Open mike 16/04/2014

Written By: - Date published: 6:40 am, April 16th, 2014 - 171 comments
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171 comments on “Open mike 16/04/2014”

  1. Paul 1

    Te Left in New Zealand should deal with Hosking, Henry, Williams, Smith, Espiner and the rest of the National aligned ‘journalists’ in the same way UKIP have gone after the Times Tory ‘journalists.’

    Name and shame them and demonstrate their bias.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/15/ukip-farage-expenses-times-journalists

    • Sanctuary 1.1

      This is a fascinating piece, not because of the story itself but because it explains, to any shrewd observer, the rise and rise in the popularity of the hard right in Europe. Quite simply, the hard right has supplanted the left as the champions of the people against the establishment. It is astonishing to see Farage using what should be the tactics and language of left (exposing the cosy connections of the establishment media, creating a narrative of a tired, sclerotic and self-serving ruling elite with terms like “chummocracy”). The comments section of the Guardian’s liberal readership illustrates the point by completely failing to see the message in it’s determination to play the man and not the ball.

      I hate to say it, but the likes of Farage speak a language that appeals far more directly to the suspicions, fears and anger of the precariat that any socialist party currently does in the U.K – and by extension, probably anywhere.

      • miravox 1.1.1

        “Quite simply, the hard right has supplanted the left as the champions of the people against the establishment”

        ^^ This (from my observation as a European resident for 3 years, including watching a General election).

        And this…

        “I hate to say it, but the likes of Farage speak a language that appeals far more directly to the suspicions, fears and anger of the precariat that any socialist party currently does in the U.K – and by extension, probably anywhere”

        Where I am the Social Democrats, and even the centre-right are far too comfortable to recognise the needs of the traditional workers and the precariat. People looking for conservative/economic liberalism are still well-served in the UK by the Conservatives (moreso the econ-libs), but in other European countries, the traditional centre-right support is fracturing as well.

    • Paul 1.2

      Hoskings.
      Sounds like a horrible man.

      Ali Mau is not surprised former colleague Jesse Mulligan has left Seven Sharp, where Mike Hosking, she says, is running “a dictatorship”.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11239037

    • Populuxe1 1.3

      That would be th esame Colin Espiner who wrote this criticising Paula B’s Benny bashing would it?
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/9932258/Beneficiary-bashing-just-too-easy

  2. Paul 2

    Claire Trevett’s application for worst piece of journalism for 2014.
    What a load of sycophantic nonsense.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11238864

    Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor, which says so much about the bias and levels of journalism expected by that rag.

    • mickysavage 2.2

      Don’t get me started on this piece …

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11238712

      Trevett claims David Cunliffe is running scared of John Key and yet does not even mention Key’s canceling of the housing debate with Cunliffe. Seriously, is the Herald a newspaper or is it the National Party mouthpiece?

      • Ad 2.2.1

        Completely agree with you about bias in the MSM.

        But David needs to manage his media team – and his diary – with a rod of iron to be faultless in delivery and appearance. Explaining is losing, and he did too much of that yesterday. It’s not fair, sure, but it’s like fighting workplace gender bias: you have to be twice as good to get ahead.

        • BM 2.2.1.1

          This, no one knows Cunliffe which is why it’s so important to do these fluff pieces. They should be a priority.

          • Puckish Rogue 2.2.1.1.1

            Labour don’t want the voting public to know Cunliffe as that would jeopardise Labours vote

        • greywarbler 2.2.1.2

          Good point Ad. I think Winston could be followed – he just refuses to be deflected and puts the questioner on the wrong foot never the other way.

    • Sanctuary 2.3

      I kept re-reading her use of “we”.

      What.The.Fuck? Is it us and them now, is it Claire?

      Her piece is a laughably ignorant piece of tosh. I have a question for the Heralds owners. Apparently, the site is going behind a paywall this year. Do you REALLY think people will pay to read that drivel?

      • framu 2.3.1

        ” Apparently, the site is going behind a paywall this year. ”

        that made me just about crash the car from laughing when i heard it on the radio

        • Mainlander 2.3.1.1

          That will be good news for blog sites there will be a lot more traffic going their way after the Herald closes shop i would think, now if only the womans weekly ripoff Stuff would follow the world would be a better place

      • Paul 2.3.2

        Her we is an assumption taht everyone thinks as she does.
        I really don’t like people who presume to speak for me.

        Anyway, with the Royals gone, the Tory Herald needs other celebrity gossip to distract NZers from the destruction being wreaked on the country by their mate merchant banker Key.
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11238860

        • Sanctuary 2.3.2.1

          Apparently at the state funded private BBQ John Key enthusiastically cracked one of Pammies woodies when he saw Kate, much to Wills annoyance.

    • Adrian 2.4

      $1.2 mill? BULLSHIT. She is definitley shrilling for the Nats. The RNZAF fuel bill alone would have been at least that. An estimate that I saw had the costs well in excess of $11 million. What a trout.

      • Seti 2.4.1

        “An estimate that I saw had the costs well in excess of $11 million”

        Laughable. Final cost for Charles and Camilla’s 6 day tour in 2012 came in at $766k, so $1.2m for the 10 days will be about right. And the Air Force 757 will fly them no more than 5,000km around the place, including the Australia flight. At approx $75/km for a 757 the fuel bill will be $375k. A lot, yeah, but not no where near the tea leaf estimate you’ve plucked out ya arse.

        • greywarbler 2.4.1.1

          Seti
          Do you understand the costs and methods of the air industry? If so I would like to ask some questions about it and wonder if you could help with the information. Would you be able to advise.

        • Naki Man 2.4.1.2

          Keep up the good work Seti

        • Adrian 2.4.1.3

          Seti, “fuel bill will be “only” $375k”, what about the practice flights in the weeks before the tour? Two into Woodbourne alone. And the helicopters and all sorts of gear flown around the country by transport planes. $1.2mill is conservative.

  3. amirite 3

    Surely Judith Collins can’t weasel her way out of this mess? Or are stupid Kiwis going to swallow another lame excuse? Wouldn’t surprise me…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11238833

    • BM 3.1

      Tedious stuff, no one cares.

      It’s starting to resemble that GSCB borefest which as you know worked out so well for labour.

      • framu 3.1.1

        so secret agents of the state running around knowingly breaking the law is boring to you?

        I do notice a pattern here though – every time the nats are caught out making really dumb mistakes your first response, everytime, is “no one cares”

        it speaks volumes about you

        you cant claim to know what everyone else thinks so what do YOU think about it – you make these claims then immediately slink back into the cover of the crowd – its almost as if you would really prefer to not talk about it in the first place

        • BM 3.1.1.1

          I think I’m correct.
          You never see any of the stories regarding Collins and orivida in the most popular/most read column. I doubt any one but the most avid political train spotter clicks on those story links.

          Also the view that I endlessly heard/read was that this is just Labour being wankers again and when are they going to move on to more important stuff.

          • Paul 3.1.1.1.1

            Just shows who you mix with.
            Tories.

          • framu 3.1.1.1.2

            so what do YOU think about it

            not what others think, not what whale oil tells you to think – you and only you

            what do you think about the ongoing issues with one judith collins?

            your just side stepping again by talking about other people

            • Paul 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Speaking for them

            • BM 3.1.1.1.2.2

              I think it’s dull beyond belief, trivial trivial stuff in the over all scheme of things, I read the first story about it and skipped the other 500.
              Not interested.

              What I want to see and hear is why Labour should be the next government, what I don’t want to see or hear is Robertson porcine features wobbling away in faux outrage trying to convince the public that Judith Collins has been a very naughty girl by not filling form 164b in correctly.

              Apart from annoy people, I have no idea what he’s trying to achieve.

              • framu

                see, that wasnt so hard was it 🙂

                but its nice to finally confirm that in your opinion public servants doing their jobs badly, telling lies, stepping outside the law and ignoring the well known rules of their workplace is no biggie for you – we’ll keep that in the top drawer

                but i wouldnt go thinking that the rest of NZ agrees with you – but then i would say that to even myself (god knows i think some odd shit from time to time)

                • Ad

                  BM is completely right.

                  Long past season for looking for political scalps.

                  • framu

                    well for starters i wasnt asking him if he was right 🙂

                    also – is this actually labour looking for political scalps or the media keeping the heat on a story where they can smell blood?

                    note that the story in question doesnt even mention labour and only mentions wisnton a couple of times

              • Tracey

                no you dont want to hear that our wee representative of the liar in chief

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1.3

            BM, all you’re doing is unwittingly providing anecdotal evidence in support of Hodson and Busseri when they wrote:

            …lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups.

            My bold.

            • Rodel 3.1.1.1.3.1

              OAB
              Come on!….. Do you really think they (or Simon Bridges & co.) could understand that sentence? It’s got big words in it.Be realistic… they’re Tories.

        • amirite 3.1.1.2

          Because that’s how the right wingers operate – they are not there to serve the public, they are there to promote and grow their own private businesses.

      • ScottGN 3.1.2

        Actually you could argue that the GCSB ‘borefest’ last year is the issue that’s largely responsible for Key’s drop to around 42% approval rating in recent preferred PM polls.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3

        Thing is, people do care. I know you RWNJs don’t care that our government is corrupt but the rest of us do.

    • Mainlander 3.2

      Unfortunatly BM is right on this i think, once these dramas drag on for long enough people just roll their eyes and switch off, maybe its just not tabloid fodder enough for people

      • ScottGN 3.2.1

        That may well be so (though I think that people are quietly digesting the info that’s coming to light about Collins and Key) but it doesn’t mean that the Opposition should just give up trying to hold Ministers to account. One thing that is certain is that people’s interest will be piqued at the news that Collins has been scuttling in and out the back doors of parliament to avoid the media in the foyer.

        • Pascal's bookie 3.2.1.1

          Yeah. Stories drag on, and then they flare up agian. They don’t flare up if you stop digging when they stonewall you.

          Collins defense in the house yesterday got many in the gallery interested again, and a number of them are already on the record as saying she should been sacked.

          No point in dragging out ‘you did it too’ on Winston if the minister had a legit answer to make, and it’s not just Winston so her defense won’t hold in any case.

      • framu 3.2.2

        depends if your looking at a single point in time or the cumulative effect of many cases that build over time

  4. Red Rosa 4

    Or this? Used to be called Gestapo tactics.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11238101

    Coercion, standover on ACC claimants ….can these people be brought to court on criminal charges?

  5. MartinH 5

    Why would Cunliffe want to reduce the income from all the motorhomes on the road?
    Thats not equitable. And as for getting rid of the $35 rego on trailers, who is going to pay to run the licencing administration for those trailers? Is that going to go back on to the already struggling car owner? Seems inequitable too.
    Is labour full of people with motorhomes and people unable to afford $35 on a rego yet have the money too afford a trailer with a boat on it. This policy makes as much nonsense as the baby one did earlier this year. Up your game Matt and David as if you add the Greens to this mess your policies are going to risk getting even more nonsensical and no swing voters will go anywhere near you. Im one of them

    • weka 5.1

      “Why would Cunliffe want to reduce the income from all the motorhomes on the road?”

      Because the law that the Nats introduced last year was stupid and inequitable. It made motorhome owners pay by the maximum weight their vehicle was rated for, not what it was loaded at, and it was a substantial increase. It was a stupid because motorhomes are already classed as motorhomes separate from other heavy vehicles and should have been exempt from the law change which was aimed at freight heavy vehicles. Whether the increase for general heavy vehicles was an incentive (to carry full loads and thus reduce overall heavy traffic) or another round of revenue generation… I’ve heard varying opinions on that one, there seems to be much disagreement on it.

      “Is labour full of people with motorhomes and people unable to afford $35 on a rego yet have the money too afford a trailer with a boat on it.”

      Don’t know about boat trailers, but ordinary trailers … the cost to NZTA would be pretty negligible, so maybe they charge five bucks instead of thirty-five. Or maybe because pretty much all people who own trailers also own a car, they figure it’s less hassle to just wipe the fee. Currently it’s effectively a tax on trailer owners. Daft.

    • Sanctuary 6.1

      Just ignore it. Glaucina gets wet at the sound of John Key’s name and is frequently linked to the National party as a loyal little cog in their PR machine.

      They’ve got an agenda at the Herald to undermine Brown at every opportunity and as the mouthpiece of the Auckland establishment, they are desperate for a right wing mayor.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.1

        To be fair, Brown has given them plenty of help to do it, and I still haven’t forgiven him for being noticably absent during the Ports of Auckland fiasco. And free rooms from a problematic entity like Sky City… Well… Other than that I don’t really care where he sticks his member so long as it’s with a consenting adult.

    • Mainlander 6.2

      Pauls politics aside i think he would make a great Mayor at least it would be entertaining a lot more so than the joke that Len Brown has become

      • You_Fool 6.2.1

        Racist, bigotry shit spewing is not humour. Paul Henry makes Len Brown look like shining gold.

        • Populuxe1 6.2.1.1

          Well yes, you can’t fault Brown for race relations snigger, though I will be very suprised if his antics have done him any favours in the eyes of his PI constituents. But in all seriousness, while Henry’s humour on screen has often been purile (though methinks that was the job description more than anything), he’s socially liberal. Better him than Quax or another return of Les Mills.

          • Paul 6.2.1.1.1

            Puerile, racist and sexist.

          • North 6.2.1.1.2

            Worse than ‘Cackle’ Henry is not actually the issue Pops’. There you go again vaguely apologising for figures of the Right. Which more or less amounts to supporting the Right.

          • Murray Olsen 6.2.1.1.3

            Socially liberal? Well, as long as the women don’t have facial hair, or foreign names, and blokes look like New Zealanders, not those awful Indians, and ………….

            FFS, the only thing stopping the prick joining the KKK would be finding a sheet short enough. That’s the sort of social liberalism I can do without.

  6. Philj 7

    xox
    On RNZ National this mourning, re ACC.operating ” beyond the law” .Spin for breaking the law!

    • Chooky 7.1

      @ Philj

      yes i am sure i had to sign something like that (ie be willing to share all my information) when my shoulder seized up….i did double take, felt like refusing, but signed it anyway because my shoulder fucking hurt …. i call this signing under duress

      …in the event my shoulder healed itself within a week and i didnt need ACC/physio/doctors visits etc …however they sent me a bill for over $1000 because they said i hadnt paid my ACC.levees…i had….i call this extortion.

      No wonder ACC is rich…it is run like a capitalist rort

      • Rosie 7.1.1

        Yeah, I’ve signed those forms before with ACC. The latest and last one was October last year. I read the waiver and felt reluctant to sign because there was no indication of what would become of your notes and where they could potentially end up.

        While I was hovering over the signatory line with the pen and with a frown on my face the physio asked “All ok?”. I signed because I was too stressed with pain to enter a discussion about it, and I thought knowing how vindictive ACC can be I thought I should go along with it……….

        • karol 7.1.1.1

          Ditto – must have signed in 2012 following my accident.

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          Please know that you cannot legally be forced to sign away your statuatory rights (in this case to privacy). I understand the duress, but there is no legal obligation to sign. If any health-related agency says that they will refuse you treatment if you don’t sign, then they are doing something extremely dodgy. Get yourself to an advocacy service asap.

          This issue with ACC highlights a serious flaw in the privacy legislation, which basically says that a breach has to happen before the commissioner can act. In this case, it took someone getting lawyers involved and it went to court instead, but where is the Privacy Commissioner’s office in all this?.

          It’s also related to the issue of health privacy in general, and is why we should be opposed to default information sharing across the health sector. You can always get permission from individuals if they want to allow that (provided that the individual is fully informed of the implications), but it should be an opt in system, not compulsory or opt out.

          • Rosie 7.1.1.2.1

            Thanks weka. Yes, I am aware there was no legal obligation to sign and am normally quite vigilant about privacy, especially in regard to personal health – hence the discomfort. This time though I was too tired, fed up and in pain to fight it – and yes, to sign because you are apprehensive of the consequences of not signing just demonstrates ones belief in the dogdyness of ACC’s methods and activities.

            I agree that patients should only agree to sharing their personal info with providers across the health sector if the only option is an opt in one. Put the choice and the power back in their hands that way.

            • RedBaronCV 7.1.1.2.1.1

              On that note I have seen advertisements recently where you have to “opt out” if you don’t want your shared care record spread across all health providers so everyone can access it whenever they want to. No definition of health providers of course. And when you ring the 0800 727 664 number no one answers the phone just an answerphone of sorts.
              I agree Rosie & Weka all health records and most everything else should be opt in.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2.1.2

              I agree that patients should only agree to sharing their personal info with providers across the health sector if the only option is an opt in one. Put the choice and the power back in their hands that way.

              I actually see that as rather stupid.

              If my GP is the only one with access to my medical records and I have an accident in Bluff it could be life or death for the doctor there to have access to my records. I know such used to happen quite often – it’s why medic alert bracelets came about.

              A government maintained medical database that doctors have access to is a good idea. Just needs to be carefully watched to ensure that it’s not being abused.

              • RedBaronCV

                Opt in would respect both our choices. Besides if you break your in Invercargill exactly what relevance does a miscarrige 5 years ago in Auckland have?

                • karol

                  Isn’t the main issue about sharing private ACC info with employers etc, not vaious medical practioners?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Maybe nothing, maybe something. I suppose it would depend upon the miscarriage and what caused it. A miscarriage caused by an adverse reaction to a particular pain medicine would tell the doctor to avoid that medicine especially if the person was pregnant.

                  An opt-in system will just make it so that mistakes that shouldn’t happen will happen and you can pretty much guarantee that someone will die because of it.

  7. Red Rosa 8

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11238219

    With the Nats, you not only get trickle down economics, you get trickle down corruption.

    By what piece of twisted logic can Key claim not to be ‘endorsing’ a product which has his photo on it?

    This is the prime minister of NZ, goddammit, not some fading TV personality looking for some air time in retirement!

    But having been bought, will he stay bought? Can Oravida be outbid?

    Watch this space…;)

  8. Rosie 9

    Do you know folks that don’t vote?

    Here’s a few reasons:

    “First: Why are fewer people voting these days? Electoral Commission research after the 2011 election – at which turnout fell to levels not seen in more than a century – provides a part answer. Three years ago, the main reasons people chose not to vote were that they felt the result was a foregone conclusion (31 per cent of non-voters), they did not trust politicians (33 per cent) and they lacked interest in politics (29 per cent).”

    From this interesting article: (which also discusses other important aspects of participating in democracy, as well as voting every three years)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/9944848/Has-democracy-taken-a-dive

    One rewarding thing to do is to turn these folks (friends, family and workmates) around and get them talking about why they don’t vote. From experience I’ve found that the first reason, foregone conclusion, is the easiest because you can bring it back to them – their vote matters. Second reason, I have more trouble convincing people on! (Any suggestions?) and third reason, I try to find examples from their own lives where political decisions impact directly upon them, and get them engaged in that way.

    • weka 9.1

      Very good Rosie, thanks.

      The foregone conclusion one really annoys me. How big a part does the MSM play in this? It also annoys me when I hear political people on the left saying oh National is going to win. How the fuck do we know who is going to win?

      • Rosie 9.1.1

        The foregone conclusion is one that annoys me too, because it’s the lamest excuse. Fully agree with your sense of frustration I hear around political types saying National will win. It completely pisses me off – it is such a baseless assumption. By doing so they are being dismissive of the efforts of the Left (from volunteers and activists) by saying such things I think.

        • Olwyn 9.1.1.1

          My approach is to say, vote because you are still allowed to, and they don’t want you to. Whatever the media says, and however much Labour reneges, the more left wing representatives voted into parliament, from any of the relevant parties, the more chance of pressure from that direction. One of the reasons that Labour’s right faction has held such sway for the past few years is because its caucus is not very big and it is easier to exert influence over a smaller number. This is no time to throw in the towel saying, “they’re all the bloody same.” It is a time to use our vote in an attempt to make it otherwise.

          • Rosie 9.1.1.1.1

            “This is no time to throw in the towel saying, “they’re all the bloody same.” It is a time to use our vote in an attempt to make it otherwise.”

            “They’re all the bloody same” This is what I hear from non voters too, more often than not actually.(And they can be forgiven for thinking that, to some degree) After talking with these people I have come to the conclusion that several are still thinking in an FPP mindset and are just thinking in a National Vs.Labour kind of a way, which of course can be joyously corrected:-)

            “Vote because you are still allowed to………..” thats a good one.

            • Olwyn 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I am coming to the conclusion that we are caught in a vicious circle – that the more we opt out on the grounds that they are all the same, the more we leave them free to be just that. One possible way of breaking that circle is to get people to re-engage with the political process, preferably in large numbers.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.2

        How big a part does the MSM play in this?

        Too much which is why they need to be regulated in regards to polling and horse race reporting.

  9. Today the news reached me that Mike Ruppert, the author of crossing the Rubicon, and ex-LA cop who blew the whistle on the CIA dealing massive amounts of drugs committed suicide. (And yes I think he did. He had been talking about it for a long time and we all know that he was saying goodbye in many different way for a long time)

    He was a teacher, a mensch, a hero and man who faced down the beast wherever he went. I hope he rests in peace. I am beyond sorrow.

    • Paul 10.1

      I recommend you all watch the film ‘Collapse’ featuring Michael Ruppert.
      Sobering.
      Insightful.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        ‘Collapse’ – that the one where the interview descends into a record of Michael Ruppert’s melt down on camera as opposed to a recording of considered argument/point of view?

        • travellerev 10.1.1.1

          When you have fought the system for 40 years and have whistleblowed numerous hideous scandals such as the fact that the CIA is the biggest drugdealer in the US, when you have educated taught and enlightened many with books such as Crossing the Rubicon, when you have seen your country destroy every thing you held dear like Mike has, then you can make snide remarks but I estimate you have done nothing other then pursue your own interests and snarked at anybody showing a modicum of emotional turmoil when they see everything they hold dear being destroyed which means in my book you have absolutely no business to come even close tom making snarky remarks about people you couldn’t even dream of holding a candle too.

          Watch this presentation “crossing the Rubicon” Part 1 and Part 2.

          • Bill 10.1.1.1.1

            What exactly was snarky? The film was in large part a hatchet job by the film makers on the guy. Or at least, that’s how I remember viewing it when I watched it some time back. The film was edited in such a way as to suggest ‘a nutter’ was saying these things and so, therefore, the things he was saying should be dismissed.

            And just in case you misconstrue, I don’t give a fuck if people are nutters as long as what they are saying isn’t nuts – and it’s rare for 100% of what people say to be nuts.

            As for your estimation of me? Way off.

            • travellerev 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Touchy much. And so predictable. oh, and even more snarky!

              • Bill

                Well, no Travellerev, not touchy so much as just attempting to correct the drift of a comment that seemed misconstrued. Is that predictable? Well, okay…but fairly normal I’d have thought. And if all that adds up to ‘snarky’ in your book, then hey.

                • I forgot! In NZ everybody is a nutter if you can’t fit what he has to say in a box as dictated by the MSM and the rugby boy culture: She’ll be right!

                  No need for some serious fact checking on your own. Sheeple to the end! Have another tui and smirk away Bill. Good night!

                  • thatguynz

                    Sorry Ev but on this one I think you may have misinterpreted what Bill was saying and his intent. I read it quite differently and his subsequent explanation made perfect sense to me. In this case I think you may be doing him an injustice 🙂

                    • He said and went on to explain what and how I misinterpreted what Bill said. Oh no he did not. He hoped that people who read the comments would just think I haven’t what a clue about what’s being said but thatguyNZ sounds reasonable.

                      But hey don’t let me stop you

                      For example what did Bill intend to say when he said: “And just in case you misconstrue, I don’t give a fuck if people are nutters as long as what they are saying isn’t nuts – and it’s rare for 100% of what people say to be nuts.”

                      That would be interesting!

                    • Bill

                      Just for you Travellerev. What I meant and mean is that even though Mike Ruppert might be considered a nutter insofar as he spouts a fair degree of mumbo-jumbo and is somewhat mired in conspiracy theories, that doesn’t mean he has absolutely nothing worthwhile to say.

                      More broadly, anyone is capable of imparting truths or knowledge, even unintentionally.

                    • thatguynz

                      Ev, whilst your passion is undeniable, regrettably your angst and defensiveness means that people seem to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and the validity of your message gets lost.

                      I have no qualms whatsoever in stating that there are a number of the things that you say here that I fully agree with as they are congruent with my research and understanding but that is not the point that I raised above. Then again, if people feel the need to label me bat-shit crazy or variants thereof I really don’t give a shit 🙂

                    • And again no explanation of how I am supposed to misinterpret something but more of the patronizing psychobabble. 😆

                      Good thing Bill confirmed my understanding of what he was trying to say.

                      Mumbo Jumbo, Blahblahblah, nutter, blahblahblah, Mired in Conspiracy theories blahblahblah.

                      Funny how that mired in Conspircay theories nutter cost the Director of the CIA Deutch his job and his promotion to Secretary of dDefense. Not bad for a nutter mumbojumbo mired in conspiracy theorist.

                    • thatguynz

                      Fuck me, do you even read what people are saying to you before you go into full on defensive mode?

                      That type of response is precisely why people pull out the “tinfoil hat” comments. I truly hope that some day you might recognise when someone is actually on your side and is making (what was intended to be) constructive criticism. If you want to misconstrue that into something else then go right ahead, you’re on your own. Add me to the list of what you generalise to be “sheeple” although I can assure you, you couldn’t be more wrong.. but I suspect you wouldn’t take my word for it anyway. Enjoy your own echo chamber.

                    • Constructive criticism:

                      When Bill wrote nutter, mumbo jumbo, Conspiracy theorist, meltdown, He actually meant…..(fill in as required to make your point) as I see it.

                      Patronizing manipulation:

                      Sorry Ev but on this one I think you may have misinterpreted what Bill was saying and his intent. I read it quite differently and his subsequent explanation made perfect sense to me. In this case I think you may be doing him an injustice 🙂

                      Or

                      Ev, whilst your passion is undeniable, regrettably your angst and defensiveness means that people seem to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and the validity of your message gets lost.

                      and finally

                      That type of response is precisely why people pull out the “tinfoil hat” comments.

                      Indeed go fuck yourself!

                    • thatguynz

                      Sigh. You twit.

                    • 😆 That would be twitess, you fuckwit.

                    • thatguynz

                      That was the best you could do? How very droll.

                    • Oh, a wanting to have the last word kindaguy. How very sad.

    • Chooky 10.2

      …Yes and Philip Marshall ‘The Big Bamboozle’ another American hero dead….said to have committed murder/suicide but more likely it was a political assassination

      http://www.larouchepub.com/other/book_reviews/2013/4011bamboozle_murder.html

  10. North 11

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11239028

    Is this to be a leading vehicle in the nauseating dive of this country’s political discourse into ‘E! Channel’ ? A ‘watch this space’ space ? A piss gossip column under the name of a vacuous Viaduct/Ponsonby Rd twink/tartlet/flibbertigibbert ? I trust and hope I’ve missed the habitat’s latest ‘in’ spot.

    Zipping and zizzing about Auckland in the new-shape leopard painted cabriolet VW, cellphone set on speed dial not only to Mutton/Lamb Hosking, ‘Cackles’ Henry, SlaterPorn, and besties Peaches, Indie, Wegewegewege, Bruno, maybe even Kings chum Max, but also…….wait for it………. the 9th floor.

    The dumbing down is palpable. And excruciating. All for ‘John’. What the fuck is happening to us ?

  11. geoff 12

    Speaking of chickens….why is John Key afraid of revealing the name of the Chinese bureaucrat?

    • MartinH 12.1

      Yeah i dont get that, as it seems pretty certain its a custom boarder official.
      Is the person related to someone?
      Is that the speculation?

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      How long do you think that bureaucrat will stay in his present position once his name is known? Basically, they’re protecting their investment.

      • Murray Olsen 12.2.1

        It’s inconceivable to me that the Chinese government would not know the name. If the Chinese Minister of Justice (no more of a joke than our having one) were visiting the local branch of a Chinese firm and there was a Kiwi government official present, I’m sure the SIS/GCSB/NSA would know the name, what he/she ate, and how many times he/she scratched their bum. And we’re a free, open, and democratic society with rights! Who is the investment being protected from?

        • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1.1

          It’s inconceivable to me that the Chinese government would not know the name.

          There’s a difference between the Chinese government knowing his name and his name being generally known. In the former nothing much needs to happen, in the latter…?

          How do you produce a good bureaucrat? Give them enough rope to hang themselves.

          National ministers seem to be busy hanging themselves 😈

  12. Tracey 13

    could key have saved collins before so he can push her mow to show what a strong leader he is reluctantly letting someone of suck skill go but standards are important?

  13. greywarbler 14

    I wonder what sentence will be handed out to a man who has killed one woman, two others badly hurt as they tried to get away from him, led the police a chase? And wasn’t Macdonald on parole?

    Someone like this should go to jail for life, and there should be a prison farm where the inmates work for their food and board, and are in chains as they do their work on the farm.

    I am sick of this sort of offender being let out of jail to commit further. It’s disgusting uncontrolled and the perpetrator doesn’t deserve forgiveness, or a second chance so he can spoil other’s life as well as his (or her) own.

  14. Puckish Rogue 15

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/more-trouble-labour%E2%80%99s-transport-policy

    “But analysis by the Ministry of Transport shows that based on the difference between average and maximum weights for trucks versus motorhomes, the owners of many motorhomes would end up paying more for Road User Charges than they do today.

    “Road User Charges already assume that a vehicle travels empty about half of the time, as trucks frequently do travelling from a depot to pick up a load, or returning to the depot.

    “Motorhomes, however, generally carry their furniture, fittings and other material at all times, which means they weigh more than an equivalent unladen truck.

    “The 4.6 tonne average motorhome is in a weight band required to pay Road User Charges of about $57 per 1000 kilometres. If paying by actual weight, Road User Charges would typically be between $50 and $70 per 1000 kilometres, depending on the exact weight of the vehicle and its fit out.

    “So this policy would see many motorhome owners penalised rather than compensated, in some cases by as much as 22 per cent.”

    Go team Cunliffe, more announcements like this please! 🙂

    • weka 15.1

      Brownlee is telling porkies there. If you want to know what motorhome owners actually wanted at the time that National changed the law last year, when they increased the RUCs on motorhomes, go look at what the NZ Motor Caravan Association lobbied on.

      • Tracey 15.1.1

        brownlee wont have read it. he and the liar in chief only read reports that say what they want them to.

    • framu 15.2

      so a press release from basher brownlee aye? – well i will take that with the relevant level of truthiness it deserves

    • Tracey 15.3

      this is the same brownlee who oversaw pike river as part of his portfolio, and happily schmoozed with the board at the opening, but left kate wilkinson to take the fall, who was found liable for assault?

    • Murray Olsen 15.4

      If RUC assume that trucks travel empty half the time, that’s just one more subsidy to the trucking industry. With the price of trucks, I doubt if they’d be travelling empty anywhere near this proportion of the time. In Europe, where you also have the complication of different borders, the proportion is roughly 20%. I would expect Aotearoa to be less than this.

      http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2339841/report-one-fifth-of-trucks-on-europes-roads-travel-empty

    • felix 15.5

      Yeah there’s no way trucks travel empty half the time. Everyone I know with a truck goes to great effort to make sure they have a backload every time they hit the road.

  15. Draco T Bastard 16

    In all the WTF that has been going on over Labour dropping a couple of insignificant policies about motorhomes and trucks this seems to have been missed:

    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says.

    Due to speak to a cycling rally at Parliament this afternoon she said a Labour Government would make the safety of cyclists a priority.

    “Too many cyclists are dying needlessly.

    “Labour will act to improve cycling safety, including taking seriously the recommendations of the Cycling Safety Panel’s report, due in September.

    “We will also dedicate more resources to cycling through the Land Transport Fund, revise the road code where needed and invest in driver education and cycling infrastructure.

    “Labour also wants to see more kids biking to school with dedicated safety zones and the provision of school based instruction.

    “Cycling is good for the country. It helps free our motorways of congestion, reduces carbon emissions and improves the health of our families.

    “It needs to be recognised that more than a million Kiwis now use bikes as a legitimate transport alternative. They have every right to be safe.”

    • greywarbler 16.1

      “Too many cyclists are dying needlessly.”
      Why would cyclists be dying because there is a need.
      Another misuse of language. It should be ‘cyclists are dying avoidably.’
      or just “Too many cyclists are dying.” That’s punchy enough.

  16. karol 17

    I’ve recently done a journey via the North Western motorway in peak hours. Getting on to the motorway via the Watrview connection is a mind-numbing crawl. This is not because there are road works everywhere, but because there are lights regulating the amount of traffic allowed onto the motorway. Once on the motorway, traffic flows freely. Coming home during the evening peak hour was even worse, with a big queue of traffic backed up along the motorway, forming a queue to get off at the Waterview exit.

    Meanwhile, getting from west Auckland to the North or South by public transport is an amazingly long hike, taking way too long to make it viable.

    But this NZ Herald article goes into all the details of the motorway upgrades, showing how great it will be when all the road works are completed, and traffic will be able to drive freely from South Auckland to the West and North Shore.

    But I can’t see how the Waterview Connection, once completed, will do away with the peak time queues to get on and off the motorway.

    And, where’s the alternative public transport, making travel across all the sectors of Auckland a viable option?

    • Tracey 17.1

      having lived in auckland over 45 years i have yet to see a motorway extension not open close to its capacity

      • karol 17.1.1

        I don’t understand why people travelling into Auckland CBD to work don’t take public transport. I couldn’t stand doing the long crawl daily.

        I went to the North Shore. I could see no way of getting there by public transport that wouldn’t take less than 1.5 hours each way.

        It was about an hour by car – give or take – probably longer coming back. Takes about 25 minutes by car off peak.

        • framu 17.1.1.1

          coming from out west its no contest

          i can spend $25 – $35 per week, spend the same time travelling and go door to door by car on my own timetable

          or

          i can spend $70 plus, for the same travel time – but with walking either side of that, timetables that arent kept to, mixed messages from veolia, ticket systems that dont seem to work that well and regular breakdowns

          for me PT vs car comes down to three factors – cost, travel time and convenience/reliability

          currently the car leads on all three

          • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1.1.1

            i can spend $25 – $35 per week, spend the same time travelling and go door to door by car on my own timetable

            Does that include the costs of owning the vehicle?

      • greywarbler 17.1.2

        On motorway traffic congestion – a continuing problem like trying to fit a square cube into a round hole. I’ll just offer this wee comment from Listener Life in NZ.

        He says an additional lane would improve traffic congestion for southbound traffic when two lanes on Esmonde Rd merge into one lane on joining the motorway. North Shore Times 28/7/05″

    • lprent 17.2

      Meanwhile, getting from west Auckland to the North or South by public transport is an amazingly long hike, taking way too long to make it viable.

      Yep. For some weird reason the bus routes (in particular) were last fully updated in the 1980’s (there has been ineffectual tinkering since until recently) when we didn’t have a high proportion of the current roading system or traffic patterns.

      Back then people actually went into town! I live less than a km from Aotea centre, and I’d get in there maybe once every few months.

      Auckland Transport is very slowly changing them now to reflect the shifting traffic systems. But there is still a massive central spoke system with people being expected to head into the intensely crowded CBD (get rid of the damn cars and it’d work better) and then transporting out of that.

      Hopefully once they complete the SH20 “ring route” that bypasses the central isthmus, we might get some more intelligent public transport routing. But I wouldn’t hold your breath. If they’d been serious about that then they’d have built it with bus/rail lanes.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      But I can’t see how the Waterview Connection, once completed, will do away with the peak time queues to get on and off the motorway.

      It won’t. If anything it will make them worse – just like adding all the roads in the first place made them worse. The motorway extensions and widening aren’t for the people going to work – they’re for the truckers who, if they can manage it, use them outside of peak hours.

  17. Bill 18

    Oops. Feeling secure? No worries? “China’s economic growth slows to 24-year low of 7.4%” says the Guardian ‘breaking news’ banner.

    Been on the cards for a few years, and enough people have been pointing to data showing that both India and China have been due to crash. Oh well.

  18. fisiani 19

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/241851/68,000-buy-shares-in-genesis

    I wonder how many who post here bought shares to keep genesis in NZ hands.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      Nah, I’d prefer to pry them out of your cold dead hands, or failing that, introduce policy to crash the share price then offer you a fire-sale price for them.

      This resort to punitive policy options is a natural consequence of the fact that the National Party solicits donations and business opportunities in exchange for legislation and Ministerial favours.

  19. fisiani 20

    http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/32526

    Check 3 minutes in. The Labour Clustertruck policy of forcing trucks to the left on 3 or 4 lane motorways applies to just 50 or 60 km out of 11,000 km of motorway. Un believable . Utter clustertruck. Who is pushing The Cunliffe under this bus?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      Yeah nah I’m with Jeremy Clarkson on this one. No trucks in the fast lane.

    • aerobubble 20.2

      Sorry. But that’s basically Auckland spaghetti road system. Limiting trucks and leaving a lane open for people to pass will speed up traffic flow. Trucks take forever to pass.

    • Hayden 20.3

      I doubt there’s 11000 km of motorway; the word you’re looking for is “highway”.

    • felix 20.4

      “…applies to just 50 or 60 km…”

      Yeah, just the bit where the people live. 🙄

  20. greywarbler 21

    I hope that lefties find time to talk to each other on this blog. So much time is spent jibing at the right wingers. It’s hardly political discussion really, just futile argument with fatuous people who, some say, could be paid to be intervening with their mindless tripe.

    Scoring points off them is like getting a shot of strong coffee, which if repeated too often, gives panic attacks and feeling morose and out of sorts.

    • Paul 21.1

      Agreed.
      Best to ignore fisiani, BM, srylands, Seti, populuxe, puckish…
      A lot of them who pollute, divert and distract conversation here.

      • Naki Man 21.1.1

        “Best to ignore fisiani, BM, srylands, Seti, populuxe, puckish”
        Its people like this and a few centre left that make this blog worth reading

        • mickysavage 21.1.1.1

          Well the frustration is that you lot do not seek to contribute or develop the argument, you just want to pick a fight …

          • Crazed cookie 21.1.1.1.1

            So Naki man is just like Felix posing as a rightie ?

            • mickysavage 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope Felix is far more nuanced and sophisticated in his comments. Naki man is way out of his depth …

      • Rodel 21.1.2

        Paul
        I couldn’t agree more. They are simple trolls ( and I mean ‘simple’) and a waste of brain cells (including nakiwatever).
        I simply skip their nonsense as I want to hear opinions of real people who are looking for real solutions to real issues.

    • Rosie 21.2

      Yes, of course, dear Warbs, such as we’ve already discussed on several occasions.

      As to the Paid Ones – each response is like a dollar in the slot.

      (and who needs morose and out of sorts?!)

    • Anne 21.3

      +1 greywarbler.

      Don’t mind commenters like felix – and Te Reo Putake – whose witticisms are always enjoyable to read, but it almost comes across as a game of one-up-man-ship between left and right plus left and left. It must be off-putting for those who come here to read our comments and hopefully become better informed.

      • Te Reo Putake 21.3.1

        Cheers, Anne, that’s very kind, particularly coming from one of our most astute regulars.

        For what it’s worth, I’ve tried to tone it down a bit, not always trying to get the last word, for example. And I’ve also been studiously ignoring Pooter George’s one man mission to bore the Standard to death, despite extreme provocation. Well, extremely dull provocation.

        Generally, I’m ok with the other righties who comment here, because it’s important for the left to know how the conservatives and libertarians really think. Our charitable natures often make us think the best of them, then along comes Srylands, PG or Big Bruv to remind of us why we need to keep fighting the good fight.

        And if not us, who will be there for those who can’t fight?

        • Rosie 21.3.1.1

          Hi Te Reo Putake. The Libertarians and Conservatives that you speak of, who comment here, that remind you of the importance of keeping up the good fight – do you not come across of these people IRL?

          I do, and that is why I won’t engage with “them” online, because there are far too many in my that cross my path that I am already in combat with. Some of “them” are within family and it’s not a simple matter of who you vote for, it’s who you work for, paid or unpaid. (no family Xmas for 8 years now as result). My denial of them is personal, except in the most extreme circumstances.

          The people you mention above are riding high in a time when many are suffering, or at least believe they are riding high when in fact they are just pawns, just come here for a joke at best or the latter group of people come here to try and prove themselves as the superior beings that they are definitely not. Some, maybe themselves, are finding life difficult but are clinging to some neo liberal mantra than began in the 80’s that they can’t give up because the message is aspurashonal.

          They are all shallow and deluded, and no amount of reasoning will ever make a difference. If it does, we need examples.

          • Te Reo Putake 21.3.1.1.1

            Sorry to hear about the family situation. My lot include a couple of national voters who I can usually crack a joke with, but they’re very much pre-Thatcherite in their thinking, not out and out greedheads.

            In real life, I have dealt, on a professional basis, with all manner of righties, some halfway decent, some arrogant, patronising pricks. Some wield their power thoughtfully and with compassion and some just made me think they had at home a secret wardrobe full of storm trooper tunics and matching frilly knickers.

            Libertarians are generally the worst of the lot. Their contempt for humanity is often just below the surface and it doesn’t take much to bring out the ‘me me me, I’m entitled’ whining. That childishness is probably because their philosophy doesn’t bear scrutiny and they know it. It’s the politics of the dead eyed insect mind; conformist, but blinkered to the point that they think they’re acting alone.

            • Rosie 21.3.1.1.1.1

              Sadly TRP, some of my lot have been connected with some of the most disturbing PR spin we’ve seen in the last decade, and they ARE Libertarians. They do think they are unique, entitled, and most ludicrously of all, somehow hard done by, as if the working and middle classes have any power over them. Ha! (for now….)

              It’s uncomfortable to declare such a personal connection, but I’m at the end of my tether with the cave in that sometimes occurs, to the the you-know-who’s who frequent TS. No one will do themselves or the Left any favours by trying to reason with or “educate” them. Engaging with them is only ever a distraction and removal of energies from doing real work and having genuine discussion and debate.

              As for the regular righties. I have dealt with them both in work and personal life. I don’t mind the reasonable ones and at times have agreed with them on a rare occasion! Some of them are up for a laugh and a chat even – Sometimes there is common ground that can be found for the sake of social niceties. Thats all ok, and I’m sure they’d say the same of us.

              Its the soulless bastards that are a worry.

              PS: No I’m not related to Hooton, lol, as an afterthought. (or slug slime!)

              • Draco T Bastard

                No one will do themselves or the Left any favours by trying to reason with or “educate” them.

                I don’t try to reason with them anymore – just put forward the evidence and logic that proves them wrong. There’s more than just them reading and there’s a hell of a lot of people reading who don’t comment. Those people are far more important.

    • Murray Olsen 21.4

      Tautoko, little grey bird. I suspect that several of them are paid and I’ve noticed a real explosion in their numbers lately. It’s happened both here and on TDB, which is sometimes hardly worth opening because all I find are Bomber’s attacks on the Greens and baby boomers, along with the idiotic rants of Whalespew regulars. Apart from the Bradbury contributions, it looks like the same thing is beginning to happen here. I wonder if it’s a deliberate stratagem to swamp the blog with rubbish.

      It will be a shame if it continues, because I find some very informative posts and comments here. A new person could be put off by the thermal noise.

      • Anne 21.4.1

        I wonder if it’s a deliberate stratagem to swamp the blog with rubbish.

        It is…nothing is surer. Having had some experience with their kind, I have a little bit of understanding how their minds work.

      • greywarbler 21.4.2

        Good to see the worthwhile commenters still here. I just get sick of PR and his mate can’t remember but they often go in pairs, two right wing lovebirds cooing at each other. Then of course Srylands and poseurs like Naki man who knows he has a mind therefore he thinks.

        And seeing I have made a solemn vow, on my knees, to not encourage RWNJs or hardly ever, as I notice that they just grow an extra foot every time they are dissed, sometimes I can’t find anyone to play with. In a short whioe they will have more feet than the Luggage from Terry Pratchett.

        • Rosie 21.4.2.1

          Lols Warbs. I just had to ask to ask Mr R, who is the biggest Terry Pratchett fan ever, what “The Luggage” was.

      • Draco T Bastard 21.4.3

        I wonder if it’s a deliberate stratagem to swamp the blog with rubbish.

        Possibly, just means that we have to put more effort into putting forward a good argument against them.

  21. Jim 22

    I was just taking a look at the Emergency Benefit application form on the WINZ website for a friend who is in desperate poverty. I note that it is 36 pages long. Anyone applying for such a benefit is already going to be completely demoralized – confronting them with 36 pages of application form just seems like some kind of cruel Monty Python joke. Where is the compassion?

    • felix 22.1

      Compassion? As National MP David Bennett famously and proudly said, “government is not here to make your life better”.

      • greywarbler 22.1.1

        felix
        Is that any relation to Paula? I wonder about her provenance.

        • felix 22.1.1.1

          Hmm not that I know of but parliament is a funny place. Did you know Jacinda and Shane Ardern are cousins?

          • Anne 22.1.1.1.1

            Helen Clark and George Gair were related. I believe Annette King and Chris Finlayson are cousins. There’s others (past and present) on opposite sides of the fence too. There must be a special gene handed down within some families which automatically guides them into a life in politics. My family is split down the middle. One branch doesn’t have anything to do with me because of my ‘loony lefty’ leanings. 🙂

            • Rosie 22.1.1.1.1.1

              Holy moley Anne:

              “There must be a special gene handed down within some families which automatically guides them into a life in politics. My family is split down the middle. One branch doesn’t have anything to do with me because of my ‘loony lefty’ leanings. :)”

              Please see my reply to Te Reo Putake above at 21.3.1.1.1.1 at 10.13pm.

              And I do agree, you are one of TS’s most astute regulars. (There are many astute regulars of course, who I do enjoy reading, so please, no one should feel excluded from that statement 🙂

            • Draco T Bastard 22.1.1.1.1.2

              There must be a special gene handed down within some families which automatically guides them into a life in politics.

              Don’t encourage them. With words like that you’ll have them believing that the royals (and themselves of course) really are special.

          • rhinocrates 22.1.1.1.2

            I suggest that a banjo be part of the standard entitlement to an MP then.

      • Draco T Bastard 22.1.2

        And that is the reason why you should never, ever vote National. The governments job actually is to make your life better through excellent use and distribution of our resources. It’s been badly failing this purpose.

  22. fisiani 23

    Little experiment
    Next Colmar Brunton poll- anyone care to guess what Labour will poll?
    I pick 29%

    The point of the experiment is to see how accurate people are.

    • McFlock 23.1

      But that requires not just a psychic ability to read the populace, but a psychic ability to read the minds of only those people who are part of the randon sample next round on an infrequent poll.

      Your “experiment” can demonstrate nothing, because you will never know if the guess is correct or if the poll is correct.

      All your proposition demonstrates is that you have no idea how polling works.

  23. ExKiwiforces 24

    I’m sorry if this has been posted already. From the British newspaper “The Telegraph” Dated 16 Apr 2014

    Makes for a good read and really no surprises here.
    “The US is an oligarchy, study concludes”

    The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

    The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

    After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

    The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

    Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying oragnisations: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.”

    The positions of powerful interest groups are “not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens”, but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This merely a coincidence, the report says, with the the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

    The theory of “biased pluralism” that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes “tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations.”

    The study comes in the wake of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a controversial piece of legislation passed in The Supreme Court that abolished campaign contribution limits, and record low approval ratings for the US congress.

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