Open mike 14/05/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 14th, 2022 - 192 comments
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Step up to the mike …

192 comments on “Open mike 14/05/2022 ”

  1. Jenny how to get there 1

    An idea whose time has come.

    Good for the climate, good for congestion, for air quality, for safety. for convenience

    Free frequent public transport. It's the future.

    Could Wellington follow Luxembourg's lead and make public transport free?

    Ben Strang – Stuff, May 14 2022
    Imagine rushing out of the house in the morning, toast in one hand, briefcase in the other, and arriving at the bus stop. Your wallet is sitting on the kitchen counter. This could be a disaster.

    But then the bus arrives. No need for a Snapper card or cash to pay. The service is free.
    That’s been the situation for people in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, for almost a decade now…..

    Why can't we do this in Auckland as well. I have sensed a lot of resistance to this idea in Auckland. But maybe we could do it piecemeal, starting with the Northern Busway.

    If it is a runaway success, which I expect it will be, we could finally realise the dream of reserving one lane of the Auckland Harbour Bridge for cyclists and walkers.

    From there we could roll out the concept, to other main thoroughfares.

    Less cars, less congestion, more room for dedicated cycleways.

    On a day too windy or wet for cycling just go by bus.

    It’s a partnership made in heaven.

    • Belladonna 1.1

      Cost isn't really a significant barrier for use of the Auckland busway.
      The barriers are:
      * Getting to the busway (i.e. feeder buses) which mean a 2 stage trip (getting on and off buses is a barrier – as is the limited timetable for the feeder buses). NB: this is a real barrier if you work non-standard hours (or part time) – the timetable is heavily reduced outside rush-hour.

      • Flexibility. Many people don't just go to work and back home again – there are detours to collect children, etc.
      • Time. The busway part is quick and reliable (at least during rush hour); the feeder routes (potentially at either end) are not. Which is why so many busway (and bus users in general) park and ride. [My street is filled by 8am with people parking and catching a bus to the city]

      In addition:

      Lots of Auckland people aren't going to the CBD (especially with the hollowing out post Covid and with the CRL disruptions). The majority of cars going over the AHB are not exiting in the CBD.

      I'm not opposed to 'free' PT (though it just means that we pay for it in rates/taxes — TANSTAAFL), but it's not going to (in Auckland at least) lead to the substantial car reduction you're hoping for and consequent freeing up of a lane on the AHB.

    • The Al1en 1.2

      A partnership made in heaven at the expense of rate payers.

      Nothing wrong with subsidized fares except for the bus companies still making big profits as those liable for rates stump up the fees.

      • Belladonna 1.2.1

        Almost all of the bus routes in Auckland are subsidised (prior to the half-price initiative- which makes all of them subsidised).

        Pretty much only the CBD routes have the heavy patronage to be cost-effective for the bus companies to run. All of the others are subsidised by AT to operate – which is why you see full-size empty buses running throughout the day.

        Every time I see another ghost bus, I think… there's got to be a better way. Subsidized uber trips? Mini-buses? EV tuk-tuks?

        • The Al1en

          Clearly there should be a move to free (or almost free) bus rides to encourage as many cars off the road, but sticking a hundred bucks on regional rate bills so companies can reluctantly pay the drivers the living wage while they make a shit load of money, is certainly not an equitable way of doing things.

        • KJT

          EV golf carts.

          On the same model as electric scooters, but council owned?

          Even better if they can be called up to drive themselves to where they are required.

          Outside of the main routes in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch,, and a few either side of commuting times in provincial towns like Whangarei. Buses run mostly empty.

          • Belladonna

            Looks like a highly speculative kite, flown by a commercial interest – which will sink without a trace, after the mandatory headlines and comments from the chatterati (time for Bob Harvey to zip the lip)

            Chances of getting resource consent for pylons across the Waitemata are somewhere between fat and slim!

            • Incognito

              What is speculative about a proven mode of transport that is suspended in the air, i.e. not in the way of other traffic, not taking up space, and relatively energy efficient, for example? Weren’t you suggesting ubers or tuk-tuks?

      • KJT 1.2.2

        Privatised bus companies mean we are subsidising profit taking by overseas owners.

        Who both overcharge, while underpaying wages.

        The privatisation mania results in paying more for less services, as usual.

        • Ad

          Do you remember how bad bus services were before The Yellow Bus Company was privatized?

          • KJT

            Underfunding and deliberately balling up publically run services, so management can profit from privatisation, has been a constant feature of public services since the 1980's.

            • Ad

              Aucklands bus service is the best public transport in NZ, takes 80% of its pt usage, was growing year on year until COVID, and is indescribably better than anything we've ever had before no matter the decade.

              • KJT

                Haven't used PT in Auckland for over 50 years.

                Parades of buses going past the stops without picking anyone up, on Dominion road, and many other issues, hasn’t improved by all accounts.

                Privatisation certainly hasn't improved Wellington or Christchurch.

              • Belladonna

                Not in our area. Birkenhead transport (before bought out by Ritchies) – was excellent – before being taken over by AT.
                The Inwards family (who owned and operate the bus line for 80+ years) were a community institution – known for treating their drivers well and being a part of the community.
                AT has resulted in a one-size fits nobody bus service – which encourages the large players to gobble up the smaller ones (their preference is to have fewer contractors to deal with); and a race to the bottom in terms of salaries and conditions.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.2.3

        The Al1en

        14 May 2022 at 9:12 am

        ……Nothing wrong with subsidized fares except for the bus companies still making big profits as those liable for rates stump up the fees.

        If we took away all the hidden subsidies paid out to the private transport sector.


        13 April 2022 at 2:08 pm

        Really if we're going down the cost of subsidies….

        …Push road user charges based on maximum loaded axle weight on to all motorbikes, cars, vans, buses and trucks, and remove the current taxation mix on vehicles. The base for allocation should be all road maintenance costs plus all planned new road works over a normal lifetime of a vehicle. The latter should reduce the taxpayers interest costs….

        …..This should immediately correlate the RUC with damage to roading – and therefore to the major portion of the roading budgets….

        …Make all fuels to have the immediate full impact of their end-or-life ETS price….

        ………The basic problem with transport in their country is that there is a very large hidden subsidy system for most private transport – especially for heavy vehicles and the roading contractors who repair roads.

    • Foreign waka 1.3

      With that transport network… free will not do. It would take me about 2.5 hours to get to work and only 45 min by car. Add the irregularity and often complete lack of any trains and buses are a few here and there… Thanks but no thanks.

      If any one compares public transport, please compare: Network, reach, frequency, time and reliability. Otherwise its just a PR exercise.

      • Jenny how to get there 1.3.1

        I don't think you read my comment. "Free" and "Frequent" public transport. paid for with the removal of all private transport and roading subsidies and switching them to greatly expand the public transport network. to make it more convenient and easier to use than the private automobile.

        Don' like that?

        I am afraid that if we want to save the climate and decongest our roads and clean our air, public policy measures that may be outside our personal preferred comfort zone will be necessary. Either that or we die in our own filth and waste.

        Decision time has come.

  2. Jenny how to get there 2

    [Oops! Don't know what happened there. Went into edit mode, and instead of editing the original, it made two copies.]

  3. Time to put a stop to this anti science ‘Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE’ creationist bollocks. What is wrong with these people? Mentals?

    A curriculum that teaches creationism as fact, denies human involvement in climate change and depicts women as inferior to men has grown in popularity.

    • Visubversa 3.1

      You think those people are batshit crazy? Try the proponents of the new religion.

      • The Al1en 3.1.1

        I’ve always thought religious people as somewhat brain damaged but can't you wait to put the anti trans comments under one of the posts almost guaranteed to come along later?

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Hmmm…creationism is anti-science but denying the biological reality of sex isn't?

          (And a robust and respectful discussion might just be possible if some folks buttoned back on the slurs. winkwink )

          • The Al1en

            Why not make your own post about it? Number 6 is currently available.

          • Populuxe1

            It's more the plague of disingenuous threadjacking.

            • Anne

              Agree Populuxe 1. It doesn't matter what the subject raised, the Trans debate often seems to end up dominating the conversation. I have had enough and I expect plenty of other commenters feel the same way.

              Weka creates posts for the purpose of discussing issues related to the subject for those who are close to, or interested in being part of that debate. There is no need to hijack the myriad of other concerns that beset this country and the rest of the world.

              • The Al1en

                Ta for both of you seeing the wood for the trees.

                To me, no matter the importance or validity of the subject, it's become like the endless de facto daily circle jerk 'go vegan' posts we use to suffer through on the standard.

                • Incognito

                  Very few subjects travel alone and stand in strict isolation, as they are inevitably views & opinions of people, who all are complex and mostly irrational beings. For this reason, any subject, no matter how innocuous, can be used as a pivot, hook, or foot-in-the-door tactic to introduce other things and much propaganda as well as cult recruitment make use of this. Conspiracy cultists love to hate this, but I think that fundamentally it is just a human trait and a big part of our story-telling narratives to try make some sense of the world we live in.

                  • The Al1en

                    I understand, I know how debates work, especially on here, yet still, try taking a giant left field leap on an author's thread and we know how that usually ends.

                    I know, not my house, not my rules.

                    • Incognito

                      My comment was really intended as an on-topic but still general reply to yours and I had no intention at all to raise this in the context of what’s going on here on TS and its rules and Policy, for example.

                      FWIW, although this is OM I agree that the comment @ 2.1 put a fork in the road (what I’d call a whataboutism) but I’s also like to think it was ‘accidental’. I’ve learned to wait & watch to see how the 2 different threads merge together again further down the road, as sometimes happens – usually, and unfortunately, one leads down the garden path and the other one to a cliff’s edge wink

                    • The Al1en

                      I'd rather put a fork in a sausage, and I'm far too tooth long to believe in 'accidental' anymore, but good luck to you, and all that.

                    • Incognito []

                      Thanks. Trust is a delicate thing that cuts both ways.

                    • The Al1en

                      Now that you can trust 😉

                      Anyway, top of the post is ruined, but there's been some good on topic chatter below, so as it's FA cup day, I'll go with second half equaliser, looking for a late winner, avoiding extra time and penalties.

                    • Incognito []

                      It depends on the context, as always, but I don’t have a problem with trusting people because of their faith by default – I disagree with your personal judgement of “religious people as somewhat brain damaged”. When it comes to science, e.g., the science of climate change, it becomes more difficult to discuss matters with people who have a very literal and dogmatic interpretation of their [book of] faith. NZ schools all have to teach the curriculum, AFAIK.

                    • The Al1en

                      Brain damaged as in the result of brain washing, not as a pejorative to it's consequences – Though as we go on knowing I don't believe in more god than they do, and that I'm still quite okay with whatever they get up to on Sundays, teaching creationism and filling children's heads with lies under the banner of education becomes alarming more than difficult to discuss with.

                      Belief is individual, and no gods, one god or ten of them is fine, but wtf or more like howtf has this nasty, anti science, us bible belt moran-a-likes been allowed to find a way into our education system?

                      Save me Jeebus.

                • solkta

                  At least the vegans don't pull that "no debate" bollocks. When you've discussed it to the point of having to withdraw with concussion that really is too much.

              • solkta

                Yeh i've had enough.

            • bad politics baby

              Yes, the GC threadjacking, I come here once every week & it's bloody off putting.

              • Sacha

                Who knows how many it has put off for good

                • roblogic

                  Bollocks. Telling women to shut up is the opposite of driving engagement

                  • Sacha

                    A tiny group of them. Visitor stats will tell the story.

                    • weka

                      Some here will know some of what I am about to say but others here won’t so it’s worth retelling. I count at least five feminist authors who stopped writing here in the past because the behaviour of men on TS made it too difficult to stay. Left wing men mostly, either directly by their behaviour, or indirectly by their silence or complicity. Some left wing men spoke up at times in comments, sometimes substantially on issues that matter to women. I will always be grateful for that. Some but not all of those men now oppose women on TS (yes, yes #notallwomen)

                      From a feminist perspective that sits outside of masculinist left/right politics, there is not a huge amount of difference between the men who opposed women before and those that oppose now. Both groups contain men who consider themselves progressive but who proved in the end that when it came down to it, women could have their own politics only so long as it suited the politics of the men. This is a clear pattern that transcends and predates the sex/gender war.

                      Of those five women authors who left one is a staunch trans ally, two are gender critical feminists, and two I don’t know what their politics are. All of those women talked at various times about the difficulties of men’s behaviour on site as being key to why they stopped writing.

                      My own experience is that I spent a number of years as an author here setting up systems and shifting the culture enough so that women authors and commenters would want to be here. I cross posted writers from off site and supported new writers to Guest Post here. I had an emphasis on women, but also extended this to other groups whose voices are missing here.

                      Lynn talked at the time about the increase in women in the stats.

                      A small handful of TS women worked over a year on the women’s project with the goal of getting regular feminist writers and commenters. We did some really good work, and too much of our time was taken up trying to make sense of the problematic men on TS who were actively opposing women’s politics. It was never clear if the plans we were making would be accepted. I took the views that a well presented plan would be, but before we got to that point two male authors took a hatchet to the women’s project after I banned CV.

                      CV was one of the men that more than one woman had said made it too difficult to write here. One of those woman I was in conversation with about more posts. CV had recently returned to TS from a long ban, and was engaging in exactly the same pattern of behaviour as before that not only caused problems for women but disrupted the commentariat debates.

                      I banned him prematurely because I could see what was about to happen and we’d just spent months getting the debates into a good place again and there was the possibility of a new regular author. Maybe I should have let him play it out, accumulate warnings and then banned him, but I couldn’t stand the thought of going through all that again and having to rebuild.

                      In response Psycho Milt was given a year’s ban by one of the male authors in reaction to CV’s ban. I’m not going to talk much about what happened in the back end, nor about the personal price I paid, but suffice to say I ended up not writing here for 15 months. So we can say at least 6 women have left because of left wing men opposing women’s politics.

                      When I came back to write about Ihumatao I noticed the changes. I decided to write mostly about climate with occasional feminist posts when it seemed like it was worth it ie I deemed the anti women’s politics behaviour to be at a low ebb. There weren’t nearly as many women commenters here and less variety of women’s politics. There were no other regular women authors.

                      When I started writing about gender critical ideas and the impacts on women of gender identity ideology, more women commented. The small number of women-only posts saw even more. Unsurprisingly, when given the chance to talk about our own politics, women do. And when men oppose that we sometimes fight back and increasingly we don’t, because the world is on a knife edge and there’s only so much resiliency to go around. But it is telling that women are speaking up on gender/sex issues despite that and despite the very real threats to those who do so publicly.

                      So when I see this,

                      Rob logic: Bollocks. Telling women to shut up is the opposite of driving engagement

                      Sacha: A tiny group of them. Visitor stats will tell the story

                      I have to stop and take in the fact again that you are one of the men that opposes women having our own politics when it contradicts your own.

                      I’m not so bothered by you misrepresenting TS history or even that you use that misrepresentation to further your own politics. What’s really the worst is that you choose to marginalise women talking feminism with this phrase: “A tiny group of them”.

                      While at the same time telling us off for allegedly hating on another ‘tiny group’ of people. Nothing tells me that women are not entitled to feminism more than this. That you as a man will decide which marginalised people are worthy of respect and which aren’t, and don’t even blink at the hypocrisy.

                      I cannot imagine left wing men such as yourself taking this position and making such statements about Maori politics for instance or disability politics, given the progressive position generally is staunchly that marginalised peoples are entitled to their own definition and political sovereignty.

                      Some men are just still immersed in sexist belief. I doubt you are. I think for some left wing men the sexism is secondary to something else so important to them that it renders them incapable of reasoned debate and blind to their own mansplaining tendencies. But the implications for women are deadly serious because now we have the dominant (male) class arguing that a few women raped is acceptable to the cause or standing by and watching and silently endorsing some of the worst misogyny I’ve seen in my lifetime. Left wing mansplaining and the MRAs are but a spectrum at this point.

                      I also think it remarkable that some left wing men have withdrawn from debate and then complain that women are still here talking about our politics. If there’s anything to be learned from GCF thus far it’s that women won’t just go away, that these issues matter at a fundamental level that have nothing to do with trans politics and everything to do with who and what women are and we experience in the patriarchy.

                    • Sacha

                      Hijacking a blog about labour movement politics as a local beachhead for foreign-influenced anti-trans stances may feel like a victory to the small number of women who support that. Any knowledge of feminist history shows where it fits in though.

                      I hope women – who have good reason to feel fearful about men – regain clarity and peace about where transwomen fit into the world we all share. Fixating on genitals, toilets and sports seems unlikely to help with that.

                      I’m not expecting to change your mind but I’d like others to know they are not alone in sadness about what this place has become.

                    • RedLogix

                      Some here will know some of what I am about to say but others here won’t so it’s worth retelling. I count at least five feminist authors who stopped writing here in the past because the behaviour of men on TS made it too difficult to stay. Left wing men mostly, either directly by their behaviour, or indirectly by their silence or complicity. Some left wing men spoke up at times in comments, sometimes substantially on issues that matter to women. I will always be grateful for that. Some but not all of those men

                      I recall that period directly. All of those women threw a their toys out of the cot in a display of manipulative spite. Every single one of them had the opportunity to return and say whatever they wanted unimpeded – they just could not tolerate someone challenging them. 'No debate' was invented by feminists like yourself long before you realised it could be weaponised against you.

                      In response Psycho Milt was given a year’s ban by one of the male authors in reaction to CV’s ban.

                      That was me. Have the honesty to name people when you know they are still about and reading the threads. Of course you selectively tell only the part of the story that suits your narrative. The ban on PM was done as as equal and opposite response to an equally stupid ban you made on CV – and you are stilled pissed off about it because it so effectively showed up how you repeatedly misuse your very privileged position here to censor and erase views you do not like.

                      I have called you on this repeatedly over the years – to the point where I recently emailed Lynn Prentice to remove my access as a moderator as I could no longer stomach being associated with or having to deal with such blatant hypocrisy and bullshit.

                      I’m not going to talk much about what happened in the back end, nor about the personal price I paid, but suffice to say I ended up not writing here for 15 months.

                      Bullshit – you paid no price at all. Quite the opposite you have enjoyed Lynn's unqualified support for years and still do. He has never moved to prevent you from doing anything here you pleased. You had your opportunity to turn TS into something that suited your peculiar views for years now – and still you complain that people will debate with you on a site whose very purpose is debate.

                      Still I was never against having more women authors and readers – and certainly took no pleasure in the events you allude to. In response to those events I voluntarily silenced myself on anything substantive to do with sex or gender for almost five years now. A promise I have adhered to. And still this is not good enough – men get all the blame for everything wrong in your life and always will.

                      PS. Alluding to matters in the backend that other readers are not privvy to is a fundamentally dishonest tactic. You are essentially claiming victim status over events readers have no way of judging for themselves. And for this exact reason I have mostly kept well away from that area of the site for a very long time now.

                    • Molly

                      @sacha. I thought weka did a great job of explaining this, but I'll give it a go. She could probably do with a break.

                      Hijacking a blog about labour movement politics as a local beachhead for foreign-influenced anti-trans stances may feel like a victory to the small number of women who support that.

                      Given that the women commenting here are left-wing, and are speaking of the impact of legislative changes on women as a political class, your use of 'highjacking' indicates your dismissal of that notion rather than accuracy. Implying foreign-influences is becoming a familiar tactic. Not worth the rebuttal.

                      Any knowledge of feminist history shows where it fits in though.

                      This I'd like to hear. Take it away Sacha, and tell us 'small number of women' about your knowledge of feminist history.

                      I hope women – who have good reason to feel fearful about men – regain clarity and peace about where transwomen fit into the world we all share.

                      God forbid, women who are not fearful just have boundaries and are willing to say so. (Which has nothing to do with transwomen because apparently, there are no conflicts.)

                      Fixating on genitals, toilets and sports seems unlikely to help with that.

                      This genital fixation seems to come from the GIA's more than the GFC. Most likely stems from the insistence that 'Transwomen are Women' creating confusion when talking about women. The confused searched for a way to differentiate – instead of accurately calling transwomen, men – and resorted to biological sex characteristic descriptions. Which they were then vilified for.

                      Women are not scared of men. We are setting boundaries and saying No.

                      Some men are scared of that and react by demanding we allow other men into our single-sex spaces.

                      The answer is still No.

                      I’m not expecting to change your mind but I’d like others to know they are not alone in sadness about what this place has become.

                      The Standard is a place where it can be demonstrated that when women do set boundaries and say no, they will be ignored and ridiculed.

                      Many attempts at embarrassment will be made in order to get compliance. When that fails, sulking and bro-camaraderie is often on display like some Animal Kingdom back patting commiseration ritual.

                      Very rarely, will honest and good faith engagement occur, and surprisingly, when it does, it will be from long-time right wing commentors. Thanks to them (and the few left men), by the way, for basically recognising the political nature of this discourse, and giving their perspectives.

                      If this is uncomfortable for you, go join the others 'in sadness', scroll past, or engage. The invitation has always been there for engagement.

                    • Ross

                      you repeatedly misuse your very privileged position here to censor and erase views you do not like


                      I copped a ban for quoting stats that appeared on the Health Ministry's website. You have to laugh.

                      [No, you were not banned for “quoting stats that appeared on the Health Ministry’s website”, you were banned for making up shit ( and And you’re doing it again here. You have to cry.

                      I often wonder why bannees have such a selective and warped view and memory of their bans and love to play the innocent victim. Perhaps it is because they’re twits. In any case, if I catch you making up shit about Moderation again you’ll cop an instant ban of one month and I’ll make a note of this warning in the back-end – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      Mod note

                    • Anker

                      100% Weka.

                      We are extremely fortunate to have Weka on this site (and actually Weka and I don't agree 100% on everthing, nor do we need to).

                      Weka is one ofthe most calmed and reasoned commentators on The Standard. She is always respectful and her posts are well informed.

                      I have been commenting on this blog roughly from 2013, long before I became aware of the gender ideology issue. I am a Labour Party member.

                      I have been absolutely shocked by some of the male commenters on this site and their lack of willingness to hear women out. I personally have never experienced being shut down before for feminist beliefs (or any of my beliefs, even when people don't agree with them. Frankly the gaslighting towards women that has gone on on this site is shocking e.g. when I raised the issue about the Wi-spa and various men told me it was a set up by GC groups. Then a man tried to excuse having a sex offender in a women's change room saying words to the effect that poor guy, probably his penis showed because his towel slipped.

                      I started commenting on this site about gender issues because the msm have completely shut women who are gender critical down (as too did the Labour and Green party politicians on the self ID sub committees.

                      I intend to continue commenting. To date I have have never been banned nor have I received a warning (other than for when I have typed in my address incorrectly).

                      The Standard often has themes that dominate on Open Mike, eg. Covid, the parliamentary protesters, the war in Ukraine. This is no different from GC stuff. I was going to say if you don't like it, do what we all do ie scroll down (surely no one reads every single bloody comment on every topic). But actually what I want to say is open you eyes about the issues we raise. And whenever a group tries to shut down debate, be very, very suspious. It usually means they have weak or no arguements.

                    • RedLogix


                      I intend to continue commenting. To date I have have never been banned nor have I received a warning

                      That is because your comments generally conform to weka's views. Others like myself see this very differently – we have been repeatedly subject to fucked up abuse of moderation from this person.

                      Seeing as how you have been around for so long – I have a challenge for you. Can you recall any sustained instance of a male perspective of the relationship between the sexes being presented here? One that was not immediately dumped on as sexist or MRA lines? One that was allowed to be developed and debated in a safe and open manner. In my experience weka would immediately use her unchallenged power as Editor to remove such an author. Not just censor – but to erase completely as she has a number of male authors she did not like.

                      As it happens for the most part I do not really care to comment on sex or gender matters. When I scan through some of the more toxic anti-male 'feminist' threads here I think 'thank fuck I don't comment on this shit'

                      (The sole exception I made recently was to express support in a most general and anodyne fashion for the idea that sex is for all practical purposes an immutable and important characteristic – and that both sexes have good reason to be alarmed at those 'progressive' forces who think it smart and trendy to erase it.)

                      What I am objecting to is weka presenting herself as any kind of victim at TS – when in reality she has enjoyed practically unchallenged power to curate and run this site to suit herself for many years now. It is a ridiculous and manipulative claim.

                    • Anker

                      This is a reply to Reg Logix

                      I believe there are more male moderators on this site that women? Please correct me if I am wrong. So I have been on the end of moderation by more men than women. Weka is the only moderator I know of. who is female. As I said, Weka and I don't agree on everything and she has at times challenged me quite assertively. I haven't had a problem with that.

                      I appreciate your comments on biological sex and material reality

                    • weka

                      Hijacking a blog about labour movement politics as a local beachhead for foreign-influenced anti-trans stances may feel like a victory to the small number of women who support that. Any knowledge of feminist history shows where it fits in though.

                      I hope women – who have good reason to feel fearful about men – regain clarity and peace about where transwomen fit into the world we all share. Fixating on genitals, toilets and sports seems unlikely to help with that.

                      I’m not expecting to change your mind but I’d like others to know they are not alone in sadness about what this place has become.

                      I don't expect to change your mind either, and likewise, I'm commenting for those reading.

                      It's laudable that you want to make sure trans people are ok, and yet what I see here is not comments about trans issues, but ones suggesting that women should shut up or even leave TS.

                      The labour movement is international, yet gender critical women aren't supposed to be?

                      The GCFs I follow are overwhelmingly left wing or centre left British feminist, many of them with decades long histories of feminist work. Most (not all) are like Stock committed to trans human rights. They disagree with you on what those rights are.

                      I suspect they would run rings around your knowledge of feminist theory. Last time we discussed this you referenced some academic writings, and vague handwaved to them as supporting your position without actually explaining it. Were we supposed to do that homework?

                      Pity that you haven't also read about the genesis of western gender ideology in the universities of the US. There's nothing homegrown about your own position. This is distinct from the gender non-conformity that has existed in all cultures on the planet, including our own now and that includes many gender critical feminists. Trans people aren't the problem, gender ideology is.

                      Your continued absence of support for women authors here is noted. It’s hard not to surmise that you would rather have men writing about feminism here than actual feminists.

                    • Sacha

                      Your assumptions say more about you than me. I'm hardly going to mansplain feminism as I said at the time. And I have never "misrepresented" this blog. Enjoy the circle jerk.

                    • Psycho Milt

                      Late to this, my wife pointed out I was mentioned in it. I didn't realise at the time what was going on in the background weka, and regret that I unwittingly ended up having a role in it.

                      Sacha, top dudebro points to you for telling women how they're doing feminism wrong by not including men in it, then doubling down by claiming women's rights have no place being discussed on a left-wing blog, then tripling down by claiming you're not mansplaining feminism to feminists. When women talk about misogyny of the left and you're wondering what they're on about, come back to this thread to refresh your memory.

                    • Sacha

                      telling women how they're doing feminism wrong by not including men in it

                      Nope. Quite the fantasy you have going there.

          • Molly

            Actually, a relevant discussion on the similarity of views of creationism and arguments against the binary of biological sex took place couple of days ago on Wine with Women.

            If you want a short precis on the value of women retaining the word to represent their sex class in political discourse go to 30:00.


        • roblogic

          The comment is relevant. Idiocy and science denial are not the exclusive domain of a particular religion. No system is foolproof when humans are involved.

    • Graeme 3.2

      We used to sell geological specimens / fossils, displayed with descriptions including age. We had to give the line up because of harassment from fundamentalist christians who would take us to task for telling lies and pray for our ignorance in the gallery.

      It was mostly North Americans initially, who were sweet, well mannered people and earnest in their beliefs and manner, but latterly went into a domestic / Australian group who were loud and obnoxious, and profoundly ignorant.

    • Ad 3.3


      I have relatives who went through such schools and few if any get into Uni.

      Destined for poor-paying care industries. Or marriage, which is similar.

      • The Al1en 3.3.1

        I'd have trouble having a decent conversation, let alone hire or trust the judgement of someone who genuinely believed the world was 6000 years old and fossils are their god's way of testing faith.

        • Ad

          Makes for Awkward at Christmas for sure. And as for vaccination …..

          • The Al1en

            Fortunately winter solstice/Yule can always pull rank on the first

            • Ad

              Not in my family.

              • The Al1en

                No doubt, and why not?, but I was more talking about the christian holidays based on pagan festivals, of which Xmas is one of.

                I don't mind either way as long as I get the time off, socks, excuse for breakfast scrumpy and buckets of chocolate.

    • mary_a 3.4

      Agree Al1en (2). Where is the evidence to support these schools' religious teachings as fact?

      Another point is if religion is to taught in schools, then comparative religions should be also be included, so students are able to sum up what they have been taught and more importantly, be invited or encouraged to ask questions and discussion. This will offer an opportunity to come to their own conclusions. But that might put a fly in the ointment eh?

      • The Al1en 3.4.1

        Teachers are generally a good sort who, on the whole, collectively put great value in learning.

        It seems like an oxymoron (with a heavy emphasis on moron) to teach something so factually incorrect.

        That one can legally teach what equates to flat Earth theory shows a need for action.

        • solkta

          I can't believe that they can get away with this in state-integrated schools. The government should not be paying wages for people to teach this. What a crazy world.

  4. Ad 4

    Tough luck Ardern getting covid before Budget.

    Still, all in the family.

    Gives Grant a chance to steady the ship.

  5. Chris T 5

    Apparently Ardern has got Covid now.

    Not sure why we are supposed to care as long as she keeps it away from her kid.

    Think she is healthy enough to handle it. Timing is a bit convenient, but I doubt tgere is anything dodgy about it. Just get it when you get it thing.

    • Chris T 5.1

      Actually that was a bit dim.

      Provided Neve has no underlying health conditions we don't know about it would probably not be the worst thing in the world if she also got it.

      Over and done with and all that.

      • weka 5.1.1

        what are the rates of Long Covid in New Zealand? Which demographics are most likely to be affected?

        • Chris T

          It is a good question tbf.

          From what I have read it can be pretty nasty, the long one.

          Also annoyingly random.

          • Molly

            My 18 month old great niece in Australia contacted Covid twice (Delta & Omicron) and has respiratory problems months later, as does my sister (her grandmother).

            As you point out, we haven't identified all cohorts yet for severity of disease or Long-Covid, particularly among the younger age groups.

          • weka

            yes. Hence 'get it over and done with' is problematic for individuals and public health because it encourages spread. Also a problem for the health system.

            • bad politics baby

              "Get it over & done with", what an ignorant comment, no wonder we are rooted.

        • Stuart Munro

          It’s currently estimated that between 10%-30% of people with Covid-19 go on to develop long Covid. Siouxsie Wiles

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.2

      But, but…she's done the right thing and got the two initial shots of the Pfizer Wonder Product and had a booster and I assume she's been only hanging out with other responsible double jabbed and boosted 'confident' folks…she should ask for her our money back.

      Time she did the right thing and lifted ALL vaccine mandates… including those for health and disability workers.

      (Truly…get well soon Prime Minister…you've got work to do. Oh, keep up your fluids, take your vitamins and a swig or two of electrolytes seems to be the thing that takes the plague ridden from getting better to fit as…. At least that's the korero up here in the vax-slack Far North.)

      • weka 5.2.1

        she should ask for her our money back.

        Why? Covid vax and booster makes it less likely to get covid, no impossible. It also limits transmission (because less people get infected), and limits the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death. People can choose not to vaccinate, but there are clear benefits for those that do.

        Agree something needs to be done about the health and disability mandates. I'd have less of a problem if they'd actually put systems in place to support disabled people through this. Don’t think mandates should be lifted in hospitals and old people’s homes though.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Covid vax and booster makes it less likely to get covid

          Not necessarily.

          Vaccination status of new cases per 100,000 of population segment

          Case per 100,000 of the particular population have had double and triple jabbed having a higher case rate than the unvaccinated since…a long time.

          The hospitalisation rates are very close as well.

          There may be some small benefit from the shot with respect to hospitalisations…but I suspect that if there is ever any honest accounting done after all of this…the Pfizer shot might not have made much difference…in fact…… it may do more harm than good.

          • KJT

            You've already proven you don't understand arithmetic, science or statistics.

            Why keep proving it?

          • weka

            Case per 100,000 of the particular population have had double and triple jabbed having a higher case rate than the unvaccinated since…a long time.

            Please explain what you mean there, and tell me which bit you are referencing in the RNZ link.

          • Incognito

            Oh dear:

            SSRN Search Results

            This paper has been removed from SSRN at the request of the author, SSRN, or the rights holder.

            Discussing the science of Covid with you has proven to be futile many times. However, let’s see if you’re open, at least, to the following argument.

            The case reporting as it stands is highly likely to under-report the daily case numbers (I can provide links to support this) and unvaccinated are less likely to report.

            If you would like to discuss more reliable and also more important vaccine stats I think you should be looking at hospitalisations & ICU and deaths. You may also want to take into consideration the waning protection of the vaccine and how this may influence the stats and NZ stats in particular.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              The link worked when I posted. Still works for me. (

              The case reporting as it stands is highly likely to under-report the daily case rates….


              unvaccinated are less likely to report.

              Do you have links to support this?

              • Incognito

                Think about it. It is the same psychology & behaviour at work that causes the under-reporting in the first place and I think it is more likely that people who cannot be bothered to get vaccinated also cannot be bothered with testing and subsequent reporting. In addition, the unvaccinated fall disproportionally within younger age groups who are less likely to become ill (symptomatic) with Omicron but also less likely to test & report, I reckon. Testing and reporting have consequences such as self-isolation from school, study, or work & income, flatmates …

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  I think it is more likely that people who cannot be bothered to get vaccinated also cannot be bothered with testing and subsequent reporting.

                  There you go again. Making the judgement that we are not vaccinated because we're too lazy, apathetic or just plain stupid.

                  Not conducive to constructive discussion at all.

                  Many of our unvaccinated mates, some with PhDs in science and everything, would dearly love to be part of some national study into how we 'fucking filth' are doing with regards to Covid infections. It'd be great…like a proper Trial only this time not unblinding and vaccinating the control group. As what happened with the Pfizer 'Trial'.

                  Ho hum. Another missed opportunity to do some real science.

                  • Anne

                    "Not conducive to constructive discussion at all."

                    There you go again. This time distorting Incognito's (5:52pm) informed perspective into something else altogether. Not to mention your 'non-constructive' discussions on mainstream scientific evidence which you contend to be inadequate despite their authors' internationally renowned expert status and their many years of experience.

                  • Incognito

                    You have a huge chip on your shoulder and this often spoils your comments with idiosyncratic sneering.

                    There are many reasons why people cannot be bothered doing something. I’ve given you a few possible reasons why I think particularly younger people are less likely to test and subsequently report a positive test result. You extrapolated this to a negative judgment and those are your words based on your personal opinion and biased judgement of a lot of things and of me, obviously.

                    There’s plenty of material out there about the behaviours of young people in the pandemic and how they were and still are a target group for vaccination and compliance with other measures (e.g. There have been overseas reports (e.g. UK) of waves of infections likely caused by young people going out, et cetera.

                    You can and obviously will draw your own conclusions and decided to again frame it as us vs. them where one side (your side, apparently) are ‘fucking filth’. I may add that you seem to be quite fond of and wearing this label as a batch of honour, as you have used it at least 13 times here on TS – 7 more times and you’ll start believing it too.

                    Have a nice day.

                    PS the stats are clear on how the unvaccinated have been doing during this protracted pandemic

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      Sorry to be pedantic…but cannot be bothered has by definition predominantly negative connotations.

                      Why not, if you are truly trying to be fair, reasonable and moreover non judgemental, use the term…"Have chosen not to take the Pfizer product…"?

                      PS the stats are clear on how the unvaccinated have been doing during this protracted pandemic

                      This protracted pandemic has featured a number of variants of concern. Unfortunately the Pfizer Product was designed to be efficacious for the original strain…and as shown in the link I provided at …


                      …struggles to impede Delta and is almost completely ineffective against infection by Omicron. Or serious illness, hospitalisation and death in those most vulnerable.

                      As our stats are now showing…

                    • Incognito []

                      You’re not pedantic, you’re wrong. From your link:

                      If you say that you can’t be bothered to do something, you mean that you are not going to do it because you think it is unnecessary or because you are too lazy. [my italics]

                      You chose to focus on the second possible meaning and added “apathetic or just plain stupid” to reflect your judgement and suit your narrative. But thank you for suggesting how I should write my comments. When I need a ghost writer I’ll know how to contact you. \s

                      Fortunately, the Pfizer vaccine was developed against the original wild type strain and fortunately, it has been very effective in protecting many people all over the world against severe illness, hospitalisation, and death even with Delta and still, but less so, with Omicron. Waning immunity has required additional shots but the vaccine remains one of the best tools in protecting people from Covid-19.

                      One of the other main reasons why we’re seeing the current wave and surge of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths is that we, rightly or wrongly, have abandoned many measures that aided and added other layers of protection – we are now forced to learn to live with it. This is also the overseas experience.

                      Your biased mind is too closed-off and therefore you’re not willing to understand and accept the data & stats.

      • Chris T 5.2.2

        I think you need to read up on what vaccines do.

        Not all of them mean you are immune, Some mean you just don't get hit as hard as if Jonah Lomu running into you at full speed.

        Just my opinion, but to not get vaccinated against Covid is extremely dim, and while I disagree with a fair amount of Labour's policies, at the time they were introduced I have zero issue with the mandates.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          …but to not get vaccinated against Covid is extremely dim

          Thanks for your concern…but my disabled partner (also in remission from leukaemia) and I chose not to partake of the Pfizer Product after closely following the trials, the initial roll out in Europe and Israel, and beomming increasingly concerned at not only reports of serious side effects but also the rapidity of which such reports were dismissed or labelled as 'misinformation' from 'anti-vaxxers'.

          The bribes, coercion and eventual mandates rolled out overseas as well as here also made us concerned. If the product was as 'safe and effective' as advertised folk would be climbing over each other for a(nother) shot. By September 2021 even the CDC had acknowledged the mRNA shots did not stop transmission or reduce viral load and re issued the mask recommendation for vaccinated folk. And this was before Omicron.

          The statistics are clear…the vast majority of people who are on the whole healthy will most likely not get seriously ill from Covid. We chose to trust established science, keep healthy and go for natural immunity.

          We've both had Covid. Got sick. Didn't die. Got better.

          • Molly

            Didn't realised you'd both contracted Covid, Rosemary.

            Glad you are both through it in good health.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              Vitamins, Molly. D3, C, K2 and a few other 'nostrums' that tasted so foul they must have done us some good. And electrolytes, eventually. And soup… waiting in the freezer in readiness.

              And inadvertent advice from Patricia Bremner. Rest…active for 10-15 mins then rest for an hour or so…for Peter that is. Keeping a spinal injured person in bed for any longer than necessary is almost impossible. Inactivity is not good for this group and bedrest, in their book, is for dying people. Peter is an 52 year veteran of this culture, but Omicron did not only increase his periodic 'lean- overs', but drove him to a week or so of get- out- of- the -wheelchair- and -on- the- bed- for- a -nana- nap. Unheard of…even when battling the chest infection he got while having chemo a decade ago.

              Yes, we took a punt. But it was a calculated one that we do not regret for a minute.

              • Molly

                Thanks, Rosemary. I know you make personal choices based on knowledge of risks and benefits, glad you've come out the other side intact. We're doing the D3 and K2, Vit C, Mg and Zn regime in prep.

                Do you have a link to the nostrums etc?

                (BTW, thanks for the link to the paper. The video with Christine Benn was worth the watch.)

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  Quercetin… I've always craved raw onion sandwiches (buffered with cheese) at the slightest hint of a lurgie. Wake up next day all better.laugh No surprise to find onions (and garlic) are good sources of quercetin. Gave it to Peter more as he struggled to eat anything when he was crook.

                  NAC… seriously foul tasting. We take 1/8 tsp dissolved in water daily. Doubled when we were battling Te Virus.

                  Peter's taken 25mg Zn for skin and wound support for over a decade when a deep white tail spider bite was awaiting surgical intervention. It was a pharmacist recommended it…he'd studied the effect of Zn supplementation on wound healing for his Masters and was surprised that it was not SOP so definite were the results. I increased the dosage when we were crook.

                  Mg he's taken for over 2 decades after he weaned himself off the fairly nasty prescription stuff they usually give spinal injured for muscle spasms and clonus. Combined with the CBD oil (link to research pertaining to efficacy for SARS Cov2) he was prescribed a couple of years ago, he enjoys much better sleep and less leg jerking during the day.

                  Every little helps…

                  As an aside…since taking K2 I have found the joint pain that was beginning to make me even grumpier has practically disappeared. I stopped taking it for a few days and found the pain returning. A miracle. My slightly younger sister needed a double hip replacement a couple of years ago…still in her fifties…and I confess to fearing that a similar fate awaited me with hips or knees. And the arthritis in my hands I've had since my twenties…very much alleviated.

                  I don't care if folks think this is woo/witchcraft/ anti-science. The drugs given to me for the osteo arthritis forty years ago had me vomiting blood. Likewise with the drugs prescribed to Peter for spasticity and urinary issues.

                  Finally…because there's kikuyu to pull out…I buy vitamins etc online. I was interested to note that most of our favourite 'nostrums' were either sold out or in short supply at the peak of the Omicron outbreak back in March/April.

                  And soup. Make soup and freeze it. You have to eat…even if nothing tastes of anything. Soup is concentrated nutrition and easy to get down a reluctant sick person. Pumpkin/bacon/garlic/chilli soup. Fish soup. Eggs, poached/scrambled. Old school convalescent food.

                  Oh...Box Breathing. Peter is a mouth breather from infancy. Terrible habit. I've been trying to teach/bully him to breathe properly. In 2,3,4 hold 2,3,4, out 2,3,4 hold 2,3,4… Really helped when the snot made breathing difficult…and to relax when needing to sleep.

                  • RedLogix

                    All good and interesting. I wonder if you have picked up the recent thinking around the role of IR in melatonin production?

                    Decades ago I encountered a few fringe practitioners coming from the observational school of medicine talking about the role of light in health and healing. It is interesting to see more and more research catching up with them.

                    I don't care if folks think this is woo/witchcraft/ anti-science.

                    Yes – I have made the case here before that there are two kinds of knowledge, that which is based in observation and pattern recognition (typical of indigenous, folk and alternative medical systems) – while science based knowledge applies a narrower more rigorous set of methods and processes to arrive at a consensus understanding.

                    Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Observational knowledge is prone to all of the cognitive biases and failures of the the human mind, but is good at treating systems holistically. Science is better at eliminating mistakes and generating repeatable, useful methods – but is very much constrained by a materialistic, atomistic view of the world.

                    I have always tried to keep the door open to both worlds – and accepted that the limits of the human mind mean that there will always be paradoxes and mysteries. And that the perfection of knowledge will continue to progress slowly, step at a time – without limits.

                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      I have always tried to keep the door open to both worlds – and accepted that the limits of the human mind mean that there will always be paradoxes and mysteries

                      Only very foolish people outright dismiss or discount knowledge that is know considered 'fringe'.

                      Much of modern medicine has it's roots in these potions and practices.

                      We seem to have been trapped into this polarised 'you're either all for it or you're against it' world. Limiting, and dangerous.

                      The melatonin/IR thing…Bret and Heather Dark Horse were discussing research into this the other day…who knew energy efficient lightbulbs could very possibly be doing us some harm?

                    • Incognito []

                      Much of modern science is rooted in alchemy. Even Sir Isaac Newton had a keen interest in alchemy.


                    • Incognito

                      Interesting comment that deserves more discussion. Just briefly, there are differences [in focus and in ‘rules’] between applied, experimental, and theoretical sciences but all are founded on a theoretical framework based on logical reasoning an all that jazz. Of course, they are intimately linked. I’d include the word “mechanistic” in your description; our day-to-day thinking is very much still Newtonian, think action=reaction. Quantum mechanics has changed the Newtonian world view but it is too esoteric (aka weird). However, it has already made a huge impact on humanity and not just in Sci-Fi and New Age spiritualism.

                  • Molly

                    Thanks, Rosemary.

                    Interesting about the raw onion sandwich craving. I thought it was a family taste I'd inherited from my mother. My daughter occasionally indulges.

                    Since I've been kicked into drug-induced menopause, the joint pain has been noticeable and limiting. No suggestions from the medical professionals, just a nod when they ask about side effects, because they've heard it all before.

                    After trawling the support groups, I find it is the supplements that help. I take the usual glucosamine, but also high strength curcurmin, which I think reduces the inflammation more. (I don't want to stop both and test to make sure.) I also take milk thistle to protect kidneys from further harm.

                    I'll add the NAC to the shopping list. yes

                    Over the last few years, have used the 4-7-8 breathing method. I used to utilise breathing techniques when calming down the kids when they were upset. They hated it, because they knew it worked. Breathing exercises should be a part of the school health curriculum.


                    • Rosemary McDonald

                      They hated it, because they knew it worked. Hah!

                      Used similar also on a couple of our foster kids when they had asthma attacks and no inhaler. Also on substance abusers who had used their inhaler to get a buzz so often that it was less effective when they did have an asthma attack. Rhythm.

          • Incognito

            Your link went to an article about a CDC update of 28 July 2021 not to the CDC page itself!?

            From the article:

            Federal health officials still believe fully vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission. Still, some vaccinated people could be carrying higher levels of the virus than previously understood and potentially transmit it to others.

            “Today, we have new science related to the delta variant that requires us to update the guidance regarding what you can do when you are fully vaccinated.”

            [CDC Director] Walensky said new data shows the variant behaves “uniquely differently from past strains of the virus,” indicating that some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant “may be contagious and spread the virus to others.”

            I looked in the CDC Archives but couldn’t see anything there either to support your assertions.

            In hindsight and with maturing data & stats it is easy to justify decisions, but I’d argue that vaccinations, in conjunction with other measures, have saved many lives, overseas and in NZ. For this reason our Government was justified in many of its Public Health decisions and other actions at the time to protect the population of NZ against the pandemic.

            When it comes down to individual choices it becomes a different ballgame, of course. Many unvaccinated people overseas have died as a direct consequence of their decisions and many vaccinated people have also died with Covid despite their choice to get vaccinated.

            You got Covid and survived. Good for you, but what does that prove except your justification in hindsight and that you were lucky? Which variant did you have? How ill were you? Anecdotal evidence is limited and only very limited conclusions can be drawn from it, if any at all.

            What do you mean by “natural immunity” in this context?

            If the product was as 'safe and effective' as advertised folk would be climbing over each other for a(nother) shot.

            According to MoH (as per 12 May 2022), over 95% of the eligible population of 12+, over 4 million people, chose to get fully vaccinated. Over 72%, or 2,627,933 people, decided to receive a booster shot. Together, there have been 10,680,248 total vaccinations given to 12+. I think that tells a clear message.


            Have you the latest ‘active’ safety survey data and report? Looks pretty good to me and confirmation of good safety profile.


            • Rosemary McDonald

              Apologies…this is the study that led to Walensky's rapid mask advice reversal.


              Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gatherings — Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021

              During July 2021, 469 cases of COVID-19 associated with multiple summer events and large public gatherings in a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, were identified among Massachusetts residents; vaccination coverage among eligible Massachusetts residents was 69%. Approximately three quarters (346; 74%) of cases occurred in fully vaccinated persons (those who had completed a 2-dose course of mRNA vaccine [Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna] or had received a single dose of Janssen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine ≥14 days before exposure). Genomic sequencing of specimens from 133 patients identified the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in 119 (89%) and the Delta AY.3 sublineage in one (1%). Overall, 274 (79%) vaccinated patients with breakthrough infection were symptomatic. Among five COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized, four were fully vaccinated;

              What do you mean…What do you mean by “natural immunity” in this context? ? Surely it is obvious what I mean?

              …the latest ‘active’ safety survey data and report? Looks pretty good to me and confirmation of good safety profile.

              You (and Medsafe) completely dismiss the thousands of New Zealanders who reported some pretty significant side effects. Like shortness of breath(7000), chest discomfort(over 12500) and dizziness(20,000 or so)…all symptoms of myocarditis which were being routinely minimised by NZ doctors until the big whip was cracked last December. Too late for those who were sent away in shame with no proper diagnosis and no proper treatment. Many of these people will never trust the health system ever again.



              • Incognito

                Thank you.

                However, that statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky was dated 30 July 2021 and you wrote @ “By September 2021 even the CDC had acknowledged …”. Wrong information = misleading information, regardless of intent.

                From the Discussion in your other link, which, for some reason, you’ve left out:

                The findings in this report are subject to at least four limitations. First, data from this report are insufficient to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta variant, during this outbreak. As population-level vaccination coverage increases, vaccinated persons are likely to represent a larger proportion of COVID-19 cases. Second, asymptomatic breakthrough infections might be underrepresented because of detection bias. Third, demographics of cases likely reflect those of attendees at the public gatherings, as events were marketed to adult male participants; further study is underway to identify other population characteristics among cases, such as additional demographic characteristics and underlying health conditions including immunocompromising conditions. … Finally, Ct values obtained with SARS-CoV-2 qualitative RT-PCR diagnostic tests might provide a crude correlation to the amount of virus present in a sample and can also be affected by factors other than viral load.††† Although the assay used in this investigation was not validated to provide quantitative results, there was no significant difference between the Ct values of samples collected from breakthrough cases and the other cases. This might mean that the viral load of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 is also similar. However, microbiological studies are required to confirm these findings.

                Medsafe and I don’t dismiss reports of adverse events. In fact, they set up an ‘active’ surveillance, the Post Vaccine Symptom Check (PVSC) Survey, which is reported on the Medsafe website, and to which I linked and drew your attention to @ The findings so far corroborated the reports and the passive surveillance data on the CARM website.

                The profile of reported events to PVSC for the Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is similar to that reported in clinical trials and from post-marketing surveillance in New Zealand and overseas. Based on this data, we have not identified any new safety concerns.

                If you believe that myocarditis is so bad that children, for example, should not be vaccinated I suggest you raise the alarm with Starship Hospital ASAP.

                Many of these people will never trust the health system ever again.

                And some (!!) did not trust the health system before the pandemic hit. Does “Misery of Health” ring a bell? Surely, that must be one of your all-time favourite jeers.

            • Ross

              You got Covid and survived. Good for you, but what does that prove except your justification in hindsight and that you were lucky?

              Interestingly, the vast majority – over 98% – of unvaccinated people who contracted the virus have survived. That's millions of lucky people throughout the world. 🙂 That is consistent with the flu, which kills relatively few unvaccinated people. Many doctors and nurses don't get vaccinated against the flu, presumably because they know the risk of death is low.

              According to stats from the Health Ministry, among those eligible to be vaccinated, 93.7% of those who have contracted COVID had two or more shots of the vaccine. More than a million NZers have contracted the virus. Fortunately, other vaccines don't appear to be as ineffective as the Pfizer vaccine.

              Those who choose to be vaccinated should be fully informed before doing so. It is understandable why some have chosen not to be vaccinated when they haven't been given information, and when the death rate is so low.




              • Incognito

                Ross, as usual, you’re talking nonsense.

                Rosemary mentioned that her partner is disabled (paraplegic, from memory) and in remission from leukaemia. Thus, I count them lucky.

                Many doctors and nurses don't get vaccinated against the flu, presumably because they know the risk of death is low.

                At this point, I can’t be bothered moderating you for this but you asserted a fact and you must support it with evidence. Show us the data. I can tell you already that your statement of fact is grossly inaccurate and therefore misleading angry

                Like so many ignorant people you have no idea how to look at and interpret even basic stats on the MoH website and it is therefore not at all surprising that you draw the wrong conclusion that the Pfizer vaccine is ineffective crying

                It is understandable why some have chosen not to be vaccinated when they haven't been given information, and when the death rate is so low.

                I was given information when I received my shots. We were bombarded each and every day and buried under an avalanche of information from MoH and Government. Perhaps it was not the information you wanted but that’s a different issue. Death rates in other parts of the world were not low at all – people were dropping like flies and hospitals and morgues in some parts/cities couldn’t cope. You seem to have a short and selective memory.

                • Ross

                  Ross, as usual, you’re talking nonsense.

                  Ad hominems are never a good way to start a discussion lol. If you have an aversion to facts, I strongly suggest you don’t read the following:

                  In New Zealand, there have been hundreds of reports of serious side-effects from the Pfizer vaccine, including Bells Palsy, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, anaphylaxis, myocardial infarction (heart attack), Myocarditis/pericarditis, thrombosis, embolism, encephalitis, stroke, and spontaneous abortion. Officially, at least three people have reportedly died with the vaccine being the likely cause. Were you told you could potentially die from the vaccine? Those I’ve spoken to say none of the serious side-effects described above were mentioned to them when they were vaccinated. The handouts from the MoH at the time of vaccination didn’t refer to them.

                  Following reports of sudden deaths in Norwegian nursing homes between December 2020 and February 2021, an expert group was established to investigate 100 of the deaths. The expert group found that 10 of the deaths were “probably” caused by the (Pfizer) vaccine, while a further 26 deaths were “possibly” caused by the vaccine. Five cases could not be classified. Thus, 37.9% of the classified deaths were either probably or possibly caused by the vaccine. Here in New Zealand, were those in nursing homes informed of the risk of death if they took the vaccine? I doubt it.

                  In 2021, a group of medical experts in the US advised the FDA to delay giving the Pfizer vaccine (and other Covid-19 vaccines) full-approval. The experts, which included a senior editor of the British Medical Journal, said:

                  We believe the existing evidence base—both pre- and post-authorization—is simply not mature enough at this point to adequately judge whether clinical benefits outweigh the risks in all populations.

                  Trials by vaccine manufacturers were designed to follow participants for two years, and should be completed before they are evaluated for full approval, even if they are now unblinded and lack placebo groups. These Phase III trials are not simply efficacy studies; they also are necessary and important safety studies (as the study titles say), and all collected data remain invaluable.

                  For each covid-19 vaccine, the benefits may ultimately outweigh the harms. Or not. Or we may end up in a more nuanced position, finding that benefits outweigh harms for some populations, but not others. Only time—and better evidence—will tell. And so it is vital we allow the scientific process the time required to gather and assess the evidence to be confident in the decisions we ultimately have to make.

                  The experts added that their message was to “slow down and get the science right—there is no legitimate reason to hurry to grant a license to a coronavirus vaccine”.

                  Their advice was ignored.

                  In late-January 2021, health officials here disclosed privately that the Pfizer vaccine had been approved for use, although the announcement was not made publicly until early February. At the same time, the same officials were discussing concerns about its safety. I believe that every vaccine reicipient should have been made aware of this prior to being vaccinated. Of course, you may disagree.

                  On 21 January 2021, an official here during a private meeting with health officials said:

                  Medsafe will be approving the vaccine for use, however we still need to decide whether or not to use the vaccine. … Recent trial data from Norway raised concerned about vaccine safety. New Zealand needs to be prepared for this. (See document 2 of the FYI link.)

                  Meanwhile, on 14 May 2021, Dr Helen Petousis Harris – a cheerleader for the Pfizer vaccine – told readers of the Herald:

                  “In the trials, people were followed very closely for adverse events and the results between the vaccinated and unvaccinated were compared. … there were no events of concern that were more common in the vaccine group.”

                  That was false and misleading. There was in fact a higher risk of Bells Palsy found among those in the vaccine trial than among the placebo group. (Maybe the good doctor reasoned that more people in New Zealand likely read the Herald than the Lancet, so her falsehood wouldn’t be detected?) She did comment, however, in the same paragraph from which the above quote was taken:

                  “Regulators will be keeping a close eye on one event known as Bells Palsy, which involves a temporary weakness of the face.”

                  Why would regulators be keeping a close eye on Bells Palsy if there were no events of concern that were more common in the vaccine group?

                  “Publicly available data from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine trials suggest an imbalance in the incidence of Bell’s palsy following vaccination compared with the placebo arm of each trial. Combining data from both trials, among nearly 40000 vaccine arm participants, there were seven Bell’s palsy cases compared with one Bell’s palsy case among placebo arm participants. … the observed incidence of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine arms is between 3·5-times and 7-times higher than would be expected in the general population. This finding signals a potential safety phenomenon…”

                  This quote appeared in Lancet on 24 February 2021, more than 2 months before Dr Petousis-Harris’ comments appeared in the Herald.

                  At this point, I can’t be bothered moderating you for this but you asserted a fact and you must support it with evidence.

                  A commonly known fact requires evidence? Fair enough.

                  Influenza is a disease that involves health, social and economic burdens worldwide. Annual influenza epidemics can affect 5% to 15% of the world’s population, causing up to 4-5 million serious cases and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. … vaccination coverage amongst healthcare professionals remains low worldwide, although it varies from one country to another.

                  In Australia, “healthcare workers did not consider influenza to be a serious condition or did not recognise themselves to be at risk of infection”.

                  And in a local context:

                  In 2012, approximately 48% of all employees [of DHBs] received an influenza vaccination. This rate was a slight improvement from 2011 (46%) and 2010 (45%). Rates were highest among doctors (57%) and lowest among midwives (37%). Nurses (46%), allied staff (50%) and other employees (46%) had similar rates of influenza vaccination. … Of those who would not be happy to receive vaccinations, reasons given included; preferring natural products, perception of low disease risk, wish to become more ‘holistic’ and concerns about adverse effects and the ongoing need for boosters.







                  Are unimmunised hospital staff putting us at risk? (

                  • Incognito

                    As I said, there was plenty of information available at the time, but quite possibly not the info you wanted. When I went for my Covid shot, my Info Sheet (dated 4 May 2021) warned about serious allergic reactions but stated that they are extremely rare. There was a phone number to Healthline and two links to government websites for “accurate and trusted information”. However, you’re correct that the info provided to me did not spell out that I could die from the vaccine (I already knew this) and neither was I given a list of potential serious adverse events caused by the vaccine. It did mention that like all medicines the vaccine may cause side effect in some people.

                    I love that you quote & cite all that info from all over the world. Up to 30 April 2022 there have been a total of 223 reports to CARM (which relies on voluntary self-reporting) of Bell’s palsy in NZ (both serious and non-serious) against a background rate of yearly hospitalisations in NZ over 2016-2019 of 694 patients per year. They continue to monitor this.


                    So, despite all those reports, there doesn’t to be a real concern that the vaccine is so unsafe and infective to stop administering it to Kiwis (incl. children aged 5-11).

                    As to your nonsense about NZ doctors and nurses, at least you tried and came up with data from 10 years ago. I think you overstated it as a “commonly known fact” and it shows that your opinion got in the way of accuracy.

                    One of MoH’s objectives this year, as in previous years, is to have at least 80% of DHB health care workers taking the flu shot.


                    In 2020 the coverage was 77%.


                    I’d like to think that this year it will reach its target easily.

                • Ross

                  My detailed response clearly got lost in the ether. 🙂

                  • Incognito

                    It’s still pending in the Auto-Mod queue because it contains too many links, i.e., it is your own doing 🙁

      • Bearded Git 5.2.3

        It was announced yesterday that vaccine passes are being brought back for those that want them.

        • weka

          what does that mean?

          • Bearded Git

            Not much really unless some establishments are going to insist on them.

            Personally I would be happy to get one and use it at cafe/bar/restaurant establishments that insisted on vaccine passes.

            From memory (it was on RNZ) the government says they would only be available for triple vaxxed people starting next month an would be valid for 6 months.

            I guess it is possible some companies/organisations could go back to insisting on vaccine passes.

    • mpledger 5.3

      I for one care. She's had a shit load to deal with during her time as Prime Minister and this is just an added burden on top. I hope she and her family get well quickly and suffer no long term effects.

      • Chris T 5.3.1

        Wild guess, but thinking she and her family are probably getting the best medical help in NZ, given her position, but agree totally with the sentiment.

      • Patricia Bremner 5.3.2

        yesheart I agree Mpledger,All the best to the family. Those using the situation, please desist.

    • fender 5.4

      "Not sure why we are supposed to care…"

      Because she's a fellow human being?

      Oh I see you aren't one so don't quite understand the concept.

      • bad politics baby 5.4.1

        "When someone shows you who they are, believe them", when the mask slips.

    • Herodotus 5.5

      Think she is healthy enough to handle it.
      what a crap comment from someone that obviously had no idea
      Some mates included ride around Taupo complete in multi sports – over 16 weeks later from contracting COVID I am now on roids and using an inhaler. And there are 3 of us that have now dramatic reduction in being active. But don’t worry we are told by our leaders that this is only seroius for a few, Add that to the list of untruths 🤬

      • Patricia Bremner 5.5.1

        If it affected your lung function, it was most likely Delta. Good luck with your recovery. Try antihistamine as well.

  6. Ad 6

    Doesn't bode well for any future Labour-Maori Party coalition if they're not prepared to field a candidate in Tauranga.

    Tauranga has gad a Maori MP for 35 of the last 38 years – you can trust the people of Tauranga to vote on merit.

    Maori Party: harden up and fight for what you want.

    • weka 6.1

      Mp aren't standing?

    • Muttonbird 6.2

      Tauranga has (h)ad a Maori MP for 35 of the last 38 years – you can trust the people of Tauranga to vote on merit.


      Tauranga has had a #uselessMaori MP for 35 of the last 38 years.


      • Ad 6.2.1

        Both Peters and Bridges were outstanding MPs and rose to considerable influence on merit.

        Your racist judgements aren't appropriate.

        • Muttonbird


          I did run into Simon Bridges the other day in a professional capacity. Pleasant enough, but in the few short minutes we were interacting he did manage to say something insensitive to me, seemingly without thinking.

          That is why he failed as a politician.

      • Belladonna 6.2.2

        Unless you're in the Tauranga electorate – you don't really get to judge the usefulness or otherwise of their local MP. They elect the person they want to represent them.

        • Muttonbird


          • Belladonna

            Stultitia loquitur

            • Muttonbird

              Wait, there's more.

              Some Tauranga locals agree with Māori Party that their city is racist

              "Absolutely [it is]. I am of Cook Island decent but white, so I have a lot of white privilege. I guess I get to walk in both worlds and I see it daily."

              "It's an old city that has been built on old families and not the Māori families that were here first, it's built on the white families that took from them," one said.

              "There is this generation, where the sad thing is, it feels like we are waiting for them to die so something can happen here."

              One man, originally from South Africa, agreed.

              "Definitely it's out there. I don't actually know how it compares to the rest of the country, but it is definitely here."


              • Belladonna

                Tauranga: 18% Maori population; 155 party votes for The Maori Party in the 2020 election (they didn't bother putting up an individual candidate)
                Says it all, really……

                If you spend your life looking for racism, you'll find it. If you spend your life looking for decency, respect and toleration, you'll find those as well.

                • Muttonbird

                  The latter seems to be missing in Tauranga.

                  What is interesting is that the old money families, the Tauranga boomer elite struggle to identify racism within their own ranks. How could they, it's everywhere, and it’s normal.

                  It's left to Maori, Cook Islanders and the South African immigrants to do that.

                  • Belladonna

                    So. The fact that Maori have been elected as MP for Tauranga for the last 30 odd years – means that Tauranga is more racist than anywhere else…. Right…..

                    That 'old-money boomer elite' you cite, repeatedly elected a Maori candidate – because they (presumably) believed he could represent them better than any of the alternatives. That's racism?

                    Come on. This is TPM desperately searching for a headline, to make a feature of the fact they've a snowball's chance of even getting a candidate deposit back (based on their previous polling). Cheap publicity. Headlines without the cost of a campaign.

                    Based on the articles in today's paper – it's a heck of a lot more dangerous to be a bus driver in Tauranga, than it is to be an electoral candidate.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Like I said before. Peters' and Bridges' Maori kaupapa ran a distant second to their neoliberal kaupapa.

                      Tauranga residents recognised this. They might be racist but they are not stupid.

                  • Belladonna

                    So the only 'real' Maori are the ones who agree with you.

                    I can see who's the racist here, and it isn't the Tauranga electorate.

  7. aj 8

    President Trump almost a dead cert as the US spirals into a deeper hole every day. Very hard to be optimistic at the moment

    The shortages – which are piling further pressure on the Biden administration already facing public anger at soaring inflation – have been blamed on pandemic-related supply chain delays and labour shortages, made worse by the temporary shuttering of the country's largest infant formula plant in February.

    He's not wrong.

  8. Ross 9

    An article on Stuff today about how the reporting of suspected child abuse isn't mandatory by teachers or daycare staff. It's a shame the writer didn't delve a little deeper and ask the question: what are the pros and cons of mandatory reporting?

    Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith has made it clear that doctors should not be required to report suspected child abuse.

    The technical report underpinning the Massey best practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of sexual abuse, funded and disseminated by the Accident Compensation Corporation, lists 103 symptoms of child sexual abuse, which include attributes such as fingernail biting or being daring, rebellious, timid, perfectionist or telling lies. There are a further 100 symptoms in adults. Presence of clusters of symptoms is said to aid diagnosis of sexual abuse. However, these are very nonspecific to abuse.

    These lists illustrate the difficulty in defining abuse or neglect in a child. While these may be symptoms of abuse, they may also be due to accidental injury, psychological distress from other causes, or from illness. There are many cases where a GP might see a child where possible abuse is one of a number of differential diagnoses.


    Existing resources to investigate and intervene in cases of reported child abuse and neglect are already inadequate. Introducing mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse by GPs is likely to completely overwhelm our services.

    There is little evidence that action by GPs could have prevented the high-profile cases of child deaths such as James Whakaruru or Nia Glassie, nor the Kahui twins, at whose inquest [Dr Patrick] Kelly made his public plea for mandatory reporting. The twins were well known to health and social services, hospital workers were visiting the home regularly, and the twins were not presented to a GP who then could have suspected child abuse. Mandatory reporting by GPs could not have saved these babies. While it has the aim of protecting children and preventing ongoing abuse, its introduction seems unlikely to achieve these objectives.–but-no-law-to-report-it

    • joe90 9.1

      Goodyear-Smith's never been one to miss a chance to excuse the inexcusable.

      But priorities. There's mandatory reporting of prescribed transactions – international transactions exceeding $1000 where at least one party is in New Zealand, and at least one is outside New Zealand and any domestic cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

  9. pat 10

    The five stages of grief…..where Australia goes NZ follows?

    "Australia goes to the polls in a week and for most people the election can’t come soon enough.

    It seems like voters have gone through the five stages of grief. At first they were in denial that the campaign had started. Then they moved to anger as they were bombarded by political propaganda. That was followed by bargaining when voters briefly engaged with the campaign.

    Depression has now set in after the awful ‘leaders’ debate last Sunday, an unedifying shouting match that was lost by both participants and the TV channel that hosted it.

    Acceptance is the final stage of grief but it’s unlikely to ever occur for many Australians given the low esteem in which they hold their politicians."

    …and the fiscal positions echo as well.

  10. Ghostwhowalksnz 11

    Just checked the final Northern Ireland election results. They use 18 constituencies with 5 Mps each selected by STV

    Sinn Fein is unchanged from last election with 27 seats but they become the largest party as DUP dropped 3. Down also is the smaller nationalist party the SDLP by 4.

    The big change was Alliance a more 'centrist non sectarian' thats neutral on unification issues and they grew by 9 seats

    looking at the partys by nationalist or unionist labels the unionist are still ahead 37 to 35 seats

    The Greens lost both their 2 seats.

    However the government formation requires power sharing by the nationalist and unionist leading parties which gives a government of 52 seats out of 90 Mps

  11. joe90 12

    Same mob, new suckers.

    In the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the economy was running hot. Companies were making stupendous amounts of money and had to put it somewhere. There was such a huge demand for safe dollar-equivalent assets that supplies of Treasurys and other such superstable assets were running low. Financial engineers synthesized “safe” dollar-equivalent products to meet the demand—backed by assets such as real estate, or by securities backed by real estate, or by bets on securities backed by real estate. This worked until the housing market had the slightest downturn, at which point the chain of leveraged bets unwound and threatened to take the wider economy with them.

    The same pattern has just taken place in crypto—except without any asset as solid as housing at the bottom of it. Cryptocurrency traders work entirely in U.S. dollars. Ordinary cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile—bitcoin regularly goes up or down 10 percent in a day, making speed crucial. So the industry created “stablecoins”: blockchain tokens worth precisely one dollar that can be traded as stable dollar-equivalents at the speed of the blockchain, without the need to wait for banks. As an added bonus, stablecoins save their users all that tedious red tape of financial regulation, compliance with anti-money-laundering laws, or being a known and named entity with a bank account.

    The obvious way to run a stablecoin is with a backing reserve: Each coin represents a dollar held in a bank. Unfortunately, many stablecoins claiming dollar backing have turned out not to be fully backed. None of the reserve-backed stablecoins has ever been properly audited; the issuers present only snapshot attestations, where a single moment’s finances are treated as if they were a permanent supply. For instance, one of the most prominent stablecoins, iFinex’s tether, borrowed money on the morning of one snapshot attestation to appear backed, before returning the money the next day.

  12. joe90 13

    Years ago a workmate and his partner lost their newborn to SIDS. I recall his grief and the palpable guilt and shame so this will be big news for lots of folk. A thread to temper expectations, too.

    Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) accounts for about 37% of sudden unexpected infant deaths a year in the U.S., and the cause of SIDS has remained largely unknown. On Saturday, researchers from The Children's Hospital Westmead in Sydney released a study that confirmed not only how these infants die, but why.

    • bad politics baby 13.1

      MIGHT! Please take this article with caution. Early days, but interesting.

  13. Chris T 14

    Just want to make an apology for an earlier comment.

    I mentioned earlier on the Ardern having Covid coversation and hope she avoided giving it to Neve.

    Just heard mentioned on the news Neve already has it.

    I didn't realise, so if anyone took it as somehow offensive I apologise. I just didn't realise and was just trying to be precautionary.

    • fender 14.1

      Don't you think the offensive part was speculating on why anyone should care?

      Do you have a similar sentiment for Ukrainians being bombed in their homes or the many millions who have died of Covid?

      • Chris T 14.1.1

        "Don't you think the offensive part was speculating on why anyone should care?"

        No I don't.

        Millions of people have had Covid. What makes Ardern special.

        And I frankly feel more for Neve, than her.

        Personally think this is logical, unless you can give me a reason Ardern the adult one is somehow special.

        • Incognito

          Because Ardern is special – she’s the PM – we should not care??

          WTF is your point? Spit it out without the pre-cautionary pre-emptive ‘apologies’. You’re wasting time of many good commenters again.

        • Jenny how to get there

          The Prime Minister of New Zealand is a leader of global stature. The Prime Minister of New Zealand catching covid is world news. (As it should be). No less than when President Donald Trump or Prime Minister Boris Johnson caught covid.

          Of course we are concerned as we should be.

          Thank goodness the Prime Minister's symptoms have been described as "moderate".

          That the Prime Minister's symptoms are "moderate" is of world interest as it speaks to the New Zealand government and the New Zealand Prime Minister's policies around vaccination, and containment of the virus.

          The Prime Minister is a figurehead, as such she represents all of us.

          We should be interested in how the Prime Minister fares during this time, just as we would if her condition worsened. Only her political enemies would have no interest in the health of our country's leader.

        • Stuart Munro

          What makes Ardern special is a habit of treating people as individuals, as ends in themselves as Kant would put it, rather than objects or resources or things to exploit. We saw it in her response to the Chch massacre, and there are many other examples. One of the latest is inviting a Japanese lady who homestayed with the Arderns to return to NZ. It was a human touch that her opponents could not replicate.

          What makes Ardern special.

          Isn't everyone special?

          What a piece of work is a man! How Noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In Action, how like an Angel in apprehension, how like a God! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals…

          But perhaps man delights not you— nor woman neither.

    • bad politics baby 14.2

      "So if anyone took it as somehow offensive I apologise." that's not an apology mate. Your statement was gross you should be fucking ashamed.

      • Chris T 14.2.1

        I just didn't know she had it.

        I am not sitting glued to news sites all day.

        Obviously you are one of the ones I wanted to apologise to.

    • Incognito 14.3

      For the record, this is why your comments attract my attention as a Moderator, yet you are convinced it is personal.

      FWIW, personally, I don’t think your comments add much to debate here on TS and often do the opposite.

      Let’s see if you can parse this.

      • Chris T 14.3.1

        " attract my attention as a Moderator, yet you are convinced it is personal."

        "FWIW, personally, I don’t think your comments add much to debate here on TS and often do the opposite."


        I will no longer post on this thread.

        • Incognito

          I strongly suspected you wouldn’t be able to parse my comment, so just as well you decided to go silent, which is a fine example of self-moderation angel

        • Jenny how to get there

          Chris T

          14 May 2022 at 3:14 pm

          …..I will no longer post on this thread.

          Wise move.

          When you are in a hole, stop digging.

  14. Incognito 15

    When people wish/want to debate the biology of sex & gender they should at least define and use the appropriate terms for that particular branch of science, e.g., genotype & phenotype, DNA & chromosomes, hormones, anatomy, et cetera. Misappropriating perfectly well understood terms and language corrupts the discussion, often unintentionally, wastes time and can easily set back things (which sometimes is indeed the intention). Because it involves many layers and disciplines it is important to agree, at least, on the language – a philosopher can learn and understand the medical lingo and vice versa, but it takes a concerted effort and time …

    • Molly 15.1

      This is not intended to irritate, just a request for clarification re your comment:

      "When people wish/want to debate the biology of sex & gender they should at least define and use the appropriate terms for that particular branch of science, e.g., genotype & phenotype, DNA & chromosomes, hormones, anatomy, et cetera. "

      For me, all the above is related to biological sex. Gender relates to the expected roles based on sex, but is not the same as biological sex. Gender identity is an individuals expression of themselves disconnected from their biological sex.

      What is the biology of gender or gender identity?

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        I made the observation in OM, not under an OP on the topic, and not under a specific thread on the topic, because it is a general observation. It equally applies to other hot topics such as Climate Change, poverty & inequity, and other complex social/societal issues.

        I see a bad habit of people adapting (without telling others, which can create bad faith) rather than adopting terms and concepts of and from fields of expertise that they’re generally quite unfamiliar with and they then insist (!) using these adapted (aka twisted) meanings back into the debate when it happens to move back into that particular field under the pretence of authority and expert/specialist knowledge, which is a known type of heuristics (bias). Of course, this is made (too) easy because of on-line access to the Web. Even pointing this out can lead to nasty and futile (!) responses such as accusations of ‘mansplaining’.

        You may also want to read my very brief comment yesterday to Ghostwhowalksnz about excluding non-experts from debate (

        When the Law is used to define the boundaries between sex/gender people need to agree on the precise criteria. As an aside, in my opinion, the Law should never be used to settle moral-ethical issues. The Euthanasia debate here in NZ was quite telling and a bit of an eye-opener for me.

        Is gender an expression of biology, i.e., a phenotype, or is there more to it, e.g., is it a human-social construct? One may be more ‘immutable’ than the other. When I see comments like ‘I know a dog when I see it and I don’t have to be a vet’, I scroll past as fast as my device can scroll (i.e. not fast enough).

        As in politics, when one controls the narrative, one controls the debate, and thus one controls the outcome.


        • Molly

          Thanks, Incognito.

          I'm still at a loss how a social construct can be part of biology, but I guess discussions here can be quite organic and I'll just see if that comes up, before concerning myself over the details.

          Appreciate the explanation (and the mod work).

          *Note: The language in the feminism discussion is constantly changing, often through no action of feminists. It is hard to keep track of it all, and I try to remember that it is even harder for others not privy to wider discussions. I do try for clarity, and will continue to do so.

        • weka

          Is gender an expression of biology, i.e., a phenotype, or is there more to it, e.g., is it a human-social construct?

          Hard to see how it’s not both.

          Most people won’t understand what phenotype is, seems ok to use a range of language to discuss even complex subjects. My problem is when people won’t explain what they mean, which seems a basic requirement for TS although I’d not want to see that as an absolute (sometimes people can’t explain).

          • Molly

            "Is gender an expression of biology, i.e., a phenotype, or is there more to it, e.g., is it a human-social construct?"

            Missed taking time for that sentence. Now I see what he meant, when it's in isolation. blush

          • Incognito

            It depends on the topic of discussion but if people don’t know what they’re doing and/or what they’re talking about it becomes near-impossible to have an effective discussion. In some ways it would be better if those people would try to explain what they mean in their own words rather than using words and text (copy & paste) from others thinking they mean what those people mean, which is often not the case, in my limited experience here on TS. The result is that the debate is going around in circles and/or spirals out of control. This may avoid people feeling excluded, one would hope, because they’re not forced to follow prescriptive rues of engagement.

            Whether it is both or not wasn’t my point. My point was and is that if one wants to talk about one aspect, e.g., biology, which doesn’t mean it necessarily is the only aspect, then one should endeavour (!) to use the most appropriate language. This will facilitate the discussion.

            I find it impossible to believe that one could discuss sex and not know about phenotype and how DNA and the environment influence and interact at the level of gene expression of biological organisms. In addition, this is taught in the NZ curriculum (Living World; Biology).

            • weka

              Agree about people explaining in their own words. It's particularly an issue with GC debates, because there people have to also explain what they mean by words like 'woman' or 'male'.

              I missed what you were referring to I think, was there a conversation using inappropriate language?

              Humans have known for a very long time what biological sex is, long before humans developed language and tools for looking at phenotype, DNA etc. If one wants to have a discussion about biological science, then I agree one needs to have some grasp of the language and concepts.

              I appreciated your point in the other thread about so called experts.

              • Incognito


                I don’t really want to be more specific and start finger-pointing with obvious consequences – the dog & vet example I gave was a hint of how superficial (and simplistic) some of the comments here can be. As I said, it was intended as a more general observation on the more difficult debates occurring here on TS (and elsewhere). Bridging the language gap (which can be a barrier) happens at all levels; I experience it regularly in meetings with other employees in my workplace – it can be as simple as explaining the many acronyms that pepper reports and the likes 🙂

  15. Belladonna 16

    While there are some good reasons for certain MPs to have assets in trusts (especially blind trusts – for offices like Ministers of Finance, or Trade) – the fact that 50% of our parliament are trust beneficiaries does little to promote them as a 'House of Representatives' — just who are they representing?

    The primary benefit for wealthy people (and even the lowliest backbencher qualifies as 'wealthy' so far as the IRD is concerned) in having assets in trusts, is to reduce their tax bill.

    While this may be legal – the ethics are highly questionable.

    • Muttonbird 16.1

      Indeed, both David Seymour's houses are in trust, presumably to avoid his tax burden. Which is ironic considering how close he and his backers are to lobby group, the Taxpayers Union.

      If Seymour and friends suddenly decided to pay their share instead of hiding it away, perhaps they might not need to cut services.

      • Belladonna 16.1.1

        However, according to the article – this behaviour is widespread across multiple parties (only the Greens leadership, Ardern & Luxon were specifically excepted).

        At 50% of Parliament – this is beyond a 'one party' or even right/left wing issue – it's endemic.

        • Muttonbird

          But only ACT policy is for ultra small tax and ultra small services. They already seem to be doing it on a personal level.

          • Belladonna

            So that excuses all the others?

            I should have said it’s worse for MPs who promote a high-tax high-service society. It’s OK for you to pay – but not me!

            • Muttonbird

              Now you are excusing Seymour's aversion to paying tax because it’s consistent with his policy.

              • Belladonna

                Nope. You are excusing the rest of the MP's aversion to paying tax because at least they're not ACT.

                I'm pointing out that their hypocrisy is breathtaking. ‘You pay, not me.’

                I don't think any MP should be having trusts for tax avoidance purposes (or any other rich-lister, for that matter).

                There are legitimate reasons for trusts (lifetime interest in a property for Mum, with it going to the kids when she dies; or to protect a disabled family member, for example).

                And there are some legitimate reasons for senior politicians to have blind trusts too (as I said originally).

                I think that for any trust which is not a charitable one (we could quibble about definitions, here), the tax rate should be the same as the top tax bracket.

        • Bearded Git

          Last time I saw an article like this it showed that ACT and National MP's almost all had trusts-something like 85%, whereas for Labour and the Greens only about 30% had trusts. Its a shame this article doesn't differentiate between the parties.

          In any event Labour is pathetic if it doesn't raise the Trust rate of interest to 39% in the upcoming budget. Don't hold your breath.

          (Party Vote Green and this might happen)

      • Incognito 16.1.2

        David Seymour is/was a discretionary beneficiary of the trust(s) that owned the houses. Anyway, he didn’t set up the trust(s).

    • pat 17.1

      It may not be widely recognised as yet but the world is going to have to devote its energies and resources to necessities and not the nice to haves.

      • Poission 17.1.1

        BAU is not an option,with either food famine,or financial famine.

        • pat

          You wouldnt know it you looked to policy

          • Poission

            Constraints on food production,by either with holding exports or limiting the way at is done will have significant flow on effects.

            The green revolution increased the economic welfare of developing countries such as India,where they became food exporters and not large importers (enhanced Balance of payments) this in turn increased the population due to increased health from increased wealth,and accompanying GHG emissions.


            Big questions in the public space,not many solutions.

  16. joe90 18

    Worrisome UScentric thread on the limits of vaccines, the relaxing of non-pharmaceutical interventions and a viral underclass.

    Verywell: The name of your upcoming book is “The Viral Underclass.” Can you explain what this term means, especially in the context of COVID-19?

    Thrasher: I first heard the phrase from an activist named Sean Strub, who used it to talk about how people could be prosecuted once they were HIV-positive, saying there was a group of people who had a status in their body that would always put them in a different class of the law.

    When I was reporting in Ferguson in 2014 about the police killing of Michael Brown, I realized that the neighborhood I was in had a high rate of HIV and AIDS. As I did more reporting, I saw that anywhere you’d see these maps of black poverty and police killings, you’d also see a high rate of HIV.

    When the COVID pandemic broke out in the beginning of 2020, the same map was emerging for COVID. I thought that was very interesting and disturbing, because these are very different viruses with different properties, but they are affecting the same kinds of people.

    People who are in the viral underclass were the least likely to have the protection of working from home during the pandemic. Huge swathes of the society that were doing “essential jobs”—in fast food work, in janitorial work, in retail service jobs—did not have those protections, so they’re just being exposed to the virus a lot more. They often live in more crowded households, which means that they can’t isolate if somebody in their house is sick.

    And the research has taught us quite explicitly over the past couple years that when people are uninsured, they are more likely to be exposed to COVID, to get sick from it, and to die from it… Even knowing that, the administration and Congress have let testing go out the window for COVID-19 for the uninsured.

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