traditional biodiversity in nature is produced by cross-pollination as well as mutation, so the argument that GE users are just adding to the mix has some merit. However it is also reasonable to view un-natural cross-pollinators as pollutants in the ecosystem. If the latter produce harmful health or economic consequences for consumers and/or farmers, polluters must pay.

              • Robert Guyton

                Genetic mutations occur naturally, that’s for sure. The issue is, I think, the intent behind human-activated mutations – who’s doing it for what purpose? That’s the aspect of the debate the scientists won’t address (it’s not science, you see). That, along with unintended consequences/risk, is the hole in their argument, imo.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Yes, as a science grad I get that, and have long been aware that lack of science in the Green movement allows fundamentalism to prevail over a balanced view.

                  Ethics is an essential basis for public policy. Politicians shy away, due to it being traditionally deemed too esoteric to be useful. A mistake.

        • WeTheBleeple


          Rapid change.

          Enough said.

        • Robert Guyton

          The organic food industry is a product of its market which dictates the need for food to be GMO free. It bias therefore a reasonable position for the industry to take. It wants to provide what its market demands.

      • One Two 5.1.3

        No evidence you say, Wayne…

        The evidence of poor health, disease and illness is all around, Wayne…and rapidly increasing…

        The sheer quantity of toxic environmental contaminates which the modern world is made of, reduces the ability to identify causes of disease and illness…to statements such as…

        There is no evidence…

        • Psycho Milt

          The evidence that these are the End Times is all around us!

          • One Two

            You came back…

            No, I won’t click any link you post…

          • greywarshark

            In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for “argument to absurdity”) or the appeal to extremes, is a form of argument that attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, …
            Reductio ad absurdum – Wikipedia

            This is what you are resorting to Psycho Milt. Can you keep on track. This is a serious matter, not an afternoon’s entertainment for a dilettante.

            • Psycho Milt

              If you really thought it a serious matter, you’d be able to reply to me without including superfluous assessments of my personality.

          • Andre

            Well, if we want to just use cherry-picked data out of context, we could point to the US and try on the argument that American life expectancy is reducing and that Americans are also the biggest GMO consumers. But that also requires trying to make the argument that eating GMOs causes people to become suicidal and drug dependent …


            • WeTheBleeple


              “The degradation of the biomass of all Bt [GMO] plants in the absence of soil but inoculated with a microbial suspension from the same soil was also significantly less than that of their respective inoculated non-Bt plants. The addition of streptomycin, cycloheximide, or both to the soil suspension did not alter the relative degradation of Bt+ and Bt− biomass, suggesting that differences in the soil microbiota were not responsible for the differential decomposition of Bt+ and Bt− biomass. All samples of soil amended with biomass of Bt plants were immunologically positive for the respective Cry proteins and toxic to the larvae of the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta), which was used as a representative lepidopteran in insect bioassays (no insecticidal assay was done for the Cry3A protein from potato). The ecological and environmental relevance of these findings is not clear.”

              And repeat

              ‘The ecological and environmental relevance of these findings is not clear.’

              Well… the plants don’t break down as well so the soil is not replenished requiring more inputs aka fertilizers. The insects die so the grinding and shredding of plant material is missing, and the unique diversity of micro fauna the insects bring to the composting process. The worms probably go too, and with it water penetration and aeration, leading to compaction and the ‘need’ for large machinery and tillage despite having a ground cover.

              A toxic ground cover.

              ‘relevance of these findings is not clear’.

              • Stunned Mullet

                When the authors of articles make the comment “relevance of these findings is unclear” it is just that.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  No. When the authors have one discipline, like most scientists, they are not able to contemplate potential outcomes outside their box.

                  Humans have become quite useless thinkers in this specialised world. Multidisciplinary thinkers have been called for, but few answered the call they all go to their cubicles.

                  Also called hedging their bets. Scientists are terribly concerned with being wrong, unhealthily so in many instances fighting their entire lives over some infinitesimal point.

                  I think you’ll find that without grinders and shredders, the grinding and shredding is not there, nor the commensals from the grinders and shredders.

                  It’s not rocket science.

    • Stunned Mullet 5.2

      Which reasons are those Robert ?

      • Robert Guyton 5.2.1

        See above, Stunned Mullet, for just one. There are many more. Put up an example of why you believe GMOs should be employed here and I’ll counter with others against.

        • Stunned Mullet

          Not sure I understand that reasoning Robert. To my mind GM agriculture offers some extremely actrsctive benefits much as those we’ve seen in medicine over the last several decades.

          • Robert Guyton

            My reasoning , SM, is around market advantage and disadvantage. I have a different view about medicines.

          • solkta

            Isn’t GE for medicine done in the lab?

            • greywarshark

              Not a logical comparison.

              • solkta

                Comparison to what?

                SM said: To my mind GM agriculture offers some extremely actrsctive benefits much as those we’ve seen in medicine over the last several decades.

                But my understanding is that GE medicines are created in the lab. That is not “agriculture”. I might be wrong, i did use a question mark, and if i am wrong then SM can link to some GE medicine being grown in the environment.

                • Robert Guyton

                  That’s right, solkta, but the lines are already blurring; plants that contain the “medicines” in question are being grown in (some) fields. Non-rabid commenters who oppose the use of GMOs in agriculture/horticulture/aquaculture have long said there’s a place for medical research using GMOs in the lab. The industry continues to expand as much as the public will allow and are aiming for…everywhere.
                  What’s happening here in NZ is that the agricultural industry is pushing (hard) for the release of GMO grasses across the whole “NZ farm” – that’s massive. Why do they want to do that? To “concrete in” farming as a viable industry and make it more profitable, in the face of Mother Nature’s pressure on them to stop; rivers and estuaries steeped in nitrogen, soils washed out to sea, poisonous cadmium spread around farmland like icing on a cake and much more. They are meeting the threat of climate change by doubling-down.

                  • Stunned Mullet

                    Are you suggesting farming isn’t a viable industry Robert ?

                    the GMO debate seems to me a bit like the debates on vaccination with very entrenched positions by those who are the most vocal.

                    Attached a reasonably balanced easy to read overview of the common concerns about GMO and the authors views on each.


                    • Robert Guyton

                      Conventional farming, SM, not viable.
                      As to your second point, does it? Others may behave that way, Stunned, but not me 🙂 I take a nuanced, thoughtful, open-minded approach to this topic, it being, or rather plants being, dear to my heart. Humans too, and the rest of Creation.

                    • Poission

                      The debate is not only a binary problem (yes /no) there are significant plausible arguments that the so called science of GMO underestimate risk (and ruin) for not understanding the risk models hence a precautionary response in policy is required.


                      On GMOs: “A pound of algebra is worth a ton of verbal commentary”. I managed to fit the Precautionary Principle into a few lines. The GMO paid propagandists are pounding tons of verbalistic statements (even an incompetent smear campaign), but this simple summary should cancel about everything they are trying to say. In a single column. They need to refute my representation or show that f(breeding) has the same maximum as f(GMOs).


  5. Adrian Thornton 6

    “NBC News veteran slams network’s ‘hostage status’ to Trump in resignation letter”

    “Pro-war ‘Trump circus’: Veteran reporter quits NBC with biting critique of corporate newsroom ”

    “Mr. Arkin, who is staunchly anti-war and far from being a supporter of Mr. Trump, said part of his reason for leaving NBC was the network’s obsession with opposing the president at every turn.

    “Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war,” he wrote. “Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?”

    I would say you could easily transpose this letter to most most mainstream ‘liberal’ new sources.

    Here is a link to the full letter, which is well worth reading..

    • Ad 6.1

      Few us msm outlets are dealing well with Trump.
      i dont blame them. We’re not expecting another Edward R Murrow anyntime soon.

      Trump is truly a phenomenon breaking multiple institutions public and private – and US politics or co2verage won’t return to pre-trump status ever. This shutdown is going to gut the remaining public sector there for several years.

      its more surprising there havent been whole tv stations going down.

      we may not like some of the status quo biases of the msm, but we’ll miss them when they’re gone.

    • Dennis Frank 6.2

      I agree this is significant news, indicating an establishment divide between warmongers and peacemakers. Trump’s unilateral pull-out from both wars aligns him with the latter camp. They will respond by pretending it hasn’t happened!

      “Arkin has worked for NBC on and off for three decades, sometimes as a military analyst, sometimes as a reporter and consultant. He describes himself as a scholar at heart, and he has authored numerous books about national security, most recently “Unmanned,” subtitled “drones, data, and the illusion of perfect warfare.”

      “Friday will be his last day at NBC, according to his internal memo on Wednesday. It was shared with CNN by one of the recipients, and NBC confirmed its authenticity.
      The network had no comment on his departure. Arkin is a sharp critic of what he calls “perpetual war” and the “creeping fascism of homeland security.”

      An anti-fascist prominent member of the establishment resigning in disgust due to media bias against Trump is likely to produce cognitive dissonance in the minds of those who belief Trump is fascist. Therefore they will pretend this hasn’t happened.

      • greywarshark 6.2.1

        You can say that again:

        An anti-fascist prominent member of the establishment resigning in disgust due to media bias against Trump is likely to produce cognitive dissonance in the minds of those who belief Trump is fascist. Therefore they will pretend this hasn’t happened.

  6. patricia bremner 7

    To those who have been supportive and chatted about hip operations, my date for a full hip replacement operation is 18th Jan . Yay!! At last!! Thanks again. Just think, I might be able to be in the garden again, though kneeling and bending are out.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Raised garden beds with plank around for sitting on for you Patricia, and fold up stool for other garden locations. Your plants will love to see you around again.

      • patricia bremner 7.1.1

        Thanks greywarshark, I look forward to dead heading the rose bushes, and just being out there again. A walker rather limits access. We have done a deal of companion planting, and have our rampant successes, the chrysanthemums have needed thinning. We now have a plethora of small flowers atop bushes lol lol.

    • Cinny 7.2

      Awesome news, thrilled for you Patricia, good vibes for the 18th.

    • Sacha 7.3

      Good news. You won’t know yourself.

    • veutoviper 7.4

      Thrilled for you, patricia. I had to have my right one replaced over twelve years ago now, at a younger age than most. It was in a really bad way by the time the operation was done as it went bad very fast. But within about six months, I was back gardening including digging, mowing lawns etc Some simple rules apply like bending etc no more than 90 degrees. Once that is embedded in your thinking, it is amazing at how many different positions for sitting, kneeling etc you find that fit within that rule.

      But what don’t they tell you about the after-effects?

      The biggest and most long lasting effect I found was the inability to cut your own toenails!!! I still stuggle with this tiny little action.

      So my advice to anyone who has a friend, family member etc having a hip replacement is forget the flowers – contributions to, vouchers etc for toe nail clipping, pedicures etc are much more practical and longer lasting. LOL.

      Another practical gift is one of those long handled brush and pan kits – preferably a strongly made one with the biggest pan you can find, not the flimsy teeny ones with tiny pans. Forget using it for cleaning – its great for picking up dropped items like books etc by using the handle end of the brush to push the item into the pan, and then the long handle of the pan to raise it to a level to retrieve the item without bending. Also great for picking up and putting down pet food bowls etc using the same technique.

      And also hope you have had safety bars installed in showers etc. And do the exercises after the op. These and the walking are essential to recovery.

      So endeth the lecture for today! Kia kaha

      • Sacha 7.4.1

        Interesting. Where can you go to get toenails cut? Do GP practices do it?

        • greywarshark

          I guess this is where people get into term difficulties. I have so this is what I found out.

          Pedicure – Wikipedia

          A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails, analogous to a manicure. Pedicures are done for cosmetic, therapeutic purposes. They are popular …

          Pediatrician (or paediatrician – childrens doctor) – but one google advice tip advised a pediatrician for in-grown toenails, however podiatrist is correct.

          A podiatrist, also known as a podiatric physician or “foot and ankle surgeon”, is a medical professional devoted to the study and medical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower extremity.
          Podiatrist – Wikipedia

          When to See a Podiatrist If Your Feet Give You Grief. … On a daily basis, podiatrists treat a wide range of conditions including arthritis pain, bunions, calluses and corns, diabetes complications, ingrown toenails, sports injuries, and more. They are also trained to diagnose infections of the foot and toenails.Aug 22, 2018
          When to See a Podiatrist If Your Feet Give You Grief – Verywell Health

          Although many people get confused in understanding the difference between a chiropodist and a podiatrist, to be honest there is no difference between the two. … Podiatrists and chiropodists can also treat and alleviate day-to-day foot problems such as fungal or ingrown toenails.Jul 22, 2015
          What is Podiatry/Chiropody? – Spectrum Foot Clinics

          (It is very strange that google won’t give me much information about chiropodists and instead inserts podiatrist information. There must be something written into the program that limits chiropody details and puts podiatry to the fore.)

          Pedophile – (Not foot-oriented. Have read of a case of confusion with protests outside a children’s doctor clinic.)

        • veutoviper

          Some GP practices have either nurses trained in this or trained people who visit the practice regularly to offer these and other similar services; or they have information about where these services can be accessed.

          Some physiotherapy practices also offer such services. Also podiatry/chiropody practices obviously do this; and also day spas and similar beauty therapy businesses who offer pedicures etc.

      • alwyn 7.4.2

        “The biggest and most long lasting effect I found was the inability to cut your own toenails”.
        Fascinating. I had both hips replaced and after I recovered, which took the best part of 6 months I was happy that I could now cut my toenails.
        I hadn’t been able to do it for a couple of years before the op.
        I guess it just affects people in different ways.

        • veutoviper

          I think it is the relativity of arm length to body and leg length. My arms are short compared to the others!

      • patricia bremner 7.4.3

        Thank you so much… Norm has been instructed to find such a long handled “not flimsy” brush and shovel. xx He will probably use it as well. Luckily we do each others nails… a problem on your own, and a future need to consider.
        Driving again!!… being able to climb stairs and visit again Yay!!

        • veutoviper

          Here is a link to some of what is available in NZ.

          Prices vary and some very expensive professional ones. From memory the ones I had were from Mitre 10 but haven’t seen those ones again. (had one at each end of the house.

          But the Warehouse green Sabco one is similar from the picture. And two good reviews. The Mitre 10 Raven one is also one I would look at, and Bunnings seem to have a similar one.

          The ones I had at the time of my op did not fold up (ie the pan part) and I would be careful with those in case they folded when you did not want them to. But I could be wrong.

          I think I told you some months ago that I had my op under spinal and a little bit of sedation and not general anesthesia. Not everyone’s cup of tea but would trade again ++++ !!! Was up and out of bed and eating two hours after the op, dressed the next day and walking up and down stairs; and home less than three days later.

          You have the right attitude, and will be fine.

          • patricia bremner

            Thank you so much. We won the cricket too!! Yes I have to get clearance from my Dr. to drive again after the op because this my “non polio” leg.
            One of those sets looks similar to the one we had in our motor home. Two placed strategically sounds sensible. Thanks for your help and good wishes.

        • veutoviper

          Forgot driving. I think you are not supposed to drive for six weeks (?) afterwards – could affect your insurance. May pay to check that. Because I am on my own I drove (whispers) 6 days after my op. (Ssssshhhh).

          • patricia bremner

            Yes Shhhhh!! Hope for the spinal. They will decide on the day because of my scoliosis. I’m hopeful.

      • patricia bremner 7.4.4

        You always do helpful informative write ups Cheers.

  7. Ad 8

    anyone hear read “Why Nations Fail” by Acemoglu and Robinson?

    its my holiday reading.

    • Dennis Frank 8.1

      I haven’t, but looks interesting. Their thesis is non-contraversial, and widely-known already, I suspect – but probably worth elaborating on:

      “Acemoglu and Robinson’s major thesis is that economic prosperity depends above all on the inclusiveness of economic and political institutions. Institutions are “inclusive” when many people have a say in political decision-making, as opposed to cases where a small group of people control political institutions and are unwilling to change. They argue that a functioning democratic and pluralistic state guarantees the rule of law. The authors also argue that inclusive institutions promote economic prosperity because they provide an incentive structure that allows talents and creative ideas to be rewarded.”

  8. SaveNZ 9

    This is a great video that is highlighting the housing building going on in Auckland that does not seem to show a shortage of houses or land.

    What is also interesting is that Auckland council and Auckland Transport has learnt nothing, there are no cycle lanes on the housing estates and there is an air of1950’s style of living (aka 70 years out of date planning) with everyone getting out by car. Sadly with only 1 lane roads and no public transport around some of the new housing estates, not only will it be a nightmare living in many of these estates it will impact also ALL the traffic flows of the entire region!

    There are also no parks or places for kids to play in many of them. It’s as bad as Albany but they at least the planners or developers learnt to put in the footpaths this time. Maybe in another 70 years Auckland council might work out that they need to plan for how thousands people get around when there is only 1 road in and out? Of Course the best and brightest will have left the country by then as the low wages, poorly thought out living and commute times will have repelled them away.

    Why were the developers not expected to put in cycle lanes or parks with large developments?

    These housing estates are a scam where a lot of the time the costs both financial and social will fall back on the ratepayers and existing residents of Auckland, and the existing issues of improving pollution and transport links to EXISTING housing estates should be the priority for ratepayers money, NOT making the existing problems worse and ratepayers money (and council debt) helping developers make more profits on speculative million dollar housing estates that increasingly workers can’t afford to rent or buy.

    • Sacha 9.1

      “Why were the developers not expected to put in cycle lanes or parks with large developments?”

      Because the government they supported changed the regulations in their favour. The harm lasts decades. West Auckland suburb Massey is a classic example.

      • SaveNZ 9.1.1

        @ Sacha, That is completely true, but I don’t seem to remember a lot of dissent from the left, or Auckland council, during the unitary plan pointing this out, instead they concentrated like the Natz on denigrating ‘NIMBYISM’ as a reason to push it through.

        Most of the poverty groups were so stupid they were largely in agreement with the Natz for the unitary plan , NOT against them just like the MSM and left blog sites. Never saw the Green Party protesting against the unity plan, nor Labour or anyone of significance pointing out the obvious flaws in the many media debates there were – nope it was build, build, build, and ignore everything else, and if you look at Kiwibuy it is the same concept.

        The houses being built for Kiwibuy are not affordable for the bottom 35% and not helping the bottom 35% out, instead they are making it worse and they are taking away resources from existing ratepayers for transport opportunities and pollution upgrades for existing housing and workers needing it NOW.

        The existing houses should have the priorities because they are the workers already needing the services and paying for them! Not have the money hijacked by developers and in particular developments pictured that are making it worse for everybody else aka the housing around Huapai.

        Instead of blaming National and others they need to take a good hard look at their owned flawed policy on the subject.

        In many cases there are already cheap options like the rail network at Kumeu. But there is no plan to open the trains there to the public because they can’t be bothered solving the issues.

        Instead of solving the issues for that existing train track they are instead doing nothing in the short term and expecting those people to teleport to the train station in west Auckland being built in the next decade…. pathetic reasoning when there is already a train line close by from Helensville that used to operate.

        That is why nobody trusts the council anymore or the transport agencies they are stupid and corrupt. The jailed ones are just the tip of the iceberg…

        • Sacha

          Council’s unitary plan does not override govt-level policy about developer contributions.

          No point in activists lobbying councils over that or any other central govt policy. That’s the mistake the late Ms Bright made for so long.

          • SaveNZ

            So your point is that it is Auckland city councils fault? Makes sense to me!

            If the developer paid the correct contributions for their developments why is there billions outstanding to be paid? Clearly someone can’t work out the numbers when they set the contributions, or the council has misspent the contributions.

            Since apparently half of the rates going to council is spent on their own wages then something is clearly going wrong somewhere.

            And clearly the developers are doing deals getting out of paying for the infrastructure…

            BTW – Owners of 9,000 new homes north of Auckland will pay an “infrastructure fee” to advance the displacement of roads and water works in development.


            So the developers are passing the development costs to the new owners in effect putting up the price of houses and securing more risk for the ratepayers and future owners while making sure the big developers pay less and keep more profits…

            Gosh I thought all that new housing was supposed to make housing more affordable not more expensive! sarcasm. Instead the new idea is to rip them off with 30 years of extra charges on top of their rates.

            Still government has not worked out how much lost productivity there is by allowing so many extra housing estates to go ahead when it is already difficult to get around Auckland with the massive congestion and slow moving, expensive, unreliable and pathetic public transport and what is going to happen when working people refuse to live in the estates and Auckland is filled up with retiree’s and people who qualify for low income rates relief (on paper) or the developers start going bust or like leaky building, they need remedial work and nobody wants to live there.

            • Sacha

              “So your point is that it is Auckland city councils fault?”

              How on earth do you get that?

              “Owners of 9,000 new homes north of Auckland will pay an “infrastructure fee” to advance the displacement of roads and water works in development.”

              That’s the new govt’s policy to fix the problem. But again you are mis-reading what it does. Maybe take a break and try again later with a cooler head.

            • Herodotus

              The infrastructure that is being paid for is to get/receive or take stormwater, wastewater, power, gas roading to the development. Developers cannot construct infrastructure outside their land ownership, they pay contributions to enable this. Unfortunately Watercare, AC etc has no money to pay for this, but still receive infrastructure payments.
              Watercare is spending up large to fix existing problems e.g sewage being pumped into our waterways/beaches. And to allow for intensified CBD with all these new apartments. Pity we load the sewage system now, and the fix will be effective in the future
              And to address the Auckland sprawl, how about keeping election promises regarding reducing immigration ?? 😤

              • David Mac

                Auckland is lovely, around every corner is a water view. The problem with so many water views is that building land is scarce. Strips of dirt between bodies of water.

                Immigration or not, I think the best way to release steam from the Auckland pressure cooker is to enhance peoples’ desire to live elsewhere. I think loading up a politician’s pockets and sending them off to stimulate the provinces was a great idea…I’m a bit worried about the execution. Shane has enough money to make a difference. Enough to get a ‘C’mon over here man, I’m getting $900 a week’, grapevine buzzing.

                Housing is as much of an issue as it is in Auckland in the provinces. But they’re there, they’re usually expensive by Whangarei/Napier/Kaikohe standards but bargains if in Aux.

                I don’t think our government should be telling us where to live but they could be seeding some good reasons not to choose Auckland.

    • Tricledrown 12.1

      Jenny It wasn’t just Nazi’s who believed that either kibbutz’s the Church’s.

  9. Bruce 13

    Interesting insight into the shenanagins not often seen in the Land of Smiles.

    • One Two 13.1

      Who owns the economist , Bruce?

      Do you understand how the people of Thailand feel about their monarchy?

      Are you trying to say, that the people of Thailand should be concerned about their monarchy?

      What historical basis would you have for believing as such?

      Do those you associate with there oppose the monarchy?

      I’ve taken some liberties in reading through your intentions, by posting the economist link, and those links and comments previously made regarding Thailand…

      Oh, and that propaganda site you linked to…the site that lists Thaksin Shinawatra as a political prisoner…openly berates the monarchy…referring to them as ‘useless’…among other things…

      When +/- 95% of all Thais, regardless of their religion, politics or status…love their monarchy…

      The Thai monarchy is not the parasite UK.or Euro monarchy, Bruce…

      • Ed 13.1.1

        To help Bruce…

        “Owner. Cadbury, Rothschild, Schroder, Layton and Agnelli families.”

        They sound like a bunch of lefties!!!

        • One Two

          Thanks Ed…good to see you back

          Bruce has been posting, what I initially thought was well meaning, yet misinformed comments and links about Thailand…

          Bruce has indicated he may either live or frequently visit Thailand, or perhaps somewhere else in SE Asia…

          Thing is, in recent times I’ve been responding to the postings Bruce has made, especially the previous link he posted last week and now this one…you can look it up…

          I believe that Bruce means well…but he is clearly parroting the wests agenda against Thailand…
 I have questioned him and called him out…

          Let’s see what excuses and deflections he comes up with this week…

          • Ed

            We have a few here who the post the neocon West’s agenda.
            There appears a constant need to be providing pushback against lies about Syria, Ukraine, Libya and Venezuela as well.
            At some stage sections of the ‘liberal’ left got captured by the Blairite/Clinton interventionist policies.

            • One Two

              Yes, and those few are easy to spot.

              Bruce, is not part of that group, so far as I can tell.

              I still believe he is misinformed, however there are no excuses for remaining so…despite his statements last week around censorship…

              There are also not many possibilities, why he would claim to be commenting in good faith from his experiences and contacts in Thailand, yet continually parrot a negative narrative about the Thai monarchy which is incorrect and untrue…

              As I’ve said to Bruce…there are long standing and historical reasons why the Thai monarchy has close to 100% support of Thai people…it seems he is ignorant of the basic historical contexts…

              If nations have a monarchy, then the Thai model would be a good example of how to actively contribute to nation building….

              They have bee the opposite of the polarising Uk and Euro parastitical monarchy’s…

              • Bruce

                No again the propaganda got you , I was impressed to see how the last bit of toothpaste was squeezed from the tube, the suffiency economy ; but then wondered about the cost of handmaking the one of a kind special tube. His mothers house at Doi Tung however is a thing of beauty not one tree was cut to build and its lined with old packing crates and pallets, a beautiful garden where Arka once grew opium, and her book Busy Hands, is worth the read. I am quite a fan of the sister and shared the same aspiration of many that she would be the one to follow on.

                • One Two

                  Which propaganda, got me, in your opinion, Bruce ?

                  You understand why ‘the sister’ could not have ‘followed on’ from Rama 9 , right ?

                  So as to be clear, which sister are you referring to? (note, it does not impact the reason why ‘the sister’ could not ‘follow on’)

                  Do you know who the highest ‘titled’ member of the Thai monarchy is, Bruce ?

                  If you would like a hint, or some help…let me know…

            • Bruce

              If the neocon west is using this guy to further their agenda we got nothing to worry about. His interests are for one goal only. Just Google and get some background on the removal of the monument and 1932 plate, if your interests and where he wants to take us align I give up all hope.
              For the planet’s sake his ideas are unique, otherwise buy shares in the knee pad factory because that what you’ll need .

      • Bruce 13.1.2

        Yes I do know how many of the people feel about the monarchy, it’s not at topic of open conversation but people are aware. You may feel the same warmth has passed from the old to the new but this is not the case.
        People are not concerned they get on with life as they always have, the guys they pulled from the Mea Kong with bellies full of concrete had concerns by they have passed.
        I feel you may be the victim of propaganda, the thing about finding out is to look at many sources,find the themes that concur and run with these.
        I guess you stand with the watchman, he has no convictions, but the stories of bomb detectors, overpriced helicopters and submarines for a shallow gulf may explain the us million dollars of accesories on a $50,000 a year sallary.
        Again I don’t think the general population knows it’s tax dollars are spent flying circles in the sky over Europe.
        It’s just that from a position of white man privilege I believe all men are equal and deserve the same opportunities not to be considered as dust beneath ones feet.
        Again if you want to get the kids opinion look for ‘rap against dictatorship’ on u tube. It has subtitles and Google some of the references may help to open your eyes.
        Too see the hero in action try birthday party, the country and his previous position.

        • One Two

          Bruce, as per my previous comments to you…I deliberately did not respond to your comment I read last week, because there were too many fallacies to address….

          You may feel the same warmth has passed from the old to the new but this is not the case

          No, I am acutely aware of what the prevailing concerns were towards Vajiralongkorn the son of Rama 9, and the angst which was felt as Rama 9 aged, knowing that his passing would come one day… But those concerns have been put aside in the last couple of years, as Thais have come to believe that Vajiralongkorn intends to follow where is father left off….as best as he can….

          People are not concerned they get on with life as they always have, the guys they pulled from the Mea Kong with bellies full of concrete had concerns by they have passed

          Yes they get on with life, as they always have and always will….Did you know ‘those guys in the river’ well, Bruce ?

          I feel you may be the victim of propaganda,

          Incorrect, projection…

          the thing about finding out is to look at many sources,find the themes that concur and run with these.

          Is that how ‘finding out’ is done, is it, Bruce ?

          Last week you claimed to read various sources…but complained about censorship when I questioned the propaganda sites you have been linking to…

          Which is it, Bruce ? Do read widely, or are you censored from reading sites that support your bias ? Can’t have it both ways, can you …..The comments and links you put up tell me that, not only is your reading scope narrow, but that you clearly have a bias which will prevent you from ‘finding out’ anything which does not fit your clear bias….

          I guess you stand with the watchman, he has no convictions, but the stories of bomb detectors, overpriced helicopters and submarines for a shallow gulf may explain the us million dollars of accesories on a $50,000 a year sallary.
          Again I don’t think the general population knows it’s tax dollars are spent flying circles in the sky over Europe.

          Who is the watchman ? Is that a derogatory name you learned from elsewhere or did you come up with it yourself ?

          Are you seriously pointing fingers, Bruce ? I’ve already highlighted to you what the politicians have done to Thailand leading to criminal convictions for fraud and corruption….now they live in exile….yes it goes back farther than that, but as you seem to have a short term, imbalanced view of the current government and soon to be Rama 10, I am keeping it to the last 20 years when talking about how ‘tax dollars’ are spent….

          I stand with the people of Thailand….those who are not interested in taking the country back towards civil war….again…, and those who are not set on being the western paid for and sponsored actors…guests in sovereign nation…those convicted criminals whose sponsors are displeased that Thailand is turning away from ‘The West’….

          It’s just that from a position of white man privilege I believe all men are equal and deserve the same opportunities not to be considered as dust beneath ones feet.

          Leaving aside your issue of skin colour/ sex , I would agree with you on equality….perhaps if you understood some of the history of the Thai Monarchy going back many hundreds of years, to even before there was the Thai Monarchy, you might understand why your comments and links appear to me as propaganda…

          Again if you want to get the kids opinion look for ‘rap against dictatorship’ on u tube. It has subtitles and Google some of the references may help to open your eyes.
          Too see the hero in action try birthday party, the country and his previous position

          No, thanks I do not want or need ‘the kids opinions’. I have access to serious historical information and teachings….

          Your links have been uninformed and highly dubious, so I have no intention of searching anything you suggest…

          If you are genuinely in support of ‘Thai people’ and Thailand, then you should uplift your level of understanding of Thai history and politics….

          Currently your comments, links and perspective indicate you are severely lacking….and as such you are letting down the very people you claim to stand with!

          • Bruce

            Thanks for that, I come for a Mon festival the people before the Tai and have read a bit about what happened to them.
            I will however stick with the kids, it is as they say their country and they are it’s future.
            I struggle daily understanding Thai culture and politics, this morning , I took 3 dozen plastic bottled of water and 3 bottles of palm oil to a man in a robe who tied a piece of string on my wrist that will bring me good fortune, gives me much to think about. I guess I must bow to your superior wisdom and strive to better myself and achieve the level of understanding you have.

            • One Two

              Understanding also comes, from what we do not know….and seeking to find methods which build on what we do know…and then continuing to be open to changing our views and opinions along the journey….

              I am fortunate to have access to a Thai historical scholar, who is always pleased to share knowledge and wisdom…I, just like you, am a journeyman….

              Why do you struggle with Thai culture, and what about that culture is it that perplexes you ?

              The story you tell sounds like you might be against Thailand’s largest religion, as well as the current government, the military and the monarchy….

              Was it a (genuine) monk ? If so, which temple/district were you at ?

              You realise that the ‘offerings’ are shared with other people right ?

              You understand that someone can walk into a temple to seek refuge and sustenance at any time, and quench their thirst from a bottle of water which you gave…

              Give from the heart, Bruce…if you are confused about aspects of an ancient country, and its ancient peoples for which you are a guest, then just be pleased that you are able to be there….

              • Bruce

                I understand the giving and the sharing but in the background there is a greater concern and that is for the survival of the planet, I try to avoid using plastic and certainly do not partake willingly in palm oil.
                In March the sun will disappear behind a haze that won’t clear till the rains come in June this worries me . I feel as a part of my purpose that I try to change this for all our sakes but as you point out it’s been this way for milenia and who am i to try to change it.

                • One Two

                  It is a conundrum, with hooks and traps…

                  We need to participate in this world, but that participation comes with multi tiered impacts…

                  Do what feels right, Bruce…do what you can, don’t carry guilt as it serves no purpose…

                  I see comments that climate change is the ‘biggest issue’ humanity faces…but I do not agree…

                  The ‘biggest issue’ IMO is the lies, deceit, misdirection and information black outs…every one of us is making decisions from varying degrees of inaccurate data….that is a root cause problem…at least in the so called developed nations populations who are paying any attention…

                  We are all living in a lie…

                  The planet will be ok, Bruce…it is part of a system which far exceeds the influence of our species…

                  • Bruce

                    You like George Carlin too , the planet will be ok is a great rant.

                    • One Two

                      That comedy and comedians have become one of the final bastians for expression of ‘truth’, illustrates the depths of where the ‘lies’ have lead us to…

                      Carlins rants, are indeed…great.

                    • Ed

                      George Carlin was a legend.
                      A brilliant political comedian with so much to say.

  10. joe90 14

    New Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has the wingnuts a blather.

  11. Morrissey 15

    Not so bright Lebanese “student” schooled by George Galloway

    Oxford University’s reputation is steadily declining. The catastrophically hopeless ex-ACT leader Jamie (“Lock Up His Sister”) Whyte is or was on the faculty—teaching philosophy, for pity’s sake! And it’s full of dimwits like this foolish, ignorant kid….

    • Ed 15.1

      Galloway is a genius.
      I recommend you listen to his show every Saturday morning (Friday evening UK time). It is the ‘University of the airwaves.’

      Some of his wisdom.

      “Now it’s well known to regular listeners I’m a follower not of Marx not of Lenin, but of Aristotle.
      Aristotle’s view that the richest should be no more than three times richer than the poorest for the perfect equilibrium in society is something I support..”

    • Jamie Whyte has offered many highly-objectionable philosophical viewpoints (eg, his view that external enforcement of safety in the workplace is unnecessary because unsafe workplaces would find it difficult to hire staff). And yet, given that range of genuinely objectionable views to choose from, you go with a cheap misrepresentation (a lie, to be blunt) about his unremarkable view that incest shouldn’t be a matter for the criminal justice system.

      • Morrissey 15.2.1

        That was his problem. Most non-ACT voters—i.e., nearly everyone—thinks incest is beyond the realm of decency. Not Jamie Whyte, though. To add fuel to his self-immolation, he was dumb enough to defiantly insist he’d said nothing wrong. And then he backed down a bit….

        His ramblings about incest were probably the LEAST objectionable “plank” of his raft of lightly thought out policies.

        • Psycho Milt

          In your linked article, Whyte says:

          “I don’t think the state should intervene in consensual adult sex or marriage, but there are two very important elements here – consensual and adult”.

          Can you outline for us what exactly is wrong with that statement?

          • Morrissey

            Just the fact he was stupid enough to think he could say it. Of all the issues in the world he could have been focusing on—for instance, he could have stood up for Nicky Hager and John Stephenson, who were both being persecuted by Key and his cronies—he chose incest as his point of difference.

            If there was a stupider leader of any party in this country in the last one hundred years, I’d be surprised.

            • Psycho Milt

              Of all the issues in the world he could have been focusing on … he chose incest as his point of difference.

              Focused on? Chose as his point of difference? Try paying attention to what you’re reading – journalists put a lot of effort into combing through Whyte’s previous writings for something that might wrong-foot him in an interview, and found that one. He didn’t “choose” to “focus” on it any more than Corbyn “chose” to “focus” on which cemeteries he’s attended in his lifetime.

              • Morrissey

                There were plenty of issues where Whyte was not merely wrong-footed, but nonplussed and completely out of his depth. He was particularly ignorant about the Treaty of Waitangi, and disdainfully told one interviewer he had no knowledge or interest in New Zealand history.

                And mentioning a serious, intelligent politician like Jeremy Corbyn in the same breath as Jamie Whyte is hardly appropriate.

                • Well, duh. I’m not disputing that Whyte held many objectionable opinions, just pointing out that there’s no need for you to lie about him.

                • David Mac

                  I think you’re playing the man and not the ball Morrissey. This over vented misconception about Jamie being hunky dory with kiddie fiddling says more about you than him.

                  Play the ball man. Jamie figures we are all in control of our own destinies. As any of us that have played the game of life can attest, sometimes buses splinter legs….Jamie’s way encounters a bit of a problem.

                  Drop the pedo shite and pitch a decent argument Morrissey. You have a great mind wasted on windmill tilting.

  12. Ed 16

    Climate crises and catastrophe is the most serious issue facing the world right now.

    Each day I am making a recommendation which would radically change New Zealand’s approach. Yesterday I proposed all public transport free in February.

    Idea 2.
    Make the left lanes of all motorways and dual carriageways in New Zealand’s cities only available to public transport, starting in February.

    Let’s apply pressure to our politicians to make these changes.

    • Jenny - How to get there? 16.1

      Let’s do this.

      Let’s begin with the Auckland Harbour Bridge and extend the Busway from where it currently stops at Onewa Road right across the Bridge.

      And make it fare free. People would abandon their cars in droves.

      They would be crazy not to.

      No traffic jams, no parking hassles and expense, no fiddling with change or tickets, riding across the bridge in comfort and looking at the fantastic view, (instead of the car in front’s bumper), tired of the view, hook onto the bus’s WiFi, read the news, send an email watch a funny video on You Tube. Step off the bus in Queen Street and straight into your office. Or if you work further afield, at the Britomart Station to continue your journey.

      And did I say fare free. People love free stuff!

  13. Muttonbird 17

    Apologies if a repost, but here’s an interesting read, one of the many political round-ups of 2018. Graham Adams writes:

    We discovered that farmers — who only last year were calling Jacinda Ardern a “pretty communist” while vocally resisting a water tax — are apparently happy to allow the state to take most of the financial responsibility for the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis that looked as if it might decimate their livelihoods.In May, the Government announced it would pay 68 per cent of the estimated $870 million the eradication effort would cost. The balance will be split — after much wrangling — between dairy and beef farmers.

    Yeah, not sure why we are footing the lion’s share of the bill for this. I believe dairy and beef farmers should pay the consequences for their own poor attitude to animal tracing themselves. Massive corporate welfare – it stinks.

    Journalists periodically try to interview (Dr Jian Yang) the National list MP but he refuses to speak to the English-language media. When TVNZ’s John Campbell went to his office in November with a camera crew, he was told Dr Yang wouldn’t be coming out to talk to him. Campbell has been trying to interview him for more than a year. Other journalists have also tried and failed to organise a chat with the elusive MP. You might think that a parliamentary representative refusing to speak to the media is remarkable to the point of being outrageous. You might also think — whether in amazement or despair — “Only in New Zealand!”

    Wow! I did not know this. Why are we paying this clown $200K when he refuses to be accountable to the people paying him?

    The most prominent stirrer of the year has been Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross. But despite the fact he has given us valuable insights into how Chinese money may be corrupting our politics and how political donations can be disguised to hide their source, he is never referred to by the media as a whistleblower. Journalists prefer to label him as a “rogue MP”, or even as a “feral MP”.

    Yep. Jami-Lee Ross is a whistleblower, a guy who found himself on his Road to Damascus. But the media framed him as feral and rogue from the beginning instead. Adams suggests this is because they have so much to lose if the many other indiscretions around parliament were to be exposed. I tend to agree.

    • To be fair, he probably is highly accountable to his party, the CCP.

      • Ed 17.1.1

        And his place on National’s list, according to Ross and Bridges, only cost the Chinese Communist Party $100,000.

    • joe90 17.2

      Yeah, not sure why we are footing the lions share of the bill for this.

      M Bovis is primarily a disease of production and in my burg and surrounds, the thousands of families who depend on that production for their livelihoods will bear the brunt of the economic losses.

      • greywarshark 17.2.1

        I lifted this from the Graham Adams piece Muttonbird linked to and particularly like his choice of wording, so apt, so cutting, so derisive, so true.

        In October, DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel thanked the public and government for their support in the eradication effort — as he should. His organisation can be grateful no one was impolite enough to ask the rugged, self-reliant individualists of the land why they have not campaigned publicly to be allowed to foot the entire bill themselves.

        In fact, who could have guessed there would so many communists down on the farm with their hands out for taxpayers’ money? Especially given that dealing with the crisis has been complicated by many farmers not having complied with the animal tracing scheme, which raises questions of “personal responsibility” dear to conservatives.

  14. Pat 18

    Guilty as charged. The charge?…abdication of responsibility.

    “There’s been much talk of cracks and crackdowns after the Opal Tower fiasco forced Olympic Park residents of new apartments to spend Christmas in their cars. But what was really cracking from side-to-side was the smooth face of neoliberalism, revealing the ugly lie that good governance can be contracted out.”

    You can fool all of the people some of the time….

    • Morrissey 19.1

      Ann Coulter, scourge of the rich!


      Has there been some disastrous realignment of the planets or something?

    • Jenny - How to get there? 19.2

      It starts with Cortez talking about climate change. And how to beat it.

      When the interviewer interrupts in a querulous rising tone and asks: “This would require, raising taxes?”

      Cortez replies, “There is an element, where, yeah, people are going to have to pay their fair share……”

      Cue, shock, horror.

      But let’s put this in context with the crisis we are in.
      In the war against fascism we had to draft capital as well as manpower. To fund this country’s war effort, taxes on the top earners in New Zealand went up to 90%.

      And New Zealand was not the only country to do this. Japan’s very top tax rate was set at 90% for several decades after the war, to help pay for reconstruction of their war ravaged country.

      Cortez must be of the same opinion as myself, that climate change is an existential threat, greater even than that posed by fascism, requiring a similar expenditure of national treasure, and national effort to beat it.

      Uncomfortable as it may be to some people, Cortez is right, we will need to draft capital as well as labour if we are to win the fight against climate change.

      The real shock horror, is that some people don’t think the effort is worth it.

      • Jenny - How to get there? 19.2.1

        THE TRUTH ABOUT TAXES: Here’s How High Today’s Rates Really Are
        Business Insider

        Today’s income tax rates are strikingly low relative to the rates of the past century, especially for rich people.
        For most of the century, including some boom times, top-bracket income tax rates were much higher than they are today.

        Contrary to what Republicans would have you believe, super-high tax rates on rich people do not appear to hurt the economy or make people lazy: During the 1950s and early 1960s, the top bracket income tax rate was over 90%–and the economy, middle-class, and stock market boomed.

        Super-low tax rates on rich people also appear to be correlated with unsustainable sugar highs in the economy–brief, enjoyable booms followed by protracted busts. They also appear to be correlated with very high inequality. (For example, see the 1920s and now).

    • millsy 19.3

      Coulter’s alright to look at, but a nutter. She supported Bush’s wars and then turn rounds and rips Trump up for air striking Syria.

  15. gsays 20

    All this korero over Andre looking to wInd folk up.

    I have just plucked my copy of ‘Grasp the nettle’ by Peter Procter off the shelf for a re read. It’s a great read as an introduction to bio-dynamics.
    A discipline that is part science, part esoteric.

    Rather than frantically letting the GEnie out of the bottle, a generation after our competitors have, we should be pursuing an alternative.
    Organic as a minimum, bio-dynamics ideally.

  16. Jenny - How to get there? 21


  17. marty mars 22

    If we don’t know about them we can’t fix or mitigate the effects of them.

    Contaminated site numbers have risen slightly in Otago in the last decade.
    However, the Otago Regional Council says the number changes constantly as they are discovered and remediated.

    As of November 2018, there were 37 contaminated sites covering 72ha in the region.

    This is up from 33 sites in 2009, but down from 174 over 484ha when the register was created in 1997.

    Council senior environmental officer Simon Beardmore said it was important to note the number of sites at any given time was only a “snapshot”.

    “The number of contaminated sites increases as new sites are identified through investigation, and decreases as these sites are remediated or managed to make them safe for human health or the environment.

    “This fluctuation can make it difficult to use the number of contaminated sites as an indicator of policy or plan effectiveness across the region.”

    He acknowledged there would be “many more” contaminated sites it was not aware of.

    The list includes elevated levels of arsenic found at the former Oderings Nursery in Belleknowes and part of the Wyuna Subdivision in Glenorchy, as well as lead contamination on three properties at the top of Selwyn St in Northeast Valley.

    Of Otago’s 37 contaminated sites, 20 were identified within the past two years.

    • Exkiwiforces 22.1

      Did the article on the Otago lakes from a couple of days ago?

    • WeTheBleeple 22.2

      300 000 contaminated sites in the UK alone. Approx 1 million per acre to clean them up (not a good job, by any means).

      The articles figures are of critical sites – fudged numbers. Dig deeper, most farms in the country approach a threshold for cadmium. We’re in it up to our necks.

  18. Jum 23

    Will someone pass on to somebody in America just how stupid their government processes are, when the only people hurting because of the bastards making bad and mad policy, are the workers, that get no say in government there, that don’t get to work because there is no pay for them?

  19. David Mac 24

    I’ve been thinking about the Nga Puhi Treaty settlement.

    They are by far our largest Iwi and incorporate a number of sub-tribes. Just as the tradewinds blew Tasman and Cook into Northland, it is where our first people settled.

    In my role as interested bystander, it seems to me that the major stumbling block between a settlement by March or continued negotiations is a sense of harmony, balance and respect between the many hapu that stand under the Nga Puhi flag.

    I hope that 2019 will be the year that the many diverse yet connected cultures of the early Far North can embrace and say “Yes.” They could look to their youth and offer a bright 20/20 future

  20. marty mars 25

    Far right aussies – what are they good for? Absolutely nothing – say it again!

    … Tensions reached boiling point at St Kilda beach in Melbourne as hundreds of far-right wing extremists and anti-racism campaigners faced off in a screaming match and minor scuffles broke out.

    Scores of police including some with riot shields and on horseback were on hand to keep the groups apart. A police boat kept watch from the water and two helicopters circled overhead.

    Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson, the organisers of the far-right rally, said they had called it in order to “discuss” Melbourne’s youth crime and alleged African gang problems…

    … Cottrell and Erikson were convicted and fined by magistrates in 2017 for inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims by making a video in which they beheaded a dummy with a toy sword in a protest against the building of the Bendigo mosque.

    • David Mac 25.1

      We’re all just looking for an opportunity, a chance.

      When opportunities and chances get shut down, we get angry and commit crime.

      Given how long we’ve been at this civilisation gig, we perform like amateurs.

      • marty mars 25.1.1

        It would be nice to think that with all the shit we are facing as people and as a species that we could put the bullshit behind us and just get on with living. But that is not how standyup apes roll apparently.

  21. Eco Maori 26

    Kia ora R&R Housing is out of reach for most Maori and this problem was /is quite pridictable unless we ban foreign buyer everyone except the ultra weathy will all become renters as the billionaire push the price of property out of reach for 99.0% of tangata. If we just lease land to them that will keep the balance as the leases will keep propterty in reach of tangata whenua . Ka kite ano P.S Let the wealthy come and stay but no land sales and no pouring money into political lobbying The captilaist system is all desined around prices incressing if prices don’t incress it colapses quite logical

  22. Eco Maori 27

    Eco Maori video

  23. Eco Maori 28

    The people of the world will have to keep heaps of pressure on Bolsonaro so he knows that we don’t think its ok to clear cut tropical forest in the year 2019 as we know now that will be burning the mokopunas future. He need,s the rest of the world to buy Brazil’s exports if he does start slash and burn we should stop investing in Brazil and stop buying there EXPORTS .
    Why Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro has environmentalists worried for the Amazon

    (CNN)The Amazon rainforest is an ecological wonder. Its waterways and canopy provide a rich ecosystem for a 10th of all the world’s species and help regulate the temperature of the entire planet. But the election of far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s new president has many worried about the forest’s future.
    Most of the Amazon forest is in Brazil and 20% of it has been lost to deforestation since the 1970s, an area bigger than France.
    When trees are cut down, the carbon stored inside them is released into the atmosphere. The remaining forest also absorbs less carbon dioxide. That means the health of the Amazon has a direct effect on global warming

    The forest is being cut down to make way for activities like cattle ranching, soy bean farming, mining, hydropower dams and new highways.
    Deforestation fell dramatically between 2004 and 2012, but in recent years it has been increasing, and the powerful agricultural lobby in the Brazilian congress is pushing for more development of the forest. It endorsed Bolsonaro during his election campaign

    Ka kite ano links below

  24. Eco Maori 29

    This is the type of person we don’t want to push up the cost of living pushing property prices out of reach of Kiwis and lobbeing goverments to make laws to suit this 00.1% m8 . Kiwis will become tennents in there own country WTF.

    That report from officials highlighted his connection to ministers, especially Key. Thiel wasn’t just giving a talk at Auckland University that June, he was “presenting at a conference in Auckland in July (along with the Prime Minister)”. Thiel didn’t just donate $1m to the Christchurch earthquake recovery, he made a donation “facilitated by Mark Weldon, chief executive of NZX, on behalf of the Prime Minister”. English confirmed a May 2010 meeting, but said no records of what was discussed existed. Official Information Act requests to the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the meeting with Key were not answered — but the then-Prime Minister told Parliament in 2013 he’d met Thiel on “a few occasions” and described the relationship as “cordial”Thiel came on heavy in the two years ahead of his audacious and ultimately successful bid for citizenship in 2011. He visited the country three times during the period in a whirlwind of lobbying, business deals and public relations.
    He met no fewer than four senior members of the Cabinet — including the Prime Minister — to present his case for turbocharging New Zealand’s tech industry, arranged his first business investment (five years after first being granted an investment visa), started buying real estate, and gave his first and, so far, only interview with New Zealand media.
    The formal part of his bold quest saw his lawyers Bell Gully travel from Auckland to Wellington in late 2010 to hand-deliver a letter from Thiel to the Minister of Internal Affairs with his truly exceptional request Ka kite ano links below The 00.1 % DON’T get it the more money put in to poor peoples/countrys pocktets the more money they can make and the better the system is less money spent on health crime fighting a lot of positive from distrubuting OUR WORLDS MONEY EVENLY quite simple maths equation there . The big picture is the 00.1% don’t want the 99.9 % to become impowered as when they get court cheating the will get jail.

  25. eco maori 30

    Here is one way to solve 2 problems some plastic waste and new roads we have heaps of plastic waste and we need more roads

    An Engineer Has Found a Way to Create Plastic Roads
    And it will significantly decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
    Karla LantApril 26th 2017
    Engineer Toby McCartney wants to use recycled plastic instead of oil to repair some of the world’s 40 million kilometers (24.8 million miles) of road. The idea would solve more than one problem: poor road quality, the continued use of fossil fuels, and the waste plastic epidemic. His Scottish start-up, plastic epidemic. His Scottish start-up, MacRebur, mixes waste plastic into asphalt to create roads that last longer and are less prone to getting potholes.

    McCartney’s mix replaces most of the bitumen, a material extracted from oil, that is used as a binding agent in normal roads with plastic pellets. The pellets are made from waste that is destined for landfills, such as the polyethylene that is used in packaging. The plastic waste pellets are then mixed with the usual rocks and a small amount of bitumen at the asphalt plant. The process is exactly the same, no plants don’t need any new equipment.
    McCartney has already persuaded two English councils to start using their local waste plastics to build their roads this way. He says these roads are cheaper to make and last longer than conventional roads, and if he’s right, he may be putting us on the road to a cleaner planet.

    Ka kite ano links below

  26. eco maori 32

    Kia ora Newshub everyone is massing at Tangaroa and the Awa its quite easy to get into trouble be careful tangata.
    Space junk falling back to Papatuanuku is quite a sight that we will be hearing more about as some of the satellites come to there use by dates. Thats a cool new find Australian scientist have found a way to stop skin cancer in its tracks by gene therapy .
    Antarctic exploring questions on antarctic has started a great race there by alot of Nations for resorces as well . I seen a enviromentaly freindly person talking about not wanting to give up his Chilain sea basfish and chips that is also antarctic tooth fish that is getting hammered by the worlds fishing nations they need to be protected. The Orange roughy fisheries only lasted 20 years than it collapse.
    Thats cool wahine are getting support to get into the jim as its a man domanated seen all the support wahine get is a good thing with the way the world is at the minute.
    I see Aquaman is breaking more records cool with so many Pacific Islanders in the Move & the Directed is Chinese they use a lot of CGI compter to make the move to cool. Ka kite ano

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    24 hours ago
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  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    1 day ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    2 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    5 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    5 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    5 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    5 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    6 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    7 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    7 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    1 week ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    1 week ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    2 weeks ago

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