Open mike 08/08/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 8th, 2015 - 96 comments
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96 comments on “Open mike 08/08/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    An fawning interview of Marc Weldon and ensuing article by Matt Nippert.
    Noted his comment about ‘wild claims made on left-wing blogs that the axing of Campbell Live was orchestrated by Beehive,’
    An obsequious piece of writing.

    • tracey 1.1

      and julie christie is a genius… cdwm is an absolute flop… but it stays.

      • Tigger 1.1.1

        A few reality ‘hits’ can’t save this sinking ship. I love that they herald Christie as a visionary when really she’s just a muck-raker.

        • tracey

          she has made a living buying other peoples shows and putting nz in the name. our flag will probably be USA flag with nz in tiny letters somewhere. she will get a damehood within 12 months on the basis that her flag work is contribution to the community.

          • Karen

            Very disappointing for Matt Nippert. No mention of the fact that a large number of the shows commissioned by TV3 are from Julie Christie’s old company Eyeworks. It was sold to Warner’s but I have yet to see any report that says Julie Christie no longer has any financial interest in that company.

  2. Skinny 2

    The Auckland mayoralty is shaping up to be a vote splitting lolly scramble if silly old Lenny doesn’t call it a day and ease the way for Phil Goff-Off. Williamson won’t be impressed to hear former Telecom Boss lady Theresa Gattung is being mooted as a real right-wing contender. Of course it could be spin to make Judy’s buddy Maurice Williamson look more appealing. Plenty of voters will remember the dirty tactic’s employed by Gattung to hold a monopoly on telecommunications for Telesuckie.

    • joe90 2.1

      Theresa Telecom”not being straight up” with customers Gattung, charming.

      • Skinny 2.1.1

        Good link Joe 90 here is an extract;

        “* On the need for regulation:
        This is pretty much a manufactured grievance. You know that’s the case because the only people marching in the streets about it are our competitors, not customers.”

        I marched off and never been back to Telecom/Spark thanks to Ms Gattung. Cunliffe done some good work unbundling the monopoly she held over the market.

      • greywarshark 2.1.2

        Perhaps we should look on the bright side. Theresa set a new bar for honesty and transparency. Let’s have more of Theresa-style corporate truth telling

    • millsy 2.2

      Boag must lie awake at night, distressed at the thought that the Auckland Council owns shares in ports and airports .

  3. RedBaronCV 3

    More MSM talk up articles on Amy Adams and domestic violence.
    Nacts & DV

    What’s the NAct agenda here? Shoring up the female vote? Amy making a run for party leader? Covering other bad news with this campaign? Hiding a Nact party internal problem with DV?

    Why isn’t the media asking the hard questions- but Minister your government has-
    – removed the Bristol clauses in the DV legislation
    – removed reporting of DV assaults from the police statistics
    – failed to check if the police are using “police safety orders” (bad name if ever there was one) to minimise arrests and keep law n’ order stats down
    -failed to fund legal aid in the family court
    -failed to fund rape centres and refuges
    -redone child support on flimsy or no evidence and taken money away from the children’s needs
    -presided over the roastbusters
    – did the malaysian diplomat deal
    – not come clean about the why some NAct MP’s have left parliament
    -uses WINZ to hound the parent looking after the kids

    all of which covers up or ratifies the attitudes associated with the violence.

    So Minister, Why are you suddenly broadcasting concern and suddenly think you need to do something? What are your real motives since past performance suggests your lot couldn’t care less.

    Or is it that the cost they tout $14B, means Nact would like to remove all this from the public funding and make it how it used to be 66 years ago – something that went on behind closed doors without interference from others

    • tracey 3.1

      well said…
      removed funding of high school programmes for girls that resulted in higher self esteem and reporting of abuse…
      womens refuge struggle for funding so relying on gaffe by hells pizza to survive

      • RedBaronCV 3.1.1

        Thanks Tracey – I was sure I had missed plenty too. MSM just keeps running these articles without a single question – just like they were Amy’s publicity machine. The public deserves a lot more from the MSM.
        Nor are comments ever opened so they can say this.

    • JanM 3.2

      So twits like Duncan Garner can write nice stuff about them without them actually doing anything:

      • tracey 3.2.1

        collins introduced measures to deal with bullies too. turns out she is a huge self interested bully. i hope this isnt a pattern

        • RedBaronCV

          Personally I think they may be trying to move all this out of the public sphere of intervention so they don’t have to spend any state funds on it.
          Cue a few underfunded providers who have whole families referred to them but no court or police action possible and ultimately no DPB type welfare – people have to stay in the relationships or starve on the street – more the NAct mindset.

          • The Chairman

            You have overlooked two glaring onslaughts, RedBaron.

            The attack on privacy and the move away from the presumption of innocence.

  4. AsleepWhileWalking 4

    The debt by country, not including personal debt of citizens.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1


      Now imagine what that would look like if they included private debt. And no matter what they include in the visuals none of it is payable which means that the private banks will have an eternity of bludging off of everyone else unless we change the system.

    • Mike S 4.2

      Total money owed is roughly in the region of the world’s total GDP. In other words all money is created as debt and it can never be paid back. The banking cartel own the planet, I wish people would wake up.

  5. Save NZ 5

    Titirangi kauri tree owner kickstarts debate with environmental application.

    Yep those incompetent council resources consent officers again, don’t notice the Kauri trees in the first place should be preserved, then grant the application, than back track and the owner verbally agrees to preserve them, only to change their mind and then go to remove the SEA status completely and not only on that property but others the developer owns.

    Oh to be a developer in Auckland and buy cheap sites cos they are protected, put in consents to remove the protection led by 70 page proposal that fails to mention the mature Kauris and Rimu’s on the site, and then bobs your uncle the council will of course agree to clear the site, to put in double garaging and a 2 story residence cos too much hassle to build around the trees who they failed to notice in the first place or even understand why they should be preserved.

    If anyone notices, agree to preserve them. buy time and then go back to environment court with hanky in hand and a dodgy deal with council who will sign anything to get one of their bad decisions through, crying what a victim they are.

    I would like to see more penalty for those that manipulate the reports in the first place and more accountability to council for not noticing these very disturbing occurrences to by pass the district plan often ironically being spear headed by their own officers who seem to want to remove all protection from Auckland so that they have even less to do and more power in the process.

    • weka 5.1

      so Lenihan is basically arguing that if the protest hadn’t happened they would have removed the trees despite the SEA status and then because the site was cleared they could apply to have the SEA status removed. This puts him pretty high on the scale of evil developers IMO and he now has zero credibility or trustworthyness.

      He also appears to have forgotten that the protest had nationwide support.

      • maui 5.1.1

        +1, it’s as if he’s learnt nothing over the whole debacle too. Maybe he just wants to show that he really is right, but to go through all of this again is either stupidity or pigheadedness.

    • Lindsey 5.2

      You might like to read the actual submission #851 which was made in January 2014. Google “Unitary Plan Submissions”. This is a submission to the Unitary Plan – it is being heard by a panel of independent Commissioners. It has hit the news now because the hearings are in progress and this submitter has turnd up to speak to his submission.

      It is not – repeat not, a Council officer initiative.

      • Save NZ 5.2.1

        The council appoint the independent commissioners. They council read and review the reports and make a recommendation to the independent commissioners.

        The independent commissioners are not independent at all, they are appointed by the council.

        The indépendant commissioners practically always follow the recommendations of council.

        The environment court practically always follows the submission of the council. The council when it goes to environment court, just appoint expensive lawyers to defend their bad decisions which are paid by the ratepayer.

        The environment court seldom decline an application. As an applicant you are virtually guaranteed success as long as you can get the council to ‘support’ it.

        Any applicant has an over 99% chance of success, all they have to do is get the council to support an application.

        Therefore it puts the council officers in a huge position of power and open to abuse as there is no real independent checks and balances. Often it is hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions of profit for some developer or industry – all in the hands of officers who probably earn $60k.

        Can you imagine in a ‘real’ court that convicts 99% of people – it would be called a Kangaroo court.

        And that folks is the Council and Environment court process.

        • Visubversa

          So you are saying that developers bribe Council officers to get favourable reports? Seeing that most reasonable sized developments would have several officers – a Development Engineer, a Traffic Engineer, perhaps an Arborist and/or an Ecologist, plus the Planner who puts it all together and makes a recommendation, are you saying they are all bribed? Then there is the Senior Planner who reviews and possibly signs off the report for the Commissioner, or if it is for a hearing, then a more senior Manager reviews and clears the hearing report. They are all bribed too are they? Then the Commissioners – just one if it is a Duty Commissioner, or up to 4 including a Local Board member if it is a hearing. That is a lot of cash to be chucking around.
          Do you actually have any proof of this – you know like “evidence”? I am sure Penny Bright would be intrested in evidence – she has been working away full time for the last 7 years to uncover corruption at Council and come up with zip.

  6. Tautoko Mangō Mata 6

    This is a good opinion piece on TPPA especially for sending to those who don’t know much about the topic.
    Ross Henderson: TPPA deserves a transparent discussion
    “You could argue – the Government has argued – that no one’s seen the detail yet and this is all scare-mongering. But why can’t they give us a simple guarantee that they won’t sign up to a deal which increases the cost of healthcare and threatens our power as a nation to make our own laws?”

    • Tracey 6.1

      Like Mr Mapp?

    • weka 6.2

      “But why can’t they give us a simple guarantee that they won’t sign up to a deal which increases the cost of healthcare and threatens our power as a nation to make our own laws?”

      hmmm. For a start, I’m not willing to trust this govt on anything they say and do. But more importantly when did the debate shift to, it’s ok to sign if we get these concessions? Isn’t the whole point that it’s a secret agreement and we can’t know what concessions to ask for other than the ones that we know about because of leaks? Shouldn’t we be opposing secret trade agreements on principle?

      Why can’t globalisation be done transparently anyway?

      • Save NZ 6.2.1


      • Charles 6.2.2

        “For a start, I’m not willing to trust this govt on anything they say and do.”

        That’s a pretty good rule of thumb for anyone. Saves hours of explainings.

      • RedLogix 6.2.3

        Why can’t globalisation be done transparently anyway?

        Lack of any effective mechanisms to ensure democratic accountability at a global level is why.

        For instance, why is it not the role of the UNDP to broker these trade deals? Why have they been shut out of the process? If you wanted true global trade, what organisation is better placed to regulate it?

        While has long been fashionable to sneer at the UN, most of it’s shortcomings have been imposed on it by the dominant big powers determined to prevent it from ever impinging on their nation state sovereignty.

        From this perspective it’s fairly plain that these deals like the TPP have much less to do with globalisation and open trade, and much more to do with entrenching corporate advantage.

        • weka

          Sorry, but you’ll never get support from me for a world government. Imagine Key’s lot in charge with legitimacy 🙁 Think global, act local*, we should be devolving. Globalisation is horse shit. My question was a bit rhetorical, designed to point to the Emperor’s new clothes. As you say, globalisation is all about making a few people rich, and is nothing to do with open trade. Transparency would severely impact on their ability to do business. What’s stunning is that so many people are still complacent about it.

          *CC, PO and probably the GFCs all suggest we should be trading locally not globally.

          • RedLogix

            That’s pretty much the same logic local warlords would have used against the rise of the nation state; and abandons the global stage to those actors big and powerful enough to act upon it. Big finance, big military and big data.

            Imagine Key’s lot in charge with legitimacy

            The one thing worse than bad government is no government. Unless you really are an anarchist who doesn’t believe in governance at all. In which case you may have been on the wrong forum all these years. 🙂

            Almost all the most intractable challenges humanity faces are global in nature. Their solutions will be too. I personally think some form of global governance is inevitable; the real challenge will be the struggle over who controls it and in whose interests.

            Nor is there any reason to argue that global governance means the demise of the devolved local forms either. No more than for instance, the existence of the nation state implies the end of all city council’s.

            • marty mars

              “… Their solutions will be too.”

              I don’t agree with that red – the solutions will come locally rather than globally because trying to enact a global solution (if one could even be invented) to each community just is not possible imo.

              We are at/near the ‘top’ in terms of globalisation – all downhill from here imo – mainly due to the effects of running out of cheap energy and the extra energy being put into the system as climate warming continues.

              • RedLogix

                I’m aware my view probably is out of synch with most lefties around here .. and by this I’m really not trying to disrespect why most people feel like this.

                For so many of us we feel that the governments are bad enough … we can only dread how much more frustrating and difficult a global government might be. I’ve a lot of sympathy with that.

                But I do believe that the world entered a permanent new phase when it entered the first round of globalisation, based on coal and steam engines, in the mid-1800’s. We are now close to the end of the second round, that has been based on oil and electronics; and all the upheaval that this ending may imply.

                But regardless of how much cheap energy we’ve so profligately wasted – along the way we also gained a whole raft of knowledge, technologies and ways of looking world that will prove durable. Yes the hugely wasteful form of globalisation that is currently on it’s last legs will fail – but this does not preclude a new form arising in it’s place.

                For instance, let me imagine a third round of globalisation driven by solar and bio-mimicry. Such a thing might be possible; and with it the still unsolved challenges of just and democratically global governance will still be a live issue.

                • I’d offer JMG’s post

                  The further the civilization develops, though, the less it questions the validity of the basic ideas themselves, and the urban environment is a critical factor in making this happen. By limiting, as far as possible, the experiences available to influential members of society to those that fit the established architecture of thought, urban living makes it much easier to confuse mental models with the universe those models claim to describe, and that confusion is essential if enough effort, enthusiasm, and passion are to be directed toward the process of elaborating those models to their furthest possible extent.


                  so for me the idea that the “whole raft of knowledge, technologies and ways of looking world that will prove more durable” fit with JMG’s description of civilization, in that that ideal described above is derived from the structure of the civilization itself (mental model) and thus supports the notion of that civilization – rather than it is an inherent truth.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Unless you really are an anarchist who doesn’t believe in governance at all.

              It’s not that they don’t believe in governance but that they don’t believe in a separate entity called government. In an anarchist society it’s the people making collective decisions and rules. In other words, the people are the government. Otherwise known as democracy.

              I personally think some form of global governance is inevitable; the real challenge will be the struggle over who controls it and in whose interests.

              Again, that comes down to democracy and not dictatorial organisations that are subservient to the corporations.

              What I truly see standing in the way of a globalised world are:

              1. Culture: At the moment there is a global cultural clash
              2. Equality: We need everyone to have the same living standard. Without that then there will be wars and other strife as people try to equalise or prevent that equalisation (IMO, a lot of what the Western world does these days is to actually to prevent that equalisation).
              3. Massive population decline: We simply don’t have enough resources to keep everyone at the current Western Living standard.

              • RedLogix

                Mostly I’d agree. Forgive me if I decline to address anarchism; it’s simply a topic I have no strong ideas about. But I would add to your latter three points:

                1. We live in a globalised world, but it lacks the underpinning values and culture to let it flourish positively.

                2. Absolutely – this is why inequality (and social injustice in all it forms) matters so much

                3. Probably.

            • AmaKiwi


              We have global government. It’s called multi-national corporations.

              In case you missed it this week, former President Jimmy Carter says they own the entire US governance system through campaign bribes.


              • RedLogix


                You’ve more or less expressed exactly what I am saying. Yes we live in a globalised world, in which various supra-national powers wield unaccountable power. One might even describe them as a form of oligarchical government; fair enough.

                But democratically accountable – they most certainly are not.

            • maui

              Our forms of government (local and national) are effectively bankrupt, and not just on ideas 😉 That is a serious issue for their continued control over people. If they can’t fund core services, then they will gradually disappear. The other problem they have is a loss of trust, and these power structures are getting more and more arrogant as time goes on. I think we’ll gradually see people investing their trust into local grassroots movements/groups that are outside the current system that keeps on making the same bureaucratic, out of touch mistakes. On a global level, as persistent depressions spread across the world, I think reduced trade between nations may mean countries become more insular like many countries were before globalisation.

              • RedLogix

                I happily endorse exactly what you are saying about increased local grassroots movements.

                The nation state is under siege from both above and below, from both the forces of globalisation AND those of an increasing desire for peoples to assert their cultural identity. The rise of the SNP is the example which springs immediately to my mind.

                And for the most part I’d assert this is a good thing. Nation states have monopolised their position at the top of the political totem pole for too long. Relinquishing portions of their sovereignty, both to a federal global governance and to revitalised cultural/ grassroots movements, would quite likely address a fair slice of the ‘arrogance’ issue you describe.

              • Draco T Bastard

                If they can’t fund core services, then they will gradually disappear.

                Government can’t fund services because the business sector has been attacking them, telling people that they’re paying too much in taxes, that taxes are theft, that the business sector can do it better/cheaper and people have been buying into that BS. This result in people complaining about the taxes and so governments cut taxes the end result is that our society no longer has the support structure to keep it going and it collapses.

  7. freedom 7

    You gotta wonder if John Roughan can even see the external edges of his keyboard with the size of his blinkers.

    No need to link to it, just imagine an idyllic pasture festooned with iridescent flowers dancing in warm breezes as cherubs of wonderment float by gleefully distributing petals of joy.

    • North 7.1

      [Never to dissipate] intoxication by the fumes of well rewarded hagiography perhaps ? With such skin in the game the role ceases to be that of journalist…….it’s forever the role of ‘spurnalist’ – reliably ready spurning of anything/one failing to endorse the subject of the well rewarded hagiography. Delivered with increasingly solemn old-world-vicar-like pomposity. Caricaturish really.

    • DH 7.2

      Wasn’t that predictable…..

      The Weekend Herald commentaries look to be well choreographed, there seems to be a fair level of coaching by Herald management. All too often the National Party fan club all pick the same topic to comment on. That might be coincidence once but not when it’s as frequent as the Herald commentaries.

      It’s quite notable that with Roughan’s pieces the Herald often holds back the reader comments until days later, by then readers have moved on and don’t read the scorn heaped on him. That has to be deliberate.

    • BLiP 7.3

      What! No unicorns?

  8. Morrissey 8

    “What I say is what I say.”
    Brutal new comedy series gets 24 million viewers.

    Who said Americans don’t have a sense of irony?

  9. Incognito 9

    It’s too early to tell whether (some) farmers are in for another shock: El Nino – Explained as simply as possible.

  10. Morrissey 10

    Jimmy Kimmel: “Not all English people are like this jackal.”
    Murdering rich bastard condemned around the world.

    A rich, pampered, cocaine-sniffing, prostitute-chasing playboy and recreational hunter who rejoices in the nickname “The Big H” has been condemned around the world after it was revealed he had killed Afghani peasants and boasted about it.

    Angry crowds waved signs saying “KILLER”, “ROT IN HELL”, “THE BUTCHER OF BUCKINGHAM” and “I AM AFGHANISTAN”, and shouted messages like “Extradite!” and “Shut him down!” They want the playboy to be sent back to Afghanistan to face charges.

    To resounding applause, late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel declared: “Not all English people are like this jackal.”

    • greywarshark 10.1

      Referring to the dentist who killed a lion (Cecil?) made me think about how they crop up in books.
      In Catch 22 by Joseph Heller –
      The question of “Who promoted Major Major?” alludes to Joseph McCarthy’s questioning of the promotion of Major Peress, an army dentist who refused to sign loyalty oaths.

      In Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night –
      A white supremacist organization [whose leader, a dentist named Lionel Jones] discovers his existence [Campbell] and makes him a cause celebre, inviting him to speak to new recruits as a “true American patriot.”
      (Howard W Campbell is a playwright who became a Nazi propagandist for the USA so he could secretly broadcast coded messages aiding the Allies. He is conspired against
      by a white supremacist dentist when back in the USA, still denigrated as a Nazi sympathiser.)

      I think the dentists of the USA became annoyed at the portrayal of their profession in an unflattering way and took some legal action. But I am not sure about this, it may have just been considered.

      • Charles 10.1.1

        Yes it’s almost become a cliché – the dentist who is “broken” in some way that emerges as brutality or “deviancy”. Even the latest “The Hangover” films had the dentist as both domestically and socially “suspect” – you know, compared to mainstream Hollywood gender roles.

        This Big_H bloke could be a Francis Macomber type on the inside: using and running from women, killing only from positions of superiority, a real coward despite his alleged military “derring-do”. I hope he didn’t track or shoot the Lion from a vehicle… Ernest would not be pleased. Wastrels, he called them. Unlike Fitzgerald, he didn’t much like the rich, at all. A good woman could sort Big_H out, if he had the guts to stick with her, and if none available, a Margot character would solve the problem, too.

    • greywarshark 10.2

      I am surprised that you are targeting Prince Harry. Why? Many of your links seem anti-royalist. He has enough snappers and slappers stalking him. I think that he deserves not to have stories scraped up as an excuse to build a phantom story.

      • Blue Horseshoe 10.2.1

        On what basis does he ‘deserve’ it ?

        The royals are fair game, as are the Key’s offspring

  11. georgecom 11

    National Party standard approach to a controversy.

    1. deny anything is wrong
    2. blame the last Labour Government
    3. blame anyone else
    4. never accept responsibility

    • BLiP 11.1

      National Party standard approach to a controversy.

      1. Fire up John Key’s Dirty Politics Machine
      2. Start lying.
      3. Lie about lying and then immediately attack, never defend, never explain
      4. blame the last Labour government
      5. Try a sleaze distraction
      6. Blame the public service
      7. Never ever admit liability
      8. Blame an opposition MP personally
      9. Keep lying
      10. Scramble like crazy behind the scenes to come up with some good news.
      11. Rinse and repeat.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Theresa Gattung running for Auckland mayoralty soon? On Radionz news just now.

  13. greywarshark 13

    This Mark Todd (not the horsey one) is doing something special in NZ, along with his compatriot. This is a must listen for all who know we are needing changes in thinking and doing in housing and education and on. Good listening with Kim at Radionz.
    10:05 Playing Favourites with Mark Todd
    Mark Todd is the co-founder, with Ben Preston, of Auckland urban development company Ockham Residential, and the Ockham Foundation, an education-based registered charity. Ockham Residential is the new sponsor of the New Zealand Book Awards, to be produced by the Auckland Writers Festival from 2016.

  14. Adrian 14

    Geez our journalists are lazy. Apparently it’s not our dairy thats the problem it’s the Canadians not wanting the TPPA because their diary industry would be flooded with shit US milk if the borders were opened. Groser ( pissed again most likely ) thinking he’s the great intellect and hard nosed negoitiator and the idoit scibblers hanging on every word.
    Fuck me we’ve fallen a long way

  15. greywarshark 15

    Tourism is going to be our saviour when dairy goes down.
    Here is a piece on Radionz about the Canary Islands off Spain that have 11 million tourists a year?? Anyway they find the locals are being pushed out of their own island by the burgeoning tourist infrastructure of resorts appealing to tourists alone.
    The locals’ small businesses are going out of business.

    The unemployment for youth right up to the 30s? is 56%. The business is not spreading out to the island because of the truly-vertical integration where the accommodation hotels are self-contained and capture all the spending.

    There are so many ways to shoot yourself in the foot with tourism as your main business.
    Those who do any thinking about NZ wider prosperity and business stability should take note and learn the lessons now.

    • Graeme 15.1

      That gave a good look at the issues Spanish tourism faces, in part due to an investment boom / bust like we had in 2000s in property here and in dairy the last few years. We’ve got the same conflicts in our tourist industry, but the scale is really different. The effects and responses are very different too.

      We’re lucky in a way that we are so far away form the markets that create the Spanish problem, you can commute from Spain to London, people do, so they get millions of short stay visitors who just want to get plastered and then go home. We require a bit more commitment, and that tends to self select.

      We also go through viscous cycles. Combine this with the distance thing and investment here isn’t as attractive as places closer to the big markets. So we’re not as likely to get the mega resort developments. But we need to manage these cycles more effectively. The recent 25% appreciation of our currency due to the dairy boom has been hell for tourism, we’re back in the game with the US market now but the Aussie market has a long way to go. We need to be around AUD 0.80 before we’re going anywhere there. The worst affected in our case have been some of our suppliers, carvers and artists who’ve been smacked around by businesses failing and have had to go and get other jobs to survive, they’ve gt to start again if they want to go back to their art.

      The vertical integration does happen here, but there’s a strong move by industry leaders to higher value independent visitors in most markets. A lot of the understand that we will always be limited because of the distance and there’s no point selling a package for $1000 when you can sell a better one for $10,000 . There’s a market for group tours, but independent packages erode that once the market matures, like the Chinese and US have. The closest we have to the Canarys would be the cruise lines, they expect their slice of everything, and can be very unpleasant.

      The industry needs clear political leadership to get through these cycles, the current minister is MIA, he seems to think Sky City is the total of the industry. But if he’s pushed he’ll take credit for all those who are getting somewhere (surviving) despite his governments policies. It’s an opportunity for the opposition to get traction where there could be a bit of a muddle.

      • greywarshark 15.1.1

        That gives a really thorough summary to our problems as I have heard them.
        That massive short-stay, go and get bombed then home, is a killer for places like Venice with environmental problems, sea level rise and infrastructure limitations. They need high spending visitors with true appreciation for their wonders.

        In UK they have put down board walks at Lands End. We have protected Tane Mahuta similarly. Though it is interesting that if NZsare wanting to go and view on the tourist buses, seats will be booked up for months ahead. It could be that some of our attractions are already overrun by tourists even with the distance disadvantage.

        The trick is getting the tourists to come to your town and spend at least a night there, and not just follow a well-trodden route. For instance, I have heard that Kerikeri, a pretty little place, is down on its uppers.

        I think the Oz aren’t big spenders, and are short stayers. Though while we still own AirNZ, there is money to be made in transporting them and those NZs who cross to the Gold Coast. I think the Japanese and US are bigger spenders.

  16. Macro 16

    From the “Believe it or Not” files – this incredible “decision” by one IPCA chairman Judge Sir David Carruthers:

    In a nutshell:

    Detective Inspector Grant Wormald didn’t perjure himself because surveillance is completely different from intercepting communications….

    Knock me over with a feather!

    I remember in the early 80’s as a member of a national Public Questions Committee wondering whether the IPCA structure was the best way to go . I’m now more than convinced that it was not. This is such another extreme case of the Police covering their backsides with a supposedly “independent” inquiry . They have to go and a completely independent body set up instead. What we have now is just a joke – if it wasn’t so serious.

    • Ron 16.1

      At the same time how about a completely independent Prosecution Service that has no connection to Police. Preferably not even ex police as investigators.
      It is time that Police do not decide when of if they will prosecute

      • Macro 16.1.1

        I’m inclined to agree. Perhaps a system along the lines of the French or Scottish, or something similar. A separate legal body completely independent from the Pollice.

    • greywarshark 16.2

      Sounds like wormtongue to me.

      • Macro 16.2.1

        Yes the lexical semantics involved in this decision is mind-numbing.
        Obviously a box of JK Red is expected at yuletide.

  17. freedom 17

    It is not a stretch to say many people who live in the cities of New Zealand, do not spare much of a thought for the volunteer based emergency services that populate the small towns and rural communities across our country. Not until they need them of course.

    Like when they are visiting their rural investment property and dozing in the sun after (an often illegal) burn off that wasn’t quite as dead as the owner thought and the winds of the late afternoon decide to have some fun with the smouldering cuttings from their overgrown plot of future plans.

    For many, thankfully, that is the one and only time they have anything to do with a volunteer Fire Service. But that service does much much more.
    And New Zealand should really do more for them. But when?

    After the embers have been dampened?
    After the once grand forest is a dark shadow of itself and the hillside is nothing more than ashes?

    After the steel and speed and flesh and ignorance have left little but twisted carnage that someone has to reach into and check for a pulse? After the wreckage has been towed away from the unfamiliar highway, that wasn’t designed to be driven in the same manner as some motorway being used on a pre-dawn munchie run? After the frightened family are huddled in the back of the ambulance, assured and safe as the impact of a moment’s indecision is cleared away? After the blood has been hosed off the road?

    After the final tarpaulin is dragged off the storm battered roof, scrubbed down, dried off and carefully stored until the next alarm? After the broken limbs of busted trees are roped in the dark and dragged out from under bridges as the raging floodwaters rise and homes are threatened? Homes that might even belong to the volunteers themselves, who have left their families, as they do without question, night after night day after day. Heading out in the middle of deep winter storms when the cold steel rain annihilates any chance of comfort. In the height of summer when surf is calling and barbeque chatter not cackling pyres are all the exhausted men and women wanted to hear? Is it only after these events we should remind ourselves how desperately we need them?

    These people are volunteers.

    When that siren cries out across a calm evening, the rest of the community tenses for a moment before remembering its Tuesday night, so it’s just a call to training. But then they hear a second, third, a fourth alarm blasts across the town’s rooftops and they know there is no training tonight. Someone needs help. These volunteers do what is asked of them. They drop what they are doing and go.

    They face dwindling resources and increasing call-outs. They get little thanks outside of the communities they live in and what do they ask for? – some simple respect and awareness that should be front of mind for anyone tasked with the vital job of alerting them to an alarm. Instead they have to publicly confront a company that has completely failed them. Some of those lives, those jobs, those homes, are too far away from the siren for it to be heard, so they need another way to be contacted. Pagers are the essential link between the disaster and the people you rely on to make things okay again.

    Apparently, Spark want to remove this essential and singularly reliable means of alert to alarm that these selfless volunteers rely upon.

    Spark is scrambling to cover their arses on this indefensible decision and are no doubt, behind the scenes, in full PR mode working out the best way to sell the fuck up to the public. They are probably counting on the fact that outside of a few donations here and there, most of New Zealand has little thought for volunteer emergency services.

    What does the change really mean though? Why is it such a big deal? Pagers are so last century right! What’s with all the fuss? It is quite simple really, and once you think about it for five seconds you will know all too well why the real issue won’t be discussed in public by Spark.

    Throughout rural New Zealand the mobile communications service is below par. That is an understatement of course. All across New Zealand, mobile technology in rural areas that fall outside of the State highway channels is happenchance some days, and pointless to even attempt on others. You might well have had some inconvenient loss of service whilst traveling to a friend’s farm, or when lazing at the beach on holiday, but unless you have lived it, day in day out, you cannot fully appreciate the sheer bloody uselessness of it.

    Many of these volunteers live and work in the very regions where mobile coverage is sketchy at best. Spark’s decision to remove the paging technology has very real potential to cost lives. Any delay in receiving an alarm to an emergency event can cost a life. Look at it this way – if you ever venture outside of an urban centre, where the emergency services are staffed by employed members of the New Zealand Fire Service, you rely on volunteers to save lives.

    If the volunteers cannot get reliable alarm alerts, that life that isn’t saved, might be yours. Do you have enough faith in the mobile services of rural New Zealand to trust your life to such a decision?

    Perhaps you might like to tell Spark what you think about their complete failure to comprehend the implications of their short-sighted and undoubtedly economically driven decision.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      Sorry mate, but the market has spoken.

    • Charles 17.2

      I was under the impression that Spark (and Chorus) was created because Telecom was getting out of standard telecomms systems, and into internet TV/entertainment. Therefore telling Spark they are going wrong is pointless. They no listening no more.

      Now if your volunteers would buy iphones and agree to doing a reality show like, MasterFireChief, BurnMyBush or MyVolliesRule, you might get better support.

    • Ron 17.3

      except paging systems are notoriously unreliable they are only a one way system and the sender has no idea if the recipient has picked up the page let alone acted upon it.
      We need a reliable cellular coverage that allows two way communication

      • Rosemary McDonald 17.3.1

        except that until the cellular system has 100% coverage and 100% reliability the pager system is as good as it gets in many rural areas.

        And that wee buzz is truly galvanising..,seldom unacknowledged.

        Our rural and often volunteer emergency services deserve better.

    • marty mars 17.4

      Freedom – your point and prose are awesome – I’ve turned it into a poem of sorts

      These people are volunteers.

      For many, thankfully,

      after the embers have dampened
      the once grand forest is a dark shadow of itself
      the hillside is nothing more than ashes.

      after the steel and speed, flesh and ignorance
      left little but twisted carnage that someone
      has to reach into and check for a pulse.

      after the wreckage has been towed
      away from the unfamiliar highway, that wasn’t
      designed to be driven the same manner as motorway.

      after the frightened family, huddled in the ambulance back
      assured and safe as the impact of a moment’s
      indecision is cleared away, the blood hosed off the road.

      is it only after these events we should remind ourselves
      how desperately we need them, these people are volunteers,
      these volunteers are people, these people are us.

      Anyway kia kaha

    • greywarshark 17.5

      Well I think we should contact Spark. and complain.
      That’s a terrific impassioned piece which is timely. The volunteer fire service does get taken for granted. The fire service management even did not use to look after their needs properly. And the government wants to load even more onto you.

      So we get in touch with Spark. And listening to you, you make a better case for technological efficiency than the wealthy moaning that at one time they had to wait three months for a new phone connection at the time that privatisation was introduced.
      Obviously it hasn’t worked for the country fire service. Perhaps we should change back to government services for the rural area.

      What else should people be doing to help the volunteer fire services. Has their money been frozen. Is it all from government?

      • freedom 17.5.1

        “What else should people be doing to help the volunteer fire services [?] ”

        That, is a very good question
        and one I have thought about a few times today

        maybe we need to ask them, what they would like us to do?

        • greywarshark

          Well it is likely they feel neglected. They do in other countries. I wrote to the local NZ paper once saying that volunteer fire persons weren’t acknowledged enough for their good work. Then I found it on google having been uplifted and put in a USA firemens publication.

          They are such a bargain as business can treat serious problem responses as an externality. And of course in neo lib economic theory there is no such thing as self sacrifice, community devotion. Everything that humans do is done for reward, so the fire person gets a feeling of satisfaction and standing in the community, even not getting paid might give a feeling of worth, so payment would spoil all that lovely spiritual elation.

          Someone elsewhere in the blog is discussing that point. The way that modern economics extends its calculations over all life activities, not just those in business or trade as the old theories used to do.

  18. Draco T Bastard 18

    Syrian air defenses bring down US surveillance drone – reports

    Syrian military have reportedly brought down a “hostile” US surveillance drone flying in Syrian airspace, apparently without Damascus’s consent. A US official confirmed that the military “lost contact” with one of their UAVs over Latakia province.

    “Syrian air defenses brought down a hostile US surveillance plane in northern Latakia,” the Syrian state news agency SANA initially on Tuesday, providing no further details. Syrian authorities have meanwhile begun an investigation to find out who owns the reconnaissance plane, reported Kuwait’s KUNA news agency.

    The flying of military aircraft over another state without permission has been recognised for some time as an aggressive act of war and yet we never see this fact reported in the news when the US flies it’s planes over another state. They did it back in the Cold War and then got upset about their planes being shot down.

    • ropata 19.1

      Some other long term thinking, from 2001 to 2014 and 2030 (written in 2014)

      Past, present, what-the-future?, some big questions for 2030 New Zealand…

      We’ve got it pretty good here. Don’t we? There is a certain image of New Zealand that we all like to believe in: We’re clean, green, laid-back, resourceful, fair and inventive. We’re the plucky little battlers at the end of world, quietly working hard in our little slice of paradise. All good. Sweet as. No worries.

      But is this really true? If it used to be, is still true today? Will it stay true? Here at The Wireless, we took a dive into some statistics that show us where we’ve been and where we are now, and raise some big questions about where we’re headed next.

      Ah, 2001. Helen Clark is Prime Minister and Jenny Shipley leads the National Party. The first Lord of the Rings film is released. Australia holds the Bledisloe Cup. Zed wins Album of the year. New Zealand’s largest company, Fonterra, is formed…

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