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Open mike 08/04/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 8th, 2011 - 115 comments
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Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step right up to the mike…

115 comments on “Open mike 08/04/2011”

  1. Jenny 1

    From the pen of Brian Rudman

    Another prominent mainstream columnist attacks the decision won, by the police from the courts, for those they arrested in the “Terror Raids” to be tried without a jury.

    Strongly criticising this decision, Rudman makes a case that a jury trial is a strong part of our democratic system.

    Urewera decision fans the flame

    …….as the Law Commission emphasises in its 2001 report on juries in criminal trials, “the ancient institution of trial by jury” brings a democratic element to court proceedings that makes it “the best forum for the trial of almost all serious criminal cases in New Zealand”.
    In his covering note to ministers, Law Commission president Justice David Baragwanath noted, “The virtual absence of criticism of the conduct of juries, in even the most controversial cases, is striking.

    “The essentially anonymous verdict of ordinary citizens chosen at random give to the process the legitimacy of total independence; they are indeed the ‘little parliament’ to which community decision making is delegated.”

    In the report, the commission underlines that “the core value underlying the functions of the jury is its democratic nature”.

    ……to a layman, brought up on the sanctity of the jury system as one of the bedrocks of our liberty and our democratic system, it seems a change by stealth….

    We grew up believing in the “little parliament” concept that Justice Baragwanath referred to. Is it any wonder there’s growing disquiet about the Urewera defendants not being allowed a trial before their peers?

    As well as condemning this decision as an attack on democracy, like previous Herald commentator Fran O’Sullivan, Rudman, also harshly condemns the secrecy surrounding the decision.

    “The justice system, by compounding the atmosphere of secrecy and intrigue that has dogged this case for nearly four years, has now made a rod for its own back. Whatever the reality, the courts now risk being seen as part of this whole sorry saga.”

    In making his case that jury trials are part of the democratic system, Rudman’s inference is that – for the judiciary and the police to dispense with a jury trial, – is for these institutions, to attack our democracy.

  2. Jenny 2
    On reading Brian Rudman’s article above, I was struck by the phrase 
    “The little parliament” as used in relation to juries.
    I had never heard this phrase before so I googled it.
    This is what I found:

    “the lamp that shows that freedom lives” and “the bulwark of liberty.”

    Below are some of the quotes from this link, I you have the time, it is well worth reading the whole article.

    “……trial by jury is vigorously defended as an ancient right, a bastion of liberty, and a means whereby the ordinary person’s common sense views can inform decisions and contain the powers of government.

    Pertinent to the Terror Raids trials –

    This article points out the significance and importance of jury trials in many history making, political cases. Soldiers and civil servants who have gone public to oppose the government, leafleteers against the Monarchy,  anti- nuclear protesters who damaged jet bombers and missile silos.
    One of the first and most significant of these political cases which established the primacy of jury verdicts in law, was the 1670 Bushell case where the jury gave a verdict strongly opposed by the presiding judge.

    Twelve jurymen refused to convict the Quakers William Penn and William Mead of seditious assembly. The judge responded by locking them up for two nights without food, water, fire, tobacco, or chamber pot. When this failed to force them to retract their not guilty verdict, the jurors were sentenced to prison until they paid a fine. Four of the jurors, led by Bushell, refused to pay the fine and challenged their incarceration by writ of habeas corpus. The Lord Chief Justice released them in a landmark decision establishing the jury as the sole judgement of fact. The jury could give a decision according to its conscience, and jurors could not be penalised for taking a view  of the facts which was at odds with the judge.

    It is under the principles established in Bushell that the jury has been acclaimed as “the lamp that shows that freedom lives” and “the bulwark of liberty.”
    The right of a jury to exercise judgement according to conscience continued to generate controversy over the next three centuries as juries continued to acquit with impunity even though the law and the evidence clearly indicated the defendant’s guilt.

    (It seems that in the history of jury trials the Waihopai case was not that unusual or unprecedented at all)
    No wonder the police the judiciary, and the other ‘security’  forces involved in the “Terror Raids” don’t want a jury trial.
  3. Jenny 3
    Cited in the above linked article is the fact that many Eastern European Bloc countries, on overthrowing communist dictatorship, and installing participatory democracy, the first constitutional thing they did as a one of their new freedoms, was to replace judge only trials with jury trials.

    What does this say about our democracy, which seems to be going the other way?
    • vto 3.1

      What it says Jenny is that in NZ too much power is concentrated in too few hands.

      Recall the most major judicial consitutional change in recent decades, the dumping of the Privy Council in favour of a NZ Supreme Court was carried out by Clark in an executive fashion on only a tiny tiny Parliamentary majority.

      And that stunk even more. Still does. Quite the shameful thing that was…. too much power in too few hands. The problem.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Dumping the Privy Council is in no way the same as dropping jury trials as the functions of the Privy Council is still maintained through the Supreme Court. Dropping jury trials drops the functions as well and the functions of the jury is holding the justice system to account.

        • vto

          Understood, but my point was about the concentration of power in NZ’s democracy. It is too highly concentrated and Clark’s Privy Council dumping is one of the biggest and worst examples. It should not have been attended to in that way. She abused the power that was concentrated in her hands.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It was the same power that all governments in NZ have and was democratic as far as our systems go – NACT could now drop the Supreme Court and put the Privy Council back.
            And, to be honest, I’ve never understood why people were so upset about dumping the Privy Council and replacing it with the Supreme Court. Going to England to get our legal wrangles seen to was past it’s use by date.

  4. PeteG 4

    Bryce Edwards has suggested a return to the old left/right divide, and it looks like Labour is trying to frame their campaign around that approach. How smart a strategy is it? Is the divide anything like it was last century? There are some staunch supporters both left and right, but I suspect the middle is far more prominent now, something like this:
    The bulge in the middle political spectrum.
    Can trying to portray the campaign this year as a battle between the workers and the rich pricks try and drag enough from the centre to take ideological sides? Or has the country outgrown that with too much mix and overlap?
    (RobC, I think these are interesting questions worth pondering, I’m not trying to fudgily make a point)

    • logie97 4.1

      might just come down to how much the voter has become more selfless or selflish in his/her approach to the world – traditional left/right ne ce pas.

    • RobC 4.2

      LOL OK I’ll play nice

      I haven’t seen anything from Labour to suggest what their campaign will be, not that I would expect to at this point in time. The campaign is only going to be 4 weeks thanks to RWC.

      I don’t quite view it as such. I think the point is an election for the first time in at least a decade, closer to 2, will be fought under dark economic clouds and thus the economy will (or should) be the dominant issue.

      I’d also suggest the middle appears to be bulging because the economic pinch is being felt by more and more people.

      I hope the election is not fought along class-lines – that is destructive; I hope it’s fought by looking forward and what the plans and fixes are. Wait and see I guess.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      The middle ground is as much a delusion as hard right-wing – reality has a radical left bias.

      • PeteG 4.3.1

        Maybe that’s how you see reality, but you’re not everyone, and arguably you’re not very realistic.

        • Draco T Bastard

          There’s only one way to see reality and that’s by taking account of what’s actually there and happening – anything else is delusion.

          • lefty

            Yes. And the reality is class war being waged by the rich against the rest of us – whether the liberal middle class want to acknowledge it or not.

            • Bored

              You are right that the rich are waging class war against the rest of us. Marx saw this as a continuum, that the very nature of relations to production dictated this. Whatever else Marx got wrong I cant fault him on this. Maybe the difference is that the rich are now engaged in an accelerated grab for more based upon there being known limits to what there is to grab. They have sold the liberal middle classes (who in reality are merely proleterians behind PC screens) the idea of limitless growth and the ability to aspire. How sad are these creatures?

            • PeteG

              You don’t seem to understand rampant capitalism/consumerism. Coke and Pepsi aren’t joined in a conspiracy to make all of the poor die of sugar poisoning. They are competing with each other to make the biggest profits. There’s just a bit of collateral damage, but the market (population) is still growing so it doesn’t really matter.
              It’s closer to “some of them” versus “some of them” rather than them versus you. You are just a potential sucker in their battles. But you have choice whether to buy their poison or not.

              • Bored

                PeteG, agree there is no conspiracy, that would indicate covert activity. Its out in the open, it is as I point out above one of the things the great heretic Marx noted about the nature of the beast: go read his work on relation to production and you might get the picture.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Coke and Pepsi aren’t joined in a conspiracy to make all of the poor die of sugar poisoning.

                Adam Smith disagrees with you and so do I. You will probably find that the CEOs of Pepsi and Coke are good friends and that the companies support the same lobbyist groups/think tanks.
                Go read the two links I gave you yesterday for even more info.

      • higherstandard 4.3.2

        So says Schrodinger’s cat.

        • Bored

          HS ad PG, some reality…Brent Crude overnight US$122.81.

          • PeteG

            Yep, compounding tough financial times.
            I agree RobC, the economy. Who voters think can deal best with an already struggling economy that is continuing to be hit. At the moment National seem to be barely managing to deal with each successive economy bomb, and all Labour seem able to manage is negative. The official campaign may not start until November, but the jostling has already begun.

            • lprent

              The jostling started months ago. A few campaign billboards started going up for months ago.

              The 3 month campaign period is a outright mockery of reality….

              • Bored

                I have a suspicion that the electorate will be wondering who will lead them back to the happy motoring to strip mall consumer utopia. Both major parties will foster this delusory goal, which means that failure to deliver is gauranteed. Unfortunately, due to the experiential psyche and expectations of the electorate “bad” news, such as managed contraction are not electable (at least not until such time as the reality of our energy and resource position is blindingly obvious to everybody).

    • felix 4.4

      It’s true there is a large group of workers who have been convinced that they’re “in the middle” economically and socially.
      Tradespeople have been convinced that they’re really businesspeople and now identify with the concerns of “business” even though most are still just selling their labour to make a living.
      Most people objectively still earn shit wages in this country by any measure. More and more of our wealth is concentrated in fewer hands every year.
      The left/right divide – or more accurately the capital/labour divide – hasn’t gone anywhere, but too many people on the “labour” side of it are pretending they’re on the “capital” side.

      • M 4.4.1

        Tradespeople have been convinced that they’re really businesspeople and now identify with the concerns of “business” even though most are still just selling their labour to make a living.

        Absolutely felix, and many of them have been viciously sucker punched.

        I saw an item about Karl Marx who figured out that you can control a slave much better by convincing him he is an employee. Never a truer phrase IMHO.
        [lprent: fixed the quote. ]

      • PeteG 4.4.2

        A strange claim – some tradespeople are employees, some are sole traders, some are employers. Those who run as a business don’t just sell their labour, they need capital to cover things like vehicles, tools, materials and stock, and to cover cashflow fluctuations. Some of them employ and have to deal with running payrolls. They have to deal with GST, and annual tax returns. It’s very different than banking a weekly wage, there is a lot of extra work involved. It’s possible to make a lot more money but it’s much riskier.

        I’m sure that tradespeople, whether sole, employ or are employed, make up their own minds about how they vote and don’t accept some pigeon hole someone else tries to assign to them.

      • Puddleglum 4.4.3

        Yep. Agree.

        I’ve always seen ‘right versus left’ as largely about ‘those with substantial power’ versus ‘those without any significant power’. That divide isn’t going to be magicked away anytime soon.

        Different vehicles have been used over the ages to accumulate and protect the means of accruing, projecting and securing power – today it’s generally a kind of crony capitalism, which often extends its reach into the political arena (which remains largely a front for the exercise of these power games – often just between different branches of ‘power’ rather than between those largely with and those largely without power).

        It’s funny, but I’ve often heard it argued by some on the right (ideologically on the right rather than in terms of actual power) that it’s ok that wealth concentrates because everyone can try to become wealthy (with enough hard work, etc.).

        For me, that’s always begged the question of the rightness of having power (i.e., wealth) concentrated at all. Frankly, even if concentrated power regularly circulated throughout the population I still wouldn’t support a system that concentrated it. Concentrated power – whoever wields it and no matter how briefly they wield it – is a weapon to inflict suffering on others in pursuit of advantage.

        One of the usual means to repulse the occasional threat voiced from ‘below’ to dissipate concentrated power in a structural way, is some discursive efforts to divide and conquer. E.g., ‘Don’t let YOUR taxes get spent on THOSE wasters.’ Or, more directedly, ‘You’re a hard working self-employed, sole trader who needs the government off their back; not like those dumb factory types who couldn’t help themselves if their lives depended on it and so they always look to the unions and Labour to spoon feed them – support me in undermining unions and then they’ll have to get off their backsides!’

        It’s sad, divisive stuff but it seems to appeal to a good proportion of the population – most of whom are on the ‘labour’ side of the divide, as you say.

        • Carol

          I’ve always seen ‘right versus left’ as largely about ‘those with substantial power’ versus ‘those without any significant power’. That divide isn’t going to be magicked away anytime soon.

          In a kind of way, this reminds me of a public lecture, Hollywood Left and Right: how movie stars changed American politics (Steven J. Ross) I went to this week: ie the righties seem more obssessed with getting political power.
          Ross claimed that the main differnce between political activities of left and right wing (in US terms) stars is this:  the Republicans like Ronald Regan, aim for political power; the democrats/lefties, like Harry Belafonte & Jane Fonda (probably George Clooney too), aim to campaign and raise awareness on issues.
          Another interesting point I got from the lecture, related to the need for a background in political activities before going for political office: Ross presented about 6 categories of political stars: eg image, as with Charlton Heston, who developed a certain kind of image in his films that he carried over into his political activities.  Arnold swartzenegger was categorised as a celebrity politician:  he did mostly celebrity type public appearances, like appearing on Opra, Leno etc, and not doing the conventional serious political interviews/appearances.  But Arnie didn’t do the hard political yards before going for office, unlike Regan who built up a knowledge & expertise in the politics over decades.  Consequently, Arnie’s political life was short, based on this superficial celebrity thing.  He wasn’t up to the political job.  Remind you of anyone?

          • PeteG

            ie the righties seem more obssessed with getting political power.

            Is that why everyone here and in Labour circles are so relaxed about Goff’s lack of traction and the possible outcomes in November?

            • Draco T Bastard

              Ah, more misdirection and distraction from a RWNJ. No one here is relaxed about the upcoming election and several have criticised Goff’s leadership.

            • M

              I’m most definitely concerned about Goff’s lack of traction in the election arena. This concern however is trumped by my disgust at Key’s cynical manipulation of the populace with his obfuscation and obtuseness – I don’t think Mensa will be looking to add him to their circle any time soon. It’s no crime to not know everything but for the stuff you do need to know at least make an effort to be informed. Key doesn’t strike me as someone who could be bothered with doing some in-depth reading on important topics, but rather would prefer to have the juicy bits presented to him in bullet point form along with some distracting slogans thrown in for good measure.

              Key like a lot of “middlers” always waits to see which way the wind’s blowing before he commits and the commmital is to what he perceives will benefit him most in the popularity stakes from Joe Public or will fatten the coffers of his mates. Goff may indeed be gauche but he seems a lot more authentic than Key.   

  5. Carol 5

    With the demise of public service television, The Beatson interviews on Stratos (freeview) are well worth watching.  They are low key, face-to-face, serious and informative interviews.  Lately it’s been with politicians, and this morning I’m watching the interview with Len Brown.  Brown is talking about having a vision of in integrated transport – this means integrating roads and public transport. He claims to have a good relationship with the NZ government on this.
    He also claims that he will fulfill his election promise on keeping rates reasonable (he set a fairly specific percentage target), thinks Auckland business is on the cusp of being really good (a boom kind of thing), and is aiming for the city to be a green leader in the Pacific.  He generally aims to sound like he works well with Key’s government, and refuses to be critical of Hydeney. And he’s talking about growth, green tourism, the screen industry in the west of Auckland, innovation, growth around Auckland CBD/AUT.  He wants to take the politics out of Auckland’s growth & development, with cross party support.
    Auckland’s housing crisis: 25, 000 people arrived from Christchurch recently.  Major build job needed.  Affordability eg Transformation Project – Tamaki & GI (Geln Innes) communities – he is aiming for afforable home ownership, housing for elderly, affordable rents, working with NGOs that deal with people with housing/income problems.
    Wants to maintain rural, food-producing land around Auckland.  However, in some semi-rural provincial hubs there’s room for some controlled, minimal development: green-field sites.  Plus more compact high rise city, faster transport etc.
    Asset-base: he has pledged not to sell airport shares or privatise water-ways.  Some property is available for strategic sales. But ended by saying, however, that New Zealanders are extremely averse to selling the family silver.
    So it seems to me, while Brown subscribes to some Green and left principles of an inclusive and supportive  society, without great wealth gaps, he also seems to be following the old neoliberal policy of growth, albeit tempered by some focus on sustainability.

  6. Brothers and sisters welcome to the latest episode of Crony Capitalism.

    It seems that the Government was warned by officials against allowing Mediaworks time to pay their broadcasting licences.  But a personal approach by Brent Impey to his old mate Stephen Joyce persuaded the government to do otherwise.

    Joyce has made much of the fact that the effective interest rate for the “loan” is over 11% but it appears the “loan” is unsecured.  If Mediaworks fail the Government may lose millions.

    And for the next thrilling episode of Crony Capitalism tune in next week where no doubt the Government will bend over backwards to help out another corporate mate in preference to helping out the many ordinary Kiwis who are finding things really tough right now.

  7. higherstandard 7

    Never mind the opposition movement will hold them to account.


  8. joe90 8

    Cryptome has more images of the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear plant.

    • Vicky32 8.1

      I have been hearing all day on the BBC about the 7.1 “aftershock” – and just heard on 3 News that two people have died, 100s are injured and that the aftershock has caused more damage to the nuclear plant.

  9. joe90 9

    Spy lets you listen in on social media.

  10. Carol 10

    From Future West (the progressive ticket for Auckland Council):

    Public Transport is facing a crisis
    Public transport use has exploded.  Over the past 12 months public transport trips in Auckland increased by five million.  Train use is significantly up (18% more trips February this year compared to February last year) as is bus use.  Out west the annual increase in train trips is 25%!  The North Shore bus way is performing very well and its construction has resulted in a significant reduction in congestion on the Harbour Bridge.

    As a society New Zealand must prepare for a similar upheaval and the experience of Cuba gives us a good idea of what should happen.
    I believe that the following needs to occur urgently:

    Greater provision of park and ride carparks around train and bus stations
    Secure lock up facilities for bicycles both at train stations and in our towns and village areas.
    Improvement of the cycleway system and an analysis of the road system to make sure that it can be optimised for cycle use.
    Current planned or proposed extensions to the rail system have to occur.  Electrification is a must.  The inner city rail loop is needed so that the system capacity is doubled and capacity does not peak in a few years time.
    The Northern bus way should be repeated out west.  There should be a new bus way constructed alongside the North Western Motorway starting at Massey.
    Locally we need to plan for community gardens now.

    Political leadership should be all about looking into the future and planning.   The end of cheap oil means that it is more important than ever that future planning is done now.

    And maybe also increased provision for taking bicycles on public transport.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      The Northern bus way should be repeated out west.

      Two way light rail straight down the middle of the present motorway from whenuapai to Britomart (tunnelled for the city part of course). Tunnel under the Te Atatu, Lincoln and Royal Rd over-passes for subway stations.

      Talking about Britomart:
      Ironic that a train station is being used as the back drop in a car commercial.

    • M 10.2

      Carol, upheaval is right – it’s going to be a frightening decade especially for parents of young children.

      Don’t know if you’ve seen the doco ‘The Power of Community”:

      and this scary rations list for Cubans during the Special Period:


      I have nothing but total respect for Cubans and how they clubbed together – I don’t know that western nations will respond in any manner approaching the fortitude shown by these wonderful people.

  11. joe90 11

    From the land of the free.

    We asked voters on this poll whether they think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal- 46% of Mississippi Republicans said it should be illegal to just 40% who think it should be legal.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    American Support for Free Market

    Nearly three years after the financial system first came perilously close to collapse, American support for an unregulated free market appears to have cratered.
    GlobeScan found Americans strongly agreeing or somewhat agreeing dropped to 59 percent from 74 percent, a 15 percent dip from the year prior and the second largest year-over-year drop of any country besides Turkey. An even more dramatic drop (32 percent drop) occurred among those in the U.S. with annual incomes below $20,000, of which only 44 percent agreed that the free market was the ideal system.

    Well, it seems even the USians are starting to wake up to reality.

    • uke 12.1

      Thanks for the link. Yep, but they’re definitely only “starting” to wake up. I may be misreading the survey results, but seems the total percentage of Americans who trust the free market system has still only dropped from 80% to 74% between 2002 and 2011. Those tent cities are going to have get a bit bigger yet.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    Interesting column by Shoeshine in this weeks nbr for them what can steal a glance at it.

    All about the what did he know and why did he do it surrounding Blinglish, treasury and SCF.

    Something I didn’t know:

    Feb 2010 Treas approves a transaction where Southbury handed its two good assets (Sales Corp and NZ Heliciopters) to SCF.

    Southbury thus has fuck all assets left with which to service its already existing loans from SCF ($77Mill worth)

    SCF, OTOH gets to book $152.5 mill in new equity. treas has disclosed that this deal, which they approved for some reason (as did the trustee), was of zero benefit to SCF.

    But lo and behold, the ‘new equity’ meant SCF could maintain it’s credit rating with S&P.

    Which meant, taddaaaa…  SCF could join the extended retail deposit guarantee scheme on April 1st.

    Serendipitous eh what?

    • vto 13.1

      Bloody good that such questions are being asked left right and centre, so to speak. They need asking and asking and asking. The smell has always been there over SCF and the guarantee. If it is as everyone suspects then the government should be struck out by the Governor-General.

      Corruption and fraud of the absolute highest order.

      edit: and further, how the fuck does SCF retain any sort of credit rating in 2010 when John Key says he knew in November 2008 that it was going to go bust. Answer Key, answer.

      • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1

        Yeah. Nbr also sez that billy boy is being a bit shy about some of the paper work and that the ombudsman is having a wee think about whether or not it needs to tell him off and make him talk to the class about what he has done. they also hint that most of the dodgy stuff, if it exists, will will be pr and comms related, so we may not get to see it.

  14. randal 14

    I see jami lee jimbob got up in the house and mouthed off like a tea party klingon yesterday.
    well keys ‘turn’ will be over in November and we will really see if this national party has any principles then or  just a rabble hanging on  keys coat tails.
    and dont forget that a ‘turn’ is money making cant for getting a commision off every transaction.

    • sean 14.1

      His turn will be over?  Who is going to replace him?  Fill Gap the Goof?  Hilarious, thanks for the laff!

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    In which Simon Jenkins notes that Nick Clegg, all things considered, is being a bit of a fucking sook.


    • rosy 15.1

      I read part of Clegg’s interview – it was so woe-filled I couldn’t finish it. Simon Jenkins has done an excellent job here

  16. joe90 16

    Following up PBs post yesterday about Mr Ryan’s budget chicanery and it seems Ryan is a Randite who requires his staff to read ‘the book’ .
    And he continues the war on the poor by getting two thirds of his budget savings from cuts to programmes for low income citizens.   

    $2.17 trillion in reductions from Medicaid and related health care.

    $350 billion in cuts in mandatory programs serving low-income Americans (other than Medicaid).

    $400 billion in cuts in low-income discretionary programs.

  17. joe90 17

    Read it and weep.

    .The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

  18. Rodney “perk busted” Hide has upset North Shore’s elderly.  To quote:

    Senior citizens are furious at Act Party leader Rodney Hide’s suggestion New Zealand should stop giving the elderly a free ride on off-peak public transport.
    Mr Hide’s comment to the North Shore Times that it’s a “luxury that New Zealand can’t afford” has hit a raw nerve with many residents.
    The words of one angry letter writer that “his hypocrisy is beyond belief” sum up the feelings of the many people who gave us their views.
    “This is the man who took his girlfriend to London at taxpayers’ expense under the discredited parliamentary MP travel scheme.
    “If he wants to save $18 million the MPs much-rorted travel perks should be cancelled, and maybe then he can look at the SuperGold Card travel concessions if he is that insensitive and politically stupid.”
    Letter writers are also angered at Mr Hide’s mention of plans to rebuild Christchurch as one of the budget pressures that should prompt a rethink of travel concessions.
    A Beach Haven writer says it is “totally sick” to link the proposal with Christchurch’s reconstruction.
    Another writer says it is “a little under the table” to use “the emotive issue of Christchurch as a driving excuse for cutting the Gold Card”.

    Rodney I think you are stuffed in November.  I really hope so …

    • sean 18.1

      So Mickey, are you bringing that to light because you are scared your free busrides will be taken away?

      • mickysavage 18.1.1

        I do not qualify for a gold card Sean and will not do so for quite a while.
        I was particularly struck by the hypocricy of Hide and the response of many who were willing to say it the way they saw it.  And the fact it came from the North Shore where Act should do reasonably well.
        I also think the Gold card was/is a good idea.  It gives elderly the chance to get out and enjoy life.  It is really cheap and a Government would be a fool to change it.

        • higherstandard

          ” And the fact it came from the North Shore where Act should do reasonably well.”

          Why’s that ?

    • Carol 18.2

      It’s just mean. When I travel on the trains in off-peak times, there are many odler people on the trains.  Usually there’s still seats available for others.  Also, there’s probably some older people who would otherwise be at home twiddling their thumbs and starting to feel low because they can’t get out places.  The gold card probably helps with the mental and physical well being of the elderly, resulting in savings in other areas of public service budgets.

      • Vicky32 18.2.1

        It’s funny (no, it really is) that even though I don’t qualify yet, bus drivers keep assuming I do, and either offering me a free fare without even asking to see my card, or asking me to produce it.
        (It’s also terribly depressing! 😀 )
        However, yes, the Gold card is a great idea! Not all olds are well off so they need such help…

    • PeteG 18.3

      I half agree – I think Rodney and Act may be stuffed in November, but I think that’s a shame, we need diversity in parliament, and a strong Act is as important as a strong Green party. The problem is the current one is a hard Act to follow.

      • mickysavage 18.3.1

        You mean we need mysogonists, climate change deniers and the stealers of babies’ identities also represented in Parliament?

        • PeteG

          If that’s what the people want.
          I wouldn’t encourage those myself, neither would I support too many deniers of free enterprise and stealers of too much tax, but we need to let a broad range of voters choose a broad range of MPs.
          Do you prefer the single party state sort of thing?

          • Pascal's bookie

            Glad to see you have come around since yesterday’s marathon ‘why doesn’t the opposition just shut up and agree with the government more and stop making such a fuss’ session. 

            • PeteG

              Once again a total misrepresentation of what I’ve said. I’d rather see them more actively contribute to government rather than concentrating on spoiling and grizzling. That’s quite different, but you may be to fixated on supporting the status quo that you don’t recognise it.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Not much of a misrepresentation at all actually. 

                I asked you time and time again what you meant and it always came down to the opposition just agreeing to be sensible and to stop opposing for trivial reasons and just let the government govern. 

                Empty pissing in the wind that, if it means anything at all, means that an opposition should stop making such a fuss and agree with the government more.

                You explicitly said, in fact, that parliament should be more like a party caucus.

                If that isn’t advocating a one party state, what is it advocating?

                If it isn’t advocating that opposition parties set aside their differences with the government for the sake of parliamentary unity, then what is it advocating?

                So in the hope that you might care to flesh out whatever it is you are trying to say:

                What does this:

                I’d rather see them more actively contribute to government rather than concentrating on spoiling and grizzling.

                mean in practice?

                How can the opposition contribute more to government? Should they do things they don’t agree with? Perhaps the government should ignore their own mandate and accept opposition ideas that they don’t agree with. With that be better, or worse? Why?

                You still don’t seem to have addressed my point that the problem you fixate on stems directly from the fact that people don’t agree with each other about what the best thing to do actually is.

                They really truly don’t agree, and that’s ok, but it means there is a conflict. Which gets resolved through politics. 

                If the politics upset you, then the solution is to either have a one party state, (abolishing the politics), or to somehow get everyone to agree with each other about everything. Which seems like a tall order at first glance. But as I noted yesterday, there is an awful lot of stuff that gets done with cross party support. This happens where there is a consensus about what to do. So what we have, is actually what you want, but you are too fixated on how distasteful you find the areas of conflict that you don’t recognise it. The areas of consensus were once areas of dispute. Disputes that got resolved, quite possibly temporarily, through political conflict.

                Shorter version:

                It’s a feature, not a bug.

                • Brilliantly said! Like a clinical dissection.

                • PeteG

                  How can the opposition contribute more to government? Should they do things they don’t agree with?

                  That’s what frequently happens within a caucus, it’s hardly a revolutionary idea. It will be rare that everyone agrees on everything, democracies work on majority decisions.
                  The opposition parties already do contribute, via select committees, and joint policies (like S59 and the AMI support measure, both almost unanimous). Much of the ideological huffing and puffing in public is just a farcical charade – but that’s what the public mostly sees.
                  Why are politicians regarded so poorly by the public? It’s how they appear, they’re often arrogant, and often pathetic negative nit pickers.

                  Shorter version – the antagonistic negative approach is a feature of politics that bugs a lot of voters a hell of a lot.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    So you think they should put aside their differences with the government for the sake of parliamentary unity?

                    Treating parliamnet like a caucus is a revolutionary idea. Moving the deliberations behind closed doors and having parliamentarians commit to no public squabbling once a decision has been reached? This essentially abolishes parliament as we know it.

                    How is this not a one party state type of system? 

                    You claim that the conflict bugs a lot of the voters, and yet they keep voting for it. I suspect that a lot of voters are bugged by the fact that many people disagree with them about what should be done.

                    But there is very little support for putting aside the differences for the sake of parliamentary unity.

                    If there was such support, Dunne would be PM. But he’s not. He’s a laughing stock.

      • Draco T Bastard 18.3.2

        We may need diversity in parliament but certainly not the insanity of Act.

  19. joe90 19

    Inside Glenn Becks head.

  20. gobsmacked 20

    Friday fun:

    Before clicking on the poll, guess the numbers …



  21. gobsmacked 22

    Meanwhile, a “proper” poll demonstrates (as usual) that what excites a tiny handful of politico-pundits … is ignored by real voters:


    Poll taken during salacious saturation coverage of Darren Hughes story. Media turned on. Public switched off.

    • We (Labour) lost 1% but the nats lost 1.5%.  Interesting …

    • Puddleglum 22.2

      The government confidence is the only change not in the margin of error. It’s down 8.5 points. That trend has been slow but steady in a downwards direction and won’t be changing soonish.

      National should be worried on that score alone. None of their possible partners is polling enough and if National sheds votes, as it is likely to do during the campaign (see pre-2008), then it is unlikely to shed them to its possible partners (a resurgent ACT?). At the moment, those partners (ACT, UF, MP) are not polling well.

      Given that they will be looking to get a parliamentary majority that will provide enough stability not to crack under the pressure of the measures they clearly want to introduce in the second term, their strategic options are very few: 

      1. Chance it all on getting over 50% themselves. Pretty risky on present polling.

      2. Take out NZF again – by hook or by crook – and hope the votes they would have lost to NZF either stay or go somewhere ‘benign’ (UF? ACT?? – I don’t think so. They’ll either stay or way or vote Labour, maybe Greens).

      3. Key reneges on the promise not to go with NZF, ‘for the sake of the country that so clearly showed that National is the most popular party, blah, blah, blah’

      4. Key ‘bows out’ post-election and some new leader goes with NZF ‘for the sake of the country that so clearly showed that National is the most popular party, blah, blah, blah’.

      3 and 4 have the advantage of sticking it to MMP in the process – but too late to affect the vote unless the options are flown as kites/warnings during the campaign. 

      Then again, the ‘Opposition parties’ have their own conundrums – any ‘coalition’ they can put together to get a parliamentary majority – if National can’t stitch it together – would, itself, be pretty small and unstable on these sorts of numbers. The only way to make that more stable is for a lot more voters who currently say they would vote National to switch and vote Labour, Greens or NZF.

      Now, which of the ‘Opposition parties’ would they be most likely to jump to? The Greens have been positioning themselves as more ‘centrist’. Labour has been ambivalent about going more ‘working class’ and also going centrist – which is a hard sell. NZF goes populist/working class conservative.

      • Colonial Viper 22.2.1

        Labour has been ambivalent about going more ‘working class’ and also going centrist

        I have some choice things I want to say in relation to this but they are not printable and I will bide my time 👿

        • rosy

          Yeah CV, I can’t work out where Labour is going. I was looking at the Greens but then read they’re putting together a policy position where they could support National after the election???? Tell me it is’t so – what is a person to do when they really, really don’t want this government to continue? Where is a viable alternative if even the Greens are willing to prop-up a government so clearly outside of their values?

          • sean

            The Greens are being smart – they can achieve more when they are in power than supporting something that is going down in a screaming gay (pardon the pun) heap out of principle.

            • rosy

              “they can achieve more when they are in power” Yeah, that’s what the Maori Party thought too. That turned in to a principled stance, not.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It seems that the Greens are determined to lose their voters  🙁

      • PeteG 22.2.2

        I’d be very surprised if Key reneged on no coalition with NZF. I also doubt the electorate will let National go it alone, there is a tendency to limit power.
        Seven months is a long time in politics.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Considering that he rarely tells the truth and his promises aren’t worth the paper they’re written on what makes you say that?

          • Colonial Viper

            Personally DTB I think that it is awesome that PeteG has maintained his lovely innocence even after getting involved in politics.

      • Pascal's bookie 22.2.3

        Good stuff as always there marsh-wiggle.

        “The bright side of it is… that if we break our necks getting down the cliff, then we’re safe from being drowned in the river.”

        On the rather pretentiously titled “New Zealand Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating” it pays to look at the question. It’s not only not really about the government, it’s biased towards a positive answer.

        “Generally speaking, do you feel that things in New Zealand are heading in the right direction or would you say things are seriously heading in the wrong direction?”

        Or as my dear old grandma would have it;

        All right mate? or fucked, actually?

        • Puddleglum

          Marsh-wiggle it is.

          I was reading ‘The Silver Chair’ to my five year old daughter when I made my first comment on The Standard. (Notice PG’s pivotal act that broke the enchantment of the queen/serpent – and his motivation. I liked the cut of his jib, so to speak.)

          Good point about the wording – the difference between “heading in the right direction” and “seriously heading in the wrong direction” let’s the fence-sitters continue to support the ‘direction’ happening at the moment.

        • ak

          Fucking (and I very rarely use the word, never mind italicised) very seriously good point Pascal. 
          Along with the recent results of the usual on-line polls (normally heavily weighted rightward due to readershop demographics etc) and my own experience of a recent phone poll, indicates a heavy rightward bias on standard polls – nevermind prevalence of cellys, average 70% refusal rate etc, consider;
          The “poll-effect” is impossible to measure, but
          Righties revel in and dominate poll-taking
          From which, and commonsense, we may extrapolate that probably,
          Poll results influence polls.
          Which influence votes.
          Anyone can conduct and publish a poll.
          I’ll contribute to any soc. graduate with a phone and time
          And invite The Standard to publish the results

  22. Draco T Bastard 23

    Prepare for the SM Onslaught

    In a perfectly proportional electoral system disproportionality would be zero. This would means that every vote is perfectly equal. In the five MMP elections held since ’96 the disproportionality of MMP has averaged 2.98%. Contrast that with FPP electoral systems, where the disproportionality index exponentially rises to around 13.56% on average. Two of my colleagues, Professors Stephen Levine and Nigel Roberts, have analysed our election data to also reveal that had SM been in force since 1996 the disproportionality would have been 9.54%.
    What this means, and what you certainly won’t hear from proponents of SM, is that if we were to move to SM our votes would cease to be as near equal as they are now. People’s votes in key marginal electorates would be worth far more than votes in clear Labour or National-held electorates.

    An articulate article by Dr Jon Johansson about the way the MSM is already leaning in favour of SM and the BS that will be spun by it’s proponents.

  23. Vicky32 24

    Just saw an item on 3 News about the increase in the incidence of rheumatic fever. I just want to say, however, that I hope viewers are not misled, as some were by the coverage of meningococcal disease * some years back.
    The coverage  and a Shortland Street sub-plot aside, people of all races can get rheumatic fever. My aunt died young in England of heart disease caused by it, and when I was hit by a car when I was 11, I was in a ward with a Pakeha girl who was suffering all the sequelae … including severe valve damage to her heart. White parents and Indians, get your kids’ sore throats checked as well!
    * there was at least one case of a white mother who nearly lost her daughter because TV coverage had convinced her that only Maori got meningococcal disease.

    • M 24.1

      Saw that item too but one of the things that concerns me these days is that many doctors are so anti antibiotics that they could be placing patients at risk.

      At my daughter’s school a couple of years ago scarlet fever was going around and I thought she had the symptons according to the flyer that came home so took her to the doctor. I thought the examination was cursory to say the least and antibiotics were only prescribed because the doctor said “well she hasn’t had any in over a year” and with me persisting and hauling out the flyer from the school. I will not see this doctor again and thank heavens we now have an excellent GP who started in January.

      Not being a fan of antibiotics as they make me feel drunk there is a definite place for them particularly where they can save a child a lifetime of misery or heart damage. Even better would be that all kids could go to the doctor free up to the age of twelve years so that parents wouldn’t hesitate to get potentially serious problems investigated and treated.

      • Colonial Viper 24.1.1

        Many NZ doctors still do not expect 3rd world diseases or diseases from the 1930’s and 1940’s to occur in 21st century NZ.
        So IT’S not that they have bad judgement, often they simply start off with a “low index of suspicion” which means that they can figure out what is happening a bit late and then they think to themselves “oh shit, maybe its xyz which I had ruled out earlier as a possibility”

        • M

          CV, they need to get rid of the low index of suspicion as they could render some poor beggar dead and if they think that third world diseases cannot occur I have to ask where have they been the last twenty years? OK, I have to give some wiggle room to those recently graduated but the scary thing for me is, have these people never picked up a history book about general history and medical history in particular? I find the lack of curiosity in many people astounding as I believe it’s curiosity that makes a person intelligent.

          Most people cannot be good at eveything but if it’s your field then yes I think you should bone up on things. Sometimes I catch an episode of House and enjoy the exhaustive efforts the characters put into diagnosing a patient’s malady but this is tempered with the realisiation that the treatment is funded from a bloated insurance system.

          Also for many people the cost of going to the doctor once is painful enough and if the problem hasn’t been dealt with then they may not return until some irreversible damage has occurred because of the cost. It would be cold comfort to a patient to hear a doctor admit (haha) that they didn’t get it right in the first place and one could understand a patient holding the doctor in comtempt. 

          • Colonial Viper

            Yeah House is pretty damn good.
            But what me and some friends figured out years ago is that the brilliant creativity and logic that House embodies as a practitioner is what most medical doctors dream of being. But are not.

        • rosy

          I agree Deb. 
          I see this as another side of discrimination – however much improving population health outcomes for all means doubling effort to reach Maori and Pacific peoples, this is only because M&P are over-represented in deprived areas. It turns into a sort of shorthand of ‘Maori and Pacific need to take action, be provided with information’, or whatever, when clearly rheumatic fever and meningitis are diseases associated with poverty and over-crowding. Irrespective of ethnicity.  This outlook stigmatises Maori and Pacific (thereby increasing racism) and ignores other deprived groups (causing resentment).

          No-one seems to want to say poor people, who are living with more than x number of kids in a small area need to be vigilant because these diseases can spread easily – and if you think this is a problem in your household your trip to the doctor is free, whatever time or day of the week.

          Much easier to stigmatise some groups that admit to widespread poverty. It’s harder to ‘blame’ poverty and poor health on the system if you can isolate groups by ethnicity, religion etc, etc.

          • Vicky32

            You’re right, Rosy… it’s true that these diseases are much more likely in conditions of over-crowding and poverty. I am so thankful that my sons have now grown up and are no longer at school, because all through their school days, I was completely paranoid about meningococcal disease. Doctors need to stay alert, and not have pre-conceptions, however. The first victim of meningococcal disease that I knew (I was a friend of his uncle) was a white student in his late teens, who had the bad luck to share a drink with a carrier. Kids swap drinks, and it’s very difficult to convince a 9 year old that merely being friendly could be highly dangerous!
            In about 2004, I read the very sad story of an Indian woman in her 20s, who had meningococcal disease. Her sister took to a private A&E clinic, where the duty doctor evidently thought ‘well dressed non-Polynesian adult” and sent her home with painkillers. She was dead the next day!
            People who are not poor can be unlucky, and they depend on doctors not being stuck on stereotypes. I get very hot about misdiagnoses. My mother suffered through decades of tranquilisers  for ‘housewives’ neurosis’ – which is what the doctor actually said to her (!) when she actually had polymyositis (related to MS). Granted it was incurable then, but had the doctor not been such a plonker faced with a woman  in her 40s bringing up 4 kids, she wouldn’t have spent so long feeling that she was a malingerer!

  24. RobC 25

    Fuck John Key.

    SCF depositors? No problem, here’s $1.2 billion
    AMI? De nada, have a $500+ million credit facility
    IHC disability care workers, 78% female, low-paid and been through three court cases? Sorry, no money, get fucked.

    • Draco T Bastard 25.1

      The shear hypocrisy is astounding. Not in that John Key and National are hypocrites, that’s to be expected, but the fact that they’re being so damned open about it: The country has got no money, oops, better prop another of our mates crumbling businesses with taxpayer dollars.

  25. RobC 26

    Not my point. The difference is Labour have already stated they would honour the decisions of three courts, decisions made in the context of current legislation. National on the other hand continue to refute the legitimacy of those decisions while at the same time chucking money at “unfortunate” depositors and policyholders.

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  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
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