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Open mike 07/11/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 7th, 2010 - 35 comments
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35 comments on “Open mike 07/11/2010”

  1. Jenny 1

    A double Standard?

    Auckland businessmen have been paying Papakura SAS soldiers for secret arms training.

    SAS guns for hire

    From stuff.co.nz:

    Business leaders are paying $500 a head for secret sessions with the SAS

    A Sunday Star-Times investigation has found executives paid hundreds of dollars each for SAS firearms training and to sip cocktails with Victoria Cross war hero Corporal Willie Apiata.

    What would the headlines have read if Trade Unionists, or God forbid, Maori Activists, had been uncovered secretly paying, as these businessmen have, “hundreds of dollars each for SAS firearms training….”.

    The headlines would be screaming “Unionists and Maori Terrorists pay cash to Receive secret Military Training from SAS”, followed with calls for the SAS soldiers involved to be court-martialed.
    And the unionists and Maori participants to be held up on anti-terror charges.

    On being approached for comment by the SST, the Labour opposition has tried to brush off this matter as “comical”.

    According to the SST:

    Labour has branded the sessions “comical”, saying “our elite force should not be charging businessmen hundreds of dollars to play war games”.

    What kind of limp wristed censure is that?

    What is the Labour opposition trying to say here?
    Would it be acceptable to the Labour Party if the SAS were providing this training for free?

    The Labour Government’s Urewera Terror raids were based on far lesser alleged activities.

    The Labour government and party did not label these alleged activities “comical”.

    Instead of laughing off these actions, and allowing them to be actioned through the normal legal channels, the Labour Government backed the terror raids, which saw people including children and old people dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night by para-military forces and and held at gun point on their front lawns or in the street.

    I am not saying that the same sort of extreme para-military actions should be taken against these businessmen.

    But in refusing to take these latest matters seriously the Labour Party is indulging in a double standard. The least they could do is call for a ministerial inquiry. The message coming from Labour is that alleged secret military training for (white) business people is perfectly all right, to be brushed off as comical, not even worthy of investigation. Yet lesser alleged actions from Maori are to be met with the harshest possible response.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      Well, Labour is right. It is comical, farcical even. A bunch of fat bellied suits pretending they’re hard because they’re now on first name terms with a VC winner. Pathetic, really. Weird that you could twist a story that should be all about why National is allowing it to happen into an attack on Labour, Jenny. By leaving out Hodgson’s full comments, you’ve built a rant on one word from one sentence.

      Then you attack Labour for not calling for an enquiry, when one has already been announced! How bizarre is that, huh? If there is a double standard, its a sectarian lefty selectively quoting another lefty in order to make a point that doesn’t stack up.

      According to the article, Hodgson actually said the following:

      Labour’s defence spokesman Pete Hodgson was surprised SAS agents were being distracted from their core functions.

      “It’s comical that our elite force could be reduced to charging grown-up boys $500 to play war games,” he said. “I can’t imagine it would have made the SAS any fitter or better combat officers. Being distracted by things of this ilk is not appropriate.”

      Luckily, I have obtained video footage of the one of the participants talking about the exercises:

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        In response VOR,
        I would like to say, that at the time I wrote this comment, as far as I knew, no inquiry had been announced. The fact that an inquiry has since been announced by the Nats is no credit to the Labour opposition.

        Considering Labour’s surprisingly muted response to business leaders indulging in para-military training. I recalled the government attack on Tuhoe

        I think it is a fair comparison to make.

        To compare the hysterical and brutal over the top response Labour took to similar alleged (and as yet still unproven) behaviour by Maori and some animal rights activists.

        Based on their actions during the Terror Raids. I would have expected Labour to take a much more aggressive response to this scandal.

        I would thought that the Labour opposition would at least be consistent in their approach to those civilian and military involved in alleged para-military exercises for payment.

        That is why I prefaced my comment with the question “double standard?”

        Will any businessmen be charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

        Of course that would be ridiculous. But no more ridiculous than Labour’s racist hounding of Tuhoe.

    • prism 1.2

      I think you make a good point Jenny, If Phil Heatley used the word ‘comical’ to describe this profit venture by SAS, then he does not have the sense of values that is needed in a politician with integrity.

      The terrorist raids could also be regarded as comical by some cynical objective observer. They could be the subject of a film rich with satire, black comedy, really noir. Would Tuhoe be prepared to repeat their experiences and enact the event I wonder? – by doing that gaining some recompense from the happening, hitting ‘the man’ in the gut and they would get satisfaction from revealing the truth of this bumbling, paranoid raid. Also we would get to understand the concerns that drove the police to behave like an army putting down ‘dissidents’.

    • Two points Jenny:

      1. Aim your fire at the Government. They are to blame.
      2. I agree that the Tuhoe incident has a large smell about it. The last time I checked the Police had independence however and did not require or seek political approval before they took actions. Long may it stay that way.

      • prism 1.3.1

        Are you saying ms that the police should do what they want without any control from the government? Who then keeps them from the hubris that this inevitably brings? And the police have powers over the ordinary citizen which are not legal for the population, to use force etc. – who is going to control this power? This power to interfere with ordinary citizens is growing because of alcohol and driving. Auckland project – thousands of drivers stopped and 77 over level. They are going to step up this campaign.

        And the police are an arm of the government, why shouldn’t govt have a say in how they operate, and also take responsibility for lack of integrity? It’s so convenient to say airily, ‘Oh that’s an operational matter’ and leave the police to investigate themselves or appoint ‘caring’ judges to investigate misdemeanours.

      • Jenny 1.3.2

        I am sorry MS, but the complicity of the Labour Government in the so called ‘Terror Raids’ can not be simply explained away by saying that the police were acting independently.

        Helen Clark at the time admitted she had been kept fully informed of the police and army combined operations.

        From the impression she gave, she was uneasy with the whole paranoid ‘War on Terror’ scenario that she was being asked to endorse on behalf of her government. But was like the proverbial possum caught in the head lights of an approaching juggernaut. In the end going along with the whole thing. As the saying popularised in the 1930s Germany went “Evil succeeds when good *men do nothing”.

        The Clark government was also complicit in the ‘Terror Raids’, in that it was the Labour government, who over the objections of liberal and left opinion, gave the police and the state the extraordinary powers to suspend civil liberties that are enshrined in the Anti-Terrorist Legislation. It was this legislation that put the Clark government in the uncomfortable position of sitting on the sidelines while the state attacked Tuhoe in their name.

        *or women

        MS as you put it;

        The last time I checked the Police had independence however and did not require or seek political approval before they took actions. Long may it stay that way.

        However it might be time for Labour to consider rescinding the legislation giving such authoritarian political powers to people that you admit in your own words are un-accountable to the political process. That the police and army are considered above the reach of democratic check and balance, may be not such a good thing after all. Especially in the light of the fact that anti-terror legislation allows these unaccountable bodies to unilaterally suspend civil liberties.

        It might also pay to recall that it was the close secret links between business and an unaccountable military in Chile in the late 1970s that resulted in the disappearance and murder of thousands of trade unionists and leftists.

        Will the Labour Party opposition be calling for those inside the state forces responsible for this latest scandal to be made accountable?

        Or put it in the too hard basket and brush it off as “comical”?

    • Bill 1.4

      Thanks for the comment Jenny. I’d expect nothing bar distraction from the likes of Hodges. What is going on when the military feels “honoured” to be building relationships with private companies? It’s the networking aspect leaves me cold.

      The statement did not refer to firearms or anti-terrorism training, but said Defence was “honoured” to have provided Direct Capital the opportunity.

      “Like some other special forces around the world, the SAS has aligned itself with top-performing New Zealand organisations to share leadership skills with high-calibre and high-performing New Zealanders who strive for excellence.”

      my emphasis

      edit. Thought the SAS were meant to be highly secretive? My understanding was that nobody was meant to even know the id of individual serving members of the SAS? ( Not until Apiata, that is)

      • Pascal's bookie 1.4.1

        this is the bit that struck me:

        Asked how he felt about members of the business community paying to use SAS firearms and ammunition, Mapp replied: “That is exactly why I need this report.”

        He said he had been told that income from the training session would go to a trust for families of SAS agents.

        “We ask the SAS to do dangerous things for New Zealand and sometimes they will want to support their own through fundraising.”

        emph mine.

        Wtf? Anyone can fundraise to support their own, obviously enough, the thing is that we ask the SAS to do dangerous things for New Zealand and that obligates us to look after their own.

        • Olwyn

          There are a number of things I find troubling about this article, two of which Bill and PB have mentioned: (1) the supposed secrecy of the SAS clearly being compromised, and (2) the idea that the\ SAS should be driven to run night-classes in weaponry, etc, to look after their own. But what I find most troubling is the point mentioned by Jenny; “What would the headlines have read if Trade Unionists, or God forbid, Maori Activists, had been uncovered secretly paying, as these businessmen have, “hundreds of dollars each for SAS firearms training….”. One could pretty much add a group of school teachers to the list. The presupposition seems to be that anyone can be understood as a threat except for the most dominant business people – if they want to pay for firearms training it is at worst just silly.

          This to me is comparable to the attitude whereby the same antics (involving sex, drugs, and booze, etc.) at the Viaduct and in South Auckland reveal “our sophistication” in the former instance and “a serious social problem” in the latter.

          It is an attitude that compromises our ability to establish anything like a genuine universalised respect for each other, for all our bleating about how non-racist, non-sexist, etc, we are.

  2. jcuknz 2

    I’ve been out of the country the past 2.5 months living with my son and Dil but I am aware that GST has gone up 2.5 points meanwhile but I go to a pub for lunch … $10 for soup and toast, $27 for a meal .. I told the barmaid the prices were too much for me. Then I went to my local dairy and a white loaf $4.60 which when I left was $3.20. Went to the supermarket and got it for $3. I was shocked at the prices of things in the UK but if you go visiting you have to live with the local prices but to come home to this .. what on earth is going on? Rorts in all sectors of society? How on earth can those on benefits cope?

  3. ianmac 3

    “Prime Minister John Key has finally been forced to speak out on drink-driving and, as is the habit of most politicians, he has been extremely selective in his mutterings.”
    Now that’s not very nice of a Herald Editorial to imply that our PM is reluctant to speak out.


  4. prism 4

    The transport authority in charge of new roading is making it hard for an Auckland business in the way of one of its projects to both plan for its future continuance and costs from moving, and also find the money needed for rent where it remains still hanging on to the business that employs 50 people. It is not giving them a firm commitment to pay for the cost of moving the business and there was no mention that talks were under way towards establishing the cost. This in a time of recession when businesses that exceed the size of our vast majority employing ten or under people should be helped, not hung out to dry.

    I know of another case where a new major road bypass meant that a manufacturing business using kilns had to relocate. They had to secure a new site and arrange for kilns ready to operate there ahead of the date they had to vacate the old site. They arranged for this so they could have a relatively seamless transfer but the transit authority would not reimburse them because they had acted outside the period allocated by the authority for the move, although it was essential for the continuation of the business. This shows how ignorant and unconcerned these planners and engineers are about the importance of encouraging business. They appear to be uneducated on the complexities of running business and not charged with the task of being as supportive as possible.

    This thinking is often observed in local communities where footpaths are dug up for pipes etc. People and traffic may be rerouted away from small businesses which do a starve for months, putting the owners and workers in jeopardy of losing their livelihoods. It’s not good enough for controlling authorities to ride roughshod over businesses and people because of a large project that will offer the general public advantages.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Its a shocker. Whats the bet that John Key is going to swoop in and save these NZ jobs with a big fat tax rebate?

  5. prism 5

    Very good Chris Laidlaw report on RadioNZ this a.m. with Jon Johansson on the USA, Obama and future ructions likely to be endured by those misguided people.

    • ianmac 5.1

      Yes prism. An interesting if perverse view which suggests that Obama might still have the opportunity to flourish.

  6. The proposed destruction of 17,000 cultural sites in the Mojave Desert so that massive solar projects can go ahead is shocking. The companies will get tax rebates for putting the shovel in this year. They will destroy petroglyphs and large geoglyphs, they will impact upon the environment and the ecosystems. They are not considering the indigenous people and their sacred sites. They just care about money.


  7. weka 7

    Has anyone here seen this news that medicinal cannabis has been legalised in NZ?


    captcha: allows

  8. Logie97 8

    Anyone remember the debate on the Stadium of Stadia to be built on the waterfront.
    What did we finished up with … some abomination at Eden Park to showcase New Zealand to the Rugby World.

    Just watched the All Blacks playing at Twickenham – not a bad stadium eh?

    And we have Eden Park – the best New Zealand can come up with…?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Hey Dunedin is going to have a fully glass enclosed stadium. It can’t afford it, but it will look pretty cool as a monument.

      • jcuknz 8.1.1

        Monument to damm fool councillors empire building monuments to their foolishness.
        I believe it is actually a form of plastic not glass.
        The whole thing looks like some weird lop-sided kids building exercise .. it does balance from a few angles but access to those places is hard.

  9. prism 9

    CV Will there be a statue at the monument to the Unknown Ratepayer? There should be.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Yeah, its going to feature a non-descript pensioner bent over a walking frame, while a young RFU manager standing over him holding a rugby ball gives him the fingers.

      • M 9.1.1


        Hosting the RWC will be one of the greatest white elephants ever as all our tax dollars are poured into this great sucking chest wound.

        • Armchair Critic

          And with a loss to Australia and a less than impressive performance against England, the All Blacks are getting into form for a RWC year already.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox

            Well at least their will be lots of kiwis living in Aust by then who will be able to check out the WWE trophy when it arrives from acceoss the Tasman next October.

      • Vicky32 9.1.2

        Sad but very likely..

  10. KJT 11

    We are all aware of the UK research that shows very high executive salaries correlate to poorer company performance, but now it can be shown that overpaid bosses become meaner and more inhuman also. http://money.msn.co.nz/career/getahead/8118447/higher-pay-equals-meaner-bosses

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