Open mike 17/03/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 17th, 2011 - 123 comments
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It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

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Step right up to the mike…

123 comments on “Open mike 17/03/2011 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Maori legal rights based on traditional use, to challenge exploitation of the seabed and foreshore JORCed away.
    (by both Labour and National).

    Ever wondered why the Labour government suddenly decided out of the blue to launch an attack on Maori, to remove the legal right under traditional usage and title, to challenge the exploitation of the seabed and foreshore.

    Now that both Labour and National administrations have successfully kneecaped any legal challenges by Tangata Whenua to the exploitation of the seabed and foreshore, Big business is now in the planning stages for massive off shore ironsand mining.

    Now you know.


    A testing programme is under way off the Wanganui coast with the aim of converting more of the potential into “JORC” (Joint Ore Reserves Committee) inferred resources. JORC figures are seen as more credible than internal company estimates.

  2. 26-64 2

    While Campbell Live was labelling Ken Ring as a fraud last night, they said that GEONET has accurately predicted all of the last earthquakes, compared to Ring, who has got it wrong. Just wondering why they didn’t warn anybody. They were quite concerned that Ring was scaring people. I guess GEONET prefer dead people to scared ones. Their scientific expert also presumed to speak for all of the people of Christchurch, which I find as believeable as the moon shaking buildings into rubble. The problem with taking the high scientific moral ground, is that you have to be completely certain, scientific and moral. Real scientists know that all of their claims are theories and that certainty is temporary. I think it was Einstein who said “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Journalists are a curious bunch too and Campbell is particularly interesting. After publishing an apology for his first emotional attacks on Ken Ring and asking him to return to the show, it seems Ring declined. So Campbell created this next attack via proxy instead. What a nice chap. I doubt he’ll have any difficulty finding future guests. Info-tainment is the drug of the century. Everyone’s on it. Even me, I watched the stupidity didn’t I?

    • Bored 2.1

      I was watching out of the corner of my eye, what I think the gist of the Geonet mans summary was not that they had predicted accurately but that the earthquake pattern fitted within predictable parameters garnered from a century of data worldwide. I may be wrong but I dont recall him claim to have Ken Ring type powers.

      You may be right about this being a proxy attack, given the post traumatic stress I saw in Chch I think Campbell is doing a public service debunking Ring.

      • Vicky32 2.1.1

        From what I have read, no one can predict earthquakes, so the Geonet dude would not have said that’s what they did. I don’t believe Ken Ring can either, and I am disgusted that he’s getting such a good chance to scare the living daylights out of people…

    • Cnr Joe 2.2

      Gluckman in the nzherald today – no-one can predict quakes. Not Ring or anybody else.

  3. Pete 3

    they said that GEONET has accurately predicted all of the last earthquakes

    I usually avoid the infotainment, so can you explain who said what to claim this? It sounds very unlikely to me, every comment I’ve seen from people from Geonet makes it clear – you can predict reasonably accurately where earthquakes might happen, some time, but there is no way of being accurate to within years of when they will actually happen in specific locations.

    Even Ken Ring’s “opinions” are widespread and vague, he understands the methods of fortune tellers. New moon or full moon +/- 4 days covers 18 days out of 29 for a start, and then you blanket predict some more with apogee and perigee, and if you still miss a few shakes or showers you can claim some sun spots – and Ring has done exactly that.

    • 26-64 3.1

      The narrative said GEONET had accurately predicted all the earthqukes and was showing a white A4 piece of paper that had dates and numbers on it. I’m willing to accept that GEONET didn’t predict all those events, and that the narative said they did for a bit of artistic effect. But if the narrative was wrong, then the same debunking they applied to Ring they should apply to GEONET and campbell. Otherwise it’s all a bit silly. I found the whole thing very unscientific for “rational scientific experts”: shots of pieces of paper with numbers and no explantions, as if the “don’t question us, we’re official and we have paper” is enough proof; calendars with red crayon on it, that didn’t match theirs or Ring’s claims. It was tabloid at it’s best. All opinion, no facts. I don’t care if the moon causes earthquakes. I’ve read recently that another group think earthquakes are caused by solar winds and something called HAARP or whatever. No one forces people to listen to these claims, I voluntarily logged onto the net and found them. Any fear (PTSD or otherwise) they cause in me is my responsibility. Prediction does not equal causation. I do think it’s great that people can think outside the square though. Witch-hunts aren’t my thrill.

      • Pete 3.1.1

        Followup TV3 debunking here: Can he actually predict earthquakes?

        If Ring was just another harmless lunartic it wouldn’t matter. But he has not only scared the shit out of thousands in Christchurch, the worries are widespread. I’ve heard from people around Otago who are also concerned and planning their weekend around “earthquake safety”.

        A couple I know have changed their traditional wedding anniversary plans in Central Otago “just in case”. Because of an attention seeking soothsayer who’s ramblings have been snowballed by a gullible frightened population. That’s bloody sad.

        Are there any Ring believers who are not god believers?

        • 26-64

          But this is the thing. People choose. They go to soothsayers and pay for the experience of their own free will. And again, you’re presuming to speak for all of Christchurch, Otago and NZ. You might have friends, but I doubt you have that many friends.

          And while we’re on the topic of poor taste during natural disasters, did anyone else see the German expert shortly after the first water damage/nuclear troubles in Japan saying something like: “.. well you would think they would have planned for it, since tsunami is actually a Japanese word..”. I had to laugh. The stereotype of Germans is they like to state the obvious, honestly, and he sure lived up to it. I think the accent sealed it. I wonder what they’ll say when MartyG gives them a call about fast build housing in Christchurch.

          • Pete

            And again, you’re presuming to speak for all of Christchurch, Otago and NZ.

            I’m not doing that at all. I’m just guessing that it’s quite widespread in the South Island. There’s a lot who think it’s bunkum, but it only takes 10% to get the shits put up them to create a major upheavel here – not an earthly upheavel either.

            • 26-64

              Guessing’s fine. You didn’t run a whole show on TV attacking someone without saying your claims are just guesses, though. As Rosy says below, it’s extrapolation. Everyone does it. Some people call it interviewing yourself. Ring did it, using his methods. GEONET did it using theirs. Difference? I don’t think it warranted a character assasination masquerading as journalism. Why so much fear and scapegoating over predictions? I’d be more concerned that my very real government in the very real present doesn’t have a plan for after the earthquake.

              During ancient times the village would pick two goats. They had a ceremony where one is killed and the other has symbols of the villages crimes tied to it and then it’s taken out to the desert or wasteland to wander around. To what end I don’t know. It had to be exiled in any case. Seems some modern people have found their scapegoat to send into the wilderness. Personally I find it easier to deal with my own fears than blame other people for them, even if they dress or smell funny, are downsyndrome, or heaven forbid, ride the bus.

              • mcflock

                From what I recall at the time, GEONET’s predictions were along the lines of it being highly likely that there will be a major aftershock approx 1 magnitude smaller than the Sept earthquake within six months (true), with the probability decreasing significantly after that. General aftershocks would decrease over time in frequency and severity, probably according to a decay curve calculated from previous records in the region and similar geological areas elsewhere (true).

                Ring’s “predictions” are along the lines of “ooo, there is a high probability of a major earthquake on this exact day. Or a few days either side. And if it’s not the anywhere close geographically, or I’m a magnitude or two out, I’ll still claim success. Oh, and here’s another one for a few days after that, which with my few days either side means that I’m actually predicting one earthquake in this wider period, but it looks like I’m really precise when I select the prediction that conforms to whatever earthquake actually happens.”

          • Draco T Bastard

            But this is the thing. People choose.

            And it’s being pointed out to the people who base their choices on what Ken Ring says that they are being irrational as he doesn’t know WTF he’s talking about.

        • vto

          I have never, in years of watching, amongst other services, Ken Ring’s weather forecasting seen a single mention of god, or hocus pocus. Only gravity.

          Ken Ring has not changed a thing he has been doing. What has happenned is that a large earthquake or two came along and the public and media approach to his longtime views changed. Not him.

          And it is people like you Pete who do the scare-mongering etc with claims of god believing and hocus pocus. I even heard someone last night say that Ring has claimed to be able to tell the future from cats paws. Ffs, what a joke. I feel sorry for the man. It is others who are attacking him.

          People should read and think closely about what he says. It is just gravity, you dumbarses.

          • Pete

            Pawmistry – still listed on Amazon.

            Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat’s Paws [Paperback] Ken Ring (Author), Paul Romhany (Author)

            vto – try reading carefully what Ring says about earthquake “predictions” on his website (he moved them to Articles subpage in the weekend). It is confused nonsense with smatterings of science of convenience.

            • Bored

              I reached for the cat immediately: its paws foretold that I would in the very near future be covered in hair and sneeze. My cats paws are very accurate at prophesy…….

              • pollywog

                I’d confirm either theories by studying my cat’s paws, but it went feral and ran away last week…

                …maybe theres a warning in that too

            • 26-64

              He’s quite the scarey dude, huh? Your mind is under his control. You can’t but help visit his sites and read his books. It’s not you, it’s HIM controlling your mouse. Right now. He’s feeding bollocks into your brain. Entered your house and forced you to open your wallet. He’s overpowered us all and made us fear. We must stop him! Someone save the children!

              Ok over it now. What else should we talk about.

              • Pete

                I read his website (and elsewhere) to see if there was any substance in his calculations for weather and earthquakes. There’s a little substance to the theory but as an accurate prector it’s worse than useless. I wish more people would read his delusions and see for themselves.

                Unfortunately most people won’t see for themselves. Instead they pick up bits off the Ring generated rumour mill. I visited an 86 year old in Ranfurly recently, she said the lady in a nearby flat was waying a big earthquake was possible in Alexandra and was worried about the 20th.

                Yes, he is quite the scary dude, for quite a few people.

            • vto

              pawmistry – I stand corrected.

              For me with a B.Sc. a concept such as gravity having an effect on the air, sea and land just makes total sense. And is well evidenced.

              Doesn’t take much to cause a quake. When Lake Benmore was first filled there were many small earthquakes in the area caused by the weight.

              Add to that the fact that small things do at times trigger bigger things and there is a definite base there for consideration.

              That’s it for me on Ring. Out.

        • Lanthanide

          “I’ve heard from people around Otago who are also concerned and planning their weekend around “earthquake safety”.”

          Ken Ring should be charged and fined for public nuisance. It’s no different from screaming “fire” in a packed movie theatre, in fact I would say it’s much worse because it’s leading to people making pointless economic decisions and needlessly adding to stress and anxiety.

        • Vicky32

          “Are there any Ring believers who are not god believers?”
          Plenty! Don’t be snide, it’s unbecoming. (Also, plenty of ‘god’ (sic) believers who abominate Ring!

      • Rosy 3.1.2

        I just watched on-line what I think is the show you’re talking about here About 7 minutes in the PhD student talks about how aftershocks from major earthquakes follow a pattern, and that pattern is correct for Christchurch. There are no days, dates anything. I cannot see how you can equate that programme with saying scientists said they can predict earthquakes (subtext as Ken Ring says he can).

        Therre is nothing in the Geonet data to debunk – the way earthquakes go is that there are aftershocks and the pattern of aftershocks has been observed and verified. It’s the reporter who uses the word ‘predict’ but anyway… – right from the september quake geologists have predicted there will be an earthquake up to a 6 (because the sept was a 7) no dates, no depth, no location, not how many – just that after earthquakes history shows there are aftershocks and one of them will be a magnitude smaller than the main one.

        How you saw that as anything more than that is beyond me. And if an earthquake occurs on the 20th – why not, it’s happened practically every other day. Maybe Ring will be more believeable predicting the days there won’t be one.

        • ianmac

          Yes Rosy. I watched the program and could not see where those Geonet “prediction” claims were made at all. I thought that the item was successful in debunking Ring. I was particularly interested in the minimal strength of the moon’s gravitational effect compared to the huge amount of energy in fault or plate movement. (As a kid I was determined to create an electrical magnetic field which would repel a body against the earth’s magnetic field, thus making cars trucks nearly weightless and very economical to move. Sadly the earth magnetic field is far too weak.)

          Some people want to believe in psychics against the evidence to the contrary. Some do the same for Ken Ring. Perhaps they are the same group. My sister likes to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of her garden. Keeps her happy.

          • Herodotus

            On that Cambell Live that KR was attached. The scientist that was interviewed after, stated that there was no colleration between the moon and quakes, then he followed this up with that there was limitied pull from the moon that had some colleration with tectonic movement & small quakes and that this was known since the beginning of the 20th century. So the moon has a causation effect after the sentence before it was denied.
            I notice that TV 3 has puled any links to the interview. So it does have influence, just to what degree.
            Also how is it the the mon has control over NZ plates as per KR yet the rest of the world is unaffected? Should not in South America on the same latitude and where plates meet also be under the same moons influence?

            • Colonial Viper

              Should not in South America on the same latitude and where plates meet also be under the same moons influence?

              The answer probably lies with which faults were hairline ready to be triggered, and in which direction.

              If the moon pulls at a fault which is not quite ready to go, or pulls in the wrong direction, no result will be felt.

              • Herodotus

                So if I get your comments- KR would also have to possess some knowledge as to which faults are under pressure and ready to “GO”?
                But as you and Pete have commented that the moon can be a contributing factor or could it make say a 6.0 quake under normal circumstances hit 6.2 on the scale.

            • Pete

              That’s one of the major problems with the moon method.

              Ring has predicted a large earthquake in Christchurch on the 20th.
              He has also said a big quake could happen anywhere on the Ring of Fire, possibly NZ, possibly within 500km of the Alpine Fault.
              He usually gives himself a margin of +/- 4 days.
              Or possibly in April. Or possibly at the new moon, +/- 4 days.

              And he also said of his March predictions:
              “We repeat, it may not happen.”
              “But on the whole, most of us will carry on as normal because there is a strong likelihood that nothing will happen. ”
              “Most places will not be affected around 19-21 March and again 17-18 April. ”

              But, my prediction is that if something significant does happen he will claim some credit for predicting it.

  4. Bored 4

    For those of you who think economics as currently practiced bears more relationship to tea leaf reading, and is too depressing a joke to laugh at…….here is an alternative stream, splendidly named as Post Autisitc Economics. They make sense, enjoy.

    • Rosy 4.1

      It’s not satire ??? pleeese?? No.1 always put me of economic theory – the assumption of ‘rational man’ is ridiculous.

      • Bored 4.1.1

        Wish it was satire….when you read the 7 points you realise its an enormous accuse. This one answers your bit about rational man (whatever he might be….never met a truly rational person yet).

        A broader conception of human behavior. The definition of economic man as an autonomous rational optimizer is too narrow and does not allow for the roles of other determinants such as instinct, habit formation and gender, class and other social factors in shaping the economic psychology of social agents

    • Olwyn 4.2

      A lovely piece of writing: I have long thought that this economic model primarily exists to provide theoretical justification for the corporate project of domination and dispossession. It’s guiding principle seems to be “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      Its first part, “We wish to escape from imaginary worlds”, summarizes what they were protesting against.

      Most of us have chosen to study economics so as to acquire a deep understanding of the economic phenomena with which the citizens of today are confronted. But the teaching that is offered, that is to say for the most part neoclassical theory or approaches derived from it, does not generally answer this expectation. Indeed, even when the theory legitimately detaches itself from contingencies in the first instance, it rarely carries out the necessary return to the facts. The empirical side (historical facts, functioning of institutions, study of the behaviors and strategies of the agents . . .) is almost nonexistent. Furthermore, this gap in the teaching, this disregard for concrete realities, poses an enormous problem for those who would like to render themselves useful to economic and social actors.

      That’s exactly what I found when doing economics at Uni and why I say that you can learn more about economics from reading history books than from doing an economics course.

      • KJT 4.3.1

        Try “Economics for everyone”.

        A short easy to read guide which still manages to explain key concepts.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Already got it, he puts down in words better than I can a lot of conclusions that I had come to from my own studies and thoughts. ATM, trying to persuade my siblings, who happen to be NACT voters, to read it.

      • Rosy 4.3.2

        That was my experience too. I did do an economic history course there was a huge difference between that and the constrained neo-classical models. If there were more ec hist courses I might have had some respect for the subject. Similarly if the lecturers had something to say about the morality of leaders crushing their people for economic growth (e.g. Chile). All they were concerned with was that Chile was a successful economy. Which brings in my other gripe about economics – a country is a country, not an economy. Peope of a country are citizens, not resources, taxpayers, consumers. Economics does not distiguish between people as complex beings and what people do.

    • BLiP 4.4

      Great link, thanks.

  5. It seems the Judiciary is at loggerheads with the Government and Simon Power over changes to the Criminal Justice System.

    The Herald reports today on Dame Sian Elias’s submission to the justice and electoral committee on the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill. She said that the submission was prepared in consultation with the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Mark O’Regan, and Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann, and represented the “view of the judiciary”.

    Her comments are, in that polite restrained way the Judiciary now communicate in, scathing.

    Dame Sian said she had “grave concerns” the provisions were “contrary to longstanding principle, being inconsistent with a defendant’s right” not to volunteer information that might help the prosecution. She is quoted as saying,

    “I appreciate that some defendants and counsel are guilty of abusing the system but, on balance, the judiciary is not persuaded that this provides good reason for the departure from basic principle, which is involved in any requirement for advance disclosure of an intended defence.”

    She also said that the bill was being progressed too quickly.

    “It has been a matter of concern that the reform has been developed under such tight time constraints.”

    The bill’s provisions about pre-trial procedures still had many gaps, and “in the present state of the bill, it is impossible adequately to address the many issues arising”.

    It looks like the Government should start again and do the job properly. What is the bet that it does not?

  6. Carol 6

    I haven’t had much of an opinion about the future of nuclear power & the Japan situation. It seems likely that it is possible to construct a safe working nuclear power plant, though the issue of waste remains a big problem. But is the current nuclear power plant failure another example of a big energy corporate putting profits above safety? This article claims that Japan was warned about locating such plants on the coast, but doesn’t provide sources:

    Even though Japan had been warned many times that possibly the most dangerous place in the world to site a nuclear power station was on its coast, no one had taken into account the double-whammy effect of a tsunami and an earthquake on conventional technology.

    This article is very critical of Tepco, the company that owns the Japanese plants:

    Tepco ranks as the world’s fourth largest commercial power utility – after three European operators: E.ON of Germany, Electricite de France and Germany’s RWE.

    Last year, Tepco made a profit of 134bn yen ($1.66bn, at current exchange rates) on a turnover of 5 trillion yen ($62bn). …

    In 2002, the Japanese government accused Tepco of false reporting in routine inspections of nuclear facilities and of concealing information about safety lapses over many years.

    The company had to close all its boiling water nuclear reactors – the sort caught up in the current crisis – until further inspections had taken place.

    Tepco eventually admitted to 200 occasions in which information had been falsified between 1977 and 2002. Further revelations of past concealment emerged five years later.

    • 26-64 6.1

      You’ve answered your own question there. It’s the normal lurching from crisis to crisis that all new technology takes with one glaring exception. When they made mistakes with those new fangled horseless carriages, they invented seatbelts, moved the gas tanks, and recalled or discontinued the line. No one can recall nuclear power once it’s loose. It tends to sit around killing stuff for a few hundred or even thousands of years. It’s a testament to the idiocy of the human condition that engineers can’t tell the difference between the potential risks of an automobile crash and a nuclear meltdown. Maybe if you believe nuclear power is safe, you also believe in fairies, god…or that the moon causes earthquakes?

      I once believed banning nuclear ships from NZ was economically damaging. Recently I’ve changed my mind. Pity a whole load of people will die or be born deformed for my epiphany though.

    • todd 6.2

      Fukushima’s hot wind blows

      Friday’s Magnitude 9 earthquake and resulting tsunami that laid waste to Japan’s North Eastern coastline claiming at least 10,000 lives, has been overshadowed by Fukushima Dai-ichi, one of the worlds 15 largest nuclear power plants…

  7. Adrian 7

    26-64, if you actually paid attention instead of interviewing yourself, you would understand that the Geonet “predictions” are extrapolations of probable number of quakes and their severity for each week post the Sept 7.2, within a range of numbers. Going back through the data they released in September you will see that the actual number that occured was pretty much in the mid-range of expectations. These are not predictions, they are probabilities gleaned from the aforementioned 100 years of quake research. By the way FW Rings original “prediction” was for the Marlborough region, he chopped and changed it to suit the more likely possibility of Canterbury. Ring is a millionaire purely on the incredible stupidity of naive boofheads sending him money for his manipulative lies. He has a personal financial interest in deceptivly scaring the shit out of the gullible. He is a despicable deceitful arse.

    • Bored 7.1

      Mayhaps on another point Ring is himself “rational man”. We have found him, and he has found a rational way of digging into our pockets.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        True true.

        In the neo-liberal sense, Ring has merely identified an unserved market, found that he has a competitive advantage in serving it, and is making money from doing so.

        Why are Righties complaining, Ring is merely satisfying a market need 🙂

        • Pete

          It isn’t a market need, it’s a market want. A want often based on dishonest information.

          A few righties suggest that there is a secret communist plot to brainwash everyone and take over the world. While everyone eats their burgers, rubs in their anti aging cream, pretend they’re not grey or bald, and de-bacterialise their hands and mouths.

  8. 26-64 8

    I’m not a journalist and the neuvo-crime of hearing what is said isn’t “interviewing myself”. Ring isn’t a millionaire. Far as I know he has a teaching degree, taught math for a while, wandered the folk/gypsy type scene, writes fictional books (one about reading the paw of your cat) and some non-fiction on maths and is the son of the guy who says: “Don’t use your back like a crane.”. He lives in Titirangi, Auckland. This is all stuff available in the public domain. Sounds about as scary to me as a plate of spaghetti. Nothing wrong with boofheads sending people money. The National party membership relies on them. Those poor frail people are scared shitless of commies under the bed and “dole bludgers”. Something should be done.

    • ianmac 8.1

      There are many profiting off gullibility. Look at TV advertising for regaining youth, magnetic blankets (might cause earthquakes?) , vitamin supplements for health, curing split ends, and so on. Or that psychic program. Or for that matter politicians spinning facts in order to profit for power/money. Some of us are sceptics and miss out on all the fun.

      • Pete 8.1.1

        And the gullible consumerists think they are lovin’ it.

      • 26-64 8.1.2

        What exactly is “sportsveld”? The ad shows it inside a plastic pill bottle and retired sheetmetal workers need it when working in the garage. Why did they overdub the words of an old man to something not matcing the movement of his lips?

  9. RobC 9

    Yippee. IHC wants to appeal the sleepover case ruling to the Supreme Court. Potentially another costly legal bill for them and the Union. Fk I hope the Supreme Court do not grant them leave to do so.

  10. joe90 10

    Now that the new owners have hired this arsehole I think I’ll skip the Huffington post.

  11. joe90 11

    As other events unfold the crisis in Bahrain has dropped off the radar but the non-invasion carries on with at least six protesters killed.

  12. lprent 12

    David Farrar must be hard up for topics at present..

    He is actually quoting r0b and I

    • Quoting or misquoting?

    • Pascal's bookie 12.2

      I thought you’d been kicked out of the blogger’s union and that there was a boycott in place and shit?

      • lprent 12.2.1

        Yeah, the mythical bloggers union that seems to exist in the minds of Katie and Cameron.

        Boycott? Hell Katie was over here commenting before the electrons had dropped states.

        Not that either makes any difference. When I get around to linking posts on Facebook (I broke the share for it the other day during a fix for slowness) the referrals from that alone outweigh all of the referrals from other NZ blogs. Google has always given us more referrals than other blogs and has a very high conversion rate from new reader to regular reader. The vast majority of new readers to this site come from one of those or just people telling other people. The site has long since gained a life of its own somewhere in 2008 and just keeps growing.

        But DPF didn’t bother with any of that. He just did the holier than thou crap as he covered the butt of Brownlee and Key as they ineffectually did photo ops in Christchurch.

      • felix 12.2.2

        Cam and Katez clubhous, no gurls alowd.

    • Lanthanide 12.3

      Hahaha, still trying to convince everyone that unless you put your name behind something then what you’ve said doesn’t have any weight. Kind of goes against the long history of pen names.

      • lprent 12.3.1

        Not to mention the anonymous and frequently contradictory newspaper editorials which DPF is so fond of quoting from and ‘indeeding’.

        You have to wonder sometimes exactly how flexible his principles are…. But that isn’t an excuse for people to head off on a flame war.

      • felix 12.3.2

        Kinda dissing most of his commenters too, innit? Not even going to mention all the anonymous commenting he does himself around the place…

  13. Lanthanide 13

    A small spark of progress in the face of Peak Oil:

    “The bottle is made from switch grass, pine bark, corn husks and other materials. Ultimately, Pepsi plans to also use orange peels, oat hulls, potato scraps and other leftovers from its food business.

    The new bottle looks, feels and protects the drink inside exactly the same as its current bottles, said Rocco Papalia, senior vice-president of advanced research at Pepsi.”

    • Mac1 13.1

      Fascinating. The sheer scale of the changeover from oil-based to plant-based PET bottles might bring its own problems. What, for example, will the effect be on the environment considering such factors as longevity, recycling, toxicity if burnt? Is it compostable like potato plates? The link didn’t say.

      • Lanthanide 13.1.1

        Reading slashdot comments, it appears this is just the same as the existing PET plastic used. The feedstock is simply plants instead of oil. So all existing waste disposal problems and advantages (recycling) remain unchanged.

  14. Armchair Critic 14

    National are happy, enthusiastic even, to send the SAS to Afghanistan on an offensive mission, but won’t send a frigate to patrol for pirates.
    Perhaps if the UN chucked in a bit of coastal bombardment of the pirate bases? Or would it be wrong to attack the country with the lowest taxes and least government interference in the world?

  15. Armchair Critic 15

    Since Labour don’t have an Open Mike on Red Alert, and since I’m sure some of their staff read The Standard, I gotta ask – why isn’t the Minister of Tourism being asked about the RWC and the move of games away from Christchurch? Surely there is a good, curly question that could be asked.

    • There is this one today although to Key with a different hat on:

      Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Prime Minister: What role did he or his department play in the decision to shift the Rugby World Cup quarter finals, from AMI Stadium to Eden Park?

      I wonder if there is a follow up for the Minister of Tourism?

      • Armchair Critic 15.1.1

        Saw that question, and after the shenanigans yesterday, I wonder why Labour aren’t going after Key as much as they could. Seems to be a waste to ask anything today, Key surely won’t be in the house. Edit – Hello, Lockwood’s in the house, praying, and no sign of Mr Key.
        I’m seriously wondering if Labour have a strategy to win the election.

        • mickysavage

          Labour may have been aware that Key was going to be away.

          The Labour Party omnipotent though it may be does not have the ability to prevent Smile and Wave travelling the country and doing so.

          • Armchair Critic

            Labour may have been aware that Key was going to be away.
            It’s Thursday, which is generally a very good indicator.
            The Labour Party omnipotent though it may be does not have the ability to prevent Smile and Wave travelling the country and doing so.
            Winning the election would put a stop to it.

            • Carol

              In a supplementary, Mallard has just asked why the PM was “attending to matters in his room” yesterday, rather than answering questions an the pressing issue of the RWC in Christchurch. Has elaborated in asking if the PM was advised to stay in his office yesterday, or maybe who advised the PM to stay in his office.

  16. Bunji 16

    Interesting Christchurch viewpoint on the memorial service.

    • Tigger 16.1

      I would say brilliant. Vicki Anderson nails all my issues with this ceremony – it’s not for anyone but Key.

      • Pete 16.1.1

        Do you think Key will be there on his own then? Or maybe Phil Goff will turn up too.

        It may be mistimed but it’s well-intentioned, I bet there are quite a few in Christchurch who appreciate it.

        • Colonial Viper

          I bet there are quite a few in Christchurch who appreciate it.

          National Party candidates?

          • Lanthanide

            I appreciate it. I imagine that people with shit-house employers who are trying to sort out their quake-damaged homes would appreciate it too.

          • Pete

            How would you know? They don’t have a team uniform.

            It looks like quite a few (of unknown political leanings) are enjoying and appreciating some royal dude from the other side of the world visiting. A fireman was stoked, another said it was good for moral, good to know people showed care from outside his small hard working world.

            Many people like this sort of thing – it doesn’t matter a jot whether I or others aren’t in to it or don’t appreciate it, if it’s good for some there it’s good. Stuff some paranoiac perception of political point scoring.

        • RobC

          There are also plenty in ChCh who don’t (appreciate it). Goff is in a lose-lose situation; don’t turn up and he is accused of insensitivity and turn up and be seen tacitly supporting Key’s initiative.

          Well-intentioned my arse, do you really think ChCh businesses (the ones that are still operating) appreciate having to pay for a special holiday all for the sake of a photo-op for smile and wave? FFS get a grip.

          • Colonial Viper

            Goff is in a lose-lose situation; don’t turn up and he is accused of insensitivity and turn up and be seen tacitly supporting Key’s initiative.

            Diplomacy is a subtle art.

            Just send one or two of the Christchurch Labour MPs along, that’s all.

      • kriswgtn 16.1.2

        Excellent article and honest

  17. BLiP 17


    There has been much concern about the direction of our current government regarding a whole range of issues that are adversely affecting ordinary New Zealanders. Ranging from its proposals around privatisation of electricity and other public services like water to general cuts to essential government agencies. These are outlined in more detail below. We would like to invite you to send a representative to a meeting to organise a rally/march to voice our collective concerns, possibly around 1st May 2011.

    Organisational meeting

    When: Tuesday 29th March at 7.00pm

    Where: Pitt Street Methodist Church (near the corner of Pitt Street and Karangahape Rd.)

    Central Auckland

    Is it acceptable that the gap between rich and poor in NZ is the 6th highest in the OECD? Recent government policies and cutbacks have intensified the need for us to take action over a range of issues including:

    Cuts in Early Childhood Education.

    Lack of recognition of the need for pay increases for low paid workers.

    Changes to workplace law, such as the 90-day Act.

    Reduced welfare provision causing greater poverty.

    Secret corporate trade deals.

    Privatisation of electricity.

    Increasing food prices. Milk, butter, cheese, everything!

    Raised GST.

    Tax cuts for the very wealthy.

    Privatisation (PPP’s, Private Public Partnerships) for schools and prisions.

    Student loans

    Big business mining interests versus the environment.

    Under the current government coalition ordinary people are asked to make sacrifices to bail out the greed of speculators and bankers. Canterbury Finance bailed out to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars !! John Key is already using the earthquake as an excuse to hasten this agenda. Why?

    Free Market polices being implemented by the National/Act/Maori Party government are obviously not working for us.

    Citizen’s Against Privatisation has after discussion with a number of groups, initiated this meeting to explore the possibility of planning an awareness-raising event around the issues mentioned above.

    Please confirm your attendance either by email capwaitakere [at] or phone 09 8366389, mobile 021 2106720.

    Meredydd Barrar,

    Citizens Against Privatisation

    [lprent: Fixed the e-mail address. ]

    • Pete 17.1

      The Campaign Against Just About Everything lacks a bit of focus and purpose.

      I wonder, is it aimed at another rally, country-wide, on November 26th.

      • Jum 17.1.1

        Since you are obviously not concerned about the rising food prices which are impacting on New Zealand’s children or the ‘Lack of recognition of the need for pay increases for low paid workers’ which hurts New Zealand’s children, I shall assume your opinion is worthless.

        • RobC

          Jum, Pete is concerned about food prices – see the opening post to Open Mike on 12 Mar.

          But yeah, you’re right, his opinion is worthless. He’s nearly up to 9,500 posts on Kiwiblog and I wish he’d just stay there.

          • Jum

            Just had a look RobC. What a snake oil salesman Pete is. He’s been well taught by the manipulators of statistics.

          • Pete

            Rob, why do you wish on record who you approve of posting here? Is it your blog? Or do you just feel precious about it. If you only want your own tune sung then maybe a blog as diverse as this is not ideal for you. Or, when you get the hang of it, you learn to just ignore what you think is worthless and move on to what interests you.

            • Colonial Viper

              You do know that all your extended family and friends not in the top 5% of wealth earners in NZ are being made poorer by the policies and decisions of this NACT Government, right?

              Just so you’re clear, I mean I wouldn’t want you labouring here for them under incorrect pretences.

              • Pete

                You didn’t tell me, are you just a bad conclusion jumper or do you try and trollop? In a mild sort of way. Kinda like hissy without any venom.

                • Colonial Viper

                  No seriously, John Key and Bill English will make the children and grandchildren of most of your family members poorer, they will be living in a land with fewer and fewer assets owned by themselves as a collective nation, and paying more and more rent to foreign masters.

                  Just wanted to make sure that you knew that was the case.

            • RobC

              Pete, FYI I do have “the hang of it” and I do ignore a lot of your posts because I think IMO they are worthless – the thread/comments about Ken Ring being a case in point.

              My point, which may have been too subtle for you I must admit, is someone who has a track record posting anything about everything becomes tiresome. It has nothing to do with preciousness, approval or ownership.

              I like this blog because it is (at times) diverse – the numeracy of your posts unfortunately does not contribute, IMO, to that situation.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Yeah, I thought his comment was pretty bloody weird for someone who has only been here ten minutes and posted little beside vacuous cornswaddle.

          • lprent

            That is why I canned a comment count idea here. KiwiTeen123 convinced me it would be a bad idea.

        • Pete

          Jum, obviously you assume too much based on stuff all, so your incorrect assumptions on my opinions will obviously be worthless. Well done.

          • Colonial Viper

            In trusted networks, credibility counts for a lot. So does in-credibility, just the wrong way.

      • mickysavage 17.1.2

        Pete you are a pillock and you know nothing about politics.

        Meredydd Barrar is a passionate lefty who definitely is not a member of the Labour Party and probably did not join the Alliance because they were way too wishy washy for him.

        He has campaigned about left issues for many years.

        If he is behind this campaign you can guarantee that it is grassroots based and there will be a wide spectrum of support.

        • Pete

          You may think I’m a pillock, and you may think I know nothing about politics, but I’m not puzzled why Labour are still 22% behind in the polls. It seems sort of obvious in the real world.

          Wishing to trash the place so you can inherit a mess by default does not come across as the sort leadership people want, especially in difficult times. Negative ninnies nonplussed.

          • mickysavage

            It is clear that you know nothing about politics.

            You hinted it was a Labour Party front.

            I was just pointing out that if Meredydd is organising it then it will be well and truly independent of the Labour Party.

            As for trashing the place do you remember back to 2008 and what National was doing to the country?

    • KJT 17.2

      Citizens against Neo-Liberalism would cover all of the above.

      Or maybe citizens against criminal Government..

    • lprent 17.3

      Normally I’d zap this copy’n’paste off the system and replace with a link. However google can’t find one! Could someone tell them one of the sites that will publish every press release?

      Do they need a hand getting a web site? Umm it is just around the corner, I might amble up and look them over.

  18. hellonearthis 18

    Private prisons, will be better off if they kill the people in there care, especially if the are in for more than two years ($92k/yr) or if an inmate tries to escape, due to the trivial $150k fines.

    Is it a fine prevent deaths or just an incentive to find creative ways to kill.,000_per_death-048.mp3

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      My boyfriend quipped that he’s sure there would be wealthy people out there in the world who would love to pay $250,000 to murder someone.

      captcha: spite

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.1

        A hunt. Have poor people or convicts as runners. They get a days head start in this huge safari reserve. To make it fair the runners are equipped with a new pair of ADIDAS, a litre of water and a box of Cadbury muesli bars. If they make it to the border of the reserve they escape.

        While the runners run, the millionaire/billionaire hunters get a lovely days stay in a 6 star hotel. Lush and fully pampered. The next morning – either at the crack of dawn, or after brunch (depending on the option chosen) the hunt starts. They have jeeps with machine guns, automatic weapons, night vision equipment, infrared scopes, etc. The hunting party also has a gourmet chef and cocktail bartender following along.

        A great days’ sport.

  19. Salsy 19

    A new Roy Morgan poll out, surprised the gains for MNAct we as small as they were post quake..

    • The Voice of Reason 19.1

      Pretty consistent on the govt vs oppo graph, which is closer to showing the maths that counts. On the party numbers it looks like ACT’s support appears to be as lonesome as Hilary Calvert’s braincells, which means its almost certain National are going to have to run a convicted felon in Epsom to make sure Rodders gets up. The Maori Party vote has gone south, deservedly. No rise in ‘other’, so Hone hasn’t gained. Winston continues his rise, making a Labour led Government look possible. Not probable, mind, but distinctly possible.

      • Colonial Viper 19.1.1

        No worries lads, the trends still hold good 🙂

      • felix 19.1.2

        “National are going to have to run a convicted felon in Epsom to make sure Rodders gets up”

        David Garrett perhaps? 😉

    • This is really weird. Our second biggest city is devastated by earthquake and confidence goes up??

      The previous poll was conducted during February 14 to 27. The quake hit on February 22, probably most of the way through the accumulation of data.

      Perhaps those with landlines think that devastation will require rebuilding and more consumption. But the outlook for Christchurch businesses is dim and getting worse every say.

      Very strange …

      • Colonial Viper 19.2.1

        In the first week of the quake we had an extremely capable emergency/Civil Defence response. I’m not surprised that confidence in the Govt has gone up (the downward trend still holds though).

        Now, if Roy Morgan has asked “Do you believe that the economy is now headed in the right or the wrong direction” I am sure you would have a very different answer.

        • Draco T Bastard

          In the first week of the quake we had an extremely capable emergency/Civil Defence response.

          That could be it – people see the excellent response from emergency services and attribute it to the elected government.

          • mickysavage


            And after the first month the citizens of Christchurch have realised that the collective kicked in, and the public service performed outstandingly. Then for the next week people will think about buying Fletcher Challenge shares and cashing in. Then after that people will look at Christchurch and the terrible need and realise that we are all socialists when it matters and we need to help each other …

      • Pete 19.2.2

        Not strange. Most people don’t analyse. In times of strife it’s common to poll/vote for least change, to limit the upheaval.

        Main parties are within normal fluctuations.
        MP don’t worry about party vote.
        Greens will enjoy holding up.
        NZF probably picking up disaffected votes, doing well for no MPs. It will be interesting to see if more of WP on TV will encourage more or put some off.
        Act are the ones that will be worried – down in line with other polls, and that’s before their conference Brashness and Alice in Parliament. Desperate throes of the dice.

  20. Draco T Bastard 20

    Another Leak Confirms Extreme US Demands in TPP Deal

    “This latest leak includes material not contained in the previous leak of the US intellectual property text last month and confirms the extreme nature of US demands”, Jane Kelsey said.

    “For example, according to analysts the US text would stop countries from adopting practices that India and the Philippines have used to prevent the ‘evergreening’ of patents, which further restricts the production of cheaper generic medicines.”

    More reason not to continue discussions in the TPPA. All the leaked documents show that it’s more about research restrictions and protecting the status quo than about free-trade.

  21. prism 21

    The SMEs are protesting in Christchurch with placards. The spokesperson said that no-one from Civil Defence had approached any CBD businesses he had spoken to. He said that there was an element of ‘who you know’ for those who have been allowed in.

    After the initial assessment of the disaster area, then the search for people alive or dead, then the living needs of the living need to be considered. These include us needing an economic base and conserving resources where possible. If Civil Defence has just issued blanket contracts to demolish then they are not taking responsibility.

    It is interesting how governments are prepared to abandon small business when it suits. When Rogernomics was introduced, there was a great disgust at the top for inefficient business. Many went to the wall but there was expectation that new better ones would crop up and we are still languishing behind where we could have been without the swingeing changes. We cannot afford to waste our investment money in Christchurch by not allowing people to retrieve important items.

  22. Colonial Viper 22

    William and Kate go house hunting!

    As a one income couple, they are looking for their new matrimonial home. This is a must see.

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