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Open mike 09/11/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 9th, 2022 - 59 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 …

59 comments on “Open mike 09/11/2022 ”

  1. millsy 1

    The outcome of today's midterm elections could very well spell the end of civil rights in the USA.

    The Republican Party is more racist, homophobic, transphobic, mysoginost anti union, anti welfare, religious, and in favour of reversing social progress than ever before, and after decades of smearing blacks as criminals, LGBT's as paedophiles, the poor as lazy, union members as overpaid, women wanting access to reproductive healthcare as selfish, the US public is now believing them, and will vote to turn the clock back 60-70 years.

    • Ad 1.1

      Ain't dead yet but as Biden says it's in their hands.

    • Corey Humm 1.2

      Forget civil rights, The outcome of today's elections in the united states have the potential to be the end of democracy in the united states.

      Considering the ammount of election deniers on the ballot saying they'd refuse to certify presidential elections if they they disagree with the results.

      Focusing almost soley on civil rights, identity politics and abortion (and not being able to say the word woman while doing it) rather than the god damned economy during a cost of living crisis is political suicide and it's sadly going to lose the democrats this election and labour 2023.

      After the 2020 election members on both sides talked about passing legislation that would prevent future election results being uncertified by partisan politicians, that should have been made a top priority. It wasn't. This is on the democrats.

      If the global left wants to win elections going forward it needs to ditch identity politics, stop alienating and lecturing voters and get back into the mainstream and advance center left economic reforms first, go back to being defenders of free speech which has been our traditional role at least when I was growing up in the 2000s and protect democracy.

      • millsy 1.2.1

        With regards to the economy, Americans have gotten so right wing, they see the way to stop inflation is to screw down wages and conditions, as well as outlaw trade unions, not to mention hack away at what is left of the social safety net (which is bugger all). Rather like here.

        Free speech always boils down to wanting the right to go around calling people "ni******s" or "sodomites", which is what the the current debate in the USA boils down too.

        The biggest threat in the USA is bible bashing evangalicals and their catholic callabortars (sp) who wish to impose their religion on the wider population, through bans on abortion and whatnot. Also the criminalisation of homosexuality and transgenderism is in the mix.

        • Tony Veitch


          Entirely agree – never ever trust a religious fundamentalist – of which Chris Luxon is a prime example in this country.

      • gsays 1.2.2

        Hey Corey, you often say what I am thinking.

        There seems to be an unhealthy preoccupation with what 'the right' is up to. I have been wondering what it means to be 'left' nowadays.

        I have had a few values tested lately.

        The current war enthusiasm is an example. Only a couple of days ago, a commenter here expressed the sentiment "As long as lots more Russian soldiers than Ukrainian ones are dying I am pleased to see the US war machine doing some good for a change."

        This went unchallenged. Russian soldiers, like Ukranian ones, and Afghan, Syrian… are largely the poorer, less privileged citizens. This used to matter to us, the working class used as cannon fodder to further the powerful's interests.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    Last month’s massive Mount Creighton fire near Queenstown is likely to have cost about $400,000 to fight, which can’t be recovered.


    How unsurprising.

    "The farmer’s taken reasonably good steps, and sometimes these things happen, but we’ll certainly try to learn as much as we can from it."

    " reasonably good steps " ? ! Well he had a fucking good clearance by fire..so I suppose that worked out. And for free. And what learning?

    Over decades, in Otago (and NZ) more fire…. clearances ?…like this, than could be counted on many hands. And apparently …still nothing to see here. Ah well.

    • weka 2.1

      do you know that the burnt area was useful clearance for the farmer, or are you making that up?

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 2.1.1

        making that up?

        huh? What are you on about? Have I got a Mind Read on him? Its my Opinion. Just like yours. Mine is from years of Observation.Of extremely similar. Take that how you like….

        • weka

          ok, so you made it up. There's no basis to the idea that the fire is useful to this farmer, other than that some other farmers have found rogue fires useful.

          Maybe just explain your thinking next time instead of casting random aspersions. eg "there have been examples in the past of farmers doing well from accidental fires because it clears land they wouldn't otherwise be allowed to". But I'd probably still ask for examples or some back up for your thinking (eg an explanation of your experience).

          This isn't FB.

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            lol. Yea I will leave you to it.. better things to do with my time.

            • Bearded Git

              Psyc-I agree it is scandalous that the clearly negligent farmer gets off scot free while the taxpayer picks up a $400k bill. While this attitude prevails other farmers will take risks.

              There have been a number of fires in the Wanaka/Hawea rural regions over the last 10-15 years that have destroyed large areas of native bush. These fires were caused by farmers, residents and tourists and to my knowledge nobody has been fined or made to pay any kind of costs.

              • weka

                If you have evidence that the farmer was negligent, can you please link to it? Or recount local knowledge (I couldn't find anything online about the area burned, what was on it, and what part of the farm it is).

                The ODT has FENZ saying,

                "The farmer’s taken reasonably good steps, and sometimes these things happen, but we’ll certainly try to learn as much as we can from it."

                Do you think Mawhinny is being politic?

                I take it that you think everyone who accidentally causes a fire should pay for it? Camping fires during a fire ban? Camping fires when there's no fire ban? Permitted backyard fires where precautions where taken? Housefires? Fireworks fires? Fires started by lawnmowers? Powerlines arcing?

                Should people who allow dangerous levels of flammable materials build up on their property be fined? People who don’t mow their lawns? DOC letting their land be covered in bracken or pine?

                How about people having to pay for car accidents?

                These fires were caused by farmers, residents and tourists and to my knowledge nobody has been fined or made to pay any kind of costs.

                That's because in civil society we accept that accidents happen and we that we shouldn't bankrupt people when they do.

                Another good reason not to do that is people won’t call the fire brigade if they believe they will be found legally and financially liable.

                I think there are better ways to approach this. Mass climate crisis education around fire risk, to get all of NZ up to speed so that we take it seriously like Australia does. Tourism needs it own particular approach. Farming. Property maintenance. Look at the main fire causing activities in each reason and go hard on helping people prevent them.

                • Bearded Git

                  Weka. From the article in the ODT.

                  "… the investigation is yet to be finalised, but it’s likely the blaze, which destroyed about 230 hectares, was started by an ember from a "burn pile". The farmer had been burning piles of material at the time, including manuka slab, which had been cut down, Mawhinney says, and it appears a stray ember landed in nearby vegetation, and spread at pace."

                  The farmer was burning and allowed his fire to escape and burn 230 hectares. That looks like a clear-cut case of negligence.

                  I live in the Queenstown Lakes District and even when the fire warning level is on green you never start a fire if there is more than a breath of wind, and you also check the wind forecast.

                  • weka

                    are you suggesting that the farmer knowingly started the burn pile when it was windy? Or with wind forecast? Because I'm not seeing anything about that in your quote

                    • Bearded Git

                      Embers don't walk around-it must have been blown by the wind.

                    • weka

                      the issue is the contention that the farmer was negligent and lit a fire knowing it could spread. It's a serious allegation, wanting some explanation or evidence is reasonable.

                      for instance, I can think of someone lighting a fire in reasonable conditions and being caught out by a freak wind. Certainly getting enough freak winds this spring.

                      There are all sorts of problems with burning slash, I don't think it should be generally allowed, but there's not a lot of good options being made available either.

            • weka

              and yet it's an ongoing conversation. If you want to use TS to throw out random aspersions without explaining your thinking, you can expect people to respond to that as a problem.

    • Shanreagh 2.2

      If it was pastoral lease land then there is a right to burn subject to conditions.

      Some farmers in the high country have traditionally used fire, often with disastrous results, to burn off 'surplus' vegetation and to fire tussocks to reveal fresh young growth. I am being sarcastic but with a background of truth that some high country farmers did not believe their farming year was complete without having had a box of matches in their hand and good old burn-off.

      These days more modern farmers/agricultural people believe firing is an inefficient way of farming. Reading the work by Dr Alan Mark on how tussocks work to trap moisture in these high country you would probably come to believe tussock grasslands need to be protected both for their landscape and water protection values. And you'd be right.



      Modern thinking sees a way to control grazing is by animal mouths munching but this needs top notch pasture and stock management working some times by the day. This is not the way that some pastoralists work.

      While pastoral leases still do have a right to burn there are ways to control this with

      • constantly looking at land tenure options……when is burning too much and when do we bite the bullet and buy back land?
      • Looking at who is taking over these high country runs. While we want experienced people we don't need the sons or daughters of the match box carrying farmers of yore, unless they have undergone an epiphany.
      • we need to look at the terms and conditions imposed for burning
      • we need to introduce newer way of farming, in the olden days the old Soil and Rivers Control Council, and their regional bodies had the ability to subsidise to get results. This worked. In my neck of the woods the work done as part of soil con has been subsumed by Reg Councils and has disappeared from sight.

      I know that since the neo lib experiment subsidies is a dirty word but it works if done tightly and outcomes clearly defined. ( I know there will be those saying that in the push for more stock water and firefighting ponds subsidies brought about the building of large numbers of stock water and firefighting ponds cunningly disguised as swimming pools. They'd be right)

      I did touch on fire as a pastoral tool on 4/11 when trying to rebut a presumption that 'Murrays' were the cause of fired land in NZ. These were my links

      (NB on some pastoral leases in the South Island firing areas is still common practice/permitted)





      I think fire as a tool needs looking at. I tend to support PL in their horror that this is still permitted.

      This is an extract from the link from the ODT.
      ‘Fire and Emergency New Zealand risk reduction adviser Mark Mawhinney says the investigation is yet to be finalised, but it’s likely the blaze, which destroyed about 230 hectares, was started by an ember from a “burn pile”.

      The farmer had been burning piles of material at the time, including manuka slab, which had been cut down, Mawhinney says, and it appears a stray ember landed in nearby vegetation, and spread at pace.

      “The farmer’s taken reasonably good steps, and sometimes these things happen, but we’ll certainly try to learn as much as we can from it.” ‘

      ‘Reasonably good steps’ I find this concerning.

      • weka 2.2.1

        yeah, I wondered how carefully chosen Mawhinney's phrasing was there. Sounds like it wasn't a burnoff but burning slash pile/s. That's just as much bullshit as burning off, but the problem we have is that there are places in NZ now where we have no solutions to flammable material. Mānuka, pine, scrub is going to burn live or dead if a fire gets going. Many farmers believe that it's better to burn it in the spring than let it build up over the spring and dry out over the summer. It's also harder now because there is more rain in some places, leading to more growth.

        There is a lot of criticism of land being returned to DOC and then becoming a fire hazard. There is a clear conflict between this and biodiversity, and I don't see any easy answers. Regenerative land management that allows high country tussock to grow, increases fire risk. Or that seeks to let forest regenerate, likewise, because it can take decades to get past the scrub/bracken stage, also very flammable.

        One thing that would be helpful would be teaching NZ to be fire safe. Everyone. It's important now, it will be vital in the future.

  3. Ad 3

    Good to see Minister Wood require higher forward contracts for all kinds of fuel, and also give Commerce Commission powers to rule of fairer petrol and diesel prices.

    Now it just needs a big diesel fleet user to take up a test case.

    Or the government could buy back and recommission Marsden Point. Give it to Transpower perhaps.

    Still, baby steps are still steps.

  4. weka 4

  5. roy cartland 5

    Dose of hope:

    Interesting article on the benefits of immediate electrification. Aussie engineer dispels many myths (as he sees them):

    • Electrification for NZ is much easier than it's made out to be; we'd only need 250% of elec than we use currently. Completely doable with decent investment in solar and more wind.

    • Cheaper: stop saying subsidy and start saying investment. A house could save $40k a decade on energy, by switching to solar, getting rid of gas.

    • Electric vehicles are better in every way; even the utes and things being produced now in the States. And a battery for a typical ute can power a home for a week. So plug your house in to your ute at night, if you don't have a home battery.

    • The fiscal wastage in continuing to use fuel is more (per year) than the upfront cost to switch over to elec. It is much cheaper over the long run without sacrificing any standard of living, in fact has a net benefit.

    • Recyclability of batteries, turbines, panels is much easier than the current myths suggest.

    • Reduce, reuse, recycle is NOT meaningless, it actually helps; it is just an old solution for an old problem (fuel energy crises) that would become less of an issue with full electrification.


    • alwyn 5.1

      "we'd only need 250% of elec than we use currently".

      Do you mean that or is it a typo? We are currently using, according to Transpower about 5,450 megawatts. Of this 90% is from Hydro and Geothermal with only about 5% from wind.

      If your 250% is right you are saying we would need about 13,625 Mw. If it is going to come from wind we would need to increase windpower to about 36 times the current production, Where are we going to put 35 times the current turbines and what do we do when the wind doesn't blow?

      If you are going to do it from solar what are we going to do when the sun isn't shining? Please bear in mind, when you work it out, that the wind tends to drop after sunset so both sources will have less capacity available in the evening, which is the main period of high demand.

      It really doesn't sound as easy as you imply, at least to me.

      • roy cartland 5.1.1

        I'm not saying it, or thinking it, just summarising the interview. Dr Saul Griffith is an engineer with presumably far more knowledge and experience than me. I'd suggest listening to the interview and responding to those points? There's a RNZ written summary as well. He probably is looking at increasing effficiency:

        He believes the typical New Zealand lifestyle could be achieved using half the energy it currently does.

        He didn't mention Tiwai's massive drain on power, nor the decreased costs as we move away from energy-intensive agriculture.

        And fair point to you, it’s not ‘easy’ (or we would have done it), just ‘easier’ than we collectively imagine.

        • alwyn

          "I'm not saying it, or thinking it, just summarising the interview"

          OK. Yes I was reading it as being you promoting the ideas, rather than just quoting from his story. It was the "only 250%" of current production that set me off. I worry about our going all in on wind power. It is so unpredictable when it is supposed to be the main supplier of electricity.

  6. adam 7

    I wondering how many out fascists are going to get elected in the USA today?

    Worst I've heard is three governors, and half the GOP. I hope not.

    But begs the question, if those people are elected, should we openly trade with fascists? Should we be in treaties of defence with them?

    As my grandfather shot fascists in WW2,are me and mine going to have to do it again?

    • Ad 7.1

      China is our largest trading partner and a proper Leninist authoritarian state.

      • Tiger Mountain 7.1.1

        Well, the Chinese do not have 750 plus publicly admitted off shore Military bases and facilities as per the USA. Iran is surrounded by approx 45 US military and intelligence bases in neighbouring countries.

        Adam has mentioned a real possibility for the direction of the United States of America. Fascist is a word that should be used with extreme caution, but some of the current Republican candidates and supporters certainly meet that definition unfortunately.

        • adam

          OK to clarify I mean Christian Fascists, which a very USA way of doing it.

          • Ad

            Not unique to the US nor even a precedent. Franco ran an active and state sponsored Christian Fascism from 1936 to 1975.

            • adam

              Not at all what I mean. Franco's Spain was Catholic who embraced Fascism.

              In the USA it is evangelical in nature, using the iconography and pageantry of Christianity, couple with a homely credo of wealth theology.

              Same sick outcome, but different beast.

        • Ad

          Adam asked the question about trading with Fascists, and it is China not the United States that defines that.

          Unless you have been living under a rock the United States had mid-term elections today. Not even New Zealand does that. We may be one of the least corrupt but we are actually one of the most quiescent, passive-aggressive and servile of peoples.

          Democracy in the United States is far more thorough than it is here. People who get anxious about how rough elections are in the United States should just read what the Democrats were like in Texas in the 1960s. Or Louisiana in the 1930s. Or Illinois and New York in the 1940s. Democrats smashed heads without being labelled fascist or authoritarian. What they were doing was fighting actual power.

          People in politics here – Ardern's generation in particular – are too weak to even meet protesters in their proper form. They'd rather just demonise them as enemies of the state and absolve themselves of the necessary conflict involved in managing actual power.

          • tinderdry6

            Great comment. Your final paragraph is particularly powerful.

          • Tiger Mountain

            No, democracy (in terms of voting) in the US is convoluted, exclusionary, and designed to maintain class power relations i.e. capitalist hegemony. In 2020 80 million eligible voters in the USA did not exercise their vote.

            We don’t have long enough parliamentary terms in NZ to bother with “mid terms”. And…pull your head in Ad, I was closely watching the mid term results on various channels last night.

            Pundit Michael Moore was right again, as he was in predicting the Trump victory when the NY Times and Washington Post were calling Clinton. There was no blue surge, and more importantly no red surge. But a hell of a lot of effort went into achieving that position given the media/poll blitz.

            People that have known no other world than a monetarist dog eat dog Aotearoa do things differently. But protest lives on every day regardless of the NZ Labour Caucus or PM. Unions work away for their members, reforms are advanced, battles are won like Ihumatāo.

            It is fair enough to enquire what motivates a right opportunist like yourself to even bother posting on the Standard?

          • adam
            1. So lets stop trading with China. Been a fan of that for while.

            2. I did not call the USA fascist, I said their was a real possibility of out Fascists gaining control of larger sections of the USA state. Which thank goodness, they have not. But, they stay a real danger.

            You could try this


      • adam 7.1.2

        Love the straw man.

        • Ad

          As expected, the weak love weakness.

          Stop being weak.

          • adam

            If you'd get off you high horse for two seconds, and stop being a know it all.

            My question was specifically directed towards the USA elections, and a possible outcome.

            Which by the was not delivered, and hopefully we seeing the signs of it being totally rejected/ejected from the GOP.

            So go have a piss mate, get some of those toxins out of your body.

  7. Molly 8

    Apologies for the brief comment, but there may be some here interested in the High Court ruling re the removal of bush huts in the Ureweras:

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