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Open mike 17/11/2013

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, November 17th, 2013 - 119 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step right up to the mike …

119 comments on “Open mike 17/11/2013 ”

  1. Paul 1

    Child neglect at casino increasing

    John Banks, Peter Dunne and the others who voted for more pokies, hang your heads in shame.
    This will just get worse in the future.

    • chris73 1.1

      Of course because its nothing to do with poor parenting at all

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Poor parenting is 50% of the problem. Let’s tackle the whole problem. Including resourcing and teaching parents better skills and better approaches.

        • aerobubble

          Every child is different, until we teach to weakness and reward their strengths schools and teachers will continue to fail kids in my opinion.

      • Paul 1.1.2

        Yeah, Chris..that’s the only reason….
        Saves you from having to worry about any social contract.

        If 73 refers to your date of birth, it explains a lot.
        A child of the neo-liberal revolution.

        Do you realise there are successful alternative views to how society can operate than the Ayn Rand/’Atlas shrugged’/libertarian/ me me me model ?

        • Tim

          “If 73 refers to your date of birth, it explains a lot.
          A child of the neo-liberal revolution.”

          I’d even put money on it!

      • fender 1.1.3

        Chris73… in case you missed it Murray Olsen asked you an important question

        • chris73

          Didn’t miss it, there was no reply button. Trying to decide whether to go larger caliber (thus more expensive ammo) and learn to reload to offset costs or stay with smaller caliber which is cheaper ammo

      • felix 1.1.4

        Of course because its nothing to do with poor parenting at all

        Of course this is an example of poor parenting, chris. The whole point is that this is poor parenting. We should all be appalled by such poor parenting.

        So how come you and John Key are supporting legislation that will ensure more of it?

      • Puddleglum 1.1.5

        HI chris73,

        Let’s play with this idea for a bit.

        What causes ‘good parenting’ or ‘poor parenting’? To answer this question we would have to abondon the magical notion that some strange, supernatural ability to ‘make different choices’ exist.

        That’s because the idea that people can summon ‘willpower’ (ex nihilo) from somewhere beyond the world of natural processes to do things differently immediately raises the question of why some people do – and are able to – summon such willpower while others don’t. From what does that different ability – and outcome – arise?

        Sooner or later, to explain human behaviour we have to appeal to processes and forces beyond the individual person. To do otherwise and claim that it all arises from the person is unabashed hocus pocus.

        That leaves us with two possibilities.

        One is that external processes need to be employed to stop individuals emitting ‘bad behaviour’. Some respond to this possibility by claiming that there needs to be increased coercive force to constrain or prevent ‘bad behaviour’. This is the thinking behind punishment and ‘deterrence’ for ‘bad behaviour’. Alternatively, it might be argued that supportive ‘training’ is needed to prevent ‘bad behaviour’. These are two sides to the same coin and see the answer at the level of re-engineering individuals.

        The other possibility is that there are sets of external processes that actually generate ‘bad behaviour’ and do so quite systematically. That is, external structures (economic, social, etc.) are busy generating bad behaviours like a widget factory generates widgets (perhaps this ‘production’ is unintentional but the fact remains that this is what is happening). From this perspective, the sensible thing to do is close down the ‘factory’ or radically alter its functioning so that it no longer generates the ‘bad behaviour’. That means changing social and economic structures – changing the way we organise ourselves for production.

        The usual argument against the second possible explanation is that not everyone in the current social and economic structures exhibits ‘bad behaviour’ therefore it can’t be the fault of the structures.

        But this is garbled logic.

        It can be argued against by pointing out that – given ‘natural variation’ in everything from genes to developmental experiences – the impact of malevolent structures will always produce different outcomes in different individuals but that this is not evidence for the lack of malevolence or dysfunctionality in those structures.

        Also, we don’t have good stats on ‘sub-critical’ dysfunction to check to see whether the socially acknowledged ‘bad behaviour’ is actually just the tip of a bigger iceberg of social difficulties that are more widespread in the population but never come to formal expression, especially in relation to a particular issue such as child neglect (i.e., the same difficulties that result in some people neglecting children may be expressed, by other people, in other ways – e.g., mental ill health – rather than through child neglect; therefore, we don’t see them as connected phenomena, arising from the same causes).

        I’d argue that those who believe in the first kind of explanation will, forever, be like the dutch boy trying to plug holes in the dyke. Things will just get worse and worse until the whole dyke bursts open violently. All that sticking your finger in one hole does is increase the pressure on other parts of the dyke and make those other parts more likely to break.

        Paradoxically, the more fevered and wide-ranging the attempts to ‘plug the dyke’ the more harm ends up being done, and done more quickly. The answer, if the second view is adopted, is to divert the body of water behind the dyke (to take the pressure off it – i.e., to stop it generating ‘holes’) then either rebuild the dyke more robustly or do things differently so we don’t need dykes.

        ‘Dyke plugging’ is the ‘piecemeal social engineering’ approach to social change that Karl Popper advocated – and it is beloved by those of a classical liberal/liberal bent who fear the effects of widespread social and economic change; which is understandable but not necessarily a guarantee that it is a successful strategy.

        Like gamblers at a casino, the bet being laid by ‘hole pluggers’ is that ‘things are not really that bad’ in terms of fundamental social and economic structures. (i.e., that we have enough fingers to plug all the holes that will arise so no need to think beyond ‘hole plugging’.)

        • Paul

          He won’t have an idea what you’re talking about.

          • Puddleglum

            I hope you’re wrong but if you’re right I guess that means that I must try to express myself more clearly.

            I don’t mind trying to meet someone three-quarters of the way, if that’s what it takes. I just find it difficult hitting the right pitch sometimes.

            It’s an art, I know, and I need to practice it more.

            • Rogue Trooper

              that will be helpful, for some, I’m certain.

            • felix

              I thought it was expressed very clearly. Never be clear enough for those who feign ignorance though.

              • North

                Frankly Puddleglum I am moved. Excellent, calm, clear, superbly logical, profound, analysis. Thanks.

                Who cares that the Little Churchill effigies infesting this site won’t by will or nature understand. Be fun to see them squeal and splutter.

            • Foreign Waka

              I found your article perfectly fine and understandable. One item you have not included, albeit this might be quite important when trying to explain why parents leave children in the car to go gambling is: Gambling is an addiction. Like a drug it draws certain vulnerable individuals to think they can “beat” the system, play to a proven method etc.They also watch how much a “one armed bandit” as the pokies where once called is played on in the belief that there are certain odds to get a winner when jumping on one of these at the “right” time. How I know this? I have watched 2 people ruining their and their family lives and nothing, absolutely nothing could stop them until they reached bottom level with no money left. Ultimately, this is what casinos live on – to take the hard earned money of ordinary people. In times past movies indicated that is was the mobs business.

              • Hi Foreign Waka,

                I agree about the addictive qualities of gambling. After all, it is the variable ratio schedule of reinforcement (from the work of behaviourist B.F. Skinner) that is used to explain and calculate the average rate of reward in these machines to make a behaviour most resistant to extinction.

                I’d suggest that one of the dysfunctional aspects of the social and economic structures we have in place currently is that it creates incentives for commercial enterprises to identify and then exploit those behaviours most prone to behavioural addiction with the inevitable bad consequences for individuals and society.

                One of the skills that consumerism, for example, actively undermines is the ability for self control (aka ‘deferred gratification’) that is now known – from our own Dunedin study – to be one of the best predictors of adult success in relation to “health, wealth and public safety“.

                The prevalence of addictive behaviours, I’d argue, is itself a function of structures that provide conditions to encourage them.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  After all, it is the variable ratio schedule of reinforcement (from the work of behaviourist B.F. Skinner) that is used to explain and calculate the average rate of reward in these machines to make a behaviour most resistant to extinction.

                  Same thing applies to MMOs and other games.

                  The prevalence of addictive behaviours, I’d argue, is itself a function of structures that provide conditions to encourage them.


                  And this is where regulations come in. The simple fact is that capitalism will exploit these bad behaviors for personal gain means that they need to be regulated to minimise the harm to society that otherwise would result.

                • RedLogix

                  Some time back as a single and dating lad, I recall a quiet evening out at the local. As we walked in she quietly said to me ” If you find me in the bandit room any time later… you have my full permission to strong-arm me out of here.” She wasn’t kidding.

                  This from an otherwise intelligent, strong-willed and capable person was … memorable. It was something I’d never encountered before.

                  I’m curious because while I understand PG’s narrative, there still remains the fact that different individuals appear to vary very widely in their susceptibility to addictive behaviours.

                  Do you imagine that genetic’s should wholly account for this, or is there some other factor in play?

              • Chooky

                +1 …perfectly understandable good article from puddlegum…I dont trust those who always seek to blame the parents ….it takes a good caring balanced society to create good parents……and yes gambling can be an addiction (like being on the standard all the time….ha ha)

        • Murray Olsen

          Well said, and good to see someone else who doesn’t worship Popper.

  2. Debbie 2

    But Paul that’s the wonderful thing about always being right, cos of course it isn’t their fault, it never is! And after all increased child neglect at sky city, even increased pokie use has nothing to do with increased poker machines; that is all the fault of BAD beneficiaries, who should know better than to use poker machines. All the right have done is to get us a convention centre which they keep telling us we desperately needed, and of course there is no correlation whatsoever with increased poker machines and increased gambling. None whatsoever

  3. Paul 3

    Our MPs jeer at the words of the the Filipino delegate to the climate change talks.
    And now we make our dairy profits by ignoring genocide.
    I’m ashamed to be a New Zealander, given the direction this government is taking it.
    Just wait for his twitter saying how much fun he’s having. The man is loathsome. http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/11/17/you-have-to-admire-john-key/

    • aerobubble 3.1

      Key has always been weak. Its the old story about managers, you help promote the ones that aren’t a threat. Key’s compliance and acquiescence style is very welcome in easy going times, as its predictable. Yet our world is now entering crisis, resource limits, population (aging and growth), climate and cultural (mono uniformity globally).

  4. Paul 4

    “Prime Minister John Key said he will set out his concerns about human rights issues “pretty directl” when he has his formal meeting with Sri Lanka’s President later today, but said overall the relationship between the two countries was improving.”
    (Typo courtesy of the Herald.)


    Pretty directly, eh?
    Rajapaksa must be shaking in his boots.

    Compare Key’s words with this.

    ”British prime minister say he will look to UN to investigate claims of civil war abuses if Sri Lanka does not act within four months”

    I’m not a fan of David Cameron… but it seems he’s a lot more direct.


    “But as world leaders and royalty, including the Prince of Wales, gathered in the capital for their biennial meeting, Cameron first headed to meet victims of Sri Lanka’s 25-year civil war and those suffering continuing violence.”

    • To be fair to Key, if the UK had some significant economic or strategic interests in Sri Lanka Cameron wouldn’t be using his current tone.

      So far as I’m aware, for Cameron it’s a ‘free hit’.

      By contrast, I understand that there’s some reasonably significant economic (‘dairy’??) interests in Sri Lanka for Key.

      Diplomatic duplicity (or ‘realpolitik’ or whatever you want to call it) once again prevails.

      • aerobubble 4.1.1

        Fonterra is uniquely tied up with the nation state of NZ, and so is a easy target for global politics. Splitting Fonterra would seem a reasonable way to disconnect and allow our PM leeway to pursue our other national interest, the promotion of civil rights. Key is too close to big business.

  5. ScottGN 5

    Key’s getting a real pasting over Sri Lanka and Fonterra on Q & A. More and more I get the impression Fran O’Sullivan has pretty much lost all respect for him.

    • Bearded Git 5.1

      A pasting with knobs on. Well worth a watch. Have never heard Key dismissed as an incompetent idiot (my words/interpretation) previously in the msm, albeit only in foreign relations terms. Is this a turning point?

      • Arfamo 5.1.1

        I doubt it. Fearful “stuff everyone else I’m looking after number one” selfishness is still the driver of the majority of the voters it seems.

        • Rogue Trooper

          well, the Tories maintain support so far. And from The Nation, Colon Craig- “we’re more in that business space (than NZFirst), …50% of our list are successful small businesmen…my portfolio to interests (Rachel)…small business, property… and, government in an efficient manner.” Oh dear, along with more of these show-business and respectable types being found less than whole-some.

          • greywarbler

            … and, government in an efficient manner.”
            Colon Craig, another weed springing up from the rampant neo liberal infested countryside.
            Just as pervasive as bindwee, convulvulus, old man’s beard. Get rid, root and branch.

            • Rogue Trooper

              now, that is a co-inky-dink; bindweed and the persistent c are an issue in my garden too. Old-Man’s Beard, we cleared a lot of on a rural property we leased two years ago; it was strangling the trees, dreadful stuff.

    • Rogue Trooper 5.2

      yes, it was interesting commentary by Fran, praising Helen Clark’s comprehension of the issues that a New Zealand Prime Minister needs.

      Also from Q&A, Robert Reid of First Union on this rape culture prevalence : “we live in a bullying, misogynist culture […] that needs a complete change.” (paraphrased).

      And Hone, on Feed The Kids Bill, believes that some Nats would personally support it to select committee, he has to see their whips: 80,000-100,000 children go to school hungry- Source, Barnados.

      • North 5.2.1

        Little Churchill’s losing it and not just abroad. Mutant biped corgi of a man. Honestly ! What an embarrassment !

      • millsy 5.2.2

        As I said before, there is really no different than the School Dental Service, free milk in school, Education Board speech therapists and psychologists, school nurses, school buses, etc and so on..

  6. hone harawira just gave a blistering-interview on Q & A..

    phillip ure..

  7. travellerev 7

    Raglan came out to support the flotilla on its way to Anadarko’s ground zero. With hundreds of people both Pakeha and Maori (Which is new here in Rags) and speeches from not other than Angeline Greensill, Catherine Delahunty and Hone Harawira amongst others it was a great turn out!

  8. Tat Loo (CV) 8

    NZ war in Afghanistan = NZ$280M cost. No problem. Pike River families compensation = NZ$3.0M. No way.

    What a pathetic crappy Govt. NZ deserves better. The West Coast deserves better.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      Funny how cost wasn’t going to be an issue in the fool’s goal of getting back into the mine, but as soon as a very modest amount of money that actually would make a real difference to people’s lives come around, suddenly the purse strings are closed.

    • travellerev 8.2

      And if they can’t be bothered to help those people with a bit of funding. What makes us think they will cough up if and when Anadarko fucks up on our coasts! We will be left in a destroyed country while John Key and his ilk live it up elsewhere on our dime and with our assets!

    • Anne 8.3

      Currently reading Nicky Hagar’s ‘Other Peoples’ Wars”. What I find the most shocking is the attitude of some at least of the NZ Defence Force personnel (including senior officers) who were posted to Afghanistan. They pulled the wool over the Labour govt’s eyes and blatantly lied about what they were doing there. Their brief was to be peace keepers and assist with reconstruction and they were NOT to be part of the killing sprees (my word for it) except in a situation of a threat to their life and limb.

      My point is: under National they most certainly would have been sent there to be part of the random killing sprees – of that I have no doubts. Imagine how much more the Afghanistan cost would have been – $500M? But they can’t compensate the Pike River families for the terrible ordeal they’re still going through at a mere pittance in comparison.

      Pathetic, crappy Govt. is almost an understatement. As for the voters… most are no better.

      • Paul 8.3.1

        George Carlin
        ‘Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens – if you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks.’

  9. fender 9

    Oh dear… Roy Harper gets charged with historic sex offences…

  10. aerobubble 10

    The Nation today, Bennett said women were vulnerable, preyed upon by loser men (since no women in her right mind wants a baby, forgets to take the pill, or just doesn’t want to live with a man, does not occur to her). Now, apart from the outward rage against men this former single mum beneficiary has toward men, and the pedaling the stereotype that women are weak (and so vulnerable which feeds into the roastbuster views of women), apart from all that, what really really irked was how now she was in this position of power she felt so easily compelled to dish it out to women and men about their promiscuity. As if the state was somehow supposed to govern personal matters like that, but worse, that now she was powerful, that she needed to emphasis her now non-vulnerability. All the compassion and the principle just drained from her, and to my mind she just fed the roastbuster stereotypes, at both ends, ruthless men pray of weak women. Women are not weak, women do pray on men too, they do when they are physically stronger but also more likely psychologically. If Bennett had not been sexist against both men and women she might just have caused authorities to investigate, but its one of those bureaucratic technicalities that let this culture of women hatred, self loathing, self-victimization alive. I mean that’s not to suggest that strong women don’t exist, or self-loathing weak vulnerable MSD ministers, but that just as there are predatory women there are predatory men, just as there are sex crimes against women, there are also against men (by women as well as other men), anyway I think you get the point, I hope.

    [karol: moved from National day of action against rape culture, highly moderated post. I share your disapproval of Paula Bennett’s treatment of beneficiaries. You draw a long bow from there to the day of action against rape culture. You also don’t seem to understand how rape culture is supported by sexism and patriarchal culture.]

    • ropata 10.1

      Yes we are well aware of Bennett’s mean streak and general misanthropy, directed towards either gender

    • xtasy 10.2

      aerobubble, that “loser man” term was introduced by the moderator on the program, not so much by Bennett, but she is of course always a two faced, hypocrite, trying to at one stage presenting women and men as losers, but then claiming some are “really good” and “heroes”, which sounds so unconvincing coming from her high seat.

      She is just laughing material, with all this slap happy, sloganised, casual shit talk she presents to the media, there is little detail, substance or anything else of reliable information she ever presents. It is all about “spirit”, “morals”, about “doing” things, about this that and the other vague stuff, one has to wonder, why these idiot journalists let her get away with it all.

      Truth is, most agree with her “moral high-ground lecturing”, so they do as mostly typical uppety middle classers totally agree with what she and Nationals stand for and do. There is NOTHING we can expect from the shit mainstream media to really address what is going on in welfare, they simply are not at all interested, whether it is fair, objective, just or whatever.

      • aerobubble 10.2.1

        This presumes the interviewer didn’t inject the term to play Bennett, exposing her for the emptiness. It makes more sense that way, since Bennett loves the put down of those she is duty bound to serve, the needy. Says more about Key selecting her, and National for stomaching her for so long. But hey I’m biased I think a benefit should not come with strings attached since its inhibits seeking further income and so helps force down wages as employers increase churn knowing the work force will not rise up (as they will have a subsidy). It means over time a subgroup of under skilled, under utilized, under paid citizens comes into existance, locked out of higher wages necessary to build their own lives and investments. Universal income payment is not only efficient its the only ethical way, the caveat being that governments may raise it too much to gain popularity but this should never be a reason for not having one.

  11. Rogue Trooper 11

    According to Bennett, of the 80,000 receiving sole-parent support (DPB,etc), 89% are women.
    Conversely, $2.8B is outstanding in child support payments (yes, I paid mine, and extras) and this figure is growing. Not much more to be said on gender imbalances in NZ. Well, of course there is…

    • RedbaronCV 11.1

      Good on you for paying RT – hope that included some compensation for her labour.

      But generally child support is a big fat fail – time we stopped the male view of reasonable about this – $12 a week is generally considered enough

    • Tim 11.2

      ….”(yes, I paid mine, and extras)” …..
      As did I. In fact I estimate I paid close to 1.5 – 2 times what my ex, and one of my children received in any sort of state benefits.
      ….. still, can’t grumble – otherwise I’d have no right to be able to regard the likes of BM, Chris73 and other trolls as complete and utter assholes devoid of any concept of community, egalitarianism, selflessness, etc.
      I hope the cnuts don’t claim any sort of Christian principles (a la Chris Finlayson et al).

  12. Arfamo 12

    There’s a lot to be said for putting contraceptives in the water supply until this situation is sorted out.

  13. the air new zealand shares will be flogged off ‘by tuesday night’..

    ..according to bill english..

    phillip ure..

  14. Paul 14

    Air NZ asset sale process begins

    “The Government has begun the process to sell 20 per cent of Air New Zealand shares,
    it announced today.”


    • CC 14.1

      Good news – now I won’t feel obliged to put up with the crappy over-hyped Air NZ in the name of patriotism.
      Question – how long before the taxpayers will have to buy it back again?

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        I’d say 5-6 years for the private buyers to strip most of the value out of it and turn its balance sheet into cash to be extracted for shareholders.

        • alwyn

          Can you perhaps explain how the “private buyers” are going to accomplish this when the Government will continue to hold and absolute majority of 53% of the shares?

  15. aerobubble 15

    China introduces two child policy, one might think they wanted to first destroy Fonterras brand in the market firstly and keep imports down.

    One thing is for sure, the cows will be shitting in the rivers even more to fulfill demand from a wave of new babies in China.

  16. adam 16

    I was in attendance at the protest over the roast busters and rape culture yesterday in Auckland and it got me thinking.

    I do wonder sometimes, if Auckland is to big, and if it was all possible that we need to have events like this spread over the city. I mean for us out west with the trains down yesterday and having a pram, taking a bus is not an option. (was able to borrow a car)

    Local organisation for the local people. And as it happened in the west – a protest or event in New Lynn may have been better. This is not a criticism of the event – because it was fantastic – but the beginning of of some questions for us lefties. If we really are keen to hear local communities and their opinions – then we need to operate in those communities.

    A protest is an empowering thing – it gives voice to the voiceless – it offers a sense of action and it gives people a feeling of togetherness.

    Questions really, can we do this differently? Can we make it more effective? I know logistics seems BIG – but if we keep it local – then it’s local orgaisation for local people. Drawing on more talent and orgaisational skills expands the left not diminishes it.

    Just thoughts and Ideas – Again let me say the orgainsation and the speakers at yesterdays rally were spot on and awesome!! And If Miss Davidson would/could please put her speech on line I’d like to read it again – it was bloody awesome.

    • alwyn 17.1

      What a depressing read. This must apply to about 99.92% of the contributors to blogs.
      I of course am the other 0.08% of the set, as I am of course never miserable.

      • phillip ure 17.1.1

        i of course am of the opinion that a miserablist can be (at least temporarily) cured..

        ..by the application of an ear-pinning-back joint…

        ..one of those ones that five mins after consumption ..

        ..has you going ..’whoar..!..’

        ..hard to be/maintain the miserable..if you are giggling..


        ..phillip ure..

  17. Rogue Trooper 18

    Police Not Getting The Message
    “soaring numbers of emergency calls… and an inadequate budget”.

  18. Morrissey 19

    Smart Talk not so smart;
    The decline in quality of our public radio is a scandal

    Smart Talk: Zeus and Hera – Family and Marriage
    Radio NZ National, Sunday 17 November 2013

    This is how the Radio NZ website advertises this dog:

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The first of a series of panel discussions from the Auckland Museum on the theme of Gods and Men features Dita De Boni, Conrad Reyners and Dr Susan Morton. With Zeus and Hera in mind Noelle McCarthy explores what family and marriage means in 21st century Aotearoa, a place where the only thing nuclear about the family is the way that it has exploded. In a wide-ranging discussion, the group considers the impact of the Marriage Equality Bill.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    For any serious listener, one name above all would have set the alarm bells ringing: anyone who has listened to Dita Di Boni‘s light-hearted and light-headed contributions on The Panel or read her sub-sophomoric ruminations in the Herald will have been aware that, whatever the producers of this program had in mind, it was not a serious discussion. [1]

    Due to other commitments, I tuned in only to the last few minutes of the program. This is what I heard…..

    DITA DI BONI: We’re hamstrung by political correctness in the parenting realm. There are some things we are not allowed to do these days. I’m not brave enough to say what they are! He he he he he!

    She then went on to defend “those people of conservative views” (translation: hateful fundamentalist Christian bigots) who were subjected to ridicule on “the leftist forum” of Twitter after they had posted their ignorant messages during the recent Civil Marriage debate.

    The really troubling thing about this was not that she said something so foolish and provocative, but that she was not challenged in any way by any of the other participants. There are a couple of possibilities to explain their silence: either Conrad Reyners and Dr Susan Morton are brain-dead, or they knew without having to be told that disagreement and debate are not encouraged or tolerated on Radio New Zealand National.

    This Smart Talk turkey follows the format of being interrupted every twelve or so minutes—clearly someone imagines it can be flogged to some commercial outfit somewhere—by a recorded promo of the program, consisting of Noelle McCarthy’s Cork lilt over a bed of unsettling, vaguely portentous music. It is done in exactly the same sententious manner as the TED Radio Hour, the dire PBS series that recently filled the 4 o’clock spot.

    This style of grandiose introductions for essentially light, intellectually lazy arts and discussion programs goes back a long way. Those Standardisti who watched CanWest television shows on Sunday afternoons in New Zealand in the late 1990s will recall with horror a similarly pretentious Canadian television series [2] that used to show on TV3, and will be unable to forget—try as they might—the breathy introductions and voiceovers by one Marilyn Lightstone. Disturbingly, someone at Radio New Zealand National is impressed rather than repelled by such shallowness, and they have compelled poor Noelle McCarthy to perform the radio equivalent of what the National Party’s brains trust did when it compelled poor Don Brash to climb into a stock car on the campaign trail.

    At the end of the program, the studio audience erupted into explosive applause. I would bet Bill Clinton’s monthly whoring budget that someone had instructed them to do this, and it was not spontaneous. Certainly the Sunday 4 ’til 8 host Katrina Batten sounded dubious: “A very enthusiastic audience there,” she said, carefully, “ending the first episode of Smart Talk….”

    [1] http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-10052013/#comment-631145
    [2] It consisted almost entirely of following the Toronto dinner-jacket set to exhibition openings and book launches. There was a particularly sad, worshipful segment one day devoted to Christopher Hitchens’ appearance at a society dinner party; the Canadian and American punters interviewed seemed to be in awe of the fact that Hitchens had read so many books.

    • Murray Olsen 19.1

      How many of those books had Hitchens understood? He always struck me as the sort that would read a précis of a book, just so he could throw it into conversation.

      • Morrissey 19.1.1

        I think he read them, Murray. He was a liar, a bully and a toady, but unlike his sad acolytes and the right wing politicians he so virulently defended, he did actually know what he was talking about.

        • ropata

          Hitchens v. Galloway: Iraq war debate. http://youtu.be/XLKQGwVkczg
          Galloway condemns Hitchens’ warmongering in virulent fashion. Must see.

          • Morrissey

            That’s a very good citation, ropata. However, I don’t think “virulent” is the right word to describe Galloway’s systematic demolition of Hitchens. It applies to Hitchens though, quite appropriately.

  19. logie97 20

    John Key and Sri Lanka and 1981.

    If there was any doubt before, none remains now.
    We have got a true measure of Key’s understanding of the world.
    Far from being able to remember what he was doing in 1981, Key knows full well what he was doing and where he stood on playing with Apartheid, as evidenced by his opinions of sanctions against countries – “as not working or ineffective” says it all.

  20. miravox 21

    I think there are so good ideas here

    I still think an inquisitorial rather than adversarial processes is best in court, but Collins is not going to go there.

    Ms Collins was looking at restorative justice.

    “What we know is that quite a lot of those people who do complain to police as victims of sexual assault are actually assaulted by people who are close to them – either partners, former partners, friends, family members.

    “And sometimes they don’t want, those victims, to have to go to court. They also don’t want to necessarily see the accused end up in jail for up to 20 years, because rape is treated extremely seriously in this country.

    “What thy do want is they want abuse to stop, they want the offender to confess to what they’ve done, to acknowledge the harm that they’ve caused and to help give back that person’s dignity.

    “And I think it’s that loss of dignity which continues to live with the victim forever.”</blockquote.

    Obviously it won't suit all victims, or be appropriate for many forms of rape, but there are a lot of people who would feel they can get some proportionate justice, with further protection through behaviour change as a result of a restorative justice process, than having families being ruined by long drawn out adversarial justice processes and prison terms.

    I'm surprised and pleased Collins is actually putting a bit of thought into this, rather than making excuses. Note to self to see if this process is in use elsewhere.

  21. vto 22

    here’s something from the past

  22. xtasy 23

    Chile determined to return a left of centre president, while many will say: “BASTA Pinera”:




    Immense social inequality established after a “Chicago Boys” generated type of “economic boom” (for the top winners), supported by US and other overseas capital, is likely to urge most Chileans to question the present system and return Bachelet to presidency.

    This is highly interesting stuff to watch in one of Latin America’s most important countries and economies!!!

  23. xtasy 24

    Just a further good link to an interesting story on Chile here, from Al Jazeera online:


    Yep, so while we have the “Chicago Boys” do their deals, the rest of society have to live with humble pie, no matter where you go and look. “Trickle down” or “pissing down” your leg while you stand next by the side, that is their theory.

    John Key did oversee another “dairy deal” in Sri Lanka, shat on human rights issues, while the UK media exposed the censorship and bias in the media there. NZ is becoming a sell-out country when it comes to human rights, gradually similar to the “sell out” terms that the Pinochet government offered overseas “investors” to make great gains in Chile, over the last few decades.

    Private education locks many out of decent education there, so there have been endless protests. This election there this Sunday is a must watch story. Hopefully some more moves towards a bit more social and economic justice will be the result after all.

  24. xtasy 25

    Camila Vallejo’s election “ad” for her “Florida” electorate in the south of Santiago. Well, it seems they all at some stage turn a bit “mainstream”, she being a former “communist” and student leader, now running under the group supporting prospective president Bachelet:


    Well, I wish her well, any move away from what they have now can only be an improvement.

  25. xtasy 26

    A better video here on Camila and her election campaign:


    An upcoming mother by all looks too, how interesting, running for Parliament and also motherhood at the same time, here you go, emancipated Kiwi girls, a good example to perhaps respect and follow (some do by the way!)!

  26. xtasy 27

    Libertad for MAPUCHE!!!

  27. xtasy 28


    There are issues in NZ, but the issues that took importance there, and have a follow up story to tell, they can also happen here.. This is what one of the most commercially brainwashed people on this planet, and those are you, dear NZers, do not bloody realise!

    Wake up and take a bloody stand, thanks! Key just let Sri Lanka off the hook! A country with unadressed human rights issues, where tens of thousands were killed. How can a people, that is “civilised” and “educated’ stand bloody still and damned well IGNORE this???

  28. Gatsby 29

    If it adds nothing then do not remove it allow us to respond in kind. It really is censorship shame on you.

    All we want is a democratic and fair government but the minute you censor something you are admitting you are no better than them. A democratic society doesn’t censor or delete its citizens comments just because they disagree. They allow debate and free speech.

    The thread flowed and ebbed comments from photonz would have been taken to task.

    [karol: this is a blog not government. There are policies for the blog, breaching of them is a banning offence. See here. I haven’t banned commenters but moderated some comments and moved them because they are in danger of derailing the thread.

    Banning offences are attacking authors and telling them what to write.
    there are also rules, which includes trollish behaviour such as not engaging the brain when commenting.

    You are really overstating the value of the comments I deleted. The commenter had set the discussion off in a direction that was off topic, was warned, then continued to dispute it. That’s not censorship.
    And continuing to dispute my decisions and actions will not be looked on favourably either.

    I’m sorry I originally moved the comments to this open mike – 17th, then corrected and sent them to open mike for the 18th]

  29. captain hook 30

    O Karol. did you offend diddums. Have yu traumatised him and f*cked him up for the rest of his life?

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