Open mike 16/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 16th, 2016 - 75 comments
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75 comments on “Open mike 16/01/2016”

  1. North 1

    Would be great if Fran O’Sullivan were as tough on the self-interested lackeys of virulent neo-liberalism as she is on Liam Messam. Of course she is not because by and large she is ‘with’ the former.

    Messam articulates for people in the ‘lied-to’, dismissed as irrelevant, poor end of town. If The Gauche Greedy Man can have Crosby Textor (and the likes of Fran) the rest can have Messam and Weepu.

    • Paul 1.1

      In Fran O’Sullivan’s view, people like Messam aren’t allowed a view.
      She believes in plutocracy, not democracy.

      • vto 1.1.1

        John Key has turned the All Blacks into political players so he/they will just have to suck it up when these newly minted players come up with comments they don’t like.

        Ha fucking ha

        edit: that is a terrible piece by O’Sullivan. All rant and polemic, no analysis or evidence in support. Crappola

        • Paul

          Sadly it shows how ignorant Fran O’Sullivan is, as there is a clear connection between signing the TPP and further environmental degradation.
          But she knew that, didn’t she?

          So what does that make this article?

          Words that come to mind.

          lap dog

          With articles like this in the Herald, I think NZ was selected for the signing of the TPP as we have a compliant servile media.

          • tc

            O’shillivan writes on behalf of the national party as do pretty much all the remaining herald regulars. A fairly ordinary business commentator also.

            Brewer gets in a pathetic piece about NIMBY development in his precious orakei ward also today the whiny little shit stirrer.

            • North

              Brewer – “……whiny little shit stirrer” – TC… perfect ! I could add ‘self important little punk-arse’. Reminds me of some plastic construct out of “The Thunderbirds”. Where the fuck is Lady Pamela ?

    • grumpystilskin 1.2

      I was working at the china business summit here in Akld a few months ago.
      Fran got up at the start when the PM was delayed and started dissing the labour parties proposed CGT for housing investors. I thought WTF, a lazy cheap put down at a supposed business summit.. (it’s all on record as the event was videoed)
      I lost all respect for that woman right there and then.

      (sorry, slightly OT)
      Mind you, a few years earlier many got up and publicly stated they’d never do business with china because their lifes work had been stolen and manufactured by factories that quoted them for manufacturing said items. Many of the “fakes” had the samples’ serial number stamped on the product!

      • grumpystilskin 1.2.1

        oops, too late to edit but..
        To clarify the point she mentioned the Nats had been looking at doing it for a while and that labour were too slow on the uptake.

        • Colonial Viper

          Labour were too slow on the uptake, and its become clear now that Labour were never seriously committed to the policy because they have dropped it.

  2. Paul 2

    John Roughan pimps for the TPP.

    He has form after his hagiography of Key.

    And was it him that wrote this servile editorial the other day?

    Adjectives that come to mind.
    Shameful, treasonous, compliant, cheerleading

    • Paul 2.1


      ‘The Ministry of Sound.
      Trust us we know what we’re doing’

    • Karen 2.2

      That editorial could only have been written by Roughan.

      • Ffloyd 2.2.1

        I thought that straight away. Pompous little prat!!

        • DH

          “Pompous little prat!!”

          Isn’t he just? His own articles and the editorials he writes are incredibly patronising. The man is hardly one of life’s peers but he sure likes to lord it over us peasants.

          If the Herald display their usual form they’ll with-hold the comments until his column falls off the first page and readers have moved on, he’s rarely well received by readers who heap (well deserved) scorn on him.

          It’s notable he’s used the same bullet points as the TPP fan club who have been trolling this site. It’s obviously been well rehearsed.

  3. Paul 3

    Lizzie Marvelly: The only debate is what to do about child poverty

    ‘The idea that people living in poverty are somehow to blame for their fate is attractive if one wants to absolve oneself from any sense of responsibility, but it is a notion that I find deeply sad. When did we become so hardened and self-centred that we began to believe that those poorer than us deserve their suffering? When did we become so divorced from our own communities that we stopped caring about the families around us?
    For those who are unperturbed by the idea of Kiwi kids going without, the financial impact of poverty is hard to ignore. Poverty is correlated with any number of negative social statistics and often a breeding ground for crime and sickness. With thousands of Kiwi kids growing up in deprivation, our health and justice systems are in for an expensive hit when they reach adulthood.
    The wellbeing of our children should never be up for political debate. Nor should we feel disempowered.
    There are so many things we could do to make the lives of Kiwi kids better: feeding kids in school, bringing back a means-tested child benefit like the one scrapped in the “mother of all budgets”, requiring a warrant of fitness for rental properties to prevent children growing up in cold, damp, leaky houses, and simply helping out in our neighbourhoods.
    The first step, however, is for us to look out into our communities and really see other people, to realise that even in the most privileged areas, poverty is just five minutes down the road. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s real.’

    The first step, however, is for us to look out into our communities and really see other people, to realise that even in the most privileged areas, poverty is just five minutes down the road. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s real.’

    • just saying 3.1

      I guess you could say this kind of thing is a step in the right direction – using “innocent” children to pull the strings of hardened hearts etc. But it reminds of the TV ad about breast cancer which seemed to be mainly pitched at men. The “this could be your wife, lover, sister, mother…..” line, which seemed to assume that men wouldn’t support a breast cancer appeal unless it was personalised to something that might affect them. Because otherwise, why should men care about a disease that hurts and kills many women, but is rare in men? A join-the-dots, dumb-it-down, empathy lesson for the compassion-challenged, and a pretty offensive assumption.

      If our communities have a serious problem with seeing others in our midst who are not just like us, as being fully human and worthy of human rights, care, and respect, I don’t think this kind of coddling is the right approach. It might raise some bucks in the short term, but it dog-whistles the very predjudices it is claiming to refute by appeasing rather than challenging.

      The only debate is what to do about child poverty pfft. If only it were that simple, we wouldn’t have to radically change the way we live or think or behave, just make a few minor adjustments.

      Telling true stories, providing information, refuting lies, these are all essential, but the framing is wrong to me.

      • North 3.1.1

        So what is the ‘right’ framing Just Saying ?

        • just saying

          I don’t know exactly, but a more honest, less manipulative framing.
          The line between advertising and journalism is blurred.
          Information needs to be clearly presented, not dumbed-down. People really don’t need to be spoon-fed and have their chins wiped. We can challenge without attacking, individually, the comfortable and complacent, or the just holding it together, keeping up appearances and anxious, amongst us, but also without going to the other extreme and appeasing them and their crumbling picture of the world.

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 3.1.2

        Go Lizzie Marvelly. There is no one framing which will appeal to all, just saying. Communities have become siloed. If you live in a well-to-do area and your kids attend a decile 10 school, it is easy to believe that poverty is a myth.
        Making compassion fashionable is valid if it raises awareness that doesn’t seem to be initiated in any other way. Women need to lead in this area and Lizzie is doing a great job imho.
        Some people need to be manipulated- forced to confront the consequences of their mean spiritness.
        Music can also provide a framing.

        • just saying

          Yeah, but the song you linked to is a good example of appealing to people’s hearts and challenging their thinking without pandering or appeasing.

          • just saying

            Different framing altogether:

            On the turning away
            From the pale and downtrodden
            And the words they say
            Which we won’t understand

            “Don’t accept that what’s happening
            Is just a case of others’ suffering
            Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
            The turning away”

            It’s a sin that somehow
            Light is changing to shadow
            And casting it’s shroud
            Over all we have known

            Unaware how the ranks have grown
            Driven on by a heart of stone
            We could find that we’re all alone
            In the dream of the proud

            On the wings of the night
            As the daytime is stirring
            Where the speechless unite
            In a silent accord

            Using words you will find are strange
            And mesmerized as they light the flame
            Feel the new wind of change
            On the wings of the night

            No more turning away
            From the weak and the weary
            No more turning away
            From the coldness inside

            Just a world that we all must share
            It’s not enough just to stand and stare
            Is it only a dream that there’ll be
            No more turning away?
            Songwriters: GILMOUR, MOORE

      • Olwyn 3.1.3

        …it dog-whistles the very predjudices it is claiming to refute by appeasing rather than challenging.

        just saying, I could not agree more! And it applies to a raft of issues. A month or so ago, a Hikoi for Housing in Auckland attracted about 400 marchers. On the following weekend a march against climate change attracted 15,000. Yes, in the big picture climate change is more important, but so long as the fundamental power imbalance goes unchallenged, our protests only end up giving them material for furthering their own agendas; e.g. “If you care about climate change you will accept the doubling of electricity prices,” or similar. The same with child poverty – Paula Rebstock is already making noises that suggest increased fostering as the answer, and I made a comment about this a couple of weeks ago.

        Sir Lynton Crosby and Dame Paula Rebstock

      • weka 3.1.4

        “The only debate is what to do about child poverty pfft.”

        The other problem I have with this is that it allows the deserving poor memes to continue which in turn allows the neoliberalis to keep treating so many people like shit. Whenever I hear the child poverty line now I think of two things. One is what happens to those children when they turn 18? Because as far as I can tell, the ones who’ve had poverty allievement targeting are just going to get thrown back on the scrapheap once they become adults if they’re not lucky enough to have a job or good physical and mental health etc.

        The other is the people who have no families, particularly single people with mental health problems. Their mental health is instrinsically tied to poverty (i.e. mental health improves alongside improvement in general wellbeing), and once they become unable to work they are essentially stuck in a poverty/mental illness cycle unless they have family to support them. People in that situation, in the context of ‘the only debate is child poverty’, are the undeserving poor. Which is extremely fucked.

        I get why child poverty is focussed on. For socially intelligent people, if you address child poverty you are in fact addressing family poverty (not so much for the neoliberals and socially inept), and that in turn creates more healthy societies.

        It’s also been a pragmatic approach politically in a climate where people are afraid to be seen too much on the side of the welfare bludgers. But that last one is starting to look like a trap, and I can easily imagine a Labour-led government still not standing up for some of the most vulernable people in society because it’s taken part in the deserving poor meme too much. Little seems to belief that all people deserve wellbeing and only time will tell if he puts his money where his mouth is.

      • KarenThis is somet 3.1.5

        +1 just saying

        This is something I have been thinking about for some time. The emphasis on children is to try and soften hearts of those who basically don’t give a shit about rising inequality. It may occasionally get some rich people to donate to a food in schools programme but they will still vote National or Act.

        It is actually very easy for wealthy people to ignore poverty now because they no longer have to have any dealings with poor people. They live such blinkered lives, only interacting with other wealthy people, who share their belief that they deserve to be in the positions they are. Justifying wealth in the face of poverty can only be done if you either deny poverty exists or you blame those in poverty for the situation they are in. Focusing on children is an attempt to thwart the latter of these but all that happens is the parents are blamed instead.

        I don’t know what the answer is but somehow the idea of the deserving wealthy has to be exposed for the lie that it is. Instead of appealing to hearts perhaps engendering guilt may help.

        • Karen

          My words have become attached to my name!

          • Rosemary McDonald

            ….and here’s me thinking we had a new commenter with a truly cryptic moniker!

        • North

          What does help is when their punk kids end up in court and then end up in Serco and get seriously smashed over. Then they’re full of concern. Oh yes…..turning to me, ‘uncle’, to ‘fix it’. As I’ve experienced in my own John Key loving family.

          Nah, it’s not enough …….unfortunately it’s never gonna change until people lose their fascination with some surly, entitled punk lying on a beach in Hawaii playing with some gargoyle bimbo’s hair. LFLS.

      • DH 3.1.6

        I have to admit to also being uncomfortable with the use of ‘child poverty’. I’ve tried to accept it, thinking I’d get used to it over time, but I still get the same intuitive negative reaction as when I first heard it the term. It just clashes, there’s something not right about it.

        I think I dislike it largely because it, perhaps unintentionally, dismisses adult poverty & hardship. Children certainly are more vulnerable and need better protection but that doesn’t mean adults should be ignored.

        Many of the children in poverty today will be adults in poverty tomorrow and if we keep focussing on children yesterdays children will constantly be forgotten.

        • The Fairy Godmother


        • Naturesong

          It does not dismiss adult poverty. Framing it as child poverty is done to bypass the “worthy poor” argument.

          Because it doesn’t matter if a childs parents are any good or not, only a monster would deny innocent children an opportunity to succeed.

          • DH

            Sure it does. You just dismissed adult poverty. You said nothing about denying adults the opportunity to succeed, you only mentioned children.

            You were quite patronising there too btw.

            • North

              It is you who’s got it wrong DH. Do not say “child poverty” because that suggests blindness about poverty in the round ??? Stop it ! The bastards who couldn’t give a fuck about poverty, wherever it is, just love this pettifogging.

              I’ve always taken it as read that the adult parents of poverty kids are themselves in poverty. That’s how come their kids are in poverty. Fair ?

            • Naturesong

              Didn’t mean to be patronising.

              Sure, you disagree with the effectiveness and/or direction of the political strategy, but that doesn’t negate the thinking behind it or why poverty groups frame it this way.

              And I disagree that it’s a zero sum game; that those who highlight child poverty are not unaware or don’t care about adult poverty.

              • DH


                I think you’ve read too much into it. I don’t want or expect ‘framing’, that’s inherently dishonest and insulting. It’s about poverty so why not just call it that?

                • Framing is not inherently dishonest or insulting.

                  People connect to stories, we learn through stories, we share values through stories, we relate to others through stories.

                  By focussing on child poverty we do not have to navigate how the child became poor; were they a lazy drug addict? or injured and can no longer work? or were there simply not enough well paying jobs? or jobs at all?
                  Everyone can relate to a child.
                  A child is not worthy or unworthy, they are an innocent. They have not yet had time to become worthy or unworthy.
                  We can imagine ourselves as that child.

                  Looking at child poverty first gives people a relatable “in” to the issue.
                  From there we can look at the symptoms of poverty as well as the causes. This is where we encounter the worthy/unworthy or poverty as a moral failing type arguments.

                  The difference being that we have already established that poverty is not a choice – because children do not have the same level of autonomy and agency that adults possess.
                  We can easily see how a child growing up in poverty will be denied opportunities to flourish.

                  One might then ask the question; those adults in poverty, aren’t they just kids that have grown up?

          • weka

            framing it as child poverty reinforces the worthy poor meme, because it means we can talk about the poor children instead of their shitty parents and the bludgers. Who are still being pilloried btw.

  4. North 4

    Herald opens – “Academic research into public health problems has an uncanny way of confirming the concerns of its funder.”

    Herald then closes – “It’s academic whether research funded for a worthy social cause or public health campaign is comparable to a commercial conflict of interest.” Academic ? Like meaningless ? Really ?

    Do focus dear Gran’ editorial writer. Or at least be honest. If you’re saying it’s churlish to question the dynamic of ‘report bought and paid for by corporate’ then out with it dear Gran’.

    • That’s just how this shit works. It works the same in publicly-funded research as it does in privately-funded research. There’s no way any public-sector health organisations are going to fund someone like Fox, who doesn’t buy the official dogma that alcohol “causes” violence. Likewise, the reason we’ve had counter-productive nutrition advice for the last 40 years is that, once the official US bodies settled on a dogma, anyone who didn’t accept it didn’t get their research funded by those bodies. This is an excellent reason for not allowing academics to argue from authority and refusing to accept their pronouncements at face value – don’t believe any of this “studies show” bullshit unless you’ve read the studies and the findings are convincing.

      In Fox’s case, her argument is compelling on a logical basis alone. If Kypri et al have an equally compelling counter-argument, they should front with it – you could claim they have, in that they’re publishing a rebuttal in Addiction, but if they’re going to trash-talk Fox to the media, they need to also get their compelling counter-argument in the media or on the open web, otherwise they just look like bad losers.

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        There’s no such thing in science as “official dogma”.

        Dr Fox is based in the UK, not in the US.

        This is an excellent reason for not allowing academics to argue from authority and refusing to accept their pronouncements at face value – don’t believe any of this “studies show” bullshit unless you’ve read the studies and the findings are convincing.

        I am curious to know whether you have read the 99-page report by Fox?

        ”In Fox’s case, her argument is compelling on a logical basis alone.”

        Which “argument” might that be? Do you mean that Fox stated a “hypothesis”? Do you mean that it appealed (!) to your (!) common sense? In any case, a compelling argument can still be wrong.

        Kypri et al did not ”trash-talk Fox to the media”; some of their critique was highlighted in another recent NZH article.

        I am also curious to know whether you have read the article by Kypri et al in Addiction?

        • Psycho Milt

          There’s no such thing in science as “official dogma”.

          Maybe not, but there sure as hell is in the social sciences, which is what the field of public health falls under.

          Which “argument” might that be?

          The argument for rejecting the claim that alcohol “causes” violence. The strongest elements of that argument are:

          1. If alcohol caused drinkers of it to become violent, we could expect to see levels of violence match amount of alcohol consumed when we look at different cultures. We don’t see that – level of drinking and level of drunken violence vary wildly across cultures.

          2. If alcohol causes drinkers of it to become violent, we could expect to see all or most drunk individuals committing acts of violence or agression. We don’t see that – most people don’t commit drunken violence, and the people who do commit drunken violence don’t do it every time they drink.

          In any case, a compelling argument can still be wrong.

          Sure. And maybe Kypri et al have something that totally refutes Fox’s argument But if they did, I expect they would have mentioned it to the Herald.

          I am curious to know whether you have read the 99-page report by Fox?

          Nope, just the summary. I was more interested in her argument that alcohol doesn’t cause violence than in what her recommendations might be.

          • Thinking Right

            I haven’t read the report PM but if your point number two is correct then Fox fails on this count straight away.

            “If alcohol causes drinkers of it to become violent, we could expect to see all or most drunk individuals committing acts of violence or aggression. We don’t see that – most people don’t commit drunken violence, and the people who do commit drunken violence don’t do it every time they drink.”

            Most people know that when people become intoxicated their personalities undergo a change from when they were sober. They also appear to lose inhibitions which would constrain their behaviour if they were sober.

            This exhibits in various ways:


            Happy Drunk. Someone who is the life of the party jumping around, joking, having a great old time.

            Sleepy Drunk. They drink their box of alcohol and then fall asleep snoring cradling their bottle like a baby.

            Not so Harmless:

            Jealous Drunk. Drinks as their ex is seeing someone else. Jealousy rears up and Jealous Drunk decides to go sort them out – usually ends in blood and tears.

            Angry Drunk. Once intoxicated decided the world is against them and decides to fight anyone and everyone and to smash stuff up.

            Driving Drunk. Most people know that driving and intoxication don’t go together.

            Vulnerable Drunk. Intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness. Vulnerable to being exploited/assaulted by others. (Females are especially vulnerable)
            Thefts of money etc. Also includes those who can’t walk properly and end up injuring themselves.

            Sexual Drunks. When intoxicated they decide they need to get it off with anyone or everyone – tends to lead to sexual assault complaints.

            Cody Drunks. The special mix of alcohol and caffeine tends to cause Cody drunks to end up in trouble with the Police.

            See Dr Fox. I could have made a lot more compelling arguments than your nonsense. All for free as well.

            • Psycho Milt

              You could make some compelling arguments? Feel free to do so. However, be aware that the content of your comment above offers no evidence to refute Fox’s claim that alcohol doesn’t cause violence. All your different categories of drunks suggest that culture and personality are the determining factors for the category, not alcohol.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The Spirit Level (ie: its supporting research) has it that alcohol and drug abuse, being mental health issues, are proportional to inequality. So is violence.

                That said “drunken violence” is certainly a thing where culture permits it.

              • North

                If you want an example of the ‘paid’ report Psycho Milt, have a look at the rubbish (at God knows what cost maybe $3 hundy plus to the dame) ‘report’, completed by ‘Dame’ Margaret Bazley into legal aid.

                No one, judges down, imagines that her report was other than a piece of paid for crappola.

                The “respected now retired senior civil servant” and her ‘report’ (which she acknowledged was but anecdotally based) paved the way for this –


                There’s your ‘paid for’ shit Psycho. Up a notch……Dame Rebstock……Oh God……seven, eight hundy ? A mill’ ? Forty hours a week for two and a half months. Bang ! A mill’.

          • Incognito

            I enjoy your semi-religious choice of words: “dogma” and “sure as hell”. You sound very assured and an expert on Social Sciences and Public Health; please don’t tell acrophobic 😉

            Alcohol causes violence, just like smoking causes cancer, but it is not the only contributing factor nor is it a black & white situation in that it causes violence in each and every case or individual.

            As you will hopefully appreciate, the human brain is quite possibly the most complex structure in the (known) Universe. To liken the effects of alcohol on the human brain and thus human behaviour to a simple on-off mechanism for causing violence is overly simplistic. In other words, just because alcohol does not invariably cause violence it does not mean that it does not cause violence at all!

            I’d also like to emphasise that Kypri et al do not exclude other individual and contextual factors but point out that Fox is wrong to categorically ‘argue’ that alcohol does not cause violence.

            • Psycho Milt

              just because alcohol does not invariably cause violence it does not mean that it does not cause violence at all!

              That’s not the argument that’s being made.

              • Incognito

                Fascinating reply! You confirmed that it is the argument in

                ”The argument for rejecting the claim that alcohol “causes” violence.”

                The key-word is “causes”, of course.

        • Psycho Milt

          Missed this earlier:

          I am also curious to know whether you have read the article by Kypri et al in Addiction?

          Looks like it hasn’t been published yet. It’s not in either of the issues published so far this year, and a search for Kypri and Fox turned up nothing.

          • Incognito

            I thought you were a university librarian!? Anyway, a simple Google search gave it as 2nd hit, after the article in the NZH that I linked to in my previous comment:


            The full article is behind a pay-wall but I assume you will have access, won’t you?

            I think you ought to read it to form a more balanced opinion on this topic. In any case, the NZH is not the place where the scientific debate should take place.

            • Psycho Milt

              I’ve had a look at it. Their counter-argument that alcohol does cause violence is that epidemiological studies have shown it does. Thing is, epidemiological studies are an excellent tool for finding the cause of infectious diseases, but for anything beyond that they’re useless. 70 years ago it was reasonable for social scientists to imagine that epidemiology might be applicable to things other than infectious diseases, but the resulting decades of “research” consisting of correlation = causation errors backed up by confirmation bias has done more to reduce the sum total of human knowledge than increase it. Epidemiological studies certainly have found that alcohol is associated with violence, and if I wanted I could do a study that found breast cancer is associated with wearing skirts – in short, epidemiology is worthless for establishing causation in this and most other cases.

              Their “evidence-based” policy is similarly worthless. The evidence is that reducing the night-time availability of alcohol reduces the number of instances of violence. Well, duh. No shit, Sherlock? By the same token, imposing a night-time curfew on private motor vehicles would reduce the instances of reckless/dangerous driving causing injury/death, but that is not evidence that private motor vehicles cause crashes, nor is it evidence that a night-time curfew on private motor vehicles would be good public policy. Instead, we pay attention to the obvious fact that some people do aggressive and dangerous things in cars and we concentrate on dealing with those people. Fox’s findings support the same approach with drunken violence, and we’d be better off making policy on that basis.

              • Incognito

                The counter-arguments by Kypri et al are indeed based on but not limited to population studies.

                You’re also partly correct that epidemiological methods have limitations, as do all methods, and that they do not establish causation per se. However, to state that ”epidemiological studies are an excellent tool for finding the cause of infectious diseases, but for anything beyond that they’re useless” is frankly absurd.

                Your analogies are flawed as none come even close to the intake (consumption) of a powerful drug (alcohol) and its complex effects on the human brain.

                You discard all (!) the evidence (and more) provided by Kypri et al as “useless” and “worthless” and judge the 7-week field study by Dr Fox, which included 10 focus groups (approximately 100 participants) convened by market research companies (!), as a sound basis for policy making!? Despite the many methodological shortcomings of her study!?

                I do admire your mental gymnastics though 😉

  5. Tautoko Mangō Mata 5

    Subtle approaches will usually not work on those who have thick skins and little compassion.
    A faux “dogwhistle” might initially hook their attention, that may not otherwise have been gained. The key is to then provide information that gradually arouses the empathy and sense of unfairness of child poverty.
    To anyone with a well developed sense of fairness, this approach will seem wrong, but there are many people who have little or no ability to imagine what it would be like to be in any different situation other than their own. These people need dots.
    My point is we need a variety of approaches to cover a wide spectrum of people.
    What technique would work best on Paula Rebstock, for example?

    • DoublePlusGood 5.1

      I think being forced to live on, say, $15000 a year in Auckland for 2 years would sort Paula Rebstock out a bit.

  6. alwyn 6

    Another few million wasted by the Wellington City Council

    What would the cyclists really like? Cycling advocate Patrick Morgan spells it out
    “The “gold standard” for a kerbside cycleway was to have no off-street parking at all, so cyclists and motorists had no limits on their visibility, he said.”

    And what does councillor Andy Foster, responsible for this shambles say?
    “the council would perform a safety audit once the cycleway was finished, and would “tweak” the design to alleviate safety issues.
    That could involve removing car parks to improve visibility and painting yellow lines to stop people from parking over driveways, he said.”

    I expect that after a string of accidents on The Parade the councillor’s will decide to remove all parking in the area and claim that how could they possibly have known that it would have been a flop.

    Foster was also responsible for the farce of the $11 million redevelopment of Victoria Street of which the DomPost said
    “One of its most recent cycling projects – in Victoria St – was poorly designed, with one stretch regularly crossed by turning traffic, and another traffic lane that ran directly into car parks.”

    This, I understand, also leads the cyclists into pedestrians waiting to cross the road.

    Meanwhile the Council does nothing about building an emergency reservoir that would supply water to the main hospital after an earthquake. Not sexy enough for us seems to be their view.

    • Paul 6.1

      As if the issues caused by Wellington Council are the most pressing the world and NZ at the moment…

      Serious climate change consequences
      Oil Crash
      China imploding
      Syria, Iraq

      • alwyn 6.1.1

        My God, Paul you must think I have amazing powers. Sometimes your imagination runs away with you.
        I can, of course, jump tall buildings in a single bound.
        I can run faster than a speeding locomotive.
        However I don’t have your powers.
        Please enlighten us. What did you do about some of these things yesterday that solved these problems?
        What did you do about the Oil Crash? Vowing that your next car will be a V8 doesn’t count.
        About inequality? Leaving a tip with the waitress when you had a latte in Ponsonby doesn’t really count.
        Syria, Iraq? Offering incantations to your voodoo gods to make Barack Obama’s hair fall out doesn’t really help.

        So what specifically did you do to help resolve these problems?
        I prefer to concentrate on things I can actually do something to improve.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      poor design, incompetent approvals, inflated cost/benefit scenarios, no accountability or responsibility, welcome to NZ of the 21st century.

    • Sabine 6.3

      But but , what about the national cycleway of national importance as advocated and paid for with tax payers money by the National led Government? I think there was even a picutre of the leader of the National Party opening the national cycleway of national importance as a major achievement of the National led Government?

      Would you consider this too a huge waste of citizens money, or are you only upset cause it is your rates that are spend by someone who is not playing in your National Party Team?$100-million-for-urban-cycleways
      another little write up on the 3 million for a Northland cycleway, and for what its worth the Leader of the National Party complies with the law and wears a helmet 🙂

      a review of 2009, i like the paragraph named economy, and how the economy and the employment stats where spurred into growth with the building of the national cycleway of national importance.

      as for cycling being unsafe in NZ, it is not the cycleway that is unsafe….it is a way to cycle on, so fairly stationary, what is unsafe is that the a. people in cars do generally give not a shit about anyone else in traffic, b. people in nz are generally crappy drivers, and absent of compulsory driving lessons these crappy drivers will teach their kids to become crappy drivers, c. give way and indicate are things of courtesy only and courtesy on NZ roads is over rated, and last but least anyone of these lycra clad sportsbike/race bike travelling fullahs and fullettes generally ride their bikes like they drive their cars.

      The cycleway is fine Alwyn, its the people that are the problem.

      • alwyn 6.3.1

        What a lot of assumptions you make Sabine.
        “the national cycleway of national importance”.
        I haven’t heard of anything quite like that. If you mean things like the cycleways in the Napier/Hastings area I think they are an excellent idea. If you mean the cycle trail in Central Otago I think it is fine.
        If you mean the insane Island Bay exercise on The Parade I think it is stupid.

        “your National Party Team”
        I’m not connected in any way to the National Party. Your imagination is running riot. I have commented before that over the last 30 years or so I have voted almost equally National and Labour. At the moment of course the Labour Party are in such a mess they are unworthy of anyone’s vote.

        “it is not the cycleway that is unsafe”. I suppose that is like the argument about gun control. You know “It’s not guns that kill people. It’s people who kill people” Therefore I, who is a good person, should be allowed to own an AK47.
        Do you live in Wellington? Have you seen the appalling mess that is being created with their cycleway activities?

        I agree about the standard of driving in New Zealand, and that the cyclists are at least as mad. Most Wellington roads though are very narrow and are overloaded. Making them even narrower by chopping out a couple of metres on each side for a cycle lane and expecting the traffic to keep operating safely is mad.

        I, as a pedestrian, have never been hit by a car. I have twice been knocked down by a cyclist. In both cases it was in Oriental Bay where cycles are allowed on the footpath. They travel at high speed. They catch up and pass people, who don’t hear them coming, with no warning at all. No self respecting cyclist, indulging their fantasies of being in the Tour de France peleton, would ever fit, or use, a bell.
        On one of those occasions I was walking, rather unsteadily, on crutches. The cyclist who hit me swore at me for not keeping on a straight path. Is it any wonder I think that they are imbeciles? In most parts of Wellington cycling is dangerous. tick to the cycle trails along the Hutt River for your exercise. They are proper cycleways and are admirable creations.

    • North 6.4

      I love how you pop in with your date scone recipe just when things are heating up on a thread Trollwyn……when your cuzzies are shown to be no less than Key-slurping trollsters lost for words.

      Well done Trollwyn !

      • alwyn 6.4.1

        I suppose you know what you are talking about.
        God knows it doesn’t make much sense to normal minds.
        I think you need to have your prescription reviewed.

  7. Sabine 8

    ugh ugh ouch

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it was pulling the plug on its smallest store format and closing 269 stores globally, including 154 in the United States, in a restructuring that will affect 16,000 workers.

    Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer by sales, said the move would reduce diluted earnings per share by 20 cents to 22 cents, with nearly all of that to be booked in the fourth quarter ending this month.

    Poor people being to poor to shop at the buisness that helped make many of the poor.
    The Walmart model has come full circle. Warehouse to follow soon?

  8. weka 9

    RNZ were reporting this a couple of days ago,

    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.

    Because it’s the MSM, they don’t link to the petition. Anyone know where it is? Is it this ActionStation one? (20,000 signatures).

    Can’t see it on the ‘It’s Our Future Coalition’ website (which is bizarre),

    • fisiani 9.1

      Sign the petition if you want. Does that make you feel good. Excellent. Really go for signatures and get 400,000 names (and email adresses to exploit) I trump you with 4,000,000 people. That’s correct Four Million who will not sign such a petition. How can the government not have a mandate to sign it? They have a mandate to work for New Zealand. Our negotiaters worked long and hard to get a deal that gains us access to 40% of the world’s GDP. Get involved in our exporting companies. Put your efforts there. The possibilities of growth are tremendous but only if we buckle down and work hard. I believe we can. The Left know the price of everything but ignore the value. The public understand that our negotiaters have been tough and given us the best deal possible at this time. We are better in than out in the cold.

      • weka 9.1.1

        In other words, the person with the biggest stick wins. Problem is, that strategy brings us AGW, poverty and war. Which I’m sure you don’t mind, but many of us do.

        “That’s correct Four Million who will not sign such a petition.”

        Hyperbole much? You really don’t understand what a mandate is. It’s not making up shit about what other people want on the basis of them not doing something. But I can’t understand you might think it is given that the govt you voted for behaves like this all the time. They don’t have a mandate to do what they want no matter how you want to spin it.

      • DoublePlusGood 9.1.2

        You know we already have access to that 40% of the world’s GDP right? International trade has been going on for how many centuries now?

        • fisiani

          Can you provide a link to that ridiculous claim? Do you seriously not understand the problems our exporters have due to trade restrictions from these 11 countries?

      • North 9.1.3

        Fisiani. A cheap brochure for something. Or other. Or other.

      • Stuart Munro 9.1.4

        They have no mandate because most people don’t want it fisi.

        That’s called democracy – and a government who are not traitors respects it.

        But the Key kleptocracy is only there for what they can steal and thus the wants and needs of kiwis mean nothing to them.

        What a shameful group of parasites you have chosen to befriend fisi – thieves and scoundrels with nothing to offer but lies. I guess there’s a reason you fit right in.

    • maui 9.2

      Yeah I had some trouble finding that petition too, it’s not on the “It’s Our Future” facebook page either…

      So, I’m not sure how it’s getting so many signatures when it’s not being advertised. Maybe people are just finding it through the front page of

  9. weka 11

    Any comments on how significant this is?

    In our view, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan for comprehensive financial reform is critical for avoiding another “too-big-to-fail” financial crisis. The Senator is correct that the biggest banks must be broken up and that a new 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, separating investment from commercial banking, must be enacted. Wall Street’s largest banks are now far bigger than they were before the crisis, and they still have every incentive to take excessive risks.

    No major Wall Street executive has been indicted for the fraudulent behavior that led up to the 2008 crash, and fines imposed on the banks have been only a fraction of the banks’ potential gains. In addition, the banks and their lobbyists have succeeded in watering down the Dodd-Frank reform legislation, and the financial institutions that pose the greatest risk to our economy have still not devised sufficient “living wills” for winding down their operations in the event of another crisis.

    Secretary Hillary Clinton’s more modest proposals do not go far enough. They call for a bit more oversight and a few new charges on shadow banking activity, but they leave intact the titanic financial conglomerates that practice most shadow banking. As a result, her plan does not adequately reduce the serious risks our financial system poses to the American economy and to individual Americans. Given the size and political power of Wall Street, her proposals would only invite more dilution and finagle.

    The only way to contain Wall Street’s excesses is with reforms sufficiently bold and public they can’t be watered down. That’s why we support Senator Sanders’s plans for busting up the biggest banks and resurrecting a modernized version of Glass-Steagall.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      There was a furore over a whistleblower on the USA Federal watchdog program for reporting on banks and controlling their excessive enthusiasm! She said that this watchdog had been munted. The banks had captured it and when anyone in the group tried to perform their legal function they got shafted.

      The financial institutions are too big, with big pockets. If a frontal attack is not mounted, perhaps with some side fireworks to deflect some of the aggressive defensive moves, the opportunity may be lost. There may be a tipping point, there may have been one, there may be a window of opportunity now. Let’s push this economist alternative and try to do better than Sisyphus. (Look him up on Wikipedia.)

  10. joe90 12

    Ziggy’s stardust.

    Brian Eno

    David Bowie Tribute: Starman Gets His Own Constellation

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