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Open Mike 07/01/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 7th, 2019 - 240 comments
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240 comments on “Open Mike 07/01/2019 ”

  1. James 1

    It’s been a beautiful Xmas break – back to the office today.

  2. patricia bremner 2

    I see many private insurers including Southern Cross have raised their premiums by large margins. 20 to 33% being the usual amount, for young 22 year age members as well as their older clients.
    Is this because we are going to get more tropical diseases with changing unpredictable weather?
    Is it because our lives will be more stressful with floods droughts and storms?
    It is now accepted medical knowledge that stress is a cause of many physical and mental conditions.
    So are these fee changes another outcome of our climate situation, that the medical fraternity along with other actuaries are building into their insurances?
    Will other entities start charging a premium? Councils? Government? ???
    Does this mean the same margin needs to be added to the Public Hospital system to keep up?
    The vaccination programme in Northland could become regular with the incursion of tropical diseases and programmes for inteventions more regular.
    Perhaps some with better knowledge could tell us more.

    • Stunned Mullet 2.1

      ‘Is this because we are going to get more tropical diseases with changing unpredictable weather? ‘


      ‘Is it because our lives will be more stressful with floods droughts and storms?’


      ‘It is now accepted medical knowledge that stress is a cause of many physical and mental conditions.’


      ‘So are these fee changes another outcome of our climate situation, that the medical fraternity along with other actuaries are building into their insurances?’


      ‘The vaccination programme in Northland could become regular with the incursion of tropical diseases and programmes for inteventions more regular.’

      The current vaccination programme in Northland is for a specific strain of N. meninigitidis which causes a particularly nasty meningitis in some individuals – this is not a tropical disease.

      • patricia bremner 2.1.1

        The increasing temperatures will lead to tropical disease carrying insects such as varieties of mosquito which carry dengue and ross river fever being more usual.
        Perhaps I worded that badly using weather instead of warmth.

        I find it strange that you agree stress is a health problem, yet do not see increasing floods and storms could be stressful.

        Are you trying to shut down a conversation? Your blanket no to the question about the medical fraternity and actuaries, who work out risk ignores that the Society of Actuaries in NZ and overseas stated climate change raised risk profiles and would impact on a wide range of underwriting for insurances and cause rising costs.

        I did not say meningococcal disease was tropical, I said innoculation programmes could become more usual. I accept that example was perhaps a little loose and open to misinterpretation.

        • Stunned Mullet

          ‘The increasing temperatures will lead to tropical disease carrying insects such as varieties of mosquito which carry dengue and ross river fever being more usual.
          Perhaps I worded that badly using weather instead of warmth.’

          Those varieties of mosquito are not present in NZ.

          ‘I find it strange that you agree stress is a health problem, yet do not see increasing floods and storms could be stressful.’

          No that’s not my position – I’m of the opinion that none of the increases in Southern Cross fees are due to floods and storms and any associated stress.

          ‘Are you trying to shut down a conversation? ‘


          ‘Your blanket no to the question about the medical fraternity and actuaries, who work out risk ignores that the Society of Actuaries in NZ and overseas stated climate change raised risk profiles and would impact on a wide range of underwriting for insurances and cause rising costs.’

          You asked a question specifically about Southern Cross medical insurance.

          • patricia bremner

            Those mosquitoes are capable of coming over by wind, just as the fungus disease myrtle rust has.

          • Wayne

            The increase in premiums will almost certainly be a result of older clients using the services more heavily. I have been one of those this last year.

            The Radiation Oncology Clinic at Mercy Hospital (partnership with Southern Cross) is very busy. A lot of expensive new technology. Lots of people getting treatment. Mostly 50 plus, though some younger people as well. Some on the public list as well, which the Clinic treats in partnership with Auckland Hospital.

            I think people are seeing more specialists than in the past, and expect more treatments earlier. None of which is cheap. Around 30% of Aucklanders apparently have medical insurance with Southern Cross, which must also free up the public services. Of which I have also ben a recipient this last year. More than I would like, including ICU. Both public and private have been very efficient and caring.

            • David Mac

              Yep, actuaries running numbers that incorporate the 50+ bubble.

              If in a position to, rising health insurance premiums can be tempered by aligning some income to the same pressures and buying Metlifecare shares.

              Frustrating Catch 22 – private health cover. As we age and our incomes subside, when we’re most likely to make a claim, premiums soar.

            • Stunned Mullet

              That’ll definitely be a significant proportion of the premium – I do note however that Southern Cross has a quite significant staff and facilities bill which no doubt needs to be serviced none of which decreases on an annual basis.

              • Wayne

                Southern Cross has some very impressive facilities and a lot higher staff/ patient ratio than public hospitals. They do some pretty sophisticated surgery but not quite at the level of Auckland hospital.

                Virtually all the surgeons and specialists split their time between public and private. Though I do know of some of specialists (a relatively small minority) who will not work in the private sector even on a partial basis. On personal philosophy.

                • francesca

                  Private wins out for most of them
                  Profit wins out over compassion

                  • Stunned Mullet

                    “Profit wins out over compassion”

                    Cobblers, most NZ medical specialists continue to work in public as well as private practice even though if they moved more of their time to private it would make them financially better off and they’d be working less hours.

                    • francesca

                      The experience of my brother in law, a specialist of many years who has now left the health system informs my comment. He was disappointed at the profit motivation amongst his peers
                      Often unavailable for public health care because they prioritised their commitments in the private sphere
                      The Charity hospital in Christchurch was founded because services became inaccessible through the public system , and the private system..where all the action was , was unaffordable.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Sue and Phillip Bagshaw have indeed done some fine work with the charity hospital.

                      Having worked in the area for many decades I reiterate that your position on lack of compassion from medical specialists is unfair on the majority.

                • Tricledrown

                  Double dipping

                  • cleangreen

                    Tricledrown; 100%

                    These insurance charlatans will be soon going for another dip shortly as soon as we turn our backs.

                    These finance bigots are only ‘profit driven’ and the approaching Global Financial crash, now appearing will force them to up their premiums and profits to keep their shareholders on board.

                    The ‘economy trumps fairness’.

            • mpledger

              People with private health insurance use more **public** health services than those without health insurance. Having health insurance doesn’t free up the public health system. The advantage of private health insurance is to jump the queue in the public system.

              • Stunned Mullet

                ‘People with private health insurance use more **public** health services than those without health insurance.’

                Really ? do you have a link for that ?

                I’d accept that people with private health insurance might be higher health users for whatever reasons but it seems an odd stat.

                ‘The advantage of private health insurance is to jump the queue in the public system.’

                Yes indeed that’s the main positive certainly for some conditions.

            • OnceWasTim

              ” Around 30% of Aucklanders apparently have medical insurance with Southern Cross, which must also free up the public services.
              Of which I have also ben [sic] a recipient this last year. More than I would like, including ICU. ”
              Cherry picking by private providers aside @ Wayne, I’m sorry to hear that.

              Does that mean you’ll have to opt out of providing your words of wisdom and prognostications on currant fears programmes over the next year (going forward)?

              If you could possibly advise during this time of what must be extreme hardship, I’d be obliged. I’ll be able to schedule the ‘TIVO’ – (if it hasn’t been completely superceded) to record reruns of the Muppets rather than what we’re promised will be a ‘NEW’ season of Q+A

              • Wayne

                Prognosis seems good, though I actually will know at the beginning of Feb. The time in North Shore ICU was due to an allergic reaction during a biopsy. The main treatment has been 39 sessions of radiation, completed a week before Christmas. With the new generation radiation machines, it is much more precise than in the past, and with less side effects.

                So I anticipate doing the occasional Q & A this year, though hopefully I won’t go as far as saying, “That’s just ridiculous” as I did with Lilia Harre on her speculation that the British poisoned the Russians in the UK. It was the tone as much as the words. Also writing in New Zealand International Review and elsewhere from time to time.

                • patricia bremner

                  Good luck Wayne , I hope you make a full recovery.
                  I agree with your earlier comment on compassion and care. All my pre=op visits have built my confidence.
                  As a 6 year old I spent months in hospital and the six year old me, still there somewhere in the 77 year old body, flinches at the idea of lumber punches and sundry other horrors, so kindness counts.

                • OnceWasTim

                  Interesting comment on CNN today by one of their sages – which actually rings a bit true.
                  The comment was that where once American media (and now globally in the West), they once sought comment from those in academia or those that directly hold the strings of power, now they simply seek commentary from their colleagues and prognosticators now not directly involved.
                  I’ll look forward to your presence on another season, but in case you haven’t yet got the memo from Crosby T, don’t mention Bill English and Paula Bennett in the same sentence.

        • Robert Guyton

          Wilful misinterpretation 🙂

    • Pat 2.2



      Its an age old (or old age) problem…..in the case of health insurance any link to CC would be tenuous as…..other forms of insurance however are a different story.

      And ICs tend to deal with unacceptable risk by exclusion, rather than premiums.

      • patricia bremner 2.2.1

        Yes, that may be the case Pat. I may be drawing a long bow.

        • Pat

          on reflection perhaps it may be fairer to say climate change is unlikely to be a factor in rising health insurance premiums YET….the industry has been studying likely impacts so it may well have an impact as things worsen.

    • soddenleaf 2.3

      No. Health Insurance is socialism by the market, when the prevailing winds turn around against vacated neolibs thinking, it’s obvious they need to go up market. As the most efficient way of gaining the health outcomes necessary for a function future economy, I.e. healthy workers sustaining several pensioners each. Same with education, taking out profit motive, I.e charter schools. The global shift away from unnecessary expense on the middle class, well, that is for the smart lean economies of the future. We cannot sustain unnecessary rent seekers, or their drones who buy into value added private education and insurance.

      Geez, even something dumb, like a tap replacement is considered to be a event under the construction act and so payment must be in five working days. Really! A person does not need to get a plumber to do it, get council signoff, so why would anyone think it wasnt a just plain service… …but thats tge point highly efficient societies dont, havent, let heir private sectors run the show. Geez, dont get me srarted with the engineers self-exonerating the cctv…

      HZ needs a serious pragmatic centralist party for a change,the last thirty years of handouts to the private sector have just made us a high risk premium.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1

        We cannot sustain unnecessary rent seekers, or their drones who buy into value added private education and insurance.

        This is true.

        Geez, even something dumb, like a tap replacement is considered to be a event under the construction act and so payment must be in five working days. Really! A person does not need to get a plumber to do it, get council signoff, so why would anyone think it wasnt a just plain service…

        I’ve seen people think that before and then had to replace their bathroom – again – because all the taps that they’d put in (because, hey, you don’t need a plumber) leaked.

        HZ needs a serious pragmatic centralist party for a change,the last thirty years of handouts to the private sector have just made us a high risk premium.

        Everyone assures me that we’ve had sensible centrist parties for the last thirty years. Especially when I say that we need to go much further Left.

        • patricia bremner

          Exactly “we need to go much further left” An increase in the health budget even greater than has been managed, to rebuild public services. A Government backed insurance scheme similar to the old “State” one would keep prices more realistic.

  3. Morrissey 3

    “Take those books and shove them… I get my information from TV.”
    Beware the militant ignorance of the irrational right

    DAVID LETTERMAN: [guffawing] I don’t read BOOKS!
    AUDIENCE: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Yesterday I and a few others from Daisycutter Sports Inc. spent some time perusing the contents and interacting with—some might call it trolling—the denizens of Mr David P. Farrar’s organ.

    It was pretty much a typical day on Kiwiblog, with some very good and thoughtful posts, peppered with the usual sour, bitter cynicism and abuse. This can be occasionally funny and colourful but it’s usually just repetitive and tiresome: “imbecilic moron”, “fake news”, “idiot Council department”, “ardern the liar”, “Irish…scientist….heh heh heh.”, “Arrogant arse… Piss off..”, et cetera.

    However, there’s something darker and more sinister in the shadows at Kiwiblog, and at Cameron Slater’s joke of a site, and at every other right wing blog here and overseas: willful, defiant ignorance, and a refusal to even consider seriously thinking about an issue. We’ve become accustomed to seeing this every single day with every moronic tweet that comes out of the notorious @realDonaldTrump account; it’s a melancholy fact that a lot of people use Trump’s brass-plated defiance of all common sense and reality as a template for their own behaviour.

    As an illustration of this, have a look at these three posts from yesterday’s General Debate on Kiwiblog:

    [1] “By the way, take those books and shove them up your over used arse, like ardern the liar, I get my information from TV.” — Tall Man

    [2] “I don’t need to read any biased diatribes by the cretin Hagar…
    Hagar is a fuckwit peace activist with an agenda; he wants total dismantling of the armed forces and intelligence services in this country so excuse me if I put little credence in anything from that treasonous ass.” — Salacious Crumb

    [3] “Stuff do not allow posts that deny Climate Change
 They say the science is settled and they will only accept correspondce that agrees with them.
    How can MSM be so evil?
 What happened to informed debate.” — DigNap15


    There are several of these angry and ignorant characters infesting this excellent site. They need to be challenged forcefully every time they write something like this…..

    September 11was caused by Al Queada and their base was in Afghanistan. The Taliban Government was requested to remove them and turn over the leadership to US authorities. They were under clear notice that if they refused there was UN sanction to go and get them. As we know they did refuse and Afghanistan was invaded. New Zealand was involved from the outset.

    I recall Deputy Prime Ministers Andertons speech in Parliament in Sept 2001 committing New Zealands support. Given the history between the US and NZ (and I am not primarily considering the nuclear issue – the relationship is deeper than that) I do not think that NZ could have simply stood on the sidelines.

    Wayne, 26 April 2013

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      “They need to be challenged forcefully” – why? Must every crowd discussion become hostile? I prefer peace. A lot of polarisation is driven by failure to see things from the other’s point of view, seems to me.

      Doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but you become able to engage on a non-hostile basis. It can lead to polite disagreement, agreeing to disagree, and if not walking away often works better. Zen teaches that.

      Leftist thought often emanates from a need to persuade others that one view is correct, and often that inner need becomes a problem for others who feel put upon as a result of becoming the target of compulsion. Passive aggression seems more counter-productive than helpful.

      Jesus talked about casting pearls before swine. There’s another biblical parable about casting seed onto arid ground, same lesson. Folks only change their mind when ready, willing & able to do so. Haranguing them is usually a waste of time.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        Fair comment. I was perhaps getting a little excited there, Dennis.

        • patricia bremner

          Well I agree that some of the ignorant rants on these sites raise hackles Morrisey, but Frank is right, don’t take the bait, try to be kind.
          I think Jacinda would say it says far more about them than about her. Cheers.

        • OnceWasTim

          Sometimes it pays to just sit back, hold the tongue and watch without comment. It can be quite therapeutic at times, especially when you know who the first to come grovelling when and if it all turns to shit will be.

          (Here Endeth the First lesson – ooops – learning, going forward …… /sarc)

    • Anne 3.2

      … there’s something darker and more sinister in the shadows at Kiwiblog, and at Cameron Slater’s joke of a site, and at every other right wing blog here and overseas: willful, defiant ignorance, and a refusal to even consider seriously thinking about an issue. We’ve become accustomed to seeing this every single day with every moronic tweet that comes out of the notorious @realDonaldTrump account; it’s a melancholy fact that a lot of people use Trump’s brass-plated defiance of all common sense and reality as a template for their own behaviour.

      I have take your word re- the right wing blog sites Morrissey since I rarely venture near any of them. However I totally agree with the rest of the statement. Tunnel-visioned, ignorant right-wing morons around the world are rapidly being enabled and activated by Trumpism.

      Many decades ago, my late father predicted that a new fascist type leader would one day emerge and WW3 would follow. He claimed it was likely to happen in America. Since a lot of his prognostications have come to fruition over the years I fear this one might too. As time passes. there is less and less difference between Trumpism and Fascism.

      Don’t take the above as meaning I’m a supporter of the current Russian regime because I suspect they will prove to be the other half of the Fascist coin. time will tell.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Many decades ago, my late father predicted that a new fascist type leader would one day emerge and WW3 would follow. He claimed it was likely to happen in America. Since a lot of his prognostications have come to fruition over the years I fear this one might too. As time passes. there is less and less difference between Trumpism and Fascism.

        Well, there is the Business Plot to install a fascist government in the US to consider.

        Then, of course, there is Musolini’s Fascism should be called Corporatism as it’s a melding of state and business. And that does appear to be happening in the ‘democracies’ of the world.

        This is a good article on fascist US:

        As we know, fascism was eventually defeated in World War 2. But just before the end of the war, with the fascists on the ropes, the Vice President of the United States at the time, Henry Wallace, penned an op-ed for the New York Times warning Americans about the creeping dangers of fascism – or corporate government.

        He defined a fascist as, “those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.”

        • Anne

          He defined a fascist as, “those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.”

          Well, there we all go…. with our eyes, ears and cerebral senses closed to what is happening around us. Well, some of us are alert to it.

          Back to my father:
          He took his young wife and very young family (not me, I came later) away from England in 1937 and brought them to NZ on the basis there was another World War just around the corner. He was laughed at by family and friends.

          He made the prediction back in the 1960s when the technology of today was still largely in the realms of science fiction, so his understanding of how another global war might manifest itself was limited. Nonetheless I can look back now and appreciate he was always way ahead of his peers, but he wasn’t the only one as patricia bremner has attested to.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Well, there we all go…. with our eyes, ears and cerebral senses closed to what is happening around us. Well, some of us are alert to it.

            Propaganda and the Engineering of Consent for Empire

            It’s been estimated that an average American living in cities sees up to 4,000 ads a day. This toxic culture of mindless consumption exploits our innermost insecurities and desire to meet impossible standards. The corporate PR machine is enormously successful due to model created by a man named Edward Bernays nearly a century ago.

            Our entire system is based around propagating the lies needed to keep the rich in power.

            • Ed

              Yes, the populace is sound asleep.

              • OnceWasTim

                Well they’re not really asleep @ Ed. They’re just suffering the consequences of the neo-liberal ‘ism’, which as I’ve commented elsewhere, is not just a political agenda, but also a language and a culture and a way of ‘being’
                It’s a shame it wasn’t chopped off at its roots a fucking sight earlier, but since it wasn’t, it’s hardly surprising we are where we are today.
                Not surprising we now have a generation that have grown up knowing nothing else – including our now so-called ‘left’ tishuns going forward.

                But it is what it is and so perhaps we should be grateful for each and every little shift that challenges it.
                And if it doesn’t work out when the Peter Thiels and Nafe Gois come grovelling – just put ’em at the bottom of your list when dealing out sympathy – history is inclined to repeat if not exactery if my old mate Dame Edna once told me in the strictest of confidence.
                Or in other words – Fuck ’em

          • Stunned Mullet

            “He took his young wife and very young family (not me, I came later) away from England in 1937 and brought them to NZ on the basis there was another World War just around the corner. He was laughed at by family and friends.”

            Churchill 1934 ..’Germany is arming fast, and no one is going to stop her. I dread the day when the means of threatening the heart of the British Empire should pass into the hands of the present rulers of Germany…I dread that day, but it is not, perhaps, far distant.’

            1936 when he asked for air defence systems for London “attempts will be made to burn down London.” plus in a newspaper column …..that the Reich “is arming more strenuously, more scientifically and upon a larger scale, than any nation has ever armed before.”

            Critics derided him as Britain’s “number one warmonger.”

            • Ed

              His quotes on treating Indian citizens show Churchill to be quite a repulsive human being.

              “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes,”


            • Anne

              Critics derided him as Britain’s “number one warmonger.”

              Yes. On that occasion the critics were proven wrong.

              My father was in Germany in 1936 and witnessed the rearmament programme for himself. He also had the unnerving experience of noticing that the odd person was running away from him in the street. He didn’t fathom out why at the time but, as a former British soldier, he had a military bearing and they would have been Jewish Germans who thought he was a Nazi in civilian clothing.

              There’s even a similarity to what is happening in the US today. I refer to the demonisation of legitimate refugees fleeing corrupt South American regimes, and the plight of the Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 40s.

              • Stunned Mullet

                I don’t think those of us of more recent generations in the West have any real comprehension of what our parents and grandparents went through in the first half of the 20th century.

            • Morrissey

              Churchill is on record asserting that Hitler was a “moderate.” At the same time he was spewing that bilge, he was refusing to shake the hand of diplomats from the democratically elected Spanish government, which was under siege from his friend General Franco.

              • McFlock

                Realy? On record where?I’ve not heard that one before.

                I knew Churchill wanted to assassinate Gandhi, called the cavalry out on strikers, and a few other things. Never heard that he’d called H a moderate before, though.

      • patricia bremner 3.2.2

        Anne, Mine said the same thing. Churchill wasn’t called a “Warlord” for nothing.

      • Tricledrown 3.2.3

        Anyone Noticed news about Israeli analytical company sponsored by one of Putins Puppet billionaires connected to Mueller investigation going bankrupt wouldn’t be surprised if Slater’s visit to Israel was connected Farrers analytics also

      • Tony Veitch [not etc.] 3.2.4

        Can I recommend “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis, about the rise of a fascist dictator in the United States, first published in 1935.

        The book is available in a Penguin edition, no doubt republished recently with Trump in mind.

        A disturbing read.

    • Wayne 3.3


      Is there anything incorrect in what I said there? I was essentially setting out what occurred in September/October 2001

      Jim Anderton was extremely clear in his speeches in Parliament and in public where he considered New Zealand should stand. I happened to agree with him.

      Whether you agree with the decision that the New Zealand took in September/October is a different issue to the facts of the attack, and that the Taliban government was harbouring Al Qaeda. Obviously you don’t/didn’t support the decision of the New Zealand government. The decision by Jim Anderton as Deputy PM to support the deployment of the New Zealand SAS did tear apart the Alliance Party.

      • Morrissey 3.3.1

        Is there anything incorrect in what I said there?

        Eighteen years later, with Afghanistan and Iraq in ruins, and the resultant catastrophe in Syria, and you are still pretending to be serious with that question.

        I am appalled at the capacity of politicians to say and do the unspeakable. Not just you, Wayne, but Macho Man Anderton, Flag-waving Phil Goff, Action Man Key and all the rest of them.

        • Ed

          And every week the civilians and citizens of Afghanistan pay with their lives for the hubris of Blair, Bush and Wayne.

          Just this week……

          “At least 75 members of pro-government forces and 14 civilians were killed this week. Pro-government forces casualties increased this week compared to last week, but civilian casualties were down. The deadliest violence took place in Sar-i-Pul Province, where the Taliban attacked security forces in three areas, killing a total of 21 people and wounding 25 others. At least 10 civilians suffered casualties in two operations by pro-government forces in Paktia and Faryab provinces. Casualties in both provinces were caused by American air power.”


          If you weren’t aware of the ongoing catastrophe in Afghanistan, this is because the NZ corporate media thinks UFOs and the Golden Globes are more important.

        • Stunned Mullet

          More daft cant from the NZ’s least respected stenographer.

          • Morrissey


            What part did I get wrong, Professor? Is it only Iraq that’s in ruins? Did you hear from Leighton Smith that Afghanistan is thriving or something?

            Did Goff not rhapsodize about how his nephew was in the U.S. military? Did brave John Key not pontificate about the need to “get some guts” and join the fray in Iraq?

            What part did I get wrong?

            • Ed

              It appears all stunned mullet does is abuse and insult people.
              Both you and I have been abused for making points he/she disagrees with.
              We get no contrary evidence, no reasoned counterpoint, no logical rebuttal….

              • Morrissey

                He’s actually quite a fan of mine, Ed. I always appreciate his feedback. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of my oeuvre.

            • Wayne

              I am fully aware of the current situation in Afghanistan.

              Back around 2009/2010, the professional advice was that the ISAF forces would need to stay at least another decade to support the Afghan government. I had my own team do an independent assessment and we came to the same conclusion.

              That was one of the lessons of Malaya and Singapore. The counter insurgency mission lasted from 1950 to 1970. New Zealand and Australia kept forces there till the mid 1980’s, a total of 35 years. Their presence alone helped both countries progress.

              President Obama started the troop surge in 2009 and the rest of the ISAF nations, including New Zealand, also boosted their presence. But Obama didn’t stay the course. By 2011, just after there had been real gains, Obama started withdrawing (against all advice). The other ISAF nations including New Zealand followed suit. They all needed to stay till at least 2015 to cement the gains, not pull out as soon as there was progress. So now the Taliban is resurgent.

              I accept Afghanistan is more difficult than Malaya and Singapore, being more remote, more removed from trade routes, and with a deeper history. But that meant it was obvious from the get go that it would be at least a 20 year mission. Although there are still some western troops, the great bulk had withdrawn by 2013, which was way too early.

              Bush’s Iraq adventure certainly did not help. Maybe if Iraq had never happened , the Afghan mission would have succeeded.

    • Bruce 3.4

      Challenge them with humour

  4. francesca 4

    We’re still fighting wars (information and otherwise)where the outcome becomes totally irrelevant in the face of climate apocalypse
    Here’s Private Eye on the Integrity Initiative, its vilification of Russia and Corbyn, and its connections to the Iraq war.


    The daftness of these red herrings, and bone headed insistence on full spectrum domination versus cooperation becomes more insane.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Trotter’s wish list for the new year is an entertaining read, and it cites the Green New Deal: http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2019/01/2019-if-we-get-lucky.html

    Funny how even here some leftists are advocating for the Brexit referendum to be re-run (see the comments section). The basic idea seems to be that democracy doesn’t produce the right result sometimes, so we need to repeat the vote process until the result sought by that particular group of leftists is produced. Could take forever.

    • veutoviper 5.1

      Definitely an entertaining read – and definitely not bland! LOL.

      Thanks for pointing it out. I think that is the one I’s m going to have at the top of my list for comparison during the year.

  6. francesca 6

    The cicada chorus gets pretty penetrating where I am this time of year
    Wonder if I’m experiencing sonic concussions like those poor US diplomats in Cuba?
    Bloody Commie crickets!


    • Herodotus 6.1

      Slight detour
      There has been no sign of Cicadas in our local area (yet)
      Also notice the absence of Monarch Butterflies (Swan plants are ready to be inundated with caterpillars), as well as few wasps and flies.

      • JanM 6.1.1

        There are lots of monarch butterflies up in the part of Northland I live in. I was teaching at an early childhood centre on Friday and the children and I counted 22 caterpillars on one tree alone! (A big tree, luckily!)
        The wasps are a huge problem in places, though. I am staying with friends in Auckland at the moment and their big tree gets visited a lot by butterflies but there are almost never any surviving caterpillars because the wasps kill them. It is only at the end of the season when it is too cold for the wasps that the monarchs have a chance to survive.

      • francesca 6.1.2

        Swan plants have been stripped here
        I’m on the edge of the bush with heaps of kanukas, hence the cicadas, plenty of flies,wasps expected more towards autumn.
        One thing I do notice is the absence of insects, moths etc swatting themselves in great numbers against the windows at night.

        • Janice

          I am very discouraged at the moment and thinking that monarrch butterflies will become extinct. It was probably some rich brassica grower who talked some dumb minister or official into allowing the wasps to be introduced to deal with the white butterfly caterpillars, but the wasps found the monarchs tastier. I have farmed the butterflies for about 60 years with much enjoyment. Butterflies have been very scarce this year and if I see one laying eggs I cut the branch straight away and put them in the shelter. This year I had raised some monarch caterpillars from eggs, had them outside and well trussed up under shade cloth. This morning I went out to replenish the fodder, etc and somehow a wasp had got in and there was carnage. Just bits of caterpillars stuck to the leaves. Some were getting big enough to hang.

          • francesca

            Thats so disappointing , I know the feeling of devastation
            I think its the Asian paper wasp?
            Just arrived here about 6 years ago

            • Janice

              Yes I’m in Waiuku – too close to Pukekohe where the wasps were probably first released.

              • veutoviper

                I’ve put up a few links in my reply to Robert at 2.27pm below which may be of interest, particularly re the paper wasps which seem to be the culprits, including details re their nests etc. The NZ Geographic article is really helpful on that score.

            • Robert Guyton

              These wasps! I think New Zealanders are going to get a terrible shock this summer, especially as it draws to a close, at the devastation to our insect populations up and down the country, through predation by wasps, especially the German wasp. They eat insects amongst other things, and eat them in huge amounts. I expect we’ll experience a crisis that will see our “cupboard of insects’ left almost bare. The problem with that is multiple; the services insects provide won’t get done and they do a great deal of what the environment needs in order to function properly. Eventually, the wasps will exhaust their food supply and their own numbers will collapse, but in the meantime, we’ll be effected significantly by what they’ve done. Mine is just my own view and I don’t read much at all about it, but despite the delight I take in all insects, I’m supporting the nation-wide programme to control wasps by destroying as many of them and their nests as possible this season.

          • veutoviper

            So sorry to hear that, Janice. Here in south Wellington I have seen a few monarchs but not nearly as many as in past years. There are quite a few dedicated monarch breeders/growers of swan plants locally so I must speak to them and get their assessment. I used to do so too but gardening is now a thing of the past sadly.

            But the remarks re the wasps is very relevant as there was discussion on one of the “How To Get There” posts in the very recent past of the use of these wasps to deter white butterflies.

            I will see if I can find it and post the link because the loss of our monarchs seems to possibly be an unintended consequence of the introduction and spread of these wasps. Then we can point this out to the enthusiasts here who want to see the wasps spread further. I think it was Robert Guyton or WeTheBeeple who recommended their use to someone … but I may be wrong. My apologies in advance if I have got it wrong.

            • Robert Guyton

              Hi veutoviper and Janice – yes, the parasitic wasps introduced long ago to control the out-of-control cabbage white butterflies are responsible, in part, for the deaths of Monarchs in the caterpillar stage, and more importantly and tragically, kahukura and kowhaikura, two of our native butterflies, the red and yellow Admirals. The cabbage whites, once arrived here in NZ, quickly ‘plagued’ and filled the skies with their brassica-hungry selves, prompting the farming community, who were growing brassicas for animal feed (I believe) and the market gardeners too, no doubt, to demand a solution in the form of … another insect! Did they take care that the little wasps that lay their eggs in the caterpillars would not do so in our natives? I don’t know, but it would appear not. These wasps, btw, are not the German wasps, the sting-like-hell varieties that torment picnickers and schools children at lunchtimes, but tiny Ichneumonoidea, parasitoid wasps that you hardly ever notice unless you’re looking.

      • patricia bremner 6.1.3

        Everything is 4 to 6 weeks late here in the King Country this season. Auckland has full swan plant trees lots of monarchs and caterpillars we noted when visiting relatives.
        The swan plants are just growing and the potato plants haven’t flowered yet, and we usually get new potatoes for Christmas dinner.

    • gsays 6.2

      Not sure if it’s an old wives tale… a common refrain around these parts is when you hear the cicadas there are 6weeks of summer left.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    “Éloi Laurent is … the author of the newly released Measuring Tomorrow: Accounting for Well-being, Resilience, and Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century.” He invalidates three myths about economic growth in his essay here: https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/97528/china-deserve-praise-lifting-hundreds-millions-people-out-poverty-its-experience-has

    “In 2014, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest economy (based on purchasing power parity). Its per capita GDP, 40 times lower than that of the United States in 1980, has grown by a factor of 58, and is now just 3.4 times lower (according to IMF data). In effect, around 15% of humanity has experienced 10% average income growth every year for four decades.”

    Just the positive side of the capitalist growth coin. So he goes on to address the negative side:

    “China, after all, is now one of the world’s most unequal countries. For the last ten years, its Gini coefficient has hovered around 0.5, up from around 0.3 in 1980 (a coefficient of 1 means a single individual owns everything). In fact, the relationship between growth and inequality over time has followed a peculiar pattern: China’s Gini coefficient has increased with growth, and decreased when growth has slowed.”

    “Moreover, according to data from the World Inequality Database, the share of China’s national income accruing to the richest 10% increased from 27% to 41% between 1978 and 2015, and doubled for the top 1%. At the same time, the share of national income going to the poorest 50% fell from 26% to 14%. These data are consistent with other sources showing that while per capita GDP grew by a factor of 14 between 1990 and 2010, the top quintile’s share of national income increased at the expense of the bottom four.”

    “To be sure, these are relative inequalities, and China has undeniably reduced absolute poverty. Most Chinese once lived under conditions of high equality and high misery; today, they live in an unequal society where the income of the poorest 10% grew by almost 65% between 1980 and 2015.”

    A nicely balanced view of the pros & cons of capitalism, huh? Then there’s the environmental consequences to consider:

    “China now contributes 28% of global carbon-dioxide emissions – twice as much as the US, three times more than the European Union, and four times more than India. Between 1978 and 2016, China’s annual CO2 emissions grew from 1.5 billion tons to ten billion tons, and from 1.8 tons to 7.2 tons in per capita terms, compared to the world average of 4.2 tons.”

    “As is well documented, water, groundwater, and air pollution in China has reached a crisis point. And that, incidentally, also poses a problem for those who believe that capitalism is the key driver of environmental destruction. After all, the most ecologically unsustainable country in history is nominally communist.”

    The paradox is elucidated via the relation of belief to praxis: preaching communism while practicing capitalism. The contrast between what they do, and what they say they are doing. Credibility is the issue. Don’t need it when the masses are compliant.

    • Wayne 7.1

      Any capitalist society will have a higher GINI coefficient than a socialist society like pre 1980 China or pre 1990 USSR or present day Cuba. It is a function of private ownership and allowing people to make their own economic choices.

      Inevitably some people will do a lot better than others in such circumstances, due to entrepreneurialism and risk taking. Total wealth and median wealth will increase faster than in a a socialist society, but it will be less evenly spread than in a socialist society. An intended outcome, which is then ameliorated by government action in most modern social democracies like NZ.

      • Sacha 7.1.1

        “Inevitably some people will do a lot better than others in such circumstances, due to entrepreneurialism and risk taking.”

        and rent-seeking.

        • Wayne

          Rent seeking in the classic sense tends to be second and third generation wealth. That is, money already invested in property and shares without the second and third generation earning it.

          Unless you also mean the hundreds of thousands on New Zealanders who have bought rental properties or invest in Kiwisaver or the like. Anyone in Kiwisaver will be indirectly invested in the stock market.

          Anyone with savings or Kiwisaver is invested in rent seeking, as you call it. The bank is using savings to lend to others on mortgages, etc, and Kiwisaver is invested in stocks, shares bonds and bank deposits. All based on getting a return on money.

          All of which is impossible to avoid in any free society.

          All socialist economies only exist in non-democratic societies. The reason being that it takes draconian laws to stop people owning businesses or owning property with income potential. Such laws don’t survive in societies with regular elections.

          The most that is done in free societies is taxation, and there is a limit. Seriously confiscatory taxes also don’t survive in free societies. Significant proportions of infrastructure business may be owned by the state (airports, ports, rail, electricity) in free societies, but this does not fundamentally impinge on entrepreneurialism and property ownership.

      • shadrach 7.1.2

        “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

        Winston Churchill

      • francesca 7.1.3

        “then ameliorated by govt action”….which has been a total failure. Hence our rising rates of child poverty. But then perhaps thats an acceptable outcome for you
        It isn’t for society in general, where poverty, run down health services and bad housing can lead to outcomes like epidemics and crime. That affects all of us
        Entrepreneurialism and risk taking I would suggest , are a minor cause of wealth. The already wealthy get wealthier, very often on inherited wealth, and are given an easy ride tax wise.
        Tax avoidance is far easier for the wealthy than poor wage earners.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.4

        It is a function of private ownership and allowing people to make their own economic choices.

        Private ownership doesn’t allow the majority of people to make their own economic choices.

        Total wealth and median wealth will increase faster than in a a socialist society

        No, it actually won’t. Another case of reality being completely opposite what the right-wing believe.

        • shadrach

          “Private ownership doesn’t allow the majority of people to make their own economic choices.”
          Of course it does. In fact private ownership empowers those choices far more than public ownership, simply because it recognises the nature of informed self interest.

          “No, it actually won’t.”
          Your link is about wealth and inequality, and only about income inequality, not wealth inequality. It doesn’t even mention comparisons between capitalist and socialist economies.

          That capitalism outperforms socialism in economic growth is not even controversial, given the economic failure of so many countries that have tried socialism, and that most emerging economies are ’emerging’ becasue of their embrace of capitalism. But if you want some hard data, this piece was researched and written in response to the ‘capitalism has failed’ mantra of the occupy movement – http://www.asepp.com/capitalism-economic-growth/.


          “In fact, the capitalist economies of the emerging markets had to weather the storm created by the major centres of financialization (located in socialist countries) and propagated through capital flows of globalization. It has been capitalism which has provided the flexibility and resilience in the emerging economies to survive the fallout from the GFC.”

          You also might want to consider the decline of extreme poverty under capitalism (https://fee.org/articles/extreme-poverty-rates-plummet-under-capitalism/), and the greater levels of personal freedom generally enjoyed…but that’s enough for you for now.

  8. The Chairman 8

    In case you missed it. It’s just over 26mins long but well worth a listen

    NZ algorithm stocktake: “need to take care in their use”


  9. veutoviper 9

    Happy Christmas Day to those Orthodox Christians amongst us in NZ or elsewhere – there may even be some who read or comment on TS.

    Thought I would mention it as I know quite a few NZers here in Wellington who continue their Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox or Serbian Orthodox traditions and calendar and today is a very important day for them.

    Kia kaha


  10. Ed 10

    George Galloway makes a superb point on Twitter.

    “Dear SkyNews and BBCNews

    If these images were from Moscow rather than France would you be carrying them on your news bulletins. Every day. Every hour. Incessantly?”


    The New Zealand Herald would still have UFOs and celebrity gossip interspersed with this though.

    • Ad 10.1

      As much chance of such images coming out of Russia as there are from China or Cuba.

      Free press in France not Russia: Galloway is a fuckwit.

      • Ed 10.1.1

        He makes a valid point about the bias in BBC and Sky news coverage.
        Insulting him doesn’t detract from that point.

        • mauī

          More from the gallant Galloway, another one of his simply stunning performances.

          • joe90

            More from the gallant Galloway

            Galloway’s a craven defender of war criminals and authoritarian thugs.

            These people are gallant.


            • Morrissey

              Galloway’s a craven defender of war criminals and authoritarian thugs.

              No he’s not.

              N.B. It’s precisely the above kind of foolishness I had in mind earlier today when I posted the following:

              There are several of these angry and ignorant characters infesting this excellent site. They need to be challenged forcefully every time they write something like this….

              • Ed

                Totally agree Morrissey.
                The warmongering spirit of Blair and Clinton lives amongst several contributors on this superb website.

              • Galloway has made hundreds of thousands of pounds spruiking for Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia, Moz.

                Still, you’ve sparked an interesting thought. You know when Trump said “grab ’em by the pussy”, maybe it was a Freudian cry for George’s affection:

                • Ed

                  I look forward to seeing you stand up to the US Senate and the warmongering Blairites.
                  George is revered amongst leftists in the UK.

                • Morrissey


                  He appeared on Press TV, yes. And, yes, he’s also appeared on RT. He also has appeared on another state broadcaster, the BBC. Does that mean he was spruiking for the scofflaw British regime? Did he spruik for Britain’s aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan? Did he spruik for Britain’s arming and support of ISIS “fighters” in Syria?

                  I understand why you recycled the Grauniad/BBC lie about him supporting Iran and Russia, but the Saudi accusation is bizarre. Where does that come from? Galloway is perhaps the most impassioned denouncer of the British/American/French-backed “headchoppers and heart-eaters in Syria.” In fact, that’s his phrase. Those “rebels”, like the 9/11 perpetrators, are almost all Saudi Arabian. Yet you claim he spruiks for them.

                  I’m sure you’ll provide the evidence of that, pronto.

                  And yes, Galloway’s done some incredibly stupid things—including that little faux feline fiasco. That’s the extent of the serious charges against him, though: he made a fuckwit of himself on Big Brother.

                  Have you thought of working for the Democratic National Committee? They’re into fantasy in a big way.

                  • Moz, he made hundreds of thousands of dollars spruiking for Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia. He doesn’t deny it. Why would you?

                    • Morrissey

                      Appearing on television is not “spruiking.” Mike Hosking is a spruiker. Paul “Kill Them All” Henry is a spruiker. Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow—they’re spruikers.

                      Galloway, on the other hand, is a serious and formidably well read intellectual who speaks out for the oppressed and the marginalized.

                      Now, where is the evidence of him “spruiking” for anyone other than the people of Gaza and the Occupied Territories, the unemployed, the persecuted, and the public education and public health systems of Great Britain?

                    • Bullshit, Moz. The question is ‘what moral authority does a man paid by despots have?’ The answer is ‘fuck all’.

                    • Morrissey

                      So no evidence then? It’s nothing but abusive rhetoric. Why don’t you get a job with that hilarious new British black propaganda outfit the Integrity Initiative? At least then you’d be getting paid for it.

                    • They have google on the internet, now Moz. You might start by searching George’s own wikipedia page. He’s totally upfront about how much money he’s taken from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

                      And now he works for Murdoch. The man’s a moral vacuum.

                    • mauī

                      “It’s nothing but abusive rhetoric.”

                      and character assasination. Apparently he is the equivalent of both Clintons x 1000. For that reason alone you must ignore absolutely everything he says. Ghastly.

                    • Morrissey

                      And now he works for Murdoch. The man’s a moral vacuum.

                      Unfortunately, Te Reo, we all have to work and live in an imperfect world. The splendid Democracy Now! programme plays on Channel 83, on Sky Television, owned by…. Rupert Murdoch. Does that make Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez into moral vacuums too? Noam Chomsky writes occasionally for the Grauniad and the New York Times: does that mean he’s bought into their lies and propaganda?

                      I’d love to be pure too, but I don’t fancy cutting myself off from corrupt influences by perching on a pole or dwelling in a cave by myself forever. Or even for one day, actually.

                    • Galloway is filthy rich, Moz. He has choices the rest of us don’t have and nobody forces him to work for thugs. These are entirely his choices and they say a lot about the morals of the man.

                      (btw, the Dirty Digger doesn’t own Sky NZ. Vodafone, I think. But good point in the wider context.)

                    • Ed

                      I would argue that the moral vacuum lies within Tony Blair and his ‘new Labour ‘ acolytes.
                      Galloway, Skinner and Corbyn are among the principled few.
                      Chomsky, Pilger and Hedges all have appeared on RT. Are they moral vacuums too?

                    • Sacha

                      “I’d love to be pure too, but I don’t fancy cutting myself off from corrupt influences by perching on a pole or dwelling in a cave by myself forever.”

                      Then stop throwing a tanty any time someone so much as mentions the Guardian, Mr Breen.

                    • Ed

                      You are aware of how the Guardian was exposed over its lies about Manafort and how its reporter Harding has been shown to be a fraud over his collusion claims?

                    • Morrissey

                      Jehosephats, Sacha—you got me and you got me good!

            • Ed

              I guess Tony Blair would spit at Galloway too.
              Can you try a more pleasant tone in your comments towards the wonderful maui?

              • fender

                “…the wonderful maui?”

                Geez you lot must smell worse than a retirement home, pissing in each others pockets so often..

                • Stunned Mullet

                  I don’t know why but for some reason your post reminded me of Penny Bright.

                  She really made me smile over the years.

                  • fender

                    Yeah I admired her tenacity, but I’ll never understand why she never kept her rates money aside for the inevitable.

                    Sad she’s no longer with us.

              • mauī

                Thank you Ed.

                Gee, there are some odious characters out today.

        • Ad

          No he doesn’t.

          Unlike being in Russia I can insult a public figure all I like.

          The citizens of France can organize, advertise their organising, communicate to their members and to the public, protest appropriately, be arrested and have evidence contested and be bailed, and do it again and again, and associate with fellow protesters, challenge the head of state, and have all of that reported in the media as much as anyone chooses.

          Non of that is available in Russia. Because unlike France and the UK it is a fundamentally unfree state.

          But fuckwit Galloway wants to do a counterfactual what-if about reporting proportionality.

        • Ad

          no he doesnt.

          The citizens of France can organise, advertise, communicate, protest, be arrested and have evidence contested and be bailed, and do it again, and associate, and have all of it reported in the media. As they are.

          None of that available in Russia. Because it is a fundamentally unfree state.

          But Fuckwit Galloway wants to do a counterfactual what-if on his own non-reality.

          • Ed

            Did you read his tweet?
            It is not about the right to protest.
            It’s about the fact the UK mainstream news is hardly covering it, by comparison to the coverage that would occur if such protests had been happening in Russia.

            Also what is it about Galloway that rankles with you so much?

            The fact he was one of the leaders of the stop the war coalition?
            The fact he was evicted from the Labour Party for his principled opposition to the war adventures of Blair?
            The fact he has called out the centrists in the UK Labour Party for their betrayal of the British working class and their abandonment of socialist policies?
            The Labour leadership sold out here in the 1980s. Its leaders sold out in the UK in the 1990s and the Democratic Party leadership sold out under Clinton and Obama.

            Galloway was one of the few Labour MPs ( like Corbyn and Skinner) who stayed true to their principles.
            I get it you despise the man.
            Many British socialists revere and admire him.
            Read John Wight’s Twitter feed.

            • Stunned Mullet

              “Many British socialists revere and admire him”

              But many more view him as a self important hypocrite and poor excuse for a cat.

              • Ed

                I know people like Piers Morgan and other right wingers think like this.
                George isn’t seeking the approval of a National voter in New Zealand either.
                Working class British people admire him.
                His courage to stand up to aBlair and the US Congress is something I know you nor I could have done. A brave principled man.
                I sense that his legacy will be far more revered than either yours or mine.

            • Ad

              Your link was to a francophone media site.

              Galloway is not even fit to be employed as a reporter – so instead he’s got the “principles” of a paid commenter.

              Since he likes counterfactuals, Galloway saying such things in Russia would see him rapidly arrested on minor charges, beaten to death in a Russian jail, and quickly and mercilessly dumped in the nearest ice-covered river. And that event would be massively covered by the BBC – unlike the Russian media – and the government and much of society would roundly protest for quite a while. And reported without limit.

      • Morrissey 10.1.2

        Which country has provided a safe haven for Ed Snowden?

  11. Ed 11

    The majority of citizens continue to suffer under the neoliberal Stasi regime.
    We need system change.

    “More than two-thirds of Kiwi say their incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living, despite more than half shouldering more work, a new survey has found.
    More than 70 per cent of workers in the survey said their incomes were not keeping up with the cost of living, the CTU said.
    That’s despite more than 55 per cent saying they were doing more work.
    “We’ve known for a long time that work in New Zealand and our employment law aren’t up to scratch but on every single metric we surveyed on we’ve found that many more people think it’s getting worse than better,” CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.
    “Our work is one of the biggest parts of our lives, it’s an indictment on us as a nation that for too many people, it has become so unfulfilling. It’s hard to see how people or the economy can do well when working people’s mood is so low,” Wagstaff said.”


    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Increasing poverty was predicted by numerous people and institution in the 1980s as the Rogernomics revolution got rammed down our throats by the government.

      Now it’s here.

      • Ed 11.1.1

        We should never forget it was a Labour government that enacted the coup.
        Phil Goff was in that Judas administration.
        Douglas and his motley crew need to be tried and sentenced.

        • Gosman

          Tried and sentenced for what exactly? Implementing policies you disagree with is not a crime.

    • Stunned Mullet 11.2

      😆 NZ 2019 ≠ GDR

      • Ed 11.2.1

        Our surveillance state is far more pervasive.
        And our population far more dumbed down.

        A better comparison would be the UK in 2019.

        • Stunned Mullet

          😆 you are a modern day Rik.

          • Ed

            Are insults all you have in your debating arsenal? Maybe some reasoning, some evidence ?
            All we get is.

            Name calling of me.
            Name calling of George Galloway.

            I highly recommend you watch for George’s finest 45 minutes, when in 2005 he defended himself at US Senate and launched a blistering attack on the neocon war in Iraq.

            • solkta

              You expect him to take you seriously after saying that the surveillance state in NZ today is “far more pervasive” than it was in East Germany, too funny.

              • Ed

                Edward Snowden told us all about mass surveillance.

                I find such totalitarian control very serious.
                Not funny.

                Anyway, Snowden’s leaks reveal the US and NZ governments know more about you that the DDR ever knew about its citizens.




              • McFlock

                I find that reading three comments from Ed feels like watching a 45 minute video. Of the baby shark song (or whatever the latest auditory annoyance is).

                • Ed

                  Have you seen Galloway’s brilliant takedown of the Iraq war before the US senate. He was like Daniel in the lions’ den.

                  • McFlock

                    Nah, and your expertise as a critic of online videos is often found wanting. For example, the story goes that Daniel did absolutely nothing in the lions’ den. No “takedown” of Sher Khan. Just a fairly quiet evening all around.

                    I can’t be bothered wasting 45 minutes of my life based on your assurance that something is decent political stroke material.

                    • Ed

                      I can’t believe you’ve never heard of it.
                      Interesting you feel free to ridicule my comments when you don’t know the relevant material on the subject matter.

                    • McFlock

                      What I’ve seen of him and you leaves me particularly unimpressed. Therefore, your endorsement of him does not make me curious.

                      Your comments are not their subject matter. Statistically speaking, you have almost certainly endorsed and linked to something that I would have found worthwhile and enlightening. This is merely a reflection of your volume, not your value.

                      Some people will sift through mountains of shit to find an occasional diamond or flake of gold. I prefer to go straight to the high-quality ore. Hence I avoid most of your links, based purely on past experience with links you have recommended previously.

                      Your comments are that mountain of shit. It has nothing to do with what you link to, it is usually the comment itself that irritates me. Hence why reading a few of your comments is akin to meme torture.

                  • francesca

                    It was indeed stunning. But you know Ed, snigger snigger…”pussy cats”
                    Harold Pinter’s fierce Nobel Prize speech on the Iraq war.

                    He died 2 years later.There’s not many left who have the guts to stand up to the orthodoxy these days
                    I particularly liked it when Congress accused George of taking money from Saddam
                    That unravelled pretty fast

            • Stunned Mullet

              I highly recommend you get laid.

  12. Pat 12

    For those interested…..the composition of a generally agreed list of the (physical) necessities of life…..wiki submits the following…

    “A traditional list of immediate “basic needs” is food (including water), shelter and clothing.[3] Many modern lists emphasize the minimum level of consumption of ‘basic needs’ of not just food, water, clothing and shelter, but also sanitation, education, healthcare, and internet. Different agencies use different lists.”


    any additions /subtractions?

  13. Gosman 13

    Is it just the holiday period or is this blog becoming staid and boring? The staple fare here now days seems to consist either of a Rah rah on some rather mundane policy announcement from the current government, bitching about some right wingers overseas, or (MS favourite) attcking National. surely some people can be motivated to write about something other than those three topics.

    • McFlock 13.1

      What, you mean maybe someone could also write about e-scooters, anak krakatau, climate change, drug testing at music festivals, or movie reviews. Great idea… /sarc

      • Gosman 13.1.1

        Drug testing at music festivals is essentially a rah rah post for the current government. The climate change posts end up all being a bitch session about right wingers overseas Movie reviews and reporting on natural disasters aren’t really the bread and butter of a political blog. This blog is meant to be political yet it is shying away from addressing politics.

        • arkie

          Okay then, please furnish us with something not-at-all staid or boring, something ‘political’, perhaps you could tell us more about the horrors of ‘socialist’ Venezuela or ‘white genocide’ in SA?

        • McFlock

          Oh, you want posts to discuss NZ politics without agreeing with the government or disagreeing with the nats.

          I mean, I thought that the drug testing thing was pretty evenhanded and a rational appraisal of the issue and various arguments concerning it, but whatevs. Maybe write your own post and see if it flies?

          • Gosman

            It is a Rah rah on Stuart Nash’s decision. It is also essentially uncontroversial beyond certain elements of the conservative right in NZ. What would be more interesting is a more nuanced discussion on housing from a left wing perspective. The current governments housing plan is insipid to put it mildly.

            • Dennis Frank

              Raising the bar? Most folks are in holiday mode. I’m with you on preferring items of substance, but we happen to inhabit a political culture that encourages shallow politics. Mushrooms do eventually grow on piles of shit, but not all the time, so the mushroom hunt can be frustrating…

            • McFlock

              Thought I’d replied to this one earlier. Would you say that kiwibuild doesn’t fly, then?

              • Gosman

                Kiwibuild flies as much as the bird in the name.

                • McFlock

                  You might want to read the post Bill did a couple of months ago with that title, then. It’s everything you wish for.

                  • Gosman

                    I will grant you Bill is a commentator that I am most impressed with here in relation to raising pertinent and relevant topics.

    • ropata 13.2

      do a guest post Gosman!
      how about #GiletsJaunes, or NZ waterways, or your predictions for 2019

      • te reo putake 13.2.1

        Seconded! It might be nice to hear how one of our chums from the other side is finding life under Jacinda’s jackboot 😉

        Having said that, I think Gossie is correct that there has been a change in tone here. For most of it’s existence, TS operated in opposition mode. There was a lot of frustration, sadness and anger on the left and TS reflected that, IMO. But now we are talking about the things that can be achieved in the next decade or two. The bile is now mostly at righty sites like KB, WO et al.

        • Gosman

          But that is the problem, it isn’t really tackling the things that can be achieved in the next decade or so from different left wing perspectives. That would be more interesting. Instead there are lots of rah rah’s for the current government approach and less pushing of different left wing alternatives. By way of comparison the Daily Blog is at least making the case for some radical alternatives.

          • Dennis Frank

            Look, to be honest, they try, but from the point of view of someone genuinely radical that’s a site that rarely impresses in the delivery of substance. More like substance abuse (when not actually lacking).

      • Gosman 13.2.2

        Not a bad idea. The Gilets Jaunes movement is a prime example. How it isn’t really a movement of either left nor right but has elements of both. In essence it reflects a general distrust of mainstream politics similar to Brexit and even Trump.

        • arkie

          How it isn’t really a movement of either left nor right but has elements of both. In essence it reflects a general distrust of mainstream politics similar to Brexit and even Trump.

          The Yellow vests are demanding lower fuel costs, higher taxes on the wealthy and a minimum wage increase. These are economically-populist but also left wing ideas.

          The other goal of the movement is for Citizens Initiated Referenda in all matters. More Democracy = More left-wing.

          The thing about Trump and Brexit though is they were both lies. Not gonna win back trust by misleading your voters.

          • Gosman

            The Yellow vests are anti-immigrant and anti-taxes when it comes to the middle to low income earners. Of course they ant the “rich” to pay for it and are against “big business” but they are bogeys of the far right as much as the far left.

            • arkie

              They are anti liberal capitalism so yes the far right and the far left are represented, however the goals of the movement are more traditionally associated with the left. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

          • Gosman

            "The People’s directives" Demands made by the yellow vests in France. from neoliberal

            “TL:DR Take the worst from the left and combine it with the worst of the right and this is basically that.”

            • arkie

              Ah, liberal centrists. Such good analysis.

              • Gosman

                Seems to me to be very similar to NZ First style policies. Promotion of support and tax relief for small to medium businesses and reducing burden on middle income earners with increased intervention to “protect” the disadvantaged from Globalisation.

                • arkie

                  There’s a lot of crossover with the Greens as well. There’s a quite a bit there that’s more ‘Left’ than anything in represented by current NZ political parties. They want a maximum salary, all wages and salaries indexed to inflation and all politicians to earn only the median wage! All policies I could get behind.

                  • Gosman

                    I’m sure there is policies there that people from the far left AND the far right could get behind.

                    • arkie

                      Please point out those you think represent far right policies

                    • Gosman

                      Improved funding for the justice system, the police, the gendarmerie and the army.

                      Eliminate credit card fees for merchants.

                      Lower employers’ charges.

                      Continue exemption of farm diesel.

                      End of the tax hike on fuel.

                      No withholding tax.

                      All the money earned by highway tolls will be used for the maintenance of motorways and roads in France and road safety.

                      Immediate end to temporary foreign worker programs.

                      Return of unsuccessful asylum seekers to their country of origin.

                      Real integration policy is implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language course, French history course and civic education course with certification at the end of the course).

                    • arkie

                      Thanks. Out of all their demands that’s a pretty slim list. I can see that a couple of those could be opposed by the left but I’d argue they don’t represent far right policies as such, just more towards the centre than the vast majority of their demands. You are right that most of those do sound like NZ First.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Well, putting aside each bunch of nutters, a topic of substance would be to explain why incomes indexed to inflation have never been implemented by govts of the left/right. Seems a no-brainer.

                    • arkie

                      The nutters advocating for these things eh Dennis?

                      Political direct action is less important than talking about why both sides can’t get along, of course? Turn’s out they can work together to demand these substantial policy changes.

            • Poission

              The list itself is evidence of the French malaise.ie increase complexity.

              The French, as all expats quickly come to realise, like to make anything to do with paperwork more complicated than it need be, and whether it’s a Taxe d’Habitation bill, an invoice from URSSAF, or a payslip from an employer the main goal is to make sure that you haven’t got any idea how the amount was calculated. I suppose this reduces the chances that you will grumble.


              and the introduction of the new macron tax regime (delayed from 2018-2019)

              To prevent workers from getting a nasty shock when they see their reduced wages for the first time, the government has issued specific instructions demanding that the line showing the wage before tax on the payslip be printed in larger characters than the numbers on the rest of the payslip.

              This is “to avoid workers getting a psychological shock as the new reforms begin”,


        • Morrissey

          …similar to Brexit and even Trump.

          You really are a fool.

    • Ed 13.3

      I have written on the urgent radical solutions to catastrophic climate change for the past 3 days.
      Certainly not mundane.

      • Gosman 13.3.1

        Where are these as I searched for them and could not see a post on the topic from you?

  14. Ad 14

    If Jerry Brown were President of a similar sized economy to California – such as the UK – we would be writing screeds. He steps down this month.


    This guy was on to environmental degradation and climate change as a leader long before most picked it up. He tilted the entire state economy and society towards responding to it, with measures well in advance of most countries.

    And also highlighted the perils of corporate dominance, and information harvesting for surveillance.

    He never really got near a shot at the Presidency, but after 50 years of public service including multiple Governorship terms he’s entitled to a note from Politico.

  15. Andre 15

    Does anyone have a link to the 140 things reporters are not allowed to say about the bleached blonde hacker fugitive from rape charges with poor personal hygiene?


  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    Why does being kind make you feel good?

    Everybody can appreciate acts of kindness. But when it comes to explaining why we do them, people often take one of two extreme positions. Some think kindness is something completely selfless that we do out of love and care, while others believe it is just a tool that we cunningly use to become more popular and reap the benefits.

    But research shows that being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a number of different ways. We know that deciding to be generous or cooperating with others activates an area of the brain called the striatum. Interestingly, this area responds to things we find rewarding, such as nice food and even addictive drugs. The feel-good emotion from helping has been termed “warm glow” and the activity we see in the striatum is the likely biological basis of that feeling.

    Of course, you don’t have to scan brains to see that kindness has this kind of benefit. Research in psychology shows a link between kindness and well-being throughout life, starting at a very young age. In fact, even just reflecting on having been kind in the past may be enough to improve teenagers’ mood. Research has also shown that spending extra money on other people may be more powerful in increasing happiness than spending it on yourself.

    But why and how does kindness make us so happy? There are a number of different mechanisms involved, and how powerful they are in making us feel good may depend on our personalities.

    Kindness is its own reward?

    • Gosman 16.1

      Then you shouldn’t have to coerce anyone to be kind Draco 😉

    • Dennis Frank 16.2

      Google’s search for kindness hormones produces more than two million websites. A quick scan of the first page of the listing indicated four different hormones involved. Any focus on the brain is therefore likely to mislead. Seems to me kindness is produced by attitude, and the feelings are a secondary consequence. Spirituality seems a more relevant frame than biology, as regards motivation…

  17. Andre 17

    Further up Stunned Mullet mentioned Rik. Reminded me of our very own People’s Poet, adam. Hasn’t his self-martyrdom time-out ended yet?

  18. francesca 18

    “140 things reporters are not allowed to say about Assange”
    Maybe its not so much what they’re not allowed to say as pointing out what will be considered as libel and defamation.
    Wikileaks has never published a false document, might be a good idea for journalists to keep within the same factual framework.

    • Morrissey 18.1

      Wikileaks has never published a false document

      Which is why he is being persecuted relentlessly.

    • Yeah, kind of an empty threat. Assange has been hiding from British courtrooms for years now. He’s hardly likely to pop out of the embassy to pursue a defamation case if he can’t even bother to pop out to the shops for deodorant.

      Still, kharasho to see Wikileaks trying to shut down free speech. It’s almost like they’re part of the establishment, da? Or am I putin too much on their shoulders?

  19. Philip Ferguson 19

    Two of the most progressive and interesting unions in Australian and NZ history were the NSW Builders Laborers Federation and the Waterside Workers Union in New Zealand under the leadership of Jock Barnes. We have a lot to learn from these if we are going to have a union movement that makes some serious gains for workers . . .

    • Good read, Philip.

      I met Jock Barnes a couple of times and the fire definitely burned bright to the end. I heard him speak at a ’51 Lockout reunion. Absolutely blistering on the likes of Fintan Patrick Walsh and other right labour leaders.

      I also have a memory of being in a pub in Freeman’s Bay with him, Johnny Mitchell and GH Andersen. In the corner was an old bloke sitting all by himself, nursing a beer.

      Scabbed in 51, apparently. Not forgiven 40 years later.

      • Morrissey 19.1.1

        In the corner was an old bloke sitting all by himself, nursing a beer.

        Scabbed in 51, apparently. Not forgiven 40 years later.

        Michael Bassett used to tell that same story, Te Reo. I presume you’ve read his Confrontation ’51.

        • te reo putake

          No, I havn’t, Moz. Be extraordinary if it was the same bloke!

          • Morrissey

            Dr. Bassett told that story in 1972. Back then it was only twenty years after the Lockout. I’d bet it was the same old guy another twenty years on.

            • te reo putake

              Could well be. The boozer was on a council housing estate that used to be nicknamed Red Square because there were so many retired union members there. Presumably gentrified now.

  20. Ed 20

    Jonh Wight is perhaps the best left wing writer in the UK. at the moment. He is a genuine lefty- no Blairite centrism for him. A true socialist and spokesperson for the working class of the country, his writing can be relied on to challenge our thinking.

    His most recent piece warns us that “Unless We Are All ‘I Daniel Blake’ Nothing Will Change”

    Here is a brief excerpt. I recommend it to all of you who care for the fabric of our society.

    “The criminalisation of poverty has destroyed more lives in this country than any number of terrorist bombs ever could. Men, women, and children have had their spirits crushed under the juggernaut of despair.
    If Ken Loach’s I Daniel Blake, which is currently showing up and down the country, does not succeed in waking us up to the lie then nothing can or ever will.
    Perhaps we would rather not be woken up, preferring instead to deny the brutality being inflicted on hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens on a daily basis up and down the country, as then it forces us to either do something about it or ignore it, thus inviting a personal hell as we struggle to overcome a conscience that refuses to allow us to do so easily. However the reality of the society in which we live is that it has only ever been to the extent that people have been awake to the injustices of a system that mirrors the Darwinian law of survival of the fittest that we have enjoyed rights that we mistakenly take for granted.”

    Best article I’ve read so far. In 2019.
    It can so easily be applied to New Zealand’s situation.


  21. Eco Maori 21

    At the farm having time with the whano Ka kite ano P.S good day off mite make 6 new though

  22. eco maori 22

    Some Eco Maori Music for the minute.

  23. eco maori 23

    Kia ora Newshub Yes Global warming is OUR reality and our Tangaroa has abzorbed most of the heat the depths now we are seeing big rises in our Tangaroa’s temptures.
    Laura people need to be careful when swimming Tangaroa is one that should be taken for granted respect is needed.
    Kevin Spacey ploy with his video blew up in his face think time have not changed and he could talk his way out of taking the heat for his action’s The single use plastic bag ban is being well supported by the Kiwi public its just the start people thanks for supporting the ban people. Tanemahuta creatures sonic boom that USA Embassy is so unique that show how powerfull a mass of insects can be. Thorps idear to use serfing to help with mental health is cool just getting out of the concrete jungle is good for the wairua . Ka kite ano P,S The climate change deniers can not keep the wool over our eyes Nice Pukana Ross

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