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Open mike 15/05/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 15th, 2015 - 98 comments
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openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

98 comments on “Open mike 15/05/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    John Roughan supports the curtailment of democracy in New Zealand.
    The rich owners of the Herald told him to write this.

    ‘Editorial: TVNZ election broadcasts a giant turn off

    Political parties need to listen carefully when TVNZ asks to be relieved of its obligation to screen their election broadcasts. These productions, which can take an hour of prime time at the opening and closing of election campaigns, rate very poorly.’

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11448845

    • halfcrown 1.1

      I think smokeskreen had a good comment about that on 11.05.15

      9.47am

      When he/her said

      “Since when has democracy had anything to do with media ratings?”

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      He is completely correct. Having these on TVNZ is stupid. I believe last election, there was a rugby game on at the same time.

      Instead what they need to do, is play them non-stop 24/7 on Parliament TV, which apart from when Parliament is in session, just has that green sign saying when Parliament will next be in session.

      If these things were on repeat 24/7 for the election campaign, anyone who was interested would be able to quickly and easily see the ones they wanted to see.

      In my case, it would be re-watching the ACT one over and over again to see how amateur it was (I watched it at least 6 times last year on youtube).

      • alwyn 1.2.1

        Is Parliamentary TV available everywhere?
        If so I think this is a great idea. Just link them all together, with a break between the individual addresses and then run them continuously. The break is so that if you really can’t stand seeing the NZF one you will be able to start after he has finished and before the hair-do that is Peter Dunne pops up.
        Then rerun every two hours or so.
        The ACT one must have been rather effective actually. You watched it 6 times didn’t you? I couldn’t have watched any of then a second time.

        • McFlock 1.2.1.1

          For a while I could get the US equivalent, CSPAN.

          Absolutely fascinating – not just the main houses were covered, but committees, seminars, interviews. Absolutely excellent.

          Parliament TV at the moment is sorely underutilised.

          • alwyn 1.2.1.1.1

            You can find it here. They seem to put an incredible amount on-line.
            http://www.c-span.org/
            I fear that running something like this would probably cost half the New Zealand Government’s budget.

            • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1.1

              only if Joyce or Parata were running it (zing!)

              It’s not like everyone’s moving around at these things – fitting out a couple of committee rooms with permanent cameras and audio would be a one-off cost with moderate budget for annual upgrades/repairs. All the IT infrastructure is in place.

              Some editing work, but they do that for the House already (ISTR the cuts in the video correspond to progressions through the agenda – you don’t get the videos chopping in mid-sentence).

              Piss-all compared to the flag, anyway. Probably less than hospital food consultants.

        • Lanthanide 1.2.1.2

          “The ACT one must have been rather effective actually. You watched it 6 times didn’t you? I couldn’t have watched any of then a second time.”

          Er, the goal is to get people to vote ACT. Certainly wasn’t effective on me.

          The other reason I watched it so many times was because it was so short – because ACT are such an unpopular party that they aren’t given much screen time.

          Own goal much?

          • McFlock 1.2.1.2.1

            It always makes me laugh when people say that all publicity is good publicity.

            And then they want their name and the nature of their charges suppressed for as long as possible… 🙂

          • alwyn 1.2.1.2.2

            “Own goal much?”

            Not really. I have never voted for ACT and only considered doing so when Prebble was the leader. “Mad-Dog” Richard was quite something, although even he couldn’t get me to vote for the party.

            Actually, thinking back I can only think of two of last year’s party opening addresses I watched at all, and even they were snippets as I had recorded them and didn’t watch them right through.

            The last good TV Political Ad I saw was the Johnson one where the little girl counting the petals morphed into a countdown to a nuclear explosion. It didn’t mention Goldwater but it didn’t need to. They only showed it once I believe.

        • Craig H 1.2.1.3

          Parliament TV is on Freeview, so effectively available everywhere.

          I like election broadcasts personally, but based on last year, I suspect we will know the approximate outcome in future elections once the advance vote counts are released.

      • Tracey 1.2.2

        so those parties who can afford to buy decent ad space/ time will get to make a big impression

        • alwyn 1.2.2.1

          @Tracey
          You appear to be replying to Lanthanide.
          Using Parliamentary TV wouldn’t need to cost anything to the parties.

          • Tracey 1.2.2.1.1

            Lanth also wrote

            “He is completely correct. Having these on TVNZ is stupid.”

            I should have been clearer that was the part my reply was addressed to.

            I grew up in a NZ where party announcements were simulcast. I don’t think it encroached heavily on our human rights and for 30 minutes a day for a few weeks, every 3 years we had to do something else or watch our democracy on our tv screens and on our radios.

            • Lanthanide 1.2.2.1.1.1

              That is rather my point. What you *used* to do, no longer applies.

              We have more than 1 or 2 TV stations these days. Putting the addresses onto TVNZ (and ONLY TVNZ – they’re only available on YouTube if someone uploads it, they aren’t available on any government website etc) is hardly achieving the reach that it should. Especially when it’s scheduled in the same night as a rugby match playing on a different channel.

              • Tracey

                I understand that. I just think there are a few times when Democracy deserves the limelight. And a short period of time once every three years is bugger all to ask when you consider the implications of the vote.

                Well, basing an entire argument on an occassion when it was cross scheduled to a rugby match is also specious (although *I* know you are not actually doing that.

                Simulcast on ALL channels is absolutely do-able. There needs to be a political will to pass the legislation. Will EVERYONE watch? Nope.

                • Lanthanide

                  Yeah, simul-cast on all channels would be more effective than TVNZ. But I’m not sure that ‘foisting’ such stuff on the public, instead of their regular programming, is particularly effective. Seems like it would piss people off and make them tune-out. Better to allow an opt-in service like watching it on P-TV at any time, and then have little 10 second ads that advertise it on all other channels.

                  I suppose there’s no reason it can’t be TVNZ + 24/7 on Parliament TV as I’ve suggested.

        • Lanthanide 1.2.2.2

          This is purely for showing the opening and closing arguments, which each party is allocated a set amount of time for. Each party is also given an advertising budget for TV and radio, so they can choose how much of that budget they put into the opening/closing addresses.

          It’s based on the size of the party (parties outside Parliament can get some funding/time too, but not much). ACT didn’t get much money and not much time because they’re unpopular. National got the most. Greens were slightly ahead of NZFirst, etc.

  2. Paul 2

    Terrible that Mai Chen gets this level of abuse.
    But why does the Herald have to use this story to provide oxygen for the ACT Party?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11448915

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      There’s two problems there. First is the racism in the post and the second is the fact that there’s someone driving on our roads who obviously shouldn’t be. The latter is probably due to our legislation that allows anybody from anywhere in the world to drive on our roads if they have a license in their own country.

  3. Tautoko Mangō Mata 3

    TPPA – The ongoing fightback by Obama to get the fast track has made a little progress after the initial no-vote of Tuesday..

    “WASHINGTON—The Senate passed a bill to crack down on unfair foreign-trade practices, in a push to ensure that an emerging trade pact sought by President Barack Obama is accompanied by tough enforcement of trade rules.

    The vote on the bill, a customs measure that includes provisions aimed at cracking down on currency manipulation and bolstering the enforcement of trade rules, was 78-20. Its passage followed days of rocky negotiations over the path of a measure that would expedite approval of trade deals, most immediately the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an accord between the U.S. and 11 other nations around the Pacific. The measure needed at least 60 votes to pass.

    Democrats, even those who favor new trade deals, have been worried about ratifying that pact without also blocking other countries from engaging in unfair practices, such as manipulating their currency, dumping their products in the U.S. at artificially low prices or using other tactics that disadvantage U.S. companies.

    “The vote clears a path for the Senate to consider whether to open debate on giving the president trade promotion authority, the power to submit trade pacts to Congress with an up-or-down vote without amendments. The Thursday vote is on a procedural motion to move forward on the bill, but because it has a 60-vote threshold it is considered the higher hurdle for the measure, known as fast-track trade authority. The final Senate fast-track bill is expected to come up for a vote next week before Congress adjourns for a Memorial Day recess.
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-passes-bill-to-toughen-enforcement-of-trade-laws-1431622577

    What is Tim Groser trying to sign us up to?

    • you do know that the democrats folded on this yesterday..don’t you..?

      http://whoar.co.nz/2015/democrats-fold-on-shady-trans-pacific-partnership-deal/

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      The vote on the bill, a customs measure that includes provisions aimed at cracking down on currency manipulation and bolstering the enforcement of trade rules, was 78-20.

      And you’d probably be amazed at what that will actually include. Pharmac will be gone, Fonterra will have to be broken up and regulations ensuring that food be safe to eat will probably also come under fire.

      • alwyn 3.2.1

        “Pharmac will be gone, Fonterra will have to be broken up and regulations ensuring that food be safe to eat will probably also come under fire.”.

        As you ask me on occasion……….citation needed.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168851013002108
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/opinion/66927785/TPPA-threatens-Pharmacs-right-to-choose-drugs
          http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/health-and-pharmac/
          http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_gallery/geneticmodification/

          Can’t find anything on Fonterra ATM but there’s been numerous news reports over the years that show that the US and the EU don’t like the Fonterra monopoly. Please note: I also couldn’t really give a fuck about Fonterra as we really need to decrease the amount of our land that is used for farming and return large swaths of it to the wild.

          • b waghorn 3.2.1.1.1

            My personal opinion on fonterra is that now they’ve opened it up to let non farmers in on the shares they will kill it off through greed and self interest .

          • Chooky 3.2.1.1.2

            @DTB re “we really need to decrease the amount of our land that is used for farming and return large swaths of it to the wild”

            ….well you are going to have difficulty doing that if there is ‘open immigration’ as Philip Ferguson wants…..NZ will be as full of people as New York or Hong Kong….no space for wilderness then!

            …no better to keep farmers and farmland but have strict environmental and sustainability national regulations as they do I think in France

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.2.1

              well you are going to have difficulty doing that if there is ‘open immigration’ as Philip Ferguson wants…..NZ will be as full of people as New York or Hong Kong

              And I told Phil what I thought of that particular idea.

              no better to keep farmers and farmland but have strict environmental and sustainability national regulations as they do I think in France

              Nope. Better to keep only enough farmland as needed to ensure that the people in NZ are fed with good sustainability regulations and revert all the rest of the land back to wilderness.

              • Chooky

                well i could almost agree with that but what about exports eg wine….if we had to drink it all…we would be alcoholics or dead….should that go back into punga forest as well?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I tend to look to minimise international trade rather than maximising it as the politicians and economists insist must be done. That said, I’m sure wine is still good as long as we don’t go overboard with it the way we did with lambs and what we’re now doing with dairy.

                  • b waghorn

                    All those tanilized posts they’ve put in the ground in Marlborough have effected the water I’ve always found it interesting that I’ve never heard any “greenies” attack the wine industry.

              • “.. Better to keep only enough farmland as needed to ensure that the people in NZ are fed with good sustainability regulations and revert all the rest of the land back to wilderness..”

                i totally disagree..the japanese don’t call us ‘the empty islands’ for nothing..

                ..we have plenty of room..and dying-provinces..

                • Draco T Bastard

                  /facepalm

                  Just because it doesn’t have humans in it doesn’t mean that it’s empty.

                  • Chooky

                    DTB +100 agreed…as the Aboriginies and the Maori and the American Indian well know….. and land without people doesnt mean it has no value ( this sounds very anthropocentric Old Testamant ie go forth and multiply and fill up the Earth)

                    …in fact peopleless places and wilderness areas have always had intrinsic value and humans increasingly see empty spaces as having ecological value as they become rarer….this has been a part of NZ’s charm and attraction for tourism

                    ….pu’s view is a very anthropocentric view…he is certainly no Greenie

                    • chooky..just by being a vegan – i’m more of a ‘greenie’ than you will ever be..

                      ..and more of a ‘greenie’ than a lot of self-regarding ‘greens’..

                      ..and most certainly more so than the carnivorous ones..

                      ..and yeah..fucken dairy/sheep-farms and pine-forests are the best we can now do..eh..?

                  • Hateatea

                    Ah, but does Phil U even acknowledge that indigenous people were here before his forebears brought all the pest flora and fauna to these islands as well as chopping down and burning trees to sacrifice before the great god of agricultural exports?

                    • crikey..!..are we ignoring the burnings/species-extinctions before the europeans arrived..?

                      ..and yr point is..?..vis a vis empty-islands..?

                      ..and yes – between them – they/we have done a real number on this land – in a very short space of time..

                    • Chooky

                      +100 Hateatea…Maori and Aboriginie and American Indians and Pagans are the first conservationists and where the Greens get their inspiration

                    • Maui

                      I think we also have quite romantic views about indigenous cultures that they lived in perfect harmony with the land. I have heard that the polynesian rat (kiore) that was introduced by polynesian settlers wiped out a fair few of our plants and birds just by itself and has been here for much longer to do the damage. Also places like wairarapa and the eastern side of the south island were already burnt off before europeans arrived. It was easier to get food like waterfowl in the more open scrub as well as harvesting bracken root than getting food from dense forests.

                      Europeans accelerated the whole process and have done a whole heap more damage on an industrial scale, I accept that. But for whatever settlers that came here, the priority was survival first and it’s all done damage in some way.

                    • Chooky

                      and for indigenous peoples and pagans and those of primal religions there were no “empty spaces” as such….rather they were inhabited by the spirits of place, animal totems, natural features

  4. The Chairman 4

    Changing the world – one organization at a time

    The Ministry of Social Development is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to change its workers from red to blue.

    It has hired consulting firm Human Synergistics to introduce a programme of culture change called Building Blue.

    The programme aims to change the thinking and behaviour styles of staff, and uses colours to illustrate current operating culture and the preferred culture it wants to achieve.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/68494982/msd-spends-taxpayer-dollars-on-workplace-change

    Thoughts?

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Feeding tax payers money to corporate consulting mates

    • vto 4.2

      The colour thing is very real.

      Labour should be moving to reduce the red element of their party. Perhaps by introducing more black and white, which is more kiwi anyway.

      Like death by a thousand cuts – so too is improvement by a thousand small steps.

      This is what the Nats have done – constant review and improvement and tweaking of every single aspect. Little bit here, little bit there. Constant improvement towards goals.

      • phillip ure 4.2.1

        those ‘goals’ of mass asset-sell-off/record foreign debt/an out of control property-bubble in ak/chronic poverty for both children and adults/the rich getting ever more rich..the working-poor getting ever more poor..

        ..the strengthening of both ends of our low-wage/high-cost economy..?

        ..are these the ‘goals’ of which you speak..?

        ..yes..he has been very successful in all those areas..

        • vto 4.2.1.1

          No silly, the goal of winning office. True and noble goals such as those you suggest are well down the list of Nat goals.

          • phillip ure 4.2.1.1.1

            i thought it was more labours to lose – which they dutifully did..

            ..they weren’t able to see off an asset-stripping etc. bunch of useless tory-douchebags..

            ..perhaps ‘cos they were too much like those they were competing with..?..

            ..perchance..?

            ..who could see the difference..?

            ..same old same old drilling/mining/poor-bashing neoliberl/doing s.f.a. about very much-bullshit clark served up for nine long yrs..

            ..and still they wonder why people yawned – and then looked away..

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.2

        Labour should be moving to reduce the red element of their party.

        Been doing that for years

        • DoublePlusGood 4.2.2.1

          They got all inspired by the beige brigade at the cricket.

        • alwyn 4.2.2.2

          All of our lifetimes I would say.
          I remember buying John A Lee’s book “Simple on a Soapbox” when it came out about 1963.
          He claimed that in the late 1930’s Savage, Fraser and Nash had emasculated the party. According to him the Labour MPs on the train back to Auckland used to sing a version of the Red Flag that went something like, (and I am doing this from memory).

          “The people’s flag is palest pink
          It’s not as red as you might think
          We’ve been to see and so we know
          They’ve gone and changed its colour so”.

          Something like that anyway. I no longer own the book so I can’t check.

    • Anne 4.3

      Responses on yesterday’s O.M. starting with this one:

      Open mike 14/05/2015

    • adam 4.4

      “Authoritarian hard right – want to change colours in the work place. Bat shit nuts or just plain idiotic? ”

      Bet ya won’t see that headline.

  5. The Chairman 5

    Glaring holes in accountability over political appointments to government agencies?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/68559441/auditorgeneral-says-no-to-investigation-into-former-mp-katherine-rich

    Thoughts?

    • alwyn 5.1

      I hope she is going to investigate Michael Cullen getting another gig.
      Surely it is time to get rid of that old trougher.

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    Seymour Hersh on Democracy Now about Bin Laden killing and mainstream/establishment backlash to his revelations

    http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/12/seymour_hersh_details_explosive_story_on

    Slate has also published an interview with Hersh (via Zero Hedge)

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-14/seymour-hersh-blasts-i-am-not-backing-anything-i-said

    • vto 6.1

      Never in the life of any manwoman do more lies get told than when at war.

      Note that we are at war now too so simply cannot believe anything goverment says about it. Nothing.

      • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1

        Yes thanks to the US we are in a perpetual global war with no borders, boundaries or limits.

      • freedom 6.1.2

        “Never in the life of any manwoman do more lies get told than when at war.”

        And those lies beget a history that more lies are built upon.

        “Untold History of the United States” contains some excellent evidence of how lies become history.

  7. greywarshark 8

    USA sending B1s to sit in Australia along with personnel because they are going to counter “Chinese destabilisation” in the Pacific. Pot kettle black. Australia to be feared, not given friendly nation status. Build up Kiwibank resources!

    I hope that we are soon about to prevent Australians here who are not NZ citizens, from helping themselves to our social services. Someone I know here, who had liaison with someone in the Islands not connected with NZ who had settled in Oz, was thinking of hosting family here if they could get cheaper medical attention here under our system. There are many ways we can be rorted by non-NZs. We can’t afford to be so leaky.

  8. Chooky 9

    Top international NZ scientist trying to save the Tekapo Observatory ….cant even get an interview with the Minister of Science in this hopeless Jonkey Nact government

    …it is a disgrace ( nasty thought: by starving it of funds are they thinking of privatising it and hocking it off to one of their mates?)

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201754506/astronomer-fights-to-save-tekapo's-mt-john-observatory

    “Professor Gerry Gilmore of the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. He is the principal investigator on Gaia project – a space observatory launched by the European Space Agency in 2013. Professor Gilmore is currently in New Zealand on a lecture tour for the Royal Astronomical Society, and has written to the Science and Innovation Minister urging him to find new ways to fund Mt John, which he says is a precious resource.”

    • greywarbler 9.1

      Listening to the plea to provide adequate funds for the Mt John observatory. The Min in charge of Science is Joyce. Perhaps he can get a perk from the job and get a brain transplant or get his turbo-charged or an add-on. It probably doesn’t look like a candidate for privatising, so why worry. Nothing here, move on.

      Tourism boss Kevin Bowler? doesn’t mind that 100% Pure claim for our scenic attractions is actionable. Well we are doing all right as it is, numbers are up, it’s competitive out there you know (so a few lies and fudging is justified). It’s the environment stupid, show them a few trees and a kiwi, wax lyrical about all the hard work on environment and rat-free islands that has been done mainly under other governments. Take credit for it NACts and she’ll be sweet.
      You lie in your teeth which are false, Bowler and Kay.
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/businessnews/audio/201754522/100-percent-tourism-campaign-changes

  9. Chooky 10

    Kathryn Ryan very good on environmental issues today

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201754507/new-zealand-co-founder-of-tesla-motors-ian-wright

    Ian Wright is a New Zealander engineer who co-founded Tesla Motors with Elon Musk in 2003. But he left after a year to focus on creating a super-fast electric car, which he did, and in recent years has turned his attention to electrifying trucks. His company Wrightspeed, based in Califorina has coverted medium to heavy trucks for Fed Ex and is now applying its technology to heavy-duty rubbish trucks. Ian Wright believes that cleaning up commercial and industrial fleets will make a bigger difference to pollution and fossil fuel problems, than getting commuters into electric vehicles.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201754170/profiting-off-climate-change-investigative-journalist-and-author-mckenzie-funk

    The dangerous race for arctic oil.

  10. Pasupial 11

    This petition is doomed to being ignored, but does point to a regional dissatisfaction with the reduction of the UK to a haven for London financial scams (where infinite rehypothecation is somehow legal):

    “New Scotland” would see Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and the rest of the north of England ruled from Edinburgh instead of London, with the Scottish National party holding the reins. The SNP won 56 out of the 59 Scottish seats in Westminster last week, leaving the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats with just one each.

    The petition was started last year during the Scottish referendum campaign but lay dormant following the no vote.

    It has received a new lease of life in the last week since the Conservatives won a majority in the general election, more than doubling the number of signatures in the past few days. The performance of the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon in the first leaders’ debate impressed many voters in England, who took to Google to ask if they could vote for her party despite living south of the border.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/the-northerner/2015/may/14/thousands-sign-petition-calling-for-north-of-england-to-be-part-of-scotland

  11. greywarshark 12

    Did you catch this interesting Canadian? guy McKenzie Funk about oil drilling and environment on Radionz. http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201754170

    10:05 Profitting off climate change: Investigative Journalist and author McKenzie Funk
    McKenzie Funk is an author and journalist who has been investigating the ways people are responding to the effects of climate change. His latest book, The Wreck of the Kulluk details how Royal Dutch Shell tried and failed to begin drilling for oil in the Beaufort sea in the Arctic in 2012. Melting sea ice has made the area more accessible, but the exploratory drilling rig, the Kulluk, was battered by storms and its crew had to be rescued. Shell however, is planning to return to the remote Chukchi sea off Northwestern Alaska, and has been granted conditional approval by the US government to begin exploratory drilling.

    McKenzie Funk earlier book Windfall looks at how different companies and countries are profitting off climate change.
    Gallery: Pictures from Windfall
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201754170/profiting-off-climate-change-investigative-journalist-and-author-mckenzie-funk

    • alwyn 12.1

      They are going to have to put in quite a lot of work aren’t they?
      According to the story they have got 12,000 signatures on their petition.

      Just counting up the populations of the four cities named, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle and using the “Greater” definition the population of those cities alone come to about 6 million.

      Scotland would never allow this merger of course. After you would simply go back to the situation where the “English” population part would exceed the “Scottish” part and the capital would probably move to Manchester. Ms Sturgeon would not be amused.

      • alwyn 12.1.1

        What is going on?
        When this was first put in it was linked to Parsupial’s “New Scotland” petition.
        Now it is attached to a different post.

  12. Colonial Rawshark 13

    George Orwell’s final warning – don’t let this terrifying future happen – it depends on you

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-14/george-orwells-final-warning

    • adam 13.1

      It was liberalism – in all it’s forms, which Orwell was critical of. As we start this century we hopefully waking up to why he was so critical.

    • Maui 13.2

      I don’t think anyone can really stopping it from happening or has the power to, relying on an economic collapse is probably the only way to restore some sanity.

  13. adam 14

    I think working people have the best humor.

  14. Philip Ferguson 15

    While John Key returns from hobnobbing with the brutal Saudi dictatorship, Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat calls for solidarity with the people of Yemen, suffering bombing and invasion by Washington’s Saudi proxies: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/palestinian-writer-and-activist-khaled-barakat-calls-for-action-against-saudi-invasion-war-crimes-in-yemen/

    Yassamine Mather looks at how the change to the Saudi absolute monarchy’s succession line might be linked to an intensification of their war in Yemen: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/saudi-arabia-changing-the-succession-to-intensify-the-war/

    Closer to home, Tim Bowron looks at the role of New Zealand and Australian imperialism in East Timor: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/east-timor-and-anzac-imperialism/

    Philip Ferguson looks at the issue of whether NZ is a neo-colony itself or a junior imperialist player: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/new-zealand-neo-colony-or-junior-imperialist/

    Daphna Whitmore reports on the public meeting in Auckland for Amira Hass, the dissident Israeli writer: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/amira-hass-israeli-jewish-dissidence-in-times-of-bantustanisation/

    Don Franks looks at how the anti-working class character of the Labour Party is revealed (yet again); this time as their general-secretary wants to have the state take benefit and subsidies money away from people who don’t register to vote: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/labour-party-obey-or-starve/

    From the excellent Australian Red Flag site, Cathy Lewis looks at the dispossession of Australian Aboriginals and over 200 years of resistance: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/australia-capitalism-expropriation-and-aboriginal-resistance/

    Philip Ferguson continues his series on the disgraceful ‘White New Zealand’ policies of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Part five examines the parliamentary debates of the early 1890s, as the system of discrimination was being institutionalised: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/institutionalising-the-white-new-zealand-policy-the-parliamentary-debates-of-the-early-1890s/

    Tim Bowron addresses workers’ need for open borders: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/the-case-for-open-borders/

    We run a piece by a Baltimore-based socialist group on the anger in the city after the police killing of Freddie Gray: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/the-anger-in-baltimore/

    Lastly, we have a string of excellent economic pieces by Michael Roberts:
    Business cycles, unit roots and animal spirits: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/business-cycles-unit-roots-and-animal-spirits/
    Austerity: has it really worked for the capitalists: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/austerity-has-it-really-worked-for-the-capitalists/
    IMF discovers low investment is cause of low growth – what a shocker!: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/imf-discovers-low-investment-is-cause-of-low-growth-what-a-surprise/

    Whew! It has been a very busy week.

    All the best,
    Philip Ferguson
    for the Redline blog collective

  15. adam 16

    Just a bit like our up coming election – opps I mean budget.

  16. Bearded Git 17

    Only 2 years and 4 months to a new Labour/Green government here. They have 5 long years to wait in the UK.

    • Puckish Rogue 17.1

      🙂

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.2

      Only 2 years and 4 months to a new Labour/Green government here. They have 5 long years to wait in the UK.

      ? optimism is great but it is far too early to tell. The NATs can clearly still take a fourth term at this stage.

  17. Penny Bright 18

    Hat tip to Phil Twyford – from whom I first heard about the 22,000 EMPTY private sector houses in the Auckland region.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Media Alert! – Penny Bright: “22,000 EMPTY Auckland houses – while people live in cars and caravans? Where’s the ‘Auckland housing crisis’?”

    TRANSCRIPT OF MY PRESENTATION TO THE AUCKLAND COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING, THURSDAY 14 MAY 2015:

    “Thank you Councillors.

    What I want to know is why have there not been ‘MAN ON THE MOON’ headlines about the fact that currently in the Auckland region, according to the 2013 census, there is over a city’s worth of EMPTY private sector houses.

    Over 22,000 houses are sitting empty in the Auckland region.

    They obviously have not been bought to be occupied – by the buyer- or they would not be empty.

    They have not been purchased to be rented by those who bought them – or they would not be empty.

    22,000 empty houses in the Auckland region while other Aucklanders are living in garages, caravans, cars or sleeping on Queen Street – on the street.

    How on earth is this right?

    And that was from an Auckland Council report on the census.

    ( http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/reports/Documents/aucklanddwellingshouseholdsinitialresults2013census201405.pdf (Pg 9)

    So – we have a housing crisis with 22,000 empty houses and then we have this ‘bubble and fluff’ myth that there’s an extra million people coming to Auckland, which I challenged in a petition that was accepted by the Social Services Select Committee and resulted in an inquiry, and Report of that Social Services Select Committee:

    ( http://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/50DBSCH_SCR5953_1/9f8a825ae96c25bddf7d0c8bddb58511039a4d16 )

    ” The Social Services Committee has considered Petition 2011/64 of Penelope Mary Bright, requesting that Parliament decline to proceed with the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill until the lawfulness of the reliance of Auckland Council on the New Zealand Department of Statistics “high” population growth projections, instead of their “medium” population growth projections for the Auckland Spatial Plan, has been properly and independently investigated, taking into consideration that both Auckland Transport and Watercare Services Ltd, have relied upon “medium” population growth projections for their infrastructural asset management plans.

    We heard and received evidence from the petitioner, but note that the matters she raised have been addressed publicly by the Auckland Council in statements posted on its website and issued to media.

    The Auckland Council’s Chief Planning Officer has said that while Auckland may not grow by one million people by 2041 (the high-growth projection), Auckland Council is preparing for it.

    The city has historically met the high-growth projection, and it is therefore prudent for the council to plan accordingly.

    He said that the city needs to be prepared for, and infrastructure needs to be able to cope with, growth. He pointed out that the “Unitary Plan”, which is a part of the Auckland Spatial Plan, sets out only rules for development.

    We understand that actual development would be undertaken only in response to demand. Regarding the use of alternative projections for higher- and lower-growth scenarios, we note that the council’s Chief Planning Officer has also said that it is prudent for the Auckland Council to provide for the highest likely population growth, and at the same time to be cautious to avoid over-investment.
    …….
    The Mayor of Auckland has also said that using the high-growth projection was the appropriate thing to do, and that the council should not be too conservative in their assumptions about population growth.

    We consider that the response to this issue provided by the council appears reasonable, and therefore have no matters to bring to the attention of the House. ..”

    And that was signed by the Deputy Chair, Melissa Lee.

    My response was that I didn’t ask whether or not it was ‘reasonable’ – I asked whether or not it was ‘LAWFUL’.

    Under the law – spatial planning is supposed to be ‘evidentially based’.

    (“http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2010/0036/latest/DLM3016073.html )

    (4)The spatial plan must—

    “(a)recognise and describe Auckland’s role in New Zealand; and
    “(b)visually illustrate how Auckland may develop in the future, including how growth may be sequenced and how infrastructure may be provided; and
    “(c)provide an evidential base to support decision making for Auckland, including evidence of trends, opportunities, and constraints within Auckland; and )

    I said to the MPs by telephone conference, I said what was the point of you MPs making the law – if you do not follow it yourselves?

    Now what concerns me is that this ‘bubble and fluff’ extra million people coming to Auckland, has generated this ‘Special Housing Areas’, which has acted as the means not to ‘regenerate communities’ – but to dislocate and ruin, wreck and bulldoze through communities, as State housing tenants are being forced out.

    Now we have the Tamaki Redevelopment Company, which has morphed from this project that was supposed to help and make things better for State housing tenants, and improve their houses blah blah …
    which some tenants picked straight away was actually going to be a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ of tenants, and they have been absolutely right.

    That is the situation.

    Who is going to benefit from the transfer of 2,800 Housing New Zealand properties to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company?

    Those property developers who have been licking their slobbering chops for years over this prime real estate in Tamaki, for quite some time.

    And where it gets really dodgy, is that the question is, how many National Party MPs are investing in property in Auckland?

    Because there is a ‘Register of Pecuniary Interests’ for MPs, these things can be tracked.

    How many of the Select Committee members on the Social Services Select Committee, who said it was ‘reasonable’ to accept the ‘high population growth projections’ are ones who are investing in Auckland property?

    Where is the ‘Register of Pecuniary Interests’ for you elected representatives. for the Boards of (Council Controlled Organisations) CCOs, for the Executive Staff of Auckland Council and and CCOs, when it comes to property?

    How can we ‘follow the dollar’, and make sure that you people are doing things in a way that benefits the public majority, unless we have this transparency?

    I’m letting you know, that is one thing that I will be doing, is that I will be seeking a law change so that there is a mandatory requirement for local authority elected representatives and staff, CCO Boards, and Executive Staff to complete a full, mandatory ‘Register of Pecuniary Interests’.

    So we can see that there isn’t ‘nest-feathering’ going on, and these changes that are happening to the Auckland region are being pushed by people, who are actually not, in my view, working in the interests of the public majority.

    As I finish, I’d just like to advise you that I was contacted by Parliament yesterday, and I have been invited by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to give a 20 minutes presentation, at Parliament next Thursday, to my petition, calling for an urgent inquiry into the alleged failure of the Local Government Commissioners to carry out ‘due diligence’ and exercise their statutory duties arising from the Local Government Act, regarding the Wellington Draft Reorganisation Proposal.

    And I will be giving facts and evidence about the purported ‘efficiencies’ arising from this forced Auckland ‘amalgamation’, this Auckland ‘Supercity’, how, to use the vernacular, it has basically been a crock for the public majority.”

    Penny Bright

    http://www.pennybright4mayor.org.nz

  18. greywarbler 19

    So true.
    Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that.
    George Carlin

    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_carlin.html#UqLWDkedRQHgCjRm.99

  19. Draco T Bastard 20

    9 basic concepts Americans fail to grasp

    4. Adequate Mass Transit Is a Huge Convenience

    When it comes to mass transit, Europe and Japan are way ahead of the U.S.; in only a handful of American cities is it easy to function without a car. New York City, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC are among the U.S.’ more mass transit-oriented cities, but overall, the U.S. remains a car culture—and public transportation is painfully limited in a long list of U.S. cities. Many Americans fail to realize that mass transit has numerous advantages, including less air pollution, less congestion, fewer DUIs and all the aerobic exercise that goes with living in a pedestrian-friendly environment.

    And over on Auckland transport Blog:

    Obesity

    Obesity is something we all have an opinion on but is not well understood, even by many health professionals. In part, this is because the causes and effects of overweight/obesity are numerous and complex. Are people obese because they because they eat the wrong type of food, don’t exercise, are poor, or have unfortunate genes? All of the above.

    However, the evidence points to a strong correlation between obesity and car dependence

    And there’s a few other points on that list that applies to NZ as well.

  20. weka 21

    Eugenie Sage (@EugenieSage)
    15/05/15 3:06 pm
    Jeanette Fitzsimmons says at #climateconsultation there is enough wind & geothermal capacity consented to be able to close Huntly in a year.

    • Lanthanide 21.1

      Good. So we are achieving some climate change objectives, despite this government.

      I guess smart green economy makes sense – these wind and geothermal plants would only be consented if they were profitable.

    • Maui 21.2

      That would be very, very good, hope it’s true.

    • McFlock 23.1

      every bit of that… is just shitty.

      The guy is shitty, the fact they lost him is shitty, his sentence as outlined in the story is shitty (and I’m not usually one for longer sentences), the crime was shitty, and the description by the crown was shitty.

      Grrr. Arrgh.

    • Hateatea 23.2

      I struggled with that myself and haven’t come up with any answer. I sometimes wonder how people come to those conclusions when the average person would say loudly ‘this action was rape’. However, given that all I know is what is in today’s news report, there may be circumstances in mitigation. Hard to believe though 🙁

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