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Open Mike 07/04/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 7th, 2018 - 342 comments
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342 comments on “Open Mike 07/04/2018 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    ‘Callously Indifferent’….
    (Stuff.co.nz headline)

    ’bout sums it up


    When pitching a proposal to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight of the southern coast of Australia in 2016, according to newly revealed documents, oil giant BP attempted to allay regulators’ concerns by claiming that any future oil spill would actually be a ‘welcome boost’ to the local economy.

    Speaking of the indifference of oil companies to environmental destruction, I thought Shell also deserves a mention.


    The oil giant commissioned a 1988 report titled The Greenhouse Effect that calculated that the Shell group alone was contributing 4 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions through its oil, natural gas and coal products. And the report warned that “by the time global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation.”

    The 1988 report said that scientists believed that the effects would become detectable late in the 20th or early 21st century.

    But it is good for business

    • Jenny 1.1

      Oil and gas burning drives climate change, exploratory oil drilling risks catastrophic spills, and seismic blasting harms whales and other marine life. Oil exploration has to be stopped.

      Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says climate change is her generation’s nuclear-free moment. And we agree! Going nuclear free meant stopping the nuclear ships. Taking action on climate change means stopping the oil exploration ships. So let’s do this! Let’s lead the world by ending oil exploration in NZ waters.

      Sign and share this petition now to call on Jacinda Ardern and the new Labour-led Government to match their words with action by putting an immediate end to offshore oil exploration.


      I agree. An immediate end to offshore oil exploration is called for. It is what the science demands. In fact such a cancellation is well over due.

      Megan Woods assures oil company executives that their existing permits to search for and recover new oil reserves will be safe.


      Can anyone give me one good reason?

      • The Chairman 1.1.1


        To avoid them suing us?

        • james

          Not to mention the complete lack of trust anyone would have for a government who withdrew permits (that companies have spent huge sums on) simply on ideological grounds.

          Nobody on the world stage would trust the government again.

          • Robert Guyton

            Those who issued the permits are culpable then.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The problem with that BS of yours is that removing oil drilling permits is not ideological at all. It’s hard science.

            It’s your BS that’s ideological.

          • cleangreen

            James;- no-one government in the world today trusts anyone else!!!!

            What rock did you just crawl out of?

      • Pat 1.1.2

        what the chairman said and the fact that transition time is needed

      • veutoviper 1.1.3

        As The Chairman and Pat have said, to avoid those holding current permits which go out for years from suing the NZ Government (ie taxpayers) for probably hundreds of million of dollars, if not billions, for breach of contract, lost earnings etc etc .

        • Jenny

          The following is only true; if you don’t believe in the primacy of parliament, or democratic rule, or of the rule of law, or of the power of parliament to pass law:

          As The Chairman and Pat have said, to avoid those holding current permits which go out for years from suing the NZ Government (ie taxpayers) for probably hundreds of million of dollars, if not billions, for breach of contract, lost earnings etc etc .


          How could slavery have been abolished by parliament, it parliament didn’t have the ultimate power to void contracts entered into by slave owners to buy and own slaves?

          Did the government of the time allow slave owners to sue government (ie taxpayers) for breach of contract, lost earnings etc etc?

          Those holding current permits which go out for years could only sue the NZ Government (ie taxpayers) if the government permitted it.

          If the quote by was true then no democratically elected government could void any contracts, but in fact we know governments do this all the time.

          When the government puts up the minimum wage, do employers holding existing current employment contracts with wages below that level, sue the government for breach of contract, lost earnings etc, etc?

          Of course not.

          These existing contracts are just ruled invalid and illegal.

          And when it comes to climate change what we are talking about are practices which are so dreadful and awful, with consequences so catastrophic, that if continued at the present rate could result in the death of millions.

          The moral imperative is to not delay, and the scientific evidence that we need to act and to take that action now is overwhelming.

          These permits need to canceled right now, and if necessary, legislation passed forbidding any liability for loss of profits.

          Can anyone give me one good reason why not?

          • Draco T Bastard

            There are no good reason to maintain them but several reasons, based in hard science, to actually cancel them.

          • Pat

            “The moral imperative is to not delay, and the scientific evidence that we need to act and to take that action now is overwhelming.”

            Thats true enough however it is impossible to change overnight…it will take time, meanwhile the basis of (almost) everyones existence relies on the use of fossil fuels until such time as that transition takes place.

            “These permits need to canceled right now, and if necessary, legislation passed forbidding any liability for loss of profits.”

            It is possible for Parliament to do that however it will not come without a significant cost…even if the breach of contract rulings were ignored the impact on capital and exchange rate would likely be such that it would create mayhem, not to mention the likely societal collapse due to a massive energy deficit when the flow is ceased….given we still require fossil fuels to transition there is no current need to place ourselves in such a precarious position….though it would be unwise to rule out the future possibility.

            Not issuing any further permits sends the signal to all industry it has a very limited life and that change needs to occur starting yesterday while maintaining the necessary to make the required changes…..its no guarantee the desired result will occur but its probably our best shot.

            • Jenny

              It is possible for Parliament to do that however it will not come without a significant cost…even if the breach of contract rulings were ignored the impact on capital and exchange rate would likely be such that it would create mayhem, not to mention the likely societal collapse due to a massive energy deficit when the flow is ceased…



              How to unpack this statement….

              Ok, let’s start with the last bit. “…not to mention the likely societal collapse due to a massive energy deficit when the flow is ceased…”

              Stopping exploration of new oil reserves off our coast will not cause a massive energy deficit when the flow is ceased. Because the flow from these yet to be exploited reserves, if they ever are recovered, will not be coming here anyway. This has been made clear by the oil companies.

              “…the impact on capital and exchange rate would likely be such that it would create mayhem…”

              (A far more likely scenario)

              This objection can be answered in two ways: Firstly, without trying to be
              facetious, let me say that any mayhem created will be like nothing comparable to the mayhem created when the climate crisis fully hits us.

              Such mayhem no matter how hard it is to cope with, could provide lessons for when the real crisis hits. Let such a crisis be a wake up call, to start making the necessary changes that we must.

              The other answer to your objection, that this would create mayhem, is just that, it is a created mayhem. Such Mayhem will be created from the result of conscious decisions made by the investors and bankers to punish this country for canceling these contracts, probably by withdrawing credit lines, followed up with investment strikes. And yes indeed shutting off the flow of oil to Marsden Pt. in retaliation.

              In this case the government should appeal to the international community and public to punish the financiers and banks responsible.

              We will have more than enough grounds for our appeal to heard and responded to by the international community. And not just by the international commons either; those countries being hardest hit or trying to make a difference. China for one, might give us a sympathetic hearing.

              Some country, some time, will have to take the lead, otherwise things will not change and business will continue as usual right up to and into the approaching climate armageddon.

              Personally I don’t think things will get that bad and the markets will back off from making an example of us.

              • Pat

                “Stopping exploration of new oil reserves off our coast will not cause a massive energy deficit when the flow is ceased.”

                Oil is not the problem, virtually all our oil is exported as its not suitable for our refining process,,,gas however is entirely consumed within NZ and accounts for approx20% of our energy use…predominantly in industry, but also for non energy use…i.e fert and food production.

                Almost 90 % is provided by 4 fields and latest P2 reserves suggest a 10 year supply at current consumption rates…and consumption has been increasing.

                Remove the possibility of developing already known reserves and you have just spiked the price of 20 % of our energy supply before we have alternatives in place….what sort of effect do you think that might have given the current reaction to a 10-20 cent per litre increase in fuel tax?…not to mention the relatively rapid dismantling of a significant source of employment.

                As stated…you cannot change the basis of your existence overnight…or if you try you create mayhem.

                We may well face mayhem in any case as you note but that is not immediate and the Gov goal of Carbon neutral by 2050 is probably the tightest realistic timeframe with any chance of success.

                As to capital flight and currency crash dont think our small size and relative unimportance means what we do will be ignored or dismissed as unimportant…quite the contrary, that lack of power makes us all the more likely to be treated thus…for once I agree with Wayne…we cannot tear up contracts with impunity.

                Not issuing any new permits will have the desired effect without the unnecessary risks outlined and provide a timeframe that we may,repeat may just be able to work with

          • McFlock

            The flipside of the slavery argument is that the government didn’t sell the slaveholders their slaves.

            Revoking previously-issued permits that were being complied with, one could argue, goes back to the Magna Carta, the basic principle of whether the government of the day is subject to its own laws or whether subjects must adapt to the capricious whims of totalitarian rule.

            • Jenny

              Quoting the Magna Carta to protect the oil companies right to keep searching for new oil and gas, up until 2046, (when their current permits are due run out).

              Yes of course the government of the day is subject to its own laws, McFlock just like everyone else. But the government can repeal and pass laws if they so choose, especially if they have a mandate to do so. I think you are trying to conflate two distinct separate duties. The sovereign right of parliament to pass and repeal laws and the duty to obey those laws while they are in force.

              Next you will be telling me that it is ‘capricious’ for governments to pass or repeal laws that the oil companies don’t like.

              You are no doubt aware that multinational corporations have been lobbying to restrict the sovereign right of governments to pass and repeal laws that negatively effect their bottom line, laws that lock us into a fossil fueled and polluted future. (The TPPA being just one example). From the tone of your comment I am guessing that you support this undemocratic restriction of our government’s sovereignty.

              Am I wrong?

              • McFlock

                Changing laws to cancel government obligations that have already been purchased is dodgy as fuck. It was dodgy to do it with home-based carers who were being underpaid, and it’s dodgy to do it with government contracts. And no, it’s not the government obeying its own laws.

                It’s why we should probably have a Supreme Court that can repeal legislation that is in itself illegal according to some sort of constitutional system.

                • Jenny

                  According you McFlock

                  Government repealing (and passing?) laws is dodgy as fuck.

                  It is even dodgy for governments to cancel contracts that underpay workers.

                  And we should have a Supreme Court that can repeal legislation.

                  (When currently only those with the deepest pockets can afford a supreme court hearings.)

                  And who would vote for these judges?

                  Oh yeah that’s right. Nobody.

                  They will be above politics as ACT like to

                  McFlock your plan for subverting democracy, and destroying the primacy of parliament would put us under the thumb of a plutocracy, where slave wages were the norm, and where well funded court cases by big corporations with deep pockets repealed laws they didn’t like, and parliament became a rubber stamp, over ruled by Supreme Court judges appointed by the permanent State Bureaucracy.

                  Where corporate rule is given a veneer of legality and even respectability. Where protest and strikes will quickly become illegal as a threat to public order and the stability of corporate rule.

                  Where we will still have the right to vote for a toothless legislature.

                  And climate changing industries are given free rein.

                  A sort of Franco type constitutional fascism,

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    What a load of rubbish Jenny. Democracy requires the rule of law.

                    • Jenny

                      Lawn Order. The eternal cry of the conservative.

                      Everything the German Nazis did on taking power, from going to war, to the Holocaust, was done legally. In fact at the time, it was a crime in Germany to oppose these things.

                      According to your logic O.A.B., if you had been a German citizen at the time you would been bound by the “rule of law” to take part and not break the law?

                      May God have mercy on your desiccated soul.

                  • McFlock

                    Government repealing and passing laws to evade contractual obligations it freely signed up to is dodgy as fuck.

                    Your refusal to even consider that possibility is a bit… odd.

                    • Jenny

                      Hardly, laws passed by one government can and are repealed, with a change of government.

                      What I find odd is your belief McFlock that a democratically elected government is bound to retain laws passed by a previous government that has lost its mandate, laws that an incoming government may disagree with, laws that the new government may have even campaigned and got elected on the promise of repealing.

                      Whatever it is you believe in McFlock it is not democracy.

                    • McFlock

                      Jenny, you keep missing the point.

                      The problem isn’t passing or repealing laws.

                      The problem is that retrospectively changing laws to get out of contracts is the action of a despot, not a democratic government.

                    • Jenny

                      The problem is that retrospectively changing laws to get out of contracts is the action of a despot, not a democratic government.


                      So according to you McFlock, the government that abolished slave holding contracts was despotic?

                      And so also according to you McFlock the government that canceled the employment contracts of underpaid home based carers was also despotic?

                      Changing laws to cancel government obligations that have already been purchased is dodgy as fuck. It was dodgy to do it with home-based carers who were being underpaid


                      Open Mike 07/04/2018

                      What you are really advocating for here, McFlock is a form of corporate totalitarianism, where Right Wing employment legislation and provenly damaging environmental legislation is inviolable and frozen in amber forever?

                      As I said earlier, if you are, then you would obviously be a big supporter of the CPTPPA, which locks democratically elected governments into corporate rule, and subverts the democratic will of the electorate for corporate interest.

                    • McFlock

                      If the government was a direct party to any of the slave contracts, yes.
                      And yes, I think I said earlier that I was against the government choosing to legalise its underpayment rather than actually pay its contracted share.
                      And I’m also pretty leery of the foreshore and seabed legislation which seems to be an arbitrary use of governmental power to change a previously-agreed contract (the Treaty).

                      Environmental legislation is fine. Selling something and then taking it back a few years later is not fine. Particularly when the barring of future exploration contracts is a pretty strong signal that whatever the oil explorers find, they likely won’t get a permit to mine it.

                      As for your interpretations of my attitudes to cptpp and what that actually says, let’s just make sure you’ve understood why a government should be subject to its own laws first, yes?

  2. The Chairman 2

    Phil Twyford said the worst thing for low-income families was not having public transport options and being forced to use cars, the most expensive form of transport.

    The problem for Labour is it will be years before new alternative transport options are provided, thus low income households dependent on their cars will be forced to pay more in the meantime. Moreover, they will also be forced to pay more for goods and services as the tax is passed on. Which, of course, has rightly pissed a lot of their supporters off.

    If Labour wanted to bring more of their supporters with them, what they should have done was offer low income households a tax cut to offset the fuel tax hike.

    • Pat 2.1

      or maybe they could do this instead….and increase the minimum wage.


      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        But they are already doing that (which, by the way, doesn’t go far enough to correct the imbalance) and people are still pissed off.

        Are you happy with the giving of one hand only to take away with the other?

        • Pat

          “Are you happy with the giving of one hand only to take away with the other?”

          That old trope…lol…yes as long as the net result is a gain for those that need it…I believe theyre called transfers

          • The Chairman

            When the gain of one hand (which doesn’t go far enough to begin with) is diluted by the taking of the other, it’s unacceptable. Hence, why so many are pissed off.

            • Pat

              I think if you did the numbers you will find the gains outweigh the costs to those at the lower end

              • The Chairman

                If you did the numbers you’ll find it’s those at the lower end that will be hit the hardest. This is a regressive tax.

                • Psych nurse

                  But the poor of Christchurch will still be paying more for their petrol than the poor of Auckland, a lot of fuss about nothing.
                  While we are considering petrol taxes how about building all charges into the petrol price,registration for one, to get the not inconsiderable numbers who dont register, the users of petrol who dont pay ACC such as off road motor bikes and chain saws.

                  • Herodotus

                    Christchurch (a lovely city) is a more compressed than Auckland, with viable alternative transport e.g. Bikes, Buses are more suitable to the city.
                    Note to increasing the living wage will also have an effect in reducing WFF assistance.

                    • tracey

                      Post earthquake use of public transport has dropped. Especially so amongst students

                    • Psych nurse

                      Petrol in Christchurch is about 12 cents a litre more that Auckland, a regional petrol tax wont even come close to that. Post earthquake thousands have been displaced to Rangiora and Rolleston, no public transport, 40 minute trip. The complaint about poor being unfairly discriminated against is only a right wing scam, did they care when GST was raised, do they care that every cent a poor person earns is subjected to some form of tax.No.

                    • Craig H

                      Also, because congestion is less, less petrol is wasted idling.

                      To answer someone else, there are buses between Christchurch and each of Rolleston, Rangiora and Kaiapoi (and beyond). My niece lives and works in Woodend and uses the bus to travel into Christchurch when she needs to rather than bothering with a car. It’s not always ideal, but it generally works.

                      That said, I agree with the sentiments expressed that National now complaining about the impacts on the poor of excise increases is absolute hypocrisy.

                • Mikes

                  Totally agree with the Chairman. This labour government is already starting to show it doesn’t care about the working class. It’s too scared to tax those individuals and corporations that can afford it and nails the working class instead. They will be out at the next election if they keep pandering to the chardonnay socialists and business interests and environmentalists instead of looking after the working class.

                  • tracey

                    If they are out, then National will be in. 6 fuel tax rises in 9 yrars and 2.5% on GST. Just where will the money come from to do what you seek? Labour backed down on income tax increases during the election. Do you think they would have the numbers if they hadnt? Cos they clearly didnt

                    • Molly

                      The problem is that Labour backed down on income tax increases or reform, and so – we are left with the same financing options that impact – once again – most particularly on the already financially stricken, and given the state of city and transport planning, the ones most likely to not be able to access a reliable, comprehensive and affordable public transport option.

                      Labour could reprioritise, or change legislation that reduces the amount of transport funding that can be spent on public transport. They could do what they expect the less well-off to do – go without the white elephant conference centre, stop paying for the America’s Cup, completely forget about some of the roading projects, until they sort this out.

                      But no – the option is limited – because they have created a situation where the first choice of raising taxes for higher incomes is not available – and they don’t have the innovation to find the money elsewhere.

                    • mikes

                      “Labour backed down on income tax increases”

                      Wealth tax isn’t income tax, neither is company tax.

                      Besides, they could just say that if someone has to take a hit, it should be those that can afford it, and go from there?

                • Pat

                  the fuel tax is regressive (almost all taxes are)…and the purpose of transfers is to offset that regressive impact…from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.

              • veutoviper

                Pat, people are doing the numbers including here on TS – for example in respect of the Nat govt initiated changes in Accommodation Supplement (AS) etc that took effect from last Sunday, 1 April. AND the gains for many at the lower end are so small in respect of these changes that they are meaningless. Fine, these are not in respect of transport costs, but the principle is the same.

                I coped flak here on TS (called a Nat apologist by some, a Labour apologist by others etc) because some people were blaming Labour for those changes, and I pointed out that those changes were actually National Government changes passed last year in their 2017 Budget – and that the Labour Party election campaign Family Package changes don’t come into effect until 1 July 2018.

                Regardless, the 1 April changes have left many people with tiny changes like only $2 a week/fortnight due to the offsets such as the increases in AS being offset by decreases in TAS (temporary assistance supplement ?). Sorry cannot remember correct wording.

                Many people including MPs of the new government don’t seem to be aware of these effects as some here have found out in talking to their MPs and their staff. See the Largesse post and Kay’s comment here:

                Open Mike 04/04/2018

                Whether this is another case of the new government Ministers etc not being briefed properly is open to question. But a few days ago I bumped into someone I know in a fairly high position in the new Govt and took the opportunity to raise the issues with the 1 April changes with their ‘give with one hand/take with the other’ aspects and effects. He was extremely surprised and concerned and said he would raise it with the relevant Minister(s). I also pointed out that such aspects needed to be thoroughly checked vis a vis the Labour Party initiated 1 July Family Package – otherwise the results for the new government could be considerable.

                We can but try. But this government needs to be very very careful to check and doublecheck the numbers, the facts etc in respect of their transport proposals and things like the fuel tax to avoid a similar situation with its consequences in the public transport area.

                • tracey

                  It beggars belief that they are not doing this

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Unfortunately, it doesn’t. There’s so much that needs to be kept track of that I doubt that we have enough ministers to do so.

                    And I’m reasonably sure that the National stacked and ideological PS people at the top are actually working to prevent them from finding out. Probably not consciously but that’s the problem with ideology – it tends to ignore reality for the preferred action.

                • Pat

                  The accommodation supplement is but one of the transfers proposed or already enacted …if it isnt doing the job it was designed to do it needs modification to ensure that it does…the principle is the correct one under the current paradigm. 20 cents a litre will cost the average NZ motorist around $5 per week…and that 20 cents is phased in over 3 years….even a relatively heavy fuel user (more than a tank a week such as myself) is only likely to pay around $15.

                  The Chairman’s call for tax cuts is a red herring as any tax cut that benefits the worst off also benefits those better off and usually to a greater extent …. higher taxes on the wealthy and corporates while desirable and probably in line for post 2020 anyway are notoriously avoided even if not the are subject to economic activity and there is a lag in collection…a fuel tax with transfers is immediate, has a chilling effect and the system is already in place.

                  The reason we will fail (as I believe we will) is glaringly obvious from the reaction this has caused….THIS is the easy shit

                  • Cricklewood

                    Not if its done right… if you have a tax free threshold of say 10k a slight increase in the top band to cancel any gain out and perhaps another band over a 150k.

                    • Pat

                      put in a proposal to the tax working group…..without a major tax ohaul an increase in excise is a no brainer…simple, immediate and effective (relatively)

                  • The Chairman

                    “The Chairman’s call for tax cuts is a red herring as any tax cut that benefits the worst off also benefits those better off and usually to a greater extent …”


                    A tax free threshold limited to those earning 40k (or wherever the Government wants to set it) or less, won’t also benefit those better off.

                    And it doesn’t require a major tax overhaul to set in place. Leaving those that aren’t eligible for the tax cut to face the fuel tax burden.

                    • Pat

                      Given the commitment to not change the taxation system until after the next election you have just wasted 3 years minimum…..

                      Whether a tax free band (a la Australia, currently 18k) would be workable and improve the lot of the worst off in comparison to transfers would depend very much on the detail BUT the fact remains the tax take in total would need to be comparable….with NZs low wage economy and its distribution Id suggest the bands would be at such a level as to create a host of unintended consequences that would ultimately be detrimental to those in the lower earnings bands….and the wealthy have a multitude of options to sidestep tax liabilities not available to those at the lower end.

                  • The Chairman

                    “Given the commitment to not change the taxation system until after the next election you have just wasted 3 years minimum…..”

                    Was it a commitment not to change the tax system or a commitment not to introduce new taxes? A tax cut is not a new tax.

                    As long as the tax cut offsets the total impact of the fuel hike (and its related inflation) it would be fit for purpose. And easy to adjust (set higher or lower) if required.

                    Tax bands don’t require changing as a new tax (the fuel tax hike) can be set to also meet any shortfall created by the tax cut. Keeping it all comparable.

                    Moreover, that way only those deemed able to pay will be impacted.

                    Labour expecting the poor to cover this is just wrong.

                    As for one of your earlier comments referring to this being only 20 cents a litre (implying its only a marginal increase) highlights how out of touch some so-called lefties are. It might only be a marginal increase for you personally, but for those doing it hard any decrease in income is felt rather hard. Hence, poverty groups are also speaking out.

                    Labour could have avoided this discontent if they had put more thought and care into the impact on the poor.

                    And despite Jacinda coming across as all caring, they’ve just shown people little has change with Labour. Big mistake.

                    • solkta

                      If they had done that you would be here saying how duplicitous they are to use fuel taxes as a means to increases taxes on wealthy people.

                    • Pat

                      good grief

                      Lets assume the gov can give a tax cut to offset the $5 a week increased excise…first it defeats the purposes of the increase to start…second ,to provide relief to the worst off you also provjde that relief to everyone else as you cannot increase the top bands to compensate (the pledge remember?)

                      Talk about making a simple situation needlessly complicated and purposeless…and for what?

                      If that is truely your position just be honest a say I dont see any need to change our transport and fossil fuel use and I dont want to pay for it and be done with it.

                    • mikes

                      The independent earner tax rebate is already in place. That could just be increased by enough to offset the fuel tax hike for lower income earners.

                  • The Chairman

                    Taking account the related inflationary impact, it will equate to more than $5 a week.

                    And offsetting that with a tax cut for lower income households doesn’t defeat the purpose of the fuel tax hike, it ensure those less well off aren’t negatively impacted by it.

                    Giving people earning 40k or less a tax cut doesn’t provide a relief to everyone earning above 40k.

                    Talk about you trying to making a simple situation needlessly complicated while totally failing to see the purpose.

                    It’s so the poor aren’t negatively impacted.

                    Clearly my position is we require to improve our transport system, except, unlike you and Labour, I don’t expect the poor to pay for it

                    • Pat

                      Faux concern and a complete (probably deliberate) misunderstanding of the tax system….bizarre is all there is really left to say.

                  • The Chairman


                    While some high income earners won’t be happy with fuel taxes as a means to increases taxes on wealthy people, most Labour supporters won’t have a problem with it. Therefore, the question Labour need to ask themselves is, who do they represent?

                • OnceWasTim

                  It’s entirely possible @VV of it being a case of incoming Ministers not being briefed properly.
                  And even the possibility of the Public Service senior manager Masters of the Universe ‘pushing back’ against coalition government’s policies and intent.
                  We’re already seeing some Ministers being blindsided and drip fed under the guise of things being ‘operational matters’
                  That excuse has always been one used to diguise an administrtive wing’s own agenda and to muddy the waters of accountability.
                  (I always never understood why it is that “No comment, it’s an ‘operational matter'” is valid other than it suits a corporatised public service design – but it’s convenient out for both some – politicians and public servants alike)

            • tracey

              How would you pay for all the redressing of imbalance you call for now?

              • The Chairman

                “How would you pay for all the redressing of imbalance you call for now?”

                Redressing all the imbalances we currently face would require Labour to break the commitments they’ve made – i.e. removing The Budget Responsibility Rules and placing a higher rate of income tax on high income earners.

    • savenz 2.2

      If Phil Twyford catches public transport for a month in Auckland and total’s it up – not only will he find it is impossible to get around on time or at all in today’s gig economy where people have to go each day from A to B to C back to B and then Back to A. Then total up how much it costs (and whether that is possible on the public transport available.) The problem is that politicians seem to live in an economy from 50 years ago when people had 1 job at the same location for 40 hours a week and lived close to where they worked!

      Maybe he is not aware that it’s something close to $30 for a family of 4 to go 2 stages on the bus return (or you can spend an extra $40 on hop cards if you can get the paper work for the kids through).

      That’s close to the city in Auckland. Try going from further away and see how long and how much it costs and if it is even possible to go from say Kaukaupakapa to Penrose on public transport. As well as the cost of it on public transport. It would probably take say 2.5 hours on public transport and would involve you going from your house to the site of the bus, then the bus to the city and then another bus to Penrose, so that’s an extra 5 hours of time as well as a fortune in fares. Then you have to work out where to put your car. Funny enough they haven’t realised Auckland is very sprawling, many parts are rural and away from public transport and nothing has been planed for those people.

      Nobody thought of that when they decided that we would push the poorer folks further out of the city and eventually with house trickle down they would build some more houses somewhere….

      • Pat 2.2.1

        which all goes to confirm why a wider reaching and more efficient public transport system is needed…..consider a near term future where private motoring costs accelerate further ( not even considering the congestion or environmental aspects) while no improvement to public transport has been achieved…the path we were on prior.

        • The Chairman

          While a wider reaching and more efficient public transport system is needed, it’s Labour forcing extra costs on the poor that is the problem.

          • Pat

            and offsetting with transfers as previously explained

            • The Chairman

              No. There is no offsetting. The transfers you speak of were given to makeup for longtime shortcomings, not to offset new tax hikes. Hence, the need for a tax cut (as an off-setter) as I suggested above.

              • Pat

                well given you appear determined to use the income tax system and as you are mightily concerned for the less well off perhaps we should increase the top tax rate

                • The Chairman

                  “Perhaps we should increase the top tax rate”

                  An increase at the top end does nothing for the poor unless it is transferred to them in someway, which is generally done by way of a tax cut.

                  • Pat

                    “…which is generally done by way of a tax cut.”

                    lol….small enough to drown in a bathtub eh?

                    • The Chairman

                      In this instance, at least large enough to offset the fuel hike and the related inflation this regressive tax hike will create.

                    • mikes

                      Tax cut’s for those on lower incomes would be an easy sell. According to the opposition, lower income earners pay no net income tax anyway so it would be easy to argue that giving them a tax cut won’t matter to anyone then will it??

                    • Pat

                      as stated elsewhere tax cuts that benefit the worst off almost invariably benefit the better off more…and would defeat the whole purpose of this proposed fuel tax

          • Keepcalmcarryon

            Or at least labour having to do something because National did nothing for 9 years. Where were your calls for better public transport for the last decade when your mob was in Chairman?

            • The Chairman

              I’m not defending National’s shortcomings. I’m highlighting the flaw in Labour’s proposal and how they could correct that.

              But since you brought National into this, Labour’s just given them ammo because even they can see this will hit the poor the hardest, thus has opened Labour up for a kicking.

              Phil Twyford would like us to think he is giving the poor freedom to escape the high cost of car dependency.

              • savenz

                Telling some poor person Labour are giving the poor freedom to escape the high cost of car dependency, is like saying “let them eat cake”.

                For most people totally out of touch! They need to show they can do it.

                I invite Phil Twyford, Julie Ann Genter and the Auckland councillors to journey all their engagements on public transport and not use a car at all, for a month and see if they can do their jobs and then total up how much it cost them in fares (to show how much they save, not!).

                • alwyn

                  ” to journey all their engagements on public transport and not use a car at all,”.
                  Do you really think people like Twyford and Genter would get out of the back of their chauffer driven limo’s and mix with common people?
                  Dream on, comrade. There isn’t a chance.
                  As a variant of a student drinking song of my youth went.
                  “The working class can kiss my arse,
                  I’m in the Cabinet at last”

                  • savenz

                    Yes, they are unwilling to do it. But also I don’t think it is even possible to do their job with public transport because most of it does not even exist to many locations in NZ.

                    Just to give an example if you type in Kaukapakapa to Auckland on AT website, it returns that there is no public transport option.

                    If you look at their planning from PT Chev to Auckland central which is only 2 stages and takes around 10 minutes by car it comes back 45 minutes. So instead of 20 minutes to drive there and back you need to allow 1.5 hours.

                    When you price it is is $5.50 per person per journey and $3 for a child on a cash fare. So a person will spend $34 return to take a family of 4 and 1.5 hours to go 7.5 km each way.

                    Or you could pay $40 for 4 HOP cards and then apply for the student cards (see next post for how to do that)and it will cost you $13.20 and take 1.5 hours for the 7.5km journey each way and you must use the child card every 60 days, you need to allow 72 hours from first resisting the card before the discount will show up.

                    • savenz

                      The process to get your child HOP card. from AT website.

                      “3 steps to get your child concession on your AT HOP card

                      Buy an AT HOP card.
                      Create MyAT account
                      Register AT HOP card online.
                      How long before it’s active on your card and shows in your online account?

                      After registering your AT HOP card, your child discount concession will be available after it has been processed (usually within 24 hours, but can take up to 72 hours), and will show up in your online account only after you tag on. Tag on within 60 days otherwise the concession discount will expire, if that happens, contact us and we can reload it.

                      Remember, until the concession is applied to the card, adult fares will be charged.

                      Step 1: Buy a card

                      If you don’t have an AT HOP card then first buy a card. You need the card number to be able to register the card.

                      Step 2: Create MyAT account

                      If you are creating your own MyAT account then follow steps for creating a MyAT account and registering the card for yourself.

                      For parents or caregivers, first decide how you want to manage your child’s AT HOP card, as there are two options for how you can setup the MyAT account:

                      Option 1: Create the account on behalf of your child, which allows them to eventually take over the management of their card and account.

                      This requires a unique email address for each person’s own MyAT account, as you are unable to re-use the email address for another AT HOP account.
                      If you are managing cards on behalf of multiple people, then creating a MyAT account for each person and logging to each account to manage the cards, may be time consuming.
                      Option 2: Use your own MyAT account, login and create linked accounts for managing cards for more than one person

                      You need to register your own AT HOP card to your MyAT account first before registering cards and linked accounts for additional people.
                      You cannot register cards that have already been registered to another AT HOP account.
                      If in the future the person you are managing this card for wants to manage their own card, they will have to create their own MyAT account and buy a new card to register. Please note, you cannot transfer AT HOP money between accounts.
                      Create a MyAT online account

                      Step 3: Register the AT HOP card

                      Login to MyAT and register your AT HOP card.

                      If you are under 16 years of age, a child concession will be applied automatically when you register the AT HOP card with the the correct date of birth.

                      It may take 24-72 hours after registration for the child concession to be applied.
                      If you do not tag on within 60 days, the child concession will expire. If this happens, please call us and we will reactivate it for you.
                      Once you’ve tagged on and the concession is loaded to your AT HOP card, it will show as ‘child’ on your AT HOP card in your online account.
                      You don’t have to do anything until your 16th birthday.”

                    • solkta

                      You expect public transport from Kaukakapkapa? That is ridiculous. If people choose to live in the country then they need to take care of their own transport needs.

                    • savenz

                      So even using HOP once buying the cards will set you back $53.20 or more likely $62 because it takes up to 72 hours to get the child discount to go 14km.

                      Not really sounding like a cheap and easy option just to go a really short distance, and impossible for many other journeys around Auckland.

                      Then there is the rest of NZ to think about…

                    • savenz

                      solkta …
                      7 April 2018 at 10:08 am
                      You expect public transport from Kaukakapkapa? That is ridiculous. If people choose to live in the country then they need to take care of their own transport needs.

                      Yes, I know hard to imagine but PEOPLE live in Auckland live in places outside the immediate cafe districts and they need to travel…. you know plumbers, doctors, nurses, teachers, electricians – the working poor residents… who don’t have $1.5+ million or $900 p/w rent for Pt Chev housing.

                      Shock! Horror!

                    • solkta

                      If people choose to live in the country then they need to take care of their own transport needs.

                    • solkta

                      There is no cheap housing to speak of in Kaukakapkapa. It is a dairy farming area with not much but dairy farms and lifestyle blocks.

                  • tracey

                    That may be the most vacuous thing you have ever said

                • The Chairman

                  “Telling some poor person Labour are giving the poor freedom to escape the high cost of car dependency, is like saying ‘let them eat cake’.”

                  I know. I couldn’t believe that was the line he decided to go with.

                  • savenz

                    solkta -“There is no cheap housing to speak of in Kaukakapkapa. It is a dairy farming area with not much but dairy farms and lifestyle blocks.”

                    Firstly if they are rural folks why should their fuel taxes be paid to help out the urban folks in their 1.5 million+ houses in Pt Chev for their walking tracks, cycle ways and public transport?

                    Huge injustice right there.

                    Their petrol taxes should be spent helping them with cycle ways, walking tracks and public transport options! It’s more robbing of the poorer folks to give extra options to the richer folks.

                    Secondly next to nobody could possibly survive farming with Auckland rates and on small blocks. Most of the residents of Kaukak will have jobs in Auckland or similar, because there is no way you can survive farming in Auckland with out another job!

                    So yep, they will mostly be the working poor, like tradies.

                    And you really should keep to areas you know a bit more about, because if you think it’s more expensive housing out there, you clearly have not been house or rental hunting in the central suburbs! Auckland is expensive everywhere but less so further out.

                    And living there allows other things like pets and open spaces that actually families enjoy and probably create much healthier kids that those locked away in apartments and going to Starship every few weeks because they can’t handle a germ, don’t get to experience.

                • Keepcalmcarryon

                  Very true SaveNZ, not my favourite policy from this government.
                  I’d sooner they burned their rural goodwill on sorting water and over intensification.

                • mikes

                  Change our capital City to Auckland and put parliament in Auckland. Watch how quickly Auckland’s problems start getting addressed then..

        • savenz

          I agree we need an efficient public transport system, I’d love it myself, but what do we do in the mean time? It’s all very well if you are unemployed or retired or you don’t travel for work or you live on existing public transport that serves your needs – you have more time to get places.

          But some people are in a position when you come in to work late, you lose your job, you need to travel around for your job or you have multiple jobs and what are you supposed to do, quit work and wait a decade for the public transport to be built?

          • Pat

            were talking 20 cents a litre here…fuel prices have fluctuated by more than that over the past year

          • alwyn

            “you live on existing public transport that serves your needs “.
            Is Phil trying to pretend he is fixing the housing problems as well.
            Is his solution to a housing shortage to tell people they should sleep overnight in the back of the bus?
            I suppose it might help the kids get schooling though. They are apparently not going to get any near the Unitec development if anything ever gets built there.

            • savenz

              I bet America’s cup village built at lightening speed though. Because it’s all about priorities…

              • alwyn

                Please don’t bring that topic up. It isn’t good for my health.
                My blood pressure rises whenever I see anything about a Government, any Government, putting large amounts of tax-payer money into that ridiculous event.
                String of obscene words follows……………….

          • Draco T Bastard

            I agree we need an efficient public transport system, I’d love it myself, but what do we do in the mean time?

            Well, I suggest that one thing we don’t do is whinge about a government trying to implement one.

            you need to travel around for your job

            Under this scenario the business should be supplying the vehicle – and the fuel.

            you have multiple jobs

            Under what conditions? Contract? PAYE?

            But maybe what I should be saying is that if you can’t afford you job, which is actually what you’re saying, then you should be going on unemployment. You should not be doing jobs you cannot afford.

      • Cricklewood 2.2.2

        The other thing often missed is that it is common for both parents to work and school drop off and pick up is part of the equation.
        My wife for example works 9 till 2 30 10 min drive from work 40 min on a good day bus ride.
        It would be damn near impossible to rely on the bus network unless we paid for before and after school care. I know lots of people in similar situations all its doing is hammering those that can least afford it.

        • savenz

          Great point Cricklewood. People are juggling, kids, jobs, elderly parents etc etc… I’m not sure who these policies are aimed at when they think that it’s possible to get around without a car with the existing and even the public transport planned for the next decade.

          You can live in Europe without a car no problem. NZ does not have the same public transport or even close to thinking about getting them, but now somehow government think that families should not have a car, but they also can’t afford to run full public transport networks around NZ either so if you are rich enough to live close to the centre and never go anywhere great, if not – governments not planning anything to help you get around and actually adding more people in at the centre suburbs who need to use the services faster than they are even planning them, let along building them!

      • AB 2.2.3

        True savenz – this dysfunction has been building to crisis point for a long time. Our lives are now so disjointed and under such time-pressure that being forced onto PT while it is still inadequate in terms of coverage and speed, will only make it worse and more stressful.
        Lots of angry people taking ages to get to crappy jobs they hate.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.4

        Maybe he is not aware that it’s something close to $30 for a family of 4 to go 2 stages on the bus return (or you can spend an extra $40 on hop cards if you can get the paper work for the kids through).

        And have saved that $40 for the HOP cards by the time they get back home.

        To be honest, I think it’s rather silly to charge for the HOP cards. Should be government issue and used on every single bus network in the country.

        if it is even possible to go from say Kaukaupakapa to Penrose on public transport.

        Well, you can’t.

        Kaukapakapa, being in Helensville, is outside of Auckland Transport remit though so you’d have to ask the government about it. Of course, there should be trains – high speed ones.

        Nobody thought of that when they decided that we would push the poorer folks further out of the city and eventually with house trickle down they would build some more houses somewhere….

        Actually, many of us did. I even seem to recall Labour saying that living far out from city centres made things cost more.

        • savenz

          Kaukapakapa, Helensville, Wellsford and Warkworth are all part of the Auckland Super city. – Maybe nobody told AT or Auckland council or government.

          And to the South, as far as Pukekohe and Waiuku are part of Auckland Super city.

          Therefore they should all be serviced with decent public transport and the money spent on those areas suppling it from any Fuel Taxes collected from Auckland as they are now considered part of Auckland.

          The supercity ratepayers pay for 54% of the AT budget currently 1.324 billion dollars per year.

          My point is, instead of trying to collect more taxes as a solution, maybe government should first put a stick as well as magnifying glass to AT and Auckland council and the transport agencies instead of all their customers and ask what the F they are doing with all our money as well as their outrageous fees for their poor services.

          It’s not just the money the government needs to create public transport, they need someone to implement something that is practical and satisfactory and fair.

          It does not sound like AT or our government transport agencies with their record so far.

          • Draco T Bastard

            My point is, instead of trying to collect more taxes as a solution, maybe government should first put a stick as well as magnifying glass to AT and Auckland council and the transport agencies instead of all their customers and ask what the F they are doing with all our money as well as their outrageous fees for their poor services.

            My point is that, despite their artificially stunted budget, AT and the government actually do really well. Unfortunately it’s not up to world standards because Kiwis insist that everything be done on the cheap which means that we don’t get the government services that we need.

            And that means that taxes actually need to be put up. And yes it should be that the rich pay far more both in closing the loopholes that are in legislation that allows them avoid paying the taxes that they should be and putting their PAYE up considerably.

        • savenz

          And you are right HOP should be free or like 20 cents per card, and the child card should be bought from the shops and be able to be loaded on at the shops with a kids HOP card immediately just like the Adult version. That would make things a lot easier if you are trying to get more people to use public transport.

          • savenz

            And they need to get the buses taking less than 45 mins for a 7.5 km journey aka Pt Chev to Auckland – seriously who has got 1.5 hours to spare going there and back, and it should take 20 mins!

            • Draco T Bastard

              You sound like someone who doesn’t understand public transport. A bus has to pick up and drop off other passengers along the way. It’s never direct.

    • Jenny 2.3

      If Labour wanted to bring more of their supporters with them, what they should have done was offer low income households a tax cut to offset the fuel tax hike.

      The Chairman

      That’s one solution I suppose.

      But it should not be used as an excuse for a cut in the general progressive income tax rate, which impacts the rich, pitched as a tax cut for the poor, but which in actuality will be undercover tax cut for the wealthy. Which is what I think people here suspect that you are angling for, Chairman.

      Instead it should be a cut in the regressive GST tax that impacts working class families and beneficiaries more than the wealthy.

      To recover the cost of the petrol tax I would support removing the regressive GST tax from all groceries. And replace it with a FTT (Financial Transaction Tax). FTT like income tax is a progressive tax, which impacts the big spenders and the banksters more than working people.

      This is the sort of tax relief that poorer people could believe in.

      Forgive me if I am wrong, Chairman, (and please correct my if I am). But, like other people here, I can’t help but suspect you are using feigned support for poorer people, as an excuse for a tax cut for yourself.

      • Cricklewood 2.3.1

        Why not have a tax free bracket and adjust the higher brackets to compensate?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2

        Instead it should be a cut in the regressive GST tax that impacts working class families and beneficiaries more than the wealthy.

        Undo National’s so called ‘tax switch’ which purposefully put more of the tax burden upon the poor so that the rich could be richer without doing any work.

        In other words, so that the rich could be bigger bludgers than they already are.

      • The Chairman 2.3.3

        “Forgive me if I am wrong, Chairman, (and please correct my if I am). But, like other people here, I can’t help but suspect you are using feigned support for poorer people, as an excuse for a tax cut for yourself.”

        You are wrong and you are forgiven, Jenny.

        I was thinking of a tax cut along the lines of a tax free threshold, limited to those earning 40k (or wherever the Government wants to set it) or less.

        As for GST, I think you and others would be interested to know that GST will be added to Labour’s proposed fuel tax hike.

    • patricia bremner 2.4

      Or they could start a bus hub at Manukau? Which they announced today.

  3. francesca 3

    First fatalities of the novichok attack
    Sergey Skripals pets were sealed up in the house after the Skripals were hospitalised.
    All those hazmat guys and not one thought to feed them or give them water?
    Sergey’s vet told them about the animals on day one
    The guinea pigs died of thirst, the cat was so malnourished and distressed…after 3 weeks of neglect, it had to be put down
    All have been incinerated
    Good old British values eh?
    Now family have been prevented from visiting the pair in hospital
    Viktoria’s visa has been turned down, just as Yulia predicted in the phone call
    Only good news on that front is the neighbours saw the other cat legging it down the street before the house was sealed up

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Re: the recovery that you and others have been scoffing about as though it negates previous reports, here are some more facts for your “scepticism” to scoff at.

      Recovery from a nerve agent attack is not guaranteed, but it is not always a surprise either.

      Nerve agents including sarin, VX and novichok all prevent nerves functioning normally. This includes those that are necessary to breathe and keep the heart beating.

      They work by disrupting an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase at the junction between nerves.

      But over time, the nerve agent is metabolised and excreted by the body and new acetylcholinesterase is made. The question is whether doctors can keep patients alive long enough for that to happen.

      This would have been the focus of Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s care at Salisbury District Hospital. It could have included heart and lung support, the drug atropine to counteract the effect of nerve agents and sedation to prevent brain seizures.

      There is still a question about the Skripals’ long term recovery and whether there will be any impact on memory and brain function.

      • francesca 3.1.1

        Dan Kazseta, chemical weapons expert who writes for the anti Russia site Bellingcat, says that the drug atropine is the main antidote for Novichoks,as with all organophosphate nerve agents, with possible follow ups such as various oximes
        Aitkhenhead, the CE of Porton Down ,on the other hand, said there is NO antidote, so extremely toxic is novichok,and that they were not able to supply Salisbury hospital with one.
        Then again, Porton Down would not have been able to work on an antidote if they weren’t able to experiment with their own stocks of novichok, which understandably they are not keen to admit they have
        So it seems a military grade weapon , delivered by trained Russian assassins,with victims closely targeted, can easily be countered by bed rest and fluids, no antidote required.Good to know
        Kim jong un’s brother, attacked by the nerve agent VX, 5-8x less potent than novichok was not so lucky, and he was even carrying his own stocks of antidote, in the form of atropine, tablets and liquid.Was on his way to a nearby clinic, but didn’t make it.



        It has also been said that the dastardly Putin would have chosen Novichok because
        it does not kill quickly, leaving the victim in utter agony, and even if the victim survives, they wish they hadn’t, reduced to mere shells of themselves
        Yulia sounded quite chipper on the phone to Viktoria, her cousin, Sergey’s getting better by the hour, and the policeman seems to have no tragic tale to tell, otherwise it would be all over the Sun
        So yeah, maybe novichok’s been talked up a little??
        or maybe its a load of bullshit

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Or maybe you don’t know what you’re talking about, because you believe the official Kremlin narrative, which changes two or three times a day.

          • francesca

            Not a very considered or factual argument OAB
            You can do better

            • McFlock

              Yeah, but why bother?

              Yoiu’re still comparing the onset of symptoms from inhaled nerve agent with skin absorbed.
              You’re mentioning atropine like it hasn’t been brought up half a dozen times before (along with combi-pens, diazepam, and one other I can’t remember atm) and assuming that those generic treatments (and conventionally-available) are “antidotes” in the sense that the porton down guy was using the term.
              You’re still ignoring the fact that if they hadn’t collapsed in the middle of town, the Skripals would most likely have been found dead at his home.

              So why bother doing better? It won’t get you to engage any more brain cells.

        • Ed

          The story is unraveling fast.
          This has damaged what is left of the UK’s international reputation.
          Bumbling Boris has to resign.
          His reckless tinfoil actions have put tens of thousands of English football supporters at risk and he has ruined relations with a country the UK relies on for its energy supplies.
          He is such a clown that even Trump says the story makes no sense.

          This event will be seen as a watershed in the future.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        The toxicity of these binary agents does not rely primarily on the inhibition of AChE [acetylcholinesterase], but it is thought that it causes permanent neuropathy.

        Open Mike 04/04/2018

        Novichok’s primary biological target is not acetylcholinesterase (AChE) but another protein, which also happens to be generally inhibited by organophosphates such as some pesticides and other organophosphates causing the following:

        TOCP [tricresyl phosphate; a plasticizer] was originally thought to be non-toxic; however, it was later determined to be a neurotoxin that causes axonal damage to the nerve cells in the nervous system of human beings, especially those located in the spinal cord. The resulting type of paralysis is now referred to as organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy, or OPIDN.


        Indeed, AChE gets turned over (i.e. new protein is made constantly), like all proteins and cellular constituents in our body (even bone!). But this requires healthy cells that function normally. Axonal damage that is caused by the irreversible inhibition of that other non-AChE protein is a much slower process and the repair process is even slower and often incomplete. This causes long-lasting or permanent effects, e.g. partial or full muscle paralysis, especially in the legs and extremities.

        Again, it appears that no experts were asked for expert opinion on/for the article by the BBC. Why not??

    • Gabby 3.2

      That will really piss off the British public.

    • Jenny 3.3

      Good grief

  4. Ed 4

    The lies about spies by Theresa May’s government are literally being washed away.
    Craig Murray is debunking Boris’s conspiracy theory, piece by piece.

    I see major problems with the notion that the Skripals were poisoned by their doorknob.
    The first is this. After what Dame Sally Davis, Chief Medical officer for England, called “rigorous scientific analysis” of the substance used on the Skripals, the government advised those who may have been in contact to wash their clothes and wipe surfaces with warm water and wet wipes. Suspect locations were hosed down by the fire brigade.
    But if the substance was in a form that could be washed away, why was it placed on an external door knob? It was in point of fact raining heavily in Salisbury that day, and indeed had been for some time.
    Can somebody explain to me the scenario in which two people both touch the exterior door handle in exiting and closing the door? And if it transferred from one to the other, why did it not also transfer to the doctor who gave extensive aid that brought her in close bodily contact, including with fluids

    Knobs and Knockers

    George Galloway then followed up in his radio show.
    It was compulsive listening on his radio show as George destroyed the arguments of the tin foil hats who believe the lie.

    George Galloway starts.

    Why can’t Theresa May find a donkey who’ll do a better job on Britain’s foreign relations than the rear end of a pantomime horse called Boris Johnson?

    Having detailed all the massive flaws and gaping holes in the conspiracy theory, Galloway concludes by saying

    If you believe Boris Johnson, you are an idiot. You are not a sheep. A sheep is cleverer than you. If you believe this story, you are an idiot.

    Hear his brilliant opening monologue .

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      Obviously you didn’t read any of the comments yesterday about “eaves” (not too hard to find Colonel Skripal’s house on streetview to see them for yourself) and the actual weather report from the day. Nor, I suspect did you read Incognito’s quote about nerve agents and how they actually affect the body, or you’d’ve noticed that Murray’s already invisible credibility has taken another knock.

      Not very sceptical of you, Ed.

      • Andre 4.1.1

        For the convenience of any new readers that missed the comments addressing Murray’s (dubious) assertions, the subthread starts here.

        Open Mike 06/04/2018

        If we’re in the business of plucking assertions out of thin air, I would note that the presence of fog etc may have affected a substance placed on an exterior door handle in a way that reduced the dose delivered to the victims in a way not anticipated by the putative attackers. Which might explain why the Skripals became extremely ill but are not dead, yet.

        • Ed

          Clearly you have not read Craig Murray’s work on the matter.
          The government’s narrative is a flawed conspiracy theory.

          This narrative simply is not remotely credible. Nerve agents – above all “military grade nerve agents” – were designed as battlefield weapons. They do not leave opponents fighting fit for hours. There is no description in the scientific literature of a nerve agent having this extraordinary time bomb effect.
          If the nerve agent was on the door handle and they touched it, the onset of these symptoms would have occurred before they reached the car. They would certainly have not felt like sitting down to a good lunch two hours later. And they would have been dead three weeks ago.

          Simon Cotton, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at University of Birmingham, writes.

          Unlike traditional poisons, nerve agents don’t need to be added to food and drink to be effective. They are quite volatile, colourless liquids (except VX, said to resemble engine oil). The concentration in the vapour at room temperature is lethal. The symptoms of poisoning come on quickly, and include chest tightening, difficulty in breathing, and very likely asphyxiation. Associated symptoms include vomiting and massive incontinence. Victims of the Tokyo subway attack were reported to be bringing up blood. Kim Jong-nam died in less than 20 minutes. Eventually, you die either through asphyxiation or cardiac arrest.

          Nerve Agents: What Are They and How Do They Work?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Murray’s “less than 20 minutes” story (“work” lol) was blown out of the water yesterday, as Andre is trying to get you to understand.

            • cleangreen

              OAB, You advocate another “cold war”?

              Using this shoddy idea that this particular ‘nerve agent'( that now we know could be made by any country) is just a Russian invention and use is a very dangerous conclusion,

              Do you want another global war, as you are pushing for one here?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                That’s all in your mind.

                • adam

                  Then articulate your point better One Anonymous Bloke, because you sound like all the other “But, but, but Russia” types who do seem to want a war.

                  • Andre

                    How about linking to where OAB or anyone else suggests going to war or even hints at wanting a war over this?

                    • adam

                      Sheesh Andre, an invitation to write clearer, and you response is, prove it! The fact I think he needs to write better, and in a clearer manner, is in fact, the proof.

                      Because a response, “That’s all in your mind.” is woeful in it inadequacy.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    While you’re running away from Andre’s challenge, perhaps you can also run away from showing where I’ve blamed “Russia”, as opposed to the Kremlin.

                    • cleangreen

                      Who can blame anyone when no-one has the indisputable fact so going on a hunch is dangerous so be ready for your actions as they could start another war now, be wise and take a seat and be patient.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      going on a hunch is dangerous

                      If that’s what anyone were doing, sure. The use of chemical weapons is an act of war. However, for my part I’d like to see the British government respond by closing down the money-laundering operations in the city of London and confiscating all property owned by kleptocrats.

                      If that hurts people in the Kremlin, boo-hoo, perhaps they shouldn’t be such a gang of thieving thugs.

                      The British government won’t do that though, because they’re up to their necks in it. Funnily enough I can still notice that the Kremlin are a pack of thieving thugs all the same. Try it sometime.

                    • mikes

                      “…the British government respond by closing down the money-laundering operations in the city of London…”

                      The British Government doesn’t have any authority in or over the City of London

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @Mikes. So they need to fix that for a start.

                    • adam

                      My point was simple, write better One Anonymous Bloke. So people don’t think your a hack, or that your not some unhinged hater of Russia.

                      Maybe if you used the term Russian leaders, or the elders in Russia , or the elects in the Kremlin – rather than your shorthand might help as well. Mix it up a bit.

                      Just some suggestions.

                  • Ed

                    It is scary how some are so ready to gun for war.
                    100 years ago World War 1 ended.
                    It is clear they have forgotten.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      It’s pathetic how some people use nuclear war as a threat against anyone who stands up to the Kremlin.

              • McFlock

                No, that’s bullshit.

                By that logic the Russians should just shoot people dead in the street and say “diplomatic immunity” like some 80s movie, because anyone doing anything about it will risk another cold war.

                If Russia is poisoning people in Britain (again), then the cold war already exists.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It’s an interesting position: “don’t stand up to the Kremlin or you’ll start a nuclear war”. Almost as though the Kremlin is run by a pack of violent bullies who can’t stand being criticised or disagreed with, and therefore we should cower over here and hope they only pick on other people.

          • Andre

            Total dose and how it is delivered has a huge effect on the result.

            I have personally had occasion to handle substances that would have killed me very quickly had they been aerosolised and sprayed in my face, had they been dissolved in a solvent and a large quantity made skin contact I would have dropped everything I was doing and gone straight to the nearest hospital, but since they were in a solid form only fairly minimal personal protective gear was needed.

        • Keepcalmcarryon

          Or it was never intended to be fatal but to send a message.
          So much speculation, we don’t know enough facts.

          • Ed

            So why are May, Johnson and the corporate media so certain?Why did they rush to judgement?

            Murray says we do not know what happened.
            He is correct.

            It is Boris who appear certain.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Certainty and “the only plausible explanation” are not quite the same thing.

              The Kremlin don’t seem at all sure about it. Look how many mutually contradictory stories they’ve been making up.

              • Bill

                You referring to that dumb arse vid link on a UK government web page you linked to previously? The one that throws up any damned thing anyone anywhere in Russia said, tweeted or wrote and inflates it to “Russia says!”

                Russia has said it didn’t do it. It has also said it didn’t do it.

                Meanwhile, we’ve had nerve agents plastered over half of Salisbury at various junctures in the UK version of events.

                And a house of dead, abandoned pets UK authorities locked in, that (of course), no-one thought might be observed/examined to detect possible trace elements of a nerve agent.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  “Plastered”. Funny, because so far as I recall, the police say they’ve found traces in various locations. Have you been taking lessons from Boris Johnson or something?

          • Andre

            Here’s a useful opinion piece on what we know from examining the scientific evidence, and what gaps need to be filled by intelligence services and circumstantial evidence.

            “…A slapdash interview the foreign secretary gave in Germany, in which he appeared to claim he’d been personally and categorically assured by “the guy” at Porton Down that Russia was behind the Salisbury poisoning, backfired on him this week when Porton Down’s chief executive, Gary Aitkenhead, explained that scientists could certainly identify the nerve agent involved, but that naming the culprit was above their pay grade.


            Anyone claiming that all this blows a hole in the idea of Russian guilt needs to cool their heels. It doesn’t change a government case that always relied on science to narrow the range of suspects, by identifying the means of poisoning, but on the intelligence services to complete the jigsaw. It was for them to advise on who might have not just the significant technical capacity required to deploy a Russian-manufactured toxin, but also the desire to kill enemies of the Russian state; the audacity to do it in a way bound to cause a crisis in Anglo-Russian relations, given its uncanny similarity to previous Russian operations; …”


            • Bill

              This wonderful logic from that piece.

              The case for this mysterious culprit being Russia was never definitive, but unless anyone produces strong evidence to the contrary, that’s by far the most likely explanation. That much hasn’t changed.

              So. Botswana could have been fingered and unless someone “produced strong evidence to the contrary”, then Botswana would get to wear it.

              I just wonder whether the liberal media are going to spend their time covering their own arses or whether they’re going to naughty little stenographers and stop just writing the convenient propaganda they’re told to write.

              Actually, I don’t wonder any such things. They’ll cover their arses as best they can and await instructions on what the lines to spin over the next best, big thing.

              • Andre

                The finger is pointed at Russia for reasons given in the quote above, quoted again here: “… who might have not just the significant technical capacity required to deploy a Russian-manufactured toxin, but also the desire to kill enemies of the Russian state; the audacity to do it in a way bound to cause a crisis in Anglo-Russian relations, given its uncanny similarity to previous Russian operations; …”

                If a Botswanan ex-pat who had seriously pissed off Botswana’s security apparatus was found poisoned by a toxin produced by an organism found in the Okavango Delta but extremely rare elsewhere, and there were previous instances of similar things happening to other Botswanan ex-pats that were fairly convincingly linked to the Botswanan government, then yes, Botswana would be strongly suspected of doing it. None of this fantasy scenario is remotely plausible, since Botswanans are in the habit of choosing reasonably liberal and tolerant leaders, in stark contrast to russians.

                So far I’m not aware of any plausible reports of anyone else with sufficient ill-will to the Skripals to want to poison either of them, nor am I aware of anyone but the Russians with the habit of attempting to murder ex-pats in bizarre ways.

                On one hand, there is motive, means, and opportunity pointing towards Russia, on the other hand pointing somewhere else there is nothing plausible. So until there is a plausible alternative complete with motive, means and opportunity, Russia remains the only plausible suspect.

                • mikes

                  “On one hand, there is motive..”

                  “sufficient ill-will ”

                  If the Russians hated him that much and wanted him dead they could have just executed him in 2004 or anytime while he was in prison in Russia up until 2010, instead of sentencing him to a fairly lenient 13 years and then pardoning him and releasing him in 2010.

                  What would Russia (as a state) have to gain by executing him now?

                  • Andre

                    To send a message to anyone contemplating acting against current Kremlin interests that ‘you may even think you got a reprieve by being swapped for ten that they caught, but you will still be dead man walking and when we come for you it will be horribly unpleasant’. A hefty dose of fear to help keep the underlings onside.

                    If they had executed him in 2004, they wouldn’t have been able to use him to get some of their own back in a swap.

        • Bill

          Aw ffs!

          So let’s back peddle to “eaves” (because living in Britain I never saw a wet front door or the rain riding on a wind :roll:)

          And if that doesn’t convince, we’ll roll out “fog” to make the door wet.

          Heads or tails, wet or dry, hell or high water, we say “Russia!”

          There is no other possible or probable scenario that would point to any other potential murderers. An ex-British spy (possibly) still moving in dodgy circles would only ever be a target of the Russian state that had jailed him and released him.

          • francesca

            In the absence of sufficient dots to join, make up a monster
            Thats what I call a conspiracy theory
            Whats he been up to in the last 8 years?
            A proper investigation should provide more dots, not just mindless assertions

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            “There is no other possible or probable scenario that would point to any other potential murderers”, is not the same as “this is the most plausible explanation”.

            So it’s unclear whose position you’re trying to argue against.

            Regarding the rain that washed the poison away. Have a look at cctv footage of the day. Roads look pretty dry to me.

            Example: three hours before the Skripals were found.

      • mauī 4.1.2

        They are very small eaves and if we’re looking at the same house there is no front porch like many NZ houses. It’s entirely possible to see that the front door could get wet on a rainy day. Why would something like that be left to chance… and how could you be certain that the target is going to touch a frigging door handle if there’s two people present.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          All you need now is the weather report from that day. McFlock linked it yesterday.

          • mauī

            3.3mm fell on the day near where the Skripals were. McFlock’s weather report location is out by about 12 kilometres for a start.


            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Exactly. Light ran won’t shift much.

              • Bill

                Well, to adopt your ridiculous basis for argument and dismissal.

                But fog does! As Andre is trying to get you to understand. 🙄

                • Ed

                  The conspiracy theory has been debunked.
                  Its defenders are desperate. They keep digging.
                  As Galloway states, they are worse than sheep to believe the narrative being presented.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Which conspiracy theory would that be? The one where it’s Yulia’s future mother-in-law or the one where the CIA did it? The one where it was Sweden or the one where it was the Czech Republic? How about the one where everyone involved is a crisis actor, or the one where Porton Downs did it?

                    As for you being the sewer through which George Galloway’s flaccid insults pass on their way to The Standard, I’m not sure I’m allowed to express the depths of contempt that elicits any more, but consider it expressed nonetheless.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  And yet that is where the police say they’ve found the highest concentration of the poison. Obviously Craig Murray knows better 🙄

            • McFlock

              Oh cool. I only googled “Salisbury weather”. I liked the six-hourly data in the other link, though.

              But 12k is only one side of Dunedin to the other. Where exactly is his house, lol.

          • francesca

            Surely we need weather reports for the last 3 weeks!!

      • francesca 4.1.3

        Eaves certainly don’t keep my door dry, as you know, rain can and very often does,come at angles, this I know from the indignity of stepping in to wet gumboots left on a wide veranda
        Or where you come from , does it fall from the sky in perfect verticals?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Obviously it all washed away. That explains why the police found the highest concentration there 🙄

      • tracey 4.1.4

        I presume no one tried to enter the house using the door after the pair were poisoned?

    • Ed 4.2

      The corporate media is trying to censor the story. How embarassing for them.

      Britain’s ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray and veteran Sky News presenter Kay Burley faced off on social media, after Murray questioned why his interview on the Salisbury poisoning did not appear on the network’s website.
      In an exclusive interview with RT, Craig Murray said that Burley’s “strange impoliteness took [him] by surprise.”
      “[The interview] was broadcast live but Sky’s daytime audience is not all that large,” said Murray. “A lot of people missed it and wanted to see it on their website but it wasn’t shown there at all, and they said it would be.
      “I think the plan was to try and make me look foolish with the aggressive interviewing but that didn’t work. I think that’s why they’ve then buried it.”

      Craig Murray clashes with Sky News’ Kay Burley over interview on Skripal poisoning

      Sky News censored the story. So Craig Murray put it up on his website.
      As as he put it , this is An Extremely Boring Video. Do Not Watch It.’

      And Craig Murray’s twitter feed is here.

      • james 4.2.1

        “The corporate media is trying to censor the story. How embarassing for them.”

        So – Sky News interview the guy – live on TV for thousands to watch.

        Presume that they paid him a fee for coming on TV to give his views to all of those people.

        Worse censorship ever !!!!

      • cleangreen 4.2.2

        And Craig Murray’s twitter feed is here.

        Craigs twitter feed is down at my laptop now, so they are blocking the feed now?

    • Treetop 4.3

      Until the full facts are known, a person is an idiot to speculate on such a serious matter.

      Safety comes first when dealing with a nerve agent.

      • Ed 4.3.1

        I agree.
        So the question should also be.
        Why was the May government so quick to rush to judgement about Russia?

        Cui bono?
        Not the Russians, as Galloway explains in his brilliant speech.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          There are perfectly good pragmatic motives for the Kremlin to do this. Loyalty, discipline, etc. We’ve been over this before.

          • francesca

            I don’t think the benefits of that would out way the economic costs.

            And the costs would be huge and easily calculated
            The Brits have been bitching ever since they failed in the World Cup hosting bid and have been putting as many spokes in the wheel as they possibly can
            Lot of money there for the Russians

            The US has been lobbying hard to stop Southstream(now gone to Turkstream)and for Nordstream 2 to be cancelled, replaced with their own more expensive liquid fracked gas
            There’s already been pressure over this for Germany to cancel
            We’ve been over this before, but your theory doesn’t stack up sufficiently (for me) in purely pragmatic ways

            The propaganda benefits of this gifted to Russia’s opponents would not be worth it, particularly if western populations could be persuaded that Russia is incorrigibly evil, uses chemical weapons indiscriminately, tally ho! lets all stick it to em in Syria
            (predictably already ventured on )

        • Treetop

          May’s error from day 1 is assuming it was sanctioned by the Russian government.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            “Either this was a direct act by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.”

            Teresa May.

            You were saying?

            • cleangreen

              OAB is a declared war mongerer it seems now.

              Using false narratives was used against russia since the Ukraine incident so we are not surprised these same idiots are perpetrating more of the same here.
              They are evectively at was now against Russia, a very foolish plan.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Try not to make this debate personal, Cleangreen. Disagreeing with you makes me a sceptic, not a warmonger. Or should that be “wasmonger” 🙂

                • cleangreen


                  You prefer to use flimsy propaganda i do not and it should interest you to know that the same “nerve agent” was firstly a USA plan and developed agent not a russian invented nerve agent, so USA made the stuff firstly and you would prefer to just trust USA?

                  “Fools a plenty” here.

                  Remember that it was George Bush/UK PM Tony Blair both that told the biggest lie to the world you perhaps also believed that Iqap president Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass extermination” – which was later proven to be a lie.

                  More lies and more lies, so we need to tread carefully here.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Haven’t you got a grandmother who needs help with those eggs?

                    • veutoviper

                      LOL. Well said.

                      Perhaps it is the rarefied air in the hills above the Gisborne low lands combined with the truck fumes up there.

                      In the last 24 hours, you have been “a declared war mongerer it seems now”, Stuart Munro “an arrogant dupe”; and horrors of horrors, I have been accused of “National are the sweetest smelling army of democracy are they now?” – for supporting your and Solkta’s comments re promoting show trials on OM yesterday.

                      Mind you I seem to be collecting such notorious titles at present – savenz thinks I am an apologist for Sky City and Colin Espiner, and I am still trying to decipher this from OnceWasTim in OM 29 March:

                      It’s not bad eh @vv It’s fairly obvious you’ve experienced 76uin both the world of the Humphrey, and the world of what is best described as the job of a Jitter Jitter noooo KKKKKITERIDGE WUNCE d d d ddid.

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-29-03-2018/#comment-1467773 – there is a couple of more beautys adjacent to that one. I want what he had that night – or maybe not.

            • Treetop

              I was aware of May’s statement which you quote.

              Novichok has been around for decades. Think since early 70’s. To think Russia is the only country who has it, is naive. Another country could have designed a not so deadly form.

              Nerve agents are a form of terrorism. Terrorism is caused by an individual or sanctioned by a government leader.

              May has every right to be very concerned when a nerve agent has been used on British soil.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Speaking of “form”:

                [in July 2006] the upper chamber of the Russian parliament – the Federation Council – approved a law which permits the Russian president to use the country’s armed forces and special services outside Russia’s borders to combat terrorism and extremism.

                • francesca

                  The Americans got there first , in 2002

                  Neither laws permit the assassination of spies

                • Treetop

                  You are not able to give enough evidence to prove that Putin was involved.

                  I agree that he has the means and power to do what happened.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Calling for “proof” is the same tactic employed by tobacco and fossil fuel companies to delay any action being taken to limit the harm they do.

                    At best, we may decide this beyond reasonable doubt. However, that would require any potential suspect to be extradited, rather than elevated to office as per Lugovoy.

                    • Treetop

                      Somethings are easy to prove others are near impossible.

                      Wikipedia is a good read re novichok. The Iranians have modified it in 2016.

                      My phone mb is about to expire.

                    • Treetop []

                      Use of word modified is being corrected by me.

                      In 2016, Iranian chemists synthesised five Novichok agents for analysis and produced detailed mass spectral data.

                      Source wikipedia novichok.

                    • francesca

                      Yes, lets do away with rigorous demands for proof
                      I mean whats all the fuss?
                      Iraq turned out all right didn’t it?

                    • Treetop []

                      Challenging times which people live in requires caution.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Nah, let’s do away with arguing in good faith, and twist my words instead. You’ve got a head start.

              • tracey

                Motive is always important when evidence isnt cut and dried.

                Who else had motive? Why target these people/person?

                Why woukd Iran choose this man as their target?

                So it is NOT just about evidence as many here are saying, it must also be about motive and potential gain.

                • Treetop

                  Why would Iran choose this man as their target?

                  Skripal was a double agent.

                  When I mentioned Iran it was to do with having worked in a lab with novichok.

                  It needs to be declared which countries have novichok.

                • mikes

                  “it must also be about motive and potential gain.”

                  Motive not so important as who knows what motives may abound in the murky world of international espionage. More important is potential gain i.e. who benefits?

                  But even that is not going to be clear now that it would seem the operation (whoevers operation it was) was a major fuck up.

        • cleangreen

          10% Edb it was just a EU set-up to destabilise Russia and hope to take over those vast russian arctic oil reserves.

          We’ve ‘all been over seeing this before’ eh?

      • Ed 4.3.2

        And that is why Boris Johnson is an idiot.
        He rushed to judgement.
        And people who believe him as worse than sheep, as Galloway says.

  5. Sanctuary 6

    George Galloway long ago jumped the shark and these days is a discredited lunatic who ocassionally howls something useful. Ditto for Craig Murray, who has clearly succumbed to paranoid conspiracy theories that unfortunately now wrecks his credibility.

    The now familiar known modus operandi of the Russians is to encourage and seed multiple doubts and conspiracy theories about any Russian misdeeds until the factual environment is more toxically polluted than an isolated Artic inlet full of abandoned and leaking Soviet nuclear submarines, and all I see on the Standard is lot of tinfoil hat wearing useful idiots filling in the gaps for troll tsar Vladimir Putin very nicely thank you.

    Look, you don’t have to dial up to some fancy crack pot conspiracy theory about the Skripals in order to protect the decisions of the Labour government here. Occam’s razor and common sense should tell you the Russians are the clear culprits, and their actions are an outrageous violation of British sovereignty typical of a delusional and paranoid kleptocracy desperate to regain it’s superpower glory and equally desperate to to hide it’s immense corruption and it’s immense social, environmental, economic and military weaknesses.

    And you don’t need to quote crackpots to discern that Boris Johnson is a reactionary fool whose ambition wildly exceeds his talent, or that Theresa May is a weak leader of a decadent party that is part of a decadent establishment in a hopelessly divided country teetering on the precipice of multiple domestic catastrophes.

    But we don’t have to buy into the coalition of the willing just because it was the Russians who did it. Real politik asks why we should be asked take a radical position that could materially affect our standard of living (by not achieving an FTA with Russia) when the act occurred in a small market town 20,000km away, no one got killed (except for a couple of Guinea pigs and a cat – surely not the first or last Guinea pigs to succumb as a result of the use of chemical weapons, and the poor old cat, well, sucks to be it). This dispute is a nasty little scuffle between two northern hemisphere nuclear armed middle powers, one a corrupt to the eyeballs kleptocracy run by a dangerous strongman and the other a culturally and politically exhausted neo-surveillance state in serious decline, and has very little relevant to us beyond the outrageous violation of international law.

    We just need to accept that on the balance of resonable deduction the Russians did it and then finesse our position to let everyone know New Zealand stands up for “rules based order” to govern relationships between countries without losing the chance to get a FTA with Russia.

    • Ed 6.1

      Thank you for your point of view.
      Good of you to shoot the messengers.

      Remember – wmd.
      The same line were used.
      Galloway was a leader of the resistance to war in Iraq. And he was proved correct.

      I agree – we should trade with Russia.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      Well said Sanctuary. I like the line about the abandoned subs 🙂

      • francesca 6.2.1

        Yes, the majority were during the Soviet years
        Since then, Russia is responsible for two, one of which was largely salvaged, and the US two,…
        no salvage attempts
        Incidentally, a list of nuclear power accidents by country makes interesting reading , if we’re talking of nuclear pollution

        “t least 57 accidents have occurred since the Chernobyl disaster, and over 56 nuclear accidents have occurred in the USA. Relatively few accidents have involved fatalities.[6]”

    • Ad 6.3

      …. let everyone know New Zealand stands up for “rules based order” to govern relationships between countries without losing the chance to get a FTA with Russia.

      Got any suggestions?

      All of our standard allies’ media report us looking like we would prefer to sit down, be humble.

    • Sacha 6.4

      Indeed, another whole page of tinfoil to wade through this morning, same as every other day’s shiny goodness. Some people need to start their own conspiracy site and leave this one for other topics.

      • One Two 6.4.1

        It’s speculation, Sacha…that is what the commentators are engaged in….

        Because that is all they actually have….speculation filling a chasm like void left behind by the official story….

        All too familiar….That conspiracy you’re complaining about….isn’t commentators on this site…..it’s the ever changing, and unraveled, official story….

        If you don’t like the discussion, perhaps you could leave the site ?…….

        • Brigid

          It’s the hate filled, arrogant, vituperative responses to those with a counter belief that I object to. Mostly practiced by those with the ‘Russia did it’ view.
          Resorting to insults in place of a well structured debate is easy. We can all do it. We’ve all been able to do it since we were five.

          [lprent: And yet here you are doing it yourself.. damn idiotic. Please read the policy on the subject of flamewars and how I don’t like the fools who like to start them. ]

          • francesca

            I agree,
            I get a sense of a lot of bloated egos on this site
            Male , dare I say it,mostly, prepared to substitute insult for reason

            [lprent: Personally having passed over your comments a few times as being inane, naive and rather stupidly sensitive. ie you like to dish it out but get indignant when others do the same to you. But I suspect that you simply have a very low standard about what constitutes a “bloated ego” for others and fail to look in the mirror to observe your own often enough.

            I usually find the dialogue on here to be pretty tame compared to my normal life. Here I normally only really use my sharp edges and overweening ego to deal with trolls. Which you appear to to be degenerating into.

            This is your warning. If you really want to start masturbate your ego by trying to start a flame war in the way that you appear to be doing right now, then you tend to wind up having to deal with me and my abrupt ways of dealing with trolls waving their matches and gasoline. Read the policy about how much I like cleaning up the debris and change your behaviour before I start noticing more than your sensitive ego, general dimness and the tree growing off your brow. ]

            • One Two

              Francesca, some moderators have made it clear they feel this site is not female friendly…

              You respond well, and with solid information to the relentless followers you have attracted….

              I think you may have touched a nerve…

              • francesca

                I think I’m outta here One TWO, not quite my cup of tea , but thank you kindly , you’re a gentle soul, always appreciated your non adversarial comments, good sense , and valid points without any posturing
                Good luck to you

                • Ed

                  Please do not leave.
                  You are a voice of sanity here.

                • One Two

                  If it’s really not for you, then ‘outta here’ might be the decision to make…that’s up to you of course…

                  My opinion is that you absolutely bring informative comments with links to back up what you’re articulating….you also deliver comments with, what I interpret to be a subtle sense of humour, and line in sand approach with what you are prepared to tolerate… You hold your ground….not that it should need to be that way….

                  There are a small number of commentators on this site who seem to feel it is their duty to monitor and indeed, manage commentators…. That you attracted the focus of OAB is a signal your comments and information are a ‘direct threat’ which must be ‘eliminated’….That you were so insultingly moderated is farcical, and I should think that approach is a huge issue for this site, not to mention those moderators who seek to build a female friendly site and attract new authors…

                  With that said, and IMO it would be loss should you decide that you’ve had enough here…..

                  Have a good one…

                  • Ed

                    I get constant surveillance from oab.
                    I have stopped replying to him as I have found this ends up with very long and pointless threads.
                    I do get a sense my views are a threat and must be eliminated, as you put it.
                    I now just accept that if I say something, I will get flak.

                    • One Two

                      Ed, you certainly do attract the of ire of OAB….It is a common and on-going theme observing as he trashes around ‘putting out the fires’…I can only deduce that he has some rather unfortunate issues which drive him to such behaviour, and seemingly be unable to self manage….It’s why I stopped/paused engaging with OAB, as I genuinely felt like I was adding to his problems….I did engage with him today….my bad…

                      So you should not have to accept that you will ‘get flak’ because you comment here on the subjects you’re interested in….fair play you’ve been banned and moderated lots of times, but you keep to your lanes and are mostly not rude, abusive or insulting to others who comment on this site….

                      The world is a wonderful place….remember to keep your space positive too….

                      Take it easy….

                    • Ed

                      Thank you for your kind words.
                      Peace, my friend.

                  • francesca

                    Hey thanks you all,Maui, One Two, and Ed,Cleangreen,Brigid, ..and Mikes..love the secret club!
                    really appreciate you
                    What I realise is that its silly of me to respond to every barb.and one line retort
                    There is a side of me that just can’t let what I consider to be biased (in my eyes) go by without comment
                    My dander gets roused.
                    But it is really hard to have a discussion, my view of things is returned by some with barely disguised contempt. Not that that is crushing, its just so non productive.
                    Taking a rest for now, friends to visit , gardens to do, places to be.
                    Lots of luck, interesting times!

            • francesca

              Well , inane and naive is pretty harmless, “stupidly sensitive?”
              Off with her head!

              • cleangreen

                Franchesca – I want you to stay as you are the voice of reason in a narrow world we live in so hitch up to the post and don’t let the other lot get at you as they tried with me but wont win so keep it up please.

              • Ed

                I would appreciate really miss your contributions and will be sorry if you go.
                Francesca sometimes I feel got at on the site. There are many readers on this site who links people like you bring to the conversation.
                It will be a sad day if you go.

              • mikes

                “I think I’m outta here One TWO…” = “stupidly sensitive”

                Shhhhh….. didn’t you know there’s a secret club where you get points for getting a verbal beatdown, ticking off and warning, without actually getting banned..? The worse the beatdown, the more points you get…Welcome to the club (in style Sista !! / Brotha !! / Otha !!)..

            • Brigid

              You are a naughty naughty naughty girl Francesca.

              Good grief!!

            • mikes

              “Male , dare I say it,mostly”

              Oh please.. Now it’s the patriarchy.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            You mean like Cleangreen calling people “warmongerers” [sic], or Ed calling people “worse than sheep”?

            Or maybe you mean Francesca, calling people “fools”.

            Oh dear. Better luck next time.

            • francesca

              Where did I do that OAB?
              More than willing to apologise most sincerely if I’ve used the word “fools” about anyone on this site

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                No, you’re quite right: I mixed you up with Cleangreen on account of your icons being the same colour. Sorry.

                • francesca

                  No worries
                  I was all prepared to do the most humiliating grovel if you’d found me using that word, but pretty sure I hadn’t …not my style..

          • tracey

            It has seemed quite even to me on the name calling front.

            • OnceWasTim

              Better yet, no contrarian has yet decided to comment in response to Cleangreen on the basis that he is….well @CleanGreen expressing himself.
              I’ve been waiting for Ad to respond to some of my recent comments on various threads …. because, well they’re inherently critical of one of his idols even though the criticism is intended to be constructive…..

              That was a comment intended somewhere above until the connection fucked out, but the it seems just as appropriate here, except that he did just comment

          • One Two

            Agree with you Brigid…

            Take a look at who responded to your comment…which was a a reply to the one I made…

            As if he is trying to absolve himself by finger pointing at others….

            So very droll …. and predictable…

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              And yet it’s you making things personal. In fact that’s your only contribution to any debate here: to cast aspersions on the intellect or character of those with whom you disagree.

              So I’m going to risk one small personal remark to call you a hypocrite.

              • One Two

                As I said, you’re so very predictable OAB….I knew that you would reply to the comment….because you’re so predictable….

                You’re free to imagine it’s my making things personal… you can be the victim….again….you like to play the victim…..you’re good at playing the victim…..

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Thank you for illustrating my point and validating my opinion.

                  • One Two

                    Oh I’m sure you believe that’s what happened….

                    Another lesson you can teach to your kids…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Bringing my family into it? Classy 😆

                    • OnceWasTim

                      Oh dear! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
                      A bloody shame you don’t do likewise.

                      You know OAB, there’s a lot I can agree with you from time to time.
                      Other times I just wonder whether the AOB handle wouldn’t be better off being OAF – the contrarians view just expressed for the sake of it and based on who you don’t particularly like (with references as a display justifying your intellect).

                      I don’t particularly like the excessive displays of ego in here from time to time. Sure as shit I don’t like the divisiveness that characterises that broad church that comprises the ‘LEFT’ but please give them the right to express an opinion without personalising it.

                      You and Ed really should get a room sometime – it might actually be a happy marriage

          • Brigid

            No Lprent.
            In that comment, where, have I been arrogant or vituperative?

            It’s your site. You set the tone.

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    This guy AARON DREVER again. The man’s a menace.


    The Stathams paid more than $36,000 in commission and marketing costs to Drever and his firm.

    “We paid him to buy our house,” said Maryanne, 38, a business analyst.

  7. Wow! The Skripal affair certainly polarises opinion on The Standard!

    Except it doesn’t. One one hand, commentators like OAB are adamant Russia is guilty of the attempt on the Skripals because Teresa and Boris have said so and well, Russia has form, don’t you know.

    On the other hand, I have yet to read any of those opposed to the the ‘Russia did it’ line emphatically deny that fact. All seem to be urging caution, not rushing to judgment, waiting for the evidence.

    Of course it could have been Russia! But until we know for certain, take a spoonful of scepticism twice a day, with food, before becoming constipated with certainty.

    • francesca 8.1

      The reason I am deeply sceptical of all this is that the US/UK also has “form”
      lie after lie, promoting war after war , with the most horrendous consequences and slaughter of people inconvenient to the aims of corporate states/imperial powers
      No consequences for the aggressors.

      • Ed 8.1.1

        Yes a lot of form.
        Something its defenders keep forgetting.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          What “defenders”?

          The British government can’t take any meaningful action against the likely perpetrators, because the City of London is donkey deep in laundering their money.

          It’s pathetic, the way you twist peoples’ words. I’m putting it down to low intellect.

      • cleangreen 8.1.2

        100% Francesca,

        this is a fabricated con “black ops”job sent out by Bilderberg Group secret ops to stymy the globe and destabilise the eastern block as the west is in the shit real deep now.

        Hang on we will win if we all keep voicing our distrust of the corporate global hegemony and the Bilderberg group activities.

        • Ed

          Their lies are certainly not working as well as they used to.
          More and more people know the western neoliberal establishment lied about Ukraine.
          More and more people know they lied about Salisbury spies.
          More and more people know they lied about Syria.
          More and more people know they lied about Iraq.
          More and more people know they lied about 9/11.

          The tide is turning.
          This event will be seen as a watershed in the future.

        • McFlock

          I… can’t tell if you’re taking the piss.

      • mikes 8.1.3

        I’ll throw this into the mix. I’m skeptical of the ‘official’ version for a number of reasons. But those reasons aside, I personally find it hard to believe, because if the Russians wanted him dead, he’d be dead.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      If you can manage to summarise my position without telling lies that would be nice, although I wonder whether you have the chops.

      I’m convinced that the most likely explanation is that the Kremlin is involved, and that has sweet fuck all to do with whatever Boris Johnson reckons.

      Is it some kind of flaccid smear you’re attempting. or are you just genuinely unable to read a sentence without embellishing?

      • Well, I’m buggered if I know. OAB, you seem so adamant that the Russians did it, but on what basis?

        If its not because Teresa and Boris said so, and if its not because Russia has form (and I agree it has), it can’t be because there is overwhelming and convincing evidence because there are so many questions that haven’t been answered.

        So, you’re convinced. Great. We’ll leave it at that.

        I’m still prescribing caution and scepticism!

        But do try to not be so verbally aggressive!

        • Ed


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          you seem so adamant that the Russians did it, but on what basis?

          What I in fact said is “the most likely explanation”, so already you’ve twisted my words. Again. As predicted. If that isn’t verbal aggression I’d like to know what is.

          If you want my answers to your question (which I’ve already answered, multiple times) start by engaging with what I actually say rather than kicking strawmen.

          • Well, if I agree with you that ‘the most likely explanation’ is that Russia did it, can you accept my suggestion that we still exercise caution and scepticism?

            After all, from all I’ve read of your numerous comments on a multiplicity of topics, (and perhaps I’m guilty of misreading your opinions again) I’m sure you’ll agree that governments lie – and that includes both Russia and the Uk government.

            And yes, the weight of lies may be on the side of Russia, but the UK also has form.

            There are too many questions that still need to be answered for me to reach a conclusion – and perhaps also too much evidence that the ordinary Joe Bloggs is not a party to.

    • mauī 8.3

      Yep, when you cuddle up to the tories stories things don’t usually turn out so well.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.3.1

        Good thing no-one’s doing that then, eh.

      • Ed 8.3.2

        The Tories story is some lies about spies.
        The neoliberal establishment hoped to pin this on Russia.
        It has failed.
        The defence of the lies are becoming ever more shrill.

    • McFlock 8.4

      That’s a bit disingenuous, imo.

      On the first hand, based purely on symptoms described and the track record of Putin’s opponents I’d be thinking it sniffs strongly of Russian involvement (Russian state under Putin).

      On the second hand, commenters aren’t merely “urging caution”. Some are working hard to try to debate even the most minor facts in the case:

      claiming nerve agents create instant death;
      giving different counts to how many people were injured;
      claiming the weather that day would have washed away all the poison if it was on the door handle;
      asserting that the first people on the scene took no personal safety steps to avoid bodily fluid contact…

      and so on. That isn’t urging caution, that’s actively trying (and failing) to argue a contrary position where not only is there not 100% proof of Russian involvement, but that the most likely culprit is someone other than the Russian state.

      • Bill 8.4.1

        Talk of disingenuous!

        The basic argument is that the assertions and claims made by the UK government are built on air.

        There have been some questions asked around the time it seems to have taken this nerve agent to have an effect. You dig out one comment about “instant”. Ragardless, that’s got nothing to do with culpability.

        People (myself included) have overlooked the police officer who received treatment. That’s got nothing to do with culpability.

        As I commented, fog washing poison off a handle and rain not washing poison off a handle are arguments thrown by some arguing that it’s Russia that wot done it. And whatever, that’s got nothing to do with culpability.

        Safety measures taken or not taken by the first people on the scene…guess what? That’s got nothing to do with culpability either

        None of the examples of any line of argument you throw up illustrate people, trying (and failing) to argue a contrary position where not only is there not 100% proof of Russian involvement, but that the most likely culprit is someone other than the Russian state. as you assert.

        • McFlock

          Instant (immediate, seconds, they’ve all been used in these threads and if you think they haven’t you don’t look read your own comments as closely as I do) has everything to do with culpability, because it means the exposure had to have happened in the middle of town, and yet the first responders noticed nothing?

          Commenters overlooking or inventing casualties goes to the commenters’ reliability on this issue. That has nothing to do with culpability, but a lot to do with how reasoned their scepticism is.

          If the door could not have had poison on it, that means the police-level announcements of individual elements (as well as bojo’s usual wankery) are basically fabricated. Which has an awful lot to do with culpability, because that’s a coverup.

          And yes, saying rain was in the area at some time in a 24hr period so the doorhandle was wet (eaves, lee side of building) and therefore the front door wasn’t the location of exposure (so why did the cops get ill and why were traces reported there) to this instantly-acting (it’s not if skin-absorbed) toxin but the british are lying about it (why would the british want to protect the perpetrators?)… that’s trying to argue that the most likely culprit is someone other than the Russian state.

      • mauī 8.4.2

        All I think people are trying to do is check if the story adds up, and each facet seems slightly off.. That’s what people do, they get suspicious when each aspect doesn’t add up.

        Oh look Russia did it.
        Oh look old released spy is worthy of an international incident.
        Oh look Russia has an election on.
        Oh look no witnesses.
        Oh look no suspects – apart from Russia.
        Oh look no need to look into victims background.. apart from they were Russian.
        Oh look “of a type made by Russia”.
        Oh look let’s ban the RT network.
        Oh look let’s get our friends to send home their Russian friends.
        Oh look the poison was on the door handle.
        Oh look they make an amazing recovery.
        Oh look their phones switch off and can’t be traced for 4 hours on the day.
        Oh look they spent more than an hour in a restaurant after being poisoned.
        Oh look science says we can’t confirm where the newbie-chook came from.

        • McFlock

          The “oh looks” in your comment contradict your first paragraph. Checking if things add up does not involve misrepresenting facts and people’s positions.

          Three weeks critical isn’t an “amazing recovery”, btw.

          • mauī

            I thought it wasn’t too bad a summary of some of the “facts” around the case or the ones we’re allowed to know about.

        • Ed

          I shall ignore them maui.
          Thank you for your support and advice.

  8. adam 9

    15 to 18 percent pay rise. And millions into schools to help the students, but teachers are still going to continue to strike becasue it’s not enough money to help schools get back on track after decades of government cuts and mismanagement. And before the rwnj’s comment without reading at least the one link provided, the teachers have accepted the wage raise, they just don’t want their students to suffer being in a way underfunded environment.




  9. “Sean Hannity is on signals intelligence co-ordinating his pro-Trump message with organs of the Russian state, such as RT, Sputnik, Wikileaks and Julian Assange. However, emails co-ordinating messaging with registered agents of the Russian state are said to exist from more shows than that of Sean Hannity.“

    Hanity for jail? Fox for sanctioning by the FCC?? THAT would be a nice epithet for Murdock’s reign. Ms Mensch has been on the money on most matters to do with the Trump saga.


    • francesca 10.1

      That would be Louise Mensch?
      Say no more

      • Ed 10.1.1

        Some background on Mensch.

        Patribotics is the blog of British-American independent investigative journalist Louise Mensch. According to the site, it consists of “Investigative journalism and analysis of the Russian hack on America’s election and related topics. Pro-America, pro-democracy, pro-NATO, pro-Russia, anti-Putin


        This brief clip shows what a foul propagandist she is.

    • cleangreen 10.2

      Bill Dress – dress up lots of propaganda here wrapped in “fake news”

      We all know that most news is corrupt now so any media is suspect so nothing new is here. (unless you believe all that the crooked media says nowadays.

  10. red-blooded 11

    Finally an opinion piece in The Herald that sheets home the disgrace of Middlemore and the wider issues besetting the health system to Coleman and National. Took them long enough!

    • Ed 11.1

      28 to 2.
      Actually it’s probably about 45 :2 now

    • veutoviper 11.2

      Hi redblooded. Thanks for that link. Good on Lizzy.

      I have not really followed this subject this week, but had been meaning to keep a check.

      I just did a quick search on the Herald website for “Middlemore Hospital” and that does seem to be the only Opinion piece that it brought up.

      No disrespect/criticism of you as you are right re opinion pieces, the search did bring up quite a list of other articles rather than opinion pieces on the state of the hospital and who has said what etc – a total of 12 articles since 21 Feb 2018.

      There were links on the first three pages of the Search with titles but not dates and the dates do not necessarily coincide with the pages – ie they are not listed by date. Here is the link to page 1 with other pages available by clicking the page numbers at the bottom


      So here goes:

      21 Feb 2018 – bottom of page 1 currently, “Patient’s disgust at mould …”

      22 March 2018 – page 1, entitled “Toxic Black Mould, fungus …”

      29 March 2018 – page 3, “Disappointed that he was not told …”

      3 April 2018 – 5 articles by timeline

      9.18am – page 1, “PM’s week ahead…” – one liner in article; more in video of PM

      10.41am – page 1, “Don’t blame me …”

      11.29am – page 1, “PM Jacinda Ardern …”

      11.47am – page 2, “Simon Bridges …”

      6.58pm – page 1, “Health Minister …”

      4 April 2018 – 3 articles by timeline

      8.48am – page 1, “More Middlemore hospital buildings …”

      5.58pm – page 2, “Political Round Up …” Bryce Edwards round up of articles in media, with first half dedicated to Middlemore Hospital articles – see below.

      6.10pm – page 3, “Mouldy Middlemore: DHB spent $8M …”

      7 April 2018 – Lizzy Marvelly -” I’ve found Joyce’s $11.7 billion hole”

      In total that is 12 articles of which 9 are since last Sunday, 1 April. This is no excuse for their late start, but at least it is not now being ignored.

      Here is a link to Edwards Political Round-up article which has links to other media Middlemore articles, but I have not yet checked them out.


      Again no disrespect/criticism etc to you. I am just a pedant for facts and fairness.

      No doubt, some here will now pile in and the accusations/name calling will happen but my skin is thickening by the day. In the last week I have in essence been called “A [National/ Labour/ media/ skycity] apologist” – LOL.

      • cleangreen 11.2.1

        Thanks veutoviper

        Well now we should remember what the last National Government promised us now.

        Yes it was “A brighter future” so now with all the lying and cutting of maintenances we are now finding all the infrastructures that support our wealth, health and wellbeing is now ruined by their desperate cutting of costs and maintenance budgets to trim their annual budgets to falsely look good,

        Disgusting lot they were, so now have caused so much death and illness to any they should face the dock for their crimes against the people;

        Credit to veutoviper’s list of wilful destruction by National while in government.


        So here goes:

        21 Feb 2018 – bottom of page 1 currently, “Patient’s disgust at mould …”

        22 March 2018 – page 1, entitled “Toxic Black Mould, fungus …”

        29 March 2018 – page 3, “Disappointed that he was not told …”

        3 April 2018 – 5 articles by timeline

        9.18am – page 1, “PM’s week ahead…” – one liner in article; more in video of PM

        10.41am – page 1, “Don’t blame me …”

        11.29am – page 1, “PM Jacinda Ardern …”

        11.47am – page 2, “Simon Bridges …”

        6.58pm – page 1, “Health Minister …”

        4 April 2018 – 3 articles by timeline

        8.48am – page 1, “More Middlemore hospital buildings …”

        5.58pm – page 2, “Political Round Up …” Bryce Edwards round up of articles in media, with first half dedicated to Middlemore Hospital articles – see below.

        6.10pm – page 3, “Mouldy Middlemore: DHB spent $8M …”

        7 April 2018 – Lizzy Marvelly -” I’ve found Joyce’s $11.7 billion hole”

        In total that is 12 articles of which 9 are since last Sunday, 1 April. This is no excuse for their late start, but at least it is not now being ignored.

        Here is a link to Edwards Political Round-up article which has links to other media Middlemore articles, but I have not yet checked them out.


    • tracey 11.3

      ” Mind you, if shit in the walls at Middlemore were my political legacy, perhaps I’d be cagey too. ”

      A good read. And may more than a few Nat voters hang there heads in shame if they keep voting National knowing this disgrace was known, ignored and worsened for political piwer

  11. Herodotus 12

    we are told by Labour that Higher Petrol Tax in NOT a new tax
    Yet on the Labour site we were told
    “The truth is that John Key’s Government has imposed at least 15 new taxes:
    GST increase from 12.5% to 15%
    Increased taxes on KiwiSaver

    That an increase of an existing tax was a new tax
    Quoting C Brown “Good grief” What has changed within Labour ??
    When in opposition it is a new tax when in govt it is not Talk about being seen as “Hypercritical”.
    Labour = National what changes ??
    Please can we have an Honest govt.

    • tracey 12.1

      Good luck. As long as people keep voting for proven liars they will keep lying to us.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2

      I don’t know why they simply didn’t point out their published pre-election policy, or to Steven Joyce criticising their plan for fuel tax increases prior to the election.

      The National Party seeks to have it both ways: criticise Labour for announcing that they’ll tax more, then pretending that they said “no new taxes”, as opposed to what they actually said, which was “no new taxes beyond those which have already been announced”.

      This is Labour doing what it promised to do: raising fuel tax. I wish they’d been able to get the water tax past NZF too.

      • Herodotus 12.2.1

        Labour’s election regarding regional fuel tax was that it was only to apply to Auckland of around $0.10
        Don’t think that this is now the case!!
        They initially backed down ore election and now they are using weasel words to tell us how they are keeping their word.
        Just because national do it why does labour also do it ??
        We needed a term of labour to expose what was hidden. But I am starting to worry about what legacy this govt will leave the next to fix .

        • Louis

          “Labour is proposing some levies and charges to create funding for specific programmes. Regional Fuel Tax. Alcohol, Petrol and Tobacco Levies – will be adjusted as per normal government practice and as set out in Budget documents”


      • cleangreen 12.2.2

        100% OAB; correctly stated.

      • Louis 12.2.3

        The PM did One Anonymous Bloke

  12. joe90 13

    No doubt our Ed will approve of US government plans to compile a list of journalists and media influencers, including bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they’re putting out to the public.


    In today’s installment of “I’m Not Terrified, You Are,” Bloomberg Law reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.”

    The details of the attached Request for Information, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide.

    And “attack” is not hyperbolic.

    Every day, journalists face serious consequences including physical violence, imprisonment and death. A few days ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists launched its annual Free The Press campaign to raise awareness about imprisoned journalists throughout the world. On May 3, UNESCO will once again mark World Press Freedom Day “to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.”

    Meanwhile, the United States government, traditionally one of the bastions of press freedom, is about to compile a list of professional journalists and “top media influencers,” which would seem to include bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they’re putting out to the public.

    What could possibly go wrong? A lot.


  13. alwyn 14

    What on earth did Paul Eagle think he was doing with this little exercise?
    I can’t work out whether he thinks he is Aaron Gilmore (Don’t you know who I am) or Meteria Turei. (what’s a little bit of fraud).

    From his comment in the article
    “Eagle said he was talking to a panel-beater on Friday afternoon about getting his car fixed and having a polite but robust discussion about whether or not a separate piece of damage could be fixed at the same time.”

    it sounds rather as if he was trying to get a couple of accidents fixed as if they were one, and therefore to pay only one excess, and the Panel-beater wasn’t willing to play. I’ve never heard of a panel-beater who won’t do work for someone in any other circumstance. They aren’t willing to be black-listed by an Insurance Company by doing it.
    Isn’t that called attempted fraud?

    If you like Eagle I suggest that you don’t read the link in the story to subreddit. It reads rather like a post on here talking about John Key.

    • tracey 14.1

      Good to see you accepting John Key was dodgy

      • alwyn 14.1.1

        I would be fascinated how you managed to interpret my comment in the way you have.
        Never mind though. I have never understood people with Key Derangement Syndrome.

        • cleangreen

          Oh Alwyyn; – we know you absolutely love John Key no end.

          • alwyn

            Why don’t you stick to playing with your puff-puffs?
            You never know. Your beloved Labour Party may put a 00 Gauge Hornby train on the line for you. It would carry all the freight.

  14. joe90 16

    $75 million, and Yanukovych still couldn’t buy himself an election.


    Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort authorised a secret media operation on behalf of Ukraine’s former president featuring “black ops”, “placed” articles in the Wall Street Journal and US websites and anonymous briefings against Hillary Clinton.

    The project was designed to boost the reputation of Ukraine’s then leader, Viktor Yanukovych. It was part of a multimillion-dollar lobbying effort carried out by Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych’s embattled government, emails and documents reveal.

    The strategies included:

    • Proposing to rewrite Wikipedia entries to smear a key opponent of the then Ukrainian president.

    • Setting up a fake thinktank in Vienna to disseminate viewpoints supporting Yanukovych.

    • A social media blitz “aimed at targeted audiences in Europe and the US”.

    • Briefing journalists from the rightwing website Breitbart to attack Clinton when she was US secretary of state


  15. eco maori 17

    There is a excellent documentary on Sky TV National Geographys the collapse of civilisation in the past and the system we are using now is heading US in that direction farming water transport housing this program is a shot at reality and this is why ECO MAORI is advocating for the environment and equality for all the indigenous culture and Lady’s respect Papatuanukue and her creation a lot more than the money worshipers that have control of the Papatuanukue now. They need to be retired now Ana to kai Ka kite ano

    • eco maori 17.1

      Here we go some one talk _____ THE new coalition government has stopped the irritating subsidy most of the money was invested down the south Island to iragate land that you couldn’t farm as intensesivly
      With out irritating the land they have already figured out that is not a long term solution to farming economley and environmental. One just has to look at America to see this fact. Of the 400 million ear marked for irritating the last government could have benefited more people by investing 15 million in 15 region. In the short time the new government has had power I have noticed a big improvements in rural roads and a lot of road work going on it made my journey take a bit longer but ha next time I go the roads will be a lot safer. Here the link. Ka kite ano
      The baffling assault on regional NZ

      OPINION: The regions have been delivered a series of blows this week.

        • eco maori

          Look like someone is pumping money in a negative campaign against FACEBOOK THE Owner CEO of Facebook will have to invest in some positive stories to get them published by our MSM and get it on social media to. Like the video recordings on Pokai Marae live streaming on Facebook having OUR new carvings unveiled on Saturday it was awesome. Te tangata have made me PROUD I recently looked back and it’s been over 50 years since the old carving have not been up Kia kaha there are many positive things that face book does. And let’s get this straight most of the TECH Companies sell our data this is not a new phenomenon. This is the reason some of the the service are free I count 7 negative articles on one social media site here’s one

          You’re worth US$2.54 to Facebook (Video) Kia kaha Facebook Ka kite ano

          • eco maori

            Newshub Kai Pai Hatupaoro Maori school the Whano are tautokoing the school Kia Kaha. There is a lot we can learn from the NeverLands public systems the prison systems many thanks to all the good people at Newshub for showing that clip on the NeverLands justice system. This shows that a system based on intelligent humane solutions to OUR Prison being overfull can solve the problem . As in New Zealand that problem affects Maori the most. Its A good weekend of sports for ECO MAORI Kia kaha Ka kite ano

            • eco maori

              Newshub It’s good to see him enjoying the success of his team and coaching staff. I like seeing you niho ehoa Kia kaha Ka kite ano

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    2 weeks ago
  • Monkeypox vaccination available to eligible people from next week 
    A vaccine for people at risk of mpox (Monkeypox) will be available if prescribed by a medical practitioner to people who meet eligibility criteria from Monday 16 January, says Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.   5,000 vials of the vaccine have been obtained, enough for up to 20,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago