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Open mike 10/09/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, September 10th, 2019 - 140 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

140 comments on “Open mike 10/09/2019”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Richard Seymour offers an outstanding summary of the miserable Remain camp in the UK…

    His acute analysis of the arrogance of the liberal "centre' holds true here as much as in the UK.

    "…What, then, has been the response of sensible liberalism to its downfall? For over three years, against this ruthless enemy of seasoned rightist militants, Remainers have launched platoons, battalions, phalanxes of blue-and-yellow unicorns. As if sent straight from central casting, they have called on every force of officialdom to try every improbable means to rescue them from popular malice and ‘mob rule’. An online petition to stop Brexit. Immediate re-run of the referendum. Revoke Article 50. Independence for the capital. One court case after another to overturn the result. Change UK (as little as possible). Install Yvonne Cooper as Prime Minister. Write to the Queen to stop Boris’s ‘no deal’. At no point in this blizzard of time-wasting, futile, impossibilist demands, has any part of the Hard Remain campaign taken seriously the forces of fervid popular nationalism, and its accompanying call to race war. At no point has it developed a serious strategy to split the forces of the Brexit Right, and undercut rather than consolidate the dramatic growth of popular reaction. It has rejected any word or deed designed to counter the Right’s race propaganda, insisting only that immigration can be ‘controlled’ within the European Union. If one had asked Nigel Farage or Jacob Rees-Mogg three years ago what sort of opposition they hoped for, and they answered honestly, they would have prayed for an antagonist so timid, loyal and yet libidinally invested as to constitute a symbiont. A phoney war is so much better than a real war.

    Easy as it is to mock, the rise of liberal impossibilism has been an absolute political calamity. Having absolutely no grounding sense of its limitations, the Remain camp began by arrogantly disdaining ‘mob rule’, hoping for the institutions to save the day – as though millions galvanised by collective hate would simply give up if the establishment stole their victory. Having allowed the Right unchallenged claim to the idiom of ‘democracy’, they then undertook a cynical and groundless tilt toward a referendum re-run before there was any case for it and without any plausible strategy for victory. They have brooked no compromise on this issue that could split the Leave camp and have baited Corbyn relentlessly for his (momentarily successful) efforts to do so. At decisive moments, the most sensible of sensibles, the avatars of Remain liberalism, have acted to block such compromises, as when the Liberals and the CHUK/TIG splinter group voted down even Ken Clarke’s proposal for a customs union for being too close to a solution that might feasibly put the Brexit issue to bed. They have been unwilling to take ‘yes’ for an answer, braying with dismay even as Corbyn has ultimately given them the referendum promise they want. They have artificially cohered the schismatic forces of the Right when it was weak, and split the opposition for the sole reason that they cannot abide Corbynism. They have given the Right their yearned for ‘treason’ narrative…"

    • Incognito 1.1

      Could you please provide a link?

      • Sanctuary 1.1.1

        try this…

        • greywarshark 1.1.1.1

          Good from Kathryn Ryan on Radionz today. Complicated ifs and thens.

          https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018712583/uk-parliament-suspension-as-brexit-deadline-looms 29 mins

          UK Parliament suspension as Brexit deadline looms

          With the UK Parliament sitting for the last time for five weeks, returning just two weeks before the Brexit deadline, it has been an historic day and night at Westminister. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling for a snap election, which has already been rejected once, and the Speaker John Bercow has announced his tenure will end at the next election, or by the date the UK is due to leave the EU – 31st of October.

          Keeping abreast of the latest developments, Kathryn talks to Sir John Curtice, he's a professor of politics at Strathclyde University, and Anand Menon, who is the director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative. He is also a professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King's College London and the co author of Brexit and British Politics.

      • Sanctuary 1.1.2

        And Seymour's analysis is proved to be bang on, as arch-sensible "centrist", arch-liberal and arch-Corbyn basher in chief Polly Toynbee has a sudden epiphany when it is all too little, too late…

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/09/boris-johnson-mps-jeremy-corbyn-no-deal-leader-alliance#comment-132933541

        • JohnP 1.1.2.1

          And bang on cue, the Liberal Democrats are looking to shift their policy to Revoke Article 50 ahead of the election. That's no second referendum, the thing they've been advocating since late 2016 – just no Brexit at all.

          This will have a double effect, and none of it's good;

          • Johnson's Tories will likely go No Deal in response and ally with the Brexit Party at any election. Electoral calculus puts that down as a big Tory/BXP win at the minute.
          • The Opposition, who had managed to inflict repeated defeats on Johnson (He hasn't won a vote yet) and was looking to form an electoral agreement regarding a second referendum/remain policies, can't do that now because the Lib Dems are now at odds with all the major Opposition parties.

          Why? Well the Lib Dems hated the idea of supporting Corbyn in anything, and have repeatedly claimed he wants Brexit – when Labour's policy is to renegotiate the deal, then have a Labour Deal v Remain referendum – a referendum where Labour MPs would be free to support either side of the argument.

          The fact that was becoming a desirable option for the Opposition meant they had to act, and in doing so they might have made it easier for Brexit to happen.

          Good work Lib Dems, you've farked it up again.

          • Sanctuary 1.1.2.1.1

            Yup. the Liberal Impossibilism of Jo Swinson overlapping with Farragist disaster nationalism.

            You know, any good model should give you the tools to be able interpret past events in a way that allows you offer a reasonable prediction of the future.

            Seymour's hypothesis of a symbiotic relationship between reactionary catastrophism and liberal impossibilism is looking good so far.

  2. Andre 2

    Liberalism gets used as somewhat of an epithet in some circles. Here's a longish but worthwhile read exploring that.

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/9/9/20750160/liberalism-trump-putin-socialism-reactionary

    Seems to me the anti-liberals have been successfully suckered into shooting at the wrong target. The big factor accounting for the rise of problems like increasing inequality, decrease of community and social support etc is the rise of corporatocracy. Corporatocracy operates in direct opposition to one of the key ideas of liberalism, equality of all, by giving those few with power in the corporates a vastly increased influence in government and civic affairs.

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      Liberalism is now, at least from a class and economic perspective, indistinguishable from neoliberalism. That is the real problem.

      "Liberal" has now become an epithet for a certain kind of pearl clutching, identity obsessed middle class hypocrite who spends his or her spare time uber-policing what is acceptable for discussion on the "left" in mind-bending detail and their work time ruthlessly managing in pitiless detail the authoritarian machinery of the neoliberal consensus from the position of comfortable white collar jobs. The obsession of our liberal conservative Radio NZ and the liberal twitterati with the minutaie of the management of a sex assault allegation within the Labour party fits this mode perfectly. They'll consume themselves with the viciously internecine politics of the tangential and utterly ignore the real problems of real New Zealanders then profess a perplexed horror when the oiks flock to a National party that as gone full Trump, before declaring "the establishment" must do something to protect them and their values.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        FIFY

        "Nothing to see here. Move along to other stuff please"

        [stop trolling. No more warnings, and I suggest you think very carefully before commenting on Labour’s handling of the sexual abuse accusations about how you comment, because I’m likely to ban people today who are politicising this or posting idiotic flaming comments – weka]

        • Incognito 2.1.1.1

          You could make an effort to contribute here, if you wish. Scattering your droppings of wisdom here doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.1.1

            See below for more contributions from me.

            Pointing out the pigs ear that Labour have made of this is a valid contribution.

        • weka 2.1.1.2

          mod note for you Gosman.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.2.1

            Would you please explain how the matter is not a political one when it is being handled by the political party and not by say the police? If it was being handled by the police then I would entirely agree with you that it would not be a matter to politicise.

            • weka 2.1.1.2.1.1

              It's a political matter in a number of ways. One is the politics of rape culture. Another is party politics eg Labour's handling of the situations.

              Politicising is a different thing. It would be for instance right wingers using the sexual assault of women to Labour bash.

              Your behaviour got my attention this morning, because you looked like you were gearing up to troll generally and I have zero tolerance for that today. The warning about politicising was an addition, so that if you start doing stupid shit I've already warned you and can move straight to moderating.

              If you want to understand more, have a read of yesterday's Open Mike.

      • phillip ure 2.1.2

        there is more than a grain of truth in what sanctuary sez…

    • Nic the NZer 2.2

      Really? Your puting up a defence of, liberalism would have worked but these politicians are not actually doing it.

      (I am going to assume you agree present day NZ can also be reasonably described as a corporatocracy).

      • Andre 2.2.1

        Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights (including civil rights and human rights), capitalism (free markets), democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.

        Yup, I support all of that, with just a few caveats around the free markets bit to prevent the accumulation and exercise of corporate power.

        In New Zealand, we are indeed uncomfortably close to a corporatocracy. The dominance and influence of a few corporate monopolies, duopolies etc should give us pause, but then there's the outrageous loopholes allowing foreign actors to influence our local politics by the simple expedient of setting up a local shell corporate and funneling cash through that.

        As you have noted, none of our political parties seem interested in tackling the corporatocracy, Well, maybe there's a slight flicker of interest among the Greens. But that really isn't helped by those misguidedly attacking liberalism by conflating it with neoliberalism and neoliberalism's spawn, corporatocracy. Liberalism and neoliberalism really are very different things, despite the similarity in the label.

        • Nic the NZer 2.2.1.1

          This discussion feels like a political shell game. If there is actually none of this liberalism stuff about in politics it makes scant difference if the greens prefix their criticism with neo or not.

          And if you want to talk about unnecessary alienation you should just take a brief look through your own comment history. Its a case study in unnecessary alienation (mostly of collectives of political factions). Grow up and look at your behaviour before winging about how others percieve your political ideology is working out.

    • weka 2.3

      I think the think that pisses people off is where liberals support Corporatocracy (hence neoliberalism is still a thing). This seems fair criticism to me.

      • Andre 2.3.1

        There may be some that self-identify as liberals that support corporatocracy, but I don't personally know any.

        But I do know plenty of people that self-identify as liberal that are disgusted by the elements of corporatocracy we have, both here and in the US. These are people that get unnecessarily alienated by lefties attacking liberals and liberalism, when what is really being attacked is neoliberalism and corporatocracy.

        • weka 2.3.1.1

          Labour still support corporatocracy and most NZ liberals vote Labour even where they're not that happy with neoliberalism. But I think it would be fair to say that most liberals in NZ want a fairer form of neoliberalism rather than changing it.

          The US situation is quite different I think.

          I agree that the left attacking liberals is not helpful and think it is probably setting us back. That's different from critiquing liberals though. Fine line I guess.

          • Andre 2.3.1.1.1

            Indeed. I would even hazard a guess that if they were presented with the definition of liberalism, the strong majority of Labour's supporters would describe themselves as liberal. Swing voters and Greens, too, prob'ly.

            If presented the choice between liberalism with a bit of corporatocracy mixed in, and anti-liberal, I suspect most would choose to accept the contamination of corporatocracy mixed with their liberalism over being asked to give up the other aspects of liberalism they value.

            Which is why I think it's important to be clear about criticising neoliberalism and corporatocracy, rather than giving the impression of wanting to replace liberalism with some form of illiberal alternative.

  3. Gosman 3

    How long will the Labour Party President last do you think?

    Will he make lunchtime?

  4. The Spinoff continues it's coverage of the second badly bungled Labour party assaults.

    ‘Incredibly frustrated, deeply disappointed’: Ardern speaks on Labour inquiry

    The prime minister and leader of the Labour Party, Jacinda Ardern, has this afternoon responded to questions relating to allegations of sexual assault by a Labour staffer, and the controversial process surrounding an inquiry into his behaviour. She was “incredibly frustrated and deeply disappointed” by the way it had been handled, she said.

    “I want to make it very clear that I am deeply concerned and incredibly frustrated by the process that has been undertaken by the Labour Party, but also obviously by the nature of the allegations,” she said, speaking to reporters at her weekly post-cabinet press conference.

    “I was informed in the very beginning that the allegations made were not sexual in nature. That is obviously directly counter to what is now being reported.”

    Ardern said she had attended a meeting of the New Zealand Council, the governing body of the Labour Party, on August 10, after the story was broken by Newshub. She had “very seriously shared my view that they were not the appropriate place to undertake inquiries around concerning behaviour by members of the Labour Party, but particularly they are not the appropriate place to ever undertake an investigation into a sexual assault, and that would be their view, too”, she said.

    Following that meeting, Maria Dew, QC, was appointed to undertake a review of the original inquiry.

    The prime minister would not say whether the individual at the centre of the inquiry had been stood down from his role in the Labour Party, but that “the person referenced in the article has not been on the precinct … for roughly five weeks now and will not be on the precinct at least for the duration of the inquiry that’s being undertaken by a QC appointed by the Labour Party.”

    She said she does not believe the alleged is still attending party meetings and events

    Ardern said she had “sought assurances that they were not [sexual in nature] in the very beginning. I have obvious since seen and heard questions in the media raised as to whether or not that was accurate.”

    I understand Ardern distancing herself from this on political management terms, but she is at risk of being badly tainted by all of this failing of victims within the Labour Party.

    She shouldn't be just seeking assurances that didn't work well after the first bungle.

    She should be demanding immediate explanations and answers from Haworth, and if they are unsatisfactory responses he should either resign or be stood down.

    The staffer should also be stood down pending the outcome of the latest inquiry. I think that's standard practice in other employment situations.

    This is already seriously affecting Brand Jacinda, and is likely to be a major threat to Labour's re-election chances.

    But the priority should be on doing as much as possible to rectify the appalling handling of this suffered by the victims. Of all politicians I would have hoped that Ardern would have stepped up and dealt with this properly, as she did with the mosque killings and got a lot of deserved credit. But on this she is on the debit side. perhaps she is too close to the problems and people to deal with it adequately.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/09-09-2019/incredibly-frustrated-and-deeply-disappointed-ardern-speaks-on-labour-inquiry/

    [link added – weka]

    [come on Pete, you know it’s a requirement here to link to cut and pastes. I’m short on patience today, so I suggest everyone ups their game when talking about this topic – weka]

    • Rapunzel 4.1

      This "Following that meeting, Maria Dew, QC, was appointed to undertake a review of the original inquiry" it is then hoped that all political parties "reviews" on this issue are properly aired.

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        A review of the review. How refreshing from Labour. Perhaps this time they might stand down the person involved until the "review" is complete.

    • you seem to be over-excited there pg..

      i heard the interview with ardern on rnz…

      her suppressed rage was palpable..

      she first 'found out' from the piece in the spinoff..yesterday..

      and an independent qc is looking at it..

      given the circumstances – i can't see anything wrong in her actions..

      • Sanctuary 4.2.1

        Jacinda will take charge and decisively sack someone. She'll remain above it all because she was misled.

        The liberal twitterati will unite with the mysogynistic right to neither forgive, forget or move on. Alex Casey will be lauded, and get a nicer and better paying job. The Liberal-conservative establishment MSM will applaud the PM's decisive action whilst spending the next few weeks raking over the stale muck at the bottom of the barrel – hey, this stuff writes it own feature article in papers no one any longer reads!

        Meanwhile, 95% of the population will have no idea this "scandal" ever happened.

        • Peter Christchurh nz 4.2.1.1

          Sanctuary Your conspiracy and dismissive comments are ridiculous. The MSM is, if you ever bothered to read/watch it, heavily covering this and in great depth. It was even one of the lead items on TV news last night.

          The MSM that you so disparage is still and will remain the primary source of news and information for most people. Check out readership stats for the main newspapers, dwarfs the readership of all the blogs combined. And for good reason.

          • aj 4.2.1.1.1

            The MSM is, if you ever bothered to read/watch it, heavily covering this and in great depth. It was even one of the lead items on TV news last night.

            I thought the beat-up leading item on TV1 would have blotted out the following stories somewhat. SHOCK HORROR: $7m of taxpayer dollars are being spent, mostly by Tourism NZ, to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination. (/sarc/ if required)

          • phillip ure 4.2.1.1.2

            @ miss-spelt christchurch..

            and fox news is the biggest in u.s…ye point..?

            and i read a herald yesterday (i was waiting for something – that is my excuse..)

            could not believe what an irrelevant supermarket-giveaway/rag it has become…

            and the m.s.m. has always bent the knee to powers-that-be..

            (witness their craven grovelling before key..)

            it has always – in the main – been a peddler of irrelevant crap/distractions..

            and peddlers of rightwing memes..

            (they just seem to have woken up to the fact that climate-change is a thing..)

            there is nothing new there..

            those online sources you so disparage – are doing the job the m.s.m. has consistantly failed to do..

            and if you are including the likes of garner/richardson/hoskings et al as being this m.s.m. we should read/watch (for anything other than cheap laughs)..?

            yeah..nah…eh..?

        • Jimmy 4.2.1.2

          It was on the 6 o'clock news both channels so I would say a fair percentage of the population will know of the 'scandal'

      • Gosman 4.2.2

        Do you see something wrong in the Labour Party President's handling of the situation?

        • phillip ure 4.2.2.1

          on the surface – it doesn't take a genius to conclude that it would seem he screwed up big-time -and is dead man walking..

          but the q.c. inquiry will clarify that..

          until them you are just flapping yr gums..

          my takeaway from the ardern interview was her hinting that other labour party people colluded in keeping the truth from her..(something the q.c. is looking into..)

          so if only for that reason – (aside from the original allegations) – this has more to run/reveal..

          • bwaghorn 4.2.2.1.1

            Na Arden needs to show some muscle a sack him. None of this letting him resign shit.

            • Sacha 4.2.2.1.1.1

              The president of the party does not report to its parlimentary caucus leader.

            • McFlock 4.2.2.1.1.2

              The caucus leader does not have the power to sack the president of the Labour Party.

              Democracy 101.

              edit: snap Sacha 🙂

        • Bearded Git 4.2.2.2

          It seems odd to me that Nigel Haworth would give an account to Jacinda that can later be easily contradicted. My guess is the QC will exonerate Haworth and Bennett will be seen to have been playing fast and loose with the facts for political reasons….after all she has a track record on this.

          • Anne 4.2.2.2.1

            Bennett will be seen to have been playing fast and loose with the facts for political reasons…

            Judging by her most recent outbursts, that is exactly what she's doing. Leopards never change their spots.

          • Rapunzel 4.2.2.2.2

            Oddly driving today Sean Plunkett, no friend of Labour's agrees about Bennett and now hearing Bridges "opinion" on it says they are politicking in a pretty disgusting way. Essentially it should have gone to police and that you can not "sack" someone because of accusations alone.

            What mess, I have changed my "opinion" on it at least four times now and don;t know what to think any more – sadly though B&B and the media will make sure that it is negative behaviour by any one to do with or associated with "Labour", possibly that was what was intended – so now I have a fifth option to consider.

            I hope it backfires on B&B big-time and the media learns an overdue lesson, but that will probably set them on some Collins path of back back double or something.

    • Cinny 4.4

      What's really sad is paula and the media politicising it rather than wrapping the person up in love and taking them to the nearest police station to press charges.

      It's sickening how paula is using this to score points it seems like this is paulas only angle, she's been baiting media with it for ages instead of taking action and looking after the person concerned. I'm fairly sure the person concerned didn't want it to play out like this.

      Sexual violence goes on every single day in NZ.

      • Rapunzel 4.4.1

        Thank goodness it is clear that the victim stuck to her guns, it looks like the "media" was the only way past very naive (the kindest view), stupid or self-serving behaviour at the top of the party which does huge disservice not just to the victim but others as well.

        Hopefully this will be a lesson in the face of wherever this or other abuses happens in NZ for people to listen and deal with it not just "manage" it to suit a narrow purpose.

      • ianmac 4.4.2

        There is something wrong with this story and it is not just Paula Bennetts involvement.

        What if this is true:

        “I was informed in the very beginning that the allegations made were not sexual in nature. That is obviously directly counter to what is now being reported.”

        Alarm bells anyone? If the victim did not tell the Labour Party what is now in Spinoff, then the above quote is true. And if she did tell the Labour Party that harrowing story it will be in the minutes, but it seems so unlikely that Labour Party would just ignore such a story.

        Would Paula Bennett be part of Dirty Tricks?

        • Sacha 4.4.2.1

          The Spinoff writer mentions sighting material from the complainant that backs up what she said. Perhaps go and read it again.

      • Anne 4.4.3

        Thanks Cinny.

        Everyone including the MSM (surprise,surprise 🙄 ) is jumping the gun here.

        There was more than one complainant and as far as I can judge the other claims were more to do with bullying behaviour in the work-place. But "Sarah" (pseudonym of course) has now come forward with what are very serious claims of sexual harassment.

        She is on record (I saw it yesterday somewhere) as revealing she did not originally report the full extent of the harassment she experienced because she was too afraid to. So, to be fair to the L.P. president, it is quite possible he and his advisers were not aware of them when they made their original decision to take the matter no further. People need to calm down and wait a few weeks when the report will become available before shots are fired in their direction.

        It's time people thought more about the trauma and hurt suffered by this young woman and made so much worse by the publicity surrounding it. Many women over the years have gone through this process and been left feeling shamed, disbelieved and rejected by those who should have supported them and helped to facilitate a proper investigation.

        I sincerely hope for her sake that such an investigation will eventuate because otherwise she will have to carry the consequences around for the rest of her life.

        • ianmac 4.4.3.1

          Hear Hear Anne.

          There was more than one complainant and as far as I can judge the other claims were more to do with bullying behaviour in the work-place.

          And that is what Jacinda is saying. She said that the first that she knew of the serious sexual attack was reading it in Spinoff. Bennett attempted to attack the PM today Q5 but she was ruled out of order in most respects. I cannot get past a suspicion that National is using the victims not out of search for justice but to wound the Labour Party.

          https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=208656

    • weka 4.5

      mod note for you Pete.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    "…This is already seriously affecting Brand Jacinda, and is likely to be a major threat to Labour's re-election chances…"

    Your concern troll is noted, now run along back to your own blog.

  6. Peter 6

    I see Ms Ardern is to talk to Mike Hosking and the alleged assaults. Waste of time. He has made up his mind on all things Ardern and Labour and the coalition.

    I saw a t shirt on the street two days ago which would be a most fine addition to his wardrobes of finery, summing up his attitude:

    "If you think I'm dick all of the time go fuck yourself."

  7. paul buchanan on rnz blowing up that bullshit claim that our spooks didn't know the americans were torturing in afghanistan..

    (as he points out – this information was in the public domain..)

    but they didn't know..?

    rght-ho..!

    • Stuart Munro. 7.1

      Not completely implausible – the first the CIA knew of Pakistan's nuclear capacity (subsequently exported to North Korea) was when they read it in the paper.

      Our spooks will naturally have been concentrating on things like identifying Rawshark, that would have gratified the then government – protecting our international reputation goes a bit over their heads.

      • phillip ure 7.1.1

        no..completely plausible..

        they either know – and are lying..

        or they didn't know – and so must confess to an eye-watering degree of incompetence in their basic role – of gathering intelligence..

        (they have clearly gone for option one – the big-lie..)

        and yr pakistan comparison is trite..

        our spooks were giving questions to the torturers…

        ..to ask of those they were torturing..

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    It is well worth the effort rising a little earlier to catch one of the many gems being aired on Natrad's "First Up".

    This morning it was Maori Council Chair Matthew Tukaki who, ahead of the impending announcement from The Beehive on the suicide prevention plan, is hoping like hell that there are fewer of the usual guard who have been leading the suicide intervention business for the past umpteen years and room (and funding) is made available for those with a much needed different approach.

    Tukaki was channeling Mike King with the message that as well as 'mental health' we need to be teaching communities and individuals about the importance of listening…and basically being caring and kind.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/first-up/audio/2018712556/govt-s-suicide-prevention-plan-2-years-late

    • Sacha 8.1

      It is well worth the effort rising a little earlier

      I love how you make that sound like a choice. 🙂

  9. Sacha 9

    Very clear summary of Labour party's situation today: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/09/10/798729/labour-fails-to-learn-from-its-mistakes

    A little over a year ago, Labour Party president Nigel Haworth promised the party he had presided over since 2015 would change.

    In the wake of claims that four young supporters were sexually assaulted during one of the party's summer camps, Haworth announced Labour had accepted all the recommendations of a review into the events.

    Among them was a commitment to review or develop policies for sexual harassment and assault, bullying and the party's code of conduct, as well as introducing "a new open complaints process to enable complaints to be received and responded to without delay and with the appropriate degree of specialist advice".

    Now, claims about Labour's approach to allegations made against one of its employees suggests the party has not changed as much as it should have – but its president may have to.

    Ardern told John Campbell on TVNZ's Breakfast show this morning that Haworth sets high standards for himself, and implied she would not need to ask him to leave. I see no reason why he should wait another 4 weeks for a QC to report back to the party about the mess he has overseen. Less dignity every day that goes by.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/breakfast/clips/i-m-in-a-very-difficult-position-here-ardern-says-over-sexual-assault-allegation-against-labour-party-staffer

    • ianmac 9.1

      Sacha would you consider the possibility that the Labour plan that you published above has been followed? Is it possible that the latest Spinoff report may not have been the same as what the previous complaint which had been dealt with by the enquiry last year?

      • Sacha 9.1.1

        What parts of the reporting so far lead you to believe that the party has addressed its internal failings around this matter?

        • ianmac 9.1.1.1

          The original complaint was that a staffer had behaved badly to several women. These complaints were dealt with. To fit within the process of enquiry they would have to have been of "lower" level.

          The Spinoff complaint may be a "new" complaint has unheard of before now at least by the PM and possibly Haworth. It seems very very improbable that Haworth would have ignored the content of the "new" complaint if made at the original time.

          To make judgements on insufficient evidence is rather cruel and Suzie should know better.

          • Dukeofurl 9.1.1.1.1

            Thats what Im thinking.

            The 'core' of the original complaints was work based bullying and harassment.

            The complaint of sexual attack seems to either made at the time/made later and wasnt an event at work but on a 'date'.

            Something of that nature , should have been referred to Police no ifs or buts and not an internal review/personal grievance

  10. Peter Christchurch NZ 10

    'Kiwirail to train prisoners as track workers'.

    This is great news. The Work to Release Scheme was always a great thing, and one good thing that Judith Collins did was to significantly extend this scheme, at least within the ChCh prisons complex. Great move by the Coalition Government and Kiwirail!

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/398455/kiwirail-to-train-prisoners-as-track-workers-in-northland

    • mac1 10.1

      Your mention of track workers reminds me of the time when Railways Minister Richard Prebble spoke of the complaint he had received from a passenger who scathingly wrote of the lazy track workers who were always leaning on their shovels when he passed by….

      • phillip ure 10.1.1

        we knew him as 'dick' prebble…

        prebble – putting the 'dick' in richard…

      • AB 10.1.2

        So who was worse – the middle-class snob on the train who assumed that the working class were lazy and undeserving, or Richard Prebble who knew that they aren't, but gave the anecdote oxygen anyway in order to boost his privatisation agenda? Answers on the back of a postcard.

        • mac1 10.1.2.1

          Interesting take on the story, AB.

          In the House Minister Prebble was scathing of the passenger who, and this is the point of the story which is all about jumping to conclusions, jumped to conclusions thar the workers were lazy.

          Prebble wrote back saying that it was not Railways policy for track staff to be working on a railway track when trains were passing over it……..

          I can't see that boosting a privatisation agenda.

          But I take the point about privatisation. I felt quite betrayed in Picton when I heard Prebble address staff on the Railways and then find out about privatisation later.

          As I was when party president Jim Anderton visited our local LEC full of party rhetoric and then shortly after left to form his own party. He of course argued that the party left him.

          MMP did do our political system quite some good in allowing people to find more congenial and less abrasive groupings.

          • Peter Christchurch NZ 10.1.2.1.1

            Yep, agree with your comments re MMP. A positive change for sure.

            I well remember that bs about 'saving rail' from Prebble. I joined NZR in 1987 and redundancies were already underway (itself classic stupidity – giving redundancy to existing staff whilst hiring new staff to fill the same role).

            But to be fair, there were a hell of a lot of NZR workers who had no concept of 'work' (I am talking here about the admin staff). My first job was issuing the chits to buy boots. This had been the fulltime job of my predessor. It took me maybe one very slow hour a day!

            • phillip ure 10.1.2.1.1.1

              i could do with a job like that now..

              occaisonally lifting the head – to issue a boot-chit…

              i could handle that..!

              is there an employment agency that specialises in jobs like that..?

              (i do also like to be dry and warm..)

              • Dukeofurl

                You forget the consensus of NZ governments from both parties in the 50s ,60s, and 70s was FULL employment.

                And they meant it.

                You are looking back with modern blinkers on.

          • AB 10.1.2.1.2

            Your recollection is better than mine obviously mac1. Given the 'Polish Shipyard' mythology that was propagated at the time, I connected two dots that weren't adjacent.

            • mac1 10.1.2.1.2.1

              Dot connection is a human hazard. I had a neighbour who one Sunday pointed out the track workers engaged on maintenance. His take was that this was driven by the workers who got double time for Sunday work.

              I pointed out that the work might be management driven, as there was less traffic on the rail line on a Sunday, and less disruption therefore to Railways freight moving business.

              "Oh!" was his reaction.

              Several months later. Same observation, same reply. Same old same old.

              Explains a lot of political reality.

              Argument does not necessarily defeat bias. As my old Latin teacher once infamously said, "I don't care what the book says, sonny, it's what I say that counts!"

              Anyway I wish the Northland prisoners well. Anything that keeps them on track, so to speak……………

  11. Anne 11

    Latest update on Sharpiegate. It seems senior members of NOAA were threatened with dismissal if "contradiction" to Trumps's Alabama claim was not reversed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2019/sep/09/trump-news-today-latest-mark-sanford-north-carolina-washington

    It’s a ‘live’ report so will need to scroll down to item.

  12. Open Letter to Prime Minister

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are a group of Labour Party members who are writing to you to urge you to immediately take action regarding the allegations of repeated sexual assaults, harassment and predatory behaviour of one of your staff, who is a member of the Labour Party, as detailed in these stories:

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/unsponsored/09-09-2019/a-labour-volunteer-alleged-violent-sexual-assault-by-a-senior-staffer-this-is-her-story/?fbclid=IwAR2w3BYBKCccR_hDGB-qNqohdFcXnS157NsZLbBj1yVrjl9M6mBscbQjuRo

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/115592299/young-labour-abuse-victims-barred-from-parliament-offices

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/08/exclusive-labour-forced-to-review-investigation-into-bullying-sexual-assault-allegations-against-staffer.html

    Some of us are the survivors. Others are their friends and supporters. All of us have watched in horror as this story has unfolded, as the survivors have been repeatedly re-traumatised, and as the Labour Party has run a shambles of a process that has enabled an alleged attacker and shut out his survivors. This issue has been discussed for too long in secret meetings and private conversations, and it is our hope that by drawing attention to it in the light of day we will get the action that the survivors deserve. We are sending this letter to the Labour Party caucus, the entirety of the New Zealand Council of the Labour Party, and to all Labour Party LECs.

    What has been outlined in the stories is nothing short of sexual assault. What has been outlined as the party’s process in addressing this assault is nothing short of enabling. What has been outlined as the response from other parts of the party – for instance, a senior party official and ministerial employee telling a survivor that the alleged attacker was ‘too important’ to the party, or the survivors being banned from entering Bowen House or other parts of the Parliamentary precinct – is nothing short of despicable. Every day this enabling is allowed to continue is another day that the survivors are silenced and the alleged attacker is allowed to continue enjoying his position of privilege and authority within the party and indeed, your own office.

    We know that you will be as horrified as us by the descriptions of the violent sexual attacks inflicted on these women, and we hope that you also recognise the many failures of the Labour Party in addressing them. With that in mind, we have a list of requests for you to consider, to right this situation:

    1. We call on Nigel Haworth to issue a formal apology to all complainants in this investigation for the mishandling of the process under his leadership, at his direction and by him directly.

    2. We call on Nigel Haworth to formally resign as President of the Labour Party and to withdraw his candidacy for re-election at the November Conference

    3. We call on the New Zealand Council of the Labour Party to immediately amend the Sexual Harm Prevention and Handling Policy and the Investigating Cases of Alleged Misconduct Policy to specify that where a complaint is of a sexual nature, a Senior Lawyer or other Agency with specific experience in handling cases of Sexual Harm be delegated responsibility for the investigation. Or, if the complainant(s) consents, that the investigation be conducted by a panel of New Zealand Council per the current provision in this policy, who are given access to such an external agency to consult.

    4. That the New Zealand Labour Party require all staff and New Zealand Councillors to undergo sexual harassment prevention and handling training

    5. That the New Zealand Labour Party create a plenary session, closed to media, at the 2019 Annual Conference and that they bring in a Senior Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate to speak on the topic of institutionalised sexual violence, harassment and bullying.

    6. That the Party’s ban on the survivors entering Bowen House and other parts of the Parliamentary precinct be immediately lifted.

    7. That the New Zealand Labour Party inform and refer this matter to the alleged attacker’s employer, Parliamentary Services

    8. That the alleged attacker be barred from attending Labour Party events until such time as the Appeal Process is completed and New Zealand Council have reached a final decision on whether or not to pursue punitive action from the resolution of that complaint.

    Prime Minister, we have looked up for you for years as a champion of women, survivors and other marginalised people. To address this matter with the urgency and decency it deserves would be to justify the faith that so many place in you.

    Please do the right thing.

    Me Too Labour

    Link is here

    • ianmac 12.1

      Appalling. As a member of the Labour Party I could not consider signing such a false and slanderous document. Until the facts are known desist.

      No name on the petition. But I bet Bennett and her ilk would be first to further the Dirty Tricks element of this. I cannot believe that the Leaders of any organised group such as the Labour Party Council could behave as claimed. The smear in the meantime is being compounded by repetition and Pete George is facilitating this.

      • mac1 12.1.1

        The letter is a form letter. It opens with a statement that we are Labour members. At the bottom it asks the signer to tick one of two boxes saying whether they are or are not a Labour member.

        It is a nonsense to ask someone who is not a member to sign a letter which opens with a statement that they are a member.

        What is the provenance of this 'open' letter?

        Is a letter 'open' if a person does not sign it with a name?

        Can the origin of the letter be clearly spelled out as to who the author is so that any person who considers such a signing may examine the authenticity of the document and of the matters which are alleged?

        In a world of dirty politics, such questions must be addressed.

        • Louis 12.1.1.1

          +1 mac1

        • SHG 12.1.1.2

          (Am still banned, but comment is on-topic so maybe it'll get through moderation)

          That's not an open letter – it's a subscription form. Look at the format:

          *stuff to get your attention*
          *request for personal info*
          *request for your email address and permission to contact you*

          Nothing about where the email addresses are going to be recorded, no privacy policy, no acknowledgement of NZ anti-spam legislation.

          Looks like someone's putting a marketing database together, and doing so in a very underhanded fashion.

        • Dukeofurl 12.1.1.3

          Isnt there a way to track the Origin of Google Forms, like you can with a website. ?

          They give away it came from national/acts dirty tricks is right at the end

          "Me Too labour."

          Watch it get featured by Farrar on his blog
          Just checked and it was there at 10 am, which was a time based release of something done earlier

        • Anne 12.1.1.4

          @ ianmac and mac1:

          A bunch of naive 'members' who have lost the plot?

          There is now an official investigation in place to establish ALL the facts after which appropriate action will take place according to the outcome.

          To have a group of emotionally over-charged individuals passing judgement and demanding responses before that process is complete not only undermines the investigation but is ultimately unhelpful to the very people they purport to support.

          • Tom 12.1.1.4.1

            Isnt the official investigation something the police should be doing in cases of sexual assault?

            • weka 12.1.1.4.1.1

              Only if the women assaulted go to the police and lay a complaint. Even if they did that, Labour still has to deal with its own complaints process and employer responsibilities.

              • Chris T

                Interesting that actually.

                I made the same comment yesterday and was told what you say by lprent and some one else.

                Was listening to Drive today and both Rodney Hyde and Trotter implied the complaints could be referred to the police by their employer.

                And both said they should.

                Probably a bit pointless without the accusers giving the police their versions, but found it interesting.

                • McFlock

                  Blowhards suggesting courses of action that are pointless at best, legally actionable at worst.

                  • Chris T

                    But looking highly necessary given the hash job

                    • McFlock

                      Not if that's not what the complainants want.

                      "ooo we completely fucked it up so we're going to overrule your wishes to satisfy the told-you-sos of perennially-unsatisfied talkback fuckwits" is an even worse response than what they seem to already have done.

                      Howarth can't be pushed out by caucus, but I suspect that very soon there will be a categorical vindication of what he wasn't told or evidence that he was explicitly told, and even without that some folks in Labour are probably already looking up "removal from office" clauses just in case.

                      At the root of this there are apparently more than a few complainants and complaints about a single individual, and Labour has apparently fucked up its response to every single complaint.

                      Whether this is the result of a group or individual in leadership intentionally protecting the individual, or systemic incompetence by well-meaning individuals missing emails, applying fucked up rules of fairness and evidence while conducting an incompetent investigation and an incompetently-scoped or incompetent review of that investigation, the bottom line is that this is beginning to look like the Labour party HQ has reacted abysmally in response to a difficult but foreseeable situation.

            • Anne 12.1.1.4.1.2

              Tom:

              Women are afraid to go to the police. They fear rejection because it has happened to so many women before them.

              What is worse, work-mates, friends and even kith and kin are not always supportive. They don't want to become involved, so they take the easy way out and convince themselves you're making it up or exaggerating. The perpetrators know this and play on it for all it's worth. Even the police will take the same line if it suits them.

              I hope this young lady is now getting the support she needs and will be able to take her case to the police.

          • Panda 12.1.1.4.2

            However, Stuff has confirmed swipe card records and CCTV footage have been checked and confirm he has not visited the parliamentary complex during that time. It would seem more and more that some of what is being said does not play out in reality.

        • Incognito 12.1.1.5

          I’m making an exception to let through this comment from SHG, who is currently banned for three days, because it is indeed topical:

          That's not an open letter – it's a subscription form. Look at the format:

          *stuff to get your attention*

          *request for personal info*

          *request for your email address and permission to contact you*

          Nothing about where the email addresses are going to be recorded, no privacy policy, no acknowledgement of NZ anti-spam legislation.

          Looks like someone's putting a marketing database together, and doing so in a very underhanded fashion.

          Many thanks to SHG!

          • lprent 12.1.1.5.1

            Yeah looks to me to be a false flag operation.

            Reminds me of the kind of thing that dickhead young Nat Ben Guerin specialises in these days.

            Incidentally PG – I guess I called that one right after the reports back from the UK about the brexit false news and sexual predation at the unit that young arsehole went to help run for Crosby. https://publicaddress.net/hardnews/digital-persuasion-and-the-dark-places-of/ . Reminds me that I must dig out the article about sexual payoffs.

            I'd suggest assuming it is bogus until the organisers prove otherwise. Google docs? Yeah right – how to be anonymous.

            • weka 12.1.1.5.1.1

              Is there no way to know who put it up?

            • Pete George 12.1.1.5.1.2

              From the Spinoff this morning:

              An “open letter to the prime minister” is circulated within the party by “Me Too Labour”, an unnamed “group of Labour Party members who are writing to you to urge you to immediately take action regarding the allegations” surrounding the staffer. It makes a series of demands including the resignation of Haworth. The letter, which The Spinoff has verified originates from party members, had by lunchtime attracted more than 100 signatures.

              https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/11-09-2019/timeline-labour-staffer-misconduct-inquiry/

              That timeline lays out much of what is publicly known to date.

              • lprent

                I just had a read through the various articles that have been circulating.

                These are my observations from what is visible in public.

                1. The current claims as far as I can see haven’t been directly reported to anyone actually legally capable of actually investigating them. If the behaviour is unlawful or even close to it then it needs to be reported to the police by the complainant. FFS one of these sounds like an unreported assault! If it is workplace related then it needs to be directly reported to the employer. Frankly, not taking a complaint to the appropriate authorities just hamstrings any investigation and any reporting on it. In both cases take along supporting people and get a record of the interview.
                2. From what is reported, the Labour party itself hasn’t been the appropriate place for any complaint to have been laid for the claims of the victims. The occasions sound as if they were either social or private within the legal sense of how these are handled. The NZLP should have been informed and taken some kind of action – which it sounds like they have done. But they are hamstrung because the only real sanction that is possible would be to dump the persons membership. That requires an actual formal complaint and request to the NZ council, a vote, and probable court action like a judicial review.
                3. So what we’re left with is a series of allegations by various people against someone else with apparently no substantive actionable complaint and therefore no possibility of any through investigation looking for substantiating evidence. Which simply isn’t good enough in all respects. It lacks any natural justice for the alleged victims or the alleged perpetrator – and a ridiculously daft trial by media.

                Now I’m sure that I’m going to get the arguments.

                Who would go to the police given their awful track record on handling everything from sexual harassment to rape complaints that have subsequently proved to be unlawful. Same for the usual issues with HR departments protecting the arses of bullies and sexual predators. That I agree with.

                However the issue here for me is that I can’t see alleged victim actually taking the critical step of laying a formal complaint. I’d advise that gets done as soon as possible because in the framework of our legal system, merely making an allegation is completely and utterly meaningless. It simply denies investigation justice to anyone involved – including any future victims and future employers.

                Basically indignation is cheap, it sells newspapers, and it allows oppositions an easy way to attack governments – which they seldom follow through on. It simply doesn’t change social and legal structures. It is a meaningless gesture. Something that I’m not that interested in.

                For that you need some serious discussion

                If you want to change the laws or the behaviour and obligations of the police and employers then that is a target that I’m happy to work on. The problem there, as always, is coming up with workable solutions that work within the legal framework for the problems that are below our current legal thresholds of evidence and proof. To date I haven’t been seeing many of those out of the various me too campaigns. I’m afraid that merely making an allegation doesn’t meet my standards of evidence.

                What has been clear in the media is that the negative coverage in this case has been directed towards Labour party, who by the sound of it isn’t the employer, isn’t the police, and appears to have not had a formal written complaint detailing the allegations directed to the NZ council – its governing body. Having hearsay uncorroborated reports of what was said in interviews with Nigel isn’t exactly any kind of evidence I could take much credence in.

                Personally I just find the process being used to have been deeply suspicious. It doesn’t look like it is calculated to actually have anything apart from indignation. It certainly doesn’t seem to orientated to get a resolvable outcome.

                Could someone please advise whoever is talking to the media to just lay some actual complaints using the formal processes (not some anonymous form letter on google docs).

                The problem here is that our legal system requires that individuals have to front up with formal complaints before our legal system or employment systems can do much. The most that can be done legally to an alleged perpetrator otherwise is to remove them from situations that could be problematic. Which appears to have been done already several different ways.

                So lay formal complaints to get action.

                FFS: PG – you should know this. In a different context, but with the same underlying principles, do you regard the allegations by Dermot Nottingham against you or me to have been accurate? It took a formal complaint to the police (which was rejected) followed by a private prosecution to get that to a resolution. That is a process that is in place to allow action whilst sort of protecting all sides.

                You simply can’t take much action on an simple undocumented allegation. Actual formal complaints to the appropriate places are what is really required. The people making allegations should get some support and start the process.

                • I think you're largely missing a key element in this issue – complainants who are Labour Party members and volunteers, and a seemingly significant number of other party members, appear to be extremely disappointed with how the party has dealt with all of this, and are increasingly disappointed with how Ardern is dealing with it.

                  They have said that they aren't keen on laying a complaint with the police, considering the added trauma this often entails, and the low success rate. The summer camp prosecution shows how complainants can be depicted as 'asking for it'.

                  What I think they want is for their party to deal with this specific issue properly, albeit belatedly. They want Ardern to walk what she has talked often enough. They want the decent party they were promised. They're not getting anything like that.

                  • lprent

                    I think you’re largely missing a key element in this issue – complainants who are Labour Party members and volunteers, and a seemingly significant number of other party members, appear to be extremely disappointed with how the party has dealt with all of this, and are increasingly disappointed with how Ardern is dealing with it.

                    Look I think that you’re basically missing the point here.

                    Some of the allegations made appear relate to activities that are unlawful in nature – they should be complained about to the police and haven’t been.

                    Some should be of concern to the employer, parliamentary services, and don’t appear to have been complained about to them.

                    The allegations that I have seen appear to have had only peripheral relationship to the Labour party in that it is alleged that the perpetrator is a member of the Labour party (as I am) and some of these the alleged activities have happened on the periphery of Labour party organising activities.

                    When I give up my membership fees to the Labour party, I don’t authorise them to be a ruling body over my life for anything except my membership and the formal parts of Labour party activities – like being able to go to meetings. Other aspects of my life certainly aren’t constrained in the contract in the way that I have (for instance) in my employment contracts.

                    What exactly is your point?

                    So far, what I can’t see is any direct line of responsibility to anything that the Labour party is actually responsible for beyond making sure that the participants don’t come in contact with each other at functions. And as far as I can see that was done early. The best that they could possibly do is to remove the membership and to try to learn what do do about this kind of issue in the future.

                    They have said that they aren’t keen on laying a complaint with the police, considering the added trauma this often entails, and the low success rate. The summer camp prosecution shows how complainants can be depicted as ‘asking for it’.

                    So? Until the law is changed (if it ever could be in these kinds of circumstances) then that is what has to happen. Nothing can be done without formal complaints to the people and organisations with the appropriate responsibilities. In this case the police and/or the employer.

                    That is because there are laws constraining what anyone else can do. I can’t fire an employee of parliamentary services – nor can the Labour party. Even the employer can’t fire them without cause – it just leaves them open to a lawsuit and even possible criminal prosecution. The police are constrained about investigating without a complainant. The courts can’t act without someone

                    I can’t go and name the person involved, even if I wanted to (and so far I haven’t seen anything substantive enough for me to wanted to do so), without facing legal actions against me.

                    What I think they want is for their party to deal with this specific issue properly, albeit belatedly. They want Ardern to walk what she has talked often enough. They want the decent party they were
                    promised. They’re not getting anything like that.

                    Ignoring your rhetorical allegations about promises – which weren’t what you are bullshitting about

                    The party is limited by laws about what they can and cannot do. I personally wouldn’t want to any other way. I know exactly how I’d react if someone tried to exert an authority that they neither I nor society via the laws conceded them.

                    Wishing for magic simply doesn’t work for dealing with situations like the allegations being made. It requires that someone actually formally complains and to the appropriate place(s).

                    To do anything else is to simply allow meaningless indignation and no bloody action. So far that is all that I am seeing.

                    • veutoviper

                      I haven't read the full discussions here on TS on this subject over the last few days, and so far only your exchanges with PG above, but a part of your comment above quoted below stuck out to me, ie:

                      Some should be of concern to the employer, parliamentary services, and don’t appear to have been complained about to them.

                      I am not disputing or questioning your comment but wondered whether you watched Question Time yesterday as there was an interesting exchange between Trevor Mallard, as Speaker etc, and Paula Bennett (plus Gerry Brownlee) under Question 5 where Bennett questioned the PM on this matter which appears very relevant vis a vis your comment above ie this comment by Mallard:

                      EDIT – damn it, it really needs to be read in context so here is the whole of the exchanges under Q 5 with the specific relevant comments bolded:

                      Question No. 5—Prime Minister

                      5. Hon PAULA BENNETT (Deputy Leader—National) to the Prime Minister: Does she stand by her statement that "On … the difficult issues, the hard issues, we will be there, we are there in those conversations"?

                      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister): Yes. I stand by my full statement which was: "On issues like Ihumātao, the difficult issues, the hard issues, we will be there, we are there in those conversations". I went on to describe the importance, in this situation, of trying to find a by Māori for Māori solution to the issue.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: What is her response to the open letter sent to her as Prime Minister by Labour Party members regarding the allegations of repeated sexual assaults, harassment, and predatory behaviour by one of her staff?

                      SPEAKER: Order! There are a number of reasons I think I could rule that question out, part of which is ministerial responsibility—but it must relate to the original question. Taking a partial quote on another issue and suggesting that it relates to a secondary issue is not an acceptable way of working.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. A couple of things, Mr Speaker, then, if I can just clarify: so the open letter is blatantly to the Prime Minister—

                      SPEAKER: Yes.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: —and so it certainly is, in that respect. And as far as a quote around hard issues, then I think it is a direct quote. And this is certainly one of those hard issues that I would imagine the Prime Minister would have comment on.

                      SPEAKER: I can understand where the member is coming from. The area that the member is referring to is an area of my responsibility. The fact that someone else has been written to about it does not make it their responsibility. The member might want to try rephrasing her question to get it within the Prime Minister's responsibility.

                      Hon Gerry Brownlee: Speaking to the point of order, while I appreciate you correctly saying that it may well be in your area of responsibility, I think it is also reasonable that we believe the public statements of the Prime Minister. One of those statements, in an interview with Mr Hosking, was that she is the employer in this case. I don't think, therefore, it's reasonable to have the Prime Minister making that claim in the public arena and then not being able to answer questions, having said that, in this very public arena also.

                      SPEAKER: The member will be absolutely aware that in this particular case the Prime Minister is not the employer. The fact that she may have said that she was, she was wrong. The member trying to use that as a way of getting a question for which I have responsibility—there is not ministerial responsibility for this—is not appropriate.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. So the Prime Minister can go out and categorically make a statement that she is the employer, and because you then judge that that is incorrect after the fact, she then no longer has to make—so can she make statements about anything, be wrong, and you then make that judgment?

                      SPEAKER: If the member had asked a question about the Prime Minister's statement—which happened to be incorrect—then I could well have allowed it. But the fact that the Prime Minister has made a statement in a particular area does not bring an otherwise out of order supplementary question into order.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: Thank you. My supplementary question is: when the Prime Minister is addressing difficult issues, does she include that in regards to allegations of repeated sexual assaults, harassment, and predatory behaviour that are alleged to have been done by one of her staff?

                      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Yes. I will be clear, of course: convention in this House, of course, requires me to respond to those things that I have ministerial responsibility for. But I will answer in general terms. The member will have seen that I have conducted a number of interviews this morning, and will continue to answer those questions from my capacity as a Prime Minister. Of course, we need to make sure that we have environments in all of our workplaces that meet the expectations of alleged victims, and that respond to those situations. There are things that need to be dealt with here, and I will continue to work to ensure that they are addressed, whilst also taking very seriously my responsibility as leader of New Zealand to create a justice system where people feel confident going through. We have seen an example—[Interruption]

                      SPEAKER: Order! Now, the Prime Minister will sit down, and I will hear the rest of this in silence. Some of us have been dealing with this issue for some time, and having the points of view of survivors of alleged abuse shouted down when they are put to the House is just not acceptable in the 21st century.

                      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: So I do take very seriously the systemic issues we need to address in our justice system so that we have an environment where people feel, and victims feel, comfortable using that system. We have seen clear examples in the public domain currently where that has not been the case, and I take that very seriously.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: Has she seen reports in the public domain where victims were told not to go to the police but keep their complaints internal?

                      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: I can speak for the area where I have responsibility. I would never, ever, ever encourage someone not to take a complaint to the proper authorities. The member, if she reflects back on my statements in this House—I have conveyed that time and time again. What we have to accept is that some do not feel comfortable doing that. We have to improve our system. That is the place where we're most able to take these issues forward—through our criminal justice system—and we have a lot of work to do to fix that.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: Is it correct that her Minister of Finance, the Hon Grant Robertson, has known about the allegations made about a staff member in her office for some time, and does she expect us to believe that she hasn't spoken with him about it?

                      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, I've answered many questions on this issue in the public domain, but what I will stick to in this House is convention, which is answering where people have ministerial responsibility.

                      Hon Paula Bennett: How many of her Ministers know about these allegations concerning one of her staff members?

                      Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, I refer to the previous answer. Again, this is an area where I absolutely accept the public interest, and I'm responding to that, but when I'm in this House I will maintain the conventions of this House.

                      This seems to suggest that Mallard as Speaker (and thus his role in respect of Parliamentary Services) has been involved for quite some time.

                      I will butt out now, but thought you might be interested if you missed yesterday's QT. I suspect there will be more today …

                      Cheers

                      Oops links

                      Hansard Transcript – https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20190910_20190910_04

                      Video

                      https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20190910_20190910_04

                    • lprent

                      Interesting.

                      I'd guess that someone has referred the articles and information to Parliamentary Services and something has been done about it. Probably after the newspaper reports in August.

                      It may even be that a complaint may have been laid with Parliamentary Services. I can't remember when the statement by Mallard was about a lack of complaint – but I thought it was weeks ago.

                      That probably relates to the 5 weeks at home by the person in question.

                      But there is a pretty strong rule about (with good reason) about parliamentarians not being in an employment relationship with their staff and that is the role of parliamentary services. It doesn’t take a lot of work to dig into the archives to find instances of bullying and abuse by MPs.

                      But that is the correct approach for bullying in situations related to employment related behaviour issues – the employing organisation. The trick after that is to follow the process rigorously and make damn sure that you have support and a timely written and preferably signed by all parties record.

      • Louis 12.1.2

        +1 ianmac

  13. Peter 13

    For some it seems a prime requirement to be head of the Labour Party is to have a hanging rope which is automatically used on anyone accused of anything. Failure to implement the action instantly should entail resignation. Those thinking like that will never change their minds.

    I think we are in insane period of our political history. The affront and aggrievement National and their supporters feel for not being elected is at a festering, resentful, desperate stage. The bitterness coming from that would normally be a spectacle the rational could put into context and appreciate for the circus it is. Instead it has became the wallpaper, we wouldn't know what to do without it.

    • greywarshark 13.1

      The Conservatives/Right have come to feel a sense of entitlement as the left has fallen before them with neo lib, free market taking over, unions under pressure, Communism beaten – the world is theirs. But what's this, the NZ Labour Party sneakily getting elected making a stand about something – ridiculous. What stone did they crawl out from under? The British Labour Party thinking they can run the country better, ditto.

  14. bwaghorn 14

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/business/115638935/save-the-subbies-rogernomics-left-the-little-guys-defenceless

    Common you labour fallas ,you're meant to be here for the working man !!!

    Easy pickings I reckon

    • Dukeofurl 14.1

      They arent self employed contractors for these big projects, mostly larger businesses them selves with from dozens to 100s employees.

      Little one man bands cant wait 3 months to be paid and later for retentions.

  15. xanthe 15

    I am really incensed at the continued use of the term : "synthetic cannabis" in the news media.

    ": something resulting from synthesis rather than occurring naturally especially : a product (such as a drug or plastic) of chemical synthesis "

    there is no relationship claimed or shown between this "synthetic cannabis" and the active ingredients in natural cannabis. This relationship would be essential if any drug were to be described as "synthetic cannabis" THESE DRUGS ARE NOT "synthetic cannabis"

    furthermore in tvnz news frequent reference is made to "this drug" there is no claim or evidence to suggest that we are dealing with a single identifiable chemical (which quite possibly there IS that is causing these deaths)… what is it?

    This is sloppy reportage and given the proximity to a referendum on real cannabis a scientifically and factually misleading headline linking "synthetic cannabis" and deaths is either ignorant or dishonest.

  16. joe90 16

    nice

    /

    • Chris T 16.1

      No idea who either of them are, but the taller geezer could be a Jimmy Page party looky likey if he ever wanted to changed gigs.

  17. Fireblade 17

    Paula Bennett must be as happy as a pig rolling in shit.

    Read her twitter posts and comments. Political point scoring is her priority.

    https://www.twitter.com/paulabennettmp?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    • Fireblade 17.1

      Paula Bennett is acting like the nations counsellor, media consultant, judge, jury and executioner.

      We obviously no longer need a criminal justice system, just let Paula do it all (sarc).

    • Chris T 17.2

      Probably is, but then the Labour Party shouldn't have stuffed up…..again over sexual assault.

  18. Sacha 18

    Party Pres doubles down: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12266343

    An open letter to Ardern has emerged calling for Haworth to resign, but he told reporters this morning that he was confident he had handled the process "professionally".

    He batted away further questions, refusing to say when he was first told about sexual assault claims.

    "I am making no comment on the current processes. I am bound by confidentiality.

    "I am not resigning. I am going to look at my situation as the process develops. If I have been found at fault, I will consider my position."

    The 19-year-old complainant told The Spinoff that she had told Haworth of her claims of sexual assault during a meeting in a private room at Wellington Central Library, and then told the party's investigating panel both verbally and via email.

    But Haworth rejected that.

    "The serious allegation of a sexual assault, outlined in The Spinoff article and in other media, was not provided to the president and acting general secretary at a meeting in the Wellington Central Library or subsequently to the Labour Party Investigation Panel," he said in a statement this afternoon.

  19. Marcus Morris 19

    It seems to me that all is speculation until we get the report from the Q.C. – which must be made public.

    Paula Bennett is taking "attack politics" to new depths and she is working straight out of the Crosby Textor manual. If the report from the Q.C. shows that the actions taken by all those involved were entirely appropriate then Bennett will end up with "egg all over her face". That would be a most satisfactory outcome.

    • Anne 19.1

      If Paula Bennett's attacks on individual Labour personnel turn out to be false then she is the one who should resign.

      I also think a clear separation should be made between the young woman who was sexually assaulted and the other complainants. As far as I can ascertain their claims were about workplace bullying which is a matter for Parliamentary Services not the Police. I also suspect they are being manipulated by Paula Bennett and co. for political gain and that doesn't make me feel too sympathetic towards them. They should know better.

      • Climaction 19.1.1

        so you want to isolate the victim of a sexual assault from her peers, and what appears to be her support network in this case?

        Im not sure what school of victim support you came from Anne, but those actions lead to silencing and the enabling of rape culture. It sends a clear signal to others in the structure that behaviour like that alleged will be isolated to make it easier to make it disappear.

        [lprent: She didn’t say that – she expressed concern that Paula Bennett was involved. Which is pretty reasonable considering that Paula Bennett has some pretty good motives for attacking the Labour Party and a track record of apparently leaking sexual allegations to the media for her own political purposes in the Jamie-Lee Ross breakdown last year. That is what I assume that was the ‘support network’ you were referring to.

        If you wish to directly lie about what other people have said then I suggest you return to a place like Kiwiblog where that is expected behaviour. ].

        • Anne 19.1.1.1

          Thanks lprent.

          Climaction serves to confirm how dirty the Nats play this seedy game. I was pointing out that the victim of alleged sexual assault – for whom I have much sympathy and compassion – comes under a different and more serious category than what appear to be the complaints of the others.

  20. Another person (male) has gone to media, corroborating what others have claimed, and claiming the accused man took a swing at him when he confronted him over his treatment of women, and claims a separate physical assault.

    Labour assault investigation retraumatised victims – witness

    A man who says he was assaulted by a Labour Party staffer would like to meet with Jacinda Ardern to discuss the party's handling of claims of sexual abuse and assault.

    The Prime Minister has refused…

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018712678/labour-assault-investigation-retraumatised-victims-witness

    This is a problem that doesn't look like going away for Ardern and Labour. Waiting weeks for the outcome of the QC inquiry to be completed may be too little, too late to avert or stem irreparable damage.

    RNZ also gave credence to the open letter.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018712686/ardern-urged-by-labour-members-to-act-on-assault-complaints

    As did One News.

    It comes after an open letter sent by some of the alleged victims of a Labour Party staffer asked for the Prime Minister to "do the right thing".

    Also:

    A complaint has been made to Parliamentary Service against the person at the centre of the Labour Party staffer allegations.

    It was made by a person who does not work at Parliament, meaning Parliamentary Service cannot act on it.

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/complaint-made-parliamentary-service-against-labour-staffer

    • Chris T 20.1

      They have said the inquiry is 4 weeks.

      Which by pure co-incidence is smack bang in the middle of recess.

      Who would have thought?

    • This may or may not be a different complainant again but the claims are a little different to what was said on RNZ.

      Former Labour party volunteer says he raised allegations with party president Nigel Haworth

      But one of the 12 complainants told Stuff he directly raised the matter with the investigating panel in March this year.

      He has provided Stuff with an email he sent to Haworth in May which refers directly to "this investigation …which involved elements of predatory behaviour, sexual violence and physical violence."

      And the man says he spoke about it in a two-hour meeting with Haworth in early July.

      Haworth has been approached for comment but has not replied.

      "I definitely had those conversations with him and there is an email proving it," the complainant told Stuff.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/115693354/former-labour-party-volunteer-says-he-raised-allegations-with-party-president-nigel-haworth

      [lprent: A email printed from the senders computer that may or may not have been sent simply isn’t ‘proving it’. It is an allegation. You’d have to be an fool to believe to think that it constitutes proof. I believe that there was a denial of receiving it? ]

  21. Ian 21

    Good frost this morning,and soil temperature 8 degrees and the soil is at field capacity as measured by the neutron probes. Average cover of 2165 as measured by the Satelites and supply should meet demand on the 27 th of September .It's been a lovely day and I planted some natives down the swamp . This current wave of madness will pass,and common sense will prevail.Looking forward to going whitebaiting tommorrow.

    • millsy 21.1

      How much extra money do you get from fouling our waterways?

      • Ian 21.1.1

        Seagulls are fouling the Kakanui and Ashburton rivers making them unsafe for swimming due to E. Coli contamination I don't foul any rivers.

        • weka 21.1.1.1

          "While the birds were generating more than 50 per cent of ecoli in the river, it was still important to reduce other known sources, like livestock, he said."

          https://www.guardianonline.co.nz/news/official-birds-blame/

          I'd also be wondering if low river flows are an issue, and deforestation or other landscape alterations. It's rarely none thing.

          • Ian 21.1.1.1.1

            Low river flows due to low rainfall cause all sorts of problems. Look at how the Selwyn river has rejuvenated over the last 2 years , after some decent rain.The farmers that stopped pumping from deep bores and now use CPI water have also helped restore river flows and groundwater levels in that area.

            Canterbury was deforested by Maori moa hunters many hundreds of years ago.I often wonder what our natural landscape looked like pre-Maorideforestation.

            • greywarshark 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Reverting back to what the moahunters dun lots and lots of years ago, and then trying to put a gloss of an educated modern viewpoint to your comment is a sort of oxymoron or something.

              Just try and stay in the now Ian, it is obvious from reading your comments that you have trouble understanding present and near future problems and those of even 2030 are going to be required reading for you to catch up.

  22. cleangreen 23

    Hi Ian.

    Yes if you drive a vehicle in NZ you will be fouling our rivers from road contaminants emitted from vehicles.

    Many types of contaminants including ‘micro plastics’ in the form of ‘tyre dust’ are killing all our invertebrates which are the life of our waterways.

    Click to access stormwater-emission-factors.pdf

    • Ian 23.1

      I do get out on the road occasionally and have often wondered where all the tyre tread, brake and clutch linings end up. Having road frontage on a busy state highway probably means that my farm is being contaminated as I type. We should be planting riparian strips along roads to protect our land from all this shit. Those Ev's powered by slave labour are not exempt either.

      I can feel a taxpayer funded subsidy coming on.

      • greywarshark 23.1.1

        You bring up valid points Ian. Don't spoil your effort by reverting to an attempt at RW cynicism which you are probably thinking is political satire.

  23. Eco maori 24

    Kia Ora The Am Show.

    Great win Mana Wahine.

    The British scientist finding water and a atmosphere on planet k2.18b that could be habitatable is cool . I agree we have to look after this planet first don't stuff up your own back yard.

    Chris this whole situation with our governments staff issues is man made many un answers question around this the right wing people are very maliptive they will do any thing to win.

    I think it's is a great day when we are finally going to be teaching our OWN history of Aotearoa to our tamariki.

    I just hope it is factual and not used as a tool to make Tangata Whenua O Aotearoa look bad. We are one of the few indigenous cultures to be colonised and still have Mana and some Whenua left thanks to our TIPUNA. A lot of other indigenous cultures look to Maori as a Mounga for their fight for Equality.

    I say it needs to be taught The truth about the World War 2 holocaust. Mrs Goldstein evey one should learn to respect other cultures just because some are different doesn't give anyone a reason to disrespect anyone. That is one reason WHY Eco Maori is discussed with the Altb Right who impower the HATERS to try and win votes.

    NO to air nz Trade marking Kia Ora Te reo is Tangata Whenua O Aotearoa taonga and I think it stinks that a business is trying to get exclusive rights to Kia Ora. I say it OK to use Te reo and Haka but to try and steal it in front of OUR Eyes is a insult there are links to this issue.
    TV 3 I thought it was Te Reo Week one day of support doesn’t cut it in Eco Maori View
    Ka kite Ano

  24. Eco maori 25

    Eco Maori champions this thinking.

    Its is going to be a lot less expensive investing a Trillions now than risk OUR WHOLE SOCIETIES to collapse that is were the direction that the carbon pro people are trying to take US

    World 'gravely' unprepared for effects of climate crisis – report

    Trillions of dollars needed to avoid ‘climate apartheid’ but this is less than cost of inaction

    Damian Carrington Environment editor

    @dpcarrington

    A tree burns after a wildfire in Bolivia

    The world’s readiness for the inevitable effects of the climate crisis is “gravely insufficient”, according to a report from global leaders.

    This lack of preparedness will result in poverty, water shortages and levels of migration soaring, with an “irrefutable toll on human life”, the report warns.

    Trillion-dollar investment is needed to avert “climate apartheid”, where the rich escape the effects and the poor do not, but this investment is far smaller than the eventual cost of doing nothing.

    The study says the greatest obstacle is not money but a lack of “political leadership that shakes people out of their collective slumber”. A “revolution” is needed in how the dangers of global heating are understood and planned for, and solutions are funded.

    How global heating is causing more extreme weather

    The report has been produced by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), convened by 18 nations including the UK. It has contributions from the former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, the Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, environment ministers from China, India and Canada, the heads of the World Bank and the UN climate and environment divisions, and others

    Ka kite Ano link below.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/10/climate-crisis-world-readiness-effects-gravely-insufficient-report

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