Open Mike 13/10/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 13th, 2017 - 83 comments
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83 comments on “Open Mike 13/10/2017”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Rain has begun falling in Riverton, easing what was becoming a very dry spring. My newly potted-up almond trees will be loving it! The rain hasn’t lessened the volume or intensity of the dawn chorus though – those birds are giving full-throat to greeting the day. I’m grafting apple trees today, and writing a column about tadpoles. Did you know…lettuce, boiled for 20 minutes then cooled, is good food for tadpoles, or at least that’s what’s recommended on tadpole-raising sites. They certainly do get stuck into it but last night, as I drifted toward sleep, it occurred to me that duckweed, similarly heat-treated, would excite them as much, so today, I’m giving that a try. I know this isn’t politics, but like most TS readers, I do stuff other than tap the keys and belly-ache over election results and someone might find it interesting 🙂

    • Sans Cle 1.1

      You are going from politics to religion with this “lettuce-spray” 😉

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        I kept away from leeks, too, as those are common in politics. And potatoes, given the several mentions of Jim Bolger on TS lately.

    • Carolyn_nth 1.2

      Well, I guess Auckland has had your share of spring rain. Good that you are getting some today.

      It becomes political whent there’s excessive droughts and fires.

      Not so great in California right now.

    • ScottGN 1.3

      It’s been very dry in Queenstown too Robert, though perhaps it’s more typical for us than it is for you in Riverton. Yesterday morning, up early, I went out to put the sprinkler on the pots on the patio. As the sun came up over the Remarks the temperature dropped from about 4c to just below 0c and I stood in the kitchen watching the water droplets turn to ice as they fell.

      • Robert Guyton 1.3.1

        Scott of the Antarctic! Yeah, the Gibbston Valley was dryasabone when we were there last weekend and chilly first thing but once the sun gets up into the sky, it can bake ya! I was once walking the Nevis in mid summer and got snowed in. Bit sad how the Remarkables got carved by roads and drowned out by the sound of incoming jets, imo. I did enjoy seeing the big hot air balloon drifting across the face though; that’s a technology I support, though I wouldn’t go up in one 🙂

        • mac1

          Hot air balloons are magic. I flew in one in Turkey above the unforgettable landscape of Cappadocia. After an hour aloft, the pilot brought us back to within 50 metres of our lift-off point. The only mildly challenging point was when we sailed across the top of a spire which are rather ‘pointy’ when viewed from directly above.

          • ianmac

            Our balloon trip in Cappadocia was above a man and his donkey trotting off to his market garden. A funny angle to view a donkey.
            Our pilot hugged the ground and slightly misjudged the proximity, and the graunch of the basket scraping a prominent rock added to our fun.
            I wished that he would fly like a skylark but he wouldn’t.

            • Robert Guyton

              Is it true that the skylark is the only bird that sings whilst flying?
              Herons croak in flight, but don’t sing. Blackbirds pipe on the wing, but…

              • ianmac

                Blackbirds screech warnings as they take off. I guess most songbirds sing from a tree or pole. Must watch out.

              • mac1

                “The lark in the morning she rises off her nest
                She goes home in the evening with the dew all on her breast
                And like the jolly ploughboy she whistles and she sings
                She goes home in the evening with the dew all on her wings”.

                I viewed a painting by Colin McCahon in May in Wellington titled “The Lark’s Song”. In my head, the words of “The Lark in the Morning” provided perfect rhythmic accompaniment to his brushwork.

              • Karen

                Rosellas always chatter away while flying – not strictly speaking song I guess. I live on a hill and I hear them coming up the valley well before they get here. I have never seen one on its own – they are usually in a group of six or so – and the only time they are quiet seems to be when they are eating.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Do they have an Aussie accent?

                  • Karen

                    They definitely have Aussie characteristics – loud, brash, colourful and confident.

                    I once saw them attack some Mynas in a rather spectacular fashion. There was a small group of Mynas that would regularly gather in a tree close to my house and then one day a bunch of Rosellas flew up the valley with murderous intent (or so it seemed to me, watching from my kitchen window). There was a huge kerfuffle with lot of shrieking and an astonishing flurry of colourful feathers before the Mynas took off. The amount of gleeful chattering from the Rosellas suggested they had enjoyed the battle immensely. The Mynas have never returned to that tree.

    • cleangreen 1.4

      Hi Robert,

      I spent yesterday repairing fencing on my farm and it was exhausting but I needed to relax after the “mediafast” on the election.

      Now we need to let the process evolve as we do know that NZF has at the centre of ther pocicy the saving of our country from the “National Party policy of wholesale selling of NZ”

      I believe in NZF vision.

      • Robert Guyton 1.4.1

        Good fences, they say, make good neighbours. I guess that’s what negotiations are all about – bridges, sure, but fences, certainly. I’m very hopeful, cleangreen, but like others here who felt the pain of disappointment at the last 3 elections, I am keeping my composure in case I need to be staunch. A good result though, will have me waxing lyrical.

        • Tony Veitch (not etc)

          Robert Frost questions that saying, Robert.

          • Robert Guyton

            Thanks, Tony, that’s marvelous from Frost (frost too, can bring down walls, stone walls at least). I’m with Mr Frost regarding the saying, though it’s popular enough down here in rural Southland. I believe fences to be the result of wrong-thinking and would have them gone. I’m orchard, you see.

            • weka


              • Robert Guyton

                Yes, pervious to people and diverse of makeup. Hedgerows are magic. A hedgerowed New Zealand would be a world Heritage Park right there! And we could feed ourselves from them, just for starters!

                • weka

                  Strange that the Brits didn’t bring that tradition with them.

                  • Tony Veitch (not etc)

                    I think they did – but in the form of gorse!

                    No natural enemies – out of control!

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Hedgerows have to be multicultural, as they are in Britain. Foolishly, and typically, we went for the monoculture version here. We are still holding top that principle; our landscape is essentially ryegrass.

    • Brigid 1.5

      Collecting tadpoles has been a spring time ritual since I was a kid and so it is with my kids now. One year I sold a few on trademe but stopped as some people wanted to keep them once they’d turned into frogs as pets for their kids. We always just let them hop away out of the container into the bushes when they’re ready.
      Always feed them duck weed, but raw, never saw the need to boil it. They do love commercial fresh water fish flakes too.
      A tiny teeney little frog croaked at me once. So cool.

      Tadpoles are awesome, even though they’re Australian. (The Green Bell frog). Unfortunately we don’t see the native species up here in the north.

      • Robert Guyton 1.5.1

        Hey, Brigid – a fellow tadpoleophile…or something like that! They fascinate me; their endless bumping against the glass, their waving ribbons of tails; I watched last night as in turn, some would drift, motionless, through the medium as if in a trance, while the others continued to go about their pollywog business of grazing algae and bumping into stuff. I find the emergence of their legs; rear. one two, front, three four, to be entrancing. Then the absorption of the tail and the first gulping breath through the mouth and into the newly-created lung – just amazing. Mine are Australians also; Brown Whistling frogs, but I’ve seen natives, though they were inside of plastic; very beautiful, our native frogs and a great travesty to find they are so close to extinct. I’m on the lookout for Golden Bells, but am aware of the need to not move stock around the countryside as that spreads ailments. My whistlers will go back to the site they came from (my neighbourhood) once they’re terrestrial. Once, when I was a boy, on a family holiday to the West Coast of the South Island, we stayed overnight in a motel at Manakaiawa, where we couldn’t sleep for the piping of the whistling frogs! heavenly!

        • Brigid

          And also interesting is collecting them as eggs and seeing them hatch into the teeniest wriggling speck. Before long they’re big fat tadpole blobs and if you put your hand in the water they rush over to nibble on your fingers.
          And yes when the legs start appearing, it’s an important announcement in this house hold.
          Once fully formed frogs though they become rather aloof and aren’t at all interested in any communication other than with their own kind.

          • Robert Guyton

            Yes. I collected spawn for this community of tadpoles I’m watching now. Aloof, you say?
            Oh yes, you don’t get fond looks or loving coos from a frog, you just have to love their clammy ways. For me, it’s the leaping of the young whistlers, to land, tongue extended, on a fly – splat would describe that landing well and for the “water-frogs” it’s the way they hang suspended on the surface of the water, arms and legs akimbo, eyes and nostrils breaking the surface. I spent many, many hours as a kid…

            • Brigid

              Interesting stuff here.
              Rather a lot I didn’t know.

              “The lethal chytrid fungus disease, widespread in Australia, means the southern bell frog faces extinction there, and the green and golden bell frog may also be at risk. New Zealand could have been a refuge for them – but now the fungus has arrived. It was identified in the southern bell frog in Christchurch over the summer of 1999–2000 by researcher Bruce Waldman.”

              We get our eggs from a pond in a new subdivision up the road a bit. But in a few years it will be too polluted to support frogs, as all the others have become in the district;
              We’ll be out of here by then I hope. Just got to get out of Dodge.

      • JanM 1.5.2

        From DOC “The introduced Green and golden bell frog breeds in artificial dune land ponds and some natural seasonal wetlands. While not an indigenous protected
        species in New Zealand, this country is now home to the largest population of
        this species world-wide. With the species now endangered in its native
        Australia, there are international reasons for looking after this frog.”
        I go to the Uretiti DOC camp quite a lot and sometimes hear the frogs croaking away in the ponds that form when there has been a lot of rain

        • Robert Guyton

          “this country is now home to the largest population of this species world-wide”
          That’s astonishing!! I’m genuinely taken-aback by that news, thanks, Jan! I know where there is a population of these, not so far from here and bearing in mind the need to conserve and not destroy, I’m going to see if I can improve their chances of expansion. Tomorrow’s mission.

          • beatie

            I love the sound of the whistling frogs in my flax here on the West Coast. Collecting taddies in jam jars was a favourite childhood pastime. Occasionally a tiny froglet would escape in the bedroom and whistle at night from under the bed. Used to find bullfrog tadpoles too. As a young child, my daughter mentioned that she’d never seen a frog. Sad.

            • Robert Guyton

              Hi beatie – good point about children not knowing about tadpoles and frogs – I’m introducing all of the very young children I know; grandchildren, children of my children’s friends etc, to my tadpoles whenever they visit; they love them! They’ll love them more when they transform into frogs then they’ll understand how the chirpy little fellows come to be all about the neighbourhood.

  2. Satty 2

    Finally. Someone coming up with the obvious about the “car-culture” in NZ:
    First step to improving the situation is recognising and understanding the problems. Unfortunately, and expected I might add, the article was moved from the “front-page” within minutes.

    • Kevin 2.1

      As a cyclist, road safety has been a hobby horse of mine for a number of years now.

      “Transport policies continue to prioritise traffic flow and reliability for motorists over safety for everyone.”

      No truer word said. The classic case in point is these giant, single lane into two lane roundabout and then back to single lane that predominate now. They seem to be designed to move traffic as fast as possible instead of as safely as possible. They are used more as an overtaking opportunity than as a method to control an intersection.

      100lm/h open highway speeds on roads that would barely qualify for 80km/h in most first world countries yet we drive on them like we are on the Nurburgring.

      Driving used to be a pleasure for me. Now it is something I avoid as much as possible.

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        Yes Kevin I agree about the fast speeds of 100 on some inadequate state highways. And some motorists seem to be relying too much on the quality of the car to hold to corners, don’t seem to brake at all.

        I once followed a very confident and quick driver on a windy hill road, he braked briefly and then turned into the corner, and accelerated out at the required speed to match the road line and the next corner. But trying to do a steady 100 kmh over many of the roads is scary. There can’t be much safety space left for anything unexpected happening.

        Transport Agency is not controlled by either government or citizens I think. It should be more collaborative. We used to have an option to put in safety ideas for our local area, but this has been dropped.

    • Bill 2.2

      Throw a colouring agent into petrol and diesel such that the exhaust fumes are visible.

      Cars gone by lunchtime.

    • Fred H 2.3

      That means the Road Transport Forum and the AA are our equivalent of the NRA, I think all three should be labelled a terrorist organisation for lives cost annually, arrest all members and hold without charge in gitmo 🙂

  3. The decrypter 3

    Robert, do you have a troll bridge over your tadpole pond,- -high enough for james to hide under?

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      Wouldn’t need to be very high, td; In fact, I do have such a bridge; I call it the “hump-backed bridge” whenever I lead my grandsons across it and while I don’t press the point, they both know full-well, it’s trolled.

      • The decrypter 3.1.1

        Thanks, I wondered where james was-under your bridge. I suppose with Winston “shagging around like some old woman at a christening ” james is keeping a low profile.

        • James

          Nah I’m here. Just not seeing a lot to comment on of late.

          Just lots of people so so so sure that Winston and labour will be the next government- so I’m sitting back and saving myself for the nats – nzf win.

          its going to be very amusing.

          • Robert Guyton

            James, when you’re out from under my bridge, sniffing around blogs looking to “amuse” yourself, would you mind cleaning up the mess you leave behind? After all, I’m not charging you rent; picking up your empty baked bean cans and pizza boxes is the very least you could do, there’s a good wee troll 🙂

      • weka 3.1.2

        RW online trolls give real trolls a bad name. Although historically trolls have been given a pretty bad rap too (thank-you Tolkien).

        • Robert Guyton

          I began my on-line “career” trolling Kiwiblog and I know I should be ashamed, but it was riotously funny, though they soon rounded and became nasty. Farrar booted me off on a trumped-up charge, and I returned under another guise, but style must out and I was booted again and again till I got bored. Trolling is great practice for anyone who likes words, but if you talk too smart, you won’t be understood or appreciated, especially over there on troglodyte blog. Actually, there are some smart cookies commenting there, it’s just that they’re pushed into the shade by the foam-flecked-chin brigade. I see some of “us” there on my occasional visits. What’s happened to Frogblog, I wonder?Great fun was had there in days gone by, supporting the Green kaupapa and wrasslin’ with right-wing trolls and assorted snipers. Big Bruv attracted my barbs and didn’t think much of my smarty-pants ways 🙂

          • weka

            It’s a shame that the right don’t have a place for intelligent RW debate. Maybe that’s why they bother coming here.

            I was under the impression that the Greens eventually saw their blog as a liability. Better to let greenies go have their own space I think, distanced from parliament. We could do with some more green bloggers here on TS.

    • cleangreen 3.2

      Which James; The decrypter?

      Is it “James” or Green party Co-leader James Shaw????

      Please clearly state this?

    • greywarshark 6.1

      These think tanks – talking it up? The article above on Taiwan and China and USA:

      The US’ arms sales to Taiwan was the biggest factor helping Taiwan to be involved in international politics, but it is unwise for Taiwan and the US to continue increasing arms sales in bilateral relations, Easton said….

      Taiwan’s counterattack capabilities pose a threat to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), but it should expand its arsenal of long-range and shoulder-launched missiles, drones, fighter jets and cannons, and deploy weapons with lower lethality in areas closest to China,

      Sounds like he is shilling for some defence/attack armament company.

  4. ianmac 7

    Dr Jan Wright has final words of warning.

    Halfway down is an excellent Video: “Lord Deben discusses political and industrial responses to climate change with Rod Oram.”
    He expresses opinions about NZs position and how it is sad that we (National) have let it be a political battle instead of a community problem solving issue.

  5. ianmac 8

    “Former New Zealand First MP Neil Kirton is picking Winston Peters will go into a full coalition with Labour.”

  6. Pete 9

    The process in Wellington is taking so long because Winston is working out if he can work with Jian Yang.

  7. lprent 11

    Have a look at the Party tab on the RSS feeds of the right of the desktop site. This collects whatever Labour and the Greens are pumping out on their sites that is accessible via RSS.

    There are currently 3 items from Labour, the latest from 6 days ago. I guess that they and the Greens have other things on their minds.

    Incidentally before anyone asks, NZ First seems to only use email and the other parties from the centre to the left don’t seem to put anything out via RSS any more.

  8. veutoviper 12

    “Beardy hipster spook”

    Its Friday the 13th, its been a long, long frustrating week, and we still don’t know.

    Having just caught up on things here and noted that there was some discussion on Daily Review last night on the “Beardy hipster spook”. here is a link to more pictures and comments etc from back in August.

    If nothing else scroll down to “The PM and the guy who should run the country”.

    Right now I would happily vote for ‘the guy’. LOL

  9. ianmac 13

    There is a lot of talk about Peters “dictating” to the bigger parties and that National should get to negotiate with NZF.
    It could be done by Nat inviting NZF to discuss options for 5-6 days.
    Then NZF could say that there were not satisfied so will now talk to Labour for 5-6days.
    Then NZF could discuss among themselves the pros and cons.
    Then NZF could go back to one or other for details.


    NZF could discuss policy with NAt and Labour separately for 5-6 days, then retire for caucus discussions.

    Let me see. Which process would be best? Mmmm…

    (Footnote. Seymour could be invited as a consultant.)

  10. The Chairman 14

    In a written statement, a spokeswoman said: “There is no truth to the speculation you’ve reported that we’re about to sign a deal with any company, local or offshore, for thousands of panellised houses. 

    Yet, John Arnold, a New Zealand-based sales agent for Fast House, told Newsroom the company was “close to finalising” a deal with Housing NZ.

    • ScottGN 14.1

      It’s apparently a billion dollar deal which you would hope is outside the ambit of the current caretaker government. An incoming administration will probably have other ideas.

      • The Chairman 14.1.1

        Don’t Labour already have plans to bolster the local prefab industry?

        One would expect Winston would want to put NZ companies first.

    • greywarshark 14.2

      Well when under scrutiny the liar can always claim truth if there is one small item in a statement that is incorrect, even if the rest is valid. Possibly the deal is for hundreds of panellised houses, not thousands.

  11. ianmac 15

    Bryce Edwards has put up:” Political Roundup: Signs of a Labour-NZ First government.”
    Some reassuring stuff there after the deluge of Right wing bluster.


    • The Chairman 16.1

      Despite the environmental benefits, will lab food (with its GM additives) ever overcome the yuck factor and consumers anti GM sentiment?

  12. Ed 17

    Winston Peters says NZ First board meeting will be on Monday.

    ‘NZ First will hold an all day joint-caucus and board meeting on Monday to decide which party to give their support to.

    Leader Winston Peters told media on Friday that the board members will be flying in to Wellington from all over the country on Sunday evening and Monday morning.

    Peters told media he has a “serious comprehensive dossier” from both parties to take to his caucus and board, promising that a new Government would be decided by next Friday.

  13. Robert Guyton 18

    “Brady’s report highlights the numerous former National MPs who have joined the boards of Chinese banks; Ruth Richardson and Chris Tremain are directors of Bank of China in New Zealand; Don Brash chairs the Industrial Bank of China in New Zealand; and former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley chairs the New Zealand subsidiary of the China Construction Bank.’”

    • Stuart Munro 18.1

      Polyakov is only a cultural attaché, nothing to worry about. And besides, there’s Merlin.

  14. Andre 19

    Not sure why Harold thinks Plunket resigning from the BSA belongs in the Entertainment section …

  15. carlite 20

    How could Labour implement such a policy from opposition?

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

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