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Open mike 07/02/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 7th, 2016 - 240 comments
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openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

240 comments on “Open mike 07/02/2016”

  1. Tony Veitch 1

    In amongst all the verbal diarrhoea of many commentators on TPPA yesterday there were a couple of little gems which should be highlighted.

    The first is that, whether a Labour led government stays in TPPA or not, the concerns this country will have with the agreement will be concerns other countries will also have. We shall not be alone in objecting to some of the more corporate-inspired invidious provisions – so there is a real possibility for renegotiation. And, perhaps, if ISDS gets excluded from TTIP, of doing the same with TTPA.

    The second point, contained in a link, is more ominous. The agreement signed in New Zealand on the 4th may not be exactly the agreement ratified by the US Congress and Senate. Pressure will be applied by the US, as by far the strongest economy (!) for the other countries to fall into line. This has already happened with Peru and the drug extension from 5 to 8 years.

    We desperately need a change of government to one which will be prepared to defend the interests of all New Zealanders, not just the 1% elite.

    • Gosman 1.1

      And you honestly think the other nations are merely going to kowtow to the US after the negotiations have concluded?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Knowing how the US behaves when its “allies” don’t ‘kowtow’…

      • Paul 1.1.2

        Yes, countries will kowtow.
        Listen and learn.

        • Gosman

          Except they didn’t kowtow during the actual negotiations that went on for years. Why do you think they will now when they have less incentive to do so?

          • Paul

            They didn’t kowtow?
            You think NZ didn’t bend to Japan, Canada and the US?

            • Gosman

              Maybe or maybe not. However it is irrelevant in the context of renegotiation that you postulate. It won’t just be NZ that needs to kowtow but also Japan, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam. You can’t change the agreement unless ALL parties agree. Why is this difficult for you to grasp?

              • Paul

                Did you listen to the speech?

                • Gosman

                  Have you read the text of the agreement? How to change it has been set out as well?

                  • Paul

                    Have you?

                    • Gosman

                      I take that as a ‘No, I prefer to get my opinions supplied by people whose views broadly reflect my own’ then.

                    • Paul

                      It is very easy to hear the pro TPP arguments. Open any newspaper and listen to any news programme.
                      It’s harder to hear the anti TPP argument.
                      Did you hear Lori Wallach’s speech?

                    • The lost sheep

                      How is it harder Paul?
                      You had no difficulty finding the link to Lori’s speech did you?
                      You had no difficulty accessing the comprehensive Herald report of the meeting she spoke at in Auckland?
                      Did you have any difficulty following the protests on Thursday, or coming to The Standard this morning?

                      Can you show me how it is in any way ‘difficult’ to access anti-TPPA arguments?

                    • Paul

                      Most New Zealanders switch onto TV1, TV3, and read the Herald.
                      You know that though and are being disingenuous.

                      I am assuming you are a fanboy for the TPPA.

                      This clip explains the clear bias better than I can

                    • The lost sheep

                      Most New Zealanders switch onto TV1, TV3, and read the Herald.
                      You know that though and are being disingenuous.

                      Yes. JUST LIKE YOU DO PAUL. Does that mean YOU end up thinking in the way that TV1,TV3, and the Herald decide?

                      See this is the enormous flaw behind your obsession with the unfair Media control meme. It is the fallacy (or is it an arrogance), that YOU can exercise a critical faculty and determine the truth for yourself, but the majority of other people are incapable of doing so.

                      Lets call that the fallacy of mass stupidity.
                      Frankly it is conceited, condescending, and dis-empowering bullshit.
                      The reality is that just like YOU, ALL PEOPLE have a brain (whoa!), they have a worldview (Hey!), they have opinions, ethics, morals, beliefs, and convictions, and they have a critical faculty with which to assess the information they choose to receive.
                      And having done so – they know what they think. And what they think is just as fucking valid as what you or anyone else on this site with a delusion of superiority thinks.

                      It’s a great paradox with the far left. On the one hand you claim to be all about ‘The People’. But on the other hand you look down on them as being stupid schmucks….

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sheep, it’s easy to see that people can be duped: all you have to do is listen to the right wing parrot chorous, relentlessly repeating the same zombie lies.

                      “Raising the minimum wage causes unemployment. People choose to be poor. Everyone can be rich if they work hard.” Racism, sexism, bigotry, and most of Economics: they all come down to repetition of lies. Hence earlier references to Crosby Textor and propaganda that you were too suffused with bias to respond to.

                      If lying to people doesn’t work, why does the National Party do so much of it?

                    • Paul

                      Name calling is not an argument.
                      It is, despite your rant, a fact that it is much easier to hear pro-TPP arguments than those against, despite the fact that most people are against the TPP.

                    • Paul

                      Sheep, people don’t have similar access to both sides of the argument.
                      You know that.
                      If you don’t, start paying attention to the msm.

                    • Incognito

                      @ The lost sheep at 7 February 2016 at 1:22 pm:

                      Your fallacy is that when people are capable of critical thinking and sound judgement they put this into practice without exception – you are conflating possible with actual.

                      This is obviously not true and the best evidence for this is the fact that about 1,000,000 million people are eligible to vote but don’t actually vote.

                      There’s a big difference between fast and slow thinking (Kahneman) and our minds naturally prefer the fast one and this dominating way of thinking prompts instinctive emotional reactions such as yours, i.e. silly biased outbursts AKA name-calling.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Are you saying ISDS crawled onto the table by itself? The US took it up as a bargaining position by accident?

            Gosman and the amazing magical thinking.

            • Gosman

              What is fundamentally different between the ISDS process proposed under the TPPA and the ones set out in our free trade deals with South Korea and China?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                If you want to allege that there is no difference you’re going to have to do your own work. Then we can talk about IP and Pharmac.

              • Tautoko Mangō Mata

                The fundamental difference is that US corporations are included in the ISDS in the TPPA.

                Overall, 101 governments from all over the world have been respondents in one or more known ISDS claims. The relative share of cases brought against developed countries continues to be on the rise. In 2014, 60 per cent of all cases were brought against developing and transition economies, while the remaining 40 per cent were brought against developed countries.

                There were two types of governmental measures that were challenged the most by investors in 2014.
                The first were measures that cancelled or allegedly violated contracts of concessions. Second were measures that revoked or denied licences or permits.
                Other challenged measures include:
                legislative reforms in the renewable energy sector,
                alleged discrimination of foreign investors via-à-vis domestic ones, alleged direct expropriations of investments,
                alleged failure on the part of the host country to enforce its own legislation,
                alleged failure to protect investments, as well as measures related to taxation, regulation of exports and bankruptcy proceedings.
                Some of the new cases concern public policies, including water tariff regulation, environmental issues, anti-money laundering and taxation.

                Concerns about IIAs and ISDS have prompted a debate about their challenges and opportunities in multiple forums. Today, there is an emerging consensus that the regime of IIAs and the related dispute settlement mechanism need to be reformed to make them work better for sustainable development. As mentioned during the IIA Conference that was held at UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment Forum ( WIF), such reform would need to be undertaken in a comprehensive and gradual way, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders.

                It is therefore time to take stock of all of available options and consider the implications of each and every one of them. This can help identify the best possible mix of approaches and alternatives so as to maximize the benefits and minimize the potential risks. The UNCTAD Expert Meeting on the Transformation of the IIA Regime offers an important opportunity in this regard.

                The regime of international investment agreements (IIAs) is at a critical juncture. Increasing public attention is given to IIAs that are being negotiated and concluded as well as to investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases that are being brought under IIAs.


                (Note: my setting out and italics)

                ISDS is a flawed system and needs to be removed.

              • Stuart Munro

                It’s the power imbalance.

                Korea cannot shaft our traders and continue to trade with us – but we produce essentially different things – trade threatens neither. But the US is or wants to be a large agricultural exporter – and insists on destroying regulations against GE, Mad Cow Disease, and monopolistic corporate abuses.

                The US patent ‘industry’ is also massively dysfunctional – but they will have access to stifle NZ innovation under the TPPA. If you’d done your homework, you’d know this – but you’re a lazy, credulous far-right shill, perfectly happy to see NZ lose money and jobs.

              • Macro

                Aren’t we lucky that the Chinese have not been as litigious as US companies – then again – with our current govt bending over backwards to be kind they have not the need to be.
                We could for instance mill logs before sending them overseas – you know its called “value added”. But that is against the FTA with China so 100’s of mill workers in NZ are now out of work while thousands in China become employed.
                This of course is really looking after the interests of NZers. /sarc

          • Paul

            Did you listen to the speech?

          • Stuart Munro

            Key did – you can still see the brown stains on his tongue.

      • Gabby 1.1.3

        It would be ‘unthinkable’ to renege on the deal just because the yankers changed one or two iddybiddy things.

    • savenz 1.2

      +1 Tony Veitch

    • greywarshark 1.3

      Interesting to see you Tony V first on Open Mike on 5th and 7th. Getting onto the site while thinking clearly before the morass of the day? Is this the real you thinking?

      This for real? We desperately need a change of government to one which will be prepared to defend the interests of all New Zealanders, not just the 1% elite.

      And this in Open Mike on 5 February. A good point.
      This was that the USA joined the TPPA negotiations on or around 2008, at the time when Key had just become leader of the National Party/Prime Minister of New Zealand.
      Are we then just part of a giant neoliberalist conspiracy funded by the corporates of the United States, and aimed at total domination of the world by the wealthy elite?

      • Tony Veitch 1.3.1

        Please don’t confuse me with the plonker who kicked his girlfriend down the stairs. I had my name long before he disgraced it!

        • marty mars

          everytime I read your name it reminds me of the other guy – no one imo, other than for the reason I’ve just said, cares what your name is – we care about what you write and say

        • greywarshark

          Why don’t you have a pseudonym then, special for your blogging that identifies just you, which everyone can recognise wherever you comment. Something that refers to your own personal attributes in a forthright manner, or a catchphrase, or your favourite sport, something that’s unmistakeably you and won’t get confused with the plonker who now will be remembered for a generation. What you think sounds interesting, it’s good to have people who have a point of view that they produce background to argue, and sources to illustrate.

        • Molly

          Must say, after reading and enjoying your comments for a while now – the only downside is that you are restoring a good reputation to that name you unfortunately share with that plonker!

          I’m always interested in reading what you write Tony, and have got used to seeing the name appear in the comments here on TS.

        • McFlock

          Heh – I suppose you could remove confusion by adopting the handle “Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster)”

          • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster)”

            A welcome suggestion. Thank you, McFlock.

  2. Tautuhi 2

    Looks like we need Winston and NZF to bring back some common sense back to NZ Politics?

  3. Gosman 3

    Almost two decades of Socialism and a great proportion of the population is now in poverty and violent crime is rampant. But I suppose many here blame all this of the ‘Damn Yankees’.


    • mickysavage 3.2

      Nothing to do with the plunging price of oil obviously.

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        Did you not read in that article where it specifically mentioned the fall in the price of oil. Venezuela squandered virtually ALL the windfall profits when the price was high and has nothing left. According to many here the increase in social spending previously should have set them in good stead. Instead they have a budget deficit of 20 % of GDP and massive poverty. Where are the long term benefits of the revolution?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Wikileaks took them and used some of your magical thinking to turn them into US diplomatic cables.

          Not to mention increased literacy and reduced infant mortality.

          • Gosman

            How has that increased literacy benefited the economy? Infant mortality is likely going to get worse again.

            • Paul

              “Plan Bolivar 2000 repaired thousands of schools, hospitals, clinics, homes, churches, and parks. Over two million people received medical treatment. Nearly a thousand inexpensive markets were opened, over two million children were vaccinated, and thousands of tons of trash were collected, just to name a few of the program’s results.’

              ‘Since oil is Venezuela’s principal source of income, its decline, combined with growing inequality in Venezuela, had a significant impact on the poverty rate.’ ‘


              • Gosman

                And how has that benefited the Venezuelan economy and ultimately society long term considering the health sector is collapsing as it can’t import the drugs it needs?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The magical thinkers are in charge now. They’ll buy and sell the country among themselves until there’s a brighter future.

                • One Two

                  Perhaps consider taking a look at your own contribution before demanding others provide responses to your fetish regarding Venezuela

                  Human suffering excites so much, that you can’t control the urge to repeat the message on a regular basis

              • Draco T Bastard

                ‘Since oil is Venezuela’s principal source of income

                And that is the problem across the world. Everyone assumes that a nation needs an income when it really simply needs the government spending money into creation and getting the economy working.

                A UBI and government ownership of necessary services such as food and education would prevent poverty and, in fact, develop the nation. No need for foreign income.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              If the centre-right is in charge there is no doubt child mortality will increase. That’s what happens here, after all.

              Are you seriously asking about the economic benefits of literacy? It even has non-economic benefits too! Quelle horreur!

              • Gosman

                It doesn’t seem to have made a difference to Venezuela. What are all these newly literate people doing considering unemployment is so high?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  These children will be building the economy and communities they will be living in tomorrow. It will equip them for the more challenging times ahead, and ensure they have the basic skills to secure their own and their families’ futures.

                  • Gosman

                    Except they have no jobs and are stuck in lines trying to get the basics necessities of life that are in short supply.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Ah, so you’ve gone from arguing that literacy is irrelevant to economics, to asserting that it’s useless to people in food queues.

                      I applaud your magical thinking.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Meanwhile international capital markets and financial weapons of mass destruction are used to fuck over yet another country determined to exercise a foreign policy and economic policy independent of western empire.

                    • In Vino

                      For God’s sake. Gosman.
                      Right-wing-governed UK (including so-called Labour Govts of the era) squandered all the wealth of its North Sea on cheap imports. (Profit-gouging is not a dirty word, remember?)
                      Norway did not. Norway showed the way.
                      Venezuela is a naïve young learner – not even an advanced industrialised economy, yet you love to harp on about that.

                      Tell us where Norway has gone wrong, Gosman. Norway appears to have created a better economy and society while nicely ignoring the neo-liberal bullshit that you espouse.
                      Stop gassing about Venezuela – tell us where Norway went wrong, and why Thatcher etc were so right, and how wonderful things are in the UK, where your favoured policies are showing their fruits.

              • Richard Christie

                Gosman asked how the policies benefited Venezuela.
                Reply cited reduced infant mortality and better education as results.
                Gosman dismisses these as not being of benefit to the economy.

                Fixation on the economy is typical of the neolib: If you can’t count it or the result hasn’t a dollar symbol infront of it, then ignore it.

                Not to mention that a healthy and well educated population is of immense benefit to any economy.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Gosman is a cut above the average wingnut. Such a low bar, you see.

                • Gosman

                  But it hasn’t been in Venezuela’s case. The economy is so bad that the gains in literacy and health are being eroded and even get worse than where they started from. What’s the point of educating a population for 10 or so years if you can’t afford to keep it up beyond that?

                  • Paul

                    You have read the articles about oil’s underpinning of the economy?
                    Or are you just repeating yourself without any knowledge of the matter?

                  • Richard Christie

                    What’s the point of feeding a population for 10 or so years if you can’t afford to keep it up beyond that?

                    • ropata

                      Therefore we should all live by the law of the jungle?
                      That’s inhuman

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Indeed, according to Gosman, what’s the point of educating and feeding ordinary people when the jilted 0.01% elite are going to deliberately fuck everyone up?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Indeed, according to Gosman, what’s the point of educating and feeding ordinary people when the jilted 0.01% elite are just going to deliberately fuck everyone up until they get their own way again?

                  • McFlock

                    The only reason to improve an economy is to improve the lives of people.

                    On planet gosman, the only reason for people is to improve the economy.

        • mickysavage

          It is an article from the Economist.

          While I have no time for corruption (whether from governments of the left or right) I find it intriguing that some should think that the alleviation of poverty is “squandering” resources.

          • Gosman

            In which case why is Venezuelan poverty rates worse now than in 1998? What happened to all that money that was spent micky and why hasn’t the economy let alone society benefitted in the way you lefties think it should? I mean Venezuela has followed the sort of policies many of you advocate yet there has been no lasting good it seems.

            • Paul

              ‘Oil crash hurts Venezuela the most
              Venezuela’s economy depends mostly on oil. That was great when a barrel of oil was worth $100 a barrel in 2013 and 2014. Now oil prices have fallen to as low as $28.36 — the lowest point in 12 years.’

              ‘At current prices, Venezuela will have to use more than 90 percent of its crude-export revenue to make debt payments, Barclays economist Alejandro Arreaza said in the report.’

              Running on fumes: Venezuela ‘terrorized by oil price drop’

              ‘Amid lower oil prices, Venezuela is struggling to maintain the social spending that characterized the Hugo Chávez era. Crude accounts for 96 per cent of export revenues: a halving in the oil price over the past 14 months means revenues have slumped by about $36bn compared with the average of the previous two years, when the government raked in almost $79bn’


              • Gosman

                Are all countries that rely on oil for much of their revenue suffering the sort of problems Venezuela is undergoing? The answer to that is quite obviously not. Additionally why didn’t Venezuela use the oil windfall when the price was high to build up reserves to help prepare for times when the price was low? Other countries do this.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It did. Child mortality decreased. Literacy increased.

                  And they fought a fourth generation conflict against the world’s largest kleptocracy at the same time

                • Stuart Munro

                  Almost all are in fact – Kuwait and the other small oil states are politically tender as the population prepares to punish the political class for declining living standards. Saudi is an exception, it is continuing its development programs, which include free education and an enormous increase in university education for women. But even Saudi doesn’t have unlimited reserves – though it does have phosphate – and phosphate, unlike oil, cannot be partially replaced by substitutes like biofuel or electric vehicles.

      • The lost sheep 3.2.2

        Something to do with utterly mismanaging the proceeds of oil during the 17 years of high prices Socialism had the opportunity to make good use of?

        Think they can still buy toilet paper in Norway.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          make good use of

          Increased literacy and reduced child mortality may seem useless to you, but that’s only because you want to come across as an ignorant callous ghoul.

          No, wait…

          • Gosman

            How has the increased literacy amongst the wider population helped the economy?

            • ropata

              an educated population is less likely to be hoodwinked by lying banksters and right wing corporate shills

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I already answered that.

              These children will be building the economy and communities they will be living in tomorrow. It will equip them for the more challenging times ahead, and ensure they have the basic skills to secure their own and their families’ futures.

            • Rodel

              Multilevel marketing101..’He who asks the questions controls the conversation and the topic.’. Gets a bit tiresome though.

          • The lost sheep

            Just an idea, but with all that oil wealth, couldn’t they have increased literacy and created a sound and developing economy?

            Most countries seem to believe the two go hand in hand. For the screamingly obvious reason that increased literacy is of limited value if there is insufficient infrastructure to allow the people to benefit from it.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              They probably could have: plenty of other social democracies have succeeded. Mind you, perhaps they didn’t come under relentless attack from the largest kleptocracy in the world.

              So while it’s easy for you to assert that social democracy doesn’t work because Venezuela, all you’re really saying is that you’re an authoritarian follower who’s taken sides.

              • Macro

                Gosman and the sheeple who is lost have no idea what constitutes an economy other than to think it is somehow summed up in GDP, or toilet paper.
                Ignorant and heartless twits who lost their humanity many moons ago.

              • ropata

                Norway is a better example of how an oil rich democracy can invest in the future. They now have world leading social services and living standards.

                Compare with Thatcher’s UK, who squandered the North Sea oil in a property bubble and an orgy of greed, that rewarded only the wealthy

                (hat tip winston)

    • Gangnam Style 3.3

      & how has NZs inequality/poverty tracked in the last 2 decades?

      • Gosman 3.3.1

        Over the last two decades it has been relatively stable. Why do you ask?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Because we need to take steps to return it to at least as low as it was in 1984: the last two decades have been wasted. Time to drag neo-liberalism behind the barn. Say nigh-nighs.

    • reason 3.4

      The ‘yankee’ Government has a long history of overthrowing and destroying socialist Governments and have already supported one military coup in Venezuela ….. http://johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-on-democracy

      Since then they have used the Nixon/Kissenger method of “make the economy scream” against the people of Venezuela ……

      A very successful removal of a ‘socialist’ Government which the u.s.a Govt helped in ( by supplying military aid and lists of names to be executed ) was Indonesia …..

      “In 1965 the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military. Anybody opposed to the military dictatorship could be accused of being a communist: union members, landless farmers, intellectuals and ethnic Chinese…..

      In less than a year and with the direct aid of western governments over one million ‘communists’ were murdered.

      The army used paramilitaries and gangsters to carry out the killings.

      These men have been in power – and have persecuted their opponents – ever since.”

      Would you like Venezuela to be like Indonesia Gosman ????

      Or do you have no concern for Indonesia ?

      Is Indonesia better off than Venezuela in Gosmans world ???

      For those who would like to learn more about Indonesias recent past and present I recommend the surreal and disturbing documentary ” The Act of Killing”. http://www.actofkilling.com/

      “The films’ protagonists were part of a murderous frenzy in 1965 that lead to the killing of at least 1 million suspected “communists” and ethnic Chinese in Indonesia. The Act of Killing depicts old members of a death squad acting out their memories — fantasies even — of the murders and atrocities they committed nearly 50 years ago. If you are a reader of UN Dispatch or just generally care about human rights you need to see this documentary.

      The Act of Killing raises profound questions about international human rights law, accountability, historical memory, and even the role of sadism in mass atrocity events.”

  4. Paul 4

    Compare this corporate propaganda of the TPP protest with John Campbell’s 2 hours live stream amongst the protesters.

    Newshub and du Plessis Allen are not journalists. They are shills and for the 1% and big corporates.

    John Campbell’s Live stream

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      Presumably Heather would have been really annoyed with the Springbok protesters also, and would rather they went home and sent strongly worded letters to Muldoon instead.

      • ianmac 4.1.1

        I would love to be able to ask Heather what specific reason she has for supporting TPPA. I bet she could only say the cliched lines like:
        It is good for the economy of NZ.
        It is like all the other Free Trade agreements etc etc

        But put on the spot I bet she couldn’t do more than talk in very general terms.

        • marty mars

          She doesn’t appear to have a clue – apart from the usual me, me, me approach – waste of space.

        • Gosman

          Much like the opponents of the TPPA who speak of loss if sovereignty and the pernicious influence of US corporates.

        • Gosman

          Much like the opponents of the TPPA who speak of loss if sovereignty and the pernicious influence of US corporates.

          • ianmac

            Gosman what specifically do you support in the 6,000 pages of TPP?

          • Macro

            FFS Gosman – this is Waitangi weekend commemorating the signing of a treaty between two people. Maori have now lived with the loss of sovereignty for 175 years. They know what it is. This deal drawn up by corporations for corporations (with the compliance of willing govt officials) and effectively administered by corporate lawyers, will have an even more widespread effect on our governance than anything we have ever envisaged to date.
            Governments will be effectively hamstrung to do the bidding and will of corporations over and above the interests of the citizens.
            Key is the most incompetent, uncaring and irresponsible Prime Minister this country has ever had the misfortune to suffer. He hands over his Prime Ministerial responsibilities to his minions, with not a turn of the hair, ending in constant corrupt practices within his office; and he offers not an ounce of apology to the people for whom he is responsible – the People of NZ. This is just another episode in the decline in Government and the handing over of care to outside interests.

          • ropata

            The TPPA is another battle in the class war conducted by successive governments around the world since the early 80’s — rolling back all the progressive legislation enacted in the wake of WW2.

            It’s a continuation of NatCorp™’s crimes against working people, the poor, and tangata whenua.

            This so called “neo-liberal consensus” cannot stand.

            The American people [can be] divided into an investment class, a salary class, a wage class, and a welfare class. … People who get most of their income from one of those four things have a great many interests in common …

            … Three of the four have remained roughly where they were. The investment class has actually had a bit of a rough time, as many of the investment vehicles that used to provide it with stable incomes—certificates of deposit, government bonds, and so on—have seen interest rates drop through the floor. Still, alternative investments and frantic government manipulations of stock market prices have allowed most people in the investment class to keep up their accustomed lifestyles.

            The salary class, similarly, has maintained its familiar privileges and perks through a half century of convulsive change. Outside of a few coastal urban areas currently in the grip of speculative bubbles, people whose income comes mostly from salaries can generally afford to own their homes, buy new cars every few years, leave town for annual vacations, and so on. On the other end of the spectrum, the welfare class has continued to scrape by pretty much as before, dealing with the same bleak realities of grinding poverty, intrusive government bureacracy, and a galaxy of direct and indirect barriers to full participation in the national life, as their equivalents did back in 1966.

            And the wage class? Over the last half century, the wage class has been destroyed.

        • Incognito

          It’ll be easier for her to buy a gun 😉

        • Stuart Munro

          I imagine the remaining people at TV3 are completely desperate and will say anything for a hope of clinging to one of the last few jobs.

      • ianmac 4.1.2

        Key nearly always avoids anyone who disagrees with him. Dissenters are kept away. Unless he can use his advantages to humiliate them.

        • miravox


          btw the outrage over the other countries may think about the dildo which has barely rated a mention, unlike the tugger incident, which was all over the international news is sheer hypocrisy.

          But that’s the way they operate too. It’s not like anyone overseas cares that it’s the National Day. If they did care, they’d probably be more appalled that the PM couldn’t be arsed going to any official commemoration.

          Maybe it’s all a lead up to making anzac the official day.

    • Chooky 4.2

      John Campbell is subtle and brilliant…and John Key declined an invitation to be interviewed… just as he declined open debate at Waitangi for all New Zealand to view ….and he declined open democratic debate in Parliament

      John Campbell throws light into the darkness…(this is why jonkey’s friends got rid of him from TV3)

      jonkey is gutless and undemocratic…he slithers around in secrecy like a Gollum


      • Paul 4.2.1

        Maybe we should keep a score of the time the gutless Key fails to front any open debate and discussion on the TPPA.

  5. Paul 5

    Groser’s prize for his sale of NZ sovereignty to the corporates.
    30 pieces of silver.


    • Skinny 5.1

      Speaking of Groser, Winston Peters made an interesting comment about him during a speech on Friday opposed to the TPPA, reffering to the snake oil salesman’s appointment to the United States. Sounds like he has something coming out about this ‘job for the boys’. He also has a crack at Mike Hosking which gave me quite a laugh.

      The thing that really impressed me the other day was rather than going to a major event with the other party leaders attended by Governor General also, Peters commits to coming along to a anti TPPA rally instead, which was pretty much a washout for a crowd being an outdoor event in pouring rain. However we free styled it in an arcade and got the message out before the cops shut us down. Cheers Winston your a bloody ledgend! 87,000 views of your NZH video sure is getting the message out!

      Here is the unedited video of his whole speech;

      • ropata 5.1.1

        +1 excellent oratory from Winston, pretty good stuff from David Clark also

        • Skinny

          Winston goes without saying, however Clark was a pleasant surprise he spoke very well better than Robertson did at the Auckland Town Hall rally, and he was pretty solid.

          With Labour it still boils back to their horseshit lateness in coming out, and then getting bushwhacked by first Goff and then Shearer. They lost alot of creds to the public on their true position, and for me probably till this bloke Clark declared a resounding no to the TPPA under it’s current format. Well done chap!

  6. Molly 7

    According to a comment made by MIKE IN AUCKLAND over on TDB,
    “John Key got booed at in Eden Park yesterday, the times they are a changing!”

    Can anyone confirm this?

    If true, this would be quite an ego hit for our little mannikin.

    • dv 7.1

      The booing was very clear on the tv1 news report. It was loud and obvious.

    • maui 7.2

      The intro to One News had footage of him being booed as he was walking out an exit from the field. It was a bit surprising to see them paint him in that negative way, I’m sure they have ignored these kind of things often in the past. The news story was a bit more positive and had him having selfies with people in the stand and interviewed a spectator that said Key should definitely be at the league rather than at the founding of a nation, blah blah.

    • Ffloyd 7.3

      He was booed on his way into the tunnel, going to meet and greet players, who when interviewed said such things as “he’s staunch” great guy, yadda, yadda accompanied with raised fist handshakes and bumping of shoulders. All very manly. Trevvy will be swooning at her man being all manly. Be still her beating heart. Oh, and lots of beaming selfie with rugged league players. So, all and all a positive time for Johnny enabled by Corin Dan and Gower. Nothing new from media.

  7. Gangnam Style 8


    Its like modern art, lots & lots of black squares.

    • Richard Christie 8.1

      Very transparent.

    • pat 8.2

      well thats useful(not) …and informative in its blankness. I see advice from MoH was provided, is it likely that text may be able to be sourced from a different direction?

  8. Chooky 9

    No wonder Julian Assange was framed…Wikileaks was warning of this in 2013


    Now supported by the United Nations

    ‘UN panel rules Julian Assange arbitrarily detained, entitled to liberty & compensation’

    • greywarshark 9.1

      Thanks for that Choopky. An ongoing matter that we shouldn’t lose sight of. And perhaps we won’t lose sight of Julian himself eh!

  9. weka 10

    In anticipation of the next part of the TPPA debate (what happens if we leave?), this comment in response to Brian Easton saying we have little choice but to join the TPP because otherwise we will lose advantage in other trade deals and foreign affairs matters,

    What you are effctively arguing Brian is that we have to give up our sovereign choice to stay a member of the club of sovereign nations involved in trade deals.

    Well I say tear that temple down.


    hear, hear.

  10. greywarshark 11

    That’s interesting Weka. Brian Easton, as his article states, has been interested in us being an ethical and principled democracy for yonks. His views represent a warning to us, and presents the historic reasons for his concern. Good to get that wider background to set the TPPA in context – seems part of a linear progression. Do we draw a line in the sand before we succumb to it, what will be the reaction if we do, what will be the result if we don’t.

    This from the link to Brian Easton in pundit in Weka’s comment. There is so much TPPA discussion, anxious, heated, emotional. This is good reading to get a cool understanding. Naturally Wayne Mapp likes it.

    Thoseoutside often have little understanding of the complexity of the [international political] network. For instance a consequence of the legislation which made New Zealand nuclear-free and led to our ejection from ANZUS changed the balance in our relations with Australia and the US. Our practice had been to play one off against the other. When the US withdrew in a huff, we found ourselves much more dependent upon Australia; in one way our independence was reduced by being nuclear-free….
    These complex interdependences also apply to trade negotiations….

    The logic in this column is that we now do not have much choice about the TPPA. The government is trapped into agreeing to it because rejecting it has implications for other trade deals and our wider international relations. That is probably what our MFAT officials are advising, although no doubt there are many diverse views in there,…

    Everyone will be watching the US, where the passage of the measures is likely to be most contentious. Many of the predictions of what will happen reflect the soothsayers’ view of the TPPA rather than a solid political assessment. There is considerable division among those who are informed. Some think the US Congress will agree to the deal this year because it is so crucial to US economic hegemony, particularly relations with Japan and the reducing of China’s economic leadership. Others think the Congress will not bear to give Obama a win and will hold it over to next year. Another view is that there are so many fish-hooks in the deal that Congress will not be able to get an agreement.

    Until each of the partners has demonstrated they can implement the agreement, its provisions do not come into effect. When they have all done this the partners ratify the treaty. (Most required legislation will not come into effect until ratification.)

    Easton raises export subsidies as likely to expand without agreements against them.
    This enables excessive production with an attempt to gain export primacy by under-cutting unsubsidised nations production in that sector.

    He says that signing seems to be a necessary strategic move now because of our interwoven relationships, while the ratification of all is necessary before it is fully implemented, which would be preferable to us withdrawing from the treaty.

    • weka 11.1

      Sorry, too hard to tell which are your words and which are quotes. Can you please use some formatting next time?

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Yes I see. I tried starting with a bold and ending with bold, it was a long one and I didn’t want to put it all in italics and I thought blockquote would make it too long.
        Is there another sort of formatting I could do easily?

        • greywarshark

          Perhaps I could use another font for a long quote – there is probably an option which I just haven’t found yet. Answering my own query, that is what I will try.

  11. Paul 12

    This article by Rod Oram is worthy of a post in its own right.
    In it, he takes apart many of the points made by the TPP cheerleaders.

    Claim #1 It is a Free Trade Agreement.

    No, it isn’t. Too many tariffs and other barriers remain for it to deserve the accolade. Rather, it is a “managed trade” pact, argues Martin Sandbu, one of the best analysts at the Financial Times of London, in this article bit.ly/FTonTPPA.

    Claim #2 ‘It will make us wealthy.’

    No, it won’t. By 2030 it could lift our GDP by 0.9 per cent. With TPPA, we’d hit that target by January 1, 2030. Without TPPA we’d hit the target three months later.
    Moreover, the government’s forecast of 0.9 per cent relies on heroic assumptions about easing non-tariff barriers. Analysis of this is coming thick and fast. Here’s a recent example from Tufts University in the US, bit.ly/TuftsTPPA and this from the Petersen Institute, the most respected, most apolitical of Washington trade think tanks, bit.ly/PetersenTPPA.

    Claim #3 ‘The Investor State Dispute Settlement process has been around for years in other trade agreements, so there’s nothing to worry about. ‘

    Yet the EU halted its FTA talks with the US because it said ISDS was a “very toxic issue.” It came back to the table with a bold proposal for a proper international judicial system for settling disputes.
    We are about to start negotiating an FTA with the EU. Logically it will make the same judicial proposal to us. We should eagerly embrace it and actively push for the TPPA to follow suit.

    He finishes his magnificent article as follows…..

    ‘ our government and business leaders are insisting TPPA will be a bonanza, bigger even than our Free Trade Agreement with China. At a bare minimum they are setting themselves up for severe disappointment and serious loss of credibility. They are blinding themselves to the massive work that has yet to be done on TPPA.

    Worse, they are devaluing New Zealand’s reputation as an honest broker in international negotiations. Yet that is our greatest strength in the global system. It means we get taken seriously. It means we achieve far more than a country our size should.

    TPPA damages that hard-won record. We will regret it. ‘


  12. Tautuhi 13

    TPPA ain’t a Free Trade Agreement – False Advertising by the National Party – Telling lies again.

  13. mary_a 14

    Anyone else notice on last night’s news bulletins (Saturday Waitangi Day), the booing towards the PM at the league game?

    Hee hee, and here was FJK thinking he was always going to remain the “most loved leader of all time in NZ”!

    Seems the gutless wonder might just be falling foul of his once “adoring” public, as they finally wake up to the cheating, lying, deceptive traitor he really is!

    Good 🙂 Long may this positive trend continue.

    • Skinny 14.2

      Make no mistakes the Nats are reeling, I seen plenty of them up close and talked to a number of their Ministers, as they had a grace pass from Waitangi. While they were all trying to hold a brave confident business as usual manner about themselves. I can tell you they were rocked with the Auckland demolition job on their TPPA signing. They were wandering around the Bay of Islands like stunned mullets. From generally viewed as the supreme command to dirty sellout rats over night.

      I enjoyed mocking a few of them, Parata a beauty at a restaurant where I was johnny on the spot after some media hack asked if she had been getting grief about things. She piped up not yet. I gave her a bit of a polite serve which wiped her cat smile off her face lol.

      • Richard Christie 14.2.1

        I gave her a bit of a polite serve

        please elaborate

        • Skinny

          “I see John is a no show tomorrow after half the country were on the streets of Auckland eariler today…looks like the teflon is coming off…being ordered out of Waitangi tomorrow must be a blow for you.” she said “I will be there don’t you worry.” after my mate and myself burst into laughter, my reply was “yeah sure you will be keep telling yourself that.” With that she headed off but did appear to have lost the spring in her step, and glared back at me like I will remember you, or I have seen you around?

          We laughed some more and then I gave what looked like Maori-Tory TV hacks she was with a serve which I can not repeat.

  14. weka 16

    Can someone please take my comments out of moderation? thanks.

  15. alwyn 17

    I was interested in the discrepancy between two news items yesterday. The letter from Nga puhi to the PM clearly attempted to gag him if he attended a powhiri at the Te Ti marae. It also claimed that it applied to all political parties.

    Then we had this report from RNZ
    Quoting from this we see that it says
    “Labour leader Andrew Little did give a political speech on the marae today – despite the Prime Minister being told he was not allowed to do so. Mr Little, who spoke of the importance of sovereignty, said the marae trustees placed no restrictions on what he could talk about during the powhiri.”

    There appear to be only 2 ways to interpret these two items.

    Option 1. Ngapuhi lied in their letter to the PM. The gagging applied only to John Key and most definitely did not apply to Andrew Little. I can see why they would want this as a description of the TPPA and its effects by Key, in his clear and reasonable manner would show up Little’s buffoonery and waffle as being the words of a fool.

    Option 2. Little is lying, or simply totally ignoring the protocol requested by his hosts.
    He must have known about the letter to the PM and ignored it. Even Andrew couldn’t be so out of touch as to not have seen it. Alternatively he was provided with his own advice and ignored that.

    If you think option 1 is correct do you think that Ngapuhi are duplicitous and that the Government should ignore their existence at future Waitangi ceremonies, at least until they provide John Key with a public apology?

    If you think option 2 is the correct one can we expect some comment from the commenter on “PM should get over Waitangi” who said

    “Hardly. It’s just that I was brought up to not go into someone else’s house and demand that they behave the way I want them to, especially if I’ve been invited in.
    I’m sure that when people get invited to do things at parliament that there are processes that have to be adhered to. Key is entitled to stay away, but as PM of NZ he’s not entitled to be an arse. Not that that usually stops him”

    Is Andrew going to be called an ignorant, uncouth boor and an arse?

    • marty mars 17.1

      The letter explains the kawa and it is up to those who would speak to know and follow that kawa if they want to respect their hosts. This can also change and be adjusted as tangata whenua determine. There is no big story around this alwyn. Key didn’t go as we know, he was a no show, all blow, needs to grow, needs to show he ain’t just the big no in nobody eh yo.

      Little did what he did – has there been a call from tangata whenua alwyn asking for recompense, has this caused a real media storm??? NO it is just your little attempt to cause trouble and stir – you are so small alwyn.

      “do you think that Ngapuhi are duplicitous and that the Government should ignore their existence at future Waitangi ceremonies”

      LOL – you really are so ignorant alwyn – you have zero idea of what you are talking about – you are a balloon with a hole – softly sagging to nothingness

      • weka 17.1.1

        nice bit of poetry marty.

      • alwyn 17.1.2

        This quote seems appropriate for you Marty.

        “Marty Mars is but a walking shadow, a poor player
        That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
        And then is heard no more: it is a tale
        Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
        Signifying nothing”

        From what little sense I can get out of your remark you seem to think that Ngapuhi lied to the PM and that they intended to allow their mates from the Labour Party to talk politics at the powhiri.
        what have you been smoking though?

        • marty mars

          another school homework site eh alwyn – didn’t you get embarrassed enough last time???

          seem, intended and so on – this is all your petty stuff alwyn – instead of dealing with big issues of national importance you prefer to try and pin flies to another’s jacket – just don’t have anything worth saying, do you alwyn.

          • alwyn

            “this is all your petty stuff alwyn – instead of dealing with big issues”
            Well yes I would have to agree that replying to your rubbish is dealing with petty stuff. I was just trying to make you feel that someone read what you had written, no matter how stupid you were.
            Would it make you feel better if I ignored you in future and didn’t even bother reading what you say?. God knows, reading your contributions is certainly time wasted.

        • McFlock

          It’s almost as if the Bard wrote this to be aimed at you, Alwyn:

          ‘Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stock-fish! O for breath to utter what is like thee! you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile standing-tuck!

          Henry IV pt 1.

          • Macro

            hehehe I love that speech. Falstaff is one of my fav characters.
            but lets finish it

            You yardstick, you empty sheath, you case for a violinist’s bow, you disgusting erect sword—


            • McFlock

              I really like the way Shakespeare used the comic characters to make Henry V such a kick to the ‘nads for the audience. I’ve never been particularly big on the comedies, but played Pistol in Henry V a few years back.

              • Macro

                🙂 yes the Bard really knew how to deliver a good literal boot where it was needed.
                The thespian in our family is my daughter (a grad of Toi Whakaari and Shakespeare and Co. in Lennox MA.)
                Henry IV pt 1 was the first Shakespearian play I read – introduced at school – and I went immediately out and bought my own copy. I’m too lanky to play Falstaff but that is one part I would love to play.

            • Grant

              If you’re looking for a figure of comic incompetence to represent Alwyn you can’t go past Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing.

              Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
              moreover, they have spoken untruths;
              secondarily, they are slanders;
              sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady;
              thirdly, they have verified unjust things;
              and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

    • weka 17.2

      lolz, is that you having a go at me alwyn? Quoting out of context again 🙄

      3. Little understands how things work on the marae far better than you or Key or the MSM. Marty has said how it works. If after that you still don’t understand what happened yesterday I can’t explain it to you. I’ll give you a hint though, stop trying to understand it within a Pākehā framework.

      Meanwhile, I thought this was interesting,

      Greens welcomed ahead of Labour

      Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said she was happy to abide by the no-politics rule of Te Tii Marae at Waitangi as her party were welcomed onto the grounds ahead of Labour today.

      The Opposition parties were to be welcomed on at the same time, but instead the Greens were taken on for a separate powhiri, leaving Labour leader Andrew Little and his MPs standing in the rain for an hour.


      • alwyn 17.2.1

        “lolz, is that you having a go at me alwyn?”
        Of course I was quoting you. I wouldn’t say it was having a go though.
        I didn’t want to identify you publicly though in case you are, as you should be, embarrassed by what you said on Friday.

        “Quoting out of context again”
        Not at all. That was your entire comment. The only editing I did was to remove a superfluous blank line. You should see that what you said is completely relevant to what I was talking about and that you should either comment on Little’s behaviour or withdraw your remarks about Key.

        Obtaining consistency from the left is always difficult of course.

        As for your comment about the Green Party. Is Hone trying to wangle a high place on the Green Party list at the next election? That would probably cause Ngapuhi to suck up to her. Pretty foolish if the Green Party did such a thing of course but it wouldn’t be beyond them.

        • weka

          If you want to quote in context put up a link, it’s not rocket science. As for the rest I can’t be bothered trying to figure what twisted agenda you have today, got better things to do.

        • Stuart Munro

          Alwyn, you waste of space, you haven’t murdered your king and your best friend to keep your wife sweet only to have her top herself. So yes, completely out of context.

      • Skinny 17.2.2

        “The Opposition parties were to be welcomed on at the same time, but instead the Greens were taken on for a separate powhiri, leaving Labour leader Andrew Little and his MPs standing in the rain for an hour.”

        Yes and as I stood there, then watched from afar I could not help thinking maybe Little should call both Goff and Shearer and ask them if it is raining where they currently are?

        If so, order them to go stand out in the rain till told otherwise, or if it was not raining to go stand under a cold shower till told otherwise.

        But really there was a bit of silliness going on by a few players up there including Labour locals.

        • alwyn

          Wrong people. He should be abusing Matt McCarten for letting him go anywhere near the place.
          Matt, if anyone, should have known that it would only result in Little looking, shall we say, shrunken.
          After all Matt will know these people very well.

          • Jenny Kirk

            I was there Alwyn – Little did not look shrunken at all, he gave a good speech on Ti Tii Marae and he had a great response from all those present. The Greens went on with the Maori Womens Welfare League – it would have been a bit too much to have us, Labour, in there as well.

            As it happened, it was a real tight squeeze for all of Labour and supporters to get into the marae. And because of the weather there was no outside mike, and canvas canopy as has been available on other years for all the extra people to listen to the proceedings outside. Hey – and a bit of rain never hurt anyone.

            As for what politicians could say, as Andrew Little pointed out later, if John Key had fronted up and said here I am, and what can I speak about, he would have been okay. But he was too disturbed by the massive outcry against TPPA to do that.

            Andrew’s speech was along the lines of “everything” is political, the Treaty of Waitangi itself was political, so anything he could say would have political overtones but the marae was a place for discussion, debate, and agreement, and that was what he was there for. (This is very much just a basic summary of what he said, not taken from any notes, just memory).

      • ropata 17.2.3

        Looks like FJK and his band of PR polished nactoids have given up on Northland and handed it over to NZ First and Labour

        Not enough photo ops for them, looks like plan B (the league game) has backfired too.

        FJK’s reliance on selfies, jokes, and smart remarks doesn’t wash when the bullshit is exposed so clearly as it was on 4 Feb (the TPPA day of shame)

        • Stuart Munro

          I notice Stuff is pushing Seymour – perhaps the VRWC is polishing a fresh turd to be ready in case Key, you know, inadvertantly trips and hangs himself in the shower or something.

          [lprent: I ignore ‘subtle’. You have been warned before. Banned 1 week. ]

      • Karen 17.2.4

        My understanding from one report (sorry, can’t remember where) is that both parties were meant to go on together, but the bus driver who was supposed to pick up the some of of the Labour MPs didn’t turn up making them late. The decision was then made to welcome the Green Party first. Nothing significant in it – just a mix up with transport.

    • lprent 17.3

      Perhaps John Key should have confined himself to talking about sovereignty (which is after all what Waitangi day is about) rather than whining via letters and staffers that he wanted to attack the opposition to the TPPA.

      FFS alwyn, use your brain once in a while.

      • alwyn 17.3.1

        “Key should have confined himself to talking about sovereignty”

        The major sovereignty issue being talked about at the moment is the effect of the TPPA. The major objection to the TPPA is claims that it abridges our sovereignty.

        Discussing sovereignty without talking about the TPPA would make about as much sense as talking about the campaign for the Democratic nomination for President this year without ever saying the name Bernie Sanders. It is totally impossible to do so and still make any sense.

        FFS lprent, use your brain once in a while.

        • lprent

          So if John Key’s minders weren’t such arrogant arseholes and had specified that was the ‘politics’ he wanted to talk about…

          But no – those dildos wanted to make a good headline so they deliberately muffed it by asking for something that they knew they would get the appropriate response to. Perhaps you could suggest why they did that?

          • alwyn

            What was it that they are supposed to have done? You say
            “they deliberately muffed it by asking for something that they knew they would get the appropriate response to.”
            Do you have some reference to this. A link would be nice.

            All I have seen is various Ngapuhi leaders saying come/don’t come/come/don’t come. Key then said that if he couldn’t speak he wouldn’t go.

            I note the limitation on talking politics doesn’t seem to have applied to Labour. Perhaps you can suggest why??

            Even Hone, at least at one point seems to think Ngapuhi have stuffed up

            “”It’s a national marae and Ngapuhi are the guardians of it. What they should have done is asked other leaders from other areas for their opinion, listened to them and then decided. They didn’t have to take a vote.”
            “They handled the whole thing really badly,” he said.

            Can you really blame the PM wanting to know what they were up to when we had reports like
            “Following the vote there were mixed messages from leaders at the marae over whether Key would be invited or not.
            Some media reported that Key had been blocked from the marae while others were told by leaders that he was welcome”.

            Quotes from

  16. mac1 18

    More John Key hypocrisy. He slated the sex toy throwing incident as a bad showing for NZ as it went viral around the world. His point was that it reflected badly on our National Day.

    The same National Day where he refused to front up as PM.

    The same Prime Ministerwho denigrated his high office by having his hair-pulling antics go viral around the world. The same Prime Minister who joked about anal rape in prisons. The same PM who now is booed in public by ordinary Kiwi voters.

  17. Grey Area 19

    I would like to make a comment as a someone who has lurked on the Standard for a while and for several reasons has only made a few posts.

    I come to the Standard for some encouragement in what I feel are dark times, to learn something about the issues we are facing as a country and in our communities, and to remind me that I am not the only person in New Zealand who thinks the way I do.

    To have discussions polluted by muppets whose sole reason for posting seems to be to derail or divert is incredibly frustrating. There are whole threads I now skim through as it seems to me far too much energy is being expended by people whose opinion I respect (mostly) debating with trolls.

    Whole discussions just get bogged down which I suspect is their whole purpose.
    I admire the perseverance of those who bother to debate with them as it may be a bit harder now that someone since the New Year seems to have pushed the “Reasoned Debate” button.

    For me the Standard has been a beacon but it has dimmed a bit recently and maybe that is exactly what someone wants.

    • Paul 19.1

      I would ban them.

      • lprent 19.1.1

        If we ban too often it involves more work for moderators. I know from long experience that causes an ever escalating pressure on moderator time. So there is always a balance required between the amount of effort required to moderate and the constaining of debate.

        The most effective way to ban is to give very long bans because then we don’t have to keep banning people as often. In particular using a fast exponential scale for timespans and a low toleration for fools. That massively reduces the workload. But does cause other issues.

        It causes muttering about moderators who do this by people (and other moderators) saying that there is too much banning. Especially as most have different ideas about what piss-poor behaviour is.

        In particular the more partisan who seem to think that piss-poor behaviour by lefties should be treated differently to piss-poor behaviour by the right.

        Personally I don’t care that much what political affiliations or views someone has, because I see quite a lot of piss-poor behaviour from all shades of the political spectrum. I’m mainly concerned with their behaviour on this site and if it affects the intent of what the site is designed for – to discuss topics of interest to the labour movement and to have robust debate.

        Of course since many of the right come here to purely to disrupt either directly or with the subtlety (that I simply gaze straight through), they collect much of the moderation.

        Incidentally my usual response to respectful criticism about moderation (if I don’t ban the person for trying to tell us what to do) is to simply curtail my banning – equally. I simply raise my personal threshold for bans and reduce the time span I give them for. Then I get conversations like this…

        The real solution as was pointed out is for commenters to simply not to respond. Most of the unthinking trolls will then proceed to fall into astroturfing the site with whatever their latest line is trying to get a response – and suffer the inevitable result.

        But since I’m currently on hold for my next overseas trip, I’ll have a look around again for a tech solution.

        • Andre

          Personally, I quite like the comment the Huffington Post puts at the bottom of every article about Trump.

          “Editor’s note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

          Maybe it’s easily feasible to automatically attach some sort of disclaimer to the start of regular offender’s comments?

          • Colonial Viper

            Do they note that Clinton is a serial warmonger, has lied over and over again on what happened in Benghazi and her email records all around that time, that her hubby Bill signed NAFTA which helped destroy the American blue collar class, and best of all is on the take from the billionaire bankster fraternity, charging a quarter million dollars per speaking engagement?

          • lprent

            Wouldn’t be hard to do technically. The only real issue would be that I’d have to either set it for the identity for every comment that they have done over time, or somehow plug it into the comment-meta while posting a comment.

            The reason for the latter is that we forgive after a ban until there is a need to ban again. Then previous convictions count on their sentence.

        • Incognito

          Is it technically easy (…) to build in a capability feature for the TS readers to collapse (sub-)threads?

          • lprent

            Yes – the css attribute of display:none would make them easily invisible. I’d just have to add a extra div to allow hide/open. Obviously these are personal preferences and there are some limits to what could be done because they’d need to be done at client side using javsacript and cookies.

            The only real issues with it is remembering which ones you have dropped and that they will have to either close collapsed comments or open non-collapsed comments at the user side, that it will make pages slower to open, and some screen real estate would have to be sacrificed for activating ‘buttons’.

            This site effectively doesn’t run logins, and these days pages offered to non-logged users are effectively all the same. This minimizes the amount of processing the server has to do and strongly decreases the useful information about commenters that court orders could extract.

            So any information stored on which comment threads are dropped has to be available on client side via cookies and acted upon via javascript executed on the client browser. Cookies are stored per client browser. So would the collapses. If you read the pages in both safari and chrome, then they would have different collapses.

            When a page is opened, it’d open with either all comments visible or no comments visible. Either has issues that would need working around.

            In the latter case , the javascript would locate the collapsed comments for the current page out of cookies. It would walk the invisible comments seeing if the comment should be opened, and open it. It would then have to find the comment you were last reading or wrote and jump to it. This last step is tricky to do compared to the existing system.

            In the former case, the page would be set to the correct comment, and then the javascript would have to walk to collapse comments. The issue here is that you are unlikely to view at the last comment you were reading quite as well if there are collapses further up the page. The page could be jumping around quite a lot as you start reading it.

            Neither issue is insoluble.

          • lprent

            And there could be issues with the Replies tab. If someone relies to you and you click it there, then you won’d see the comment.

            That is the only other gotcha I can see on a second think…

            • Incognito

              O.k. thanks I thought it was worth asking as thread collapsing is not uncommon on other sites but I have no idea of the (technical) implications, obviously.

              On a different note, I still experience issues with loading of TS pages. For example, OM 07/02/2016 and OM 08/02/2016 did not load this morning (empty page) and OM 08/02/2016 still doesn’t!?

            • greywarshark

              I notice something odd, that my old comments window comes back when I am doing a new one, though the old one is shown on the list at right and appears in the post.

              This morning I ended up typing my second one in the comment window of my first one which had been ‘published’. So that was confusing – I refreshed with F5 to clear it and it was still there I think. Bit confused now.
              Anyway everything got through after I juggled with them a bit.

              • lprent

                That is client side caching – the server has no idea what is in the textarea used for comments. Probably the clear in the javascript that saves the comment wasn’t getting called or wasn’t activating correctly.

                I’ll have a look over lunch to check that it isn’t a general problem. But it is most likely that your browser was having a bit of a brain fade. Usually restarting the browser (or logging out or restarting the system if the browser has a ‘fast start’) will fix it.

        • weka

          “The real solution as was pointed out is for commenters to simply not to respond.”

          Any chance you could hire some cat herders? 😉 Commenters not responding to trolls only works if most or all refrain. That’s not going to happen here, and so the threads often get filled with troll call and response even if a whole bunch of people are ignoring them. Those conversations become the dominant ones because some people just walk away and others get drawn to where the energy and entertainment is.

          There are lots of people commenting on ts whose otherwise good comments get ignored. One thing that those of us* sick of the troll fests could do is start talking to each other. Make those conversations the ones that are interesting. To that end, and speaking of tech, I’ve come round to the idea of a like button or similar. Maybe trial it anyway, to see if people knowing that their comments are valued even if not getting much response intially might increase responses and generate other kinds of conversations. All the usual caveats about use and abuse of such tech by commenters (and trolls).

          *I have a foot in both camps, mainly because I love a good argument so the more interesting troll threads are enticing. Arguing with people who think differently than me also helps me clarify my thinking, although it would be nice to argue more with differently thinking lefties than righties or trolls (of any stripe).

          • lprent

            Not cats – goats. Cats always scatter.

            Whereas goats are far far more infuriating. Most of the time they act like herd animals. But in every drive there will always be one or two who decide to be contrary and to drag part of the herd with them. After they get experienced, even good farm doags don’t like tangling with a contrarian goat…

            The only thing that that goats respect is electric fences. A good hard unexpected shock tends to modify their behaviour.

            I do have a like button plugin that I was prototyping and extending. I’ll have another look at where I got to with it.

          • greywarshark


      • Halfcrown 19.1.2

        I would ban them.

        Sorry can’t agree with you there Paul. I would miss the comedy and daily fun when the likes of Gosman comes on ranting about the brain dead fuckwits from the right favorite cot case called Venezuela, or Greece. What would we do if we did not have our daily dose of seeing how their shit is taken down time after time after time. Some of the replies these prats get are very smart and I am sure we can all survive the crap they come out with.

    • Jenny Kirk 19.2

      Yeah – I get sick of the trolls, too, Grey Area. I totally agree with you – if only posters wouldn’t respond to them maybe the trolls would give up !! and pigs might fly ……

  18. Tautuhi 20

    Just ignore the trolls they are suffering from SPS Sick Parrot Syndrome by engaging you give them oxygen.

  19. greywarshark 21

    But the trolls keep pushing buttons on some of our most concerned, informed and sincere commenters. Then there are the argumentative ones that can’t keep their hands off the keyboards. I have suggested a number limit that would control the output and as we rarely have very long and informed discussions we could manage that. It could be that if there was a bypass key available for a moderator to use for one of those great Socratic? discussions that would be good. But it could involve quite a lot of fiddling and coding for not much. But limits on contributions for a certain time perhaps could be done, then people would think twice about using up their ‘budget’ on trols and the trols would have to limit their puerile input.

    • Paul 21.1

      Ban them or put them into moderation far quicker.

      • Andre 21.1.1

        Personally, I try really hard not to give in to the temptation to respond to the usual suspects. But occasionally one puts up a plausible looking piece of bullshit, that if left unchallenged might end up looking like accepted truth to silent lurkers.

        But I can certainly do without scrolling past the endless handbag fights to find the substantive discussions.

        • weka

          “But occasionally one puts up a plausible looking piece of bullshit, that if left unchallenged might end up looking like accepted truth to silent lurkers.”

          That’s the dilemma and is the main argument of the troll fighters (except they don’t use the word ‘occasionally’).

          Also, most of us have different ideas about what a troll is.

        • greywarshark

          Handbag fights – funny. There is always a Monty Python skit for every occasion and I am sure that one must be in your mind.

    • ropata 21.2

      you realise of course that by coming here and engaging, the trolls have a chance at rehabilitation? compared to some of the bottom dwellers at KB most of our rwnj friends are positively enlightened…

      i think it’s always worthwhile hearing the other side of a political debate, at least our righties show more intelligence than Hosking and Henry

      • Halfcrown 21.2.1

        “i think it’s always worthwhile hearing the other side of a political debate, at least our righties show more intelligence than Hosking and Henry”

        Well said However remember some of them do, not all of them.

      • weka 21.2.2

        “you realise of course that by coming here and engaging, the trolls have a chance at rehabilitation?”

        and then there are the astroturfers…

        • ropata

          yah those are hard to spot but they seem to cluster around significant events and gang up to defend/justify the FJK government’s latest crime

        • greywarshark

          I think people who constantly engage with trolls and their ilk are the ones who need rehabilitation.

          • Incognito

            Please don’t become a killjoy; a dirty slippery troll-wrestle is one of the few guilty pleasures I can still occasionally indulge in 😉

    • greywarshark 22.1

      Thanks for the heads up on the business on stuff! Straight to the point. Good stuff.

      • greywarshark 22.1.1

        NOTE this from the stuff link from pat above –

        So the economic theory is as modern as it can be. But do Kiwis understand the downside risk of a financialised economy employing all the latest investment bank and hedge fund tricks, Newberry asks?

        “Shareholders in a business aren’t ever going to lose anything more than what they put in. It is limited liability investing. But the difference with corporate-style governmental accounting is that it is unlimited liability. It is New Zealand’s taxpayers and residents who are on the hook if there are any problems.”

    • The Chairman 22.2

      Good read (22). Thanks for posting it Pat.

      • pat 22.2.1

        good read but disturbing subject matter….and I live in hope it’s followed up and expanded on

  20. sabine 23

    iran to charge its oil in euros? dumps the us $ ?

    interesting times.


    quote: Switching oil sales to euros makes sense as Europe is now one of Iran’s biggest trading partners.

    “Many European companies are rushing to Iran for business opportunities, so it makes sense to have revenue in euros,” said Robin Mills, chief executive of Dubai-based Qamar Energy.

    Iran has pushed for years to have the euro replace the dollar as the currency for international oil trade. In 2007, Tehran failed to persuade OPEC members to switch away from the dollar, which its then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called a “worthless piece of paper”.

    The NIOC source said Iran’s central bank instituted a policy while the country was under sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme to carry out foreign trade in euros.

    “Iran shifted to the euro and cancelled trade in dollars because of political reasons,” the source said.

    • pat 23.1

      makes sense when you are involved in a de facto currency war

      • Colonial Viper 23.1.1

        In mid Jan, the US slapped a new range of sanctions on Iran less than 24 hours after Iran had promptly released a group of US naval personnel who had been caught intruding in Iranian territorial waters.

        Basically Iran made a move to strengthen new ties with the US, and the US returned the gesture with the middle finger.

        So I’m not surprised at this move at all.

  21. weka 24

    This. While the issues aren’t exactly the same as the US, in NZ this is a little-discussed aspect of the housing crises. Banks and councils are putting pressure on people to build houses much bigger than they need, and people too often are building an investment rather than a home.

    “. . . the problem is not so much that some people can’t maintain housing, but that our standard of housing has become inaccessible. Today, the average American requires more than three times the amount of space when compared to 1950. Back then, a new single-family house in the U.S. came in at 983 square feet with an average of 3.38 persons per household. But by 2012, the average new house size had expanded to 2500 square feet, with an average of only 2.55 persons per household. This means each American apparently now requires about 980 square feet of space per person – the same amount that was once sufficient to house the average family. And over ten percent of all housing inventory is vacant.”

    With handy diagram,

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      Banks and councils are putting pressure on people to build houses much bigger than they need, and people too often are building an investment rather than a home.

      This is all driven by private sector developers targetting projects towards the top 1%/top 5%, with too easy finance from the banking sector.

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