Open mike 09/11/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 9th, 2020 - 108 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

108 comments on “Open mike 09/11/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    So the differential in the US electorate, consistently around 12 to 14% for months according to the polls, was really only 3%.

    This is a disaster for the polling industry and for media outlets and analysts that package and interpret the polls for public consumption, such as FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ Upshot, and The Economist’s election unit. They now face serious existential questions.

    The real catastrophe is that the failure of the polls leaves Americans with no reliable way to understand what we as a people think outside of elections—which in turn threatens our ability to make choices, or to cohere as a nation.

    Assertions of public opinion are traditional in the media. It would be better if they were evidence-based. If polling can't provide reliable evidence, we need tech that does the job better – or we need to ditch the delusion that public opinion is unitary.

    I reckon the public naturally subdivides into bodies of opinion. Sophisticated reporting would identify these. The media ought to have a go at that. They will claim it costs too much to do the job. If so, we all must consider the cost of an incoherent society.

    The coming days and weeks will see careful analysis and less careful recrimination, but no one seems to know yet exactly what went wrong. But the answer almost doesn’t matter, unless you’re a professional pollster, because after two huge presidential flops, pollsters have lost the confidence of the press and public.

    Expect two lines of defense. First, many pollsters insist that their polls are snapshots, not predictors … If their snapshots are so far off, though, where were they aiming the lens? Why bother? Second, the analysts will protest that they’re only as good as the polls, but who cares? Whatever the instructions on the bottle, the public uses opinion polls to try to understand what happens. If the polls and their analysts don’t offer the service that customers are seeking, they’re doomed.

    Pollsters and analysts are unlikely to get much sympathy, especially today. But the train wreck of their industry has consequences that run deeper than its impact on their own professional lives, or even having set incorrect expectations for the presidential race. Much of American democracy depends on being able to understand what our fellow citizens think.

    That has become a more challenging task as Americans sort themselves into ideological bubbles—geographically, romantically, professionally, and in the media they consume. Parties are now mostly ideologically homogeneous. We no longer spend much time around people who disagree with us. Public-opinion polling was one of the last ways we had to understand what other Americans actually believe. If polling doesn’t work, then we are flying blind.

    This existential crisis doesn't just apply to the USA. Public life everywhere provides a common ground of culture, in which diversity co-exists with what is generally accepted as consensus reality. People need a sense of sharing things that matter, since confidence & trust are essential to enterprise, economy & well-being.

    Competing cultural bubbles are obviously the trend of the times, but commonality will remain a vital ingredient of contemporary society. Focus on how to identify it is likely to become the next big thing.

    • Descendant Of Smith 1.1

      Reading that was like reading a treatise on management speak.

      Right now some of our cultural bubbles are pretty much this – trying to pay my rent and buy food.

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        Yeah I get that. Trouble is, that personal focus just degenerates society into a mad scramble to grab whatever is left.

        Rather than a shitfight, people organise together to provide collectively. An economy forms, and politics is meant to do the organisation of democracy on an informed basis. When social trends focus on disinformation, we get incoherence.

    • WeTheBleeple 1.2

      Maybe it's that more people are deliberately full of shit. Trolling has taken on an art form and science these days. Make em confident – less turnout.

      Bot armys can be readily seen today replying to Trump tweets. Swathes of them claiming to be aggrieved servicemen cheated out of an election and leaving US for Mexico (how ironic) as a result.

      It's laughable it if wasn't so rife, dangerous, and unchecked.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        That's a good point. I've been reading scifi stories of a dysfunctional future since the early 1960s and have no problem with a healthy subculture of dissidents. Nature balances order & chaos naturally – no reason we can't do the same.

        It's just that we ought to tilt the balance back towards order when chaos threatens to get out of control. If bots get leverage, we need tech entrepreneurs to create counter-bots. No way will govts be able to do it. So people have to think about their common interests in co-creating a sane political culture that empowers sensible governance while preserving some anarchic diversity that will enable free enterprise to produce creative progress.

        Here’s an example:

      • RedLogix 1.3.1

        Just for giggles while munching my muesli I did the quiz. Predictably I came out a Moderate.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          "Progressive Activist" for me

          Note – you have to pretend you are an American to do this one.

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.2

        I like that septenary (?) division – wonder if it's viable in other capitalist democracies. Would be good to see social science research testing it here in Aoteroa.

        Perhaps the most important aspect of the hidden architecture underlying political behavior is people's group identities. Social scientists have long recognized that people see their own groups as a strong source of self-esteem and a sense of belonging.

        So here's the root of identity politics. Given that people have various group affiliations concurrent, we get a multipolar context created for each political person. Binary traditionalism does not encompass this reality.

        • roblogic

          perhaps forming bubbles (tribes) is a survival tactic in a chaotic time

        • RedLogix

          Yes I see these seven categories as an elaboration of the core three political instinct model I've mentioned elsewhere.

          Instead of the old left right binary that most people realise is past it's use by date, we should use a triplet: the system maintaining conservatives, the innovative expansionary liberals, and the re-distributive, justice seeking socialists.

          If you look at the Hidden Tribes seven categories then three pairs of them neatly reduce down to the three above, leaving us moderates as seventh group annoyingly trying to be all things to everyone and rarely succeeding. devil

          • Phillip ure

            Language is so important..I find 'moderate' to be too soft/kind a word/label for those staunch defenders of doing s.f.a..the word is almost an underlining/endorsement of that not-do-much mindset…i think that 'incrementalist' is nearer the mark..'cos it describes what they want/are…d'yareckon..?

            • Phillip ure

              And our incrementalist-in-choef has just said she will not be increasing benefits…but she may do next winter what she did this winter….with the winter allowance thing…that's very ' moderate' of… How does that 'moderate' chant go..?..'what do we want..?'…'not very much'…'when do we want it..?'..'at some indetermined time in the future..'..f.f.s..! is ardern exercising her think I'll just double-down on the f.f.s…!

              • RedLogix

                And I find 'progressive activist' altogether too anodyne to describe childish idiots who would burn the world down in order to save it.

                Or in other words, I can play your silly game too.

                • Phillip ure

                  It is the animal-eating 'moderates' who are destroying the out the oceans..just to satisfy their addictions to eating animal flesh…they are the fucken radicals…prepared to destroy the out the oceans…just to be able to eat their ‘precious' flesh…how fucked up is that..?

                  • RedLogix

                    It is the animal-eating 'moderates'

                    Really? I've been mostly plant based for decades, since around when my partner did a three year naturopath course back in the early 80's.

                    I just don't see the need to be offensive about it like you seem compelled to be.

                    • Phillip ure

                      So it's 'offensive' to tell those who are fucking over the world/oceans..that they are fucking over the world/oceans ..?…really .?..i actually find what they are doing to the world/oceans to be far more 'offensive'..than pointing those facts out to them..y'know..! actions speak much louder than words…? I guess 'offensive' must be in the eye of the beholder..

      • AB 1.3.3

        These surveys are always a bit silly in the way they insult the all-mixed-togetherness of individual thought and experience. I always remember the genius of Walt Whitman (and in Whitman it's good to remember the best of 'Murica at a time like this):

        "Do I contradict myself? / Very well, then I contradict myself. / (I am large, I contain multitudes). / I concentrate toward them that are nigh."

        • RedLogix

          Well they're only silly if you imagine everyone has to fit into a single isolated, hermetically sealed silo with no overlap or complexity. When doing the quiz I found many of the questions ambiguous, and answering them was a bit hit and miss. Yet the category it landed me in was accurate enough.

          Whitman is right, at heart we are all a complex muddle of contradictions, and unexplored potentials … but one of the great tools humans have invented is our ability to use abstracted models to simplify reality into forms our limited minds can grapple with.

        • Phillip ure

          It has me as progressive activist…I can't argue much with that…and there are 8 percent of us out there..

          • Descendant Of Smith

            Managerialism in work places plays a part I think as well. I find it slightly amusing when people go on about the left being intolerant and PC when the biggest proponents of group-think and conformity are career managers who all are alike, been trained in the same things and can't handle disagreement and different opinions.

            There are an increasing trend of HR people being lawyers as well so what is legal is more important that what is right.

            When what is legal becomes the measure of morality it is an odd place to be.

    • Incognito 1.4

      [Sigh] Where to start?

      Media that don’t report the news but massage it to manufacture opinion, consent, and dissent.

      An audience/public that has selective hearing, binary & tribal attitudes, and wishful thinking.

      When the nail goes crooked, it’s not the hammer’s fault.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    "the culprits are Kiwis."

    ….well, so goes the whine from the Vineyard/Orchardist owner types.

    And of course the local nat MP's are in up to their necks…

    Seems reminiscent of sir Key and ol "double dipper" Bill English…,-drug-use-pm

    Anyway. What I KNOW personally.And can vouch for… Please READ it. Very true

    "At the end of the day, if employers and horticulture want to attract hard workers, they have to offer them something that is worth their while.”

    The market will decide…..NZers wont be treated like shit OR slaves.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      "At the end of the day, if employers and horticulture want to attract hard workers, they have to offer them something that is worth their while.”

      A large part of the problem is accommodation; most horticulture workers are not able to afford to do a short term 6 week job in one location, while also holding onto the home they live in elsewhere. From your RNZ link:

      “We have 10 weeks of harvest. It is difficult for New Zealanders to come from out of town, to find accommodation just for a period of 10 weeks – and then there’s the issue of if they bring families, the issue of schooling and finding schooling for them for that time, and making sure they don’t fall though the cracks … Basically, adds pressure if you’re running your own business to have to do all that pastoral care too, which comes with the territory and we understand that.

      Big shearing contractors used to get around this by provide free accommodation and food, but then this was always a part of what is always a highly nomadic work life.

      • xanthe 2.1.1

        how is it possible that orchardists cannot see that providing accommodation and meals will result in a better harvest. Is is possibly that the persons actually growing and tending the crop are not the decision makers?

    • Stuart Munro 2.2

      The employers aren't even trying. I've been on the "Work the Seasons" list since lockdown stage four – only offer was some commercial cleaning – not what I did my my MA for. They're counting on the government proving as round-heeled as they have over the last few decades and giving them as many slave workers as they want.

      • Pat 2.2.1

        You can easily imagine the discussions …'just get us through this season and it'll be back to BAU with a vaccine and open borders, no need to do anything radical, the industry wont survive otherwise'.

        • Stuart Munro

          The way they talk about how desperate they are, I ought to have to fight them off with a stick. It's all PR.

      • WeTheBleeple 2.2.2

        I'm more than happy to put my hand up for some work, have ample experience, and we broke a lot of harvest records on a lot of farms.

        Is there affordable temporary accommodation making it worthwhile? No.

        Is there enough money to justify an overpriced room? No.

        Is the actual accommodation provided on a few farms comfortable? For many, not even close. Dorms of bunk beds. They could hardly have provided less.

        Are the penalties, meetings, scrutiny and BS from WINZ worth it? No.

        Will the farmers continue to plead victim and lose their crops rather than share the wealth? Yes.

        For most of these answers I am generalising. There will always be exceptions to the rule. But it should not also be the fruit pickers responsibility to ensure fair conditions and pay before signing on for a job in NZ in 2020.

        • RedLogix

          It's a non-trivial problem. Look at the cost of housing in this country; and for any business paying that substantial cost for an asset that may only be used for less than 20% of the year is a tough ask.

          One of the constraints will be the high cost of compliance around this type of building; maybe the horticulture industry needs to get together with local govt to negotiate an special case building category for them.

          • WeTheBleeple

            I'm thinking tiny houses on wheels.

            And growers supply power, water, toilets, kitchen, laundry.

            A smart grower would do catering, maybe for a nominal fee, to enable the workforce that wish to, to clock up longer hours without exhausting themselves. We used to pick all day and pack all night. Those with support got through it easily. We taking care of ourselves struggled to get the laundry to the laundromat, and the time to cook wasn't really there so we got worn out doing long hours on takeaways & junk. Various industries insist on catering for workers on larger jobs, where the work comes in pulses and is required to be done quickly and safely.

            The whole hair pulling schtick by the industry is a bit tired. Pinching pennies and blaming the public. Sustainable business or bye bye.

            • Stuart Munro

              That's a grand idea for seasonal workforces. It used to be fun too, back in the day – bit of fresh air, hard case fellow workers, dip in the river around dusk, a few folk plinking bunnies or fishing after work. Twas a whole culture the neoliberals destroyed.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                Aye my father used to do shearing out the back of Feilding and remembers the change from farm owners to managers.

                He oft mentioned one occasion when the shearing took a day longer on one farm than anticipated and the appointed farm manager of another farm took exception to his shearing starting a day later.

                The farmer owner rung him up and said I always put on a BBQ and beers for the shearers when they finish and I'll be doing the same this year. If you have a problem with that come and see me. He had the shearers back.

                Sadly many of those good employers – across NZ are gone – those that paid decent wages and looked after their staff unable to compete against the low wages paid by many others. When competitiveness relied on paying the lowest wages being a good employer wasn't always enough to continue to exist.

              • RedLogix

                Fond memories. When I was 19 I did a summer working for a big contractor, Toby Smith, in based in a little West Otago town called Heriot. Now that was an experience …

          • Adrian

            Don't forget the Fringe Benefit Tax on supplied accommodation, more beauocracy for fuck all return for the Gummint, drop the requirement for seasonal work.

    • Pat 2.3

      Another industry that relies on imported labour to exploit…and the Minister's response indicates there is going to be no change.

      • RedLogix 2.3.1

        Keep in mind that the term 'exploit' is highly relative. For many people (mostly men) who are migrant workers around the world, the conditions they have to endure are awful by local standards, but are still way better than the choices on offer back home.

        I learned this the hard way on a mining site some years back, when I idly passed judgement on the conditions the Fillipino workers on site had to put up with compared to my much plusher life. Well the senior Fillipino metallurgist I was talking with responded by educating me on some hard truths. We ended up rather good friends, both about the same age and with a lot in common as it turned out.

        • Pat

          They may be better than conditions 'at home'…but they are not working in that labour market, they are working in our labour market….and they are exploited and by extension facilitate the exploitation of local labour.

          • I Feel Love

            Thank you Pat, yes.

          • RedLogix

            Yes I get that. This is always the impact of mobile labour, it pulls down local standards and lifts them up for the families back home. Over time it tends to average out both countries, as painful as this process often is.

            I'm not trying to defend this situation. In the long run the best answer here is for developing countries to catch up to the developed world, closing the gaps and reducing these mismatches. In the short term govts everywhere need to pay more attention to protecting these people and mitigating the excesses.

            • Pat

              as the RNZ link indicates our Gov. appears to have no such intention

              • Stuart Munro

                Faafoi is totally down with giving the worst scumbags in NZ an unlimited extension of the systematic fraud that gives them access to slave workers.

                Like Nash before him, he is completely self-serving, a scoundrel and a recreant to the founding values of the party that provides him his sinecure.

            • Stuart Munro

              It would be better if, under a Labour government, their first priority were the prosperity of our own workers. Neoliberalism has driven the accommodation costs out of proportion, and the slave workers artificially depress local wages in that context. We ought to have a sinking lid on the foreign workers, if the goal of a thriving sustainable economy is anything more than a sound bite.

              • RedLogix

                Maybe some 80% of the human race live in 'developing' nations. One of their main pathways to a better life is trading with the developed world, whether directly as migrant workers, or indirectly through their own local manufacturing and/or exports.

                I don't think we can just slam the door on their opportunity to escape poverty.

                • Pat

                  How do you expect those countries to develop their economies if we artificially reduce our costs by exploiting their labour and education?…if you desire a single world economy (and therefore governance) then we had best have a vote on such….should such an entity occur then we would have the same standards worldwide and no need to seek better conditions elsewhere

                  • RedLogix

                    What we rightly perceive as exploitation, may well be seen as opportunity by them. Both perspectives are true at the same time; how to reconcile them?

                    Like so many of the problems we face, this is global in scope cannot be effectively solved by the actions of single nations in isolation. So yes I do advocate for continued evolution of the global governance systems we have been developing since WW2.

                    • Pat

                      "So yes I do advocate for continued evolution of the global governance systems we have been developing since WW2."

                      …and as we know that evolution has led to the mobile capital and labour that undermines local economies and fosters exploitation so in effect you are advocating for the exploitation to continue…as is I note, our Minister

                    • RedLogix []

                      Ah the Perfection Fallacy. An oldie but ever so popular.

                    • Pat

                      perfection fallacy my arse…the globalists have had almost 40 years to mitigate the negative impacts of their agenda and not only have they failed they have accentuated them at every opportunity…..and people wonder why the likes of Trump can maintain 70 million votes?

                    • RedLogix []

                      Globalization has had winners and losers. Since WW2 it's pulled a vast number of people out of poverty. Here is a statistic that changed my mind when I read it, in the decade to 2013 around 230,000 people where connected to an electricity grid for the first time. Every day for a decade.

                      That's a staggering achievment, and transformed billions of lives.

                      At the same time, because there was only a rudimentary governance of the globalization process many new problems, such as climate change and inequitable labour treatment, remain to be addressed.

                      The answer to poor governance is better systems. Not to throw them out of the cot because our first attempt wasn't perfect.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      So, in the decade to 2013 around (230,000 x 365 x 10 =) 0.84 billion "people where connected to an electricity grid for the first time."

                      While that may not have "transformed billions of lives", it certainly is "a staggering achievement". It's an interesting coincidence that the global population increased by roughly the same amount (0.83 billion) in the decade to 2013, while atmospheric carbon dioxide increased by a mere 5.6%. We're ‘laughing‘.

                    • Phillip ure

                      But there are two different things there…one is the right for foreign workers to come here to do jobs nzrrs don't want to…and hard to argue against that..and them getting those opportunities…but that does not mean they can be paid slave-wages…and charged for crap accommodation…eh..?…that is a different issue…best not to conflate the…it just muddies the water..

                    • RedLogix


                      More accurate data on electricity as a measure of human progress:


                • Stuart Munro

                  We're a small country – and wrecking our workers' lives to provide cheap labour to scumbag employers should not be allowed the phony figleaf of foreign aid. If we want to increase actual foreign aid though, go right ahead.

                  The ones who live in the draught, who pay for the door being open deserve the say on whether it shuts.

                • WeTheBleeple

                  We really need to get off the poor natives trope.

                  Many in island communities are finding their lives improving after tourism crashed. They're growing food and fishing, connecting through their communities again, and loving it.

                  But we are the white knights, riding in with our dollars to save the day. Maybe they don't need us so much as we need to believe we're superior.

                  • RedLogix

                    Maybe you should ask them what they want. Telling people in poorer countries that they have to stay that way because it's morally superior is patronising to say the least.

                    • WeTheBleeple

                      No, using them as bargaining chips for poor business practise in NZ under the guise of 'a hand up' is patronising.

                      There are many ways to give aid that don't exploit socio-economic disparity.

                • greywarshark

                  Your common reasoned helicopter view Red Logix. Being all historical and theoretical doesn't deal with the here and now business of living and the conditions that are prevalent and make it unpleasant and often sad.

                  Your input tends not to help with solving problems. Your skill tends to the didactic and pontificating. Perhaps you could bring yourself to make suggestions to help with the here-and-now, real and existential problems impacting on real people in this country presently.

                  • RedLogix

                    I tend to reply to people in the same manner they take with me.

                    But as for a lack of practical ideas, well that is easily countered. Even in this thread at I did just that.

              • Hongi Ika

                Agree Slave Labour and Artificially Inflated Accommodation Costs and That Is a FACT !!!

      • Adrian 2.3.2

        I think you might find that a lot of the boats are Georgian or Ukranian and leased by NZ fishing companies for our seasons.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.3.3

        'fisheries expert Dr Glenn Simmons said they should all be sent home.

        They did not bring enough money into the economy to justify the risk we were taking, illustrated by the two health workers taking the virus home with them after caring for 31 of the infected mariners, he said.'

        "We send money overseas for the actual charter of these vessels and their wages are typically sent back to their home country. The species that they are harvesting is sent offshore semi-processed, and it's reprocessed into value added products offshore, and we don't capture that value either."

        Absolutely !!

        • Pat

          and those claimed 450 onshore jobs generate a claimed 725 million pa for the 'country'….wonder how much ends up in those 450 pay packets?

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            The very least they could get away with….

            'New Zealand Merchant Service Guild general secretary Helen McAra said the reason for bringing in foreign crews was economic.'

            "They earn very low wages compared to New Zealand conditions. They come from third world labour supply countries and I'd be surprised if they met the New Zealand minimum wage," she said.

            'She said successive governments had swept the problem under the rug, but the pandemic had brought it back to light.'


    • SPC 2.4

      Cheap camper vans, the opportunity to travel New Zealand (sans foreign tourists) between stints in seasonal work is an attractive option as a gap year.

      • Treetop 2.4.1

        A shower, laundry and toilet block and the camper van to sleep in, I wish I was 20 years old again.

    • McFlock 2.5

      lol not all vinyards.

      There are so many issues to unpack.

      Firstly, there are the issues of payment for work, and accommodation.

      Then there are the issues around using overseas workers to avoid paying decent wages by NZ standards. Outsourcing exploitation.

      After that, there is the question of whether reliance on cheap labour is stunting innovation – innovation in automation, but also innovation in how the jobs are designed and whether more secure employment can be established beyond just one employer in one industry. Many jobs have seasonal work, but not all seasonal jobs occur in the same season.

      • Hongi Ika 2.5.1

        Payment of decent wages in the horticultural industry is a sour topic, screwing workers in the horticultural industry is a sanctioned human right.

      • RedLogix 2.5.2

        Same argument could be applied to any time goods are exported or imported between any two countries with different labour rates.

        I agree with much of what you are saying, but we need to be careful about exactly what problem we are solving.

        • McFlock

          In case we accidentally solve another problem?

          At least the movement of goods is one degree of separation away from actually having NZ employers underpay and overwork people.

          I strongly suspect that half the time employers "need" to hire overseas staff, it's simply for the power being a visa sponsor gives them to get kickbacks (sorry, "accommodation costs") and otherwise abuse workers with lower odds of being reported for the violation. But that's just my cynicism showing.

      • mac1 2.5.3

        McFlock, good to see some vineyards taking responsibility for their problems. I add further below at 2.6 .

        What used to happen in our vineyards was for workers to work in both hemispheres but Covid-19 is really affecting that.

        Your questions will need to be answered by employers as you say. Covid might have some beneficial effects in forcing employers and industries into addressing these employment issues.

      • weka 2.5.4

        what happened to all the workers freed up from tourism and hospo?

    • mac1 2.6

      This is a RNZ report from 2016 and when it is visited there are other links to support the idea that poor treatment of workers has been a long time here.

      To counter this, some local Marlborough people in the industry had to set up an ethical employment system.

      The effect of poor employer practice was manifold. It resulted in poor wages and conditions. Poor wages did not do much for the local economy. Vineyards locally are 80%+ owned outside of the area. Poor wages here but the profits went out of the region. Local housing became difficult to get rentals, and more expensive, with the pack of provision of housing by employers. Ethical employers were undercut and disadvantaged by unscrupulous employers. Health services got stretched and rough sleepers and cheap campers grew in numbers.

      All for less than 50c a bottle on the price of a bottle of wine. Let the true costs of production be worn by producers and then by consumers, not by the workers and the local environment and society.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.7

      " Statistics New Zealand figures show despite the impact of covid-19, fruit exports are up. In the year to September 2020, fruit exports were worth $3.8 billion, an increase of 11 per cent on the same period last year."

      $3.8 …Billion?!

      Pay. More. Whats so fkn hard about that?

  3. SPC 3

    Back in 1954 a visiting Prince from the UK observed that Maori were bit museum relic of the past and bit current day pet

    Funny coz a few Maori visiting the UK on tours this century might well observe their royal family in similar terms. Presumbaly the ministry will advise the new FM not to say this out loud.

    • Hongi Ika 3.1

      The Royal Family definitely hasn't changed in the last 200 years still a bunch of toffee nosed old farts.

    • joe90 3.2

      Grandad was a provincial bigwig and family lore has it that when grandma was asked to be part of the party greeting the 1954 touring royals she replied; "that woman and her family have had two of my sons so I'll be buggered if I'm going to curtsey to the bitch".

      • greywarshark 3.2.1

        The Royal Family have done a great PR job for Britain. Without them to blame people might have to look at the source of their real toffy-nosed villains as Boris.

        For a wee time they did get a satirical view – through the Pythons, but there is now some woke guy heading the BBC and tending to ban satire, comment, laughter etc. reflecting modern-day Puritanism. I think it is a determination of the upper-middle class to present themselves as better than the USA. Probably an achievable target.

        • Hongi Ika

          Especially Innocent Andy ?

          • greywarshark

            Reading some of the stories of past Royals Pr.Andrew's behaviour would have been commonplace, without the common in his case. No doubt at the time it all seemed good fun to the men and glitsy to the women and teenage girls seeking 'the high life'.

      • Hongi Ika 3.2.2

        Not a particularly pleasant family when it comes to the way they treated my Irish and Scottish forebears, even executed one of them at Grassmarket, Edinburgh. We lost a number of family members in WW1 & WW2 and got very little thanks for those sacrifices. Badly bred people with no morals IMHO ???

        • greywarshark

          That's silly – blaming all on the Royal Family. The Brits have been keen pirates and colonists and class privileged since Adam was a cowboy. The East India company and Rhodes and… were all there with their tongues hanging out. John Buchan wrote many books representing the Brits as free-ranging colonials with an attitude of service to the great British nation of noble gits with strong chins and attractive uniforms. Also kidnapped male citizens off the street to serve in the Navy etc.

    • Andre 3.3

      I've always thought the royal family would make a good natural history museum display on the hazards of inbreeding.

  4. Treetop 4

    It is so refreshing to hear that something is being done about controlling Covid in the US. Biden has wasted no time in discussing a response to Covid with top health advisers in the US. Capacity in hospitals is nearing a crisis.

    Biden has had unexpected loss and further loss. In 1972 his wife and infant daughter died in a car crash and in 2015 his son Beau died from a brain tumor.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.1

      Yes Treetop he seems a more inclusive sensitive being. Though his “Spread the Faith” mantra? Which faith?

  5. greywarshark 5

    NZs scientific community has been a treasure beyond anything that comes out of Treasury. A beautiful book has been issued for the connosieur, on NZ insects through Potton and Burton relating the story and works of an early independent scientist GV Hudson and showing his exquisite art in his coloured illustrations. He was a keen entomologist by age 10, and continued all his life after he came here from Britain about 1881. He worked at the Post Office with shift hours that enabled him to carry out his work. And he recommended daylight-saving time – which was apparently ridiculed then.

  6. aj 6

    I would like to express my gratitude. Thanks Team. And I don’t consider any virus escape a ‘failure’. It is invisible, and it’s very easy for it to act like a stowaway despite your best efforts.
    I’d like to think most New Zealanders are aware of how difficult (and crucial) your work must be.

  7. tc 7

    Listening to an OZ based scientist, Marco Herold, who is working on CRISPR techniques to detect covid.

    They claim to be able to edit the dna of a blood sample, put it through their process and get a definitive result in 20 minutes, less than the time to checkin for an international flight.

    Reckons it's 18 months from being viable at scale to work in an airport situation. Go you scientists !

    • Andre 7.1

      Hooo-kaaay – I'm awfully curious about the applicability of the family of CRISPR DNA sequences and the gene-editing techniques developed around them, to detecting RNA virus infections.

      Their press release certainly fails to shed any kind of technical light on the subject.

      So forgive me for thinking this has a kind of Theranos whiff about it. Y'know, leveraging off a bunch of people with letters after their names putting out press releases with lots of sciencey words promising amazing things with a notable absence of actual detail.

    • SPC 7.2

      Within a week they can train dogs to sniff for coronavirus in someone at an airport. Apparently it takes seconds and they get results as accurate as the current test – except that takes 24 hours to come back with a positive result.

  8. Ad 8

    Colin Craig is going for $700,000 in damages from Cameron Slater.

    Beautiful system.

    • Treetop 8.1

      Graig is only able to go after Slater because he has the money to do it. Most people do not have the money to take civil action so the snakes win.

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