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Open mike 14/02/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 14th, 2021 - 86 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open 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 …

86 comments on “Open mike 14/02/2021 ”

  1. Sacha 1

    Useful context from local union activist.

    • David 1.1

      Conversation around the various BBQs I went to this summer invariably had a general sentiment that we currently have the most left talking right acting government we’ve ever seen.

      • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1

        She is really giving Helen Clarke a run for her money as being most centrist Labour PM ever…yuk.

        Though I wish they would just drop this centre-left carry on, Labour is a free market liberal party that has its own specific quite clearly defined political ideology, which as can be plainly seen NOT Left wing…so just call them Centrist or Liberal Centrist or whatever the hell , but not Centre Left that terminology is just confusing everybody and mudding the waters for people advocating for an actual Left wing project

        • Sabine

          She worked for Helen Clark, much of the people that are around now would have been around then, just as she was.

          She never was going to be anything more then she is now. A good manager, risk averse, nice rethoric and a tight fist holding the purse. And sadly this is the issue as in our times risk averse and safely safely is not going to go to far.

          • Morrissey

            She worked for Helen Clark…

            Worse, far worse than that, she worked for Tony Blair. angry sad no


            • Incognito

              Maybe you can clarify this for me, was Ardern Blair’s LH or RH assistant?

              • Adrian Thornton

                Well I guess as he was a known war criminal at the time I suppose we could call Ardern one of Tony Blairs War criminal assistants…or something to that effect…there is an old saying 'lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas"

                Cost of Blair's crimes remains incalculable


                Tony Blair prosecution over Iraq war blocked by judges

                "The decision blocks an attempt by a former Iraqi general, Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat, to bring a private war crimes prosecution against the former Labour leader.

                The two judges recognised that a crime of aggression had recently been incorporated into international law, but said it did not apply retroactively."


                • Incognito

                  Obfuscating, diverting, and not actually answering the question.

                  However, you decided that it gave you a segue to come up with a rather dim-witted label for Ardern. I hope you were just being cynical and don’t actually believe that nonsense, but you wouldn’t be the first one here to smoke their own dope, getting high and loving it.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    Ardern….in her own words….

                    "I was absolutely gutted. I felt this real dilemma, which was absolutely about Blair."

                    She still took the job though.

                    "It was totally pragmatic. I wanted to live overseas. I wanted to have that time and experience abroad."

                    …would you work for the organization of a known war criminal just so you can have your precious overseas experience…I know I sure as hell would not.

                    • Incognito

                      Lovely, but still doesn’t answer the question, which you are fastidiously avoiding. Never mind, I found it in Morrissey’s link, of all places.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    OK fair enough, well how about answering my question…would you work for the organization of a known war criminal just so you can have your precious overseas experience?

                    In my opinion this is exactly where the political pragmatism that is so much a part of the Ardern brand gets you…a straight line from knowingly working for the organization of known war criminals to not using your political capital to push through a capital gains tax or wealth tax when it is so obviously needed…personally I feel is says a lot about her character.

                    • RedLogix

                      One of your premises is faulty.

                      Regardless of what you think of the Iraq war (and I was one of the many who marched against it down Lambton Quay at the time) – Tony Blair is not a convicted 'war criminal'. Nor was he when Ardern worked for him.

                      Over the years I've either turned down or not applied for perfectly suited roles in the coal industry, but I regarded that as a personal choice I had the luxury of making. But then condemning anyone else who did work in that industry always struck me as a step too far.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      @ RedLogix

                      Come on red, she even admits herself there was a serious problem with Blair herself, and of course he is not a convicted war criminal, in what world was Blair or Bush ever going to be convicted for their crimes? not the one we live in that id for sure, hell even most of the reporters in the US who came out against that war at the time quickly ended up losing their jobs, and the ones who promoted it are still on MSM.

                      I think it now widely accepted that Blair should have been made to accept responsibility for his part in that illegal war, and you can be quite sure that were he a leader from a African or Eastern European country he would almost certainly would have been.

                      And your final argument holds no water, we are not talking about some personal acquaintance who takes on some dodgy job…we are talking about the leader of our country.

                    • Incognito

                      I agree that political pragmatism can be taken too far if it is not tempered and guided.

                      For one, I don’t see a straight line where you’re seeing one; people are more complex than a simple connecting of two dots of your choosing. Do I condemn Ardern for her choices? No. Then again, Arendt wrote about the banality of evil and I do think that applies to Ardern, in this case, but possibly not in the way you might think. You’re too impulsive (by your own admission) to my liking to even try start a discussion with you on this topic.

                      Hypothetically speaking, my answer to your question is No.

              • Morrissey

                Good question. I'll get the Daisycutter Sports researchers onto it, pronto.

                • Incognito

                  I’ll save you the time. The answer is: neither, Ardern never even met Blair whilst working in London.

                  It is in your link, which you obviously hadn’t read yourself crying

                  • Morrissey

                    As the article states, she "worked for UK PM Tony Blair's Cabinet Office."

                    She didn't meet the godfather, but she still worked for that highly controversial gang.

                    • Incognito

                      How many worked in that Office at the time?

                    • Siobhan

                      Trust Incognito to bring up the good old "everyone else was doing it" defense … working for someone considered a war criminal ..working in an organisation controlled and nurtured by said war criminal…all fine as long as there are exactly how many other brave young souls doing their OE??….not to mention the tone of regret at her lack of contact with the Big Cheese Himself..(my italics)

                      "She didn't realise till she got to London what a tiny cog she would be – "we were in a unit of 80, and we were one of many units" – and that the connection to Blair was zilch.

                      "I was working alongside small businesses, trying to make their lives easier. Once I got over myself I just got into the work."

                      or…for that matter…helping people who's lives are being made harder by the very policies of New Labour…

                    • Incognito []

                      Trust Incognito to bring up the good old “everyone else was doing it” defense … [sic]

                      I’m sorry to disappoint you. I could also ask you when/where I ever used that kind of stupid reasoning and to provide a link but that would be giving you rope and hang you at the same time, which is so unfair, don’t you agree?

                      Adrian and you seem adamant on making your points whilst causing as much collateral damage as you can. It is a kind of ‘pragmatic activism’ AKA the end justifies the means as practiced too by your heroes Sir John Key and Donald Trump.

                      For intelligent well-read people you really suck at (political) debate 🙁

                  • alwyn

                    "Never even met him?"

                    Amazing. I wonder who told her story to her Alma Mata? The University of Waikato.PR Department wasn't it?

                    They describe it as follows. "She then moved overseas to London, where she worked as a senior policy advisor for British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK Cabinet Office. She was also seconded to the Home Office to assist with a review of policing in England and Wales."

                    Senior Advisor. Seconded to the Home Office. That sounds a great deal more impressive than what you say, doesn't it?


                    • Incognito

                      Morrissey said so and he’ll know, it is in his link. Take it up with him, if you must. It is not my job to make somebody else’s CV sound more “impressive” but feel free to knock yourself out; you sound bored.

        • Stuart Munro

          She is really giving Helen Clarke a run for her money as being most centrist Labour PM ever…yuk.

          Not really, no. I don't think we'll see an Ardern version of the Nathaniel Brandon Institute, for example. The Labour party was more in the throes of neoliberalism under Clark. Though no more inclined to make waves – and lacking a strong economic voice to contest the arrant nonsense coming out of Treasury, the Ardern government is coming to recognize that the fastest growing inequality in the OECD, a high suicide rate, and declining home ownership are not a ringing endorsement of neoliberal policies. And, though it has moved very slowly on it, it is gradually realizing how pervasive immigration rorts had become under the lackadaisical oversight of MBIE.

          As long as one is happy to die of old age before economic justice issues are addressed, one can be somewhat satisfied with the government – just don't expect to make up any ground lost to civil service corruption or inertia. The government has decreed NZers are to be wretchedly poor.

    • Incognito 1.2

      The OP is a sobering read and I could not fault it. Let’s Keep Moving Steady as she goes …

    • Ad 1.3

      Go on. Put your courage where your mouth is and put it up as an actual post for debate. See if this stacks up once it comes into actual daylight.

      These days being condemned by the militant left is like being finger-wagged by the Mormons.

      S'cuse me I'll just pop down to New World; I've run out of actual fucks to give.

      • arkie 1.3.1

        Well, here it is on OM, where there is daylight aplenty. If you have any actual rebuttal now is your chance to state it.

        Personally I find the aggressive patronising commenting 'style' to be unpleasant, unnecessary and frankly unhelpful.

        • Adrian Thornton

          @Ad, "aggressive patronising commenting 'style' to be unpleasant, unnecessary and frankly unhelpful" that is all he ever really offers, because he has nothing else..I guess he finds defending his centrist liberal positions becoming a very hard lesson in futility, so he lashes out.

          • Incognito

            In my opinion, that is a bad mischaracterisation and feels like an ad hom, partly or mainly (?) because you strongly disagree with his views. He has written many various Posts here that show that he is not shallow and can be a deep thinker. That said, you’re not the first and most likely not the last one who’s lashed out at him with cheap body shots.

      • Treetop 1.3.2

        Is there a full moon tonight?

  2. Ad 2

    First one to molten salt reactors wins.

    [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.]

  3. RedLogix 3

    Tulsi Gabbard on Snowden and Assange. Direct and to the point:

    • Anne 3.1

      Direct and to the point. Agreed. But the charges will never be dropped.

      In America they prosecute whistleblowers and deny them the ability to answer the charges.

      In NZ they don't bother with prosecutions except in exceptional cases (eg Dr Bill Sutch), they simply destroy whistleblowers' careers /reputations and no-one is any the wiser what is going on behind their backs.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        We underestimate just how offended the national security grouping was at Snowden and Assange. From their perspective they felt deeply betrayed and aggrieved. These are people to whom loyalty is everything, so it's not surprising they want the rules applied to the letter of the law.

        But the natsec types aren't the dominant influence in Washington at the moment, and the USA is a complex mix of political forces. The stars may yet align to see the charges dropped.

        • Morrissey

          They were also "offended" by Daniel Ellsberg. They continue to be outraged by truth-tellers/journalists/defectors. They're not very good at actually debating them, however, as this exchange with Glenn Greenwald shows….

          • Adrian Thornton

            Classic clip, well there is good reason why Greenwald, Mate', Taibbi have never been invited on to ANY MSM Liberal new show in the past four years, (with maybe a couple of extremely rare exceptions) to offer a counter narrative to Russiagate….because people like Maddow and Kim Hill do not have the strength of their convictions just like the various Russiagaters on this site.

            When confronted with a request of offering up actual evidence all they ever do dodge, bluster and boil…take this simple question, why has there never been allowed any counter narrative to Russsiagate on liberal MSM?…keeping in mind that probably the most powerful intelligence organization in the history of human existence spent four long years on this issue, surely they with all that massive, incredible endless human resource at their disposal, they could put together the evidence that would allow Kim Hill and Maddow to blow a few leftie journalists counter narratives out of the water? so why never a counter narrative?… no it seems they are not confident in their position, so therefore obviously unwilling to test their conspiracy theories out in public view, no, just like all the Russiagaters around here, all just so much hot air and never any substance.

            • McFlock

              So with "rare exceptions", every mainstream media interviewer in the world is part of the coverup. Sounds legit /sarc

              • Adrian Thornton

                As I just said..as usual obfuscating and not answering the actual question.

                • McFlock

                  That was "obfuscating" for you?

                  On the one hand, maybe every interviewer, editor, and producer is intent on concealing the truth.

                  On the other hand, maybe the mainstream assessment of "Russiagate" pretty much matches the actual facts, which would make "counter narratives" actively misleading. And maybe some interviewers and producers also think Greenwald and one or two others are jerks.

                  "With very few exceptions", lol

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    OK McFlock, then we can all take it from your answer, that when Liberal MSM deem any subject not ever worthy of debating or not ever having even one counter narrative (and let’s remember that even climate change was allowed to be debated vigorously until only recently) then you are quite happy with that arrangement?

                    …you know, sort of like there was little to no debate (in the US) on the illegal war in Iraq from MSM liberal press? I guess you were happy with that then as well?

                    Or no debate in the US media today on whether a non US citizen such as Assange can or even should be extradited to the US…no, but of course you are happy with that, and do you know how I know that you are OK with all of this..because I have watched your comments on this forum over time, and it has become as clear as day that if liberal MSM say jump…NcFlock will answer immediately and with all the enthusiasm he can muster “how high sir”

                    Btw, who gives a fuck if someone is a jerk? …by using your always flawed logic, if a person is a “jerk” but happens to have the information needed to make a piece of information whole and legible you wouldn’t communicate with them, and so carry on your life disseminating half-truths (at best) …yep, that is you all over pal.

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, your first paragraph is bunk.

                      This is a simple "which is more likely" situation.

                      On the one hand, everyone from Kim Hill to Rachel Maddow ("with very few exceptions") is working to suppress the idea that Russia did not attempt to influence the 2016 US elections.

                      On the other hand, everyone from Kim Hill to Rachel Maddow ("with very few exceptions") thinks that Greenwald's comments are not newsworthy (or accurate) enough to put on air. Or they think he is newsworthy, they just don't like him.

                      I tend to towards the idea that they just don't think his "counter-narrative" has much basis in reality.

                      Skimming the rest of your comment, you seem to get carried away with your own flecks of spit, as usual. Although the take that a country cannot request the extradition of a non-citizen of that country is particularly odd.

                  • mauī

                    On the other hand, maybe the mainstream assessment of "Russiagate" pretty much matches the actual facts, …

                    Considering the Steele report was a key supporting document for Russiagate, and was hyped in the media for months, possibly years, and would later be investigated and described by the Inspector General as "Internet rumour". I would be calling into question whether the mainstream has really any idea on actual facts.

                    • McFlock

                      So a third possibility: with very few exceptions, everyone in the non-Russian and non-Chinese media has been hoodwinked into not knowing fiction from the facts that Greenwald and similar can prove beyond doubt.

                      I guess that goes for all the official investigations and court cases relating to the ouevre of the "counter-narratives" .

  4. Ad 4

    It'll be interesting to see Te Aupouri pull off this massive solar farm in the way far north:


    Not sure I've seen a head-to-head choice between a solar farm and the alternative choice to heavy horticulture before.

    [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.]

    • RedLogix 4.1

      SWB (Solar/Wind/Battery) tech will be an essential component of the transition off fossil fuels. I'm generally scrupulous not to throw rocks at the people pushing it and I think a great deal of useful tech will evolve from the effort.

      But it has fundamental physical limitations and environmental trade offs all of its own. Ignoring them is another kind of folly.

  5. RedLogix 5

    It’s only if we assume a substantial reduction in energy usage that the project becomes feasible. But that requires us to question human behavior and expectations about economic growth.

    We cannot decry poverty on one hand – and demand a reduction in economic activity at the same time. Yes some small fraction of humanity consume excessively and can be scaled back – the vast majority of us do not.

    Low-carbon technology is good. But by itself it will not resolve humanity’s ecological dilemma.

    The Kaya Identity conclusively shows that zero-carbon tech is the only possible solution.

    Ecological economists understand that aiming for perpetual growth on a finite planet is a ticket to tragedy.

    The weasel word here is 'perpetual growth' with the implication that we will simply keep expanding on exactly the same population and technological trajectory. This is a nonsense – population growth rates peaked in 1968 and most developed nations of the world are already fasting ageing into decline.

    The only place left that is growing is Africa – precisely because it arrived so late at economic development. Overall we will reach peak population mid-century.

    What may well be true is that we're reaching not so much 'peak oil', but we're running into the limits of what can be efficiently done with fossil fuels – regardless of their impact on climate.

    The point totally missed by the OP is that unless we not only get to zero carbon and closed loop resource economies – no matter how much we 'slow down' or 'change direction' – we will eventually exhaust the various mineral extraction and environmental sinks anyway. Whether it takes us 50 years or 500 really doesn't matter in the long run.

    Atmospheric carbon is just one balance we need to restore; but the limitations of fossil fuels and renewables means that we can never attain sufficient energy intensity and efficiency to de-couple from our total dependence on exploiting the natural world.

    Building machines to suck CO2 out of the air is a reflex response for people hooked on technofixes,

    And doing nothing to get CO2 back below 350ppm – while demanding we crash the human economies at the same time – is literally choosing the worst of both worlds at the same time.

    [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.]

  6. KSaysHi 6

    I found this hard to believe until I realised it is a migrant woman. Maybe more protections are needed? The couple she moved in with wouldn't give her a key, meaning if they left the house she had to leave too.


    • RedLogix 6.1

      Absolutely weird. This is clearly not a standard rental situation – it reads much more like a flatmate or boarding arrangement and the couple who own the place are clearly not landlords in the usual sense.

      Boarding/flatting can go badly wrong like this – especially when diverse people who're essentially strangers have to share a living space. Not sure how 'more protections' can be made to work in these non-rental scenarios.

  7. Anne 7

    As expected, Trump has been acquitted on charges of insurrection:


    A majority of senators voted to indict him but didn’t meet the 2/3rds majority required. What a bunch of self-centred, lily-livered arseholes those Republicans are. Little better than Trump in fact.

    • Macro 7.1

      Little better than Trump in fact.

      No better and in many cases worse. They have been his enablers for the past 4 years. The subsequent comments by McConnell after voting to aquit the Chump show him to be completely two faced.

    • Foreign waka 7.2

      Seems that Southerners who long for days past and hope that their patsy Mr. Trump should pave the way. It is amazing that insurrection has not been condemned and brought to justice. Is there an expectation that the USA will split in two in the years to come, with the southern states ruled like a fiefdom?

    • Treetop 7.3

      Would 10 more Republicans have voted for impeachment were Trump still the President?

      See what Trump's next move is.

      • mac1 7.3.1

        Are you saying that Biden should concede retrospectively to Trump? Swear him in in one second and the next serve him with a bi-cameral impeachment?

        My hope is that Trump will face justice as McConnell allowed within two years, be convicted and then see the Republicans face their biennial doom when the next round of elections begins. Even better if Trump has his own party, or the Republicans have to form a no to Trump party, to divide the Right even more.

        The NoT Party.

        • Treetop

          Biden won the election. It just so happened that the impeachment hearing was held after Trump's term ended.

          • mac1

            I understand. It's a pity they can't do a retrospective action based on the time Congress first set impeachment proceedings to begin ie before January 20 and be able to retrospectively fire him, stop his salary and stop the perks while awaiting further civil and/or criminal legal action.

            • Treetop

              Not knowing if the magic 17 number would have been reached. I feel cheated.

              • mac1

                We believe the 43 who said it was a constitutional issue only, don't we, rather than running scared at the reaction of a part of the 74 million? That's why I want them to suffer badly in two year's time at those elections and in 2024 so they will understand that the right thing to do is also the best politics to play.

                • Treetop

                  It will be interesting to see how well the 7 Republican senators do when it comes to re election for the senate.

                  Can the Republican Party stop a current senator from being a candidate?

                  • mac1

                    Don't know. Could happen in NZ- and needs to, in the National party. John Key got the Helensville nomination over a sitting MP, after all, not that I'm saying the Nats need more John Keys……. But, the US media commentators on CNN were saying that the 43 were running scared of Trump and being dumped.

                    Money talks. The GOP have put $325,000 into a campaign to oust the new California governor, using a recall system with seemingly an analogous scheme to the recall system in NZ on Maori wards which Labour is repealing.

                  • Macro

                    Only one, Murkowski, is up for re-election in 2022. Romney is up for reelection in 2024. The reset have either just been reelected or are departing at the end of their term.

                    Can the Republican Party stop a current senator from being a candidate?

                    Essentially they have to win their respective primaries – and Congresswoman Cheney who is the daughter of VP Dick Cheney and 3rd ranking Republican in the House is facing severe criticism from some in her state of Wyoming.

                    • Treetop

                      Can Trump stand in the senate primaries?

                      You always give good explanations.

                    • Macro []

                      Yes. Having survived the impeachment vote again, Trump could stand for Senate. There is however the possibility that an Amendment 14 action could be taken and he is debarred from taking further office. Am on phone now so can't give links easily here. Will post them later. But there is discussion online should you Google trump amendment 14

                    • Treetop []


            • Macro

              Essentially that is the crux of the decision by McConnell to delay the trial until after the inauguration on the 20th Jan. The House were willing to run with an immediate impeachment before the finish of Trumps presidency but McConnell would not have anything to do with it. The hypocrisy of the man is unbelievable. More here:


              House majority leader Nancy Pelosi criticized McConnell’s remarks in a press conference on Saturday and said the issue of timing “was not the reason that he voted the way he did; it was the excuse that he used.”

              “For Mitch McConnell – who created the situation where it could not have been heard before the 20th, or even begun before the 20th in the Senate – to say all the things he said, oh my gosh, about Donald Trump and how horrible he was and is, and then say, ‘But that’s the time that the House chose to bring it over’ – Oh, no. We didn’t choose. You chose not to receive it,” Pelosi said.

  8. Sacha 8

    Detail on 'build to rent' as one housing solution. https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/renting/124183905/unleashing-buildtorent-to-solve-the-rental-crisis

    “The key thing that really marks out these build to rent developments is that treatment of the tenant as the customer.”

    • RedBaronCV 8.1

      Looks like it's all about letting in overseas "investors" to buy up the place and with the "help" of government accommodation subsidies continue to rip the taxpayer off. One of the canny locals has pointed out that NZ kiwisaver funds cold do this too but there is a lack of local building capacity. So why even bother to let overseas ownership back. And for the student and retired accommodation maybe we should try ushering it out too to reduce the drain to overseas.

      So long as there is a local building capacity shortage there are not going to be more houses to own.

      Just think what the accommodation supplements could do if they were redirected to aid home ownership ( along with other measures) to get back to the level of ownership we used to have. That should be the policy directions – and push the main centre ghost housing back into service.
      Plus how about some more free shortform building courses so that people can learn to build a home for themselves again. It’s not rocket science.

      • Foreign waka 8.1.1

        I believe that the issues we are facing with rentals and house affordability is in part and inadvertently caused by the accommodation supplement. Every time it is increased, so are the rents sure to increase too. The taxpayer is being fleeced.

  9. georgecom 10

    Neo-liberalism and it's use by date.

    Whether neo-liberalism was ever actually useful, and that's a moot point albeit a historical arguments, similar to whether state socialism would yield actual communism, neo-liberalism met its use by date in 2008.

    Only the most myopic typified by the like of Roger Douglas, Brash, the fragments of ACT etc failed to grasp so

  10. aj 11

    One for a rainy day, coming to you in the North Island very shortly.

    In recent years in particular, antiZionism is being deliberately conflated with antiSemitism to suppress legitimate criticisms of Israeli policies.

    This debate features Israel-Palestine with Noam Chomsky & Rudy Rochman, " a young and inspiring activist who uses his growing platform to generate innovative ways to combat anti-Semitism. Rudy is dedicated to fighting antisemitism around the world and strengthening Jews’ connection to the land of Israel. On the other side, Noam Chomsky, a world-renowned intellectual and activist for over 60 years. He has written over 150 books, has multiple arrest records, and is widely known for being a fierce critic of Israel"

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