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Open mike 17/03/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:35 am, March 17th, 2015 - 124 comments
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hat_irishtop_leprechaunOpen mike is your post.

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124 comments on “Open mike 17/03/2015 ”

  1. Morrissey 1

    Woman sues ABC over Media Watch comments on her trip to United States
    by RACHEL OLDING, Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 16 March 2015

    A Sydney woman of American heritage is suing the ABC’s Media Watch for depicting her as a backer of, and a PR mouthpiece for, the brutal regime of President Barack Obama.

    In a politically-sensitive case that will test alleged bias in media coverage of….

    Read more…


    • tc 1.1

      Media watch is an opinionated hosted critique by an established senior legal or journalist figure.

      It has a history of controversy and I await some background on the piece, the woman and SMH angle as it may be more about getting at that pesky ABC than actual bias.

  2. philj 2

    Looks like the Insurance industry is gearing up to turn disaster insurance into a public private partnership. I would appreciate an informed, independent analysis of this topic and the press release from the Insurance Council of NZ.

    • tc 2.1

      Widen that analysis to the entire corporate sector and govts who turn chaos and mayhem into opportunity and plunder.

    • Philip Ferguson 2.2

      Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’ covers what she calls ‘disaster capitalism’ quite well.

      There’s certainly no human tragedy which can’t be turned into a chance to make a buck or two – well, billions actually.

      Ain’t capitalism great?

      Phil F

  3. Colonial Rawshark 3

    L Randall Wray – the evolution and instability of financialised money manager capitalism

    Approx 21 mins. Wray is also an exponent of ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ which describes how governments can deficit spend to create money into an economy for households to use and save, quite independent of taxes and borrowing.

  4. vto 4

    Why do people in NZ love to hate the middle class?
    Why do those on the left in particular make such snide comments about middle class people?
    Why do normally tolerant people who are all for liberal thinking and ethnic tolerance simply turn to shit when they see a bunch of middle class people?

    I see it is Tahu Potiki’s turn to act in a prejudiced and bigoted manner against people based solely on photos of them appearing to be middle class, in having a crack at the kauri tree protestors. Tahu Potiki of course is maori and a some-time commentator from Dunedin-ways. He has likely experienced bigotry and prejudice and the like, yet he simple-headedly does the same himself. In his column this morning (no link yet sorry) he, on several occasions, ranted against these people on the basis of their middle classness alone. Tahu’s rant exposes in himself the same faults in humans that he has likely been subjected to himself – namely bigotry and prejudice.

    Leave the middle class alone ffs. It is a failure in so very many ways to reference things to them in ways like Tahu Potiki has done.

    • weka 4.1

      The middle class want to save that kauri, or a kākāpō, or that mountain from having a windfarm put on it, but they don’t want to give up the affluence that threatens those things in the first place. They’re not alone in this of course (it seems to apply across all classes), but I think the idea is that the middle classes have more choice than the working class and underclass because of their assets and income and more sensibility for what’s right than the wealth class. Stuck in the middle.

      • vto 4.1.1

        Sure I can imagine how that might be imagined, however it is all conjecture and assumption on the part of the likes of Potiki. There is never any good argument put forward or evidnce provided for anything he intimated, not those matters you have highlighted above. Nothing. Just assumption.

        It would actually be a good issue to dive into and evaluate properly – you know, comfortable in their jobs, nice 4wd, huge mortgage, provisional tax, pilloried and plied, ignorant and shallow, unknowing of anything but materiality, the list goes on …..

        • weka

          I can’t comment on Potiki until I read his article, and unfortunately you have a history of misrepresenting people’s word in situations like this.

          I was more commenting on why some lefties in general have a downer on the middle class and from my perspective (others will tell it differently). I don’t think it’s what people imagine, it’s an analysis based on knowledge and experience (sure my comment was shorthanded and generalised).

          “ignorant and shallow, unknowing of anything but materiality”

          I’m less worried about those ones, than the ones that can think, who appreciate values other than possessions and consumption, who should know better but still aren’t willing to do what is needed to redress their privilege.

          • mickysavage

            It is my neighbourhood. It is very middle class. But god bless every single one of them they were all motivated to save that ancient Kauri.

            • ropata:rorschach

              Probably a bit of NIMBYism going on as well. Nicer for the Titirangi locals to have a few trees about rather than infill housing.

            • weka

              +tahi. I’m grateful too, both for the trees saved, and for the inspiration and flow on effects.

    • Hateatea 4.2

      Where did you read the article in question, vto?

      I would like to comment but need to read Tahu’s own words first rather than rely on your interpretation of what he may have written or have been quoted as saying.

      • weka 4.2.1

        It should turn up here eventually. I don’t know how long they take to put them up on the web though. Otherwise try the Press in hardcopy (was that today vto?)


        Myself, I find Potiki’s articles thought-provoking even where I disagree with him.

        • Hateatea

          Looks as if I may have to toddle down the street in search of the Press unless, perish the thought, it was in the ODT!

          I did a search of the Press website and failed to find it thus far.

          • weka

            vto is in Chch or thereabouts so I’m guessing this one is in the Press. I’m interested to read it now too.

      • Hateatea 4.2.2

        Bought the Press, read the article, don’t entirely support vto’s perception of what the article in its entirety was saying.

        That said, I don’t necessarily agree with his take on the Titirangi ‘save the trees’ event. My views are shaped from active involvement in resource management processes in the past and what I see as a flawed process that allowed a non-notified consent in the first place.

        I took the article as a whole to reflect on the clashes of culture around resource use, management and preservation, conservation, restoration and how different groups place more or less emphasis on one idealised part.

        Leaving out the ‘middle class’ references, what I read reminded me of my childhood experiences of going to catch whitebait with my father, uncle and grandparents and seeing hundred of very large eels rotting on the riverbank because the Acclimatisation Society wanted the trout to be predator free. It was horrific to see (and smell) but was an example to me of the lengths that the settler society would go to prioritise what was important to them.

        One point that the article made, I thought, was that there is an element of hypocrisy in those who live on sections that were clear felled in the past, to deny to others the right to remove trees in order to enjoy their own section. I can see that viewpoint even if I disagree with it.

        Suffice it to say, I neither agree nor disagree with the article in its totality and I found it an interesting read.

        It is too long for me to type as a whole and, at the time of writing, is not up on the Press website but it is provocatively titled ‘A Grand Win for the Busybodies’.

    • gsays 4.3

      hi vto,
      what sticks in my craw with the middle class is the aspirations.
      the idea of getting ahead.

      i watched a ricardo semler ted talk (thanx felix) yesty.
      he said if you get to a point in your life where you want to give back then you took too much in the first place.

      had an interesting conversation with a self made man. he was ranting about the poor and how they should be saving to get their first property, leverage that to get a rental…(you get the picture), he could not see that for there to be a landlord there must be a tenant.

      so as weka says below (or above), about an unwillingness to give up some affluence so all have enough.

      its the ‘i’m alright jack’ or ‘blow the bridge i’m over’

      • Olwyn 4.3.1

        I have yet to read Potiki’s opinion piece, but I take it from vto’s comment that he is attacking the middle class for the kind of safe activism that does not challenge the status quo – for engaging in their own little “rose revolutions” and congratulating themselves on “making a difference.”

        As to the cry of “Why does NZ love to hate the middle class?” quite a few middle class people are either indifferent to the suffering of others or despise them for having gotten into that position in the first place. People you despise tend to despise you in turn. It is an aspect of what Stiglitz was talking about in an article RedLogix put up a few days ago, about the erosion of social trust.


      • greywarshark 4.3.2

        Or you could see the middle class thinking of assets and income as being like lollies in a lolly scramble. They were out there and the people with the most were the hardest working and most motivated. Of course lolly scrambles have recently led to images of large young men scooping up the most amongst children that only came to their knees. Not cricket old man!

      • gsays 4.3.3

        upon reflection i need to give myself an uppercut.

        i see myself (socially) to the far left. by that we are all one.
        bill hicks says it best: we are all one consciousness expressing itself subjectively.

        with that in mind, i am criticizing myself with my words above.

        if i grew up in their shoes (the middle class) and had thir experiences i would behave the same.

        just need to express a bit more tolerance or as my nana said- if you cant say something nice dont say anything at all.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.4

        he could not see that for there to be a landlord there must be a tenant.

        It’s more accurate to say that for there to be a landlord there must be many tenants. It is a question of support. Each landlord requires many tenants to support them.

    • Rosie 4.4

      While I haven’t read the article you’re referring to vto, I think you you make an interesting point:

      “Why do normally tolerant people who are all for liberal thinking and ethnic tolerance simply turn to shit when they see a bunch of middle class people?”

      I’ve seen this happen in conversations here at TS and heard it plenty in real life too. I find it a bit puzzling. It raises more questions for me than I have theories for as to why there is a dividing line where tolerance ends and spite begins

      I wonder if it is hatred and mistrust that is intergenerational and so ingrained as if it has been handed down from our colonial past when we were Little Britain with it’s clear cut class groups (as much as settlers said they wanted to escape that but failed to do so).

      Who are the middle class these days? We have shifting sands beneath the feet of society. Once people could be more upwardly mobile (and whether betraying/abandoning your class was scorned or applauded is another aside) but in very general terms, the effects of a Nat govt has bumped many once financially comfortable people harshly down the ladder whilst those below landed in a heap beneath them, finding themselves in an even more precarious living situation.

      It’s often talked about, while many are being left behind the elite have increased their power control and wealth. So where are the middle classes in that? Are they the survivors?

      Is middle class defined by wealth? Is it defined by the display of that wealth? Is it defined by the expression of taste? Lols, if taste comes into it then I wonder what my neighbours north of me in the higher priced houses end think they are achieving by trying to out do one another with the purchase of the latest shiniest largest luxury range SUV money can by. Are they trying to express their middle class-ness or are they just pathetic try hards?

      So who are the middle class that folks criticise?

      Or is it related to wealth and being rightly critical of the self serving behaviour of the wealthy who trample over others to get a bigger slice. for example, maybe an employer who has built a profitable business on the back of low paid, poorly treated workers?

      In that case is the class group the employer belongs to seen as the oppressor, where in fact it is the boss being oppressive and who should be the focus of criticism? Is it wealth or class that oppresses in the case of the employer?

      Should we not judge a person on their actions and behaviour rather than their class, what ever that is?

      • greywarshark 4.4.1

        Gee Rosie, you are carrying this PC thing too far saying that the middle class should not be pointed at or criticised because they have feelings.

        The middle class have willingly separated themselves off from struggling NZ as if that group were lepers. The women have got jobs where they often administer to the poorer class, rather patronisingly. And they feel entitled to their superior position and consequently don’t pay much attention to the structural side of the downward trend, aggravated by enabling policy.

        The upper class live in a different planet and most rarely come down from the Ramtops to attempt to suss out what mayhem they are causing or enabling to the rest of NZ.

        The middle class are still living the dream that they were brought up with and fully expect that their superior standards will be maintained for ever. All this talk about environment and climate is exaggerated and technology will deal with it. At present their task is to maintain their lovely home, educate their children to
        ensure a well paid and fulfilling position, and keep their minds on higher things, such as art, healthy food. maintaining their looks and overseas holidays.

        Is there any wonder that people who have the wide vision to take in all the classes, the whole range of NZers, get pissed off with the dopey, self-satisfied middle class who want it all without accepting citizen responsibility also.

        • Rosie

          Warbs, lols, please, I am not “carrying a PC thing”. You should know me better than that by now.

          And I am definitely not saying they should not be criticised because they have feelings. I have never once mentioned the words feelings or expressed any sympathy for their feelings.

          I am mainly asking who they are. How do we identify them? By their wealth, their taste, their level of wankiness?

          The group you are referring to above are displaying attitudes and behaviours that are isolationist and excluding, anti the collective good and self promoting, potentially at the cost of the well being of others. I know these types and dislike them intensely for their selfish and cruel ways. (In fact I have had a run in with one of these sorts in recent days. The level of hatred for the concept of equality expressed by this person was truly gobsmacking).

          So would you say middle class is defined by a set of behaviours and attitudes? (which comes back to wankiness)

          The above behaviours you mention, I see belonging to the group within society that holds right wing views. I’m not sure that the entire spectrum of the middle classes is exclusively right wing, who ever this middle class are.

          • greywarbler

            Hi Rosie
            Middle class is a broad target. Which ones to shoot? I am thoroughly middle class myself without the necessary assets and liquidity to ponce about. So let’s keep on criticising the middle class as it’s a bit like throwing balls at a stall with moving faces in the fairground.

            And it is hard to dent a middle class person’s self esteem. That’s how you know them. They just look at you with their eyebrows raised and either patronisingly smile or just turn away bored. There’s one of those rent-a-crowd rabble they say, just too too boring and repetitive. Always doing nothing and saying not fair. Of course they don’t like people who act vigorously to even up the fiscal balance either.

      • just saying 4.4.2

        I usually mean what most people call “upper middle class” when I say “middle class” Which can lead to misunderstandings because it seems others mean a majority or large minority rather than this minority.

        A particular cultural group rather than amount of money. Things that spring to mind are – highly socially connected; people who have influence, who have contacts, who have contacts who have contacts, which can cover a huge range of influence in a society, formally educated and qualified, use language very precisely but usually use effective subtext and nuance to express aggression, rank etc., who have particular social behaviours and understandings, who as a group are often unaware that their own behaviours and language can have very different meanings to those from other class cultures, people who tend to define, by their choices, what is considered “good taste” “good manners” “good ideas” etc.,

        And heaps more but I don’t have time right now. People don’t control what class they are born into and it doesn’t determine goodness or badness, but middle-class is a variety of privilege. Like most privilege it is often either unrecognised or underrecognised and it is this that is often the source of most of the misunderstandings and occasional outright animosity imho.

        • Rosie

          Thank you just saying. I find that a very helpful beginning to understanding who the middle class are. I can envision this ‘class’ more clearly now as I know of people that belong to this particular grouping.

          The people that I know that fit your definition I don’t find particularly offensive, and while there is an unspoken knowing between these folk and myself that a different level of privilege is enjoyed by them it doesn’t cause a tension.

          On the hand, there are others I know of, like the person who I had a run in with, who fit some aspects of your definition, influential, with contacts / connections and formally educated and qualified, privileged in several ways but whose social skills are under developed, whose emotional intelligence is low and who are focused on the acquisition of wealth and property as a symbol of their success.

          So if class doesn’t determine goodness or badness as you say perhaps it comes down to personality and behaviour, as to the source of division?

          • just saying

            I’m just grappling and my head isn’t in the best place today.

            I’m saying they are a a minority which has a big vested interest in the status quo. Some admit this and work hard to make their communities fairer anyway. Many don’t.

            • Rosie

              Ok, thanks js. Appreciate your input. It’s making sense to me.

              It’s a fascinating sociological topic.

              • weka

                I found that a useful sub thread too, thanks.

                I would add that a sense of entitlement exists within the middle class that I don’t see so much in the working or underclass.

    • millsy 4.5

      Pitoki is a hard right tribal elitist who thinks the middle class should stick to worrying about property values.

      He is part of the iwi aristocracy that the treaty settlement process has created.

      • greywarshark 4.5.1

        This might be a good place to mention a new book reviewed on Radionz this morning. It shows the nefarious ways that cunning pakeha managed to wangle land out of Maori hands. We ought to know this because it is behind Maori grievances which the Treaty of Waitangi is partly recompensing and the reason that it should not be too hurried and that Maori should be able to tell their histories.

        Book review – At the Margin of Empire ( 6′ 16″ )
        10:38 Paul Diamond reviews ‘At the Margin of Empire: John Webster and the Hokianga, 1842-1900’ by Jennifer Ashton. Published by Auckland University Press.

      • Hateatea 4.5.2

        And you base your opinion on what, exactly, Millsy. Citing references would be really good, if possible.

        BTW, you spell his last name POTIKI.

        • Hateatea

          Tahu Potiki, by virtue of his whakapapa alone, was born a member of the iwi aristocracy if looked at through Eurocentric eyes. That he has worked hard to make himself a 21st century leader of his whanau, hapu and iwi is all his own doing and nothing at all to do with Treaty settlement processes.

          As for his political views, I only know what he has published. If you see him as hard right you have either read things I haven’t or read into what was published what I didn’t. We are each entitled to our own views and perhaps mine are shaped by knowing the person and thus seeing an entirety, or as much as anyone may know another without being them!

          • millsy

            Hi articles have a right wing slant. Plus he is on the charter schools advisory committee.

    • vto 4.6

      Chur all comments above. Unfortunately as often seems to be the case I must away and have no time today to respond. Fwiw I see no difference in tolerance, willingness to protest the wrong, or anything like that, based on class. I do not see the lower classes doing more of this stuff (if anything I see them doing less and it aint because we have less). I do not see the upper classes doing more of this stuff at all either – they are too busy with the planning of their mid-winter escape-NZ hols looming now summer is at an end. I actually see most of the protesting of things wrong being carried out by so-called middle-class types.

      Middle class types protested the kauris apparently. Good. It is they who protest the environment damagers mostly. It is the middle class who do most of the heavy lifting. That is what I see.

      So in actual fact Mr Potiki has it completely arse-about. The reason he saw middle class people protesting at the kauris was because it is the middle class who do most of this stuff. They do the grunt. They get out on the street. They write to MPs.

      The middle class should be supported in its efforts not vilified.

      • Adele 4.6.1

        Kiaora vto

        So in actual fact Mr Potiki has it completely arse-about. The reason he saw middle class people protesting at the kauris was because it is the middle class who do most of this stuff. They do the grunt. They get out on the street. They write to MPs.

        The Waipoua Forest in Northland is a remnant Kauri Forest whose most famous inhabitant is Tāne Mahuta. Tāne is about 2,500 years old. The forest is riddled with Kauri Die-back Disease which is lethal to Kauri. The people trying to save the massive and ancient trees in this forest come from all walks of life.

        People from all over Northland (hardly a bastion of middle-classness) consistently maintain a presence at the entrance to Waipoua to ensure people wash their footwear before entering the forest. This has been going on for a number of years. This is grunt work in action.

    • Murray Rawshark 4.7

      I can’t find that one, but I saw another column saying Maori should vote National. I’m glad the tree’s still there.

  5. The Lone Haranguer 5

    Was driving my old hot rod truck to work today, and noticed a couple of cyclists out in the Chch cold wearing their hi-viz gears and their helmets.

    At the lights I pondered the general lack of cyclists on the road this morning, and the debate on cycle helmets, cyclist numbers and societal obesity aided by folk travelling to work in their old hot rod trucks instead of biking. (You can ponder these things if you dont turn the wireless on in the morning)

    I have also seen the massive carnage of head injuries, but the simple truth is that most of those are alcohol related – auto accidents and assaults rather than bike accidents. And politicians have demonstrated over and over (regardless of who is in power) that they will not address our alcohol issues.

    So should adults have the option of travelling helmetless if they are wearing hi-viz gear? More folk biking is good for the health of the nation

    • weka 5.1

      Do you mean that having to wear a helmet puts people off biking?

      I think the stats to compare are % of head injuries in bike accidents from before helmets were compulsory and after.

      • The Lone Haranguer 5.1.1

        Im saying that that there may be some public health gains if adults didnt have to wear helmets, but wore safety vests instead.

        The argument is out there saying that helmets put the vain of biking, (cant mess your hair up aye)

        So any reduction in head injuries is the result of less adults biking, not in a similar number of cyclists having fewer serious head injuries due to wearing the helmets.

        My take is that kids should wear the helmets because they arent necessarily as spatially aware as the average adult on a bike. I thought the vests I saw today stood out like dog nuts and gave us drivers fair warning of the cyclists ahead.

        • weka

          That makes sense, although from a public health or accident prevention perspective it might be a bit complex. We need to change the culture, and things like building every road with cyclists in mind would help.

            • miravox

              Absolutely! For commuting, shopping and recreation it’s a pleasure to cycle in Europe in the sunshine, safely, with just a sunhat on.

              Cycling for sport might still be a problem though.

              It’s too difficult to cycle in relative safety in NZ and some of the cycleways that are being put in don’t meet cyclists needs. My favourite example is Karo Drive in Wellington where the planners had decided the cycleway on a brand new road should be built to end on one side of Karo Drive and start again on the other at the Cuba Street intersection. To swap sides they’ve put a diagonal cycle crossing on an intersection between two very busy pedestrian crossings. Chaos ensues.

              Also the cycleway on the SH1 Taupo bypass – I do wonder how many tourists want to bypass Taupo. Or how many Taupo residents would use it.

              Wiki summarises the cycle helmet debate quite well, I think, although this article doesn’t extend road design issues.

      • ianmac 5.1.2

        Do the stats show a significant improvement post helmet? I wear my helmet but reluctantly.

        • joe90

          Do what I did, wake up in the middle of the road confused and combative with an ambulance officer standing over you, my thanks once again to Colin Slaughter, telling you you’ve had an accident and because you’ve been unconscious for quite some time he couldn’t just take you straight home so best he takes you to base hospital.

          Thirty something stitches to sew an ear back on, another dozen to sew up scalp lacerations, an overnight stay to observe a serious concussion, cognitive impairments lasting several months and headaches that persist thirty years on and I reckon you’ll gladly wear a helmet.

          • greywarshark

            Thanks for that joe 90. Your answer is what I have felt was needed to counter this drop your helmet macho stuff. They are a nuisance but the harm to the individual from head injuries can result in differing levels of loss of function but all of much concern.

            In advanced cases of damage there is also the destruction of family life and happy relationships because of the need for lifelong care for the person who is not wholely well, perhaps with violent mood swings, and the cost in health care and rehabilitation to the nation is a good reason for everybody wearing a hemet. We block out how fragile we are on bikes on roads with metal tanks zooming at our side, and the bigger vehicles that have been foisted on the country are like tanks, and in my normal car I hate their great big wide backsides blocking my horizontal view and the high back window meaning I can’t see beyond them. Cyclists can’t either.

            • The Lone Haranguer

              Mine is not a call to “drop your helmet” macho stuff as you so eloquently put it.

              You could say I have a vested interest” in this subject, but regardless of this, what we are dealing with is the societal cost of serious brain injury (ACC, a few years back indicated it was a $2m per accident cost).

              Beyond the societal financial costs, theres the massive mess it makes for the victims life, the victims family and the victims friends. Greywarshark is on the money with his/her comments. $2m per accident is about $0.50 per person, so at a Government fiscal level, not a big deal. (Especially since we pay levies to ACC so its not directly out of the tax war chest). But its a massive deal for the family of the victim.

              We also have an obesity epidemic on the horizon. And that comes out of the health budget and is out of the tax war chest, so how to we make progress on that? Putting sugary foods back into school tuck shops as the Nats did as soon as they got back into power was one of the dopiest moves I have ever seen.

              • weka

                In terms of societal changes to health across the population, obesity isn’t a problem so much as diabetes and other Syndrome X diseases are. Obesity itself is not a disease (it’s possible to be fat and healthy, or thin and unhealthy).

                Lots of really good reasons to get more people biking, and your point about whether helmets are a disincentive is worth considering.

          • GregJ

            Good call joe90.

            I grew up next to a family (the parents, kids and quite a few of the cousins) who were fanatically mad-keen competitive cyclists – both road and track. It was the local “headquarters” of the cycling club at their place so there were cyclists everywhere on weekends. Talk to anyone of them and they were 100% behind helmets for all cyclists – they experienced the roads and traffic (and crappy NZ driving), they saw the consequences of being hit by motor vehicles.

            So I say suck it up NZ and keep wearing your helmets – and get alongside the road planners and as OAB says get some decent separation for cyclists, pedestrians & motorists.

      • Bill 5.1.3

        Used to cycle to work. When I didn’t wear a helmet, cars definitely gave me more room when overtaking etc. Never wore a helmet as a kid. Smashed my face up once by going straight over the handlebars, (know of others who have similar tales) wrecked knees and hands etc over and again, but never, ever landed on my head coming off a bike and don’t know anyone who did.

        I’d actually be interested if cyclists head injuries are caused primarily by car impacts (likely given body trajectories and vehicle shape) and then have some info on what impact those helmets take. To overstate, if the impact is going to cause you serious injury or death, do the helmets actually offer any protection? I get that they will likely lessen the injuries caused by ‘moderate’ impacts, but at what speed of impact do they become pointless? I can’t really see them doing much to protect against a head being slammed by a hunk of metal moving at 50km/h…or should that be 70km/h…30km/h?

        • weka

          Yes, as I understand it, most of the serious injuries are when a car or other vehicle is involved. I don’t know what the optimal speed to injury ratio is but I would think that any protection is better than none when being hit by a car no matter what the speed. I’m thinking about the effect of not just the head being hit, but the body being hit and the force afterwards when the person bounces and hits their head on something. Don’t want to go into the grisly detail particularly, but I assume there are different ways that head injuries happen not just direct car to head trauma.

        • McFlock

          I do recall a coroner’s report in the paper about a cyclist who rode into the back of a stopped truck and died (in a unique twist on the “cyclist vs truck” story that almost always ends very badly).

          Basically, the calculated speed at impact was I think in excess of 50km/hr (long downhill run). The coroner noted that at those speeds a bike helmet isn’t a lot of use, and really a full motorcycle helmet would have been needed to give the guy a chance.

          But then I also saw a cyclist do a somersault over a car bonnet, when the driver had obviously been looking for oncoming cars, not bikes. Even though the speed was relatively low, I’m glad he was wearing a helmet – I suspect it seriously reduced the paperwork associated with the incident (I think the driver was in more shock than the cyclist – the first thing she said was “this is a new car” in a tone that strongly suggested concern over scratched paintwork. But the fact she was pale and shaking and took a minute or two to get with it made me put it down to “funny shit people say in extremis”).

        • mac1

          Yeah, Bill, I whacked the top of my head against a gutter when I came off as an unprotected lad.

          Later at Uni in the late sixties, a fellow student wore a pudding basin motorcycle helmet when cycling- when asked why, he said his father was a brain surgeon. I got that message.

          And later, when teaching health at secondary, I’d ask the boys whether they’d like to run flat out head first into a concrete lamp post. They got that message.

  6. Anonymous 6

    Please fix the RSS feed. It was much better when it had the full story in it. Part of my day is spent outside of network access but if I cache the RSS feed I can keep up to date with the site. With it as excerpts I am behind and miss things.

  7. Philip Ferguson 7

    One of the economic discussions now in NZ is about deflation. English is claiming the low to zero rate of inflation means that pay rises of 2% are really good pay rises.

    Of course, if you’re one of the large number of low-paid living in the greater Auckland area paying rent and/or trying to save to buy a house, or paying a mortgage, that isn’t the case.

    Deflation also presents problems of its own.

    There always seems to be something going wrong in capitalism. Inflation is too high or too low. The dollar is too high or too low. We have a rock star economy, yet a mass of low-paid casualised workers and a chunk of workers who have zero-hour contracts. And still substantial levels of poverty.

    Anyway, here’s the always-excellent Michael Roberts on the problems of deflation in economies:


  8. Philip Ferguson 8

    As for how capitalism works and why, ultimately it doesn’t, here’s my little contribution:

    Here’s something I did some years ago on capitalism’s currency craziness: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/420/

    And excellent video of Michael Roberts on Marx’s crisis theory and the world economy today: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/marxism-2014-michael-roberts-on-world-economy-plus-discussion-session/


  9. greywarshark 9

    Our primary production, our lifeblood keeping the nation ticking so we can have elections and afford a government. http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20171199
    Latest on our once thriving sheep and beef farming from Radionz.

    Crunch time for sheep and beef farms: report ( 28′ 56″ )
    09:08 Farmers say the 8 billion dollar sheep and beef industry is approaching crisis point, and a single cooperative business model similar to Fonterra is the only way forward. Meat Industry Excellence group chairman, John McCarthy and Murray Taggart is Chair of the Alliance Group.

    • Once was Tim 9.1

      That was an interesting discussion. What I’d be interested to know though is whether or not farmers felt better off when we had the old ‘meat producer’s’ board, before the dereg mantra kicked in during the 80’s, etc.
      I’m thinking that at present, Alliance and ?? are merely gigantic ticket clippers and that a more co-op system would be better.
      I’m no expert on this issue but it troubles me that the actual producers seem to be getting little return, and the NZ public generally are being ripped (with shit meat sold thru’ supermarkets, pumped with water, etc.)
      What are your thoughts?

      • greywarbler 9.1.1

        A sideline – an interesting thing is that the butchers in supermarkets in Nelson get most of their meat precutup in Christchurch. Just another way that food is being prepared using factory processes and trucked a long way.

        I wonder too about the advantages of a co-op. It was tried a while ago, to have more synergy with companies but failed to get the big tick. I think it may be that some of the sheep farmers are doing all right and don’t give a rats arse about any other producers. Now that rudeness might be undeserved but that sort of thing happens. The magnetic attraction to one’s own interests entirely is often irresistible.

        • millsy

          IMO the best way is probably to have two companies, one a farmer-owned co-operative, and the other a privately owned/listed company. Two competing systems.

  10. Clemgeopin 10

    NORTHLAND BY-ELECTION WATCH: [or is it BI/BRIBE/BUY/BYE election watch?]

    Winston is trying to win this by-election ALL BY HIMSELF and his bus, while a bridgeload of mustered Nats have been continuously descending on Northland day after day at tax payer’s expense of travel and time to beat the wise old man.

    It would be interesting to see how many Nat Cabinet ministers, MPs and others have been here or will be here in pathetic panic state to pump up their own O for awesome candidate and beat Winny.

    Here is my list so far. Please add to this list if you know of others:

    How many Nats does it take to beat an old man?

    1. John Key
    2. M Osborne
    3. Steven Joyce
    4. Simon Bridges
    5. Maggie Barry.
    6. ?

  11. rawshark-yeshe 12


    What it means to discover that warmer ocean currents actually flow beneath Antarctica’s ice shelves and are melting them from beneath …. sigh.

  12. freedom 14


    I know the PM was a big successful money trader and is super clever with numbers and knows this stuff better than I do, but I thought 15% of $1.29 was 20c not 2c 😕

    “If you think about iTunes, you download a song and it’s $1.29, there’s no reason why GST shouldn’t apply to that.

    “In reality, GST would be 2 cents. But actually, 2 cents over a massive number of transactions still add up.”

    you will note from his second comment, it was not a typo by the reporter

    • rawshark-yeshe 14.1

      explains a lot about our current economy then !!!

    • freedom 14.2

      What a shock! They have since edited the article. It now says this:
      “While the GST on some online goods and services would be very small, such as on a $1.29 iTunes song download, it could still be worth pursuing because of the scale of such purchases, Mr Key said.”
      (Forgot to do a screengrab of the original)

      • rawshark-yeshe 14.2.1

        they protect him down to his undies, don’t they !!!

        • freedom

          If a member of the opposition had said it, can you imagine what the NZH front page would look like right now 🙂

          • rawshark-yeshe

            Instead of “Key Cocks Up Calculations” it would be “Labour Minister Fails Simple Math Tests and Costs Country Millions in Tax Take”.

            oh dear, freedom .. wish this were not true !

            • weka

              lol, ok, but Key’s cockups and undies protection in close proximity is probably a bit much at this time of day. Or any time really.

          • rawshark-yeshe

            @Freedom — but TV3 has just broadcast the full thing on 6 pm news .. and pointing out Key’s mistake !@!

  13. rawshark-yeshe 15

    Backgrounder in Guardian about Lynton Crosby .. The Lizard of Oz !

    Seems for all his hard and dubious ( or do I mean odious?) work, Cameron is not a shoo in after all … shades of NZ …


    • Colonial Rawshark 15.1

      good luck to the Scottish National Party. UK Labour, not so much.

    • rawshark-yeshe 15.2

      and this .. he is owner of a Maltese tax haven company !!!


      • greywarshark 15.2.1

        I liked this from rawsharkyeshe No.15 article from The Guardian 16 March 2015 –
        – Ed Miliband called Cameron the “Prime minister for Benson and Hedge funds”. –

        This Crosby is a devious machine. And the comment on the hardness of Australian politics probably explains why Crosby and Mark Textor are both Australians.

        Background to their start in Oz:
        Still in his 30s, Crosby was promoted to deputy director and then director of the national party. There he worked with another rising and aggressive Liberal player, Mark Textor. Textor had taken Rod Cameron’s innovations with voter data and focus groups further, creating two archetypal swing voters, an imaginary middle-income couple called Phil and Jenny. The concept became so influential that during the 1996 national election, Liberal candidates would be asked by the campaign managers: “Have you spoken to Phil and Jenny lately?”

        After 13 years out of power, the Liberals won. They won again in 1998, in 2001, and 2004. Significantly for the current British election, the Liberals often attracted fewer votes than Labor, usually not much more than 35% of the total, but these were decisively concentrated in marginal seats. “At its absolute simplest, a campaign is finding out who will decide the outcome,” Crosby said in a rare public masterclass he gave for charity in London in 2013, “where are they, what matters to them and how do you reach them?”

        He played a central role in all four Liberal victories. The Liberal leader, John Howard, was uncharismatic but shrewd, and listened closely to Crosby. “Elsewhere in the party,” says Mills, Crosby became “somewhat feared and disliked”….

        In Britain:
        The Australian’s energy and attention to detail, his air of conviction, and his emphasis on the traditional rightwing issues of crime and immigration all won him rave reviews in the Tory press…..

        The item relates how he cut and hacked at Livintone ending by Boris Johnson winning as Mayor for London. It finishes by saying that Crosby has to prove himself in the coming British elections. For the sake of his business standing it seems more important for his own standing that David Cameron wins for the Tories.
        The British general election is on May 7, 2015.

        • rawshark-yeshe

          It also explains why we have the tobacco industry candidates here, doesn’t it ?

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Some “left wing” politicians in NZ would be quite tempted to get campaign advice from these right wing spiders. Some already appear to have.

  14. Hateatea 16

    Is it possible sometime to have a discussion about the lamentable habit of some posters to The Standard bastardising other commenters noms de plume.

    I don’t personally care how much I personally disagree with a commenter, I have to respect their right to comment and to reflect their chosen ‘nick’ in my comments. I do admit to using abbreviations from time to time.

    This is just the latest comment to raise my ire and, I admit, I am perhaps being unfair to single this out but here is a response to Te Reo Putake

    ‘Another crap article from Pistake. The Standard eh well if this is supposed to be “the standard” of articles the that the standard will put up with then it might be time to instigate a new standard, actually that kinda has a ring to it, “The New Standard” Great diversion tactic Pistake and if you happen to read this and I’m sure you will as your MO seems to dictate such YOU know exactly what I mean.’

    If I am old fashioned and out of step, so be it, but can’t we disagree courteously?

    • weka 16.1

      I’m with you on that Hateatea. Some, eg those aimed at Fisiani, get pretty tedious and just distract from what is being said (I also think denigrating people via certain body parts adds to our culture’s body hatred but that’s another conversation).

      I haven’t noticed whether people do this with real life names or if it’s only the pseudonyms (I suspect the latter). I take people’s names (ID or pseudonym) as extentions of the person so being mean via bastardisation is just a low form of wit that takes us into macho shithead territory pretty fast. I’m sure the defense is that Fisi and others deserve it because of their politics, but I think it will be putting other people off from commenting here and just adds to the culture of meanness unnecessarily.

      (the irony of the Pistake commenter was that their comment was almost completely devoid of anything useful).

      • Hateatea 16.1.1

        Yes, the fisiani example is particularly unpleasant, IMO. Not that I am pretending to be prudish. I can be both coarse and vulgar but seldom in public and never, I hope, in print!

        I think that some of the verbal put downs do detract from discussion and probably do put people off. I did have to think seriously before I returned to commenting here again because of some of the discussions I read while lurking.

        • weka

          I am glad you have returned. The place will only change if enough people practice communicating well, but I get that sometimes it’s just not worth it.

          I know it’s a challenge for me, I find it easy to get into the rude bordering on mean stuff. One of the reasons I like being here at the moment is I get to practice being more tolerant in the face of sometimes extreme provocation 😉

          I did however notice recently that in real life I am more likely to argue with people like I do on ts. I’m not sure what I think about this yet. Am steering away from the overly challenging, but am liking my increased capacity to be staunch.

          • Hateatea

            It is similar to the electoral process : you have to participate and vote in order to be able to comment on the outcome, in my opinion. Likewise a person needs to articulate their viewpoint to the best of their ability and hope to receive affirmation or negation from a reasoned response. Sadly, sometimes we all of us post in haste and repent at leisure 😉

            I am glad if you are finding your input here is helping you in the real world. I may not always see things the way you do but I respect the manner in which you articulate your thoughts.

        • greywarshark

          @ hateatea
          You are unlikely to get brash rudeness here because you are thoughtful about your subjects and you are not repeating provocative comments that cut across the heart of what most of us feel fervently about.

          Some people don’t realise that this is a lively forum for people with progressive viewpoints which does not take kindly to them dissing all that the Standardistas believe. Those who do it are sooner or later going to be villified, insulted and unfortunately, not sent to Coventry. People get annoyed and write something to match, or they feel forced to try and present a reasonable argument to the BS they are reading.

          Reasonable politeness is received usually but sometimes the comments can be challenging. It’s not a gentle, quiet, meditative retreat. President Putin wouldn’t have come here to relax. But if you want to be safe from the over-excited, the Friday post of the Weekend doings is nice. People talk about the soothing personally useful things they are doing, and smile.

    • mickysavage 16.2

      Things have improved recently but I agree with you Hateatea that discussions should be respectful although I have perhaps in the past not lived up to that standard 😀

      • Hateatea 16.2.1

        We are none of us perfect, mickey 😀

      • weka 16.2.2

        come on micky, you’d be one of the leading examples of tolerance and reasonable discussion 😛 I can’t imagine you doing rude or mean (although I feel you could cut a certain beigity less slack).

    • adam 16.3

      The problem for me Hateatea is some on the right just attack, or argue in a very disingenuous manner.

      Those little epigone to the slug and his mate the lick-spittle propagandist from kiwiblog – have done nothing on this site to earn my respect.

      Personally I do deteriorate to a personal attack. Especially in the face of fatuous individuals.

      Also, Tory scum, need to reminded the left have a backbone and won’t tolerate – hate, racism, sexism and the sickening devotion to cupidity.

  15. ianmac 17

    David Fisher is brave and an excellent journalist:
    “Analysis: The questions the Government must answer about the Snowden revelations……Can we tell the public what the British public now know to be true about their own security agencies? asks David Fisher?”

    If only!

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      “Fish” is one of NZ’s leading journalists on this subject matter, no doubt about that.

    • mickysavage 17.2

      Yep and he did the mea culpa about Slater very early on. His stuff is always worth a read.

  16. greywarshark 18

    And here is the foreign news – a small but important bit:
    Dated 16 March 2015
    ‘It’s boring without rumors’: Putin appears in public after week of MSM hysteria

    • Colonial Rawshark 18.1

      Lots of questions regarding where the heck he “disappeared” to. One which made sense to me said that he had decided to do a few days religious retreat and put matters of state on hold while he recharged and reviewed.

      • Anne 18.1.1

        Are you sure you would describe it as a “religious retreat”?

        It really is absurd when you think about it. He had a 10 day break. So bloody what? It isn’t a crime to decide you need a break unless of course you are the Russian president…

        then you have to do it in secret because your opponents – particularly in the West – will have a collective heart attack and go into a hyperactive state of hysteria.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          That Putin was on the way out, either feet first or by a coup of inner circle generals, was probably wishful thinking on the part of a few western opinion makers…

  17. weka 19

    Green Party mail out for members on how the leadership selection process works (no online link, so a long cut and paste sorry).

    We are getting a lot of interest in how the leadership elections work with
    recent announcements from four Green Party members that they intend to put
    their hat in the ring for the male Co-leadership of the Party.

    In fact the election process has not yet started – the announcements are
    that these men intend to seek nomination. Nominations do not open until the
    20th of March, and will close on the 17th April. When Russel announced that
    he would not seek re-election as Male Co-leader, it was thankfully early
    and in good time so that other talented men could step up.

    Importantly, the party elects/re-elects all of our leadership positions at
    our Annual General Meeting (AGM) every year. This includes both male and
    female Co-leaders, Co-convenors of the Party and Policy Co-convenors.
    Georgina Morrison (female Party Co-convenor) has also announced that she
    will not be seeking re-election, and so we enter this AGM with at least two
    vacant positions.

    Information about the leadership contest [2] and the AGM [3] will be kept
    up to date on the membership section of the website (go to
    http://www.greens.org.nz and click log in in the top right corner). We will be
    providing on-line forums on that website for you to ask the candidates
    questions. There will also be provincial meetings held so members have a
    chance to engage with the candidates. And we will link to videos of this,
    so you can view wherever you are.

    The Party is proud of our internal democracy and consensus-based
    decision-making. This is demonstrated in our Co-leadership/Co-convenor
    model, our annual election of all leadership roles by the party at large,
    and the consensus process we use to conduct that election.

    The consensus process of election involves a series of local meetings. The
    Provincial meetings and on-line forums are to inform members. In May each
    branch will host a meeting at which they will decide how they want their
    electorate votes to be cast. The discussion at the branch level is
    instrumental in members hearing each other’s opinions about why they think
    a particular candidate is the best option for the party. This discussion is
    useful in forming an appreciation of the value the contendors bring to the
    party and an understanding of viewpoints that are different from yours.

    Each electorate has a set number of votes allocated depending on the number
    of current members they have. Those votes are ‘carried’ by delegates to the
    conference. The delegates are current members selected at a
    formally-advertised meeting, and are instructed as to how the electorate
    members would like them to vote. An STV-like voting system is used at the

    The same branch-level and AGM process is followed for all leadership

    Some key dates:

    20 March Nominations open

    17 April Nominations close

    18 April Provincial meetings begin

    May Branch meetings will be held

    30 May AGM to elect leadership roles

    Thanks for your ongoing support for the Party.

    Gwen Shaw

    Green Party Co-convenors

  18. ianmac 20

    In Question Time today Key lead a reply to Russell’s question with a smart list of the fiscal facts that the Green contenders messed up on. (He had to read the list though.) Okay then. He had a second swipe a little later. OK smarty pants.

    But wait. When Key was questioned by reporters tonight about GST on imported goods he said that as an example it would be silly to claim GST off an ITune download costing $1.79 because GST would only be—–wait for it—- about 2 cents.
    What!!! Expert smarty pants. It would be about 26cents!
    Hope Question Time gets a dig at Key tomorrow re his slip up in view of his Green digs, and to ask about Osbourne deciding the 10 one way bridges for about $70million but unable to name them, though he knew the name of the one near his house.
    What goes around comes around.

  19. joe90 21

    If slippery has his way on the TPP we’ll be in the same boat.

    The U.S. economy is picking up steam but most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies are still in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.

    What’s behind this? Two big facts.

    First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.

    In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues — and found that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

    Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns.

    The second fact is most big American corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don’t want Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and responsibility to their shareholders — which often requires lower wages to fuel larger profits and higher share prices.


    • Colonial Rawshark 21.1

      The U.S. economy is picking up steam

      That would be a hilarious statement, if it wasn’t so tragic.

  20. greywarshark 22

    I’ve just caught up with Wilson’s emerging Kiwi Regional Airlines which will be hatching soonish.
    Here’s a link about small airlines and this one, and has an intereting shot of a small plane coming into land in front of high rise housing fairly dense.

    Anyone got an opinion as to whether this housing would be good to live in, seem close? Is it the type of housing that should be available for small families and singles near town and small manufacturing hubs with public transport running near, just one, two streets away.?

    • Molly 22.1

      I think the quality of life experienced in housing (that is well built and healthy, rather than shoddy and damp) does not rely solely on density, but includes the strength of connections to others, services, amenities and vibrant community spaces (and in NZ, access to natural environments if possible).

      An interesting programme to watch is Kevin McCloud’s Slumming It. He visits the slum of Dharavi in Mumbai, as it has recently been cited as a “model community” even though it is built on waste ground including dump sites, and raw sewage ponds.

      Those that live there have created an amazingly diverse and resilient community in such a small area – according to Wikipedia, the most densely populated area in the world.

      • greywarshark 22.1.1

        Yes Molly they might enjoy it and do well with it. But we come from a different culture and have different expectations. It is interesting to store the knowledge of the ability of providing necessities in dense communities and the residents can maintain basic standards and stability. They have shown resilience in their place. We need to design one that allows us to manage our lives in our country and culture.

        There have been thoughts that have probably not been well developed by government about how we could manage our living conditions better. I remember Dr Morgan Williams when he was Commissioner for the Environment talking about the way that a South American city Curitiba had acted to keep their city a good livable place.

        Curitiba improved the conditions in their slums by working with the people. If they collected garbage and handed it in, they were rewarded with food such as eggs not money. It made a big difference to the place, helped the nutrition of the poor and raised community concern for better, more pleasant surroundings.

        This is a very interesting range of Bills in Parliament today.

        • Molly

          There are programmes in the Auckland Council re giving communities a say in how their locales are developed, but not every Local Board has adopted them.

          Thriving Communities is one, a village planning programme is another.

          I suspect that I am agreeing with you, that local knowledge and input creates a more resilient and connected community. Unless specific commitments to encouraging this happen in NZ, we will continue to have a patchwork approach to housing and community building.

    • Murray Rawshark 22.2

      I’d quite happily live in one of those. They look like they even have room for a garden, and there’s bush nearby. I really prefer to sharing communal space with others to having a huge private yard.

  21. weka 23

    Watch @CampbellLiveNZ at 7pm! Txt PAM to 2923 to donate $3 for #Vanuatu or visit: http://bit.ly/1xm1QtC #CyclonePam

  22. irascible 24

    Thought that this talk by Robert Reich on why the tax cuts for the rich and austerity economics is bad for society would be of interest to the Standard readers.

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