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Open mike 11/04/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 11th, 2015 - 117 comments
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117 comments on “Open mike 11/04/2015 ”

  1. Penny Bright 1

    Sheesh!

    Must be doing something right to get mentioned two mornings in a row on the Paul Henry show?

    Sometimes your worst enemy can be your best friend?

    (Sort of thing …)

    Pity about the factual accuracy on yesterday’s piece regarding my rates case with Auckland Council.

    Picking on the WRONG woman Paul Henry ….

    Penny Bright

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

  2. Ed Milibanf today visited Scotland to campaign with Jim Murphy and zed Balls for votes for Labour votes. They attacked the SNP as usual and repeated the old refrain that Scotland was too wee, too poor and too stupid to have a real say in Westminstet or to govern themselves.
    Here is a post on that visit by a blogger in The Scotsman.

    Karinish
    10/04/2015 8:10 PM GDT
    Yes, there they all were today: all these “proud Scots”, out and about in force, desperate to convince us that we are a beggar nation, entirely dependent on English subsidy, without which we would face doom and disaster on an epic scale: the same message we have had from them for over half a century.
    No attempt to explain why 300 years of blessed Union, as they would have it, has left us in such a parlous state. No attempt to explain why Scotland, alone among European nations of similar size and, arguably, less gifted resource wise, should be unable to offer its citizens a decent standard of public service. No attempt to explain why the massive bonus of North Sea oil revenues has left us a beggar nation.
    Current polling evidence, which one can only hope is maintained, suggests that Scots have had enough of this nonsense. If we are in a bad state, it can only mean that the Union is not, in fact, beneficial or that Scots suffer from some unexplained defect that prevents them from doing what other nations are able to. You won’t get any Unionist politician willing to tell us which it is.
    It’s time to put a stop to this, once and for all. Only full fiscal autonomy and access to all our resources, without exception, will prove or disprove Unionist propaganda.
    Even if the beggar nation message being put about were genuine, there is never any effort to map out a better future. Why not? They seem almost proud of our inadequacy. We can only assume that it is a situation that suits the Unionist parties and why wouldn’t it? The Tories and Labour are content with the buggins turn system and the Lib Dems don’t really want third party competition.
    The sooner they get the shock of their lives, the better. If they don’t, Scotland can look forward to beggar nation status for evermore. What genuinely proud Scot would vote for that?

  3. amirite 3

    Fran O’Sullivan practically confirms that CampbellLive demotion is indeed politically motivated http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11430860

    • weka 3.1

      That’s a good article.

      (Is spruiking the current verb du jour?)

      • Rosie 3.1.1

        That word is suddenly everywhere. I don’t what it means so had to look it up:

        http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/spruik

        From the early 20th century apparently and means to promote or publicise.

        Interesting how words have fashion cycles.

        I am thrilled that the term “passionate” is almost out of use. It was word that was hijacked by the corporate world a few decades ago. They polluted it’s meaning. It may still be on some old, yet to be updated CV’s.

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 3.2

      Then they came for John Campbell. And what did you say?

      Next, they go for ….

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      Quoting article:

      In the meantime, National’s favourite pollster and spinner David Farrar is spruiking a new poll of his own which purports to demonstrate that the newspapers, their columnists and editorial writers have turned on National.

      Yesterday, politics lecturer Bryce Edwards — who really should add Statistics 101 to his arsenal — gave great credence to Farrar’s attempt to “measure the orientation of newspapers towards political parties and the Government”. Edwards claimed the results show political journalists have been overwhelmingly negative to National.

      In fact, Farrar is simply playing from the Dirty Politics playbook.

      My bold.

  4. adam 4

    The word “mortgage” comes from the old French which means “death pledge”

    So that explains this government – A death pledge for the next generation. Morally bankrupt, the Key government.

    • John Shears 4.1

      @Adam
      Not only morally bankrupt this mornings NZH article states:-

      The Government’s interest bill was 7.9 per cent or $200 million higher than a year ago, reflecting a $4 billion increase in gross debt to $87.5 billion and a $3.5 billion increase to $63.5 billion in net debt which excludes the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, student loans and other advances.

      Less than 5 million people owe $63.5 million ? amazing.

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    Genter was interviewed yesterday saying that the government had no economic management credibility after failing to get its books out of deficit.

    This is a newsflash for all lefties: the main way this government can get out of deficit is by slashing social services and hiking up regressive taxes. In NZ’s position of being in a chronic current account deficit, our government MUST borrow billions every year back into the country, or NZ will nosedive into a severe recession.

    Lefties who push for NZ govt books to go back into surplus, IMO, know not what they are asking for.

    • weka 5.1

      Do you mean this govt, or any NZ govt?

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1

        Any NZ government, so long as they are presiding over a significant current account deficit which is sending billions of NZD out of our local economy into offshore accounts.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          How did various Labour govts get out of deficit?

          • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1.1.1

            By taking more money out of the NZ economy i.e. out of households, and out of businesses, than they spent into it. Hence the government runs a surplus – which they crow about – while the private sector (including households) runs a deficit.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              was that by taxation and cutting social spending?

              btw, thanks for answering what probably seem like very basic questions. I’m finding this pretty helpful.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Yes indeed – a right wing government is likely to achieve this surplus by cutting social spending and by increasing regressive taxation. A left wing government who believes in orthodox economic thinking also has got very little ideological space but to follow a similar prescription, albeit a bit more socially considerate and well balanced. But it still ends up being cuts to schools, universities and hospitals albeit not as deep as what a right wing government would do.

                If we get the basic understandings right, we have a chance of getting the more complex stuff right too, otherwise we end up with Labour governments advocating for raising the Super age, keeping regressive GST high and other ridiculous right wing-like proposals.

    • lefty 5.2

      Lefties do not push for government books to go into surplus. Only righties do this but some righties pretend to be leftie when it suits them.

    • I don’t see many lefties “pushing” for government surplus. What people like Julie Anne Genter are highlighting is that this National-led government explicitly campaigned on the idea that being “better economic managers” would mean getting out of deficit faster.

      I’m usually against buying into rightwing framing on economic issues, but the simple fact is one of National’s easiest-to-point-out weaknesses is making economic promises they never fulfil.

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.3.1

        We should be glad they don’t fulfil that promise. And the Greens shouldn’t be confirming that mistaken understanding of economics that public sector deficits are bad for the nation’s economy.

        • We should be glad they don’t fulfil that promise.

          We should – though I think their spending could have been far better directed.

          But the simple, terrible fact of political communication is that “National ran a decade of deficits which was actually a good idea given the global economic situation following the 2008 GFC” has nowhere near the same impact as “National promised surpluses and didn’t deliver. Ergo National aren’t the brilliant economic managers they pretend to be.”

          • Colonial Rawshark 5.3.1.1.1

            The thing is, the impact of political PR is not my job and I don’t much care for it.

            I do however care about Lefties realising that reinforcing the priorities of neoliberal economists amongst the general voting population is absolutely the wrong thing to do, increases economic ignorance, and will come back to bite us in the arse.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2

        I don’t see many lefties “pushing” for government surplus.

        Maybe not many on the Left but the Labour Party certainly has been and are quite proud of the fact that they ran so many years of surplus in the 2000s. This despite the fact that all private profit comes from the government running a deficit. It is this latter that makes it imperative that governments stop borrowing money and just create it as they need it.

      • felix 5.3.3

        “the simple fact is one of National’s easiest-to-point-out weaknesses is making economic promises they never fulfil.”

        Yep. And the slightly more complex fact is that great care must be taken to make sure the message is clearly about the ethical failure of breaking the promise, without implying there would be an economic virtue in keeping the promise.

        • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 5.3.3.1

          Indeed, felix. That is very intelligent advice.

        • Absolutely. It’s difficult, but not impossible. And our current crop of MPs don’t always pull it off. At the same time, I think we on the sidelines could be more helpful by recognising the strategy in play instead of jumping straight to “Julie Anne Genter is an idiot who thinks surpluses are good.”

          • Tracey 5.3.3.2.1

            Agree. She and Meteria are pointing out the hypocrisy in National’s claim, the dishonesty not the integrity of the goal.

          • felix 5.3.3.2.2

            Yep totes. I definitely don’t mean to imply anything like that about Genter, she’s awesome.

      • Sans Cle 5.3.4

        Agreed, and remember the rhetoric about catching up to Australian income standards (or was it living standards?). All abuzz a few years ago.

        • alwyn 5.3.4.1

          For Sans Cle information.
          Using last Monday’s exchange rate the average weekly wage rate in Australia for the first quarter of 2015 was $A1130/week. The average in New Zealand, when converted to Australian dollars was $A1109/week. The difference hasn’t vanished, quite, but it is down to $21/week or just under 2%.

          I’m not surprised the left have stopped talking about it. Not a very nice statistic for them to want to talk about is it?

          The figures are those published by the Australian and New Zealand Governments. Google will find the information for you if you really want to check it. You will have to do a little bit to get them talking about the same time period as the timing of some of the published details varies a bit.

          • McFlock 5.3.4.1.1

            Short version: you’re not convinced you added everything up properly, so avoided providing your source links in the hope that people will believe what you say without checking it.

            Good luck with that.

            • alwyn 5.3.4.1.1.1

              Short Version.
              You don’t understand what you would need to do.
              You are too lazy to bother checking it.
              The explanation and referencing all the source numbers and the necessary calculations would take longer to detail than the results.
              You would complain that it was to difficult for you to follow.
              You wouldn’t accept the results anyway because they don’t tie in with your own doctrinaire beliefs do they?

              • felix

                I think I’d just like to see them, thanks. So far all you’ve shown is that you know how to type.

                • alwyn

                  Alright, just for you I will sketch out the reasoning.

                  The exchange rate used was 0.9978. It is reported here
                  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11428614

                  I got the average income figures from two sources for New Zealand Income.

                  In June 2014 the average weekly income for private sector workers (including O/T) was given as being $1015/week at an hourly rate of $26.29. The average hourly rate was $28.23 so I estimated the overall average as being (1015/26.29)*28.23 or $1090/week.
                  Those number came from here, although they are sourced from the Stats Dept.
                  http://www.enz.org/new-zealand-salaries.html
                  I then got the latest hourly rate I could find. This was for December 2014, and I have assumed that it hasn’t changed. That rate was $28.77 and comes from here.
                  http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/LabourMarketStatistics_MRDec14qtr.aspx
                  Correcting for this increase gives an estimated average weekly income of (1090/28.23)*28.77 or $1111/week.
                  This converts to an Australian dollar amount of $A1109/week using the record Australian dollar exchange rate I quoted.

                  The Australian average weekly earnings was sourced from here.
                  http://www.tradingeconomics.com/australia/wages
                  I rounded it to $1130. Again it is for the fourth quarter of 2014 and I have assumed it hasn’t changed.

                  There. It might not satisfy the strictest rules for econometric data collection but I don’t have months to spare and it won’t be too far out for a back of the envelope calculation.

                  • McFlock

                    well, it all depends on the average hours worked to get that average weekly income, doesn’t it.

                    Seriously, if you’re correct, why isn’t national braying from the rooftops that they’ve actually done something key promised?

                    • alwyn

                      It is, in a sense, something of a fake and I wouldn’t seriously try to argue for it being all good for people or that incomes are really the same in what they will buy.

                      Most of the improvement is due to the continued strengthening of the New Zealand dollar against the Australian one. In March 2011 the rate was 0.7269 and today it is 0.9813. I was putting a political argument and that is why I chose the highest value, that of the 4th April 2015 when it was 0.9977.

                      Now the Government is arguing, and I think justifiably, that the change vs the Australian dollar reflects the better economy we have compared to across the ditch.

                      However if you looked at the different incomes at PPP, rather than the market exchange rates, I don’t think they would look as close. At the market exchange rates I would guess that many locally produced goods are more expensive here than in OZ. Cars are one of the interesting exceptions. Cars still seem to cost much more over there than they do in New Zealand. It is because they still promote an indigenous car manufacturing sector. A lot of other locally produced things are cheaper though. They would cost similar amounts in both countries at a lower exchange rate than we have today.

                      Imported goods cost very similar amounts though so people’s money generally goes further at the current exchange rate level. Our unemployment rates, currently lower than Australia, don’t seem to be boosted by the supposed penalty to exporters of the exchange rate so I don’t think we would be any better by trying to force it down.

                    • McFlock

                      What I’m worried about is whether the dollar in particular is signifying that Aus and maybe China are “levelling down” compared with us, rather than NZ improving. And we rely on our exports. Because then there will be a lag and we’ll start getting even worse off with no reserves to get out of it again.

              • McFlock

                It would be nice to see the figuring you used – the relative income measures, what you estimated the exchange rate as, how each source was gathered (partial survey vs census). And that’s before we even start checking whether you

                The explanation and referencing all the source numbers and the necessary calculations would take longer to detail than the results
                protip: ctrl+c

                The fact that you also said You will have to do a little bit to get them talking about the same time period as the timing of some of the published details varies a bit. strongly implies that the devil is in the details. I mean, I know that no national party supporter has ever cherry-picked data with the intention of misleading people, but with multiple data sources it can be a cow to replicate someone else’s methodology, even if you don’t have to google it.

  6. Tautoko Mangō Mata 6

    In the US, the effect of large corporations manipulating the tax system to avoid paying their share by using off-shore tax havens, accelerated depreciation, single tax break — writing off the value of executive stock options for tax purposes is clearly illustrated
    in the data in the Citizens For Justice article.
    “This CTJ report illustrates how profitable Fortune 500 companies in a range of sectors of the U.S. economy have been remarkably successful in manipulating the tax system to avoid paying even a dime in tax on billions of dollars in U.S. profits. These 15 corporations’ tax situations shed light on the widespread nature of corporate tax avoidance. As a group, the 15 companies paid no federal income tax on $23 billion in profits in 2014, and they paid almost no federal income tax on $107 billion in profits over the past five years. All but two received federal tax rebates in 2014, and almost all paid exceedingly low rates over five years.

    Just one of 15 big Co.s illustrates the trend:

    2014 2010-14 Totals
    $-millions US profit Fed Tax Rate US profit Fed Tax Rate
    Time Warner 4,296 –26 –0.6% 21,069 3,09 14.7%

    http://ctj.org/pdf/15corporations0315.pdf

    No wonder the public service, schools, etc are struggling.

  7. Anyone else watching Matt Bowden on The Nation? What a fucking mess – talking complete shit

    • Dave 7.1

      Wouldn’t need shit like that going near the market if cannabis was decriminalised.

      • TheContrarian 7.1.1

        Not only that but he kept going on about a need for safe, non-addictive drug which we have several off already.

        LSD, Ecstasy and cannabis all have extremely low health risks when used responsibly (and if it comes from a good, clean source and is unadulterated). It was a very strange interview.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          Are you suggesting that the general public would use LSD responsibly if it were decriminalised?

          • TheContrarian 7.1.1.1.1

            Dunno, but it’s not an easy one to abuse like cannibus. If you have a full time job it is easy to smoke a joint every night but a lot tougher to abuse LSD or E nightly, or even weekly.

            Not to mention that despite its illegality you can still quite easily obtain said substances. But the point I was making was more around Bowden insistence that he can make a non-addictive and non-harmful drug but we already have those so why would one be illegal and the other legal. And it was a fucking strange interview

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Interesting to think through making lsd legal.

              There’s no such thing as a non-harmful drug, all drugs have side effects, the poison is in the dose etc.

              I wouldn’t consider lsd easy to get, when compared to something like alcohol or cigarettes (prohibition is effective to an extent).

              Abuse isn’t just how often you can take a drug, it’s also whether said drug is a good match for any individual. Lots of people shouldn’t take psychedelics, and those that do need to learn how to do so safely.

              A lot would depend on how such a drug were decriminalised. I’ve been reading a bit about what’s happening in Colorado since cannabis was legal, lots of problems because dak is being marketed to expert users but is being used by newbies. Plus really stupid shit like selling cannabis in a candy bar and then kids eating them and ending up in a and e. Lots of overdosing. Main point being, there’s a lot of scope for the ignorance and stupidity of users, not to mention commerce, and that’s not even getting to the many people whose psyche’s aren’t suited to bring out of it.

              Haven’t seen the interview though 🙂

              • Tracey

                i bet phils head is exploding right now that he cant comment…

              • I would never advocate for legalisation of LSD – just contrasting it with the unusual position we have in NZ of someone being able to bring a drug to market which has the same risk and addictive potential a LSD under this new law while LSD remains not just illegal but as illegal as Heroin and Cocaine.

                • weka

                  Sure, although I’m not sure why you consider LSD to be a low risk drug.

                  We don’t know what kind of drug Bowden wants to make do we? (didn’t listen all the way to the end).

                  But yeah, there’s all sorts of weird anomalies in drug laws.

                  • Low risk as in zero physical harm potential (LSD is completely clean on the body) and non-addictive. As far mental health is concerned I think it is on par with cannabis…but don’t quote me on that.

                    I would be curious to know why anyone would consider LSD would be considered high risk to be honest.

                    • Incognito

                      I cannot help but draw your attention to the weird story of Tusko the elephant that overdosed on LSD http://scienceblogs.com/retrospectacle/2007/05/30/science-vault-how-much-lsd-doe-1/

                    • emergency mike

                      The physiological impact of LSD is virtually nil. And books on illegal drugs of abuse regularly list its addictive potential as nil. The effect is entirely psychological. Accident or injury is certainly possible and has occurred, though that danger is nowhere near as bad as say, alcohol.

                      As far as psychological risk, those with pre-existing serious psychological conditions should steer clear. But even for them the danger of a psychotic episode is statistically less than cannabis or amphetamines. Otherwise a user who is well prepared should be fine.

                      Psychiatrists who specialized in LSD treatment in the first half of the 60s documented thousands of LSD sessions. They reported high success rates with alcoholism in particular, and found that in comfortable, friendly, supportive environments less than 1% had overly anxious or fearful reactions. Of that number, all were able to be calmed down, with supportive words. They declared it very safe. (The CIA scientists who at the same time were force-feeding it to unwitting subjects in an interrogation room while shining a light in their eyes and telling them they were going crazy and and that they were dying, came to very different conclusions.)

                      By any objective measure alcohol is a high risk drug, and LSD is a low risk drug. That is a statistical fact. So my question for you weka, is why would you doubt it?

            • emergency mike 7.1.1.1.1.2

              I have met, and heard of people who used acid much too often in an addictive manner. But they are very rare, and usually have issues they are trying to hide from. For the vast majority, an acid trip is a heavy duty experience that requires some time to psychologically prepare for and to subsequently process – there’s no hurry to do it again. Terence McKenna, who was a well known high dose explorer, said that once or twice a year was enough for him. And also that for cannabis, more than once a week was overdoing it.

              Plus the tolerance action is very different to other kinds of drugs. You would need to double the dose if you want to trip again within a few days.

              Sadly, today the psychedelic drugs are lumped in with the dangerous narcotics as ‘intoxicants’. But that’s not how the shamanic cultures of old saw them. For them they were teachers, healers, sacred gifts from the gods. There was no ‘abuse’.

              Unfortunately many young people do indeed take them as intoxicants, to get high and have a laugh. That is because of their ignorance based on received cultural stereotyping and misinformation regarding them. They are told it is an intoxicant, so that’s what they think it is. But when used responsibly, with respect, preparation, and proper intent, it can be a valuable, and very safe (but challenging), personal experience. As usual, the idiots ruin it for everyone. Legalization within the juvenile binge drinking mindset here in NZ for example, would be problematic I’m sure.

              There is currently a new wave of research in these drugs regarding their value in treating amongst other things PTSD and drug addiction. There is healing here.

              But hey, what would we want with a weirdo drug like that when we have something as awesomely toxic, dangerous, deadly, addictive and socially damaging as alcohol? Who else is getting drunk tonite?! Woo-hoo!

          • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.1.2

            More to the point: is the question of whether or not the general public would use LSD responsibly a matter for the criminal justice system to deal with? I’ve yet to see a sensible argument for “Yes.”

    • emergency mike 7.2

      @TheContrarian yes it was quite odd. Like how he kept talking about a totally safe non-addictive drug, but no comment about what kind of high it might produce. I.e., it sounded a lot like a ‘watch this space’ marketing ploy to me.

      Anything that makes you feel good, and that’s surely the point of taking recreational drugs, can be addictive. Look at the countless hordes addicted to drooling on the couch watching endless hours of brainless TV. An activity now known to have an effect on the brain similar to narcotic sedation.

      Any rehab worker knows that the physical part of a drug addiction, (tolerance/withdrawl), is nothing compared to the psychological part. So to claim the possibility of a drug can gets you high but cannot be addictive, is nonsensical.

      • Tracey 7.2.1

        e mike. would love to read about the sedation impact of tv… got any links saved?

        • emergency mike 7.2.1.1

          Here’s one. And here.

          “Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland’s research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.

          I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the “light hypnotic” state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy.”

          • Tracey 7.2.1.1.1

            Thanks e mike.

            • Anne 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Without going into the impressive sounding scientific complexities of the issue, I can confirm the existence of the sedative effects of TV. My dear old late Mum could only watch television for a period of 5 minutes without falling into a deep slumber. We would have been happy to leave her in this vegetative state except that her voluminous snoring distracted us from our viewing. A brother, who learnt to mimic this historical circumstance with total accuracy, had to be banned from doing so for fear one of us would die laughing.

      • weka 7.2.2

        Addiction that involves distinct physiological pathways and thus withdrawal is a useful concept though, and I think it’s too much of a generalisation to say psychological addiction is worse. How much of both is due to the stress of drugs being illegal and addicts bring treated like shit by society?

        Presumably Bowden is looking at drugs that don’t have obvious addictive pathways like opiates or alcohol.

        I thought he was interesting, had some good ideas, but was too youth culture for me. The whole we can set up free clinics with specialists to help those with a tendency to addiction or abuse was either incredibly naive or marketing spin (albeit with good intentions). Lisa Owen’s questions were too reactionary (and she looked really tired)

        • emergency mike 7.2.2.1

          “Addiction that involves distinct physiological pathways and thus withdrawal is a useful concept though, and I think it’s too much of a generalisation to say psychological addiction is worse. How much of both is due to the stress of drugs being illegal and addicts bring treated like shit by society?”

          What I meant is that the psychological aspect of an addiction is tougher to beat than the physical withdrawal aspect.

          Nicotine is considered the most addictive drug of all. Yet the physical withdrawal symptoms of going cold turkey last less than a week, and are not half as bad as a decent cold. “The most important component for full nicotine cessation is willpower.” Not patches.

          Recovering alcoholics and opiate addicts typically speak of a moment of epiphany, when a sudden shift in self-perspective towards their addiction motivated them to quit successfully where previously they had failed. Note too, that these people often call themselves recovering addicts even after being sober for years.

          It’s true that a serious drug addiction will physically alter reward pathways in the brain itself, and those changes remain long after the more obvious withdrawal symptoms are gone. But fighting against the temptation to relapse is still a psychological battle, particularly in times of stress.

          First you get sober. Then somehow make it through withdrawal. Then comes the hard part. Sure the withdrawal stage can be tough, but at all stages the battle is psychological. It’s about accepting your problem, accepting the solution, motivation, willpower, and determination.

          • ropata 7.2.2.1.1

            good comments.

            along with the problems their addiction has caused, the ex-addict also has to face the issues that caused them to spiral out of control in the first place.

            it’s damn tough but living like a sober human is better than living in an unreal state, enslaved by a demonic force.

            matt’s comments echo those of russell brand. drug abuse shouldn’t be a criminal issue it should be a health issue. i don’t know what decriminalisation would look like but presumably class A drugs would still be tightly controlled..

            you know that morphine = heroin right? the difference as to whether someone becomes addicted, is the social world in which the user lives.

            • emergency mike 7.2.2.1.1.1

              Cheers ropata. The criminal status of drug use is one of the clearest examples of our collective irrationality and myth based policy.

  8. Philip Ferguson 8

    Last week I reported on a great strike in Ireland, as 6,000 Dunnes Stores workers struck for more (and more secure) hours, job security, better pay and union recognition.

    The strike was a big success.

    The employer, however, has responded with harassment, victimisation, intimidation.

    Here’s my update: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/after-the-strike-dunnes-stores-tries-punishing-and-victimising-workers/

  9. Pasupial 9

    1 final day remaining until the scheduled return of; the last of the Rawsharkans.

      • Chooky 9.1.1

        yeah the place is not the same without Philip Ure and Murray the Rawshark…some of the best commentators

    • Chooky 9.2

      +100 Parsupial…look forward to Murray Rawshark returning and Philip Ure

      • Pasupial 9.2.1

        Chooky

        MR probably won’t be back soon by the sound of it, but at least he won’t be prevented from doing so if he chooses. I haven’t heard from PU, but imagine he will be back tomorrow. Thanks for your daily support of this action, though this week has been a bit lower key. I was actually surprised how long it took other commenters to just ignore this picket-line and wait us out.

        The; blog-commenter union, proposal seems to have been a failure. It might have been better to have gone with my original analogy of moderators being; Judge, Jury & Executioner, in their banning decisions. So that it might be an improvement if commenters could volunteer for jury-duty somewhere in the process. However, I thought that came to close to the; “telling us how to run our site”, ban mine.

        So, I’ll stop the vigil tomorrow and return to occasional commenting. The lack of resolution for underlying issues is a bit problematic though. There’s nothing to stop some similar situation occurring again, and while I’ll probably join any action that results, I am unlikely to take the lead in publicizing it again. It seems the right thing to have done; noisy protests draw more attention than silent nonparticipation. But slogans and analogies hinder conversations as much as they aid expression.

        • Chooky 9.2.1.1

          Hi Parsupial

          I think the action was worth taking. It certainly drew people’s attention to the issues and grievances…and the fact that certain important contributors to this site were not happy and prepared to go on a boycott.

          However I agree with you that nothing definitive has come out of this for conflict resolution. I admire your cool headed attempts at discussing the issues and conflict resolution…and your picket stance….It was a pleasure to join you on this online …lol

          I too will return to occasional commenting

          Kia ora, best wishes, haere pai, go well,

          Cheers Chookster

        • Scintilla 9.2.1.2

          Does silence = disinterest? I think not.
          People will have refined their views and strategies and next time it might play out better.

        • Tracey 9.2.1.3

          Not sure there was ever a suggestion he would be “prevented” from returning after the 2 week ban ended? That phrasing is a little mischievous.

        • weka 9.2.1.4

          “It might have been better to have gone with my original analogy of moderators being; Judge, Jury & Executioner, in their banning decisions. So that it might be an improvement if commenters could volunteer for jury-duty somewhere in the process. However, I thought that came to close to the; “telling us how to run our site”, ban mine.”

          The problem I have is that you wanted collective action but appeared to not be listening to what many people were saying. I think you really have no idea what it is that you are proposing and how that would work for the standard’s operational structure and the people running the place, and consequentally how that would affect the site. I commented a number of times on this and you didn’t engage, so it looks like you had this personal idea that you thought everyone else should support. That’s not unionism or working collectively.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    And another shock to the system of Bill English and other National supporters regarding housing:

    Mr. Crook and his family might be the extreme, but they are the new model of modern Canadian life – urban, minimal and connected to their community. He doesn’t see their lifestyle as cramped, or as a temporary phase, or second best to living in a detached house. Although living small is not for everyone, Mr. Crook says he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s so pleased with the arrangement that if someone gave him $1-million, he says he still wouldn’t buy a house. Instead, he would sock the money away.

    That’s one thing. Not everyone wants to live in a detached house and I think most people would be more than happy to live in an apartment block.

    Then there’s this:

    The Center on Everyday Lives of Families at the University of California released a study that looked at the habits of 32 middle-class, double-income families. Over a four-year period, ethnographers studied how the families related to their living spaces during waking hours. They found that regardless of the size of house, the families spent nearly all their time in a space of around 400 sq. ft., almost exclusively in the kitchen, family room and dining room. The rest of the house was almost never used. The average backyard use by the children was only 40 minutes a week. Parents used the outdoor space 15 minutes a week. They discovered that while we crave abundant space, we rarely use it.

    What’s the point of having all that space if you don’t use it?

    • You do use it. You just don’t use it as often as some twats at UCal think is justified. Fuck ’em.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        Considering that they’re not making any more land and that we need to decrease the sprawl of our cities then we do need to consider the use of land and when it’s not used for anything or not. There’s also the idea that shared space would not only be used more but also improve community and socialisation to be considered.

        Medium to high rise buildings with good parks are a better idea than everyone trying to have their own, barely used, bloody park.

        • McFlock 10.1.1.1

          The Chinese are making more land in the South China Sea 🙂

        • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.2

          Medium to high rise buildings with good parks are a better idea than everyone trying to have their own, barely used, bloody park.

          In close proximity to city centres, yes. Auckland is one of the few places where people living near a city centre expect and demand to live in a house. Most of us don’t live in Auckland, however, and expect the downsides of living in small towns to have upsides in terms of square meterage.

          Also: I’ve lived in apartments sans kids (no probs) and with kids (fucking royal pain in the arse). If you have kids, a house with garden wins hands-down every time.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2.1

            Also: I’ve lived in apartments sans kids (no probs) and with kids (fucking royal pain in the arse). If you have kids, a house with garden wins hands-down every time.

            That’s what the “good parks” are for and as they’ll be playing with more people than you get in a detached house they’ll get better socialisation as well. I’d say that the adults supervising the kids would also get better socialisation.

            Detached housing has, IMO, helped increase the isolation and disengagement that we see nowadays.

            • TheContrarian 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Do you have kids Draco? Because believe me, as the father of a 18 month old daughter, living in an apartment would be fucking nightmare. It’s a hell of a lot easier and more efficient to open the door to the backyard instead of packing lunch, nappies, pram and associated paraphernalia for a quick trip to the park while spending the entire time running around after them in an open space.

              Basically, if you don’t have a child you can’t speak dick on the subject.

      • TheContrarian 10.1.2

        @PM – agree. I fucking hate apartment living and use my outdoor space often for BBQ’s, gardening, lounging and reading etc.

        I did the apartment thing once and hated it with a passion. I was also a bit of a menace to the neighbours with my loud techno and late night habits. I’m much more suited to stand-alone housing.

        • felix 10.1.2.1

          Yeah me too. In fact I hate socialising inside, especially in other peoples’ houses with all their shit everywhere and it’s always too warm. Fuck that.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.2.2

          I was also a bit of a menace to the neighbours with my loud techno and late night habits.

          Considering the loud parties that I’ve been to and the neighbours have I don’t think that makes any difference. In other words, your loud techno music is irritating the neighbours anyway 😛

          • TheContrarian 10.1.2.2.1

            Probably. Artists like Drumcell and Jeff Mills are not to everyone’s taste…but fuck those people

            • felix 10.1.2.2.1.1

              Your neighbours should think themselves lucky. Mine are liable to get dosed with The Residents and Pere Ubu when they least expect it.

              edit: They might be getting a bit of Drumcell for brekkie though…

      • Tracey 10.1.3

        good point. I mean how long in the toilet? 30-60 secs on average? Doesnt mean it is irrelevant

        • Colonial Rawshark 10.1.3.1

          In the old days you didn’t waste housing space on it, though. That’s what the out house was for 😛

          • weka 10.1.3.1.1

            And each household only needed one.

          • Tracey 10.1.3.1.2

            the romans and greeks had flushing toilets and long drops… shitting in company equalises everyone in the end…

            as it were…

          • Psycho Milt 10.1.3.1.3

            There’s an excellent reason why nobody builds outhouses any more – it’s because no bastard likes them. Such things are aptly described as “progress.”

          • felix 10.1.3.1.4

            Don’t know why you think an outhouse uses less space (or materials) than a loo in the house.

    • Tracey 12.1

      So when some Green leader candidates can’t asnwer some quetsions about exact inflation rates they are mocked for 2 days. When Groser offers a pre prepared answer that turns out to be wrong, it is a gaffe?

      Now it might not have been a lie (not a proveable one) , but it was more than a gafee, it was completely wrong from the Minister who ought to know. Incompetent? Disinterested to find the right answer?

  11. Penny Bright 14

    Had my new Tui billboard banner out on the street today at a VERY busy intersection:

    Ak CCO$

    = less rates

    & more democracy yeah right

    Auckland Council (CORPORATE) Controlled Organisations (CCOs) have been the mechanism for the corporate takeover of the Auckland region.

    This John Key led National Coalition Government back in 2009 used the Rogernomic$ blitzkrieg technique of railroading through Parliament the underpinning Auckland $upercity (for the 1%) legislation, thus depriving citizens and ratepayers our lawful right to a BINDING poll.

    However – do not ask me to have a frontal lobotomy.

    The FACT is that it was arguably the most important recommendation of the LABOUR Government appointed Royal Commission on Auckland Regional Governance – that major infrastructure and trading functions be undertaken by Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).

    Although no CCO had ever been subjected to a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis.

    FACT.

    I know because I asked, and have the OIA replies to prove this.

    Is Phil Goff going to campaign as a 2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate to abolish ALL CCOs?

    (I am.)

    If not – nothing will fundamentally change for the majority of Auckland citizens and ratepayers …..

    Penny Bright

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

  12. weka 15

    Looks like the first big cold blast of the season is on its way. Snow on Monday I think.

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=171.32,-37.51,512

  13. joe90 16

    Going incandescent over the actions of these fools.

    Te Runanga o Arowhenua chairman John Henry said hearing the pair had killed the 1.4-metre eel with two spears was “a very sad occasion”.

    “We would prefer they left them alone.”

    Henry believed the eel was likely a breeding female and might have been about 90 years old.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/67633815/eeler-apologises-for-killing-14m-longfin-eel-in-opihi-lagoon

    http://www.longfineel.co.nz/

    • Maui 16.1

      It’s a sad case of them being completely unprotected. How we still have a law that lets people commercially fish for a threatened native eel I don’t know.. But there must be countless losses of longfins every week through fishing. There’s also the water quality problem now from farming too, so they’re up against it.

    • marty mars 16.2

      Mate that photo made me feel sick to my guts ffs this makes my blood boil. This species should be fully protected and treated as the taonga it is, end of story.

  14. Ergo Robertina 17

    Abbott Govt to save millions of dollars in upcoming budget by cutting child benefit from people who opt not to vaccinate their children. The benefits are worth up to $2100 per child. Pretty low to use vaccination status to discriminate against children.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-to-announce-antivaccination-parents-will-lose-benefits-20150411-1mie6x.html

    ”Under changes that could save more than $50 million a year, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is preparing to scrap a “conscientious objection” provision which allows anti-vaccination parents to still claim welfare benefits including childcare assistance and Family Tax Benefit A.
    ”Many pro-vaccination groups and doctors are expected to welcome the policy as a way of further encouraging people to vaccinate their children, but other immunisation policy experts argue it would not lift immunisation rates and would discourage discussions about vaccination with doctors.”

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      It’s always about exercising control and power over the disadvantaged. I suspect that we won’t hear admirers of the orthodox establishment complaining about Abbott’s move to hurt children.

      • Ergo Robertina 17.1.1

        I agree in general but get the feeling in this case it’s driven by cost cutting. I don’t follow Australian politics that closely, but the Govt had huge problems passing health measures (like GP charges) in the last budget, so it could be interesting to see what happens with this, especially if independents are needed to pass the budget.

        • Colonial Rawshark 17.1.1.1

          Australia recently announced that it is investing $1B plus in two additional US made military C-17 Globemasters.

          Imperial vassal states have clear spending priorities, and its not on the poor.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Hmmm.
      Many conditions on the vaccination schedule in NZ have increased transmission and harm in lower socioeconomic conditions (i.e. overcrowding and other detrimental conditions). So in order to punish parents who refuse to vaccinate (which, in principle, I lean towards favouring) Abbott will lower the socioeconimic conditions of unvaccinated children.

      And I suspect the motive is purely to find an excuse to lower direct costs of welfare payments, and ignore the longer term increases in costs caused by both vaccine-preventable conditions and general poverty.

      Seems a bit fucked in the head, really.

    • The Murphey 17.3

      Appears to fit with efforts in the USA

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/09/us-usa-california-vaccine-idUSKBN0N00A420150409?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews

      “The personal belief exemption is now putting other school children and people in our community in danger.”

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