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Open Mike 10/01/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 10th, 2018 - 269 comments
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269 comments on “Open Mike 10/01/2018 ”

  1. Descendant Of Sssmith 1

    Came across these interesting thoughts on “The tragedy of the commons”.


    The impact of this argument was far-reaching. Economic thought strengthened this influence by associating the expression “tragedy of the commons” and the image of the pasture with analogous but more sophisticated scenarios in microeconomics and the economy of “externalities.”

    One of the reasons for the appeal of Hardin’s analysis, at least at first, was its “either-or” conclusion. It can be cited both by partisans of government intervention and by those who favor an open market. However, with the rise of neoliberalism as a school of thought and a sociopolitical force, the “tragedy of the commons” was rapidly reduced to an argument in favor of private ownership.

    • SPC 1.1

      Then there was China’s one child policy and to come their renewable energy power grid for the Belt project.

      For us a population policy within renewable energy constraint.

    • Yet the term designates something else entirely: the institutions through which communities around the world have managed—and continue to manage—shared resources, often quite sustainably. This can mean pastureland, but also forests, fields, peat bogs, wetlands, etc., that are in many cases vital to their survival.

      The “Tragedy of the Commons” denies the effectiveness of these organizations, associating good management only with the state or with privatization.

      Those organisations could be termed ‘the state’ as they’re actually the community and the community is the nation.

      It’s part of the language used over the last few decades to divorce people from the community and it’s done it’s job well. Even progressives are disinclined to trust ‘the state’ despite it being a natural democracy.

      And one other thing we should be well aware of now is the very real physical limits that the environment has. Malthus was right. just need to look at our waterways to understand that.

  2. Ed 2

    Rachel Stewart has written an excellent article in the Herald today. Readers of this paper will find her writing unsettling as she spells out the situation we are facing honestly without any sugar coated message.

    It is an article every New Zealander should read.

    Rachel Stewart writes passionately about the state of the world in January 2018.

    I quote her.

    “Knowing it’s happening, and feeling empowered to do anything about it are two different things. While, arguably, many scientists now believe humanity may only have another 100 years – my view is that’s ridiculously optimistic – the fact remains that we’re taking out every living species on Earth at an alarming rate, including ourselves.
    If you stay with that thought, and let it sink in, how does it make you feel? I can tell you how it affects me.
    Waves of grief wash in and out like the tide.”

    She goes onto explain that grief before asking her readers where they are placed regarding catastrophic climate change.

    Rachel writes the following .

    “Your stage of grief may be entirely non-existent. You may be busy with whatever your deal is – consumption, capitalism, cows, cars, Christ. None of which changes what’s coming. (Pro tip: It’s not the Second Coming).
    Or you’re busy bargaining, or being angry, or even denying there’s a problem at all. You may even be stuck in depression.
    My stage of grief is acceptance. That doesn’t mean all hope is lost, or that I will give up trying to change things. You never know. Miracles can happen.”

    This is the most important issue facing the world.
    I am at the same stage of grief as Rachel on the whole , although I’m also prone to depression about it. Like Rachel, I don’t believe all hope is lost but I agree with her that there is little time left.

    What stage of grief are you at?


  3. James 3


    This will be interesting. Assange could be looking for a new home.

    If they give Assange the boot – will he end up in the US to face charges as he fears?

    Personally I think it’s right that he faces the charges that are leveled at him.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      The only charge he’s facing relates to breach of bail conditions – unless the US has a sealed indictment waiting.

      • james 3.1.1

        “unless the US has a sealed indictment waiting”.

        I guess we wont know until he starts walking around.

      • McFlock 3.1.2

        Not strictly true – the Swedish investigation has been discontinued because there’s no chance of him being “formally notified” of the charges (final stage before Swedish arrest). Part of discontinuance was withdrawing the arrest warrant. Should he leave the embassy, all of a sudden he’s approachable again and the investigation can be reactivated, and another warrant issued.

        Basically, it’s still hanging over his head until the statute of limitations runs out. The Swedes just aren’t spending money on it.

    • Brigid 3.2

      “Personally I think it’s right that he faces the charges that are leveled at him.”
      Well surprise surprise.

      I note you often start posting very early. Don’t you like sleeping in? Or does your wife shove you out of bed because you wont shut up about the bbq.

  4. Ed 4

    Sticking to the environmental theme, the evidence continues to stack up against dairy farming, as the health of our lakes suffers. More North Island lakes are graded bad than good.

    We have a choice. Dairy farming or our waterways.


    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1

      More accurately, the choice is between current dairy farming scale and practice and our waterways.

      • Psycho Milt 4.1.1

        Ed finds that particular distinction inconvenient for his ideological agenda.

        • Ed

          The ideology of caring for systematic changes to save our planet?
          Proud to have that ideology.

          • solkta

            Your continual conflation of ideas about sustainability and animal rights do no favour for environmental progress but rather just alienate people.

            • Ed

              If everyone in the world stopped eating meat, it would make a massive difference to the carbon footprint of humankind.
              If people are alienated by that statement, tough luck .
              It’s an inconvenient fact for carnivores.

              On a separate point, if we stopped dairy on an industrial level , reduced the cow herd by 80% and stopped pumping fertiliser into the soil that leached into our waterways, we would be on our way to turning around the state of our waterways.

              • If everyone in the world stopped eating meat, it would make a massive difference to the carbon footprint of humankind.

                It’s an inconvenient fact for carnivores.

                Likewise, if everyone in the world stopped eating cropped plant material, it would make a massive difference to the carbon footprint of humankind. It’s an inconvenient fact for vegans. There is a huge number of similarly true but pointless and irrelevant statements one could make, but most of us don’t feel inclined to make them. Could you perhaps learn something from that?

    • BM 4.2

      We have a choice. Dairy farming or huge cuts to social welfare/health/education and all the other services the government provides.

      • SPC 4.2.1

        We provide $4B pa to people over 65 still working.

        • BM

          Yeah, that’s bollocks, if you want to keep working then you don’t need super.

          Until Peters fucks off and dies, anything around super is off limits

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Nah, universal benefits should stay universal. That way it’s much harder for the National Party to attack human rights.

            • SPC

              Starving the education and health system of funding to defend the human rights of universal benefits to a privileged middle class with the health and professions to continue in work ….

              Meanwhile people too sick to work do not get ACC and people remain on Invalids Benefits receiving less money than those over 65 in full-time employment … human rights for whom?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                You’re missing the point. The National Party already victimises the groups you mention. Why expose more people to the abusers?

                They treat people like shit. That is an argument for defending those people (with eg: a UBI), not increasing their numbers.

                • SPC

                  Labour cannot afford to do anything about it while paying out the billions in super to those still working.

                  And given we cannot afford a UI at the current super level, we have to target more to those in need by transferring resources currently given to those who do not need it.

                  And that also includes mental health, DHB funding etc. We are facing a situation of rising health care costs for the aged we are struggling to cope with (Pharmac constraints, tech in the hospitals) while paying people in good health and well-paid employment super.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Or, rather than accept the austerity rhetoric of ‘living within our means’, increase revenue instead. For example with a cgt.

                    Mental health outcomes are driven in a large part by the GINI. Reducing the GINI need not involve government spending, eg: wage increases.

                    Throwing people into the pit with the National Party isn’t a solution.

                  • The government can always afford all the resources in the country.

                  • greywarshark

                    Can we sop paying super to people past 65 who are still working? The idea of working on after 65 gives some a false sense of superiority ‘I’m still working, not living off the state, when I have abilities and the will to work.’ They don’t think further – that they are taking a senior job that should go to someone else, and then allow further rises for people down the ladder to better- paying positions.

                    Another thing that could be done is announce that everyone who is receiving a state benefit is expected to do at least three hours work a week as a volunteer, at something suitable for their talents and useful to the good of the community and perhaps the local Council can advertise what needs doing and when the next working party is being formed. And what is available to fill the three-hour slot for those who can’t find anything through the Volunteer Centres.

                    Then someone over 65 wanting to keep working can do so, for nothing, and receive super, or instead earn the ordinary salary, pay tax and stay on doing the work that he or she really likes, or where they are still needed.

                    And one other thing that should be immediately reversed!! I hear from beneficiaries that they are told that they can’t do any volunteer work, the simplistic thought coming from the frightful people at WINZ or their contractors being – that if they can do volunteer work they should be in paid work, one or the other. Can someone who knows about WINZ and its dark arts advise if this is The Rule that everyone is told, I would appreciate authoritative confirmation?

              • JanM

                For the years I was receiving Super and working, my tax was effectively paying for it. Has there ever been an analysis whereby the tax from Superannuants has been offset against the cost, or would that be far to complex to achieve? There is, of course, also very little administration cost compared to ACC or any of the other benefits because no one has to sweat the small stuff

            • alwyn

              I agree with your first sentence. However the second one doesn’t seem to match New Zealand History.
              Tell me, where is my memory at fault?

              Labour, in Kirks day, introduced something that was very similar to KiwiSaver. If you didn’t earn very much in your life you weren’t going to get much in your retirement. Rather like the Singapore system where you get people in their eighties having to keep working till they drop.

              National, under Muldoon, brought in a very generous universal scheme. Everyone got it at 80% of the average wage at 60.

              Labour, under Lange, cut the age back to 65, reduced the level of the pension and means tested it by a heavy surcharge on their income tax for recipients.

              National, under Bolger, returned it to universality, albeit not as fast as they promised. They left the 65 age and the reduced level of the super. They did have an excuse for the delay in that the then Labour Government had left the Government accounts in a disastrous shape and had lied about it.

              Labour, under Clark, left things the same way as at the end of the Bolger era.

              National, under Key left things unchanged as well.

              Labour, while in Opposition proposed increasing the age of eligibility. That went down like a cup of cold sick.

              Now perhaps you can explain why you think it is National that attacks people’s rights? It looks a great deal more like a Labour predilection.

                • alwyn

                  I certainly had one flaw in my memory. I thought it was the Lange Government that increased the age. According to your link they were going to do it but not until after 2000. It was Bolger who brought it in earlier.
                  I think on the rest, and particularly on the subject of effective Universality, I was generally accurate.
                  I can only plead in mitigation that I wasn’t living in NZ in the early 90’s.

                  • SPC

                    Personally I don’t see age change as a breach of universali8ty.

                    National were not innocent on rate changes (National first in the late 70″s). And then there was Shipley’s proposed end to the net average wage connection. But then again not a breach of universality.

                    Surtax, negatively impacting on those who save, is unfair and only explained by budgetary crisis.

                    • alwyn

                      “age change as a breach of universali8ty”.
                      No it isn’t. What is unfair is the rapidness with which they made the change. Labour’s would have been fair. So is the change that English was proposing at the election. Giving more than 10 years notice of starting the change gives people under 50 time to adjust their plans and people over 50 wouldn’t have been affected. National’s 1990’s change was implemented far to fast.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Sorry you went to the trouble of typing up all that material that’s entirely irrelevant to the point I’m making. The National Party’s attacks on the human rights of beneficiaries are well documented, not least by the NZ Law Society.

                Removing universal entitlement to Super would simply add another group of people the National Party would victimise.

              • Now perhaps you can explain why you think it is National that attacks people’s rights?

                National attack beneficiaries rights but not those of the retired. That’s what all their welfare reforms were.

          • lprent

            Daft comment. You mean that having a 10 hour per week job means that you don’t need super? Or a 20 hour job pw. Or an 80 hour pw? Or doing voluntary work? Or caring for a distressed parent?

            Your simple minded idea simply doesn’t consider edge conditions. It certainly doesn’t consider the costs of administering all of the daft exceptions that you’d want to add into it.

            The current costs of the universal superannuation system that last time I looked at were just a few percent. The costs of the dole using exactly the kinds of mindless stupid exceptions that you want to impose, supposably in the name of simplicity and common sense, will push the admin costs up to 30% or more of the value.

            Effectively to save a few dollars, you’d impose a fortune of costs on taxpayers. That is really stupid.

            And for what? The only thing that is certain as you get older is that things change – often rapidly. Superannuation is as much a transition buffer between working and not being able to work as it is a living support.

            • SPC

              It will be $5B pa in a few years. It is a rising level of the total super pay out.

              Admin costs … nah no.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Just adds another layer of bureaucracy and the opportunity for WINZ harassment. Weekly income checks and “overpayments” reported as “fraud”.

          • mac1

            Knowing the dedication and skill of moneyed people to avoid taxation, I am sure, BM, that many could easily defeat an attempt to exclude them from receiving super.

            Why not instead appeal to their well known and developed sense of social responsibility and ask them to forgo their entitlement by returning it to the State coffers?

            Seriously, universality does avoid the injustice of such behaviour as avoidance, and also reduces the state’s bureaucratic burden by not having to decide who is eligible for super. How much paperwork to decide who is eligible amongst super annuitants who are projected to number 1.1 million in 2031?

            Better that such a bureaucracy be used to minimise tax avoidance and evasion which costs NZ annually between $1.5 and $7 billion.

            Remember, too, that those who are earning whilst still receiving super (I am one of them) pay taxation on those earnings, on top of super which is itself subject to taxation.

            • BM

              Do you actually need your super payment?

              • mac1

                Yes, BM. I am very part-time.

                Thanks for responding. Could you address the points I made about in favour of universality and the bureaucratic cost of means-testing.

                • BM

                  bureaucratic cost of means-testing.

                  I can’t really see significant costs in means testing for super.

                  If you’re working you’ll be paying PAYE, the information on your income is all there.

                  Social welfare can ask the IRD for your tax records and from there work out whatever you’d be entitled to.

                  • And then you ignore that fact that many rich people are avoiding taxes to the tune of between 1.5 to 7 billion dollars. Those people will still be claiming NZSuper but there’s no way to catch them.

                  • mac1

                    This article addresses your concerns.


                    The following quote encapsulates an opposing view to your statement “I can’t really see significant costs in means testing for super.”

                    “One of the main benefits of a universal, unconditional welfare payment would be the removal of virtually all of the costly means testing bureaucracy from the welfare system.”

                    It goes on. “Another benefit would be the near complete elimination of welfare fraud, which would free up teams of fraud investigators to go after much bigger fish such as tax-dodgers and organised crime networks.”

                    While these quotes are from an article on a universal basic income, the arguments are the same for either UBI or universal superannuation.

                    There are many articles which agree with the notion of significant bureaucratic cost in administering means tested benefits.

                    As I say, 1.1 million of us (hopefully) in 2031!

            • alwyn

              You suggest that, for people who are already on high incomes
              “Why not instead appeal to their well known and developed sense of social responsibility and ask them to forgo their entitlement by returning it to the State coffers?”.
              The chances of that happening are very slim. About the only person I know who refuses to take the Super is Bob Jones.

              Jim Anderton has recently been lauded in this blog. Jim certainly didn’t refuse to take the money. In 2009 Matt McCarten pointed out the Anderton, along with Roger Douglas, were collecting an MPs pay, Parliamentary Super AND National Super. I can’t find a link but I remember Anderton saying, when asked if he would take National Super, that he would because he was entitled to it.
              As Matt said
              “Winners: Roger Douglas and Jim Anderton. Both collect national superannuation, their parliamentary pensions as well as a full MP salary. Their best decade was the 1980s and they’re so old they are allowed to triple dip”.

              The following year, when Jim planned to run for Christchurch Mayor, he even said he would quadruple-dip. He would stay as an MP even if he was elected Mayor.

              He may have said he would give the MP pay to charity but that was about as likely, and impossible to enforce, as was finding out what happened to the $158,000 that Winston clung to and never did return to the Crown.
              Trivia question. Can anyone identify a single charity that got a cent of that money?

              • mac1

                Alwyn, as I said, ‘seriously’. I’m sorry you missed my irony.

                On the topic of not receiving emolument, can anyone identify the destination of John Key’s salary which he said he would donate to charity in whole or in part?

                • alwyn

                  I did realise you didn’t mean it seriously.
                  My experience of most MPs I have had dealings with is that they will take anything they can get. Oddly enough Stephen Joyce is one of the few who stand out as having made no attempt to get everything he could.
                  Most of them are, of course riding a gravy train to a standard of living that they could never otherwise have envisaged. There have been a few, such as John Key, Phillip Burdon and Bob Clarkson for whom the money was pocket change but they are few and far between.

                  As far as any donations Key may have made to charity, how would I know? To find out you would have to have access to his tax file.
                  The amount he was proposing to donate does seem to have been exaggerated of course. The most I can find him saying is

                  “”I already donate a good part of the pay I receive as Leader of the Opposition to charities and other good causes. I will continue that practice should I become Prime Minister,” Key, above, told Sunday News.” which was followed by
                  “Key wouldn’t elaborate on what charities he supported, nor how large a portion of his salary he donated. He said his “personal decision” was not something he wanted publicised”

                  The Sunday News of course put on a headline.
                  “Key pledges PM’s salary to charity” and made that into an enormous front page headline. Have a look at this link and see just how enormous, and false, the headline was.

              • Trivia question. Can anyone identify a single charity that got a cent of that money?

                Can any one do the same of all the parliamentary salary that John Key said he was giving away?

                Excluding the National Party ‘charity’ of course.

                • alwyn

                  I see that you have linked to exactly the same story that I did immediately before you.
                  If you read the story, or what I have quoted from it I think you would have to agree that you are exaggerating just as much as the paper was when you say “all the parliamentary salary that John Key said he was giving away”
                  What’s that “all” bit?

                  • Ed

                    “a good part of the pay”

                    Typical weasel words from Key.
                    He was very slippery wasn’t he?

                    • alwyn

                      I wouldn’t use words like “weasel” or “slippery”.
                      At least if I was going to I would have to use them about every competent politician.
                      They all talk that way. Hadn’t you noticed?
                      That was the mistake Blip used to make. He would look at something Key said and read into it what he “wanted” Key to have said. Then he would call it a lie.
                      All the politicians who are good at their job are exactly the same.
                      Do you believe that Little has promised that there will be a manned entry of the Pike River Mine that will recover any remains? He did last year when he was leader but he is learning his trade at last and he hasn’t actually done so since the election. Shall I talk about him being a “slippery weasel”? By your standards I assume you think I must.

                    • Ed

                      Key was particularly slippery.

                  • Exactly as asked. A detailed breakdown of all the charities that John Key says he paid a large part of his parliamentary salary to.

                    • alwyn

                      My goodness.
                      As Yoda in Star Wars would say.
                      “The Key Derangement Syndrome is strong in that one”.
                      Give it away. What he did with his own money was surely his own business? Besides he retired about a year ago. Give it away and get yourself a life.
                      By the way, he didn’t say “a large part”. He says “a good part”. There is a difference you know.

                    • Ed

                      People have long memories.
                      They don’t forget traitors.
                      One year is nothing.

                      We haven’t forgotten Douglas.
                      34 years ago.

                    • What he did with his own money was surely his own business?

                      He’s the one who who said he would do so and so he should have backed up what he said. He never has.

                      And then you brought it up when demanding the same info about Jim Anderton:

                      He may have said he would give the MP pay to charity but that was about as likely, and impossible to enforce

                      But for John Key it’s now solely about it being his choice?

                      The hypocrisy is strong in you.

                    • mac1

                      Thanks, Draco T.

                      I actually missed the little irony there, where Alwyn refused to see that Key’s goose sauce might not be different from Anderton’s gander garnish.

                      Well spotted. You stated that with some relish.

                    • alwyn

                      To DTB.
                      I never said that Anderton should tell us who he donated money to. After all, Parker beat him and he was only able to continue his triple-dipping and not move onto the quadruple dipping stage. It was his taking so many helpings of the cake that I found a little odd.
                      John Key never did that did he? He merely collected the single taxpayer payment to which he was entitled. What he chose to do with it was his own business.
                      I merely pointed out that Anderton wouldn’t be bound by any such promises or actually be able to be checked on them.
                      That, me young fella, is exactly what I said about our former PM John Key.

                    • I never said that Anderton should tell us who he donated money to.

                      It was implied in your phrasing that he should if he said he would. Which would also apply to John Key who did say that he gave a portion of his PMs salary to charity – but you never demanded that he prove it.

                      It was his taking so many helpings of the cake that I found a little odd.

                      I don’t recall that you thought it odd that Bill English helped himself to similar helpings of cake.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.2

        Drivel. Dairy farming currently accounts for about 3.5% of gdp. The costs of filthy waterways continue to mount up.

        • BM

          13.4 billion in export revenue.

          Employs 47,310 people.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Have you ever heard of a cost benefit analysis? As someone who affects business savvy you should at least pay lip service to the concept.

            At the higher end, the estimated cost of some environmental externalities surpasses the 2012 dairy export revenue of NZ$11.6 billion and almost reaches the combined export revenue and dairy’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product in 2010 of NZ$5 billion.

            Dairy farms can be converted to other uses and still provide economic opportunities and jobs. Not that you give a toss about unemployed people anyway.

            • savenz

              Apparently local workers are ‘hopeless and on drugs’ anyway according to Bill English so we need to factor in the costs of subsidising the percentage of “47,310” workers into migrant workers on minimum wages to help keep the farms going which should not be considered real jobs but fake jobs – they are taking local jobs away but increasing the amount of tax payer services needed like schools and hospitals and roads and job subsidies like working for families and ACC if there is an accident.

      • Psycho Milt 4.2.3

        We have a choice. Dairy farming or huge cuts to social welfare/health/education and all the other services the government provides.

        False dichotomy. We provided high levels of public service before over-intensive dairying and could continue to provide them without it.

        • BM

          Look I’m not a dairy cheerleader.
          But facts are facts, we need the money and jobs dairy creates.

          Most of NZ’s small towns rely on dairy without dairy the majority would financially collapse.

          Even though Ardern said “climate change is my generations Nuclear Free moment”, this government won’t do a thing about dairy, it needs the money, so it’s business as usual for the foreseeable future.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Dairy breathes a huge sigh of relief that the wooden, sweaty cheerleader has finally put down his pom-poms.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            PS: “Dairy farms can be converted to other uses and still provide economic opportunities and jobs. Not that you give a toss about unemployed people anyway.”

            Since you so obviously didn’t understand this the first time around.

            • BM

              Dairy farms can be converted to other uses and still provide economic opportunities and jobs

              Who’s going to pay for the conversion? and to what? and why would any dairy farmer want to?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Is it difficult, getting through life without an imagination?

              • Brigid

                Dairy farmers found converting to kiwi fruit production in the 1970s very easy when they were told the returns were better.

                But of course they’ve no incentive presently, because they aren’t being made to pay for the pollution they’re creating.

              • savenz

                forestry, honey, tourism, horticulture, wine… sheep, other stock that require less water…. dairy requires enormous amounts of water as well as many farmers are reliant on fertilisers to keep the grass rich enough for dairy.

                Dairy farms could also be going organic but apparently although Fonterra charges consumers more for organic milk they don’t pay the farmers any or much more for organic milk.

          • Bill

            Hmm. We need the money and jobs dairy (and whatever else) creates if we want to carry on doing things within the broad sweep of how we have done things.

            But if that’s our focus and success, then that pesky global warming is going to total the whole shebang pretty soon.

            Difficult choice, eh?

            • BM

              Do you see anything changing under this current government?

              I don’t

              • Bill


                My contention is that business, finance, politicians and policy makers are bent on taking capitalism as far as it will go – ie, to the end.

                On a kind of side note, of all the official reports on “possible future scenarios” I’m aware of, there isn’t a single one devoted to how we might re-arrange our affairs in order to avoid catastrophic warming. Not one.

                Everything’s devoted to how things might change or look once the skewers of warming are piercing through (and how the imagined resulting situations might be managed).

                • Ed

                  “My contention is that business, finance, politicians and policy makers are bent on taking capitalism as far as it will go – ie, to the end.”

                  I agree with you. Too many vested interests , too much ignorance, too much selfishness, too little imagination, too little willingness to make sacrifices.

                  In the 1940s people rationed their food and made do with a lot of creature comforts to win the war against Nazism.

                  In the 2010s, we should be again on a war footing to counter and mitigate against climate change. But 35 years of neoliberalism has had its effect. There is not the sense of society there was in the 1940s. Many people are no longer willing to make sacrifices. They won’t go without their flash Ute. They won’t go without their barbecue. They won’t go without their boat.

                  Like Rachel Stewart, with humans the way they presently are, I am pessimistic about our ability to change in time.

          • Draco T Bastard

            But facts are facts, we need the money and jobs dairy creates.

            That’s not a fact. We actually don’t need the money that dairy brings in. In fact, we’d probably be producing more jobs and a better, more developed economy if we didn’t have it.

          • Ch_Ch Chiquita

            Oh, goodness. Driving to Wanaka (again) this summer, I was (again) appalled at how we irrigate such dry land for bloody milk cows! How about turning this vast land of dry area into one big solar panel farm? Better for the environment, higher paying jobs (Up skill!) and a hell of a lot more water for us to drink. And we will soon need these water and cry for our stupidity at wasting them on a product humans don’t even need.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              Regarding the rather obscene greening of the region you’ll get support from this group….http://mackenzieguardians.co.nz/about/

              ….but I suspect they will not take kindly to PV panels either.

              Remember this campaign?


            • Psycho Milt

              …a product humans don’t even need.

              The list of products humans don’t even need is enormous and includes most of the food that non-dairy fanatics eat. By all means complain about unsustainable dairy farming in Canterbury and Otago, but:

              O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars
              Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
              Allow not nature more than nature needs,
              Man’s life’s as cheap as beast’s.

        • Sanctuary

          The thing that still does my head in the most about the destructive environmental impacts on our waterways of intensifying dairying is how predictable it was, yet National did nothing about it. National won with a clear policy goal of doubling the value of our primary exports. Nothing wrong with that as a goal, our wealth is built on it. The environmental consequences of that should have been obvious to most purblind Tory, and the National government could and should have easily managed and mitigated the dairy explosion with careful governance and guidance.

          Instead, they adopted a antediluvian, colonial attitude to our environment and under the doctrine that wasn’t so much Laissez-faire as lazy indifference gave carte blanche for big dairy to behave like 19th century robber barons who wrecked the environment while they ran interference for them by obstructing the truth, lying to the public, denialism and suppression of evidence.

          it was a disgraceful throw back to the worst excesses of 19th century settler culture and it’s attitude the environment has no intrinsic value is it can’t be monetised.

          Guys like Nick Smith should be in jail for the willful dissembling that allowed this unmanaged catastrophe to emerge in our waterways.

          A competent government of people who actually care about their own country (as opposed to one led by a dilletante Hawaiin based millionaire) and a clear goal of doubling the value of our exports could have let us have our cake and eat it as well.

          Instead we got the arrogant assholes of National.

          • Ed

            We should set up a People’s Court.
            As you say, Nick Smith should be on trial.

            As should Richardson, Douglas, Fay, Richwhite.
            These people sold, stole and shat on our country.
            There should be serious consequences for them.

      • One Two 4.2.4

        Govt does not need to raise or borrow one cent to pay of social services or infrastructure. ..

      • weka 4.2.5

        “We have a choice. Dairy farming or huge cuts to social welfare/health/education and all the other services the government provides.”

        Or, tax the rich.

        • BM

          Who do you define as rich?

          • weka

            Depends, but in this case one could look at top income brackets. It’s really not that hard BM.

            • Ed

              Repealing the tax cuts of 2010 would be a good start.

            • BM

              The top income bracket starts at $70000

              I don’t consider someone who earns 70k rich.

              • Ed

                It can be changed.
                And tax rates can be raised.

                • BM

                  So who do you define as rich Ed?

                  Do you think more income brackets need to be added? or is 70k richpricksville in your eyes?

                  • Ed

                    Wealth is not just a salary.
                    People can have a lot of assets as well.

                    Who do you define as rich bm?’
                    It seems to be taxing your mind a lot.

                  • SPC

                    Many nations have a higher top income tax rate than ours. And those nations have a CGT.

                    The thing is at what rate it comes in.

                    I would love to see a comparison of nation state – stats showing the percentage of taxpayers in the top tax bracket.

                    This takes out the distortion for differing income levels.

                  • Ch_Ch Chiquita

                    Add more brackets and make rates above $70k higher. No reason why anyone earning over $70k can’t afford to pay more tax. I know I can and will have no issue with it.
                    And while doing that, make sure you look at companies and trusts tax rates so that those will not turn into a loophole. And this is coming from a business owner.
                    We all might need to think about our consumerism culture because of it but I think it a worthy “price” to pay.

              • savenz

                Apparently starting salary for police is $70k but nobody seems to think they are rich – the tax rates are ludicrous and the problem is that the politicians get so many freebies on top of their salaries they are blind to what a high wage should be and what normal people pay for transport and housing. We have Bill’s low wage economy to thank as well for the ‘low’ high wage bracket in NZ.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                Though by NZ incomes it’s $20,000 per year more than half the working population earn.

                Median wage by latest data is just under $50,000.

                That’s just working people.

                To those on minimum wage, benefits, super and in insecure employment they might very well see $70,000 as rich.

                So on one hand we have lots of people calling themselves middle class who earn less than $70,000 and live from payday to payday, have little or no savings and a mortgage – and on the other hand we have lots of people saying $70,000 ain’t rich.

                This is one of the fundamental problems. The working class have been suckered into thinking they are the middle class, into thinking that tax cuts were pay increases and that getting help with their mortgage, their childcare, their raising children etc is what they deserve for their virtuous hard work.

                Fact is they are working class but don’t want to admit it.

                It used to be that the middle class had 5 servants or less. For a more modern definition there is this US one:

                “Middle class” is a tricky concept. Depending on where you live, you can feel middle class earning as much as $250,000 a year — about five times the US median income of $52,250 from the same time period. In this analysis, Pew defined middle class households as those earning 67%-200% of a state’s median income.

                or this UK one:

                The upper middle class grew to 29.4% of the population in 2014, up from 12.9% in 1979, according to a new Urban Institute report. It defines this group as having household income of between $100,000 and $350,000 for a three-person family.

                Fact is there’s more working class in this country than we want to admit and they’ve been thoroughly divided and conquered. It’s even worse when you look at it from a racial perspective with Maori sidelined even more.

                The middle class who really aren’t a just an accident or illness away from facing the reality of their impoverishment.

      • Wrong. Dairy farming doesn’t really that much.

        If we actually developed our economy we wouldn’t have any need for exporting dairy. Considering how destructive dairy farming is we should probably develop our economy from the 18th century failed ideal that National insists that we maintain.

    • SPC 4.3

      Descendant Of Sssmith’s opening post provides an informed basis for development of policy in this and other limited common resource areas of the economy.

      It’s not dairy farming or waterways, but dairy farming within constraints. Based on herd limits/footprint appropriate for the area (to protect the resource or to enable recovery).

    • Ed 4.4

      As Rachel Stewart says , “For some mid-week comedy, this is beyond funny. ”

      ‘This’ referring to a piece of propaganda on behalf of the industrial farming lobby that Stuff published today.
      Stuff is owned by banks and the financial industry.
      Farmers are massively in debt to banks because they converted to dairy.


  5. An interesting post by Andrew Doyle (Spiked-Online): ON THE SELF-DESTRUCTIVE LEFT

    Which came first: the alt-right or the social-justice movement? Will Donald Trump eventually be toppled by leftist activism, or will such activism guarantee his second term in office? Is Katie Hopkins right to describe herself as the creation of her enemies, as the ‘monster’ to the liberal-left’s Dr Frankenstein? Do attempts to shut down free speech on university campuses prevent the dissemination of extremist views, or make such views more likely to gain traction?

    It’s a circular pattern that appears to be accelerating, largely thanks to the nuance-free arena of social media. As politics becomes more polarised, each side is resorting to increasingly distorted caricatures of the other.

    I see that a lot in New Zealand political discussions online.

    This leaves us in a quandary. More than ever, we are in need of frank discussion about the issues that matter most. But with figures on all sides of the political spectrum so determined to double down on their alienating and ad hominem strategies, the possibility of debate is seriously curtailed.

    It’s an attitude that is entirely self-defeating.

    Yes, but people keep repeating the same behaviours.

    In these precarious times, we should be aspiring to a form of political discourse that is at once nuanced and open-minded. Instead, we are likely to see greater degrees of polarisation. Herbert Spencer opens his First Principles (1862) by reminding us that ‘when passing judgment on the opinions of others’, we should be willing to concede that even an erroneous proposition contains ‘a nucleus of reality’.

    For those of us who wish to remedy our degraded culture of political debate, this might be a good place to start.

    Should we bother to try to remedy our degraded culture of political debate?

    I don’t think it’s just the left that indulge in self destructive political behaviour, it’s apparent across the spectrum. It seems to dominate social media – and political blogs. There are no easy or obvious solutions to deliberate disruption and harassment.

    Should we just accept that political forums are toxic environments? I think it’s better here than it used to be but we all have a lot of room for improvement.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      You found an article in which someone shares your opinion. Thanks for your concern.

    • Should we just accept that political forums are toxic environments?

      Nope. Fortunately, moderators and commenters here are quick to respond to disingenuous concern-trolling of the kind you peddle.

    • Ad 5.3

      Allow me an analogy I would give is between the British Suffragists and the Suffragettes a century ago.

      Suffragists were the great and vast numbers of women (and some men) who advocated peacefully for reform in the British parliament, organised massive marches across the country on London, and during WW1 integrated themselves so well into the the medical and other establishments that they gained massive credibility for their cause for full civic engagement.

      Suffragettes were few, far more militant, dangerous, controversial, and really got the media attention.

      Both the angry and mild forms were necessary to alter society for good. Their different kinds of engagement, for different kinds of activism, were necessary.

      I’ve heard plenty of complaints on here about “why can’t we be nice to each other?” Please. This is a contest.

      • Ed 5.3.1

        How is it possible to be nice to people who are wilfully destroying the planet?
        We have 10 years to rid the world of neoliberal capitalism.
        Or we are gone.
        There is no nice way to say that.
        And sudden change is not nice.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Strictly speaking “neoliberalism” died the day the World Bank and IMF repudiated it. It still shuffles around like a zombie, moaning (think Don Brash) and eating right wing brains, but it just doesn’t have the institutional heft of old.

          • Ed

            What would you describe the system presently operating in NZ?
            The policies of the late 80d and early 90s still seem firmly in place.

        • Ad

          If you feel that passionately about things, my direct challenge to you is this, Ed:

          Sell everything you own, distribute everything other than an airline ticket to the poor, and get on the next flight to join a frontline activist group for the rest of your life.

          No need to be a keyboard warrior anymore worrying about whether to be polite or alter structures from within.

          There are plenty of militant or hard core groups that will take you.

          Do it.

          • Molly

            Well, Ad. That is as close to a knee-jerk response to a complex situation as I’ve ever heard. Ed, is looking answers for systematic change, and you “challenge” him to make individual life changes, without addressing his call.

            Sounds very similar to the “how can you be an environmentalist and … drive a car, use a computer, use plastic….” trope endlessly meted out by those would have no wish to engage honestly.

            “I’ve heard plenty of complaints on here about “why can’t we be nice to each other?” Please. This is a contest.”

            What contest?

            I don’t need discussions to be nice. But the topic if approached directly is not about the people making the points, it is about the arguments they make.

            I don’t choose to participate in your contest. Like other commenters, I’m getting a bit tired of this pointless point scoring, and would prefer threads to stay on topic.

            • Ad

              Ed, I am sure, can stand up for himself and stop feeling quite so depressed about the state of the world., if Ed takes action.

              There is real point scoring to do. Molly. The points in the contest are for power. We went through that contest last year in that thing called an election. That occurred as a result of people acting rather than just complaining about the world. As a result of that contest power changed massively.

              i choose to participate in that contest. As I have for a fair bit.

              • Molly

                If you continue to frame the problems as contests, then you create an adversarial discussion.

                I don’t care if the solution is proposed by someone who might self-identify as right, if the solution is effective. The contest is not “won” by a right-winger, it is a problem solved.

                The election last year was not a contest. It was an indication of the effect of the level and quality of political discourse and engagement in this country.

                It always is.

                • Ad

                  Oh horse shit Molly.
                  Last year’s election was spectacularly damaging to the reputations of dozens of careers, because there was quite a lot at stake. Left and right threw everything they could at each other, and it was still really very polite compared to almost any other advanced democracy in the world.

                  You may well want space for conflict-free discussion, but since that is obviously not what Ed was seeking, give him some advice yourself on this:

                  “How is it possible to be nice to people who are wilfully destroying the planet?
                  We have 10 years to rid the world of neoliberal capitalism.
                  Or we are gone.
                  There is no nice way to say that.
                  And sudden change is not nice.”

                  • Molly

                    “Last year’s election was spectacularly damaging to the reputations of dozens of careers, because there was quite a lot at stake. Left and right threw everything they could at each other, and it was still really very polite compared to almost any other advanced democracy in the world. “

                    Probably why my estimation of many of the contestants was lowered. And why my personal jubilation at a change of government was muted.

                    Just because this is the political approach that excites you, and makes you believe that it is the one true way, doesn’t mean that it holds true for all of us.

                    I don’t have the need for a softly-softly approach. But while you are talking high-level contests of reputation, and competition you often seem to absolve those same people of making any kind of significant change, and advocate for incremental changes.

                    It is this apologetic approach within a system, where we have winners and losers, that you seem to accept without review.

                    Ed, doesn’t, and is looking for answers. I don’t have any to give him, but can engage with you to get a better understanding of why change doesn’t often come from within, and you might be prepared to consider that not all the voting public and those engaged in local politics think alike.

                    • Ad

                      Yes, I accept the democratic system that we have in New Zealand.
                      There you go. You’re not in that frame of mind from your own “estimation”.

                      You stepped in to save Ed, and you have nothing to offer him at all. Poor discourse.

                      Ed just needs something positive and bold to do to stop him mithering about the world. That is the answer he needs, so I told him.

                      You want to engage: bring some facts, and some clarity about what is at stake. Don’t just crap on about whether you like the kind of discursive process you are encountering.

                  • Molly

                    You accept the democratic system in NZ. So does everyone.

                    That doesn’t mean that there are not failings within it. The bill regarding waka-jumping is in part a recognition of that.

                    I have concerns regarding the rights of non-citizens to vote, the level of votes required for representation, the use of electorates to give a party more than its voters’ share in parliament.

                    The systematic change that Ed asks for are going to come from grassroots pressure, but it will enacted and reinforced (or rejected) by those in power. Both discussions are valid.

                    “You stepped in to save Ed, and you have nothing to offer him at all. Poor discourse.

                    Ed just needs something positive and bold to do to stop him mithering about the world. That is the answer he needs, so I told him.”

                    I don’t need to save Ed, he will work out what his personal response is, in his own time. And you didn’t give him the answer he needs. How arrogant of you to suggest this.

                    I saw an instance of borderline bullying going on, and tried to bring the conversation back on track, in case it was my perspective rather than your comment that was incorrect.

                    “You want to engage: bring some facts, and some clarity about what is at stake. Don’t just crap on about whether you like the kind of discursive process you are encountering.”

                    I do bring facts to the table about the issues Ed raises, but usually as a response to posts when time and home situation permits. You have brought nothing to this thread except a requirement for both Ed and I to behave or respond in a certain way before you listen.


                    • Ed

                      I have found ( as you are now discovering) that putting forwards arguments that are not in accordance with the thinking of some results in quite a bit of verbal abuse and an aggressive attempt to shut the discussion down.
                      Not good .

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Whereas in your case, Ed, you got served for the illegibility of your comments. Nice to see you taking that constructive criticism on board.

                      I note that your aversion to abuse goes missing whenever it’s time to call people right wing climate denying trolls because they don’t happen to agree with your rhetoric.

                    • Ed

                      A lot of posters said they understood what I was saying.
                      But, hey, as Drowsy said, you think you’re considerably more intelligent than me.

                      I do call James and others trolls, yes. They are on this site to divert and distract conversation. They don’t want the issues discussed.

                      Now the issue.
                      The crises are Planet is facing – extinction, climate change, the depletion of resources.
                      What is your stage of grief?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      OAB and Psycho Milt are too closed minded to look at an issue like this.
                      I find it quite disheartening to witness such blinkered thinking.

                      …and that’s just one example of your personal abuse.

                      And now you’re insulting me with your fatuous attempt to explain what’s in my mind. Again.

                      So don’t piss in my pocket and tell me it’s raining, bud.

                    • Ed

                      What an unpleasant turn of phrase.
                      What stage of grief are you at regarding the crises facing the planet?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, smears based on other people’s state of mind are a nasty Stalinist trick, aren’t they.

                      I vacillate between acceptance and cold rage. Having a firm grasp on the scientific basics doesn’t help much.

                    • Ed

                      Thank you for your answer.

                    • What an unpleasant turn of phrase.

                      Sure is. But I prefer that to disingenuous passive-agressive put-downs like “I find it quite disheartening to witness such blinkered thinking.” At least it’s honest.

                    • Ed

                      PM, what stage of grief are you at regarding the crises facing the planet?

                    • The planet isn’t facing any crisis – what happens to us (whether “us” Homo Sapiens or “us” the currently existing set of species in play) is irrelevant to it. 1,000,000 years from now there’ll be a then-existing set of species in existence that won’t give a rat’s ass about what happened to the ones existing now, and grieving over that strikes me as singularly pointless.

                      None of which is to suggest we shouldn’t stop fucking ourselves and all the other current species over and come up with something better – but that has nothing to do with grief.

                • OnceWasTIm

                  By the way @Molly (somewhere above)….do you happen to have noticed the holier-than-thou, supercilious comments on yesterday and today’s Open Mike?
                  Whether directed at Ed or others, it’s bloody depressing.
                  It’s not unlike a Harry Enfield sketch on ‘I’m CONSIDERABLY richer than you’ – except that it’s a ‘I’m considerably more intelligent’, OR I’m CONSIDERABLY more ‘left’, OR CONSIDERABLY more astute, well read, and thoroughly literate and numerate than ye’.
                  In fact I’m so far up my own arse it’s difficult to consider the possibility of an alternative view. I’m so fucking gorgeous there are hordes fawning all over me!
                  So far this week, The teensiest eensiest bit of humility seems to have left The Standard, and it seems something is in the 50% pure water.

                  • Ed

                    Thanks Once was Tim.
                    I also bumped into ‘I’m CONSIDERABLY more ‘accurate with speech marks.’
                    As a response to a post endeavouring to start a conversation about climate change, it is bloody depressing.

                  • beatie

                    Yes, OnceWasTim, I found it bloody depressing too. For me ‘The Standard’ is an invaluable community of left-wing commentators, and a lifeline living, as I do, in a small conservative town.

                    I’ve learnt so much and am in awe of how some people are able to express themselves. But not all of us are as articulate, and it can be intimidating to comment on here.

                    I love Ed’s comments. He may get his format wrong, but his heart is in the right place. I notice that you don’t pick on Eco Maori for ‘wrong’ grammar.

                  • Molly

                    Hi OnceWasTim,

                    I don’t comment as much but still a regular and avid reader, and there does appear to be a change in tone and manner.

                    Usually, by the time I read, some other regular has already pointed out the issue, and I don’t feel the need to join in when the point has already been made.

                    In this case, I thought I’d enter into the dialogue. Luckily, I had to go for a few hours and will be heading back out momentarily, so I can offset the exchange with fresh air and time.

            • Ed

              Thanks Molly
              We need systemic change as you correctly say.

          • adam

            Umm Ad, did you just break the law via the, Terrorism Suppression Act 2002?

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            If Ed were to accept Ad’s challenge, and “do it”, that would decrease the diversity of left-leaning PoVs presented on this site.

            If s/he does accept Ad’s good-natured (?) challenge (the “keyboard warrior” jibe is a bit of a giveaway), then maybe s/he would consider posting updates here.

            I value Ed’s comments almost as much as those of AOB, PM, Ad, LPrent et al., so would be disappointed if the current concerted effort to hound him/her off this site is successful.

            There may be some relevant history that fully justifies such targeting, but it has many hallmarks of bullying behaviour. Is there substantially more to it than some here not wanting to read Ed’s PoV?

            • Ed

              Thank you Drowsy M.,Kran

              I am going to refer to Rachel Stewart ‘s discussion about grief this morning in her article.
              I asked people to ask at what stage of grief they are at.

              James denied there was a crisis. It was ‘bumkin’ .
              Carolyn said he was at the stage of ‘despondency’

              I sense quite a few of the posters in this site would fit in the category Rachel Stewart described as. “you’re busy bargaining, or being angry, or even denying there’s a problem at all. You may even be stuck in depression.”

              Whatever stage they are at, my posting concerns about the various crises we are facing ( climate, resources, extinction) usually bump into a lot of flak, not just from deniers such as James, but others on ithis site, who seem unwilling to confront the issue head on.

              Discussing the antics of Trump and the behaviour of National MPs seems a more urgent priority.

          • Ed

            Rachel Stewart is a keyboard warrior as well, Ad.
            Do you recommend she also join an activist group?

        • savenz

          The problem is that some people are so hung up on cow pollution but seem blind to the people and business pollution, that is way higher.

          Example more people more poos and wastewater and housing and food and water and transport needed and less biodiversity and nature. NZ neoliberal’s drive for more people has a polluting cost. James Hardie for example and the amount of trucks that drive around Auckland connected to the building boom (that doesn’t seem to house local people in the budget they can afford) .

          • Ed

            The problem with cows is methane and the fertiliser put on land.

            • savenz

              Waterways and beaches around Auckland are polluted. It’s not the cows. Apparently warnings are out for Lake Taupo polluted by some accident with waster water. Cows are only one part of the equation, to our declining water quality issues.

              • Ed

                Cows are a major part.
                Most of our rivers are in the country.
                That’s not to deny the issues with urban waterways, but the vast majority of waterways are in rural areas.

      • Pete George 5.3.2


        Sure politics is a contest, and it should be keenly contested. It’s not a matter of ‘being nice to each other’.

        But it should be a matter of enabling and allowing debate on different policies and actions and social issues (robustly) while respecting that others can have different and equally valid ideas, or of disproving false claims without resorting to personal attacks or attempts at discrediting thing one disagrees with or wants to suppress.

        Most MPs manage this most of the time beyond question time and the media spotlight.

        Squabbling like children will achieve little if anything. More mature debate will make a healthier and more effective democracy.

        • Molly

          “Squabbling like children will achieve little if anything. More mature debate will make a healthier and more effective democracy.”

          I agree with what you say Pete George.

          However, I disagree with what you often do. (Acknowledging a healthy hypocritical dose of irony myself there. But trying to make a point.)

        • Ad

          I think we’re just in a bit of a vacuum for a month or so until more draft legislation comes out and starts hitting the media for us to chew over. So it will all be a bit formless here until the new Parliamentary year begins. I think the editorial control here is reasonably good overall. And of course the authorial quality is just fantastic! 😉

          • Rosemary McDonald

            “I think we’re just in a bit of a vacuum for a month or so until more draft legislation comes out and starts hitting the media for us to chew over. So it will all be a bit formless here until the new Parliamentary year begins.”

            So…in the absence of anything meatier to sink your teeth into, you exorcise your boredom by taking bites out of other commentors?

            “I bully because I’m bored.”

            How adolescent.

    • SPC 5.4

      Social media being destructive to balance in political discourse and the left being self destructive are two different issues.

      PS Right wing policy is destructive to adequate funding of government and therefore respect for the commonwealth in society – it and modern social media have something in common.

    • Incognito 5.5

      Interesting comment. A link to the cited/quoted original article would be welcome 😉

      What exactly do you mean by or understand to be a “toxic environment” in this context?

        • Stuart Munro

          Anyone quoting Schumpeter with approval is a bit far right to be a credible critic of the left. The article is pitifully biased – it makes a nod at the alt-right as a prelude to a sustained tirade against the left. For the author to retain a shred of credibility he would need to include an equivalent dissection of the alt-right.

          • Pete George

            “For the author to retain a shred of credibility he would need to include an equivalent dissection of the alt-right.”


            By your logic any criticism of the right here would need to have would need to include ‘an equivalent dissection’ of the left to have any credibility. That would be ridiculous.

            One of the many ways of trying to squash discussion is claiming an argument is not credible or a point is not worthy of discussion because it is not comprehensively balanced (an impossible demand).

            • RedLogix

              Your logic is impeccable. Politics however is not a logic based pursuit is it?
              The path you’re on will of course see you comprehensively shat on by both the left and right, so I hope you have the tenacity to tolerate it all.

              I think I’ve linked to this before, but it’s my take on all this online politics aggro and why I’ve determined to happily free myself from it:


              • ” see you comprehensively shat on by both the left and right’

                You mean by a small minority, generally the more extremes, of the left and the right, who don’t represent the views or the behaviour of the vast majority?

                I think that many people are put of an involvement in politic debate due to the high risk of personal attack or pointless and petty point scoring.

                Those actively involved in politics could do a service to democracy by encouraging decent robust debate, but social media seems to have worked against rather than for that happening. Due to the actions of a small minority.

                • RedLogix

                  I agree it is a small minority of the total number of people who view social media pages who almost inevitably set the agenda and tone.

                  Nonetheless politics is ultimately a contest of ideas, so eliminating this competitive aspect is neither possible or even desirable. At the same time constructive political action demands mutual trust and a unity of purpose, which is impossible when personalities and emotional confrontations dominate.

                  So yeah, I’m kinda over it.

                  • I’ve always supported a competitive contest of ideas, that’s an important (essential) part of a healthy democracy.

                    We get that to an extent, but it is often overwhelmed by attempted contests of attrition, which rarely benefit anyone to any lasting extent. Whale Oil is an extreme example in New Zealand of attritional attack politics, but far from the only dirty political activist.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “Whale Oil is an extreme example in New Zealand of attritional attack politics, but far from the only dirty political activist.”
                      Can you name another, Pete?

                    • Ed

                      Weren’t David Farrar, Jordan Williams and Simon Lusk named in Nicky Hager’s book?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Yes but Pete’s implying that there’s as many from the Left and they’re just as bad .

                    • Ed

                      We shall look forward to him naming them.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      He means the Penguin of course.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “Weren’t David Farrar, Jordan Williams and Simon Lusk named in Nicky Hager’s book?”
                      And Pete’s blogger pal, Keeping Stock, Whanganui church elder and early-childhood businessman.

                    • Ed

                      He isn’t answering.
                      Just another smear.

                    • “Can you name another, Pete?”

                      You stir up dirt at times Robert, but at the mild end of the scale.

                      “but Pete’s implying that there’s as many from the Left and they’re just as bad ”

                      I haven’t implied that, you’re making things up again.

                      “And Pete’s blogger pal, Keeping Stock”

                      You’re making things up, I’ve had more to do with you online than Keeping Stock.

                      Is this deliberate dirt from you Robert?

                    • “Can you name another, Pete?”

                      I could. Some will have to wait until the courts allow.

                      There’s some commenters here and at Kiwiblog who seem to think that playing dirty will achieve something. They generally discredit themselves.

                      Twitter can be a dirty place to discuss politics, that’s well known. It’s not uncommon to see people quitting because of the toxic environment.

                      There’s a lot of dirt scattered across Facebook, some examples are publicised.

                      It’s not always left versus right, blue on blue and red on red (particularly) are common.

                      But ‘not as bad as Whale Oil’ is a diversion (which is another common tactic).

                    • Actually, as usual Robert’s put his finger precisely on the issue at hand here. In your latest foray into disingenuous concern-trolling (comment 5), you faux-generously conceded that you “don’t think it’s just the left that indulge in self destructive political behaviour,” but asked (the concern-trolling bit): “Should we just accept that political forums are toxic environments?”

                      Robert’s invited you to list the egregious WhaleOil-equivalent toxic environments on the left that you’re concern-trolling about on this thread, but suddenly you’re all coy and retreating being “not as bad as WhaleOil” being a poor measure of success. Well, yes, we know it is, we’re just waiting for you to make your case for these left-wing “toxic environments.” How about if you put up or shut up?

            • Stuart Munro

              Your assertion is a blithe attempt to dispense with any pretense of objectivity – yet it is this very pretense of objectivity that the author marshals against the left that he wishes to criticize.

              This is the kind of insincerity we expect from the extreme right, an inconsistency in applying standards.

              I’m not making an impossible demand, merely one you do not choose to attempt because objective comparisons of left and right bias would not further your frankly dubious assertions.

              Let’s hear your critique of the alt-right, and we will consider the merits of your critique of the left.

              • Let’s hear your objective conparisons and critiques of the hard right, the centre right, the centre, the centre right and the hard right before you lecture someone else on inconsistency in applying standards and insincerity.

                I write about a wide range of things including been critical of the alt-right, but don’t see any reason why i should include everything in a single blog comment. No one else does, including you.

                It’s just a lazy lame attempt by you to discredit sources rather than debate the issues raised.

                • Stuart Munro

                  You didn’t raise any issues Pete (you never do).

                  You waived in a far-right smear and left it at that.

                  “I write about a wide range of things including been critical of the alt-right”

                  So it should be simplicity itself for you to summarise your major objections to them. If you are not merely being disingenuous.

                  • You’re being diversionary or stupid.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Whereas you are simply lying.

                      You post an attack article titled “On the Self-destructive Left” on a moderate left leaning site and try to pretend that you are not simply being abusive.

                      You yourself made the claim that you criticize the alt-right, but your refusal to demonstrate it confirms your well-established reputation for insincerity.

                      “Stupid” in your terms evidently means not falling for your tissues of nonsense.

                    • RedLogix

                      From where I’m sitting right now Stuart, I can see PG’s point. There are a couple of aspects to this.

                      One is simple in-group bias and preference. The fact is we accept and tolerate worse bad behaviour from people we perceive as being ‘on our side’, than we do from those we consider to be the opposition.

                      The other is more subtle; that in my experience the left and the right do toxic behaviour differently from each other. They don’t use the same tactics and it’s wrong to suggest they’re just as bad as each other. That’s a false equivalence that just kicks dust in everyone’s eyes.

                      Let’s put it this way, if a Martian was to spend a week reading first WhaleOil and then The Standard, I doubt at the end he/she would declare one to be an unmitigated sewer of all filth, and the other pure light and reasoned sweetness. In all likelihood our Martian would find sad aspects to both … each with it’s own shadings.

                      Of course I can’t vouch for PG’s motives here; but keep in mind that sometimes those you thought to be enemies will tell you truths your friends will not.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      @ Redlogix PG and I know each other well – he’s been so desperate (and so irrelevant) as to run attack articles on me on his site.

                      Why was he here today? To discuss a real issue, or to damn the left with a shallow, biased critique?

                      Although his article paid lip service to condemning the excesses of the alt right, that was really only a rhetorical flourish to lend a pretense of even-handedness to what was actually a crude assault.

                      His hope was presumably that casual readers might swallow his aspersions and defend his freedom to assert his views here in one of the very few left tolerant sites still operating.

                      I don’t believe that his views of ‘left dysfunction’ are either sound or edifying. He may be capable of forming worthwhile opinions on other matters, but rarely does so.

    • Pete 5.6

      We should just accept that political forums are toxic environments. That’s because of the partisan self-centred thick who have the opportunity to use them.

      It’s a sort of unrecognised splurge world. Think of it as the Donald Trump tweet world being Tangimoana and political discussions online as being the Universe.

  6. eco maori 6

    I’m going on my own topic. These neo liberal whom like to quote all the bad stats of Maori and Pacific Islands people. They say we are bad carers well in my view the state is the mother and father of the people they rule over. The people that have been running the state should look in a mirror and admite that they ______up as being mother and father YOU are suppose to treat all the children the same discipline us all the same make sure they have a happy healthy future teach us give us all the same opportunity. Not make policy’s that takeaway from the many and gives to the 1% not have impunity for the 1% as this makes the 1% do whatever they want and they know that won’t be held to account
    For there bad behaviour so they think there behaviour is OK. But if this behaviour is OK why do everything in there power to hide this bad behaviour they know there is crap. All THE GOVERNMENTS OF OUR WORLD SOCIETY should try there best to be good parents as that is what a government is a parents to the people. They should put all there children future first and not money.
    Ka kite ano

    • Ad 6.1

      The state is not your mother and father.

      The state is not anyone’s mother and father.

      The state unevenly subsidises mothers and fathers, and children, and currently does a pretty shabby job of even that. The current NZ government might make a few improvements.

      The state is a machine.

      Don’t be confusing actual parents with the state.

  7. Philip Ferguson 7

    My parents were Andertonites. My dad was his election campaign manager in Sydenham (later Wigram) when Jim Anderton was a Labour MP and then when he established the NLP and Alliance and they followed him out of the Alliance into the Progressives, although they never went back to the LP with him.

    Jim was very kind and thoughtful when my mother was dying of cancer in 2011.

    On a personal level, I think he was a genuine, kind and generous person.

    But he was also a major political figure, and his career there is much more open to critique.

    He certainly more principle than any other Labour MP during the period of the 4th Labour but he sided with Labour over the invasion of Afghanistan, something which led to the loss of thousands of Afghani lives and is still wreaking havoc on that country.


  8. alwyn 8

    An occasion when I am totally in agreement with Keith Locke. I never thought that it was going to happen.
    I guess this is an example of Gell-Mann’s principle in Quantum Mechanics.
    “Gell-Mann’s principle states that unless a process is expressly forbidden there is a non-zero probability that it will occur”.

    Keith is objecting to the Waka jumping bill. As he suggests the Green Party could have been still-born if it had applied when the Party started as an independent group and left the Alliance.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      Funny how wingnuts will now leap to the defence of list MPs, considering that at other times you bemoan their right to be in Parliament at all.

      Your “agreement” is conditional on political expediency.

  9. Ad 9

    Sic transit gloria alt-right mundi:

    Steve Bannon leaves as Chair of Breitbart.


    • SPC 9.1

      Now that the funders of Breitbart have their tax cut, time to take the reigns of the alt-right media – make it obvious that “drain the swamp” was just a play to win votes to restore the GOP to power.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        Extraordinarily successful.

        Really hard to see a alt-left Breitbart arising.
        We have more dignity (while we lose).

  10. adam 10

    I like the reporting of Glenn Greenwald, he does some nice cut through. Like this one about facebook once again bowing down to the state, this time deleting accounts of Palestinians and opponents of the USA. All the time letting the facebook pages of our world tyrants keep rolling.


  11. adam 11

    For those organising in 2018 – here is a few reasons not to organise on facebook,


    • Bill 11.1

      Was nodding in agreement right up til the final paragraph.

      We don’t need ‘independent’ social media platforms. We need to get out and slam up posters, pass out leaflets, talk, meet and organise.

    • Ed 11.2

      Very interesting.

  12. RedLogix 12

    A brilliant development … literally:


    I’ve taken the time a year back to visit the similar Sundrop facility just south of Port Augusta, and these solar thermal plants really do have the look of the future. I’ve no sense of whether solar PV or solar thermal will ultimately be the dominant technology, but each has it’s merits. The big plus with solar thermal for the moment is it’s inherent energy storage capacity, something which has to added on to solar pv with batteries or pumped hydro.

    The way the tower literally glows an intense white, brighter than the sun, is quite a sight.

    • Bill 12.1

      Back of the envelope….

      The article says it will or can provide just under 4% of SAs electrical needs. 20% of energy use is electrical and much of the rest needs to be switched (mostly) from fossil.

      Allowing a generous 20% of energy needs to come from non-electrical sources, SA needs to expand its generating capacity by a factor of 4.

      So (I think I’m right in saying) 100 of those solar thermal units would do the trick.

      One plant cost $650 million and construction takes about two years.

      Assuming lots of upskilling, availability of materials/sites and what not, 100 plants could be built in the space of (I dunno) a couple of decades say? At a cost of $65 billion.

      Maybe 50 plants alongside other non-carbon energy sources?

      That’s for a population of 1.7million.

      As I keep saying and will keep on saying, the task of avoiding very dangerous or catastrophic warming is huge.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        Your envelope is missing the fact that wind power already accounts for a total of 34% of total generation in SA:


        I agree the task is huge, but not monumentally impossible either.

        Here’s another take on it:


        Especially scroll down to the image showing how Australian sunshine could potentially supply the entire world with electricity. (Of course you wouldn’t do it like that, but it gives a sense of the possibilities.)

        • Bill

          There was a fair number of things I missed 🙂

          increases in energy demand (all things being equal) being the obvious one.

          So divide that 34% from wind down to bring it to the percentage of very conservative future requirements that entail multiplying capacity by about 4x.

          And then factor in x,y and z (whatever they may be).

          Then acknowledge that if we say it’s not do-able, we should be doing whatever we can to get as close to achieving it as is possible.

          The technical know-how is there (engineering community etc), and the acknowledgement of the need is there (scientific community etc)…and the road block is all the clowns, jokers and arse wipes who make it their business to manage and control our (society’s) business.

          Not one government or business community nor financial community is getting off its managerial, short term, profit driven arse to make so much as a start on any of it. And they’ve been sitting on their fucking chuffs for 30 years now and spinning us bullshit off the back of pointless “declarations of intent” or whatever latest “accord” they signed.

          Putting the details aside, I can’t see any option short of burning the fuckrs down and getting on with it.

          And yet by next month they will be the centre of attention again in NZ and most people will, yet again, be hanging on their every pontification and platitude.

          And that being the case, we’s fucked.

          • RedLogix

            I mostly agree Bill. From where we sit in NZ right now there is not a lot to be optimistic about. Yet here is one state in Australia that has smashed a breach in that road block:

            In six short weeks, the South Australian Government has signed three very important contracts that underwrite their energy transition. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Turnbull has the temerity to label the SA Government’s efforts as “ideology and idiocy in equal measure”, all the while trying to herd a cabal of confused backbenchers with coal fetishes to arrive at a much needed and overdue federal energy policy.

            From my first link above.

            And even then the Federal govt aren’t complete idiots and have managed to put $2b into upgrading the Snowy Hydro scheme:


            I’d argue there are quite a few regional initiatives like SA’s that have the potential to tip the game much faster than we expect. And especially there is a whole new generation of engineers and industry people who work with reality for a living and are just itching to get their hands on all this new technology.

            Witness AGL blatantly defying the Federal govt who wanted them to spend $1b to extend the life of the old Liddell coal power station by just five years. AGL just said no:


            Consider this … in the past decade the total new coal power generation that has been built in Australia = Zero. I’m willing to bet it will stay that way … all new generation will be renewable and as more of the old plants reach end of life, this process will only accelerate.

            • Bill

              Bearing in mind we have about 20 years to hit zero carbon from energy (absolute zero, not net zero), then that acceleration had better be something like flicking straight into warp drive from a standing start.

              Replacing coal with gas isn’t it. (Your second link)

              And waiting for old plant to hit the end of its shelf life isn’t it either. (Though China just pulled the plug on a pile of coal fired stations regardless, so…)

              And just to add, any plant operating on notions of carbon capture (whether the fuel is fossil or bio) isn’t it either.

              The 1.7 million people living in SA may have a state govt that’s willing to make a nod. Is it enough in the scheme of things though? Will SA hit zero carbon from energy in the time we have?

              And if not, (because they’ll have done the projections, right? /sarc) what’s the current plan in operation that ensures a massive decrease in energy consumption, such that in conjunction with building necessary plant, SA sits at zero by about 2040 – 2045?

      • Ed 12.1.2

        Isn’t there also a problem with rare earth minerals?

  13. eco maori 13

    Excellent post with that link Ka pai Redlogic.
    I think they are wasting money on fusion. The money would be better invested in renewable energy tidal currents wind solar thermal solar thermal power hydro power as back up power for the solar plants.
    As with any thing that is critical to OUR society I would have my eggs in many
    Kiti baskets . We are in renewable energy utopia US kiwis most of us just don’t know this fact clear sky’s mountains sea volcanics we are the envy of the world. And the rest of the world will laugh at us if we don’t utilise these precious resources to benefit all the people of NEW ZEALAND. Other countries that freeze for 4 to 6 months of the year are streeks ahead of us now we have the knowledge we have developed thermal power its just the political interfance leading us down the path that big money wants us to take letts get this environmently friendly economy pumping. Kia kaha

    • greywarshark 13.1

      It is great to read your knowledgable and thoughtful comments eco maori, you really get around the topics for someone who is battling so much with everyday problems. If we all could keep up as you try to, and me also, I think NZ people could be a force to be reckoned with.

      • eco maori 13.1.1

        Don”t worry about ECO MAORI greywarshark I have heaps of energy Mana and Thunder to keep up the good cause for Papatuanukus health and equality for all.
        You know the sandflys attacks on my good character in the end just added to my Mana thanks to thestandard and the good people who posted there views here Ka pai
        The sandflys are still following me but now they are keeping there distance they are scared now and they should be .The reason I used eco as a 2 person some mite have guessed my motive well It was subliminal massaging .I was posting eco alot to encourage OUR people to become environmentally friendly. The sandflys will be looking for some tissues soon
        Ka kite ano

  14. Ed 14

    Stories of dodgy landlords.
    Just another area of NZ life damaged by neoliberalism.
    A lack of strict enforceable regulations sees the rich exploit the poor and vulnerable.
    In so many areas of life, New Zealand is a wretched place.


  15. veutoviper 15

    Jim Anderton’s Funeral tomorrow, Thursday 11 Jan at 2 pm will be open to the public and will also be streamed live on You Tube, according to the ODT.


    This is the link for the live stream on You Tube


  16. Ed 16

    If Rachel Stewart ‘s article wasn’t enough of a dose of reality for you, then there’s this.

    “President Donald Trump is preparing for a “showdown” with North Korea as the US draws closer to nuclear war with the rogue state, a retired US general has warned.
    Former US Vice-Chief of Staff Jack Keane told Fox News that Trump has pledged to “take care” of Kim Jong-un’s ruthless regime.
    He warns that the US is “absolutely” at its closest it has ever been to war with North Korea.”


  17. Ed 17

    On Sunday, after her holiday , HdpA sat at her computer and wrote an article bemoaning people’s outrage at things. It was titled “A resolution for the world – park the outrage .”

    Today , after her holiday , Rachel Stewart sat at her computer and wrote an article explaining why most species on this planet faced oblivion. It was titled “I got the end-of-humanity blues.”

    So should I park my outrage at the prospect of the end of humanity and life as we know it on this planet? Or just conclude that HdpA is a vacuous and useless journalist.

    • Stunned Mullet 17.1

      Do whatever you want Ed.

      Personally I find it wise not to take my lead from any journalist.

  18. joe90 18

    Dude has a crack at unpacking the Fusion GPS testimony released by Dianne Feinstein.

    Alright, I've blistered through the entire Fusion GPS transcript. All 300+ pages of it.No matter how this thread turns out, just remember: it was better than reading that maddening tome from end to end.Grab a beverage… and off we go.1/— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) January 10, 2018


    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      Thanks for posting this Joe. I got through the 300 – odd pages this morning and this is a great summation.

      The Republican questions are only worth reading if you need an excuse to take a shower.

  19. alwyn 19

    Yea team. This from an Economist newsletter I get each morning.
    Perhaps we can look up at the sky tomorrow without have our pictures taken.
    What an incredible waste of money.

    “An American spy satellite worth billions of dollars has been written off after it failed to reach orbit. The super-secret mission, code-named Zuma, launched aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday. However, interpreting the scant details provided by both SpaceX and spooks about the failure, it seems the satellite did not separate from the rocket properly.”

    From the name I suppose it was intended to spy on South Africa though.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      “A waste of money”.

      Given that the primary function of spying is to keep violence to a minimum, it might actually be money well spent, considering the costs of eg: the drone program.

      • alwyn 19.1.1

        When you put it that way you are probably right, at least if it is intended to do what you suggest.
        I wonder how many tens of billions the drone program costs each year?
        I doubt if it is in the hundreds but it is almost certainly far more than this single satellite cost.
        On the other hand Zuma was probably intended to do traffic counts around competitors to “The Donalds” hotels. That is what you do if you are POTUS isn’t it?

        • McFlock

          It seems to be so sensitive that it probably was named by a random syllable generator – like the British Operation Barras in Sierra Leone.

          Alternatively, google tells me that “Zuma” is the name of a chain of Japanese restaurants and also a game that involves stopping balls hitting a skull.

          Whatever it was… pricey firework…

  20. Ed 21

    Jennifer Ward on Twitter

    “O the truly tragic irony – reading Rachel Stewart’s column in today’s Herald (hard copy, Diz) and on the opposite page is an ad for the Singapore Grand Prix…”

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