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Open Mike 08/01/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 8th, 2019 - 151 comments
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151 comments on “Open Mike 08/01/2019 ”

  1. Jenny - How to get there? 1

    The thousand year wall?

    How long is the Trump wall supposed to stay up?

    A thousand years?


    Is it the beginning of a world wide movement of building impenetrable walls and barriers between peoples and nations?

    Is the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland the site for next one?

    • Sanctuary 1.1

      Trump literally does not give a shit about the millions of – to him – peasants who are being driven to dispair and abject poverty by his shutdown. That is because he is an aristocrat in all but name who lives entirely in a world where he can afford to purchase the services (and security) he needs. He doesn’t care that Yosemite is drowning in trash. The contractors still clear the trash from the golf course at Mar-El-Largo. He doesn’t care if the museums close, the guy is a pussy grabbing Philistine. He doesn’t care of the EPA, IRS and food inspectors all go home – it is all grist to the mill for a tax cheating, corrupt businessman like him.

      He is so unfit for office in every possible way that I am beginning wonder when/if the military chiefs will take him aside and quietly point out his health might benefit from an early retirement…

      • One Two 1.1.1

        You have correctly pointed out that POTUS is not in ‘charge’ …

        Trump is a product of the system….a system which want’s him (or anyone) to be there…because it makes no meaningful difference … the road maps remain the same…

        The military are also gatekeepers, and violent and aggressive as they inherently are designed to be, they are part of the wider system…

        So who or what is really in control…Trump or POTUS is not the answer to that question….

        • Draco T Bastard

          So who or what is really in control…Trump or POTUS is not the answer to that question….

          Douglas Adams:

          The President in particular is very much a figurehead — he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had — he has already spent two of his ten presidential years in prison for fraud.

          Seems to apply to Trump quite well…

          Which is rather disturbing.

          • One Two

            That is a strong quote, Draco…. Thanks….

            Can only imagine what this world of ours could be like, if lies and deceit were not the long standing modus operandi….

            • Jenny - How to get there?

              It may be a strong quote, but It is from a work of fiction. While I agree that it does have some truth in it. It is not the full story.

      • soddenleaf 1.1.2

        Is Trump setting up his run in 2020? Cornering the democrats on the wall? I mean he could not get the Mexicans to pay for it, so why does everyone think his dithering means the Democrats will use taxpayers money to. Is that the point, that Trump will go back asking for re-election so he has a real mandate to build the wall?
        Seem the wall however large won’t stop them coming..

        • Sabine

          He has filed for re-election campaigning the day he was sworn in. After all that grifter needs money, and campaigning allows him to fundraiser all that sweet sweet cash that washed up orange bullshitter needs to pay of his debtors.

          • soddenleaf

            yeah. wealth needs a psuedo billionaire in the Whitehouse to show how much big monies wealth runs a country. pandering to stupid walls… …oh, oh, and the genius of having a total fruit loop as vice president to keep them from chucking his fat…

        • Jenny - How to get there?

          Of course the wall “won’t stop them coming”. The reason; Most undocumented immigrants are in the US after overstaying their work visas. Only a very tiny minority crossed the border illegally. Most entered the US legally and then overstayed.
          The US economy is reliant on this system of official and unofficial vulnerable migrant labour. And even on so called illegal overstaying. Because this workforce have no citizenship, they are vulnerable, they have few recognised legal rights and so can be exploited mercilessly, and deported at whim by their employers.

          It’s a system of official, unofficial immigration.

          And the wall will not stop it. Nor is it designed to. The purpose of the wall is to strike fear into people on both sides of it.

          • soddenleaf

            I thought it was more like crates of cash handed out to Muslims in the axis of evil to buy their consent… …just done in the lower western states instead…

            • soddenleaf

              No, wait. ..use those migrants to bake us sand into bricks (mobile solar ovens) for a wall… ..problem solved.

    • Stunned Mullet 2.1


    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Ah, an article by a libertarian about how evil government is.

      • Jenny - How to get there? 2.2.1

        Indeed this article almost argues for the shutdown to become permanent.

        The world needs a new definition; Developed Countries, Undeveloped Countries, Un-developing Countries

  2. Dennis Frank 3

    ““In 2020, Biden-style centrism will become a toxic and losing brand of politics in Democratic primaries,” said Waleed Shahid, a left-wing activist.” Partisan leftists don’t want to make common cause with moderates in order to get the numbers up to defeat the right. Being a noble loser is more important.

    “Biden has indicated that he is leaning towards running and will most likely make a decision within the next two weeks, according to Democrats within and beyond his inner circle who have spoken to him recently.” https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/joe-biden-2020-presidential-election-beat-trump-democrat-candidates-decides-run-a8715191.html

    Biden is 76, and a stale pale male, so you can see why he’s currently the front-runner in the polls. There’s evidence he would be likely to win the presidency by stealing part of the Republican support base of voters: “among the 200 Republicans sitting in the 116th Congress, 90 per cent will be white men. The number of female Republicans in the House has actually fallen, from 23 to 13 this year”.

    • lprent 3.1

      Personally, if I was a US voter, I wouldn’t vote such an old person into that kind of office out of simple self-interest. The complications of probable bad health and the political issues of transfer if he wound up with death or bad health are very large.

      Politically I’m mostly be looking at the who I’d be voting for as vice-president and who the likely Speaker of the house would be after the mid-terms.


      It displays all of the political fragility of the American elected monarchy.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.1

        The US is run by a gerontocracy due to their inability to handily change rules that were made for a pre-industrial rural society of slave owners with an average life expectancy of something under 40.

        Chuck Grassley (chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee, you know the guys who confirm supreme court judges) is 85.Donald Trump is 72, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is 76, and the ranking Republican senator, Orrin Hatch, is 84. Nancy Pelosi is 78, while Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member on the Senate judiciary committee, is 85. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, are 77 and 69 respectively, which scarily makes Biden at 76 the middle of that pack of presidential contenders. Hillary Clinton was 69 when she lost, practically a callow youth in that company. The average age of the current congress is 59 (in NZ the average age of parliament is 49, but our PM is just 38 and the leader of the opposition is 42 so both are actually at a vigorous age).

        The USA needs to introduce some retirement rules for congress, the senate and the supreme court.

        • Andre

          Minor correction, Orrin Hatch is now retired and Chuck Grassley is now president pro tempore of the senate and chairman of the finance committee. Lindsey Graham (baby of the bunch at 63) is now chairman of the judiciary committee

      • Poission 3.1.2

        If you have seen Vice, I would look very hard at the number 2 and his/her connections.

      • Andre 3.1.3

        I am a US voter (in California, so my vote is irrelevant), and I would really struggle with voting for someone as old as Sanders or Biden. For the reasons you’ve mentioned, plus the idea that someone making the kind of decisions the prez makes should be likely to live the consequences for a substantial part of their life.

        But just to clarify the line of succession thing, that list only comes into play if the prez and veep are taken out in the same event. Otherwise if the prez goes, veep becomes prez and gets to choose a new veep and the only restriction is the new veep must meet the eligibility requirements to be prez. After Agnew cut and ran, Ford became veep because Nixon chose him; Ford was House Minority Leader not Speaker. Similar after Ford became prez, he chose Rockefeller who governor of New York at the time.

        Looking at our current situation, the only way Pelosi becomes prez is if the satsuma shitgibbon and Pence are impeached in the same proceeding. But even if Pence turns out to be even deeper in it than the mandarin manutang (very unlikely), you can be sure Turtle McConnell will find some way separate the proceedings in the Senate so that Pence can get sworn in, appoint a palatable new veep and confirm the successor before turfing Pence out.

        • veutoviper

          Thanks for that wonderfully worded clarification, Andre.

          I kept thinking there was something not quite right in some of the simplistic/wishful thinking being bandied about. I was also taken aback by Sanctuary’s stark presentation of the ages of the current US leaders. Made me feel quite young!

    • Sanctuary 3.2

      Actually leftists don’t want to make common cause with so-called “moderates” because:

      a) they are not moderate at all – the radical centre they occupy is increasingly just an old fashioned conservative defense of the (neoliberal) status quo with a fair dollop of social liberal thrown in.

      b) “Moderate centrism” as a viable political force is now dead. Hillary Clinton should have conclusively demonstrated this – she lost to Donald fucking Trump for Christ’s sake, how much more evidence that her status quo, “centrist” message was electorally toxic do you need? I don’t how long it will take the smug middle class defenders of centrism to get through their thick skulls that centrism is dead, but the sooner the better.

      c) “Partisan leftists” are the ONLY ones with an ideological agenda capable of competing with right wing populism, because people want change and pearl clutching socially liberal conservatives calling themselves “moderates” are offering sweet fuck all.

      • Dennis Frank 3.2.1

        I sympathise somewhat. The idealist in me isn’t dead. Just retired, hurt (as in cricket) during the seventies, yielding to the pragmatist. Who, of course, inevitably must point out that moderate centrism is not in fact dead – as Biden’s front-runner status currently proves.

        That’s because HC never had a monopoly on the brand. In fact, she was such a poor exemplar of the brand as to make better options (Sanders) look good in comparison.

        Now if you cite Sanders’ brand-identification as socialist, history proves you correct. Both/and. Reading his political biography proves to the reader that he operated as a moderate centrist when in office. It’s the usual difference between what leftists say and what they do. Preaching and praxis. When they differ, they generate alternate identities.

        • Gabby

          I think you’ll find it’s practice franky. Praxis mayx perfix.

          • Dennis Frank

            Yeah, word-play. I come to it from a technical perspective: belief combined with action (theory combined with application) produces praxis as lifestyle.

            • Gabby

              Baffle them with bullshix Dennix, worx every timex.

              • Dennis Frank

                Hey now, I’ve explained how it works. Nobody has protested that it’s too hard for them to understand. Some have even commented in appreciation of the notion. I agree that evidence that humans have become a lot stupider since the Greeks invented it (several millennia back) abounds, but assuming commenters here reflect the current norm seems unfair.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The idealist in me isn’t dead. Just retired, hurt (as in cricket) during the seventies, yielding to the pragmatist. Who, of course, inevitably must point out that moderate centrism is not in fact dead – as Biden’s front-runner status currently proves.

          If you’re centrist then you’re not pragmatic. Centrism goes against all practicality.

          • Dennis Frank

            Well it’s worked for me. Since adopting the stance in ’71, no regrets. Maybe you interpret the label differently. I combine radical centrism as a praxis with pragmatism as a way of finding common ground in current reality…

            • arkie

              Well it’s worked for me

              Is it possible for there to be a more centrist, more pro-status-quo response than this?

            • Draco T Bastard

              It just fails to work at all.

              I find this problem with all people who say that they’re pragmatic these days. They seem to think that pragmatism means doing what’s politically correct rather than what it does mean which is doing what’s practical and conforms with reality.

              Due to this delusional belief they keep supporting things that aren’t practical or sustainable and thus proving that they are not pragmatic.

              • Dennis Frank

                Well I’ve been non-pc since the sixties, when it seemed that all intelligent teenagers were choosing the nonconformist path – so much that it became fashionable to follow the trend. So your description doesn’t apply to me.

                What’s more, applying your reasoning to the current reality provides the rational for the coalition to continue with neoliberalism. It works, so it must be practical. I’d rather ditch it in favour of the path to a sustainable society and economy. Too impractical for most politicians still. But, inasmuch as doing so requires pragmatic compromises along the way, making progress towards that goal synthesises idealism & pragmatism.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  What’s more, applying your reasoning to the current reality provides the rational for the coalition to continue with neoliberalism. It works, so it must be practical.


                  If you’re trying that logic after the failure of the last few decades of neo-liberalism then you’re definitely not capable of being pragmatic.

                  But, inasmuch as doing so requires pragmatic compromises along the way, making progress towards that goal synthesises idealism & pragmatism.

                  And it’s that delusion that has the Overton Window going ever further to the right.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    When I say it works, I don’t mean works well, or even satisfactorily. I just mean it works sufficiently well that the people in western countries have kept voting to stay with it – in preference to choosing any other option.

                    And working so well that most political activists have consistently refrained from working together to present voters with a positive alternative. Just because I’ve spent so long trying to develop one doesn’t mean I can’t be pragmatic enough to accept that such an overwhelming consensus throughout all those countries is evidence that most people think neoliberalism works!

                    Try to explain what you think that delusion is. The one you mentioned. Is it why Bill got so impatient? Why he no longer contributes? I’m impatient by nature too, as I told him, and only considerable age has mellowed that. I’m just as keen to make progress, faster, as anyone else. But, as the coalition is proving to everyone, it can only proceed at the pace that consensus permits. Pragmatic acceptance of this limit is realistic: it is democracy.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I just mean it works sufficiently well that the people in western countries have kept voting to stay with it – in preference to choosing any other option.

                      Have they or is it that the politicians have kept it in place against the wishes if the populace?

                      Think about that for a sec.

                      It was, most definitely, put in place against the wishes of the NZ populace but Labour kept doing it any way. National said that they were going to undo it and got their 1990 landslide victory at which point they then went and entrenched it further.

                      I was at the Labour meeting in New Lynn a few years back when Andrew Little was leader. He started a sentence ‘We’re going ban foreign ownership…’

                      At that point he got cheered. When the room quieted again he went on ‘…of owning any more than 5 hectares.’

                      With that he got ringing silence. The entire room, except the sitting politicians, were disgusted with him.

                      At the same meeting David said that he couldn’t understand why there were people outside protesting the TPPA. He seemed to think that Labour’s position was clear. Labour, once in power, signed an unchanged TPPA while saying that it had been changed.

                      So, given this evidence when did the population ever vote for neo-liberalism?

                      Try to explain what you think that delusion is.

                      The delusion that if you compromise with the right-wing that they’ll do it right back. They don’t – they just swing further right and demand that the Left compromise again on the new position taking us even further rightwards.

                      But, as the coalition is proving to everyone, it can only proceed at the pace that consensus permits.

                      I’d love to know what the consensus is. Wonder what would happen if we had a referendum on many policies.

                      Wonder how much compromise there’d be with the RWNJs. I’m reasonably certain that it would be far less than what our representatives are doing.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Yeah, okay, that all makes sense. I agree that the politicians have been driven by an elite agenda. That’s why they get invited to the Bilderberger conferences. So the ongoing voter support for neoliberalism is the result.

                      Pragmatic acceptance of that reality doesn’t mean that those of us who don’t agree ought to stop trying to provide voters with a better option. Just means democracy (the system) is the problem, so politics (the game) has to be played more cleverly.

                      Which is why I came up with the notion of an alternative political movement. All political groups who organise to leverage the system operate at a higher level of influence than representative democracy. They function as opinion-leaders within the social ecosystem of politics. NGOs, PACs, institutes, unions, some of these lobby groups have been operating since the 19th century, mediating between govt & public. Fabian Society for Labour leverage, right?

                      As regards the compromise delusion, that happens as you described it, but only in the minds of those who are out-played. Tit for tat is a simple game that kids have learnt for yonks. Surprising when politicos get it wrong, eh? Psychology has to be used to explain why. It’s all about the nexus in which group psychodynamics plays out. The group belief system is effectively analogous to a monoculture in an ecosystem. Bad news. A clever player gets good at mediating the in-crowd/out-crowd interface. Stalin showed how that expertise produces a winner.

                      Anyway, as I’ve reported here a couple of times previously, the story of tit for tat was told by Robert Axelrod in The Evolution of Cooperation and I’ve mentioned how that became so influential amongst US foreign-policy makers in the eighties that it effectively brought about the end of the Cold War.

  3. Pat 4

    A wide ranging assessment that covers the multitude of factors and is well worth a read…..and something I suspect has been well canvassed by the RBNZ.


    It seems to me the growth model is over and in the absence of an alternative the preparations are being made to survive the initial fall-out…after that who knows.

  4. Morrissey 5

    DEATH BEFORE DISHONOUR!, or, “What does she have to fear?”

    Kangaroo court is in session….

    SQUEALER: For Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, this could be devastating. On a human level, I can emphasise with a person who has locked herself away from normal human contact for days. It’s bound to be depressing holing up in a couple of small rooms in a vain attempt to avoid justice. No wonder she couldn’t even look after her cat properly or, as is alleged, get around to washing herself. In the meantime, the world is sniggering at al-Qunun’s naivety.

    STUNNED MULLET: She’s a cunt. “Cleaning out the cat box is a crime against humanity!”

    JACKAL: OK this is one of those subjects that gets people going. I’m a lawyer, so let’s look at the allegations. The allegations are: she bleaches her hair, she is a hacker, she neglected an animal, she has poor personal hygiene. So any of these demonstrably proveable as being false? And why should she seek to suppress information provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

    BREEN: You think it’s amusing do you, Jackal?

    JACKAL: No I don’t. I have always had doubts about Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun and her heroine status. But, as I said, let’s analyse this story. Is it true that she is trying to stop the media from printing stories about her that have been verified by the trustworthy and ethical Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

    BREEN: What doubts were those? And what does it matter if she’s a heroine or not? What evidence are you aware of that supports those ludicrous fantasy charges concocted by the KSA and its media vassals?

    JACKAL: I have always had deep concerns about her role in the denigration of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I see nothing principled in her possible involvement in dishonorable conduct while in Thailand.

    CapnInsan0: That turgid little worm Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun!

    Richard: Shouldn’t she be demanding the release of all records regarding her pet care and personal grooming rather than demanding asylum?

    francesca: The kitty litter and personal hygiene bullshit is clearly designed to humiliate and taunt her. You guys make me sick.

    SQUEALER: I never knew al-Qunun was a smelly cat abuser until recently. It really matters. It really does. I’m being totally serious. I had no idea about her alleged personal hygiene issues until recently. I do vaguely recall the cat legal case, but I didn’t know she’d been found to have let the animal down. She’s isolated, alone, under pressure and now being laughed at. This cannot be good for her on a human level.

    ROSS: If she has been wrongly accused of a vile crime, that would make the accused the victim, surely?

    SQUEALER: I’ve served on juries. Did my civic duty to the best of my abilities.

    BREEN: Has Jackal expressed his amusement at the plight of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun yet? And if not, why not?

    JACKAL: Because I don’t know who they are?

    BREEN: You don’t know who SHE is. It’s one person, so you don’t use the pronoun “they”.

    JACKAL: I did not know if the person was a he or she until I googled her name so I chose to use “they”.

    SHEEP: “It’s one person, so you don’t use the pronoun ‘they’.” Do you really want to open that can of worms?

    RAT: Finally….some sense about this little bitch…..rather then the brown nosing sycophants who think this Saudi weasel is a victim………she needs to stop hiding and be a man.

    BREEN: A lot of unimaginative abuse there, mon ami—but nothing to indicate you have the slightest clue about this matter. Could you explain why she’s a “weasel” for wanting asylum?

    DOPEY: Here’s the list of that little bitch’s misdemeanours, allegedly. Put your coffee down before reading it. If it’s a spoof, it’s a goody.

    JACKAL: Wow …

    SHEEP: Well there it is .. “It is false and defamatory to suggest that Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun bleaches her hair.”

    ASSORTED ANIMALS: Ha ha ha ha ha!… Silly bitch!…. They wouldn’t be after her if she hadn’t done something!….


    • Brigid 5.1

      Thank you for your fantastic intelligence and eloquence Morrissey, and your skill at demonstrating the utter utter bullshit.
      Even though you’re not A PROGRAMMER (I assume)
      You’re a delight!!

      • Morrissey 5.1.1

        Thank you Brigid! No, I’m not a programmer—the headmaster has correctly bagged me as a “credulous dimwitted techno illiterate”.

        I like to think of myself more as a de-programmer. There is some disturbingly cult-like behaviour manifesting on this normally sane website, and it’s distressing to me. I am encouraged, however, by the presence of people like you and francesca. Just as the occasional sight of, say, Ralph Nader or Daniel Ellsberg on American television shows that there ARE decent, thoughtful people in the U.S., having you here is a sign that civilized and thoughtful people will not be intimidated into staying away.

        Please make sure you keep posting.

  5. francesca 6

    Julian Assange nominated for Nobel Peace prize by Mairead Maguire an Irish peace activist and all round good woman


    • Morrissey 6.1

      She’s next in line for the treatment.

    • alwyn 6.2

      Yeah, well….
      Among lots of other people who were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize we have had Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
      I think he is in suitable company.
      ie Totally unqualified.

      • francesca 6.2.1

        Well when it comes from you Alwyn, I’m sold!
        You’re aware that the Hitler nomination wasn’t serious?

        • Morrissey

          The Obama one was possibly a joke as well—but he got it. It was in anticipation of all the wonderful things he was going to do. Hope and change, that sort of thing.

      • Morrissey 6.2.2


        • alwyn

          Well you’ve demonstrated one thing.
          I needed 2 words when I classed Assange as “Totally unqualified”
          You’ve managed to do it in just one.
          “Idiot” seems to sum him up nicely.

  6. alwyn 7

    I see that Mr Shaw is devoting his time to trivia again.
    Instead of devoting his time and effort to the only real responsibility he has, he is picking out the new cars for Ministers.
    He should be devoting his efforts to getting a new Census held in 2021. The one last year was a total disaster but he sits around twiddling his thumbs and trying to pretend everything is fine and he doesn’t have to worry about the matter.
    He, and the Department, have already wasted 10 months when they could have been arranging the new, proper, Census.
    Get on with it!

    Instead I see that James is looking at new cars to carry him, and his fellow Greens, around in luxury while pretending they are doing good things for the world. As this article says.
    “Climate Change Minister James Shaw signalled in September he was looking into increasing the number of electric cars used by ministers as part of a wider policy push to get more people driving EVs.”

    I expect to hear his views on the sustainability f various leather for the seats shortly.
    Give it up James. Get on with the only really important thing you are responsible.

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      Churlish, Alwyn. “In total, 29 per cent of all ministerial vehicles – including Crown and self-drive cars are electric vehicles (EVs). That’s up from 2 per cent this time last year.”

      So why not give credit where it’s due? “Climate Change Minister James Shaw signalled in September he was looking into increasing the number of electric cars used by ministers as part of a wider policy push to get more people driving EVs.”

      It’s called leading by example, Alwyn. Remember how many years National’s leaders kept on failing at that? And still no sign they’ve learnt from the consequences of their failure.

      • alwyn 7.1.1

        Firstly he isn’t actually responsible for the purchase of vehicles.
        It comes under the overview of Chris Hipkins.

        Shaw’s only real responsibility for anything significant as a Minister is Statistics and in particular the Census.
        It was totally stuffed up under his watch and he has had his head in the sand ever since. He had 6 months in the job and he should have made damn sure that it was done properly. He didn’t and all his, and his Departments excuses, since and their blaming National are b*s.

        • veutoviper

          What a load of bullshit, alwyn.

          James Shaw became Minister of Statistics on 26 Oct 2018 – a total of only 132 days (4 1/2 months) before the 2018 Census was held on 6 March 2018.

          By the time he became Minister in Oct 2018, all policies, processes, procedures had been well set in concrete with very little if any ability to change anything.

          Planning for the 2018 Census began in 2013 after the last Census that year – when Maurice Willamson was still Minister of Statistics.

          First policy decisions on the 2018 Census were made in Feb 2014 by the Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee (EGI).

          In May 2014, Nicky Wagner (who took over as Minister of Statistics for five months May – Oct 2014) announced a new internet first model would transform how the 2018 census would be delivered and collected, and would increase the use of administrative data.

          Budget 2014 provided an initial $13.1 million of new operating funding in 2014/15 and $547,000 of new capital funds from the Future Investment Fund towards a modernised census to be held in 2018.

          In Oct 2014, Craig Foss became Minister of Statistics.

          In May 2015, public input into the 2018 Census via an online discussion forum was called for; as well as formal submissions from 18 May to 30 June 2015.

          In August 2015, Finance Minister Bill English and Statistics Minister Craig Foss announced a new New Zealand Data Futures Partnership, an independent group made up of members from the private, NGO, academic and public sectors, to champion the safe collection, use and sharing of government and business data. This included the 2018 Census. The members of this group were announced in Oct 2015, with Dame Diane Robertson (outgoing Auckland City Missioner) as Chair.

          On 1 July 2016, Foss announced the date for the 2018 Census as Tuesday, 6 March 2018, 613 days (ie 1 year 8 months) away.

          “For 2018, Statistics NZ is building new, responsive mobile versions of the census forms, along with tablet and desktop versions, to make it as easy as possible for all Kiwis to access and complete their forms.

          “We’re aiming for 70 per cent of forms to be completed online. This is an ambitious goal, doubling the 34 per cent achieved in 2013.

          “Collecting census data online means Statistics NZ can produce the census counts and other robust census-related information much, much faster.

          Paper forms will still be available for those who prefer them.”


          On 1 Dec 2016, Mark Mitchell replaced Foss as Minister of Statistics, but for four months only.

          On 24 April 2017, Scott Simpson replaced Mitchell as Minister of Statistics – for six months until 26 October 2017 when the new government was sworn in with James Shaw as Minister of Statistics.

          So the vast majority of the decisions, planning and setting in place of the processes and procedures were set in place under National;

          — over a period of over four years (2013 – 2017) – and

          — under the oversight of five National Ministers of Statistics – Williamson, Wagner, Foss, Mitchell and Simpson;

          compared to the four short months/132 days that Shaw was Minister of Statistics before the 2018 Census was held in March 2018.

          FYI – the above is a short summary of the Executive Summary to a paper I did for other purposes but which is not a public paper. I have links etc for every one of the above dates etc, but will not post them. If you want to check all of the above, go do your own searches.

          • patricia bremner

            Thanks Veutovipor, thank you for a detailed explanation. I hope Alwyn does you the courtesy of reading it.

          • alwyn

            Well yes, I have read it. I won’t ask why it was done and who was trying to cover their butt.
            However I would like to know answers to the following things.

            You quote Foss as announcing
            ““We’re aiming for 70 per cent of forms to be completed online. This is an ambitious goal, doubling the 34 per cent achieved in 2013.
            “Collecting census data online means Statistics NZ can produce the census counts and other robust census-related information much, much faster.
            Paper forms will still be available for those who prefer them.”
            Only 70% of the information was expected to be captured on-line. This was, I gather, exceeded. Thus when Foss at least released this things seemed to be on track.

            The problem was that there were no plans or people put in place to gather the information from the 30% of people who were NOT expected to fill it in on-line.
            It was surely possible to know, on the day after Census day, where no returns were provided and to have had people on the ground who would immediately start finding the people concerned.
            Why was this not done?
            When was the decision made not to have these backup people in place?
            Who made that decision and who was told about it?

            How many briefings were given to Shaw, and when did they take place?
            Was he advised of the risk to the integrity of the Census from the lack of follow-up staff, for the missing returns?
            What interest did he actually take in the Census. How much of his time did he spend on the only important thing he was responsible for?
            Why did he show so little interest that he skived off overseas to tour the Pacific and was not around on the day? On Census day there was a news repot from Samoa.

            “There’s been widespread criticism of the new digital collection system, with many people complaining they never received the code they need to fill in the online form. Mr Shaw spoke with our reporter Mei Heron in Samoa. He says he’s very confident everyone’s data will be collected.”

            Why did he say after Census day how well it had gone and how they would be able to fill in the “missing” data.
            Why have they not admitted, after another 10 months, that the Census was a shambles, that the data was largely useless and start planning to hold it again, and get back on the normal cycle with the Census being repeated in 2021?
            Why are the people responsible not being held accountable?

            Why has he not taken responsibility for the fiasco and why has he not resigned?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Firstly he isn’t actually responsible for the purchase of vehicles.

          I think you’ll find that it comes under his responsibility as Minister for Climate Change.

          Unlike RWNJs he can actually balance having multiple responsibilities.

          BTW, it was still National that got the census wrong. It’s all their responsibility.

        • Robert Guyton

          “It was totally stuffed up under his watch”
          You lose sympathy and credibility when you make witless claims, Alwyn.

          • alwyn

            Are you suggesting that either:

            1. He wasn’t the Minister on, and for about 5 months previously, the Minister?


            2. It all ran beautifully and it wasn’t stuffed up?

            I think that anyone with any sense at all would say it was stuffed up and it was on his watch AND no real attempt has been made to fix the problem and hold a proper Census in 2021.

            • alwyn

              ps. Sorry about the format of the comments, and in particular point 1.
              Editing seems to have vanished.

            • Robert Guyton

              I’m not suggesting, I’m stating that when you make such poorly conceived political statements as the one I quoted, you reveal yourself as insincere and lacking credibility as a commenter. The cure is simple; stop doing that; present better, credible comments; we know you can.

            • McFlock

              Just to be clear: You argue that the incoming minister should have identified the extent of any problem, reorganised the entire census process, and hired all the additional personnel within five months, and that failure to do so means that a better organised supplementary census needs to be urgently arranged in the next couple of years?

              Why aren’t you calling for it to be next month, or feb2020, if they’re so easy to sort out?

              • alwyn

                He simply needed to show some interest in the matter.
                Getting people to do the follow-up work was what was needed and that doesn’t take years to organise.

                • McFlock

                  So if it was such a debacle and the organisation so easy, why are you wanting to bring the next census forward only two years, instead of three or four? And why aren’t you blaming the ministers who failed to show an interest between Feb ’13 and Nov ’17?

                  • alwyn

                    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
                    Don’t trip over your white cane.

                    • McFlock

                      It’s a simple question. If the entire thing needs to be redone and can be completely reorganised in five months, why do you want to wait until 2021 for the next census? Shouldn’t you be complaining that we’re not having a proper census next month?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  What a load of BS.

                  You’re still acting as a standard Authoritarian Follower and defending the complete ballsup that your leaders caused. And that, really, is all you’re doing.

                  All the evidence is that it fully rests upon National and so you’re making lots of noise, talking BS, to try and distract from that fact.

                  Absolute perfect example of the RWNJs and their propensity to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

                  • alwyn

                    There are none so blind as those who will not see.
                    Don’t trip over your white cane.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Says the person trying to rewrite history so that it conforms to what he wants to believe while ignoring the truth.

                      National fucked up.

                      Deal with or fuck off.

                • KJT

                  Still flogging that dead horse, Alwyn.

                  Even National are aware they fucked up the last census.

  7. Booker 8

    I get an error on some pages on The Standard where the page loads, but is completely blank. It’s always happened every now and then but is currently happening on the pages “Russell Brands New Year Revolutions”, “Julian Assange and the Barbara Streisand Effect” and “Drug Testing at Music Festivals” – and also ironically on the Contact page, hence I thought I’d post it here as I can’t find the appropriate email address.

    I’m using an iPhone with the latest iOS, and it happens on both Safari and Chrome.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      The fact that it’s always happened intermittently indicates that it’s something else wrong. It’s not the site.

      I suggest searching for similar errors reported for your iphone model.

      • Booker 8.1.1

        Sorry when I said “every now and then” I meant it doesn’t happen on every article on The Standard but just some of them. Some articles just come up as blank pages. In the past I’ve ignored it as it’s only been the odd article, but now there’s 3 in the last few days. This only happens on The Standard so I’m afraid it’s a site issue, not my phone.

        • Draco T Bastard

          For it to be a site issue it would be happening to everybody. It’s not. It’s only happening to you.

          That makes it that the most probable issue is something on your phone interfering with your browsing of The Standard. Perhaps some sort of security software or maybe a virus or trojan.

          • Booker

            A site issue doesn’t mean it happens to everybody – it would be pretty obvious if no one could access these posts.

            I used to work in web design and maintenance. If it happens to one person chances are it happens to more who don’t report a problem because it’s not worth the effort.

            I suggest the site admins log it as a bug to look into; I can confirm it happens with the above pages in mobile view from iOS 12.1.2. When I request desktop view these pages can be accessed as per normal.

            • Fireblade

              I have the same problem Booker described. I’m using an Android Smartphone and Chrome.

          • Macro

            Yes. I am having the same problem and same pages on my phone. Android with latest updates. But its OK on my laptop mac book air. Which I’m connecting via my phone hotspot.

            • I feel love

              Same for me, I get a blank screen on some pages too.

                • Booker

                  No I get thestandard.org.nz showing in the address bar as fully loaded, but nothing at all in the browser window.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I had that happen and occasionally the page wouldn’t show as well. Sometimes the page would disappear altogether while I was reading it.

                    This issue appeared to be Firefox. It started happening after an update and stopped after another.

  8. Morrissey 9

    Good news, hopefully.

    So far it looks like the Grauniad has not been instructed to attack her.


    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      Unscientific: only 171 in the sample. Political polls use a thousand or thereabouts here to get the standard margin of error, so in the UK with a population fifteen times bigger the sample required is around 15000.

      “Our results demonstrate that physically weak males are more reluctant than physically strong males to assert their self-interest”. I suspect their next study will discover that if you drop something, it falls down.

      • alwyn 10.1.1

        “so in the UK with a population fifteen times bigger the sample required is around 15000”.

        Sorry Dennis but because you have a population 15 times as large doesn’t mean that the sample has to be larger to retain the same accuracy.
        If you think that 1,000 is enough in New Zealand it will be just as good in the UK.

        “The mathematics of probability prove that the size of the population is irrelevant unless the size of the sample exceeds a few percent of the total population you are examining. This means that a sample of 500 people is equally useful in examining the opinions of a state of 15,000,000 as it would a city of 100,000.”

        In neither case is your sample other than tiny compared to the population

        • Dennis Frank

          Well, I was applying the logic of proportionality. My vague recollection from 1969 suggests you are correct and if polling practice, as defined by accepted convention, is to use around a thousand in the UK, then I take your point. In any case, as you imply, the sample they used was way too small.

          I did pass the stats exam at Auckland University that year, but not by much. Mumbo jumbo was my verdict on statistics…

  9. Ed 11

    George Galloway providing his usual perceptive insight.
    This time into the yellow vest protests in France,
    As ever he nails it.


  10. Ed 12

    Solution 4 to prevent catastrophic climate change.

    Start in March.
    Tax meat heavily.

  11. Ed 13

    Classic Python humour that challenges the nonsense of modern day identity politics.
    The brilliant Rachel Stewart has faced the wrath of the Stans of this world.

    • That reminds me, are you still cool with Rachel’s racist abuse?

      • ropata 13.1.1

        I went cold on Rachel Stewart when she demanded that I pledge allegiance to the “gender critical feminist” movement – I am supportive but not gonna join a tribe. I declined and thus she called me a coward. So yeah I can believe racist abuse. She has an anger problem

        • te reo putake

          Yep. I’m not going to get over it in a hurry. First time I’ve copped anything like that since I lived in Oz and that was more generalized kiwi bashing. The odd thing here is that whenever Ed is challenged on an ethical issue involving a hero of his, he runs a mile. I’m not calling him a chicken, but I hope he doesn’t live too close to a Tegel factory 😉

    • solkta 13.2

      Well, The Life of Brian challenges the nonsense of modern day idiotic revolutionaries even more so. When you watch it do you mostly laugh at yourself?

      • Drowsy M. Kram 13.2.1

        I’d like to think that part of an editor’s job is to guide their contributors gently towards the light, not run full-tilt together holding hands, into the dark.” – Rachel Stewart (Nov. 2017: Media gorging on racist, sexist views)


        The Caped Crusader and ‘Boy’ Wonder strike again – Holy Venezuela, TRP!


      • mauī 13.2.2

        Ed does not need your snarky contributions.

        • solkta

          He made a snarky contribution and got one back. Perhaps he could amaze us all and actually watch The Life of Brian while doing some self reflection. I wouldn’t ask you to as i know you only watch trailers for movies.

  12. Jenny - How to get there? 14

    Right-hand batsman, Right-arm medium pace bowler, and Right-wing media commentator, Simon Doull, has pretty much excused himself from having any commentary role in the upcoming Bangladesh cricket tour.

    Simon Doull dismisses climate change as ‘rubbish’ in ODI cricket commentary
    Kevin Norquay – January 8, 2019

    The Unfolding Tragedy of Climate Change in Bangladesh
    Robert Glennon – Scientific American, April 21, 2017

    • Stunned mullet 14.1

      Cobblers, he should just stick to commentating on the cricket.

      I do miss Iain Galloway’s commentary.

      • millsy 14.1.1

        The standard of sports commentary has slipped over the past 15 to 20 years.

        • Morrissey

          It hasn’t merely slipped, it’s beyond terrible.

          Thank Radio Sport and Bill Francis for that.

      • Morrissey 14.1.2

        As barmy as Doull is, he’s Iain Galloway, Alan Richards, Richie Benaud and John Arlott compared to Ian “Smithy” Smith, who is without doubt the stupidest person in sports.

        • te reo putake

          I did interview Doull once. He was judge on a pub sponsored ‘worst student flat’ competition. Gave first prize to some morons who smeared excrement all over the house they lived in.

      • Dennis Frank 14.1.3

        A tad non-pc to use cobblers as a term of abuse, perhaps? I suspect some here would view them as respectable tradesmen. Although I suppose that, being self-employed, they were considered impossible to unionise, and thus middle-class.

        Fairly thin on the ground nowadays. However there was one still on Broadway, Newmarket, when I last cruised through a year or two back. And I noticed another in one of the regional towns more recently…

    • patricia bremner 14.2

      Simon Doull should stick to his knitting.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 14.3

      Simon Doull not the smartest boy on the block, he should just stick to cricket IMHO ?

    • Pat 14.4

      “Right-hand batsman, Right-arm medium pace bowler, and Right-wing media commentator, Simon Doull, has pretty much excused himself from having any commentary role in the upcoming Bangladesh cricket tour.”

      LMAO…now thats funny (unless you live in a low lying area of course)

  13. joe90 15

    Never go toe to toe with a foot fetishist.

    A foot fetishist discredited a Reddit post that falsely claimed to show a nude image of New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Vice reported.


    “I’m a contributor to wikifeet and even I have never seen a second toe like that!” Reddit user jokes_on_you commented on the image. The comment also included a link to an image showing the Congresswoman wearing sandals.


  14. Morrissey 16

    “Bugger – the grammar police are out.”
    —L. Prent, 6:05 pm, 8 January 2016
    Julian Assange and the Streisand Effect.

  15. CHCOff 17

    The best Brexit negotiating position would be with Labour via a support base mandate for a out of bounds agenda along with being pro to continuing with the EU.

    What would the EU do?

    Concessions, that would lead to more positive reform (& thus sustainability) on it’s own part, or internal heightened dis-integration relating to the high profile fall out in handling the British democracy demands.

  16. Obtrectator 18

    One reason (not that one needs any more … ) why I won’t be visiting the US of A again any time soon.

    How they might treat you if they think your documentation is iffy .

    • Morrissey 18.1

      Emma Brockes, who wrote that piece, was discredited fourteen years ago after she wrote a particularly foolish and ill-advised attack on, of all people, Noam Chomsky.

      It’s interesting that she’s still “working” for the Grauniad; it looks like this time at least she’s written something truthful. Still, the fact that she’s still “working” in journalism tells you a lot about the integrity and ethics of the British media.

      Another of her colleagues is the notorious Luke Harding, who has neither apologized for his lies against Julian Assange, nor suffered any consequences, as far as we know.


      • te reo putake 18.1.1

        Akcherly, old chum, there is little or no evidence either way on the Manafort story.

        Manafort denies it, of course. However, he hasn’t gone out of his way to disprove it, either. Which I would have thought would be a piece of piss (phone GPS, flights, hotels, taxi receipts etc.). If he simply wasn’t in London at the time, again, easy to prove. Of course, he may have been legitimately in the UK at the time, which might cloud the issue. I hear Salisbury is lovely that time of year.

        The other thing an expert on the media such as yourself should probably note is that the Guardian story is very, very careful not to make direct accusations (“the Guardian has been told …” etc.), so there are no “lies” in the piece at all. The Guardian’s legal team are no dummies.

        • Brigid

          Rather difficult to prove a negative don’t you think?

          • te reo putake

            True. But London is the most surveilled city in the world. CCTV everywhere. That embassy more watched more than most, too, I guess.

            And as I noted, Manafort can easily prove where he was, and wasn’t, at the time of the alleged visit. It’s a little odd that he isn’t actively trying to disprove the claim.

            However, it is just an unverified claim, and a bit vague about the details, so maybe he’s decided it’s just best ignored.

  17. Morrissey 19

    Uber driver pleads guilty to killing six people between rides
    Jason Dalton admitted that he shot eight people at three locations in and around Kalamazoo in 2016
    A.P., Jan. 7, 2019

    An Uber driver charged with killing six strangers in between picking up passengers pleaded guilty to murder in Michigan on Monday, just before attorneys were set to interview jurors for his trial.

    Jason Dalton’s surprise move came more than three years after the shootings, which occurred over the course of a few hours in and around Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Dalton abruptly pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder – over his attorney’s objections – triggering the prospect of a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole .

    “Yes, I’ve wanted this for quite a while,” Dalton replied when a judge asked if the pleas were voluntary.

    The 48-year-old Dalton answered “yes” to a series of questions, admitting that he shot eight people at three locations. After his arrest, police quoted Dalton as saying a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the day of the shootings.

    Four women were killed outside a Cracker Barrel restaurant. And a father and his 17-year-old son were fatally shot while looking at a pickup truck at a dealership.

    A 14-year-old girl was shot in the head during the restaurant shooting and survived, while an eighth person was injured in a residential area.

    Dalton had been deemed competent to stand trial and last week dropped an insanity defense. In court, he didn’t explain why he randomly shot eight people.

    Dalton, the father of two children, had worked as an insurance adjuster and had no previous criminal record before the shootings.

    Prosecutor Jeff Getting said the motive behind the shootings is a question that “haunts us.”

    “Everybody wants to know,” he said during a news conference after the court hearing.

    Defense attorney Eusebio Solis said he advised Dalton not to plead guilty. But he told the judge: “There are personal reasons for him. He does not want to put his family through that, or the victims’ families, through the trial. It’s his decision.”


    • Muttonbird 19.1

      Amazing. What is Uber’s vetting process? Do they even have a vetting process?

      • Grant 19.1.1

        Yeah pretty disturbing, but how do you vet for this kind of stuff? This guy probably seemed ok until he suddenly wasn’t.


        The real problem is the access to guns which allows disturbed or maladjusted people a quick and easy way of doing maximum damage.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The real problem is the access to guns which allows disturbed or maladjusted people a quick and easy way of doing maximum damage.

          That certainly doesn’t help but we need to ask what about the society he lives in caused this guy to suddenly go off the rails like this?

      • JohnSelway 19.1.2

        Could have just as easily been a taxi driver or a bus driver. I don’t think Uber is the problem here

        • Muttonbird

          He said a “devil figure” on Uber’s app was controlling him on the day of the shootings.

          I for one believe him.🙀

  18. joe90 20

    Economic anxiety

    • DJ Ward 20.1

      I think a person who wants to hurt people needs some help.

      • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1

        I pretty sure that she doesn’t mean going round hitting people. Just putting the old taxes back in place.

        • DJ Ward

          Yep. But people’s words reveal some psycological stuff behind the comment.

          I was hoping he would add more fairness to the tax system.
          Sounds better. Harder to argue against. Implies something will be improved rather than destroyed.

  19. Eco Maori 21

    Some Eco Maori Music for the minute.

  20. Eco Maori 22

    It’s all good with ECO MAORI Aotearoa is a much better place to live and work this year than it was last year. We had a government that put down tangata whenua O Atoearoa and all minority culture. They did not like helping our Pacific cousin and ran the country like a business for wealth people and businesses first and formost. And that type of policy is what has caused all the problems on Papatuanukue. We have goals to be carbon neutral that will help preserve Tanemahuta and Tangaroa,s creatures that we all have a link to for the Mokopunas Hopefully 2019 will be the start of a big change to the way we treat all humans as equals. Ka kite ano

  21. Eco Maori 23

    Kia ora Newshub it’s a puzzle why people do things like sending parcel to the embassy in Australia. I have been informed about the massive seed boom and the effects of pest numbers booming to and that phenomenon takes a big toll on our endangered wildlife. It’s shocking that those cricketers can play with Wahine like toys he deserves what he gets from the law hope the Wahine gets justice. I feel sorry for the lady who’s
    4 years old son climb up on the roof of her car while driving. My 4 years old grandson could break out of all his car seats and loved climbing.?????? Its not easy looking after children. Ka kite ano

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