Open mike 15/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 15th, 2016 - 74 comments
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74 comments on “Open mike 15/01/2016 ”

  1. swordfish 1

    British actor Alan Rickman has died.
    At the same age as Bowie, from the same causes.

    Rickman was a Labour supporter all his life (he was born, he said, “a card-carrying member of the Labour Party”) – Jeremy Corbyn was one of the first to pay tribute on twitter – and had the enormous courage and integrity to publicly support the Palestinian cause over many years (amongst other things, directing an award-winning play on Rachel Corrie, the young American activist killed by the IDF in the Gaza Strip).

    I always remember him in one of his first TV roles as the brilliantly slithery Obadiah Slope – playing alongside Donald Pleasence and Nigel Hawthorne in The Barchester Chronicles – one of the great BBC adaptions of the early 80s.

    • Sabine 1.1

      yes, its been a tough week for the lovers of art.

    • greywarshark 1.2

      Alan Rickman showed he cared about Rachel Corrie, killed in a sacrifice performed under the auspices of the Israelis and their anti-Palestine, settlement enforcement policy. Similar I believe to the killing of the Chinese student in Tianneman Square (by I think tanks rolling over him). Rickman and Corrie should both be remembered, perhaps on Anzac Day, as people who served the cause of peace and fairness.

      • Lanthanide 1.2.1

        The Tiananmen Square Man was not crushed by tanks, but pulled aside by people unknown (possibly the police) and has not been heard from since.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tank_Man

        • greywarshark 1.2.1.1

          Thanks for that Lanthanide. I didn’t know that and the way that people carry on about Tianneman I thought he must have been killed. I wonder if Amnesty International know what happened to him. I’ll do some searching when I get a chance.

    • millsy 1.3

      He was a pretty hardcase actor. I liked him. RIP

  2. Sabine 2

    ahhh, well that would never happen in dear ole NZ now. At least that is what Mrs. Tolley and her National Government would let us now. Social Bonds n stuff, and profit of course, so much profit.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/clare-sambrook/g4s-guard-fatally-restrains-15-year-old-gets-promoted

  3. alwyn 3

    More stupidity from a member of the Wellington City Council.
    Yesterday I pointed out the fact that the Council was not willing to carry out their responsibilities to the Wellington public by providing an emergency reservoir to ensure that the main hospital had a water supply after an earthquake.
    The did have money to indulge themselves in turning over ratepayer money to strengthen a privately owned church.

    Now I see that the deputy Mayor wants the council to help bail out a privately owned football team.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/a-league/75903245/wellington-deputy-mayor-justin-lester-in-favour-of-ratepayer-support-for-phoenix
    I wonder how many times has been entertained in one of the corporate boxes by the club?
    Why doesn’t the council look after its real responsibilities rather than get involved in all the “fun” things that interest them.

    And, for Molly if she happens to see this.
    I’m afraid Mr Lester is a left-wing councillor. Labour Party supported candidate for Mayor I understand.

    • Molly 3.1

      Hi Alwyn,

      Mr Lester could be a red-haired frog for all I care. The phrase “left-wing” means very little to me when it is used purely as a criticism of actions rather than a justified indication of where someone sits on the political spectrum.

      It is a lesson of sorts to see that you consider the possibility of putting tax-payer money into professional sports to be a confirmation of “left-wing” bias. To me, it is nothing of the sort.

      Are we really in a place in NZ, where right-of-centre actions are seen as “left-wing”?

      PS. Left you another message on yesterday’s thread this morning, but will repeat it here for ease. Seems relevant in line of this posting, and direction towards myself.

      “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.”.

      • alwyn 3.1.1

        You appear to be quoting from some document when you talk about “5 days is time …”.
        Can you please tell me what that document is? I would like to see what it is that they are talking about? I suspect it may be medicines, bandages etc. I doubt it was talking about the water that the hospital uses in such large amounts.

        Wellington Hospital uses 750,000 litres/day. Are we really expected to get that from “neighbours who can help” which appears to mean other DHBs?
        That amount of water is 750 metric tonnes or the contents of about 50 road tankers. Given that the roads are going to be impassable after a severe quake the only way to get it is from a large emergency reservoir near the hospital. That is the thing the council is refusing to provide.

        A reference to the document please.

        Meanwhile do you approve of giving rate payer money to support local, privately owned, professional sports teams?

        • Molly 3.1.1.1

          “You appear to be quoting from some document when you talk about “5 days is time …”.”
          Link already provided, relates again to yesterday’s thread.

          Primarily, I believe that the Ministry of Health needs to have a plan along with the Ministry of Defence (who is trained in civil emergencies to cope with adverse conditions and failure of infrastructure) to have a plan that evacuates as many patients as possible to neighbouring areas etc, and can provide the emergency supplies that are needed until the situation can be resolved.

          But you are once again off on another tangent.

          “Meanwhile do you approve of giving rate payer money to support local, privately owned, professional sports teams?

          So – no – as indicated yesterday, I do not approve of council monies being given to private enterprises that do not improve communities well-being long-term. (This proviso is because I know of many communities groups that are mostly volunteer driven that provide quantifiable “bang for buck” outcomes, and issues like this are often not black and white.)

          The question for you is:
          Why do you persist in referring to these actions as “left-wing”?

          They are not. Regardless of who instigates them.

          For example: Saint Sebastian murdering someone is not a saintly murder.
          It is a murder committed by a saint.

          The actions you describe are right-wing decisions made by purportedly left-wing politicians. But that still does not make them left-wing actions.

          (By the way, I would love to call any actions by the existing Nacts “left-wing.” But apparently they just don’t have the compassion, empathy and long-term vision necessary to do any.)

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            +1

          • alwyn 3.1.1.1.2

            You mean that your quotation is merely quoting from something that you posted yesterday.
            It therefore means that it is only your opinion that a DHB needs only 5 days supply of water at a hospital as someone will be able to reconnect the supply after a maximum period of 5 days. Is that really what you are saying?
            Do you actually have any professional experience when you come to that conclusion? You certainly appear to be a lone proponent of the opinion. The DHB, and the council certainly don’t seem to agree with you, do they. They seem to be saying it would be months.
            You also don’t seem to have any proposals for how you would actually deliver the enormous amount of water do you? Do you actually accept that roads would be impassable?

            Meanwhile back to what I have been complaining about. You have said
            “But you are once again off on another tangent.”
            Me, off on a tangent? My whole point is that I am complaining about our council wasting, or at least proposing to waste, rate payers money on things they shouldn’t be having anything to do with, while not doing the things that are clearly their responsibility.
            They don’t have any reason to support professional sports teams.
            They don’t have any reason to pay to strengthen buildings they don’t own.

            They do have an obligation to guarantee the supply of water to our hospital.

            However it is much more fun to go and watch a football match or preen at the reopening of an old church than it is to stand by a reservoir that has been to provide critical insurance for hospital services after an earthquake.

            Now, is it true that the 5 days is only your opinion and there is no expert opinion backing it up?

            • Molly 3.1.1.1.2.1

              You stated that there existed five days supply and that it was not enough. The article you linked to references that five days.

              I queried whether the responsibility past that initial point that you made should in fact lie solely with Wellington City Council.

              I said that IMO implementation of a national strategy should have kicked in at that point as the Ministries of both Health and Defence have the capacity to facilitate external agencies to work together to help the afflicted DHB.

              “They do have an obligation to guarantee the supply of water to our hospital.”
              From what you have referenced – and stated – They already do. And they ensure a supply of five days in case of emergency.

              You haven’t yet indicated what you consider a reasonable amount of water supply yourself – or the likely cost of this.

              These are salient points.

              How much is considered reasonably spent on the possibilities of disaster that could be better spent elsewhere?

              You also haven’t addressed the capability of the NZ Defence Force to be utilised effectively in tandem with Ministry of Health, as I have suggested.

              In fact, you often seem to reply to your own failure in reading comprehension.

              (It has also been noted that you refuse to answer repeated questions about clarity around your own comments. I’m pretty comfortable with disengaging with you if this continues.)

              PS. Credit where credit is due. In this comment you actually refrained from referring to right-wing practices as “left-wing”. Well done.

              • alwyn

                Ok. Here we go.

                “You stated that there existed five days supply and that it was not enough”
                The DHB itself says, in the article I linked to
                “Wellington Regional Hospital, which uses 750,000 litres of water a day, has only five days of water in its own reservoir, which could put patients at risk in the event of a major earthquake.
                Plans have been in the works to build an emergency 35 million-litre reservoir in Prince of Wales Park since 2003.”
                The DHB doesn’t seem to think it is enough if there is an earthquake do they? Bear in mind that the nearest source of supply would be somewhere in the Hutt Valley, all the roads were be severely damaged and the main water supply pipes would be fractured.

                You then offer ” They already do. And they ensure a supply of five days in case of emergency.” The council don’t own the reservoir being talked about and don’t ensure the five day supply. It belongs to the hospital and it is intended to handle minor emergencies such as a power outage or a burst water main.

                How much is a reasonable amount. The GWRC estimated, in something they published in October last year that
                “The estimated restoration times to return bulk water to city reservoirs ranges up to 70 days for the areas furthest from the supply, the eastern and southern suburbs of Wellington.”
                If you don’t know Wellington that includes the hospital. That seems a reasonable period to me, unless you plan to move out and abandon the hospital.
                Also the Prince of Wales Park referred to is a couple of hundred metres from the hospital. The council said that two thirds of the capacity would be reserved for the hospital.

                You then ask “How much is considered reasonably spent on the possibilities of disaster”. I don’t know but building a 35 million litre doesn’t seem to much. As of Jan 2014 the estimate for the reservoir was $20 million.

                “You also haven’t addressed the capability of the NZ Defence Force to be utilised effectively in tandem with Ministry of Health, as I have suggested.”
                I am quite sure that in the event of an emergency both parties are going to be usefully employed. However they aren’t going to be able to supply water in the quantities needed are they? Where would the get it? Where would they get tankers in the required numbers? How would they move it when the roads will probably be impassable?
                Water isn’t like drugs, medical supplies, people or replacement equipment is it? You can’t just stick the quantities required in a helicopter and buzz across the harbour.
                The only real proposal available, unless they decide to lay new pipelines under water across the harbour is to go ahead with the planned reservoir. GET ON WITH IT>

                • Molly

                  Right.

                  We are in agreement that some form of plan is necessary.

                  We disagree on the onus falling completely on Wellington City Council.

                  It has taken us many comments to get this far, because of your tendency to divert.

                  Your original comment yesterday cited two different issues and compared them as if it was one or the other:
                  ie. $400,000K on a church OR emergency water reservoir for Wellington Hospital (which you have now supplied a budget amount of $20,000,000 for).

                  That makes your initial implication that councillors are preferring one to the other disingenuous at best.

                  You conflated this by referring to the action as “left-wing” when it is demonstrably not:

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

                  http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/75872095/dispute-over-wellington-hospitals-emergency-water-leads-to-fingerpointing
                  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.
                  http://cathnews.co.nz/2015/11/20/st-mary-of-the-angels-rebuild-city-council-provides-400000/
                  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. “

                  We agree that some form of action framework and strategy is required.

                  I tend to suspect that the original reservoir budget you have referenced will likely be overrun, as many public works budgets are. So you are comparing not apples to oranges, but raisins to pumpkins, but for simplicity we will stick to the $20 million start point.

                  You profess concern over the spending of your rates, which is justified, but seem to throw in red herrings along the way.

                  The Ministry of Health seems determined to break the backs of DHB’s and local government by demanding more and more for less and less.

                  The cost of providing health care belongs ultimately to the Ministry, both in terms of ordinary provision – and continued provision in times of emergency.

                  Your call for local government to provide precautionary additional emergency supplies just takes away that responsibility, and I would rather advocate for a return of that responsibility to the Ministry who is better suited to create a national response that can be called upon at any time by any DHB in the country.

                  This is likely our only point of disagreement on this issue.

                  I will continue to support those who advocate for a better national health system for all NZers, and less cost-cutting and shirking of responsibility by the Ministry.

                  You can start up a petition for local ratepayers to add a $20million + capital expenditure item to the council’s long-term budget. (Now remember there are examples of budget blowouts in excess of 100%, talk to Kaipara residents about that).

                  As I said at the beginning, $400K compared to what you are proposing is pocket change.

                  • alwyn

                    My last word on the topic.
                    If only it was a mere $400,000.
                    Our council does it regularly and then pretends to be surprised when their projects go bust.

                    When Zealandia, a bird sanctuary mainly, was built some years ago it never attracted the visitors hoped for. The Trust who ran it managed to get about $17 million, from memory, to build a visitor centre. The councillors pretended to believe that it would improve things and tossed them a $10.3 million interest free loan. It didn’t do any good of course and so the council have had to take over ownership of a white elephant and accept the money was wasted.

                    The council runs a $10 million dollar slush fund to give to businesses. Nobody, including most of the council seem to know much about its operations. One recipient, a call centre has just gone belly up and taken our money with them.

                    Some years ago another trust bought and sank an old navy frigate. They got a guarantee for a loan. Of course promises were made that it would never be called on but it was. The frigate then broke up in the first storm. I haven’t heard of anyone who dives to it but the ratepayers were still out of pocket for a good chunk of change.

                    The council owns a couple of theatres. Again a trust claimed that they would raise all the money for restoring them. They got a loan guarantee for one for, I think $4 million and restored it. Then they only managed to raise $50,000. The council had to cough up the rest of the money.

                    They are spending some enormous sum in Island Bay on cycle lanes. As far as I, and most of the residents in the area, can see, it will make it incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and people who want to park to shop there. I suppose there are a hundred cyclists who might use it regularly. I suspect their accident rate will go up and they will insist that all parking in the shopping area should be banned.

                    I could continue to go on but I doubt you want to read any more.
                    The church and Lester’s ideas about the football club are just this weeks idiocies.

                    You do say “Your call for local government to provide precautionary additional emergency supplies just takes away that responsibility, and I would rather advocate for a return of that responsibility to the Ministry”
                    I would suggest to you that it has never been the responsibility of the Health Department and has always been a responsibility of the local body. The council here is just trying to get out of it.

                    • Molly

                      Once again, we would likely be in agreement on most of the items you have claimed. Probably not on cycleways.

                      I’m glad you are now refraining from referring to this as “left-wing” spending. Funding of private enterprise without wide and long-term social benefit is not and never will be – “left-wing”. This is pure neo-lib access to the public purse via perceived “economic benefits”.

                      In the past, there were more regional health facilities – but I may be going back further than you due to age. The centralisation of healthcare makes ongoing healthcare due to civil emergencies more vulnerable. Centralisation impacts also in terms of community access and lack of funding going to regions, and as you indicated, the resilience of these systems is reduced when geographical disasters hit the main service centre.

                      Another issue perhaps.

                      “I would suggest to you that it has never been the responsibility of the Health Department and has always been a responsibility of the local body. The council here is just trying to get out of it.”
                      I’m still disagreeing with you here regardless. Your arguments – such as I can ascertain – have not convinced me otherwise. Funding of health care alongside continual reform continues to send our quality of service downhill. Funding of local government also is inadequate, especially in light of the changes that have happened in local government recently.

                      We have the opportunity to input during the draft Long-Term plans up here in Auckland, which itemise the budgets for Auckland Council for the next ten years. It is reviewed every two years.

                      I suggest you find out if you have the opportunity to do the same in Wellington, else contact your councillors and advocate the addition of that $20 million because of your concern for emergency provisions for the hospital.

                    • greywarshark

                      Alwyn
                      If you want a simple life, retire to a farming town. In cities like Wellington, they need to keep up interest in the place overseas and domestic tourists are drawn to visit there, tourism one of our main urban money earners. The Council can’t guarantee that every thing they invest in pays its way, but it will be part of the attractions held out to the tourists.

                      The Wellington City Council has other people to think about than crusty old complainers. Yet the rates go up for people on fixed incomes and depreciating ones. How can it be stopped? Maybe it would help if the people who get to be managers stopped paying themselves outlandish salaries. Capped salaries in central and local government to the level of GDP might be a good move, (also politicians). Once gummint reined itself in, shareholders would put pressure on the free-spending entities they invested in.

                      As for water for the hospital, a while ago the government ran the health system, then as with so many of its duties, it played Maisie the holiday bird and flew away from its responsibilities (Horton and the Egg Dr Seuss – need some levity occasionally). I feel you are right and there should be a reserve adequate for this large hospital, not only for the incumbents, but also to meet the needs of newly injured and sick people after the serious event. But government should bear some of the cost, plus an interest free loan perhaps.

      • Expat 3.1.2

        Molly
        +1
        An intelligent response.

    • Petertoo 3.2

      Labour have lost the plot if they support Justin Lester as a ‘left-wing’ mayoral candidate. His background and the issues he has advanced or supported as Deputy Mayor demonstrate that he is the epitome of a crony capitalist. He is in good company with the faux-green anti-democratic current Mayor, the one percenter’s neo-liberal wet dream CEO and the machiavellian PR-meisters that the Council employs.

  4. Paul 4

    The Herald pimped for the government’s signing of the TPP yesterday.

    ‘Editorial: TPP signing an honour, let’s respect it’

    The editorial received almost universal opprobrium for its lapdog stance.
    136 comments……….,almost all negative, so the Herald put out its ‘Debate on this article is now closed.’
    Read some of the comments – it’ll cheer you up

    People are wising up to the fact this rag has morphed into a propaganda tabloid.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11573339

    and also to cheer you up.

    ‘TPPA petition gets thousands of signatures

    A petition against New Zealand signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has gathered over 11,000 signatures in just two days.
    The Government is denying a date has been set for the signing of the deal despite an official statement by Chile saying it will be done in New Zealand on 4 February.
    Barry Coates from the ‘It’s Our Future Coalition’ set up the petition and said he expected more people to sign it.
    “If we continue at that rate we’ll be in the hundreds of thousands of signatures. This petition particularly says to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It’s a crucial point when our government signs it and we don’t think that they have a mandate to sign the agreement and this petition gives people a chance to say no.”
    Barry Coates said the deal was designed to serve the interests of large corporations rather than those of people or the planet.’

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/294106/tppa-petition-gets-thousands-of-signatures

  5. greywarshark 5

    The Australians show their fangs again. They called the previous PM the Monk perhaps because he was religiously fervent in his right wing doctrine. On the news is a report that the Oz rejected a NZ offer to take 150 of the Nauru detainees. Abbott thought it would only encourage more to come. Slime, the lot of them. (More reports of more Kiwis picked up and dropped off – the edge of humane conditions.) http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/293947/australia-never-took-nz%27s-refugee-offer
    Australia never took NZ’s refugee offer – minister
    Updated at 4:25 pm on 12 January 2016
    The government has told refugees on Nauru who are asking to be resettled in New Zealand that Australia never accepted its offer to take them.
    Nauru
    Twenty-eight refugees from Nauru have written to Prime Minister John Key seeking resettlement.
    Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse received a copy of the letter on 6 January.

    But a spokesperson for the Minister said the government offered in 2013 to resettle 150 refugees a year who had been subject to Australia’s offshore processing policy.
    The spokesperson said Australia had never taken up the offer, and the places had now been allocated to refugees from the Syrian crisis.

    Opposition foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said the deal was never a good one.
    In late 2013, the then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said New Zealand should not be viewed as a consolation prize by refugees attempting to get to Australia.

    And what was in David Shearer’s mind when he said ‘the deal was never a good one’.
    Why? Compared to what?

    Also –
    Kiwis being sent to Christmas Island again – detainee
    Updated about 1 hour ago
    Four New Zealanders are among 10 people who have been sent to Christmas Island from a detention centre on the Australian mainland, RNZ News has been told.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/294122/kiwis-being-sent-to-christmas-island-again-detainee

    NZ detainees in Australia struggling to get medicine
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201785585

    • Naturesong 5.1

      The “deal” was never a good one because it made New Zealand complicit in the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Australian govt.

      Abbot received political and diplomatic support for his actions. While John Key got to sell it as “compassionate conservatism” at home.
      I wonder if Key knew at the time Abbot was not going to send any refugees over?
      Especially given Key doesn’t appear to like refugees.

      At the time the “deal” looked like a disgrace.

      And it’s looking much worse now.

    • Expat 5.2

      Hi greywarshark,
      Oz, under Liberals are not interested in resettling the asylum seekers at all, their policy is to keep them locked up as a “deterrent” to stop others from coming, cruel and illegal under international law, but it is a big public issue in Oz (made so by Abbott) which saw Abbott elected after promising “to stop the boats”. Interestingly, detainees have spent more time locked up under Turnbull (452 days) than Abbott according to a report released yesterday.
      The reasoning for locking them up comes from the Howard era, where the population was led to believe that “arrivals” on boats were the undesirables, thieves and dishonest ones coming to Oz to take advantage, of course, this is not true, those in this classification come to Oz on a holiday by plane and simply never leave, a lot of them on stolen passports.
      Last year Interpol released the figures for the number of stolen passports globally and the number is a staggering 39 million.
      I personally find the regime highly unethical and an embarrassment to the rest of the world, yet Abbott after being ousted has promoted his ideas at various international functions at the dismay off many.

  6. Ad 6

    For those masochists amongst us who still prefer investing in the stockmarket:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hermes-bags-investment_5697a827e4b0ce496423521e

    • Pat 6.1

      and that folks is the kind of mind numbing stupidity that occurs when folk have more money than they know what do with…good grief.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      A perfect example of just how stupid the rich are.

      • Murray Simmonds 6.2.1

        Fascinating article; thanks for the link, Ad.

        The ultimate in snobbery: You don’t just go out and buy the damned handbag – you “apply” for one, And likely as not your application will be tuned down if you don’t happen to be one of their approved customers . . .

        Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    I suspect Kelvin Davis will cop flak for this…

    “Maori youth and children make up 88 per cent of the 317 kids in state care in Northland, and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis says it’s because parents are not doing their job.

    “It’s parents not doing their part,” said Mr Davis “They are failing in their roles and there needs to be an intensive intervention in the kids’ lives.” ”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11574218

    I’d like to know what Whanau Ora is doing????

    Wasn’t WO set up to sort this shit out?

    • greywarshark 7.1

      I don’t think that Whanau Ora should be expressed as WO, that is the preserve of WholeOil and I wouldn’t likw to smear that on Whanau Ora.

      And it is hard to change ingrained habits that lead from one generation to another of she’ll be right parenting. Perhaps some Whanau Ora camps like Outward Bound where the youngsters get away from home and the groupthink of their peers, and if they can get through Outward Bound they get sent to board and go to secondary at a nearby town if it has a good school standard. Then the kids wouldn’t get pulled down by the constant tug of feckless family and friends. The terrible f’s.

      It’s hard to reshape yourself when you’re cut out to be a little gingerbread man but in the children’s story he ran away. The youngster would be close enough so that he/she is in touch and goes home at holidays. That may be the start of a change for many youngsters with good potential.

    • Karen 7.2

      I think the idea behind Whānau Ora is a good one, but the problem is that it is neither funded nor administered adequately for the job that needs doing.

      There are huge problems in Northland with high unemployment, poor housing, and all the health and education problems that go with long term poverty. These problems have definitely been getting worse.

      The parents who aren’t looking after their children properly are often just treating them the way that they were treated, and blaming them is not the answer, nor is taking the kids away from them. What is needed is a big investment in local community support, health services and local schools. The Green Party idea of making schools community hubs was a very good one. I hope they will take this policy to the next election and persuade Labour to adopt it as part of a coalition agreement.

      • greywarshark 7.2.1

        Karen
        Your knee-jerk reaction of talking about the prescription for a way out of Northland and other impoverished areas problems is nice sounding, but has been heard for years and is definitely only part of the solution. To my suggestion that teenagers should have a sideways shift to a nearby town, as boarders, you say ‘taking the kids away from them’ (the parents). It is a well-used tactic, to give the children a change of company and location when they are teenagers and it works when done properly.

        Health services are needed. Local community support yes – and that can take various forms. Local schools: who is teaching, what qualifications and standards, and what is the intended result? Jobs need to be set up for the kids so they can be moving from school to job and back again, so they are integrated right at the beginning. Apprentices used to take time off for a block course. Going from seconday school just means starting with an employer early, going to school for part of the day, working for part of the day. Once the teenagers are integrated, receiving a little pay while they are doing their training, most of them will be set for going on with their skilss to whatever trade or job that interests them.

        That is what is needed. Work arranged, projects going on all the time and the organisation and commitment from the local community is what is needed most. Education has meaning and worth when it is applied.

        And putting time into maintaining the marae would be a basic also.. As someone was saying on radio recently marae are very expensive to maintain and insure and so on. The young need to support this physical and spiritual base and not just take it and the elders for granted and think that they can be there as a back stop for the young when needed. or when there is a tangi or a meeting. Reciprocal help must be available, It should be regular, and part of the young people’s commitments.

        • Karen 7.2.1.1

          Sorry Greywarshark, I don’t get your claim that my comment to Rosemary was a “kneejerk reaction.” I was explaining why Whānau Ora has not resolved the solutions to the long term problems in Northland, a subject that I do know a reasonable amount.

          I wonder how well you know Northland and the communities there. Who are these teenagers going to board with? If you are only talking about teenagers then chances are they have some behavioural problems if they come from a dysfunctional home so finding families to take them on would be extremely difficult.

          Which schools in Northland do you think could provide what you envisage? Māori boarding schools like Hato Petera used to provide this but last year they closed their boarding facility because of ongoing issues of bullying and badly maintained accommodation. Efforts are been made to reopen it but seem to have reached a stalemate.

          No matter how bad their families are, pre teen kids tend to want to stay with them. Isn’t it better to try and fix the families while investing in local schools and adequately funding community support?

          I agree with your ideas about education and work. Unfortunately there are very few jobs available in many areas of Northland. There could be if we had a government that actually cared about creating jobs.

          • greywarshark 7.2.1.1.1

            Yes Karen, I was very critical. And everything I suggested seems to receive a negative from you, it can’t be done. And what I fear is the same old anodyne one of families are best and better housing and health will be the answer.

            No matter how bad their families are, pre teen kids tend to want to stay with them. Isn’t it better to try and fix the families while investing in local schools and adequately funding community support?…

            The parents who aren’t looking after their children properly are often just treating them the way that they were treated, and blaming them is not the answer, nor is taking the kids away from them. What is needed is a big investment in local community support, health services and local schools. The Green Party idea of making schools community hubs was a very good one. I hope they will take this policy to the next election and persuade Labour to adopt it as part of a coalition agreement.

            How can anything be achieved you say, when the resources are so bad, the special schools so bad, Putting efforts into the home and parents is vital but takes a long time, and the teenagers need urgent consideration.

            If the parents and extended family have some stability and integrity over time good changes can be made. Parents who are unable to cope with life will have little good influence on their children who will identify with their peers, rather than their parents, in the usual teenage way.

            When I suggest that teenagers be boarded out and go home in the weekends, it is a circuit breaker. It is not taking them away from their families for ever.

            What I suggested could be set up as a pilot, for a few to make it happen if possible for them.. Then if it was successful it would be time to go all out to get it established full time. And at the same time the work for improving the community and working with the parents would progress. Both at the same time. And urgent work to provide opportunities for trade training followed by work.

            • Karen 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Greywarshark, I am not being critical of everything you suggest at all. I am pointing out some of the problems with some (not all) of the things you suggest.

              Both of our suggestions require a big investment from central government, not just mine. Of course schools need to be much better resourced if they are to become community hubs as suggested by the Green Party.

              You seem to be under the illusion that there is a lot more work available in Northland than is the case and you still haven’t explained where these teenagers are going to board. I personally would like to see a boarding school in Northland that could function the way you envisage but it would need a lot of government funding to be established. I would also like to see the government invest in regional development that created work in the area.

              • greywarshark

                Yes I would like to see this as you suggest –

                I would also like to see the government invest in regional development that created work in the area.

                but we know it won’t happen under the Nasties because they they think about the citizens in general ‘f..k ’em’, Gnats don’t want to do most of the things that modern governments have been expected to do. Their gloat is – We got in, you didn’t, so suck on that, and our theatre management is better than yours, enough of the people love our performance to ensure a long run!

                And they don’t care about ‘the people’ advancing and bettering themselves, just doing that for their elite group, and the rest are to be managed as efficiently (least money in, sufficient returns out) as possible. End of story, for National.

                For Labour, it’s a case of talking big to the comfortably off and waving limp-wristed to their supporters, and pointing to their reps from ‘the people’ doing a scheme here, a scheme there, while need overwhelms them everywhere.

                With that in mind, it is important that those wanting to better things start schemes themselves. Small ones, closely monitored for effectiveness, and watched for rorts. Because there is so little happening, each successful scheme will make big waves. Your comment below.

                You seem to be under the illusion that there is a lot more work available in Northland than is the case and you still haven’t explained where these teenagers are going to board.

                They would board with suitable families, near the schools they attended. These would have to be hand-picked, have good reputations and ethics, and would be drawn from suitable suggestions from marae, family connections, churches, or residents known to be of good character. They would need to be paid weekly board for the time the youngsters were living with them, with enough to cover expenses and include pastoral care, doctor’s visits and so on.

                The youngsters would need to behave appropriately, and might need some advice on reasonable and good behaviour, and showing respect and knowing when to accept criticism and what respect should be shown to themselves. They should have an interested, responsible mentor.. Each successful student would be a case for rejoicing, the emphasis would be on incrementally setting up a system that produced thoughtful, smart, strong and kind resilient individuals who would be part of their community, their hapu and marae and role models to others coming forward in their age group.

                I am not under any illusions. You will note that I said that jobs need to be found for graduates of trades – they can’t be left with nothing after their efforts. So small intensively run entities tailored to this end have to be set up. They might make simple furniture at competitive prices that get outlets at weekly markets with a couple of responsible adults travelling down in a truck and hocking them off and bringing all the money back, from which a small payment for their efforts, the cost of petrol and truck maintenance would be drawn. The aim would be to make the transactions and cover costs at first. There would be a recognisable brand and the aim would be to build the name, find profitable outlets, openly selling the idea that buying these goods, keeps a good young man or woman in work. They would have to keep tabs on all aspects of the business to ensure that some cousin given the task of being agent and handler of the goods in a distant area, didn’t fall down on the job and set the enterprise back financially and dent its flourishing progress.

                This potential progress trust might be able to get advice and assistance from the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development that Tindall and Hubbard (Cereals) are part of plus many others. They may have ideas on steps to take, which they can make available and also provide mentors.

                It requires intensive and committed work and some support from central government with boarding fees, travel costs, and provision for the support network needed, and then real support and contribution from local Councils, many Councillors are negative about the young, and especially Maori. The decline in their lives which has accelerated with the ‘free-for-all market’ and employment has left many Maori with few life options and finding no achievable goal so they just make do as they can. Not long ago I was staying in Northland with some Germans who had come to live in NZ, and spent time learning about tikanga, and the modern culture. They felt where they were living, there was no appetite for change, that the place had accepted the status quo, and lost its mojo. People in positions of leadership were either passive or content to be big frogs in a small puddle. If everything continues as it is, then nothing will change.

                And don’t let anyone say that Maori have been given some money so they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. They just need to find those bootstraps, and soon they will be making their own, probably better than the ones now presently imported, and then their job will be to sell the idea that supporting NZs making good quality products is more productive for the country, and individual NZ buyers ‘in the longer run’.

    • Smilin 7.3

      Your eluding to the results of the last forty years of the cultural reshaping of NZs history and that starts with the end of the Vietnam war and the debt created by the USA in the Pacific region fueled by capitalist stomping on a socialist democracy in this country and whom have
      controlled and continues to control our world, The big 5 eyes
      Is it any wonder 88% are Maori in Northland because culturally they have the biggest mountain to climb when it comes to understanding what many pakeha live with as a historical right
      Maori are the most underprivileged racial group in NZ which is an extreme paradox considering how much they have contributed to this nation which is a hell of a lot in comparison to their population numbers overall and this country’s politics has always been ignorant of the glaring reality of what is culturally valuable for Maori and forced them to have to fight to get what many pakeha take for granted
      So is it any wonder that Kels position is as blatant a bottom line as you can get
      When our nation is run by the five eyes and not by majority of NZ citizens you really have to question the overall integrity of our political system and supposed elected representatives

  8. Sabine 8

    Flint, the saga that should give us all to think.

    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/01/13/snyder-flint-area-has-seen-spike-legionnaires/78750610/

    Unfettered capitalism, emergency manager, undermined democratic processes, and not public oversight resulting in ill health and death. But i guess the powers that decide these things don’t have to drink the water. Maybe they should.

  9. alwyn 9

    From the Economist daily news

    ” The acting deputy head of Russia’s national prison service was arrested for stealing a 50km (30-mile) stretch of road. While serving as prison director in the northern Komi region, Alexander Protopopov is accused of having the highway dismantled, and selling off more than 7,000 concrete slabs. Other prison officials were also involved, prosecutors said.”

    How about that for initiative? Anyone living in Auckland who can check whether the Harbour Bridge still has the outside lanes>

    • Rosemary McDonald 10.1

      Beat me to it Paul….deserves a post of its own.

      Loved the bit about the ‘no class system in NZ and what is that next door…a laundromat or a tradies’ eatery?’

      As a frequent laundromat user when travelling (which is often), I had never stopped to think that those with 24/7 access to a washing machine might actually see me as being disadvantaged!

  10. Murray Simmonds 11

    The lanes are still there alwyn, but I got a good price for all the nuts and bolts I took off them one night . . . .

  11. Undecided 12

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/75928343/judge-denies-picture-application-for-wellknown-new-zealand-actor

    I’d suggest there was strong public interest because he’d easily be able to use his celebrity to carry out his actions

    • Sabine 12.1

      Protect women from a sexual predator? What are you speaking of, don’t you know that it is the women that should prevent themselves from being assaulted and if they fail to do so, surely it must be the women fault for being at the wrong spot and wrong time, dressed incorrectly and maybe sporting a tantalizing ponytail.

    • Undies 12.2

      Trying to figure out whether to be green or BLUE?

      Hard one!

    • weka 12.3

      If name suppression is lifted then the media will use other photos they have on file. How does having a photo of him in court serve the public interest?

      We don’t know at what stage the trial is either. The judge said there was no public interest ‘at present’.

  12. One Two 13

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00244-006-0149-5

    [lprent: explain why people should be interesting in the link. It is an abstract of

    New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity

    Next time I see you adding an unexplained link, you are likely to get a ban from the site for wasting my time looking at a probable spammer. ]

    • lprent 14.1

      That is really cool. The maths of rotating black holes. The 3 million kroner share of the prize isn’t to be sneezed at either.

      • Grant 14.1.1

        Yep not bad. About 3/4 of the price for an average house in Auckland. 🙂

        • lprent 14.1.1.1

          But Roy Kerr is in ChCh 🙂

          • alwyn 14.1.1.1.1

            Tauranga actually.
            And you would have to live in a very downmarket part of Auckland.
            It converts to a very nice, but not Auckland Real Estate, $540,000

            • Grant 14.1.1.1.1.1

              DKK 3,000,000 x .23 = NZD 690,000

            • alwyn 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Incidentally, if you are really interested in his work there is a book which contains the invited lectures from a 2004 Kerr Fest to celebrate his 70th birthday. It is

              “The Kerr Spacetime”
              Edited by David L Wiltshire, Matt Visser and Susan M Scott.
              Published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.
              ISBN 978-0-521-88512-6 hardback

              I don’t know where you would find a copy in New Zealand, outside a University Library but you are warned.

              Don’t bother until you have earned your first class honours degree in either Maths or Theoretical Physics.

    • Poission 14.2

      Interesting comment by Chandrasekhar in 1975.

      “In my entire scientific life, extending over forty-five years, the most shattering experience has been the realization that an exact solution of Einstein’s equations of general relativity, discovered by the New Zealand mathematician, Roy Kerr, provides the absolutely exact representation of untold numbers of massive black holes that populate the universe. This shuddering before the beautiful, this incredible fact that a discovery motivated by a search after the beautiful in mathematics should find its exact replica in Nature, persuades me to say that beauty is that to which the human mind responds at its deepest and most profound.”

      http://www2.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/kerrfest/spin.html

  13. SaveOurNix 15

    Pretty minor, but I guess there is at least another ‘celebrity’ that is against the TPPA.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11573299

  14. Peter Lewis 16

    Power comes in many forms, both real and illusionary. There is physical power, as personified in a nation that can field vast well-equipped armies and in individuals who have above average physical strength. There is financial power, where some people can simply buy their way in to and out of whatever they want. Finally, there is political power, where someone occupies a position where they can control and direct an organization into carrying out the tasks that they want done.

    Power can be both addictive to those who are able to wield it and seductive to others. Women are said to find powerful men highly attractive, and certainly both the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and the US President seldom seem to lack willing and compliant female company.

    Within a residential tenancy situation it is usually assumed that the landlord is in a powerful position and the tenant is subservient. Certainly, from the tenant’s point of view, the landlord is able to control many of his actions. Usually the tenant is unable to paint the rooms, change the floor coverings, or alter the garden layout without getting permission from the landlord. The tenant often feels resentful that he is under the thumb of the landlord and paying a sizeable rent each week to someone who appears to be living an affluent and idle life. The Residential Tenancy Act quite openly seeks to remedy the perceived power imbalance by imposing greater penalties and restrictions and longer time requirements on the landlord than it does on the tenant.

    However, the perception from the landlords side is quite different. He has handed over access and control of an asset worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars to someone he has only just met and, legally, can only request a bond of usually less than half of one percent of that assets’ value as security. The tenant, should he fall behind on rent payments, cannot be charged any monetary penalty whereas the landlord, should he fail to make his mortgage payments on time, will certainly be charged a hefty penalty by the mortgage holder. He is also well aware that, in practical terms, regardless of the provisions of the tenancy agreement, the tenant can vacate the property whenever they choose leaving the place damaged and full of rubbish knowing that the landlord will receive minimal help from the justice system in enforcing any resultant tribunal orders.

    Thus in reality the landlord is not the powerful, almost omnipotent, figure of popular belief. The ability of the landlord to control his property has been sharply reduced by legislation and by the interpretation that public servants have placed on various laws and bylaws based on a blind assumption of excessive landlord power. Even the term ‘Landlord’, which dates back to medieval days when the Lord of the Manor was undisputed master of all he surveyed and the tenants and serfs of his domain were little better than slaves, is now misleading. Although many centuries have now passed and society has vastly changed since those bad old days, many members of the public, the media, and our political masters still have not incorporated these changes into their perception of reality.

    Landlords are generally held to be wealthy. Yet in the Auckland market it often costs much less to rent a property than it would to own it. Therefore we have economist Shamubeel Eaqub and other such people on above-average incomes promote the idea that it makes more financial sense to rent than to buy. This may well be true. By renting not buying they would reduce their costs and increase their disposable income and thus would presumably enhance their own enjoyment of life. However, somebody has to own the property that they rent, and this owner will be paying the full costs of ownership. Should they be on the same salary as their tenant they will be subsidizing their tenants living costs and actually have less disposable income than their own tenant. Somebody, somewhere, has to pick up the tab.

    Residential tenants and their fellow-travellers have a highly visible adversary – the evil landlord, whereas people who own their own homes do not. Virtually all studies on rental housing problems focus on the plight of the tenants. All tenants are affected by changes and perceived deficiencies in tenancy laws, whereas changes in mortgage rates and availability affect only those home owners who have to renew mortgages at that particular time, a small fraction of the total. Thus it is much easier to organize tenant protests and create sympathy for tenancy problems.

    With this undisputed moral high ground, tenants and pro-tenants groups have been able to abuse landlords with apparent impunity. The political world continues to justify this process on the grounds of helping the poor powerless tenants. Sure, we all believe that, in a modern society, poor people should have reasonable access to housing. However we also believe that the poor should not starve but we do not demonize and abuse Countdown and Pak’n’Save. There must be some way that we could provide rental housing to the less fortunate members of our society without violating the rights of another group within our society, residential landlords.

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