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Open mike 06/05/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 6th, 2022 - 97 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

97 comments on “Open mike 06/05/2022 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Establishment political analysts, posturing as anti-establishment, become the victims of their innate perceptual inadequacies. Poor old Chomsky, seemingly incapable of figuring out what's going on…

    Chomsky’s approach has the effect of relativizing the regime’s crimes, which account for 90% of the victims and destruction. It seems that if the U.S. cannot be blamed for these crimes, then they are not very important.



    Just goes to show how one's mental frame, often formed in an earlier era of history, continues to be deployed despite the world changing and making it distort one's view.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Professor of Media Studies examines the current state of the media/politics interface:

    A healthy media ecosystem must include national public-funded media independent of the government of the day. These are found in most liberal democracies, but they have been undercut by digital disruption as well as politicians and business people unhappy with these organisations’ autonomy. https://360info.org/outnumbered-and-outgunned-public-interest-journalism-losing-to-identity-politics/

    He observes that "Media systems have no answer for toxic polarisation." The key point is in the sub-text: public media is holistic by definition, private media is dualistic by definition. Media creates a triad. It functions as a medial conduit between the whole (body politic) and the parts (citizens). This three-in-one framing is metaphysics. You'll recall a similar triad that shaped the course of western civilisation: the christian trinity. Aristotle defined metaphysics as being beyond physics but it helps to interpret beyond as deeper.

    Overall, it is fair to say that the digital revolution has helped make media more plural, participatory and protest-friendly. But its contribution to tolerant, diverse publics appears negligible or even negative. This is contrary to hopes two decades ago that the internet would help form a “digital public sphere” far more democratic and inclusive than pre-digital society. The 15 minutes of fame that digital media dishes out to people previously known as the audience does not necessarily add up to a national, let alone global, conversation that cuts across social and ideological divides. This is a problem because democracy is a highly demanding way to organise public life, requiring not only the freedom to speak but also a commitment to listen and to respect others’ equal rights even when consensus is elusive. But instead of enlarging common spaces for democratic deliberation, the global trend is towards political polarisation, according to the newly released annual report of the Sweden-based Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project.


    This is a co-design challenge. Media co-design is rarely evident – most people assume someone else will do it. Few become pro-active, but when they do, they must practise consensus politics to find common ground and collaborate effectively.

    • weka 2.1

      I’ve snipped two of your overlong copypasta. Generally short quotes to support your points or show what piece is about are good but not really long quotes. People can click through for whole article. Long quotes are occasionally useful but they cause problems for scrollers esp on phones when done a lot and there’s been an outbreak of them by a number of commenters lately.

    • Dennis Frank 2.2

      The prof explains how social media corporatisation has perverted the original intent of the internet:

      [overlong quote deleted]

      So that establishes the basis for a leftist critique of corporatised social media, and any consequent collective project to re-engineer it into more of a commons…

    • Dennis Frank 2.3

      The prof also mentions a non-market solution:

      We need a more fundamental overhaul, of the kind envisioned by a group of communication scholars and practitioners in their manifesto to create a Public Service internet. Released last June and signed by more than 1,200 scholars since, it calls for a publicly funded “Internet of the public, by the public, and for the public; an Internet that advances instead of threatens democracy and the public sphere, and an Internet that provides a new and dynamic shared space for connection, exchange and collaboration”. The manifesto also called for investments in public-service media.

      Yet while the left & right maintain neoliberalism in western countries, activists will need to transcend democracy in their organising to make this happen!

      • Incognito 2.3.1

        What don’t you understand of weka’s note @ 2.1 to you?

        Instead of being more succinct you’ve simply split one very large quote into a number of smaller but still sizeable ones.

        As a rule of thumb I consider comments >200 words as being too long, depending on clarity of text and information content, of course. Most readers will switch off or not even bother reading such comment at all, which is an opportunity missed and possibly also a source of frustration, not the least because of the scrolling required to get past it.

        I also like to see less pasted quoted text and more opinion and (political) points by commenters that can be debated here. I was taught at school to write things in my own words, first and foremost, and later on I was taught to quote and cite, but sparingly, as not to distract from the main text and message by me as the writer.

        It seems to me that quite a few commenters here see TS as some sort of notice board or dumping ground for their little discoveries in mainstream and social media (especially Twitter and YouTube and less so of Facebook). This is not good for strong and high-quality debate! [206 words]

        • weka

          I think social media encourages it. People post their fav thing they found instead of writing their own thoughts and SM rewards this because it's just more clicks for them.

          And it's easier to copy and paste than use our own words (same for me too, although I tend to paste tweets and let people click through if they want to read something).

          Re Denis' last comment, it might just be a shorter version of what I deleted (which would be fine, I haven't looked).

  3. Ad 3

    With Minister Little forming a nationwide surgery waiting list, which includes a complete reassessment of every person on a waiting list that will be completed in November, health is going to turn into a massive media sink-hole for Labour.

    Hospital waiting lists: Painful wait for surgery pre-dates Covid-19, sufferers say | RNZ News

    This story will bleed and lead forever.

    And the hospital staff who have endured through COVID as well as the massive restructure also have to deal with perpetual daily abuse for doing their work.

    Christchurch Hospital staff punched, spat on, sworn at and sexually harassed | RNZ News

    Anyone who needs an operation and can afford it should go private.

    Whatever was fixed about our hospital system now, is going to look more and more broken very rapidly.

      • Descendant Of Smith 3.1.1

        My wife who worked at a hospital was told by her manager that she should come to work expecting to get hit and apparently destroyed all the incident reports that staff had been filling out for years. Serious incidents such as a staff member being knocked unconscious and suffering brain damage were never reported to OSH. We only found that out when we were helping her fight ACC.

        Wife stopped working there as was too dangerous at her age / injuries. They lost a really good staff member as a result.

        • pat

          Fund the system all you like but if these types of issues cannot be resolved then we will always struggle to staff the service…..who in their right mind would want to place themselves in such a position.

        • Hunter Thompson II

          How many times was her manager hit? None, of course. Only the front line staff in our hospitals take the knocks.

          Doubtless the manager had an MBA too (Master of B—– all)

    • tc 3.2

      Agree Ad. Folks need reminding which governments slashed and burned our health system through the 90's.

      Then that other govt who oversaw a 12% or so population rise yet allowed health to be 30% underfunded.

      You get what you pay for in health and successive national govts have wilfully underfunded it so here we are.

      • AB 3.2.1

        Yes – imagining that National could, or would want to, solve this problem is mistaken. Their goal is to raise private sector profitability by lowering tax, labour costs, and regulatory burdens – with the resulting wealth windfall allowing their supporters to escape the public health system and go private.

        But money alone won't really solve it either.

        Medical specialists are effectively a cartel. They use the existence of health insurance to open private clinics with highly and uniformly extractive prices. This in turn adds to waiting lists in the public sector and forces the public sector to contract work out to those same private clinics. Meanwhile the medical schools and specialist colleges act as gatekeepers restricting the number of locally trained specialists.

        The burden of ill health in the community is much higher than it needs to be and horribly extensive to treat medically. Proper prevention would attempt to deal with the food environment, low incomes and the mental stress of financial and housing insecurity. But any action on these is also resisted by business – and ultimately made difficult by our free trade agreements if we (say) wanted Coca Cola to eff off because of their contribution to diabetes and tooth decay.

        • Just Saying

          Did you think people at the bottom wouldn't get angry? It is utterly wrong to take it out on staff, but the public health system has been a disgrace for years and years and while those who matter could afford private, whether through insurance or private means and seldom had to depend on it, we could just concentrate finance on critical care, (which is used by the wealthy), and let it rip apart. The poor died, and were disabled by its inadequacy and I can attest personally to people dying because of letting it just deteriorate and deteriorate. But hey, we didn't have the money, right?

          But, we just spent billions that was never there – not until the 'middle class' felt concerned for their safety. And magically the money was available. Lock the whole country down, work from home and be serviced by couriers and supermarket staff. Money is no object, not when wealthy people feel threatened. The little people who have to depend on the public health system that we could never afford to fix.

          It's impossible to communicate the frustration and despair of those this nation chose to throw under the bus, in so many ways, for so long.

          This is not to denigrate the many hard-working and compassionate health workers, within a decrepit, underfunded, understaffed system.

          • Just Saying

            We paid to shut the whole country down, Ad. What is the difference?

      • Anne 3.2.2

        Agree tc.
        Ad has ignored the underlying cause of the current situation with our hospitals.

        That is, the ideologically driven underfunding of public service entities by a former National government throughout the 1990s followed by the last National government allowing the flow of immigrants to rise dramatically without moving on the corresponding infrastructure to cope with them.

        Instead, it is left for for the reader to assume that the current government is at fault and must take a beating despite the fact they are addressing the issue as fast as they can while at the same time grappling with a world-wide pandemic that has created huge delays and massive supply issues.

        Top marks to Minister of Health, Andrew Little for tackling the problem head-on despite push back by opponents with vested interest in seeing his efforts fail. Eg. Matthew Hooton of DP fame.

        • yes
          And we’re starting to hear the familiar refrain: Labour have been government for 4/5 years – why haven’t they sorted out the health system.
          Well, it took years of Natz governments to wreck it, it’ll take a few years of Labour governments to fix it!

      • James Simpson 3.2.3

        Except nobody votes on what happened in the 90s.

        People vote on what is going to happen in the 20s. Who has the answers for the future?

      • DukeEll 3.2.4

        How is it that waiting lists were completely under control under the last government and targets were being hit, despite apparently being underfunded.

        Now it's apparently properly funded and everything is blowing out.

        Can't really see how you can blame national for this hot mess

        • Descendant Of Smith

          In both housing and health National took the view that if it wasn't going to happen soon you would be taken off the waiting list. They then booted people off the waiting lists.

          While at one level that is a pragmatic and sensible approach – why give people hope when there is none (it suits a target driven KPI mindset) it hides the actual need that exists and then it becomes very difficult to understand or assess unmet need.

          The same as shifting costs from one department to another such as dental treatment – becomes part of the welfare costs and demand rather than health and health now has no idea what either the demand or unmet need is.

          Then there is the real issue of fudging to meet targets – changing dates, ways of counting, rejecting new people, creating barriers for them to jump through etc.

          Then there is the flood of growth as the government changes with people conflating previously hidden unmet demand with new demand. It isn't new demand it was always there.

          • Nic the NZer

            Is this fiddle a reason house waiting lists have risen from ~7000 to ~25000 with Labour in office? I have been wondering about the change and why it has not been advertised that the demand was always there if surpressed.

            • Descendant Of Smith

              They were quite open about it both in housing and health. Some of the increase is also due to the feeling by the public that Labour is more compassionate. Don’t know if any media look at the C&D numbers – i.e. have people just moved up the priority list.

              "Changes to the way Housing New Zealand delivers state housing will make the system fairer for everyone, says Housing Minister Phil Heatley.

              From 1 July, Housing New Zealand will start using an improved system to decide who gets a state house. The new system will mean that only those in the greatest need (A and B priority applicants) will be eligible for state housing, and will be placed on Housing New Zealand’s waiting list.

              Those with lower housing needs (C & D priority applicants) will no longer be eligible for a state house, and instead will be helped in to other types of housing through Housing New Zealand’s Options and Advice Service."

              More info here.


              • Descendant Of Smith

                Lost a quote above.

                "In 1998 there were 8,691 applicants on the State Housing Waiting List.

                After the exclusion of lower priority applicants in 2011, the waiting list did not return to this level until June 2018 (8,704).

                Housing New Zealand identified in 2011 that: “As at 30 September 2008 there were 3,166 applicants (excluding transfers) on the waiting list with a priority (‘A’ or ‘B’) housing need. By 30 September 2011 this had fallen to 1,971.

                The decline in the waiting list appears to be linked to the introduction of the Corporation’s Options and Advice service, which was implemented nationally in June 2010. In the 12 months before implementation, around 56 percent of customers seeking housing assistance from the Corporation had a housing needs assessment. In the 12 months following implementation, this had decreased to 32 percent”.

                • Belladonna

                  The recent blow out of the State house waiting list is almost entirely due to the exponential increase in rental costs. People who 10 years ago could afford to rent in the 'open market' now can't do so, and are waiting for state housing (while in temp accommodation or crowding in with family).

                  The hospital waiting list increase is largely (but not entirely) attributable to the lockdowns from Covid, and the consequent delay of routine (and not so routine) surgery and treatment. One of the reasons that it's so bad in the Auckland Region, is that Auckland had more and longer lockdowns than anywhere else.

                  TBH I really doubt that the newly announced nationalization of the waiting lists is going to achieve much. It's shifting deckchairs on the Titanic. No hospital has operating theatres and surgical teams sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for customers. And it has the potential to be massively unpopular (e.g. if you were on a 6-month waiting list for knee surgery, and it's now 18 months as people from the rest of NZ are flown in to fill up the spaces ahead of you). People waiting for treatment tend (rather naturally) to focus on themselves and their needs, not on what is 'fair' across NZ.

                  The proposal to issue ongoing contracts for routine surgery to private hospitals – may make a difference – but it certainly sounds … odd … coming from a Labour Government.

                  What is really needed is massive investment at the grass-roots level in public health. Still not seeing this (or any signs of it) from the Government. Where are the training incentives (fees-free for nurses, & radiologists), or the student loan forgiveness schemes for hard-to-staff areas, or the immigration fast-track for nurses and allied professionals, or the instruction to health boards to hire to the maximum cap, rather than depending on bureau staff for cover, or the mandate to crack open the medical guilds and actually start training as many doctors, dentists, and psychologists as we need as a country (not the number which will protect the high salaries of the current professionals).

                  It's all very well to blame National for '9-years of neglect' – but after 5 years we should see plans in place to remedy the deficit. And re-organizing the DHB administration is not the most urgent need in the health system.

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    The bulldozing of state houses has had an enormous impact in those areas where it happened. Often in areas where there is little capacity to rebuild.

                    This in turn increased demand which put up rents.

                    The pushing of the poor into the private sector was only ever going to push up rents. Whether this was done through kicking people off waiting lists, selling their state house or bull doxing their state house did not matter. Add immigration into the mix and you push demand even higher.

                    Decrease the supply while increasing the demand was only ever going to create one thing – an escalating viscous circle of unaffordable rents leading to higher state house waiting lists. Done by design by capitalist pigs.

                    You can't easily physically replace those bulldozed houses in some areas.


                    • Belladonna

                      However, the exponential rise in the numbers on the State house waiting list – has come over the last 5 years – and ties in very closely with the similar increase in market rents (tied to the house price rise).

                      In the last year alone it's gone up by over 13%


                      Labour haven't been (by and large) bulldozing state houses (though there has been some clearance in preparation for more intensive housing).

                      Nor has there been substantial immigration in the last 2 years.

                      This can only be down to people being priced out of open market rentals – which is pretty much an inevitable consequence of the frankly unsustainable housing market increases. They were bad under National, but have been even worse under Labour.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      I'm not disagreeing with you I'm just pointing out that that situation exists because of a deliberate supply/demand equation back then that created a viscous circle that short of increasing supply can't be fixed. It was always going to escalate.

                  • Patricia Bremner

                    Reorganising the DHB administration is not the most urgent..

                    The pay and salary of Administrators and Managers is way too much (timed by each DHB) and is top heavy.
                    The practice of trickle down does not work in Health or anywhere.

                    • Belladonna

                      Having been through 2 different local body amalgamations and re-organizations, and one commercial one, I can confirm that the salary budget won't be greatly reduced after the amalgamation. All of those managers retained/reappointed/hired are now supervising more staff, and responsible for more budget – so their salaries go up.
                      Usually there's a new layer of middle management added – since you can only have about 10-15 direct reports.

                      So, to take IT as an example. Yes, you'll only have one IT director after amalgamation. Their salary will be substantially greater than any of the incumbents (more staff/budget/responsibility); and there will be a new tier of middle managers instituted between that director and the people doing the actual work (since there would be too many for one person to supervise) – those people are unlikely to be paid as much as the previous individual IT heads – but will be a hefty proportion of that salary – or they won't retain them (see below for why that might be an issue). The combination is likely to match or even exceed the original combined IT salary budget.

                      And, that's setting aside any 'grandfathering' clauses – where existing staff retain their current salary when they are transferred to the new structure.

                      And any redundancy payouts and/or outsourcing/contracting arrangements. It's really, really common for a key person to miss out on a senior role and take redundancy, only for the organization to realize that they have critical knowledge, and need to be hired back in at a contractor salary to train their replacement. I've seen that happen multiple times. [Not just in local government, in corporate organizations as well].

                      Or for the organization to realize that that one key staff member had knowledge in 2 separate spheres – which aren't a common cross-over – so they need to hire 2 people to replace that key staff member…. Seen that happen, too.

                      Of course, it's also common in the commercial world for recruiters to be eyeing up companies going through restructure (which is a highly stressful time for the people working there), and offering the cream of the staff bonus contracts to jump ship to competitors.

                      I used IT as a deliberate example there – as those skills are readily transferrable and in short supply; AND one of the first actions of the new Health Board will apparently be to combine the different IT systems (I feel a frisson of horror – as I know just how complex this is going to be) – so local knowledge of the current individual systems will be absolutely critical. Novopay has nothing on just how badly this could go wrong….

        • Anne

          In short, It takes time for waiting lists etc. to build up when you have a government that underfunds and undermines the public services and hospitals based on ideological claptrap as National did in the 90s and again from 2008 through to 2017. The hit started to become apparent after they lost the treasury benches.

          Conversely, when a government increases funding and takes other practical measures to assist public services and hospitals, it takes equal time for the corresponding improvements to become apparent.

          By the time this current term of office had ended, the improvements will be widespread and noticeable – provided Covid does not rear its uglier head again and send us back into lockdown mode. Fingers crossed.

        • Peter

          Labour is definitely to blame for any problems with the Northland DHB and Whangarei Base Hospital. How do I know that? Because that's the perspective that Shane Reti has cultivated and fed. And in recent times he has been flavour of the month. Months. So apparently what he portrays has weight and veracity.

          Reality? From 1975 until 2020 the Whangarei electorate (under whichever name) had National MPs. For three terms – 9 years Shane Reti was a member of that Health Board.

          I know it's part of the game politicians play but I see his efforts in rousing the ignorant to do with health provisions in Northland as totally scummy.

          Northland, besides having Labour MPs in its Maori seat and Vern Cracknell's three year term in the 1960s, has been lumbered itself with National MPs for just about forever. Their legacy is evident, not just in health provisions.

        • Mike the Lefty

          I dispute your claim that National had waiting lists under control. National's policies were to purge the waiting lists to make them look smaller so they could brag about it. That is not control, that is cynical manipulation.

          National is equally responsible for the mess. They were government for nine years and they were repeatedly told that the population increases and immigration that were predicted for the next few decades would need significant investment – in facilities and people – but only put as little as they thought they could get away with.

          National are always more interested in building multi billion dollar new roads and by-passes.

          To build up the medical work force takes a decade and more but National were content to bring in overseas medics to make up any shortage. Now we struggle to get overseas medics because they are needed in other countries as well.

          Internationally there is a shortage of doctors, nurses and support staff. They can't be magicked out of thin air and they naturally want to earn as much as they can so they gravitate to large economy countries where the pay is better.

          All governments for the last 40 years are culpable. It started with Rogernomics and then continued with the 90s Bolger government when the first thing you saw when you approached a CHE (renamed public hospital) was the word "cashier".

    • tsmithfield 3.3

      “And the hospital staff who have endured through COVID as well as the massive restructure also have to deal with perpetual daily abuse for doing their work”

      Ad, it may surprise you to here this coming from someone from a right wing perspective, but I think we need to bite the bullet and pay our medical staff a lot more.

      Even looking from a right-wing, market driven perspective, and consistent with the principles I have explained previously about price controls causing shortages, it is clear we are in an international market for our medical people. Therefore if we want to retain them, we need to pay the going rate.

      By trying to keep the wage rate for our medical staff significantly lower than what they can get in the likes of Australia, a price control has effectively been applied. The result of this will be an exodus of medical people overseas with resulting shortages.

      • Ad 3.3.1

        We're not going to get nice things unless the rich pay more tax.

        Neither Labour nor National are requiring the rich to pay more tax.

        So we are not going to get nice things.

        • pat

          remove the 'nice' and I'd broadly agree.

        • Anker

          Funding the health system properly could come about if we got rid of wasteful bureaucracy who make no or very little difference to what happens on the ground.

          But no Labour sets up a Cancer Agency, is spending good health money on a health restructure, possibly a Mental Health Commission.

          It all rises and falls on what the good Drs and Nurses do and whether they have the necessary equipment and drugs. Pay nurses and Dr more. Now. A lot more.

          Of course Drs are going to work privately where they have better conditions and more controllable work loads. Who can blame them? And that's not even mentioning the pay.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Funding the health system properly could come about if we got rid of wasteful bureaucracy

            I'm pretty sure that is what the restructuring is for. I expect lots of duplication in each DHB to be removed.

            • Anker

              well maybe, but the re structure is going to cost to establish.

              why not concentrate on the real work force getting numbers and pay right, then cut bureacracy. And please for god's sake get rid of the cancer agency and don't re-establish the mental health commission………please. BTW what a waste of time and money the commission of enquiry in to mental health was. ……..

        • tsmithfield

          I think we need to work out what it will cost, and then work out how to fund it. so far as health goes.

          It may also include reprioritising existing expenditure. Or a combination of the two. But I think it needs to happen.

      • Adrian 3.3.2

        Thats bullshit Dukell, the waiting lists were manipulated under National and I know because I was one of the "waiting forevers ", the qualifying points kept getting raised for a hip operation. For the other hip as a solo farmer the wait was so long I would have had to pay for a replacement worker for me for 8 months, it was cheaper to pay for it privately. Got it done in 3 weeks and back working in another 3.

      • Adrian 3.3.3

        35 years ago TS my wife worked in Auckland A&E and assaults and arseholes were just as common then. She still works in A&E and Emergency care so she should know. It never recieved the drama-laden media coverage it does now.

    • Patricia Bremner 3.4

      “Anyone needing an operation should go private.” Really Ad?

      Why? You will get the same surgeons!!

      DHB's fudged their figures for years, did not supply security to protect staff, and underfunding of public services worsened the situation.

      Many small private hospitals moved difficult cases back to the major local public hospital when an operation ceased to be straight forward. So the public system paid for major equipment while the private system took the cream of the easy cases.

      Andrew can prove the need for more targetted funding through the waiting List.

      • Ad 3.4.1

        [deleted while we have a korero about this in the back end]

        • Anne

          I'm picking he went private because he could afford it, and he wanted to prevent someone, who could not afford to go private, the opportunity to take his place in the queue.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    The idea that govts be allowed to govern seems questionable to some folk:

    statements about the Crown’s obligations to Māori under the Treaty are about to be challenged in court in a case brought by the Water Users Group and led by prominent QCs Gary Judd and Grant Illingworth.

    Their claim will test the correctness in law of Mahuta’s central claim, that partnership and active protection of Māori rights must lead to co-governance and in the form she proposes it.

    At the core of the case is Mahuta’s contention that “iwi/Māori have rights and interests in Three Waters under the Treaty … and the structure and mechanisms [proposed] would give effective recognition to [these rights]… and would fulfil the Crown’s duty to comply with the principles of the Treaty”.

    The Water Users Group is asking for the Crown Law advice to be released, so it can be examined and its reasoning tested in court. Mahuta has refused, which only raises questions about what the advice actually says, and about how robust that advice actually is. https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/128548570/three-waters-is-still-a-shameless-asset-grab

    Yeah but the minister must act in accord with Labour's principle of non-transparent governance – otherwise she's likely to get replaced by her leader doing a reshuffle.

    The WUG is in the running for the ugliest acronym of the year award (unless you'd rather go with TWUG). It's an incorporated society, so if you're a born stirrer you can stir the waters here: https://www.waterusers.org.nz/

    It is legally contentious, says the WUG, that the Treaty requires the Crown to seize and share assets which did not exist when the Treaty was signed.

    It'll be interesting to see the legal contending from both sides. The Crown was big on seizing assets throughout British history, but fairly small on sharing them – so precedent could be a bit of a problem. Whether the court will decide that the Treaty is binding on settler & current govts is a biggie. They could do a Mallard & duck for cover. Bishop senior ought to be commended for restraining himself from going feral (or perhaps the Stuff editor sent the diatribe back redlined with rewrite suggestions).

  5. pat 5

    Muldoon's wage/price freeze has been ridiculed by commentators for years.


    Maybe it becomes desirable when the private sector do it?

    • Tiger Mountain 5.1

      Not that comparable really pat. As a unionist with the Northern Store Workers Union I participated in a number of successful strikes that broke Muldoon’s wage freeze at Union Carbide, SuperLiquor, and various South Auckland manufacturing sites.

      Multi Nationals took the piss with Muldoon, such as the oil industry and their transfer pricing methods that they used to circumvent the freeze.

      Supermarkets have had “loss leader” promotions for years to get them in the doors.
      Duopoly means just that. Even the low end Pak’n’Saves have been hammering the prices on basics during the last year.

      • pat 5.1.1

        So even unionists see it as desirable when the private sector do it… thats illuminating.

        • Peter

          When the private sector "do it"? Comparing a private company not raising its prices hardly bears the tiniest smidgen of comparison to a government dictating a wage freeze and a price freeze across a country.

          • pat

            Do you think the suppliers will see any difference?….or will the result be any different when the freeze is ended?

            The criticisms that were applied to the comprehensive state imposed price freeze are as valid for this….the comparison is close enough to be worth considering.

            The most curious feature (to me at least) is the abdication of policy to the corporations.

          • Tiger Mountain


    • James Simpson 5.2

      Do you buy this? What they give with one hand they will take with the other.

    • Jimmy 5.3

      Just marketing stunt by Woolworths Australia. Go in to Countdown and buy a 1kg block of cheese that they will freeze the price on, then go to Pak n Save and buy same product as it will be cheaper

      • pat 5.3.1

        Yes, it is a marketing stunt (and it will be interesting to see what the other supermarkets do)….but it is wort remembering that the suppliers will not be protected from increased costs, and I expect the profit of Countdown will be unimpacted, and any loses incurred within the chain will be regained later.

        Price is a function of only 2 inputs, labour and profit….which do you think will ultimately support this?

        • Jimmy

          Both supermarket chains have very 'robust' negotiations with suppliers and you will probably find that it is actually their suppliers who would have been told by Countdown to freeze their price.

          • pat

            I very much expect the suppliers are expected to carry a portion of the risk…and the consumer will pick up the rest through cross subsidy….as stated I dont expect Countdowns profit to reduce.

  6. pat 6

    "The problem is simple; given the fossil energy left, we need to ascertain what living on, say, 50% less energy in a post-growth world, would look like for New Zealand. We need to ascertain what infrastructure is worth pursuing (to Onslow or not to Onslow?) – and what would be a waste of the remaining time, energy and resources.

    As it is energy and resources per capita, which is the valid measure (true poverty being a lack of both), a smaller population will be wealthier individually than a large one (another point those inside-the-box economists got totally wrong). So we need to have a discussion about maximum desirable population; a reasonable assumption being that it will be less than current, due to the reduction of energy/resource inputs. Better we go there proactively, than waiting for the natural overshoot/collapse sequence.

    It is obviously better that we retain some form of social cohesion during the period ahead. The reduction of surplus energy, coupled with the ever-more of it required to maintain what we’ve already built, will threaten such cohesion. This too, has to be clearly understood; promise folk the undeliverable and they just get angry; at best they end up on your Parliament grounds in tents. At worst? But promise them ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’, being brutally honest about it, and they might just come with you. "


    Can we handle the truth?

  7. Poission 7

    Can we handle the truth?

    BAU is incompatible with the IPCC scenario for a low carbon future,essentially growth needs to stop to constrain the population at 6.2b at 2100,or around the same as now at 2050.

    • pat 7.1

      Unfortunately all the IPCC scenarios involve unproven and ENERGY INTENSIVE carbon extraction ….the time since Limits to Growth has been wasted.

      • Poission 7.1.1

        The scenarios involve the stabilization of the worlds population as it is now eg around 8 b by 2050,and a reduction in population to 6b by 2100.

        • pat

          Do they?….6 billion by 2100….that flies in the face of world bank and various other official projections…where , why and what is the basis of that claim?

          • Poission

            Humans are around 34% of the worlds land based mammalian biomass,we respire around 3.5 t of co2 per person (which is the energy transformation of consumption and excretion) in its most simplistic form.There needs to be a significant decrease in gdp pp as we move to a global first step of around 28bbl of ff equivalents by 2050,which allows a reduction of population by 2100.

            • pat

              It may allow (havnt bothered to check the calculation) but my question is where in the IPCC scenarios do they assume a world population decrease of 25% by 2100?….you may make assumptions based on CO2 emissions based on population, that dosnt mean the IPCC has made the same assumptions.

              • Poission

                The shared socio economic pathways are the models used to constrain GG growth by the IPCC, the SSEP 1 scenario that has 6.96b by 2100 is what is being enacted by the Paris agreement.


                  • pat

                    more reading needed

                  • Poission

                    Of course the Pliocene was formative in the emergence of man,where Lucy and her daughters descended to the grasslands,becoming upright to reduce their water loss and decrease burn from the high UV regime,fortuitous some may think.

                    • pat

                      "Interestingly, the population projections in Figure 2-4 are not evenly distributed across the full range. Instead, they are grouped into three clusters. The middle cluster is representative of the central projections, with a range of about 10 to less than 12 billion people by 2100. The other two clusters mark the highest and the lowest population projections available in the literature, with between 15 and 20 billion at the high end and about 6 billion at the low end."


                      We are all Africans…..perhaps Lucy's real name was Eve.

                    • Poission

                      i think we can disregard the high ends,which leaves a spread of 6-10,the latter would have a temperature regime of > 6 c,the former around 3c.

                      The Pliocene was where we had similar co2 (400-420ppm),temps 2to 3c above now,and no UV screen due to Supernova activity,let their be light.

                    • pat

                      And sea level was 25m higher….but that takes time, as may population decline (though also not) …indeed 6 billion may be generous, time will tell.

    • tsmithfield 7.2

      How demographics relates to climate change is very interesting.

      There are quite a number of countries that are going to be hugely affected by demographics going forward. China is one of the major ones. Geopolitical scientist, Peter Zeihan has a lot to say about demographic trends in China.

      According to Peter, China has one of the fastest aging populations in the world, largely due to the one-child policy that prevailed for a long time there. And, depending on which figures are used, China could halve its population as early as 2050.

      That is a huge reduction in population for the largest population in the world. Russia is being affected in a similar way.

      The demographic projection is for world population to peak at around 10 billion by 2100. But if Zeihan's most pessimistic projection for China halving by 2050, then the world population could peak a lot earlier and may not get as high as 10 billion.

      • lprent 7.2.1

        The problem with just looking at population is that it doesn’t have a direct coupling to greenhouse gas emmissions. The rate of increase in personal affluence in places like China is actually a lot faster than the demographic decline.

        Those two are linked. Effectively each person remaining has a greater proportion of the infrastructural wealth as population decreases. And their personal production of greenhouse gases rises accordingly.

        Increasing personal affluence is the greatest driver of greenhouse gas production.

        That is why a average US citizen currently produces directly and indirectly more greenhouse gas than citizens of almost eveey country in the world. They are also amongst the most affluent on average.

        This is like the fallacy that planting trees is good at reducing fossil carbon in the atmosphere and oceans. It is only if you never cut them down or have forest fires for a thousand years or so. If neither of those are true, then all you have done is to produce a transient tiny reduction before the fossil carbon winds up in the oceans – and probably delayed sequestaion. Instead we should grow swamps.

        • RedLogix

          This is why I wrote a series on the Kaya Identity.

        • tsmithfield

          You make some fair points there. But I think there are also some upsides to affluent societies with respect to the environment

          I think affluent societies have more economic resource to apply to the problem if so long as they can be motivated to do so.

          For instance, an affluent person may be able to purchase a new electric vehicle while someone from a poor country may only be able to afford an old second hand petrol car that isn't very efficient.

          Or a more affluent country might be able to afford to invest in more renewable type energy whereas a poorer one might be more likely to use coal generation for instance.

          A more affluent country might have the economic capability to find ways to recycle waste plastic whereas in a poorer country the plastic might end up in the river.

  8. Reality 8

    The health system has been struggling for many years. If people are uncertain about future changes, who remembers Ruth Richardson putting paying machines in wards in order to get admitted? That nutty idea didn't last long.Who remembers Jenny Shipley wanting to close Hutt Hospital or dramatically downgrade it? Given Wainuiomata, Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt have much increased populations that was utterly an crazy idea. And with only one way to get into Wellington from these places, any emergencies in rush hours would have needed helicopters.

    • tsmithfield 8.1

      The health system must be an impossible thing to budget for in many ways. That is because whatever is budgeted is never enough.

      Most of us who have been around for awhile will have some minor issue that we live with, and because it doesn't inconvenience us, we just live with it.

      For instance, I have a little finger that is a bit crooked because I think I broke it in a sporting accident years ago. It doesn't give me much trouble, so I don't bother about it. And, I expect I would still be on the waiting list by the time I died, given it isn't a pressing health issue. But, if there was endless health funding, I might get it sorted.

      If that was multiplied across the population, then the health budget would need to be incredibly huge to accomodate all the latent health needs that people could get sorted if there were no limits.

  9. Reality 9

    Not surprisingly, Luxon/Seymour/Fed Farmers/groundswell are very muted at praising the scientists/government's success with M.Bovis elimination. Given the multi millions spent to do this, does that come into Luxon's complaint about spend, spend, spend.

  10. Ad 10

    If anyone else has grandparents that had to leave the north of Ireland pretty quickly after the Easter Rising, the thought of Sinn Fein actually getting a majority in the Northern Ireland Parliament (as they are now likely to do) is going to provoke a bit of feeling.

    Sinn Fein eyes watershed win as polls close in N.Ireland | Reuters

    • pat 10.1

      The Easter Rising was in Dublin

      • Ad 10.1.1

        It had impact everywhere.

        You'll possibly be aware of about 6 decades of uprisings since.

        • pat

          "…grandparents that had to leave the north of Ireland pretty quickly after the Easter Rising,…."

          Why specifically the north of Ireland when the participants were at the other end of the country? Northern Ireland as a political entity didnt exist until 1920

          • Ad

            OMG Pat. It affected all Republicans simultaneously. The County militancy shifted sure but the political activism popped out all over the place.

            • pat

              If you say so.

            • Shanreagh

              It was long standing (religious and heritage/lineage based) and all over Ireland at various times.

              Catholic/Protestant & various permutations with Catholic/Presbyterian, Catholic/Church of Ireland (Anglican)

              Native Irish and 'planted' Irish

              (granted land as part of Oliver Cromwell's Army in the south and settlers coming to the north under the auspices of a various large London Guilds in the 1600. The 12 guilds that were given control over Derry~Londonderry and the regions adjacent were the Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Merchant Tailors, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners, and Clothworkers. The smaller guilds that joined them included the Cordwainers, Dyers, Scriveners, Upholders, Wax Chandlers, Tallow Chandlers, Broderers, Founders, Pewterers, and Fletchers.

    • Shanreagh 10.2

      I have a Presbyterian gt grandfather who emigrated to NZ from Co Londonderry in the mid 1880s 'for the good of his health', ostensibly bronchitis. My mother always said it was probably more like his health in a larger context of living or dead.

      So they came to Auckland where despite planning by the Auckland City Council the religious Irish marched on each other's days as well as their own (St Patricks day 17/3 and the Apprentice Boys march (second Saturday in August) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apprentice_Boys_of_Derry or to remember the the Battle of the Boyne on 12 July.

      ACC then designed marching routes several blocks from each other but my grandmother said the groups always 'found' each other for a bit of heckling and roughing each other up.

      My mother (Irish/Danish) used to say The Irish, what can you do with people who act as if the Battle of the Boyne happened yesterday' – it happened in 1690.


      • Belladonna 10.2.1

        My Dad came from a proudly NZ-Irish family on the West Coast – 3 generations in NZ when he was born – but still regarded themselves as 'Irish'.
        Until he did his great OE in the late 70s (when he was in his 50s) – and visited Ireland. His reaction: "For the first time, I knew I was a New Zealander, and how lucky I was that my grandfather emigrated (according to family legend, one step ahead of the law), to New Zealand"

  11. Stephen D 11

    The Economist on Chinese expansion.


    An antidote to some local hysteria.

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