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Open mike 10/12/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 10th, 2020 - 73 comments
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73 comments on “Open mike 10/12/2020 ”

  1. vto 1

    I complained bitterly at the time about the fact that "health & safety" stopped people being rescued from the rubble after the Chch earthquake. People died because of it. Nobody was found alive after about 24 hours – compare that to so very many other earthquakes around the world where people are found days later… The hand-wringing crowd caused extra deaths.

    It happened with Whakaari White Island too,

    And now it is clear that is also happened during the Chrstchurch mosque attacks. Appalling. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-shooting/300179435/terror-attack-victims-bled-to-death-inside-police-cordon .

    It is a disgrace and the government needs to get on top of this issue – it is causing unnecessary deaths. It will happen again – you watch. And if you find yourself in one of these situations, what are you going to do? Ignore the hand-wringers and save a life, at risk of later prosecution? Or comply with the stupid laws here and watch someone bleed to death (mosque), burn to death (whakaari), or be slowly squashed to death (Chch eq).

    • Ad 1.1

      Every moral person wants to do magnanimous stuff. But if they are employed by someone, they and their magnanimity are constrained by the person who they work for. That's a PCBU.

      A PCBU is a 'person conducting a business or undertaking'. The PCBU has the primary duty of care – the primary responsibility for people's health and safety at work.

      So the morality of heroism is lovely. But the morality of sending an employee into harm's way is now backed up by strong law. Ask any manager or Board member whether they lose sleep before a risky operation.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        Yeah, search and rescue should be cancelled until it is clear that no employee will even just hurt a toe.

        Generally speaking, no member of any boards will ever loose their sleep over anything other then their income, their shares, theirs standing and in the words of Colin Powell, if i can't sleep i take Ambien – everyone takes Ambien.


        Powell's Chemical Equation

        Powell described his killer schedule in an interview Thursday with Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, a reporter for a London-based Saudi newspaper.

        "So do you use sleeping tablets to organize yourself?" Al-Rashed asked.

        "Yes. Well, I wouldn't call them that," Powell said. "They're a wonderful medication — not medication. How would you call it? They're called Ambien, which is very good. You don't use Ambien? Everybody here uses Ambien."

        Fact is that search and rescue is dangerous under many situations, but the people working search and rescue generally don't mind the risk. IF they wanted a risk free job they could have become an accountant or join politics, where no one ever is accuses of taking risks, or saving lives.

      • vto 1.1.2

        Yes Ad I know what a PCBU is – I am one myself.

        You miss the whole point, and download the expected hand-wringing Wellington bureaucrat response – I was expecting it. Well done. And that's it – you are one of those people ok with watching people get squashed, burned, or bleed to death. Poorly you.

        The laws need changing. Changing so that people can go in and rescue if they wish and at their own risk. The employers and PCBU's need to fuck off in such situations – they are clearly totally incompetent in these situations, as is now amply proved – pike river, chch eq, mosque attack, whakaari – how much mroe evidence do we need that the current settings are deadly?

        Deadly Ad

        • RedLogix

          And then you get 'shit happens' like this.

          • vto

            Sure, sometimes rescuers get lost themselves. That is part of it. My point still stands though – employers and PCBU's are not appropriate to be leading these situations. Neither are Police (earthquake, Pike River, mosque).

            I think this whole area needs close examination and a re-working so that people can attempt rescues in situations which are considerably more risky than a "normal place of work", which these are most definitely not.

            There is a massive hole at the moment, and people have died in New Zealand as a result – in the earthquake, at Pike River, at Whakaari and at the Mosques.

            As I said above – how much more evidence do we need that the current settings are failing people's lives??

            • RedLogix

              Mostly I agree with you, just forever pushing the legislative environment toward avoiding risk is a bad long term strategy. Sometimes risk is necessary, even when it entails a high price on the day.

              But I suspect legislation is going to struggle if it attempts a legalistic prescription of 'where, when and how' rescue services should be allowed to act on a case by case basis. The risks are simply too specific and unique to every case.

              On the other hand there is I think room for PCBU's to have access to a defense of 'considered and good faith effort' in conducting rescue operations in the event it all turns to custard.

            • weka

              It's also a societal values thing. I tend to your view, and I'm not sure what the answer is, other than to raise the issues and talk them through without that conversation being blocked.

              Am curious how other countries manage the balance, and if part of the issue in NZ is that we just don't have that many emergencies. Would be interesting to compare situations like Whakaari and the Chch mosques, with situations where we do have a lot of experience eg land and sea search and rescue.

      • weka 1.1.3

        People on the ground will tell you that there are organisational problems (as in disorganisation), not simply H/S ones.

        • greywarshark

          People on the ground will tell you that there are organisational problems (as in disorganisation), not simply H/S ones.

          Which just indicates that the present systems are not fit for purpose. vto points are spot on.

          • weka

            I think that's going a bit far. The systems do what they are designed to do: rescue people without putting workers and public at undue risk. Vto's points are valid, but I think it's more about where the balance should be. Also if the balance is shifted to saving more lives, how will workers be protected in that situation who don't want to risk their own lives further? It's one thing for people to voluntarily go into such a situation, it's another where livelihood, peer pressure, responsibility to colleagues etc is a factor.

            • greywarshark

              It's one thing for people to voluntarily go into such a situation, it's another where livelihood, peer pressure, responsibility to colleagues etc is a factor.

              People can be given options to refuse. There just has to be a will to make different policy. NZs are often doing risky things; some people will come forward who can handle the difficulties, are trustworthy, and want to give it a try. We aren't soft people or made up entirely of those who will stand around and emote when they could usefully do something.

              • weka

                you might be underestimating the pressure on people from macho culture. eg two people in a chopper, emergency happens, pilot wants to go, passenger doesn't. Pilot is passenger's boss. Not hard to see the unspoken pressures there.

    • Janice 1.2

      You didn't mention Pike River. The accredited mine rescue crew were in all their gear ready to go in when they were stopped. Might have been a different outcome.

      • vto 1.2.1

        Of course, Pike River, that very lamentable ode to everything governmental-regulation – neoliberal and hand-wringing

    • Treetop 1.3

      It is one thing being at the incident scene when it happens and another entering the incident scene. Entering the incident scene there is a chain of command. The chain of command can be tightened up to not delay a rescue. Resources and personal need to be deployed and NZ has limitations with this.

      I watched most of Whakaari on TV 1 last night and the doctor and a senior paramedic arrived on Whakaari without gas masks for their own use. Without the gas masks they may of needed rescuing themselves. It was one of the private helicopter piolits who was first at the incident scene who provided the gas masks as he was at the right place at the right time.

    • McFlock 1.4

      There are basically 4 main events in recent history where that has happened:

      • Pike river
      • ChCh earthquake
      • Gunman
      • Whakaari

      Only one of those involved the experts being overruled by a scene supervisor who was much less qualified than the people wanting to go in – Pike river. The mines rescue personnel knew there was a window to go in before gas could mix to form another explosion.

      The other three involved unknown risks that could not be reasonably assessed based on the information at the time: would there be a bigger eruption, a bigger earthquake, another gunman/ied.

      An old but relevant saying is "fools rush in where angels fear to tread".

      • Treetop 1.4.1

        Is it the SAS "Who dares wins?"

        • McFlock

          Yeah but they're not stupid about it. And (this being the important bit) they're trained to assess and mitigate specific risks. Like the Mines Rescue folk.

          Similarly, we have trained life guards who can rescue swimmers safely, rather than the occasional person who drowns while trying to save someone else.

          Twenty or thirty years ago, the first rule taught in first aid if you came across a scene was to assess your own safety first. If you get into trouble, now you have to be rescued (or recovered), too. And then when one person runs in without thinking, other people run in, and it's all uncoordinated and shit can go badly wrong there, too.

          Folk wanting to fly helicopters into a volcano were the same folk who were doing helicopter tours of the vocano before it went boom. They could not assess the risk accurately. Jim wants to run into a charnel house before it's confirmed that there are no more active shooters? Is Jim trained to deal with that situation if another arsehole is there, or will he just be another victim to triage? People wanting to clamber over unstable rubble to rescue others – could they do it without further endangering themselves or survivors in the rubble, or did they have little idea about how to go about it?

          Pike River seems to be an issue of a risk-averse scene commander not appreciating the expertise of the people who wanted to go in. Not the best call, but better than letting have-a-go heroes run in and get their arses blown up.

          • greywarshark

            A blanket no seems to be the approach. Keep those people to the side and get them to sort out who has knowledge and who has gear and so on. Then have a combined discussion about what the situation is and everyone shut up and listen and look at a plan/whiteboard with basic info and map, and strike a plan then. No rushing in, no ignoring suitable helpers.

            That last sentence is just an assumption on your part. People who would risk their loves to go in could have some mechanical support, but sign a waiver. If they did get their arses blown off the families would know they did everything they could and that it was always possible that the risk had not been assessed right. I wouldn't do it of course as I would not have the knowledge or the fitness, but police and authorities could work with willing people and utilise them where possible.

            • McFlock

              Willing doesn't count for a damned thing.

              What does the waiver say – "if I'm stranded, don't come save me"? What does the waiver say if someone rushing in actually does something to make the problem worse because they had no idea what they were doing? Not just endangering the people they were trying to save, but say destabilising the structure even further, or blocking the remaining landing site with their own helicopter wreck?

              And it sucks, but letting people go in and die after their loved ones is just worse for the remaining loved ones.

              I prefer society to err on the side of safety, myself.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    feeling slightly philosophical this morning and thinking about NZers and the remarkable resilience of deep cultural trends that hibernate deep in the warp and weft of the national sub conscious.

    There is a famous apocryphal story from WW2 where Bernard Montgomery was visiting 2nd NZ Division with Bernard Freyberg and complained that NZ soldiers didn't salute as they drove past "Ah," said Freyberg, "But if you wave, they'll wave back." In other words, we are basically of an empirically sunny disposition and quite friendly if you are nice.

    Compared to English or US nationalism NZers are not demonstratively nationalistic. Most of us don't know the Maori version of the national anthem, which sounds bad until you consider nobody knows the English version either.

    But when we were asked nicely, we put our countries needs ahead of our own immediate convenience in a way that the frankly degenerate behaviour of the nationalists in the UK and USA did not. We should all be a little bit proud of ourselves as 2020 draws to an end.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Like many good things, loyalty to one's country is a good thing within the bounds of a sane moderation.

      • Grafton Gully 2.1.1

        I think loyalty to one's class is more important. Class conflict politically is much less boring than the grey present. If only our working class would unite and support a political party worth opposing !!!!! By the way, do we still have a working class ?

        • RedLogix

          A good question? Here is one for you … do we really want a 'working class'?

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            … do we really want a 'working class'?

            Who's "we"?

            • RedLogix

              What is 'working class'?

              And if we reduced inequality to a some arbitrarily tolerable level, would it still exist?

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                I don't know the answer to your first question, so can't answer your second.

                And so I'll ask again – who's "we"? If you don't know either then that's fine.

              • RedLogix

                This trouble you are having with this word 'we', does seem a tad selective. A quick scan shows other instances of people using it in this very thread without provoking this level of concern. For example right above Sanctuary says:

                But when we were asked nicely

                Did you have the same trouble here? Or is it just when I use the word?

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  I was curious to know who "we" represented in your question:

                  Here is one for you … do we really want a 'working class'?

                  You seem fond of 'answering' a (simple?) question with more questions, but no worries – your responses have satisfied my curiosity.

    • McFlock 2.2

      Someone on twitter was talking about the "patriots" meeting that got cancelled by the venue this week – calling themselves "patriots" shows their ideological roots as being a bit more American than NZ. Irony.

  3. Treetop 3

    I have been contrasting what little I know about employment law and what I know about a mental injury that ACC covers.

    A person is harassed at work and they win their case and recieve a payment for psychological distress. A person does not have a physical injury and they were caught up in a terrorist attack and have psychological distress they get nothing other than offered counselling through the mental health system if it is rolled out in your area.

    There is something very amiss when it comes to the 1961 Crimes Act being used by ACC to determine cover for a non physical mental injury. Crimes of organisational failure are not included, neither is a terrorist attack or an SIS cover up.

    I would argue that the brain is as physical as the rest of the body and should not be excluded from cover.

    • Janet 3.1

      Niether is chemical poisoning if there is no phyiscal injury obvious.

      • Treetop 3.1.1

        I had a relative who took ACC to court over a chemical poisoning case. Causation had to be proved. What chemical test ACC accepted for causation was not stated by ACC.

        It would be 30 years ago, firefighters and Dr Matt Tizard and Eva.

        Yet people are covered for asbestos 30 years after exposure.

        • greywarshark

          Cleangreen had a lot to say about his ill health relating to chemical poisoning. Havenn't heard from him lately. He may have given himself a break after putting so much thought and time into the two things – chemicals and freight trains where needed.

        • NOEL

          Mr Tizard.

          • Treetop

            Why cannot Dr be used?

            • NOEL

              Found guilty of professional misconduct. Struck off.

              • Treetop

                I knew that and the misconduct by the Medical Council for not treating people who were poisoned they got off.

                I think it was for Tizard's naturopathic treatment. Vitamin C infusions.

                • NOEL

                  Not quite.

                  "Tizard the medical practitioner was found guilty of disgraceful conduct in respect of his diagnosis or management of seven patients"

    • Chris 3.2

      Yes, and all of these clear anomalies were never intended and would never have arisen if the nats hadn't won the election in 1975. Successive Labour governments have at no time made any effort whatsoever to fix this monumental fuck-up. This government will be no different.

      • Treetop 3.2.1

        Yes a monumental f up re ACC. It really went pear shaped in 1992 under National. Labour did a bit of a fix up in 2001. Major reform required in 2021 for mental injury without a physical cause.

        Cooper Law has 1100 settlements and 1400 pending.

        How many people eligible for ACC, a mental injury have not applied?

        The ineligible cases who would have been eligible under the 1982 ACC Act is disturbing.

        • Chris

          The point that needs to pushed is that the ACC scheme was never meant to restrict itself to injury caused by accident, but was also to include sickness and disability. The first set of recommendations from the Woodhouse Report were introduced by way of the 1972 Act, and provisions dealing with sickness and disability were meant to follow soon after. Labour lost the 1975 election so the latter didn't happen. Now we're stuck with the ridiculous situation where ACC is turning down thousands of claims a year saying the injury wasn't caused by an accident. If the recommendations of the Woodhouse Report had been implemented, as the government back then said they would be, we wouldn't be in this mess.

          This is the pivotal issue that represents all that is wrong with the ACC scheme as it currently stands. When this was put to him as minister Lees-Galloway refused to acknowledge there was a problem. If his gutlessness is any indication of the current government's position then they too won't have the balls to do anything about it. It's the elephant in the room when problems with the fuck-up that is ACC are raised.

          Susan St John and others have written a lot about this. Here's a brief article of hers on the topic but there's a lot more detailed historical analysis around. It’s the history of the scheme that’s likely to be most powerful in terms of the change needed.


  4. Stuart Munro 4

    If health and safety ever took a trip on a deep sea fishing boat their brains would explode. Yet most of us survive uninjured.

  5. greywarshark 5


    I'm a little unsettled myself reading this contradictory item from some two-faced money manager.

    The pandemic has exposed the perils of playing the stock market, leaving some KiwiSavers the poorer.
    ASB's latest report on its KiwiSaver funds indicates sharemarket volatility has got the better of some of its customers this year, with 6 percent switching to lower risk cash and conservative funds in March as Covid-19 saw sharemarkets plunge.

    Senior bank economist Chris Tennent-Brown said many of those investors missed out on the rapid recovery that occurred from April onwards.

    The background to the KiwiSaver investments is to ensure safety, invest wisely, and with an eye to the long term. As I understand it, and how I think it should be. Economists who think like my favourite cartoon investment advisor Alex who always knows the angles to better himself, can just stay schtum. KiwiSaver should stick to its knitting.


    If KiwiSaver investment firms changed their holdings as a result of Covid expectations, that is not 'playing the stock market' to get the best immediate return. That quoted sentence is totally at odds with the type of fund that Kiwi Saver is. And that commenter should just stick to 'The wise old owl' rhyme which finishes with saying that the less he spoke the more he heard.’ Good advice.

  6. mac1 6

    Here is an example of why the canard that National voters tactically voted for Labour to be rid of Green influence needs to be destroyed.

    This is a quote from outgoing energy spokesman for National, Jonathan Young, in an interview in late October in Energy News.

    "With Labour likely to maintain some form of relationship with the Green Party, Young is worried what this might mean.

    But he also has hope that Labour will recognise that landslide was partly driven by strategic voters from other parties who were worried about the influence of the Greens in government – and this might make the incoming government less aligned to the Greens and more pragmatic in its approach."

    This canard should be disposed of by the very recent poll, but the Young quotation shows the importance that belief in the tactical tory vote has for them- instead of accepting that the National vote went way down, and part of the reason might be that National's energy policy was not acceptable along with many other tired and outdated beliefs.

    • xanthe 6.1

      absolutely…. destroy this truth before it takes hold!

      • mac1 6.1.1

        Xanthe, I'm afraid I'd need to hear you say what you wrote to distinguish whether there is cynicism, sarcasm, irony or 'trutherism' there.

  7. greywarshark 7


    The campaign is pushing for Pharmac to bring the drug Stelara into the country. That drug could potentially stop people from having to go through invasive surgery.

    “If we could prevent that, that would be amazing.”

    This is a good idea. Those of us who tend towards incontinency will have some idea of the difficulties.

  8. greywarshark 8

    Is this George W. Bush on Trump? Hallelujah!

  9. RosieLee 9

    Why is everybody sucking up to Peter Jackson? What is he offering long term for NZ? He’s a user and we are so gullible.

  10. greywarshark 10

    Sounds like all Burton's hopes are in ashes! I don't believe this statement.

    The changes are aimed at improving the quality of waterways and include new rules for winter grazing, nitrogen pollution and farm intensification.

    The desktop report, requested by the council, notes dairy farming takes place on nearly a third of the district's agricultural land and would be the hardest hit financially.

    "The regulations will challenge existing farming systems with a number of established farm practices needing to change, and new technology and innovation adoption will be required."
    It conservatively estimated that farm profitability would collectively decline more than $57 million, while farm expenditure would fall by about $140 million.

    Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown said that to drop nitrate levels in lowland streams in the required timeframe, farmers would have to have fewer animals.
    "They will have to reduce their stocking rates on their farms to meet the requirements and that will lower the net profitability of the farm."

    • WeTheBleeple 10.1

      Sounds a bit hyped up to me. The problem is nitrogen in the waterways. How would one reduce this?

      Reduce cows.
      Reduce nitrogenous fertilisers.
      Increase soil water infiltration.
      Riparian planting.

      One mad idea I had was to 'toilet train' cows. There is a phenomenon that cows will piss and shit more when their feet are in water. So obviously, we'd prefer they're not in the streams. Anyway…

      They congregate at the shed so the trick might be to design the shed in such a manner they stand in water. Maybe standing in the yard pre-milking, but they're packed in so it'd get messy with cows defecating on each other. As they're actually milking would also work, but then it's the farmer copping more shit.

      But if you can direct more of the shit and piss to one place you can manage it better to reduce pollution (solid screening – > composting (solids) and biodigestion – > feed production via azolla – > wetlands).

      Then the piss and shit delivers: biogas, compost, feed, water storage, aquaculture, biodiversity and drought resistance.

      • Robert Guyton 10.1.1

        That's good thinking, WTB.

      • weka 10.1.2

        Dunno about that. Isn't that a solution to overstocking and wouldn't it be better to just stop overstocking?

        • Shanreagh

          Got it in one!

          and another

          do not dairy on land inherently unsuitable for dairying

        • WeTheBleeple

          That seems a bit paranoid. In that manner one could also claim riparian planting is a solution to overstocking. Or anything that brings down levels of N in our waterways.

          The problem is shit in the rivers and Farmer's justifiable fear of losing income. I clearly outlined how to reduce pollution using tried and true appropriate tech including: composting, biodigestion, aquaculture to polish water, and wetlands for detoxification processes. This all works with/without cows in standing water. It also provides opportunity and useful products.

          To maintain profits with lower numbers of beasts production per beast needs to be higher, or overheads lower, or alternate income/inputs realised. Bottom line is to show farmers a respectable/comparable bottom line without having to jack up number of beasts or inputs.

          It surprises me you'd see a composting system as a problem. Am I simply wasting my time.

  11. greywarshark 11

    Also I think farmers have found that they can run less cows and make more money. Sounds magical to me, but a combination of factors seem to keep up the profitability overall I think.

    • weka 11.1

      Regenag people say they can make more money from less stock because their inputs costs are way less than conventional farming. Hope that is true.

      • Shanreagh 11.1.1

        We need to be encouraging regenag to see. Even if just one paddock on every farm, farm working groups to support etc, linking it into the cycles used for the rest of the farm.

        $$$$$ chasing can be the cause of higher than needed inputs of fertiliser, over use of antibiotics etc.

  12. Phillip ure 12

    'sitting in the (afternoon) sun..

    watching the waves rolling in..'

    • weka 12.1

      not a bad idea.

      • Phillip ure 12.1.1

        ..that's my reality for the next little while..

        ..life's like that when you have a tiny home on wheels..

        ..you get to experience all that's on offer…

        ..life as a modern-day nomad..

        ..it has much to offer..

        ..some say it all went pear-shaped when we stopped being nomads..

        ..and started putting up fences and claiming ownership..

        • weka

          Didn't know you were doing that, nice one.

        • greywarshark

          I've been reading about the gypsy people. They were tight-knit and had a good life with good values. I think it would be well worth people finding a set of values and sticking by the best of them, instead of just doing whatever is done on tv. They designed their own vardos (vans) and their own designs and were happy.

          Good book by Eva Petulengro – The Girl in the Painted Caravan

          https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9745656-the-girl-in-the-painted-caravan Eva Petulengro was born to a romany mother, and a gorger father. She spent her childhood living in her granmother's old vardo travelling as often as her mom ..

          Born into a Romany Gypsy Family in 1939, Eva Petulengro's childhood seemed to her to be idyllic in every way. She would travel the country with her family in their painted caravan and spend evenings by the fire as they sang and told stories of their past. She didn't go to school or visit a doctor when she was unwell. Instead her family would gather wild herbs to make traditional remedies, hunt game and rabbits for food, and while the men tended horses to make a living, the young girls would join the women in reading palms. But in the post-war era, Eva's perfect world would be turned upside down…

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