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Open mike 06/02/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 6th, 2011 - 55 comments
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Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

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Step right up to the mike…

55 comments on “Open mike 06/02/2011”

  1. vto 1

    Newsflash: “r0b Admits Free Market Superiority”

    In an unprecedented announcement The Standard author and commentator r0b has come out and made an admission of free market superiority. Sources suggest that it may have simply been a bad day for the well known author whose previous politics has been staunchly anti-free market. The turn around has surprised many and has resulted in only 22 posts on the column in 24 hours, suggesting heavy discontent in The Standard community. r0b has not been available for comment (maybe still in bed on this lovely Sunday morning hee hee).

    The too big to fail myth

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      I don’t think it’s an admission of free market superiority at all.

      It’s a case of “if you’re going to do something, do it properly”.

      captcha: embarrasses

    • Bill 1.2

      Or then, maybe the impliciit suggestion is that the government should buffer the populace from the excesses of capitalism rather than bail out moneyed interests who deliberately generated unsustainable levels of debt through fraudulent trading and who transferred immense amounts of wealth to themselves from (often) the poorest members of society?

      And maybe…in line with the above…the suggestion is that government should get out of bed with those who seek to utterly financialise the enonomy (and possibly bring about a form of global serfdom on the way as everyone is forced to service impossible levels of leveraged and tradeable debt and/or risk) and (minimally) get back into its traditional bed alongside those who seek to use the economy for productive ends?

    • r0b 1.3

      Sorry I’m late, sorry, I was busy doing my photo shoot for Time (or was it Vogue? – I forget – so many appointments in the life of a top celebrity blogger).

      Anyway – g’day vto – and what? I’m on record here as supporting a mixed model economy (well of course they all are these days). Capitalism is OK with me, as long as it is well regulated, shaped by the democratic will of the people (with a careful eye on the environment and the future), and balanced with a comprehensive welfare system to support those in need.

      Pure centrally planned (Communism) doesn’t work and doesn’t exist. Pure market forces (unregulated Capitalism) doesn’t work and doesn’t exist. The balance lies in between, which is why I’m a democratic socialist.

      So yeah, let the big banks fail (while guaranteeing ordinary depositors up to some sensible maximum). The good that there is in the capitalist model comes from a balance of risk and reward. You can’t remove the risk.

      Sorry, gotta go, Oprah’s on the phone…

      • vto 1.3.1

        Ha ha, nice one. But, though I understand what you say above and it makes sense, what was suggested in your column is that leaving the market to itself (in this case to go bust to clear out the dead wood in order that new buds may shoot) worked far better than having the government step in to try and control things (as in Ireland, the UK etc).

        Putting aside the big picture settings you point out above, this is a clear example of how governments really can stuff things up quite often. And on a grand scale (here more grand than the original problem the Irish govt attempted to solve).

        This lesson can be applied to many many areas where governments intervene. This was / is one of the major problems right-tending voters have with the left, namely their blind philosophy that the government can step in to “sort things out” all the time.

        Perfect example. Was it intentional?

        • Colonial Viper

          This lesson can be applied to many many areas where governments intervene. This was / is one of the major problems right-tending voters have with the left, namely their blind philosophy that the government can step in to “sort things out” all the time.

          Perfect example. Was it intentional?

          Uh…the Irish Govt deliberately took their hands off the regulatory wheel, and deliberately attracted hot liquid capital flows from overseas via a minimum of restrictions, taxes and costs. In other words the people who were driving the Irish regulatory framework appeared to be Ayn Rand libertarians who did not seem to believe in regulatory frameworks, controls, restrictions etc.

          So, if you are saying that the Irish Govt helped cause the country’s massive financial problems then yes it did. By not taking the Governmental role of financial industry and corporate regulation seriously

        • ianmac

          Dimpost has a good roundup by Michael Lewis on the economy in Ireland:

  2. Jenny 2

    Sweet and Sour

    Three headline stories from stuff.co.nz today:

    For a country that prides itself on being a food producer to the world, these three reports from Stuff, reveal that what is dished up to New Zealanders is often adulterated and overpriced.

    1# “Soaring prices put farming in “Sweet” spot

    2# “NZ milk prices “Sour” shoppers”

    3# Gassing “Fakes” meat freshness

    As well as being very expensive, here in Papakura, Saveway red meat is horrible, especially the steak and they cut it so thin.

    The chicken and pork and lamb at Saveway is all right, presumably white meat is not able to be adulterated with the gas ‘treatment’ that makes old meat look fresh.

    I might get my meat from the Mad Butcher, even though they are more expensive, though not as expensive as Countdown which admit to adulterating their meat.

    The price of milk is a scandal everywhere.

    Will there be any government enquiry into New Zealand’s food scandal?

    Should GST be removed from food to make it more affordable to flax roots New Zealanders?

    • Bill 2.1

      And when these things become the focus of speculation (if they aren’t already), then the price will eventually soar to levels that make them unaffordable, rather than merely less affordable as they are at present.

      As for adulterating food. That was why regulations were brought in. Unfortunately, the cost of the regulatory regimes favour those bigger players who were responsible for the regulatory regimes having to be brought in, in the first place.

      And any thoughts of subsidising certain foods would run foul of those endlessly touted ‘free trade’ deals and their enforcable ‘anti-competition’ clauses.

      At the moment, it’s dairy and meat that are slipping out of reach. Tomorrow, what with the government assisted drive by financial elites to drive down wages and dismantle social welfare systems, many of us will eventually join the ranks of the billions who can’t afford bog standard basics like bread and rice.

      Or do we think that state of affairs is to be preserved for non-pink foreigners only?

      • higherstandard 2.1.1

        Food prices aren’t helped by the supermarket duopoly/cartel we have set up in NZ.

        • Herodotus

          Just wait for food inflation to Really hit- Sugar is to hit the roof in price due to Queensland floods. Sugar like salt is an input ingrediant for many low cost food, then we have a few dry spots around the world. Dairy price on the move, I have it from a good source butter is about to commence a trip to over $6/kg – but then almost all commodities are on the move.. W
          NZ was continualy commented on for cheep renewable power and producing food. It appears that those living in NZ are fast lossing the benefits of these qualities as we ship them off to the highest bidder and only a very selected few benefit.

          • KJT

            There is absolutely no reason why we should pay more for NZ produced building materials than Australians. More for NZ produced meat than in the UK. More for NZ milk products than Singapore.
            While our wages are lower than any of them.
            How much of the claimed efficiency of our exporters is because of these hidden subsidies?
            Are they really contributing as much to NZ as they claim?

            • Lanthanide

              Sounds like the sort of thing that Labour should be pushing for an investigation on as part of their campaign. Can’t got wrong really.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.2

      Here’s one way of saving money, eating healthier and helping the world:

      World Vegetarian Day October 1st

    • Deadly_NZ 2.3

      And you missed the one about the little man getting the screw. (As usual.) But the banks are still getting their money.


      • KJT 2.3.1

        Also missed the other one about how US states are being encouraged to break contracts to retired state employees to continue tax cuts for the very rich.

    • Vicky32 2.4

      “Should GST be removed from food to make it more affordable to flax roots New Zealanders?”
      Absolutely… Also, IMO tampons and similar things, after all, they are necessities.

  3. Crashcart 3

    Two interesting tid bits from the herald this morning. The first I almost missed which was Keys speech pointing out that there were already new Zealand interests interested in buying large portions of the shares from privatising state owned assets. He states this like it validates what NACT want to do rather than showing that it is an blatant attempt to shift the profit earned from these assets from the state into the hands of his mates. Now those profitable assets will generate money for the lucky few rather than the ones who invested their tax dollars in setting them up.

    Secondly was a good editorial about Simon Powers new bill to remove the right to silence because it may save time in the court system. I suppose having less ability to defend yourself from charges may reduce court time. While we’re at it lets go start stripping away more of our basic rights. After attacking the previous government about the election spending bill they have the audacity to come out with this.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Save time in the courts? Lets just go the Banana republic route and have a couple of Government appointed judges on a tribunal deciding all cases. Forget juries and appeals too. Voila, efficiency supreme.

      • Crashcart 3.1.1

        And when the verdict is in they have 30 mins to make appeal, 30 mins after that they are marched out back and shot. Time and money savings galour.

        • ianmac

          And the convicted must pay for the bullets or an extra fine shall be imposed. Cost cutting.

          • Deadly_NZ

            And the Appeal will be Left or Right ear.

            • Colonial Viper

              Still plenty of costs incurred up to this point. Selling both kidneys (neither will be required by the convict) should recoup them however.

            • Deadly_NZ

              Thats why the Head shot dont ruin all those valuable organs.. heart , liver , lungs. and if done right eyes Kidneys pay the Bill the rest is the gravy… chinese justice anyone??? well if we buy their goods and they buy our Countrys Infrastructure from Jkeyll and co, then it’s obvious they will own our country, sooner or later. Thanx John you, you ……………………

      • higherstandard 3.1.2

        Are you suggesting we model the judicial system on the privileges committee?

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      My boyfriend pointed out that Fonterra, our largest company, is a co-operative.

      Why can’t Key propose that the privatisation of the power companies will be done as a co-operative model, where the customers own them? That way we can guarantee they won’t end up in foreign hands, while also ensuring that they have no incentive to price gouge.

      Why won’t they do it? Because they’re following ideology, pure and simple.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Worker co-operatives can be extremely commercially successful and reap handsome rewards for worker-owners. As well as giving them a firm say in major decisions made.

        Tory farmers know this. Ironic they would back elements of a democratic socialist approach huh.

  4. Jenny 4

    An estimated 500 people gathered in Queen Street Auckland, to show solidarity with the Egyptian people in revolt against the Egyptian dictatorship.

    Yesterday’s protest was part of international solidarity actions.

    Though the majority of the marchers were mostly Egyptian expatriates, there was a visible presence from the Greens Party and the Unite Union.

    The importance of this march and the many others like it, around the world, was to make it clear to the Mubarak regime that any slaughter or attack on the Egyptian people by the regime would be met with world wide outrage, and possible solidarity actions and sanctions.

    The other message from the marchers given in their signs and chants and speeches was that John Key’s support for Mubarak was a disgrace and an international embarrassment.

    One Egyptian speaker told the crowd, “I am not going to tell you who to vote for, but no one should vote for someone who supports tyranny and corruption.”

    Keith Locke addressed the marchers. Keith Locke said he was speaking for the Green Party as an official representative of the Green Party and caucus. “The Green Party totally support the struggle for democracy in Egypt” he said.

    He said that the Greens Party would be asking hard questions of the National Government over their support for for the Mubarak regime at the first day of parliament on Tuesday.

    Veteran activist and trade union leader Mike Treen spoke for GPJA, comparing the struggle of the Egyptian people to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa which all New Zealanders should support, he said. Treen as well as criticising Key also questioned Murray McCully for saying Mubarak should be the one who should be bringing stability to Egypt.

    The following is a link to a photo montage of the Auckland march on the Kia Ora Gaza website.

    Can anyone give a report of the Wellington march?

  5. Jenny 5

    Report of Egyptian international solidarity protests in the US, (The one in Washington DC longer than a city block, filling Pennsylvania Ave in Front of the White House.)

    Check it out:http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/nationwide-demonstrations-egypt.html

    As the Vietnam war protests showed, the Americans can be relied on to invent the best chants.

    capcha – “faith”

  6. Chris73 6

    My NZ team for the cricket world cup

    1. B McCullum
    2. M Guptill
    3. J Ryder
    4. R Taylor
    5. S Styris
    6. J Franklin
    7. N McCullum
    This batting line up should be set in stone
    8. D Vettori
    9. K Mills
    10. T Southee
    11. H Bennet
    Not going to argue if this order is moved around and Oram will probably be injured, if not he can replace Bennett or Southee depending on conditions

    Go the Black Caps!

    • Pat 6.1

      No – Oram and Mills should be competing for one spot.

      And if we lose a wicket during the batting power-play (which we usually do) Southee should be the next man in as a pinch-hitter. He could do some real damage with the field up and a licence to go for it.

      • Chris73 6.1.1

        I think Mills is dependable and Orams probably going to be injured but I’m thinking McCullum as pinch-hitter/finisher should be the way to go

    • millsy 6.2

      Cant see the Crap Caps getting too far in this world cup.

      They are more useless than they were back in the dark years that occured after Hadlee retired (1991 – 1998).

      Someone really needs to teach them that the object of opening the batting is to build a partnership, not throw away your wicket after getting 20 or 30, and whoever looks after the medical side of things needs to be given the boot. Having our best fast bowlers break down time after time is unacceptable (I dont recall Glen McGrath having time out with injury).

      Having said that, having John Wright as coach, is a step in the right direction.

  7. NickS 7

    I can has new council?:

    While things have gotten better for cyclists in Christchurch, due to the council still freezing the placement of new bike lanes on all but new road works, and the fact some people still don’t understand basic physics and as such can’t grok what happens when bike vs car, it’s not exactly a smooth ride. And putting up white crosses is a poor option due to it already being strongly associated with motor vehicle accident deaths.

    But hey, those stupid cyclists should have just been driving right? /sarcasm

  8. NickS 8


    Yes, because there’s not a fracking _mountain_ range sitting on top the coal seam, covered with old growth native forest and in no way does that overburden need to be dumped somewhere, in a part of the NZ that’s lacking in abundant dumping sites and low erosion coastal areas that can be filled in. With no costs at all with removing and dumping all that overburden and to tourism on the Coast that help make the tunnelling option somewhat more viable in the first place.

  9. What the hell is Mat .McCarten playing at ? He spends as much Space critizing Labour and Goff in particular, as he does the Nats ,more in fact.. Where has his Left Wing sympathies gone? The fact that he has a column in the Herald is bad enough but to continuously criticize Goff is mind bogling .Surely a man of his experience knows that only under Labour/Green with warts and all is there any chance of worker friendly policies. Im sick to death of the attacks on Goff bad enough from the Nacts but from one who is supposed to be on our side its gut wrenching.

    • tsmithfield 9.1

      Obviously says a lot about the state of Labour at the moment.

      • Doesn’t say anything about the state of Labour at all .It tells us that some people forget their roots once they start to get a bit of money .It obvious Mat is earning a few bob with his columns and the Herald gives him a stroke or two. sad.!!

        • Chris73


          Hes being critical of the Labour party because he sees what they’re doing is wrong and how they should change, you should take off your rose-tinted glasses and take notice

    • Deadly_NZ 9.2

      Yeah but really McCarten is not really a politician, more like a shit stirring wanna be.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Anyhoo. 37 degrees today in Christchurch. I’m definitely not a global warming skeptic now. 🙂

    • ianmac 10.1

      36 degrees in Blenheim today at 2:50 so watch out Christchurch. We’re right behind you!

      • Its just bloody hot in Cambridge ,but as one who served an apprenticship at Newmarket UK .I rode out on Newmarket Heath every day in the winter of 1946. There were no clothing allowances then so we were freezing cold . I have never complained about the heat since .However its still bloody hot!

    • NickS 10.2

      Yeah, I could kill for a car right now so I could get out of here for a swim…

      Too bloody hot to bike without spontaneously combusting.

      • Anne 10.2.1

        Hey NickS, I’m not one for skiting. It’s not in my nature. But dropped in to the local super-market for a few bits and pieces. Had the presence of mind to pop me swim-suit on under me shorts. Took a spin down to the local beach (one minute car-ride from the Sm) and had a long, cool swim. Arhhhhh- the bliss…

  11. rod 11

    It’s getting pretty hot in the Maori Party as well.

  12. Bored 12

    It is hard to reconcile BUT Deborah Coddington in her Herald spot makes some points I totally agree with. What she is objecting to are some provisions in the proposed Criminal Procedure Bill by which we would lose our right to silence. Further prior to trial defendants would have to supply their defense to the prosecution. All rather draconian and totalitarian. Well said Deborah.


    • Rosy 12.1

      So how many rights are we losing under Nact now?
      Search and surveillance – free association
      Criminal Justice – right to silence
      The trust legislation – financial equality
      Ecan legislation – the right to vote
      Gerry Brownlee, king of everything – whatever he decides
      Auckland City – structure of government and control over local assets
      Foreshore and Seabed – the weeping sore

      Have I missed anything? Not bad in 2 and a bit years. From the party that campaigned on freedom from govt interference.

  13. KJT 13


    The sell off continues. I presume this was previously public land sold to the runholders.

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Cameron lifts play straight from Winston Peters

    Or is that Don Brash?


    Cameron told the Munich Security Conference, attended by world leaders, that state multiculturalism had failed in this country and pledged to cut funding for Muslim groups that failed to respect basic British values.

    He blamed the radicalisation of Muslim youths and the phenomenon of home-grown terrorism on the sense of alienation that builds among young people living in separate communities and the “hands-off tolerance” of groups that peddle separatist ideology.

    Just a few hours later, EDL leader Stephen Lennon told the crowd they were part of a “tidal wave of patriotism” that was sweeping the UK.

    Activists, some wearing balaclavas and others waving English flags, chanted “Muslim bombers off our streets” and “Allah, Allah, who the fuck is Allah”.

  15. tea 15


    “…holds schools accountable for math and reading scores at the expense of the kind of creative, independent exploration that science fair projects require.”

    The results of no child left behind and national standards at a young age in the USA.

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    Call for open cast mining

    Because that is what the deceased Pike River miners would have wanted…apparently. It will also happen to make more money that way.

    Kokshoorn said open-cast mining was safer and the financial benefits outweighed environmental concerns.

    “I believe that mine will operate into the future… it will be open-cast or tunnel mining. Open-cast is safer.

    “You can get 95% recovery, whereas if you tunnel, you only get 60% of the coal out because you have to leave pillars behind to hold the mountain up.”

    The estimated $6b seam could generate $10b extracted that way. “The possibility is there and I think the deceased miners would have wanted that.”


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