Open Mike 14/02/2016

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 am, February 14th, 2016 - 202 comments
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202 comments on “Open Mike 14/02/2016”

  1. BLiP 1


    r0b’s not available to put up the open mike for a while so I thought I would step up and put this here. I don’t have “Notices and Features” posting rights just yet so, please, ignore that and, no doubt, someone with greater abilities will fix it up later on.

    [Thanks BLiP. Fixed – MS]

  2. Jenny Kirk 2

    I wrote to Peter Dunne about his apparently denying Helen Kelly her medical cannabis. I’ll copy his reply below – but can someone on-send this to Helen K please – I don’t have her email address. It sounds like there’s been some sort of mis-communication somewhere along the line. This is from Peter Dunne :

    Jenny,

    The facts in this instance are as follows.

    The day after the application was received the Ministry of Health advised me it contained insufficient information for it to be able to assess it and make a recommendation to me.

    Rather than decline the application at that point, I directed the Ministry on 29 January to go back to the applying oncologist to obtain the information it needed. The Ministry emailed him that evening, subsequently couriered its letter to him and made several attempts to contact him over the following weeks. This was all to no avail with no response at all from the oncologist until the middle of this week, when he undertook to discuss the matters the Ministry had raised further with his patient and come back to the Ministry after that. Nothing has been heard from him since.

    The application has therefore been deferred, not declined, by the Ministry until it receives the information it had requested. It will then make a recommendation to me, and a decision will be made.

    The delay in resolving this case, rests, for whatever reason, with the oncologist’s ongoing lack of response, not the Ministry of Health or me.

    Hon Peter Dunne
    Minister of Internal Affairs
    Associate Minister of Health
    Associate Minister of Conservation
    MP for Ohariu
    Leader, UnitedFuture
    W: http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz
    T: PeterDunneMP

    From: Jenny Kirk
    Sent: Saturday, 13 February 2016 9:20:42 p.m.
    To: Hon Peter Dunne
    Subject: Cannabis as a medical aide

    • Sabine 2.1

      He could simply just say yes. To weasel himself out that her doctors did not provide enough information? Really, Doctor says she is dying of cancer. More information is needed? Maybe he needs to know if her Pain level 10 is equivalent to his Pain level 10? Maybe he wants more copies of the application? A first born son?

      The whole process in this day and age is a sham. Especially considering that we have this excrement of a human being to blame for legal highs.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      The delay in resolving this case rests with the government for insisting the ministry follow such a byzantine and complex procedure to authorise what is a drug that is safely used for medicinal purposes in other jurisdictions (notably the US, whom we generally follow when it comes to drug testing and safety standards).

    • ianmac 2.3

      Well done Jenny. Hope it ends well- very soon.

    • weka 2.4

      This is why patients should be given copies of all correspondence relating to their health as a matter of course, at the time that other parties receive it, unless they choose to opt out via informed consent.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.5

      Russell Brown has a post up about this on PA…and a copy of the letter Helen received from the Misery of Health.

      http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/helen-kellys-letter/

      • Jenny Kirk 2.5.1

        Ah ! that confirms what I was thinking, Rosemary, after getting Dunne’s reply. Just a whole lot of beaurocratic delays and bungling – is it deliberate, or is it sheer incompetence or – a third option, are they (Dunne and his Ministry) all scared of the rednecks who object to decriminalising cannabis generally ? wouldn’t mind betting its the third option !

        • pete 2.5.1.1

          No, based on his past form, its more likely just the usual Dunne pomposity. How on earth he has survived so long in parliament and government beats me.

  3. Penny Bright 3

    This is getting interesting …..

    http://www.thenation.com/article/hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-black-peoples-votes/

    RACISM AND DISCRIMINATIONHILLARY CLINTONFEATUREFEBRUARY 29, 2016 ISSUE

    Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote

    From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted—and Hillary Clinton supported—decimated black America.

    By Michelle AlexanderFEBRUARY 10, 2016

    Hillary and Bill Clinton in 1992. (Reuters Pictures)

    Hillary Clinton loves black people.

    And black people love Hillary—or so it seems.

    Black politicians have lined up in droves to endorse her, eager to prove their loyalty to the Clintons in the hopes that their faithfulness will be remembered and rewarded.

    Black pastors are opening their church doors, and the Clintons are making themselves comfortably at home once again, engaging effortlessly in all the usual rituals associated with “courting the black vote,” a pursuit that typically begins and ends with Democratic politicians making black people feel liked and taken seriously.

    Doing something concrete to improve the conditions under which most black people live is generally not required.

    Hillary is looking to gain momentum on the campaign trail as the primaries move out of Iowa and New Hampshire and into states like South Carolina, where large pockets of black voters can be found.

    According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans. It seems that we—black people—are her winning card, one that Hillary is eager to play.

    And it seems we’re eager to get played. Again.
    …..
    __________________________________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Ad 3.1

      And it’s that community which Sanders’ magic wand of free US tertiary education and free US public healthcare will benefit the most. His general answer to questions on them is “Why can’t we just imagine that ………(insert anything you like)?”

      If Hilary Clinton put up such proposals (or on any other policy area) without very detailed costings and achievement methodology she would get laughed out of town.

      There’s as much likelihood of Sanders’ proposals occurring as there is a ginormous impenetrable wall being built from the Pacific to the Atlantic to keep the Mexicans out.

    • Pasupial 3.2

      “According to some polls, she leads Bernie Sanders by as much as 60 percent among African Americans.”

      And according to other (more recent) polls, not so much:

      Since Feb 1, following the Iowa caucuses, Sanders has cut Hillary’s 69-24 lead among African American registered voters to a 58-37 lead.

      http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/2/12/1484385/-Bernie-Surges-12-Clinton-Falls-11-in-Reuters-LV-Tracking-Poll-Sanders-Gains-13-With-Af-Ams

      Following that link over to reuters we can see a gap in polling of blacks between February 3rd and 9th. During that period Sanders vote jumped 10%, mainly from O’Malley and a drop in “wouldn’t vote” (from 9% to 3%). Since then Sanders has been gaining at the expense of Clinton.

      http://polling.reuters.com/#poll/TR131/filters/SC_RACE:2

      Interestingly the white “wouldn’t vote” is much higher, but has been reducing in a manner that seems to favour Sanders. He was behind in this demographic until late January when he started pulling ahead. On January 21st, They were tied on 35% with “wouldn’t vote” at 27% (with a high of 29% on the 23rd). At the last poll on Feb 12th, Sanders leads the white vote 43 to 34% with a “wouldn’t vote” of 23% (low of 18% on the 7th).

      http://polling.reuters.com/#poll/TR131/filters/SC_RACE:1

      The black response rate is generally under 15% of total, the white above 70% (each poll seems to aim for 1000 respondents, with some variation).

      A bit off topic, but following the discussion of supercandidates on yesterday’s OM; this is an interesting piece by Nate Silver. I would have put it on the other thread but I keep getting a red flag on the tab and a blank screen when I try to open it (which has been happening for different pages for the last few days but eventually clears up):

      http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/superdelegates-might-not-save-hillary-clinton/

      • Andre 3.2.1

        Sorry, my information yesterday about winner-take-all states was out of date. Apparently now the Democratic primaries for all states have proportional allotment of delegates according to rules set by the national Democratic Party (plus superdelegates). Which makes it a bit harder for Bernie than I had thought yesterday.

        But the Republicans still have some winner-take-all states, the national Republican Party allows the states to set their own rules.

  4. Ad 4

    Anyone else going to Auckland’s Big Gay Out today?

  5. Rosemary McDonald 5

    Why don’t we share the love today….?

    Come to New Zealand bringing skills we need, win awards and successfully bid for research funding…BUT…when Immigration New Zealand finds out you have an autistic son…it’s the big F-off.

    “An award-winning Auckland University mathematics professor will leave the country after his residency application was rejected because of his stepson’s autism.

    Professor Dimitri Leemans moved to New Zealand from Belgium in August 2011 with his wife, Francoise Duperoux, their 5-year-old daughter, Margaux, and his stepson, 13-year-old Peter Gourle, after winning a job at Auckland University.

    He was the recipient of the 2014 New Zealand Mathematical Society Research Award and a Marsden grant of $580,000 for his work in mathematics. In a letter of support, Auckland University said it and the country would be disadvantaged without him.”

    This family will not appeal the decision because…

    “”Once I saw that Immigration New Zealand had decided it is above the UN convention of human rights, it is difficult for me to decide to raise my children here. For me the New Zealand story ends.””

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11589222

    We only want perfect people living in our perfect country?

    Yeah, nah.

    • Sabine 5.1

      Look, he got it wrong really. Instead of coming to NZ with a Job and a living in hand, he should have just bought a property in Auckland and bingo presto, he would be an Investor with a Residence permit.

    • millsy 5.2

      He’s not Chinese.

    • Whispering Kate 5.3

      Thanks Rosemary for that, I can’t blame the Professor wanting to leave NZ with Immigration’s decision. We have zilch compassion for anyone here who doesn’t measure up to cost ratios. The obviously needed Maths academic – when there is a serious lack of qualified Maths and Science teachers in our secondary schools – saying that he didn’t want to stay here if that was the attitude of this country says it all. I have just been listening to a debate on RNZ about the cost of the new drugs for Melanoma – costs again, you can’t blame PHARMAC if their costs have not been increased for years, back again to this Government – we will end up like the States with a two tier system, one for the 1% and the other for the rest. What a legacy for future generations. Sickening.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.3.1

        Yes, yes and yes….BUT…it is not entirely down to costs.

        Another time I might comment with (appropriate links) on how many $$$ the government has saved by budgeting for happy clappy disability programs through both MOH and MOE that have recorded underspends because the programs were designed to be unworkable.

        No, no, no.

        This is about successive New Zealand governments choosing to deny disabled New Zealanders equal rights under the law, under the NZBORA, under the UNCORPD and as this guy says, the UN Convention for Human Rights.

        New Zealand is a disability hostile environment.

        (we also have a two tier system for disability supports…ACC…lucky, lucky bastards and MOH:DSS. ACC are the “born normal” but tragedy struck and here’s your compo…and they do alright thank you very much. MOH:DSS are mostly those born with disabilities…(that escaped the almost mandatory terminations.) and are basically treated like shit.

        Is this really the New Zealand we want?

        Come on… those political parties that aspire to the government benches….what are YOU going to do about the government mandated hate of non ACC disabled in New Zealand?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      We only want perfect people living in our perfect country?

      That would probably explain our poor mental health services. The government just assumes that everybody’s perfect and doesn’t need help.

      • Expat 5.4.1

        Draco

        Their just shifting the costs (mental health and all the other policies they don’t subscribe to) to the next Govt that will take over.

        Remember in 2000 Labour reinstated the ART,s funding after the nats had cut it completely, in the following years there was a proliferation of new bands and artists, all of which contributed to the economy successfully through the music industry

        https://books.google.com.au/books?id=P07XFnyk16MC&pg=PA228&lpg=PA228&dq=NZ+Labour+renews+art%27s+funding&source=bl&ots=kEFhjSPavu&sig=ZVXAh-i48yua2FjKjQ1zaEOd5iQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMg876oPbKAhWBO5QKHfutBxUQ6AEINjAF#v=onepage&q=NZ%20Labour%20renews%20art's%20funding&f=false

        • Draco T Bastard 5.4.1.1

          No, even under Labour our mental health services have sucked. In fact, one of the articles I posted in the last few days points out that it was the 4th Labour government that started the decline that we’ve seen over the last few decades and it wasn’t great before then.

          • Expat 5.4.1.1.1

            Draco

            That fourth Labour govt ended up being the worst Labour govt in history, but you can’t really call that govt a Labour one after being hijacked by Prebble and Douglas, the National Govt won the 1990 election by the largest majority of any govt in NZ history, and that wasn’t because they wanted a Nat govt, Labour was voted out of govt, not National being voted in.

            I was living overseas when this govt reigned, had been for 10 years and in those days we weren’t blessed with the internet for keeping in touch, but I do remember seeing on tv in 1987 (the stock market crash), the demonstrations and anger against the govt, especially the sheep farmers who were losing their farms after the subsidies were removed.

            That era was an unusual time, Muldoon, the stock market crash, springbok demonstrations, Rogernomics, nuclear free bans, rainbow warrior, intro of GST and increase of gst…..

    • Incognito 5.5

      I think Hannah Arendt argued that Human Rights are gazumped by Civil Rights and Sovereignty trumps all. When people’s freedoms and Civic Liberties are thwarted their only resort is to fall back onto Human Rights with uncertain outcome because it is not a fundamental inalienable right!

      Sovereignty is ‘tradeable’ as longs as it is for the ‘common good’. This is where the semantics and political rhetoric enter as we know too well from recent developments.

      At least Professor Dimitri Leemans and his family haven’t lost everything, except a ‘dream’ perhaps, and can go back to Belgium and readjust their lives. I wish them well.

    • Craig H 5.6

      INZ had no discretion in this decision at all – any decisions about being above human rights treaties were made by the government when they signed off on the Operations Manual.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.6.1

        “INZ had no discretion in this decision at all…”

        Yes…they merely reflect the government’s anti-disabled culture.

        (although…there have been a few rather interesting exceptions…)

    • Foreign waka 5.7

      What an up side down world we live in, the Germans have a “welcome policy” for all and sundry and New Zealand is denying this disabled child to come.

      • miravox 5.7.1

        +1
        Yup. I walk in with fawning embarrassment every time I go order my meds from the health system here (even though our taxes cover it), because I know that there won’t be an Austrian with a similar disability-forming disease allowed to have residency in NZ.

    • framu 5.8

      OK – lets not buy the MSM reporting on this

      with such an application there are two steps

      step 1 is a box ticking black/white exercise where the staff have zero discretion – you either meet the policy or you dont

      step 2 is where you appeal the first step, and the staff who hear the appeal have discretion

      the issue isnt that we denied him entry – its that he doesnt understand the process or doesnt want to follow it

      he has every right and ability to put his case and ask for discretion – there is absolutely nothing stopping him following the process and having his case heard by people who can bend the rules for him

      • adam 5.8.1

        I smell the B.S dripping from you framu.

        Nice attempt at a deflection, but more dishonest spin on your part.

        Typical of Tory loving scum on this site of late.

        • framu 5.8.1.1

          oh shut up adam – the only thing your smelling is you shooting yourself in the foot

          anyone whos been on TS long enough knows im no stinking tory

          and if you have a problem with simple facts about process take it up with INZ

          the point im making is that the reporting of the story is shit and creates a false impression of what the actual process is

          the media have an appalling track record on immigration stories – this is yet another one

  6. Penny Bright 6

    What are / have any of the other 2016 Auckland Mayoral candidates done about Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) – which, in my considered opinion, have been the mechanism for the effective corporate takeover of the Auckland region, via the forced amalgamation of the Auckland ‘Supercity’ (for the 1%)?

    FYI – I received this email on Friday 13 February 2016, and have been asked to provide evidence to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee by 29 February 2016:

    “The Local Government and Environment Committee considered your petition requesting that the House conduct an urgent inquiry into the cost-effectiveness, transparency, and democratic accountability to Auckland Council and the majority of Auckland citizens and ratepayers, of all Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).

    The Committee has decided to consider the petition in conjunction with the Controller and Auditor-General’s Report on the Governance and accountability of council-controlled organisations.
    …”
    ________________________________________

    What I have learned is – never underestimate the potential effectiveness of a Parliamentary petition ….

    (Helped to stop the rort of Metrowater ‘charitable payments’ – where (former) Auckland City Council got their ‘commercialised’ water and wastewater services company to put up their prices – then took profits via ‘charitable payments’ to subsidise rates.

    Also helped to stop the proposed Wellington ‘Supercity’ ….)

    Activists – ‘get things done’.

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  7. John Shears 7

    Audrey Young writes in The Herald about Gerry as Minister of Defence.
    Apart from a whole lot of other tripe she says :-

    Gerry Brownlee wanted it in 2011 but he was too overburdened with his earthquake recovery workload and Jonathan Coleman, a longtime John Key favourite, got it instead.
    Brownlee asked for it again in 2014 and such is his standing for his work in Christchurch that he got his wish.
    Brownlee is not easily fobbed off with an incomplete briefing or half the picture. He is not the thick woodwork teacher Labour invented. He may look like a blunt instrument but he is acutely sharp.

    Not The Thick Woodwork Teacher? Looks like a Blunt Instrument?
    He certainly is the epitome of a GOP (Grossly Overweight Person)
    however, who squeezes through security doors at ChCh airport and gets away with it.

    Ask the Cantabrians if they think the same as Audrey about his standing for his work in Christchurch.

    The article is at http://tinyurl.com/hukfs52

    • tc 7.1

      Youngs columns should carry an advertising tag, she’s such a blatant shill I know a few Tories that Shake their head at her fawning sycophantic angles.

  8. John Shears 8

    METOPROLOL IN SHORT SUPPLY

    I posted on 13th Open Mike about this supply situation. Alwyn & CV have chosen to use it as a discussion about the merits or otherwise of Pharmac which is their choice but is an example of how things can get well off track on this site, sometimes by trolls taking the opportunity
    to drip their venom and other times just the way things happen.
    One article uses another name for the same drug, so there is no confusion I also posted this as a reply on the 13th and here it is again today.

    So there is no confusion medically , metoprolol is the generic name for this medicine also known as Beta Blockers.
    Here is the complete list of names used:-

    Brand Names: Lopressor, Metoprolol Succinate ER, Metoprolol Tartrate, Toprol-XL

    Generic Name: metoprolol (Pronunciation: me TOE pro lol)

    CV & Alwyn are entitled to have their little political discussion about Pharmac but I was simply trying to bring this shortage situation to the attention of TS readers.

    • weka 8.1

      Thanks John. Let’s hope the discussion under your comment here can stay on topic.

    • alwyn 8.2

      I posted my comment about the article in the paper because you didn’t seem to think that there had been any official notification or explanation of what was going on.
      It was intended merely to point you to a place in the MSM where your interest could be answered. I take it you weren’t interested.
      I only added to that because there was quite a lot in the story other than just metoprolol.
      As usual debate continues on other things triggered by a post. Given it was on “Open Mike” it is of course quite ridiculous to say that something is “off the track or off topic”

    • Andre 9.1

      For those unaware of the significance, Scalia was a reliable hard-hard-right vote on the Supreme Court.

      The balance of power has just changed on a wide range of issues, from Obama’s attempt to limit CO2 emissions from power station, to voter ID laws which effectively disenfranchise minorities and poor people, corporate money influence in politics, abortion rights, science education, religious freedom for non-mainstream religions, privacy, separation of church and state…you name it. Any issue of importance to anyone concerned about social justice, progressives, the environment, Scalia would be found on the wrong side of it.

      I don’t know how to say this without ghoulishly appearing to celebrate someone’s death, but the future of the planet suddenly looks a bit more hopeful.

    • Ad 9.2

      Quite a political gift to Obama.
      Has a good chance of tilting his carbon-emissions policies into enactment.
      Among other things.

      • Assuming Obama gets to choose the replacement. It might not get done till the next term. Crikey, imagine the kind of clown President Trump would be pushing for.

        • Ad 9.2.1.1

          It voids Scalia’s initial judgements and locks the court 4-4.
          This means decisions default to the status quo.
          Overall empowering for Obama.

          IN particular has the chance of reversing that egregious initial judgement on union activity for public sector unions.

        • Andre 9.2.1.2

          What Trump would push for is a lot less scary than what any of the other Republicans would push for.

          The leaders of the Senate have already vowed to block any Obama nomination “so the next president who reflects the will of the people” gets to choose the replacement. Hoping it’s going to be a Republican, but taking the risk it will be a Bernie pick that gets approved by a Democratic senate.

          Of particular importance to the labour movement is an upcoming case against public-sector unions, about whether non-union employees that benefited from union-led negotiations had to help fund the unions. With Scalia, the unions looked likely to lose 5-4 and a nasty legal precedent set. Without Scalia, it’s likely to be a 4-4 tie, which means the lower court decision stands (which was favourable to unions IIRC) and no precedent is set.

  9. The bigots will jump on board BUT below is why private ownership is wrong. We MUST protect our country from capitalist accumulators without and within and not care about their desire for their diversified portfolios.

    Chinese interests have paid $3.8 million for an iconic Northland holiday park.

    The Overseas Investment Office gave consent for Carrington Holiday Park Jade, owned by Guo Jie Gui, to buy the 2.5ha Whatuwhiwhi Holiday Park from its New Zealand owners…

    Meanwhile, the Singapore Government’s Reco Otago Private got consent for a deal involving $1 billion of assets from St Lukes Group Holdings.

    Reco is part of the GIC group, buying a half-share in Westfield shopping malls at Albany, Manukau, Newmarket, St Lukes and Riccarton. The deal went before the OIO because it involved $100 million-plus of assets…

    China’s Pengxin Holdings (HK) got consent to buy a big Auckland office block in the Spark four-block Victoria St West campus from NZ business Mansons Holdings. The amount involved is suppressed…

    Japan’s Beecom (NZ) got consent to buy an 11ha Central Otago vineyard from Kiwis Blair Linn and Estelle Hunt. Beecom intends to plant an additional 2ha of grape vines, exporting most of the wine to overseas markets such as Japan.

    Te Hau Station, owned by Australian Phillip Colebatch, can now buy 1037ha at Whatatutu, Gisborne, from NZ’s Bremner Pastoral Properties.

    China’s Waste Management NZ got consent for $8.8 million of land purchases at Puketutu Island and Bromley in Christchurch as part of its acquisition of Living Earth.

    Switzerland’s Aitken Street Real Estate Netherlands & Credit Suisse Funds got consent for a deal involving $161.9 million of assets in Wellington.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11441306

    • vto 10.1

      Entirely correct marty mars….

      The choice is we either accumulate owner-occupiers or we accumulate absentee landlords

      talk about a f&%king no-brainer

      People are dumb as dog shit – they need to wake up. A foreign mate always spouts on to me how we kiwis are really quite stupid in the way we refuse to think decently about these big and very important questions. “yeah, nah, everything will be alright.. blah blah..”….. My mate says “they won’t f&%king be right mate, they wont be right…”

      wake up New Zealand, wake up ya lazy dopey dog shit brains

      • Sabine 10.1.1

        yep, been saying it for a few years now. It won’t be fucking right mate …insert what ever reason you could find.

      • The lost sheep 10.1.2

        People are dumb as dog shit ….we kiwis are really quite stupid …. blah blah..”….. My mate says… ya lazy dopey dog shit brains

        If only ‘The People’ had your superior intelligence VTO!

        • Anne 10.1.2.1

          Agreed. If only ‘The People’ had vto’s superior intelligence. In fact if only you had his s.i. too but that is expecting too much.

          • The lost sheep 10.1.2.1.1

            I don’t see it as an insult to have my intelligence compared to ‘the people’ Anne.

            Unlike superior beings like yourself and VTO.
            Two more lefties who style themselves as ‘peoples champions’, while at the same time sneering at ‘the peoples’ stupidity….

            • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.2.1.1.1

              Let’s say you’ve made your case, and “sneering”* at stupidity is a purely left-wing trait. What do righties sneer at?

              Ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, income status, recent bereavement, disability, human rights, the rule of law.

              *in fact, vto and Anne are lamenting stupidity, but hey…

        • vto 10.1.2.2

          woooo…. touched a wee nerve there…….

          people, as a group, at times are most definitely dumb as dog shit.

          they have voted in h1tler
          they voted in Muldoon several times
          they now vote in Key

          they cut down all the kauri
          they slaughter all the whales
          they shit in the water

          dumb as dog shit

        • vto 10.1.2.3

          And also, mr appropriately named lost sheep…. to the actual point….

          would you rather we accumulate foreign absentee landlords?

          or local owner-occupiers?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      The bigots will jump on board BUT below is why private ownership is wrong. We MUST protect our country from capitalist accumulators without and within and not care about their desire for their diversified portfolios.

      It’s not that they desire diversified portfolios but that they desire to live expansively upon the work of everyone else. Capitalists are the biggest bludgers around.

    • Ad 10.3

      Tens of thousands of kiwis were prepared to crowd-fund to buy half a hectare of sand in the middle of nowhere last week, and apparently we all thought that was great.

      All of the properties you list were for sale.

      If you want one, form the capital and buy one.

      • marty mars 10.3.1

        way to miss the point – A+

        • Ad 10.3.1.1

          No your point was clear as day. But it’s increasingly just wrong.

          Foreign investment is simply not the evil you’re making it to be. The primary thing propping up the New Zealand real estate market – both urban and rural – is foreign capital. Not local capital.

          • marty mars 10.3.1.1.1

            “We MUST protect our country from capitalist accumulators without and within”

            That is my point. If things are for sale someone will buy them, if you don’t want someone to buy them then don’t make them available for sale. I don’t want them (lots of things) available for sale – it has got us into a worldwide mess and will only make things worse. If that is wrong to you then so be it – you think I’m wrong.

            • Ad 10.3.1.1.1.1

              Only a very few families in New Zealand choose not to sell, and to gradually accrete capital generation after generation. They are precious and rare. Trouble with those families is that they are so conservative, and so independent, they often need no interaction with the state whosoever.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ad, we absolutely have to distinguish between foreign investment in NZ which builds up NZ technology, skills, capabilities and businesses, and foreign investment in NZ which is nothing more than glorified asset stripping.

                Selling off our natural resources, existing assets and successful businesses to foreign buyers falls into that latter category: asset stripping.

                • Ad

                  Yup, fully agree with FDI that builds up New Zealand as you say.

                  If Marty had taken just one example and interrogated where either asset stripping or low value-add was occurring, I’d have had no problem.

                  • what you are talking about and what I am talking about are different – I am not having your conversation with you. I don’t want to have the conversation you want to have.

                    I am talking about capitalism and the greedy little hands trying to accumulate – here and there. the greedy little hands that are not helping this world instead they are the ones that have endangered the world and continue to do so.

                    • Ad

                      Then put up a proper post and defend it.

                      Just a list of foreigners you hate, with a rant, doesn’t define any argument at all.

                    • get fucked – the days when sock-puppets like you get to tell me what to do are over. But to help your conformist mind

                      – I don’t hate foreigners or immigrants

                      Your continued abuse of me by saying I do disturbs me and offends me – you know fucken nothing of my views even though I have posted them for years on here – you, a johnny come lately, spew insults at me based on your own fucked up defensive mode.

                      guess what ad-dy I don’t forgive and I don’t forget

                      capitalist, ignorant, abusive, conformist, right-wing people like you are the problem

          • b waghorn 10.3.1.1.2

            The problem is ad that its not a level playing field, I’m all for globalization and a world with out borders but how do we transition theire with out enslaving all those who have no money?

          • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.1.3

            Foreign investment is simply not the evil you’re making it to be. The primary thing propping up the New Zealand real estate market

            The only people who benefit from the “propping up of the NZ real estate market” are the comfortable and wealthy property owning classes who love to see their property portfolio value climb and climb.

            For ordinary NZers struggling to afford a decent home and who don’t treat their house as a financial asset, its a shitty situation.

            TL/DR this foreign investment adjudicates against the bottom 80% of NZers and for the top 20%. And especially the top 1%.

            • Ad 10.3.1.1.3.1

              Yes, it definitely helps the 60%+ of people who own their own home. That’s quite a lot of ordinary New Zealanders.

              I definitely agree that it’s much harder for first home buyers. And I agree that is a real problem.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yes, it definitely helps the 60%+ of people who own their own home. That’s quite a lot of ordinary New Zealanders.

                No it doesn’t. It doesn’t help most of them at all, that is.

                The mistake here is that you have not separated out those Kiwis who are simple one home owners vs those Kiwis who have property portfolios on top of their own residence.

                It does the Auckland single home owner no good if their house is rocketing upwards in value because if they sell it, they then have to buy right back into the same market.

                It’s a zero sum game for those who only have their own property as a home.

                But for the Auckland property investor who is trading in houses, of course, they then get even richer off unearned income of capital gains. They laugh all the way to the bank.

                This is foreign money flows creating the ‘two NZs’ that Labour was complaining about.

                • Ad

                  Investors or one-house owner regardless, and wherever they are in New Zealand, it is still excellent because it gives them and their families real choices when they had none. All they have to do is wait until they are close to retirement, and sell. After that, they re-determine their lives with the choice that cash provides.

                  And before you go there, I would agree New Zealand is hopelessly overweighted to property, and the Reserve Bank has been shouting about the massive risks of this to our entire economic system for over a decade now. But that’s a different point.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    After that, they re-determine their lives with the choice that cash provides.

                    The only way this kind of cashing up helps an Aucklander is if they sell up and move away from the networks of friends and family that they have built up over decades and move somewhere substantially cheaper in the regions.

                    Then, after that point, they can never move back to Auckland again because the market will have moved on without them.

                    And this is supposed to be the “benefit”?

                    And what about the rest of NZ who don’t live in one of these property price bubble centres, and who will never ever be able to afford to buy in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch if they try and move away from Huntly, Ashurst or Palmerston?

                    In other words, this kind of economics may indeed be great for some Kiwis, but it screws everyone else.

                    I’m going to have to make it a point to ensure that “everyone else” begins to realise this crystal clear.

                    • b waghorn

                      “And what about the rest of NZ who don’t live in one of these property price bubble centres, and who will never ever be able to afford to buy in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch if they try and move away from Huntly, Ashurst or Palmerston?”

                      Bugger me !! We agree on something , as some one who loves the rural life that being a farm boy brings but as my body fails me would love to move to the inner city for the entertainment and comfort it provides its hard to not become bitter for being forever locked out.

                    • Ad

                      Sorry, I was off at my local Chinese New Year. Recommended chaos and fireworks and people who settle here and buy assets.

                      Yes, people will have to move. But cashed-up free people are also great for the regions. They get to set up new things, as one would want.

                      As for property mis-matches, well, you have large campaigns from most major regions targeting Auckland people begging them to do just that. It’s exactly what the regions need, and they know it.

                      Those property booms are extending now not just to the Auckland region, but to Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei, Nelson-Wanaka Alexandra, Christchurch – hey presto you’ve covered three quarters of the population already.

                      The Auckland property bubble is a major risk to New Zealand, and in the meantime is also a major benefit. The migrant surge and property surge emanating from Auckland is one of the luckiest economic moments in our recent history.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Those property booms are extending now not just to the Auckland region, but to Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei, Nelson-Wanaka Alexandra, Christchurch – hey presto you’ve covered three quarters of the population already.

                      driving up the prices of housing so that people in the regions on low wages cannot afford houses any more?

                      As I said, this system works fabulously for cashed up Aucklanders liquidating property portfolios; it’s pretty average to pretty shit for everyone else.

          • weka 10.3.1.1.4

            “The primary thing propping up the New Zealand real estate market – both urban and rural – is foreign capital. Not local capital.”

            You say that like it’s a good thing. It’s not. It’s a big part of why land is so expensive in NZ.

            I’m generaly against foreign ownership because of the sovereignty issues, and because I don’t trust NZ governments to mandate that land has to be cared for.

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/10350045/South-Island-land-gets-lifelong-protection

            That’s a good example of overseas ownership doing something good in NZ. It’s a cluster of high country stations in the Queenstown Lakes area that have had substantial money put into landcare including replanting natives, and it’s been protected legally. There aren’t many Kiwi owners doing that on that scale, but I don’t think that’s so much about not having the capital as not having the will of the conscience. Then there are the farmers that would do this kind of thing if they had the funds. So the issues here are distribution of wealth, the importance of land welfare (think social security for whenua), and
            whether we actually give a shit enough to save things while we still can.

            That piece of foreshore in Nelson should have been bought by the state. That DOC couldn’t afford it tells us everything we need to know about the mess we are in. Private money will not solve that, it will simply fund a few high profile cases like Nelson or the Motutapu blocks, and meanwhile the rest of NZ is being sacrificed to the global economy. For every private saviour there are dozens or hundreds of places in NZ, right now, being destroyed because the people that care can’t afford land.

            • Ad 10.3.1.1.4.1

              Mutt Lange etc is a great foreign example. But there are more locals aggregating their capital to do good things than you perhaps realize. An interesting recent local example is the Morgan family – one of whom is in on that Mutt Lange arrangement.

              • weka

                That’s one Ad. And it’s for the same bit of land. What about all the others and the point that too many NZers who care can’t afford land now?

                • Ad

                  Thought you’d like the neatness of your own example being both local and foreign. Ah well. Happy to admit my views have shifted a bit on this topic in the last few years.

                  Also happy to do a full list when Marty does a post with a decent argument attached and not merely a sad xenophobic rant.

                  • once again your ignorance clouds your vision – you just abuse because you can’t compute – frankly you are a waste of time. Capitalism and fuckers like you are the problem NOT immigrants or foreigners – I am not xenophobic and take offence at being labeled with that. I have argued many many times against that – you are up yourself, puffed up and under some illusion that your view is meaningful – it isn’t.

                  • vto

                    Ad, you seem to think high capital values are a good thing.

                    This highlights your lack of understanding, and have clearly never thought about it

          • Whispering Kate 10.3.1.1.5

            Ad, in reply to 10.3.1.1. tell that to the people who live in my street, NZer’s by the diminishing number. For some reason Asians love our area and there are now 4 only families who are long term NZ residents left hanging in there. The latest to go under the hammer over the right of way from us has been bought by an Asian restauranter and the new tenants moved in today. By the way there are about 40 homes in our street – how’s that for a statistic. Why they don’t put a red archway over the beginning of our street and call it Chinatown, I do not know. I see in the future and not that too far off Auckland will be a major annex of China and there won’t be any kiwis left in it.

            Tell me that is good for all the young New Zealanders who are looking for their first home, or any New Zealand born residents who want to own a home here. And, please don’t tell me I am a racist, its just the fact of the matter, we are being swamped with a stampede of overseas residents and it’s happening right in front of our eyes. I have family who live in the inner city and when we visit its like being in Shanghai, I have other family who have lived and worked in Shanghai and when they were here on holiday thought they hadn’t left the place. The Maoris should be very afraid for their lands, soon they won’t have anything left of it.

            • sabine 10.3.1.1.5.1

              you must live in my neighbourhood. And the new settlement being build is build buy by Chinese for Chinese it seems. And again, this is an observation of what is happening in my street.
              And it should be clear to anyone, that those who sell in AKL can’t afford to buy again, they will have to pack up and move out. So that may work for those that are off retirement age, or can work elsewhere, but that will not apply to the vast majority of Aucklanders. But then sometimes i think that if the rest of NZ could just bomb Auckland they would. Not that their any of their relatives would ever live there, or work there, or go to university there, or heavens forbid may need to go there to access Starship Hospital and so on and so on. No obviously Auckland is up for grabs, and those Aucklanders that don’t like it, can just move or die.
              And then what happens to those rural areas that the cashed up Aucklanders move too? O h….yeah, they fuck up house prices for the locals there.
              Sometimes it seems that the more educated a populace gets the more they have wee’s and poo’s for brains and absolutely no common sense or foresight is left. But surely there be a new episode of Shortland or a millionaire running after a ball dressed in allblack. See nothing to fucking worry about.

              • Ad

                Do you know we are going through a massive age-shift that will require everyone in Auckland over 65 to either sell or shift in with their children?

                It’s a massive economic shift that’s already underway. And it’s releasing hundreds of millions of dollars for people to do new things with – and they do.

            • Ad 10.3.1.1.5.2

              Do you know it’s possible to be Asian and a New Zealander as well?

              If you really don’t like the Auckland street you are in, and you don’t like the multicultural change you are experiencing, try any other town in the country.

              Plus, do your neighborhood a favour and learn Mandarin.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                +1

                Some pakeha seem to think they’re the only people who are allowed to affect demographics around here.

                • Whispering Kate

                  OAB and AD- you are a patronising jerks – I would bet you are NIMBYS and have no experience of being alienated in your own street, with neighbours who are absent most of the time, have a different culture and having to live with a dislocation of friends who were neighbours moving out. It will take two or three generations of Asian immigrants living here before this city settles down and finds it not so alienating. By then as Sabine says it will be an Asian city and provinces will have to suffer rising house prices as the natives move out.

                  Off topic here but odd how the Eastern leafy suburbs are squealing and bleating on with the help of Sir John Walker about having to suffer the indignity of 3 storey apartment buildings – how sad for them, most of the North Shore now has to put up with it – I say get a life and get used to it. Too many suburbs like Remuera, Epsom are huge, some are an acre etc and are perfect for breaking up and housing the many who want to be close to the inner city for work and play. How come they have escaped the Unitary Plan for higher density housing? Combined with the massive increase in immigration snatching up existing stock like in our street, having 3 storey buildings will be perfect to house the rising immigrant population.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You lose your bet.

                    • Whispering Kate

                      Well then you probably live outside Auckland but I apologise – but I still cannot understand how you can condone wide spread buying up of existing housing stock street upon street by people who are not going to dwell in them without considering what it is doing for our own people who now cannot afford to have a home of their own. We will end up like Germany where a house is passed down from generation to generation. I can see it will become widespread here.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      1. The largest immigrant group come from the UK. No-one seems to be in the least bit worried about that, despite the cultural potential for sandals with socks, soccer hooligans and Cold Play.

                      2. Pākehā feeling a little bit of what Māori have put up with for two centuries might reflect on that fact.

                      I don’t know if that exactly counts as “condoning” it, but.

          • pat 10.3.1.1.6

            propping up ?…. over inflating

      • weka 10.3.2

        “and apparently we all thought that was great.”

        I didn’t. I was alarmed about the whole thing.

  10. Draco T Bastard 11

    Analysis of media images shows bias towards Key in last election

    When compared to previous analysis by Prof Robinson, figures showed the gap in coverage between the leaders had become more marked.

  11. Poission 12

    5.8 earthquake in chch it was a biggie.scary.

    http://www.geonet.org.nz/

  12. Lanthanide 13

    Big quake just now in Christchurch. Geonet says 5.8M just off the New Brighton coast, 19km deep.

  13. Tautuhi 14

    All National Party funded media reporters?

  14. mary_a 15

    To those TS contributors and posters in Christchurch, having been shaken today by another quake, we JAFAs up here are thinking of you.

    Kia Kaha comrades.

  15. ropata 16

    NatCorp™ “Prudent fiscal management” part 1

    NZ is number 1! in inequality & lost economic opportunity. Are we proud? I'm ashamed #nzpol HT @Jack_Heinemann https://t.co/dGocW66Zay— Bronwyn Hayward (@BMHayward) February 13, 2016

  16. ropata 17

    NatCorp™ “Prudent fiscal management” part 2

    Record debt racked up by the third term National Government with no clues on how to repay it & promise tax cuts 2017 pic.twitter.com/9CEfVlUdmz— Elephant in the room (@NOCONSPIRACY1) November 5, 2015

  17. ropata 18

    NatCorp™ “Prudent fiscal management” part 3

    Deflation, massive debt & #derivatives exposure; #eqnz & creative accounting in New Zealand https://t.co/XE6nXMoprk pic.twitter.com/f2sITFSP8k— E2NZ (@E2NZ) February 7, 2016

  18. Paul 19

    John Key booed off stage at Big Gay Out

    ‘Mr Key was making his annual visit to the event, where in the past he has received a generally positive reception, but today was the subject of a glitter prank and was also targeted by protesters opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
    The incident took place shortly after he arrived at the event, held at Point Chevalier, while he was walking around with a police escort talking to members of the public and taking selfies.
    Three people threw quite a large amount of pink glitter at Mr Key, which appeared to make considerable contact with him and those around him.
    The people responsible then ran away from the scene with police officers hot on their heels.
    A group of TPPA protesters with signs also followed the Prime Minister as he walked around.
    When Mr Key took the stage to address the crowd, there was considerable booing and his speech lasted little more than 10 seconds before he left the stage.’

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11589495

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/john-key-glitter-bombed-booed-off-stage-at-big-gay-out?autoPlay=4754502739001

    Nikkii Kaye apparently got the same treatment.
    Key is going to struggle to appear in public at this rate.

  19. ianmac 20

    “John Key has been booed off stage at today’s Big Gay Out festival by a group of vocal anti-TPPA protesters.

    Donned in a pink polo shirt, Mr Key took to the stage alongside National MPs Nikki Kaye and Maggie Barry. But a group of about 30 protesters clutching banners and shouting anti-TPPA slogans drowned out his short speech, and the prime minister then left the stage to loud booing.

    Speaking to media immediately after his speech, Mr Key said he’s expected the reaction but stressed it was from a small group of individuals who did not support the National government.”

    Wish I was there. Hope it happens more often given that Key avoids dissent. Hates being confronted by those who aren’t “Yes men and women.”

  20. Draco T Bastard 21

    Man given two weeks to live after taking popular weight-loss product purchased online

    Rising liver damage linked to herbal remedies

    Mr Whitby’s doctors at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth said they were not surprised by what happened to the healthy 27-year-old.

    Liver specialist Professor Gary Jeffrey works in the liver transplant centre of Western Australia and said doctors were seeing what they believe is more liver damage from herbal remedies and herbal extracts.

    So much for herbal remedies being safe.

    • McFlock 21.1

      but they’re nachrall…

      • Colonial Viper 21.1.1

        LOL, you kidders.

        We should really take a look at NZ liver damage stats and renal ward/dialysis cases and see how many of those patients were fucked due to approved pharma meds vs those by natural remedies.

        I’d guess 200:1 due to prescription meds.

        Life time dialysis cases due to paracetamol is through the roof and that’s just for starters.

      • miravox 21.1.2

        Yep. and as such not subject to the same monitoring regime as pharmaceuticals with side-effects (communicated by the doctor and listed on the packet for the consumer) that include rare cases of liver damage.

        Yet the very knowledge of side effects and practice of monitoring on ‘bigpharma’ products is scary enough to send people to a ‘bighealth’ product with unacknowledged risk and the reassurance of ‘natural’.

        • Colonial Viper 21.1.2.1

          rattle snake venom is natural
          asbestos is natural
          botulism bacteria are natural

          and as I said above, deaths due to pharma meds are orders of magnitude higher, so let’s keep some perspective.

          • miravox 21.1.2.1.1

            What do you think about big health putting out products with unacknowledged unmonitored risk to the consumer?

            Do you think putting a warning on the packet and introducing monitoring for those who need the product (now there’s a thing) might change people’s purchasing decisions as it does for big pharma products?

            • Colonial Viper 21.1.2.1.1.1

              Absolutely happy for the risks from medical intervention and the risks from natural/alternative remedies to be compared side by side in simple ways that consumers can understand and be educated about.

              • miravox

                From that answer I could take it that you’d be happy for big pharma to put out product with unacknowledged and unmonitored risk, just their own marketing bumpf like big health does.

                “Absolutely happy for the risks from medical intervention and the risks from natural/alternative remedies to be compared side by side”

                Alongside efficacy.

                • Colonial Viper

                  “efficacy” is fine as far as it goes, effectiveness is what matters to end users.

                  Of course, big pharma will try and use these measures as regulatory and cost hurdles designed to shut down alternative/unconventional medicine.

                  • miravox

                    Ok, I’ll go with effectiveness as well. Nothing like a compromise.

                    So you do think that big health shouldn’t be subject to the same regulatory and monitoring procedures as big pharma is subject to right now.

                    Question answered.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Nah, you don’t get to box me in with your bullshit cleverness.

                      So you do think that big health shouldn’t be subject to the same regulatory and monitoring procedures as big pharma is subject to right now.

                      Well, I’m being pragmatic about this.

                      For instance, if you demonstrate to me that alternative medicines is causing hundreds of thousands/millions of premature deaths a year in western countries like conventional medicine is, then I believe that you’ll have a case for putting alternative medicine under the same level of scrutiny and regulation as conventional medicine.

                    • McFlock

                      lol
                      How can the harm be demonstrated when their use, harm, and efficacy/effectiveness isn’t monitored?

                      At least “big pharma” has some testing it needs to go through. The natural health shop in the same mall? none.

                    • weka

                      I tend to agree with CV here. We’re still talking about pretty small numbers. If the object of tighter regulation is to decrease the numbers how will that work given that drugs cause so much damage and they’re apparently well regulated?

                      I’ll also point out that many of the adverse effects blamed on plant medicines are so badly reported that it’s hard to know what was actual cause. Add to that that most doctors and science types are largely ignorant of how plant medicines work, then it’s next to impossible to make valid claims about the size of the problem.

                      Having said that, there’s a huge amount of bullshit going on in the commerical side of the supplment and herb industries and as I comment below, those people need a big slap down.

                    • weka

                      “How can the harm be demonstrated when their use, harm, and efficacy/effectiveness isn’t monitored?”

                      Care to say where the line is between a product made from plants that should be monitored and the rosemary or garlic in your kitchen?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey McFLock

                      You like being a smartass around these issues; I am sure alternative/indigenous/natural medicine providers would love to have access to university and other research resources to help them do this monitoring and oversight that you want so badly.

                    • miravox

                      “if you demonstrate to me that alternative medicines is causing hundreds of thousands/millions of premature deaths a year in western countries like conventional medicine is”

                      Is that the proportion of deaths caused by regulated, on-label, prescribed use for disease, when the patient was informed of the risk (e.g. you have a disease that will kill you soon, this drug may help, but it may also result in your death)? Or are you including unregulated use?

                      Without looking, I’ll pretty much agree than unregulated use of pharma causes more deaths than unregulated alternatives. Dosage of active ingredients at a guess, would make a difference.

                      Meanwhile, can you give me the deaths by omission of effective treatment from unregulated on-label use of CAM?

                    • McFlock

                      Thisn’s a twofer:

                      Care to say where the line is between a product made from plants that should be monitored and the rosemary or garlic in your kitchen?

                      I’d say the line is somewhere around when you’re selling it as a health remedy equivalent to or safer than going to see an actual doctor.

                      Hey McFLock

                      You like being a smartass around these issues; I am sure alternative/indigenous/natural medicine providers would love to have access to university and other research resources to help them do this monitoring and oversight that you want so badly.

                      Lol
                      so they can treat medical conditions but they can’t bodge together even some basic information? Seriously, what do they do themselves? What records do they keep and share? Or are they afraid of putting some basic systems in place themselves?

                    • weka

                      “Meanwhile, can you give me the deaths by omission of effective treatment from unregulated on-label use of CAM?”

                      Define unregulated. Do you mean people self-treating using off the shelf products? Are you suggesting that people should be monitored at home? Do they do that for non-prescription meds?

                      The MoH surveys on CAM in NZ show that most people see alternative practitioners as an adjunct or after they’ve seen a medical doctor.

                    • miravox

                      “define unregulated”

                      It draw the line much as mcflock has done

                      I’d say the line is somewhere around when you’re selling it as a health remedy equivalent to or safer than going to see an actual doctor

                      Also, as I’ve said below – the framing of ‘big health’ was deliberate. I never was talking about things like the chilli and ginger cough remedy for symptomatic relief that I made in the kitchen last week.

                      “The MoH surveys on CAM in NZ show that most people see alternative practitioners as an adjunct or after they’ve seen a medical doctor”

                      In my view, part of that is drugs don’t work for them as well as and/or as soon they’d hoped, and/or they are fully aware of the risks (and maybe over estimate them) because they are informed of those risks, and change to or add perceived ‘safe’ products in an attempt to improve outcomes and reduce side effects.

                      Or else they’ve had a wake-up call healthwise and are working through this.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      causing hundreds of thousands/millions of premature deaths a year in western countries like conventional medicine is

                      [citations needed], to put it mildly.

                      Put up or shut up, petit boy.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      OAB, not my job to enlighten you of major facts which have been known for years now.

                • Colonial Viper

                  From that answer I could take it that you’d be happy for big pharma to put out product with unacknowledged and unmonitored risk

                  Big pharma has a record of hiding, suppressing or biasing critical studies and statistics as suits it, so what would be new?

                  • miravox

                    It certainly does. Time to make improvements for both, don’t you think?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well given that big pharma takes up billions in tax payers money, and their product kills hundreds of thousands or millions a year in the developed western world, I reckon they should be in a fucked up category of hyper-regulation and hyper-scrutiny which is in a league of their own, thanks.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Millions, while increasing life expectancy, Weaseltongue.

                  • locus

                    So just because big pharma is trying to manipulate the system, that makes it okay for bighealth to not be subject to even basic requirements to prove that their supplements and remedies are safe and deliver the advertised and claims?

                    This is a good article for anyone interested in what bighealth and their promoters and prescribers are doing and getting away with http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/18/book-raises-alarms-about-alternative-medicine/2429385/

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Did I say it was just OK that alternative health remedies just do whatever?

                      I am calling for people to keep the problem in context and in scale.

                      Pharma drugs kill half a million to a million people a year in the USA. Let’s start from that as to where the scale of risk and damage to society sits.

                    • McFlock

                      Pharma drugs kill half a million to a million people a year in the USA. Let’s start from that as to where the scale of risk and damage to society sits.

                      How many in the US use mainstream medicine vs untested alternatives?
                      How many alternative medicine practitioners even count how many of their patients drop dead within three months of a consultation?

                    • weka

                      Thanks for making it clear that you have zero good faith in this debate McFlock. Good to see the bigotry too.

                      The fucked up irony here is that it’s the scienceheads arguing from a place of prejudice, ignorance and idiocy. Happy to demonstrate how any time you can garner even a smidgen of good intentions in teh debate.

                      I’m off to bed.

                    • McFlock

                      It sounded blunt, but it’s pretty much what “mainstream” medicine does: for example perioperative mortality looks at any death within 30 days.

                      When comparing that level of use and examination (even if seriously flawed), against something that has pretty much no surveillance whatsoever… “half a million” is a meaningless number.

                    • weka

                      What are the figures for physiotherapy?

                    • McFlock

                      Damned if I know offhand. What figures do you want: efficacy of treatment or adverse events, or both?

                      It appears that physiotherapy adverse events are reported to HQSC, so you might well start there.

                      Looking at pros and cons of specific treatments, you can look for the evidence base in google scholar, for example.

                    • weka

                      No, I meant what are the figures for physiotherapy of patients that drop dead within 3 months of a consult?

                      Because I’ve been to a physio a couple of times and then not seen them again so I’m curious how that physio knows I am still alive or not, and if dead what the reporting mechanism is.

                    • McFlock

                      ISTR three months was the general analysis line for prescription drug AE, as I said above perioperative mortality goes with 30 days, and I’d be surprised if physiotherapy went as long as that given the likely mechanism of harm (which seems to be the basis for the surveillance periods).

                      But assuming zero followup in the case of low-risk-of-death treatments (effort expended is related to likely harm avoided), your death would be registered with associated cause. Assuming no coronial connection was made with your physio treatment (i.e. on individual case analysis), the next point to identify the association would be population-level studies cross referencing mortality and treatment data, which happens pretty regularly.

                      Now, it is plausible that any actual connection between your physio treatment and your death might not be picked up by the above system. Nothing is perfect. This system has evolved over decades from institution-level AE case reviews, and can still be improved.

                      My point is that people are charging the public for treatments that might not even have proto-level efforts to keep patients safe.

                    • weka

                      You appear to expect herbal medicine practitioners to work to a higher safety standard than physios. Why is that?

                      Most of the alternative practitioners I’ve been to who use modalities that potentiall dangerous work within safety and ethical guidelines. They might not be via the state, but then again the mainstream medical treatments have a much higher rate of side effects and adverse reactions that I think state monitoring is warranted.

                      If you think that there is no way to know if the drug rate is far higher than the herbal medicine rate because there is no reporting, then you’re arguing from the abstract and from a position of relative ignorance. Also the argument seems to be one of pedantry and dogma rather than genuinely wishing to understand what the risks are and how they can be managed. These issues are immediately obvious to people who have actual experience in the filed.

                    • McFlock

                      You appear to expect herbal medicine practitioners to work to a higher safety standard than physios. Why is that?

                      Because herbs are more similar in expected effect to drugs rather than physiotherapy, so could be expected to have a similar envelope for delayed and cumulative effect. If they have any effect at all. Garlic and rosemary might be fine, but what of belladonna or hemlock? What about an ineffective treatment: are the people who failed to treat Steve Jobs still plugging the same advice to other patients with similar conditions?

                      Most of the alternative practitioners I’ve been to who use modalities that potentiall dangerous work within safety and ethical guidelines. They might not be via the state, but then again the mainstream medical treatments have a much higher rate of side effects and adverse reactions that I think state monitoring is warranted.

                      “Most”. Roll that word around a bit before moving on.

                      How do you know that mainstream medicine has a higher rate of side effects? You say they work within guidelines: how are those guidelines established and monitored? The question I keep coming back to, yet nobody seems to answer, is how are adverse events from non-mainstream medicine documented, collated, and analysed to find systemic issues?

                      If you think that there is no way to know if the drug rate is far higher than the herbal medicine rate because there is no reporting, then you’re arguing from the abstract and from a position of relative ignorance. Also the argument seems to be one of pedantry and dogma rather than genuinely wishing to understand what the risks are and how they can be managed. These issues are immediately obvious to people who have actual experience in the filed.

                      Of course I’m arguing from ignorance, that’s my entire argument: there’s no information on which to base a decision.

                      If an alternative healer says their product works and is safe, I have no way of knowing whether they’re right or are just bullshitting me. At least if a doc goes “off label” then I can tell, because my condition ain’t on the label. And even then the pharmacist is likely to catch any particularly gnarly drug combo or quantity.

                • weka

                  “From that answer I could take it that you’d be happy for big pharma to put out product with unacknowledged and unmonitored risk, just their own marketing bumpf like big health does.”

                  A couple of points. One is that big pharma do this already via off-label prescribing. The other is that let’s differentiate between big health (and the connections between that and big pharma and other industrial complexes) and actual alternative practitioners and traditions.

                  I don’t think that ‘herbal remedies’ should face the same degree of scrutiny that pharmaceuticals do*, and part of the reason is that there are very real differences between a drug and a herb. You guys can make all the snide put downs about natural that you like but there are very good reasons for why penicillin based drugs should be tested and regulated but plants that are effective antibiotics like garlic shouldn’t be. Natural is actually safer if you know what you are doing. Yes, there are plants that are dangerous, but trying to classify plants as drugs is throwing the baby out with the bath water and displays a profound misunderstanding about what drugs are and what herbal remedies are. Much of what I am saying here applies to other ‘natural’ modalities as well.

                  Besides, the product used in the link Draco provided isn’t a herbal remedy. It’s a supplement made by a profit motivated industry that’s not too different from all the others, and yes it needs a big slap down. Trouble is, if we regulate all herbal products in that way we will lose a huge amount of useful medicine and hand the medicine to the commercial cartels.

                  What should be happening is stop treating all these things as alike and instead develop appropriate regulation for each thing as appropriate, and where inappropriate don’t regulate.

                  *the government agrees with me on that btw

                  • miravox

                    I don’t disagree with you weka, that ‘big health’ framing I used was deliberate.

                  • locus

                    weka, bighealth has already blurred your wished for separation of “actual alternative practitioners and traditions” from the misinformative marketing practices employed by “big pharma and other industrial complexes”

                    Bighealth marketers manipulate patients, doctors and alternative practitioners alike when it comes to proof of safety and efficacy.

                    They also promote their untested ‘health’ and herbal products… often dangerously….as a better or safer alternative to proven mainstream medical therapies with known risk

                    While I agree with your sentiment that we should “develop appropriate regulation for each thing as appropriate, and where inappropriate don’t regulate,” I think this runs the risk of not requiring bighealth to provide evidence that there are: no adverse reactions and potential side effects of their products and therapies, the maximum safe amount for people with other conditions, the risks of taking or using them in combination with other therapies, or the risk of using them as an alternative to proven medical therapies, etc…

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    where inappropriate don’t regulate

                    Ah, the ‘high trust model’ so beloved of whoever writes the Prime Minister’s lines.

                    In other spheres that’s what you call a ‘loophole’. Big PharmaHealth be jumpin’ through it before you can say quack.

                    • weka

                      It’s not high trust it’s appropriate risk assessment. However in the absence of you checking out what I meant and being clear about what you mean, we’re just talking useless abstractions.

                      Tell me though, how would you regulate the use of garlic as a medicine when people can buy it at the supermarket?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      For anyone selling it above market value, I’d look closely at their labeling and marketing.

                      For anyone teaching people how to grow it themselves, I’d probably give them a subsidy, and I’d have the applications audited, in case the fuckers be jumpin’ through that loophole too.

                    • weka

                      Applications?

          • Draco T Bastard 21.1.2.1.2

            and as I said above, deaths due to pharma meds are orders of magnitude higher,

            [citation needed]

            It would have to be on a comparative basis such as per 1000 people taking the drug. I suspect that a proper comparison will actually show that it’s the other way around.

  21. linda 22

    todays new earth quake in Christchurch will turn the city into an insurance black zone the risk factor has just went through the roof i cant see insurance companies taking on the risk after todays earth quake national decision to rebuild in geologically unsound area(ie a fucken swamp) has come back and bitten them hard today property in Christchurch is going to zero zero!!!!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 22.1

      Aftershocks of this magnitude have been predicted, so unless the insurance companies weren’t paying attention it won’t come as much of a surprise to them.

    • millsy 22.2

      We probably should be grateful in a perverse way. The earthquakes in Christchurch are probably what killed ACC privatisation, with the insurance industry tied up with Christchuch and unwilling to take on ACC (apart from the accredited employer scheme).

      • Sacha 22.2.1

        Australian insurers rebuffed the govt’s attempts to sell in late 2008/early 2009 because it didn’t stack up as a deal for them. That’s all.

  22. Draco T Bastard 23

    Single? Write out a thousand times: you are a whole person

    The colloquial label for a partner, “my other half”, bears this out. It insinuates that you’re not still a whole person when you’re single; just some forlorn entity, desperately looking to be completed. It ignores the fact that you make an infinitely healthier partner if you come to the relationship feeling complete as a person in your own right. So those cards that claim “I was lost till I found you”? Don’t buy them. They perpetuate the idea that self-discovery and definition can only be fulfilled within a relationship, when the opposite is preferable.

    Perhaps the reason why our social relations are so stuffed up (domestic violence, suicide, etc) is because we’ve been mistaught about them.

    • ropata 23.1

      Thanks DTB, it’s important to have a whole self-image whether partnered or not. So many relationship problems come from this idealised fantasy of romance and whatnot. It’s important for every person feel valued and loved, but relying solely on one person to validate your life is too much to ask.

      Statistically there are always more single people than partnered at any time, it’s actually the norm for most humans for much of their lives.

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