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Open mike 18/12/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 18th, 2020 - 103 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

103 comments on “Open mike 18/12/2020 ”

  1. Ed 1

    The news from Sydney is concerning.

    ‘Covid 19 coronavirus: Sydney's Northern Beaches cluster explodes to 17 cases’


    [Fixed error with e-mail address]

  2. Sanctuary 2

    A socialist, as opposed to a Green, solution to global warming has to consider floating mini-nuclear power stations. They could be the key to rapid de-carbonisation of power production in developing countries – and even here in NZ if you think about it. The design from this Danish company are apparently a modern Compact Molten Salt Reactor design that removes the threat of a meltdown in the event of an accident – it will simply shut down.

    We could easily park one of these up in the Weiti river near Stillwater on the north shore (or where ever) and power 200,000+ homes with just one of these. This plant is 1TW so it would completely free us of any further need for wind or solar development and dramatically cut the cost of electricity for consumers, make NZ a 100% zero-emission energy producer are free up tons of existing capacity to produce Green hydrogen and power a rapid conversion to a completely ICB free vehicle fleet by 2045-50. Crucially, it would ensure the economy remained competitive and thus maintain our standard of living.

    Imagine – completely emission free with a mix of nuclear/hydro/wind/solar! Surely it is the best stop gap measure until fusion comes along?


    • ianmac 2.1

      That technology would be be hugely transformational Sanctuary! If it isa as safe as they claim then why not?

      • Andre 2.1.1

        The main reason nukes like this aren't going to come to New Zealand anytime soon is simply cost.

        We 're in the very fortunate position of having plenty of hydro available on demand, so we can add as much very cheap wind and solar as we want and we can use the hydro to fill the gaps from the wind and solar. We've also got a decent amount of cheap geothermal providing very steady baseload power.

        However, we may need to get used to the idea of nukes kinda like that powering visiting and local ships.

    • Foreign Waka 2.2

      ??? Really…. I have moved from the contaminated Northern Hemisphere. Thanks but no thanks.

      • satty 2.2.1

        Interestingly, one of my reasons to move to NZ was the close distance to several nuclear power plants in Europe (Germany and France). My neighbour worked in one of them and after hearing his "inside" stories you know that most promises / claims by the nuclear industry are worthless bullshit.

        If they really believe they are 100% safe, they wouldn't have the nuclear power plants in limited liability sub-companies and they would be able to properly ensure them.

        And there's still the nuclear waste from running and decommissioning the power plants. The German power companies immediately agreed to pay 5 billion Euros to the German government to rid themselves from such problems… similar to other polluting options it's all economical while the pollution is for free.

        • RedLogix

          The CMSR technology that Seaborg (and about a dozen other similar companies) are going to use is completely different to the one your neighbour worked with.

          All currently operating reactors are derivatives of the 1940's design that was used on the original Nautilus submarine; and yet despite this design dating from literally the dawn of the nuclear age, it remains by far the safest form of power generation. All the data points to this.

          I've been following developments in this space very closely for quite a few years, all the innovation in 4th gen nuclear power leverages decades of science, materials and engineering innovation to deliver clean, abundant and reliable energy using wholly different technologies to existing plants.

          The big limitation at present is not improving safety, reducing proliferation risk, nor even waste disposal … these are all solved problems. The critical challenge for nuclear at present is to get it's costs below that of coal and gas while meeting all regulatory expectations; and everyone working in this space is aware of this.

          • satty

            Thanks, RedLogix. At least you don't insult people's intelligence like Sanctuary did below (which obviously doesn't help to argue for nuclear power).

            I am fully aware that the new generation reactors are not comparable (I am an engineer and worked mostly for power companies) and clearly understand the energy requirements of our comfortable daily lifestyle. I am not 100% against nuclear power.

            I am just a lot more cautious around statements like:

            it remains by far the safest form of power generation


            all the innovation in 4th gen nuclear power leverages decades of science, materials and engineering innovation to deliver clean, abundant and reliable energy using wholly different technologies to existing plants.


            The big limitation at present is not improving safety, reducing proliferation risk, nor even waste disposal … these are all solved problems

            As they sound exactly like the ones in the brochures of the original nuclear power plants… And it turned out they didn't meet reality. So excuse my scepticism.

        • Incognito

          The German power companies immediately agreed to pay 5 billion Euros to the German government to rid themselves from such problems… similar to other polluting options it's all economical while the pollution is for free. [my italics]

          Aren’t you contradicting yourself there?

    • millsy 2.3

      I have recently come around to the conclusion that we are going to have to bite the bullet and adopt some form of nuclear energy in this country.

      • RedLogix 2.3.1

        If nothing else millsy you never leave anyone in doubt as to where you stand … 🙂

        Australia and NZ are rather uniquely positioned in that we can probably delay migrating to nuclear power for quite a few decades yet … we have sufficient renewable resource to lean on so that we don't have to be on the leading edge of any new nuclear tech.

        • satty

          Agreed. NZ has the luxury to see how the new nuclear power plants you mentioned above work out. It will also be interesting to see if there are more efficient or completely new renewable energy sources available in a couple of decades time (we might not require nuclear power by then).

    • bwaghorn 2.4

      What happens to these floating bombs if they run into a tsunami or a wandering category 5 cyclone?

      • Andre 2.4.1

        A big design criterion of the latest generations of reactor designs is to make them "walk away safe". This means that the result of loss of control function leads to the reactions stopping and the core cooling purely from the laws of physics. So they can't go boom.


        This is a huge contrast to the early reactor designs from the 50s and 60s like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, that all required continuous active control to prevent the heat generation running away. When cooling and control was lost through an operator making the wrong response because of a crap control interface (Three Mile Island), or because of running a badly designed test with the wrong unprepared staff in the control room (Chernobyl) or wiping out the electrical controls and backup with a tsunami (Fukushima), then the old designs allowed the core to heat up from residual decay, eventually leading to superheated water reacting with zirconium to separate into hydrogen and oxygen and then going boom, and/or meltdown.

        Newer designs have fixed that conceptual fault of requiring continuous active control for safety. Part of the reason for the dangerous designs in the 50s and 60s is back then there was much less knowledge and concern about what could go wrong. In my opinion, that pendulum has swung too far the other way, where we're now way over-concerned about very very small risks from nuclear, while ignoring much greater continuous harms from other forms of power generation. Especially the harms from coal and gas.

        • Pat

          "However, weak driving forces that power many passive safety features can pose significant challenges to effectiveness of a passive system, particularly in the short term following an accident."

          "IAEA explicitly uses the following caveat:[2]

          … passivity is not synonymous with reliability or availability, even less with assured adequacy of the safety feature, though several factors potentially adverse to performance can be more easily counteracted through passive design (public perception). On the other hand active designs employing variable controls permit much more precise accomplishment of safety functions; this may be particularly desirable under accident management conditions."


          Ah, blind optimism….that origin of so many disasters.

          • RedLogix

            That IAEA quote seems absurdly obtuse in the light of modern methods and I note is derived from a document dated 1991.

            It entirely focusses on the PWR technology of the day, completely predates any 4th generation designs, and looks irrelevant to any discussion about them.

          • Andre

            In practical realistic terms, the choice between nuclear and what we're accepting right now comes down to bedwetting about some hypothetical risks that engineers put massive amounts of effort into eliminating because they know if those risks turns into a disaster, their industry is gone, or there's the tons of mercury and other toxins dumped into the atmosphere and rivers from the likes of Huntly, Wairakei etc.

            Personally, if I were offered the choice of having a nuke just around the corner from my place in exchange for eliminating Huntly and eliminating coal use at Glenbrook, I'd jump at it. There's no way I'd live within 200km in the northeast quadrant from either Huntly or Glenbrook, because of their emissions and prevailing winds. Since I'm northwest of them, and winds from the southeast are rare in Auckland, I can somewhat unhappily accept that occasionally I'm downwind of their emissions.

            • McFlock

              Putting faith in engineers is one thing.

              Putting faith in engineers and operators for the next 50-70 years is another thing entirely.

              Fukushima wasn't just the result of an engineering boo-boo. It was the result of things like waste fuel mismanagement that would have been dismissed at the time of construction as "hypothetical risks that engineers put massive amounts of effort into eliminating".

              Maybe the advertised safety accurately reflects the actual safety under standard human operating conditions this time. But the nuclear industry has been notoriously unreliable in this regard, for decades.

              • RedLogix

                Put simply, this is why all 4th gen designs remove plant operator from any direct control of the core. That's the meaning of the term 'walk away safe'.

                • McFlock

                  Yeah, until someone stockpiles 30 years of old fuel rods or some equivalent bs.

                  Keep using the same basic script for long enough, one day it might be true.

              • Andre

                And yet, even with the extreme carelessness and obvious flaws of past designs, and the sloppiness of some operators, the actual harms from nuclear generation are tiny. The harms from future designs where safety is taken much more seriously can be expected to be much much less.


                In comparison, look at the harms from other forms of generation:



                Or if you want to just look at individual big disasters, hydro has had the biggest, but there have been plenty of other really big non-nuke energy disasters


                • McFlock

                  Thing about radiation is that it's got a much less demonstrable mechanism of harm than a hydro dam bursting.

                  But please, keep talking about how the obvious flaws (that were claimed to be completely safe at the time of construction) barely did any harm, in order to make folk feel better about tomorrow's obvious flaws unexpectedly causing another problem that you assure us can't happen.

                  • RedLogix

                    I fully understand the reaction most people do have around ionising radiation; it's the invisible nature of it that I think spooks most people. Hell I've personally walked around an industrial plant carrying in my bare hands a relatively powerful Kr-85 beta source. I was totally safe, but looking back I couldn't help but feel a strong prickly sense of danger. In no sense can I be dismissive of this natural reaction.

                    At the same time I sincerely believe that this 'unseeable, unknowable, and insensible' quality has been exploited by various players to push agendas that have little to do with actual safety.

                    This is longer than I'd like to suggest at 54min, but it's an excellent presentation on the history of the LNT (Linear No Threshold) hypothesis, that has been frequently misused by scaremongers.

                    I hope this conveys a better sense of perspective on the nature of radiation, why it must be respected, but not necessarily feared.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      At the same time I sincerely believe that this 'unseeable, unknowable, and insensible' quality has been exploited by various players to push agendas that have little to do with actual safety.

                      RL, could you list (in your sincere opinion; no need for explanation) the "various players" and their respective "agendas" that have little to do with (actual) safety?

                      Suppose we’re all players, each with our own sincere beliefs and agendas.

                    • McFlock

                      I should have expressed myself more clearly: when a dam bursts, if you find a drowned person in the debris, that's pretty clear.

                      Estimates for Chernobyl go from only a few dozen directly involved in the incident who died within a few weeks to tens (or even hundreds) of thousands.

                      The fanbois pick the lowest estimate to claim how safe it is, Greenpeace picks the other end, but actually…? Maybe even Huntly's particulates are competitive against a confidence interval that wide. Maybe not. But the fanbois have been wrong enough that they've had their shot.

                    • RedLogix []

                      Chernobyl has been very thoroughly studied by a UN task force. Hundreds of experts from dozens of institutions, no cover up was possible.

                      I'm happy to run with that report.

                    • Andre

                      @Drowsy: Greenpeace have a clear business model of overhyping fears about unseeable unknowable and insensible threats to drive donations.

                      Fossil fuel interests have apparently also been active in the shadows, flicking funding to environmental groups whose stances are slanted towards anti-nuclear, rather than having climate change at the front of their concerns.

                      Fossil oil and industry starting from 50's was engaging into campaigns against nuclear industry which it perceived it as a threat to their commercial interests. Organizations such as American Petroleum Institute, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association and Marcellus Shale Coalition were engaged in anti-nuclear lobbying in late 2010's and from 2019 large fossil fuel suppliers started advertising campaigns portraying fossil gas as "perfect partner for renewables" (actual wording from Shell and Statoil advertisements). Fossil fuel companies such as Atlantic Richfield were also donors to environmental organizations with clear anti-nuclear stance such as Friends of the Earth. Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council are receiving grants from other fossil fuel companies. As of 2011 Greenpeace strategy Battle of Grids proposed gradual replacement of nuclear power by fossil gas plants which would provide "flexible backup for wind and solar power".



                    • Drowsy M. Kram


                      Greenpeace have a clear business model of overhyping fears about unseeable unknowable and insensible threats to drive donations.

                      Greenpeace could be "overhyping fears", but surely some threats that they are trying to raise awareness about are real enough – if the organisation was only, or even mostly, motivated by profit (i.e. the business model), then that would be disappointing.

                      Greenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action.

                      Attenborough could also be overhyping fears to sell his latest book:

                      A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
                      As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world – but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day – the loss of our planet's wild places, its biodiversity.

                      You may be on to something regarding the shadowy influence of fossil fuel businesses – their real political influence (via 'lobbying') dwarfs that of Greenpeace and/or Attenborough, again IMHO.

                      Greenpeace will be viable only as long as there are still environments to degrade – once those ecosystems are beyond repair, the organisation’s influence will be (even more) negligible, and thanks to the Anthropocene the job's nearly done sad

                    • Incognito

                      Krypton is a gas!?

                    • McFlock

                      Of course you're happy to run with a report at the lower end of the scale.

                      But my point is that death estimates of a dam collapse would not be so controversial to the same degree. It's difficult to argue that 50k more people drowned from some other cause that coincidentally occurred at the same time the deluge swept through a valley. But calculating cancer or congenital anomalies causes is wildly uncertain.

          • Foreign Waka

            If you want something badly enough any argument will be augmented until it fits criteria. This maxime has brought us where we are with global warming. We assume that science is conducted impartially, but it isn't.

            Apart from the possibility of an accident, however small and not worth the risk, the biggest issue is waste.

            On nuclear waste:


            That’s Gerald S. Frankel’s matter-of-fact take on the thousands of metric tons of used solid fuel from nuclear power plants worldwide and the millions of liters of radioactive liquid waste from weapons production that sit in temporary storage containers in the US. While these waste materials, which can be harmful to human health and the environment, wait for a more permanent home, their containers age. In some cases, the aging containers have already begun leaking their toxic contents.

            “It’s a societal problem that has been handed down to us from our parents’ generation,” says Frankel, who is a materials scientist at the Ohio State University. “And we are—more or less—handing it to our children.”

            All these wastes can remain dangerously radioactive for many thousands of years.

            Well, of cause NZ also is rated as high risk due to sitting on a fault line. I really cannot even understand that anybody could view nuclear power as a safe option.

            How about starting to fit every house with solar panels for heating and hot water for a starter. The power generated through water and other renewables can be used for top up power of larger buildings and supply electric transport. Talking of which, get rail from ports to each larger city on and off load containers. I mean this is not new. What are we waiting for?

            • Andre

              Yet another of the flaws of the old reactor designs is that they only extract maybe 1% of the available energy in their input fuel, the rest becomes the high-level dangerous waste. So actually extracting that energy by using the waste as fuel makes good economic sense, as well as vastly reducing the size of the waste problem. A lot of new reactor designs are indeed eyeing up that waste to use as fuel.


              • Foreign Waka


                Nuclear power is a non renewable. NZ is on a fault line.


                When the uranium fuel is used up, usually after about 18 months, the spent rods are generally moved to deep pools of circulating water to cool down for about 10 years, though they remain dangerously radioactive for about 10,000 years.
                But if the power lobby gets their hands on it….oh well, it is what it is.

                • Andre

                  The waste fuel rods wouldn't be dangerous waste if they were used for fuel in a different reactor design.

                  In terms of how much uranium or is available, yeah sure, supplies of land-based uranium for the really wasteful process used now are limited. But the new reactor designs would stretch that out way beyond any foreseeable future. Then the oceans hold another vast reservoir of uranium that only costs about four times as much to extract as land based uranium. In the context of operating a nuclear power plant, the cost of the uranium is negligible, and a 4x increase from USD50/pound to USD200/pound would disappear in the noise.

                  Then thorium is another viable nuclear fuel that is a lot more abundant. In many respects, it's better than uranium for civilian power generation, but it doesn't have the military side applications that have skewed so much of the nuclear industry's historical developemnt. China and India are working on thorium designs, to take advantage of their resources.

                  • Foreign Waka

                    Yep, money, resources etc… as expected. Lets just do more of the same just a tad more risky.

                    Innovation is not imitation.

        • Phillip ure

          'walk away safe' ..

          ..must be on the shortlist for a gold-spin award..


          • Andre

            It's a design objective.

            I'm quite confident that any organisation making the claim would be required to prove it to the regulators before approval. Inside a massively over-engineered containment vessel. With all the failure modes anyone could dream up thrown at it.

      • RedLogix 2.4.2

        floating bombs

        The fuel mix in a nuclear reactor is totally different to the one in a bomb. The fundamental physics ensures that a reactor simply cannot detonate in the way a bomb is intended to do.

        • Andre

          To be fair to wags' concerns, Chernobyl and Fukushima did have some pretty big booms.

          It takes somewhat detailed knowledge to understand that those booms came about because of the water used to remove the heat from the reactor, and wasn't actually a nuclear fission explosion

          • RedLogix


            Chernobyl was really the nuclear industry's equivalent of the Titanic. A reactor that should never have been built, completely lacking a containment vessel and had reactivity control shortcomings that were never conveyed to the operators.

            Yet despite this dramatic worst possible case failure, very few people remember that the other three reactors located right next door on the same site continued to be operated for many years afterward. As were a number of other RBMK reactors of the same design scattered around the FSU.

            But as you say the actual explosion was not a nuclear one. It was a dramatic power surge that generated a massive steam explosion.

            Fukushima was again not a nuclear event, but a hydrogen explosion caused when a loss of coolant flow allowed the water in the reactor to turn to steam and react with the fuel rod cladding.

            In every major incident, including Three Mile Island, it was the use of water in the core (as both a moderator and coolant) that proved to be the vulnerability. This is why all 4th gen designs engineer it out; making an already very safe technology at least an order of magnitude better.

            The absurd thing is this, coal powered power plants cause a huge number of excess deaths globally. The actual numbers are subject to some debate, but there is absolutely no question that they completely dwarf the hazard from all nuclear events combined. Closing nuclear plants while still running coal actually increases deaths quite substantially. For this the extreme anti-nuclear movement has a lot to answer for.

            • Andre

              Yeah, I've come to the view that Greenpeace may have been just as harmful to the planet as the traditional villains, just in a different way.

              They've been a remarkably successful marketing organisation, fomenting fears about vague undefinable and unprovable harms, and selling themselves as the answer that's fighting the menace. It's a good grift for those at the top creaming themselves a good living. But the world has paid a hefty price in an awful lot of avoidable coal and gas emissions.

              As well as the harms they've done to our food supply by demonising GMOs, rather than better targeting the harmful practices of big ag companies.

              • WeTheBleeple

                I know you don't appreciate anecdotes that much, but for what it's worth:

                I lived on top of a coal mine and had chronic asthma which saw me hospitalised several times and was constantly on pills, inhalers, injections etc. Within a month of moving away it cleared up and I've never had an attack since.

                It was life threatening, and life was a misery, living on top of that mine.

        • bwaghorn

          I didnt actually think they go boom I did realise they just melt down and leave a hot sticky patch.

      • RedLogix 2.4.3

        What happens to these floating bombs if they run into a tsunami or a wandering category 5 cyclone?

        It's often overlooked that during the Fukushima event, a number of other almost identical nuclear plants on the same coast suffered no damage whatsoever because their seawalls were at the correct height. It's absurdly easy to prevent this kind of loss. Moreover all 4th gen designs simply don't care if they lose coolant flow, which is the vulnerability common to the three major nuclear power plant incidents of the past 70 years.

        As for Cat 5 cyclones, again these are large robust steel structures, with massive ballast. All the designers I've listened to are acutely aware of the need to protect from this kind of obvious threat.

    • Ad 2.5

      We have, after Tiwai, enough electricity already to cope with user growth AND shift a third of our combustion vehicles.

      And if you encourage RedLogix to warble on about nuclear power one more time I will on behalf of The Standard drive over to your place and strap you to your beehive.

      • Andre 2.5.1

        I'd rather the electricity freed up from Tiwai first went to filling the gap from closing Huntly. Then satisfy user growth and electric vehicles from building new renewable generation.

      • RedLogix 2.5.2

        Honestly I do my best to avoid the n-word much of the time. It wasn't me who started it this time … devil

        And yes you are perfectly correct, the NZ context for nuclear is quite different to the global one.

        • Ad


        • swordfish

          Always happy to read your arguments on 4th gen nuclear plants, RL … both informative & concise … as opposed to Ad who unfortunately tends to warble on a wee bit, occasionally dribbling onto his keyboard.

          • Scud

            I could start talking about CBRN Defence training, agent detection, Recon and mapping agent/ nuclear fallout. Or the Dark Art of Machine Gun Gunnery and Direct Fire Support.

            Which btw i choose for my professional development instead of the more Gucci/ practical specialisations.

            • swordfish

              Coulda, woulda, shoulda … talk is cheap, Compadre … get typing on the Dark Arts of Machine Gunnery, Amigo, & get typing now. If nothing else, you'll appall, disgust & scandalise the Chardonnay Greens & assorted Critical Social Justice Theory Cult members… provoking the pompous & pretentious is always an amusing thing to witness in my book.

    • Andre 2.6

      For anyone interested in getting some kind of perspective on actual radiation doses we all receive from various sources, xkcd (Randall Munroe) has put together this excellent chart:


      The radiation hazard from a nuke power station nearby for a year is similar to eating a banana. For a coal station nearby, it's three times that (but the emitted mercury and other toxins are way scarier than the radiation). All three of which are absolutely tiny relative to the normal background radiation we all get just going about our daily lives.

  3. Phillip ure 3

    on rnz morning report (link not on site)..grant robertson was most emphatic that they did not even consider a dollop of extra help for the poorest..over Xmas..

    saying they already gave them $25 earlier in the year ..

    uncaring bastards..that they are..

    when are 'labour' people gonna get fucken angry about this..?

    is this what they voted for..?

    the country awash in corporate/rentier-class welfare..

    but nothing for the poorest…

    and isn't it such a relief that we have such a kind/caring prime minister/government..?

    • Sabine 3.1

      Labour ran as an election promise to not raise the benefits of any of our beneficiaries, and people saw that, shrugged and thought ' lucky i am not on a benefit ' and then they voted for them.

    • RedBaronCV 3.2

      How much would a double payment of benefits at Xmas actually cost? Be a nice little stimulus for the economy ( well it could be sold as that!) and after all the corporate welfare a welcome rebalancing. To suggest that not raising benefits was a decisive plank in voting behaviour – maybe not.

      • aom 3.2.1

        Is it possible that the Government has decided to be stingy with the beneficiaries so as to starve the wealthy who would be the ultimate beneficiaries of the predictable trickle up? Cynicism and sarcasm know no bounds!

    • Phillip ure 3.3

      why don't the national party invite ardern and robertson to lead their party..?..

      promise them safe electorate seats/multiple board seats..etc..etc..

      then maybe some from labour..promising real transformation/the ditching of neoliberalism/to move to a social democracy like the higher taxes on the rich/support/housing for all scandanavian countries…can step up..

      basically the sooner ardern..and her promises to do nothing..goes..the better..

      (a conclusion she has drawn for herself..after all..)

      and if she moved over to lead the tories…peddling a more 'caring'/empathy-drenched version of those bastards..of course..!..

      all the neoliberal-incrementalists in labour…could go with her..

      and no..we don't want robertson to take her place..

      couldn’t the united nations use a global empathy-ambassador..?

    • veutoviper 3.4

      Here's an early Xmas present, Phillip, before you get yet another dawn raid late night mod raid and possibly a compulsory 'holiday' – link to Morning Report article on Robertson's interview this morning which contains the link to the audio.

      First half of the audio to about 4.30 mins is re Ihumatao, then a general discussion about housing etc with a specific question re giving beneficiaries a boost for Xmas at about 7 mins with Robertson then going into the usual spin as to what they have done with the $25, etc …https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018777733/ihumatao-land-will-be-used-for-housing-grant-robertson

      • Phillip ure 3.4.1


        • Incognito

          I’d like to acknowledge that you’ve made a real effort with improving the readability of your comments and I think it shows in more and better engagement overall.

          My recent moderation notes for you were an attempt to notch you in the direction of using links as you have done in the past. I’m sure that the other readers here would also appreciate it.

          FWIW, I respect you for that.

      • Robertson encapsulated his (and the neoliberal) thinking when he talked about the 'housing market.' Houses as commodities to be bought and sold and to profit from, not housing as a basic right. My grandparents bought a house before the Great Depression and lived in the same house until they died in the 1970s. As far as I was aware, they never computed the increase in value of their home.

        Robertson's language sums up this 'third way' centrist, do sfa Labour government.

  4. Three major issues are prominent in this country: a meaningful response to climate change, the housing crisis and poverty (let’s not dress it up as ‘child poverty – poverty is poverty).

    On all three this government has a mandate to act and to be decisive. They could easily take the country with them with radical actions to get on top of two of these and at least do something positive about the first.

    As a long time leftie, [I tore up my Labour Party membership card in 1987 and have never rejoined] this period takes me back to the honeymoon period of 1984 when the Lange government, so apparently full of talent, had a mandate to act, and the imperative need to do a lot to counter the crisis inherited from Muldoon.

    Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for – we all know and still suffer from how the ‘radicals’ of ’84 shook up the country.

    But these days incremental change is not what is needed in the face of climate change.

    However, much as I might wish for radical policies, I can’t see them coming from this ‘third way’ Labour government.

  5. Red 5

    Labour is a centerist party, they only have to worry about their Center and right leaning block, the left will vote for them no matter what or won’t vote at all In this regard forget about a socialist lurch beyond the status quo that the Center and Center leaning right can just stomach

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Without being rude to “Satty” and "Foreign Waka" an objection based on a perception NZ is the latter day bucolic Jerusalem of William Blake's poem is, well, a bit colonising. I think you need a better reason not to want nuclear than just "but I never saw a nuclear power plant in the background of any of the LOTR movies so I moved there".

    • Phillip ure 6.1

      where is that lotr quote from..?

    • Foreign Waka 6.2

      I will not argue with you over my point of being against nuclear power. I have said more than enough and all I can do is as much as possible to mitigate any impact on the environment with what's available and affordable.

      With that I shrug my shoulders and walk away. Its not worth getting agitated over.

    • gsays 6.3

      I haven't read Blake or know his poem, my great grandparents were born here as was I.

      I don't want nuclear power here.

      I was persuaded a bit with James Lovelock's argument for nukes.

      The idea that we are opposed to nuclear because the waste but conveniently ignore the invisible CO2 waste from gas and coal. The waste from gas and coal burning can kill immediately whereas the waste from nuclear will merely take years off your life.

      Lovelock opined that he would happily store a lifetimes waste from nuclear on his verandah.

      That was in the context of the UK, here not so much.

      Bring on more geothermal and solar. Build resilience into the housing stock with good design and solar panels in every new build. Incentives for retro fitting solar….

    • Ad 6.4

      I shall not cease from mental fight

      Nor shall my sword slip from my hand

      Until we see Jerusalem

      On England's green and pleasant land.

      (singalong together)

  7. weka 7

    from a conversation happening elsewhere, what do people think the value of having biological sex (not gender) recorded on birth certificates is? Would it matter if the state no longer recorded sex at birth?

    • Phillip ure 7.1

      wouldn't they get messed-up/all crinkly..?

      from all the thrashing about..?

    • Robert Guyton 7.2

      Isn't "having sex on birth certificates" kinda … kinky?

      • Incognito 7.2.1

        Nope, birth certificates can be almost as effective as condoms or as much a mood killer as listening to Kanye; not kinky at all.

    • Stuart Munro 7.3

      Before too terribly long, the state may be sampling Dna at birth – which will render the question moot. But, with the reservation that it is observed phenotype, it is a useful element of personal identification.

    • McFlock 7.4

      Birth registrations are just an administrative tool. If changing details affects population-level equity discussions, then we need a conversation about why such a large proportion of the population does not seem to be adequately documented from day one.

      At an individual level, the ability to change such bureaucratic details can prevent discrimination by authorities or anyone using that bureaucratic information.

      Medical records are more interesting, but they also store data with much greater granularity so any relevant information would still be available.

      • weka 7.4.1

        If changing details affects population-level equity discussions, then we need a conversation about why such a large proportion of the population does not seem to be adequately documented from day one.

        What large proportion of the population are you meaning?

        It's not a changing details issue, but removing the category altogether i.e. no birth cert would record biological sex (data would still be collected by the state, but wouldn't be on the front end cert).


        • McFlock

          Oh, ok – interesting about the line of demarcation. So the specific proposal is not even taking sex off, just removing it from the public copy and putting it in with the rest of the administrative side. NZ possibly has a similar format, I wonder? That would sort out the generation of population pyramids and so on.

          Anyhoo, if the information is still kept and simply not released publicly, I can't see a downside. I genuinely doubt it gets used from the public form very often at all, even as a transfer to other ID.

          • weka

            I was hoping someone might be able to provide a list of things that do require known biological sex. I'm guessing insurance is one of them, and I don't think a reasonable work around to not having sex on a BC is for insurance companies to access a govt database.

            However I don't quite get the demarcation line thing (which was in reference to US certs and data collection).

            I also don't have a good sense of how different parts of society determine biological sex now. Do insurance companies require a copy of a birth certificate or do they take people's word?

            What about organisations offering something specific to being female? eg scholarships or positions?

            • McFlock

              The content of a birth registration form people fill in includes data for adminstrative use only (e.g. other children from the same parents). The birth certificate only lists some of that information (pretty sure my siblings aren't on my birth certificate, not that I've read it in years).

              It looks like in the USA the form has a line labelled "everything above this line goes on the birth certificate" or somesuch.

              Insurance is interesting. If a claimant was male and got ovarian cancer, might be an excuse to decline payout. But that's down to their application forms, not a birth certificate.

    • mpledger 7.5

      Gender is up to the individual and they can't make that decision at birth. Record biological sex at birth and then add gender if the individual so desires.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.6

      Recording the biological sex of a newborn on their birth certificate has (presumably) been considered 'useful' for hundreds of years, but maybe it was never actually useful, or maybe it is now less useful than it once was.

      Making the case that such a record is not useful would be good. Not recording the biological sex of a newborn on their birth certificate would obviate the need for the state to consider applications to change the sex registered on a birth certificate, even if the biological sex of an individual cannot be changed (yet.) But maybe adults who wanted to have their biological sex added to their birth certificate could apply for their birth certificate to be amended accordingly.


      I don't really understand why, but I remain uneasy that a (sizeable?) proportion of parents might be uneasy about having the biological sex of their child(ren) recorded on birth certificate(s).

      Birth names are recorded – they can be changed later. One's birth date is, however, fixed – doesn't stop a sizeable proportion of the population from wanting to appear younger than their biological age. Not sure about the value of that 'want' – seems like a potential source of frustration and misery to me.

      Like past decisions to remove race and parental occupations from birth certificates, eliminating sex is another step towards combating discrimination.

      Good-oh; maybe we should be removing birth dates from birth certificates to combat ageism? After all, you're only as old as you feel.

      • McFlock 7.6.1

        Thing is, birth certificates are a primary source for other forms of ID, some of which are used to confirm legislative requirements around age eligibility – drinking, guns, porn, smoking, prostitution, and so on. I only listed those because they sound like a hell of a night out.

        I'm not sure there's any similar legislatively-required references to sex/gender that someone on the door needs to know right then and there for fear of breaking the law.

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