Open mike 10/09/2014

Written By: - Date published: 6:51 am, September 10th, 2014 - 301 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeOpen 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 …

301 comments on “Open mike 10/09/2014 ”

  1. dv 1

    Current debt


    • Tracey 1.1

      Oh THAT little thing…

      Apparently today low income could be getting 1500 a year from Key in 2017. No promises mind and no articles about Key fumbling around over figures and pluckinh them from thin air

      • greywarbler 1.1.1

        RWNJs always sneer and laugh at the mention of a living wage of about $18 and say why not $30 or more an hour as if suggesting any rise is like an irresponsible child wanting more and knowing no limits.

        So now they offer the same thinking for lower tax, same airy fairy playing with needs, hopes and expectations with no attempt to seriously consider or cost it.

        • Murray Olsen

          ANy RWNJs who employ people are welcome to pay $30/hour. Sadly, I think most of the ones who spout garbage on blogs are themselves employees who have bought into the asprishnull dreem. They think if they say the right things, they’ll get a ride in the Merc.

      • dv 1.1.2

        So Key has promised $1.5 billion in tax cuts
        1m households (guess) x 1500

        • Tracey

          Not promised, dangled like a carrot… So he can later say it was never in stone…

          • dv

            But the amount Key said was 500m

            20 secs of reflection and a quick rough calc shows that the cost is THREE times his value!!!!!

            Don’t they have a calculator?

            • RedBaronCV

              Didn’t pass National standards, can’t count and none of them can read “dirty politics”.

    • Nic the NZer 1.2

      Before posting any further hyperbolic debt concern please read and engage with the following real world example. This shows that as long as NZ continues to operate a central bank the national debt remains a non issue.

      • dv 1.2.1

        Thanks for the link.
        One point NZ is a very small economy cf to Japan.
        The economy in Japan is much more diverse.
        The interest rates in Japan are very small – deposits 0% and mortgage under 1%

        Who owns our debt?
        It seems to me that he who owns the debt controls.

        I guess I just don’t feel comfortable paying in the order of 3b a year (currently) in interest.

        • Nic the NZer

          “The interest rates in Japan are very small – deposits 0% and mortgage under 1%.”

          Well since apparently you don’t know, interest rates are effectively set by the central bank. If the RBNZ wants interest rates at or near those levels it can achieve them. Thats the same thing as controlling the official cash rate in NZ. The linked discussion actually explained this point.

          “Who owns our debt? It seems to me that he who owns the debt controls.”

          The discussion on that link also touched on this. The central bank of Japan is currently reducing the govts debt levels by buying up govt debt while setting the interest rate it wants. Potential debt buyers have a simple choice, lend to the govt at the interest rate controlled by the central bank or sit on their cash and receive no interest. Clearly they control diddly squat.

          I was hoping to avoid going through a rather tired discussion of these points when I suggested you engage with that material. Unfortunately the only new area raised (the relative size of the Japenese and NZ economies) elicits no reason to think this would be a problem either.

          It remains clear when operating a central bank govt debt remains a non issue based on the points you raised here and this real world example.

  2. Tracey 2

    I think K DotCom is right. Our PM could be videoed shooting and killing kittens and it wouldn’t make a difference.

    The thing that bothers me is that it is probably inevitable that someone on the left will take money (if anyone would offer it) to replicate Slater and Farrar et al’s tactics because it is seen to “work”. The idea that Slater and Farrar or Hooton know that Labour is doing it but have held back releasing proof is laughable. I am just surprised none of them (Slater) have made stuff up.

    I dont care who is behaving in the manner revealed in Dirty Politics it threatens all of us and our future generations. It deprives us of genuine democracy and that means we are ultimately left with an illusion of genuine freedom of choice.

    There is tremendous effort going in to manipulating us in that regard, Mr Hooton and Mr Farrar make a very good living for just that. Does the left do it? I rarely see Hooton and Farrar criticised by the right but Paganis, Williams are frequently criticised by supporters of parties to the left. What IS apparent from the book is that Farrar and Slater and to an extent Hooton (and he admitted that in the last two days) keep each other appraised of what they are “working ” on and the former have more coordination enabling Farrar to appear more moderate and unbiased to Slater’s rabid character assassination.

    New Zealand is a great country. I am lucky enough to travel, and love traveling. As amazing as the rest of the world can be, I always love returning home and traveling again within Aotearoa.

    For those who have surrendered to the notion that it’s not worth opposing because “everyone is doing it”, I say is that the world you want to live in, where you give in to what you know is wrong because you have been fooled into thinking it’s a sporting match and forget that when the match ends, YOU have had a good time but are also the only one who lost money on the event…everyone else was paid lots for your pleasure.

    It is one thing to say that it’s just a difference in ideology but I don’t mind people disagreeing with my “politics” but base it on fact, evidence and clear thinking.

    • Bill 2.1

      …it is probably inevitable that someone on the left will take money (if anyone would offer it) to replicate Slater and Farrar…

      Wrong. Unless running corporate agendas and looking to disengage people from voting in elections etc, ever became a programme of the left – in which case it wouldn’t be the left. But sure, parties of the left could well be hi-jacked by careerists, and then what you say would probably eventuate.

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        Its not just to disengage voters Bill. The two track strategy is about presenting your leader with an untouchable nice person image while running despicable attacks against your opponents from other quarters. I xant see why some on the Left would be immune to the tactic if they see it as a game to be won at any cost, and why not, the right dont have a monopoly on that particular frailty.

        • karol

          It takes money and linkages to corporate cronies. It takes more than just the will to do it.

          • Tracey

            I said inevitable, not instantaneous.

            Actually it only takes a collins and a slater at the basic level. The Left once on the treasury benches would have both. No corporate or money realky needed

            • karol

              No it would also require the kinds of well-connected, extra-parliamentary networks Slater, Lusk, et al operate in.

        • Bill

          yeah, nah – the despicable attacks are a part and parcel of putting people off. It makes politics petty and (in the mind of prospective voters) a waste of time.

          • karol

            Yes. The politics of hidden agendas, an two track attack politics, is aimed at disempowering the people most likely to support left policies. For the left to adopt such strategies would be counter productive for the left.

            For the left, the opposite is required: to engage with, motivate and mobilise the people.

            • Tracey

              You are talking about what is required whereas i am talking about what some might do. I see little evidence the labour party would say no to an opportunity to beat the others at their own game at some point if offered.

              • karol

                They might try it, but it’d be a fizzer because of the reasons I stated – and it wouldn’t last for longer before it backfired on them. not worth the effort.

                • Tracey

                  Anf THAT was my point in part. They might try it.

                  • karol

                    Well, what’s your point then? Basically, it’s a non-goer for the left: not practical; would contradict the core values of the left; and would further disconnect the parliamentary left from the flax roots.

                    • Tracey

                      That you think being left leaning makes people immune from slater-collins-lusk-esque behaviour I have to disagree. Self interest does not exist only on the right. Ego does not only exist on the right.

                      Since when has saying or doing things contrary to the “flax roots” meant every left sympathiser or left parliamentary rep and staffer are saints immune to the “game.”?

                    • weka

                      It’s not just about ego and self-interest though, and this is a very important point. It’s also about the world view and core values. Having left wing politics generally goes with a world view that is more fair and less greedy or focussed on acumulation of power for is own end (I also think that traditional conservative values in NZ are different from Slater and co). The VRWC is run by people with ego and self-interest, but it’s their values and the way they see the world that is the real problem.

                      If the left wing parties were willing to compromise values for power and achieving govt they would be using the coat tail provisions, and doing electoral deals to ensure they win. That as much as anything tells me that we are still reasonably safe in NZ. On the other hand, there is the history of Labour and neoliberalism, and we still have the ABCs (who prove Bill’s point rather than yours I think), so I think being mindful is important. I don’t see a VLWC as inevitable though.

          • Tracey

            Yeah nah. Only in part. It is also about discreditting the other people, making them less viable as a ruling power so you will put your support elsewhere. It is not one dimensional.

            • Bill

              Tracy, when who holds the reigns of power is determined by who best satisfies competing corporate interest (eg, various industry lobby groups), then you and I, or our support, just do not matter at all.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.2

        “Wrong. Unless running corporate agendas and looking to disengage people from voting in elections etc, ever became a programme of the left – in which case it wouldn’t be the left”

        No true scotsman fallacy.

        • Bill

          No Lanth, it’s not a ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’.

          Even within the narrow confines of representative parliamentary politics, the left needs engagement. But where parties become the domain of a professionalised political class, all parties then compete in a ‘value free’ environment and play the same game as each other; a game that does not require (and even fears) widespread engagement.

          • Lanthanide

            Yes, it is.

            You say “people on the left of politics don’t do x, y and z”. If you’re shown a person who would clearly be agreed by everyone to be on the left of politics that is doing any of x, y or z, then you declare that person is not truly on the left of politics.

            That’s the no true scotsman fallacy. Sorry.

            • Tracey


              I sense Bill and Karol are addressing what they think the Left need to do whereas I am fearing for what some on the Left might do, given the chance.

              • karol

                I am addressing what the left are able to do successfully. You are just throwing up smoke and mirrors.

                • Tracey

                  No, I am expressing my misgivings especially when Mallard and his ilk still sit inside Labour.

                  You are surmising as much as I am. You have no proof of what they are or are not able to do successfully or otherwise in the future than I do.

                  “The thing that bothers me is that it is probably inevitable that someone on the left will take money (if anyone would offer it) … ” That is, to blog stuff to attack the right

                  • karol

                    Why bother surmising? Why not just go with:

                    No, I am expressing my misgivings especially when Mallard and his ilk still sit inside Labour.

                    Your surmising is just feeding the right wing smoke & mirrors response to Dirty Politics.

                    There are very good reasons re-a range of policies and practices, for being concerned about the continuing, soft neoliberals within Labour. The right within the parliamentary left, and somewhat disconnected from significant parts of the wider left.

                    • Tracey

                      I didnt write my thoughts in a way you think I should? Ok…

                      My surmising is my concern about future behaviour because I dont believe the right have a monopoly on self interest and ego.

                      Your belief that no one on the left, in the blogosphere or political party would behave that way, is perfectly valud but doesnt make mine wrong or feeding a right wing meme.

                      I have not said the Left are doing it to. I have made it clear I believe if they were, slater, faffar or hooton would have published it. My fear is for the future.

                      That may not have been clear to you in this or other posts. So be it.

                    • karol

                      I didn’t say no-one on the “left” might try it. I said, if they did, it wouldn’t be very successful, and basically, all it would achieve is to damage the wider left.

                  • Bill

                    Assuming that you mean by ‘Mallard and his ilk’ a professionalised politician – a careerist – then yes, were they to successfully hi-jack the Labour party and use it as a political vehicle for their own narrowly focused personal gain, they’d likely employ the same tactics as we currently see being used by cliques within National. (Attacking people and their reputations in lieu of debating/attacking policy)

                    But they certainly couldn’t do it successfully as a clique within the Labour Party without undermining, and possibly destroying, the very vehicle they hoped to use.

            • Bill

              Okay, lets go with that.

              So what you are contending is that left politics could be conducive to corporate agendas and disengaging people from the social democratic process.

              And I’m saying those agendas can only make any sense with an absence of any left leaning aspirations.

              If someone on the left got into attack style politics, of the type mentioned in Hager’s book, I’d say they were fucking idiots who had no idea of what they were actually doing.

              If an entire network was built up by the Labour Party, that emulated what National have been doing, then our current understanding of what we mean by ‘National’ and ‘Labour’ would be obsolete in terms of making sense of any difference between the two. They (Labour) would necessarily have become professionalised and utterly disconnected from their historical political roots on the left.

              • karol


              • Tracey

                Are you saying the Labour Party is a party of the Left or the Right?

              • Tracey

                Are you saying the Labour party has never compromised left leaning policies to accomodate corporates (business) in order to sit on the Treasury benches?

                “..then our current understanding of what we mean by ‘National’ and ‘Labour’ would be obsolete in terms of making sense of any difference between the two. They (Labour) would necessarily have become professionalised and utterly disconnected from their historical political roots on the left.. ”

                1984 – 1990?

                Arguably 1999 to 2008?

                • Bill

                  Within a social democratic context, the left always accommodates business interests. It’s what parliament is there for; to ensure a favourable environment for business.

                  However, the left also concerns itself with social policies designed to ameliorate the impacts of business activities in a society that’s overlayed with a market system. And sure, the relative ‘weighting’ of social policy ebbs and flows over time given larger political context and ebbed massively during the years that neo-classical economics has been in the ascendency.

                  Now, if you want to see a society embedded within a corporatist framework, then dump social policy/concerns altogether, professionalise the political parties, and have citizens as mere spectators to a never ending roll out of policies that only serve to advance corporate interests.

                  That’s where the trajectory of the practices laid out in Hagers book lead. If you believe ‘a left’ can play any part of a corporatist political/social structure, then your contention that the left can engage in the same political games as current National party cliques stands.

                  Otherwise (ie, if you hold corporatism to be something wholly embedded within the right) your contention makes no sense.

                • Brigid

                  And if you regard the left as a philosophy that will “support social equality, often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality.” then the Labour Party wasn’t practising leftist policies for those two terms. Therefore what you’re contending doesn’t apply.

                  • Tracey

                    Had they overtly eschewed the inference that Labour means left?

                    If Labour during those terms was not seen as representing the left i agree with your last sentence.

              • Lanthanide

                Actually the only thing I’m contending is that you’re making an argument that amounts to “no true scotsman fallacy”. You might be quite happy to make such an argument and still believe in it – that’s fine. Just be aware that you’re making it.

                • karol

                  I think it’s more about how you define “left”. I don’t know that definition of “true Scotsmen” is exactly the same thing.

                  But some talk about the “left” as being exclusively the parliamentary left” and parties such as Labour, whether or not they continue to follow left wing principles.

                  And when you look at the wider left, it’s a matter of how you define it’s core values and principles.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Bill talks about corporate interests and disengaging people from the political process.

                    But you could also talk about unions. It’s feasible to imagine a very strong union movement that colluded with politicians to further their causes. We have seen such things overseas. In the US, the Chicago Democrats are infamous for their corruption and manipulation, and are clearly on the left of their political spectrum.

                    • Bill

                      I don’t see where anyone is arguing that the left is somehow immune to dictatorial politics. That would be an absurd position to take. However, what tends to happen (if history is anything to go by) is that the dictatorial left is characterised by state centric oppression – (eg state ‘communism’) while the right is corporatist/fascist – ie, a more market orientated form of dictatorship. And ‘Dirty Politics’ highlights a trajectory towards the latter scenario.

      • Mark 2.1.3

        That person is called Martyn Bradbury.

        He takes money to shill for Kim Dotcom.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      “The idea that Slater and Farrar or Hooton know that Labour is doing it but have held back releasing proof is laughable. I am just surprised none of them (Slater) have made stuff up.”

      Yip, given how much crap they say without proof, and their pavlovian reactions when they have ‘some proof’ of *anything* that has the slightest whiff of being ‘bad’, clearly they don’t have any evidence of wrong-doing in this case.

    • Puckish Rogue 2.3

      “The thing that bothers me is that it is probably inevitable that someone on the left will take money (if anyone would offer it) to replicate Slater and Farrar et al’s tactics because it is seen to “work”.”

      – I don’t think its quite that simple (or easy), I’m not saying the Left arn’t capable of it but more like how it happened is not easy to replicate

      Whaleoils first blog was 2005 but how many years was it before anyone started really taking a look at what he does?

      So you’d need to have a lot of patience

      Secondly Cameron Slater had no real profile at all when he started so he had no baggage whereas someone like Bomber (probably the lefts most well known blogger) has plenty of baggage

      Next you’d need someone with the inside word but especially on both sides of the house

      However the nice thing for the left is that the cost isn’t all that much

      • Bill 2.3.1

        However the nice thing (…) is that the cost isn’t all that much

        True that. Just the last vestiges of any democratic integrity. A small cost indeed.

      • Tracey 2.3.2

        Ah Pukey, methinks you just inadvertently let the cutain open a tad…

        • Puckish Rogue

          I call it as I see it though if someone from the left could do what Slaters done I’d read the blog

          • phillip ure

            you are all for planted-stories/black-propaganda furthering secret/corrupt agendas are you p.r..?

   that sort of stuff in yr daily reads..?

            ..happy to be a

            ..(oh..!..and traceys’ faux-concerns’ about possible future unknown people/left-bloggers..?

            ..i reckon that one deserves a special egg-beater-award..

            ..and deserves derision for giving that rightwing-spin of ‘they-do-it-too!’ ….the time of day..)

            • Puckish Rogue

              I’m all for making politics interesting, the more interesting it is the more people will take notice of it

          • trickledrown

            Punkish Rogue one wonders why you bother being a botherer!

    • Murray Olsen 2.4

      A left wing “attack dog” would not be able to operate in the same way that Slug Boy and Farrar do. Left wing readers would not accept the filth. They want fact based posts and comments, or at most a bit of opinion, but it can never veer into the personal assassination stuff that is the staple of the right.

      Imagine what would happen if, for example, a left blogger wrote the following about a Tory minister:

      “She’s been a filthy slut ever since she was at intermediate school, and the tipline tells me she was never a good root anyway…………”

      We are organically incapable of doing what they do.

  3. Paul 3

    An increasingly undemocratic country, where people are told not to get involved in politics.

    “The academics and the scientists and the engineers and the school teachers, all those people who know about things in society, the ones who can talk about it and inform the other people who vote and think and act and sign petitions, lots of those people are scared at the moment, many academics think they are going to get in trouble if the speak out at the moment.”

    Public servants have to remain politically neutral and serve the government of the day but they are allowed to engage in politics outside work.

    Keep head down
    However, one public servant at the event, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he was spotted on television in the background of a previous Nicky Hager talk on Dirty Politics and subsequently told by his bosses to keep his keep his head down and stay out of politics.,-nicky-hager-claims

    • Tracey 3.1

      I have a few friends currently or previously (last three years) at Universities and they are very concerned that if they speak out they will lose funding. Without funding a University position is relatively redundant (as opposed to technical institutes where there is more emphasis on teaching).

      Section 162 (4) (a) (v) of the Education Amendment Act, New Zealand universities
      are to be characterised by an acceptance of “the role of critic and conscience of society.”

      Interesting read from 2000 on this very issue Paul at

    • crocodill 3.2

      The problem is there is no discernible (at least not discernible in the span of a radio sound-bite or news article) line between professional opinion and personal bias when it comes to politics. Anything said, right or wrong, would mislead voters. Academics scientists, teachers etc are all “bought by society” and cannot step out of their role with objectivity. They couldn’t even do it at a personal level if they were magically allowed the social freedom to do so. What they know is relevant only within a certain context. Saying their contributions can only ever be constructive, by misunderstanding where and how they gain their status – by adhering to social expectations that propagate certain “negative” social outcomes – is a common circular fallacy. Theoretically, the only way any of those people could attempt to neutralise their personal bias (known and unknown) and “make the world a better place” would be to leave whatever institution pays them, spend however long it takes to reinvestigate every method they’d been taught to check for political bias, and re-enter the world with their knowledge at street level. Otherwise their contribution should stay within the slow, slow, politically unviable, sound-bite free, systems that try to make sure what they do say is at least factual. Jumping academic barriers purposely designed to maintain an attempt at facts and objectivity will only return bias and subjectivity.

      • Tracey 3.2.1

        …or to declare their particular bias before each opinion they offer (not at the end or not at all) which won’t happen anytime soon.

        • crocodill

          That is the difficult problem. Disclaimers aren’t fail-safe in the minds of media consumers if said consumer only wants to believe anything that supports his prejudice. It’s not like we’ll suddenly see a huge shift in news reporting towards week-long peer-reviewed articles on each problematic issue, step by step, for and against, and alternatives, and a matching shift in societal trends.

          • Tracey

            And no one perpetuates the myth of the independent press more than the press. Taking disinterested to a whole new level 😉

          • tricle up

            To Tracey and Crocodill sound debate on the biases we attach to our world views,sinking into the essence of the matter at hand without any biases allows the mid of view or reality to spring out.Human nature is open to manipulation .

      • Puddleglum 3.2.2

        Personal bias is not the issue – inside or outside of academia.

        ‘Facts’ and ‘objectivity’ only arise out of a social process. There are plenty of clues to this in both the intellectual world and the world of ordinary action.

        As Popper pointed out, for example, it doesn’t matter where hypotheses come from – the imagination, insanity, careful reasoning or ideology. It is the institutionalised method of science (blind peer review, debate, etc.) that produces and grows scientific knowledge. In Popper’s terms the hypotheses are open to test – and that’s what matters.

        The idea that each individual scientist must be ‘bias free’ is not only unrealistic but, within scientific discourse, unnecessary. Refelective awareness of one’s biases is always useful, of course, but it’s not what science depends upon.

        Similarly, the philosophical maxim that the ad hominem fallacy should be avoided is another clue that individual bias (political or otherwise) doesn’t matter. Wherever the knowledge claim comes from in terms of the personal attributes of the person advancing it (e.g., that they are politically inclined to the left or right) is irrelevant. The claim must be analysed purely on its merits.

        In the non-intellectual, non-scientific world the same applies. Democracy does not assume that all participants are unbiased, free from anything other than rational influence, etc.. Instead, it assumes that they are but through everyone having an equal voice in the debate over collective decisions the most viable decisions are likely to be made.

        In an interesting way, the scientific ideal is essentially identical to the democratic ideal – irrespective of what individuals believe or are committed to the collective activity of ‘decision making’ (in science that is decisions over reliable and valid knowledge claims, in ordinary society that is decisions over collective destiny) is what we put our trust in.

        We don’t put our trust in the lack of bias within certain individuals.

        • crocodill

          “Wherever the knowledge claim comes from in terms of the personal attributes of the person advancing it (e.g., that they are politically inclined to the left or right) is irrelevant. The claim must be analysed purely on its merits.”

          Why then why do we think we need academics or put our trust in their superior knowledge? Why say that if only they could speak freely, it would all be better? In the context of this discussion, if any idea must be fairly measured, the appeal is pointless. Otherwise another circular fallacy appears: every idea is to be measured on merit, but ideas from academics will be understood to be more informed and therefore more respected, than those of a homeless man.

          The rule does not recognise the existing state of society – it’s expectation, beliefs, etiquette and culture. News and political misinformation travels too fast for ideals to catch up.

          The result of appealing to those with high social status would, taken far enough, remove politics from the general pubic, reject the rule above, voting wouldn’t be necessary and governments would be formed by a private selection of representatives of the military, businessmen, academics and maybe even religious groups. Sounds familiar, no? I wonder if those who put their trust in knowledge know they are advocating a form of feudal communism.

          “In the non-intellectual, non-scientific world the same applies. Democracy does not assume that all participants are unbiased, free from anything other than rational influence, etc.. Instead, it assumes that they are but through everyone having an equal voice in the debate over collective decisions the most viable decisions are likely to be made.”

          That is a flaw of democracy as it grows inside a capitalist framework. Above you say self reflection is good (and slow!), however asking society to inspect itself is an uphill battle because society is necessarily fast and not an individual. No doubt you’ve heard the various arguments against “privilege”. The above definition of democracy ignores (and by now if it ignores it, it is wilfully ignorant) that people can possess exclusive privileges, that there is inequality in opinion and voice, which ironically has democracy purposely destroying itself.

          • Tracey

            Instead of ideas, if you had used observations then. ?.

          • Puddleglum

            Why then why do we think we need academics or put our trust in their superior knowledge? Why say that if only they could speak freely, it would all be better?

            We might be talking a bit at cross purposes. I definitely don’t think we should “put our trust in their superior knowledge”. I do think their knowledge should, however, be made available to put in the mix of the public debates over important issues.

            I wasn’t objecting to your caution about how individual scientists can be given too much status when they proclaim something in the media as if they were the font of all that is objective.

            Personally, I think we should have swags of scientists, academics involved in the debates we have on political issues. That is the best way to ameliorate the bad effects that might happen if only one or two are involved (and become resident ‘experts’, rolled out to proclaim the ‘truth’ about an issue).

            I think the antidote to the ‘status effects’ you are concerned about – and that I agree with – is to hear more about the debates and discussions within the scientific or academic worlds .

            One way of undermining the ascribed status that some individuals have is to become more familiar with them and with what they are saying. You soon learn that they aren’t the be-all and end-all of knowledge.

            As you say, this ‘status’ problem is endemic to debate and discussion within hierarchical societies of any form. I don’t think the way to counter that problem is to restrict debate to ‘ordinary’ people for a simple reason – that amongst that group, too, a hierarchy (e.g., of ‘personal experience’) will mean that some people have more ‘status’ and their opinions more weight than those of others.

            I think a more likely viable way forward is actually to encourage everyone to debate and discuss in multiple forums, places and groups. The real problem is that the media has ‘captured’ or ‘enclosed’ public debate and, in effect, privatised it so that it is owned by relatively few people. Others are excluded.

            I’d like to see scientists and academics going to the people directly (local community meetings, writing independent ‘pamphlets’ for circulation, etc.) rather than via the media but I don’t think they should be excluded from appearing in the media.

            There used to be debating ‘societies’ in late 18th century and 19th century London, for example. These were all over the city – the East End as much as anywhere. They were places that were a cross between ribald entertainment and political activist meetings where the issues of the day (e.g., abolition of the slave trade) were hotly debated. They also were packed with all sorts of people who heckled, engaged, listened, questioned and mocked (even the ‘experts’ who debated the topic).

            We could do worse than resurrect a similar system today because daily discussion of the issues of the day is one thing that seems to be languishing.

            The whole point should be to raise the frequency and sophistication of political discussions for everyone’s benefit.

            Finally, I definitely don’t ignore ‘privilege’ when I talk about democracy. For me, the movement towards a more democratic world inherently means a movement away from privilege.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The real problem is that the media has ‘captured’ or ‘enclosed’ public debate and, in effect, privatised it so that it is owned by relatively few people. Others are excluded.


              There used to be debating ‘societies’ in late 18th century and 19th century London, for example.

              In NZ the railway yards and other such places used to be used as community discussion halls. Discussion covered everything from trades to politics and I believe a hell of a lot of innovation came out of them as well (Railway yards used to have significant manufacturing capacity).

              Finally, I definitely don’t ignore ‘privilege’ when I talk about democracy. For me, the movement towards a more democratic world inherently means a movement away from privilege.


          • Scmll

            I think what we are facing here in NZ is a new form of mercantilism, except the powers are financial organisations and corporations.
            We are challenged by global forces, capital moving to the place of highest return, and yes, New Zealand has VERY high returns (relatively unspoiled productive land, relative low population density etc). Rich pickings, yet we have appalling poverty levels.
            We are challenged from within, from our sense of empathy toward our neighbours, empathy toward people who are hungrier than us, empathy toward kids who don’t get a chance to live their childhood with freedom. I think we also have empathy with the privileged, who cannot (because of their ‘lucky’ upbringing – from a Rawlsian perspective) even see beyond their own doors/gated community.
            We split our time trying to justify our perspective, understand and rebut others that are radically different. ‘Politics’ zaps up energy – as it should. At the moment we are introspective, trying to figure out how to remove unsavoury, undemocratic (and I think criminal) attacks on our freedom of speech (referring to outfall from Hager’s book). But we shouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture also, and what is happening globally and how our government connects into it all.

            I really liked Tim Minchin’s quote:
            “Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on intellectually”.

            I really do think it is a clash of ideology – along empathetic lines. People out for themselves, selfish, degrade their environment for their own selfish comfort for however number of years they are on this planet. If only people would think a little more. Think of consequences of actions. Think of consequence of words. Think of consequences of media/messages.

            Meanwhile, as the ‘Left’ (a term which I don’t like either, as it is so polarised and a lazy way to describe very complex ideas and forces that cannot be simply condensed into one word…….equally applies to the term ‘Right’) rationalises, considers and responds to what is happening, the government is leaps and bounds ahead, onto the next project of chipping away at their own agenda, serving their own needs. There is a problem of timing, being on the backfoot.

            “That is a flaw of democracy as it grows inside a capitalist framework”
            Contrary to that, I think democracy is flagging inside the neo-liberal framework.

            • Colonial Viper

              Good comment

              BTW the elite usually have a good amount of empathy and solidarity – with those within their own narrow class.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Contrary to that, I think democracy is flagging inside the neo-liberal framework.

              I think the neo-liberal framework was designed to do precisely that. We’d tried Laissez Faire before and we’d ended up with huge amounts of poverty, the rich being very rich and powerful and WW1, The Great Depression and WW2.

              I’m pretty sure that some didn’t forget the lessons. That people in poverty work harder, for less and don’t question the owners as much as when they’re reasonably well off.

              • Olwyn

                They seem to have forgotten, however, the “WW1, The Great Depression and WW2” bit. These things tend to happen when you run countries ragged. Another anti-democratic aspect that really scares me is the installation of puppet leaders whose main purpose is to do their corporate masters’ bidding. Put the two together and you end up with a war being managed by a haircut pretending to be a leader, to borrow a phrase from Woody Allen.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  They seem to have forgotten, however, the “WW1, The Great Depression and WW2″ bit.

                  The military-industrial complex arose out of WW2 so I doubt if they’ve forgotten those billions of income.

                  Another anti-democratic aspect that really scares me is the installation of puppet leaders whose main purpose is to do their corporate masters’ bidding.

                  I’m pretty sure we have that now.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Also, Wall St encouraged the USA to enter the war, against the wishes of a highly pacifist American public, in order to safeguard millions in loans they had made to the British and the French.

        • Tracey

          Popper ignores a recentish study which showed that even when researchers were confronted by their bias, relating to omitting negative findings, the majority still believed they were right.

          Peer review is also subject to bias and patch protection but having systems and processes can impact but by no means fullproof.

          I cant find the paper but it was out of oxford or cambridge and the author has a chinese surname

          • Puddleglum

            Popper ignores a recentish study which showed that even when researchers were confronted by their bias, relating to omitting negative findings, the majority still believed they were right.

            I don’t see that this finding affects my (and Popper’s) argument.

            There’s actually been plenty of work (e.g., from discourse analysts who have focused on the discourses of natural and physical scientists as they discuss issues at conferences) that shows that individual scientists can be very ‘biased’ and will hold to beliefs for doubtful reasons (personal pride, reputation, sense of superiority, etc.).

            My point is that it is the institutions of science that produce whatever degree of reliability or validity there may be in scientific knowledge.

            And, I agree, those institutions are ‘flawed’ in terms of personal bias (and other very human influences) over what gets accepted or opposed. But this is my point: Whatever reliability and validity there is in scientific knowledge or in political, democratic decision making does not depend on individuals who have managed to rid themselves of bias.

            How we, collectively, come to generate adaptive knowledge and decisions (in science or politics) is a slowly evolving process in which there’s a bit of an ‘arms race’ between efforts to eliminate partial and biased decisions (that may ultimately be maladaptive) and the efforts of partial and biased interests to get their way in particular instances.

            There’s no nirvana when it comes to ‘rational’, unbiased decision making – but hopefully we keep trying to make it work more and more for our collective interests rather than partial interests.

            I don’t think discouraging people – whether scientists or ‘ordinary people’ – from entering political discussions is the way to improve our collective decision making. That’s what I thought, perhaps mistakenly, that crocodill was arguing – that scientists should be corralled away from those discussions.

          • alwyn

            “Popper ignores a recentish study which showed ”
            If you are talking about Karl Popper, who is the only well known, at least to me,
            academic of that name it isn’t really surprising that he ignores recent studies.
            After all he died 20 years ago.
            If it isn’t Karl who is it. I’d be interested in another one.

            • Tracey

              I have been assuming that popper is populuxe, i feel very foolish if that is wrong. ?..


              • I meant Popper the philosopher of science, proponent of the ‘Open Society’ and ‘best mates’ with right wing, libertarian economist, Hayek.

                But it doesn’t matter. Your point was a good one.

              • alwyn

                Ah, that does make a difference.
                By the way, please don’t think that I am picking on you specifically with quibbles. It is just that I tend to read most of your posts as they are usually interesting. If I read them all I am likely to spot the occasional thing that looks a bit odd.

                • Tracey

                  I dont feel picked on by you Alwyn.

                  I know Populuxe is an academic and that birthed my confusion. I am interested in the statutory requirement for our universities to be society’s conscience and feel that has been eroded in a significant way.

          • phillip ure

            @ tracey..

            “..Popper ignores a recentish study which showed that even when researchers were confronted by their bias, relating to omitting negative findings, the majority still believed they were right…”

            bloody hell..!..

            ..physician heal thyself..!

        • Tracey

          Yes it is the equal voice that matters and which is being eroded

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.3

        You really dislike people who actually have an education don’t you?

    • Murray Olsen 3.3

      In the 90s, Dr Peter Ramankutty was fired from the Auckland University Maths Department, on the basis that he was a useless lecturer. He took the university to court, saying he was being fired for criticising teaching policy, which was basically to make courses easy and pass everyone. Several of his colleagues gave evidence that he was mistaken. My opinion is that he was not, and I was appalled at how readily academics took the side of the university.

      I think most of those who were prepared to be part of society’s conscience are long gone or have gone to sleep.

  4. laugh out loud moment on tvone breakfast..

    ..christie..all po-faced/concerned..

    ..saying ‘bloggers’ don’t have journalists’ ‘ethics’…

    .(and i think he was trying to be serious..(!)..)

    ..whereas if there is one thing ‘dirty politics’..has revealed.. is how so many of our churnalists are so easily ‘bought’..

    ..are so craven..

    • Paul 4.1

      I think Christie is a definite nomination for worst journalist in NZ.
      I’m not counting Glucina as she is just a gossip merchant.

    • tc 4.2

      Its not so much ‘bought’ but that they are already owned by virtue of where they are and who they work for.

      Rawdon and the tvnz autocrew being one such example, look at how Shane got cleaned out for his lack of judgement over a meeting compared to hoskings treatment for admitted bias.

  5. b waghorn 5

    Is’t it time nats and labour got down off there high horses and debated with the minor parties .Join the MMP age.

    • Tracey 5.1

      agree… it’s archaic…

      Greens have to debate against a guy who isn’t yet in parliament and another guy whose only MP got convicted of Election Fraud and had to leave Parliament.

    • Skinny 5.2

      There have been quite a few ‘all in debates’ which have been pretty limited in value. Too many heads fighting for a platform. I personally find the head to head between the two main party’s more effective way of debating their difference on policy. The only problem is National have been very poor on providing policy and pluck shit out of thin air. You only have to look at their proposed tax cut in 3 years.

  6. Dont worry. Be happy 6

    Surely if a boss tell an employee what they can do in their free time that is harassment and that boss needs to be told that.

    We all need to get a bit braver. So that it gets to be a habit. So that we can build our democracy on it. Our rights were not given to us like Xmas pressies or won like a raffle….our rights were fought for, long hard battles, side by side…our rights were wrested from the hands of the powerful and rich. Dirty corrupt hands that have their corporate fingerprints all over our country right now.

    If Scotland can vote for freedom, to paddle their own canoe, then we can too!

    • crocodill 6.1

      If it’s that bad, I would recommend not telling your boss you aren’t following his/her every whim outside of work hours. Unless you want to lose your job, that is. There is fighting back openly = high losses against more powerful enemy, and there is fighting back covertly = guaranteed win against more powerful enemy.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2


      the level of wrong doing against themselves that a citizenry accepts will coincidentally match the level of oppression that they find themselves living under.

  7. ExStatic 7

    Julia Gillard up before the Royal Commission into Unions today.

    • Tracey 7.1

      Will be fascinating to see the evidence unfold in this one.

    • miravox 7.2

      Speaking of unions…

      New York cleaners get fair pay 70% union membership in the same hotel corporates as London, where onl 2 – 4% of workers are union members.

      A cleaner on London’s Park Lane will almost certainly be on or around the minimum wage, say £6.31 for each hour. Her counterpart (because, let’s face it, it’s almost always women doing this physically punishing work) on New York’s Park Avenue is likely to be on nearly three times as much: an agreed hourly rate of $28.50, or £17.66.

      Those figures upend most of what we’re usually told about how the economy works. How many times have you heard some frontbench MP or policy wonk blithely talk about how the labour market is dividing between “lovely jobs” and “lousy jobs”? As if the choice is between being a software engineer, say, or a care assistant. The implication is that anyone in the second category has opted for poverty pay and miserable conditions. In that worldview, you don’t get much lowlier than scrubbing someone else’s toilets. But the folk who do it in Manhattan hotels can expect to earn an annual salary of £32,150 – way above the average salary for all New Yorkers, and indeed for all Britons.

      • alwyn 7.2.1

        It is pretty difficult to compare wages between countries without introducing logical absurdities.
        For example I suppose we could argue that people in New Zealand are grossly overtaxed when compared to the citizens of Brunei. They, after all, pay no income tax at all. Why should we have to pay any? What are Labour and the Greens up to in wanting to lift the burden we have to bear?
        If you are looking at the average wage paid to housekeeping staff in Manhattan, and from your comments it appears to be only Manhattan, you probably ought to compare there pay to the average pay in Manhattan. According to one thing I have seen the average pay of people working there is about £80,000/year.
        I refer you to

        • Tracey

          Which is why it is important to put our own lines in the sand based on, i hope, a desire to see all kiwis thrive rather than survive. Advances arent made by saying compared to sudan we are safe, compared to india our poor are rich.

    • Rich 7.3

      It’s really quite amazing that Jackson has got away with treating the Union as a personal bank whereas Craig Thompson guilty of far less (in $ terms anyway) has been convicted.

  8. Rodel 8

    News today-more charter “schools’ failing.
    Johnny come lately (sorry I mean ‘gone lately’) must be gnashing his dentures.

    • yeshe 8.1

      sadly, ‘failing’ means holding ownership of all land and improvements even when a school goes under — even though they are all paid for by taxpayers. such a rort, and I wonder if this is the reason for them even.

  9. Rich 9

    This seems to have caused some pain for a few contributors to this blog, so in the interests of prolonging that, here is the 100% proof that Key was a director at Merrill Lynch (here he is appointed as alternate director, but on the next document you will see that he is a full director within 6 months)

    And that this was was the main UK Merrill Lynch at the time.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Just checking that you’re aware that in US firms “director” is a senior management position (but still not at the top exec level); it is not a company director sitting on the board as in NZ parlance?

      • Rich 9.1.1

        This is a UK firm, Colonial Viper.

        The other interesting thing is that you can see by the accounts linked above that it is certainly the main UK Merrill Lynch company at the time (turnover in the billions) but it’s no longer that. Sounds Phoenix.

      • Rich 9.1.2

        BTW I still don’t know why it was sensitive for those commentators on this blog, but if it is indeed that, then maybe somebody else knows why.

    • Lanthanide 9.2

      And… what?

      • Rich 9.2.1

        I have no idea, see my comment above. But it looked like there was some sensitivity around this, so I’ve just put it out there.

        But away from the Director issue it would be interesting to follow the accounts and incarnations of this firm because they’re far from being a good corporate citizen.

  10. brian 10

    For a little light relief; An investigation for leftism? (A Leunig cartoon)

  11. Saarbo 11

    My nephew has been working over 70 hours a week driving for a cattle trucking company, exhausted, sometimes only getting 1 day off every 2 weeks. He had no idea when he would be allowed to have time off. He drove a $600k truck. Over a 5 year period he gave up on all of his recreational stuff, selling his trail-bike, he had no time to socialise. He looked exhausted and gained weight.

    But recently he gained a job with another trucking company, he has spent weeks in profession driver training and safety training, he will still work hard (50 hours/week) but he knows his roster so he can make plans, he is back jogging and regaining his life. Of course the big difference, the company he is working for is Unionised.

    • Tracey 11.1

      Which is why the Nats and ACT are so against Unions

      • Saarbo 11.1.1

        Yes, apparently yesterday he was following one of his old workmates who was driving his cattle truck quite erratically…he called him on the phone and the guy told him he was falling asleep. Honestly, if you see cattle trucks on the road, be cautious because these drivers are being worked ludicrous hours.

  12. fambo 12

    I heard on National Radio last night that the trust of a charter school that is in danger of failing will keep the million dollar plus property bought by the government if it fails.
    This is the best link I have found so far but doesn’t refer to this fact. Maybe some one has a better link?

    • Rich 12.1

      Sorry don’t know the answer to that question but I was interested to hear a figure of 27k in average costs for a year for students at a Charter school vs 6k a year for those at a state school.

    • yeshe 12.2

      Fambo … it’s true and I posted at 8.1. It has always troubled me deeply, as I saw it as a giant rort, in some cases surely set up deliberately to fail. It’s worth millions.

      There were questions asked in the House last year, and I know Parata et al were even more sideways than usual in answering questions.

      Be worth using advanced search of Parliament Hansard ? I seem to recall questions from both NZFG and Greens, but could be wrong about that. But I am not wrong about the facts that ownership of assets remains with the failed executive(s).

      (And searching, remember to search ‘partnership schools’ as Parata et al were obviously advised to avoid ‘charter schools”, though opposition parties continued using the charter name.)

      maybe someone else will remember better than I …

      • yeshe 12.2.1

        @Fambo .. here’s a start for you … Tracey Martin NZF asking Parata specifics :

        Tracey Martin: Is the Minister aware that Te KuraHouruakiWhangaruru, a charter school being set up by the NgāParirauMātauranga Charitable Trust, has received over $1.6 million from the Government, which it has spent on 81 hectares of farmland in Northland, and it now finds itself without enough funds to build the school itself, so it is looking at placing portable accommodation and Portaloos in a paddock, and would she consider this to be a modern learning environment?

        Hon HEKIA PARATA: Could the member tell me again what the name of that school is so that I know which one she is talking about?

        Mr SPEAKER: Would the member please assist the Minister by just naming that school again?

        Tracey Martin: Te KuraHouruakiWhangaruru.

        Hon HEKIA PARATA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. No, I am not aware that that is what has occurred, in terms of those details. I would have to check that with the Ministry of Education.

        Tracey Martin: Can the Minister confirm that the agreement between herself as the Minister and the sponsor shows that the nearly 100 hectares of farmland, purchased with taxpayers’ money, now belongs to the trust, regardless of whether they build a school or not?

        Hon HEKIA PARATA: I do not have that detail to hand. I would be very happy, however, to answer those questions and deal with the member on every one of those details.

        Tracey Martin: Should the trust not build the charter school it claims it would, will she, as the Minister, take steps to recover the $1.6 million of taxpayer education money it has received; if not, why not?

        Hon HEKIA PARATA: Although I do not have the particular details to hand of that particular contract, what I can tell the member, and assure the House of, is that there are significant performance and accountability requirements of each and every one of the five partnership schools. All of that detail is up on the website and available to anyone who wishes to look at them. In terms of the specific assertions that the member is making about one particular school, I am happy to get the detail of that and work with the member.

        Tracey Martin: Is the Minister able to confirm, with her knowledge of the contracts to date, whether there are any clauses inside of any of the partnership school contracts whereby should the schools close, the assets purchased with taxpayer dollars can be claimed back by the State?

        Hon HEKIA PARATA: It is my expectation that school properties that are to be disposed of will follow the Public Works Act. That is the usual practice.

        Tracey Martin: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sorry, but I did not ask about the Public Works Act or schools in the disposal. Charter schools and partnership schools do not enter that area. I asked whether—[Interruption]

        Mr SPEAKER: Order!

        Tracey Martin: —there was a clause inside the contracts—

        Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am sorry, but I am going to have to ask the member to start again. I am getting so many interruptions from my left-hand side.

        Tracey Martin: The question was whether the Minister is able to tell the House whether inside the partnership schools contracts—

        Mr SPEAKER: Order! I think that the quickest way forward is to actually allow the member to repeat the question. Thank you.

        Tracey Martin: I will try to bring it back. So is the Minister able to tell the House whether, inside the partnership schools contracts she has knowledge of, there is any clause that allows the State—the ministry—to take back the assets purchased by those partnership schools should they close or fold for any reason?

        Hon HEKIA PARATA: I do not have that detail to hand, and I am happy to work with the member.
        [Sitting date: 05 December 2013. Volume:695;Page:15286.

        • yeshe

          Chris Hipkins to Parata, who is so ably enabled to lie by Speaker David Carter:

          Chris Hipkins: Is she satisfied that the taxpayer is getting good value for money from the $1.8 million given to He Puna Marama Trust for its establishment costs, given that it has leased facilities at a cost of just $58,000 a year and is asking the existing State schools in the area to deliver teaching on its behalf?

          Hon HEKIA PARATA: Different choices are made between leasing, owning, and servicing over the life of a property. As I have said, these schools are contracted for the term of their contract to deliver educational outcomes. They are free to make those choices but they must deliver the educational outcomes expected of them.

          Chris Hipkins: If a partnership school were to close before the end of its contract, is there any provision in those contracts for the Crown to recover any of the establishment costs that the school has been funded for; if not, why not?

          Hon HEKIA PARATA: As I have answered in response to that question in the House before, we will use the usual commercial instruments available to us to recover costs invested by the Government.

          Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That was actually a very specific question as to whether there was any provision in the contract allowing the Government to recoup money if a school closed before the end of its contract. She has not actually answered that question.

          Mr SPEAKER: No, I think that on this occasion the Minister has. She said they would use the normal provisions under the contract.

          Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. She talked about the normal provisions under the contract, but she has not actually indicated what they are.

          Mr SPEAKER: Would the member resume his seat. I have accepted that the question has been addressed. The member has further supplementary questions. That is the way it works.

          Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With the greatest respect, one has to understand what “usual commercial instruments” might be. That member is asking the question as to whether that commercial instrument is in existence and is a term of the original arrangement. He is not asking what they might do in its absence. That is a subtle difference, but it is very important.

          Mr SPEAKER: I think that the member is raising a point that gives a very good lead to the member to ask his next supplementary question.

          Chris Hipkins: Are you going to give me an extra supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

          Mr SPEAKER: No I am not at this stage.

          Sitting date: 12 February 2014. Volume:696;Page:15838

          • yeshe

            Fambo .. I searched under Order Paper and Questions, using ‘partnership schools”. Many more links there if you have time.

            NB These answers refer to the Whangaruru school

            • fambo

              Hi Yeshe – thanks for your info! Pretty outrageous that they get to keep the property. My immediate first impression would be that the Education Department is being pressured to push through Charter Schools and so is at the very least is being slack in the way it forms contracts with Charter Schools leading to this, and, Charter Schools are being given every help possible to survive by the government which wants the model to become the norm. I’d say the schools are simply taking the opportunity to benefit from everything they are being offered. A bit like sheep and beef farmers in Canterbury selling their farms to dairy after irrigation is introduced to an area, making a huge profit and then looking to buy a new farm in areas like the Wairarapa (which I know is happening). A lot of people are making big bucks out of this government’s policies one way or another.

              • yeshe

                Personally, I think it’s criminal if they are permitted to keep ownership of the land. And when you read through what I posted, it seems the Whangaruru School spent so much on the land, it had no funds remaining to offer the contracted services and were seeking more help via local schools and Ed Dept. But hands-over-ears Hekia and Key said nothing to see or hear .. let’s move on.

                If you want more info, maybe write to Tracey Martin via NZF or Chris Hipkins Labour. Good points prior to election.

                There are just so many questions to ask of this bloody awful government .. hard to know where it all ends. Key disables any debate; Carter enables perversion and aversion of facts in the House. Sigh …

                • i am actually a bit of a fanboy of tracey martins’..

                  ..having seen most questiontimes –

                  -i can confirm she has proved her worth to the democratic process..

                  ..martin is value added..

                  ..and if there is any talk of succession within nz first..

                  ..i can’ t see how you could look past martin..

                  ..and if between her and ron mark..?

         contest..martin all the way..

                  ..martin is still a fresh/new face to most..

                  ..mark is a re-tread..

                  ..and i think that most would feel they have already seen more than enough of his particular brand of posturing..

    • Tracey 12.3

      It states in your link that they want to keep the farm.

    • Molly 12.4

      If you consider that the Charter Schools initiative was not fundamentally about improving learning outcomes for our children – then it is a success.

      A dismantling of our public education system is well underway, and private enterprise makes money. Exactly the result from US schemes, and seemingly the end game for those involved here as well.

      • Chooky 12.4.1

        +100 Molly

        Charter Schools are not about quality education or egalitarianism….they are fundamentally about American business making money out of privatising education and controlling a right wing values agenda …this is the end game

        …and it is being promoted and lobbied for in New Zealand by a private PR company very much aligned to ACT.

        Charter Schools have not worked in the USA….and are very controversial in the USA….but this does not stop Catherine Isaacs , who has no academic expertise or research qualifications in Education

        If we want world leading quality education we would be better off following Finland and their highly trained teacher educator State run model….this means money into our State education system …and especially money into special needs education within the State sector

        • yeshe

          They were never mentioned even once as policy prior to the last election. It was a Banks Key secret.

          The full ugliness only became known in the so-called Nats and Act agreement after the election.

          Epsom, you were conned, and subsequently they conned us all. Please can you do better this time? Otherwise we have at risk the OIA and RMA and who knows what other secrets ?

          I think it has proved 100% Nats extreme right wing agenda disguised as Act policy.

          • Molly

            Charter schools have always been part of the ACT policy. I attended a presentation with Heather Roy and Roger Douglas at MacLeans college a few years ago, and both a voucher system and charter schools were mentioned.

            Way back when my family first started home education, I read everything about it that I could lay my hands on – including use of the charter schools programmes in the US by home educators there.

            Despite the personal benefit that the home education community could get by supporting charter schools, – from that immersion it literature at the time, it was apparent to me that the end result was a dismantling of public education, a reduced education delivery to those already in reduced circumstances, and a completely fraudulent means of using public monies to line private purses.

            Been vocal in my opposition whenever the opportunity arises ever since.

            (And had no evidence to the contrary over the intervening years to change my view)

            • trickledrown

              Molly exclusively Brethren your easily lead by cults Acts take all attitude!
              Don’t let facts get in the way!
              Of Jamie Whytes condoning incestuous relationships is obviously a dog whistle to the Brethren!

              • Molly


                The presentation was not an ACT meeting, it was an education forum where both ACT party members were present.

                I don’t know what the rest of your comment is about, but I’m thinking you mistakenly assume I am an ACT and charter school supporter.

                I am neither.

  13. Chooky 13

    Have to post this here because it is important and needs wide circulation:

    ‘Perceptions Of Corruption Damaging To New Zealand’s International Reputation’

    By Selwyn Manning / September 9, 2014

    “The cache of evidential material underlying claims that corruption exists at the heart of New Zealand’s Government suggests the scope of the Prime Minister’s initiated inquiry is too narrow – Especially as New Zealand’s international reputation must now be considered….

    – See more at:

    • Rich 13.1

      Of course it’s damaging, the perception of this country is moving from Norway to Louisiana. We’re about 90% of the way there but the perception elsewhere is we’re only about 15% of the way there.

      • greywarbler 13.1.1

        @ Rich
        Snap. A similar thought came to me yesterday. That we are developing into a backward, red necked, ignorant, laissez faire country on a par with the southern part of the United States.

        I was actually thinking of the contrast within the USA of progressive approach and having high educational standards including the humanities which seems the case in some of the eastern states. Which compare favourably to most of the south. They seem to be bogged down with a backward mentality, corrupt, almost totalitarian, with racism still prevalent, with fundalmentalist, and individualistic tendencies, their attitudes characterised as authoritarian and punitive.

        Down here in the lower South Pacific both Australia and NZ seem to be going backward towards an unattractive, self-serving good ol ‘boys mentality. Someone here recently referred to how blue the regions were which was noticeable in the clubs, the farm organisations and their narrow interests, don’t lead to progressive policies or attitudes.

        The dairy farming sector has gained ascendancy over the rest of NZ with huge trade concessions sweeping away tariffs that enabled our small enterprises to operate and serve the locals with local labour and materials. Now there are few jobs, instead of the range to suit everybody’s abilities, and the dairy farm exports which have become the majority of our exports and earnings, are being hocked off to overseas interests. How mad is that?

        The country is being hollowed out, and the politicians have worked with the dairy farming community to diminish or sell off the framework of our country and business environment, our government and its assets, from under us. Overseas it has been known for thieves to demolish a house for its bricks while the owners were away on holiday. We have been here during this time of our country and birthright being demolished, but the stealthy nature of the theft has confused us.

        I don’t see improvement likely, but if Labour gets in there may be a break for a cup of tea when some honest and meaningful talking and thinking about directions, methods, innovation, our future options, and new approaches as pilots, could happen. Really only Scandinavia seems to offer a bright spot in political evolution.

        • Rich

          Yes, I couldn’t agree more.

          And good post, it’s refreshing not to have to read ‘won’ for ‘one’ or ‘role’ for ‘roll’ and ‘your’ for ‘you’re’. Far too many of those mistakes on this blog.

          • greywarbler

            @ Rich 4.05
            Thanks. Don’t be too hard on the typos, when you’re handling big, hard ideas with passion, sometimes the spelling gets secondary to the exposition. I admit one that annoys me is loose for lose.

            • Rich

              I don’t mind the spelling mistakes but it’s not spelling here. For ‘one’ and ‘won’ they sound pretty similar but you’d never substitute won for the other in a normal sentence I figure. 🙂

  14. On 17 July 2014 193 of my countrymen and women died a horrific death when their plane MH17 was shot down. That makes this personal for me.

    Today the first preliminary report was published. The wreckage showed that it had been penetrated by many high speed “objects”.

    It also stated that it would take at least another year to determine what those objects where. In the picture it sows that the objects where all of a similar size and showed signs of both incoming and outgoing projectiles especially around the cockpit area.

    Russian radar evidence showed that it had been followed by a UK-25 yet which has inboard machine guns. There is witness evidence of a Ukrainian jet following the plane. I think they have a little problem stating the obvious in the current climate.

    The obvious being that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down flight MH17

    The corporate fiction du jour is after all that Putin is the new madman we have to destroy before he bombs Europe back to the stone age.

    • Chooky 15.1

      +100 travellerev…”Russian radar evidence showed that it had been followed by a UK-25 yet which has inboard machine guns. There is witness evidence of a Ukrainian jet following the plane”….

      It was a great tragedy!

      . ..We all know who is supporting the Ukrainians….and the USA has been very quiet on evidence for blaming the Russians….lets hope the TRUTH comes out!

    • joe90 15.2

      You wrote:

      I know what I want. I want an open and transparent investigation into what happened and I want my country Holland to take the lead with an international team including Russian specialists

      So best you read the Dutch Safety Board preliminary report on the MH17 crash.

      Also, the twitter account of a Moscow based journalist has details of the report.

      edit: the Dutch Safety Board page

    • Te Reo Putake 15.3

      Bullshit, Ev. Nothing of what you claim is actually in the preliminary report, which makes findings entirely in line with the likelihood that it was taken out by a surface to air missile. Obviously, you haven’t got a clue as to how such missiles work, which is to explode near the target, peppering it with shrapnel, but out of respect for your countrymen, why don’t you educate yourself by at least reading the report before posting further rubbish.

      Still, makes a change from your usual mad witterings about 9/11. 13 years on and we’re still waiting for you to provide any evidence for that paranoid obsession.


      ps, a good summary of what the report actually says here:

      • Chooky 15.3.1

        I believe this article as to who shot down the plane:

        ‘Dutch Safety Board (DSB) Report: Malaysian MH17 was Brought Down by “A Large Number of High Energy Objects”, Contradicts US Claims that it Was Shot Down by a “Russian Missile”’

        …now shoot that down!

      • travellerev 15.3.2

        That would be Tot Ziens Ya idjit.

        And for those interested in learning about the events read my post on it and follow the links to make up your own minds.

        Also Chooky’s link is well worth reading.

        • Chooky

          well I am keeping an open mind on it

          …as a non technical person i ask who had the MOTIVE to escalate the situation into a crisis? ( I dont think it was the Russians)

          …because the downing of that plane was clearly deliberate ….and the plane by accounts was directed to that particular flight route, which wasn’t the normal flight route

        • phillip ure

          re who had ‘motive’..?

          ..some facts to consider..

          ..the korean war was started using a ‘false-flag’..

          ..the vietnam war also..

          ..iraq was invaded based on a bunch of proven lies..

          ..libya thru a concentrated black-propaganda deluge..

 there is a track-record..of things not being quite what they seem at first glance..

          ..and this is a major international flash-point..

          ..the americans wd have had more surveillance going than you can point a stick at..

          ..surveillance that most definitely wd have picked up/tracked a missile strike on a passenger airplane..

 why haven’t they released that definitive-evidence..?

          ..i am sure they cd also answer the questions raised by witness accounts of (ukrainian?) jet(s?) tracking/near the downed-plane..

          ..this one does have a cover-up odour..

          ..especially because of the americans not doing what they are able to do..

 prove the case one way or the other..

 is advantaged by hiding the truth..?

          ..ya hafta ask..

      • travellerev 15.3.3

        Oh, and the out of respect for the victims you shall not ask questions does not work anymore.

        And for those who still think that 9/11 was done by 19 boozing, coke snorting, swearing and fornicating Muslim terrorists here is a a question. Does this look like an apple to you?

        • Te Reo Putake

          You’ve got that wrong; the point is usually put as:

          ‘out of respect for victims, idiots shouldn’t put up bullshit conspiracy theories.’

          • travellerev

            I should have worded that more carefully: Out of respect for he victims it is imperative we keep an open mind and allow all information to come to the fore and base our opinion on that.

            You on the other hand don’t want to inform yourself nor do you want others to do that and hence the reprehensible smear of Conspiracy nut. Must be getting quite desperate out there in troll headquarters.

            And by the way thanks for trolling me. It increases the hits on my blog. Terrible how some people can’t help themselves and want to read up on shit themselves rather than being told by assholes like you.

            Have a nice day.

        • Chooky

          @ travellerev…+100…victims like questions to be asked ….and the apple analogy is a good one!

    • nadis 15.4


      you are a disgrace. There is a behavioural bias called”Negativity Effect” bias which seems to sum your comments up almost all the time. If you can blame bad things on people you don’t like by creating fanciful, unfounded theories, then step right up!

      You may not have seen video of a fuselage panel from the RH of the fuselage near the cockpit which showed numerous odd shaped shrapnel holes of various sizes and shapes all perforating inwards. This piece of wreckage was originally removed by the militia but the retuned to accident investigators by a villager. You would not have seen this on Putin TV (RT) but it was covered in many other media outlets.

      What you are suggesting is that country(wo)men of yours in senior investigative roles are corrupt – a charge I have never seen levelled at senior Dutch governmental employees who I would struggle to think have any propensity to any sort of corruption at all. But feel free to let your mental illness slander both the victims and the many investigators from numerous countries who all appear to you to be part of Don Rumsfelds master plan to do whatever it is your tinfoil hat is protecting you from.

      • travellerev 15.4.1

        Umm… No I didn’t say they where corrupt. I say that their report states they need an additional year to investigate the events. In fact I would go as far as to say that the Dutch safety authorities present a problem for the Dutch Government, and that of the Ukraine, Belgium and Australia who all signed a secrecy pact relating to the attack.

        The Dutch safety Authorities state that the only thing certain is that a violent outside event took place which caused the plane to explode and crash.

        To assume that it must have been a SAM is something the whole world is doing but not this group.

        So for NATO and the entire Western Corporate Media to blame Putin and to spend billions of $ to stage military exercises while punishing Russia with economic sanctions is premature to say the least and you have to ask yourself why that is.

        What we don know is that Victoria Nuland in a phone conversation said that since the US spend $ 5 billion to destabilize Ukraine in order to get someone in power who would be their puppet Europe could fuck themselves.

        What we do know is that a Spanish air traffic controller in Ukraine started tweeting as soon as it happened that it was a Kiev operation.

        What we do know is that there are witnesses on the ground and Russian military radar and satellite imagery proving that there was a Ukrainian fighter jet following flight MH17 at a distance of 3-5 KM capable of shooting a plane down at a distance of 12 km.

        What we do know is that flight MH17 was redirected to fly over the Donetsk region at 33.000 feet rather than the normal 35.000 feet. The jet in question can fly up to about 33.000 feet.

        What we don know is that a German aviation specialist as well as some of the Dutch investigators analyzed the photo material and came to the conclusion that the holes and the kind of damage was consistent with the use of 20-30 mm ammunition used by some of the Kiev jets.

        What we do know is that the NATO pursues a strategy of encircling China and Russia and that the previous elected government voted to sign an economic pact with Russia rather than Europe just before President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by paid for by the west pro European rioters.


        • sockpuppet

          Every one of your links go through to the same website …hmmmmmmmmm

 (also under the domain name is the website of the Montreal-based non-profit The Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) founded by Michel Chossudovsky.
          While many of Globalresearch’s articles discuss legitimate humanitarian or environmental concerns, the site has a strong undercurrent of reality warping throughout its pages, especially in relation to taking its news from sources such as Russia Today. Its view of science, the economy and geopolitics seems to be broadly conspiracist.
          Whenever someone makes a remarkable claim and cites Globalresearch, they are almost certainly wrong.

    • exkiwiforces 15.5

      I got this off the Jane’s Defence website this morning:

      ” Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after the forward section of its fuselage and cockpit were “punctured by high-energy objects”, the preliminary report from the Dutch Safety Board states.
      Overall, the report, published on 9 September, is very restrained in its findings but nevertheless essentially rules out any other cause for the crash beyond shrapnel from a missile strike.
      Although the board notes it has so far been unable to recover any of the wreckage for forensic examination, it states that: “The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from the outside.”
      The report dismisses that the aircraft could have suffered a mechanical failure, saying that “no indications of any technical or operational issues were found with the aircraft or crew”.
      Neither the cockpit voice recorder nor the flight data recorder indicated there was anything abnormal with the flight before both abruptly stopped recording at 13.20.03 hrs on 17 July. MH17 was in contact with air traffic control immediately before its breakup and gave no suggestion of any flight issues. The last transmission began at 12.19.56 hrs, only 7 seconds before both recorders stopped operating.
      Air traffic radar data contained within the report tracks only three other aircraft in the vicinity of MH17 at the time of the shoot-down.
      Overall the report adds little to what was already understood about the crash of MH17 over east Ukraine. However, while the report’s preliminary findings don’t assign blame or attribute the origins of the apparent shrapnel damage, they are still significant in that they form the first official report into the fate of MH17.
      The board hopes that its full report will be able to forensically examine the crash wreckage, and although this may not occur for some time it may be able to conclusively determine the weapon system the shrapnel came from.
      Overall the report does nothing to dispel the theory that MH17 was downed by a surface-to-air missile system, such as the Buk (SA-11 ‘Gadfly’), while effectively debunking any other option.
      The radar tracking contained within the report is particularly compelling. That the three aircraft identified in the vicinity of MH17 are civilian airliners appears to comprehensively rule out the possibility of an air-to-air shoot-down of MH17. This comes despite Russia going to some lengths to claim a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’ ground attack aircraft was responsible.
      Moreover, the shrapnel damage inflicted on the front of MH17’s fuselage appears consistent with the high-explosive fragmentation warhead that arms the Buk’s 9M38/9M38M1 missile.”

      SU-25 with it’s 2x 30mm cannons which pack a might punch as its design to attack ground targets and sustain burst from its cannons will cause the jet to stall. It can carry Infa- Red missiles as well but these IR missiles are not full spectrum ones which means it has to attack from behind and are only design to attack helicopters and other ground attack aircraft such as the A-10 etc. SU-25’s are not radar equip either so the pilot would have to do a Ground Control Interception (GCI). From what photo’s I have seen so far from open and close sources point towards a SAM and the only know SAM unit in the area at the was a BUK (SA-11’Gadfly’) which the Rebels had at the time.
      Find this from the BBC news website

    • Murray Olsen 15.6

      The guns in an SU-25 are not machine guns. They are cannons and fire explosive warheads. They tend to penetrate the thin aluminium of a target aircraft and explode inside it. The entry and exit holes are quite different. Depleted uranium is an anti-armour warhead. Most aircraft do not have armour plating. If an Su-25 fired at a commercial jet at 12 km with cannon, it would be incredibly lucky to hit it once, let alone many times.

      The holes would have been caused by a proximity fused shrapnel warhead. These are found in missiles, both air to air and ground to air. The information that’s been released so far doesn’t convince me either way. There are still three suspects.

      • travellerev 15.6.1

        The jet was between 3-5 km away from the plane. Not 12km

        • Murray Olsen

          You said “there was a Ukrainian fighter jet following flight MH17 at a distance of 3-5 KM capable of shooting a plane down at a distance of 12 km.” The GsH-30-2 cannon has a maximum range of 4 km. It is an air to ground weapon, and the Su-25 lacks the sophisticated sighting mechanism needed for attacking other aircraft in flight. It is optimised for attacking tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and logistical vehicles. I expect that its maximum effective air to air range would be somewhat less than 1 km, and possibly as low as 500m.

          If it did fire at the Malaysian jet, it would have been much more likely to be with missiles. The other options are an Ukrainian BUK, a Russian BUK, or a rebel BUK. Given that these are fairly sophisticated systems, the rebels may not have been able to use them effectively. The most likely as far as I’m concerned is an Ukrainian BUK, either by mistake or in a false flag operation. This fits all the evidence I’m aware of. Second is a rebel BUK, followed by the Ukrainian SU-25 with missiles. I’d put the Russians last. The SU-25 has several other drawbacks anyway. It’s a ground attack aircraft, with a loaded ceiling of 16,000 ft. At altitude it’s slower than the Boeing.

          I prefer waiting for the final report, which may even give the right answer.

      • travellerev 15.6.2

        My opinion too. So why the economic sanctions and the drive to an all out conflict? From two of the suspects towards the other. The same suspects who have been found in collusion before the plane was shot down. As this telephone conversation shows!

  15. Puckish Rogue 16

    Dotcom told the Herald he would present “absolutely concrete” evidence that Mr Key knew about him earlier than the Prime Minister had claimed.

    But Dotcom is unsure how the public will react, especially following the fallout – or lack of fallout – from Dirty Politics.

    “When I read Nicky Hager’s book, I thought, ‘It’s over for John Key’. I didn’t think the New Zealand public would put up with something like that, and I’m really surprised how little impact the book had.

    “If he survived that, he could probably survive shooting little kittens in his garden with a shotgun, even if there is picture evidence of that. It’s a mystery. I can’t understand it.

    “Will what I present change the election result, or cause serious damage to the Prime Minister? I don’t know. It should.”

    So either KDC knows hes got nothing OR hes trying to late to underpromise and over deliver…

    • me..(and i am sure many others..)

      ..he is astonished at how national party suporters just don’t seem to care about their leaders being corrupt abusers of power..

      ..(i’m still grappling with that..what that means/says..)

    • framu 16.2

      you quoted the answer

      ” I didn’t think the New Zealand public would put up with something like that, and I’m really surprised how little impact the book had.”

      good grief

      • Puckish Rogue 16.2.1

        Another of the lefts great hopes is a fizzler

        • framu

          your not even making the most basic level of sense

          “So either KDC knows hes got nothing OR hes trying to late to underpromise and over deliver…”

          that was your question – yes or no?

          you answered it yourself in the bits you quoted

          stop the stupid games for gods sake

    • Saarbo 16.3

      I suspect that unfortunately, a good number of National voters are actually too stupid to understand the ramifications of Dirty Politics on our democracy.

      • yeshe 16.3.1

        and I bet, a good number of Nat politicians likewise …

      • Puckish Rogue 16.3.2

        Or we just realise this is nothing that hasn’t been done before time and time again anyhoo it doesn’t matter as its just another scalp for John Key

        • framu

          is dirty politics…

          a) MPs talking to bloggers and the MSM


          b) the govt using state power and a system of proxies to dishonestly attack people and manipulate the electorate all the while keeping its own hands clean

          pick a or b – or better yet read the book and stop making an ass of yourself

    • crocodill 16.4

      Is he hinting at photographic evidence? That would be concrete. A dated correspondence? That would be concrete. If we accept the unofficial dialogue that KDC is a “megalomaniac” when not on camera/radio, it seems unlikely that he would under-promise on evidence to crush his enemies. When you’re looking at someone whose match is the legal power of the USA, surely he isn’t a guy that would mess around to lose.

      • yeshe 16.4.1

        😀 well said ! and i am not sure yet that the legal power of usa is quite his match !!

      • Puckish Rogue 16.4.2

        So keeping the dream alive huh

        • crocodill

          Concrete evidence isn’t a dream. That evidence will be presented in a few days. Anyone who thinks that the election has already happened, and that National have already one, they are the ones dreaming.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Concrete evidence isn’t a dream. That evidence will be presented in a few days

            – Sure it will, it’ll be (another) game-changer

            Anyone who thinks that the election has already happened, and that National have already one, they are the ones dreaming.

            – Agreed but Nationals in the better position at the moment

    • Anne 16.5

      @ Puckish Rogue:


      You right wing nut jobs have abysmal judgement abilities, extremely poor comprehension and limited understanding of human characteristics. A good example of the latter is your profoundly blind adherence to the psychopathology of the current NAct government.

      • Puckish Rogue 16.5.1

        *Yawn* Oh I’m sorry you were saying something

        • Chooky

          …now back to the cooking sherry

          • greywarbler

            @ Chooky
            I’ll knock one back with you any minute – Cheers. What should be done after Sept 20th when we know who or what is the government? What’s the appropriate beverage (libation!)?

            • Chooky

              greywarbler…it will be champagne progressively for me if the Left coalition wins

              …if only Peter Dunne goes out it will be one champagne….and then cups of tea…(.i dont believe it good to drink on depressing news)

              …i am hoping to have a happy night sipping champagne watching tv with family

              ( we will be in touch on line, no doubt, next day…hopefully for cheers and not commiserations )

              • greywarbler

                @ Chooky
                Champers eh! I might go for a nice Old Mout cider or a glass of Founders beer. But also I’ll have some nice water, it is not something to take for granted these days. I’ll probably be watching here as I haven’t bothered with switching over to digital yet.

      • greywarbler 16.5.2

        @ Anne 10.20
        WOE! (waste of energy)

      • Chooky 16.5.3

        +100 Anne…lol…you said it!

        • adam

          Yeah no point with PR, he thinks it’s OK to use children as a threat for political purposes. So the best move is to realise he is a low life and ignore what he writes. I do and my days are cleaner – because you can’t wash away that filth.

          • greywarbler

            @ adam
            Yes PR is just amusing himself. Every time he ‘participates’ in a thread he is just insulting us and what we are concerned about. I would like to see him banned. He doesn’t add anything useful to my understanding of political matters only gives me a sense of despair. Pukeish Rogue is the appropriate name.

    • fambo 16.6

      KDC has a much better sense of humour than the PM, that’s for sure.

      • Puckish Rogue 16.6.1

        Unfortunately (for the left) John Key is popular

        [lprent: I noticed a few days ago that you appear to have resumed doing a series of these kinds of one-line taunts that I associate with trolling. Certainly you aren’t saying anything in them. Looking back over the comments, the frequency has been increasing markedly over the last week interspersed with odd comments that are worth reading.

        You know better. If you feel the urge to do it again, then I suggest that you resist.

        Otherwise there is a multiplier on a 4 week ban that I nearly just gave you. I’ll put you on moderation until I am sure you have seen this note. ]

  16. greywarbler 17

    Just putting this again as there is still time to get to it if you are in Wellington.

    Coalition for Better Broadcasting –
    Wellington protest against Dirty Politics
    Wednesday at 12pm noon, Parliament steps, Wellington City

    Calling all Wellingtonions who are concerned about the issues raised in the Dirty Politics book and subsequent media. Please show your opposition to this style of politics tomorrow, Wednesday at this family friendly gathering and protest.

    Speakers include the CBB Chairperson, Dr Peter Thompson.
    More info is available on the Kiwis for Clean Politics Facebook page

    • ianmac 18.1

      Increased voting could help the Left Adam. The South Aucklanders (and others) who didn’t vote in big numbers were perhaps the 10,000 of votes that National crept in by. But no one is sure what increased numbers will mean.
      The Leaders Debate Poll reflects my view of the effective Cunliffe and my dislike for Key.
      You are right both links interesting.

  17. greywarbler 19

    A report of the political meeting in Kawakawa from the Northland Age.

    National was invited but did not attend so what they might do about the spending on motorways instead of investing in the region, is a question that could not be put.
    But perhaps they agree with the point of view of economist from Shamubeel Eaqub
    in his recent book. (In Google this has a heading NZ has zombie towns that need to close — economist
    Internet-Mana also wasn’t at the meeting.

    Focus NZ seems to be a recent formation and looking at business and the economy with a regional and rural viewpoint. They have an active campaign of speaking at meetings.
    Kelvin Davis is Labour list MP candidate for Northland’s Tai Tokerau seat
    Willow-Jean Prime is candidate for Labour Northland seat

    Roads, jobs and wages the big issues for North
    11:06 AM Tuesday Sep 9, 2014
    Roads, jobs and wages were three of the key issues emerging from a candidates meeting in Kawakawa just two weeks out from the general election.
    Recent floods in Kawakawa and Moerewa made the state of Northland roads, and claims of cuts to regional road funding, a hot topic.

    A few bold new ideas were floated, such as a proposal for a rapid rail link, but perhaps the most striking aspect of the meeting was the age of the candidates – three of the six would-be Parliamentarians were in their early 30s.
    Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime was the youngest at 31, with the Maori Party’s Te Hira Paenga and Anaru Kaipo both 32.

    Responding to a question about roads at Thursday night’s meeting, Focus NZ leader Ken Rintoul said his party had a “cunning plan” for a rapid rail link from Hamilton to Kerikeri or Otiria.
    Carrying passengers by day and freight by night it had a five-year payback so it made economic sense. It would also take a lot of traffic off Northland roads.

    Green candidate David Clendon said his party would axe the $1.8 billion “gold-plated” motorway to Wellsford. Northland would benefit more from a spend of .5 billion to fix the worst bottlenecks on its state highway network.

    Mrs Prime [Labour]said the Far North District Council had not received any government funding for sealing metal roads in six years, because money once spent on rural roads was now being diverted to the Government’s Roads of National Significance. Meanwhile many Far Northerners living next to unsealed roads were “literally choking on dust”, she said.

    Mr Rintoul said $55 million in road user charges and fuel taxes paid in Northland was being “sucked out” of the region to pay for motorways in the big cities…….

  18. karol 20

    It looks to me like Labour has positioned itself (re pre-election statements about coalition partners) to meet one of Winston Peters’ bottom lines.

      • Puckish Rogue 21.1.1

        So its fair to say that the policy is (being polite) a dogs breakfast although kiwiblog suggested an independent commission set up to price the policies put out by political parties and I’d be ok with that

        • joe90

          independent commission set up to price the policies put out by political parties

          Charter schools, Whanau Ora, casino donations, high country lease transfers. sqautocracy bailouts, welfare for cockies – nah, fuck off.

    • Lanthanide 21.2

      Known right-wing consultancy NZIER, on behalf of known right-wing supporters Federated Farmers.


      • greywarbler 21.2.1

        Know your consultancy – NZIER, your lobby group Federated Farmers, your right wing economists the Banks’ boys, Dr Oliver Hartwich and The NZ Initiative et al. And the RWs talk about unions as if they are all-powerful and deathly dangerous. The trouble is that all are affected under that cliche that ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power does corrupt absolutely.’

        Incidentally NZIER has 20 talking heads. This must be an expensive outfit to run. They should be starting out at about $100,000 p.a. each. Perhaps some are on contract.
        Stats, models for hire! Economic procurers. What shape economy do you want?
        We guarantee to find the sexiest one just to suit your needs and requirements. We can model it for you, and have it sitting by your side to give comfort in times of stress.

      • Puckish Rogue 21.2.2

        That may well be but when the Greens want Labours policies costed that does lend credence to it does it not?

        • McFlock

          how much for the pretend-promised tax cuts?
          Show me the ten-dollar bill…

          • Puckish Rogue

            and that has what to with it exactly?

            • McFlock

              it shows your priorities.
              It shows how someone choosing (or not) to ask for more information is not a reliable indicator that said information is lacking.

              And it highlights just how much of a hollow, slimy partisan hack you are.

        • dv

          How about the Nats policies costed
          Now the tax break per household is $1500
          With say 1 million households (Guess) that is a cost of 1.5 Billion
          But the amount Key said was 500m

          20 secs of reflection and a quick rough calc shows that the cost is THREE times his value!!!!!

          Don’t they have a calculator?

    • Paul 21.3

      Another provocative starter, pr?

      • Puckish Rogue 21.3.1

        Its not provocative, its a legimate question in that Labour may well be able to cobble together a coilition and then might be able to put through a tax that simply won’t work and might even cost more then it brings in

        • phillip ure

          @ p.r..

          ..yr/rightwing claims of ‘too hard!’ are utter bullshit..

          ..we are the outlier by not having a cgt..

          ..and we don’t need to reinvent the wheel,,

          ..there are plenty of models out there to pick the best from..

    • aerobubble 21.4

      I disagree. Matching CGT and GST regimes with Australia has huge benefits and harms those who use the distortions to play both countries off against each other.

      Second I welcome the Greens extending the debate over the tax changes, I wish we have had a real debate, but early on National line has been to poor scorn on the debate, and nothing has changed.

      We need the change that CGT provides, that is to shift investment from growing a housing bubble and growing businesses. When its easier to buy and sell real estate than to build businesses, then having the same rewards is dumb.

      As for the notion that economist all agree, laughable. And that we’ve already forgotten how dismal their science is… ..laughable.

      Just because a tax isn’t the best perfect neo-liberal policy does not make it dangerous and an error to implement.

  19. brian 22

    Nomination Form for New Zealander of the Year
    (Principal Sponsor; Kiwibank)

    “Honour the achievements and contributions of an inspirational Kiwi by nominating a New Zealander who has made a significant contribution to our nation and makes us proud of our country and what can be achieved. Their pursuit of excellence may be in areas of – science, business, the arts, cultural or community involvement, sport, education and health – their achievements have positive effects on how we feel about our nation and ourselves. The New Zealander of the Year Award will recognise an individual, who, through his or her achievements, has made an outstanding contribution to the well being of the nation”

    I can think of one individual who has been inspirational. His pursuit of excellence has been in the area of strengthening Democracy in our country. He has recently written a book, that has been the fastest selling book in New Zealand’s history, providing evidence of the important message he has provided. He is a quietly spoken, extremely intelligent and articulate man, who has clearly made an outstanding contribution to the well being of the nation.

    I am sure that more than one nomination for this outstanding man, will not be a concern to those considering the nominations?

  20. greywarbler 24

    The builder of The Standard infrastructure, and who keeps this blog resource going. Along with a group of fervent, ethical, dedicated activists, who together provide a base for those that look for the truth, that is strong enough to handle the truth, The name of Lynn Prentice is the not-so-quiet hero of the decade!

  21. weka 25

    Winston Peters positioning himself a bit more snuggly as kingmaker. Take note voters who want a change of govt, and lefties who think he can be trusted.

    Last week Peter called for a Royal Commission into the events exposed in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, which used correspondence hacked from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater to reveal some inner workings of the National government.

    NZ First could not go into coalition with a party which did not meet his demand, he said.

    But today Peters appeared to signal that comments from National leader John Key – that an inquiry into Judith Collins could be widened to cover other issues – were enough to satisfy him.

    Peters appeared to say that the term “Royal Commission” was simply an expression or slip of the tongue.

    “I just called it a royal commission because I started out before anybody else calling for it,” Peters told Radio New Zealand.

    He was comfortable with an inquiry which had powers “sufficient to get to the truth”.

    Peters believed Key would be prepared to accept to widen the inquiry and that he had already done so.

    • ianmac 25.1

      Mai Chen said on the National Radio about 2 weeks ago that a Public Enquiry is about the same as a Royal Commission. RC is sort of an old title. Not sure what Key would mean by a “widened enquiry” but again any serious enquiry should have the terms of reference include “any other matters arising.” We will see but after the Election.

      • weka 25.1.1

        My point was that Peters originally positioned himself as champion of democracy, and now is respositioning himself as potential partner of the very people that are undermining democracy. It’s classic Peters and shame on the people it fools.

      • sockpuppet 25.1.2

        Best Mai Chen keeps her head downhill after the election.

    • emergency mike 25.2

      True that weka, the first thing I thought when I read that was: willing buyer, willing seller.

  22. JRT 26

    Weka, I think Winston is battling the Conservative party for the disaffected National vote. I suspect his own polling is showing that the Conservatives are close to or over the 5% barrier, and that National and the Conservatives together can govern without him. Survival mode for him.

    • aerobubble 26.1

      A vote for Conservative is a vote for the death penalty. Binding referendums are already being lined up by wealthy people who want parliament out of the process of legislating our country.

      • JRT 26.1.1

        Yeah, we don’t want the Conservatives anywhere near parliament. Better those votes go to Winston if they are not going to the left, and ex-National voters need to believe there are no barriers to Winston working with Key.

        • Rodel

          Yes I really don’t want batsh*t Colin to be seen as one of my “leaders”. (bit of cynicism there). He’s a rich Lombard with not a clue. (Oxymoronically, he admits on TV that he’s made a lot of his money through Foreigners buying NZ land…but like Winston, opposes it.) He’s an insult to bats.

          • JRT

            TV3 poll tonight puts them dangerously close to 5%. Best case scenario, they poll just under 5% on election day and waste thousands of right wing votes. Worst case scenario- them and National in coalition running amok for the next three years. It would be so strange if the Dirty Politics scandal gave us the worst government we have had in a couple of decades because National voters went to the Conservative party.

      • millsy 26.1.2

        Having the Conservatives in Parliament worries me more than having National back for a 3rd term.

        A few months ago I read a book about those students back in the 1960’s that bussed down into Mississippi to sign black people up to vote.

        It seems to me that Colin Craig, Garth McVicar and Christine Rankin (southern belle material if I do say so myself) want to turn New Zealand into a replica of Mississippi during the Jim Crow era.

  23. weka 27

    Jan Logie/Green Party on raising benefit levels above poverty line.

    Sadly can’t commit to doing that straight away but we have committed to raising parents receiving income support & removing discrimination. We’ll also reduce cost of housing, power, doctors & childcare + review the Act & policies of WINZ to ensure people can access their entitlements, be treated with respect & have enough to participate in society.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      I don’t know about raising benefits “above the poverty line” but an immediate 10% increase would be very affordable. If you wanted to do it.

      • weka 27.1.1

        Will be interested to see why the GP feel that it can’t be done now. Whether it’s a costing issue or something else.

        Sorting out WINZ culture properly would make a big difference too if the dept was required to make sure that beneficiaries were informed of their entitlements and supported to access them. Raising base benefits is probably easier though.

        • greywarbler

          @ Weka
          Agree that sorting out WINZ culture is important. Politicians have to be responsible for the delivery of their programs, no use saying ‘It’s an operational matter’, don’t bother me further. Not sure how to get that done though. Labour got into trouble with Christine and her knees and earrings as symbols for the corporate queen style. What is needed is sober humanity under any sort of decent outer chosen, but the style of performance and attitude must change and it may need a change of CEO. And one that replaces must have a different grid of requirements and expectations to meet.

          And give an immediate 10% rise on the benefits. Before Christmas.
          If we get a change of government too. Oh happy day.
          (Get Elvis to sing that for you
          or try –
          Over the Rainbow with the very weighty Israel now dead but with a great Hawaiian spirit. IZ Over the Rainbow

          • weka

            It’s one of the conversations I’d like to have after the election. There’s a broad consensus about the need to change the culture, but very little on how it could be done. I agree that the choice of CEO is one of the critical things. I would rate compassion as one of the top criteria.

            • greywarbler

              @ weka
              Definitely got to be near the top along with experience in working in the social and not for profit sector, with practical and successful expertise behind him/her.
              This generic thing is crazy, there may be a management base that applies to all entities, but treating people as units to be pushed around with efficiency as the first priority is not the humane way.

  24. A couple of questions to our Standard friends .How many of you noticed Mike Hoskins derogatory remark regarding Labours tax policy when dismissing Harawera ‘s answer,
    Not being very familier with Epsom are the residents of Epsom as mean and nasty as the one’s interviewed onTV one Tuesday?

    • Te Reo Putake 28.1

      Not all of them, posty, but mean and nasty is par for the course for Epsom and Remuera. Mind you, I think there’s a lot of students/young professionals renting around Newmarket, so a small flame of humanity may still flicker on.

    • aerobubble 28.2

      Media is full of right wing ‘faces’. After the election I was going just to listen to Nat radio, then I found Guyon there. Cripes, is there any unbiased non-branded news presenting left in NZ? Its because they have face and name recognition that they are paid heaps more, and so they falling into the top tax range, and thus have a direct incentive to seek lower taxes for themselves.

  25. Paul 29

    A lot of clutter on this Open Mike today courtesy of pr.
    I really enjoyed not having to bypass all the taunts and insults posted by said rwt.

    • Weepus beard 29.1

      I agree. He’s ruining what is normally a good site.

    • yeshe 29.2

      He’s be so happy to read this ! But LPrent has him on warning for a long lockout today .. but wasn’t it good last week without the rwnj mob … clutter is a good word Paul.

  26. JRT 30

    Yeah, I mostly just read here and don’t post much, but I am really sick of the right wing trolls like PR. Why can’t they just be banned? They contribute nothing and waste everyones time. More lefties might contribute here if the trolls were gone.

    • Draco T Bastard 30.1

      Why can’t they just be banned?

      Know thine enemy.

      • JRT 30.1.1

        I know who the opposition is though, I hear them all day through the mainstream media. Fighting with paid RWNJs here as well is just demoralizing.

        I’ve been following the Scottish Independence referendum with fascination. The Yes campaign have all the same problems we have with a hostile, biased media but yet they are on the verge of achieving the incredible. They have done it all with a grassroots organization. To get a cohesive grassroots organization going you need to make people feel joined together with optimism and hope. I think the NZ left need a positive place free of RWNJs to congregate and share ideas.

        • Colonial Viper

          PR and others of his ilk deliberately crash otherwise productive discussions on these threads in order to drive away readers/lurkers to The Standard.

          • JRT

            Yes, standard modus operandi for the right. Has anybody asked for tighter moderating of this site to stop the RWNJs? Why should the left provide yet another place for them to spout their venom? I don’t think the left is going to get much further ahead in NZ unless some things are changed. The Scottish experience has shown that if you give people hope then they will get engaged in politics. That hope is not going to come via the MSM in NZ, there needs to be other channels.

            • Weepus beard

              Agreed. The radical left are the only ones speaking up. The centre left seem too petrified of spooking the middle vote.

              • JRT

                I think middle NZ are open to new ideas if you can offer a vision. But identity politics has had its day. I’m going to assume the 20% of people who have stopped voting in the last few decades are left voters. We need those people to re-engage, and it will need to start at grass roots level. If the Scots can take back their country then surely we can. This indyref of theirs is really about getting rid of the neolibs in Westminster. Maybe we need a new political party on the left, a party that can take over from Labour which is now moribund with career politicians who are more interested in a lifetime career than making a difference. But first it would be nice to have a place to talk without the RWNJs.

          • Paul

            They can share their views on the extreme right wing sites they frequent.
            As others have said, let’s keep this site for the constructive free sharing of progressive ideas.
            The puerile comments brigade from the right is very tiresome.

  27. Molly 31

    Article in the Herald this afternoon: Fraudster tries to get family out of tin shed.

    “…For five years, Rosalina Filoa Leavasa applied for income-related support for rent to which she was not entitled — offending sparked by financial pressures and arduous living conditions.

    The mother of three, who was supporting a son with epilepsy and a husband with chronic arthritis, was working seven days a week to make ends meet but still struggled, her lawyer Justin Harder said.

    For four months the family lived in a metal garage – which he said exacerbated their medical issues – before moving to a house in Mangere…”

    A couple of thoughts:
    1. Doesn’t this also mean that for five years the processing and auditing of the WINZ office was amazingly substandard?
    2. If she was supporting a son with epilepsy and a husband with chronic arthritis on a caregiver’s wage – why the hell is she not entitled to income-related support?

  28. Penny Bright 32


    10 September 2014

    OPEN LETTER to Stephen Franks, Principal, Franks and Ogilvie
    “Are these ‘WhaleDump’ emails true?”

    Dear Stephen,

    It is with some deep concern, that I have read the following alleged email correspondence, between Jordan Williams, then, as I understand it, employed as a Solicitor at your company, Franks and Ogilvie.

    There is significant public interest in these matters relating to ‘dirty politics’.

    I would appreciate your honest response to the following questions:

    Are these emails true?

    Yes or no?

    If yes, is the ‘Steve’ referred to in these emails by Jordan Williams, yourself?

    Yes or no?

    Is it correct that Jordan Williams now employed as a ‘consultant’ as opposed to a ‘solicitor’ by Franks and Ogilvie?

    If yes, why is Jordan Williams not currently listed as a consultant in your list of ‘people’ at Franks and Ogilvie?

    I note that in 2008, you were the National Party candidate for Wellington Central.

    Are you still connected in any way with the National Party?

    If so – how?

    Looking forward to your prompt reply.

    Yours sincerely,

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

  29. North 33

    Take your pick – it was either Jeremy Elwood or Scott Yorke (I expect not Yorke) on Mora’s ‘Panel’ half an hour ago – “Kim Dotcom and Hone Harawira are the two most hated people in New Zealand……”. Strictly that assessment defies proof, or disproof for that matter, but isn’t it a tad hysterical ?

    My gut feeling tells me it is. If so does that not typify the oftentimes ludicrous offerings in this spot ? As always unchallenged by the unctuous Mora as eager stroker of the pulsating vanities of so many of his guests.

    • it was yorke..

      ..and that wasn’t the only utter shite he spouted..

      ..and elwood should stick to his day-job.. an attempt at being a serious opinionater he is just another (surprisingly) reactionary-voice in the talkback-babble..

      ..yet another dire panel..

      ..and as a factcheck on mora:..i have heard him say that the mana party pot policy is the result of internets’ pot-policy..(subtext:..dotcom pulling harawiras’ strings..i know what you are doing mr mora..)

      ..this is utter bullshit..the mana medicinal-marijuana policy went thru the policy process before the int/mana deal was inked..

      ..i know ‘cos i was there for part of it..argued for it.. if he cd stop spreading that lie..?

      • Paul 33.1.1

        The Panel is best avoided.
        Full of people with strong regressive ideas on issues they are uninformed about.
        Better to have a show that had on informed guests with a touch more humility.

  30. emergency mike 34

    Nice article about media bias in the wake of Dirty Politics.

    The MSM has resumed it’s focus on trivialities that undermine the ‘left’ parties. Not just because that’s what a compromised, biased media would do, but because the more you look at it the more you see that it’s not about collusion between our govt and a gang of hideous bloggers, it’s about collusion between our govt and a gang of hideous bloggers and the MSM.

    They’ve realised that this story is a bit to close to being about themselves.

  31. karol 35

    Tova O’Brien has called some of us haters for being critical of her use of the phrase “dirty politics”; at the end of her report on 3 news tonight.

    It was a report on the NAT Party Pacific candidate, being criticised by the Labour candidate for using a Samoan title she is not eligible for.

    “Dirty Politics” means so much more than a couple of criticisms or even isolated smears.

    O’Brien’s response is that

    For all you haters out there both Su’a William Sio and Misa Fia Turner agree the fight for Mangere has got dirty. They’d know and I agree.

    Depends on what they all mean by “dirty politics”. Shouldn’t just take their word for it.

    She’s being very defensive.

    • Puddleglum 35.1

      She’s being very defensive.

      So are Duncan Garner and Patrick Gower on twitter – so I’m told (I’m not on twitter).

      Getting quite upset at being criticised, even politely.

      • karol 35.1.1

        “Dirty Politics” shows us that MSM journalists also need to be held to account.

        Maybe some are now feeling a bit vulnerable as a result of that?

      • veutoviper 35.1.2

        Puddlegum, you do not need to be on Twitter (ie have a Twitter account) to read people’s feeds on Twitter. I refuse to join, but am able to read Twitter feeds.

        All you need to do is google – eg Duncan Garner Twitter – go to the link; then go to the Full Profile to get onto the full feed for that person. Then you can save to your Favorites or Favorites bar (or Bookmarks) to be able to read their Twitter feed. You can then read conversations when this shows under a comment; or click on the “2 hrs” or whatever shows in the timescale to read replies etc.

  32. Te Reo Putake 36

    Good poll on TV3, with a pretty much perfect result for the Conservatives 😉

    Debate on TV3 at 8.40. No quarter, David, no quarter.

    • karol 36.1

      Also very good for NZ First. greens holding up well.

      Still poised between (potential) left and right blocks.

      Hmmmm. I think Key will be firing tonight. He hates to lose.

      • Jenk 36.1.1

        I don’t think Key fired at all tonight. He’s looking tired. He’s a bit gabby but what he says is meaningless. David Cunliffe is the one with the eloquence and the reality.
        Great stuff DC on TV3 debate tonight.
        I can’t stand Paul Henry so am not watching the after-match – don’t want to spoil my own enjoyment of DC’s good performance…… despite him not getting half of the airtime !

        • ianmac

          Henry right on his usual nasty cues. He hates it if the panelists applaud David for getting points across.
          Don’t bother watching Henry!

  33. lprent 37

    The test is all done. Didn’t fall back to a readonly at Sydney correctly (damnit).

    However the operating system upgrades worked perfectly apart from having to recompile the ethernet drivers again for the new kernel. I have to make those automatic.

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