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Open mike 18/03/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 18th, 2012 - 56 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 link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

56 comments on “Open mike 18/03/2012 ”

  1. A wonderful description of what constitutes the Republican base in the US was published recently by Hendrik Hertzberg in the New Yorker.

    He described them in the following terms:

    “[A]n excitable, overlapping assortment of Fox News friends, Limbaugh dittoheads, Tea Party animals, war whoopers, nativists, Christianist fundamentalists, à la carte Catholics (anti-abortion, yes; anti-torture, no), anti-Rooseveltians (Franklin and Theodore), global-warming denialists, post-Confederate white Southrons, creationists, birthers, market idolaters, Europe demonizers, and gun fetishists …”

  2. Carol 2

    This is a disgrace! Who knew?! Public school education and access to school (NCEA) qualifications should be free.


    A $76.70 fee is stopping thousands of students from being awarded NCEA credits they have achieved, a policy which marginalises already disadvantaged pupils, some education providers say.

    All high school pupils who sit NCEA must pay the fee to their school and those who don’t will not have their achievements formally awarded, meaning some students have to re-sit assessments in order to complete NCEA levels. In 2010 more than 3000 students did not have their achievements formally awarded.

    • locus 2.1

      This is incredible – unbelievable. If there’s one thing that the State should pay for in full its national exams and awarding of achevements. Has NZ finally reached the stage where we need to set up charities to help pay for our kids to have their school achievements recognised!

      • Vicky32 2.1.1

        This is incredible – unbelievable.

        It is! I don’t remember having that problem in 2004-7 when L., was sitting NCEA – so I assume either we could afford it or it wasn’t an issue. (In some of those years I was working, so that was probably it.) 

        If there’s one thing that the State should pay for in full its national exams and awarding of achevements.

        Oh absolutely…

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.2

      No doubt these are included in John Key’s 20% failure lies.

    • Uturn 2.3

      Just another example of the hand of assistance being held a little out of reach. If they think this is demoralising, they better make sure to get a copy notarised because NZQA don’t keep records for long – the time sensitive magically disappearing qualifications!

      • prism 2.3.1

        @ Uturn
        That is a shocking situation if qualifications that have been achieved and are not awarded because the fee isn’t paid just vanish off the records after how long?

    • Fortran 2.4

      For poorer families with a Community Services Card it is $20.

      • mac1 2.4.1

        Still too much. Free education should include free acknowledgement of the attainment of education achievement.

  3. In what must be an embarrassing disclosure for the National Party it has been reported that former National President Michelle Boag has links to the person whose behavior has led to a complaint to the police by ACC being made.  Apparently Bronwyn Pullar, a former Publicity Chair for the National Party in Auckland and involved in Pansy Wong’s campaign management in 2002, is the person who requested continuation of her ACC benefit for two years in exchange for return of the information.  Boag was present at the meeting where this was discussed as a support person.

    Boag is reported as being furious that her letter had been “leaked”.  She should understand that the Official Information Act makes such information accessible by the public as of right.  As it should.

    This is not a good look for the National Party and reinforces the view that they believe they are “born to rule”.  Judith Collins now has one hell of a problem to sort out. 

    • RedLogix 3.1

      While I agree that on the face of it Boag has been drawn into something she definitely should not have; at the same time Pullar has probably had a difficult time with ACC since her head injury to the extent that she now felt it necessary to have a ‘support person’ present in meetings with them.

      This is the kind of situation lots of people might well identify with.

      So while there is a story here I’d be very specific and qualified about exactly what was on the table.

    • ianmac 3.2

      Expect that the story does have legs since Michelle has always been so condemning of bludgers and lacking sympathy for those in need.

      • rosy 3.2.1

        True Ianmac… and there’s nothing is like hypocrisy to stir the people… and the article also suggests she was trying to negotiate a settlement to shut story down to keep the heat off Nick Smith. Call that what you will. She’s well past her use-by date IMO and National will surely distance itself coming days – as it should, unless they knew what was going on.

        • Pascal's bookie

          That part of the story is fascinating:

          Boag said it was significant ACC staff did not warn its management or minister until after the breach became public. She wanted ACC to deal with the privacy breach internally and not as a public issue. “I am a supporter of this Government and I also call [former ACC minister] Nick Smith a friend. I don’t want him embarrassed. I have friends on the ACC board. I do not want them embarrassed.”

          Boag said she was furious her letter had been leaked.

          Collins confirmed she had received Boag’s letter but sent it straight on to ACC. It would be included in the ongoing investigations into the security of ACC’s privacy systems.

          Bear in mind that on friday the NBR reported that Collins is ‘livid’ at Smith about the ACC levy cut, which made opening up ACC to private insurance co’s obviously economically ridiculous. Boag might have walked into a cabinet shit fight she didn’t know was happening.

          • Treetop

            I want to know if Boag ever raised the breach of privacy with Smith and when?

            Highly probable I think.

      • Grumpy 3.2.2

        ACC is hardly bludging. The way ACC operates now, it is hardly surprising people have to resort to desperate measures.

        • rosy

          ACC is hardly bludging
          I agree with you, but is unsaid in your comment is that being on a sickness benefits is bludging?

          I’d be going all out to get ACC, if I could – the alternative if you’re in a relationship is a non-existent sickness benefit, otherwise a much reduced benefit if you’re single.

          Having to rely on any benefit is not bludging, if you’re entitled to it. There appear to be very few cases of fraud so it seems most people are entitled to what they receive. But if an illness can in any way be blamed on an accident you’ll get people pushing really hard to get ACC. (Note – I’m not suggesting at all that the person involved in this case is doing that).

      • RedLogix 3.2.3

        Oh yes. The story has legs alright… I’m just advocating a little caution before ripping into it.

    • just saying 3.3

      I think you’ve somewhat misrepresented the facts Mickey.

      Boag, as the ACC claimant’s support person, said that it was ACC who suggested ‘guaranteeing’ her continued entitlement, and it was not the claimant who raised the issue. There has been no suggestion that Pullar did not have a legitimate entitlement to ACC. As far as I know the document leaked to the media had been privacy-protected with identifying information about claimants blanked-out.

      When it comes to an out-of-control corporation like ACC, especially in damage control, mode, I’d be inclined to believe the claimant until proven otherwise.

      • mickysavage 3.3.1

        Um no JS.  I said two things:

        1.  “the person whose behavior has led to a complaint to the police by ACC being made”

        ACC has laid a complaint with the police.

        2.  “requested continuation of her ACC benefit for two years in exchange for return of the information”

        This is how it was reported in Stuff.

        “A woman who mistakenly received names and details of thousands of ACC claimants threatened to go to the media unless the corporation met her demands for a guaranteed benefit for two years, ACC has alleged in a report to its Minister Judith Collins.”

        I thought that my description actually understated the allegation.

    • Jackal 3.4

      No wonder it took so long for the public to be informed of the huge breach of privacy then. Nice to see that association with the National party still stands for something, unfortunately for them New Zealand is too small for such things to stay hidden forever. But I suppose they should be happy it didn’t come out prior to the last election.

      You’re right of course RedLogix, there was probably some antagonism from ACC to illicit such a bribe and there will be far more to the story than what we currently know. It has all the hallmarks of a spin line to cover up what’s really going on. But on face value it looks pretty bad for all concerned. Judith Collins will no doubt follow the Natz fine tradition of not fronting.

      • Grumpy 3.4.1

        I know you guys hate this, but nobody does “put the boot into National” better than Cameron Slater.


        • felix

          “put the boot into National”??

          I think the phrase you’re looking for is “put the boot into anyone on the periphery of National who might make the party look bad”.

          • just saying

            Definitely damage control for National, but an interesting take. It wouldn’t be the first time someone with the right connections cut some sort of “special” deal for their friends or whanau in any walk of public life. Of course the critical issue is whether Pullar was legally entitled to weekly compensation at the time, and I think it is interesting that, so far, ACC hasn’t explicitly suggested that she wasn’t.
            I’m also interested in the fact that Boag, with all her flash friends at the highest levels of government and ACC didn’t think to mention her friend’s 45 previous privacvy breaches, or if she did, why there was no action taken to tighten security as a result.

          • Lanthanide

            Should be putting the boot into himself on that basis.

        • lprent

          He tends to be quite quite selective about who he puts the boot into. It always looks to me like he is being used as a unwitting blunt weapon in National (and previously Act) party factional infighting that he is largely oblivious to.

          For the whale watchers amongst us, he is a pretty good barometer about what political factions and ministers are currently having to stoop to dirt level. Basically if someone gives him a coherent narrative that is simple, he will paraphrase and publish it.

          Once he has done that, he gets locked in. Any new evidence gets ignored. Presumably involving that process he finds so difficult, thinking, which must have been such a trauma in the past that he refuses to look at anything now that contradicts his implanted viewpoint.

          So who do you think he is channelling at present?

          • Grumpy

            Good point lprent. Hard to know but will become more obvious as time passes…….

          • Anne

            So who do you think he is channelling at present?

            You could use the former brat pack as the starting point and work on it from there. As far as I know the only ones still in the caucus are Bill English and Nick Smith. Was Gerry Brownlee part of the pack? Since Michelle has outed Smith as one of her friends, it makes it rather interesting.

        • mickysavage

          Wow Cameron is really going for it.  It’s a bit like watching sharks devour each other.

  4. Jenny 4

    I Don’t Want To See Their Faces; I Don’t Want To Hear Them Scream

    by Christopher Cooper

    Let Google Images round up whatever it can find (36,100,000 results in .19 seconds) under the search terms Afghanistan shootings. You’ll see the bodies. The babies. And the faces of their families. We caption them, “the bereaved.” These images should haunt you. Someday somebody related to some of these sufferers, these victims, these collaterally damaged souls, may try to kill you. And I have to tell you, I think you’ll have it coming.
    Suppose a foreign army had been rummaging around the United States for a decade. They’d have built us some concrete-block elementary schools of course and drilled a few water wells. And their president or premier or prime minister would have secretly flown in under elaborate and expensive secrecy and security to shake hands with the soldiers and tell them what a good job they were doing bringing peace and stabilization to our misguided land, and who among us would not be grateful for that?

    But then suppose, just occasionally, at intervals, one or several of those soldiers or pilots or special forces teams or secret espionage units burned a bunch of civilians for no good reason any of us could see? Mowed ‘em down. Ran ‘em over with a tank. Busted in the door in the nighttime and gutshot somebody’s old grandfather. Would that begin to take the glow off our gratitude?

    OK, let’s be specific. Forget the afore-mentioned Samad Khan and the grieving Anar Gul. Don’t trouble yourself about the names of their children. (Do they even name their children like we do, these Muslims?) Pick any names that come to mind—good, honest, American names. Say Sam Knox is missing his wife and kids and Anne Greene sits there numb and devastated as she looks at the blanket her child is wrapped in. Does that feel any different? How much compensation would it take to make them get over it?

    Come on, you cowardly bastard—look at those pictures! I know we don’t read so much these days, but you might have run across the term empathy during some mandatory literature course back in high school or college. So. How does it feel?

    My kid has annoyed me a time or two today. Loud, wild, antagonistic here and there. (He’s seven.) I told him to stay off the rotten ice on the pond inlet stream while I was cutting bushes, but there he was, “I’m cold!”, up to his knees in slush and muck and icewater, and we quit early and repaired to the woodstove to dry him out. (He did agree he ought have listened to my wise counsel.) Then again, he told me a dozen times he loved me. And when he just couldn’t possibly get to sleep on his own, he had not the slightest trouble when I let him lie on the couch in my office as I wrote my little letter to you all out there.

    And there he sleeps. And you could bomb my house and blow up my car and take away a leg and an arm and I might take your compensation check and relocate and regroup and nurse my grievances in the barroom. But if you or you or you or anybody came in here and killed him, I don’t care if you’re Christian or Jew or Mohammedan or a pagan suckled in some creed outworn, if you hurt him accidentally or on purpose, under orders or because you snapped under the pressure of your third deployment. I’d just want to kill you. And I don’t doubt I might kill you slowly and abuse your damned corpse in some ugly way. You and the guy behind you and the army that comes after that. I’d open you up and I’d nail you to the porch floor.

    Oh, I’d be a bad person for doing so. Why, you might even say I’d become a terrorist, I suppose. And killing you wouldn’t bring back my wonderful boy, because whatever God you might pray to or believe in only ever made one of him, and you killed him, and there could be no joy, no purpose, no happiness in my life after that other than getting to you and grinding you up and making you pay. You’d compensate me with your flesh for forty-two pounds and forty-four inches of boy. And if I went crazy enough (and I might, and anybody might), I might need to kill a whole lot more who seemed to me to be pretty much like you. And there we would be.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Which is why revenge is a wholly different thing to justice….

    • Jackal 4.2

      And why peace is a wholly different thing to war. Everybody has a choice between the two, no matter what atrocities are committed. It’s not an easy thing to do, but people should let their anger work for peace… it’s a most powerful fuel that can work to eradicate war. If you let your anger lead to further conflict, who is to say it will not cause another innocent person to feel the same pain and why would anybody who has felt that wish it on another human being?

  5. Jackal 5

    Police vigilance or harassment?

    Let’s start seeing an equal application of the law without unfounded stereotyping causing discrimination. This would mean a more efficient use of resources and therefore a more effective Policing regime…

  6. ianmac 6

    Now that’s interesting:
    “Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom’s cash, cars and property were seized using a court order which should never have been granted.

    A judgment from Justice Judith Potter on Friday declared the restraining order “null and void” and having “no legal effect”.”
    If that order is reversed and Mr Dotcom gets his gear back won’t the FBI be annoyed. Might send a nuclear ship to us. Somehow my non-legal mind supports the man.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      In this case, the US has been using the NZ law enforcement and justice system as an extension of its own imperial reach.

      There is no way that Kim Dotcom should have been treated like global terrorism enemy no.1, and it is a shame that NZ authorities co-operated with that approach. A couple of constables should have been the ones to take hm down to the station, not a fucking SWAT team armed with automatic weapons.

      But I’m proud our judiciary has come back to assert some independence from the corporate controlled USA.

      • Grumpy 6.1.1

        Does make you feel warm inside, eh?

        Hope the courts order the return of his property for what is essentially a non-crime.

        • RedLogix

          Strains of the Urewera over-reach again…

          • Redbaron77

            I have also been disturbed about how this case has proceeded. There has been a strong taint of a denial of justice throughout this saga. Starting with the less than indirect involvement of an “alien” enforcement agency, the seizure of Mr Dotcom’s assets before conviction and a selective detailing of some of the more interesting items found in his home in the media (which looked like a crude attempt to stir up public opprobrium against him?). Don’t get me wrong – there may have been justification for some of the actions had Mr Dotcom been involved in activities that threatened or harmed life and limb. However at the very least Mr Dotcom deserved the same amount of consideration under Habeas Corpus as the directors of Bridgecorp received.

            • ianmac

              I suppose our Police thought that there reputation was at stake in the eyes of Big FBI Brother. Were the NZ Police just hicks or they as good as the USA? Overkill to prove that they can foot it with the Big Boys.
              Shame. Shame.

    • Grumpy 6.2

      Me too.

    • Jackal 6.3

      With a further potential legal claim for the damage caused… what is the cost to the taxpayer for all this foolishness and how many beneficiaries will be kicked in the guts to cover such managerial bungling? The FBI certainly won’t be footing the bill.

    • Vicky32 6.4

      A judgment from Justice Judith Potter on Friday declared the restraining order “null and void” and having “no legal effect”.”

      I heard about that this morning on Radio NZ, and I wondered what effect her ruling will actually have?

  7. Look forward to the Michelle Boag story.
    Lets have the FULL story, and not just the media beatup (as normal) – which is what we have now.

  8. ianmac 8

    Surprise. Surprise”

    “Paul Holmes has the facts wrong in his ‘Daughters of Erebus,’ writes Richard J. McGrane.”

  9. Hilary 9

    Occupy Wall Street is back in Zucotti Park, New York, 6 months after it started. Michael Moore, Penny Red and thousands of others are there and tweeting updates.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Now we’re really starting to see the power of the private banking cartel:-

    Iran has been largely cut off from global commerce after the company that handles most international financial transactions said it was severing ties with 30 Iranian banks.

    • Vicky32 10.1

      Iran has been largely cut off from global commerce after the company that handles most international financial transactions said it was severing ties with 30 Iranian banks.

      I saw a triumphalist little item about that on 3 News on Friday, someone gloating that it was ‘all organised’ and scheduled to happen, as part of the American sanctions. TV3 would never question the reason, or America/Israel’s right to destroy whatever they will. 🙁

    • Bill 10.2

      Your link doesn’t work DTB. Here’s one from off the bottom of the BBC http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Iran-nuclear-oil-sanctions/2012/03/16/id/432784

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1

        Gah, I hate that. FF hides the HTTP in the address bar so I assume that it’s been copied but then I really do have to query why the WordPress software adds the entire present page address just because it can’t find an HTTP in the href 😡

        Here it is, corrected.

  11. Jackal 11

    Deborah Coddington bagged

    I find it slightly amusing when right wing reporters try to cobble together an article from a bunch of disjointed National propaganda that has already been widely discredited…

  12. mac1 12

    For the disgruntled and/or challenged of sight who have difficulty with reading unaided the print in the new telephone books, I have just read that if you phone 0800 803 803 you can request that a free magnifying strip to sent to you.

  13. Under this Government the role of DoC is one of managing our conservation estate for the “prosperity of all New Zealanders” and working with tourist companies and business is a role listed above advocating for our natural heritage. Our National parks are now destined to become “Amusement Parks”: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/national-park-or-amusement-park.html

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