Open mike 07/12/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 7th, 2011 - 126 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

126 comments on “Open mike 07/12/2011”

  1. ropata 1

    Hugh Pavletich on the political circus taking the ‘garden’ out of the Garden City

    There is a attitudinal change underway in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the first major earthquake 4 September 2010, the second 22 February with the third 13 June 2011.

    To date, there have been some 7,700 aftershocks in total and they are still continuing.

    In development and construction terms, Christchurch was on its knees prior to the September 2010 event, mainly because the failed amalgamation of local authorities some 20 years earlier, had bureaucratically buggered the city, sapping it of commercial vitality and enterprise.

    Development in the wider city had degenerated very much in to a “political game”.

    Some six months prior to the September 2010 earthquake, the writer discussed within “Houston, we have a (housing affordability) problem”, where Christchurch was getting it wrong with its ‘dense thinking’. And importantly – what some of the consequences are for the wider economy.

    The bloated centralized Council “ruled” – and still does – so that now, it is at war with its community and business.

    It is very much now a contest between the romantics and realists – whatever their political persuasions.

    The three key players to date have been the former accountant / forex dealer and current Prime Minister Rt. Hon John Key, former woodwork teacher and current Recovery Minister Hon Gerry Brownlee and former chemist / television presenter and current Mayor Bob Parker. From the time of the first earthquake event, September last year, these three people never grasped what needed to be done, to maintain public morale and ensure commercial confidence was maintained.

    An effort was made during the early part of this year to address the “leadership vacuum”, by bringing on board Roger Sutton, Chief Executive of the local Orion electricity network provider, to head up the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, responsible to Minister Brownlee.

    Sutton has failed to date. He has not replaced the civil service management team, with skilled specialist people from the private sector to support him. Sutton’s abilities appear to begin and end as a “communicator”.

    • pollywog 1.1

      meanwhile…

      EQC accused of ‘jobs for boys, girls’

      The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has been accused of “jobs for the boys and girls” after employing the daughter of its claims manager at $75 an hour

      Assessors are chosen for communication skills not for their building knowledge.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/6096870/EQC-accused-of-jobs-for-boys-girls

      …meaning talk to Daddy nicely.

      This is what id expect following on from Brownlees appointment of Shipley. It’s a precedent thats been set and followed from the top down.

      So if it’s alright for Gerry the Hut to dish out jobs for the boys ands girls,and pay them more than they’re worth, it’s alright for everyone to do it.

      Reminds me of Pike river where he looked the other way on safety and monitoring so everyone else did also.

      • Uturn 1.1.1

        Last week I was researching a prominent player in NZ HR and their statement was they hire based on who you know, not what you know. They want the potential connections of your wider contacts. Not at all a huge surprise in that idea, except that in context it was a statement of class division that contradicted the publicly stated aims of the organisation. If you’re out, don’t be thinking of getting in; and if you’re a client, figure on staying one. In this economic reality, that means huge increases in the gap between top and bottom. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the middle classes, but the current attitude of class division will eliminate the middle classes faster than any yet-to-be-concieved socialist revolution. No more getting ahead. No more New Rich. Only way is down. Note to “Mum and Dad”: these guys aren’t your mates, support them at your peril.

        Further down this page Pollywog says we should enter into partnerships with these born to rule delusionaries. I’d like that to be an option, but some are clearly steadfastly committed to ideals that will never compromise, in areas of great importance to society. In those instances, the public must simply sidestep official authority. This does not require any illegal acts, only that we refind in ourselves the elements of humanity we have been taught to dismiss under the influence of consumerism and the belief that paternal government will do it for us if we’d only give them more money. (This might sound remarkably like any number of variations of trojan-horse right wing policy, but I mean it in it’s individual, humanist, sense) Sure, a responsible government can act effectively with social intiatives, but that must never abdicate our personal responsiblity. Just act, in small moments, where there is need, where things that are clearly wrong can be made temporarily right. It’s not hard. It might even feel good.

        • Ianupnorth 1.1.1.1

          The town where I live dishes out various ‘research’ and ‘projects’ to lots of people – helpful if your surname is M****son or B**ois….

          • Vicky32 1.1.1.1.1

            your surname is M****son or B**ois….

            I know what those names must be… I won’t say of course! 🙂

    • Spratwax 1.2

      Judging by the election results, Christchurch people seem to be very happy with how the Government is handling the recovery!

      • rosy 1.2.1

        Stockholm syndrome 😉 or the ones least happy have already left.

        • Puddleglum 1.2.1.1

          the ones least happy have already left

          Or didn’t vote. Here’s the Christchurch Central Electorate results (Candidate and Party votes) for 2011 and 2008. National and Wagner haven’t gained any more votes (even after the specials they may, in fact, have fewer). So no more people have gone to National.

          The big drop is in Labour party vote (6,000 down) and Burns’ candidate vote (4,000 down).

          Overall, party vote was down over 9,500 and electorate vote down about 8,500 (or so).

          My guess is that a lot of people simply couldn’t be bothered to vote given their circumstances, rather than that there was a sudden mass disillusion with Burns, in particular. I don’t think anyone would argue that he’s done a bad job since the earthquakes. 

          There’s still the specials, of course. 

          • seeker 1.2.1.1.1

            After seeing the report on Campbell Live last week about the stress people are under living in Christchurch and how severe stress is now really affecting so many, I believe it has also affected voter turnout. When severely stressed, everything seems too hard . This year’s election was extra hard to me, and I wasn’t even living in Christchurch.

            To me, many factors made these elections harder and far more stressful than others:

            1. I did not feel informed enough about policies and thus under prepared to make decisions. I think this was the short run up to Nov. 26 after the RWC. As Phil Goff said, “he”, but I think he could have said ‘we’, ” could have done with another couple of weeks” to thrash things out. I still couldn’t find out why Key, (‘cos I am sure it is driven by him mainly), was selling the electricity assets. I asked my nat electorate office and John Key’s office, no one could give me a straight answer. So many different answers were given, in fact, or none, in the case of the PM’s office.

            2. We not only had to vote on who to elect – and we had been waiting 3 years for this- we also had to vote in the referendum as to whether we should keep MMP. This made two, no four, huge decisions to think about.

            3. To add to the other two, there was the huge worry of the asset sales. All very well for someone to say to me -it’s simple -if you want the assets sold then vote national ,if not then vote Labour-this two days before the election. Which is when it hit me -me voting Labour gave me a voice to vote Labour, but it gave me no voice about the asset sales. why had I not realised this before?

            In the polling booth I had my say about the party I wanted, who I wanted for my electorate MP, whether I wanted MMP and what would be my second choice. OK this was a lot to decide, but I had a voice. How did I make my voice heard about asset sales,which could mean life or death to some?

            I needed another referendum sheet, but I did not realise this properly until I stood in the polling booth.

            This is where my feelings of unpreparedness and worry had come from. Thus the election was all too ‘tinpot'(never mind tea pot) and banana republic- typical national -smoke and mirrors . Give ’em cognitive overload, and while they’re puzzling about this, slip something else under the radar.They’ll never know what hit ’em , and by the time they wake up, it’ll be fait accomplis again. Fiendishly clever.

            No wonder I was stressed at the thought of voting. and as for the poor folks in Christchurch….Having been so devastated and shaken for so long, I bet many could not even bear to think about all these choices they had to make, let alone be upbeat enough to tramp to the polling booths. Stress can be so debilitating and almost soul destroying.

            Please God the severely stressed get through and are well enough to vote next time.

  2. logie97 2

    Charter Schools.
    Will they be measured by the all-singing-all-dancing National Standards or not?
    Is the floating of the idea of these schools an admission that this government does not believe in the ability of National Standards to lift the “tail”?

    • No one measure on it’s own will ‘lift the tail’. Identification is important (National Standards may help with this) but the problems then need to be addressed and targeted.

      Failures in education are very complex, they involve not only schools but failures in families and society.

      Different initiatives need to be tried to see what works – and different things may help in different areas and demographics.

  3. Wow.  Even the OECD is saying that the gap between rich and poor in New Zealand is too big and it is advocating for an increase in taxes for the wealthy.

    And the increase in the gap in New Zealand from the 1980s has been one of the largest.

    Banks was on Radio New Zealand this morning saying that an increase in tax will not solve the problem.  The guy really needs remedial education.  Maybe he went to a charter school when he was young?

    • An increase in tax won’t solve ‘the problem’.

      Widening income gaps, high unemployment levels and entrenched intergeneration social problems are far more complex than going back to tax rates that didn’t solve the problem over the course of a decade.

      • millsy 3.1.1

        How many hospitals were closed by National before Bill Birch cut taxes in 1996? 38.

        How many hospitals were closed by Labour after they raised taxes in 1999?

        Taxes pay for social programs, and the lower the tax, the more our schools and hospitals are starved of funds.

        • Pete George 3.1.1.1

          Tax rates don’t necessarily equate to tax take, they can cause the reverse.

          Increased funding doesn’t necessarily equate to efficient use of funds.

          • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1

            Noooo, fortune cookie Petey is here.
             
            Tax rates only don’t equate to tax take if you have a poorly designed system and you cut out back office workers so that the tax cannot be collected.
             
            Read the report Petey before you comment.  There is a wealth of information there from a very fiscally conservative organisation and they have drawn a clear conclusion.  Which regrettably is something I have never seen you do.

            • Pete George 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Tax take is more important than tax rates. Increased tax rates can have a negative affect on tax take.

              If business conditions are improved then tax take increases and employment increases.
              If employment increases the tax take increases, demands on tax decreases, and income improves for more people.

              • Something is more important than something else.  Increasing something sometimes causes a decrease in something else.
                 
                If conditions improve some things get better.
                 
                I am just seeing if I can get even more generalised than Petey.

              • aerobubble

                Increase tax rates have many effects pro and con. Those with influence will find loopholes to get around paying tax, usually a fee to a tax accountant. With too little tax government fails to churn money through the economy and allievate poverty, too much tax and government stifle innovation and companies move offshore. Now what is happening on the ground, well skilled individuals are leaving, private debt is huge, and we’re getting worse off. Stands to reasonable person that people who talk about matching taxation with OZ are actually fed up with arguing and just want the simpliest solution. Tax threshold, GST off fresh food, CGT, and take out the distortion that is sending kiwis flying to OZ. We are over taxed, newly skilled kiwis are over taxed, and those with wealth and property are under taxed. Because those over taxed LEAVE, the under taxed stay put and talk bollocks.

              • Spratwax

                Improving business conditions will not necessarily increase tax take- the tax loopholes are still there to exploit- its just that businesses can write-off more ‘costs’ against the earnings- are you naive, stupid, or omitting the facts like most RWNJ’s. Not to mention the vast array of private tax loopholes, Trusts etc.

                I’d like to know what the corporate tax take is for a start- I’d bet it is very, very low to almost non-existant. So Pete, improving business increases tax -take from the minions that are on wages and salaries because there are more jobs? You’ve just admitted that tax-take only comes from wage & salary workers. Is that fair?

                Employment increases do not translate into income increases- maybe if you’re a CEO, but the policy of capping inflation introduced under rogernomics (and maintained by Treasury to this day) necessarily requires a policy of unemployment (around 5% minimum).

                Get with the programme Petey!

              • mik e

                Pompus Git tell me why when National have reduced the tax rate they found the tax take also reduced.

                • AAMC

                  PG needs to be put in the #museamofneoliberalism

                  Try reading some economists that are still alive Pete,

                  From Krugman yesterday…

                  “These days, you constantly see articles that make it seem as if there was a great debate in the 1930s between Keynes and Hayek, and that this debate has continued through the generations. As Warsh says, nothing like this happened. Hayek essentially made a fool of himself early in the Great Depression, and his ideas vanished from the professional discussion.

                  So why is his name invoked so much now? Because The Road to Serfdom struck a political chord with the American right, which adopted Hayek as a sort of mascot — and retroactively inflated his role as an economic thinker. ”

                  http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/05/things-that-never-happened-in-the-history-of-macroeconomics/

      • Tiger Mountain 3.1.2

        Could be time for a Crosby Textor memo Micky, I enjoy those, always chuckle to myself. Obvious humour but funny because of being so close to the mark.

        Blinglish on RNZ this morning said “whether trickle down works or not is really just an idea”
        The OECD says trickle down has not worked. The inequality in NZ is more than just an ‘idea’ for hundreds of thousands of citizens. The new nats trick, now that they are available for interview again, seems to be just spray words around with little regard to their veracity, and keep moving.

  4. kriswgtn 4

    Widening income gaps, high unemployment levels and entrenched intergeneration social problems are far more complex blah blah blah

    and this govt that Your LEADER is part of of is making it worse and increasing these problems dickhead

    Proud?? of course you are fukin tory

  5. In the US the senate has just passed a law that will allow the US army to take to the streets of America and to arrest people and incarcerate them where ever they want whenever they want for as long as they like without a trial and without a jury of their peers.

    In Pakistan the US shot 24 Pakistani soldiers in an army base. In retaliation the Pakistani government has closed of the main supply road to Afghanistan and Russia is threatening to do the same.

    In Iran two army bases have been blown up nuclear scientists have been assassinated and a US drone has been shot down by Iran. The Mossad and CIA have been implicated.

    Two Russian war ships and an unknown number of submarines have arrived and a defence rocket system is installed in Syria as I write this.

    Russia has threatened to bomb the shit out of the countries where the US plans to install their rocket systems aimed at Russia and China is prepared to protect Pakistan even if that means WWIII.
    Fukushima has reached a China syndrome stage in Reactor one and pumped even more tons of radioactive water into the Pacific.
    And I haven’t even started on the continued Financial collapse of Europe.
    These are some of the things you don’t find in our mainstream media. Well perhaps on page 10 somewhere in amongst the feel god crap.
    I could link this to all kinds of sources but I’m sure deep in your heart you know this is all happening so I won’t bother.

    Sort of puts everything in perspective don’t you think?

    • pollywog 5.1

      So what should i be doing ev ?

      • Tiger Mountain 5.1.1

        Wait till the appropriate apocalyptic time Polly, and adopt the “in case of nuclear war” position.

        I’m not that cynical, people uniting got the yanks and soviets to pull their heads in a bit in the 80s, and it will have to happen again or everyone will be doing what the first sentence says.

        • pollywog 5.1.1.1

          I’ve had arguments with reductionists and idealogues about getting back to basics and doing their own little bit in their own little way as if it would make a difference in the wider scheme of things and got looked at like i was the enemy for suggesting that unless corporates and gov’ts come to the party it’s all for nought and that we should be looking to build constructive socially conscious partnerships with those who may be more receptive to change rather than trying to bring them down and start from scratch.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            The corporates will be collapsing anyway – what we need to do is ensure that they psychopaths don’t take control again.

        • pollywog 5.1.2.1

          Why do i need a still for ?

          Can’t see getting blotto every other day is gonna help and i hate hate feel of dirt under my fingernails.

          Agree on getting off the grid but i’m more likey to jump into the system boots and all and start pissing on the inside of the tent instead.

          • travellerev 5.1.2.1.1

            As my blog attests too so am I but I still tend to my veggie beds and distil my own. LOL.

            In Europe traditionally booze and cigarettes were great barter tools during times of distress. If Cris Martensen’s contention is right and I have no reason to doubt what he is saying, we are in for a massive change and massive changes are never painless. That’s why I put it in my previous comment. but I agree getting blotto everyday is most definitely not the way to go.

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Yeah the products of a still can get you life or death products and services after a collapse.

              Its a wonder what people will do for you for a bottle of gut rot when there is nothing else going.

  6. NickS 6

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/6096870/EQC-accused-of-jobs-for-boys-girls

    My how surprising…

    And worse yet, assessors are chosen on the basis of communication skills rather than building or civil engineering knowledge.

  7. NickS 7

    /groan

    We can haz sceptical tv programs for a fucking change?:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6096676/Sensing-a-rise-in-psychic-beliefs

  8. In Vino Veritas 8

    Thought for the day:

    “Government does not tax to get the money it needs; government always finds a need for the money it gets.” – Ronald Reagan

    [2 minute fact check of the day: Ronald Reagan increased US Federal government spending from 32% of GDP to 34% while cutting taxes. This resulted in $1.9 trillion of borrowing that the US is still paying interest on. Under Reagan, did not tax to get the money it needed, borrowed instead. A lot like National, really. Eddie]

  9. Spratwax 9

    Just read that a coal company in the US, Alpha Natural resources, is paying US$210m in damages for one of the worst US mining tragedies in decades, killing 29 men in April last year. A federal investigation found that the mine violated safety regulations.

    Will the families of the Pike River 29 get compensation?

    • pollywog 9.1

      I think they headed that one off yesterday in anticipation of liability.

      Pike River: No money in mine’s kitty

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/pike-river-mine-disaster/6092596/Pike-River-No-money-in-mines-kitty

      • uke 9.1.1

        This is why limited liability is immoral.
         
        It is not enough for the shareholders whose money enabled this disaster to simply lose their “investment”. They should be held criminally accountable. Just as they “own” the profits, they should “own” the responsibilities.
         
        “Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility” (Ambrose Bierce)

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          Swiss banks don’t fail. In Switzerland, banking boards of directors are personally liable for outstanding debts if their banks go under.

          Therefore, the ‘give a shit factor’ is much higher on those boards.

          It is not enough for the shareholders whose money enabled this disaster to simply lose their “investment”.

          It’s the directors and executive management who should be on the hook. Not the shareholders.

          • Chris 9.1.1.1.1

            Yeah I agree with this.

            You could never have shareholders having liability. Unless they are majority shareholders they generally have absolutely no control over what the companies do and need to rely on what management and directors tell them.

          • uke 9.1.1.1.2

            If shareholders were personally liable for what their money enables to happen, they would naturally take a lot more interest in what their companies are doing, whether this be polluting rivers, exploiting workers, supplying arms to dictators, etc. – I expect even less of this would occur than with making directors personally responsible.

            The whole idea of corporations was to free investors from legal obligations that arose with the “partnership” model. Limited liability is an essential component of the apparatus of capitalism.

            The documentary “The Corporation” sets it out very clearly.

  10. aerobubble 10

    How hard could this be for you to understand!
    When Key gets into any kind of trouble he’ll
    invent stuff.

    Police have time on their hands!

    Christchurch schools are failing their pupils.

    Ad hoc justifications that have no basis in fact.

    Charter Schools are needed to keep the wall of
    noise around the government going, if controvesy
    should ever go silent National voters might just
    start questioning National handling of the economy.

    How hard could this be for you to understand!

    And why do you like being lied to? Well its
    simple, TV stopped informing you, your consent
    is nolonger required for them to peddle their lies,
    now even your election mandate can be ignored, Charter
    Schools and limits on government spending ad hoc invention.

    Because as a supporter of the government you
    immediately come to their side if they are under attack,
    and media make sure to reinforce the government line.

    Poverty increasing faster, and why would the media care?
    You’re too doppy to see the carrot and stick. The
    carrot you provide by supporting a mate (govt) under
    attack and the stick that if you question government you
    could be the next target of government lying. Oh, and
    expect to be used, like Police were used to create
    consent for the calling Police in to search media organisations.

    How hard could this be for you to understand?

    Take limits on expenditure, everyone knows the
    first thingthe next government can do is to remove the cap
    citing the need to grow the economy, when the economy
    picks up – as it slows help to industries crying out
    for help. Why would National want to slow increases
    in R&D spending by government when the economy recovers?

    So its all bullshit. In fact its pork bullshit.

    Its all about who they will put on the Charter School
    consultative group and how much they pay them, ACT
    party ‘pay back’ a doner alledgedly? So let’s sum up,
    National win by looking under attack (on National
    spin doctors CHOICE). Why not talk about CGT, or poverty,
    or education (not charter).

    In many ways, Key is treatened by education and by spending,
    and thats why the spin doctors need to set the agenda in
    these areas with ad hoc attacks. Growth down grade
    means lower taxation means spending blow outs. Government
    wants to move the anti-standard debate off the education
    debate.

    Key is quite happy setting precedents, like wanting
    to over rule courts, overrule magna carta protections,
    using police to investigate media during elections, and
    even shock horror invent stuff on manifestos even before
    the election count has yet to come in!!!!

    This is nologer smart politics, its lying, and the worst
    kind of politics, dictatorship of the powerful. MMP does
    not stop Muldoonism, its just makes the Muldoonist alter
    its methods. If we want good government we need our PM to
    respect democracy, Key doesn’t.

    And how can you not understand that lies in, means lies
    out, lies corrupt the invisible hand and the informed
    consent mandate. When we let lies stand we weaken the
    debate. There is no strength in National, the fact that
    they need to believe they can just distort means they’ve
    lost. They’re losers, desperately trying to hold on to wealth
    they never earnt and they now it.

  11. joe90 12

    Came across this 2009 article from The Atlantic: The Quiet Coup.

    The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

    The article continues, waving the yellow caution flag, until this passage:

    Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia, struggled for much of the past 20 years against oligarchs, corruption, and abuse of authority in all its forms. He liked to say that confusion and chaos were very much in the interests of the powerful—letting them take things, legally and illegally, with impunity. When inflation is high, who can say what a piece of property is really worth? When the credit system is supported by byzantine government arrangements and backroom deals, how do you know that you aren’t being fleeced?

    The pricks must be rubbing their hands anticipating all those lovely state assets just waiting to be snapped up.

  12. Colonial Viper 13

    Claims of corruption in NZ true

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/6096870/EQC-accused-of-jobs-for-boys-girls

    Unfucking believable. This explains a lot.

    And this:

    (EQC) Assessors are chosen for communication skills not for their building knowledge.

    • Jim Nald 13.1

      “communication skills” can also sometimes, in some contexts, be the euphemistic expression for “spin”

    • Spratwax 13.2

      I know of a guy who works at a well-known bank (a manager)who had a son in 7th form last year and this year he got a job as an assessor in Chch- regularly flies down from Auckland to Chch. If he’s getting $75 per hr at aged 18/19 for ‘communication skills’, this country and its processes are seriously corrupt!!

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      That’s interesting. My nephew, a qualified builder, was approached to be an assessor but was turned down because he didn’t have the correct assessing qualification – and now we find out that they’re only employing on communication ability.

  13. Jackal 14

    Alcohol vs Marijuana

    Surely the government could work to reduce the harm caused by treating alcohol as a dangerous drug. From young people binge drinking themselves to an early death to fueling violence and drunk driving, the destructive effects of alcohol are by far the most costly to our wallets and society.

    Contrast that approximately 1000 alcohol-related deaths each year with the comparatively harmless drug marijuana, which is widely used and hasn’t killed a single person…

    • McFlock 14.1

      While I largely agree with your comment, Jackal, I do take issue with “hasn’t killed a single person”. Besides the apparent corellation with various psychoses, which I won’t debate one way or the other, claiming that inhaling burnt vegetation into one’s lungs at the rate of use in the global population has never killed anyone borders on crass hyperbole (particulalry if you take into account the tar content of leaf, which although shit is still sold for consumption). Not to mention that much alcohol-related harm involves behavioural effects of alcohol, so you’d also have to include darwin-award behaviour like driving or operating machinery while stoned.
        
      Is dope safer than alcohol on a population basis? Almost certainly.
      Is dope perfectly safe? Hell no.

      Should it be decriminalised or regulated? From a public health perspective, there is a strong case for it. The only exception would be further research into its relationship with schiziod-type disorders, but that *might* be countered by the positive effect of quality standards regulations, e.g. not putting fly spray or class A/B drugs on it to heighten the effects. Same can be said for E.

      • Mutante 14.1.1

        I’m a recovering alcoholic and booze cost me countless missed opportunities and an engagement. Works for some people but hooks others in hopelessly. Weed on the other hand I can take or leave without wanting to consume it until it’s all gone and then go looking for more. I have a stressful job so a bong and some shit TV at the end of the day is nice and relaxing. So I’m biased but I can accept that cannabis seriously disagrees with some people in the way drink did for me.

        Personally I think that all drugs should be out in the open and regulated and there should be drug education in schools not based around warmed over War On Some Drugs(tm) propaganda like DARE.

        There’s a big double standard going on when I could get a free trip to the cop shop for having a puff in the park when there’s bottle shops on just about every bloody corner.

        That said though, I think the booze culture goes a lot deeper than advertising or availability. It’s something culturally ingrained. Same with macho dickhead behavior. That’s something already present that’s just turned up to 11 by alcohol.

        • Vicky32 14.1.1.1

          I’m a recovering alcoholic and booze cost me countless missed opportunities and an engagement.

          Having had alcoholics in my family, I very much agree with you! Alcohol needs to be more regulated… at the least!

          That said though, I think the booze culture goes a lot deeper than advertising or availability. It’s something culturally ingrained. Same with macho dickhead behavior. That’s something already present that’s just turned up to 11 by alcohol.

          Absolutely agreed!

  14. Afewknowthetruth 15

    trav

    Thanks for trying to pull the discussion back to reality.

    Unfortunately, most of those who comment don’t like discussing real stuff -like peak oil, financial chicanery that will lead to a meltdown, long term environmental collapse etc. (even morality is off the agenda most of the time)- so they do their best to get the conversation back onto irrelevant and trivial matters such as tax rates. That is exactly what happened during the so-called election debates, of course: no mention whasoever of reality by either of the major parties. Let’s not have an informed public that will start making appropriate choices. No wonder Labour lost support and the turnout was so low. Fortunately not everyone is stupid.

    The period we are living through is very much like the world of 1928 combined with the world of 1938 …. ‘the market will go up for ever and there will be no war’.

    The ‘magic’ of Christmas (which is a fake festival anyway*) will keep the proles distracted and amused for the next few weeks. After that?

    * corresponding with the ‘rebirth’ of the Sun following the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice .

    • Uturn 15.1

      “* corresponding with the ‘rebirth’ of the Sun following the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice .”

      I wonder if hanging decorations of angels on christmas trees has anything to do with Odin’s nine day self-inficted ordeal hanging from the “tree of life”. A god sacrificing himself to himself for knowledge of “the secrets”- there’s an interesting idea, almost artistic.

  15. Mike 16

    Cactus Kate over at Kiwiblog seems to be confirming rumours that David Shearer announced his candidacy after meetings with such people as Hooton, Odgers, Farrar and Slater.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/12/own_goal-4.html#comment-911827

    [lprent: Moved to OpenMike. It is interesting but you’d need to reframe it for the post. ]

  16. joe90 18

    A sobering read from an unusual source.

    The American Conservative: He Was 22, She Was 12.

    He was 22, a corporal in the Marines from Preston, Iowa, a “city” incorporated in 1890 with a present population of 949. He died in a hospital in Germany of “wounds received from an explosive device while on patrol in Helmand province [Afghanistan].” Of him, his high school principal said, “He was a good kid.” He is survived by his parents.

    […]

    So who, that same week, was going to pay the slightest attention to the fate of 50 year-old Mohammad Rahim, a farmer from Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan? Four of his children — two sons and two daughters, all between four and 12 years old — were killed in a “NATO” (undoubtedly American) airstrike, while working in their fields. In addition, an eight-year-old daughter of his was “badly wounded.” Whether Rahim himself was killed is unclear from the modest reports we have of the “incident.”

  17. Ianupnorth 19

    You know the world has finally gone mad when Fox News labels Kermit the Frog as a communist!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/shortcuts/2011/dec/06/muppet-movies-communist-plots-revealed

  18. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 20

    All you lefties who voted for Winsome getting a nice warm feeling inside?

    http://www.starcanterbury.co.nz/news/mp-wants-taxi-drivers-armed/1200350/

    • felix 20.1

      Why?

      You worried that your mate John Key is going to listen to that idiot or something?

      • Tiger Mountain 20.1.1

        Shooter toting cabbies and liquor store owners–ACToids, what say you? The USA, where you seem to get many of the National/ACT policies enshrines the ‘right’ to bear arms.

  19. joe90 21

    Earlier this week Strontium tainted water was released into the ocean and yesterday it was reported that Cesium has been detected in infant milk powder.

    Meiji said it is unsure exactly how the cesium got into the powdered milk, but it suspects radioactive substances emitted from the Fukushima accident may have been the source. A company spokesman told Reuters hot air used in the drying process may have contained cesium

  20. tsmithfield 22

    Hmmm… It looks like ex-Labour voters helped vote this guy in.. Nice.

    • chris73 22.1

      Be careful what you wish…

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        Thank you John Key for maximising Winston’s airtime during the run up to election day!!!

      • McFlock 22.1.2

        lol – “Walther PPK”!
         
        Obviously someone’s been watching the James Bond season on TV1. I’m surprised he doesn’t demand taxis have flip-up bulletproof screens and knockout gas for when passengers get a bit frisky. 🙂

  21. chris73 23

    So how come no ones saying anything about the strikes at the POA?

  22. Tiger Mountain 24

    ts, see my comment 20.1.1. How can ‘hang ’em high’ National or at the very least, ACT supporters, object to Prossers call to arms? Libertarian surely. Or is the point you are making just to have a snark at certain voters for unexpected consequences of voting Winston without being properly acquainted with the NZ1 list.

    • tsmithfield 24.1

      I just think its kind of sad that many former Labour voters hate the party so much that they’d prefer to vote for a party that is fronted by a proven liar and includes at least one right-wing extremist as one of its MPs.

  23. Jackal 25

    John Key dyscalculia

    Let’s see if John Keys claim that an increase of £7 to the APD is “four or five times the cost of offsetting the carbon emissions produced” is true?

    • Chris 25.1

      He obviously said that the tax itself is set at 4-5 times the offsetting the carbon emissions, not just the increase part.

  24. McFlock 26

    No doubt this will be National’s Brighter Future in a few years…

    • Ianupnorth 26.1

      Quite possibly, everything seems to be user pay – and then they take their 15% GST on my rates too! But what’s the betting that business won’t have any charge?

  25. Herodotus 27

    Soon 100% Pure will represent Travel to NZ for 100% exotic flora and fauna experience
    hate to think of how exposed the likes of Kapiti, Codfish, Little Barrier will be. It will be left up to the organisations like friends of Tititiri, Forest and Bird to save our uniqueness. Pity our environment is not worth spending a few $$. Extinction is forever 🙁
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10771535

  26. randal 28

    I prefer extirpation of invasive species a priotity.
    the gubmint commends it.
    twang.

  27. lprent 29

    My freeview is down in Grey Lynn. Anyone else….

    Analogue 4:3 urrgh…

  28. I don’t think Kate Wilkinson actually understands what it is to be a Minister of Conservation.

    Slash and burn (of jobs and species) didn’t use to be part of the job description. 

    • vto 30.1

      It shits me puddle. Shrink the Dept of Conservation and expand the Dept of Mines and Irrigation. Says it all. Says it all. Says it all.

      And what of Pike River? Is it not exactly as was expected – deadly criminal negligence by corporate and regulatory and operational individuals?

      What a fucked up case. The most ever in NZ history I would postulate.

      so sad

      edit: and South Canterbury Finance… NZ is scraping its bottom on the bottom…

    • Colonial Viper 30.2

      Sort of like the Minister for Social Welfare.

      Or the Minister for Education.

      The sad irony.

  29. Colonial Viper 31

    Southern Cross Insurance Wants Government Handouts

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=10771374

    Fucking typical, lets nick the money out of the public health system eh.

    • Draco T Bastard 31.1

      Just proves the inability of private healthcare to function without government handouts and regulations that benefit them. We need to be ramming this down Acts throat as it’s proof that the preferred economic theories are delusional.

    • rosy 31.2

      The difficult economic conditions of recent years have already had an impact. The number of New Zealanders with health insurance cover decreased by nearly 25,000 or 1.8 per cent in the year to June

      It seems to me that many healthy people simply can’t afford private medical insurance and those that have high medical needs can’t afford not to have it. The next thing is a greater loss of consultants who make most of their money in private health. A good proportion won’t work more hours in public health – they’ll be off overseas.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    24 mins ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    48 mins ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    7 hours ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    1 day ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    2 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    7 days ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    1 week ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More beneficiaries heading to jail, fewer to study
    The latest quarterly benefit figures show a rising number of beneficiaries have left the benefit because they have gone to prison, while fewer are going into study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “According to recent figures, in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Analyst charts failure of National’s housing policy
    Respected analyst Rodney Dickens has published a devastating critique of National’s housing policy, and says Labour’s policies give more hope, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Mr Dickens shows since the signing of the Auckland Housing Accord in 2013 the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Cost of Living increases hit those with least the hardest
    Beneficiaries, superannuitants and people on the lowest incomes continue to bear the brunt of higher inflation, according to the latest data from Statistics NZ, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to office (December 2008) inflation for those ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Pike River Mine families deserve more
    The Government must be more open and honest about the Pike River Mine says Dunedin South’s  Labour MP Clare Curran.   “It’s just wrong that the Commerce Select Committee has refused a Labour Party request to re-open its investigation ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government goalposts taken off the field
    The Government’s decision to dump the Better Public Service (BPS) Target to Reduce Reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017 shows when it comes to measuring their progress the National Government hasn’t just shifted the goalposts, but has taken the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Last call of the kea?
    Last weekend, I attended the first ever Kea Konvention jointly organised by the Kea Conservation Trust and Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand. It was a power-packed weekend full of presentations by scientists, volunteers and NGOS working to raise awareness of this ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 weeks ago