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Open mike 18/02/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, February 18th, 2020 - 69 comments
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Step up to the mike …

69 comments on “Open mike 18/02/2020 ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Guyon Espiner really is flogging a dead horse. Basically, Lester grey has givenn him all the financial records of NZ First and he is using them to sling mud and innuendo in the hope something – anything – sticks. This mornings episode described a perfectly ordinary select committee process where Labour, National and NZ First MPs on the committee all agree a routine submission was received from a donor to NZ First that was dealt with entirely normally and resulted in an outcome that was totally transparent across the select committee process.

    But Espiner is insisting in on implying something dodgy has gone on. It is a quite disgraceful exhibition of a political vendetta from a journalist with an axe to grind.

    • Incognito 1.1

      When there is no story, they’ll manufacture one; it is their job, after all. They are doing the public a disservice but all that matters is the revenue.

      • Sanctuary 1.1.1

        Espiner is a sort of special roving reporter. He has clearly invested a lot of time into this NZ First stuff. I would imagine that he sold the "scoop" to his paymasters at RNZ on the basis it was a scandal that would put RNZ in the middle of the biggest political story of the year, with drip feed of stories designed to keep RNZ – and him – front and centre of the election year narrative.

        So far, the best thing that has happened has been the idiocy of NZ First's reaction and the shrieking thin skinned petulance of the establishment media response.

        The actual story -so far – is a series of swing and miss smears but it won't stop him pushing it.

        • Incognito

          Milk it for as long and as hard as you can and keep it in the public eye for as long as possible. Public interest is a fickle beast with an attention span shorter than the average tweet.

        • Avocadonz

          The actual story -so far – is a series of swing and miss smears but it won't stop him pushing it

          Except for the SFO confirming they are going to investigate. Don’t let details get in the way of your story though.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Paul Goldsmith was an astonishing return to the 1990s on RNZ this morning. The guy looks and sounds like a throwback to buttoned down neolib wideboys of the 1990s, jerking off to the sound of his own business jargon laden voice.

    And really, that sums up the bankruptcy of National's economic policies. They've not bee updated for thirty years. Tax cuts for the rich, wealth transfer from the poor to the rich, a punitive surveillance state for the poor, slashing government spending and crony capitalism is all the modern right everywhere have to offer. They know this is a bankrupt, cronyist economic prescription so they've tried to ignite culture wars to hide it with Soimon's angry tram conductor chin jut and meaningless divide and rule slogans.

    • AB 2.1

      Epsomistan is a small isolated republic where democracy was replaced decades ago and is now characterised by rigid, top-down ideological control. Its citizens can come across as curiously dated throwbacks. Current leader, Paul Goldsmith, is notable only as the Guinness world record holder for the "smallest election billboard ever" – a postage-stamp sized, illegible cardboard offering last seen disappearing up David Seymour's nether regions.

    • Leighton 2.2

      Paul Goldsmith also let slip on RNZ that National are "looking at" abandoning the planned increases in minimum wage. Wonder if he ran that one past the leader, as it sits a bit uncomfortably with yesterday's grand announcement that National's policies are all about putting more money in the pocket of the kiwi battler. In reality, what National is looking at will probably be a net zero for the "kiwi battler" (lower wages offset by lower taxes, before cuts to public service are factored in), and double win for the wealthy who will get to pay their staff less and a nice fat tax cut to go with it.

  3. Nostalgia time!

    The panel beater's courtesy car (!!) had on Magic and I heard this old and loved song from the 1970s (?).


    As I listened I realised just how much we had lost with the neoliberal ideology of 'dog eat dog' and 'there is no such thing as society.'

    "He ain't heavy, he's my brother . . .

    "His welfare is my concern . . .

    "It's a long and winding road from which there is no return . . . why not share . . ."

    Ah well, them days of caring for each other are never going to come back. (If they ever truly existed).

    • Anne 3.1

      Thanks for that TV(not etc.).

      Sorry, but today's songs can't compare with the 60s,70s etc.. Great music, great lyrics, great messages.

      We've lost a lot alright.

  4. Suppressed history of NZ: Oravida, the gas line, and the kauri.


    A great overview of the saga and reminder of the fraud and corruption swirling around National

    • Puckish Rogue 4.1

      Hey now Jude is just a close personal friend of one of the executives of Oravida and nothing was proved so its all innocent I'm sure angel

  5. swordfish 5

    Recent Polls:

    (1) UMR

    Jan 2020

    Lab 41%

    NZF 7%

    Green 7%

    Govt 55%

    Nat 39%

    ACT 2%

    Oppo 41%

    = Govt lead by 14 points

    Feb 2020

    Lab 42%

    Green 9%

    NZF 6%

    Govt 57%

    Nat 38%

    ACT 3%

    Oppo 41%

    = Govt lead by 16 points

    (UMR figures from Social Media … can't be verified)

    (2) Reid Research

    Late Jan 2020

    Lab 42.5%

    Green 5.6%

    NZF 3.6%

    Govt 51.7%

    Nat 43.3%

    ACT 1.8%

    Oppo 45.1%

    = Govt lead by 6.6 points

    (3) Colmar Brunton

    Early Feb 2020

    Lab 41%

    Green 5%

    NZF 3.3%

    Govt 49.3%

    Nat 46%

    ACT 1.7%

    Oppo 47.7%

    = Govt lead by 1.6 points

    (Seats in Parliament, of course, are an entirely different matter … but this summarizes current public opinion on the two Party Blocs)

    • Puckish Rogue 5.1

      Its getting exciting isn't it…

      • swordfish 5.1.1

        I'm expecting Judith to topple Simon at some point in July … then the fairy-tale begins.

        • Puckish Rogue

          I wholeheartedly agree, Jude FTW!

        • Puckish Rogue

          Northlands going to be a battleground but I'm predicting National will hold it which will make it a straight shootout between the National/Act (I'm predicting Act will have three MPs) and Labour/Greens

          Will the Greens lose more votes to Labour, stay tuned!

          • Andre

            Winnie's win in the by-election had a few unique factors that won't be replicated in the upcoming general election. So I'm skeptical that Northland is actually somehow in play.

            Just a partial list:

            The previous National occupant of the seat left under a particularly odious cloud.

            The National candidate was quite uninspiring, and got very little support from the Nats as a whole

            The result of the by-election would not change the government, so not a huge incentive for Nats to get out and vote. Similarly the opportunity cost to a Labour voter to vote for Winnie was zero.

            However, for the opposition, winning the by-election would be symbolically huge. So there was a big incentive for all the oppo to coalesce around Winnie.

            Being in government with WinnieFirst carries huge baggage and headaches for Labour in a way that the ACT puppetry show does not for National. So there's definite upsides for Labour if WinnieFirst falls out of parliament.

            • Puckish Rogue

              Also Nationals taken away Winstons trump card of 'keeping the govt honest' so yeah I can't see Jones winning

              But you never know I guess

              • Andre

                The tagline of "keeping the government honest" was always irony thick enough to armour a battleship when it came from Winnie.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  While I know who I want to lead NZ after the next election if Winnie gets booted out of parliament then that'll make me happy no matter what happens

        • Graeme

          Wouldn't be surprised if Simon's leadership become untenable long before that, like in a couple of weeks, but suppression wrangles could kick the can for a while before it all blows to bits.

        • McFlock

          Fairy tale? Shakespearean tragedy, more like. As soon as the first knife goes in Bridges' back, all the pretenders will be thinking about drawing their blades.

          Many will cower, but I reckon a few will have a good stab at it.

        • Robert Guyton

          "then the fairy-tale begins"

          Judith as the Wicked Queen and Jacinda as Snow White?

  6. RedLogix 7

    Everyone assumes we will even get to the election.


    Please keep in mind the suffering and sacrifice the Chinese people are going through right now.

    • swordfish 7.1

      Certainly the Elephant in the Room.

      If it spreads to 60% of the Population … and around 15-20% of those have a severe case needing hospitalisation (oxygen therapy / respirators / ventilators) … then hospitals will be completely overwhelmed … and we'll see many (otherwise preventable) deaths from Convid-19 -related Pneumonia.

      Hopefully it won't come to that … but it's a distinct possibility.

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        Hospitals in China are already overwhelmed.

        I suspect a lot of the problems in China are the result of them being the first to get it (everyone else now knows what to look for), a slow and possibly uncoordinated initial response (because there's a fine line between responding to a potential outbreak and being arrested for fearmongering), a high population density (even for city living), and intranational refugees when the problem became evident to the population but the state was still in denial.

        • RedLogix

          There are many possible explanations. Take a look at this one. It's clearly flagged as speculative but there is nothing unreasonable about it either. I'm not endorsing it, but neither can it be ruled out. There is a huge amount of semi-informed speculation on the net at the moment, much of it filling in the information/trust vacuum created by rather obvious CCP propaganda.

          Still even using the official numbers we are seeing around a 3% fatality rate in Hubei, yet other provinces such as Guandong with 1328 confirmed cases are reporting only 4 deaths instead of the 40 you would expect. There is a clear discrepancy between the rates being reported within Hubei and other provinces.

          One reasonable explanation for this is the kind of complex latency period outlined in my link above. All I'm pointing out is that relying on anodyne official reports when we still don't really understand this new virus is probably not justified.

        • swordfish

          No doubt .., but I'm talking the course of any imminent Pandemic outside the Middle Kingdom / 中华人民共和国 … including within our own fair land …

          … not to mention the potentially massive economic fallout.

          • McFlock

            Frankly, it reminds me of the "if these trends continue" thing we had for ebola.

            I mean, sure it's theoretically possible that 10-15% of the NZ population needs hospitalisation in say a four month period.

            But even without an effective vaccine, maybe it ends up more like TB – endemic in some areas and populations, better-controlled in others.

            What we seem to be seeing is that cases can be reasonably identified and limited outside of China, but within China it's like a brushfire. Even if China is covering up the full extent of their outbreak, we've had long enough for it to become similarly established in other nations, i.e. triple or quadruple-digit infections in the same period that China went from double digit to quintiple digit. Which means the fire can be stamped on before it takes hold.

            • RedLogix

              Frankly, it reminds me of the "if these trends continue" thing we had for ebola.

              Comparing this virus with a completely different one that has a totally different character is bs. Ebola is actually rather hard to catch, it depends on direct bodily fluid exchange or eating bushmeat. It requires a specific set of social circumstances to become a pandemic.

              Covid19 is the exact opposite, it's seems easily caught via multiple pathways and is still spreading actively despite a month of draconian efforts within China.

              WHO are estimating 18 months for a vaccine, but even best case claims I’ve seen are around 4 months. That’s quite long enough for a global pandemic to gain momentum.

              I agree it could be controlled outside of China; indeed one of the peculiarities in the data at this point in time is that it hasn’t spread as dramatically or lethally outside of China yet as might be expected. We still don’t properly understand this.

              We can hope you are right; but this tragedy has a way to run yet.

              • McFlock

                It wasn't the diseases I was comparing, but the zero-information panic.

                Talking about 10% per capita hospitalisation rates in NZ is pretty pessimistic based on what we see so far.

                Internationally, the virus does not seem to have the same infection growth rate as it does in China. Which is what we'd expect, because the control measures were introduced at a far earlier stage in the rest of the world's exposure. (Also on that timeline page, China went the first two weeks in january with no new cases? – yeah, right.)

                China's house is on fire and it's well established. Everyone else has the hoses out and has called the fire department, so their houses are unlikely to receive substantial damage.

                • RedLogix

                  We have to hope your reasoning is turns out the be right; in the meantime keep in mind this virus is from the same family as the common cold.

                  • McFlock

                    If we stopped people with colds going to work or school, the world would be a much healthier place.

              • swordfish


                Your 5:08pm comment pretty much sums up my view.

                60% of Pop / 15-20% severe = is certainly a worst case scenario … but we really can't be casual or lax about this.

                There's a mid-course between panicking & wishful thinking.

                • McFlock

                  I've got a work conference in May, in NZ. Small one, a hundred or so attendees from around the country.

                  Now, at this stage there is no reason to cancel it. Am I saying we won't pull the plug between now and then? Nope. But nobody is holding the cable in anticipation, either.

                  If the situation calls for it, we can change our behaviour. It's all a process. There's a time to stock up on emergency supplies and meds beyond what everybody probably has lying around since the earthquakes. There's a time to start avoiding theatres and crowded places and air transport.

                  But all this worst-case scenario stuff is a bit weird, frankly. Focus on the next three steps rather than worrying about the state of the bridge three miles down the path.

    • francesca 7.2

      A bit sensationalist wasn't it

      The alarm bells went off for me seeing those ominous crows.A fake news video was circulated recently, claiming those crows were at the epicentre of the epidemic, and was later exposed as being some thousands of miles away and a perfectly common phenomenon

      "The WHO’s director of emergencies, Dr Michael Ryan, said the outbreak should not be described as a pandemic, even though it has spread to 25 countries outside China. “The real issue is whether we are seeing efficient community transmission outside of China and at the present time we are not observing that,” he said."


      • RedLogix 7.2.1

        OK so the crows. But no mention of the WHO official speaking to the point.

        Of the various sources scrutinising the CCP official narrative this one has a track record and reasonable credibility. We have a close Chinese connection who is confirming much of what is being said here; so far everything she is telling us is about one week ahead of the news.

        The problem I have is that everything officially reported relies on CCP controlled sources; there does not appear to be any independent checking on the ground, and what leaks out via social media is very difficult to confirm.

        But even the numbers we are being told are not good. And there is still a great deal about this virus we don’t really know.

        • francesca

          I have a friend who is living in China too. He's under the radar running a language school and is married to a Chinese woman .He's fluent and reads well , but most of his information about China comes from the Guardian .Relying on those connections is daft, just as if a foreigner asked me to explain the NZ Health system I'd have a point of view, so would 4 million others

          The worst thing about the virus is its unknown (yet) qualities

          I suppose you've read what the Hong Kong coronavirus expert has had to say ?


          The US 2017/18 flu epidemic seemed to rage on despite the US supposedly being an open and transparent democracy and therefore better equipped to deal with an outbreak…as opposed to the brutal and backward totalitarian CCP

          "The 2017-2018 flu season was severe for all populations and resulted in an estimated 959,000 hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths. This is the highest number of patient claims since the 2009 flu season.[10] "


          Anytime, anywhere there's an epidemic, the population can be guaranteed to decry the efforts of whatever govt is in power, paranoia and rumours, fake news and panic is the order of the day

          I take what you say on board, but there are so many elements to all this and time will be the better judge

          • RedLogix

            Yes I've seen several references to the reasonable expectation that increasing temperatures, sunlight and humidity will see a big reduction in new cases. As it does with the common cold. That's definitely a positive.

            The negatives remain, what if like the common cold it mutates rapidly, reappears seasonally and re-infects frequently?

            Then there is this intriguing analysis.

  7. Puckish Rogue 8


    "a bit of politics, I might have commented on how Neve loves to dance to his music"

    Does this make Neve…wait for it…its coming…you'll love it…are you ready…a Tiny Dancer?


  8. Felix 9


    Not sure if this has aleardy been posted but I thought it was worth posting.
    From what infomation we have available it appears that the talking point dragged out for the defence of a US airstrike against soleimani, that he was posing an 'imminent threat' to US soldiers stationed in the region was nothing more than a helpful little slogan to pretend that the attacks were justified under international law. Its sad to see cases like this were a weak defence for an illegal and wrong action lasts just long enough to outlive public and meida interst, before falling apart in the deathly silince of general disinterest.

    • JO 9.1

      That 'imminent threat' idea goes back to Tony Blair's need to justify supporting the GW Bush régime in destroying Saddam Hussein. Blair's government eventually found an ironically named lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem, who helpfully provided a clever new definition.


      It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

      Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack.

      […] the Bethlehem Doctrine is the formal policy position on assassination of Israel, the US and UK governments. So that is lie one. When Pompeo says Soleimani was planning “imminent” attacks, he is using the Bethlehem definition under which “imminent” is a “concept” which means neither “soon” nor “definitely going to happen”. To twist a word that far from its normal English usage is to lie. To do so to justify killing people is obscene.

      • Felix 9.1.1

        Wow yeah that's almost a verbatim double speak use of the word 'immanent', Orwell would have been impressed…

        Thanks for that peice of history, good to know

    • Andre 9.2

      I doubt anyone ever took seriously the "imminent threat" bullshit right from the get-go. Especially when it was about sixth in the line of incoherent nonsensical and contradictory explanations given by various known liars.

      Dunno about a deathly silence of general disinterest. It's more like submerged beneath a firehose of fresh outrages. And even if there were a functioning mechanism to hold Darth Drumpf accountable (McTurtle has ensured all possible mechanisms for accountability have been smashed), it would be a fair way down on the list of outrages to hold him accountable for. Especially from an American viewpoint.

      • Felix 9.2.1

        Your probably right Andre but it's still good to come to a proper conclusion with these kinds of event that get the publicity and scrutiny they deserve. That way we can all learn lessons and began to settle closer to a agreed upon history of events. As things are people who were for these attacks will probably never hear that they didn't have the legal justifications that it was said they had, and won't have that knowledge for next time something like this happens

  9. joe90 11

    And he's gone.

    London (CNN)A recently hired adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned, after backlash grew against his controversial past comments — notably for claims that black Americans have lower IQs than white Americans and that compulsory contraception could prevent the creation of a "permanent underclass."

    Andrew Sabisky, a self-described "superforecaster," announced his resignation as a "contractor" on Twitter Monday, saying that he did not want the "media hysteria about my old stuff online" to be a distraction for Johnson's government.


    • Andre 11.1

      His tenure was how many Scaramuccis long?

    • RedLogix 11.2

      notably for claims that black Americans have lower IQs than white Americans

      Turns out to be a remarkably complex topic. Whatever the cause there does appear to be either:

      1 A real and persistent IQ gap between black and white America (and between many countries globally) ….

      2. Or IQ is a meaningless number with no relevance …

      3. Or there is no such thing as race anyway …

      • Andre 11.2.1

        It's possible that IQ tests themselves have a residual cultural bias, despite best attempts to eliminate them.

        It's plausible that the systemic disadvantages that African-Americans have to deal with all their lives contributes to low scores on IQ tests.

        It is probable that the number coming out of an IQ test is indeed meaningless, particularly over small differences.

        It is certain that the distributions for the various populations overlap so heavily and the average differences so small that even if an IQ gap is a real thing, it's of zero practical significance for any real-world purpose. Particularly at an individual level.

        • RedLogix

          On reading the wikipedia article I was genuinely struck at what an interestingly complex topic this is.

          The point is that what Sabisky said isn’t really controversial, measured differences between groups and countries is well established. But understanding why these differences arise and persist isn’t.

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