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Open mike 09/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 9th, 2022 - 190 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

190 comments on “Open mike 09/04/2022 ”

  1. Jenny how to get there 1

    The New Nazi Axis

    “History never repeats, I tell myself before I go to sleep.” Tim Finn

    The original nazi axis was Germany, Italy, Franco Spain, (and later following Pearl Harbour, Japan)

    The new nazi axis.


    Assad Syria

    On-Line Conspiracy Theorists

    • Adrian Thornton 1.1

      The New Triptych of Cheerleaders for World Wide Nuclear Holocaust….

      Western MSM.

      US Neo-Con lead NATO Expansion

      Dummies on The Standard

      Yet More Dummies on The Standard

      Here is a perfect comedy clip that perfectly encapsulates the insane US media war hounds baying for war with Russia….

    • Adrian Thornton 1.2

      But on a more serious note..it's interesting to note that your so called defenders of Democracy in the Ukraine today, both the USA and the UK were both supporters of that Fascist, Franco..even when they were fully aware of all of his atrocities…

      …but then we are talking about the same two countries, the USA and the UK, that supported the Pol Pot after The Killing Fields for fucks sake…

      So yes it turns out that history does repeat.. maybe hop off that high horse you and others seem to think you are riding on over there Jenny, and just remember who you are actually getting into bed with… this saying old saying comes to mind…you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.

      U.S. to Support Pol Pot Regime For U.N. Seat

      How Thatcher gave Pol Pot a hand

      • higherstandard 1.2.1

        And for this morning's episode of whataboutism .. in the red trunks we have Adrian..

        • GreenBus

          Scott Ritter on Ukraine for those who don't swallow the MSM propaganda.

          Bucha civilian "cleansing" explained at 1.00hr in.

          • Barfly

            Yeah nah

          • higherstandard

            I'd prefer to watch John Ritter.

          • Jenny how to get there


            Scott Ritter, @ 16:35 minutes

            "… We are here to talk about the facts. the fact is Russia is winning this war decisively, we can go through the metrics all you want."

            " I have huge amount of experience in this. I have been studying military maps all my life. And I am telling you right now, whatever metric you put up there, Russia has won this war hands down and they are in the process of, I believe, of wrapping up one of the most stunning military victories in modern history."

            Good grief !

            How can anyone have their head so far up their arse, that they are not be able to appraise themselves of the real situation?

            Russia is staring down the barrel of a catastrophic military defeat in Ukraine. How can this possibly be disputed?.

            Scott Ritter needs to look up from his military maps take off his narrow militaristic blinkers and look around at the actual situation.

            Russian forces have become bogged down in Ukraine.

            Following its stalled military advance, Russia has turned to terrorist tactics honed in Syria and Chechnya of targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

            Missiles do not win wars. Soldiers on the ground do, they always have. Who ever climbs out of the rubble to hold the ground will win this war.

            The Zylensky government is conducting a mass evacuation of its civilian population, and preparing for a long war. Russia cannot win a long war.

            The longer the war continues. The longer the anti-war protests in Russia refuse to be crushed. The longer the body bags keep coming. And as long as brave individuals continue to speak up.

            No matter how much blood and treasure Russia spends, Russia can not win this war. No matter how much slaughter and destruction is done, it will only harden the Ukraine will to resist, and turn the world and the Russian public against them.

            • lprent

              Pretty much. Idiot reads 'maps'. Wars are not won on maps they are won with logistics and being able to hold strategic objectives.

              The Russian army has failed at both. Which is why this will be a long grinding war of attrition.

              I was surprised at how much the defense in depth vs offensive attack questions have been answered in this war. This has been a military question going on for the last 25 odd years.

              But until now, there really hasn't been a good test of resonably modern anti-armour and anti-air missiles vs tank armies. Turns out that defense beats attack in that circumstance.

              Now the only realistic Russian strategies left are either to have atrocities against civilians with artillery and bombardment missiles – hopingvto push Ukraine to negoitiate. Or to use chemical biological or nuclear weapons to attempt to take even more devestated cities with less casualties to do the same.

              Queue more Russian atrocities with lots of bullshit 'explanations' provided to the credulous fools like Adrian. I believe those about as much as I believed the intelligence about WMD in Iraq in 2003.

            • RedLogix

              The opposite view to Ritter is put by this guy here:

              Honestly I cannot quite make up my mind here – because there is also good reason to think that Putin is willing to go into siege mode and grind his way slowly across Ukraine, town after town, village after village and slowly strangle the cities. It could take a year or more. The occupied zone would be either abandoned by Ukrainians fleeing or those trapped behind mopped up by internal security forces. There would be no need for a large occupying army, because civilian resistance would be liquidated. Boundless cruelty means nothing to Putin. At the end of it the only people alive in Ukraine would be Russian sympathisers.

              Moldova would be taken in a long weekend. Or perhaps longer if they run out of fuel again. But then what?

              Winning Ukraine means Putin faces being hard up against NATO in Finland, the Baltic states, Poland and Romania and he still has not achieved his strategic goal of creating a defendable state. By then Europe will have achieved full economic decoupling, and Russia will have extended his military to the maximum – even with a full draft. Their economy will shrink so much they won't even qualify to be in the G20 anymore. Millions more of their youngest and brightest will seek ways to escape the country.

              All they will have left is their nukes – and that is the great danger here. Not a strong Russia, but one so reduced politically, economically and morally by a long, bloody war they really will face the existential threat they have so long feared.

              This is why it is crucial to stop Russia in Ukraine – to convince their military that it is impossible to win their strategic goals and force a retreat or a hopeless stalemate. The goal is a delicate balancing act that defeats Putin without necessarily defeating Russia itself.

              • Jenny how to get there

                Pretty much confirms my assertion that Russia cannot win a long war. i.e. Russia is on a hiding to nowhere.

                That the world's most powerful Superpower recent defeat in Afghanistan, America's longest war ever. And the US defeat in Vietnam and the draw in Korea emphasise this fact.

                The Russian leaders need to enter into a serious peace negotiation with the Ukrainians now. Starting with ceasefire during the negotiations to show good faith.

                Will they do it?

                Historical turning points like this often hinges on the personality of one or two leading individuals. in this case the Russian leader, one Vladimir Putin.

                Will Putin go for it, and try and talk up a negotiated settlement into some sort of victory, as this commentator suggests he should?

                Personally my hopes are not high, and the war will grind on.

                While the Putin regime looks unlikely to back down at this stage.

                14 months from now anything is possible.

                • RedLogix

                  I truly wish you would be proven correct Jenny. It is Putin and Putin alone who holds the power to end this without unthinkable suffering.

                  But all the evidence tells us that he has become possessed by an ideology, that Russia stands alone against a perverse, homosexual, nazi, liberal world of western degenerates. And in this noble, homophobic war he must cleanse Europe to make the world safe for Russia. Alexsander Dugin built the intellectual framework, Putin has sold it to Russia.

                  As with all totalitarian ideas Dugin starts with a small grain of truth, and then excludes all other considerations to erect monumental insanity. In this view if the mass of Russian's embrace this view, the outlook is dark indeed

                  But events have a way of eluding all prediction Jenny – there is no sense to indulge in despair.

      • RedLogix 1.2.2

        Useless whattaboutism as cover for evil.

        Fake neutrality while cheering on boundless cruelty

        • Adrian Thornton

          Not " whattaboutism" just a couple of actual facts…do you people remember what they are?….but then again they are of probably no interest or use to you now that you have so honorably and selflessly “picked a side” I guess?

          It’s like you have seamlessly transitioned from your ‘Post Ideology’ world to a Post Fact world…impressive.

          Though to be honest, I don’t believe either will age that well…

          • Barfly

            If my memory is correct New Zealand still recognised Pol Pot as the "legitimate" government of Cambodia after the Vietnamese invaded and kicked his arse to the kerb – we didn't want to upset China

          • aj


            A term created to extract western warmongers from the difficult position of having done All The Bad Things they accuse others of doing. When someone uses it on you, it means you just killed their argument and exposed their moral bankruptcy.

            • aj

              Some of us feel it necessary to remind others of the sickening hypocrisy and double standards being applied and the methods being used to shut down debate. I haven't seen anyone here justifying atrocities but that accusation is being used to shut down the conversation. But it is very important to be able to put context into the discussion.

              I think everyone here wants the ICC to have the teeth it needs to look into every war crime, gather evidence to prosecute, and bring every war criminal to the dock. Reading some comments, I'm not entirely sure. But we all know the US hostility to the ICC.

              In ideal world, the USA would pursue it's own war crimes as vigorously as they do the suspected criminal behavior of others, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. If only they could occupy the moral high ground and have that strength to preach to others.
              Julian Assange wouldn't be rotting in a cell and the collateral murderers would be facing justice.
              The Pentagon would find that the killers of the 10 Afghan civilians last year (including 7 children) didn't make 'an honest mistake' and someone would be charged with, at least, careless use of a drone to commit manslaughter.
              “It was an honest mistake,” said the Pentagon. “But it’s not criminal conduct, random conduct, negligence.” How many honest mistakes have they made, with tens of thousands of civilian deaths in drone strikes? does anyone see a pattern here?

              The My Lai anniversary was on March 16th and I think this horrific massacre passed by without a single mention in any New Zealand or other western media I've read. It that because it doesn't suit the current narrative? or is it something that the world has just forgotten. I'd be fairly certain that most 20-30 year-olds couldn't tell you the meaning of My Lai, and that's tragic.

              Chris Trotter hasn't forgotten and I salute him for this article, which has also been published in the Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star

              Bloody Anniversaries.


              • joe90

                sickening hypocrisy and double standards being applied and the methods being used to shut down debate.


                I haven't seen anyone here justifying atrocities

                No, they've been flat-out whatabouting to minimise and deflect.

                But we all know the US hostility to the ICC.

                And Russia's.

                Your point?

                In ideal world, the USA would pursue it's own war crimes

                At the very least the US and the West have extensively documented their own crimes and some offenders have indeed been brought before domestic courts.

                Omitting the Abu Ghraib/Bagram torture and prisoner abuse mob:

                Robert Bales.

                Clint Lorance

                John E. Hatley

                Eddie Gallagher

                Donald Ball,

                Dustin Heard

                Evan Liberty

                Nicholas Slatten

                Paul Slough

                Marshall L. Magincald

                Trent D. Thomas

                Robert B. Pennington

                Melson J. Bacos

                Jerry E. Shumate

                John J. Jodka

                Tyler A. Jackson

                Jason Finley

                Andrew Holmes

                Michael Wagnoner

                Jeremy Morlock

                Adam Winfield

                Now, do Russia.

                passed by without a single mention

                As did Srebrenica in 1995, the British suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, the Rwanda genocide of 1994 and the tortured, murdered and disappeared of Chile, Argentina and the wider Central/South America.

                Again, your point?

              • lprent

                But we all know the US hostility to the ICC.

                I guess that you can point to the cases where the current Russian Federation has supported the ICC in examining Russian conflicts (afghanistan, chechyna, georgian, syria or any of their post-soviet conflicts) and even post-Yugoslavia cases?

                You are curiously one eyed in your claims and arguments. They always wind up as Americia bad, and noone else much is mentioned – except in relation to the US.

                Of course every one who reads knows about the absolute hostility of the Russian Federation to any of the workings of the ICC.

                Just as they know that the US refuses the ICC jurisdiction over US military. But who has assisted in bringing non-US military to the Hague.

                Please note the distinction between the two positions.

                As for Mai Lai – what was the result of the courts martial over that? Have you never looked at that?

                Compare that to the medals ceremonies for Russia soldiers after massacres. Chechyna and Syria in particular.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.2.3

        As a client state of the US, New Zealand also supported Pol Pot. The logic being employed by our respective governments, – 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.' The enemy of the US hegemon and its allies, including NZ, of the time was Vietnam, which was also an enemy of the Pol Pot regime.

        But we were not the only ones to support Pol Pot, Noam Chomsky, the darling of the Alt-Left and Tankies everywhere, also supported Pol Pot. Anyone can make a mistake I suppose, and supporting a genocidal regime is a big one. But doing it a second time?

        It just seems that some people never learn.

        How Noam Chomsky Betrayed the Syrian People

      • Jenny how to get there 1.2.4

        Adrian Thornton

        9 April 2022 at 9:18 am

        But on a more serious note..it's interesting to note that your so called defenders of Democracy in the Ukraine today, both the USA and the UK were both supporters of that Fascist, Franco….

        I have never claimed that both the USA and the UK are my defenders of Democracy.

        In my life I have protested against the US during the war in Vietnam,

        During the 'Troubles' I joined a protest occupation of the UK consul offices in Auckland against the UK occupation of Northern Island. I have been a life long opponent of imperialism of all kinds.

        It is interesting Adrian that you bring up the fact that the US and the UK were at different times both supporters of the Franco regime. So were Fascist Germany and Fascist Italy.

        At another time and place, it is somewhat analogous to the West's support of the Assad regime, It is on the record that at another time Tony Blair lobbied to get Bashar Assad a British Knighthood. And that Assad and his family were close friends of the British Royal family, Assad being the only sitting Middle East leader ever to overnight in the Buckingham palace as the Queen's guest. That it was well known, Assad's appalling human rights record. narrowly prevented Assad getting his Knighthood from the British establishment.

        Things soured somewhat between Western imperialism and Assad at the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Syria. But the West did not step in on the side of the regime to crush the popular revolt against Assad, as they have done in so many other countries, leaving a space for the rising revanchist Russian imperialists to do so.

        If we are going to make comparisons with the past.

        I would compare Russia's intervention in Syria, to Germany's intervention in Spain.

        I would compare Russia's invasion of Ukraine, to Germany's invasion of Poland.

        Both aspiring superpowers who were/are challenging the existing imperial division of the world, were emboldened in Europe by their rivals lack of interest in stopping their overseas interventions in Syria and Spain.

        Another comparison I would make to imperialist interventions of the past would be to the Vietnam War to Ukraine. The Vietnam defeated the American imperialists, just as Ukraine is defeating the Russian imperialists.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.2.5

        I think the problem here Adrian, is that you are so blinded by your hatred of US UK imperialism that you can't recognise the fact that imperialism has been and is practiced by other countries.

        Even little ol' New Zealand.

        New Zealand was once known as "The Prussia of the South Seas" for our colonial practices toward our Pacific Island neighbours.

        At the outbreak of the First World War New Zealand navy raced Australia to take possession of the German colony of Samoa. (England and France being otherwise engaged). Once in full control of Samoa, New Zealand, practices a form of colonial oppression rivaling anything practiced by bigger imperial powers, including mass detention and massacre of the Samoan people.


        What you fail to realise Adrian is that the trend to imperialism and colonial expansion is endemic to all capitalist economies.

        It is widely accepted that capitalist economies must have growth.

        Without growth capitalist economies go into recession and decline.

        Expansion or decline.

        To escape this vice and maintain growth economies, big nations expand to take over more and more resources and markets, often in competition with other big countries, smaller nations like New Zealand or defeated nations like Japan unable to practice imperialism on their own, have to tie themselves to the war wagon of bigger winning imperial powers like the US.

        Until we can achieve a steady state economy, rival imperial blocs will keep butting up against each other.

        Until we can achieve a steady state economy we will keep exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet.

        I think your mistake Adrian is that you are partisan to one side, instead of being opposed to all imperialisms.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.2.6

        Adrian Thornton

        9 April 2022 at 9:18 am

        …..maybe hop off that high horse you and others seem to think you are riding on over there Jenny, and just remember who you are actually getting into bed with… this saying old saying comes to mind…you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas….

        "Lay down with dogs get up with fleas”, Eh Adrian? Maybe you need to closely examine some of the fleas that you (figuratively) 'lay down with" ?

        Russian Neo-Nazi Sadist trains future Donbas militant fighters


        Halya Coynash

        …..Alexei Milchakov is a St Petersburg neo-Nazi who moved from decapitating puppies and calling on fellow Neo-Nazis to kill down-and-outs back in Russia to torturing Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas as part of a formation called ‘Rusich’…..

        …… members of mainly European and Russian far-right and neo-Nazi parties. Now the two men are valued ‘instructors’ at a camp under the patronage of former ‘prime minister of the so-called ‘Donetsk people’s republic’, Alexander Borodai. .

        ..Milchakov was among the militants who posted videos of themselves, for example, cutting off the ear of one of their victims. The videos have all been removed from YouTube due to their monstrous content, however copies will certainly have been retained and, like the photos here, will hopefully receive appropriate assessment from the International Criminal Court.


        European fascists fighting in Syria alongside regime forces, Sepah Pasdaran and Hezbollah

        February 11, 2014

        A rare article by Leila Shrooms from the Tahrir International Collective Network [1] lists a number of fascist and far-right nationalist groups and organisations from across Europe that have been openly supporting the Syrian regime, whether by going to fight in Syria, raising funds or organising pro-regime demonstrations. These include:
        – the National Front in France
        – Forza Nuova and CasaPound in Italy
        – Golden Dawn and Black Lilly in Greece
        – the British National Party in the UK
        – the National Rebirth of Poland, Falanga and All Polish Youth in Poland.

        …..Shrooms attributes this rather bizarre phenomenon to a number of factors:
        – Anti-imperialist or anti-globalist nationalist sentiments (they believe the Assad regime is fighting against US imperialism);
        – Anti-semitism (they believe the Assad regime is fighting against Israel, their “age-old foe”);
        – Islamophobia (they believe the Assad regime is fighting against Islamist extremists); and
        – Twisted concerns about growing Arab and Muslim migration to Europe, where fascists in a number of countries have been protesting against and harassed Syrian refugees.

        “All of these beliefs,” Shrooms adds, “rest on fallacy and an uncritical perpetuation of [the Syrian] regime narratives. They are also positions shared (although without the racist element) by sections of the [European] left.”


        Just a suggestion, but maybe it is you Adrian that needs to get off your high horse.

  2. joe90 2

    Pissed Russian lets the cat out of the bag. It's all about the soup.

    The soup war boiled over into social media this year, when @Russia (the official Twitter account for the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) tweeted: “A timeless classic, #Borsch is one of Russia’s most famous & beloved #dishes & a symbol of traditional cuisine”.

    To the average Twitter skimmer, Russians broadcasting about borsch may seem obvious and innocuous, but for Ukrainians, who consider borsch to be their national dish, the Russian tweet is wartime propaganda, especially considering the current occupation of Crimea and the latest territorial conflict in eastern Ukraine that’s been raging since 2014. The Ukrainian Twittersphere responded with anger and humour, with comments like “As if stealing Crimea wasn’t enough, you had to go and steal borsch from Ukraine as well”.


    • Matiri 2.1

      Even the niggling itch that is pavlova has Russian origins, with the ballerina Anna Pavlova touring the world and inspiring a dessert with her tutu.

    • Jenny how to get there 2.2

      “…..she is apparently absolutely drunk”

      And who wouldn't be, in her position?

      Anyone would have to be drunk or on drugs to continue in this role.

      Stream of journalists resign from Russia's state TV amid Ukraine invasion

      17/03/2022 Ireland Hendry-Tennent

      News editor Marina Ovsyannikova's denouncing of the war in Ukraine on live TV has highlighted a steady stream of resignations from Russia's state-run media……

      ……Her protest follows a steady but quiet stream of resignations from journalists at Russian media organisations.

      According to the BBC, just hours after Ovsyannikova's act, resignation details emerged of three more journalists who had quit. It was revealed Channel One employee Zhanna Agalakova quit as Europe Correspondent while journalists Lilia Gildeyeva and Vadim Glusker quit rival station NTV.

      RT, formally known as Russia Today, has also seen a string of high profile resignations with former chief editor Maria Baronova, former London correspondent Shadia Edwards-Dashti and Moscow-based journalist Jonny Tickle all resigning after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

      French RT presenter Frédéric Taddeï also resigned saying it was because France was "in open conflict" with Russia.


      • Adrian Thornton 2.2.1

        I Love it how the screaming Header for that piece is…

        Stream of journalists resign from Russia's state TV amid Ukraine invasion

        ..then two lines down it's more like…."a steady but quiet stream"

        Looks like your news outlets must be learning quickly from their new News instructors…The Daily Mail…LOL!

        • DB Brown

          Screaming Header?

          And you want to be taken seriously?

          That's a LOL! from me.

        • Jenny how to get there

          Adrian 'Stream' and 'Steady Stream' do not negate each other.

          You are just nit-picking, Adrian. You are unable to challenge the the main point of my comment and links, which is, that many Russian newscasters despite their salaries and threats to their freedom, can't stomach the vile pro-war propaganda they have to churn out, on pain of 15 year detention in a labour camp.

          New Russian law on Ukraine war reporting threatens journalists with lengthy prison sentences

          Adrian, If you have ever had to write a Newspaper headline then you would know you have to economise on words. Because of this many headlines are often cryptic. Another thing, Headlines are often not written by the journalist who wrote the report, but the Editor they handed it to for publication. Sometimes it is even the compositor, if it is a for a hard copy journal.

          By not addressing or disputing the main point you are only making a fool of yourself.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    For those of you who haven't heard it yet, the marcabre, yet incredibly catchy Ukranian song (with English Subtitles) eulogising the exploits of the Bayraktar drone in the Ukranian conflict. Trigger warning: contains lots of drone video of things exploding.

    I saw a video of residents of captured Kherson singing this song at the Russian occupiers as an act of defiance.

  4. Ad 4

    Buckle in North Island people for the Tuesday storm coming down from south of New Caledonia.

    New Zealand North Island Weather Forecast (metvuw.com)

  5. weka 5

    NZH piece looking at burnout in the health system,

    But the problem of overwork doesn't stop at the executive ranks. Doctors, nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals have all expressed concern about the amount of pressure they face on a daily basis.

    "Burnout is a key issue," says Cheng.

    "There's no easy fix here. You can't just bump wages up overnight."

    Even though restrictions are lifting around the country, the pandemic is not yet over – and if anything, the pressure on healthcare staff will only grow as the country shifts to a system reliant on personal responsibility.

    "Covid is far from over, despite what people are saying. There could be a resurgence and there will be new variants."

    These developments will again heap pressure on the already-stretched healthcare staff on the verge of burnout.


    It's an emergency situation that's not going away any time soon.

    What are the reasons that the government cannot give nurses and other staff an immediate pay raise?

    • Macro 5.1

      What are the reasons that the government cannot give nurses and other staff an immediate pay raise?

      They are running out of peanuts?

      RNZ news today staff in wairarapa literally given peanuts. No link as yet.

    • higherstandard 5.2

      There was an agreed and backdated pay rise last year.


      Also as Macro mentions the cupboard is bare ..in fact worse than bare.

      • weka 5.2.1

        not as bare as it's going to be if our medical staff get PTSD and burnout and we don't have enough to run our hospitals, medical centres and old people's homes.

        • higherstandard

          Our hospitals, medical centres and rest homes have always relied upon the free flow of health professionals and associated caregivers from the asia pacific region and around the world.

          It is and was one of the greatest failures of our COVID response that this flow of outstanding people was turned off.

          • KJT

            "Have always relied on" cheap labour and staff who have their training costs paid elsewhere,, to be exploited, and keep wages low.

            Just like most large NZ employers.

            Fixed it for Ya!

            • higherstandard

              There's no doubt that pay scales in the NZ healthcare system are lower than across the Tasman.

              The medical professionals and allied healthcare providers will, however, get the same pay as their NZ educated and resident peers.

    • Grafton Gully 5.3

      It appears the pay restraint guidelines to June 21 still apply.

      "On 28 April 2020 the Public Service Commissioner issued guidance on the application of pay restraint through to June 2021 following a Cabinet decision that visible pay restraint in the public sector was an appropriate response to the impact of COVID-19."

      If so, key principle 2.5 still operates.

      "Address acute recruitment and retention issues that are creating risks to frontline service delivery. Initiatives in this area should be of limited scale."


      • weka 5.3.1

        so a policy they could easily revisit?

        • Grafton Gully

          They could I guess update the guidelines, but looks like that would need Cabinet say so. Weird how Cabinet hasn't given health worker pay guidelines separate from the rest to acknowledge the obvious extra effort required of them in the Covid pandemic. Seems to me that would be "an appropriate response to the impact of COVID 19."

          "On 28 April 2020 the Public Service Commissioner issued guidance on the application of pay restraint through to June 2021 following a Cabinet decision that visible pay restraint in the public sector was an appropriate response to the impact of COVID 19."

    • Treetop 5.4

      Health and housing are both not doing well and both are vital for well being.

      Health is probably easier to fix. Free training for nurses and a 50% discount for doctors. Increasing salaries by 10% and recruiting more qualified nurses and doctors from overseas. The Medical Council has outdated methods in accepting some registration of qualified doctors from overseas even when they have worked in Britain or the US.

      Exhausted medical staff is close to slave labour.

      Preventative programs could work such as free visits to the GP for some medical conditions . I realise the shortage of GPs is also a concern.

    • gsays 5.5

      I popped a comment the other day about 'moral injury, classically experienced by soldiers now common amongst health professionals.

      Folk caught in a double or triple bind. Conflicting pressures, trying to serve/advocate for a patient against time, staffing and resource short-comings.

      Burn out has the sound of the victim lacking resilience or another deficiency. Moral injury puts the cause where it belongs: at the feet of a broken system. No matter your ability, an individual will not change a not-fit-for-purpose beauracracy.

      Once again I plead for Little's health reforms to reject this neo-liberal, sub-contracting business model of running our hospitals.

    • Belladonna 5.6

      More money doesn't fix burnout. What fixes burnout is more staff.

      I don't see the current DBH structure (which is hyper-focused on the coming re-organization) doing anything about increasing base-line staffing levels.

      More money will do little to help the current burnt-out workforce – though it may help reduce the risk of our health professionals deciding that 20+% higher salaries in Australia are a much better option.

      What I think needs to happen:

      • Immediate recruitment drive for health professionals here in NZ (including permanent residents and people here on other visas. Guaranteed PR residence with minimal hoops to leap through would be the biggest carrot.
      • Overseas recruitment drive for medical professionals. Again guaranteed PR is the big carrot. Need to also free up the blockage which is the medical council preventing recognition of qualifications. Let them work under supervision for the first year – and require retraining if it proves clinically necessary. Importantly, this needs to *not* be tied to a firm job offer – we just need the pool of professionals here. If that means that 80% of the immigration places go to health professionals – I can live with that.
      • DHBs required to staff to fully cover annual and sick leave – with a buffer for emergencies. This should absolutely include stopping the frankly dangerous practice of rostering junior doctors on 12-18 hour shifts. It should also cover senior doctor supervision 24/7 (not 'on call' actually on site). I expect that this will require active monitoring by the Health Department, and penalties for non-compliance (imposed on the senior management and/or the boards). This may require increased salaries (especially for hard to staff areas) and removal of some of the penny-pinching and staff unfriendly practices which have been imposed over the last 20 years (I could give chapter and verse, but will refrain)

      This would get us through the next 5 years.

      In parallel. We need to step up the training and qualification of medical professionals (in the widest possible sense) in NZ. Whatever it takes, including, but not limited to: Direction to the universities to double or triple the doctor intake; making nursing fees-free; allowing student loans to be forgiven for medical professions who remain in NZ (and at an an increased rate for hard to staff areas), etc.
      NZ needs to grow our own medical professionals, rather than rely on importing them.

      After 5 years we should be able to cover entry level places (and then scale back immigration). After 10-15 years we should only need to import for highly specialized or unique skill sets (e.g. a paediatric oncologist from Boston Children's Hospital – who happens to want to immigrate to NZ)

      • weka 5.6.1

        the article I linked to says they can't recruit, and they can't stop people leaving, because workers can get better wages and salaries overseas. In a pandemic, the countries paying decently will get the staff. That's not us. So money is intrinsically linked to burnout. Which was the point of my comment. Why can't we raise rates and then do all the retention and recruiting things you suggest.

        • weka

          will also point out that staff burnout and PTSD internationally means there is a smaller pool to draw on. We should be doing whatever we can to retain our current health workforce.

          And while I'm here, improving work conditions (including pay) so that people want to do aged and disability care etc is an urgent necessity as well.

        • Belladonna

          I don't disagree with more money. I'm just pointing out that it's only the first step.

          More money doesn't fix the people who are burnt out now.

          And it doesn't fix the culture at the DHB (expressed over the last 20 years) of never hiring enough staff – and using bureau/agency staff to cover gaps. That's not a bad emergency solution, but it's a shockingly-bad one to be using routinely (which they have been).

          As far as recruitment goes, money isn't everything. Sorting out the appallingly bad practice (and reputation) of NZ Immigration would be high up there. Newspaper articles about skilled migrants who are being knocked back on PR status by Immigration NZ over relatively petty bureaucratic concerns do us no favours on the international stage.


          And, of course (it all circles back) housing in NZ is a critical concern. People coming from overseas want to 'settle' – they want their own home, and to pay a reasonable price for it. Living costs are high on the list of factors that immigrants consider.

      • Treetop 5.6.2

        It probably would feel humiliating for some overseas doctors to not have their registration recognised by the Medical Council. Fluency in English could be a barrier for some and tuition for this needs to be available.

        NZ offers courses for international students to do nursing. Reduce the fee by 50% if they work in NZ for 3 years once they are registered.

        Attrition rates in NZ due to burnout has now become serious. No one wants to spend their day off needing to stay in bed or be kept up at night worrying if there will be enough nurses on the next shift, as seen on the Sunday programme last week.

      • Ross 5.6.3

        More money doesn't fix burnout. What fixes burnout is more staff.

        True, but that costs money. 🙂

        The Government wasted at least $51 million on a defunct cycle lane project. It has its priorities sorted.


        • Incognito

          I didn’t know that Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency funded DHBs.

          You seem to have no clue about government spending, but I knew this already.

          • Ross

            You seem to have no clue about government spending,

            An infantile response which I expected lol. Clearly, I'm responsible for the Government's profligacy.

            • Incognito

              Yup, only a dimwit would expect a dim-witted reply, LOL. Yes, indeed, you’re demonstrably responsible for “the Government's profligacy”, which is exactly what I said. \sarc

              Ross, learn to read, then read to learn, about politics, economy, government, and other important stuff that we discuss here on TS and then come back here with useful contributions.

              Out of morbid curiosity, do you think that all of that $51 million has been a complete waste and none of the work undertaken can and will ever be used for anything else? Do you know exactly what it paid for? Do you now that planning costs money? Do you know that it doesn’t involve just little sketches on a napkin and calculations on the back of an envelope? Do you know, Ross?

    • Ad 6.1

      Will Jan Tinetti do the work?

      This week Ardern and Parker are on record saying she can't win, which is just fucking stupid.

      • higherstandard 6.1.1

        Stupid maybe, but at least it was an honest assessment of a Labour candidate winning in Tauranga in any election and especially in the current climate.

        • RosieLee

          Labour won the party vote in Tauranga last time and fell short on the candidate vote by less than 2000.

          • Belladonna

            Which is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Tinetti…..

            • RosieLee

              Why not? It's the best result in a long time.

              • Belladonna

                Even in an outstandingly historic landslide for Labour – which resulted in an outright majority government – she was unable to defeat the National candidate.
                The difference between the Labour List result and her personal vote tally indicates that it was Ardern who was popular, not Tinetti.
                Now that the gloss is off Ardern (not arguing the reasons and/or fairness of this – but it's the reality) – Tinetti will do a lot worse than she did in 2020. Especially as, historically, electorates use by-elections to punish the government.

          • Ross

            Labour won the party vote in Tauranga last time and fell short on the candidate vote by less than 2000.

            At at the last election, Labour's party vote across the country was 50%. Meanwhile, the latest Roy Morgan poll has Labour polling at 32%.


        • gsays

          Since when have honest assessments had anything to do with politians especially around elections?

      • Stephen D 6.1.2

        Under promise and over deliver.

        Most parties will be using the by election as a way of fine tuning their systems for next year.

      • Incognito 6.1.3

        Just as well that neither Parker nor Ardern did say that “she [Jan Tinetti] can't win” [my italics].


        The only way Labour or a Labour candidate cannot win is when they don’t stand at all.

        So, maybe they weren’t fucking stupid after all.

        • Ad

          No one anywhere near the Tinetti campaign would be confused by your semantic foolery, since Ardern is clear that Labour hasn't won there since 1935:

          SunLive – Tauranga by-election date to be set soon – The Bay's News First

          Tauranga by-election: Jacinda Ardern doesn't expect Labour to win, will set date soon | Stuff.co.nz

          • Incognito

            Luckily, I can tell the difference between cannot and unlikely. Only a fatalistic fool would throw in the towel before the match and give up the fight as fait accompli, as that would indeed be fucking stupid. Luckily, Parker and Ardern are more politically savvy than you are.

            • alwyn

              How many times do you think that Ardern will appear at a campaign event in Tauranga during the by-election campaign period?

              Not appearing at all in support of her parties own campaign would certainly be a case giving up the fight I would say.

              On the other hand appearing four or five times would demonstrate they were trying to win. What is you pick for the number of times she will show up?

              • Incognito

                Your guess is as good as mine, but more importantly, how vigorously will Labour’s candidate campaign? Will the candidate even show up at events?

          • Belladonna

            In any case, whether Labour thinks it has a show of winning or not – they should be using the by-election to test out policies on the electorate – just as Act will be (and I'd hope the Greens would be, too).

    • Barfly 6.2

      Cam Luxton should shave his head? There's enough stupid right wingers who would vote him in error to make his performance look good

    • Belladonna 6.3

      Notably the poll either doesn't ask (or the results haven't been released), the question 'which party/candidate would you vote for in the coming by-election'?

      Voters (as seen in Epsom) vote strategically. Unless the ACT candidate has a stratospheric rise in polls over the next few weeks, most people are going to think that it would be a wasted vote, since he doesn't have a chance. ACT will be using the by-election to bolster their presence as a party – with an eye on 2023. The Greens should be doing the same, as should Labour – especially as Ardern has effectively ruled out a real challenge.

  6. Next time anyone attempts to criticise Grant Robertson, maybe they should first take a look at the extremely devious fellow who is running the finances in the UK-Rishi Sunak.


  7. pat 8

    Brian Easton to the heart of things (again)

    "The redisorganisation will make the three waters infrastructure more visible with the expectation that the waters will be better looked after. That will be costly. The minister introducing the policy stupidly said the new configuration will lower local body rates since they wont have to fund local water supplies from them. What she did not say was how the new entities will be funded. By rates? By user charges? By central government subsidies out of its tax revenue? The lack of answers is an omission comparable to leaving the economy out of our history.

    It is not simply a matter of higher charges somewhere in the system. Who pays will matter. Consider the clumsy entity which runs from East Cape to Nelson. Will the East Capers be paying for Nelson’s water infrastructure or the other way around? Perhaps the expectation is that Wellingtonians will pay for both. Who knows? Certainly not those designing the system."


    As he demonstrates, 3 Waters is a non solution to a misidentified problem.

    • Ad 8.1

      Easton would be more use if he had a handle on public-private institutional economics, because that's really what runs the country. He sounds as tired as Trotter.

      • Dennis Frank 8.1.1

        I think he was making his point generally rather than trying to second-guess the minister. As we all know, Grant is the finance maestro. He will wield his magic wand over three waters at the right time in the process. Down the road apiece.

        • Ad

          Easton cites his own The Commercialisation of New Zealand. which is 23 years old now.

          What we need is economists who can do more than rail against commercialisation of public entities. We are beset by them. We have commercialised entities in the public realms of: health, public health, electricity, tertiary education, social welfare, superannuation, banking, jails, and pretty much everything else except the armed forces, judges and the Police. We are about to add water, nationwide rather than locally.

          We've had most of them in operation since the first term of the Bolger government. If New Zealand were going to come apart by now because of commercialisation we would have done so by now.

          So Easton bemoaning yet another commerical hybrid, using his 1990s toldyaso framework, just doesn't cut the mustard anymore.

          • Poission

            It seems we are also to commercialize road building,with Waka Kotahi to become an importer of Bitumen,this will of course reduce both the commercial risk and margins for foreign companies such as Higgins,Fulton hogan and Downers.

            we could also extend it further with WK taking over the role of regional councils on public transport,and conservation and MPI taking over biosecurity.This would help to make Regional councils extinct a win win.

            • Ad

              Not all contractors will need that.

              WK pretty much own local government outside of water.

              Local Government are sucked dry like a wasp on a chrysalis.

              • Poission

                There will need more to be taken from local government ,such as decrease in wages for the town clerks (who identify as CEO'S) as without such a large asset base,and fewer employees will not need such large salaries.Similar for local body politicians a 25% cut across the board on remuneration ,a win win again.

                • pat

                  Its all good…im sure we can import local government as well

                  • Poission

                    We already are.

                    • pat

                      true to a degree for services…but not yet in its entirety….the candidates at least have to be resident.

                    • Poission

                      More the LG ideology for public assets from failed nation states such as the UK.


                    • pat

                      excellent piece…but can you see ANY political party here that recognises such?….certainly not the Ardern led (who worked for Blair) NZ Labour Party.

                    • Poission

                      None,hence we are still entrenched to repeat the errors of the past,by forgetting the history (as Easton put it) that allowed the corporatisation and then financialization ( future pricing instruments) of public monopolies.The instruments were energy shocks,high inflation and a hot cold war with Russia.

                    • pat

                      destined to repeat because after over 3 decades of lost institutional knowledge and capability they no longer know how to even if they wanted to….or worse they dont even know that they dont know.

            • pat


      • pat 8.1.2

        I'm sure Mr Easton will take your criticism on board

  8. Dennis Frank 9

    Well the mysterious silence from cabinet last week turns out to be due to a process glitch: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/cabinet-to-consider-next-co-governance-steps

    On Monday the Prime Minister told Newsroom she felt co-governance was becoming “an increasingly politicised term’’. Cabinet had been due to consider the paper that day but it had been delayed “because of Minister Jackson’s loss in his family’’, Jacinda Ardern said. Jackson was on leave from Parliament for tangihanga last week after his mother, Dame Temuranga June Jackson, and his uncle, Doctor Moana Jackson, both died. The Minister’s hopeful his colleagues will approve the drafting of a plan, which he expects to happen over the next two months before it is presented to the wider public.

    Asked what specific feedback was received during the targeted Māori engagement, Jackson was reluctant to give details given it was yet to go to Cabinet. “The point I’d make is we went to 70 hui, so every type of suggestion is coming through,’’ he told Newsroom.

    “You’re going to get some extreme views, I won’t go into the detail, but I’m sure we’ll get extreme views when we go to the broader country too.’’

    “These are just people’s views and part of the process is allowing people to have their say, both Māori and Pakeha,’’ Jackson said.

    Ardern has already ruled out a Māori Parliament or upper house after it was proposed in He Puapua, an independent report commissioned by the Government last term.

    ACT's attempt to beat up the situation via referendum proposal seems like a phony war. Obviously settler descendants would vote in accord with the earlier settler majority. Retaining neocolonialism is a priority for many. Seymour's masks his agenda with various diversionary framings.

    Nevertheless the govt framing of co-governance ought to be sophisticated while grounded in realpolitik. Obviously parity between 16% of the populace and the other 84% is a non-starter. Anyone who thinks co-governance means racial parity is best described as delusional, so it will be interesting to see how many binary left/right voters fall into that conceptual trap!

    Honouring the Treaty is easy in principle but in practice the devil rules the detail so it will come down to context in each instance. Bioregionalism is an economic Green framing which could be a useful basis. That would allow Maori to interpret the chiefly Treaty rights of 1840 in contemporary terms via iwi & hapu. Some residual economic traditions from that earlier era could then combine with current best practice.

    • Ad 9.1

      The last major reform this government will have a crack at is the 3 waters reform, and it's the last we will hear of major Maori aspirations driven out of government.

      I'd put odds on 3 Waters completing this term as 50-50. And should National win they've stated it will be completely overturned.

      The Labour Maori Caucus are clearly driving this Labour government to a short and very deadly election in 2023.

      • Belladonna 9.1.1

        I'd say less than 50:50. Even if the legislation is enacted, the actual transition won't be started, let alone been completed before the election. And, as you say, National/Act have committed to over-turn it. So electoral suicide for zero long-term benefit.

        Canny heads within Labour will want to hold off the legislation – especially as it's turning into such a hot potato – and wait and see what the outcome of the 2023 election is. If they're back in power, they'd rightly regard this as an endorsement of 3 waters, and slam the legislation through at the beginning of the term.

        However, as you say, the Maori Caucus may well be in control of the process, rather than the political strategists.

        • pat

          If that was the approach Labour took then not only would it be disingenuous (no surprises there) but it would provide the platform for Nat/Act pre election campaign to wring a backtrack from Labour, much like CGT

          • Belladonna

            National/Act have already announced that they'll roll back 3 waters. It's already an election issue, regardless of what Labour do.

            • pat

              Yes National have made their position clear. whereas Labour if they delay are being anything but. The 'canny heads' wouldnt be so canny to hold off then…either Labour want the policy or not…and the election potentially gives them a mandate.

              • Belladonna

                Well, no. It can hardly be argued that Labour have a mandate for 3 waters. It wasn't declared policy at the last election – which, in any case, was won on Covid, rather than on any other policies.
                If they get re-elected, when the electorate know that it's a piece of legislation in the works, then they certainly do have a mandate.

                AFAICS there are 4 scenarios:
                * Labour passes 3 waters and loses the election. National immediately repeals it.
                * Labour doesn't pass 3 waters and loses the election. Zero change.
                * Labour doesn't pass 3 waters, and wins the election. 3 waters legislated in the first year. Effectively a mandate for 3 waters.
                * Labour passes 3 waters, and wins the election (which is a very close call IMHO). 3 waters legislation is implemented 1-2 years earlier. Election is effectively a referendum on 3 waters.

                In the first 2 scenarios – it doesn't matter for 3 waters – Labour loses and the legislation is either not enacted, or repealed.

                In the second 2 scenarios. 3 waters is enacted – with a 1-2 year delay the difference.

                However, in both the second two scenarios, the election is a referendum on 3 waters (whether already passed or not). National's position makes this impossible for Labour to avoid.

                The question is: Does enacting 3 waters, pre-election, make it less likely for Labour to be re-elected. For most commenters, the answer is 'yes'. Which then leads to the question – is it worthwhile saving (at best case) 1-2 years and in the worst case, losing an election, over?

                • Dennis Frank

                  Good analysis. The other thing to consider is how keen pakeha Labour parliamentarians are to alienate Maori Labour voters. Not doing it seems to threaten a substantial electoral damage. Ardern would follow HC into the historical category of Labour leaders who betrayed Maori. Twice stabbed in the back would be a repetition Maori leaders would regard as a lesson about naivety they didn't really need to repeat. Chances of any third rinse & repeat cycle would be zilch…

                • pat

                  If 3 Waters being enacted will cost Labour the election then it is obviously an unwanted policy.

                  You appear to be advocating for deception by a political party to obtain the Treasury benches, and we wonder why democracy is under threat.

                  • Belladonna

                    Nope. I'm advocating (if anything) for Labour to go to the election with 3 Waters announced as a policy (hopefully with the major gaps and lacunae cleared up, so people can understand exactly what they're voting for).
                    Nothing deceptive about that.

                    • pat

                      "Nope. I'm advocating (if anything) for Labour to go to the election with 3 Waters announced as a policy"


                      "Canny heads within Labour will want to hold off the legislation – especially as it's turning into such a hot potato – and wait and see what the outcome of the 2023 election is. If they're back in power, they'd rightly regard this as an endorsement of 3 waters, and slam the legislation through at the beginning of the term."

                  • Belladonna

                    I think you are mistaking commentary for advocacy.

                    And, in any case, both of your quotes are saying virtually the same thing – I think it’s a mistake (if Labour want to be re-elected) for them to enact 3 waters prior to the elections. For pragmatic political reasons. Governing is the art of the possible.

                • pat

                  "…and the (2023) election potentially gives them a mandate."

                • Incognito

                  Any sitting Government has a mandate to draft new Bills. Heck, it is their duty & responsibility. The draft 3-Waters Bill may make it into Parliament in the 2nd half of this year and then it will take a whole lot more water under the bridge [pun intended] before we have the final vote. If the policy is worth doing then they should do it and do it now, no if’s or but’s. If it’s not worth doing then they should drop it at the earliest opportune moment and spin it into a positive decision.

                  • Belladonna

                    So 3 waters is a sufficiently main-plank policy for Labour, that it's worth risking losing an election over?

                    Because governments play politics all the time with policy – judging where in the electoral cycle they are, and how important the content is, and what the opposition (both in parliament and in the country at large) thinks.

                    • Incognito

                      If Labour thinks it is a worthy policy then they should go for it now and on the campaign trail, if necessary. Same for the other political parties. In any case, most parties have a comprehensive and mature portfolio of policies.

                  • Belladonna

                    Also, a government has a political mandate to draft new bills to enact the legislation they campaigned on. Now, of course, the electorate cuts them some slack where a new situation/crisis arises, or for routine and/or minor legislation.

                    But there is always an outcry, when a government enacts major pieces of legislation which were not announced in their election campaign. And both the 'asset grab' and the 'co-governance' elements are pretty much unique in NZ legislative history AFAIK.

                    • Incognito

                      So-called ‘public’ outcries in MSM and on SM through the megaphones of dubious spinsters with hidden agendas trying to sow doubt & division? If I were a timid politician I would shake in my boots too, but a draft Bill that is strong enough to withstand scrutiny in the House and Select Committees should also be able to withstand the scrutiny of the voters and public opinion. I’m quite certain that the final (?) 3-Waters Bill will be watered down version of the current draft.

                      BTW, one form or another of ‘co-governance’ has been in the cards since ToW.

      • Dennis Frank 9.1.2

        Definitely a test of the political skills of the Labour team but I'm still more optimistic than 50-50. On a good day, I'm 70-30 odds on. On a bad day, 60-40.

        Why? Reform is an historical necessity. No chance the status quo will survive regardless of the next election. So it comes down to how & what will change. Up to Willie & co to sell their view of the changes to pakeha colleagues. Sticking points that prevent consensus emerging will become the process focus. If they can't finesse those in a few days of trying, cabinet will try to park the thing.

        Labour need to get more runs on the board so a policy win is preferable to admitting defeat. Compromise can get that…

        • pat

          Willie Jackson dont need to sell it to his colleagues…the gov need to sell it to the electorate…..and that is going to be nigh on impossible unless they can demonstrate advantage, something they appear unable to do even at this advanced stage.

        • Belladonna

          I have yet to see any sign of the remotest possibility of meaningful compromise coming from Mahuta.

          Compromise would require her to be removed from this portfolio, and someone capable of building consensus with an already irate group of councils, to be appointed. Zero idea who, from the Labour ministers who would be capable – possibly Hipkins – though God alone knows he's got enough on his plate.

          Given that the mayors and councillors are already going into election mode (and many LG elections will effectively be a referendum on local policy over 3 waters) – there's a very short window of opportunity to make significant progress in this area.

          I just don't see that it's a significant priority for the Ardern Government (as opposed to the Labour Maori caucus).

          • Dennis Frank

            Too early for her to compromise. Ardern may transfer the task to another minister in a reshuffle. Probably depends how cabinet handles it next week.

            You may be right re priority but that depends on Ardern & her view of her legacy. What does she want to achieve? She declared her climate change agenda but I don't recall anything else being cited as priority. Perhaps homelessness, but incrementalism is her agenda with that too. She's a liberal.

            • Belladonna

              It's not just failure to compromise, Mahuta has treated the Councils with outright contempt – everything from lying about opt in/out provisions through to a clumsily handled (and failed) propaganda attempt to tar them in the eyes of the voters. Mahuta must be aware that as a prominent member of the Maori caucus, she is representing the way that co-governance will operate within the 3 waters organisations – and from the Council perspective, it looks like a total disaster.

              Child poverty is Ardern's personal goal.

              She's declared that climate change is her nuclear free moment – though I've yet to see substantial policy backing this up (yes, I know, Covid….)

              If 3 waters sinks this Labour govt (and with Mahuta at the helm, it may well do so), what will be left as a legacy? Ardern will rise or fall in history books on her crisis management, but this will not be seen as a transformational government.

  9. Dennis Frank 10

    Wokesterism producing paranoia in uinversities has been a global trend for a while (mainly in advanced democracies perhaps).

    The first New Zealand Annual Survey on Academic Freedom, published today, shows that a significant proportion of university academics feel very constrained in what they can discuss and disagree with.

    The survey, commissioned by the Free Speech Union and carried out by Curia Research, asked academics how free they felt in challenging consensus, debating issues such as gender or the Treaty of Waitangi, and so forth. Respondents were asked to rate their academic freedom on various topics on a 0-10 scale, in which 0 meant “unfree” and 10 meant “entirely free”. There were 1266 responses to the survey.

    For five of the eight questions, about a third of academics rated their academic freedom below 5 (out of 10).

    On the general idea of being able to question and test received wisdom, 45 per cent felt more constrained than free. On the question of being able to raise differing perspectives or to debate and discuss gender or sex issues, 47 per cent felt more constrained than free. And when it came to debating and discussing Treaty issues and colonisation, 50 per cent felt more constrained than free. On this last question, the average rating on academic freedom was 5.4 out of 10. Generally, these results show that there is a serious problem.


    Timorous professors bound by invisible constraints. It's all in the mind. Universities are factories producing orthodoxy by tradition. It's why they refused to offer Einstein a professorship for so many years. Even after he destroyed establishment physics by published five ground-breaking dissertations in 1905 while working as a patent-examiner, the mediocrities still defended their citadel for years.

    Academic silos have been identified as part of their cultural dysfunction. Some universities have created multidisciplinary teams to cross-fertilise disciplines in recent decades but that remains a minority trend. We need a lot more. To deal with the wokesterism problem in particular, a focus on ethics & principles is required. Then enforcement, to make academic freedom real instead of a charade…

    • Sanctuary 10.1

      A self selecting survey by an astro turf organisation with an axe to grind still couldn't come up with a good headline.

      Bryce Edwards in a nutshell.

      • weka 10.1.1

        If the left won't address the issue ('there's not such thing as cancel culture'), or even let people speak (No Debate), then it will be left to the right to determine how the conversation goes. Massive fucking own goal lefties.

    • Ad 10.2

      No it is not in their minds.

      Actually when professors speak out they are shamed and hunted out of their jobs.

      And just very occasionally the Media Council does their job – in this case finding against Stuff and Souxie Wiles.


      And it is also the case that the same experts who attacked those NZ-leading academics were themselves attacked online by COVID deniers.

      New Zealand Covid experts take legal action against employer over alleged failure to protect them from abuse | New Zealand | The Guardian

      In both cases the University of Auckland should have intervened harder and stronger to protect their staff.

      We are a long, long way from the place universities ought to have here of being the legislated task of "critic and conscience of society".

      • weka 10.2.1

        In the UK people lose their jobs and careers. Many people are afraid to say anything. It's scary how fast this has developed and how much ground has been lost.

        • DB Brown

          It reminds me of a bad relationship with an angry person. You walk on eggshells waiting to do or say something perceived as wrong. It's anyone's guess what will be used as fuel for their fire. It's very unhealthy.

          I got out of that relationship. Can academia?

      • McFlock 10.2.2

        Wiles didn't physically threaten the 7letter writers. Completely obvious difference in circumstance.

        Seems to me the anti-wokists have each jumped on their usual bandwagons without actually bothering to see if any cancelling was attempted – and by whom.

        Wiles&many other academics responded to the 7academics' letter with an open piece of a similar tone – no cancelling was called for.

        A lawyer's letters (that some recipients apparently found to be quite intimidating) was sent to some people who had expressed a contrary view to the original 7. In a further public opinion piece (just as the original letter-writers continued their own media engagement) Wiles misattributed the letters as being written on behalf of the 7, rather than their employer the University of Auckland. Note that she didn't call for people to be fired in that piece, either.

        The misattribution was the subject of your Media Council link. Not cancel culture.

        The closest one gets to silencing free speech was via the lawyers' letters that intimidated some academic employees from engaging in public debate with other employees of the same university.

        But when people are being menaced in their own offices, the employer's actions are sluggish at best.

        • weka

          Royal Society initiated an investigation with the potential aim of expulsion, on the basis of anonymous complaints. Sounds like cancelling to me.


          • weka

            leaving aside the debate about cancelling, there's a difference between academic debate, and what goes on around that. Some people publish a letter, some other people publish a rebuttal. All good. But because we do in fact have a culture that wants people to get fired or be punished or be removed from positions of power (I don't think this is a particularly controversial description of part of the progressive agenda), and because we have social media, the pressures on the first and second lot of people can be intense. Couple that with how things play out at work in the various relationships, it's not imo a healthy environment that encourages exploration of ideas.

            I also think we are losing the ability to both form arguments and tolerate them. The contrast between TS's robust debate kaupapa and how twitter operates is stark. On twitter people just block or mute the people they get upset with, and there is no mechanism for ensuring robust debate. Robust debate can and does happen on twitter, but there are also a hell of a lot of people there who cannot tolerate a lot of push back on their ideas. I would hope that universities would be better but it seems clear that ground is being lost on this.

            • McFlock

              Couple of separate topics there.

              1) Academic freedom should not be an excuse to distribute outright misinformation, especially if it endangers people's lives and is out of the particular academic's area of knowledge. There has to be some line between honest academic debate and outright professional misconduct, especially when lives and public wellbeing are involved.

              2) I don't see much difference between blocking someone on twitter and skipping over any comment that is either from a known fool or looks to just be another installment of topics I tend to think of as "the daily hate". If anything, I curate the topics I discuss here much more carefully than stuff on twitter. Twitter isn't a format conducive to actual debate, anyway. Character count is too small, everything is atomised. Good for small jokes, though.

              • weka

                Did the original letter cross that line?

                You should see what they say about TS 😉 I've been in good debates on twitter, although much seems less common now.

                The difference between scrolling past on TS and blocking on twitter is that block actively affects the other person (they no longer see your tweets). This is why twitter has it, because it's a different tool from scrolling past. But my point was that on TS we actively enable robust debate, whereas on twitter it's not the kaupapa and they have tools to enable people to tweet in bubbles.

                • McFlock

                  Did the original letter cross that line?

                  Apparently not, according to the RS process.

                  TS moderators put in a lot of effort regarding robust debate, for sure. But if I see some commenters in the activity feed, or particular patterns of specific people replying to each other, well, I'd need a shitload of spoons to even bother opening the thread. That feeling is not really one I get on twitter, thanks to the block feature.

          • McFlock

            In one of the links, Wiles states she was not one of those complainants. So Ad bringing up Wiles in this context is still inappropriate.

            Also, the investigation was initiated by anonymous complainants… but "the society required they be identified for the disciplinary process to move ahead", according to your link.

            And the complaint process didn't even get beyond the initial stage, let alone go to any possibility of "cancelling" (professional censure for misconduct, expulsion, etc).

            • weka

              agree about centering Wiles.

              But I'm not sure if you get what cancel culture is. It's the environment that suppresses debate. You don't need to actually be expelled to next time make you think twice about saying something. In fact the actual expulsions tend to free people up to speak out more. The point isn't to expel people, it's to get them to shut up.

              The environment in this case was all the things that happened (in the broader context of what is happening with progressive and identity cultures). Someone might shrug off a stalled investigation but that and the MSM coverage and the shitfest on SM might not be so easy.

              As aside, I don't know what RS normally do, but if they don't allow anonymous complaints why did they even start the investigation? No idea what has happened there, but my observation is that some of the time people in positions of power do odd things because they don't want to be seen to not be progressive.

              Like I said, there's something unhealthy going on.

              • McFlock

                Given that the complainants had to be identified before the initial investigation could proceed, the events seemed to be that they received five complaints. They knew who the complainants were, otherwise the complainants wouldn't have been able to be advised they would have to be on record to proceed. Two went on record.

                As for what "cancel culture" is, it's nothing new. Whether it's twitter or having very public arguments in the media, people have always faced consequences for their opinions. Sometimes the reputational damage they inflict on themselves is permanent, other times it's barely noticable.

                If someone's desire to express an opinion in global media (and now all media is global) exceeds their ability to express that opinion in a manner that reflects its complexity and impact on people's lives, they'll damage their personal and professional reputations.

    • weka 10.3

      Can't see how multidisciplinary teams will solve the cancel culture or suppression of debate going on in academia. It's very common in the UK and the US for academics from a wide range of departments to publicly criticise a colleague or peer who is talking about gender critical issues.

      People lose their jobs and careers. They're not timorous and it's not all in their mind. They're brave, they stand up and speak out, and they pay a high cost.

      • Dennis Frank 10.3.1

        how multidisciplinary teams will solve the cancel culture or suppression of debate going on in academia

        It would develop on a common-interest basis. Then become self-organising as a group. Self-organising groups happen naturally. Ecosystems are self-organising. Membership of a lobby group that is demonstrably multidisciplinary gives you a broad base of support via design.

        By which I mean humans can steer their self-organising groups in various ways. Unions arose historically on that basis, amalgamating democracy & hierarchy, using charisma to select for leaders (retaining them on a performance basis).

        So if academic groups haven't been fit for purpose in preserving civil rights & freedom of speech, academics need to herd themselves more intelligently…

        • Belladonna

          So you self-sort into groups which agree with each other? I don't see how that tests ideas – which is one of the primary functions of a university.

          • Dennis Frank

            Have you done it tho? I learnt from running the process for the Greens. Being a primadonna like all the other activists, it became a learning curve on how to compromise to generate consensus.

            So they'd only agree with each other on the goal at first. They'd enter the process on that basis, differentiate on how to work together, thrash out the differences, discover how to make consensus decision-making effectively, apply that method to the practicalities of how to engage with university & societal power-structures, media, public, etc.

            • weka

              the irony there is that the NZ Green Party has taken a No Debate position on GC issues and been very effective at preventing discussion.

              In the UK, the Green Party is an absolute shitshow and far worse when it comes to identity issues.

              • Dennis Frank

                A generational shift. They got captivated by the trend (unable to see the big picture). Simpleminded folk usually have to learn the hard way. Many of them even fail that test…

            • Belladonna

              But what happens when groups disagree on the goal? The big picture philosophical stuff: co-governance or democracy; impact of trans on feminism; big or small government.

              Those are the issues where the cancel culture is operating.

              • Dennis Frank

                Well the issue started as freedom of speech so I was assuming academics would identify it as in their common interest. The goal would have to be framed in terms of whatever is limiting or compromising it in the university context. You get analysis & diagnosis to clarify that in the initial stage of discussion normally.

                For instance, does their employment contract allow the university authorities to limit it? Does the university charter allow it? If no and yes, then it becomes a question of enforcement. What happens if the academics point out via public statement that the authorities are failing to do their job properly? Then the academics would need legal advice, and funding of that. What if the academics just complained to the minister of education? What if the response is "not my business"?

                What I'm getting at is the usual story of method: it depends on required process to solve a problem. A group that forms to solve a problem has to operate as a task force (define goals, form a team, get rules of operation, then a plan & strategy).

                So in regard to your more general questions, all this stuff applies but the various stages will work differently for each task & likely a different group dedicated to each too. In the 1970/80s when ngos were the thing, activists often were members of several simultaneously.

                • Belladonna

                  Unfortunately, at least some of the academics do not agree on the primacy of free-speech. They place other considerations first.
                  Ref Wiles/Hendry and the 'is Maori knowledge science' debate.

                  And, have zero desire to have a debate. Cancelling your opponents is both easier and more satisfactory for them.

                  What would make them want to engage with this consensus approach? Right now, the rewards from the 'woke' establishment are much, much greater.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Yeah, but such divides are traditional. Plenty of workers don't join unions. When I was at TVNZ I joined the PSA but it was optional & around half the staff didn't. So political lobbying happens when those sufficiently motivated agree to work together in a group to do it.

                    More generally, civil rights became an international trend & got UN covenants due to a small group of activists making it happen. Others who didn't do the hard work also got the benefits from the result. Altruism has a place.

                    • Belladonna

                      So, back to your free speech example. We have a group of academics who are prepared to debate the primacy of free speech.

                      We have another group of academics, supported by powerful establishment leaders (university administration, social media storm-troopers, etc.) with zero interest in debate, using political and social tools to undermine, cancel and dismiss the first group.

                      I don't see how this has helped in any way.

                      In order for consensus to work, people have to choose to participate, or agree to abide by the decision, if they truly don't care.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      The academics seem to be on a political learning curve. Prevailing over discrimination takes plenty of pressure and building it takes resolve and time. For a victim, the trajectory ahead always has a fork: give up & become or remain a victim if the path is too hard, or persevere until victory.

        • weka

          what you are suggesting may be useful for other things, but I'm still not seeing how it will stop cancel culture and No Debate.

          In the GC area, people are too scared to speak out loud let alone organise formally within academia. Although in the UK there is organising outside of that, and consequently they have one of the most vibrant grass roots feminists movements in the English speaking world.

          • Dennis Frank

            It wouldn't stop wokesters doing their thing initially, true. However pushback always modifies behaviour eventually. So the design of that has to be context-driven, such as factoring in the duty of university hierarchy to protect staff, how enforcement gets done, how negotiations can produce non-violent conflict resolution etc.

            The basic psychodynamics is all about a balance of forces in a contentious context – something the UN is being reminded of by Russia – so as to force the wokesters doing group narcissism to learn how to relate to other groups in their community who have different values…

      • Belladonna 10.3.2

        There's a fundamental dichotomy between the woke requirement for students to feel 'safe' in an intellectual/emotional sense; and the freedom of expression that requires universities to debate challenging and difficult matters.

        If you are not sufficiently mentally robust to be in a space where alternative viewpoints are expressed and debated, then you don't belong at a university.

        Alternative viewpoints should never be cancelled on a university campus. Alternatives include: invite another speaker to give a different view point; Challenge and debate; Protest matters of opinion being presented as fact (which is intellectually dishonest), etc.

      • Incognito 10.3.3

        In academia, people lose their jobs and careers if they don’t get funding. They need to publish and submit grant applications. They need to teach and attract students. The most pragmatic and expedient way is to go with the flow rather than go against the stream an upset the fragile and delicate status quo – united we survive, divided we succumb. All this is largely a zero-sum game; journals accept limited number of manuscripts unless they are predatory journals, funders have limited budgets, universities have limited staff positions and vacancies, and the pool of students is limited too – even the international pool. University ranking is becoming a perverse tool to play the game even harder. Look at what happened with the 16 Polytechs here in NZ, they’re now headed by one CEO.


    • Incognito 10.4

      I find it hilarious that you use Einstein as an illustrative example of “wokesterism” at NZ universities. Anyway, AFAIK, he wrote only 1 dissertation in 1905 for which he was given his PhD degree. How many years did it take him from being a patent-examiner in 1905 to becoming professor?

      To deal with the wokesterism problem in particular, a focus on ethics & principles is required. Then enforcement, to make academic freedom real instead of a charade…

      That is rather meaningless without specifying which/what ethics and principles – NZ universities ooze ‘ethics and principles’, just not the ones you appear to be thinking of. Enforcing freedom has a nice ring of irony to it.

      • Dennis Frank 10.4.1

        Authors normally cite all five that I mentioned for 1905: the one that got him his doctorate, plus the four more important ones (the one on quanta of light won him the Nobel prize, the one that proved atoms exist, the one on special relativity, and the one introducing E = mc2) which are described here…


        He became physics prof at the University of Zurich four years later. I agree universities are afflicted by the credibility problem you describe – if they started to practice the ethics & principles they preach things would be more likely to improve.

        • Incognito

          For various reasons and through various mechanisms NZ universities are in lockstep with NZ Governments. Slowly but surely, their role as critic and conscience of society has been eroded down to mere window dressing and chiming of virtues. Genuine debates don’t happen, at least not as often as they should, and decisions are made mostly behind closed doors by managers, not thinkers, critics, or visionaries with token consultation of staff and students and usually only if and when it is required by law, i.e. by employment law. I could give a few examples of public (high-profile) appointments and arrangements over the years to illustrate my point and show how intertwined NZ academia and politics have become, but I’d be targeting individuals who are bending over backwards to do a great job.

  10. joe90 11

    Her name is Ekaterina Morozova.

    In Moscow, a girl with an anti-war poster was detained near the building of the Ministry of Defense https://24live.co/live/UPrXz?n=3024898260027740258

    At this very moment Russian military are raping and killing Ukrainian women. Stop this war


    • joe90 12.1

      The selection of Robbo's supposed fav Arena Williams ahead of Wall.

      • Belladonna 12.1.1

        There's a strong implication that the leadership (Ardern and Robertson) wanted her gone because a) She was Team Cunliffe b) She didn't toe the party line, and was loud and argumentative in expressing her views and c) She was a 'divisive' force (which I think is code for 'doesn't automatically support the leader, right or wrong')

        I don't care about A. But B & C are reasons to support her, rather than sack her. And the fact that they did 'de-select' her, doesn't say good things about Szabo (or Ardern & Robertson – who had to have agreed).

        There is no doubt whatsoever, that Arena Williams was parachuted into the seat by the central Labour Party, over the wishes of the local electorate Labour team (some of whom are still bitter about it). It was a deliberate attempt to get rid of Wall – and only succeeded (after the legal challenge) because Wall agreed to a compromise.

        "Wall withdrew in a deal that would give her a winnable place on Labour's list for an understanding she would retire during the current term when a suitable job came up.
        That suitable job just came up: a role with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a New Zealand-based ambassador trying to improve the empowerment of women in the Pacific and focusing more broadly on LGBTQI+ rights."

        Quote from article above

        Arena Williams has yet to make any mark on the fabric of NZ society. She may turn out to be the next Ardern, but so far she's a poor replacement for a stroppy sheila with a sense of justice a mile wide, who's not afraid to stand up and be counted AND believes in working with whoever can contribute to get the job done. I think we need more Louisa Walls in Parliament, not fewer.

  11. aj 13

    Does this make anyone else worry?

    • Dennis Frank 13.1

      I couldn't see anything in the context to worry about:

      And, folks — (applause) — let me close with what I’ve long said: America is a nation that can be defined in a single word. I was in the foothi- — foot- — excuse me, in the foothills of the Himalayas with Xi Jinping, traveling with him. (Inaudible) traveled 17,000 miles when I was Vice President at the time. I don’t know that for a fact.

      And we were sitting alone. I had an interpreter and he had an interpreter. And he looked at me. In all seriousness, he said, “Can you define America for me?” And I said what many of you heard me say for a long time. I said, “Yes, I can, in one word: possibilities.” (Applause.) “Possibilities.” That, in America, everyone should be able to go as far as their hard work and God-given talent will take them. And possibilities. We’re the only ones. That’s why we’re viewed as the “ugly Americans”: We think anything is possible. (Laughter.)


      So he's riffing on the historic occasion – anything's possible in the USA. Ugly is a bit of a puzzle. I presume he means anal-retentive societies & their autocrats are freaked by the concept of possibility. They hate the implied uncertainty. They believe everyone can be expected to do as they're told. Since that belief still prevailed here during my childhood & youth I understand that roboticism.

  12. aj 14

    Thank you for the context. But I'm still worried….

    • Macro 14.1

      Why are you worried that there is now a black american woman on the Supreme Court?

      • aj 14.1.1

        I'm worried that Biden is showing signs of dementia

        • Macro

          I deal with dementia sufferers every day. You have nothing to worry about.

          • Dennis Frank

            I'm inclined to agree. I expected him to be doddery but have been rather impressed by his resolute stance in office. Reagan got alzheimers in office, remember – didn't do him much harm in ratings from what I recall. If someone sees Biden ask "What's this red button for?" and reach for it, I hope they're near enough to grab his arm…

  13. swordfish 15


    The violent anti-social who has inflicted over 4 years of extreme violent intimidation, severe stress and prolonged sleep deprivation on my elderly parents (and a good deal on the wider neighbourhood) was arrested yesterday morning, taken away in handcuffs by 3 Police.

    No idea why, and no idea if it'll resolve the situation … but suspect not.

    But I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Poto Williams, the current Labour Govt [and, indeed, the previous National one] for cheerfully dumping violent psychopaths (& I don’t use that term lightly) with long criminal records on innocent neighbourhoods … in this specific case, the other side of the dividing-wall from a very elderly couple who have lived in their home (which they own) for 60 years in a previously very quiet, peaceful, community-minded street … thanks specifically to Williams & Labour for the sheer callous brutality of the No Eviction policy … & a shoutout to Kainga Ora & Ngāti Toa's community housing provider, Te Āhuru Mōwai for their useless, heartless, borderline sadistic response.

    Here's my blogpost from last November: Kainga Ora Scandal: My Parents Situation (sub-zero-politics.blogspot.com) (encouraged to see it's currently received almost 4300 views)

    Thanks must also go to Ad for demonstrating once again that various long-time Labour activists have lost their moral compass (assuming they ever had one) & will casually force innocent people, including elderly – and therefore vulnerable- people, to endure a perpetual living hell …Open mike 02/04/2022 « The Standard… the "wraparound services" that Ad casually pivots everything on are, of course, total bullshit … hardened anti-socials with inherently violent personality-types don't change … generally, they've exhibited severe anti-social personality problems since younger childhood … as my parents & their neighbours have found to their cost. Plenty of "wraparound services" for the waste of space terrorising them, esp following all of his really major explosions of violence & intimidation … and yet here we still are.

    Let's call this Kainga Ora scandal what it is: state-sanctioned domestic terrorism … and it's clearly just one facet of a broader systematic scapegoating of low & low-middle income 'outgroups' [in Intersectional / Critical Theory terms].

    • Dennis Frank 15.1

      I'm pleased for your parents & other victims of the offender & hope something resembling justice gets done.

      Serial offenders usually seem to have been afflicted by an horrendous childhood & have entered adulthood warped in consequence. In theory, psychiatric help could solve their problems. In practice, I haven't noticed govts of the left & right making the attempt to do that in recent decades. Yet when I was a teenager everyone knew they did as normal policy.

      I suppose being brainwashed by Hollywood ultraviolence continuously since then produced too many offenders so the establishment decided to put them into the community as punishment for the electorate voting left/right all the time?

    • Sabine 15.2

      I would call it gentrification by stealth. they expect people like your parents to sell. Yes i am that cynical when it comes to housing and the lack thereof in NZ.

    • Belladonna 15.3

      I'd support the lowlife concerned being bailed to live next door to Poto Williams. Wonder how long he'd last in the 'community' under those circumstances.

    • weka 15.4

      thank fucking god. Hope your parents get some time to recover now.

      • Belladonna 15.4.1

        Sadly, he'll probably be bailed back to the address after a brief stint in remand.

    • Shanreagh 15.5

      Any news Swordfish? Please keep us up to date. All the best to your parents…..hopefully they had a quiet night last night. Though I know from experience you would always be on high alert after being confronted with this domestic terrorism for four long years.

  14. Anker 16
    • It is shocking beyond belief Swordfish. Partly why I have only a tiny amount of sympathy for the politicians who found the front lawn protesters so distasteful. At least the politicians could go home and get a quiet nights sleep.

    there are some people we can’t help, they are not interested in changing and they will continue to have a callous disregard for others.

  15. hetzer 17

    At least the excrement has been arrested, lets hope while its been in custody your parents get a break Swordfish

  16. weka 18

    UK are debating conversion therapy.

  17. weka 19

    Wait, Hosbonville Point is being run by the government?! That's million dollar houses on the property market. Wtaf.


    Where's the social housing?

  18. ..there are some people we can’t help, they are not interested in changing and they will continue to have a callous disregard for others.

    This is the key. What to do? Do we put them in motels and boarding houses or do we set up a Hobsonville plus for them. Perhaps they could have a type of gated community.

    At the very least Kainga Ora should be matching people to localities. Difficult I know when housing is short. Do they do this at all? Or is it top of the list equals first dibs on the first available units. I think I read that some complexes are red or blue and KO try not to put opposing gangs together.

    But dealing with the complex at the end of our street, a group of local homeowners, and the long term tenants, including some refugees, who have generally lived there quietly, put the pressure on KO to move on the occupiers who had arrived after the death of an elderly street person and tried to occupy the unit. We had Police, noise control every day & night about the music, Police about the cars and the drug dealing and people arriving pushing Amps & beers etc in supermarket trolleys.

    In the end KO were more or less forced to act by giving them 'notice' to leave in 10 days even though they were not tenants and were only distantly related to the tenant and had been invisible when he was very ill etc.

    I feel for your parents Swordfish. I thought of them when our neighbourhood changed in the twinkling of an eye.

    Amazingly they left or were forced to. But if the tenant had had a tenancy then we were dreading that we would have a Swordfish type scenario.

  19. Poission 21

    Will the RBNZ set low as the consensus suggests.

    Or will they lift the jolly roger and say no 1/4.

    Still looking at 2%+ rise before the election,which would mean a capital flow increase in interest payments of around 3 % of GDP.

    • pat 21.1

      Neither will solve the problem but one or other has to occur…..and it is moot as the Fed will do their job for them.

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