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Open mike 17/07/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 17th, 2020 - 176 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 Policy).

Step up to the mike …

176 comments on “Open mike 17/07/2020 ”

  1. The Chairman 1

    Local, regional or full lock-downs. Checkpoints, soldiers on the streets, mandatory door-to-door testing. Further job losses, mass anxiety, bankruptcies. How long before the team of 5 million start calling for the Government to fully close the borders?

    Jacinda warned that even the best trained and best equipped staff face a high risk of picking up the virus at one of New Zealand’s border facilities.

    If we genuinely want to take a better safe than sorry approach, isn't it time we start having the discussion on fully closing the borders. I believe so. What say you?

    • Andre 1.1

      I'm not concerned about the risk of having to go back into lockdowns, let alone the other bizarre things you're suggesting.

      At this point, it's frankly nuts to be suggesting to suggest we might want to completely lock down borders, denying New Zealanders their right to come home. As for soldiers in the streets – get a grip.

      The very few wobbles with managed isolation and quarantine that have happened at the border have come about from a slight excess of confidence in regular people being able to be trusted to do the right thing. Those holes are being plugged.

      But even if there's spread to staff, they know how to manage it, and the behavioural changes most of us have made will slow any undetected community transmission down to much more easily manageable levels when it finally does get detected.

      • The Chairman 1.1.1

        Good to know you are not personally concerned about the risk of having to go back into lockdowns. However, I think it would be fair to assume some are.

        What are these bizarre things you think I'm suggesting? Local, regional or full lock-downs. Checkpoints, soldiers on the streets, mandatory door-to-door testing. Resulting in further job losses, mass anxiety, bankruptcies etc is the Government's new plan of action.

        As for being nuts to suggest we need to have a discussion on fully closing down the borders, I think you will find some of us think it's crazy not to be having this discussion.

        In normal circumstances allowing New Zealanders access is unquestionable, however this is far from normal circumstances. Globally, the rate of those infected is vastly growing, hence so is the risk

    • Tricledrown 1.2

      Playing the hysteria card that went down like a cup of hot sick.

      Bridges Woodhouse boag etc all tried it .

      • The Chairman 1.2.1

        Not playing the hysteria card. Highlighting the reality of going back into lockdown. Which is a genuine risk the longer the border remains open and the virus vastly spreads.

        As for the Nats, don’t they want to widen the border – ie by bringing in offshore students? No wonder them playing the hysteria card went down like a cup of hot sick.

        • Incognito

          Oh dear, here we go again 🙁

          Here’s an informative article without the emotive hyperbole by people who put their names to it, unlike you who’s referring to imaginary and assumed “we” and “some of us”, which is a form of astroturfing and thus frowned upon by Moderators.

          Stringent border controls and mandatory quarantine give New Zealand a good chance to remain free of Covid-19 for months to come, according to our latest modelling.

          It's been 76 days since New Zealand's last reported case of community transmission, and our model shows the risk of an infectious person slipping through the border undetected remains very low. Provided the rules are followed, we would expect this to happen only once over the next 18 months — and even then, this person may not infect anyone else.


          • The Chairman

            According to your link, currently about 400 people fly into New Zealand each day.

            And again from your link, the modelling suggests the risk of an infectious person being released into the community is around 0.1 per cent – which according to your link means for every 1000 infected people who arrive at the border, one person will be released from quarantine while still infectious.

            Moreover, the modeling in your link doesn't take into account people deliberately absconding from quarantine.

            Therefore, in a perfect world where all rules are followed and no human mishaps occur then yes, the risk is no doubt far lower. However, as we know, we don't live in a perfect world. And as we have all seen, mishaps and people deliberately absconding happens.

            If you aren't already hearing it from people within your current social circles, wait till we end up going back into lockdown, then the cries to fully close the border will become much louder.

            Therefore, the discussion should be considered now rather than after the shit hits the fan.

            • Incognito

              Therefore, the discussion should be considered now rather than after the shit hits the fan.

              Therefore, any discussion should be grounded in reality and be based on realistic assumptions and risk assessments rather than on scaremongering by individuals who freak out because they’re having nightmares or personal agendas.

              The article was quite clear about their assumptions and based on our collective experience over the last months I think those assumptions are valid.

              I don’t have a social circle filled with cries – no crybabies here. Even if I did, I wouldn’t base my comments here on it!

              • The Chairman

                Therefore, any discussion should be grounded in reality and be based on realistic assumptions and risk assessments rather than on scaremongering by individuals who freak out because they’re having nightmares or personal agendas.

                Indeed. No argument there.

                The article was also quite clear their assumptions were based on all the rules being followed. However, based on our collective experience over the last months, the rules clearly haven't been followed.

                • Incognito

                  And now we are or will be facing Martial Law and health ‘pogroms’? What I’m saying is that yes, there are risks that can be and are managed well enough and that there’s no need at present for kneejerk reactions and scaremongering. You do live in NZ, don’t you?

                  • The Chairman

                    Calling for a discussion is not a knee-jerk reaction or scaremongering.

                    As for martial law and health ‘pogroms’, all I know is what the Government have announced, which is troops possibly manning regional check points. There could potentially be mandatory door-to-door testing. And there could be local, regional or full lock-downs with no warning notices given. Which will result in further job losses, mass anxiety, bankruptcies etc

                    • Incognito

                      Could you please stop your knee-jerking and scaremongering? Your whole comment is steeped in it! You’re not calling for a discussion with an open mind and your kind of ‘discussion’ is not worth having here. What you’re doing here on TS is scaring the horses for no good reason. Please, stop it or I will stop you, again.

                • Sacha

                  based on our collective experience over the last months, the rules clearly haven't been followed

                  That's why there are outbreaks of community transmission and our hospitals are overflowing. Oh, wait..

                  • The Chairman

                    That's why there are outbreaks of community transmission and our hospitals are overflowing. Oh, wait..

                    No. But the potential was there for that to happen. Moreover, you seem to have missed the point, rules were not followed.

                    Therefore, if we genuinely want to take a better safe than sorry approach, we really need to consider fully closing the borders.

                    • Sacha

                      rules were not followed

                      Oh noes, the sky is falling! Quick, take down the stars lest they hurt our heads.

                  • The Chairman

                    Don't be silly. The sky hasn't fallen yet.

                    But it won't be looking too good if we end up back in total lockdown.

                    Therefore, one needs to ask, doesn't the best interest of the country come before the inconvenience of Kiwis wanting to return home?

                    And ponder this, would Kiwis really want to return home if shit hits the fan here?

                • Tricledrown

                  Out of 30,000 plus returning NZers 30 have tested positive 4 escaped one tested positive 1 in 30,000 is not 0.1%.

                  That would equate to 30 people with covid escaping.

                  Most of the escape's are wealthy Most likely a Right Wing supporters

            • Andre

              Yes, the article does indeed state that the modelling suggests that around 1 in 1000 released from isolation/quarantine are still infectious. But I suspect there's either a typo or significant modifiers are being left out.

              We have had around 26,000 people be released from managed isolation/quarantine since March 26, so an estimated 26 infectious people have been released. Yet not one of them has apparently infected anyone else after release.

              So if there isn't a typo involved, maybe that "infectious" is really "theoretically infectious, but negligibly so in practical terms".

              • Draco T Bastard

                So if there isn't a typo involved, maybe that "infectious" is really "theoretically infectious, but negligibly so in practical terms".

                Pretty much.

    • SPC 1.3

      We need to improve the managed isolation regime to reduce risk.

      All those in the first week confined to their room – keeping the first week intake and the second week intake separate is important.

      As for the second week they should be separated by day – thus day 8, day 9, day 10, day 11 day 12 day 13 and day 14 would be allowed out of their rooms at different times.

      Re guards being infected.

      They should be required to practice social distancing when off work and maybe have a wristbracelet that identifies their position time for easy track tracing. soition

      And pay them extra (with generous paid leave in 6 week blocks – 2 week self isolation, a month off without social distancing). It's money well spent. 12 weeks on, 6 weeks off.

      As to community spread – we really need a card with bluetooth, and if we get this spread before we have such a card – we have to consider phone location tracking (develop capacity for this until such time as we have a card).

      • The Chairman 1.3.1

        Yes, more can be done to help reduce the risk in managed isolation. Although, that will be offset somewhat by the increase in risk due to the growing rate of global infections.

  2. SPC 2

    Millions of people around the world could be exposed to dangerous levels of heat stress


    When combined with super bugs making hospitals more dangerous places, the baby boomer era may be seen as the golden age.

    For mine the population forecast of a lot more old people by 2100 has taken none of this into account.

    • Andre 2.1

      I've yet to see any good articles exploring how it might play out as the parts of the world experiencing the highest population growth – India, Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Angola etc – run smack into increasing severe heat stress from climate change. Let alone water supply issues.

    • Treetop 2.2

      As a baby boomer I do consider that I am of the golden age due to having had the luxury of security on many levels compared to what the two generations below me are facing.

  3. Dennis Frank 4

    Late last night I feel love posted this gem to Daily Review:

    Some wit on Twitter, "more people have escaped the National Party in the last month than have escaped quarantine".

    Definitely worth recycling! 👍 😍

    • SPC 4.1

      Even the ACT Party has the ambition to have more MP's than the number who have escaped managed isolation.

  4. Adrian 5

    This is a nasty virus but even in the US it has still so far only affected about 1% of the population or 3.5 million out of about 338 million though their figures may be light by up to 40%. This in a country that seems to be trying its hardest to contact Covid.

    The figures coming over the border here appear to be well below that threshold with 1 or 2 a day out of about 500-700. It is hard to get a handle on how many but it seems like around 30 with Covid in about 10,000 since level 1. My figures are probably shit but thats about .03% affected, hardly the plague of Biblical proportions but no reason to relax our guard, but also not a lot of reason for so much fear mongering.

    • froggleblocks 5.1

      But all it takes is 1 person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      • Adrian 5.1.1

        Exactly froggle, my point was lets keep the bloody thing out but I am seeing a fair bit of every day unessecary angst about the pretty much non-existent threat to us here in NZ. Things like local nimbys complaining when a hotel gets requisitioned and silly little worries, I think some are winding up their mental anxiety levels for no good reason and harming their health , I blame the Nats for a lot of that with their disinformation. We are OK, we did the right thing and we are living with the well earned benefits of that, so lets shut down the Panic Merchants as quickly as we can by telling them to calm down.

        It is satisfying to see the biggest most egregious bunch of PMs reaping the rewards of their nastiness with their precious party publicly garroting itself, the funny part is how much it looks like an old style Soviet putsch when an even more toxic arsehole grabs power and the bodies of the previous arsehole's acolytes start getting piled up in the streets.

        I'm loving it.

      • McFlock 5.1.2

        It's always bloody Neal, innit.

        Actually, "all it takes" is one person being missed by the departure terminal screening, not being observed on the plane, not being detected in iso tests, passing it to someone else in an undetected manner, that person not being symptomatic, then that person passing it to someone otherwise unconnected with the iso facility, then that person passing it on to another person via an unrecorded contact, then the next thing you know we have community transmission when the last person in the chain finally presents to medical care and they can't find any connection with overseas travellers or an isolation facility.

    • Treetop 5.2

      Even though your figure is that 1% have been infected, the disruption of the virus has a huge impact in many other ways on every person in the country.

    • aj 5.3

      This in a country that seems to be trying its hardest to contact Covid.

      A pretty good number are also trying very hard to avoid it. Let's say it's 50% are taking measures, this slows it down big-time. Didn't the NZ Covid Brains Trust suggest that when you get above 80% taking social distancing etc seriously, then the infection rate drops? so this may explain the non-explosive spread you allude to.

  5. Johnr 6

    There is no doubt that "kiwibuild" will be bandied about by national in the coming electioneering

    So here is my scorecard for kiwibuild.


    Positive 10, for recognizing a housing crisis and having a plan to deal with it.

    Negative 10, for plan implementation and being naive in believing that a developer will build cheap housing, when using the same crap materials the same crap construction methods they can flossie it up a bit and ask twice the price for a 25 year life cycle house. Thereby doubling the profit.

    Average net effect = zero


    Negative 10, for dishonestly denying there is a housing crisis.

    Zero, for no plan and no implementation

    Average net effect = negative 5

    • Wayne 6.1

      Voters don't look at things the way you suggest.

      For instance they won't compare what happened between 2014 to 2017 and 2017 to 2020, as being equivalents. Labour made Kiwibuild a flagship policy and have transparently failed. That failure is what will be in the voters minds.

      If Labour can successfully pivot to the number of state house builds, they will be on much firmer ground.

      • froggleblocks 6.1.1

        So what you're saying is, Labour's attempt to let the free mark fully participate in Kiwibuild is what failed, and they should have just built them all themselves.

        Seems like a bit of a repudiation to National's favoured philosophy.

        • I Feel Love

          National say they will build more state houses, it'll be the public/private style, Labour should abandon privatisation once and for all.

        • Paddington

          It wasn't the private sector that promised to build the houses, it was politicians.

      • Sabine 6.1.2

        Well that is the thing that voters do remember dear Wayne,

        Labour builds State Houses

        National sells them.

        And National replaces the sold stock of houses with ditches and tents and vans parked in parks with open public toilets and calls it a 'housing initiative'.

        And Wayne, its not Labour that needs to pivot, its your troupe of clowns that need to stop spinning out of control in the clown car.

        • Tricledrown

          Nationals housing spokesperson apologized for selling off state houses it was a mistake that they won't repeat.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.3

        Although relying on short voter memory is the only thing National has to offer, it is by no means a perfect strategy. Hypocrisy offends people, and offended people spread the reminders of how the Key government contributed to the present housing crisis. It is a subject upon which National MPs would not be able to speak for shame – if any of them had ever had any integrity whatsoever. 😀

      • Tricledrown 6.1.4

        The leaky party that gave us leaky homes hospitals schools etc

      • dv 6.2.1

        From Bearded Git below

        The facts immediately below it (The headline) show that Labour has developed 5400 homes and sold 146 that were not worth repairing or in the wrong place.

        NOTE a plus of about 5200 new homes!!!!

        • Enough is Enough

          The houes' they sold are still there as well. Its not like they disappeared so there has been no loss of houses.

        • Paddington

          But that wasn't the promise.

          "Massey University associate professor Grant Duncan, who teaches public policy and political theory, said politicians were known to make statements without providing additional information to qualify it.

          While it made sense for the Government to sell housing stock that may not be fit for purpose or not geographically suited to demand, it had not done what it said it would and stop the sale of state houses, he said.

          “They didn’t stop selling, that’s clear,” Duncan said."

          I'd say that's a fair reflection.

          • Tricledrown

            Don't forget Hobsonville and the meager promises of National to provide affordable houses ,developers sold those earmarked for affordable houses on the private market for a good profit.

          • weka

            • Paddington

              Neale's right, but Labour set themselves up for this by precisely the statements quoted in the Stuff article, including:

              "In the lead up to the 2017 election Labour said if elected it would immediately end the sale of state houses."

              "In December that year, former housing minister Phil Twyford issued a press release titled: Government stops the sale of state houses."

              "The statement said the Labour-led Government had “cancelled the sell-off of state houses, fulfilling another of its first 100 day promises.”

              • weka

                No-one is going to release a statement saying,

                "Government stops the sale of state houses, except for this small number of ones that weren't repairable or fit for purpose"

      • Incognito 6.2.2

        You know that is a hyperlinked headline, don’t you? You know that others can click and read it the actual article, unlike you, and see straight through your BS troll attempt, don’t you? This begs the question why you act so stupid thinking that others are even more stupid? It looks like I may need to remove you from TS in the lead-up to the Election, don’t you agree?

        • indiana

          I know you have in for me, so here is something that might entertain you.

          • Incognito

            I was much more ‘entertained’ by DTB’s reply @ (2:12 PM) that hit the nail on the head. Did it make you laugh too?

        • Draco T Bastard

          The problem, of course, is that many won't go past the headline and so the headline will do its job of putting people off Labour despite the fact that the reality is far more nuanced.

          • greywarshark

            DTB So true. There is so much information or hyperbole or lies or part-facts swirling around that people don't have time to look up and read every link provided. It takes time just reading the blogs and comments that have the links in them. It is misleading for stuff business journalists/headline specialists to write that part truth headline about Labour, so that it reads entirely against Labour.

            (In the media item John Anthony presents a valid point – that Twyford (let's blame him, I feel he deserves it) said that no more state houses would be sold by Labour. But I still think that the heading could have been better written. Better to say that Labour wanted to have its cake and eat it in its 100-days announcement.)

            In the lead up to the 2017 election Labour said if elected it would immediately end the sale of state houses.
            In December that year former housing minister Phil Twyford issued a press release titled: Government stops the sale of state houses.
            The statement said the Labour-led Government had “cancelled the sell-off of state houses, fulfilling another of its first 100 day promises”.
            However, towards the bottom of the statement Twyford said it would still sell houses that were no longer fit for purpose.

          • gsays

            TBF, Twyford used exactly the same tactic.

            "In December that year, former housing minister Phil Twyford issued a press release titled: Government stops the sale of state houses."


            However, towards the bottom of the statement, Twyford said it would still sell houses that were no longer fit for purpose.

            Edit, oops ditto grey.

        • xanthe

          You know that is a hyperlinked headline, don’t you?

          This is i believe a deliberate stratagem and seems to be happening sufficiently often that perhaps we could start documenting and analyzing which publications are mostly responsible (NZ HERALD, stuff) for starters.

          Its just more DP as far as i can see and would be good to be calling these players out.

          • Incognito

            Not necessarily DP per se, but certainly used by DP operators. MSM use headlines/clickbait to lure readers to their sites; it is how they operate. TS Moderators have no control over MSM but can point out ‘bad habits’ by some punters here on this site.

            • gsays

              What's the deal with hyperlinks, that they causes such consternation?

              • Incognito

                No deal, hyperlinks are fine and handy. It is the headline ‘message’ embedded in the hyperlink that often is the issue. Most people don’t even read past the headline but/because they have already taken in the ‘message’, mostly sub-consciously, especially when it confirms their cognitive bias.

                • gsays

                  Ahh. Ta.

                • Muttonbird

                  Commenters are often asked by moderators to be descriptive when commenting. If linking, at a minimum we need to explain what the link is and, in the form of a response, why we are posting it. I think a quote from the article always helps liven it up too.

                  It's just good forumming.

                • xanthe

                  "It is the headline ‘message’ embedded in the hyperlink that often is the issue. Most people don’t even read past the headline but/because they have already taken in the ‘message’, mostly sub-consciously, especially when it confirms their cognitive bias."

                  Thanks cogs well put!

    • Treetop 6.3

      Had Covid-19 not have occurred I think that housing was going to be the winner.

  6. Dennis Frank 7

    The Heartland Party, yet another bunch of conservative splitters pitching for the dinosaur vote: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300054112/new-rural-heartland-party-challenges-climate-change-and-water-restrictions

    Catering for "rural interests and scaling back what Ball labels overbearing and nonsensical environmental policies." A journo ought to ask Todd Muller why heartland Nats are deserting! No point asking the Nat leader? Well she didn't work with James Shaw. But she did grow up on a farm, so maybe.

    Just like four out of five kiwis, most farmers also want cleaner lakes and streams, says Ball. But the government should set the environmental targets, not the rules and regulations. Leave that to the regional councils and farmers groups, who know the best way to manage their land.

    Good point, so the Stuff journo got clever & ran it by a Bluegreen.

    “He's got quite a good point there actually,” says Guy Salmon, an executive director of Ecologic a non-profit foundation that promotes sustainable development. Salmon says The Land and Water Forum, recommended this approach in 2012, which was then trialled in the Waikato with some success. However, delayed negotiations over iwi water rights stalled the policy from going nation-wide.

    “Good luck to them if they can make it work,” says Salmon. But while Salmon says the Heartland freshwater ideas make some sense, the same can’t be said for their stance on climate change.

    What interests me is that these hicks from the sticks have decided that Nats + neocons + Act look too much like one big pile of crap to be worth supporting.

    • solkta 7.1

      Leave that to the regional councils and farmers groups, who know the best way to manage their land.

      Can't see how you can think that is a good point. If farmers knew how to best manage 'their' land and actually gave a shit then we wouldn't have a problem. Most farmers know jack shit about fresh water ecology.

      • Dennis Frank 7.1.1

        Yes, definitely, re farmers. I was agreeing with the logic about regional councils. I recall how big the Greens were on local & regional governance when I was an activist. It is true, however, that capture of governance decisions by farmer activists could be a downside of that.

        • Robert Guyton

          The dominance in numbers and influence of farmer-councillors on regional councils is a significant factor.

        • solkta

          The reality is that regional councils have been fuck useless at enforcing their own rules. Yes often regional councils are captured by farmer interests.

          • Robert Guyton

            It's all about culture and agri-culture is embedded in all of us; recognising it for what it is, then acting outside of its influence is our only hope (imo).

        • weka

          Agree with both soltka and RG here. Elected regional councils tend to be conservative and farmer heavy. RC staff tend not to enforce their own regs. It's a shit show, literally and figuratively. NZ mostly stood by and watched it happen. Part of the issue is regional council elections and lots of people not voting.

          • Dennis Frank

            In that case there's important learning to be done by Green parliamentarians. They may have already done it. But could be worth checking Green policy to discern if that learning has been integrated! In respect of the relevant Green Charter principle, I mean. Policy ought to signal how to implement our principles in real life situations…

            • weka

              what learning?

              • Dennis Frank

                Good question – but I was just acknowledging your point about democracy vs vested interests. I see no future in Greens advocating local/regional democracy if it doesn't work in practice. Mere words, then. As devoid of substance as any sloganeering by Labour.

                It's up to your generation & any other generation younger than mine to progress the situation now. Whatever framing the GP has since put around the principle we adopted ought to be reality-checked!

                • weka

                  I see no future in Greens advocating local/regional democracy if it doesn't work in practice.

                  It works. NZers generally don't care if we have shitty rivers, despite what they say, and they vote in the local govt that gives them that. It's a low form of democracy but I don't see that giving up on it would improve the situation, and would actually make it much worse.

                  • Sacha

                    A left-leaning govt would overcome the problem with national policy overrides like the law already allows.

                    A right-leaning one would fire disobedient councillors and replace them with protected cronies, as we saw with ECan.

                    • weka

                      in that regard, it would be nice if we had a left leaning govt not stymied by a centrist one.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I was agreeing with the logic about regional councils.

          High probability that the regional councils don't know any thing about fresh water ecology either. They simply don't have the dedicated research teams and I doubt if they read what the universities put out.

          • Robert Guyton

            Oh, that's not true at all! Not only do councils have such teams/people, but they are intimately connected to the non-council teams that are dedicated to such research. Councillors may know little, but their science staff know full-well!

            • Draco T Bastard

              Glad to hear but it does raise the question:

              Why are so many councils then making poor decisions regarding the land under their care?

              • Robert Guyton

                They are political institutions. If those were dominated by National Party voting councillors, what sort of decisions do you expect would be made? Environmentally-friendly ones? smiley

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I expect that politicians should make decisions based upon evidence and not ideology.

                  And if they don't then they should be going to jail as they're being detrimental to the people of the local community and NZ as a whole.

    • Incognito 7.2

      I don’t follow how you set targets without rules & regulations. Very wishy-washy toothless proposal. My target is to lose 15 kg by Christmas but I don’t set rules & regulations for myself and it will just happen by my sheer willpower (positive thinking) and motivation (NY’s resolutions from 2016) without having to change any habits or make any sacrifices. Mate, they’re dreaming!

      • Dennis Frank 7.2.1

        And living that dream. Trying to. I agree targets are insufficient: implementation strategies are crucial to hitting a target. As bowmen of your discovered: need a straight arrow, a competent fletcher, plus a yew bow like Robin Hood!

      • weka 7.2.2

        dreaming, or it's deliberate strategy 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      Leave that to the regional councils and farmers groups, who know the best way to manage their land.

      If they knew the best way to manage their land then we wouldn't be having the issues that we're having now and we wouldn't need to have the central government stepping in to fix their mess.

  7. Andre 8

    Couple of pieces on the state of play with Tiwai Point.

    There's a six month "un-termination" window in the power supply contract. So maybe this is next-level hardball negotiation from Rio Tinto. For mine, fuck 'em. Let's sort out an alternative plan for the Southland economy and the affected people and say Bye Felicia to Rio Tinto.


    But it seems WinnieFirst wants to pay the ransom to buy a temporary reprieve for the jobs hostages. Hopefully they'll get told Bye Felicia in a couple of months too.


    • millsy 8.1

      I see nationalisation the only step forward.

      For a start, the government is the only party that has the required cash. Funny really, all these reforms after 36 years and the New Zealand private sector is still too weak to engage in capital intensive activities.

      • Andre 8.1.1

        The only national interest reason to have a smelter is if there's a massive oversupply of electricity that we want to somehow sell overseas. That may have been arguably true back when Tiwai Point and Manapouri were first conceived and hardly anybody cared about GHG emissions. That is definitely no longer true, we have plenty of good uses for that electricity domestically, not least of which is simply shutting down Huntly's inefficient single stage coal-fired turbines.

        The other possible (really dumb) reason is just as an explicit jobs creation scheme, regardless of how the economics stack up. In this case, the economics just won't stack up, because of the messed up structure of the worldwide aluminium production market.

        Chinese suppliers are a real mess of subsidies and other government intervention, and non-chinese suppliers are heavily vertically integrated. As I understand it, there are very few alumina suppliers that aren't tightly bound to smelters, so a nationalised smelter would be subject to the same jobs-hostage squeezes that we're currently subjected to from Rio Tinto. That makes it all a snake-pit we would do best to keep well clear of.

      • Devo 8.1.2

        Nationalising it is only a massive taxpayer subsidy to Rio Tinto, considering their bill for cleaning up the site is an estimated $256m

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        But the private sector is really great at getting subsidies and ripping off the tax payer as proven by all the subsidies that we've paid over for the aluminium smelter over the decades.

      • Paddington 8.1.4

        Why would the private sector even be interested in investing in a business that is " no longer viable given high energy costs and a challenging outlook for the aluminium industry" (https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/300052786/tiwai-point-aluminium-smelter-to-close-1000-jobs-to-go)? For that matter, why would the government?

        • Draco T Bastard

          For that matter, why would the government?

          Because it builds up our resilience in a troubled world?

          • Paddington

            Investing in a non-viable aluminium smelter? Surely there's better things for government to spend it's money on.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It's non-viable commercially.

              But having the ability to smelt aluminium, especially if we develop that bauxite up in Northland, would be beneficial to the country if our supply lines become even more disrupted.

              And, of course, the whole point of the government keeping it going is for the benefit of NZ which means that it cannot be left in private hands.

    • Graeme 8.2

      First question that should be answered is smelting aluminium from imported raw materials the best use of that energy and labour. Are there better options that would be better for Southland and New Zealand.

      There’s been talk if a Tesla plant and also of a silica industry, refining a local resource. Not sure about the scale of that resource but it’s said to be of very good quality. Also wonder if there’s a connection between the two.


      • Andre 8.2.1

        That Tesla gigafactory thing is pure unicorns frolicking in a meadow with daffodils.

        Silica could be more interesting if it indeed uses a local resource so it's not subject to international supply chain fuckery and the value of the final product is largely dependent on the energy supplied to produce it.

        • Graeme

          Here’s a link that’s got a bit more about the silica resource. On the side if a hill on my phone so linking a bit tricky


          • Andre

            Bet it's a cold hillside, too!

            Thanks for the linky. I'll keep an eye on them to see what processing they're proposing to do in NZ that uses huge quantities of electricity.

        • aj

          That Tesla gigafactory thing is pure unicorns frolicking in a meadow with daffodils.

          Agreed. Too far from markets primarily? when manufacturing is going closer to markets.

          • Andre

            Distance from markets, and distance from inputs.

            Electricity consumption really isn't that significant an input, so access to Manapouri power isn't much of an advantage.

            A Tesla gigafactory needs a lot of people with very highly specialised skills. Attracting them to the bottom of the South Island would be quite the project. (well, maybe attracting them wouldn't be difficult right now, but getting them to stay might be tougher).

            • Graeme

              People with high paying jobs on Southland tend to hang onto them. The lifestyle, and low cost of living makes the place pretty good. The climate can have it's moments, but Southland on a good day takes some beating, and if it's crap you're not far from somewhere that's not too bad. Even a howling southwesterly has it's charms for it's sheer power.

              The smelter has a very stable workforce and it's really hard to get jobs there.

              • Andre

                Interesting. The two ex-smelter people I know (both engineers) hated being there and were delighted to be gone.

                • Graeme

                  It's one or the other, a lot of people get into what the region has to offer and thrive on it, others it's not their cup of tea and can't stand the place. But I'm like that with Auckland.

                  While the smelter has a stable workforce, the money has a lot to do with that. On smelter wages Southland is pretty good. No one's that fussed about the job but know people from process workers to engineers and admin that have been there 20+ years

                  The hill was pretty good today too, I'm working at 1000m on a north aspect, had fantails flying around this afternoon, but looking down on permafrost in the basin.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.2.2

        There’s been talk if a Tesla plant and also of a silica industry, refining a local resource. Not sure about the scale of that resource but it’s said to be of very good quality.

        There's a bit of very high quality silica in Southland and a hell of a lot of low quality:

        Government estimates put Southland's reserves at 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes of high-purity silica, as well as one billion tonnes of potentially usable lower-grade silica.

        Of course, if we put the effort in, the low quality can be turned to high quality.

        The problem, IMO, is that we tend to only think of doing one thing with it. Solar cells or batteries – not both. Thing is, if we also developed our rare earth extraction and processing then producing silicon chips (CPUs, GPUs, and other) becomes an option as well. Build a fabrication plant and produce Intel/AMD/nVidia chips under contract as Taiwan does as well as being able to support the development of our own local IT industry.

        People are worried about the loss of jobs when the smelter closes down but there's so much potential for other jobs.

        And I'd keep the smelter going to some extent so as to support our local aircraft manufacture even going so far as to develop our bauxite deposit in Northland.

        The problem of focussing on farming as the main earner (with everyone else doing low paid service jobs) over the last few decades is that we've let so much potential go to waste.

        • Gabby

          Are those bauxite deposits pitifully small or minuscule?

          • Draco T Bastard

            Estimated to be 20 to 25 million tonnes of low quality ore.

            The low quality seems to be the issue for commercial viability.

            • Gabby

              Then it needs to be refined to produce alumina. Tiwai don't do that do they.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Pretty sure import bauxite from Australia for smelting – not alumina. This would indicate that Tiwai either does process to alumina or skips that step altogether.

                An interesting point is that the smelter at Tiwai uses an old smelting technique. It produces better aluminium but it costs a lot more to run that what the rest of the world is using.

                • Pat

                  "The facility, New Zealand’s only aluminium smelter,[3] is at Tiwai Point, near Bluff. It imports alumina and processes it into primary aluminium. The plant's alumina is supplied from refineries in Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia. Around 90 per cent of the aluminium produced at NZAS is exported, mainly to Japan.[4]"


                • Graeme

                  An interesting point is that the smelter at Tiwai uses an old smelting technique. It produces better aluminium but it costs a lot more to run that what the rest of the world is using.

                  And that is the problem with Tiwai. It was built just before the process changed to something more efficient and has never been competitive. Tiwai's closing has been a thing from pretty much the day it opened.

                • Stuart Munro

                  You'd know if Tiwai had a red mud cycle – they don't.

    • Incognito 8.3

      Turn it into a huge hydrogen production plant producing clean hydrogen instead of aluminium. Sell that on the international market as a new green fuel alternative. Become the ME/OPEC of the Pacific.

      • Andre 8.3.1

        Let's put some rough hand-wavy numbers to that thought.

        Tiwai Point consumes around 5,000 GWhr of electricity annually. It takes about 65kWhr of electricity to split enough water to get 1 kg of hydrogen and compress it for storage and transportation. So that could produce around 80,000 tonnes of compressed hydrogen. That's just over 0.1% of the 70 million tonnes of hydrogen currently produced worldwide.

        In dollar terms, Tiwai Point is probably paying a bit over 6 cents per kWhr (including transmission charges). That means the electricity cost for 1kg would be around NZD3.50 to NZD4.00. That doesn't look great compared to a worldwide market price for hydrogen of around USD1.65/kg.

        The main reason hydrogen is so cheap is it's mostly produced by steam reformation of fossil fuels, and the producers get to dump the hazardous waste CO2 produced into the atmosphere for free. But even if that wasn't the case, and NZ hydrogen had to compete against worldwide electrically produced green hydrogen, it would probably be competing against photovoltaic electricity produced at a price under USD0.02/kWhr, produced somewhat geographically closer to where it gets used.

        So it would make more sense to use it domestically, reducing our imports of fossil fuels.

        • Incognito


          I was hoping (!) somebody (…) would shoot it out of the water, to a degree 😉

          • Andre

            I'm personally of the view that hydrogen is unlikely to take off, except for niche uses, and that batteries will become the dominant energy storage for most users such as cars, domestic, industrial etc.

            First up, the hydrogen round-trip energy efficiency from electricity generation to finally doing useful work is lucky to beat 50%, and down as low as 30% is reasonably likely.

            Sources of energy loss are in the electrolytic splitting of water, compressing and/or cooling it for storage, then fuel cell efficiency isn't that great (if the final energy conversion is in an internal combustion energy, total efficiency is abominable). In contrast, electricity generation to final useful work easily exceeds 80%, and can go into the 90s if the energy is stored in batteries.

            Hydrogen is a real materials engineering nightmare. It embrittles many useful grades of metals, and the ones it doesn't tend to have lower performance but be more expensive. It just pisses through plastics and other polymers, usually degrading them rapidly. So flexible piping and sealing are headaches. It requires skill and care from mechanics and technicians that's a level or two up from most common technologies now.

            It scares me from a safety viewpoint. It has a very wide range of explosion concentration in air, from 4% to 74% (IIRC, only acetylene has a wider range for the commonish gases). Its flame is invisible, but gives off a shitload of UV.

            For a while in the early noughties when hydrogen was more widely thought to be the future and battery tech hadn't taken off, there was concern that widespread hydrogen leakage would have serious effects on the ozone layer. That's gone a bit quiet, but I dunno if that's just because hydrogen hype has gone a bit quiet, or further investigation suggests the risk to the ozone layer isn't so serious.

            To my mind, the only potential real advantage hydrogen has for most users is it's quickish to refuel, closer to filling up with petrol than recharging a battery. But charging speeds are quickly increasing along with battery sizes, so that potential advantage is rapidly shrinking.

  8. Chris 9

    I thought the new Stuff management people would've put a stop to this kind of disingenuous and scaremongering headlines.


    • Rapunzel 9.1

      It hasn't gone unnoticed – the case of Tauranga's entire stock of Housing NZ homes being sold lock stock & barrel for an undisclosed pittance is another part of the story that remains untold IMO. Accessible Properties now are after govt funding to exploit the land in the guise of "social housing" by now demolishing a significant number of the homes


      • Chris 9.1.1

        This government needs to remove IHC the heck away from the provision of state housing. What a complete and utter balls up that was. The filthy money grubbing snakes at IHC swooped in when the opportunity arose purely because the Salvation Army gave Key's government the finger. Total slime.

        • Rapunzel

          It certainly was convenient – I thought it was a bit moot with them for a bit effectively "gone" but I will wait with interest for the next candidate election returns as both Bridges (2014 & 2017) & Muller (2017) had the same main donor who oversaw the sale here as the CEO of Accessible Properties. It's all a matter of public record that's been largely over looked but with the "bad blood" that appears to have arisen between the 2 local candidates it will be fascinating if the patronage continues to both of them – or as I suspect only one or more likely neither of them this time around

    • Bearded Git 9.2

      Ridiculously biased headline.

      The facts immediately below it show that Labour has developed 5400 homes and sold 146 that were not worth repairing or in the wrong place.

      The article only looks at Nationals record over its last 3 years where over its 9 years in power it decreased the stock of state houses by several thousand….somebody on TS will have the exact numbers.

      • Adrian 9.2.1

        Yeah BG and that 38k one must have been a luxury waterfront property with indoor-outdoor flow!

  9. Andre 10

    In a plot twist that absolutely nobody saw coming, National's big new policy announcement is: moRe rOaDs!


    • Chris 10.1

      And it's going to be the biggest and longest and shiniest road in the whole world.

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        Yellow lines gold-plated with Taxpayers’ money and little diamonds as cat-eyes.

    • mango 10.2

      After a quick look all I can say is that National has gone full on delusional. They seem to still be thinking in terms of economic growth that is simply not physically possible.

      • aom 10.2.1

        At first glance it looks like a gold-plated make work scheme and given the Transmission Gully stuff up, it looks as though it could be extended for years with a never ending series of financial top ups. However, TG is mopping up overseas unemployed more than make-work for Kiwi's. Looking closer, it seems more likely that it is a financial transfusion from essential services into the pockets of profiteering parasites like Downer, Fulton Hogan et al and cash pools for the 'financial partners' to slosh around tax havens. Oh joy!

        • Ad

          You should provide evidence that the companies you name are "profiteering parasites".

          On which job did they earn more than 7% return?

          You should be able to answer.

    • I Feel Love 10.3

      Interesting to watch the headlines change, it went from "It's the biggest infrastructure spend ever!" then a couple of hours later they added "National claims", someone's obviously done some fact checking.

      • Sacha 10.3.1

        Seems to be a spending reduction, even.

    • Poission 10.4

      It seems they are going to smash congestion according to Bishop,who's aspiration to build world class cities suggest he is provincial.

      “Previous governments have not been ambitious enough in dealing to congestion. World-class cities have high-quality public transport networks where mass transit is a normal part of everyday life.

      “Under National, Auckland will become the world-class city it can and should be – and the Upper North Island will become an interconnected economic powerhouse.”

      As John Raulston Saul suggests (quite convincing)

      “World class is a phrase used by provincial cities and second-rate entertainment events, as well as a wide variety of insecure individuals, to assert that they are not provincial or second-rate, thereby confirming that they are.”

      Further as Bishop states.

      “Congestion costs Auckland over $1 billion per year. It means unreliable journey times,

      Indeed the problems that arose for his constituents ( Corona and Disease) on their big day out was problematic at best.


      • Incognito 10.4.1

        Watch out for the strong masculine metaphors “smash” and “crush”.

      • Bearded Git 10.4.2

        That's right building roads has always led to less congestion right?(sarc)

    • Graeme 10.5

      So effectively Labour’s infrastructure policy plus logical extensions, and using Labour’s covid fast track RMA provisions to approve it in time

      So all that’s go then, lets get into it. So what’s the point of difference.

  10. ianmac 11

    Collins and team announce a 31 billion transport package for Auckland (mostly ) and vague about how it would be paid for.

    Will this be an Election with mine is bigger than yours?

    Hate to raise a National promise but we have to consider its merit – or not.


    • Devo 11.1

      Why are they proposing heavy rail to Auckland Airport, via a Puhunui spur, I thought that debate had been well canvassed, and a heavy rail line was always the first option but found to be unworkable


      • Muttonbird 11.1.1

        Greater Auckland might say it's unworkable because it's not in their Congestion Free Network Mk2. But how workable is two raised tram lines running the length of Dominion Road and beyond???

        I, presumably like everyone else, am kind of seduced by their CFN2 with its London Underground graphics but am also bewildered why it never seems to be referenced in high level discussions. I could be wrong on this.

        The constant criticism of Twyford and Labour is there was no vision but there is a vision, GA has worked on this very thing for years.

        Right now I prefer the Puhinui spur CBD-airport solution but am happy to change my mind if a case for GA's 'Central Line' has some widespread consensus. But nobody seems to be selling it.


      • Pat 11.1.2

        a curious thing….there is no rail to the airports of London . Paris or Melbourne….and yet all three have extensive rail networks

        • In Vino

          I would say that the London Underground is better 'rail' than NZ ‘Toytown Express’ rail system, and it goes all the way to Heathrow underground, unimpeded by road traffic. The same would apply to Paris's larger underground service (the RER?) which efficiently services Paris's airports. I don't think your point is valid here: I see trams being held up in Dominion Road as a bloody silly idea.

          • Pat

            Yes, was too slow to delete as my wife pointed out there were trains to both Heathrow and Charles deGaulle though not Melbourne (I asked why we then used taxis). …so the comment can be ignored.

            • Muttonbird

              Thanks for correcting Pat. There's both Underground and BR lines beneath Heathrow.

              I think New Zealand's tourism numbers and the industry's contribution to GDP demands better infrastructure for travellers.

              There's a lot of talk about improving tourism infrastructure up and down the line so that both visitors and Kiwis benefit and I think a 21st Century connection from the main entry point to the rest of the country is vital to that cause.

    • dv 11.2


      suspending super contributions

      continuing to sell state houses

      stopping the ak fuel tax

  11. Just Is 12

    For those interested in a "Different Monetary System" this a very good article on an alternative system, MMT, Modern Monetary theory.

    Worth the long read if you think the current economic system isn't working.


    • RedLogix 12.1

      Very good and well worth the read. I see MMT as an interesting evolution pulling together the functional threads of both socialism and capitalism into a form better adapted to the world we are rapidly plunging into.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      According to MMT economists, we've been thinking about government spending and budget deficits the wrong way.

      They say Margaret Thatcher's dictum that federal governments must tax or borrow before they can spend is fundamentally wrong, and it's the other way around — federal governments have to spend money into the economy before they can tax or borrow.

      It's a crucial point.

      That is a crucial point. But it has a point that most don't realise.

      If the government can spend money then we don't need rich people to fund enterprise.

      We don't need shareholders and we don't need owners and at that point it becomes obvious that we don't need capitalism to push development.

      A group of people can come together, form a business and then go down to the state bank and, if their business plan looks good, get a 0% interest loan that only needs to be paid back once the business starts making a profit – or not paid back at all if the business falls over. That business would, of course, be a cooperative with none of the people working there owning it but all sharing in its governance and sharing in the rewards.

      That silica development mentioned up thread could be done that way as well or it could be that the government finances and directs for a time until its established and then has it continue as a cooperative. What we most definitely shouldn't do is finance people to develop it and then allowing them to take ownership of it as that just increases the bludging of the shareholders.

    • mikesh 12.3

      The article doesn't address the question of whether the private banking establishment should be allowed to create money out of nothing – an issue which also seems to be part of the the MMT agenda.

      National party supporters are criticizing the government for loading the government up with debt in response to the covid19 crisis. I'm inclined to agree; instead the government should simply have "printed" the money.

  12. Just Is 13

    Yes, but how do we persuade Governments to consider this alternative

    There certainly is merit in theory, there are a number here who would prescribe to this economic way of thinking.

  13. Sacha 14


  14. Rosemary McDonald 15

    Outstanding protest action against the proposed Dome Valley Dump.


    Its election time…come on candidates step up and show your true colours!

    Some excellent speakers…well worth a listen.

    Potential solution…waste emanating from inside the pre super city boundary has to stay inside that boundary by law.

  15. Breanna 16

    Sorry – I am not getting notifications for replies to comments and I am not constantly perusing them to see a response.

    There were insinuations in the comments sections re the declined breakfast show – people pointed out that Helen, still working full time as an employment lawyer may have other commitments – to which Chloe made snarky 'at 7am' comments and the suggestion that she is not working as hard as she should be this close to the election.

    Every reference to Helen being the nearest competitor has been coupled with comments about entitlement to votes. – Again repeatedly on her facebook page and commentary there. I don't think the fact that she hasn't singled Helen out by name really matters, given her initial refusal to even name her as the candidate (although I saw that was edited later following criticism in the comments section).

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    [you look like you are new here Breanna, so please read the About and the Policy before commenting again. If there’s anything you don’t understand, please ask. The upshot is that if you make claims of fact eg Swarbrick called White lazy, then you have to back that up. This is to protect the site owners legally, and it’s also to protect the debate culture here. The expectation is that you will do the work to back up what you say. This is doubly so if a moderator asks you.

    If you want have a go about the Greens you have to make a sound political argument not just spread rumours. In this instance you would need to quote what CS actually said and give a citation or link. The site exists for robust debate, not political slander. At the moment it looks like you just made shit up. I’d appreciate a response so I know you have read this an understood. Incognito may also want to address the issues he moderated – weka]

    • Sacha 16.1

      There were insinuations in the comments sections

      Which ones? And by whom?

    • Muttonbird 16.2

      Pretty rough to move Breanna's comment and give it the old 'two paragraphs of bold type' when it seemed like a pretty detailed observation on the battle for Auckland Central.

      • Incognito 16.2.1

        A steep learning curve for a newcomer to the site who demonstrates a clear negative bias towards the Greens, in this case, in all comments so far. Either they learn quickly or they’ll be moved on. The site is attracting more traffic and comments and there have been an increased number of new users as one would expect on a political blog in Pre-Election time. Moderators will display decreasing levels of leniency.

    • Incognito 16.3

      I’m not that quite satisfied with your response to the Moderation and I’ll explain why.

      When you state that people said something, e.g. about another person, it needs to be linked/shown as a quote. Paraphrasing is often more like selective quoting. Going on insinuations and comments in threads means you are making some assumptions of the intended meaning and that you’re drawing your own conclusions (or spin). Given your obvious negativity towards the Greens, I think that this is what’s happened when you accused CS of the things you did.

      To avoid future run-ins with Moderators here you should stick to facts and verbatim quotes and clearly indicate when you state your opinion, i.e. what you think or believe to be true but you cannot be sure that it is actually true and that you haven’t made it up, e.g. in your own mind. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have malicious intend but that your own mind tricks you in believing things that are not real, true, or correct. When in doubt, say so, e.g. ‘I think …’ or ‘I believe …’, et cetera.

      In Summary, don’t assert or allege things that you cannot support or prove. Don’t put words into people’s mouths if you cannot show the verbatim text.


  16. ianmac 17

    On reflection the big Transport declaration from Collins is an example of, "We might impress by declaring huge plans as we have nothing to lose. So promise the Earth with no planning, no costing and maybe we will impress."

    • ScottGN 17.1

      I reckon the biggest takeout from the Nats announcement today is the timing really. Presumably they would have preferred to announce this in the campaign proper. But after the disaster of the last few weeks they’ve been forced to roll something big out now just to try and arrest the damage.

  17. georgecom 18

    The National Party Board meets to elect a leader

    Board Chair: Ok everyone, we are meeting today to elect a new leader of the party

    Board member #1:who have we got left to choose from

    Board Chair: hmmmm lets see, Judith Collins, Gerry Brownlee and David Bennett

    Board member #2: Gordon Bennett

    Board Chair: No DAVID Bennett

    Board member #2: I know what you said

  18. newsense 19

    Omg- in the week when two of the former top 3 resign FROM PARLIAMENT, and the former leader says I voted for the other guy RNZ's round up is 'Collins moves fast to fix the National party'.

    What a total farce. Complete disarray and backstabbing is gone in 60 seconds with RNZ. Imagine if it had been the Labour party. Actually don't need to- remember how they treated the last two leaders?

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