Open mike 06/05/2024

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 6th, 2024 - 46 comments
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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 …

46 comments on “Open mike 06/05/2024 ”

  1. Ad 1

    With this government preparing to pass legislation barring Auckland Council support for Auckland's Watercare, as an alternative to Labour's Three Waters Reform, the smaller weaker councils across New Zealand will only wonder what hostile takeovers they will be subjected to from larger water entities and councils nearby.

    Pretty sad to hear the mayor of Whangarei Council this morning wondering aloud about who or what will support Kaipara and Far North Council, when Whangarei is debt free for water infrastructure and could do the actual work of bringing the Northland water assets together into a cooperative water entity. Standard National divide-and-rule stuff.

    Still, this Auckland deal is a win for the government achieved with little grief or debate.

  2. Visubversa 2

    I was sad to hear last night that Peter Franks has died in Wellington. Peter worked for working people all his life, in the student activist movements, the Labour Party, NZUSA, NZCTU, as a mediator, among many others.

    He was a thoroughly decent chap and a good friend to many.

    • Shanreagh 2.1

      Sad to hear that. He seemed to pop up as a member or attendee at many of the events I was interested in. I remember one fascinating weekend(?) or one day(?) on Trade Union history run by WEA.

  3. adam 3

    So it would appear I was right, we are about to get a economic melt down of epic proportions.

    And we do not have a city of London to drag us out of it.

    The coming budget is the trigger, and all hell is going to break out. The far right and the collection of clowns it has as supporters, is going to sell everything. Including the health system and police.

    Far right wet dreams of ann randy crowed from the roof tops, as normal kiwis suffer.

    • satty 3.1

      Going through the RNZ Business section is definitely depressing: Not a single positive headline… all doom and gloom.

      Who was talking pre-election about the negativity in the country… Chris Luxon:

      he [Luxon] was caught by a microphone saying: “We have become a very negative, wet and whiny, inward-looking country and we have lost the plot.”

      remarks given by Luxon to a UK thinktank last year, when he said New Zealand businesses were “getting soft and looking to the government for all their answers”.

      Guardian – New Zealand opposition leader caught on hot mic calling country ‘negative, wet and whiny’

      The arrival of National (and the Coalition of Destruction) hasn't improved anything. The problem is the big group of "negative, wet and whiny" people is now in government and hasn't shown any sign how to "get the country back on track". There's only one hope for them… lower inflation – much of it comes from external supply chain and oil price issues plus some greedy profit taking of essential industries (mainly out of their control) – and the related lower interest rates.

      • adam 3.1.1

        satty you get we stuck with inflation for the next 10 years or so whilst the baby boomers retire. That inflation is probably going to head back to double figures by the end on June start of July. Inflation is not going away.

        Inflation has let some industries in this country gouge workers and farmers – way above what inflation really is.

    • Grey Area 3.2

      Not if we organise, mobilise and fight back Adam. I'm doing what I can trying to make connections where I live with people with the same values. What are you doing?

      • adam 3.2.1

        What are you doing?

        This week? Only day off from organiseing I have is Tuesday. Need a day off. Lot of discussions and work-shopping about alternative forms of trade and labour in a wreaked economy. Lots of keeping peoples heads afloat in the open class war we have called austerity. And lots of times just letting people talk out the shit they are going through.

        So Grey Area, what you doing?

  4. Dolomedes III 4

    The good news is that the free speech debate is back on at Victoria University:

    The bad news is that the formerly balanced panel has been replaced by a "more diverse" panel that apparently will now include only one committed defender of free speech (FSU representative Jonathan Ayling), plus "a Māori political commentator, rainbow community and inclusivity advocates and additional academic speakers." I'm guessing the Māori political commentator won't be Haimona Gray (let alone Shane Jones). Similarly, I'm guessing the "rainbow" rep won't be Ani O'Brien or Rachel Stewart. And I wonder what the "inclusivity advocates" will have to say.

    Recall the debate was postponed in late April because the sub-editor of VUW student mag Salient alleged the participation of a Free Speech Union representative "compromised the safety of marginalised groups on the campus", and criticized the "lack of diversity" of the proposed panellists:

    • Drowsy M. Kram 4.1

      That's debating – win some, lose some – good call by Vic Uni management, imho.

      Salient visited the Provost/Acting Vice Chancellor, Bryony James, for a kōrero. The conversation was productive and wide-ranging, and revealed a genuine desire from James and Reece Moores (Director of the Office of the VC) to counter what they see as corrosive and polarising online discourse. They’re worried that productive dialogue has been harmed by social media, and are seeking a remedy.

      It’s important to note that their solution is an interesting fix, and one we should be open to. Moores and James stressed the mediated debate format would allow fact-checking. They acknowledged the total absence of Māori voices was an issue, and assured Salient they were working to amend it—so watch this space. The idea is a good one, but this specific panel aint it.

      • Tabletennis 4.1.1


        Opinion piece from Henry Broadbent (He/Him), "Freedom of speech crusader"

        His argument: any speech is free, except the ones Henry doesn't agree with and then plays the person and not the ball. Tabletennis (no-religion/adult)

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections.
          Einstein (no religion/adult)

          Opinion piece from Henry Broadbent (He/Him), "Freedom of speech crusader"

          The title of that Broadbent (He/Him) opinion suggests Smith is a "Freesom of Speech Crusader". Well-aimed sarcasm? I couldn't possibly comment.

          Nic Smith—Freedom of Speech Crusader [22 Apr 2024]
          Ayling himself explicitly supported Julian Batchelor during his anti-co governance roadshow. For those lucky people out of the loop, Batchelor spent a vitriolic few months touring the country spewing conspiracy theories about “elite Māori” taking over Aotearoa, comparing ‘Kia Ora’ to ‘Seig Heil’, and describing policies supporting Māori as ‘apartheid.’ Māori people were excluded from his meetings. This generated legitimate and necessary counter-protest. In response, Ayling described Batchelor as “discriminated against”.

          The Maaris are coming, the Maaris are coming! We'll all be murdered in our beds!

          Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. – Einstein

          On the importance of freedom of speech and tolerance: “[F]reedom of communication is indispensable for the development and extension of scientific knowledge … it must be guaranteed by law. But laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.” (“On Freedom.” Circa 1940.)

          • Traveller

            "Ayling himself explicitly supported Julian Batchelor during his anti-co governance roadshow."

            Broadbent is not being truthful. Ayling did not 'support' anything Batchelor said, he supported Batchelor's right to say it.

            Free Speech Union lays complaint with Human Rights Review Tribunal against Taupō District Council over political discrimination – Free Speech Union (

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              In this blog post, through an analysis of the disinformation-based campaign I have personally experienced since October 2023 mobilised by the communicative ecosystem of the Free Speech Union (FSU), I will attend to the lifecycle of disinformation in libertarian networks, arguing that the disinformation ecosystem is invested in upholding both white supremacy and extractive capital.

              We [the FSU] advocate and defend your human right to freedom of speech, regardless of your stance.

              The FSU also acknowledges that freedom of speech "is not an absolute right."

              Free speech debate back on as Victoria University expands diversity on panel [3 May 2024]

              So the event goes ahead with more speakers and a greater diversity of views – a win for free speech and possibly (if some more moderate views are on offer) depolarisation. After all, who really benefits from increased polarisation?

              Staying Real – The War on Truth and How to Win It
              [18 Nov 2023 : YouTube]
              Cancelling: Now this is a tool that is primarily used by the Left, for reasons that are simply opportunistic. The Right can do cancelling, and does, and the Left can do disinformation, and does, but right now this is done primarily by the Left because they have such good access to social tools.

              The biggest, I think single thing to do about that [the demand side problem, i.e. demand for disinformation] is the one I mentioned – which is work on depolarisation.
              The better people feel about each other and the other side, the less they’re interested in supporting a disinformation ecology.

              "We're not as divided as we've been led to believe."

              Disinformation and cancelling fuel polarisation, and increased polarisation breeds still more disinformation/cancelling – where/how does that end?

              What We Can Learn from the History of Free Speech
              [May / June 2022]
              The health of free speech depends more on a culture of free speech than on laws.

              Right up to the present, however, we have a couple of challenges that really bend the paradigm and challenge Jacob and me and all of us, because they’re quite unconventional. We’re used to thinking of free speech as something that we protect against intrusion by censors, primarily the government. Free speech in terms of legal protections is stronger in America right now than I’d say it’s ever been anywhere in the world. And I think it may be about to get stronger with the current Supreme Court.

              The kinds of challenges we face, however, don’t really fit that box. One is disinformation, and the other is what’s often called cancel culture, the systematic use of social coercion to chill and silence. Disinformation is not about censorship. It’s actually about, as Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, very aptly and accurately put it, “flooding the zone with shit.” Putting out so many lies, half‐​truths, conspiracy theories, and exaggerations that no one knows which end is up. It turns out that platforms like social media are tailor‐​made for this because their business model is to maximize eyeballs for revenues, and the way you maximize eyeballs is outrage, which is addictive.

              When the internet got going, we thought it would be a big open forum and marketplace of ideas and that the best ideas would rise to the top. We did not realize how easy it would be to manipulate this environment to make it epistemically toxic. It’s now well known that false stuff travels much faster and much further online than true stuff, which is much more expensive to make and much less fun to click on. That is not a problem you can tackle with traditional free speech doctrines. In fact, it does the opposite. It harnesses free speech and turns it into a weapon of epistemic destruction, a weapon of mass confusion and chaos.

              • Traveller

                Yes, one of the people added to the 'diversity of views' is one Khylee Quince, who wrote this:

                "I suppose it was inevitable that one of the old racist dinosaurs would make a pathetic squeal in an attempt to preserve the status quo….

                Mr Judd and his “matauranga Maori is not science” friends can go die quietly in the corner…"

                A law school to be avoided – by Gary Judd KC (

                Diversity is the new code for 'only what I agree with', it seems.

                Still, free speech eh.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Liked by Gary Judd KC:

                  This person is obviously a classic Marxist…

                  Toxic & deluded are terms that spring to mind. Scared too.

                  It's beyond me how intellectually moribund toerags such as this Quince person appears to be, manage to inveigle themselves into positions of responsibility …

                  She is the first dean of law of Māori descent at a NZ university.

                  Quince seems frightfully different – still, diversity and free speech eh.

                  Might a step to depolarisation be making a genuine attempt to understand why not everyone thinks like you – a step too far for Quince and Judd?

                  Naturally, not everyone wants or is able to take that, or any step towards depolarisation – sometimes the 'What's in it for me?' mud is just too deep. The question remains – who really benefits from increased polarisation?


                  • Traveller

                    I would very much doubt the presence of KQ will depolarise the conversation. But unlike the VSU, I won’t be trying to cancel her😀

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      On Friday morning, Victoria University Vice-chancellor Nic Smith said the debate's line-up had been expanded to include a "very balanced panel" with the addition of a Māori political commentator, rainbow community and inclusivity advocates and additional academic speakers.

                      The structure of the debate had also been divided in two.

                      Five panellists – including Ayling – would be independently interviewed and, in the second half, their responses would be discussed by a panel of academics to explore how universities could constructively hold challenging conversations to the benefit of society.


                      I would very much doubt the presence of KQ will depolarise the conversation.

                      Certainly that greater diversity will provide opportunities for (more) views to be aired, and differences (potentially) ironed out. What depolarisation opportunities did the original panel offer?

                      Vic Uni management came to the conclusion that the original 'debate' panel was perhaps a little too 'pure'. Of course it's natural that some would view the imposition of greater diversity (expanding the panel) as tainting the 'debate', but imho diversity of opinion and other things is a net good in Aotearoa.

                      Mockery and denigration of others is fine – free speech 'n' all – but who benefits from stoking polarisation?

                      Btw, did those Jonathan Rauch links @ appeal? He is, after all, a strong proponent of free speech on University campuses, and imho makes a good case for decreasing disinformation, cancelling and particularly polarisation. The approaches he advocates seem pretty good too.

                      "We're not as divided as we've been led to believe."

                      But unlike the VSU, I won’t be trying to cancel her

                      Tbh, I didn't know the VSU was trying to cancel her smiley

                  • Traveller

                    "Certainly that greater diversity will provide opportunities for (more) views to be aired, and differences (potentially) ironed out. "

                    You are assuming that the additional participants add diversity of opinion.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      You are assuming that the additional participants add diversity of opinion.

                      yes Just as I assumed that each of the original five panellists had distinct views/perspectives/opinions/knowledge to contribute. Of course, you might assume that the original five panellists possessed just the right amount of diversity of opinion for an ‘optimal’ debate, and (if so, then) you'd be entitled to that assumption. In this case the managers of the venue came to a different view – eventually smiley

                      However, since you've already opined that "I would very much doubt the presence of KQ will depolarise the conversation", it's just possible that ‘KQ’ will add to the diversity of opinions held by the original five, and I certainly couldn’t rule that out.

                  • Traveller

                    "In this case the managers of the venue came to a different view – eventually "
                    No, they were bullied into that view by effectively 2 people. There's a big difference.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      No, they were bullied into that view by effectively 2 people. There’s a big difference.

                      Anyone can have a belief about why the VU managers came to a different view, but come to a different view they did – it's just a fact.

                      Btw, did those Jonathan Rauch links @ appeal? He is, after all, a strong proponent of free speech on University campuses, and imho makes a good case for decreasing disinformation, cancelling and particularly polarisation. The approaches he advocates seem pretty good too.

                      We’re not as divided as we’ve been led to believe.

                      But why have we been led to believe this, and by who – who benefits?

                  • Traveller

                    "Btw, did those Jonathan Rauch links @ appeal? He is, after all, a strong proponent of free speech on University campuses, and imho makes a good case for decreasing disinformation, cancelling and particularly polarisation. The approaches he advocates seem pretty good too."

                    Yes, thanks DMK. Jonathan is an excellent source, so I appreciate the quotes. This particularly caught my eye (about disinformation) "We have severe stresses on the epistemic environment, our ability to sort truth from falsehood". That conversation (protecting free speech in an era of disinformation) is going to be very inetersting indeed.

    • Traveller 4.2

      According to the FSU (What happens if we don't defend free speech at universities? – Free Speech Union (, the "draft principles for what discourse Victoria University intends to allow on campus" includes this:

      "We should not provide a platform for, nor invite, individuals or groups to speak on campus that have previously demonstrated or are expected to express hate speech as the current law defines…"

      Rather than defend free speech, Universities like Vic are now putting themselves on a self-righteous pedestal and declaring their own precognition.

      • Tabletennis 4.2.1

        "or are expected to express hate speech as the current law defines…"

        Are we still in NZ ? Than what is NZ's hate speech law?

        • Traveller

          I'm not a lawyer, AFIK there is no specific hate speech law in NZ. The closest would be section 61 of the Human Rights Act (although that is a 'civil' provision).

          Othe legislation does deal with 'harmful' speech, including the Summary Offences Act 1981, the Broadcasting Act 1989, the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, the Harassment Act 1997 and the Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications Act 1993.

          What Vic University seem to want to do is to deplatform a speaker if they (VU) 'expect' the speaker may engage in an act that is according to them (VU) hate speech.

      • Dolomedes III 4.2.2

        Yes, sadly. University administrators all around the country are running scared of the the possibility of brand damage by student activists denouncing their university as "racist", "transphobic" etc. If a staff member publicly criticizes the university, s/he stands to be sacked. But students are paying customers, and the eight(?) universities are competing for a finite pool of students. Just one of the problems with the current university funding model, but nevertheless it's disappointing that university administrators don't show more backbone.

    • tWig 4.3

      Big Hairy News covered the issues regarding the initial meeting with this interview with VUSWA President Marcail Parkinson. BHN FB 30 Aril 21:00.

      The calls were not to 'cancel' the debate, but to make the podium panel more representative. And free speech is not academic freedom, which is the ability to debate your ideas within an evidence-based framework.

      Traveller and Dolomedes seem to be posting on the wrong forum. Who is Traveller travelling alongside? Not commies and socialists for sure. And what is Dolomedes the fishing spider really fishing for? Seems like these days The Standard is a testing ground for right-wing apologists to hone talking points. Boring, when the debate is pushed to minor league topics, away from the more serious political debates we need to be having.

      • weka 4.3.1

        right wing people are welcome to comment in TS so long as they play by the rules like everyone else. Having right wing and centrist people stops use from becoming an echo chamber. It’s not these days, this has always been true.

      • Visubversa 4.3.2

        Well – what happen when you don't even get to present your argument within an evidence based framework because adherents to an ideological point of view have decided that any alternative to that ideology is "hate speech"?

      • Traveller 4.3.3

        You're confusing 'cancelling' the event and 'deplatforming' a speaker(s).

        The call was to deplatform participants that didn't reflect the beliefs of a select few. The targets were the FSU and Jonathan Ayling personally. It is an indictment on VicU that they blinked.

        But the irony in your comment is this – there was a time when it was the left that stood up most strongly for freedom of expression. Now some (including you) have chosen to criticise those of us not of the left for picking up that mantle.

  5. Obtrectator 5

    Coming soon to a motu near you:

    We pay a lot more for a lot less, and people know it. That’s why Sunak’s Tories were thrashed in these elections

  6. observer 7

    Yes, it changed. The second link gives details but is paywalled.

    See any article on 501s in the last year, e.g.

    Australian Prime Minister implements ‘fairer’ 501 deportation policy – NZ Herald

    Australia signs off on major 501 deportation changes (


    (meant as reply to above, sorry)

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