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Open mike 08/01/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 8th, 2020 - 140 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 Policy).

Step up to the mike …

140 comments on “Open mike 08/01/2020 ”

  1. james 1

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2020/01/property-prices-largest-national-value-increase-in-years-auckland-dunedin-soaring.html

    I thought banning Chineese sounding named people buying houses was going to keep prices down?

    • Dennis Frank 1.1

      Well, silly you then. Supply & demand dictate the outcome – so when you get govts of the left & right flooding Aotearoa with immigrants for many years, you get more people than available houses. Stopping the Chinese influx was just the first step, and it happened years later than it ought to have. Politicians ignored the problem for as long as they could, until voters started to notice it.

      Given how thick voters are, that was always going to take years. So now the politicians want to cover all Ak's prime food-producing land with houses. We call this democracy in action. We could call it people-pollution.

    • The usual line – "Look! The coalition government's already been in power a couple of years and still hasn't fixed the problem National spent nine years aggravating! Who will save us from these incompetents? How about returning National to power? That would be the best solution, right?"

      • Climaction 1.2.1

        The problem is that the Government has done little to nothing. No one expects a full fix, but progress is a fair expectation wouldn't you agree?

        • Psycho Milt 1.2.1.1

          You mean, little to nothing apart from ending various aggravating factors National had allowed to continue, extending the bright-line test, changing rental laws, re-building the Housing ministry and emarking on a massive house-building programme that's currently seeing the most state houses being built since the 1970s? Sour grapes much?

          • gsays 1.2.1.1.1

            My grapes are ripe yet and I'm not eating them for at least another month….

            All that you said on one side of the equation, balanced with: refusing to implement a CGT, not altering the landlord subsidy and keeping the migration tap open.

            I notice you avoided bringing Kiwibuild into the discussion…

            • Psycho Milt 1.2.1.1.1.1

              So, they haven't been able to do every single thing you wanted, which in your mind equates to them having done "little to nothing." Everyone's entitled to their opinion.

              I didn't mention Kiwibuild because it's just one part of the house-building programme I mentioned. It's not a very successful part, which I suppose is why you raised it, but the government's programme still has thousands of houses being built every year, something we haven't seen for a long time. How is that "doing little to nothing?"

              • gsays

                They have done quite a few things that I am stoked about: moving minimum wage towards living wage, kept quiet during JLR vs Bennett/Bridges, led in an appropriately compassionate way following ChCh murders/ Whakaari, re-entry @ Pike River.

                My grizzle is what I mentioned (CGT, accom. supplement, migration) are what I expect from the other mob. Which, by the way, Labour have had three terms to plan how they could avoid the Kiwibuild 'mis-steps'.

                Next to nothing is far from my thinking.

                BTW, I meant my grapes aren't ripe.

          • Climaction 1.2.1.1.2

            No sour grapes from me. I own my own home. my lemon trees aren't liking the haze and lack of summer, but that's another issue.

            My issue is that we are continuously expected to just believe labours election promise that they will fix the housing crises, when all the metrics and evidence point to a complete lack of control of the situation by this government.

            How long do we keep having blind faith in this government because apparently the other lot are so bad?

            • Psycho Milt 1.2.1.1.2.1

              My issue is that we are continuously expected to just believe labours election promise that they will fix the housing crises…

              Did they promise to have this crisis that was 15 years in the making fixed within two years? That would have been very foolish of them, and it would have been very foolish of you to believe it if they had promised it.

              How long do we keep having blind faith in this government because apparently the other lot are so bad?

              Again, having blind faith would be foolish. The question is, which of the alternatives in front of this election has policies more likely to improve the housing situation, and which has policies more likely to degrade it further? If you'd prefer the situation to improve, then yes you'd better support this government because the other lot will degrade it further.

              • Climaction

                Do I A) want the housing crises to worsen slowly so that there is no end in sight or B) do I want to ride unchecked until it’s inevitable crash and hope the government of the day is brave enough to not give bailouts to the enabling parties?

                given a desire for either scenario, which major bloc do I vote for Milt? The answers aren’t there as no government of either colour is willing to admit they prefer the outcome of A as it kicks the can so far down the road it won’t be their problem.

                Classic Trump / Hillary problem at the moment with the majors. Who do I not want to vote for the least

                • weka

                  The Greens have interventionist housing policies.

                  • Climaction

                    Yet not the power to implement them. This is mmp, we have to think about power blocs.

                    • If people don't vote for them they don't have the power to implement their policies, no. You can help rectify that situation by voting for them.

                    • Climaction []

                      But they have been voted for, and they are in government. Yet the problems seem to be getting worse and not better.

                    • Jesus, this again. Bitching about a party with 8 MPs failing to dominate the legislative agenda just makes you look stupid. If you want to see more of their policies implemented, encourage more people to vote for them.

                    • Climaction []

                      not really how politics works is it though milt?

                      its getting boring listening to people defend a government 2/3 of the way through its term that is yet to achieve anything meaningful on housing, despite all the rhetoric. Are we supposed to just believe that it will all change for the better if we blindly vote for another term despite current performance?

                      your exasperation is misplaced. Tell the pollies, the voters are sick of being told they’re stupid for not blindly agreeing

                    • Climaction []

                      And where is labour on this? They had interventionist policies on housing too and between them and the greens they did have enough votes to dominate the legislative agenda.

                    • The Al1en

                      not really how politics works is it though

                      That's exactly how it works, that is, get more mps under mmp and you'll proportionally have more clout around a coalition table.

                      For example: 40 labour mps and 21 greens, will give you much more left of centre policy than what's offered currently.

                      30 labour seats and 31 greens would be totally different again.

                      What bit are you not getting?.

                    • Climaction []

                      The current government has how many mps? Enough to govern correct?

                      And how many promises did they make on housing? enough to get voted in.

                      Now voters get to choose whether those promises were kept

                    • The Al1en

                      And when you look at the make up of this government and find that nz fist have to be placated on some issues, things like the CGT don't get done, which is exactly why the flavour numbers of mps in a coalition matter. It’s not having a simple majority that really counts under mmp.

                    • not really how politics works is it though milt?

                      As The Al1en pointed out already, that's exactly how politics works. If not enough people vote for parties with the kind of policies you'd like to see, those policies don't get enacted.

                      its getting boring listening to people defend a government 2/3 of the way through its term that is yet to achieve anything meaningful on housing, despite all the rhetoric.

                      The achievements are substantial, especially when you take into account the scale of the problem and the fact the government is a coalition of three parties with sometimes-incompatible agendas. As mentioned already, if you want to see more progress, persuade more people to vote for the party with the policies you want to see enacted and discourage them from voting for parties that will only exacerbate the problem.

                    • …between [Labour] and the greens they did have enough votes to dominate the legislative agenda.

                      Between them they have 54 seats in a 120-seat Parliament. If you have some hitherto-unknown method of dominating the legislative agenda with a minority of the MPs, please do share it with them.

      • Robert Guyton 1.2.2

        ""Look! The coalition government's already been in power a couple of years and still hasn't fixed the problem National spent nine years aggravating! Who will save us from these incompetents? How about returning National to power? That would be the best solution, right?""

        Classic Jamesisms, nicely captured by Psycho Milt.

        • Climaction 1.2.2.1

          a classic guytonism, assuming that because isn't fixed entirely, that it's in hand and will be fixed if we have enough faith in his chosen cause

          • In Vino 1.2.2.1.1

            Classic Climaction – decrying others' faith, but showing none of his/her own.

            Pray tell us, Climaction – What should we all do in your depiction of our dire situation?

            • Climaction 1.2.2.1.1.1

              Break the Wesfarmers / fletchers building materials supply duopoly, create a nationally funded apprentice college network similar to the old polytechnics and insist that master tradesmen engage at a guild level for apprentices for master accreditation, remove council fees beyond processing costs on consents and therefore the gst on council fees.
              Now what do you suggest? Let me guess….kiwibuild reset?

              • In Vino

                No, strangely enough, I agree with your propositions in that area. Quite good ideas to my mind.

                We may be on the same side. The thing is that you appeared to be suggesting that we dump current Govt and vote National again.
                Voting National would never achieve what you propose, would it?

                • Climaction

                  No. I’m just not defending this governments behaviour on the premise that National were worse. It’s binary and allows this government to abdicate any responsibility for contributing to the mess

    • RedLogix 1.3

      Our over priced housing has multiple causes … all that's happened is one form of aggravation; hot Chinese money looking for a safe haven has been replaced by another aggravation … persistently low interest rates.

      And as Dennis says … high migration. One factor everyone likes to pretend won't happen, what happens if the Australian economy/climate tanks and around 500,000 passport holding kiwis with limited access to welfare over the ditch decide to come home? Lowish likelihood, but potentially a big impact.

      • tc 1.3.1

        Yes I've been wondering how much these recent few seasons will be prompting kiwis to rethink Oz. I was always eyeing Tassie as a plan B.

        I know many who are seriously considering it now their kids are self sufficient as living in those Ozzie cities is getting to be quite the grind.

      • Matiri 1.3.2

        There's also expats in the UK and Hong Kong looking for an escape from the political turmoil, plus Australians looking to escape the climate turmoil.

        There was an opinion piece at the weekend from a real estate agent salivating at the prospect. He described NZ as having a glowing future.
        https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/118569686/house-prices-will-continue-their-steady-growth-in-2020-but-lets-wait-and-see-about-this-election

      • Blazer 1.3.3

        Yes the low interest rates are the latest tool' to defy market realities.

        No Govt can withstand a large drop in property prices.

        Hopefully the Coalition or Labour alone, can prevail in the next election and really bring about some programmes to make the Kiwi dream affordable again.

        This steady as she goes term ,albeit with good intentions needs to transform into inspired action.

      • Graeme 1.3.4

        Add into the 500,000 plus New Zealand passport holders several million Australian passport holders who can reside, and buy property, in New Zealand and we could have an accomodation crisis of unimaginable proportions.

        • RedLogix 1.3.4.1

          I'm not convinced it's likely … but it's a risk we rarely discuss. Given that almost 25% of people ever born in NZ are now living overseas, we are remarkably exposed on this.

          The silver lining is that most ex-pats would return with some decent funds and much of it would go into building new housing.

      • Nic the NZer 1.3.5

        Low interest rates are not driving house prices to any extent, just as high interest rates didn't proclude house price rises prior to the GFC. The reserve bank could raise interest rates to the extent of collapsing the housing market but would at the same time cause mass defaults and probably a recession. This is not a valid policy for an institution charged with promoting financial stability.

        But directly there is no good reason to believe people are significantly trading off interest rates and prices when going into the housing market. The theoretical economic concept of a natural interest rate (for the central bank to target) is also known to be pretty dubious.

        • Herodotus 1.3.5.1

          The Reserve Bank is not there to "Fix" the current housing crisis. We were told during the election campaign that there this WAS an issue and that should we vote in Labour then this would be rectified. They had 9 years in Govt and 9 years in opposition to isolate the causes and implement fixes to these.

          To date there is no evidence that any changes made have halted this issue and that there are signs of the housing crisis abating. To continue with the immigration policy of increasing Kiwis by 55k p.a. does nothing but place increased pressure.

          and headlines like this "Rental squeeze: Easier to find a job in Wellington than a flat, says professional on $100,000 salary" does not give confidence that this crisis has been addressed, but has deteriorated.

          Are any current or future govts just hoping that the Market Will correct of that there is a recession 🤢??

          https://www.interest.co.nz/property/103058/people-arriving-nz-work-and-long-term-visitor-visas-record-highs-12-months-october

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12298132

        • Blazer 1.3.5.2

          Does the inherent contradiction in your post escape you.

          Look at house prices pre 2008 and now!

          A 400k house @ 8% ,vs an 800k house @ 4%.

          Savers have been getting their heads kicked in and RE has a reputation as an appreciating asset and the best 'bank' for funds compared to anything.

          Interest rates and exchange rates are an artificial construct and do not reflect any supposed 'market' forces.

          • Nic the NZer 1.3.5.2.1

            "Does the inherent contradiction in your post escape you.

            Look at house prices pre 2008 and now!"

            A quick look at the RBNZ house price index should demonstrate to you that house prices were rising faster prior to 2008 than since.

            https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key-graphs/key-graph-house-price-values

            • Blazer 1.3.5.2.1.1

              The % rate of increase is not the point.

              The total cost is.

              When historical house price to income ratios are compared with those today,there is an imbalance of concern.

              Scrutiny of the sub prime fiasco in the U.S will reveal the frenzy of loan originators to peddle mortgages to anyone with a pulse.

              (There was a corresponding increase in supply in the U.S too and non recourse.)

              Whilst that has not happened to the same extent here,one feature is very evident and that is ,existing home owners have been increasing borrowing leverage ,ie the wealth effect.

              The extension of the brightline test to 5 years appears to have stymied flipping and the foreign buyer rules are having effect. (screaming in Queenstown).

              Orr is correct in increasing the banks cap ratios.

              People should expect a correlation between house prices and wages and C.P.I

              It is no wonder property is excluded from inflation assessments,it would blow them to kingdom come.

              $650,000 homes are not affordable homes.

              When the rubber hits the road(*recession)people will look to the Govt for a bail out,that's for sure.

              • Nic the NZer

                We are clearly on different dimensions regarding the meaning of facts and logic. I am sticking to my conclusion that the rate of house price inflation can be measured as the percentage rate of those prices increasing.

                • Blazer

                  So whats the primary cause of interest rate fluctuations for mortgages?

                  As far as facts and logic go….'there is no good reason to believe people are significantly trading off interest rates and prices when going into the housing market. '

                  In your world cost and affordability are not aligned.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    The most important factor in setting market interest rates appears to be the OCR. Eg its the interest rate the reserve bank wants. But obviously the reserve bank policy doesn't fluctuate much (and I don't see why that is a relevant thing here).

                    In the real world cost and affordability are not well aligned. Cost is related to the house price but affordability is a question of income which in a lot of cases doesn't even come from the asset or in other cases is a positive function of asset price appreciation. People buying into the housing market (esp for profit) seem mostly interested in which areas are going to appreciate next, not what the going interest rates are.

                    • Blazer

                      Interesting given conventional wisdom…

                      'For example, the Reserve Bank would tend to increase the OCR in response to an increase in inflation pressure. The rise in the OCR would tend to flow through to higher bank interest rates, which would offset the pressure by shifting preferences from consumption to saving, because the cost of borrowing has increased, and the return from savings is also higher. This translates into a lower demand for consumption and investment goods, easing the inflation pressure in the economy. When the OCR is raised, it also results in an appreciation of the New Zealand dollar because the demand for New Zealand interest-earning investments increases. As the demand for the New Zealand dollar increases, the value of the dollar appreciates. The higher dollar dampens exports and increases the demand for the relatively cheaper imports, also lowering demand and thus the inflation pressures.'

                      As far as property inflation goes ,it has been rampant for years and the opposite to the above is being implemented.

                    • Nic the NZer []

                      Sure, but you know that this conventional wisdom is wrong. This is because there is no such market for savings vs borrowing to trade off in. I have observed in your comments that you know that market doesn't exist because banks originate the funds during the lending process (eg nobody loses access to there savings when a new loan is created so the described trade off doesnt occur).

                  • pat

                    @ Blazer

                    The inflation measure is the CPI and house prices are only nominally measured within the CPI (building cost increases excluding land) …existing housing asset (bubbles) dont form part of the CPI, some may say conveniently

        • RedLogix 1.3.5.3

          Nic. You always make challenging replies. You are right that interest rates by themselves are not a direct predictor of house prices … but the ability to service a loan is. We are in quite a different position prior to the GFC, mortgages were typically small enough that interest rates in the 7-9% range could be tolerated.

          But now with many households with over $500k of debt, or a lot more, they're a much more sensitive to even quite small interest rate rises.

          This is an effect Steven Keen wrote a fair bit on, in the big picture Debt to GDP ratio was a critical parameter most economists didn't place enough importance on at the time. He's been proven right and we see a lot more attention on it now.

          • Nic the NZer 1.3.5.3.1

            I saw what appears a quite enlightening comment by Warren Mosler recently. He describes the inflation process as a price setting mechanism occuring when new (higher) prices are accepted by the institution making payment.

            That suggests that commercial banks have been driving house prices with the change to lower equity loans, which the reserve bank has had some influence on. The US had a significant issue with property valuers over valueing properties (at the behest of banks) and this also supports house price inflation.

            I don't actually see it as a housing market issue however. Overall the government has not been as accomodating of public sector wages (same mechanism as Mosler describes, govt chooses what to pay public sector) and the shift to monetary policy has squeezed private sector wages for many as well. Its no wonder that housing costs are well above incomes after 20+ years of this pressure. The only surprising thing is that so many people expect a natural and automatic balance to exist between housing and other prices (including wages).

            I had already identified during the last election that Labours Kiwi build policy could not 'fix' house prices and was at most hopeful that public sector housing stock would be built. Looking at the housing market as supply and demand driven will never suggest a workable solution to house prices. Asset markets are not remotely amenable to that because asset inflation generates passive income at the same time it adds cost to new market entrants.

            • RedLogix 1.3.5.3.1.1

              Good points; that all makes sense. Any chance of a link to Warren Mosler please?

              • Nic the NZer

                http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=44010

                Its about a 26 minute video i think.

                • RedLogix

                  Ta.

                  I see Keen and Mosler have an interesting looking video on YT @ Real Progressives.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    I think I found and watched this discussion (June 2018).

                    At a later stage Mosler makes the same claim that a permanent zero interest rate central bank policy is not inflationary.

                    I thought Keen was a bit off in his disagreements there. But its probably relevant to understand that a trade surplus makes domestic policy easier to implement.

            • pat 1.3.5.3.1.2

              but that asset price MUST remain serviceable…. otherwise mass default a la GFC subprime mortgages. And the banks (including central) set the rates and create the lending with one eye on that at all times to their maximum perceived benefit…..and we all hope their judgement is not found wanting (again)

              • pat

                I make the distinction between the individual and the systemic…banks (including central) are unconcerned with the individual

          • Nic the NZer 1.3.5.3.2

            Also, I don't see the argument that interest rates of 7-9% were tolerable as saying anything meaningful. The model is not, the Reserve Bank sets interest rates as high as may be tolerated. The model is something like, the Reserve Bank sets an interest rate to bring inflation rate towards the target.

            The (small) problems being that monetary policy has neglegible impact on inflation anyway and some key prices (wages and housing) are adjusting relatively to each other in problematic ways.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Socialism as yet undead: "Spain's caretaker socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has narrowly won a confidence vote in parliament, enabling him to govern in coalition with far-left Podemos." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51019358

    "The dramatic open vote, by a simple majority of MPs, went 167 to 165 in his favour. Abstentions by Catalan and Basque MPs played a critical role. He will now form a minority government. It will be Spain's first coalition government since democracy was restored in 1978, after the Franco dictatorship."

    Can socialists do consensus politics? This will be the test. "The new coalition plans to raise income taxes for those who earn more than €130,000 (£111,000; $145,000) annually. They also plan to reverse some labour market reforms passed by the previous conservative government, which made it easier and less expensive to fire workers."

    "PSOE spokeswoman Adriana Lastra accused right-wing MPs of "bullying"." Combining complaint with virtue-signalling in a single word. "She said MP Tomás Guitarte of the small Teruel Existe party had suffered so much pressure that he concealed his whereabouts out of fear. She said he had received more than 8,000 emails urging him to vote "no" instead of "yes"." If 8000 emails arrived in your inbox one day would you run & hide?? Nah, get tough, don't wilt under pressure.

    "The ERC decision came after Mr Sánchez agreed to open a formal dialogue on the future of Catalonia, if confirmed as prime minister, and to then submit the dialogue's conclusions to Catalan voters. The Catalan separatists' drive for independence overshadows Spanish politics, with the conservative and far-right opposition parties bitterly opposed to it. Mr Sánchez said he wanted to free Spanish politics of its "toxic atmosphere". He said dialogue was necessary to "overcome the territorial disputes, always in line with the constitution". The PSOE opposes granting Catalans a legal independence referendum, while recognising that both Catalonia and the Basque Country are nations within Spain, and not just regions. The Catalans and Basques already have a large degree of autonomy."

    Another Catalan vote seems sensible. If he can design a compromise between enhanced autonomy & independence, and Catalans vote to support it, he will have proven his expertise – and socialism will get some regeneration via consensus politics.

  3. ScottGN 3

    So the Asia Editor of the Financial Times can’t help wondering what on earth Simon Bridges might have to say to the Head of China’s secret police?

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/118419927/national-mp-jian-yang-organised-simon-bridges-controversial-china-trip-emails-show

    • bwaghorn 3.1

      simon would have had fuck all to say ,he was their to listen would be my guess

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Simon would have received a silky treatment to smoothen the path. He wouldn’t have to say much because, unlike Simon, they are masters in reading body language and would have read him like an open book. They saw him coming all the way from New Zealand.

    • gsays 3.2

      From the horses mouth (or at least their twittering): "to discuss the many areas our countries have in common and how we can strengthen ties."

      As its the CCP secret police, I assume the ties are cable ties used on interviewees.

  4. Dennis Frank 5

    Greens defence spokesperson: "I think that is a good place for New Zealand to be, that we stand as a principled voice on the international stage and we do call out our allies". https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/406869/new-zealand-should-be-a-principled-voice-as-us-iran-tensions-rise-golriz-ghahraman-says

    The relevant principle being non-alignment. Being allied tends to look like non-conformity to the principle, huh? I don't see our help with peace-keeping overseas as making us allies with whatever else country is likewise helping. However, as regards being in the arena when the yanks launch attack drones, perception that we are allied with them could indeed be a problem.

    I hope the Greens can get the coalition to see that. Golriz seems to have issued an appropriate message, muted and politic, well done. Now Iraq has called for us to head for the exit, let's do that asap.

  5. Anne 6

    Thanks Wayne. It needed to be said and a former Defence Minister with Foreign Affairs credentials was the right person to start the ball rolling:

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/406882/like-throwing-a-match-on-tinder-paper-wayne-mapp-on-us-iran-tensions

    But the time is rapidly coming when political leaders and former political leaders need to start sheeting home scathing criticisms directly to the persons responsible ie. Donald Trump and his inner sanctum heavies.

    At the moment they act like they are treading oven broken egg shells. All that does is provide the Chump with further evidence he can get away with anything he likes.

  6. Chris 7

    'It's too expensive for us to allow you to stay here so we have to make sure you leave.'

    Good on you, Lees-Galloway, good on you.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/118630641/brain-tumour-survivor-to-be-deported-to-the-philippines-over-medical-costs

    • James Thrace 7.1

      This has shades of Lianne Dalziel circa 2002 all over it.

      Iirc, Dalziel as Minister of Immigration about that time, sent back to Sri Lanka a young child whose parents were resident, but not citizens, and the child was neither? I could be wrong (probably am) but Lees-Galloway's decision here seems similar.

      Labour ministers never seem to have a good record in the immigration portfolio.

  7. Dennis Frank 8

    Prior to new year's eve, BBC reported Putin "thanked US counterpart Donald Trump for intelligence that helped foil "acts of terrorism" on Russian soil, according to a Kremlin statement. Mr Putin and Mr Trump spoke on the phone on Sunday, it said. The Kremlin said the information came via intelligence services, but it provided no further details."

    "Russian media is reporting the discovery of a plot to attack St Petersburg over the new year period. Tass news agency says two Russian nationals have been arrested and plans to attack a mass gathering were seized, according to a spokesperson from the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50941754

    It would have been sensible for Trump to have sussed out how Putin felt about his option of taking out the Iranian general, during their discussion. However Trump is rarely sensible, and the option may have come up fast due to being sourced in observation – secret travel arrangements usually don't forewarn opponents.

    "In December 2017, Mr Putin thanked Mr Trump for another warning from US intelligence agencies, which again apparently prevented a terrorist plot in St Petersburg, according to a White House account. During that call, the Kremlin said Mr Putin had promised to reciprocate with information about terrorist threats to the United States."

    Never discount the value of a verbal contract between top leaders in geopolitics, however conditional they may be. I suspect the two have a reasonable understanding on a personal level. It's a question of how destabilising Putin feels the assassination actually is.

    "The German chancellor will travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin this coming Saturday. The pair plan to discuss the Iran escalation as well as the conflicts in Ukraine, Libya and Syria." https://www.dw.com/en/putin-invites-merkel-to-russia-over-iran-crisis/a-51900382

    Looks like Putin is being sensible in getting an impartial perspective from the German leader, to avoid the knee-jerk response and optimise his options.

  8. Dennis Frank 9

    Trump spins on a dime. Here's his framing of the u-turn: "Mr Trump said that "according to various laws" the US should not target these cultural sites. "You know what, if that's what the law is, I like to obey the law," he said." https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51027619

    Notice the subtle caveat. Guiliani or someone gives him views on which laws it might be a good idea to obey, or when it may be timely to create that impression in the public mind.

  9. Dennis Frank 10

    "The ruling national executive committee (NEC) will meet on Monday to decide the timetable for electing Jeremy Corbyn’s successor, who can have a vote and how much they should pay to do so." https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-leadership-election-rebecca-long-bailey-kier-starmer-jess-phillips-a9271196.html

    Voters rejected Corbyn's socialism, so the Labour mandarins feel they must swing back to market forces and are waving an olive branch at the Blairites?

    They could go further. Tell the people that selling the right to vote to the highest bidder is a damn good idea. Have an auction. Middle class wannabes would love it. Get Simon Cowell to stage the thing for primetime tv – suddenly Labour would seem trendy to a huge swathe of voters. 🙄

    • sumsuch 10.1

      I paid $5 to vote for Andrew Little as Labour leader. All cobwebs as regards social democracy in that party but present pricks, tho' more sellable, are worse. I hear the party in Britain is now firmly Corbynist in membership, and up the echelons a bit. Which is what I desired from and desire from Corbyn and Sanders respectively.

  10. adam 11

    Sometimes you have to wonder how much the loony Christian fundamentalism within the US government want to see the world burn. Dick Cheney, being the one who opened the door.

    Video is 25 minutes long, and good view from a former staffer in the Bush Presidency.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVWmmVhS0uc&ab_channel=TheGrayzone

  11. Fireblade 12

    Aljazeera TV have just reported that multiple Iranian missiles have hit a U.S. airbase in Iraq.

    • Dennis Frank 12.1

      "The Pentagon said Iran fired more than a dozen missiles. "It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil," Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said in a statement." https://edition.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/us-iran-soleimani-tensions-intl-01-07-20/index.html

      If Pompeo wasn't killed, Iran has failed to achieve parity. Mullahs failing to respond severely, after declaring they would, are likely to lose credibility in the opinions of their followers. Will the govt of Iraq declare war on Iran? An unprovoked attack on two of their bases merits the traditional response. Having told all foreigners to get out, these tough guys are dead keen to go it alone. Or maybe not…

      • Sanctuary 12.1.1

        What a puerile, childish and idiotic comment. The Iraqi government is powerless.

        The two bases hit are effectively US territory, and they are unequivocally major US military installations being unequivocally attacked by the military of Iran.

        The Greek chorus of Trumpian chumps who made light on this site of the assassination of Qassem Suleimani completely failed to grasp that by carrying out that killing the United States effectively declared war on Iran. No nation can sit back and allow another to assassinate it's top leaders with impunity. Iran is now taking the US at it's word and has struck back.

        To make it clear – by any reasonable standard of international behaviour a state of war has existed between Iran and the United States since the 3rd of January 2020.

        What the fuck did the US administration think Iran would do after that assassination?

        • RedLogix 12.1.1.1

          Iran and the US have been in a state of conflict for a very long time … while it's true the Trump pushed events over an important threshold in the past week … none of this happened in a vacuum.

          The theocratic thugs who run the Iranian regime are not nice innocent people, any more than any of the other cynical bastards tangled up in this.

        • Dennis Frank 12.1.1.2

          Get a grip, lad. If they were US bases CNN would have described them as such. Or are you trying to subtly imply CNN journalists can't even get such elementary facts right??

          How adequate the response from Iran has been remains to be seen from casualty figures. My point was re the court of public opinion in Iran. Loss of their top military commander, weighed in the balance against how many US soldiers?

          Most people would view that as an ineffective response regardless. Think of it as a chess move: lose a Queen and retaliate by taking a few pawns. Doesn't rate.

          • Sanctuary 12.1.1.2.1

            I think you are an uninformed idiot.

            • weka 12.1.1.2.1.1

              Hey Sanctuary, in the interests of not increasing people's stress, can you please tone down the pejoratives? It's fine to point to perceived ignorance in comments with some analysis, but once you start aiming that at people and name calling, it becomes a problem for moderators.

              • Sanctuary

                I hear you, but at the same time if someone writes six plus posts of 600 odd words and then reveals he isn't even aware of what bases the US has in Iraq…

                Well, being called an idiot I would have thought is as polite a reply as one should expect.

                • weka

                  I bite my tongue on the internet all the time 😉 The choices we make about what we write after reacting are what determine whether a shit fight breaks out (and then whether the mods get involved).

                  Think of it as practice for election year.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    I admit I was teasing him. But since he didn't tell the truth (refer to joint bases) tweaking his tail was fair enough, eh?

                    The point being that the rockets were an offensive action against both countries – Iraq and USA. I get why leftists are addicted to demonising the USA. Spent much of my life feeling that way too! But political commentary is more effective when based on fact rather than misrepresentation.

                    • weka

                      "I admit I was teasing him. But since he didn't tell the truth (refer to joint bases) tweaking his tail was fair enough, eh?"

                      No idea. I'm not reading much of the commentary on this, just enough to keep an eye on moderation and what might be developing. My main point here would be that tensions are high enough without us winding each other up 🙂 Where that line lies is on all of us.

                    • lprent

                      The point being that the rockets were an offensive action against both countries – Iraq and USA.

                      Just as the US drone strike in the Iraqi airport was a offensive action against both Iraq and Iran. Looks to me like a proportionate response bearing in mind that the drone didn’t give radar warnings of have to go through have to go through anti-missile defenses.

          • Incognito 12.1.1.2.2

            Who are those “most people”, Dennis? Where are they, mostly? In Iran, by any chance?

            • Dennis Frank 12.1.1.2.2.1

              Most people understand tit for tat. It's even in the Bible (`an eye for an eye'). But, as I pointed out in 12.1, re the effect on the credibility of the mullahs, those that count are in Iran.

              The reason Sanctuary is doing his hysterical thing is that the truth hurts, so folks get emotional. Once the feelings subside, a cooler clearer appraisal becomes possible…

              • Incognito

                I think a “cooler clearer appraisal” might not apply to “most people” in Iran now. I think the Kiwis in Iraq might also have slightly heightened emotions.

  12. Incognito 13

    Attention Jenny: noting a Moderation note is not sufficient. You need to respond to it in a way that shows that you understand and accept your moderation otherwise we’ll just go around in circles, which will lead to a lengthy ban.

    Until I’ve seen a satisfactory response from you, you can stop posting comments because they will automatically end up in Trash and I have no means to restore them retrospectively (and this would take up more of my precious time).

  13. Incognito 14

    Attention Ross: Please stop ‘testing’ because it won’t get you anywhere until you respond to the latest Moderation note that was left for you to respond to and satisfy the Moderator.

  14. Ross 15

    Test

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • In Vino 15.1

      Test reply to Test.

      See? More than one of us can waste screenspace.

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        But only one of you is in Moderation 😉

        • The Al1en 15.1.1.1

          I only test when the reply button goes walkabout. Submitting a comment returns the reply option, and then I delete the test message (unless this sticky mouse button posts two entries, as it sometimes does, then only one test entry permits editing).

          • Incognito 15.1.1.1.1

            I know you do 😉

            Refreshing the browser sometimes helps.

            • The Al1en 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Nah, tried all options, including deleting browser data, ccleaning, purging, fasting and praying to the aliens. Only thing that fixes it (for me) is to make a test post.

              Sorry for the troublesome desk rodent when it plays up, though. I should pick up a new key/mouse set at some stage, but at least the reason for my tests are out there now. lol

  15. Sabine 16

    A friend of mine lifes in Arkansas,

    she send this text

    "And it begins.

    BREAKING: Iran launches missile attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, according to Iranian state media
    Al Asad air base in western Iraq, which houses U.S. troops, was hit by at least six rockets, according to a U.S. defense official. The White House said it was aware of reports of attacks on American facilities in Iraq and that President Trump is monitoring the situation and consulting with his national security team."

    • Fireblade 16.1

      Aljazeera TV are reporting at least two U.S. airbases have been hit and another wave of Iranian missiles have been launched.

    • joe90 16.2

    • Fireblade 16.3

    • joe90 16.4

      Of course it's going cost us.

      • weka 16.4.1

        oil price increases are a useful thing.

        • Poission 16.4.1.1

          and interest rates?

          • weka 16.4.1.1.1

            you'd need to be more specific.

            • Poission 16.4.1.1.1.1

              shares fall,oil and gold and interest rates tend to move upwards.

              • weka

                could be useful too. Consumption is the big driver of CC. The problem for NZ is that we choose not to protect vulnerable people. It won't hurt the middle classes to tighten their belts, but I wish they'd learn to share more.

              • pat

                on the contrary…if oil increases it will impact 'growth' and the expected reaction would be an interest rate cut to offset (if there were room to cut) the reduced economic activity

                • Poission

                  Depends what it does to inflation for the rbnz to cut.if there are pricing signals of an increase the rbnz wont cut.

                  Internal food costs are sensitive to transport (and a poor growing season at present due to colder weather) impacts the poor firstly on a day to day basis.

                  • pat

                    RBNZ has 'looked through' potential inflationary spikes for years now….any inflationary impact is likely to be temporary, remembering that fuel prices typically fluctuate through quite a wide range for various reasons….however as said the likely impact on interest rates (if any) would be expected to be down rather than up

  16. Sanctuary 17

    The reckless actions of Trump has given Iran a casus belli to act in self defence. They are acting on that. So it begins.

    • Peter 17.1

      Lucky Trump's actions were triggered by something irrelevant, something that doesn't mean anything to him – impeachment – an illegal action of course and without any evidence. (he reckons.)

      Imagine how crazy he'd have gone if he was more personally challenged like his tax and financial records facing the usual open scrutiny and ensuing legal challenges. The claimant of the biggest dick being found to need a magnifying glass to be identified would have really set him off.

      [Be careful typing your user name correctly, thanks]

  17. Sanctuary 18

    The Iranians have made no attempt to hide their direct attack on US forces in Iraq. This is a state action, a response to what was basically a US declaration of war on them. The only hope now for peace is for Trump to panic and chicken out. I really hope Trump doesn't think this is a good war to help his re-election bid. A US president who loses a war won't be popular.

    • Sabine 18.1

      someone needs to turn of this tv and the fox propaganda war. Cause literally Fox and Friends is giving him tips on whom to bomb next.

  18. Exkiwiforces 19

    Shit Taji is where the ANZAC training team is atm, I hope Jandal’s tells Ronnie to get the troop asap and thank **** I’m no longer in the Forces and if they do ask me back to the colours it will be a f*** off sunshine etc as I’m not fighting for dumps silly little war / WW3 the Yanks started it so let them finish it without us.

    All we need is Rocket man to throw something at Dump and Putin to do something in the Baltic, come to think I’ve read a novel by someone on this same scenario where a war kicks off in the Sandpit and rest fall like dominos.

  19. Exkiwiforces 20

    Poission, I’m not too worried about the Russians in Syria as they have in Syria since late 50’s to early 60’s from memory. But it’s Baltic States that are the weak link to NATO and to EU, if I were a betting man that where I think Putin will strike nexts therefore splitting the western alliance/ economy.

  20. Peter 22

    Just watching Trump's son rabbiting on about great his father is. He hasn't said he agrees so much about sorting the Middle East out that he's putting his hand up to go there and help. Funny that.

  21. sumsuch 23

    Last time I was at Kiwiblog they had a regular 400 odd commenters. Versus Left blogs with a quarter of that. 'Kommon Zense' as per talkback radio? Appealing to know-nothingers with a near body to kick apparently beats reason, balance, Ballance, Savage and the whole of our corner of knowledge.

  22. Eco maori 24

    It's very hard to denie climate change global warming and Sealevels rising is our reality. All the intelligence people must keep up the Mana mahi and champion a clean and Green future for all of our mokopuna.

    The 2010s were almost certainly the hottest decade on record — and it showed. The world burned, melted and flooded. Heat waves smashed temperature records around the globe. Glaciers lost ice at accelerating rates. Sea levels continued to swell.

    At the same time, scientists have diligently worked to untangle the chaos of a rapidly warming planet.

    In the past decade, scientists substantially improved their ability to draw connections between climate change and extreme weather events. They made breakthroughs in their understanding of ice sheets. They raised critical questions about the implications of Arctic warming. They honed their predictions about future climate change

    The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, with temperatures rising at least twice as fast as the global average.

    places like the United States, Europe and parts of Asia — for instance, a link between shrinking sea ice and cold winters in Siberia, or Arctic heat waves and extreme winter weather in the United States.

    The trouble is models have a hard time capturing the causes driving these connections.

    "No one argues that the Arctic meltdown will affect weather patterns, the question is exactly how," said Arctic climate expert Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Woods Hole Research Center. "So figuring out what's not right in the models will be a major focus. Without realistic models, it's hard to use them to separate Arctic influences from other possible factors."

    Resolving the debate will require "a combination of data and modeling," according to NASA climatologist Claire Parkinson. Many scientists are already hard at work on this issue.

    One ongoing project known as the Polar Amplification Model Intercomparison Project is conducting a series of coordinated model experiments, all using the same standard methods, to investigate the Arctic climate and its connections to the rest of the globe. Experts say these kinds of projects may help explain why modeling studies conducted by different groups with different methods don't always get the same results.

    At the same time, improving the way that physical processes are represented in Arctic climate models is also essential, according to Xiangdong Zhang, an Arctic and atmospheric scientist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

    Outside that debate, there are still big questions about the Arctic climate to resolve. Scientists know the Arctic is heating up at breakneck speed — but they're still investigating all the reasons why.

    Researchers believe a combination of feedback processes are probably at play. Sea ice and snow help reflect sunlight away from the Earth. As they melt away, they allow more heat to reach the surface, warming the local climate and causing even more melting to occur.

    One key question for the coming decade, Zhang said in an email, is "what relative role each of the physical processes plays and how these processes work together" to drive the accelerating warming.

    Unraveling these feedbacks will help scientists better predict how fast the Arctic will warm in the future, according to Francis — and how quickly they should expect its consequences to occur. They include vanishing sea ice, thawing permafrost and melting on the Greenland ice sheet

    Sea-level rise is one of the most serious consequences of climate change, with the potential to displace millions of people in coastal areas around the world.

    Ka kite Ano link below.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/these-are-the-biggest-climate-questions-for-the-new-decade/

  23. Eco maori 25

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    It is not on that a student can be left dead in a room unnoticed for that long there needs to be checks on students.

    That's good that the Hawke's Bay health board change the move to stop home help for 600 elderly people.

    Ka kite Ano.

  24. Eco maori 26

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Someone in Watties had a brain fart thinking it is OK to belittle Te reo Maori for putea.

    I read that some one passed on Maunga Tongariro Condolences to Te Whanau.

    Great to see more Tangata Whenua doctors and nurses graduates.

    Golf is a good game for tangata to play and make a mahi out of the sport.

    Ka kite Ano

  25. Eco maori 27

    Looks like the sis sandflys have finished their new year holiday they were swarming again today.

  26. Eco maori 28

    There are many old technologically advanced societies around the world that have vanished. They have built structures that our modern society can not duplicate even with all our modern technology.???? So what caused the collapse of these old civilisation the same thing that is causing our world problems man taking mother nature for granted. Climate change and global warming sea level rising. Our scientists have waved a red flag for 40 years. The wealthiest people choose to ignore their warnings and worse they use their money to distort the reality of common people who some they know will be easily manipulated into believing there lies giving them power and in reality putting there own mokopuna in the jeopardy Wake up.

    The environment in 2050: flooded cities, forced migration – and the Amazon turning to savannah

    Unless we focus on shared solutions, violent storms and devastating blazes could be the least of the world’s troubles. Civilisation itself will be at risk

    Good morning. Here is the shipping forecast for midday, 21 June, 2050. Seas will be rough, with violent storms and visibility ranging from poor to very poor for the next 24 hours. The outlook for tomorrow is less fair.”

    All being well, this could be a weather bulletin released by the Met Office and broadcast by the BBC in the middle of this century. Destructive gales may not sound like good news, but they will be among the least of the world’s problems in the coming era of peak climate turbulence. With social collapse a very real threat in the next 30 years, it will be an achievement in 2050 if there are still institutions to make weather predictions, radio transmitters to share them and seafarers willing to listen to the archaic content.

    I write this imaginary forecast with an apology to Tim Radford, the former Guardian science editor, who used the same device in 2004 to open a remarkably prescient prediction on the likely impacts of global warming on the world in 2020.

    Journalists generally hate to go on record about the future. We are trained to report on the very recent past, not gaze into crystal balls. On those occasions when we have to venture ahead of the present, most of us play it safe by avoiding dates that could prove us wrong, or quoting others.

    Radford allowed himself no such safe distance or equivocation in 2004, which we should remember as a horribly happy year for climate deniers. George W Bush was in the White House, the Kyoto protocol had been recently zombified by the US Congress, the world was distracted by the Iraq war and fossil fuel companies and oil tycoons were pumping millions of dollars into misleading ads and dubious research that aimed to sow doubt about science.

    Radford looked forward to a point when global warming was no longer so easy to ignore. Applying his expert knowledge of the best science available at the time, he predicted 2020 would be the year when the planet started to feel the heat as something real and urgent

    Radford allowed himself no such safe distance or equivocation in 2004, which we should remember as a horribly happy year for climate deniers. George W Bush was in the White House, the Kyoto protocol had been recently zombified by the US Congress, the world was distracted by the Iraq war and fossil fuel companies and oil tycoons were pumping millions of dollars into misleading ads and dubious research that aimed to sow doubt about science.

    Radford looked forward to a point when global warming was no longer so easy to ignore. Applying his expert knowledge of the best science available at the time, he predicted 2020 would be the year when the planet started to feel the heat as something real and urgent.

    Ka kite Ano link below.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/30/environment-2050-flooded-cities-forced-migration-amazon-turning-savannah

  27. Eco maori 29

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    North land experienceing drought we have to listen to our scientists and plan for the weather conditions that they have forcast or else one will be in trouble.

    A green turtle laying its eggs on a popular beach in Australia it good they have people with the knowledge to move the turtle eggs safely.

    That's great Simaria getting The BBC to pay you the same putea as men Mana Wahine.

    Trees grow much faster in Aotearoa than other countries maple syrup would be a great sestanable tree crop.

    Ka kite Ano.

  28. Eco maori 30

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Hinewai great mahi to get on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council first tangata whenua and a Wahine at that.

    Mama donuts looks like it going great franchise to Ka pai just like making fry bread.

    Mana Wahine Indigenous Rugby league.

    Cool the Kurakaupapa teaching there tamariki about the Maori marama Callander and time to collect Kai

    Ka kite Ano.

  29. Eco maori 32

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    New technologies bowel cancer diegnosed with a mask it's the Ion age great new invention.

    That's a excellent take of the hundreds of Sharks around the Great Barrier Islands. Sharks are a important part of Tangaroa environment and need to be protected and preserved.

    Tyson was lucky to servive when his whare burnt down in the middle of winter.

    The slide look cool A penguin but it slides the tamariki out to fast causeing injuries one would think they would test it before letting the public tamariki use it.???

    Ka kite Ano

  30. Eco maori 33

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Watties should not have made fun of Te reo Maori it show how racist there management is.

    The old saying is don't go to war unless you are going to win Camp Kawarau.

    That's is cool getting the whanau and comunity to fund rising for a young Wahine treatment of a rear form of cancer.

    Ka kite Ano.

  31. Eco maori 34

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    I think thats a great move to ban exports of whitebait it will be awesome that in 30 years time everyone comes to Aotearoa to see our presteen wildlife and environment.

    The Moana getting hot That's not good it doesn't take much temperatures to rise for life to get extremely difficult.

    Bioluminesent sea creatures making Tangaroa look beautiful cool.

    Ka kite Ano

  32. Eco maori 35

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Taramaki whanui That's the way of the future building sestanable whare beautiful whare to.

    That's sad a Tangaroa taonga passing and being washed up in Te Taitokerau.

    Cool Te wharepora traditionally Maori weaving in flaxmere Ka pai E hoa.

    Those 2 roopu are both from home I have links to both and they are quite awesome Wakarma.

    Ka kite Ano

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