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Open Mike 09/05/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 9th, 2017 - 96 comments
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96 comments on “Open Mike 09/05/2017 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Bill Maher has the rant I’d have if I could…

    “This isn’t about reliving the last election or my great love for Clinton, which never was, but this is about winning the next election. And that begins with learning the difference between an imperfect friend and a deadly enemy.”

    • Adrian Thornton 1.1

      Fuck Maher…
      “I don’t even know what a neo liberal disaster even means”

      yeh well he wouldn’t as he makes about six million dollars p/y just from his show, he is also the guy who donated one million dollars to Obama’s campaign, so don’t let this bullshit artist try and tell you he is anything but a staunch defender of the establishment DNC.
      Also notice that the footage of the two African Americans getting killed by police, cynically used by Maher, were both taken when Obama was POTUS.

      • mac1 1.1.1

        Adrian, do you realise that you have made no comment about the content of what Bill Maher was saying, and that you are asking me to not consider what he said about the direction that the US is taking, pretty well supplied with examples, because of some dislike you have of him?

        The point he is making about discerning between deadly enemies and imperfect friends just might apply to you, here.

        • Molly

          mac1, the comments about how people “should have voted”, whether they chose to abstain or to vote for Trump, seems to me to appropriate the basic right of democracy – one vote per voter.

          If we look at voters as only the delivery vehicles for votes, and tell them they are only allowed to offload at one place, aren’t we taking away their fundamental right to put that vote where they choose?

          How could all the disenfranchised been persuaded to vote for Clinton?

          She could have promised that one of the main priorities when elected would be to reform the electoral system in America to allow representation to reflect the concerns of the diverse communities within it.

          That would have been a clear message, that would have helped people make a conscious decision with the hope of better outcomes. But the rhetoric was the same as above, “if you are suffering, then you must vote only one way, even if this way ensures a continuation of your suffering, because by God, you don’t want to be stupid as well as poor and vulnerable.”

          • mac1

            Molly, I was not supporting what Maher said. I was pointing out to Adrian Thornton that personal dislike, because that was all I had to go on then, is not a way to appeal to me to disregard what Maher said.

            As an historian, I learnt about bias and how to read or hear material by applying my own filter to screen that material. Maybe, Adrian’s task was to point out the bias in Maher’s views. But I think he went further, beyond reasonable debate, then.

            Also, when voting there is always a compromise decision to be made because no party or candidate fully is in concord with our own beliefs. Which is in essence what Maher was arguing- a compromise decision had to be made. Not voting is a decision in my thinking. I have had two situations in my election voting life when I voted for someone in accord with my own beliefs- myself. But even then, my party vote was a compromise because not every thing about my party of choice, even as a candidate, was fully in accord.

            I do say that Maher is right in distinguishing between imperfect friends and deadly enemies. Clinton was imperfect- what Adrian and you both say point that out. But does Trump’s first 100 Days point to a far greater imperfection- a dangerous, populist, proto-fascist, unreasoned and far-reaching actuality- as 100 days of hindsight show?

            • Molly

              “But does Trump’s first 100 Days point to a far greater imperfection- a dangerous, populist, proto-fascist, unreasoned and far-reaching actuality- as 100 days of hindsight show?

              Of course.

              But his election also points to a large number of the American public that was so marginalised by what has gone before, that his mindless utterings found some connection to the rage of the unheard – even if we all quite rightly consider them to be insincere and fatuous.

              As for the DNC: A party that proved to be tone-deaf to many, was surprised when people voted for someone who with his rants and simplistic and incendiary comments, at least was expressing some of the rage that they most likely feel at their erosion of their life, loss of housing, livelihoods etc.

              I’m not.

              Even though I believe wholeheartedly that voters were misled, (the same is true of some Clinton and DNC voters if it comes to that) and the election of Trump will lead to further hardship and strife for many, both American and overseas.

              But, I am not surprised at the backlash against the status quo. That option offered no hope for many and they were tired of being told how wonderful everything was.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Bill Maher is suggesting that progressive Americans start rallying around the Democratic Party to fight Trump…I am suggesting that the DNC is not progressive so why would they want more of the same shit that Obama shoveled down their throats? maybe sweeter smelling than trumps but still shit.

          No if I where an American progressive I would first want my party to accept that they lost the election because they ran the wrong candidate and stop blaming Russia, then apologize for rigging the primaries, then fire Donna Brazile, and finally and most importantly stop taking donations from Corporations and Wall St.

          btw ,Maher is also the guy who said he was fine with NSA spying because he trusts Obama, said the Vietnam war was necessary because to lead to Ragan being able to tear the wall down (East Germany) etc etc etc…..

          so personally I wouldn’t be taking any progressive cues from this idiot.

          • Bill

            Just before the US Election I commented that if Trump won, it would offer an opportunity for “the left” to organise and expand. I also said the danger was that the Democrats would seek to rehabilitate themselves through ‘moderating’ any such attempts.

            To my mind the whole ‘resist’ meme was a part of that – calls to ‘resist’ are not in the same ball park as calls for ‘change’.

            Bill Maher (consciously or otherwise) is just a talking head for a liberal strategy of containment.

          • mac1

            OK, Adrian. I’ve told you what I think of your invitation to dismiss Maher’s views outright without some evidence.

            Now, you seem to be advocating that a third force outside the Democrat and Republican parties is worth fighting to set up or grow, or are you advocating that the struggle should be within the Democratic party to clean up its act; I’m sure you’re not holding out hope that the Republicans might.

            Whatever it is, that would be fine. It would take time, effort and that had not happened in 2016 come voting time.

            France’s example does show that a centrist party can come through quickly from setting up to victory. There the choice, in the second round, was between a deadly enemy and an imperfect friend, for many. Damn near two thirds chose imperfection, in a turnout that while lower than the French norm, was greater than any turnout in US politics since 1896.

            At the moment it is evident that voting for Trump was a huge mistake in 2016 with enormous consequences, and that was the choice at the time- Trump or Clinton.

            • Bill

              Damn near two thirds chose imperfection…


              20 million voted for Macron;
              10 million voted for Le Pen (4 million more than in the first round);
              26 million abstained or handed in a spoiled ballot.

              • mac1

                Fair point, Bill. I did say above that a non-vote is a decision.

                However, those who did not vote made that decision that allowed others to choose the imperfect friend or the deadly enemy.

                • Bill

                  Imperfect friend versus deadly enemy, or empowered idiot versus powerless idiot? 😉

                  • mac1

                    That’s why I got into politics, Bill. To either try and be the empowered idiot (but a friendly one) or influence both policy and candidate selection, positively.

                    It’s why I will be out delivering pamphlets this week……….

                    Very few idiots get into politics, btw. Even my adversaries are not idiots. Misguided, blinkered, selfish, sociopathic even; but few idiots.

                    Never underestimate the foe.

        • weka

          “The point he is making about discerning between deadly enemies and imperfect friends just might apply to you, here.”

          The problem there is the mistaken belief that we still live in a dichotomous world politically. It’s not enough to think about politics in terms of left/right anymore, there are more players on the board, and the ones getting ignored by people like Maher are getting well pissed off.

          • mac1

            Fair enough, Weka. But the choice, realistically, in the 2016 US Presidential race was between Trump and Clinton.

            There is another divide which the French election showed, that between moderate and extreme, between hope and hatred as the slogan had it, between the racist and the egalitarian, between fraternite and fear, between liberte and oppression.

            Where do the divides lie in the US and here in NZ?

            • weka

              I think the framing as a divide is problematic in itself. If we look at the US we see democrats, republicans, white working class people, black political movements, the politically confused middle classes, the politically entrenched middle classes, racists, alt-righties, conservatives, progressives, actual left wingers, people like Maher who want the status quo, huge numbers of people from all those groups who are doing very badly under the status quo etc. Lots of overlaps in those groups, and most of that can’t be put into a this side/ that side framing.

              More interesting to me than the divides between those groups are the overlaps and meeting places where people can work together.

              • greywarshark


                More interesting to me than the divides between those groups are the overlaps and meeting places where people can work together.

                I think that is a very interesting idea, that offers a new approach. Considering that all the other ways have turned out to be lacking, it’s definitely a hopeful direction.

            • Adrian Thornton

              @mac1, Since when has the neo liberal ideology proved itself to be an egalitarian project?, maybe when compared to a far right extremist like Le Pen, neo liberalism might seem some what moderate, and if that low bar is all you are aspiring too that’s fine, personally I am pushing for something quite a bit higher.
              I do agree with Weka, that there is plenty of room to make friends within the overlaps of political discontent that are being exposed daily.
              These moments need be taken advantage of, if it helps further a real progressive egalitarian movement to the Left.

              • McFlock

                You might push for something higher, but when the choice is between a neoliberal and a fascist/proto-fascist, that’s as high as the bar is going to be. You won’t magically get a leftist revolution from either: you’ll either get a neoliberal or a fascist.

                Sucks, but it’s true.

                Yes, there might be future lessons for liberals/neoliberals about connecting with people, but the fact is that when you’re voting between a couple of alternatives, whining that there isn’t a third candidate more to your liking will get you nowhere.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  I am not whining thank you very much, I am voicing an opinion, if whining is all you hear when it is an opinion that doesn’t fit your own world view, well then don’t bother commenting to me.
                  You just keep on taking the low road, and I will keep on helping the work of cutting the path to something higher.

                  • McFlock

                    This is actually an important point. Do you really think calling the lesser evil shit in the same breath as calling the greater evil shit is “cutting the path to something higher”?

                    The reason I have a lot of time for folk like Weka (whom I frequently disagree with but do genuinely try to understand) is that they really try to build something with their contributions.

                    I’m fed up with elections where the most virulent opponents of Labour are people who know that their attacks will help National win (yet again), but they’re cool with that because apparently Labour aren’t left enough to even be the majority party in a coalition government. Labour actually have their act together this time. We have a chance for improvement for people.

                    Build something up, don’t just pretend that there’s no difference between the two evils that the next government is going to be between. You’ve actually got a better opportunity than the binary choice facing the French or the yanks. You can choose between a couple of other parties that have a realistic chance of being elected, too, as well as Labour or the nats. But if you want a party more left wing than Labour in government, you’ll need Labour to make up the numbers.

                    And refusal to recognise and work around that fact is nothing more than petulance and whining, in my opinion.

                    • Bill

                      Not that criticism of Labour could encourage a vote for the Greens or Mana or who-ever else is considered to be on the ‘not National’ side of the fence 🙄

                    • McFlock

                      No. It doesn’t. It just discourages people from voting for Labour.

                      Saying “the Greens [or Mana] are better than Labour because xxxx” encourages people to vote for the Greens [or Mana] rather than Labour.

                      Saying “Labour are shit [with or without a because]” discourages people from voting for Labour, but provides no encouragement to vote green vs nat or even just to abstain.

                      One builds something up, encourages people to vote for something better.

                      The other simply knocks something down, and doesn’t encourage building anything at all. And simply increases the chance of another nat government.

                      Neither the Greens nor Mana are going to be in government in 2017 without Labour. That is the situation we have today. We are not going to have a Green/Mana coalition government. Labour will be involved, or it will be a nat government.

                      Learning the difference between encouragement and discouragement might be the difference between a leftish government and another national term.

                    • Bill

                      At which point I’m only going to suggest that you read my comment and respond to what I’ve written.

                      Actually, I’ll help you…

                      I said – Not that criticism of Labour could encourage…

                      Notice that wee ‘c’ word there?

                      Regardless, you just get all uppity, state that it doesn’t and then go on to illustrate how it could.

                      I’m gone…

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, because the ongoing whining is totally always criticism along the lines of how much better the Greens or Mana are than Labour, rather than just calling the imperfect friend shit and forgetting to build up anything good. /sarc

                • Spikeyboy

                  Nobody is whining about the lack of a third candidate just saying that they arent going to vote if thats all thats on offer. Hillary lost because people that usually would vote democratic stayed away on droves. It seems more like you whining about people making that chooce.

                  • McFlock

                    Nobody is whining about the lack of a third candidate just saying that they arent going to vote if thats all thats on offer.


                    • Spikeyboy

                      Thats right. And thats what democracy is about. Individuals making choices. Rather than whiners saying you have to vote this way or that way and this candidate is so evil you just have to vote the way I see it….

                    • McFlock

                      Nobody said that.

                      Just that if you’re going to vote for a fascist because you don’t like the liberal, or just stand by and let the fascist be elected, don’t pretend like you’re doing a fucking thing to improve the situation.

                      but anyhow, I was just laughing at how you felt the urge to chip in about how nobody was whining about the lack of a perfect candidate.

                    • Spikeyboy []

                      If you’ve already fallen through the cracks and neither the greater nor lesser evil is going to do anything about it then it is highly rational to not vote or vote the greater evil since more people coming through those cracks will at some point reach a critical mass. It doesnt lòok sane to those in privileged positions because some of them may end up on the street too but it definately is. When youre already down and out theres not much left about trump to scare you. So if Hillary or whoever thinks fear will motivate voters sometimes it will but if thats all you’re offering and the down and out has got really big under the previous lot its just plain dumb. Except that The establishment will always prefer a trump to a true socialist

                    • McFlock

                      30million got healthcare coverage. Something like 20million will lose it again.

                      Totally love how you’re not whining.

                    • Spikeyboy []

                      Oh gosh. They should be soooo grateful!! Such caddish behaviour from the peasants.

                    • McFlock

                      Wow. You managed to be a dick about millions of people losing healthcare and also get a whine in at the same time. Congratulations.

              • weka

                yes, well my next point would be how do we do that here on TS 😉 Because I’m getting past the point of finger pointing as well (unless it’s NACT, in which case finger-point away). Maybe we could spend some time listening to each other and engaging in ideas with an acknowledgement of being basically on the same side. Radical I know in a culture that is based on fighting, but I think the potential is there.

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Strangely enough, I think New Zealanders just don’t argue (read debate) enough, most don’t feel enough passion about these things that actually mean something in our and our family and friends lives.

                  It seems that many Kiwi’s (especially blokes) save all their passion up for the weekend game.

                  I love it when we have some passionate debate going on in the shop, and a random customer will slowly edge their way around a bookshelf to see whats happening, and before you know it, are themselves hotly debating their opinion.
                  You can sometimes almost see the relief in their faces, that they have been allowed the space and freedom to say what they believe in public, probably for the first time for many.

                  No there certainly isn’t money in second hand books, but there are other rewards besides money.

    • Andre 1.2

      Wow. A lot of complaint about the flaws of the imperfect friend. No arguments about why it’s better to stand aside from supporting the imperfect friend to let the mortal enemy take the reins.

      To try another metaphor, reaching for a high bar is a good thing. There’s people that want to work to build a ramp under that bar, even if they don’t see it to reach for it themselves, and there’s people that want to dig a hole under that bar, Do you work with the people building the ramp so the bar gets closer and you can more easily persuade them to see it and reach for it? Do you just stand aside because neither group is reaching for the bar? Or do you help dig the hole so everyone else sees how wrong that is and will suddenly see the bar they should reach for?

      • Molly 1.2.1

        Your metaphor can quite easily be used in this situation.

        There is a high bar, and over the last few years – someone has been digging a hole underneath you so that you are no longer even at ground level.

        Any requests to them to stop are met with “Don’t interrupt, we’re doing well. Pass over your last shovel, you’ll get used to the dark and besides, someone here has a penlight”.

        Then comes along a notable bastard, standing on the lip of the chasm saying “What the hell are you all down there in the dark for? Why are you going to give them your shovel, give them all to me and I’ll build a ladder to get you back into the sun”.

        Of course, he was lying, and they will discover that just behind him was a 40 tonne digger, but the metaphor you proposed works just the same.

        • Andre

          Ok, it was a crap metaphor. Numbers and drawings are my thing, not words.

          Part of the problem I see is the likes of Labour, Democrats, UK Labour, Aus Labour etc do a lousy job of talking up the improvements they actually achieve.

          For instance, it’s very hard to explain to people who haven’t recently lived in the US how big a deal Obamacare really was. Hell, just this weekend I tried to explain it to my parents who lived 38 of their first 42 years in the US, and I’m still not sure they really got it. But it was a big enough change that more than 60 Democrat congresspeople lost their jobs in 2010. It was a big enough shift then even noted RWNJs like Charles Krauthammer say (like it’s a bad thing) the real impact is it has shifted the frame so that now everyone now talks as if it’s a universal right for Americans to get healthcare, the argument is how to provide it.

          When I returned to NZ in ’99, I was shocked and disappointed at the changes that happened since I had left in ’90. While there were ups and downs, things on average did get better through the noughties, and have gone sharply downhill since ’09.

          Which goes back to the argument that yes, Labour and the Greens are flawed. But on average they will move things in a good direction. So they are imperfect friends. Whereas National have moved in the wrong direction on every topic that matters to me. They are mortal enemies to me. And if we vote in a Labour/Greens government later this year, most of their early efforts will be trying to undo some of the damage caused by the mortal enemies, rather than being able to make progress from the baseline we had in ’09.

          • Molly

            “Ok, it was a crap metaphor. “ 🙂
            Most metaphors can be changed to suit perspective, as I did. They are useful at explaining though, but not as evidence.

            “Whereas National have moved in the wrong direction on every topic that matters to me. “
            Me too. But I view this from a position of privilege. I have the time and the inclination to find alternative information from a variety of sources, and I have the luxury of having people close to me of the same mind, which helps when energy levels get low. Others receive only the good news and trust the often dubious sources of the same.

            I’m not saying I have a solution to reach all those who still vote National, against their own interests – as well as that of the country. But I also think that a strong, positive narrative will work in favour of progressive movements whether they come from Labour, the Greens or others.

            But hey, what do I know? I’m not a paid political consultancy, just a voter looking for a policy platform that aligns with a modicum of my values.

            • Andre

              “But I also think that a strong, positive narrative will work in favour of progressive movements whether they come from Labour, the Greens or others.”

              Yeah. I like to see people arguing for something, that has at least a realistic chance of gaining representation. I get frustrated to hell with those that just spend their time tearing down those that are realistically their closest political friends, because they’re flawed.

              So in the New Zealand context, I’d like to hear what answers Mana or Internet Party (or anybody else that has at least a small chance of getting into Parliament) actually have that will make things better for New Zealanders. Or what concrete policies a commenter would like to see from Labour or Greens. Slogans like “turn Labour left” or “lose the liberalism” won’t cut it.

              • Molly

                “Or what concrete policies a commenter would like to see from Labour or Greens. “

                I have a few but will limit myself to 10 for starters:
                On the topic of caring for the vulnerable:
                1. Would like to see an opposition party commit to extending the homecare workers recent payrise to include family members caring for their own.
                2. Would also like to see this can be extended to include providing tax rebates for families who have elderly members living at home. They reduce the cost to the government for aged care, and often do so for cultural and social reasons, but suffer a financial cost for doing so. They should have some relief from this burden, as they reduce the burden on the state to provide.
                3. Speak out against the failed mental health provisions that have negative effects not just on sufferers, but on wider family members and friends. Reiterate that “community care” while appropriate in some cases, is not a good service for all, and improve outcomes by investing in well-resourced institutional care to allow people to return to good mental health in a controlled and reliable manner.
                4. Review the current ACC system which is failing to provide good levels of care and service, often putting vulnerable people through elevated stress levels without concern.
                5. Take care of “vulnerable children” by supporting the families and communities that are falling apart around them, with issues such as insecure and unaffordable housing, employment, addiction and violence both domestic and institutional.
                6. Commit to reinstating on a long-term basis, the funding for well-regarded NGO’s such as Rape Crisis Centres. Reiterate the further harm caused by requiring funded agencies to collect and hand over personal details, and publicly denounce this practice.
                7. Have a passionate, considered response to the issue of immigration that respects the new NZers, while still listening to the concerns of all who experience the impacts on housing, infrastructure and employment at a personal level.
                8. Following up on that, reiterate the need for any temporary employees entering the country on short-term work visas to have a minimum amount of renumeration over and above all expenses, otherwise the scheme is exploitation and avoidance of good ethical employer practice.
                9. Same goes for protections offered to our own NZ workers, with regard to zero hours contracts. An excuse for bad managerial practices to never need to improve….
                10. We should have enough housing to house the homeless. Find some way to reallocate housing. If we define it as a requirement for human dignity, then we should prioritise it as such in political discourse. Anything less, diminishes the problem and diminishes us as a country.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Why the right are winning (with a mention of our very own ‘citizen’ Peter Thiele).

    The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked


    • weka 2.1

      Maybe, but only because neoliberalism has left so many people worse off under a (nominally) left or right govt.

    • aerobubble 2.2

      Certainly. Labour UK should be running a reset referendum policy if elected. I believe Denmark, Holland? may have done some similar, reject EU then had a further vote affirming continuity. Anyway it would be a right royal stitchup if there was no alternative opposition party running a reset possibility.

      On propaganda. An art form, requiring skill and effort. Not much effort is required to take the track off a classic work, but worse, as propaganda whose purpose it is to connect thus requiring voters to know the tune. , and no doubt in mymind pollsters knew undecided fence sitters were heavily into eminem. so i suppose my question is, if you need the Mona Lisa in your ad, and de vinci doesn’t want the association with your platform since it undermines their IP, can you snap a quickie while at the lourve and us it to swing four million peole nevertheless coz your oollster tells the graphic artists to use somethin with her smile, and dont accept anything until it rings true as the real de vinci. I mean how awkwar to get the endorsement of a artist when clearly he wasn’t paid for it, and probably didn’t want the association. So why is the video maker in the dock, its propaganda, it should be the client, since its illegal to ask for someone to steal alledgely aint it. Who made the eminmem-ese, and so who asked them to make it… guilt as always is for the court and i dont know all the facts, i’m just worried that a political party can use its power and money to cnstruct speech for a artist they may have even been told they would never get.

      i.e democracy is about influence, and if you dont need the fluencers cnsent why stop at an artist, why not just assume consent and put words in any voters mouth.

      • Johan 2.2.1

        To aerobubble, “I believe Denmark, Holland? may have done some similar, reject EU then had a further vote affirming continuity.” Seriously, what are you on about by using the Netherlands as an example???

  3. Cinny 3

    Re.. kids being allowed to start school at 4yrs old during the school term in which they turn five.

    This is only good news for parents of gifted kids, the 1%?

    I’d like to know what new announcements are being made to help vulnerable kids with their learning, as no doubt there are more at risk vulnerable kids than gifted.

    • Carolyn_nth 3.1

      The government is planning some spending on “vulnerable” children in the coming budget. I don’t know how it stacks up against current spending – the government has a track record of including current spending in newly announced targets.

      The main focus seems to be on “behaviour problems”, but also some focus on children with “communication problems”.

      RNZ, 3rd May:

      Now the government said it will provide $34.7m over four years to help children with behavioural issues, enabling the number receiving support services each year to go up from 5000 to 6000.

      A further $6m over four years will be used to help three- and four-year-olds with communication problems.

    • saveNZ 3.2

      More disastrous ideas for the Natz to inflict on kids on top of disastrous National Standards.

      Yep the Natz can’t wait to shoot us down the education league tables as fast as they can say ‘public money for charter schools’ and ‘low wage economy’.

      Many schools in Scandinavia have children start school at 7. They do better, have lower crime rates etc.

      The government need to be going in the opposite direction with education. Like their quest for oil in the age of solar, their stone age ideas on education of rote learning and testing in the age of creativity and individuality. Clue technology is going to take all those rote learning jobs – what’s left is what technology can’t replicate.

      Very good article about education… how important ‘free play’ is.


      • Johan 3.2.1

        The first 5 years of a child’s life is extremely important and one parent should be at home to nurture him/her in a caring family environment. Why are we so anxious to remove children from family homes?

        • Whispering Kate

          Bomber on the Daily Blog said it was to get the single mum’s off the benefit earlier – no excuses for them to not look for work. You didn’t think there was an altruistic reasoning behind this new piece of social investment did you. (sarc)

          Also the Government may be thinking it will be a saving for them if kids were removed from Day Centre’s earlier and into school and let the schools have the burden of very young kids in classes babysitting them at 7.30am in the morning while Mum goes off to work. Not having to pay a supplement to low income earners to help with day care probably is another reason.

          Double Dipper is a canny bugger – anywhere where he can make life a burden for the poor he will find it and expedite it.

          Personally I think life is shit enough and to not allow kids to at least have a few years being a kid before they have to compete and struggle to live in this country is a bad thing – but I am just a Mum and what would I know?

    • jcuknz 3.3

      Cinny 9.23
      It is two months early not twelve month .. read more than the foolish headline.
      Common sense and reasonable but some look for problems and create false news.

      • Cinny 3.3.1

        Having talked to primary school educators from a number of different schools this morning, including an ex primary school headmaster about this, they were of the opinion it could well become an issue should it be implemented.

        One long time educator suggested that kids could actually benefit from starting school at around 6 or 7 not earlier, as they do in Sweden, multiple research backs this up, there are outstanding education models in the Nordic Countries.

        Only a small percentage, really small, of children would benefit from such a change, intelligent children, around 1%. I would have benefited from it, but 99 other kids probably wouldn’t have.

        JCUKNZ have you asked around the primary school educators as to how they feel about it? After all they are the ones that it will affect, and the ones with the experience to answer said question.

        School maybe ‘free child care’ but kids should come first

        • Carolyn_nth

          I think it depends on the approach to education with the under 7s. In several Nordic countries they have a strong early childhood education sector. I know from a friend in Denmark, a place at an early childhood centre was available free to all children from an early age.

          It’s the approach that’s important. In Nordic countries they don’t start formal education in the early childhood system. the approach is more on social experiences, and learning through play in a fairly holistic approach.

          A North American website says:

          It’s really inspiring to learn about early childhood education in the Nordic countries where play is so valued and children don’t begin formal instruction until the age of 7. We have a very different situation here in the United States, where the pressure to teach academic skills to young children has been increasing over recent years.

          Abstract for an academic article:

          The two first sections, Early Childhood Education and Care an integrated part of the welfare system, democracy and women’s liberation and ECEC for all in an inter-Nordic perspective, discuss the fact that almost all children in the Nordic countries attend preschool.

          The play-centred kind of approach was done in English “nursery classes” based in public primary schools when I lived their towards the end of last century. “nurseries” were places for children between about 3-5 years old. Also, some of the first years in primary schools, used to follow more of that kind of play-centred approach in England (and in NZ, I think).

          IMO, it’s all about the kinds of approach used with 3-7 years olds, not whether it happens in primary schools or pre-school centres.

          Of course, the Nats with their testing focus probably would rush into more formal education with young children, which would not be helpful.

    • greywarshark 3.4

      Does this fit in with the idea that children should start in groups at the beginning of a term, rather than be newbies one by one. So that could be at the bottom of this new approach but not explained properly.

    • Molly 3.5

      Children starting school at a younger age, has very little or no benefit to long-term academic achievement.

      Some of the countries who have high academic achievement, don’t start formal teaching until children are six or seven years of age. Finland – for example.

      Finland, who foregoes any kind of standardised testing and is now looking to get rid of school subjects altogether.

      • JanM 3.5.1

        The whole thing is a horrible mess – it had some problems before but under this government it has got a whole lot worse. There are far too many not-good-enough ece centres where children are not getting the appropriate learning. Many centres have lost what tenuous relationships they had with their local schools, and the last straw is the National Standards horror which has prevented new entrant teachers, in particular, from treating children on an individual basis, especially the significant number of 5 year-olds who are just not ready for the formality suddenly imposed on them.
        We desperately need a change of government – the longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to get back on track

        • Molly

          Given that we live in a country that is blessed with accessible natural landscapes – the failure of our education system to build this into our schooling – when it has such marked benefits to students and the wider community, is telling.

          I’m really interested of the wilderness approach to schooling, and Forest Schools and preschools in other countries seem to have very tangible benefits.

          Given the requirement to meet the NZ ECE Curriculum, meant that this approach is very difficult to do for our Kohanga Te Reo, and standardised ECE providers. Asking for extra parent help to provide such outings is fraught with the requirement to have qualified staff on hand.

          Too many people talk about “good” education and early intervention, and don’t actually sit down and consider what the long-term outcomes should be. And we are stuck with standardised test results, instead of engagement and self-motivated learning.

          • greywarshark

            I am prejudiced about the reasons for this:
            Asking for extra parent help to provide such outings is fraught with the requirement to have qualified staff on hand.

            Too many people talk about “good” education and early intervention, and don’t actually sit down and consider what the long-term outcomes should be. And we are stuck with standardised test results, instead of engagement and self-motivated learning.

            I believe that there is too much “best practice” and ‘being the best that we can be’ attitudes to everything, put about by people who are on targets for their performance and not measured on reasonable outcomes. Too many demanding regulations that emphasise reducing risk to the point that the conditions enforced are so unreasonable that keenness and activity is frozen.

            So the excellence business drones on, and real gains beneath the set target can go unnoticed and not celebrated with the learner, and not rewarded to the teacher. Too many theories, that don’t go to the heart of the matter – whatever the task is, and limit achievement across the spectrum. Bugger excellence – aim for adequate, acknowledge that, and then praise the extra effort to a higher level of output or initiative.

    • Enough is Enough 3.6

      Kids will not be starting at 4 years old. No one has proposed that.

      The policy is schools may opt to start kids together at the beginning of the term closest to their 5th birthday.

      The benefit being that all kids will be starting together, so teachers, and the rest of the class won’t have to deal with the disruption of new starters every week.

      No child will be legally required to go to school until there 6th birthday (as is the case now).

      Schools themselves will have the choice to opt in or out. So it won’t be forced upon any school or community.

      If your 4 year and 11 month old is not ready for school at the beginning of the relevant term, no one is going to make him go.

      • JanM 3.6.1

        It’s a pretty poor analysis when teachers are forced to see children as cattle – all herded in together. The other way, of children starting one by one, offered the gift of the ‘buddy system’, or tuakana/teina, where children helped and supported the newbie. Much more civilized, but probably more difficult under National Standards

        • Enough is Enough

          This is hardly revolutionary and seems to work well in Australia and the UK where it is common place.

          In the UK children begin at the beginning of the school year (September) closest to their 5th birthday. so it takes it even further than what is being proposed in New Zealand.

          It will be attractive to bigger schools. A lot of time and resource goes into settling a new entrant into a class. Some schools are getting 2 to 3 starters a week, which as you can imagine takes a lot of the teachers time, at the expense of the rest of the class.

          • Cinny

            But will such a change help kids?

            I can imagine it would make it easier for admin within a school having bulk starters.

            Re taking up teachers time… most new entrants are teamed up with a buddy who guides them with how the classroom/school functions as well as social support. Which one is the ‘new kid’ ? Everyone knows and can look out for them and learn their name quickly.

            Most of the teachers time with new entrants is taken up working out what level of learning the child is at rather than class room introduction.

            • Enough is Enough

              And that is precisely what each school board of trustees will be assessing.

              I am fairly certain parent dominated boards will not opt into this if they are not convinced that it will help kids learning.

              It offers flexibility to schools and parents. I can’t really see what the problem is.

  4. Bill 4

    I see it’s now being reported that the French poster boy for supposed ‘centrism’ might be a lame duck. (He won’t be)

    Now he apparently has to win big in the Assembly Election if he is to deliver his his pro-business policy promises, including loosening France’s strict regulations on labour law.

    Unfortunately, unlike Le Pen, he will have ample backing from across the establishment to do his pro business, worker smashing worst.

  5. Rosemary McDonald 5

    So, Little gets the griddle treatment from from Suzi this morning on Natrad.


    Mixed messages here from Little and Jackson….so much in the ‘you’d have thought they’d had sorted shit like this out beforehand’ category than I am thinking that perhaps Labour is not interested in actually winning the election.

    Little could have, should have handled this better.

    • weka 5.1

      I didn’t like that he didn’t answer that one question directly (would the charter school that Jackson is involved be closed). But the rest of it seem reasonable, and I agree with him that the focus of the interview was petty. I’m also noting that while she repeatedly pushed the point that Jackson runs a charter school and made most of the interview about her perception that that is in opposition to Labour’s policy, the RNZ page says that Jackson is stepping down as CE of that school. Pity she didn’t say that because she was implying there is a conflict of interest when there probably isn’t.

      Both Little and Jackson are saying that Labour’s policy is no charter schools. Both are saying that they’re committed to bettering education for Māori in specific ways. Little also points out that the problem with charter schools doesn’t apply to the school that Jackson is involved in.

      Yes Little can do better, and he needs to learn to not just keep spouting evasive rhetoric at direct questions (it got better when he finally addressed what she was doing), but I also find that focus of the MSM on a manufactured conflict tedious.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1

        “… but I also find that focus of the MSM on a manufactured conflict tedious.”

        Tedious, and yet the same as it ever was. It is through MSM that the bulk of the voting public are going to hear the message.

        Very frustrating for listeners to hear Little’s repetitive spouting…it did eventually come across as evasive.

        Surely the party nobs were aware that this was going to be an issue? How come Little was so poorly prepared? I assume there has been much discussion about the future of charter schools under a Labour/Green government…and Little had the opportunity to build on what Jackson said on Q&A on the weekend.


        • Tautoko Mangō Mata

          There is a system for integrating private schools that could be used for dealing with charter schools.’https://education.govt.nz/school/property/integrated-schools/integrating-schools/

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Having put three offspring through the Catholic school system (as a non Catholic family ) I did wonder, when Act’s plan was being implemented, why on earth another scheme was needed.

            Having said that…as parents we had to pay extra….no way near what the ‘private’ schools were charging…my understanding is that charter schools have low or no fees for pupils.

            So…I guess the next question is where the $$$ come from for those charter schools that provide more intensive learning supports.

            Which kinda leads to the obvious…the argument from charter school detractors that if all schools had the extra taxpayer $$$…

            and round and round we go.

        • Johan

          To RM, You are getting rather repetitive in rants directed at either Labour or it’s individuals. It’s a pity that you can’t apply the same energy to the political party holding the reign of power( for more than 8 years) which has managed to fuck-up every aspect of life for the average Kiwi.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Johan…good work!

            One less potential Labour voter silenced and turned off the party by anonymous fan boy.

            God forbid that this undecided voter (who wastes little or no ranting time on the current incumbents) should scrutinize and challenge the policies and positions of Those Who Aspire To Rule.

            Labour is tainted and stained by its enthusiasm for neo liberal policies in it’s previous tenures…I’m still to read/hear an apology or a ‘we got it sooo wrong’ statement.

            Next reform of the electoral system needs to be an option on the ballot of ‘no confidence in any of the candidates and parties.”

            And if a certain % of voters choose this option (I’d go for 30%), the election is declared null and void.

            In the meantime…unless a candidate or party pops up that earns this voter’s trust…I simply won’t vote.

            Thanks Johan, (whoever you are), I won’t waste anymore of my valuable time on the upcoming election.

            • Johan

              To RM, “Labour is tainted and stained by its enthusiasm for neo liberal policies in it’s previous tenures…” and the farmer takes another load away;-)))

      • JanM 5.1.2

        There are several very good charter schools, at least one of which was in existence prior to the charter school policy. They hopped on board because of the better financial opportunities offered – as you would! Hopefully these will continue to exist regardless, and it’s a bit sad that they have been ‘tarred with the brush’ of being associated with the failures.

        • greywarshark

          I am pleased to see someone bring up this aspect of charter schools. It is almost as if Gnashionals wanted to muddy the waters by putting them under the same unsatisfactory regime. I believe there is a place for NZ charter schools run properly to good standards we have set up, ie a responsible, people-serving government. And they would be able to follow different formats with controls, something like AS Neill’s schools for instance. But no, we get rorts based on a USA system which we should beware.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Southern Man put this link in yesterday but it didn’t get discussed. I think it is important and appears to have real facts. Is there a tech watcher who could comment on this seemingly massive data manipulation that will swamp us all?


    • Molly 6.1

      Thanks greywarshark. Saw it yesterday and meant to read it. Now I have done so.

      Pretty grim reading, but I have just spent the morning with someone who has come up with the P-users in HNZ housing, and unemployable NZers so the influence of targeted (mis)information has been reinforced at a personal level.

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        Getting right in there where things are happening sharpens the views on the news floating around for sure.

    • joe90 6.2

      That Mr Mercer’s a real peach of a man.


      The dispute started on Jan. 16 when Magerman called Mercer and asked to have a conversation about his support of Trump, according to the complaint. During the chat, Mercer said the U.S. had started going in the wrong direction “after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s,” according to the complaint. Mercer also said that black Americans “were doing fine” in the late 1950s and are the “only racist people remaining in the U.S.,” according to the complaint.


  7. Ad 7

    Any bets on Moon Jae-In for Korean President?

    Hope to see the political cancer of their chaebols ripped away and exposed.

  8. Chris 8

    Borrows certainly drew the short straw needing Bennett to be his star witness when the only thing that comes out of her mouth is shit.


  9. Bill 9

    Very good piece in The Guardian by Olivier Tonneau again – “The only pragmatic approach to the woes of France (and beyond) is to boldly reinvent the common good by completely changing the terms of the problem: first, the environment. Second, the jobs needed to tackle the environmental crisis. Third, the economic system that would enable the funding of these jobs (spoiler alert: it is not neoliberalism).

    Fourth, the construction of international relations compatible with this economic system (second spoiler alert: the EU as it stands is not such a construct).”

    • weka 9.1

      Sounds bloody good to me. Only problem is how to get people on board 😉

      • Bill 9.1.1


        Well, within the realms of parliamentary politics we’re seeing a resurgent “left” or social democratic vote that, as I’ve argued elsewhere, is actively discouraged and held back by a liberal msm playing the role of ‘guardian’ to the status quo.

        That can become a stepping stone for better things, and certainly represents a fairly safe ‘port of call’ for those wary of radical change

        Putting aside or going beyond parliamentary or representative politics, I think the supposed ‘left/right’ divide needs to be supplanted with a far more useful, empowering and informative ‘authoritarian/non-authoritarian’ one.

        It was a while back that I commented I foresaw a split happening along that fissure which would leave (that which shall not be called liberalism) stranded high and dry.

        The danger is that the status quo successfully doubles down against even the prospect of social democracy and that we enter a phase of increasing authoritarianism.

  10. Wayne 10

    Well, Labour and the Greens have already drastically limited their options by the Budget Responsibility Rules set in their March 2017 statement. Of course all done in the cause of actually being electable.

    Essentially it says no new taxes, government spending at around the current level of 30% of GDP, sustainable surpluses and reducing government debt.

    So an election where the fight is over $1 billion or so of spending and a Labour/Green statement “We are better and nicer than the Nats.”

    Not much scope for prefigurative politics there, though I am sure the Greens will still try and claim that mantle. Labour, perhaps not so much.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    [you know better than to hijack posts Wayne. Even worse that it was a Guest Post. – weka]

    • Sacha 10.1

      Wayne, you have made exactly the same comment several days in a row now. It’s no more charming behaviour from you than it is from Penny Bright.

      This govt’s big spending proposals like RONs and military hardware provide plenty of scope to repurpose budgets for more constructive ends. But then you’ve been told that already.

      • Wayne 10.1.1


        Which RON’s will Labour cancel? Transmission Gully, Puhoi to Warkworth, completing the Auckland Hamilton Expressway. Because for the next five years that is virtually all of the RON’s.

        Will Labour not replace either the Orions or the Hercules aircraft, both fleets being now over 50 years old? Even though they have been upgraded, the basic airframes will not last forever. Because that is also the major military capital expenditure in the next five years.

        In short not much freedom in either option to repurpose the money.

        So while you may not like my posts on the Labour/Green Budget Responsibility Rules, the impact of the agreement can’t be wished away.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Especially when you completely ignore Item No.5, and the higher per-capita GDP that always accompanies the increase in competence of a Labour-led government.

  11. james 11


    Chester Burrows found not guilty of careless driving causing injury.

    As I said earlier in a post today I would have accepted the courts decision whichever way it went.

    Im glad for him that it went the way it did.

    • Must’ve driven carefully and caused injury.


      • James 11.1.1

        Hello mr stalker.

        Or the view was that the person who put themselves in front of the car caused their own injuries.

        Either way he’s in the clear.

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