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Open mike 14/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 14th, 2016 - 303 comments
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303 comments on “Open mike 14/01/2016”

  1. Paul 1

    The TPP is some bs.
    Maybe some more people will start to get from under the rock now.


    • Muttonbird 1.2

      I admire your optimism.

      Liam Messam’s tweet might alert some otherwise unengaged people who have concerns about the TPP’s effect on them, but twice as many will use it to indulge in a bit of Maori-bashing and the sort of demonisation we saw when Eleanor Catton made a political statement.

      Liam Messam also fell foul of the John Key worshipping type when he showed support for the flag of New Zealand.

    • Tinfoilhat 1.3

      Another example of what a wretched rag the herald has become – trawling all black twitter and Facebook accounts over the last few days rather than undertaking any real journalism.

    • alwyn 1.4

      Does anyone know whether Messam, or Weepu for that matter, actually know anything about the subject? I may have admired his ability at rugby but I thought that outside that he wasn’t really an authority on anything.
      Is he actually more qualified in this than I imagined?

      • Paul 1.4.1

        Shows a lot more awareness and perception of the challenges facing NZ than Israel Dagg.


        • alwyn

          I am quite prepared to believe that Dagg didn’t realise he was breaking the law with his tweet. I suspect he had that in common with most of the general populace.
          It is rather more disconcerting to find that someone who thought he was fit to lead the country was unaware, or at least didn’t care, about the law though.
          Where did the Labour Party find someone as thick as the subject of this story?
          You stick to your beliefs though old chap. I have a certain degree of bias, I admit. As an old boy of The Bay, I prefer Dagg to Messam.

          • maui

            What’s more dodgy, an established politician whose job it is to campaign breaking the rules, or celebrities who hold public sway, campaigning at a critical time when they’re not politically active people.

            • alwyn

              In this case, the established politician. If anyone should know the rules it is him (or her). They make the rules. They should damn well know what they have passed and should obey them.
              I really don’t think that Dagg, or Messam truly imagine that, because they are well known rugby players, their political views genuinely carry weight. Unless someone can tell me what Messam’s qualifications are though I will have to wonder why people contributing to this blog are taking his opinion as being the received word of the Messiah.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.5

      The secretive TPP trade deal was finalised in October, with the 12 countries agreeing the deal after five years of intense negotiation.

      No, it hasn’t been five years of negotiation. It was seven years ago that the US entered the negotiations and negotiations started before then.

      Damn these pathetic journalists that go round re-writing history.

  2. b waghorn 2

    “Twyford’s seat targeted after Chinese-names furore

    A former Labour member plans to run a candidate in Te Atatu in protest at Phil Twyford’s use of Chinese-sounding names to analyse Auckland property purchases.”

    • Paul 2.1

      Phil Quin has form.

      • Muttonbird 2.1.1

        Aye. Phil Quin is Macbeth to Josie Pagani’s Lady Macbeth.

        • Stuart Munro

          …Quin is never a leading role – he’s very like Stringer. Pagani is more like one of the three witches – dark muttering and superficial promises.

      • b waghorn 2.1.2

        He must be delusional if he thinks this won’t help national.

        • Paul

          He knows it will.
          His paymasters and cheerleaders are from the right.

        • fisiani

          How can it help National? If Twyford’s majority is reduced he still wins the seat. If he loses the seat he still gets into parliament because he is ranked 4. We have had MMP since 1996 and you ought to know that it is the Party Vote that matters. Quin knows that his actions only affect the electorate vote.

          • weka

            You’re not stupid fisi, I’m sure you can figure out why a supposed Labour supporter undermining one of Labour’s MPs in a prominent electorate during a national election, on a race issue would be bad for Labour, and hence good for National. It’s like handing CT’s lines to them.

          • b waghorn

            “” We have had MMP since 1996 and you ought to know that it is the Party Vote that matters””
            Is that a straight cut and past from one of your warnings you original thinker you!!
            Weka covers what I was thinking nicely .

          • Stuart Munro

            Actually Quin might pull votes from the Gnats – not many Labourites would vote for him, but the Asian real estate guys might.

    • Sacha 2.2

      More foot-shooting from Labour’s right. No problem with the motivation but his approach shows up the sustained duncery and selfishness we have come to expect.

      • Paul 2.2.1

        The neo-liberal wing of the Labour Party are actually more responsible for the parlous state New Zealand is in than the National Party, as they have ensured 30 years of this extreme doctrine to destroy the country.

        • tc

          They can certainly shoulder some responsibility for assisting the Nats in keeping treasury benches after the last 2 elections.

          • Paul

            And implementing the whole ideology back on 1984.

            • Expat

              Hey Paul, I know you blame Labour, but if you go back to that time you’ll realise that the party was infiltrated by red neck righties, you know, Prebble and Douglas, I don’t think Labour it’s self at that time had too many other options, and in “hind sight” things probably would’ve been done differently, all political parties make blunders, but the one governing today has made the biggest of all, and if we don’t unite to rid the country of them, things will only deteriorate until the nation realises this and then, it’s a long road back to prosperity, as history has proven time, and time again.

              • BM

                Why do you care, you don’t even live in NZ.
                it’s a long road back to prosperity

                Lol, what sort of la la land do you you live in.

    • I noticed on the news last night that the Auckland housing market has calmed down a bit since the government introduced a requirement for purchasers to have an NZ IRD number. It was a measure that Phil Twyford effectively forced National to introduce, not that he’ll get the credit for it. This Phil Quin guy is no more of a Labour supporter than Jamie Whyte would be – can only assume he’s some kind of Nat plant.

      • Naturesong 2.3.1

        The news that the Auckland housing market had slowed down to only increase by 1% over the last month.

        Thats 12% over the year, or to put it another way; Doubling Time is 6 years!!

        • Psycho Milt

          Yeah, I guess “calmed down a bit” is a very relative term in this case. It’s calmed down a bit to just being completely fucking insane rather than completely indescribable.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2


      • Expat 2.3.3

        Psycho Milt
        “the Auckland housing market has calmed down a bit since the government introduced a requirement for purchasers to have an NZ IRD number”

        What a load of BS, globally for the last year this has happened to all other countries, and your dip shit excuse is that govt was responsible, wakey, wakey.
        NZ is the last cab on the rank.

  3. What is with these stories – is it the equivalent of the taxi driver telling you to buy xyz share.

    okay so his dad is in real estate, he’s sold some too and, “I’d tell people thinking of buying their first home to just get in. No one has regretted [paying the money] in a few year’s time but lots of people have regretted not buying. Just take the leap.”


    Just a big advertorialwankoff

    • Paul 3.1

      The Herald is in bed with the real estate industry.

    • b waghorn 3.2

      Brought a property with the help of his real estate agent father for $120k less than its worth 6 months later, nothing fishy there I’m sure!!

    • crashcart 3.3

      Sure there are a few people who have had to go to foreclosure and mortgagee sale who do actually regret “paying the money”.

      Of course when it all goes roses for him he can’t see that the flip side is those who shovel the shit to help them grow.

    • Paul 4.1

      They managed to close down Campbell Live, so they won’t get embarassed by these stories.

      • Pat 4.1.1

        embarrassed no, you need a moral compass for that….but the rest of NZ taxpayers may start to take some interest when they realise how much unnecessary cost they are being landed with due to corrupt practice and incompetence….and that may have an impact on the polls, the only thing that moves this brain dead bunch.

        • weka

          I think the rest of NZ are turning a blind eye or two to Chch and secretly hoping like f*ck that the big one doesn’t hit in their life time. Paying a bit of extra tax for that deniability is not too much of a hardship.

          It’d be good to see some reporting on what happens to the contractors who did the substandard work.

          • Pat

            the rest of NZ (minus parts of Wanganui I suspect) may well be hoping that but the bit of extra tax we are talking about is100s of millions that would be better spent on hospitals, housing and education …and that is only a part of the issue..as to the contractors thats viewing the problem from the wrong end…the policy, governance and oversight are the cause of the problems, far more so than contractors abilities.

            • weka

              I really think that the rest of NZ doesn’t care that much about Chch and aren’t paying attention.

              I disagree about the contractors. If there are that many tradies in Chch doing shoddy work it’s a huge problem. Obviously the governance is also an issue. No reason why all of it shouldn’t be addressed.

              • Pat

                I agree the rest of NZ doesn’t care about this, and in some respects who can blame them when a large portion of Cantabrians don’t appear to either.
                The issue with contractors workmanship is an easy out for those who have been paid handsomely to oversee that work and who have blacklisted those who refuse to comply with corrupt practice and browbeaten others to perform work that they know full well is substandard…..and then signed it off as complying…..and conveniently many of the contractors are now returned to foreign climes…..sure blame the contractor, but we know where the true issues lie.

                • weka

                  Are you saying that contractors doing substandard work doesn’t matter in Chch, or anywhere?

                  • Pat

                    Im saying in this context focusing on the contractor is to ignore the true cause and gives those responsible a free pass

                    • weka

                      and yet I said I was capable of holding all the relevant people and groups to account, so any ignoring isn’t on my part.

                    • Pat

                      I would be very wary of holding contractors to account for substandard work when in most instances it was to instruction and/or under duress….if a case could be made that showed substandard work occured outside these parameters then that is fair enough (if a distraction)….the MBIE are apparently pursuing a few LBP for signing off substandard work, it would be interesting to see where that leads.It is important to remember Fletchers are being paid substantial taxpayer monies to oversee this work and engage competent tradespeople to avoid the potential for this to occur

                • greywarshark

                  Are you saying that shoddy work was deliberately enforced presumably for a quick buck, signed off quickly so the whole process could be repeated? Mr Brownlee would not have agreed to such tactics would he?
                  Was he informed as to what was going on so he could use his kingly powers to get the machine running adequately?

                • Draco T Bastard


                  Corruption is endemic in NZ and we really need to stamp it out.

              • Craig H

                There are a fair number of Filipino tradies in Canterbury. If you think the dairy industry scandal is the only example of Filipinos with fraudulent documents, think again.

  4. The Guardian: UK scientists ready to genetically modify human embryos.

    Worth reading for the description of how they’re going to do it. In short, modern genetic engineering isn’t about gene splicing. If people with an interest in the subject become aware of the newer techniques, we may get fewer ill-informed comments about GE involves.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      “Human reproduction is staggeringly inefficient”

      and yet…


      “Nearly three-fifths of the 4.8 billion people in developing countries lack basic sanitation, almost a third have no access to clean water, a quarter lack adequate housing, and a fifth lack access to modern health services.”

      Perhaps, natural human reproduction is not “staggeringly inefficient”….there are in built limiting factors at play.

      Funny how ‘framing’ works.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Exactly what I was thinking. We should probably be really, really, thankful that human reproduction is so staggeringly inefficient.

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.2

        Perhaps, natural human reproduction is not “staggeringly inefficient”….there are in built limiting factors at play.

        Yes, and those limiting factors arise from the following: given how difficult survival is outside the uterus, evolution favours making sure only the best shit goes full term. It’s a good strategy, given that humans aren’t really a model that lends itself to creating large numbers of offspring on the basis that some will survive to adulthood. Feel free to dispute the ethics of trying to upgrade human embryos, but the methodology is just a methodology.

    • Andre 5.2

      Sadly many of the anti-GE types are irrational phobics, rather than being willing to examine the issue on it’s merits. So I expect their reaction will be closer to “awwk, they’re doing it on HUMANS? Get out the torches and pitchforks”.

      After all, no amount of evidence and reason persuades the antivaxxers, the antifluoridationers, the homeopathers, the climate change deniers, the anti nuclear power…

      Go to it peeps, I’ve got my flameproof undies on.

      • Stuart Munro 5.2.1

        Meh – the GE companies went about it like crooks, what did they expect?

        If you lead with crap like terminator genes, refusal to label and copyrighting seed (99.9% of which is not the company’s genetic code) you should expect resistance.

        If they’d played it straight GE would be being trialed in many countries that now forbid it.

        • Andre

          But the irrational anti-GE phobia was in existence well before the likes of Monsanto used the technology for corrupt purposes.

          • weka

            If it’s as benign as you claim then who fucked up the messaging?

            Besides, most people don’t want the world run by emotional illiterates who can’t understand why people don’t like GE and accuse them of being irrational. People might not have the science literacy to explain why GE is wrong, but they get it intuitively and there are enough people who do understand the science who back them up. Most people also look at the issue holistically rather than in a reductionistic way. It doesn’t matter if there is some theoretical safe GE practice on paper, what matters is that we live in a world with greedy/evil corporations like Monsanto and a science culture that is now overloaded with incompetency and corruption. And you expect people to trust that? Get real.

            Did I tenor that to the flameproofness of your undies well enough? 😉

            • Andre

              I don’t claim it’s benign, and I tried hard to word it without an implied value judgement. Obviously I failed.

              GE is a technological tool, with huge potential for positive use, such as disease control of dengue and malaria without massively disrupting ecosystems with indiscriminate spraying of dangerous chemicals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolbachia

              Or engineering food crops to correct nutritional deficiencies


              The greedy evil corporations will do their greed and evil no matter what tools are available to them. And considering the risk to all of us and the rest of the environment from oil, gas, coal, and big agriculture, I don’t want to shut the door on efforts such as engineering algae to directly produce biofuel, or engineering yeast to produce an adequate milk substitute.

              Just felt a bit of warmth from that, weka. I know you’ve got a lot more than that. Don’t hold back.

              • weka

                “I don’t want to shut the door on efforts such as engineering algae to directly produce biofuel, or engineering yeast to produce an adequate milk substitute.”

                I don’t want the door shut so much as I want adequate border controls at the door and we simply don’t have that yet.

                Golden rice is a great example of the reductionistic thinking that got us here in the first place. If we want to look at it more holistically* there are questions to ask,

                (*and I can make the argument that this will give us a way out of the mess, whereas being limited to reductionistic thinking only keeps us firmly mired in the mess.)

                Why do those countries have vitamin A deficiencies when we know that traditional diets for humans are not usually deficient in that way?

                What are the connections between the development of Golden rice, pesticide use, control of seed stocks and use, cash cropping and loss of food sovereignty, the West’s need to have the third world serve it, globalisation, the elevation of corporations to government, poverty, climate change, and colonisation?

                You can take any one of those things and draw a mind map of connections. For instance pesticide use is connected to loss of food sovereignty (eg Monstanto in India) and local economies as well as degradation of communities and human health. Read the latest work coming out about pesticides and the human microbiome, then the work on the microbiome and chronic illness in humans, then start to consider that if this is affecting humans it’s probably affecting the rest of nature too.

                When people have a gut reaction against GE, this is what they’re understanding intuitively even if they can’t explain it rationally.

                So, Golden rice, how could anyone object because it’s saving the lives of children! But the industries that developed that tech are delighted because they get to keep on making money out of the very practices that put those childrens lives at risk in the first place and now they get pats on the back for it AND they’ve got a new way of making money. That is fucked to the first degree and something I cannot support politically. We’re being conned and we’re being blackmailed.

                (don’t get me wrong, there will be good people working on those projects as well, and there will be benefits).

                But you might argue that the children’s lives are more important than the politics, because pragmatics, and we can’t stop the greedy fucks. So let’s take an example closer to home. Industrial dairying is part of the same kind of clusterfuck I named above that can be mindmapped. When people look at that with a reductionist mind they want reductionist solutions that enable the same behaviour that is creating the problem in the first place eg the solution to nitrogen excess is to spray something on the paddock that changes it so it doesn’t runoff, or let’s fence all the waterways. Both those solutions are ambulance at the bottom of the cliff that simply allow industrialists to keep fucking the land via overstocking and unsustainable land use (riparian strips do nothing for the land still under the cows being seriously damaged).

                The real problem isn’t nitrogen runoff into the waterways, that’s just one of the end points that we happen to notice because now the fish are dying and we can’t go swimming in your childhood haunts. The real problem is that the systems we are using to make money while pretending to grow food are inherently destructive and unsustainable and tinkering with them using science is rearranging the deck chairs. Until we can look at the whole situation we will never see the solutions that are staring us in the face.

                • Molly

                  Thanks weka.

                  You have the patience to try and explain the situation to someone who appears loathe to investigate himself. The Golden Rice debacle is one that gives a real world example of the difference between PR and reality.

                • Andre

                  Sadly, it looks to me like the world’s population has gone so high, and we in the west have developed enough pretty shiny toys that everyone else wants, that I really don’t see a route back to traditional agrarian lifestyles producing most of our food. Whether or not that may alleviate some of the dietary deficiencies caused by modern monocultural practices. I’m happy to assume, however, that we will always continue to alleviate traditional problems, such as iodine deficiencies, with modern practices.

                  I really don’t like it, but I’ve never seen anything that suggests traditional methods can achieve anything close to the output per land area that modern high-input systems do. Whereas I’ve seen plenty of articles that seem to show pretty clearly that without the green revolution we wouldn’t be able to feed the number of people we have on earth today, unless maybe everybody had turned vegan by now. And without the green revolution, we probably wouldn’t even have what little remains of the wild world we have now.

                  I’m curious, have you been to places like Bangladesh, Burundi, even Indonesia, to see first-hand what kind of population densities we’re reaching? One of the saddest moments I’ve ever had was at Kakamega Forest in Kenya (the only remaining tiny remnant of a particular forest ecosystem), talking to the guide who took us for a walk through for wildlife watching. He was talking about how he fed his family of six kids from his plot of land. I asked what was going to happen when his six kids grew up and had kids of their own. He said, oh they’ll just go clear some of the forest.

                  • weka

                    Kenya was colonised. We can’t understand why the people there are doing what they are doing if we don’t also look at that.

                    The Green Revolution is a con. The reasons why it looks good to some is because of fossil fuels and land degradation, both of which are finite resources about to run out. If you don’t have them, then you can’t produce food in the way you are suggesting, it’s just not possible according to the laws of physics. Please google Peak Soil and Peak Phosphorus.

                    It’s also a con that compares industrially produced food to traditional or regenerative and finds the latter lacking because of productivity and outputs. Until you account for fossil fuel and other pollution and the land degradation the calculations are completely skewed.

                    Nevertheless, there are examples that suggest we could work with the existing population and be relatively ok. One is Cuba, which post-Peak Oil reverted very quickly to organic food production. One commonly quoted figure is that half the food eaten in Havana is grown in Havana (or was, not sure what the situation is now). Health improved too btw.

                    The other example is China, which has a history of traditional food production for large densely populated areas. They utilised techniques such as using terracing to increase surface area and hold water in the landscape, and using night soil (human poo) to fertilise via closed loops.

                    The other point to remember is that we’re on the peak or downward slope of industrial food production, so let’s stop pretending there is a choice of continuing because there really isn’t. I get what you are saying about very densely populated places, but I’m not suggesting we throw the baby out with the bathwater. We still have time to transition (which means we get to use high tech for the transition rather than burning it all up on increasing growth until we crash), and we still have much knowledge and technology that’s not going to disappear but instead will be adapted. In other words I’m not suggesting we go back to farming in the 1700s style rather than 2016 style, and I’m saying that that is a false dichotomy. We can use the best of both, plus the new regenerative agriculture techniques that have been pioneered over the past 40 years.

                    I’ll just add that it’s possible we can’t feed everyone. It might no longer be possible according to physics to do that. And science can’t solve that because we live on a finite planet and in a universe that has actual physical laws. We can debate if we are at the point of overshoot or not, but surely the baseline has to be that there is a point beyond which it simply doesn’t work even with the best science and politics in the world?

                    edit, see Stuart’s succinct comment below. Much of the third world is struggling now because we in the West have been strip mining it. The example he gives applies in many many situations where populations used to be able to feed themselves and now they can’t because of the pressures from the greedy places.

                    Open mike 14/01/2016

                    • Andre

                      Running out of energy just doesn’t look like a problem to me. There’s so much solar energy hitting the planet that when we choose to harvest that rather than burn fossil fuels, we’ll be able to waste vastly more energy per capita than we do now.

                      To illustrate, all of the world’s human energy usage from all sources coal, oil gas, hydro, solar, nuclear… (5.5 x 10^20 J in 2014) could be supplied from an area of desert 700km x 700km covered in solar farms. Easily doable if we all had the will to do it. And if we all get over the aversion to nuclear, and don’t make the mistake of letting military considerations drive reactor designs, it would become a lot easier.

                      Peak soil, phosphorus, water, declining yields due to climate change scare the crap out of me, and I don’t see solutions to those.

                    • weka

                      Whereas I know we already have the solutions to peak soil etc, because they’re already in existence.

                      I’m curious though, how do you produce solar energy without using the physical resources of the planet? Your calculation is facile because it doesn’t take into account real world limitations.

                      Nuclear will never be an acceptable solution to peak oil or AGW (see the issue going on at the moment about Canada wanting to bury nuclear waste in the Great Lakes). It’s a finite planet, the nuclear waste issue is so much more obvious than the fossil fuels ones.

                      btw, I never said we would run out of energy, that’s a silly idea. It’s not a matter of energy, it’s a matter of the relationships between population, the economies (real and unreal), infrastructure and physics, and the EROEI. Yes, I’m sure on paper you can design a world where the sun can be harvested, but I’d like to see the accounting for how the solar farms are going to be built and maintained and the industrial world transitioned off coal and oil given the EROEI we have to work with now. Even Draco, a green tech fan, doesn’t believe we can do that and keep growing.

                    • Andre

                      The thing about renewables is once they’re built, you don’t need to keep feeding them. Yes, it a massive resource-intensive project to build. On the other hand, current fossil fuel extraction industries are massively resource intensive too.

                      There are a number of alternative reactor designs that basically burn the waste in yet more nuclear reactions so that there really isn’t waste that remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. Fast neutron reactors. They produce much less waste, not only because they burn it, but that burning extracts more of the potential energy going in so it needs a lot less fuel to begin with. Not popular with the military though, because it doesn’t produce anything good for bombs. And yes, they are still in early development. I’ll speculate that western companies are hesitant to put a lot of development into new designs, because of anti-nuke sentiment. Which may mean new developments come out of China and Russia.

                      Now, I know that all makes me look like a one-eyed nuclear advocate. And I am, but only to bridge the transition to fully renewable. To me, all the arguments against nuclear pale into insignificance against the damage fossil fuels do.

                      Further to your edit above, pretty much all third world countries have had massive population explosions that show no signs of abating. Which surely has to be a factor in older traditional methods of food production not being enough.

                  • b waghorn

                    I was swinging towards pro nuclear until fukushima , if shit happens nuclear is a serious liability .

                    • Andre

                      Fukushima (and Chernobyl) are pressurised light water reactors. Pretty much first generation 50s and 60s technology, heavily influenced by military considerations. There are much better designs developed since then that don’t rely on active control systems for safety, and depower using basic physics in the event of control system failure.

                      They were also “once-through” uranium reactors that produce massive amounts of waste and only extract around 1% of the potential energy going in. There are alternatives, such as thorium, that don’t pose anywhere near the same risk of runaways leading to meltdown.

                      Finally, if you do an accounting of human death/injury/disease plus property damage, using the worst case estimates for Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island and all the others, coal, gas, and oil all cause far more human harm than nuclear. It’s just that the nuclear accidents have been huge, concentrated and therefore really scary, whereas the damage from fossil fuel is diffused and therefore easy to ignore.

                    • weka

                      when shit happens 🙁

                    • weka

                      “The thing about renewables is once they’re built, you don’t need to keep feeding them. Yes, it a massive resource-intensive project to build. On the other hand, current fossil fuel extraction industries are massively resource intensive too.”

                      Are you suggesting the whole world shift to a steady state economy?

                      “Further to your edit above, pretty much all third world countries have had massive population explosions that show no signs of abating. Which surely has to be a factor in older traditional methods of food production not being enough.”

                      Pretty much all countries have had big increases in population. It’s fairly recent for that increase to be slowing.

                      Yes, population compared to landbase is an issue. That is my point about the finite nature of the world. But let’s not forget that NZ is reliant on other places and extractive industry to feed, clothe and house itself, so we can’t really be pointing the finger at anyone.

                      Not sure what your point is though. As I understand it there are multiple reasons for why there are food shortages in some parts of the world, and most of them are to do with politics and greed and not inability to grow food traditionally. Do you know about the dynamic of export cash cropping and how it destroys local communities and economies and people’s ability to feed themselves? That’s not really a population issue.

                    • Andre

                      weka, yep, WHEN shit happens. So if we’re going to play with something as dangerous as nuclear, or pulling toxic flammables out of the ground, it better fail in a way that ends safely without active intervention.

                      I’d like to see the world shift to a declining per capita economy, in terms of resource usage. There’s plenty of economic growth to be had in terms of services, personal experiences, other things we value that don’t require huge amounts of physical resources. Just think of the food experiences available now that weren’t 25 years ago (that rely on the creator’s imagination, not some weird ingredients from the other side of the world). Or, my kids irritate the hell out of me with their devotion to screen time. But in terms of resource impact, they’re probably a lot lower impact than I was at their age, needing to travel a lot, and get the gear for my outdoor interests.

                      Yes, I’m aware of how the big agricultural developments fuck the locals. Even directly seen a little bit of it, and I don’t want to see any more. I’d much rather the locals made improvements and got the benefits themselves. Malawi had a good go at it. But while greed and crap political systems are the main drivers, population increase certainly adds to the pressure.

              • Stuart Munro

                Golden rice is bullshit. Traditional paddies were bordered with Tamarind trees – no vitamin deficiencies until the corporations cleared them for monoculture.

                Monsanto is not a good corporate citizen – pays to watch them closely.

            • Psycho Milt

              It doesn’t matter if there is some theoretical safe GE practice on paper, what matters is that we live in a world with greedy/evil corporations like Monsanto and a science culture that is now overloaded with incompetency and corruption.

              That applies to pretty much every technology that’s ever been invented, and hasn’t ever been a reason not to invent new technology.

              • weka

                We’re not talking about invention, we’re talking about use. And personally I’d rather the tech for fossil fuel extraction and use on an industrial scale had never been invented if the end result is mass destruction within a few short centuries.

        • Psycho Milt

          If you lead with crap like terminator genes, refusal to label and copyrighting seed (99.9% of which is not the company’s genetic code) you should expect resistance.

          As Andre points out, the irrational, emotional rejection of GE pre-dates the activities of corporations like Monsanto. Much of this stuff is propaganda – eg, “terminator genes” have been patented but never commercialised, and GE plants aren’t the only ones with patents on them – see this article at the Genetic Literacy Project for details.

          Refusal to label is simply a refusal to pander to prejudice. It’s the equivalent of requiring job applicants to provide information on their religion or sexual orientation so that employers can make an “informed decision” about who they want to hire. No relevant information is provided, but the recipient of the information gets to indulge their prejudice.

          • greywarshark

            Psycho M
            Dismissive of people’s concerns again.

          • weka

            “As Andre points out, the irrational, emotional rejection of GE pre-dates the activities of corporations like Monsanto.”

            Can either of you provide some dates? Issues with Monsanto have been around years before GE. GE really only became an issue in the 90s (from memory). It seems to me that the rejection of industrial agriculture started well before GE became prominent (which matches the timelines of development of various techs).

            • Andre

              My mother worked for the DSIR in the 70s and one of her projects was around a containment lab for what was called GE back then.

              I remember insinuations about it being seriously hush-hush because of antis. One of whom may have been my high school science teacher, who was horrified and actively protesting attempts to give pine trees the ability to directly fix nitrogen like legumes do.

              • weka

                Yep, and I know people who were concerned about climate change in the 1970s, but how long until it became a public issue? GE protest didn’t become a big thing in NZ until the 90s.

            • Psycho Milt

              Can either of you provide some dates?

              As usual, Wikipedia comes to the rescue: In 1987, “The world’s first trial site attracted the world’s first field trasher”. Monsanto also carried out its first genetic engineering trials in 1987, but the trashed field belonged to a different organisation. Actual release of products by Monsanto came in the 1990s, well after that first field trial, and “terminator genes” haven’t ever been released commercialy.

              • weka

                ah, Earth First. Very cutting edge, but not widely known or supported. I thought you were meaning referring to the widespread public rejection of GE.

                The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Professor Jonathan King: “Cambridge was the beginning of the lay citizen saying, ‘no, this is a technology that’s going to impact us. We pay for it… and we’re going to have some say over how it’s deployed, or to make sure it’s deployed safely’.”

                Ae, very emotive and irrational.

                • I know you’re being sarcastic, but – my thoughts exactly. The guy went out and tried to wreck somebody’s research because he’s a taxpayer and thinks that gives him some kind of overarching right to vandalise taxpayer-funded stuff if he doesn’t like it. He and the abortion clinic bombers are issued off the same mental-fuck-up production line.

          • One Two

            Not very well read, are you Milt

        • greywarshark

          Stuart Munro

          Don’t you think it is wise to examine radically different practices before welcoming them. If only we had done that with Roger Douglas’ nostrums. When it comes to mucking around with animal genes, and particularly people’s, or even using
          advanced technology then people can understand that it is important. You appear to be a bit gullible about the wonders of science. Those who are anti things can sure get hysterical and refuse to listen to countering evidence, but you seem to be as fixed in the opposite direction.

          • Andre

            Seems to me we’ve reached a situation where large corporations do this kind of research in secret, do their trials in secret without adequate scrutiny, precisely because of the actions of the irrational anti factions. And sadly, public institutions can no longer do the kind of reasoned, contained trials open to public scrutiny because of the irrational antis.

            Yes, I’m trying to do a bit of deliberately poking the hornet’s nest here. If it provokes anyone to think a bit harder about their positions and cherished assumptions (including me) then I ‘ll call it a success.

            • greywarshark

              The knowledge about corporate mendacity has built up over the years so it isn’t irrational to distrust them. And knowing what they or government have done such as seen in an old Time magazine about black men with siphylus watched and not treated, etc. means that government is distrusted. And the poorer people know they are more likely to be experimented with.

              (Here The Unfortunate Experiment was conducted with women with incipient cervical cancer, getting regular checks to see whether the cancer was progressing or not.)

              • Grant

                “(Here The Unfortunate Experiment was conducted with women with incipient cervical cancer, getting regular checks to see whether the cancer was progressing or not.)

                All Ok apparently. http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-30072015/#comment-1052323

                • greywarshark

                  Depends whether you are on the outside looking in, or one of the
                  participants as far as finding it okay. Those being recalled for checks without any understanding of what he was trying to prove, and not being asked if they wanted to participate again, once called in for say two checks, would have great cause of grievance. A few died I think, and the rest would be under the impression that though worrying, that nice doctor was looking after their best interests. Also I wonder if their travel costs were recompensed? Some were mothers travelling from the Far North. Rhetorical question, still a vague possibility.

                  • Grant

                    Hi Grey. Just to be clear. I don’t think it was ok.

                    • McFlock

                      Nobody said it was ok.

                      Not even RL in the comment you linked to.

                    • Molly

                      Oh. OK.

                    • Grant

                      I was very uncomfortable with the line that RL seemed to be taking during that discussion. He seemed to be excusing the actions of Green et al on the basis that ‘the past is a different country’.

                      ie. “Herb Green designed his study in the mid-60’s – and it was considered acceptable in the light of the thinking of the day. It’s completely and utterly wrong to condemn a man for actions taken in ignorance of knowledge yet to be discovered.”

                      It doesn’t seem to have registered with either RL or Green that running what are essentially experimental treatment regimes on patients without full explanation and consent protocols in place is something which is self evidently ethically wrong in any decade. Even if you accept that medical ethics as they existed at the time didn’t cover the situation, how about basic manners?

                      Anyway, the feminist movement gave the medical profession a right pasting over this kind of thing for several decades and this incident was just about the last straw which forced the Health Establishment to completely re-invent their culture and protocols around how they interacted with clients. I think they did all of us a big favour regardless of gender.


                    • McFlock

                      The wikipedia article RL linked to and the links within that article give some indications that the nature of the “experiment” is not so clear cut as one would think.

                      But my main observation is that many of these ethical issues and protocols to which you refer only exist now because of the criticisms raised, it’s not like Green just ignored all the regulations and did his own thing. As for “manners”, again that’s a relatively new consideration, and a significant change in patient care from more authoritarian tendencies back in the day.

                      I was watching a documentary about airplane crashes last night, and they covered an accident where a plane crashed into the Florida everglades because the pilots were focused on a landing gear problem rather than actually flying the plane. It’s basic procedure now that if there’s a problem, one pilot focuses on that while the other pilot takes control of the plane, scanning all the instruments and the environment, rather than both pilots assuming that the autopilot is doing its job. But it’s only basic procedure now because that accident and a couple of similar ones led to a fundamental chinge in the way cockpit workloads are managed. Soby today’s standards, that crew would be slated in the investigation for multiple failures and incompetence – but at the time, it was a crash that could have happened on any normal aircraft. All RL seems to be saying is that it’s the same sort of thing with Green.

                    • weka

                      I’m not sure that that is all he was saying, but leaving aside trying to interpret his comments, the general idea that Green couldn’t have known that he was doing wrong is wrong. There were other staff at the hospital who knew that it was wrong but were prevented from doing anything about it for a long time (mostly nurses I think, caught up in the power dynamics that still existed back then and even do today to an extent.).

                      This is part of why it was such a huge issue. It wasn’t one man making mistakes unknowingly, it was a whole system that was incapable of protecting its patients despite having the knowledge capacity to do so. Green was a big part of that system, someone who was very privileged by and within it.

                      It’s not like patients’ rights sprang forth fully formed in the wake of the Cartwright Report. Many people understood these issues for a long time, and others were ignoring them. Yes, the Cartwright Inquiry made some of the necessary changes and in a big bold way, but it didn’t invent the knowledge base or concepts, they already existed.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      @Grant – good comment.

                      The New York Review of Books ran a good piece on medical ethics history last year:
                      It’s churlish in the extreme to claim medical ethics (or manners and empathy, for that matter) weren’t a thing 40 years ago. The piece shows how the same dodgy arguments come up decade after decade in different guises and there is a need for constant vigilance:

                      ”At the end of the war, a series of war crimes trials were held by the victorious Allies in Nuremberg, Germany. One of them, presided over by American judges in a US military tribunal, was known as the Doctors’ Trial. In that trial, which began in December 1946, the twenty-three surviving researchers (twenty of them physicians) responsible for the medical experiments in the concentration camps were accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In their defense, they presented a litany of excuses. Two of them are particularly important, because in modified form they have to this day been used repeatedly in defense of unethical research.”

                    • Grant

                      @ER. Thanks.

                      “Two of them are particularly important, because in modified form they have to this day been used repeatedly in defense of unethical research.”

                      Interesting. Can you remember what they were?

                      Sorry. Just read your link. Got it.

                    • McFlock

                      and more than one plane has crashed because the captain (generally concentrating on something else) ignored the copilot, and the copilot did not feel they were in a position to challenge that.

                      Yes, Green could have known he should have done things differently. But either he didn’t, or ignored it, and there was nothing in place at the time to prevent that situation. Many of the procedures and perspectives we today have in place to try and ensure that people know when they’re crossing a line were developed because of what he did, after the fact. Like how the rules on ensuring that someone is always in control of the aircraft (rather than just assuming people will notice that something is going wrong) came about after multiple crashes.

                • Molly

                  Not sure if that is the case.

                  Didn’t read RedLogix’s response in a timely manner, in order to respond back then. I’d have to dig out my copy to check up, and TBH more trouble than it is worth.

                  To imply that Green was against unnecessary hysterectomies etc is only telling half the story. His theory (and subsequent unconsented study) was whether ANY intervention was warranted. He then removed data and outcomes that didn’t fit his theory. This included development of cervical cancer to terminal stages.

                  These women were not informed of his theory or that their care was not being managed in the usual way, and their multiple hospital visits and biopsies were not contributing to their personal care and wellbeing. Appalling in every way – even back then.

                  “Actually Green’s thinking turned out to be correct – that early hysterectomies and large cone biopsies which often prevented women from conceiving again were usually unnecessary; a conclusion that current practise endorses.” from comment you cited.

                  I do have a vivid memory of reading about MacIndoe deciding to take full excisions when doing biopsies because all the concerns that he had raised about the non-treatment of women were coming to nil.

                  This may have improved the outcome of those women, who otherwise would have been left with partially excised lesions and monitored until death.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.2.2

        “Go to it peeps, I’ve got my flameproof undies on.”

        You’re gonna need ’em Andre as the long term effects of “we didn’t think that one through” science and technology come to bite us all in the arse.

        Ironic that you’ve put climate change deniers in with the other…what term does PM use? ….’woo woo’ people.

        Why do we need to tinker with human reproduction….you hoping for the Master Race?

        • Andre

          I have no interest in a master race.

          But I am interested in reducing the risk of diseases with a genetic component.

          • weka

            Have you considered that for the species genetic disorders might provide a benefit? Might want to read up on some of the disability rights politics around that too. No, I’m not saying we shouldn’t work on prevention. I’m saying we are too immature as societies to get this right at this point in time. We are still not that good at the ethics, nor looking at the issues in context.

            • Andre

              “specific genetic disorders might provide a benefit” sure, the genetic cause of sickle-cell anaemia is just the first one that springs to mind.

              I agree we’ve got a long way to go about developing the maturity to examine these things rationally and in context, which was kinda of my point at the start. On the other hand, I remember much the same kinds of arguments around in-vitro fertilization and the sky hasn’t fallen in over that.

              • weka

                Except you seem to be wanting people to leave emotion and intuition out of it, wherease I am saying those are useful and actually critical human faculties that need to be left in. The people that don’t know how to use emotion and intuition alongside rationality need to be tempered as well the ones who are all emotion without much rational ability. But emotion is a very important tool here and without it we have Monsanto and corporate science running the world.

                “On the other hand, I remember much the same kinds of arguments around in-vitro fertilization and the sky hasn’t fallen in over that.”

                Are you suggesting that the precautionary principle is useless because sometimes it errs too far on the side of caution or it suggests we don’t do things that end up being benign? By that argument we should not be using science at all because look at all the times it fucked up.

                • Andre

                  You’re absolutely right I want to leave emotion and intuition out of it.

                  Intuition is that flawed human thinking that leads humans to develop an unshakeable belief that because two things are correlated they must be causally related. Which is the whole basis of the incorrect belief that vaccines and autism are linked. On the rare occasions that “intuition” is correct, it’s as a result of observation of subtle clues that can in fact be teased out and quantified rationally. But most people think their intuition is a lot better than it is because of confirmation bias.

                  Appeals to intuition and emotion are the main reason golden rice hasn’t yet become widely used. Appeals to emotion are what keeps Jenny McCarthy in the public eye, even though everything she says about the horrors of vaccines has been thoroughly debunked. Appeals to emotion about jobs, the economy are a large part of what keeps climate change denial alive.

                  I’m not suggesting we discard the precautionary principle, I’m suggesting we strengthen it by discarding the emotion and intuition. The best way to apply the precautionary principle is to do small scale trials, then increasing the scale, monitoring all the while

                  Yes, technology has fucked up sometimes. It’s also done a lot more good than harm, and most of the time it’s the best tool we have to mitigate the fuck-ups. Because shutting down technological progress isn’t going to happen worldwide, even if we somehow do so here.

                  • Molly

                    SmithKlineBeecham’s confidential report tabled at an Italian court a couple of years ago. I had another link, but this is the one Google threw out today.

                    Download it and search for autism.

                    The very first instance will give you 2 cases of autism confirmed. Obviously, statistically insignificant in terms of data, BUT devastating for those two families involved.

                    In fact the whole document is worth a perusal, for those who are genuinely interested in having information to hand about the debate.

                    The fatal outcomes on Pg 1137, number 5 unless you take into account the SIDS number of 8. But those cannot be conclusively attributed to the vaccine, so are shown separately. Even though in a couple of those cases the vaccine had been administered that day.

                    It is those who are the families on this side of the data that start to speak out. Genuinely and with concern.

                    And there is always the likelihood that adverse effects are not even noted by the system, and I don’t know if that fact is included in the statistical data. I know that when I advised that my child stopped vocalising for six months after vaccination, my request to include in as a possible reaction was quite likely ignored.

                    As for leaving emotions out of it. The vaccine issue is promoted emotively. Protect your child, protect your community. The information is not released to the public in any other way.

                    That is why I personally will continue to reject any calls for compulsory vaccination.

                  • weka

                    Andre, I think you need to go and learn what intuition actually is, because it’s not what you are describing. The reason some people mistake correlation and causation is due to concept illiteracy. It has nothing to do with emotion (hence overly rational, under emotional people can still make the mistake). This can be solved by education.

                    Intuition is the ability to understand without having to go through a conscious thought process. We all use intuition all the time and it’s a core part of human intelligence. Of course it’s fallible. So is science, and rational thought. They’re all just tools if you hold them right and the trick is to know when to use them, how to use them, and under what circumstances they are appropriate or inappropriate.

                    I’ve never said intuition is better, and I don’t know anyone that would say intution is always better. That’s a straw man.

                  • One Two

                    Sounds like your have poor intuition, Andre

                    Reads like you have no idea what intuition, actually is

                    Using Jenny McCarthy confirms my intuition, is correct

        • Puckish Rogue

          Well heres a list of genetic disorders that if they could remove wouldn’t be a bad thing


          Master Race indeed

          • Andre

            Don’t know whether to gloat because I beat you to it, or run away and hide coz we agree..

            • Puckish Rogue

              If it makes you feel better I’m pro-science

              • b waghorn

                Its a shame your mates in national don’t.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  Well I could mention your mates the Greens but really that’s a bit obvious isn’t it

                  But I do agree that National could be doing a lot better in certain areas…euthanasia and medical marijuana for starters

                  Also just noticed this


                  • weka

                    That’s just your ignorance and bigotry talking PR. The GP are pro science and their policy is evidence based. Please stop telling lies about them.

                    • weka

                      Ok, a single GP MP does something thoughtless and daft. The leadership quickly distances itself from the daft thing and explains that it wasn’t GP policy and that the GP takes an evidence based approach. What’s your problem with all that?

                      Do you have another example or is there just the one? Are you seriously suggesting that on the basis of that one example that the GP is anti-science or scientifically illiterate or rejects evidence based processes, despite there being no evidence to support that? (by all means put up some actual evidence if you have it).

                      Great link btw, always nice when someone provides the back up for my argument and refutes their own all in one go 😉

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I’ll side step the issue deftly by saying hes not a politician and hes not advocating it for anyone else so its fair enough if he wants to believe in it

                      I don’t but hes still a top bloke worthy of repsect

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      To Weka much like Labour would like to reintroduce compulsory unionism but don’t speak of it out loud and National would like to abolish unions but won’t speak it out loud its the same with the Greens, they’ve (probably) been told in no uncertain terms what subjects to steer clear off in public

                      Or you get the boot

                    • weka

                      Now you’re just making shit up. Did you even read your own link?

              • b waghorn

                Are the greens anti vaxers !?
                I was thinking more climate change and over intensification of dairy farming that national seems to ignore the scientists about.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  I’m sure it’d be a safe bet that more of the Green party would hold anti-vax views as opposed to the National party (I hope)


                  • Andre

                    That’s from 2004. And kind of illustrates why I couldn’t bring myself to vote Green until people like Sue had gone. And why I still need my hazmat gear when I do so now.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I’ll admit I’m just assuming that there would still be people in the Greens that think shes right

                    • weka

                      PR and Andre, are you wanting the NZ govt to legislate and enforce compulsory vaccination? Because that’s what Kedgley’s speech appears to be about.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      To Weka

                      Yes I would like to see that except in cases wheres the child is allergic (or other similar type medical reason) of course

                    • Andre

                      Yes, I am for compulsory vaccination, with the only exemptions being for medical reasons as recommended by a medical professional, say because of some kind of immunodeficiency, or soundly reasoned science.

                      Growing up, my mother refused the tuberculosis BCG vaccine on my behalf – because of a combination of low efficacy and that there are sufficient residual antibodies that people who get the vaccine can’t be reliably tested for the disease in the future. I got everything else. That’s the kind of science based reason for refusal that I think is acceptable. I object to excluding kids from school if they’re not vaccinated, but only because that’s penalising kids for their parents’ decisions.

                      And about those adverse reactions – those are things that are correlated in time, but are not necessarily causally related. Kids growing up suffer a lot of ailments from a wide variety of causes. It’s totally natural to blame something that happened just after a vaccination on the vaccine, but it takes a lot of work to figure out whether there truly is a causal relation there.

                    • weka

                      Ok, thanks PR, that puts you in the proto-fascist minority.

                      What’s the rationale for compulsory tetanus immunisation? When did you have your last one?

                    • weka

                      Andre, a couple of questions.

                      How would you want the government to enforce compulsory vaccination? Quarrantine? Fines? Prison? Forced removal of children to the doctor’s office?

                      How would the government square legislation on that with Human Rights and Health and Disability rights legislation?

                    • Andre

                      weka, I dunno about all of that. I’ve always figured compulsory vaccination isn’t gonna happen, I’m never gonna be a part of making it happen. So I’m not going to spend a lot of time trying to work out the wrinkles in my fantasies of how things should be. Also, I reckon the belief that people have the right to control what gets done to their bodies is a fkn good counterargument, so I just barely tip the way I do.

                    • weka

                      Thanks Andre. I think that most people who say they want compulsory vaccination probably don’t mean that because like you the right to make decisions about our bodies is valued pretty highly.

                      At the moment, the vaccination rate in NZ for communicable diseases is pretty high, high enough to ensure herd immunity in most places. So the small number of unvaccinated people is not an issue. Where it is an issue, or where the rates are dropping, it’s actually more to do with people not having access to medical care or understanding what the issues are, and that can be solved with education and better health services. i.e. it’s not the people who intentionally choose to not vaccinate that are the best place to target health promotion. From what I understand, that’s why the MoH isn’t looking at compulsory vaccination here, it’s not needed and it’s not the best approach to the perceived problem.

                      I also think in the interests of a tolerant and inclusive society we could develop protocols for separating vaccinated, unvaccinated and subvaccinated children when there are outbreaks. I don’t know why this doesn’t already happen, but I think the whole kids have to be in school thing is a big part of it (which is ridiculous esp for primary school aged kids).

                  • b waghorn

                    Can you imagine what drug companies would get up to if their where no people like Kedgley willing to question what their up.?
                    I don’t see that as proof of the greens being anti vaxers.

                    • Andre

                      I’ll guess people like Sue Kedgley are generally regarded as fringe kooks by the scientific community. All the practicing and retired scientists whose opinions I know hold that view. As such, she probably does as much harm as good.

                      However, there are a lot of practicing scientists and good journalists that make it their field of study what kinds of biases occur when industry funds science, They’re the ones that really publicized a lot of serious misconduct such as the way pharmaceutical companies can cherry-pick which studies to include in applications for approval, rather than being required to submit all reports, positive and negative.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    Thanks for the link to that speech PR…what an incredibly measured and reasoned argument Sue makes for promoting the Precautionary Principal when it comes to mass vaccination programs.

                    “from figures I obtained from the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring, that between 1995 and 1999, there were 2074 adverse reactions to vaccinations, the majority affecting children two years or younger. (These would only be the tip of the iceberg, as there is no mandatory requirement for doctors to report adverse reactions to vaccinations, and thousands of reactions, such as those of my son, are not being counted.)

                    The latest statistics I have obtained from the Centre show that there were 1,266 adverse reactions to vaccines in 2002; 1,152 adverse reactions in 2003, and 962 so far this year.

                    – See more at: https://home.greens.org.nz/speeches/vaccination-speech-public-meeting-auckland#sthash.nshLep6E.dpuf

                    • what an incredibly measured and reasoned argument Sue makes for promoting the Precautionary Principal when it comes to mass vaccination programs.

                      I stopped reading when she led with a classic post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.

                      The “precautionary principle” as Sue Kedgeley envisaged it meant anyone wanting to introduce something science-based had to prove a negative, but any hippies peddling magic woo should be trusted because natural is good. The Green Party is well rid of her – now it just needs to get Steffan Browning off the list.

                    • Puckish Rogue


                      This is what happens though, the kids pay for their parents being numpties

                    • Andre

                      Psycho, Marama Davidson makes me pretty queasy too. How can someone advocate for a sustainable future after popping out six kids and not showing the slightest kind of “oops, in hindsight maybe not the best idea” embarrassment about it?

                    • weka

                      Have you talked with Davidson about why she had kids, how she feels about the number now, and how that fits into her green, sustainability and Māori worldviews? Because if you haven’t, your comment comes across as prejudiced, sexist, and probably culturally biased.

                      (and just so we are clear, I think population is a major issue because of climate change).

                    • weka

                      “This is what happens though, the kids pay for their parents being numpties”

                      What’s the actual problem in that particular case PR?

                    • weka

                      Have to say, I’m seriously impressed that we’ve had a morning of conversation about vaccination that’s been reasonable and constructive. Not sure if that’s happened here before, usually by now it would have descended into ad homs and retrenched positions of people abusing each other and not listening. Well done everyone.

                    • Andre

                      weka, fair point on how my comment comes across. I’m only basing my opinion on publically available statements etc. But I fail to see the problem in forming an opinion of a public politician based on what they do from a prominent platform.

                      If she were to explain her six kids in cultural terms, without showing leadership on changing that culture, then I will be unrepentant in lowering my opinion of both her and that culture, given the population problems the world is facing. We all need to be adaptable. Six kids is such a glaring contradiction to the Greens raison d’etre of sustainability that it really needs to be addressed to avoid a clear perception of hypocrisy, and I haven’t seen any sign of that.

                      I’ll make the observation that even in the most equal of relationships, the female still has far more control over reproductive output than the male. To put it at the crudest possible level, if the male withholds the necessary ingredients by whatever means, the female has plenty of options for obtaining them other ways. Whereas if the female chooses not to be reproductive, she has plenty of choices, most of them effective and some completely invisible to the male. Is that a sexist observation?

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      To weka: you don’t see a problem with a quarter of a schools role coming down with a disease that can be vaccinated against?

                    • @ andre

                      “then I will be unrepentant in lowering my opinion of both her and that culture”

                      I’m sure not many will lose sleep over that to be honest.

                      What do you deem an acceptable number of children for people to have? Is there a range based on some criteria or a set figure.

                    • weka

                      “To weka: you don’t see a problem with a quarter of a schools role coming down with a disease that can be vaccinated against?”

                      PR, I’m fifty. Pretty much everyone my age who was raised in NZ has had chickenpox, so no, I don’t see this as a tragedy. Missing a week of school is not a big deal by comparison to say 25% of NZ kids not having adequate nutrition.

                      Would you mind telling me what you think the problem is in that particular situation? Is it the kids being sick for while? The time off school? What?

                    • weka

                      “weka, fair point on how my comment comes across. I’m only basing my opinion on publically available statements etc. But I fail to see the problem in forming an opinion of a public politician based on what they do from a prominent platform.”

                      Andre, I’m not sure what you are getting at. I don’t know what she has said pubicly about having her kids nor what she has said as an MP, can you please explain?

                      “If she were to explain her six kids in cultural terms, without showing leadership on changing that culture, then I will be unrepentant in lowering my opinion of both her and that culture, given the population problems the world is facing. We all need to be adaptable. Six kids is such a glaring contradiction to the Greens raison d’etre of sustainability that it really needs to be addressed to avoid a clear perception of hypocrisy, and I haven’t seen any sign of that.”

                      Surely any kids would be a problem at this point?

                      “I’ll make the observation that even in the most equal of relationships, the female still has far more control over reproductive output than the male. To put it at the crudest possible level, if the male withholds the necessary ingredients by whatever means, the female has plenty of options for obtaining them other ways. Whereas if the female chooses not to be reproductive, she has plenty of choices, most of them effective and some completely invisible to the male. Is that a sexist observation?”

                      I’ll go along with that at the point that women are allowed complete reproductive freedom (remove legislation that restricts access to abortion, and remove financial barriers to contraception), and they have complete autonomy over raising their kids with no reference to men except where they want to. I suspect many men won’t be up for that, so let’s assume shared responsibility in the meantime.

                      It’s always been a puzzle to me that more men don’t get vasectomies. I assume it’s because like women they want to keep their options open.

                    • Andre

                      @ marty
                      yeah, I’m kinda used to my opinions being meaningless to others.

                      I really think the idea that there’s a universal human right to unlimited reproduction really needs a rethink.

                      Given the world really truly has overshot sustainable population, even if we all dramatically reduced our resource usage, I’m personally of the view that anyone having more than two kids really is raising a middle finger to the rest of the world, and any remaining wild ecosystems in particular. Developed nations have mostly gone below that on average, so I don’t see any need to do anything as crude and viciously brutal as the Chinese do. I suspect public opinion swinging against large families and women breaking free of getting guilt trips laid on them about not starting families will continue that trend.

                      But outside the “developed” nations, China is about the only one that’s bent the growth curve (at the cost of a major demographic problem coming up). I find comparing the growth curves of China with the likes of India, Indonesia, Pakistan, any sub-Saharan country and so on to be terrifying. Particularly since I think they all have a legitimate claim to aspire to a western lifestyle if they want it. But it seems that education, of girls in particular, seems a more effective (and ethical) measure than coercion.

                • Andre

                  Not that I’m aware of. Just searched their site for “vaccination” and didn’t find anything useful.

                  But, sadly, the few anti-vaxxers I know personally are Green supporters

              • Andre

                I’m kinda disturbed that you had that to hand so quickly

              • Rosemary McDonald

                Not quite sure the point you’re making with the clip there PR….but…with a bit of thought and family discussion…I have to concede that gene disabling to remove undesirable traits could be a good thing.

                We would be spared…

                and ….

                and perhaps even…

                Bring it on!

              • Paul

                So I’m assuming you would be against a government that did not support independent scientific research.

                ‘Swinburn said the Government’s former health minister, Tony Ryall, ignored concerns raised by health groups about potential conflicts of interest when he appointed former National MP Katherine Rich to the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) in 2012. Rich is now chief executive of the Food and Grocery Council, which lobbies for the alcohol, tobacco and grocery-food industries.
                This year, Ryall also dismissed a letter from more than 30 senior public-health experts calling for an investigation of Rich’s role on the HPA board following the publication of Hager’s book that claimed there were conflicts of interest
                “That is a board that has a responsibility to improve the health of New Zealanders,” Swinburn said.
                “And then to have a board member whose job it is to increase the sales of its members’ products, which to a large degree is processed food, alcohol and tobacco, it is just an irreconcilable conflict of interest.”‘


                • Rosemary McDonald

                  “This year, Ryall also dismissed a letter from more than 30 senior public-health experts calling for an investigation of Rich’s role on the HPA board following the publication of Hager’s book that claimed there were conflicts of interest.”

                  Experts! Pah! What would they know?

                  T.Ryall….NZ’s finest Minister of Health. (sarcasm, btw)

          • Stuart Munro

            “In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated.

            “So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work.

            “I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van.

            “I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months.

            “They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness.

            “As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.

            Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/on_the_front_lines_of_the_culture_wars/2011/04/she-survived-hitler-and-wants-to-warn-america.html#crPbJJq1SpKXrbT4.99

            • Psycho Milt

              I think the rule of thumb “don’t murder people” is one that the Nazis didn’t recognise, but fortunately liberal democracies pay a bit more attention to it. Another, less important but equally useful rule of thumb is that “Here’s a bad thing the Nazis did” generally isn’t relevant to a discussion of what liberal democracies might or might not do.

              • Stuart Munro

                It’s a slippery slope thing.

                The Nazis took power democratically, but abused the process. They too were genuinely interested in science – or believed they were.

                In talking up the inconvenience of disability PR is treading where angels fear to.

                A safer approach to disability might be how to improve lives rather than how to reduce costs.

                But I suspect either line would just be convenient props for a pro-GE argument. More interesting would be PR’s actual core belief or supposition that makes him pro-GE. If he is, and this is not just a talking point.

  5. millsy 6


    The privatisation juggernaut rolls on, this time the Ashburton community owned licenced businesses look to become the victims (though the trust will retain the buildings).

    This is the latest in a series of under the radar privatisations that people havent really noticed, but probably should.

    These include (but are not limited to):

    The selling of the GWRC’s forests
    The selling of the Selwyn Plantation Board’s forests
    The sale of Air NZ subsidary Safe Air
    The sale of Agresearch farms
    The sale of Landcorp farms
    The sale of schoolhouses
    Invercargill’s fire sale of its parks and reserves
    The sale of part of Queensland’s airport to Auckland Airport
    The sale of part of Timaru’s port to Auckland
    Numerous sales of council housing
    The sale of parts of Transpower’s network
    The sale of Vector’s gas transmission network to an Australian hedge fund manager,


  6. Jenny Kirk 7

    The NAct Govt is again “fudging” a major issue. This time the protection of the seas around our islands.

    They have announced two recreational fishing parks (Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds) which sort-of sounds good, but at the same time they have left off the very important EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) which would protect our oceans, and have left these seas wide open for exploitation. See F & B’s media release for more info.


  7. millsy 8

    And in case anyone wonders, ‘juggernaught’ comes from a colonial India-era temple cart of that name which legend has it, used to crush followers under its wheels.

  8. alwyn 9

    Meanwhile, in Wellington, the City Council demonstrates what its view of the resident’s interests means.

    It’s not our responsibility to provide water to the hospital after an earthquake claims the council. They can go without.

    Late last year we found out where they really get their warm fuzzies.
    The council originally proposed to give the privately owned church $200,000 However our more left wing councillors decided to raise it to $400,000.

    Isn’t it wonderful how they love to give away other peoples money on things that really don’t have anything to do with council responsibilities while refusing to supply any provision for the most basic responsibility of a local body?

    Providing for the supply of water to the hospital after an earthquake? Forget it.
    Strengthening someone else’s church? Bring it on.

    • Molly 9.1

      $400,000? Loose change compared to the $10.6 million given to the V8 races in Pukekohe by a concerted (and somewhat shady) effort by the Franklin Local Board. (Very National aligned by the way)

      The spokesperson said ATEED recognised there would be considerable public interest in the V8s decision and it therefore briefed council staff and Mayor Len Brown regularly during the negotiations.

      ATEED also briefed councillors twice during an informal meeting before a council workshop on May 31st, and again during the lunch break of a meeting of the Auckland Plan Committee on July 3rd.

      It transpired, however, that neither of these briefings were formally notified and some councillors were not aware that the issue was to be discussed and missed the briefings.

      The spokesperson said they discovered that there was some confusion about what decision the committee was actually being asked to make.

      “Most of the complaints to us assumed that the council was being asked to make the final decision on whether to proceed with the contract. People were therefore concerned about the amount of time and information given to the council.”

      The spokesperson said in fact, ATEED was simply intending to brief the Council on a decision that it had already taken.

      “The decision to proceed with the contract was within ATEED’s mandate and delegated financial authority. It was consistent with the overall Major Events Strategy developed by ATEED and approved by the committee in May 2011.”

      You will be pleased to note that the prominent left-wing agitator Steven Joyce, added a further $2.2 million to the private pot.

      Which was then topped up with further money from Auckland Council ratepayers. Can’t find link at moment but if I recall correctly, it took the total up to $14 million – so far.

      The septic upgrade for Kawakawa Bay’s 600 residents was a blowout from $14 million to $29 million. This was when there was no great plan to expand. They are also getting broadband, when other closer communities are still on dial-up.

      The upgrade also cost the amalgamated Auckland Council when there was an overspend.

      Just last year AT spent time looking at the roading on the Pohutakawa coast. (see pg.6)

      This kind of spending often benefits a very few.

      Kawakawa Bay has now got the infrastructure to cope with 3000 residents, broadband rollout and likely have a roading upgrade.

      I wonder if anyone has thought of residential development out there?

      • alwyn 9.1.1

        I agree that there is an incredible amount of stupid activities being carried out by local bodies in New Zealand.
        I blame it on the way they pay local councillors so well these days. It makes it viable for people to make it a full time career where people with not much skill at anything can earn more money that they could if they got a real job. In Wellington an average councillor is get close to the $100,000 per annum level.
        They make it a full time job whereas in the past it was a part-time role from generally better skilled people, Michael Fowler or Roland O’Regan for example.

        However that is incidental. I am commenting on Wellington City, not the Franklin County people because I live in Wellington and, if there was a quake it would be Wellington Hospital I would be depending on to provide me with medical care if I needed it. I have, as you can see, a vested interest in what THIS council gets up to.
        If they don’t have the money to do everything, and I pray they don’t as their eyes are much bigger than my wallet, I want them to spend it on the things, like the water supply for the hospital, that really matter.

        You will have to be the one to worry about what goes on in your neck of the woods I’m afraid

        • Molly

          “…However our more left wing councillors decided to raise it to $400,000.

          This is the issue I have with your previous statement.

          It implies that the system is being gamed by left wing politicians. In fact it is a systemic failure, open to abuse from all parts of the political spectrum.

          That said, IMO right wingers are more likely to use/misuse the access to public funds – with little public benefit. And are vastly more adept at cloaking it.

        • Sacha

          ” in the past it was a part-time role from generally better skilled people”

          it was a role that only well-off business owners could afford to commit to – hence the stale pale male faces around the table, making decisions in their class’s interests.

          • Molly


          • alwyn

            I think you are being more that a little tough Sacha.
            For example back in the 1970s-1980s I can remember people like Michael Fowler, an architect, Ian Laurence was a lawyer, Rolland O’Regan (Sir Tipene’s father) was a surgeon, Betty Campbell was the wife of a maths professor and Ruth Gotlieb was the daughter of an Irish Rabbi.
            Not a businessman among them

            • weka

              lol, did you say that with straight face?

            • millsy

              All people who were in highly paid professions.

              • alwyn

                Most probably were Millsy. I don’t actually know whether Betty Campbell had a job, or Ruth for that matter. I also have no idea what Ruth’s husband Gerry did.

                However the comment Sacha made was
                “it was a role that only well-off business owners could afford to commit to – hence the stale pale male faces around the table, making decisions in their class’s interests”

                Even you would agree that that is a little bit over the top, wouldn’t you?

                • Sacha

                  Your list above does not contradict my point in the slightest. It’s very much the same as MPs – at one stage they were also all men of means. Old parliamentary photos are way different than current ones.

                  It’s all relative. Councils in smaller towns tend to be full of established retailers, lawyers and others whose staff and colleagues can keep their businesses going while they serve.

                  • alwyn

                    “Your list above does not contradict my point in the slightest.”
                    Really? But you talked about “stale pale male faces around the table”
                    You did notice that it was BETTY Campbell and RUTH Gotlieb didn’t you?
                    And yes they were both female so how do you argue that your claim of “pale male faces” could possibly be right?

            • swordfish

              Suspect Sacha is referring to the pre-1970s, when the Tory (so-called Citizens and Ratepayers) Councillors in Wellington (and presumably elsewhere) were indeed wealthy businessmen. They were the only ones who could afford it. Councillors received no pay at all before the 1970s, for instance.

              On the other hand, Wellington’s Labour councillors were by no means wealthy and had to not only give up an enormous amount of time to serve on the Council but it also actually cost them money that they generally couldn’t afford.

              My grandmother was a Wellington City Councillor / Hospital Board Member for Labour (1940s-60s) and she’d often not get home from meetings until after 1am. Then have to get up the next morning, sort the teens out for school and then head off to her relatively poor-paying job.

              Massive divide between the experiences and sacrifices of Labour vs Citizens councillors.

              • alwyn

                Then she has my admiration. I am quite happy to agree that a lot of them were male, but not that they all were or that they were necessarily businessmen. I am equally willing to agree that many councillors, and not just Labour ones, made great sacrifices to serve their communities. On the other hand your grandmother wasn’t. as Sacha insists, a “pale, MALE face” was she?

                • swordfish

                  Fair point, alwyn.

                  I remember left-leaning former Wellington City councillor, Stephanie Cook, saying something very similar (to Sacha’s argument) a few years ago.

                  While (obviously unlike your good self) sympathising with Cook’s argument that councillors deserve reasonable remuneration, I had to disagree with (what was essentially) her sweeping dismissal of all former councillors (as wealthy elites and dilettantes), particularly the very hard-working, unpaid Labour ones who, clearly, lived a much tougher life than Stephanie and other recent councillors ever have.

                  • alwyn

                    I have absolutely nothing against them getting reasonable remuneration, as you put it. I just don’t think we need to have a large bunch of not very good people who turn it into a full time job.

                    The mayor is a full time job. Being a councillor is not.
                    Were they really unpaid, right into the 1960s? That was not reasonable. On the other hand neither is $100k/year.

                    Actually I think that the most respected councillor in Wellington in recent years was Ian McKinnon. He took it up after having had a very successful career. It wasn’t an alternative to a proper job.

    • greywarshark 9.2

      Why not include in your whine the details of why the L-W councillors thought that the greater amount of money should be offered. It could have to do with the Church being an icon for the city for tourists, a historic piece showing an early architect’s work, was it where Katherine Mansfield used to go to Sunday School – WHAT?

      • alwyn 9.2.1

        Instead of whining about what I have said why aren’t you telling us why the council should support the church concerned.

        As far as I am concerned I couldn’t care less. An “icon for tourists”? really? It’s been closed for two and a half years. Yes it is an early church by an early architect. So what? Did KM go there? Gosh did she carve her name into a pew?
        It is, like all churches used for their original purpose, a relic of an outdated superstition. If the faithful want to keep it up let them.

        Just don’t let a council give my rates toward the preservation when they could far, far better spend it on a reliable water supply for the hospital. That is the sort of thing local bodies should be doing instead of just ignoring their responsibilities.

        • Molly

          “That is the sort of thing local bodies should be doing instead of just ignoring their responsibilities.”

          By all means, hold them responsible for the provision of potable water – not just for the hospital, but for the city. I agree, this is a primary function of local government.

          Unlike you, not overly concerned with money being spent towards a church, as long as that is offset with comparable spending in other parts of the community, I don’t have a problem. Especially at this level of expenditure.

          Emotional health and wellbeing in community raises outcomes long-term and can promote active community works and volunteers.

        • Molly

          Alwyn, just reading your comments and wondering –

          Who do you think should be responsible for the provision of emergency water supplies for the hospital:

          Wellington City Council?
          Greater Wellington Regional Council?
          Capital & Coast District Health Board?
          All councils involved in the catchment for Wellington Hospital?
          or the Ministry of Health?

          As far as I can ascertain, the hospital has access to clean water provided by the existing infrastructure and then access to five more days of water via the reservoir.

          To me, it is the role of the Ministry to extend that if they see a need for it.
          The basic services, and some leeway has already been provided.

          What is your reasoning for putting the onus solely on Wellington City Council?

          • Paul

            Probably because it is not run by the National Party

            • alwyn

              Some of your comments are sensible and thoughtful.
              Some are stupid. This is in the latter class.

              • Paul

                Thanks for the pleasant comment.

              • ropata

                whereas your dishonest attack on the Council is a shining example of truthiness? haven’t you realised that your NatCorp™ heroes are responsible for running down hospitals, but everyone is too scared to speak up?

                Massive cuts to the Health System Funding has some how been Kept off the Front Pages of The New Zealand Media for… https://t.co/3xltoRmy9V— Geoff (@GSilbery) January 9, 2016

                Somehow #HeraldActPartyNewsletter would rather tell us someone owns 11 houses so what are the poor complaining about

                • alwyn

                  Don’t be silly. What are these “massive cuts” you talk of?
                  National have been quite honest in their claims that they have increased the Health System Funding during their time in office.
                  Attack them on something truthful. You only make a fool of yourself when your attacks are so readily shown to be rubbish.
                  I am not of course talking about the overall expenditure on health. I am talking about the WCC refusing to supply water to the hospital after any earthquake that might occur. Why won’t they?

                  • ropata

                    Why won’t you talk about the government’s failures in health? Prefer to throw random accusations at local councils instead? Care to tell us the real reason why you are trying to undermine local democracy?


                    The Government is proud that it has kept health issues off the front page. It likes to take the credit for this itself. Every year it brags about increasing the health vote. John Key’s administration knows that health cuts and huge structural changes badly damaged a previous National government. The minister of health’s propaganda machine works hard to spread the “good news”.

                    All this might change. There is mounting evidence that rises in health spending are failing to meet rising health needs. If this becomes widely known and the bad news outweighs the good, the politics of health will turn toxic.

                    In Christchurch, elderly people complain they are being refused elective surgery and must continue to live in pain and distress. Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates says the board is meeting Health Ministry targets but acknowledges it should be doing more. This is in effect an admission of unmet need.
                    Measuring the shortfall is difficult and controversial. The total health budget has fallen from 6.32 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009 to just over 6 per cent in 2014. Meeting the shortfall would cost $750m.

                    The trouble with these comparisons is that they fail to take account of efficiency savings. They also fail, on the other hand, to measure how much budget services have in effect been cut. DHBs are sending more and more patients back to their GPs instead of granting appointments with specialists, a necessary first step on the way to elective surgery.

                    As the system creaks under the strain, more stories of pain and suffering are likely. That in turn would lead to more protest and more cynicism about government assurances about the health system. No government would want that.

                    • alwyn

                      You have an interesting diversionary approach, don’t you? I am complaining about the WCC refusing to carry out their duty of supplying water to the DHB hospitals in the event of an earthquake.
                      You want to turn it into a debate about the Government Health Policy. Very simply I will put it to you.
                      Can you justify the council’s action?
                      If not, are you willing to condemn them?

                    • ropata

                      not really as you seem to have that covered.
                      is this attack part of a campaign for a wellington supercity?
                      or would you rather throw out democracy altogether a-la ECAN?

          • alwyn

            At the moment water supply is the responsibility of the individual councils although the work is done by a subsidiary of the Regional Council.
            The councils don’t want to give it up. I doubt that many people here would want to have the Regional Council take it over as it is a bit like a super city argument isn’t it?

            There are only three council areas that are served by the Capital and Coast DHB. They are Wellington City, Porirua and Kapiti. Actually I am not sure if the whole of Kapiti is included in the DHB area or if it is split.

            Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt, as well as the Wairarapa is not served by the DHB.
            Greater Wellington Regional Council doesn’t seem appropriate.

            At the moment the local body in which the hospital exists is responsible. Wellington for the main hospital and Porirua for Keneperu. I imagine Kapiti worry about the health centre in their area.

            I think that is the way it should continue. Do we really want a tiny part of the water supply owned by a different body like the health ministry. I think not.
            Do we, as an alternative want the Wellington main hospital to be different to every other hospital in the country? All the other DHB hospitals are supplied by their local body. Again I think not.

            Why put the onus on the WCC? Because they are the only local body that won’t look after their responsibility. Kapiti do, Porirua do. Wellington are the only odd one out.

            Do you really think that 5 days is enough? Please get real. After an earthquake the council says it could take months to restore the supply. Are you going to take the responsibility for the hospital not being able to operate because the WCC refuse to do what every other affected council does?

            • Molly

              “At the moment the local body in which the hospital exists is responsible. Wellington for the main hospital and Porirua for Keneperu. I imagine Kapiti worry about the health centre in their area.”
              A lot of supposition there. Keneperu looks like a small community run hospital, which makes me think emergency planning would be fairly straightforward and easy to absorb. Kapiti health centre is also a day facility – not requiring intricate strategies to deal with civil emergencies.

              “Do you really think that 5 days is enough? Please get real. After an earthquake the council says it could take months to restore the supply. “

              5 days is time to allow the non-affected regions time to get sorted to help organise continued supplies. Best done by a national body, ie. Ministry of Health. It also provides time to move patients to non-affected areas and other service providers.

              In this case, the Ministry is the best suited to create a national framework of identifying supply and external sources for DHB’s around the country in case of an emergency AND acting on that plan when necessary.

              National funding for this kind of civil emergency planning is the better option. National planning involves the identification of neighbours who can help, and how that help can be implemented quickly and successfully. This cannot be done by the silo mentality (and local budgets) of local government.

              • alwyn

                “Kenepuru looks like a small community run hospital”.
                Don’t make me laugh. You have obviously never been near the place and haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about. I have and “small” is the last word I’d use.
                From their website they say
                “The hospital provides medical, surgical, maternity and child health services, plus services for the elderly, a specialist inpatient assessment, treatment and rehabilitation service, and outpatient clinics.”
                Here is a Google map photo. Small my foot.

                • Molly

                  As you say, I haven’t been there which is why I said “looked” and provided the link to the DHB site where I looked.

                  Nothing you have said indicates a large critical care unit, or emergency services.

                  And – as usual. You choose one item to derail the thread.

                  Consider the rest.

                  • alwyn

                    When you are deep in a hole it is better to stop digging.

                    Why do you think the size of Keneperu has anything at all to do with the actions of the Wellington City Council refusing to carry out their duty of being able to guarantee sufficient water to the main hospital in Wellington after an earthquake?

                    Porirua is doing it for Keneperu. Wellington is a bigger, and more important hospital and the Wellington City Council is trying to get out of its responsibilities.
                    You can’t justify it and you know it. Better stop digging.

                    As for “derailing the thread”. How can I possibly derail Open Mike?
                    Why don’t you look at what it is for? As it says at the top

                    “For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.”

                    I started by talking about the attitude to their responsibilities of the WCC. If you want to talk about something else go ahead, but don’t expect me to give up talking about the important things I want to bring up.

                    • Molly

                      “5 days is time to allow the non-affected regions time to get sorted to help organise continued supplies. Best done by a national body, ie. Ministry of Health. It also provides time to move patients to non-affected areas and other service providers.

                      In this case, the Ministry is the best suited to create a national framework of identifying supply and external sources for DHB’s around the country in case of an emergency AND acting on that plan when necessary.

                      National funding for this kind of civil emergency planning is the better option. National planning involves the identification of neighbours who can help, and how that help can be implemented quickly and successfully. This cannot be done by the silo mentality (and local budgets) of local government.”

                      This is the part of this thread you choose to repeatedly ignore.

                      I’d be interested to hear why this approach to you is not valid.

                      I suspect it is because your original premise of non-concern about emergency water supplies was just an excuse to have a dig at “left wing councillors.”.

  9. Sabine 10

    oh so you mean the ‘lefties’ can’t give tax payers money to private enterprise, or privately owned holdings? Only a National led government can do that? Good for clearing that up.

    • alwyn 10.1

      I assume this is meant as an answer to my comment, in spite of not using the reply option.

      Great attempt at a diversion Sabine.
      I see that you don’t care that the council is threatening not to provide any water to the hospital after an earthquake, if one should occur. People will just have to die.
      Well I live here. I want the hospital to be there and able to work afterwards if a quake should hit us.

      You also appear to think that anything a central government can do a local government should be able to do also.
      Well I don’t. I don’t want the city of Dunedin declaring war on Fiji. I don’t want Wellington setting up its own police force. I don’t want Auckland City banning people who live outside the city from buying property there. I don’t want Hamilton to make me get a visa before I can travel through the city.
      Shall I go on with the idiocies implied by your question?

      • Sabine 10.1.1

        dear PR i live in that large city that everyone should move out if they can’t afford it.

        I clearly remember a few years ago, there were ads on the Telly as to what to do when the biggie hits.

        Basically it boiled down to, don’t expect the government to come and help you for the first 3 days or three weeks.

        They even advised us that we could pick 40 liter water containers up to store and that we should have a ‘family’ plan on how to survive, meat up n such.

        But what I find interesting that after several years of the National led government shoving money up the arse of private enterprise and businesses – Molly made a fine point of listing some of them, it seems that you only have an issue with this when it is the left that does it.

        I just pointed out that if National does it and it is ok, why do you get so upset when a ‘lefty’ does it.

        And no I don’t expect a National government to do anything if the biggie comes, CHCH with its underfunded Health Department, its homeless, its faulty buildings, its lax approach to helping people that don’t play golf or live in the right suburbs and its ECAN Council comes to mind. So clearly, why don’t we all accept that if the biggie happens in NZ, ya’ll should be happy to have volunteer services that will come and dig ya out from under your rubble cause that is about all you will get.

        • alwyn

          “Dear PR”, you say. I’m alwyn by the way, not Puckish Rogue nor a public relations type.
          I have commented on what you are saying just above here, at 9.1.1 in reply to Molly.
          I am commenting on Wellington because I live here and the majority (not all) of the councillor’s supporting the money to the church are of the left.
          I don’t live in, or follow to any real degree the situation in other local bodies. How many of them are there, and how much time would be spent on worrying about them?
          As for ” its lax approach to helping people that don’t play golf or live in the right suburbs “. Your prejudice is showing. In New Zealand golf isn’t really only a rich man’s sport you know.

          • sabine

            Sorry dear Alwyn, my bad, but frankly you guys sound all the same.

            I don’t trust government to provide any services should the biggie come. Why? Oh i once worked in the Water Treatment Industry of NZ, nationwide, not just where i live, and frankly, you should be scared. Really Really fucking scared. And you should be scared all year around, but especially in times of drought. And not just for the town you live but the whole of the country. Cause frankly, if we have a mega drought there is a lot of hurt and the hospital will be the last of your worries.

            In saying that, i have no issue with your point about what should be funded, i have an issue with your ‘lefty council member’, cause clearly that is the fault here. Not council member, not elected representative, No its the dreaded ‘lefty council member’ who dares to spend monies without your approval.

            We have a flag debacle, we have new money printed , we have cycleways to nowhere, we have visits of royals (that are obviously less colonialist and imperialistic than our flag), we have Rio Tinto, we have so many instances of ‘rightwing government spending money that is not theirs like there is no tomorrow, and by and large they have spend it on rubbish with no value’. So yes i find your little missive about ‘lefty wellingtonian councilpersosn’ spending money on saving what might be an iconic building in the town just laughable.
            There that is it.
            I find your concern about mis-use of funds after all these years of racking up of debt (100 billion and counting) by your supported National led government simply laughable.

  10. Rosemary McDonald 11

    Old Battler takes on Big Wine…


    “The shelter belt removal would expose his house, which is within 30 metres of the boundary, to strong easterly winds, viticultural spray drift, and dust, he said.

    “I’m one of the older generation in the valley who built a livelihood on farming and this aspect of agriculture has now almost disappeared from Marlborough.”

    “Don’t get me wrong I’m not against grapes, they’ve done a lot of good for the region, and I am keen to remain on good terms with Delegats but it is the way the big corporates deal with the issues with the community.”

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Delegats manager with a Sri Lankan? name, is operating the winery’s business for efficiency and profit not for co-operative community and neighbourly relations, which have no balance sheet value.

      And here is another interesting article from the stuff page. This beautiful woman has made a vow this year to accept her body as it is and not to plan to change it to make it better in some way. WTF. Women are under so much structural pressure from the hegemony about how women should be that makes them constantly dissatisfied and wanting to look like someone else, someone more glossy and plastic.

      Have a look at this photo she put up….but on the other hand, turning the story over, it is a great way of getting publicity and celebrating her great looks.

        • greywarshark

          She does too.

          • Paul

            She? Who?

            • greywarshark

              I put a comment up on Delegats and their not attractive policies.
              Under there was one about an attractive woman. Did you not see her?

              • Colonial Viper

                Women are under so much structural pressure from the hegemony about how women should be that makes them constantly dissatisfied and wanting to look like someone else, someone more glossy and plastic.

                Meh, tell those women to turn off the TV and stop buying magazines. Also stop hanging out with people who buy into all the expectations bullshit. I know plenty of men and women who have, are exploring going off grid and are happy to be free of MSM brainwashing.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Seriously dodgey doings in the name of the grape juice industry in Marlborough.

          Seriously. Seems rules and regulations can be arbitrarily cast aside in the pursuit of an extra couple of litres of whatever it is they make out of the grape juice….because it certainly struggles to qualify as “wine”. IMHO.

          Every day, one more New Zealander will come to the realisation that we are nothing in the face of the corporations.

          The collective grief over the death of New Zealand ‘the way we were’ just might be enough to effect political change…

          Now…if only we had a solid viable opposition….one not toadying to the centre right.


  11. Sabine 12

    someone posted about the lead poisioning of the town of Flint when the emergency Manager switched the water supply for the town from clean Lake Huroe water to poisoned river water.

    Well now the same emergency powers are now trheatening the good people of Flint with shut down notices if they don’t pronto pay the bills for the water that poisoned them.

    🙂 but surely our resident National Government and TPPA supporters would say that that could never ever happen here, cause we are special and so much more deserving.


    Oh well, I think some schmuck CEO from Nestle once famously said that Water was not a right, but something that is only for those that can pay for it.

    Question to our Resident National Government and TPPA supporters. Do you think you have enough money to provide Water for yourselves and your family? do you?

    • greywarshark 12.1

      An interesting aspect to the Flint water crisis is the background – obviously there must be a story there!

      Think Christchurch as you read about Flint. Since the closure of the GM plant and various businesses that were attached to the car manufacturer, Flint has been really impoverished. The top banana and his jesters that decided on switching to cheaper water drawn from the Flint River (with pollution-added chemicals that unfortunately interacted with lead in the city’s old pipes) instead of the quality water of Lake Huron, was an appointed manager, not an elected person representing and answerable to the residents/citizens. So control was imposed on Flint from above like Christchurch has had ‘martial’ law imposed on them, and that was because of water too!

      Flint’s dastardly treatment would probably not happen in an impoverished Christchurch though, because Flint’s population is approximately 60% black, When the good times roll by and people of a certain class become needy, the old prejudices roll out, the triage starts as to who deserves the good treatment and who can wait. (Thinking about USA racism which was also noticeable after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. There are a lot of low-lying areas down south there vulnerable to the climate change-related savage storms expected to become more frequent.)

      If you want more detail I put numbers of links in an earlier comment which you can search for.

  12. greywarshark 13

    I don’t know if this death has been already commemorated here but I want to record my sorrow at the death from cancer on 23 December 2015 of Claire Prebble. She was from Golden Bay, Nelson area and a fine artist who won the prime Wearable Art award when she was only 18. She was only 29 when she died.

    Last year there were numerous fund raising projects that enabled her to travel to Germany to try some special cancer treatment there..

    This stuff item has an instagram which will bring up an image of her wearing one of her wonderful creations. It may have been the award winning one.

    It was a melanoma on her leg. Keep an eye out for your own sunspots. It is a sad
    way to lose a great person and at such an early age. She was hopeful, warm and wise when expressing her feelings so I believe would want others to take care and be spared this abrupt end of life happening.

    • Rosemary McDonald 14.1

      Deserves greater prominence.

      One read is not enough…thanks for posting this.

  13. ropata 15

    Why bother having the Official Information Act at all?

    Journalists who make requests for official information from government agencies are used to lengthy delays and lots of blacked-out pages.
    Hefty invoices, like the $651 estimate received by Fairfax business journalist Richard Meadows this week for an Official Information Act (OIA) request to the Reserve Bank, are much rarer.
    Meadows was informed by the Reserve Bank that charging media for requests was now its “standard policy”, rather than a one-off.

    This is part of a wider problem. Back in December outgoing chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem recommended that agencies make wider use of charges … despite the clear public interest and democratic value of their requests.
    … charging is going to become a lot more common – or, to put it another way, public information is going to become a lot less available, and Ministers and public servants a lot less accountable. Good for them, but bad for our democracy.

    But its not just bad for our democracy. As Jacinda Ardern points out, this is our information, and departments should be making it available to us. Instead, they’ll be using charges to deter requests and keep it secret.

    another day, another chance to screw the public interest

    • greywarshark 15.1

      If govt depts are going to charge for services they are legally obliged to perform, what next? If they are going to charge as for a product then if it comes all blacked out can you get them under the Trade Description Act or whatever on the basis that the product isn’t fit for its purpose, ie providing readable information.

      Our democracy is full of holes. A regular leaky home with toxic matter growing in the walls.

    • Paul 16.1

      pr wants you to burn a lot of energy reacting to his comments.

      • Puckish Rogue 16.1.1

        Do you think that what this person is saying is covered by freedom of speech or, since hes advocating violence) that he shouldn’t be allowed to speak

        Try adding something positive for a change rather then your usual trolling, I mean I know you didn’t start the thread but if you try contributing you might learn something

        • weka

          Muslim cleric advising hitting wives with a small stick.

          NZ Prime Minister pulling the pony tail of a waitress against her will.

          • Muttonbird

            Indeed. Both actions are symbolic and sickly.

            As for puckish rogue, he has yet again reposted a week old click-bait article which Farrar put up only today.

            Really tiresome.

            • weka

              Thanks for explaining that. I’m almost never looking on KB so don’t see the context.

        • Stuart Munro

          Economic violence should not be privileged above other violence.

          Non-violence is a convention which can become untenable.

          “Non violence means cooperation when possible, resistance when not.” Kundun

          Cooperation is not possible with corrupt, tyranical child abusing governments like the Gnats (and no, this does not refer to he-who-is-not-to-be-named: there are others).

  14. weka 17

    Drought-stricken California sells off its water to highest bidder.


    • Andre 17.1

      Maybe it’ll become more profitable for our local farmers to sell hay to Saudis than to run intensive high-input dairy. The Saudis paid $67, 000NZD per hectare at current exchange rates, more than local farms are going for.

      • weka 17.1.1

        Ok, to be fire-proof undie blunt about it, it’s ok for farmers to wreck the land and planet for the sake of a bit of cash but it’s not ok for a Māori woman to have more than 2 kids? How does that work?

        • Andre

          That’s better, got a bit of sting to it.

          Neither of them is ok. But a farmer moving from intensive dairy to growing purely vegetable matter would be reducing methane emissions very dramatically, at least here in New Zealand, and reducing pollution in our waterways.

          Whereas 6 kids this generation leading to 18 grandkids the next generation leading to 54 great-grandkids…I’m sure you can see the problem.

          What’s Marama being Maori got to do with it?

          • Muttonbird

            What have you got against 54 Maori grandchildren as opposed to 54 Chinese grandchildren?

            • Andre

              My objection is to the 54, instead of 8 tops. Not whether Maori or Chinese, wealthy or not wealthy, or whatever other social or class differentiators you or I can come up with.

              • weka

                whereas I have far less of a problem with Davidson having 6 kids than say Mrs English. Who’s kids are likely to have more impact or screw up the planet more?

                btw, if we are in overshoot then 2 kids per person is too many by your own logic. Myself, I think we should be looking at the landbase where we live, figure out how many people it can support, and then adjusting population accordingly. NZ is using far more than its fair share of the planet, but apparently we’re special.

                • Andre

                  I agree the English kids are more likely to be resource intensive than the Davidson kids. But I would be really queasy about trying to make an argument that they are more or less worthy to be brought into this world on that basis.

                  • Muttonbird

                    Andre. Are you advocating for a one child policy the globe over?

                    • Andre

                      I’d like to see a birthrate well below replacement all over the world. It seems the much better way to achieve that is through education, of girls in impoverished areas in particular. The Chinese way was too viciously brutal for me to have any enthusiasm for, even though it did achieve results.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Interesting. As you say the one child policy in China was vicious and brutal and it was implemented under a brutal dictatorship and in a society which has never known democracy, and still doesn’t.

                      What chance then of a one child policy in more enlightened societies around the world?

                    • McFlock

                      What chance then of a one child policy in more enlightened societies around the world?

                      ISTR one isn’t really needed. Increase economic and social wellbeing and the female fertility rate seems to drop below 2 naturally. Yes, some might have half a dozen or more, but those who have one or none more than make up for it.

                      Even in religious countries (Italy comes to mind), when people are financially secure and women have control over their own bodies, folks stop breeding so much.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Agree, but Andre wants what he sees as prolific breeders to be neutered in some way and I’m trying to get to the bottom of it.

                    • Andre

                      I want our society to change so that would-be prolific breeders understand what kind of impact that would have, and be influenced to be less prolific. Worldwide. So we don’t ever get a repeat of the likes of the Duggar “19 and counting”. But I think social pressure and education are enough to do it. I don’t see a reason for coercion, especially if more reasonable steps are taken.

                      Having a representative of the only political party that’s serious about sustainability being a prolific breeder, and loud and proud about it, is a big step in the wrong direction.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I see that you have already in this thread put the onus for breeding upon women no matter what their position in life, so why (as weka has pointed out) are you are holding Marama Davidson to account and not Bill English’s wife on this?

                      Is it because she has the temerity to push for a sustainable future while Bill English and his wife do not?

                    • weka

                      Andre, I’m curious if you have read the GP policy on population. What’s the Duggar thing? The reason women don’t have as many children now is because of access to contraception and economic emancipation (of a sort).

                      McFlock, that’s all well and good, but globally it’s not enough if the increase in economic and social wellbeing come with a big carbon footprint. Not that they have to, but they do currently.

                    • Andre

                      Bill English and Marama Davidson have chosen to put themselves in the public eye. In case it wasn’t clear in my comments, I hold Bill to be as responsible for his large family in the same way I hold Marama responsible for hers. Mrs English and Mr Davidson have not chosen the public sphere, so I prefer to leave them out of it.

                      Yes, I do expect politicians to practice what they preach. Call me naïve or idealistic or whatever. So yes, Bill English rorting his housing allowance while preaching fiscal responsibility and better ethics is hypocrisy I will never forgive. But I don’t recall him ever giving a shit about sustainability. Preaching sustainability while proudly being responsible for a lot of offspring is also hypocrisy, so I’m calling Marama on it.

                    • McFlock

                      McFlock, that’s all well and good, but globally it’s not enough if the increase in economic and social wellbeing come with a big carbon footprint.

                      at the moment we’ve got the worst of both worlds – concentration of wealth and the increased carbon footprint.

                  • alwyn

                    Of course if all the English kids do as well as the oldest one their contribution to the world is likely to be immense

                    Why pick on a Maori party MP though? Wouldn’t it be more relevant to go straight to the source and ask ex Green MP Sue Bradford why she had five kids?

                    I suppose the answer will be like the one when Jeanette Fitzsimmons was caught having a burn-off on her farm during a period of a total fire ban. It was all right if she did it because she knew what she was doing. Fire bans were only for other, less important people.

                • Andre

                  Weka, you appear to be arguing for differences in reproductive privileges based on where someone lives and their income. Not a position I would want to be in.

                  • Muttonbird

                    And you appear to be arguing for differences in reproductive privileges based on what their environmental and political affiliations are.

                    You can’t have it both ways.

                    • Andre

                      Clearly poor wording on my part. I was trying to argue for no differentiation in reproductive privileges at all, but a lot more education and leading by example.

                      So if Marama had made no mention at all of her kids of her own accord, and then when asked about it, had some kind of response like “at the time, I didn’t appreciate the impact of my choices and I now encourage others to think of sustainability in their family planning”, then right now I would be singing her praises instead of criticising.

                    • weka

                      Andre, can you please link to where Davidson has talked about her kids, because you have referred to this a few times and I have no idea what you are implying.

                      “Weka, you appear to be arguing for differences in reproductive privileges based on where someone lives and their income.”

                      Not at all. I’m just responding to your argument that some people are morally/ethically allowed 6 kids and others aren’t. If we are going to apply pressure to certain groups of people to not have kids, I think we should lighten up on the people who have a better understanding of the global crisis and go heavier on the people who are part of the problem.

                      As McFlock points out, a woman having 6 kids per se isn’t necessarily a problem. Hell, I don’t have kids, so I nominate my two spare places for Davidson. I’m sure someone else will as well, which means she’s not over her quota. Yes, I am being (mostly) facetious. The basic notion that Davidson’s reproductive choices are up for political discussion is pretty abhorrent and as I pointed out originally is based on bigotries.

                    • Andre


                      Don’t tell me you don’t know how to google.

                      I’m not suggesting that she’s not entitled to have six kids if she wants them. I’m suggesting that the fact that she has had those six kids damages her credibility when talking about sustainability, and given she represents a party that is all about sustainability, she damages that credibility of her party.

                      I think you’ve come at lot closer to suggesting some people do or should have a greater moral/ethical entitlement than I have.

                      quoting you
                      “whereas I have far less of a problem with Davidson having 6 kids than say Mrs English. Who’s kids are likely to have more impact or screw up the planet more?”

                      ” I think we should lighten up on the people who have a better understanding of the global crisis and go heavier on the people who are part of the problem”

                    • weka

                      Yeah I can google, just can’t read minds and Gevil haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. Thanks for finally clarifying what you’ve been referring to all this time. I loved Davidson’s maiden speech.

                      Open mike 07/11/2015

                      I also love her obvious love for her whānau and quite frankly I find it weird that you think she should somehow say she regrets having the last 4 of her children.

                      Her credibility isn’t damaged, because most people don’t consider having more than 2 kids a sin. I’m curious, have you looked at how many kids the rest of the GP have, or is it just that Davidson had the gall to stand up and say she loves hers?

                      The only reason I brought up Mrs English and rich people having babies was to lazily counter your attention to Davidson’s choices. I don’t actually care about the numbers of children people have so much and I’ve already explained that to me sustainability is about the relationship between the numbers of people and the landbase they live in and whether it can support them. You’re still thinking in globalisation terms, but the problem with that is that it doesn’t take into account the actual footprints.

          • weka

            /facepalm. What do you think the alfalfa is going to be used for? It’s ok if the emissions are done somewhere else?

            What makes you think Davidson’s kids are going to have that many kids?

            • Andre

              If it’s going to feed horses, the methane is going to be a lot lower. If it’s for goats or sheep, it’ll be a bit lower.

              If there’s been a cultural influence on Marama’s reproductive choices, that’s fairly likely to be passed on, unless the culture changes in the meantime. Just like Bill English’s kids are likely to be relatively more reproductive than average.

              • weka

                They’re a huge company that is farming unsustainably. Suggesting that it’s ok to export our water to them because it’s horses instead of cows is discussing the rearrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic.

                I think you’re whole line about Davidson, including what her kids may or may not do, is founded on hefty speculation that you’ve failed to back up in any way.

                • Andre

                  In her maiden speech, Marama was loud and proud about her 6 kids. The 6 kids is prominent on her page in the Greens website. On the basis of that, I think it’s fair to infer that the irony of representing “sustainability” while having such a large family has totally passed her by.

                  I showed my 12 year old twins her page (separately), and asked them what they thought. No lead-in whatsoever. They both picked up on it-Greens-sustainability-6 kids, WTF? Adults, that are also green oriented, also have a wtf reaction when I mention the 6 kids.

                  I get the impression the only farming acceptable to you is going back to highly labour-intensive methods. That’s a position that ain’t gonna happen in a world of 7 billion people and climbing fast. It’s also an attitude that puts a lot of people off greens, even environmentally oriented people.

                  From a global perspective, and a local perspective, if a local intensive dairy farm converted to supplying hay to Saudis (which I really can’t imagine happening), it would be an improvement on what is happening now. The Saudis wouldn’t be growing the fodder for their animals using their local water (which may even come from a desalination plant). We would have one less herd of seriously polluting animals here. It may not be what you would like, but it would be an improvement over the status quo.

                  • Sacha

                    Did you catch that research late last year that showed higher stock levels were not any more profitable for NZ dairy farmers? Can’t recall link, sorry.

                    • Andre

                      Yeah, I did. It seems intuitively obvious to me that sitting on the lower side of the peak in the gross profit/input cost curve is a lot safer and more robust in the event of downturns.

                  • Molly

                    “I showed my 12 year old twins her page (separately), and asked them what they thought. No lead-in whatsoever. They both picked up on it-Greens-sustainability-6 kids, WTF? Adults, that are also green oriented, also have a wtf reaction when I mention the 6 kids.

                    Of course they did. They are twelve and live with you, they will pick up on many of your attitudes. This does change – by the way. Brace yourself.

                    You seem to have a concern about sustainability, and a need for all those with whom you engage to be without fault. Not that I consider it a fault to have children for whom you are responsible. If anything, it keeps the focus on their future.

                    Bill English may well have six kids and not be talking about sustainability… which makes him… wilfully obstinate, ignorant, self-involved, non-informed?

                    The pertinent questions are: Why the hell is Bill English NOT talking about sustainability? Are how can we make him do so while he acts as a representative for NZers?

                    You are fixated on the wrong issue here. If more politicians – regardless of offspring – spoke passionately about true sustainable policies – then we would have a better chance of change, and a better outlook.

                    • + 1 Great comment.

                      “The pertinent questions are: Why the hell is Bill English NOT talking about sustainability? Are how can we make him do so while he acts as a representative for NZers?”

                      So true

                  • weka

                    From a global perspective, and a local perspective, if a local intensive dairy farm converted to supplying hay to Saudis (which I really can’t imagine happening), it would be an improvement on what is happening now. The Saudis wouldn’t be growing the fodder for their animals using their local water (which may even come from a desalination plant). We would have one less herd of seriously polluting animals here. It may not be what you would like, but it would be an improvement over the status quo.

                    Pissing in the wind mate. Having the deckchairs on the Titanic facing the stern instead of the bow doesn’t stop the ship from sinking. It’s not about what I like, it’s about the systems that are destroying the planet and how tinkering with them enables them (I spent a bunch of time this morning explaining that).

  15. smokes kreen 18

    In today’s NZ Herald (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11573431) an article about a Remuera house being sold for almost $2 million to a Chinese person who has demolished this lovely character home and the site is now being used as a car park. What’s more, this was all done without gaining resource consent. Apparently the Council is in “discussions” with the owner, but It’s too late – the horse has bolted and the property has been demolished.

    This is destruction and flagrant disregard for the rules around this type of activity of the worst kind and is surely not the type of “overseas investment” envisaged in this country. No doubt this site will be used for high rise in the future. It’s all about money and greed and has no respect for the history and character of properties like this.

    • weka 18.1

      I suspect the compliance issues are all about the running of a commercial carpark and nothing about the demolition of the house.

    • ropata 18.2

      This mass influx of $$$ comes with strings attached and these slick operators expect to be able to grease a few palms and take shortcuts like they do back in China. The propertied class of NZ is pimping our country for a few beads and blankets. The yuan is a seriously dodgy fiat currency and I can’t believe we accept this shite in our own back yard. Disgusting

      • Colonial Viper 18.2.1

        Yes, $2M Remuera mansions need the protection of the common man.

        • ropata

          I don’t give a shit about the house but I am concerned about the disregard for law and property and the fly by night nature of these types of investors.

          • Colonial Viper

            Plenty of rich lawyers and judges and doctor and professional types live in Remers; old money galore. If they had wanted to stop this happening they could have.

  16. Muttonbird 19

    An investigation has been launched after a police officer shot himself in the foot while searching for a wanted person.
    The incident happened in mid-December and RNZ News understands it took place during the search for the killer of Lance John Murphy.
    RNZ News has been told that during the search for Mr Murphy’s killer, an officer fell over and shot himself in the foot.
    Police have confirmed the incident, and said the officer was not a member of the Armed Offenders Squad, but was carrying a rifle.
    They said an investigation was immediately launched and the firearm was sent to the police armoury for examination.
    Police Association vice-President Luke Shadbolt said it was not yet known whether it was a mechanical failure or a training issue, but if it was the latter, it was a serious concern.
    “If it comes down to a training or familiarity issue, it is something that we have raised with the police in the past about the frequency and the amount of training that police officers are recieveing on their firearms training.”


    This is why ordinary cops shouldn’t be allowed to carry guns. The proper training isn’t there, and I suspect the current government will refuse to pay for that training.

  17. ropata 20

    Love the comments below this TPP puff piece…
    Editorial: TPP signing is an honour, let’s respect it

    As if these corporate PR hacks deserve any respect!
    (referring to the politicians here – but the #HeraldActPartyNewsletter is no better)

    • Muttonbird 20.1

      I saw that earlier and was very surprised to see the Herald literally begging for opponents of the TPP to self-censor by not turning up to protest in case (I assume) John Key might be embarrassed.

      • Molly 20.1.1

        Going to protest because I’m agin’ the TPPA.

        But “John Key might be embarrassed.” That’s a definite cherry on top.

        Can you imagine the signs that could be created with this in mind?

        • Andre

          Penny Bright certainly seemed to embarrass the Natz with her NO TPPA sign during the Northland campaign. That was a classic photo of them all looking across the street as they walked past her.

          • Molly

            Andre, do you have a link?

            And you are right, sounds like classic Penny Bright, and classic Natz response.

            • Andre

              Sorry no I don’t have a link. I think it was here on The Standard, but haven’t found it yet.

  18. Muttonbird 21

    Not sure where else to ask this but is the local and global obsession with lottery values and lottery winners a diversion from the real difficulties of working class life?

    Local and international print, web, radio, social, and broadcast media have been awash with a big jackpot in The States and local media never fail to report on the every movement of a suspected winner of some paltry sum in New Zealand.

    Strikes me that modern day lottery porn is Huxley’s Soma for the masses.

  19. Ron 22

    Today’s The Guardian has undertaken a major study of Labour Party throughout UK and how its people were feeling since Corbyn was elected Leader.
    Despite the doom and gloom from some former Blairites the British Labour Party has not only increased membership across the country but in some cases doubling, tripling, quadrupling, and even quintupling membership. It seems that the voters do want a more left wing party. I can only hope that this message is listened to by leaders in NZ Labour. The Guardian article is well worth a read

    • weka 22.1

      this one?


      The Guardian has interviewed Labour secretaries, chairs, other office holders and members from more than 100 of the 632 constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales. Almost every constituency party across the country we contacted reported doubling, trebling, quadrupling or even quintupling membership, and a revival of branches that had been moribund for years and close to folding.

      The Guardian survey, coming after months of infighting within the Parliamentary Labour party (PLP) following Corbyn’s leadership victory, provides an opportunity for the voices of the party grassroots to be heard.

      • weka 22.1.1

        You’re right, it’s a very interesting read, the effect of the increase in young people in particular.

        The rise in membership has been uneven across the country. In contrast with steep rises in London and elsewhere in England and Wales, the rises in Scotland have been relatively modest, ominous for the party’s hopes in May’s Scottish parliamentary election.

        Members, in spite of unhappiness with public splits within the PLP, say there is no appetite for deselection of MPs. But some acknowledge that proposed boundary changes in 2018 could result in de-facto deselection.

        Returning members, who had left Labour mainly in protest over the 2003 Iraq invasion, are making an immediate impact, partly because they are familiar with the rules.

        Both returning members and new ones tend to be mainly leftwing. There are few reports of attempted infiltration from hard-left groups.

    • Colonial Viper 22.2

      I can only hope that this message is listened to by leaders in NZ Labour. The Guardian article is well worth a read

      Seriously? I believe that you are out of touch. The Robertonite/Little/Shearer crowd are the Third Way Globalist Blairites of NZ Labour; they are in charge and why on earth would they want to move to the left and increase a grass roots membership which might threaten their comfy status quo???

  20. greywarshark 23

    The intestinal flora thing is becoming more complex. We have heard about faecal implantation? and now this is an article telling us not to wash our hands so often, like after gardening or playing with the dog.

    We should stop washing our hands as often to protect ourselves against allergies and food intolerances, experts suggest. This would encourage helpful bacteria – essential for regulating the immune system – into the body. American scientists say these microbes are vanishing from our guts because of a huge reduction in the amount of fibre in our diets.

    Bacteria live primarily on fibre and people today eat just a tenth of the roughage consumed in hunter-gatherer societies.
    Widespread antibiotic use, caesarean sections and less-frequent breastfeeding in industrialised nations could also account for the depletion of intestinal microbes.
    Many experts believe the fall in microbes has fuelled a rise in allergies and food intolerances….

    The researchers used experiments on mice to show that bacterial species vanish with a low-fibre diet, and rarely return.
    Two sets of mice – one raised on a low-fibre diet and the other on a high-fibre diet – were studied.
    The results showed that within a couple of weeks, there was a 75 per cent reduction in microbial diversity in those on the low-fibre diet – with many species disappearing from the intestines all together.
    Dr Sonnenburg added: “The extremely low fibre intake in industrialised countries has occurred relatively recently.
    “Is it possible that over the next few generations we’ll lose even more species in our gut?
    “We would have difficulty living without them. They fend off pathogens, train our immune systems and even guide the development of our tissues.”
    “Simple tweaks in our cultural practices, for example, not washing our hands after gardening or petting our dogs could be a step in the right direction,” said Dr Justin Sonnenburg, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.

  21. Pat 24

    lol…his surname was mentioned…it was a very good interview,

  22. greywarshark 25

    Looking at what is said about raw food diet. It sounds like more raw food is good if not having much at present, but total reliance can take you to negative territory.

    Some advice from a Chinese health practitioner Caroline La in USA?
    1. Thyroid Health
    Many vegetables in the cruciferous family such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens and brussel sprouts contain what are known as goitrogens. Goitrogens are naturally occurring compounds in some foods that may block thyroid function and can eventually lead to goiter and hypothyroidism. For people with an already weakened thyroid function, or for those who have a propensity to thyroid disorders, goitrogens can worsen the ability of your thyroid to produce important hormones. Goitrogens can be deactivated by heat. So, cooking your vegetables can deactivate a good amount of goitrogens.

    2. Digestive Health
    As I described, and as Chinese Medicine believes, raw vegetables tend to be hard on your digestion. Plants and vegetables have cellulose and other fibrous structures that our stomachs have a hard time breaking down. Our stomachs are not like other vegetarian animals such as cows. Many of these animals have extra stomachs to help break down and digest the tough plants and grasses they eat. Humans, unfortunately, don’t have these extra stomachs to break down all the fibrous cellulose contained in plants. This makes it especially difficult to digest vegetable fibers. When we’re constantly eating foods that our bodies cannot digest, our ability to digest foods in general is weakened. A weakened digestive system can cause bloating, indigestion, constipation or loose stools, weight gain, malnutrition, food allergies and a lowered immune system. Our digestive system is a key element to good health, so it’s important to ensure it is healthy and functioning properly.

    3. Nutrient Absorption
    If we are unable to digest our foods, there’s a good chance that we’re not absorbing many of the nutrients in the foods we eat. A lot of the nutrients in vegetables are stored in its tough fibers. Unless we break down these vegetable fibers, our bodies will not be able to use these nutrients. Cooking with low to medium heat is usually enough to help break down or ‘predigest’ these fibers so that we can access the minerals and nutrients.

    Here is the dedicated guru explanation of the wonders and science of raw food diet.
    Here is a testimony from someone who embraced the RFD and stuck with it through thick and thin, but the thin got too much for him. And woo-hoo became a convert to the paleo diet. This may be a factual account or not, but it sounds as if it could be true about RFD and the paleo might be worth trying.

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