Open mike 16/12/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 16th, 2011 - 156 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

156 comments on “Open mike 16/12/2011”

  1. Jenny 1

    On yesterday’s news that Fonterra is to provide free milk to primary schools.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6141553/Free-milk-coming-back-to-primary-schools

    Jenny I agree this is a great thing for Fonterra to be going ahead with, I’ve known about their plans for a little while and believe what they have in mind will be a real benefit to schools, children and the community in general.
    But to suggest that the government legislate that they have to do it is really bizarre.

    higherstandard

    Kia ora H.S. The following Labour Party news release is why Fonterra’s decision to provide free milk to primary schools, (that is, if it is to be more than just another short term anarchic public relatations stunt), must be regulated.

    If this initiative is needed, (and it is), and it really makes a difference, (which it could), then it must be taken out of sphere of charity giving, which can be removed at any time at the whim of the donor.

    Labour Party Press release: Monday, 23 May, 2011

    The decision by Countdown to cancel its support for the Red Cross Breakfast in Schools programme is devastating news for vulnerable children whose parents are struggling to put food on the table.
    “The programme depends on the sponsorship from Countdown to provide a basic breakfast of toast, hot drinks, milk and cereal to children attending 61 schools. It’s been a real lifeline for many families and has made an enormous difference to the lives of vulnerable children since its inception four years ago.”

    Annette King, Labour Party Social Policy Spokesperson

    • higherstandard 1.1

      Jenny I note that nowhere in that release does Annette suggest that countdown should be legislatively compelled to do anything.

      I also find it disheartening that the day before NZs largest company announces a plan to supply milk free of charge for all primary school children in NZ that all many on this site can do is moan and bleat.

      • HS I would prefer the children of the poor received a proper breakfast than all children were given some free milk.  And the “gesture” is funded by exorbitant prices charged by Fonterra.  In the land of milk and honey something is so wrong that it should cost so much.

        • higherstandard 1.1.1.1

          Still moaning and bleating about all and sundry Greg, take a big breath and suggest how all children receive a proper breakfast and in the meantime find it in your retarded activist brain to acknowledge that free milk in all primary schools is a good thing.

          Tell you what here’s another few things I would like to see in relation to NZs children
          1. 100% vaccination
          2. A decline in the sickening child abuse stats

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            A good thing – but for how long.

            Open mike 16/12/2011

            Probably for long enough that they get the best PR for the expense, but when it becomes just expense then the generosity ceases as well. Long term welfare programmes are unsung. Companies are not suited for the task.

            • higherstandard 1.1.1.1.1.1

              ‘Long term welfare programmes are unsung. Companies are not suited for the task.’

              What, like the rescue helicopter (Westpac) , surf lifesaving (DHL) and the childrens hospital (MacDonalds) ?

              • kriswgtn

                you forgot to add the never ending canvassing ie begging on street corners for peoples money 😛 , by so called said companies

              • Ianupnorth

                You forgot to add that Westpac are giving payback for all the government banking business they receive and McDonald’s actually contribute more to the ill health of children via obesity and also only fund Ronald McDonald house, the accommodation for the parents. Most other civilised countries actually have inbuilt parental accommodation, without the need for a burger bar in the entry to the national childrens hospital!

              • rosy

                Our family has been in the unfortunate position of having to rely on Ronald McDonald House for quite some time. I fully appreciate the facilities, and work put in by the wonderful volunteers. But MacDonalds doesn’t provide the service – volunteers do – the company just has naming rights for collecting the money. And in a sense it’s easy money because sick kids tug the heart strings. I’d love to see companies provide for the hard stuff – women’s refuges for instance, and leave essential health services* to the health system.

                *Because the health system does not provide for rare, complex conditions outside of large urban centres this accommodation is essential and should be part of the health service IMO.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s still cheaper and far more efficient to fund such things through taxes and we don’t get the BS advertising that comes with corporate sponsorship.

              • Vicky32

                What, like the rescue helicopter (Westpac) , surf lifesaving (DHL) and the childrens hospital (MacDonalds) ?

                All largely funded by public donation! Countdown was promoting surf lifesaving a few weeks back, at the same time as frontliners were outside our local, begging for $$ for the same charity!

              • millsy

                The system of rescue helicopters should be funded from taxation and run by either the NZDF or the Fire Services.

                • The Voice of Reason

                  Actually, turning the airforce into a coastguard would make a lot of sense. Both for S&R and territorial reasons.

          • Bored 1.1.1.1.2

            Would’nt we all, plus a big breakfast. Hope Mum can afford the cut price loaf of bread now the rent has gone up……..

          • Blue 1.1.1.1.3

            The free market will sort it all out, HS. No worries.

          • Puddleglum 1.1.1.1.4

            higherstandard, noblesse oblige from an elite is not the way to solve social and economic issues (such as malnourished children) in a democratic society.

            In feudal times, it is true that noblesse oblige provided some minimal relief but it always came with some pretty strong strings attached.

            Corporate sponsorship is just updated feudal charity. And ‘noblesse oblige‘ is now just ‘corporate social responsibility‘.

      • lprent 1.1.2

        It is just an example about why companies are not suited to the task to providing long term welfare.

      • mik e 1.1.3

        I would legislate for that as we have a duopoly in the grocery sector and they are maximizing their profits at the expense of the connedsumer .England has far more competition in the food sector that’s why our lamb costs half the price it does here.
        The free market is a wonderful thing when their is true competition but in many countries it has to be regulated to stop price gouging New Zealands Commerce Commission is a joke!

        • insider 1.1.3.1

          well woolworths online has racks of lamb at $31kg while Tescos UK has racks at about $43kg. Legs are about the same, chops about the same, steaks about $32 in the UK v $25 in NZ. Lamb’s seasonality maybe makes it not quite as simple as you think

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.3.1.1

            And given that UK incomes in NZD terms are far higher than ours, we are being cheated at home.

    • Uturn 1.2

      “…The public affairs manager for Countdown owner Progressive Enterprises, Luke Schepen, said the chain stopped sponsoring the Red Cross programme at the end of last year “following a review of our community initiatives”.

      “Our team has a terrific passion for supporting the communities we serve and this has not changed. We are currently exploring new opportunities to invest in initiatives that will benefit both our communities and our business,” he said.

      He declined to comment on the contract with MasterChef, which was “an advertising sponsorship”.

      Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said food companies were considering a coordinated national programme to supply foodbanks and breakfast programmes modelled on Foodbank Australia, which distributes food to welfare agencies feeding the hungry.

      Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said her mission had sent a consultant to look at the Australian scheme and was working on a proposal for the New Zealand industry…”
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10727058

      The beginning of privatised welfare. And the self interest of the invisible hand:

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10727745

      For once, Shelley Bridgeman’s experience is relevent to her story. Just like, say 100% vaccination, the free market doesn’t care about disease in children, or poverty. It wants profit, money for doing not much, and influence in our culture – whether that is a government subsidy or some long term brand recognition. Then when you work your way out to something like, say, “reducing child abuse stats”, the cultural influence become institutionalised racism, or to put it another way cultural war. Cultural war? Why that’s preposterous! All we want is for maori and immigrants to give up their gods and families obligations and traditions and come be a part of our aspirational ladder giving full deference to our values and culture and boosting our production and profit. They’ll be rich… well, umm, ok they’ll be allowed to compete among themselves for below living wages. But it’s not cultural war. Honest. And some will make it, for sure, after my son of course, and his children, and once I have a new house in Noosa.

      But let’s get back to feeding starved kids. Poor children should not be fed, the right say, if rich children do not recieve the same food. Why? Because, one law for all. It wouldn’t be fair. But the real mentality is that to get ahead you need to take from someone, and if you aren’t taking or getting from someone, or worse, doing something for it’s own end, you are falling behind. It doesn’t matter if the rich kids on-sell their unneeded milk – they say – turn it into cheese and export it at a profit or waste it by tipping it on the ground. That is just the invisible hand, the free market. They could offer it to the poor children but that wouldn’t be right. They’d be falling behind. So the government would end up subsidising a theoretical rich child’s export cheese business. But that’s ok because it was “fair”. The rich kids had no advantage – except they weren’t hungry to start with and their parents weren’t exporters. The poor kids could have chosen not to drink their milk and do the same. As long as they built up an export business first, or paid the rich kids to take their milk – at a heaviliy discounted price of course. Shuffling paper doesn’t come cheap.

      You see, the free market, the invisible hand, the Right in general, do not care about anything that is not them, or that can’t be made to be like them. Basic human dignity is not in their vocabulary – it has to be earned by being… you guessed it… like them. They are inherently and categorically incapable of doing what is right for it’s own end and withdrawing the concealed, invisible hand of control. Self interest and greed is good they say – without greed and self interest, no one would have cars, they say. What they forget is that greed is a choice; that humans are not wholey animals unless they choose to discard their conscience; that cars, for example, were never a predestined product of humanity; and that humans always find an altenative. It all leads back to self interest, and a born to rule mentality: we rule therefore we we always meant to rule; we exist as we are, therefore we were always meant to be this. If greed and self interest dies, they say, there will be nothing left in the world to do. No motivation to act.

      I get tired of hearing the same rightwing principles drip fed by various people through every thread. They are cowards. They will not either come out and admit their greed and self interest and leave it at that, or discover their greed and self interest and develop their minds. It’s always about how greed and self interest can be made to be morally good through ethical sanitisation.

      • Bored 1.2.1

        If the corporate bastards just paid their taxes at a reasonable rate without going through all the chicanery of avoidance schemes etc we would not need their “charity”.

        • Uturn 1.2.1.1

          Corporate tax is an affront to the individual. Everything happens in a vacuum. My efforts are my own. I raised myself. Fed myself when I could not even see, schooled myself. My birth was no accident. I am god. Everything is for me to take.

          Corporate Executives were not born in hospitals built by people with foresight because they might be needed. Therefore they should not pay taxes to contribute to the collective foresight of others unless they get something from it.

          Welcome to the toddler mind.

          • Olwyn 1.2.1.1.1

            “It’s always about how greed and self interest can be made to be morally good through ethical sanitisation.”

            I am certainly not advocating a return to the Divine Right of Kings, but it had one advantage over the invisible hand: it conferred some conception of moral authority and hence moral duty on the socially dominant. It worked to a very limited degree of course, as such things do. But the invisible hand confers no such authority; its only justification is power. Hence the hunger for power has no limit, and rival conceptions of value eliminated or suborned, including ethical value. Note that the ethical value at play here is charity, which is often seen as supererogatory, and can more easily be withdrawn than justice.

          • logie97 1.2.1.1.2

            … or the roads that their behemoths move their goods on.

      • aerobubble 1.2.2

        The good people pull out their wallets to fund gaps in the welfare-health coverage.
        A sensible country would spread the cost to the bad people who don’t pay a share.
        Just because there are generous people in the world we should not reward those
        who aren’t.

  2. dv 2

    From the NBR
    Hanover civil proceedings just the beginning – Hughes
    Duncan Bridgeman | Thursday December 15, 2011
    Intended civil proceedings against the Hanover group of finance companies could be a test case for further compensation action, the Financial Markets Authority says.

    The FMA announced today it will file civil proceedings against directors and promoters of Hanover Finance, Hanover Capital, and United Finance next year.

    So next year could we see BANKS and BRASH charged as directors of HULLICH?

  3. David Shearer was fast tracked to Labour leadership because of his life experience, and because he comes across as an approachable honest sort of bloke. If his party – and it’s people – can convert to a similar image – in practice – it might start it’s recovery.

    • When Pete belongs to a party that shows it can get more than 0.6% of the popular vote I may think about giving some credence to what he says.

      • Greg, I know you’re not a Shearer supporter but you could learn a bit off him. He says he wants to be a uniter, and that he’s is prepared to listen to and learn from what people think and what they want. He doesn’t seem to be the sort of person who will abuse and bitch at anyone who doesn’t fit into some wee political pigeonhole.

        Are you with him or against him?

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      If UF can find a candidate with even boofier hair than The Hair, it might start it’s recovery.

      • logie97 3.2.1

        Pete George. Nominal UF supporter. NACT government apologist.
        Just because your I’ll-get-into-bed-with-who-ever-I-can-get-a-profile-and-ministerial-salary-from-electorate-MP has given confidence and supply to Key’s movement, does not mean that his minions have to defend him to the hilt. If you had found the Standard in the years from 1999 to 2008, presumably your comments here would have looked as if they were from the same song sheet as most other contributors. When did you change? Shit, by placing a question there, it might encourage further column inches of wasted space from you …

        Perhaps you should rename your blog site to something closer to TheStandard and you may then get some random exposure that way. Seems you need this one to get any recognition.

  4. rosy 4

    News of a digital media start-up fusing politics, social networking and news – working title Cloud Tiger Media :

    the aim of the venture is to “spread important, compelling ideas to hundreds of millions of people online and make being a progressive fun again…

    Given that the people behind it are Chris Hughes, Facebook co-founder and Obama’s digital guru during the 2008 election, Eli Pariser from MoveOn and Peter Koechley from The Onion it might be worth keeping an eye on.

  5. Dv 5

    From stuff

    THE JACKEL DENIES GUIT.

    Ok jackel, what Have you been up too.

  6. Jilly Bee 6

    Just had a look at the TV3 website – it says that Richie McCaw has turned down a Knighthood. Richie, you have just gone up heaps in my estimation. He said that it was because it wouldn’t be right as he is still playing rugby, so I suppose it’s always on the cards that it will happen once he retires. I fear that most recipients of titular honours suffer from delusions of grandeur.

    • rosy 6.1

      “Richie, you have just gone up heaps in my estimation”

      My thought exactly

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        Quoting article:

        McCaw will receive an honorary doctorate of natural resources at April’s graduation ceremony.

        And WTF does a doctorate of natural resources usually mean?

        • McFlock 6.2.1.1

          Oh, be nice. It’s lincoln – a university with gumboot scrapers outside the entrance to the library. He probably turned down their initial offers of honorary docs in sheep-shagging, waterways nitrate-saturation, and strip-mining. 🙂
           
          The pols department is pretty good, though.

          • The Voice of Reason 6.2.1.1.1

            The view from the roof of the science block is stunning on a crisp winter’s day. And the cricket oval next door is magic in the summer, too.

          • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1.2

            Jacqui Dean, look out for your day job! Dr Richie McCaw is after it!

  7. joe90 7

    “Income achievement gap” almost double black-white achievement gap

    In a dramatic illustration of the impact of income inequality on how children do in school, the achievement gap between children from high and low income families is far higher than the achievement gap between black and white students, a pathbreaking research report from Stanford University has shown.

    The report by Sean Reardon, a Stanford professor of education and sociology, shows that the income achievement gap—the difference in the average standardized scores between children from families at the 10th percentile of income distribution and children at the 90th percentile—is now “nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap.”

    […]

    While children at the bottom of the income scale are not doing worse academically than similar kids did decades ago—and in fact are doing better based on their test scores—the wider income achievement gap is a result of children at the top end of the income scale doing far better, he said.

    When you look at poor 4th graders today they are doing better than poor 4th graders 30 years ago. But rich 4th graders are doing much, much better than rich 4th graders (over the same time period). Most of the growth has been because kids at the high end of the family income distribution level have pulled away from middle income kids, not because kids at the low end have fallen away from middle income kids.

    • Yes, that’s in line with the study reported in ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell. The big shifts in SAT scores between children in schools of different SES areas happens over the summer break – not during school time.

      It may not be palatable for those on the liberal left, but better formal education will not solve the problem of increasing inequality.

      Only fundamental social and economic changes will achieve that. 

  8. chris73 8

    Ok seriously its beyond a joke now:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/6146215/Fourth-strike-notice-for-Ports-of-Auckland

    Wheres the Labour, CTU, Len Brown or even National (Crusher Collins would have a few good ideas I’m sure). Someone needs to step in here and get this sorted (chance for shearer to score massive brownie points?)

    These idiots are stuck in a time warp and are damaging every other trade union

    • Ant 8.1

      LOL Maersk’s decision would have been made months before any strike action started.

      • Uturn 8.1.1

        “Instead the company had made a new offer of a 10 per cent increase in hourly rates in return for full operational flexibility and productivity increases. ”

        That means effective pay cuts and redundancies as POAL intend to contract out some or all of its container terminal operations and support services to third party contractors. But Stuff just print the percentage, so readers can say, “Oh my 10% increase? How can they turn it down? That’s heaps!”.

        Then POAL go on to whine about how those nasty strikers will effect those poor battling retailers just trying to make a living. Forgetting that it was POAL who locked the workers out and failed to turn up to negotiations.

        • chris73 8.1.1.1

          POAL has generous wage and benefit packages for staff under the Collective Agreement. For the year ended 30 June 2011:

          o Average wage for a full time stevedore at POAL was $91,480
          o Average wage for a part time stevedore at POAL was $65,518
          o 53% of full time stevedores (123 individuals) earned over $80,000
          o 28% (43 individuals) earned over $100,000 with the highest earner making $122,000

          POAL provides:

          Southern Cross medical insurance for the employee and family
          Sick leave of up to 15 days per annum accumulating to 45 days over three years
          Fully paid in house training (no student loans required) to become a lasher, straddle and crane driver
          Five weeks annual leave for shift workers

          Embedded inflexibilities and old-fashioned work practices mean that labour utilisation at POAL is approx. 65% compared to approx. 80% at Port of Tauranga:

          POAL’s crane drivers and deck foremen work on average 5.33 hours for every 8 paid
          Straddle drivers work an average 6 hours out of every 8 paid
          One recent example: stevedores worked 2 hours on an overtime shift but were paid for the whole 8 hour shift.

          Oh yeah those poor, struggling workers, turns out most of them are “rich pricks”

          • Ant 8.1.1.1.1

            Looks like pretty standard pay for a dangerous job and doesn’t take into account hours worked so is pretty meaningless, i know people who earn that much for reasonably un-skilled jobs due purely to overtime.

            Rest of the “generous benefits” are pretty standard also.

            • chris73 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh yeah I’m sure these guys are doing 70 hour weeks, I’m sure their union would have saomething to say about that

              This is the problem with unions and their leaders, they start thinking they’re more important then anything else

              • Colonial Viper

                Frak you, lets see a print out on what the senior managers and directors at the port company are getting first.

          • joe90 8.1.1.1.2

            So where’s the link to the source of the figures you cite?.

            • chris73 8.1.1.1.2.1

              Being that no one else on here (especially those with links to the union itself) isn’t questioning the figures should tell you something but its a hat tip to Cactus Kate for bringing this to light

              • The Voice of Reason

                Oh, great! You’re citing Cactus Kate as the source? D’oh! The source is the company. They are relying on the politics of envy to make the raw figures seem generous to the wider public and hoping to make their workers look greedy. It is propaganda designed to fool the naive, the gullible and the stupid. Camps you fit into well, chris.

              • lprent

                Alternatively it is because you’re largely being ignored? I realize that you think it is important. However it appears that few others do.

                In any case trying to use the “No answer means I am right” tactic is pretty dangerous here. When I’m in moderating mode I usually regard it as part of the pwned fallacy by whoever uses it and treat it like any other type of flame starter – maybe warn and likely ban. I don’t have time to deal with the flamewar outbreaks that result from the use of the tactic.

                Find a better argument.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.3

            got a link for that? I want to see what their overtime rates etc are.

          • millsy 8.1.1.1.4

            Yes, it shows how trade unions can catapult people into the middle class.

            Tell me, would you just have them earning minumum wage? (which means they will have to get WFF and Accomodation supplements)

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      The only time warp here is for workers to get a fair share of national GDP.

    • Campbell Larsen 8.3

      The ports of Auckland should not be operating from the downtown waterfront at all- the vast towering stacks of containers obscuring the view of the ocean are an eyesore.
      The port company has had a sweet ride for so long it believes that it is entitled not only to this premium public space but it also believes that it is doing it’s employees a favor by demanding productivity increases, demanding ‘operational flexibility’ (HR speak for you will work whenever however and for as long as I want and thank me for it) with the only ‘concession’ being a miserly 10% increase in hourly rate that does not even begin to compensate workers for the changes in their conditions or deliverables, let alone inflation.
      If someone needs their ass kicked it’s the Ports of Auckland – after all it’s not like they have 3 overlong movie versions of a fiction classic providing a justification for their bullying.

      • Ant 8.3.1

        Exactly, it’s a high-risk job, any drop in conditions compromises the safety of the entire work force. Unions need to be staunch in these industries or workers end up dead under containers for their 10% increase.

    • joe90 8.4

      WTF is it any of your business that they choose to legally withdraw their labour ?.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.5

      “These idiots are stuck in a time warp and are damaging every other trade union” – #73

      Spoken like a true anti unionist (#73, not the other commenters), e.g. unions have their place as long as it is compliant and ineffective.

      The default official setting for government is hands off labour disputes, but behind the scenes they encourage the employer, and remind the cops what is expected of them–“maintain law’n ordah!” and help scab herd.

      In the absence of any govt. committment to good faith bargaining, but plenty towards downgrading workers rights (attack ILO freedom of association, 90 Day Fire at Will) there are going to be more episodes of workers taking industrial action during this thin majority ShonKey administrations term.

    • Oh sure Chris, are you stuck in the time warp of 1951 when the shipowners and NATs collaborated with the right wing FOL leader Walsh to smash the wharfies over a few pennies so they could defeat the ‘communist’ threat to civilisation?
      Shearer could take the Nash line of 1951 of being ‘neither for or against’ the union.
      After all he is a ‘peacemaker’ not a fighter.
      Shearer said Labour would fight privatisation in the streets. No statement from him over Mighty River only his Minister Cosgrove. Can we expect a statement promising to renationalise Mighty River?
      Jones says Labour has lost the fight for privatisation, and will not oppose iwi buying shares. I can’t see Jones promising to renationalise iwi shareholdings.
      Is this the Shearer ‘reconnection’ strategy of undoing the damage of the F$S by selling assets to corporate Maori to undercut the MP and win back support in Maori seats?

  9. Ant 9

    So AMI is sold but we take it’s current and future earthquake liabilities, sounds like a pretty good deal for IAG, not so good for us. 😐

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Private insurance was never meant to be good for us – only for the stockholders.

      • Fotran 9.1.1

        AMI was a Mutual – it had no Stockholders.
        It was owned by the Policyholders, and nobody else.
        The money received from IAG (Australian owned State and NZI) will go towards paying for their share of the Christchurch Earthquake.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          Bullshit

          The Government should have acquired the entirety of AMI, 100% of it. Instead of just the liabilities.

          And used the section which has been sold off as a new profitable SOE adding to our nation’s bottom line for years to come, instead of detracting from our balance of payments to Australia.

  10. logie97 10

    What a bazaar world of political speak we live in …

    “He said Labour had shed “most vestiges” of the Helen Clark government.” apparently said by Stuart Nash.

    Bloody hell. Was 1999 to 2008 a period of tyranny and treason?
    Why? Because we had an independent foreign policy. Reducing government debt. Pretty favourable employment figures … ummmm. Of course! That’s it! The community lost the right to beat its children with implements. Wait a minute, Key supported that measure – perhaps someone can explain.

    I for one was proud of Helen Clark’s stewardship of New Zealand.

      • Olwyn 10.1.1

        Helen Clark’s government was the only government I could feel proud of since rogernomics. Please, Labour, stop playing into the hands of right wing propagandists!

        • seeker 10.1.1.1

          Helen Clark was the best leader I have had in 40years of adult hood on the planet. A remarkable woman. One we knew was on top of her job, who respected her citizens and especially their children. Who led a government under which one could feel they could develop, progress and achieve. Above all, Helen was a leader one could feel safe and supported under,one who did not attack her own people. A leader who united the people, not divided, derided and negated parts of the population. And finally a leader who tried to make sure all prospered -not just the few,whilst trying to enslave or starve all those in a low wage society, who did not earn over $30,000 or who made as many as possible involuntarily unemployed and then blamed them for being out of work.

          When living under a government that respects and appreciates the talents and diversity and creativity of its people and supports them a country will flourish and become great,as we were doing until the hollow men came along with their spin and duplicity and false smiles..

          Unfortunately, as we are seeing, if people are left to suffocate under a government who acts unjustly, hoards all the money, negates and undermines its citizens, cuts off all opportunity to progress and achieve, who lies, cheats and steals(assets) all in the name of money and profit, and all in the name of money for self interest for itself or its business masters and buddies, then that government is not only dishonourable, it is an abuser of power and its members will one day have to answer for their rather wicked behaviour. Not a good look for eternity!

          At least I had the good fortune to experience one good leader in my lifetime. Thank you Helen. Now you were a real star.

    • newsense 10.2

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6149387/Cunliffe-not-so-supportive-after-all

      So Labour has shed most vestiges of the Clark government and hurrah says Stuart Nash and National has shed, actually SFA of their old dodders: Brownlee, English, Ryall, Smith, McCully are still there- though I can’t remember actually hearing any of them apart from English say a damn thing. With Maurice Williamson outside cabinet.

      Really? Is success measured by not having any institutional memory at all and having very little or no experience of actual government in your front ranks?

      Does this cabinet also look like it will spend more time playing push me pull you with Pagani and Nash giving advice from the side? So much for the momentary optimism.

      The ones who could win their electorates and party votes are mostly leaving or down the list. The ones who didn’t win their electorates are being promoted or given jobs.

      sorry should probably put this in open mike….can this be resolved and with the “vestiges” removed what will the party be underneath??

      sorry repost from another thread, and see this is already here.

      Agree that the Clark-led government seemed full of talented people pulling together for the centre left and achieving things. I am VERY underwhelmed at the moment by the thinness of this possible front bench.

    • Vicky32 10.3

      I for one was proud of Helen Clark’s stewardship of New Zealand.

      Thirded!

    • deuto 10.4

      + whatever number we are up to. Helen (and Cullen) will go down in NZ history as amongst the best we have had. I remember well the feeling of a large load of feeling uttely disenfranchised lifting when Helen first won and during her year. I have had that feeling again in the last 3 years and unfortunately know it will continue until the present lot go – the sooner the better.

      • newsense 10.4.1

        It would seem like Labour wishes to move to the right a bit.

        Would in a million years the Greens consider asking David Cunliffe to join them at the next election or resign and stand for them in a by-election and try and take more space on the left if Labour becomes less convincing as a party of the left?

        Be an interesting proposition- would it be too unnatural?

    • millsy 10.5

      Really from a left perspective, the Clark years were nothing to write home about.

      Sure, there were some great things, such as Kiwibank, which was an Alliance inititaive, but in reality, the 5th Labour government never really went close to reversing the reforms of the Lange-Douglas-Richardson-Bolger administrations.

      Employment statistics from that era are rather misleading IMO, given that a lot of jobs created were casual and part time work, and labour hire companies such as AWF found themselves booming. Wages grew at a snails pace, despite all the talk of a growing economy with Clark and Cullen falling over themselves to discourage workers from seeking huge wage increases.

      Clark and Cullen still sold assets, with Terralink going on the block, not to mention forests, Landcorp farms, and gas/geothermal fields to name a few.

      For all the talk about ‘economic transformation’, ‘carbon neutrality’, ‘sustainability’ and so on, Clark and Cullen never really took the steps that were really required to achive such goals, probably because doing so required government agencies and state/publicly owned entities to lead the way, with the private sector being fast followers, a step too politically incorrect for a government that oozed PC-ness.

      I would have to agree that wiping student loan intrest was a bribe, but only insofar that shut up people who used to question as to why tuition fees werent coming down, unlike the number of hospitals closed under Labour. Yes, they stopped the large bulk of hopsital closures, a heartless act by the National party to pay for the huge tax cuts it intended to give to the rich in 1996 (people wonder why the left ‘hate’ the rich. Its because their tax cuts were paid for by massive cuts in services.), but Queen Mary hospital at Hamner Springs and the Kimberly Center at Levin are 2 examples.

      There are more points I could make, but I have things to do..

      IMO the Labour Party cannot make a break from the Clark era soon enough, the woman was essentially a female Tony Blair, cultivating a bland centerism and tinkering round the edges.

      • seeker 10.5.1

        @ millsy
        Don’t care if she was inside left, back to front, inside out or right up against it, Helen was an ace leader.

      • newsense 10.5.2

        yep and little action on climate change…though that may have cost them an election who knows…

        I think Clark was best when she and her government faced a strong and intellectually vibrant criticism from the left.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Government eats all AMI’s liabilities, Australians buy the cream

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10773584

    Socialisation of hundreds of millions in Christchurch losses on to tax payers, while some Australian corporate gets the money making divisions.

    The Government should have compulsorarily acquired the entire insurance company for nothing.

    • Ant 11.1

      Yeah saw this, so we get all the high cost liablities, and sell all the profit making bits that hedge against high cost events. No wonder other insurance companies are interest because it looks like the most awesome deal ever.

      Sounds like some clever and hard nosed negotiating, I wonder who could have been involved in this one.

    • Fotran 11.2

      Who sold State Insurance to the Poms, who onsold it to the Aussies ?

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Ah, The right-biased MSM trying to prove that someone thinking about his options is someone who’s not being supportive.

  12. Morrissey 13

    POLITICS NEWSFLASH!
    New Zealand First’s new Social Welfare spokeswoman makes her public debut…

    Winston Peters will shortly announce the appointment of this woman to the post of Social Welfare spokesperson….

  13. Ant 14

    Productivity commissioner knows nothing about productivity

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10773568

    How is spending 3 hours in traffic getting to work productive? Also, is providing services over a larger geographic area with lower population density less or more productive?

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      The commission called for urgent action to free up more land for housing…

      What a surprise – a “productivity” commissioner out to make rates and living more expensive by increasing the sprawl. All those extra roads, which are going to become White Elephants in the near future, are expensive and so are the extra network services (sewerage, telecomms, electricity, etc etc) as well.

  14. RALLY TODAY, (FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER 2011) 6.30PM
    TO PROTEST THE CLOSURE OF RAPE CRISIS – QE2 SQUARE AUCKLAND

    As sexual violence surges in New Zealand, thousands join last-ditch campaign to restore funding for Auckland’s 24/7 sexual violence help centre.

    Petition: Stop the closure of Auckland’s 24/7 sexual violence crisis service

    24/7 sexual abuse helpline faces closure
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    [lprent: better. However – my rewrite is a hell of lot more likely to have people reading it. For a start the links are clickable rather than word wrapped to incomprehension. I also hide all of the internet gobbledygook under anchors. Finally I dumped the last link for which you hadn’t provided any context and didn’t relate to the previous ones.

    And the following is what you garbage is what you cut’n’pasted. Basically it is crap. Do better. ]

    GLOBAL PEACE AND JUSTICE AUCKLAND NEWSLETTER No. 407, December 16, 2011

    RALLY TODAY, (FRIDAY 16 DECEMBER 2011) 6.30PM
    TO PROTEST THE CLOSURE OF RAPE CRISIS – QE2 SQUARE AUCKLAND

    As sexual violence surges in New Zealand, thousands join last-ditch campaign to restore funding for Auckland’s 24/7 sexual violence help centre. https://docs.google.com/document

    /d/1W_cNOe3mFNeUAA0wX6SYvCt0j8ad7p2vap3mB2QZTm8/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

    Petition: Stop the closure of Auckland’s 24/7 sexual violence crisis service http://www.change.org/petitions

    /new-zealand-government-stop-the-closure-of-aucklands-247-sexual-violence-crisis-service

    24/7 sexual abuse helpline faces closure http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6144719/24-7-sexual-abuse-helpline-faces-closure http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-sea-ice-releases-deadly-greenhouse-gas-6276134.html

    ______________________________________________________________________________

  15. joe90 16

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/12/15/390511/climategate-swiftboaters-under-criminal-investigation-for-hacking/

    “Police officers investigating the theft of thousands of private emails between climate scientists from a University of East Anglia server in 2009″ — the source of the Climategate smear campaign timed to disrupt the Copenhagen climate summit — “have seized computer equipment” belonging to Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate denier blog under the pseudonym TallBloke.

    In the United States, the Department of Justice sent a “formal request for preservation” to Tattersall and climate denier Patrick Condon, who runs the No Consensus blog under the pseudonym Jeff Id. The DOJ letter tells the conspiracy theorists to preserve “all stored communications, records, and other evidence in your possession” for their blogs and for Climate Audit, a denier blog run by Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mining consultant.

  16. Wow, Waitakere has been returned to Bennett on judicial recount. Majority of 9 for her now.

    It must be a very anxious time for the MPs (or not MPs) having to wait through these recounts. Their whole future hinges on the outcome.

    • Colonial Viper 17.2

      It must be a very anxious time for the MPs (or not MPs) having to wait through these recounts. Their whole future hinges on the outcome.

      The Hair! What would The Hair! have done without his MP’s salary these last two decades? Riddle me that, Mr Pete George 🙂

  17. Adolf Fiinkensein 18

    I say there, chaps!

    How are things out in Waitakere these days?

  18. Dan hansen 19

    That will teach Miss Sepuloni to be a gracious winner in the future….! karma’s a bitch!

  19. joe bloggs 20

    Ouch – that has to hurt!

    Paula wins Waitakere back!

    I guess that at the very end of the day, the voters have had the final word and given Paula the mandate she so richly deserves.

    • lprent 20.1

      I suspect that this one will be going to court to look at those shifty votes.

      • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1

        As it’s so close I think an election with just the two of them standing would be the better option. Of course, the best option is to move to proportional voting system in electorates.

      • Jackal 20.1.2

        I requested information about vote cheating from the Electoral Commission and Ministry of Justice the other day… will be interesting to see what they front up with.

    • Gosman 20.2

      [Nelson Muntz mode] Ha ha ! [/Nelson Muntz mode]

  20. Bazar 21

    Sooooooo
    Bennett is back in as an electorate MP and Sepuloni is out.

  21. Treetop 22

    I was just saying to someone yesterday how grumpy I have been feeling about the election results. Nothing has gone right, too many people not voting, then Dunne not stopping asset sales (must have known that Bennett would get back her seat), then the Maori Party being a coalition partner and Cunliffe not being elected as Labour leader.

    I suppose I should be lucky that I am not Carmel.

  22. Vicky32 23

    I am just hearing Hil’ry Berry having orgasms of joy because Petulant Bean has won Waitakere back again. How is this even possible?
     

  23. seeker 24

    Paula Bennett has just been declared the winner in Waitakere on the recount- by nine I think they said. What is going on.? I think the whole election should be recounted .Perhaps Labour could form a government???? Am feeling rather queasy at the mo.

    • Jackal 24.1

      That means they miscounted by 20 votes… which is a hell of a lot. Something is smelling decidedly fishy.

      • Olwyn 24.1.1

        Yes I would like to know if it involves miscounting, or the rejection of votes that were previously accepted – the tick not quite in the box indicating an “unclear intention” etc.

      • Mehere 24.1.2

        And if those 20 votes had gone the other way, would they smell so fishy to you? I suspect not. Vote counting is just like anything where humans are involved, mistakes will be made. You could keep recounting until you get the result you want or you could just accept the result and move on. I suggest the latter is the best course of action.

        • Olwyn 24.1.2.1

          It does seem a lot to be out by, especially since they are said to be very thorough before they release the results.

        • Colonial Viper 24.1.2.2

          We just want the actual count Mehere. Not an approximation.

        • seeker 24.1.2.3

          .Mehere you write

          “…or you could just accept the result and move on. I suggest the latter is the best course of action.”

          If only John Key and Paula Bennett had done that when Carmel won by 11 votes.

      • mickysavage 24.1.3

        Miscount at Fruitvale School.  Mistakes do happen …

    • Treetop 24.2

      I personally have to question counting votes, transporting votes, storing votes and the scrutiny of ballot papers as Christchurch Central and Waitakere could have gone either way.

  24. chris73 25

    And thats why you should always be a gracious winner

    • seeker 25.1

      Like Paula you mean Chris? One word that definitely does not describe Miss P. Bennett is “gracious”. Another recount is called for I think.

      • tsmithfield 25.1.1

        This isn’t Zimbabwe.

        • Colonial Viper 25.1.1.1

          And that’s why we can do a recount.

          • higherstandard 25.1.1.1.1

            I’m not sure if you can do a recount of a recount – something to do with a three day period from memory, I think it has to be escalated to a judicial review/electoral petition at this stage if anyone wants to take it further.

      • chris73 25.1.2

        Well Carmel should have just congratulated her opponent on a tough fight and thanked the people for voting her in, not take a couple of cheap shots (which has backfired)

  25. higherstandard 26

    Has anyone heard from Greg Presland I’m worried that this may push him over the edge.

    Why was Carmel so low on the list – nothing against Raymond Huo but he’s not in the same class as Carmel/

    • hs you are a piece and a waste of space.

      The recount was done impeccably and there was a mistake in Fruitvale School.  The decision cannot be faulted.

      But there is the possibility of a Electoral Petition and the possibility that this may affect National’s majority.

      Have you impersonated any female staff members lately? 

      • higherstandard 26.1.1

        Greg – yes I often wear a dress to work, it winds the patients up no end.

        I can’t seem to reconcile a count being done impeccably with a mistake in fruitvale school ?

        Never mind have a good day the weathers fine and I’m off for some cricket.

  26. The Voice of Reason 27

    Lefty author Christopher Hitchens has died. Cancer took him, aged a mere 62 years old. It’s ironic that he should die on the day of the American withdrawal from Iraq, as he was often criticised for writing in support of the invasion.
     
     

    • higherstandard 27.1

      At least he made it to 62 poor Jason Richards lost to his family at 35.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10773647

    • Vicky32 27.2

      Lefty author Christopher Hitchens has died.

      Lefty author? Not since the 1970s, afaik… He made a meal out of having once been a lefty, and pro-war people found it tremendously useful to claim he still was a lefty, but he himself was proud to proclaim that he wasn’t.
      It  takes a darn sight more than being a “famous atheist” to make someone a lefty..

      • The Voice of Reason 27.2.1

        Nah, he was left till the end, though he was definitely critical of the movement when he felt it was deserved. I don’t think he was much of a joiner, if you know what I mean, and I think he distrusted the organised left. He was also very pro-American which was confusing for some.

        • Vicky32 27.2.1.1

          Nah, he was left till the end

          Sorry, that’s utter nonsense! He was proud to be a rightist, he was truly American to the point of gastropody, and he was very scathing of the left, especially the anti-war left. I first became aware of him through a profile in the Listener in about 2002, and was frustrated to see the pro-war right saying in the lead up to the destruction of Iraq – “See! Christopher Hitchens supports us and he’s a lefty!” 
          It was rather like trying to say to these fascist clowns that there were no WMD… (which we all know now that there weren’t… at least I hope you do! 🙂 )
          No matter how many links to Hitchens’ own words proving his hatred of Islam, Christianity, (but not Judaism you note, as Zionism has a lot to do with the casus belli , and Bush’s crusade against Islam) or his hatred of the left, the pro-war nutmegs would just stick their fingers in their ear and go “la-la-la, I can’t hear you”!

  27. randal 28

    Kweewee and his gang have already used up their goodwill.
    once the left gets organised next year then he and his greedy little stockjobber mates are in for a big fright.

  28. millsy 29

    RE: Bennett winning the recount.

    Lesson to all: GET OUT AND VOTE — SOMETIMES IT ACTUALLY COUNTS!!!

    • Jilly Bee 29.1

      Yep, definitely drowning our sorrows in this household. Is there nothing further to be done, I recall in my dark dim past about Winston Peters taking it a step further when he was denied the Hunua seat, way back in [when?] against Roger Douglas’ brother and won it back. It would seem to be not a level playing field when considering what constitutes a valid vote.

    • Tiger Mountain 29.2

      While Carmel could have zipped her lip, she should take this all the way. It is highly suspicious and could verge on Hunua like “ticks and crosses” territory, “hanging chads” or some other jiggery pokery, such as part millimetres of tick placement to get Bennett across the line. It strains belief that the change in numbers comes down to pure counting straight after a recount involving special votes.

      To the whingers that say what about when Carmel won by a small number on recount, think about it. Who has the ability to manipulate here-who has a tiny parliamentary majority, i.e who has motive and opportunity to rort.

      • chris73 29.2.1

        Or maybe Bennet just got more votes

      • the phantom 29.2.2

        presumably the same people who watched from the sidelines as Carmel won by 12 on the specials. If you are serious about this argument surely you must ascribe them the power to avert that little sideshow.

      • Grumpy 29.2.3

        Labour didn’t even bother to have a lawyer at the recount. Was Greg playing golf?

        • mickysavage 29.2.3.1

          You should not believe everything that Slater tells you.  In fact if you want to be safe you should not believe anything that Slater tells you.

          • McFlock 29.2.3.1.1

            Pity. If the only party lawyers present were nats, it might indicate a cunning plan. Specifically, this cunning plan which relies on bennett winning the recount by a small margin (and 9 is as close as it gets), then labour to a petition for judicial review of the count. Bennett loses, but because the list seats have been finalised she is out of parliament and nactuf only have 60 seats.
             
            It all just depends on the wider strategy, if one exists. With no lab lawyers in the room, 9 votes would be the best case scenario for bennett. And no real cost to labour.

            • dancerwaitakere 29.2.3.1.1.1

              Some people have an inability to infer anything when reading. Your comment is proof.

              • McFlock

                Some people have an inability to infer anything when reading.

                 
                Like the implied meaning of the one-word sentence “pity”.
                 

            • mickysavage 29.2.3.1.1.2

              McF

              Like I said don’t believe everything or come to think of it anything Slater tells you.  I have read the cunning plan you talk about and I might start fundraising …

              • McFlock

                I don’t read slater. One the single-digit occasions commenters here have been adamant enough and I have read their links to wo, I’ve regretted it each and every time.
                 
                I’m much more interested in whether Edgeler’s analysis is spot on, or whether it misses a bit that brings the entire house of cards down. 9 votes can easily switch the other way. I assume that in that eventuality, the nats would go to the court of appeal, and then the supreme court. But then key/joyce would have to consider whether a prolonged legal argument would lose them more votes in the long run.

              • ak

                Not the slightest might about it I would hope Mick…at the very very least it keeps the razor-edge factor high in the public (and MP) mind and will rattle the Key ring like a dose of salts. Epsom salts. Tories don’t like it up em, no siree…

  29. Blue 30

    Must be some pretty oddly-marked ballot papers out Waitakere way.

    I wonder what the usual level of inaccuracy is with this sort of thing. When someone has a majority in the thousands it’s not so important, but in such a closely-run contest, it’s a bit concerning.

  30. Draco T Bastard 31

    The Return Of Debtor’s Prisons: Thousands Of Americans Jailed For Not Paying Their Bills

    More than a third of all states now allow borrowers who don’t pay their bills to be jailed, even when debtor’s prisons have been explicitly banned by state constitutions. A report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that people were imprisoned even when the cost of doing so exceeded the amount of debt they owed.

    Wonder when they’ll bring back the ruling that the debtor has to pay back everything including the cost of being in prison before being released…

    Some debtors are even forced to pay for their jail time themselves, adding to their financial troubles.

    Oh, well, that was quick.

  31. I guess it’s come as a shock to David Cunliffe to realise that his caucus colleagues don’t like him as much as he likes himself…
    And will he throw his toys out of the cot to go and play somewhere else?

    • Jackal 32.1

      It’s sad to see the propaganda about rifts in Labour start with such a boring supposition… thoroughly yawn inducing. I would rather watch the grass grow than waste my time reading the trivial nonsense that spews out your ignoramus Toosense.

  32. logie97 33

    All Black captain turns down a knighthood.
    What a disgraceful insult to the position of Prime Minister.
    McCaw has no right to turn down such an honour if offered by the office of Prime Minister. Then again, maybe Key has insulted the office of Prime Minister, throwing knighthoods around at will.

    And just how did we find this out anyway? We wouldn’t expect to know who has turned down the honours. Surely it wasn’t McCaw himself? That would counter the argument of his wonderful humility. So who leaked it… perhaps the office of Joky Hen or was it the PM?

    Either way, it’s a disgrace. Disgraceful I say, damn it! Time we scrapped the dashed things what?

  33. logie97 34

    We occasionally have a laugh at the Penguin’s column in the Herald. So now Farrar wants to limit a government’s term. Headquarters obviously didn’t proof read this one before release.

    Quote … dictators whose presumably noble original intentions have morphed into despotism as those in charge of a country conflate their personal best interests, with the country’s overall interest …

    … The best of intentions often descend into a mixture of incompetence and even corruption when a political party, or a politician, rules for too long with no real chance of losing an election to the opposition… unquote

    As I was only scanning his column, I had to do a double take. Was he talking about
    Double Dipton? On closer reading I see he was referring to African states.

  34. millsy 35

    It always gets me about how the right expect the left always be gracious and respectful, but, as can be seen from the above, they expect to be able to slag off all and sundry and be nasty in general.

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