Open mike 11/06/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 11th, 2016 - 205 comments
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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 …

205 comments on “Open mike 11/06/2016 ”

  1. RTM 1

    Historical materialism is a way of understanding how societies grow and change, and has been very influential amongst social scientists for a century and a half. Although the theory was invented by Karl Marx, it is nowadays used in modified forms by many non-Marxist anthropologists, archaeologists, economists, and sociologists studying Pacific societies, and has been the theme of famous books like Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. But can historical materialism really make sense of the Pacific’s past and present, or do societies like Papua New Guinea and Tonga show the limitations of the theory?

    • Vinnie 1.1

      Thanks for the link, great article. Now I’ve got another blog to add to the reading list.

    • Bill 1.2

      As I understand it…if I look at where I am today, then I can look at yesterday and the day before to explain how I find myself where I am today. And it will appear inevitable – or deterministic – that I am exactly where I am today.

      I could them extrapolate from that and predict where I’ll be tomorrow.

      And it’s all nonsense that denies the existence of free will, while dangerously elevating notions of inevitability.

      Put another way using a far more simple set of circumstances. If I drop a tumbler, I don’t know for certain whether it will break or not. If after I’ve dropped it and it’s smashed into pieces, I then analyse and ‘backtrack’ all the various broken pieces through time and space, I may can claim it was inevitable – given that I’ve somehow been able to record most of the physics involved in the breaking – that all the pieces would wind up exactly where they are now.

      As a claim to knowledge goes, it’s a dangerous illusion. It’s merely a description of what has happened. The truthful, and somewhat banal claim would be that, given this is the situation, then this is the situation…there would be no claim of there being a deterministic past or inevitable future attached to it.

      To relate it to human history and anthropology – when we’re looking at all of those yesterdays or other cultures, we’re inevitably looking through the very specific lens of today that we possess. That distorts and shapes our understandings or perceptions.

    • Ad 1.3

      If you like your PoMoGeo, try David Harvey. He has gone through multiple emplaced examples of structural change. Also Mike Davis – his weird stuff on climate change and its determinisms already past is particularly fresh.

      But if you want a real head-stretch, try Amy Allen’s new book that came out a couple of months ago called The End of Progress. She still has those big theoretical engines from Habermas, Honneth and Forst gearing their tractor engines for the haul (i.e. good hard Frankfurt School thinkers defending the idea of progress and of long waves of order and disorder), but dispenses with a progressive reading of history, while retaining the notion of progress as a political imperative. It’s getting to a core of social impulse beyond ‘can things improve’, to ‘must things improve’?

  2. Paul 2

    Another day in John Key’s neo-liberal nightmare.
    We have become a cruel, greedy, uncaring and selfish nation under his wretched leadership.

    The many volunteers at Te Peua Marae shows the best of our country.
    Paula Bennett shows us the worst of our country.

    Paula Bennett declined to be interviewed. She has never accepted an interview yet from Checkpoint on the issue.

  3. Paul 3

    Another day in John Key’s neo-liberal nightmare.
    We have become a cruel, greedy, uncaring and selfish nation under his wretched leadership.

    Price rises make housing unaffordable for many New Zealanders.

    ‘Nine of the top ten areas of growth are in Auckland – hardly surprising judging from valuation service QV data which said average Auckland house prices in March were nearly 17 per cent higher than a year ago.
    With a price increase of 33.88 per cent Manurewa had the largest growth in the year leading up to June 2016, followed by Pukekohe and Papakura.’

  4. Pasupial 4

    A Friday news dump that shouldn’t be forgotten about by the start of next week:

    A contorversial public private partnership (PPP) will be considered for the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, documents show… When contacted, the ministry said consideration of a PPP was standard practice in hospital redevelopments.

    PPPs are opposed by the senior doctors’ union, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, partly because of how they have performed in the United Kingdom.

    ASMS executive director Ian Powell said PPPs had a “track record of failure”…

    Mr Powell said it appeared consultants were doing rather well out of the redevelopment.

    A consulting firm has been busy at the board for several months writing a “strategic assessment” and a “strategic service plan”.

    Former health board member and ASMS spokesman John Chambers said PPPs appeared attractive but made no financial sense…

    A person familiar with the process of developing business cases for large projects said the lack of public visibility around the project was unusual…

    There were unanswered questions about what would be provided in Dunedin, the role of Southland Hospital, of rural hospitals, and whether more services would be provided in Christchurch.

    “Clearly, there’s a plan. Why don’t they tell us what the plan is?”

    I’ve quoted quite enough of the article as it is, but do read the original. The Blair quote in the final paragraph of Goodwin’s piece is a truly impenetrable piece of bureaucratic obfuscation. I just re-watched Brazil the other night and the similarity with the Ministry of Information is uncanny.

  5. Mike Williams- Voice from the Left?

    [You posted the same comment yesterday, Adrian and got a few thoughtful responses. However, cut, paste and repeat is not a formula that is welcome here. Original comments are the go at TS, so either develop the argument or move on. TRP]

    • North 5.1

      “I agree with Matthew…….”

      • Yes that is pretty much what Mike Williams ends up doing most weeks.
        In fact the other week K Ryan pretty much ended up debating Hooton and Williams, it was painful to listen to.
        RNZ have to get rid of him ASAP, people should email Nine to Noon on RNZ and tell them Williams doesn’t cut it.

    • Yes well I thought that it is such an important issue to have a decent voice on the Left on Monday mornings RNZ show, and not Mike Williams insipid lackluster position, that you might well allow it to have another go.
      As ‘The voice from the Right and the Left’ on RNZ is the only main stream media airing of this type of discourse left, I thought it vital we have someone who actually holds our views, and not Williams who actually endorses English’s social/health spending principles, endorses Serco etc.
      Maybe you could run an actual story on this topic, and really get the conversation going?

      • Chris 5.2.1

        There’d be no problem if RNZ called it “From the far right and from the extreme far right”. Hang on, that mightn’t work, either, because Williams would still “agree with Matthew”. Fuck, this is a tough one.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Yeh, maybe you should suggest it to them, it’s quite catchy.

          • Chris

            An apt description of Hooton, too, given he seemed to approve of Nicky Hager getting chopped up, literally that is.

            • Adrian Thornton

              The only good thing about having Williams on, is that he is so useless, that he lets Hooton have plenty of time for some real raves, and generally the more Hooton talks, the crazier he starts to sound.

  6. weka 6

    “Britain’s cutting edge, £1 billion warships are breaking down in the Persian Gulf because their engines malfunction in the heat.

    Contractors claim the Ministry of Defence did not tell them the 8,000-tonne, Type 45 Destroyer would spend significant amounts of time in warm water, the Daily Mail reported.

    The engines of the six vessels have stalled in the middle of the ocean, leaving crews plunged into darkness for hours at a time.”

    • save nz 6.1

      It’s about making a profit. Making things that don’t work properly and often collecting maintenance contracts or additional work on the way.

      But why bother to make something work especially in the defence industry, once you have the sale and the money, you don’t seem to have to worry!

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        These vessels aren’t going to like climate change then are they.

        • weka

          Pretty big fuck up on both counts. This is why I don’t believe tech is coming to save us. It’s not just tech and how it works theoretically, it’s tech and how it operates in the real world including human systems like defense contracts.

          • Draco T Bastard

            This is why I don’t believe tech is coming to save us.

            And that’s why I don’t take anything you say on tech seriously – you obviously haven’t got a clue as to what you’re talking about.

            • weka

              Well made argument there Draco 🙄

              • Draco T Bastard

                There’s little to no point in arguing with you about it as you’ll hold on to your wrong beliefs rather take on the fact that this isn’t a case of tech failing but of purposeful under-engineering.

                • weka

                  Dude, go reread my comment. I already know that it wasn’t a tech fail, that it was a human fail. That was my point.

                  Which just reinforces that you have no idea what my beliefs are, you haven’t been paying attention, and instead have been projecting your own shit onto my comments like you did just now.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I’m not projecting anything onto you. Just responding to your hatred of technology.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      As opposed to your reverence of it?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It just is. No reverence, no holding it up as a saviour. Just acceptance that it’s a tool that we can use to our benefit.

                    • weka

                      “I’m not projecting anything onto you. Just responding to your hatred of technology.”

                      Lol, you just did it again. Go on then, cite 3 examples that tell you I hate technology.

                    • weka

                      Just taking the first link only (because if you can’t be bothered specifying what you actually mean why should I bother opening the others?).

                      Incog was asking why medical authorities shouldn’t be trusted (in response to something CV had said). This was in the context of a thread about vaccination.

                      I gave the following explanation, which is a generalisation of why so many people don’t trust science and that there are valid reasons for that distrust. And that for many people who choose not to vaccinate it’s based on experience. I was describing a social phenomena. How is that me hating technology?

                      Trust has to be earned. While medical science has done many good things it has also done a lot of damage and isn’t in great shape at the moment in terms of trustworthiness. This is a very large part of the culture of people who choose to not vaccinate. It’s not an ignorant rebellion as some like to frame it, it’s based on real experience of people having their health and lives damaged. Until those people can be part of the conversation and have their concerns worked on there will always be the mistrust and the divide.

                    • draco those cites are not cites for what you said they were cites for and I have followed your links. Obviously if they are your evidence then it is clear that you cannot back up your assertion that weka hates technology. Withdraw and an apology would be in order I think.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      They all come across to me as a hatred of science/technology.

                    • Fair enough and I’m sure you’d agree that others may interpret them differently.

                      Hatred is a very strong word – could be a possible projection.

                    • weka

                      “They all come across to me as a hatred of science/technology.”

                      Yes, that is what I mean by projection. If you can’t demonstrate how my comments are tech-hatred then it is something going on in your own self that is making you think I hate tech.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Not a case of tech failing?

                  Of course it is a case of tech failing. Technology does not exist independently of humans.

                  • Chimps with twigs, sea otters with rocks.
                    Technology, right there.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yes you are correct. A goat track across the Khyber Pass is technology, technically speaking.

                      So I will rephrase to industrial technology.

                  • In the spirit of Matariki and all that offers, I’d like to present the ko. Fashioned from wood and requiring no smelting, importing or energy other than muscular, the ko represents the next step in cultivation technology. The ko is available to anyone with access to a sapling. Well cared for, the ko can last a lifetime and never needs upgrading as it is perfect for the job it does. If your ko breaks from careless use, a new one can be readily made. Manufacture of the ko produces no greenhouse gases, aside from the breath of the ko maker who would be breathing any way, nor is any produced by its destruction. In fact, a redundant ko continues to act as a carbon sink, if placed under the soil. There is no “mark II” ko – the original represents the tool’s ultimate form. That’s appropriate technology for you – difficult to fault and elegant in its simplicity. Mind you, even the ko can be considered redundant when compared with the best cultivator of them all, the daikon seed. But that’s a story for the Japanese New Year.

                    • weka




                      This is interesting,

                      Then approached the owner of the field, and he showed the digging-party where he wished them to work. The diggers gathered in one corner of the field, and worked diagonally across the planting area. They had a peculiar way of advancing, ko-ing as they went. The ground had previously been prepared by being cleared of all grass and weeds and other growth, and was perfectly clean and bare for the diggers. The Taiporohenui soil did not require much digging, for it was very soft and rich, easily worked.

                      The ko-men worked across from the corner, gradually extending their front as the field opened out; and all kept time as they worked, moving the handles of the ko to the right and left alternately, as they made the holes for the reception of the seed kumara. They kept time with a choric song while they worked; all the bare backs moved as one man to the rhythm of the ancient chant, the feathers and white aurei adornments of the ko-heads dancing in the sun.

                    • “Ko-ing”
                      You don’t read that word every day.
                      Great for those volcanic soils, I imagine, but not so flash in the clay where gypsum is the technology of choice.

              • JMG has an article which touches on the points you make above and in it there are some real world examples and links.

                I could go on. These programs, and many others, were sold to politicians and public with lavish claims about their ability to perform every imaginable military mission. As it turned out, they were well designed to carry out devastating raids on the US Treasury, and that’s about it.


                • weka

                  cheers marty.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  JMG should probably try reading the entire article that he references:

                  The Navy has an equal embarrassment on its hands right now, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), another high-tech, high-priced failure. The LCS costs $37 billion a pop

                  What the article says:

                  Instead, this $440 million ship can be knocked out of a fight by a single hostile cruise missile.

                  Of course, even a US super-carrier can be knocked out of the fight by a single hostile cruise missile. That’s what the cruise missile’s designed to do. Our frigates, which are a similar size to the LCS, would also be knocked out of the fight by a single cruise missile strike.

                  The $37b is the price for all 24 ships.

                  And the problem isn’t the tech. It’s the profit drive and the corruption that comes with it. JMG actually makes that point but he takes awhile to get around to it and actually seems to miss it himself.

                  Military procurement should start in the government and end in the government.

                  • I’m not sure you understand the points he was making to be honest.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Well, if that’s so why don’t you explain the point you think he was making?

                    • “All the most egregious examples of military-procurement failure in recent years have had something in common: they were supposed to be revolutionary new breakthroughs using exciting new technology, and so on drearily through the most overused rhetoric of our age. The cascading failures of the F-35 can be traced straight to that sort of thinking; its designers apparently believed with all their hearts that every innovation must be an improvement, and so came up with a plane that fails in the most innovative ways you care to imagine. The LCS, the SBX, the ECCS, the pixellated camo uniforms, all fell victim to the same trap—their designers were so busy making them revolutionary that they forgot to make them work.”

                      I’ll highlight the really relevant sentence

                      “apparently believed with all their hearts that every innovation must be an improvement” – that is the cult of progress… and

                      “progress has become the enemy of prosperity”


                      “progress, like everything else in the real world, is subject to the law of diminishing returns”

                      I believe you are still a believer in the role of progress – 🙂

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      its designers apparently believed with all their hearts that every innovation must be an improvement”

                      Two points:

                      1. Its designers (important words that you missed out) probably weren’t the ones making all the grandiose claims. The people selling the concept were
                      2. There really isn’t a whole lot of new technology in the F35. Most of it goes back to the 1950/60s. It really is just simple incremental adjustments over time.

                      “progress has become the enemy of prosperity”

                      Which is simply a load of bollocks. It’s capitalism that is the enemy of prosperity and always has been throughout recorded history. JMG doesn’t realise that and, apparently, neither do you. JMG is a dedicated capitalist so it’s not surprising that he doesn’t see the damage that capitalism does.

                      “progress, like everything else in the real world, is subject to the law of diminishing returns”

                      True, even improved living standards across all of society (my preferred measure of progress) meet such an end but look at how people react to me saying that there should be a maximum income of $100k/year per person and that I think that that may even be far too much.

                      But that’s not what JMG or you are addressing there. Both of you are addressing technological innovation and solely referring to that as ‘progress’.

                    • How do you see progress without technology? seems to me too many can’t disengage those concepts.

                      Where is your proof that jmg is a dedicated capitalist – put up or shut up. I’d imagine you are much more entangled in that system and thus supporting it than he is.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      2. There really isn’t a whole lot of new technology in the F35. Most of it goes back to the 1950/60s. It really is just simple incremental adjustments over time.


                      How can someone as smart as you be as stupid as you?

                      How much of the F-35 is repairable in a 1960’s equipped hangar? How much of the F-35 is repairable using 1960’s materials and parts?
                      If you put an airforce pilot from 1960 into the cockpit of the F-35, how far would he be able to fly it?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Is it true that a modern Oak Ridge supercomputer is basically the same as an abacus, with a series of incremental improvements thrown in over time?

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      I’m amazed that they’re even trying that excuse. It’s obviously a case of purposeful under engineering to save costs rather than provide the product as requested.

      A warship obviously needs to operate wherever it’s sent.

      • McFlock 6.2.1

        Bit premature there, Draco – the devil is in as requested. If there weren’t requirements to operate reliably in environmental extremes, then the lowest tender is the one that used lower-rated heat exchangers to cool the engines.

        Produce to spec, not what you think they need.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If there isn’t a clause that says, effectively, operate in all theatres then I will be highly surprised. To put it another way, I’d be even more surprised if the spec said operate only in waters around Gt Britain.

          So, no, I don’t think that it’s premature. I’m pretty sure that the company that built them a) understood that they were making them less effective b) that they were doing so against generally understood principle and c) that they were doing so to increase profits.

          • McFlock

            Well, that’s the crux of the dispute between MoD and Rolls Royce: RR say they designed to spec (probably a temperature bracket that’s borderline Gulf/tropical).

            If the specifications were average gulf temperatures, for example, they could both be correct if the engines failed on above-average days.

            But that will be for negotiations and the courts to decide.

      • Stuart Munro 6.2.2

        It is difficult for an English firm operating in the gelid wastelands of Cameron’s decaying imperial ruin to imagine sustained external temperatures of 45 degrees for a ship. They probably used an optimistic 25 degrees, with a healthy margin for error.

        • Colonial Viper

          Rolls Royce engines are british designed and made and they are fine all around the world, at all altitudes.

  7. b waghorn 7

    The first few paragraphs are typical trevett rubbish. But she makes some good points further down .

    • weka 7.1

      Here’s hoping that Labour’s cooperative politics can extend to the Mp and Mana too.

      • The Maori Party deserve to be binned for their choice to suck up to National and mana are all ready binned, due to their choice to suck up to KDC. The future is unwritten, as a wise man once said, but I don’t see either of those parties making it back next election. it’s certainly not the LP’s role to resuscitate them.

        • marty mars

          Yep Labour can’t afford to worry about any other team, not with their very survival at stake and so much to do within the party and the electorate. The activist left is trucking along well so Labour can stick with trying to entice key supporters over. If Labour can do a little better than their fail last time then maybe the can help the left make a difference – time will tell.

        • weka

          And Labour deserve to be binned for all their fuck ups over the years, including the recent ones, which leaves us with the Greens as the only useful and meaningful left wing party. So how about we get everyone to vote for them then? /sarc

          Your macho politics are exactly why we have had 3 terms of NACT. MMP is about broadening representation not consolidating it in the hands of the few. It would be a real shame and probably a tragedy if too many Labourites believe that they have to deal with the Greens from pragmatics but still secretly want to be the top dog and have all the power for themselves.

          Sharing power makes for better society.

          • Colonial Viper

            just remember weka the true attitude on show that Labour has towards potential coalition partners.

          • te reo putake

            Weka, sharing is where it’s at and Labour have shown they are capable of doing that in Government. 3 elections in a row, Helen Clark shared power with 3 different combinations of partners. The reality is that Labour know they have to share power under MMP. The current arrangement with the Greens is a concrete affirmation of that fact.

            Sharing is not macho politics. It’s weird that you would think that it was.

            • weka

              The group with the most power don’t get to define what power sharing is. By definition it has to be defined by the people who are denied access to power. Otherwise it’s just the powerholders holding power.

              “Sharing is not macho politics. It’s weird that you would think that it was.”

              I didn’t say was. Please don’t manipulate my words to suit your own argument.

              • Colonial Viper

                Do the people who don’t have power understand what the first rule of power is?

                I would suggest obviously not, because otherwise they would have the power.

                • weka

                  Not sure what you mean there CV. Lots of different kinds of power.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I’m referring to the kind you were talking about when you referred to the group “with the most power”.

                    And also the kind of power you were talking about when you said that others are being “denied” that power.

                    • weka

                      hmm, ok I understand what you are getting at now, but not this bit,

                      “Do the people who don’t have power understand what the first rule of power is?”

                      What’s the first rule of power?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Power is never freely given, it has to be taken.

                    • weka

                      So you think that people that have power taken from them don’t understand the first rule of power?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      ? your comment is a non sequitor to my comment

                    • Power is not taken from another party, it’s “taken”, as in “assumed”. If you’d like some, take some. Those who haven’t got any, haven’t taken any.

                      Yet 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Robert Guyton 😀 😀 😀

              • Actually, under MMP, the largest party has more power in negotiations, as you’d expect. Generally MMP coalitions reflect the votes received with the largest party getting the largest share. That’s an arrangement the Greens seem happy with.

                Macho politics was your phrase, weka. It turns out you used it poorly.

                • weka

                  Thanks for proving my point trp. You believe the person with the biggest stick rules. That’s macho politics.

                  Sharing power is much more than just the biggest dude deciding what they want on their terms. MMP historically in NZ has been about powermongering, including by Labour in the past. It doesn’t have to be that way.

                  (I didn’t use the phrase poorly, you tried to redefine what sharing is. Just be honest about it).

          • Incognito

            Hi weka,

            I don’t disagree with your comments but you and others here seem to view (political) power as some kind of finite entity that can be shared like (as in: cutting up) a cake. I know this is the most common perception.

            However, I’d like to offer a different (counter?) view that also leads, almost inevitably, to a different framing.

            I see power more as an almost limitless resource rather.

            When (political) parties “share” power in reality they combine forces, e.g. seats, people, knowledge & skills, values & opinions, etc., a joining of qualities and strengths, from which increased power is possible. In other words, it is more an additive action than a fractional one.

            An MOU is also such an action, which may or may not lead to increased power. In fact, the Opposition also has considerable political power although not as much as the Government.

            I’ve cut short this comment, but not because of the AB game starting in a few minutes …

            • weka

              “In other words, it is more an additive action than a fractional one.”

              Actually that’s much close to my own ideas and I like how you have phrased that. The fractional aspect is just the MMP MP split. But the power is exactly those things you talk about, people, knowledge/skills, diversity of values and ethics, opinions etc. and the powersharing comes from intention, willingness, self-awareness etc. I would add that relationships are the key to increasing diversity and thus making it both more stable/resilient and more productive/potent. Which is why it is such a shame that MMP has been driven by macho politics for so long, it’s obvious in the relationships that nothing meaningful has been built long term (and this is reflected in our current situation re CC).

              I also agree that MoU is part of that and that it has its own value irrespective of how much or little MP power it engenders. I love that you have brought all this up, because to me this is the thing that is bringing much relief to so many with the MoU, even if we’re not naming it. It’s the fact that Labour and the Greens working together gives them another kind of power beyond the mere machinations at the level of macho politics and who has the most sticks/MPs. Which is why I hope that Labour will do the right thing by the Mp.

        • Red delusion

          Suggest you read Michael basset in the nbr today TRP, you may also after this have a similar opinion of labour future to that of mana and Maori party in regard to labour failing to learn the lessons of their own history with respect to thier lurch to the left

          • In Vino

            Labour started solidly left. Hijacked by Rogernomes, it ‘lurched’ to the right. Basset was among those ghastly Rogernomes.

            I am waiting for Labour to gracefully glide back to the original leftist glory.

            Red Delusion – you are an amusing diversionist who uses tired old clichés to justify the indefensible.

          • Rodel

            RD Nobody would bother reading anything by Basset, petulant and spiteful since Lange told him to p*ss off.

      • b waghorn 7.1.2

        As trip says manas gone and I can’t see them coming back.
        Its up to the Maori party to win their seats ,they made their own bed , but it is an option for Labour/Green /Maori . I’d much prefer that to any government with the dinosaur nzf party.
        While I understand the Maori parties policy of always trying to be in the tent, being in the tent with the nats has cost them .

        • weka

          I have no idea what state the party is in, but I can’t see any good reason why Harawira can’t stand in Te Tai Tokerau again.

          yes, it’s up the the Mp to win their seats, but if Labour go hard after them, what chance of having the kind of cooperation between L and the Mp that engenders a stable, potent left wing govt?

          • b waghorn

            I guess there is a difference in “going hard” and making sure that Maori have the option of coming back to labour . I would say standing Tamiti Coffee was leaving the door open for mp win last election.

            • weka

              I think I took from the original link the idea that Labour might decide to go hard after all the Māori seats again and thus bring down the Mp. Which would be stupid IMO because it doesn’t get them any more MPs (not sure what happens with the overhang from the Mp), and if it doesn’t work they’ve made another enemy. I don’t think they, or the left, can afford that even if I thought it was a valid strategy. Which I don’t. We should be looking at Mp policy and whether they can support a LW govt.

              • Tom

                Even flow baby, if it fits, feels right, it is mean’t to be.

                I love a happy ending, or should I say – a beautiful beginning.

                • weka

                  ooh, a Saturday spambot. The AI convo is further down the page if you are interested.

                  [Threw it into perm bot ban land ;-)] – Bill

        • marty mars

          I prefer to say, Mana have been sin binned from the process because the status quoians didn’t like the rough play in opposing the system itself. That which cannot be controlled must be eliminated.

          Funny though all the Mana Movement people I know are still out there, as before, fighting for equality and dignity and an end to unnecessary suffering. Kia kaha to them!

          • weka

            +1 that. I think too many people miss the ‘movement’ bit, and as with perceptions of the Greens, they don’t recognise that politics are being done differently.

          • b waghorn

            Manas the only party that had a chance of awakening a reasonable proportion of the missing million , so i hope they make a comeback , I just think that those newbies they got voting last election are unlikely to get exited again after the last dissapiontment .

  8. Andre 9

    Has Labour gotten around to opposing offshore drilling yet? If not, will Republicans showing more sense than that finally shame them into it?

    • Jenny 9.1

      Why is Labour still in support of deep sea oil drilling?
      There are no votes in it.
      There are no jobs in it.
      And they could use Winnie’s continued support for deep sea oil drilling in Northland to beat him around the head with, to get him to separate off from the, drill it, mine it, frack it, burn it, Nact coalition of climate vandals.

      Which would be essential if Labour are to ever head a majority coalition government.

  9. marsman 10

    John Key ought to have a plant named after him. A sewerage treatment plant.

  10. jag 11

    how about amnesiac forget-me lots

  11. whispering kate 12

    It looks like scary times are ahead of us. It seems robots are learning how to make decisions on their own and it has been recommended that all robots in the future, whatever their jobs are, are fitted with a kill switch. Who would have thought that science fiction writers would be bringing it all to life with robots now being able to out wit their creators. Also, if killer switches are to be made they have to be kept isolated from the robot so he can’t have fore knowledge of what it is meant for.

    Big business may see the irony of all this with culling of staff and using robots on killing chains and automotive factories. Fun times ahead.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Hard to use a kill switch on a robot if it has charged it’s external metal frame with 1,000V.

      Also if these robots are networked, one local AI learning what the kill switch does can tell all other AI around the world within a second.

      Fans of Battlestar Galactica amongst others know where all of this is going.

  12. Colonial Viper 13

    Unqualified multi-millionaire Clinton Foundation donor given position on State Department nuclear weapons advisory board

    Newly released State Department emails help reveal how a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field, a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff.

    The emails further reveal how, after inquiries from ABC News, the Clinton staff sought to “protect the name” of the Secretary, “stall” the ABC News reporter and ultimately accept the resignation of the donor just two days later.

    Copies of dozens of internal emails were provided to ABC News by the conservative political group Citizens United, which obtained them under the Freedom of Information Act after more the two years of litigation with the government.

    A prolific fundraiser for Democratic candidates and contributor to the Clinton Foundation, who later traveled with Bill Clinton on a trip to Africa, Rajiv K. Fernando’s only known qualification for a seat on the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) was his technological know-how. The Chicago securities trader, who specialized in electronic investing, sat alongside an august collection of nuclear scientists, former cabinet secretaries and members of Congress to advise Hillary Clinton on the use of tactical nuclear weapons and on other crucial arms control issues.

    “We had no idea who he was,” one board member told ABC News.

  13. Jenny 14

    Are the Green Party in denial about climate change?

    In my comment here, on the Green Party co-leader James Shaw’s keynote speech to the Green Party conference, I included my transcription of this paragraph.

    @35:08 minutes
    “I want to give New Zealanders a better vision of the future, it’s a future where on your weekends away you will go to sleep at night safely knowing that the same beach you are enjoying now will still be there for future generations unthreatened by rising seas….”
    James Shaw

    Which was commented on by greywarshark, and Robert Guyton here and here, remarking that this comment by the Green Party leader seemed to be out of touch with the reality.

    “Am I getting unreasonably anxious at this report on James Shaw’s speech in Jenny’s comment….

    ….Surely if this quote or paraphrasing is correct, he is looking to something real that is now just a wish.”


    The tenor of Grey’s and Robert’s criticism was summed up in the concluding comment by weka.

    “Seas are going to rise, but we still have a chance to mitigate the worst of CC. Do we want subsequent generations to live in contant panic? Or do we want them to be able to respond to the changes in their environment knowing that we are all doing everything we can, and that we chose to avert the worst of teh disaster.”

    Which in my opinion is an accurate summation of the action that is called for.

    1/ From mentioning a vision in which sea levels do not rise. Does the Green Leader go on to promote or suggest any course of acton that may possibly “mitigate the worst of CC”?

    2/ Does the Green Party leadership, go on to outline a course of action that hopefully will prevent future generations living in “constant panic”?

    3/ Does the Green Party leadership outline a course of action in which future generations will “be able to respond to the changes in their environment”?

    4/ Is the Green Party calling on us to do “everything we can”, or that we “chose to”, to avert the worst of this disaster?

    My conclusion given here, is that the answer to all four questions is no. (Well not at their conference anyway).

    Robert Guyton concludes his comment on this portion of James Shaw’s speech with this comment;

    “Hard, cold facts are suitable for certain occasions but not all. Walking up to some vulnerable soul in the street and telling them the “truth” could be a bit harsh if it leaves them a puddle of despair. I’m keen to have a closer look now, at James’ speech. I’ll report back 🙂
    Robert Guyton

    I would like to ask Robert, now that he has had a chance to have a closer look at James speech, and possibly Meteria Turei’s as well, that now might might be a good time to give us your report back.

    Robert in your opinion, does the Green Party fulfil any of the 4 points raised by weka?

    Robert in your opinion is the Green Party in denial about climate change?

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      It’s worse with the Greens – they know better than most about the severity of climate change, but have decided to tone all of that down in public in order to chase power.

      • Robert Guyton 14.1.1

        Colonial Viper – it would be rude of me to re-title you, Colonial Griper, so I’ll resist the temptation, but Ad is correct in what he says to you. Mind you, I’m all ears and they are pricked in anticipation of your suggested alternative to voting Green, with “potential to address climate change” as the deciding factor. I would like you to explain how ‘toning it down in public’ is a reason not to vote for them, if that’s in fact what you’ve decided, and whether you believe that a political party is the best vehicle for broadcasting the climate situation and responses to it? Personally, I don’t.

        • Colonial Viper

          Vote for whoever you like, I don’t care, I didn’t say not to vote for them did I?

          I just said that they were toning down the truth that they know inside, in a vain attempt to reach for power and respectability from the status quo.

          • Robert Guyton

            Colonial Viper.
            You don’t care who I vote for? Hmmm…I thought you might be interested in linking readers opinions with their voting choices. I know I like to do that as it provides insight. No matter.
            You said, quite correctly, that “they” are toning down the truth that they know inside”, but went on to give your opinion about why they have done that. Your view seems jaded; you use words like “vain attempt” (do you think they will fail?) and “power and respectability” (you’ve spoken to these MPs? They say they are seeking “power and respectability”?). I think you assume too, too much. Also, you sound dismissive and superior, somehow. Do you despise the Green MPs? I know these questions/challenges are not going to endear me to you, and I suspect we hold very similar views about things, it’s just that I’m feeling feisty today, following an evening of dosie-doeing at a local barn dance. The Waves of Tory does that to ya.

            • Colonial Viper

              Seriously, vote for whoever you want, I’m not interested in who you vote for, it’s totally your call.

          • weka

            “I just said that they were toning down the truth that they know inside, in a vain attempt to reach for power and respectability from the status quo.”

            That’s one way to look at it. Another way is that all the people on the climate change bandwagon now, who didn’t vote for the GP all those years when they were being radical, are hypocrites for criticising the Greens now for being pragmatic because it’s our only hope.

            • Robert Guyton

              Weka – well put. This reaction is not unexpected and I imagine the Green MPs have considered long and hard, how to manage the phenomenon you describe. Kindly, would be my bet. I don’t think we’ll see the Greens saying, f-you guys, I’m going home.

              • weka

                True. Which is why I find CV’s perspective that the Greens are just another bunch of powermongers says more about him than anything. It is sad though, because it comes across as yet another unnecessary fight on the left when we are running out of time.

                • b waghorn

                  In the lead up to the election the attackers of the greens and labour should be ignored.
                  If the get elected ( the labour/greens) , then is the time to publicly dismantle their actions and debate their failings. in my most humble opinion

                  • weka

                    very good b, and thanks for the reminder. I’ll call people out when they mislead, but ignoring the rest is probably a good strategy.

                    • An excellent strategy.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Meh, your rationale is that the Greens are justified in watering down their positions because they need more votes. That’s chasing power at the expense of their principles, clear and simple.

            • Colonial Viper

              That’s one way to look at it. Another way is that all the people on the climate change bandwagon now, who didn’t vote for the GP all those years when they were being radical, are hypocrites for criticising the Greens now for being pragmatic because it’s our only hope.

              I’ve seen you use this sad excuse a few times now.

              That is, because old timers didn’t vote for the Values Party in the 70s, the successor Green Party is now (somehow) justified 40 years later in going soft around the middle and chasing the establishment, pretend and extend vote.

              BTW the Greens aren’t any kind of “hope”, other than perhaps providing a slightly better version of pretend and extend which might give us an extra decade of relative niceness compared to more right wing parties.

              • weka

                Lol, nice side step but as you know I was referring up you.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Geeezus what are you talking about, I couldn’t vote in the 1970s

                  • weka

                    Play whatever game you want CV, it’s pretty clear what I’m talking about. If you truly believe that the only useful politics the Greens ever had was in the 70s, what were you doing in the Labour party all that time? Rhetorical question.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      it’s not the specific policies of the 1970s Values Party, its the fact that back then they stood tall and uncompromising in what they believed in despite the ridicule of most of the rest of the nation.

                      That stands in stark contrast to the modern Greens.

                      ” If you truly believe that the only useful politics the Greens ever had was in the 70s, what were you doing in the Labour party all that time?”

                      Uh what? I was not in Labour at that time.

                    • weka

                      “it’s not the specific policies of the 1970s Values Party, its the fact that back then they stood tall and uncompromising in what they believed in despite the ridicule of most of the rest of the nation.”

                      I can certainly see why you personally would value that so highly. And fair enough. That doesn’t mean what they’ve done since is wrong. It’s easily arguable that what they have achieved in the intervening decades, including getting climate change on the agenda, is a result of them deciding not to stay on the fringe but to work within the mainstream. There’s nothing wrong with working in the mainstream, in fact we should be greatful to the people who can and will do that because it comes at a significant personal costs. We need good people there as much as we need the radicals on the fringe.

                      Which takes me back to my original point. My understanding is that you have become aware of peak oil and cc in more recent years (5 or 6?), and have have formed your ideas about them in that time. But prior to that time, all the time the Greens (not Values) were in parliament and lefties like you wouldn’t vote for them, you were diminishing our chances of having a more radical Green voice in parliament. Because they knew what was coming before we did, and that lack of support then is why we have the GP we do today. If they wanted to have parliamentary power they needed votes. NZ fucked that up big time. To then turn around and criticise them for not being radical enough now is hypocrisy, doubly so because you still don’t support or vote for the only party in parliament that is leading the way on cc.

                      ” If you truly believe that the only useful politics the Greens ever had was in the 70s, what were you doing in the Labour party all that time?”

                      Uh what? I was not in Labour at that time.

                      I’m not talking about the 70s. Which I’m pretty sure you know.

              • Colonial Viper – a political party, Green or otherwise, is just a piece in the game that is ‘the future’, as I’m sure you know. I expect also that you are ‘playing’ with the other pieces available to you; friends and family, networks and community, local government and NLGO’s like Transition Towns or whatever has sprung up in your area – a widely-cast net catches the most fish. A political party has a highly restrictive zone to operate in – if the don’t play well, they have little or no influence at all. You don’t trust the Green Party MPs, staff and particularly their strategists, to play their hand to the best advantage of us all, which is how I believe the operate, and denigrate them accordingly. I’m not certain why you believe you have the inside running on the Green Party’s strategy and motivations, but recognise that you believe you are ‘lifting the ‘team’ higher; how, I’ve not yet fathomed, but will pay attention till I do – perhaps you could help with a brief description of what your ‘play’ is – I’m am interested to know. I make my judgement of the Greens based on what I’ve experienced personally with it and the people who have driven it over the past decades; weighing their other actions and positions, particularly where their work intersects with my own in the field of ecology. I’ve found that the depth of understanding exhibited by Green MPs in particular, is strikingly in advance of that of other politicians, including around climate change, and have never seen signs of them carelessly casting that position aside for the sake of votes – strategic retreats, yes, but no ‘selling out’ where it really counts – at the philosophical and ethical base. It may be that the Greens should sound the trumpets of war over the issue, but I’m willing to think that they’ve thought long and hard about how to bring the most relief to the illness climate change represents.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’m happy to vote for nice people but I’m not going to pretend that they are going to do a thing to change the world

                  • Ah, and that’s where you and I have common ground, pretty much. I don’t believe they’ll do nothing – I think they’ll do all they can and that’s all we can hope for from any player.

      • Red delusion 14.1.2

        Cv article in nbr today debunking sea levels rising by anything near what models predict. the gist been the models themselves are flawed vs empirical data. If you have access be interested on your view as wil get a response without abuse.These conflicting scientific views does make getting to a conclusion on climate change difficult,

        • Ad

          I’m taking it you’re going to be first in line to buy on the Sydney beachfront.
          Where you really will have the Infinity Pool. On the beach.

        • Colonial Viper

          Red Delusion:

          The ice over Greenland and over Antarctica is in places between 3km and 4km deep. That’s a lot of water.

          An iceless, warm water Earth will see sea levels rise between 70m and 100m.

          Losing the Greenland ice sheet alone will raise sea levels by 5m or more. Dunedin and Christchurch are over as habitable cities in such a scenario.

          We have currently seen only about 1/2 of the temp increase due to today’s level of CO2 emissions thanks to the thermal inertia of the system. (Think about a pot of water on the electric stove – the stove top gets hot but the water in the pot stays cool, for a while at least. You measure the temperature of the water but nothing much seems to happen. You can turn off the stove top, but the temperature of the water will keep going up due to the delay).

          Taking current warming experienced as being about 1.1 deg C, Global Dimming temporarily hiding another 1 deg C to 1.5 deg C, and roughly another 1.1 deg C of warming to occur regardless of what we do today, I can comfortably say that we are going to experience no less than about 3.2 deg C warming in total.

          That’s the 21st century min temp increase.

          And that means most of the Greenland ice, amongst others, will destabilise and melt – over time.

          So whether it is this century or next century, we will see multi-metre sea level rise.

          My best bet is 10m sea level rise by 2100, and 5 deg C to 10 deg C increase. We already have the first 3 to 3.5 deg C of that done and in the bag.

          • Reddelusion

            thanks Cv while you logic makes sense ( albeit level of sea rise is a value judgement)
            These guys Willem de Lange, MSc DPhil, is a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato. Bryan Leyland MSc, FIEE(retired), FIMechE, FIPENZ argue the models predicting temperature rises are flawed, They argue that the Royal Society of New Zealand’s recent study on sea level rise claims that, in the next 100 years, sea levels will surely rise by 0.3m and 1m is possible ( let alone your 10m) is flawed on the basis claim does not stand up to close examination.

            First, the rise in sea level and New Zealand coast has been about 0.14m over the past 100 years, with no sign of a recent increase in the rate.

            They argue is no solid evidence to indicate this steady rate will increase rapidly in the future. They believe that the Royal Society’s claims are based on flawed climate models that predicted, by now, temperatures would be 0.5° higher than they really are and increasing faster and faster.They further point out there is no solid evidence to indicate this steady rate will increase rapidly in the future.

            The essence of thier article is when dubious data were fed into Royal Society sea level models, they predicted rapidly increasing sea level rise.

            They further argue indirectly by quoting Russian climate model that assumes CO2 makes only a small contribution to global warming that these models more matches recent temperatures and Perhaps these model it is right.

            I guess it comes down to the collective view of science which argues in favour of climate change, I also note your reasoning on delay in system and then the affects become exponential, but I do suggest at this point the level of change, how much is man made and wether we can or the cost of doing anything about it is still open for debate

            • Colonial Viper

              Hansen is quite clear that paleoclimatology, i.e. looking at climate records going back millions of years, has provided a fair degree of certainty.

              Bottom line is that the models that have been used by the IPCC and others are almost definitely wrong, but those guys you quote think that they are wrong one way, and Hansen and others think they are wrong the other way.

              I don’t know how old you are or where you live, but I’ve made sure that I am living in a place which will stay high and dry for over 50 years even within a worst case sea level rise scenario.

              Just remember, an ice free world indicates a 70-100m sea level rise, and this has happened before in the natural history of the world.

              • Do you reckon you’ve convinced him?
                He’s not for convincing, imo.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I’d say you’re right, but I’m not necessarily talking just to him…

                  • Others like him are equally entrenched. Time spent defending and explaining is time that could be better spent lifting your own team higher. ‘sup to you, of course. ‘snot my job to tell you what to do 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Cheer. But I do believe that I am lifting the ‘team’ higher 😀

                    • Reddelusion []

                      Live on a hill CV so all good. Contrary to feedback not sure where I am at on climate change. What i would like to see is more synthesis of various competing arguments and studies on climate change as you appear to get one view or the other For the layman it can be difficult to judge and simply reaching a view on political lines as many seem to do here does not really help, This is why I raised this article and sort your feedback as I new I would get one with out the usual BS , and thus you have lifted the team higher 😀

                    • Colonial Viper

                      A pleasure to discuss with you Red Delusion, and thank you. Also worth checking where your services go through. Pipes, wires, pumping stations and exchanges your street relies upon may reside in or go through lower more easily waterlogged areas.

        • Robert Guyton

          Red delusion. Not interested.

          • Corokia

            So the NBR is continuing to promote climate change denial. Hope that means all their rich readers go and buy low lying properties off the less well off, so that it’s those wealthy climate change deniers who get flooded in the not so distant future. Sadly thats probably not the way it will work out.

          • Robert Guyton

            Not sure where you are on climate change, Red delusion?
            As before, not interested.

    • Ad 14.2

      If you are too green to support the Green Party you’re going to have a difficult time voting or otherwise participating in an election. They are as strong and as green as you are going to get anywhere in the world.

      • Colonial Viper 14.2.1

        I’m always confused by this kind of politics – where someone else offers you a set menu and you contort your personal position away from what you really believe to conform to an option that someone else has picked for you.

    • Hello, Jenny.
      You seem to be asking if the solution to the problem of climate change can be found by parsing the words from the speeches of a politician (or two).
      I say no to that.
      If you were asking my to choose which political party in New Zealand is most likely to have MPs who have a realistic grasp of what climate change is about and what might result from it, then I’d choose the Green Party, and that’s by a significant margin. I have had face to face discussions with Kennedy Graham, Metiria Turei, Russel Norman, Nandor Tanzcos, Rod Donald, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Gareth Hughes and many of the other Green MPs, past and present, so I’m basing my opinion on more than just what I read in their speeches. That means that I can answer your question, “…is the Green Party in denial about climate change?” with certainty, by saying,emphatically, no, it is not. Weka’s “4 points” are, apologies here, weka, not an especially useful vehicle for thinking about this issue, in my view. For example, the question that asks: “Does the Green Party leadership, go on to outline a course of action that hopefully will prevent future generations living in “constant panic”?” is nebulous and not pointed enough to illicit a real-world answer, in my view. Asking questions is essential, but the right ones can difficult to compose.
      I wonder, Jenny, what you are doing today, aside from posting here? I’ve been doing what I do every day; making real-world preparations for the future by doing things that would fit comfortably into The ArchDruid’s “Green Wizard” guide to useful pursuits 🙂 Fortunately, communicating online is one of those things:-)

      • Jenny 14.3.1

        I wonder, Jenny, what you are doing today, aside from posting here?
        Robert Guyton

        Hi Robert, haven’t you learnt to play the ball not the player.

        As far as I know I have as much right to post here as you. As to what I am doing today. I shouldn’t have to justify myself.
        Not that it is any of your business. But I actually at home because I am unwell. And please don’t let me burden the readers with the gory details.

        But, for all you know I could be as incapacitated as Professor Hawking, so please don’t use this line of attack again. (On anyone).

        But I have to thank you.

        Your efforts to avoid giving a straight answer have made me so angry that I am getting up and going out, and doing all those things, that just like you say, I should be doing.

        Hopefully when I come back and have I calmed down. I will be able to give you a more fuller reply.

        Cheers Jenny

        • Robert Guyton

          Jenny – you misread the tone of my comment and I’m sorry for that – it was not a negative criticism of you or what you might or might not be doing. I learned long ago not to play the man (or woman) unless there’s entertainment to be had by doing so. I’m not above gently ribbing.
          As for your getting angry, I’ll put that down to your feeling unwell and hope you recover fully, soon. Your decision to get up and do all those things sounds like a good one and when you have regained your equilibrium, please do write back. I hope you’ll see that I was neither attacking you, nor doing anything other than giving my best-considered answers.

      • weka 14.3.2

        “Weka’s “4 points” are, apologies here, weka, not an especially useful vehicle for thinking about this issue, in my view.”

        Hi Robert, they’re not my points, they’re Jenny’s. She is misrepresenting things (not for the first time). She obviously has a lot of passion about climate change but I find her approach confusing and unhelpful. I can’t make much sense of her original comment up thread, because she is mixing up so many different people’s views and arguments.

        • Jenny

          Hi weka please pardon me for using your words.

          I did this deliberately to show that even by your own standards the New Zealand Green Party are denying, (if that is not too strong a word)** the reality of climate change. (Unlike CV or RG, I do not try to guess or impute any motive for this denial.)

          The following is your original quote, and my break down of it. This time I have removed the numbers, which I admit may have been a bit of clumsy device to use to make my point.

          “Seas are going to rise, but we still have a chance to mitigate the worst of CC. Do we want subsequent generations to live in contant panic? Or do we want them to be able to respond to the changes in their environment knowing that we are all doing everything we can, and that we chose to avert the worst of teh disaster.”

          Does the Green Leader go on to promote or suggest any course of acton that may possibly “mitigate the worst of CC”?

          Does the Green Party leadership, go on to outline a course of action that hopefully will prevent future generations living in “constant panic”?

          Does the Green Party leadership outline a course of action in which future generations will “be able to respond to the changes in their environment”?

          Is the Green Party calling on us to do “everything we can”, or that we “chose to”, to avert the worst of this disaster?

          I had directed these question to Robert Guyton because he had written that maybe the reason the Green Party play down climate change is so as to not frighten the man in the street.

          Also Robert had promised to have a closer look at James speech and report back.

          “Hard, cold facts are suitable for certain occasions but not all. Walking up to some vulnerable soul in the street and telling them the “truth” could be a bit harsh if it leaves them a puddle of despair. I’m keen to have a closer look now, at James’ speech. I’ll report back” 🙂
          Robert Guyton

          Personally I had thought that James Shaw’s speech was inspiring and uplifting, even though it contained no concrete Green Party proposals on climate change. I made allowances for this, in that I believed at the time of reading and listening to James speech, that he was holding back so as to not preempt the next day’s advertised June 5 Launch of the Green Party’s Centrepiece Environmental Campaign by Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

          I had expected a lot from the Centrepiece Launch because I remember James Shaw at the beginning of his tenure as Green Party co-leader promising that he would be making climate change the centrepiece of the Green Party’s campaigns.

          I wrote on the Sunday Morning that I was really looking forward to that day’s Green Party Centre Piece launch, and I was.

          Unfortunately I was terribly disappointed. The Launch of the Green Party’s Centrepiece Environmental Campaign was a rehash of the Green Party’s “Clean Rivers Campaign” with which the Green Party have fought the last two elections, relabelled as the “Swimmable Rivers Campaign”.

          Now don’t get me wrong, I think that the terrible condition of our rivers needs to be addressed, but I don’t think that this should be used as an excuse to ignore climate change.

          In Meteria Turei’s Launch of the Green Party’s Centrepiece Environmental Campaign, she made only the briefest possible mention of the two words “climate change”, which Meteria spoke in an aside from her main address. The two words climate change were tacked on the end of a short list of things that Meteria said the government was neglecting. And that was it. That was the only mention, of the biggest environmental catastrophe of all time.

          Frankly speaking I thing that this was a disgrace and an insult to all those working and campaigning against climate change both here and overseas.

          **Personally I do not think that the New Zealand Green Party are climate change deniers in the usual way this term is used and implied, I prefer the more accurate term Climate Change ignorers. A policy which I think we can all agree the New Zealand Green Party leadership have been actively pursuing for several years now. (If ignoring something can be considered something that is active, rather than passive.)

          • weka

            “Hi weka please pardon me for using your words.”

            They’re not my words in the end though, you’ve taken them out of their context. They’re just words that you used and incorrectly attributed to me so that Robert (and possibly others) thought your questions were mine. Can you please be more careful in future?

            We disagree about the role of the Green Party so I’ll leave it at that.

            • Jenny

              You are avoiding the issue.
              Weka those are your own words.
              You were commenting on a thread about James Shaw statement that in the future we will be able to visit a beach where the sea level won’t rise.

              What can we make of this?

              That the Green Party starting with their co-leader James Shaw are playing a game of sticking their fingers in their ears and going La-la-la-la-la?

              James Shaw drew a word picture where everyone drives electric cars and all freight goes by rail, and sea level rise doesn’t happen, and said, “this is not science fiction.” But James Shaw did not forward one single political demand on how we get from the present, where climate change and sea level rise is a real world phenomenon, to his imagined world, where it isn’t.

              Nothing about opposing deep sea oil drilling.
              Nothing about insisting that the new coal mine projects in the pipeline in this country be scrapped.
              Nothing about switching the $11 billion put aside for new motorways to public transport.
              No mention of the Government using fraudulent carbon credits to cheat the ETS
              No call to oppose the extension of the life of the coal fired Huntly power station.
              No call to withdraw the government’s subsidies to Solid Energy and the oil companies.
              No mention of what to do about climate refugees from our neighbouring Pacific countries directly threatened by climate change.

              No ‘real world’ policy on climate change at all, zip, zero, nada.

              What about Meteria Turei’s “Green Party Centrepiece Environmental Campaign Launch”, the following day, which was even worse. Turei mentioned the two words “climate change”, only once and in an aside from her main speech, and only then, in a recitation of a list of other things.

              Ignoring climate change, the Green Party Centrepiece Environmental Campaign launch. Announced that the Green Party’s intention is to make “Swimmable Rivers” the centrepiece campaign of the Green Party.

              (Which is a repackaging of the Green Party’s “Clean Rivers” campaign with which the Green Party have fought the last two elections with).

              “Swimmable Rivers” while a nice ideal, won’t make a jot of difference if the rest of the biosphere is degraded by climate change, algae blooms, deoxidation as warm water holds less oxygen. And not directly related to rivers, the acidification of the oceans, will undo all the work to make rivers nice enough to swim in. And I might mention here that if climate change is not seriously addressed, having somewhere nice to swim may be the least of our problems.

              So, what about the greatest environmental disaster of all time?

              Have the Green Party given up on combating climate change?

              Has climate change been put in the too hard basket by the Green Party?

              How come, not one single policy mention, or announced initiative.

              Not one single political demand.

              Don’t the Green Party know that the Great Barrier Reef is dying, don’t they know the Arctic is losing its ice cover? is the Green Party not aware that the record breaking flood disasters around the globe that are inundating river side communities, and eroding river banks are due to warmer air holding more moisture, or that record forest fires, are due to the drying out of once temperate zones?

              I don’t believe that the Green Party could be so ignorant.

              So we are left with the question; is the Green Party too frightened of the government and the powerful fossil fuel lobby to demand action on climate change?

              I ask you weka, what the hell is going on?

              When even by your own standards the Green Party fall well short of the four ideas you raised in your concluding comment to the thread on James Shaw’s statement on climate change contained in his keynote speech.

              Weka will you not face up to my comment on the apparent Green Party sell out on climate change? Instead of choosing to indulge in pedantic dancing around on the head of the pin, why not address the issue?

              So weka;

              Is it your opinion weka that this is not a sell out?

              Do you think weka that the Green Party leadership will be launching campaigning initiatives on the issue of climate change at some future conference?

            • Jenny

              “We disagree about the role of the Green Party so I’ll leave it at that.”

              Typical. This is just the sort of cowardly avoidance to face up to the issues that I am talking about.

              Weka can’t you even try to defend your Party’s direction? Is it to scary to face up to climate change, and what it means for the environment?

              Is the Green Party are named after the wrong colour?

              Are the Green Party too gutless to take on the fossil fuel lobby?

              Should the Green Party be renamed the Yellow Party for their intransigence over refusing to take climate change seriously?

              If the Green Party had any courage or moral compass climate change should be their “Centrepiece Campaign” because everything flows from that. (literally).

              Why the Green Party “Swimmable Rivers”, “Centrepiece Campaign” which marginalises and ignores debate on climate change is completely idiotic and cowardly.

              Warmer air holds more moisture….

              While the Green Party are making plans to recreate their bucolic youth swimming in picturesque waterways. Climate change is stalking the world’s rivers threatening to turn them into deadly torrents at the slightest notice.

              Warmer air holds more moisture….

              So how do the Green Party intend to achieve their swimmable rivers?

              Mandating the building of bigger and better sewerage and waste water treatment plants?, the replanting of riverbanks?

              Don’t they know that just this sort of riverside infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to being swept away in the next muddy torrent?

              The Green Party have the chance to act on climate change.

              The newly signed MoU between the Greens and Labour both parties gave a commitment to support each other’s private members bills.

              The Green Party need to start putting up private members bills to raise the national debate on climate change and nudge the Labour Party away from their support for business as usual.

              First up should be a private members bill to scrap the ETS which on the current ballance of power in the house may even have a chance of passing if Labour supported it.

              Next up should be a private members bill calling for the end of deep sea oil drilling challenging Labour to support it.

              And probably one of the biggest bugbears of the climate change movement a bill to repeal the legislation in the RMA which prohibits climate change being taken into account as grounds for rejecting new fossil fuel projects.

              These things can be done right now.

              But they won’t.

              Because the Green Party “Centrepiece Environmental Campaign” is swimmable rivers.

              Cowardly, weak, fluffy. And with years of make work in Select committees and planning hearings which even if the Green Party get all the improvements they seek will be washed away in the next climate change fuelled mega flood.

    • weka 14.4

      “Robert in your opinion, does the Green Party fulfil any of the 4 points raised by weka?”

      What 4 points did I raise? Link please.

  14. adam 15

    Wonderful interview with Dr. Mark Crispin Miller.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Thanks for this. Scary. Abby Martin excellent as ever.

      • Jenny 15.1.1

        This manufacturing of consent and the media knowing what not to talk about, could also go some way to explain the Green Party’s self censorship over climate change.

        Just saying.

    • Ad 15.2

      Was WWI really the first time public opinion was mechanized towards war? I would agree if he said it was the first time it had been mechanized within a modern democracy. But kings had been doing it with priests from Egypt’s first kingdom.

      I do get his point about cigarette marketing within Hollywood. Very clever.

      But his claims that propaganda is now the most powerful now than it has ever been is a ridiculous reach. His talk works best for the 1970s and 1980s, when the era of television reigned supreme. No longer.

      • Colonial Viper 15.2.1

        I really don’t get you.

        An entire nation has been convinced that short term selfishness is the way that a small elite clique should rule the country, and somehow you believe that propaganda isn’t as powerful as ever, that propaganda only effects earlier, simpler, less smart people.

        Bernays understood human nature better than most of us, I daresay. And better than the intellectual Left in general.

        And he formulated his best work BEFORE the age of television.

        • Ad

          No, Dr Miller’s argument was that this current era is the most propaganda-saturated era. I was arguing with Miller, not Bernays particularly.

          I also think that short term selfishness is just an historic human tendency.

          Modern advertising seeks to influence across competing product ranges. Whereas monarchies have employed religions more powerfully and towards more singular ends than modern advertising ever could.

          I would argue though that the fracturing of the media landscape over the last decade has fractured the ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ argument/paranoia that we heard from Neil Postman, when tv and MTV and music manufacturers reigned supreme. No one sings the national anthem at the movies anymore.

          • Colonial Viper

            You still don’t get it.

            The propaganda of the day isn’t aimed at the masses.

            It is aimed at the comfortable middle classes – who think they are the guardians of commonsense and right thinking in society – and the elite, the people who make up the backbone of the status quo establishment.

            As for the fracturing of the media landscape. That has made it harder to communicate a single cohesive propaganda narrative. But that in of itself has nothing to do with how saturated our living space is with propaganda.

            Finally, you have to understand that the western style of propaganda focusses on the propaganda of omission. Omitting crucial voices on subjects like climate change, poverty, war, economics, homelessness.

            Once you wonder why certain critical facts never get mentioned, or why certain experts are never interviewed, you wake up to how pervasive this propaganda is.

            • Ad

              The first problem there is making one category, ‘propaganda’, stretch too far. It doesn’t allow Miller to focus on anything helpfully. All classes get targeted. We just feel most closely the messaging directed towards the class we are in. Which again, just confuses one era with a mere human tendency.

              I’d also have to disagree though with his idea that propaganda is principally driven by retail corporations and a few smart evil guys. Far better to consider the whole empire of ideas and how they are reified and amplified across MSM and digital media, across religions, across parties, across state rulers, across kinds of military, across NGOs including unions – now that would be a useful theory for our moment. He’s swinging for the easy hits.

              Just to focus on one realm; political parties: since Obama 2008 we have already seen the left have far greater tools within the digital ream than in the MSM. Within the political realm alone the digital contest of ideas, largely free from advertising or taint present or absent, is spectacular in its rise. So what he’s missing is the free will present even within the most message-filled modes.

              Witness two: relentless adopters New Zealand. Whaleoil and Kiwiblog and The Standard could well be some great vast conspiracy in which all speech is really just predetermined Marxist/Calvinist propaganda, but in reality the multitude is showing more power within these modes. Especially now, we can trust the multitude to make their voice clear.

              • Colonial Viper

                Well, if you are right and there is a lively, true contest of ideas out there in the media market place representing the independent voice of the masses, then we won’t be have any problems with our democracy reflecting the true aspirations, attitudes and concerns of Kiwis.

                I think that’s bunk of course, and that our democracy is not just sick, but further sickening, but that’s just me.

                The first problem there is making one category, ‘propaganda’, stretch too far. It doesn’t allow Miller to focus on anything helpfully.

                Well if the Left in NZ is more clever than this guy then we shouldn’t have too much trouble getting our desired messaging across to more voters eh.

                • Ad

                  It’s not just the left.
                  It’s a tribute to the communicative skills of both Sanders and Trump that they have got so far, so fast, with stuff-all corporate funding and stuff-all MSM relationships, and the MSM working double time against them. They simply have excellent political skills.
                  (Indeed so does Warren. And Peters taking Northland out of nowhere!)

                  That’s the real confusion here. We presume because the left have been out of power for so long, that there’s some great conspiracy of inevitability. Human agency is real; is, I think, more powerful than ever, and that is especially the case in politics.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    That’s fine Ad; my idea of political operations and propaganda operations is not quite the same as yours.

                    • Ad

                      I only focussed on political propaganda and political agency because this is what we generally discuss here.

                      But, as I pointed out, by mashing together political and commercial propaganda, he misses out vast other fields of communicative influence. All you have done in trying to separate out ‘political operations’ from ‘propaganda operations’ is admit that the sweeping term ‘propaganda’ doesn’t hold any analytical clarity for us.

                      If he was really having a crack at how ideas form and get amplified and change behavior across the military, across religions, across MSM, across digital realms, across kinds of state, across NGOs and unions, now there would be a useful theory. He doesn’t, so isn’t useful.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sorry mate, this guy has studied American media and propaganda for decades including how elections are stolen; I can learn and integrate more useful from him on this topic.

                      BTW I believe Chris Hedges, the veteran foreign correspondent, would agree with him more than he would with you.


                    • Ad

                      CV I’ve run out of reply tabs but I’ll have a look at that next interview tomorrow.

          • adam

            Part two to draw out the debate


            • Ad

              His issue about the growing dependency of MSM reporters upon state institutions for stories is fair. They are definitely vulnerable. But if ever I get worried that there are no more ‘Goodnight, and Good Luck’ stories, I just flick to Rachel Maddow and Mr Oliver.

              I would also agree with the self-ceonsorship point, but particularly about the security state within China and the US. The violence and humiliation to the big whistleblowers over the last decade is quite some policing.

              But I own a full set of National Geographics going back from 1933 to the 1970s. Call me a nerd. Now there you see the growth of industrial propaganda mechanizing through World War Two, accelerating with the growth of the state, but also watching their interests shear away from each other in the 1970s. One might argue in response simply that “propaganda” is simply more subtle and hence more pervasive. I think we have to honour the power of the patterns of the past

              I hate his idea that the “window slammed shut” in the 1980s. That is so foolish. The melancholic left fools itself into defeat. There are now always multiple competing empires. In fact especially now. Need I say it, if propaganda really worked, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump would never have got off the ground. This guy is a pale imitation of Chomsky’s more original Manufacturing Consent, when the causal links were nice and clear.

              • adam

                I have to say Ad that would have to be a record for condemning someone, what a single 28 minute interview?

                But the point is, just in case you missed it, that propaganda works best when people deny it is even happening. Or put it onto the other, I see you went for both arguments.

                Interesting that you reached for Trump and Sanders, good point all politicians use propaganda. I’d say Trump is rather good at it. His use of the medium, and shifting the debate – has been masterful, love him or hate him.

                Look on here the last few days, and me bemoaning about talking points – which are a instrument of propaganda. Te Reo Putake, has run with clinton talking points for weeks – or in layman’s terms, the propaganda set out by the clinton campaigner. He is entitled too, that is what this site was set up for. But it is still propaganda.

                I think you want propaganda wrapped up as something that happens elsewhere, and don’t want to admit your thoughts are not your own. It is horrific position position to be in, it happens to us all in the 21st century.

                • Ad

                  You are making ‘propaganda’ to be simply: ‘the stuff I disagree with you on’. That’s just a categorical confusion.

                  Your talking point about talking points isn’t very helpful. People reify overseas opinions all the time. Calling that propaganda is just silly. Far better to tease out and name the intersecting influences into actual real powers.

                  If you look back on this site over two months about the number of posts supporting Sanders versus those supporting Clinton, Sanders does pretty well. Very well: count them up.

                  Propaganda is too often used as a term by leftie conspiracy theorists to suggest that there is an all-knowing, all-present, Sauron-like ether of influence that determines the world. Which, for socialists who have been out of power since the 1980s, probably feels about right.

                  But that’s just a sad confusion of political history with theory.

                  There were a few who tried that in the late 1980s, particularly Fredereic Jamieson’s Postmodernism, or: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. That didn’t even survive the Bushes for relevancy.

                  • adam

                    It is at times quite depressing reading what you write Ad. Your blanket given up – crosses over to, we should give up and accept it. Nothing will change, maybe a little, is deeply troubling.

                    In the 21 century right, power resides in the hands of a few at the expense of the many.

                    Are you so naive as to think that people in power don’t us every trick they have to hold onto that power?

                    I don’t care who had how many posts sanders or clinton, it has to do with the angles and approaches people take on those post. That those angles and approaches have been governed by propaganda. If the propaganda is good then these framing is what was laid out from those camps. If not, then they were not talked about.

                    I’m getting the feeling you don’t like the word propaganda. It is a word to cover the simple and complex idea that – someone is using a message to promote a certain point of view.

                    So in politics, we deal in propaganda all the time, advertising, public relations, lobbying, education, books, video games, web page developers. All these people are propagandist. People get offended when called out that is what they do. Sneaky feeling you many be one of them?

                    But what was truly sad was when you reached for the third crotch of people who don’t want to accept that propaganda exist in their society, and call everyone who says it does a conspiracy theorist. A very weak position, makes you sound like you did not watch the video. Because…

                    Bloody nora. Next you will say there are no ideologies? No theological differences? That it is wrong to offend people? And that conspiracies do not happen. That juts playing into the hands of power, to weaken working people even more.

                    I know it’s a bit like the stages of grief learning that you are be manipulated at a sociological level. Good news, after the denial stage, it gets easier. More good news, knowing that is what is happening, you can take steps to acknowledge when you become influenced by propaganda.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.2.2

        But his claims that propaganda is now the most powerful now than it has ever been is a ridiculous reach.

        You’re talking out your arse.

        Propaganda exists in video games, novels, advertising and politics. And probably other places that I haven’t thought about.

        And it is more powerful. A huge amount of research has gone into it over the last 100 odd years since Bernays started it. I mentioned video games and that’s because modern video games are designed to draw you in and keep you there, to keep you paying to play. I’ve got a pet on my World of Warcraft characters that can be ‘charged up’ in either red or blue if I buy a particular type of drink that comes in, you guessed it, red and blue.

        I’ve read quite a bit about how games and advertising manipulate, there really is no other word, people into doing things that they haven’t really thought about.

        • Ad

          Agree with manipulate. Definitely.

          But that’s not the same as propaganda, unless we’re going to get lost in an arcane definitional argument.

          • Draco T Bastard


            information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.


            to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner:
            to manipulate people’s feelings.

    • Jenny 15.3

      Public opinion is a manufactured product.

  15. The Other Mike 16

    ‘Income inequality declined abruptly in 2013 after President Obama and Congress negotiated an increase in taxes on the wealthiest Americans, according to new federal data.’

    Too easy – they also have a CGT ….

  16. Ad 17

    Is it too Left Melancholic of me to want a real estate correction?

    • weka 17.1

      We all want a real estate correction 😈

      • Ad 17.1.1

        Is it too centrist of me to not want one, as well?

        • weka

          sorry, I was being a bit sarcastic. I don’t think a correction is going to be enough, so I was meaning something else 🙂

      • jcuknz 17.1.2

        I hope for it too Weka but not with a pin-prick but by government building houses, a slow process which should help all but the extremely foolish to survive.

        On the other hand it is questionable if the industry can cope and really mass production of pre-fabs/basic housing units is the only way to get on top of the problem, but can you imagine the current or future govt doing that … I cannot more is the pity.

        • weka

          Plenty of ways to get affordable housing in NZ, but people don’t want to talk about them because they see home ownership as primarily an investment. IMO, that’s why we can’t resolve the current situation.

    • b waghorn 17.2

      Long term stabilization for me please in the overheated parts of the country, and government policies to to reinvigorate the provinces so they catch up up bit so the country isn’t devided by house price.

  17. jcuknz 18

    Agora 9
    10 June 2016 at 10:16 am
    Further to your comment about NZ and its large debt … matched by individuals I believe.
    Kim Hill talking to an economist writer from the UK who pointed out that people today accept large credit card debts as part of life. Whereas my aim was to treat mine as a monthly account as many folk had in the ‘old days’ and for the past few years I have managed this.

    Banking is a great business to be in … even a crash will have them coming out smelling of roses is recent US/UK experience is anything to go by.

  18. joe90 19


    A new technique turns climate-warming carbon emissions to stone. In a test program in Iceland, more than 95 percent of the carbon dioxide injected into basaltic lava rocks mineralized into solid rock within two years. This surprisingly fast transformation quarantined the CO2 from the atmosphere and could ultimately help offset society’s greenhouse gas emissions, scientists report in the June 10 Science.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      An interesting and useful result but difficult to implement in real life on a real life thermal plant etc

  19. Ovid 20

    I’ve spent the afternoon listening to the soundtrack of Hamilton. Which is about US founding father Alexander Hamilton. It’s really entertaining for history and politics nerds like myself.

  20. Paul 21

    ‘EU Referendum: Massive swing to Brexit – with just 12 days to go
    Exclusive: polling carried out for ‘The Independent’ shows that 55 per cent of UK voters intend to vote for Britain to leave the EU in the 23 June referendum.’

    Worth watching this story…..

    • Ad 21.1

      Should Cameron resign as PM if he loses?
      Boris would be a pig in muck.

      • Ovid 21.1.1

        Cameron’s already announced he will step down as prime minister before the 2020 election, although he still intends to run as an MP. I think a vote to leave the EU will trigger his departure from No 10, or even a very tight vote to remain.

      • Rodel 21.1.2

        Quite interested in Winnie’s advice to Britain that they’d be better off voting for Brexit, foregoing the small European ‘family’ market with all its limitations and restrictive rules and looking to the wider international market ( including New Zealand). Dunno much about it but does that make sense?

        • Ovid

          It’ll be a big blow to the finance industry and also to environmental regulations and labour rights. On the whole, I think it’s a bad idea.

      • Rodel 21.1.3

        Ad-Cameron also had some issue with pigs- Sounds similar but I don’t think it was ‘muck’.

  21. Richardrawshark 22

    Respect the last 28th Maori Battalion soldier passes.

    end of an era. Condolences and happy travels Sir.

  22. Draco T Bastard 23

    Modeling financial instability with energy

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    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    1 week ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    1 week ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
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  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    1 week ago

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