Open mike 18/12/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 18th, 2011 - 124 comments
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Step right up to the mike…

124 comments on “Open mike 18/12/2011 ”

  1. Matt McCarten didn’t quite get his revolution through Occupy. And he didn’t get it through the election. So he looks at how to advance it in his latest column.

    His Anti Asset Sales protest revival seems to be yet another attempt at socialist revolution?

    Matt McCarten didn’t quite get his revolution through Occupy. And he didn’t get it through the election. So he looks at how to advance it in his latest column.

    His Anti Asset Sales protest revival seems to be yet another attempt at socialist revolution?

    With those that ‘aren’t worthy’ of course.

    “Those people who feel voting is beneath them can now prove they are worthy citizens”. Yeah, join Matt’s class war.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I wouldn’t be so quick to pigeonhole Matt McCarten, he creates good, socially relevant critique, and has done a lot politically over many years.

      And we do need media commentary which underlines the importance of getting out and voting in a responsible social democracy.

      • Jenny 1.1.2

        At my Christmas break up, the talk at our table wandered onto the elections. A younger work colleague of mine, though saying he had voted, said he was not really interested in politics, and most people aren’t he said. But recalling a vacation he had in America last year, he said everywhere, everyone was talking politics. He compared this to New Zealand where he said nobody talks about politics.

        I told him of the low voter turn out in America, a fact that he was unaware of, and which surprised him.

        The accepted wisdom is, American citizens are to boorish to vote (compared of course to our enlightened selves).

        But maybe this is a misunderstanding.

        At a time when things in the US and the world desperately need to be changed, just maybe the average American man and woman in the street are unconvinced of the the efficacy of elections in affecting that change.

        So though it may not be reflected in their voter patterns, my young colleague’s view that Americans are deeply concerned about politics is only anecdotal, maybe it is no accident that the OWS movement started in the US.

        • rosy

          ” maybe it is no accident that the OWS movement started in the US.”

          As much as I admire the OWS protests, they didn’t start in the U.S. as such. That’s just when anti-corporate protests became noticed in a serious way. The Spaniards 15M movement began in town squares across Spain in May and included the occupation of Madrid’s Puerta del Sol on 15 May.

          The previous weekend, 250,000 people had taken to the Barcelona streets as part of the global protest against the financial system. Unlike traditional demonstrations, there was no platform at the end with speeches to the assembled masses. Participants were instead encouraged to join assemblies on the three focal themes – housing, education and health – and underground debates focused on what would happen next.

          – and along with the Middle-East uprisings are the examples for OWS.

          In a July 13, 2011 blog post, the Canadian-based Adbusters Foundation, best known for its advertisement-free anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters, proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, the absence of legal repercussions for the bankers behind the recent global financial crisis, and a growing disparity in wealth. They sought to combine the symbolic location of the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square with the consensus decision making of the 2011 Spanish protests. Adbusters’ senior editor Micah White said they had suggested the protest via their email list and it “was spontaneously taken up by all the people of the world.

          The motto of the Spanish indignados is “We are going slowly, because we are going far.”

          Next steps if OWS follows a process similar to that of the Indignados…

          The general assemblies of the encampments they held in the summer are now devolved to local neighbourhoods; the occupied buildings are being used to hold assemblies through the winter months and house those evicted through mortgage defaults.

    • Jenny 1.2

      “Don’t Let the banks get away with it”, OWS cardboard sign

      The banks and the rating agencies have become the dictators of the West. Like the Mubaraks and Ben Alis, the banks believed – and still believe – they are owners of their countries. The elections which give them power have – through the gutlessness and collusion of governments – become as false as the polls to which the Arabs were forced to troop decade after decade to anoint their own national property owners. Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland became the Mubaraks and Ben Alis of the US and the UK, each gobbling up the people’s wealth in bogus rewards and bonuses for their vicious bosses on a scale infinitely more rapacious than their greedy Arab dictator-brothers could imagine.

      Robert Fisk

      Democracy is more than voting.

      City Councils heavily influenced by unelected local Chambers of Commerce and the owners of central city real estate, gear up, to evict and arrest our own OWS protesters with as much violence as is necessary to achieve the task.

      We have to ask is this all the democracy we are allowed?

      • Pete George 1.2.1

        What sort of democracy do you want? The sort the delivers you the results you want?

        Some people don’t seem to understand that democracy doesn’t guarantee that everyone will agree with them.

        • felix

          Yes, the people who don’t seem to understand this are the people who want activists and protesters to stay home and keep quiet.

          • Draco T Bastard


          • Pete George

            Who wants to do that?

            Who has tried to hound off and shut down different views here?

            • McFlock

              Oh please.
              Who complained about occupy the octagon?

              • You’re confusing disagreements with trying to shut down opposing views. I didn’t agree with some things going on there (like many people), I exercised my freedom to speak, then backed off – but was then invited to a significant meeting at the cathedral which I atended, praised, and picked up support from for my propsals.

                And I’m communicating with them still (last time yesterday), looking at what may be worked on together. Someone jumped in to diss me without bothering to read what I was saying (sound familiar?) and someone else saw the positives. We can build on that.

      • LynW 1.2.2

        +100 Jenny. Democracy is indeed about so much more than just voting!

    • millsy 1.3

      Would you agree that the National party closing dozens of hospitals and schools around the country to pay for tax cuts for the rich be ‘class war’ then?

      What about the closure and sale of council amnemites such as pools, libaries, parks, etc to cut rates for the rich?

      Surely closing down things that are used by low and middle income people to make savings for the rich to enjoy is also class war?

      What about the sale of State Houses? That is war on the poor to ensure a good income stream to landlords?

      • Higherstandard 1.3.1

        Which dozens of hospitals are these millsy ?

        And which council amenities – I’m genuinely interested to know as there hasn’t been any such sales and closures up my way.

        • millsy

          “Which dozens of hospitals are these millsy ?”

          National closed 38 hospitals in NZ to pay for Bill English’s tax cuts, and dozens more schools. Some of these were specialist institutions that provided niche services, such as veterans homes and the likes.

          “And which council amenities – I’m genuinely interested to know as there hasn’t been any such sales and closures up my way.”

          Hamilton city council is launching a huge austerity program (largely because it went into debt funding professional sporting bodies), not to mention wellington.

          Halls, pensioner flats, are being sold all over the country.

          • Treetop

            It’s not just the closing of hospitals, it is the down sizing of national programmes. Just this week the National Breast Screening Programme is not delivering as it once did, due to many top level resignations and this is due to positions being cut (think from 9 to 6).


            If anything the programme needs to be improved e.g. a person can be recalled under the programme to have an ultrasound due to the mammogram being unsure. Only the breast which shows up the abnormality is ultrasounded even though there may have been follow up on a previous mammogram for the other breast. It makes better sense to ultrasound both breasts as when a mammogram is done both breasts are imaged.

          • higherstandard

            Seriously Millsy which hospitals were closed to pay for tax cuts.

            • millsy


              Lake Alice

              • higherstandard

                None of those mental health institutions were closed recently nor were any of them closed to pay for tax cuts.

                Many of the others such as Napier were in such a state of disrepair that a sensible decision was taken to amalgamate the services with close by hospitals were a better and safer service could be offered – I also note that many of those sensible decisions were taken by the last labour government.

                • millsy

                  the hospitals could have been upgraded.

                  But Bill Birch wanted to cut taxes in 1996. Tax cuts that benefited the rich.

                  • higherstandard

                    No it would have been an inordinate waste of money and of no benefit to the health system which is far better served today than it was with these dinosaur like and decrepit institutions.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      than it was with these dinosaur like and decrepit institutions.

                      That’s why millsy said they needed to be upgraded. Duh.

                      And all through that period of turbulence, our health system did way more than the Americans, for way less. So not too bad at all, in fact something to be proud of.

                    • millsy

                      So you would rather mental health patients rot in the prison system or on the streets?

                      Would you rather small communities lose their health services?

                    • higherstandard

                      Millsy perhaps you should read the Mason report and then consider the overwhelming support for the move away from locking away those with mental health issues in the monstrosities that were Oakley, Kingseat etc.

                      CV don’t embarrass yourself trying to comment on issues about which you haven’t the faintest idea -oh that’s right you’ve made a a habit out of it on blogs over the last few years.

                      Millsy I do not want small communities to loose their health services they should all have access to a general practice and emergency triage. Neither do I want small communities to have health services such as complex surgical and medical services which are more competently and efficiently serviced in larger base hospitals and centres of excellence

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Millsy I do not want small communities to loose their health services they should all have access to a general practice and emergency triage. Neither do I want small communities to have health services such as complex surgical and medical services which are more competently and efficiently serviced in larger base hospitals and centres of excellence

                      You want lots of things but the fact of the matter is that far too often, police cells pass for emergency triage for people with mental health disturbances.

                      And please explain to me how taking a patient with mental illness away from familiar and comfortable surroundings, their local community and their immediate family and centralising them in a big city “centre of excellence” is helpful.

                      CV don’t embarrass yourself trying to comment on issues about which you haven’t the faintest idea -oh that’s right you’ve made a a habit out of it on blogs over the last few years.


                    • fender

                      As an impartial observer I sure as hell place CV’s opinions above your own, if only you could deserve the name you use rather than the lower version more suitable to the consistantly lower standard you excrete.

                    • As another ‘impartial observer’ I find your claims of impartiality funny.

                    • fender

                      Pete you are just a propaganda blogger for The Hair and his party leader Key.
                      Impartial you will never be. Your love for OverDunne is pathetic and a waste of your love as he’s too selfish to return your love.

    • felix 1.4

      Pete George didn’t get any validation for his “no ideas” style of politics in the blogosphere, and he certainly didn’t get any in the election. So he reverts to type in his latest post.

      His Anti-Politics stance seems to be yet another attempt to shut down criticism of the governing party.

      Matt wants people who oppose the govt to make their voices heard. Pete would rather they didn’t. Yet according to Pete, only one of these positions represents class warfare.

      • logie97 1.4.1

        Anyone here surveyed just how many OpenMike entries by the United-Future-National-Party-apologist George over the last year. Wouldn’t mind betting it is more than the hits he gets on his own blog. And of those, how many were at the top of/first entry for the day.

      • Pete George 1.4.2

        I haven’t said they shouldn’t be heard, have I.

        And I haven’t tried to shut down criticism of the governing party – I criticise it myself when I see fit.

        And I have as much right as Matt or anyone to speak, haven’t I? Despite a few here (and in the past on Kiwiblog) trying to shut me up or shut me out. I’m on the receiving end of a lot of attack the messenger shit here devoid of argument.

        Free speech and freedom to protest is for everyone, right?

        • Colonial Viper

          Come on, you’re saying that you have every right to be an apologist for The Hair and for the National Government? Well you do, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to win you any credit – or votes.

        • kriswgtn

          all u do is slag the Left off day after day after day

          Show me you do to the Right– you know the side your master is on

          you remind me of Rev Kane from the Poltergeist movies

          on aND ON and on aND ON

        • Vicky32

          Free speech and freedom to protest is for everyone, right?

          As I have found on Friday, and today, the answer is that here on the Standard, speech is free only if you agree with the majority! 😀 Otherwise the insults start flying like faecal matter at the chimpanzee enclosure. 
          A thread became all about dissing me, and then one boy decided to cap it all by accusing me of having made it all about me! That would be hilarious if it wasn’t so creepy..

          • McFlock

            Insults are included in free speech. As are comments which disagree with comments that disagree with the majority.

            • Pete George

              McFlock, the mob here often tries to shout down and abuse down alternate views. Attacking the messenger is rife.

              You try and post some of your opinion on Kiwiblog or Whaleoil and you might understand what Vicky is talking about, but it probably won’t be as bad as the swarms of snarkiness can be here.

              • McFlock

                “snarkiness” is one thing, and can be part of a robust exchange if someone is being a stupid dick. If you don’t want snarkiness, don’t be a moron. That’s not the same as suggesting violence against people, or other waysof curbing someone else’s freedom of speech.

              • fender

                Dream on Dunny water drinker, the redneck brigade on kiwi and whale are the lowest forms of bloggers available. Thats the place to go to encounter the most bigoted people in NZ whose abuse knows no limits.

    • Sam 1.5

      We always have to remember that Matt speaks as a Mana Party member.
      He is denigrating all those who did not vote and then to invite these non-voters to “spill blood” like in the Arab world is crazy.

      • felix 1.5.1

        That looks as if you’re quoting Matt saying “spill blood”.

        Got a link for that?

        • Colonial Viper

          I wonder if Sam realises that the blood spilling during the Arab Spring uprisings was generally perpertrated by the powers that be, against the underclasses and dispossessed.

          • Jenny

            …..the blood spilling during the Arab Spring uprisings was generally perpertrated by the powers that be, against the underclasses and dispossessed.

            Colonial Viper

            Indeed CV. It seems that for right wingers democracy is alright, up to a point.

            At the beginning of this thread, Pete George has challenged me to tell him what sort of democracy we want.


            Short answer: We want real democracy.

            But for Right Wingers like Pete George, we’re going way too far, when we demand that the wealthy minority elites at the top of society who are dictating all our futures, should submit to the majority will.

            What sort of democracy do you want? The sort the delivers you the results you want?

            Some people don’t seem to understand that democracy doesn’t guarantee that everyone will agree with them.

            Pete George

            It is interesting that Pete George was raising his objections to calls for greater democracy by the OWS protesters.

            To Pete George I would say, I fully accept that democracy doesn’t guarantee the results everyone wants.

            The majority decide.

            This in fact is the definition of democracy. If Pete doesn’t believe in this, then he doesn’t believe in democracy.

            I would submit that the OWS protesters have a lot more faith in democracy, than the apologists for the rule of the wealthy elites like Pete George has.

            In fact these elites have a reason to fear democracy, in that, un-what they are used to, they might not be able to continue getting everything thing they want.

            In answer to Pete George’s question “What sort of democracy do you want?”

            I want a democracy where a wealthy minority have zero power over the majority. In fact I want the opposite – I want the majority to dictate to that wealthy minority.

            Put bluntly; democracy is the dictatorship of the majority over the minority.

            For myself: I accept that under democracy, I mightn’t get everything I might personally want from majority rule, but I have faith in my fellow brother and sister citizens to confidently come to the best decisions for the most of us.

            Further: Any system where a minority get to have sway over a greater number of others is not democracy.

            A society in which a minority of unelected plutocrats have more say than the majority of other citizens, is by it’s very definition not a democracy.
            (No matter how much it claims the title).

            • Pete George

              Jenny, I have talked to people from Occupy from early on about how we may do better democracy in Dunedin, we have similar ambitions in many ways and I expect to pick up on this more next year with htose from Occupy who are prepared to work together rather than name call and achieve nothing.

              “Right Winger” – very funny.

              • MrSmith

                “Right Winger” – very funny.”
                But Pete you voted for ACT in the past so don’t be surprised if people judge you on your actions. Talk is cheap Pete as you well know!

                • I’ve never voted for Act, and there’s never been any indicatiion that I have as far as I’m aware.I guess it’s a mistake, but it’s worthless claim.

                  I voted Labour as recently as 2005, how cheap is that?

                  • fender

                    Be careful what you imply regarding your partner/s in crimes coalition partners happy bed pals petey piper in a pickle party

                  • millsy

                    The views you have espoused on here have been pretty right wing IMO.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Given that PG will not raise a voice or even a whimper against the right wing initiated and led privatisation of strategic public assets, that is the only conclusion.

              • felix

                FFS Pete.

                Supporting the National/ACT govt means you ARE a right-winger. By definition.

                • fender

                  No it’s not true in the case of UF. They have a floating manifesto so they can up anchor and sail to new waters in order to reap the baubles of office.
                  Someone on here the other day described Dunne as the “malleable plasticine man” and I had to laugh cos its just so accurate.

                • Funny felix, that’s a nonsensical claim. Half of the voters in New Zealand are not ‘right wingers”.

                  We don’t have a two sided divide in politics, despite what a few extremists on either side of the spectrum wish to portray. Most people are closer to varying shades of centre of the centre occupied by both National and Labour.

                  Even much of the increase in Green support could be atrributed to their deliberate appeal to the centre. And I don’t see NZ First being labelled as a left wing party.

                  • felix

                    Half the voters in NZ voted for right-wing parties.

                    In our democracy, voting is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where the image you project and the things you say meet concrete, actionable reality.

                    If you vote for a right wing party, thus supporting right-wing policy, thus shifting society in a right-wing direction, you are by definition a right winger whether you label yourself one or not.

                    The same applies in parliament. You can give as many impassioned speeches against right-wing policies as you like, but if you turn around and vote for them that’s that.

                    In the final analysis you’re not what you say, Pete, you’re what you do.

                    • One major problem with your analysis – National is not a right wing party, it’s a CENTRE right party with most emphasis on the centre.

                      Much of Labour and National policy overlaps in practice. For example National didn’t change student loans or Working For Families. The only difference is that National can tend to some slightly more rightish policies and Labour tends to some slightly more leftish policies, but there’s much more in common than not.

                      And I’m mostly centre-ish across National and Labour centres, having supported both parties at different times.

                      Some people are obsessed with name calling people they disagree with (I’ve been called a leftie as often as I’ve been called a rightie) but it has no relationship to the reality of modern politics in New Zealand.

                    • felix


                      So your entire argument comes down to “but they’re not that right-wing”.

                      So what? So they’re only “right-wing” relative to most of the rest? And? What did you think I was comparing them to? Some hypothetical political field in another universe?

                      No-one cares what you call yourself Pete. This isn’t about you. You’ve rendered yourself irrelevant by throwing in your lot with a man who rendered himself irrelevant by throwing in his lot with whoever the largest party on the day might happen to be (car and salary permitting, obviously), which this time happens to be the relatively right-wing party supported by the extremist right-wing party.

                      And that, whether it fits your image or not, is what your efforts have wrought.

                      That, as they say, is the cap.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Shouldn’t there be an investigation into what appears to be fraud ?

    Kiely revealed 425 declared votes were disallowed – nine were dual votes, 393 ineligible votes and 12 were not authorised by a witness.

    “Those 393, not only were they not on the roll in Waitakere, but they weren’t enrolled anywhere.”

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      I wonder how those 393 not registered got counted as eligible votes. and not as “informal votes”. Part of the system is set up to determine that, so it’s just wrong they slipped through. Concerning to say the least. If the election night margin had been by say a solid 200 votes, none of this would have been revealed.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        It’s quite likely there’s always a few errors and bad votes, they just don’t matter unless it’s close so they are usually not worth spending much time on.

        My guess is that most of the bad votes are just mistakes or people not knowing correct procedures.

        • Reality Bytes

          On the contrary, 425 is significant enough to highlight some serious failures in the current system. 425 might even be a low outlier for this electorate, for all we know the average ‘error/fraud-rate’ could be far higher in other electorates as the same systemic faults could exist, but we only have a sample of one electorate so we’ll never know.

          Basically what we know is errors/frauds slipped through the initial count, and yet were somehow capable of being detected on the recount, then why wasn’t the original count up to the same standard as the recount?

          The important questions that need to be answered are:
          Why were the frauds/errors not detected the first time?
          What different ‘better’ systems were used to detect these errors/frauds on recount?
          Will the ‘better’ systems and checks be implemented in the future INITIAL counts?

          I firmly believe aiming for ZERO errors is something we should be striving for. If we can learn some lessons from this recount on how to do that, then great, we should NOT accept errors/frauds as inevitable.

          Assuming this is the average error rate per electorate, we’re looking at 850×70 errors, 59500 fraudulent/erroneous votes (850 because the entire voting form is invalid, the MMP part included).

          That’s enough votes to have some serious concerns about imo. I’m actually quite surprised you’re not also concerned about it Pete, those are the sort of numbers that could make a real difference to a micro-party such as yours.

          • Granny

            They were; the total vote went up by 10 in the judicial recount.

          • Jackal

            Exactly Reality Bytes. How can we trust an electoral process with so many errors and why the hell weren’t the frauds/errors picked up the first time the Waitakere ballot was counted?

            I thought of electoral fraud when David Garrett was caught stealing the identity of a dead baby… what else would he want a fake ID for?

            • Reality Bytes

              Well at least it’s not as bad as the ballot stuffing and other dubious behavior in Russia (et al.) I guess.
              Where they simply say: ‘Meh, it happens a bit, it’s insignificant, who cares. Nothing to see here, move along, actually it’s all Hillary Clinton’s fault really, excuses, excuses bla bla bla etc…’

              In-spite of our relatively very good democratic system, we should still be constantly striving to minimize and eliminate the possibility of anti-democratic frauds&errors imo.

    • The reporting is wonky.  This is not evidence of widespread fraud.

      There were 393 people who went to cast a vote and did not find themselves on the roll.  They then cast a special vote thinking their vote might count.  The staff then checked the rolls, including the 2008 rolls and could find no trace of them anywhere or an enrollment form filed after the date of the close of the rolls but before election day.  This is why these votes were disallowed.

      The 12 votes disallowed for not having a witness on the special vote form is just sloppy form filling.  The 9 dual votes can have a number of reasons for this happening.

      None of these votes would have appeared in any tally.

      • Reality Bytes 2.2.1

        True, it may be mostly just honest mistakes and not fraud, but the fact such errors can slip through the initial count means that there is greater possibility real cases of fraud could slip through.

        Don’t get me wrong I think the people that work on the polls and the scrutineers do a fantastic job, I just think we should always be learning lessons and striving to make the system even better and even more error free. Every vote should count. The tight race in the Waitaks really shows that.

  3. dv 3

    >>Kiely and said some changes came about because votes allowed on election night might have had a mark in the box rather than a tick

    If that is so, Peters won the Ticks/crosses argument in the 80’s.

    I thought it was along as the voters intention was clear?

    • Aye it is and I am not sure Kiely intended to say this.  My understanding is that the changes were because of miscounts rather than anything else.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.1.1

        In general the lower the turnout the more likely the ‘flaws’ in the system are to emerge. Year after year people that should be told to go away by polling booth staff are allowed to take a special declaration vote that they (staff) should know is going to be later excluded. Because it is easier for staff to do so. My partner has done polling duty and says that staff have often said “just give him a special…” to move someone along rather than try and explain/argue that they are not enrolled.

        So the timewasting just gets moved down the chain. The stats show the thousands of such invalid wasted votes each election. As for Waitakere, the experts will make a call I guess on winnability for Sepuloni. Imho if there is a hint of “voters intention unclear” involved go for a petition.

        • Ed

          It is not just ‘easier’ – it is the only option that polling booth staff had. This year polling booths were not issued with rolls for all electorates. They would ask questions to decide which electorate the person should be voting in – they had a list of streets to assist with that, and they then got the person to fill out a declaration – because it was signed they did not require ID.

          There were quite a few people who had changed address and advised registration too late for the printed rolls – or at least that is what they said. Some from Christchurch were not sure where they were eligible to vote; I would hope that if they were still legitimately enrolled in a Christchurch electorate their votes were still valid, but some who have been away for more than 3 months may have tried to cast a vote in the place they are temporarily living until they can get back to Christchurch.

          The law should make it as easy as possible for everyone who is entitled to vote to cast a vote – and the forms should be seen as assisting that goal, not a tool to deny the young and transient from casting a vote.

  4. LynW 4

    Matt McCarten: Our most valuable asset is the right to protest

    I whole heartedly agree. Well said Matt. And I was also very pleased to see Time magazine’s Person of the Year awarded to the protestor. Very much in touch with ground swell of public feeling towards social issues.

    • A right to protest doesn’t guarantee his causes are worthy of everyone’s support, like those who he thinks that voting is beneath them.

      • felix 4.1.1

        So he should just keep quiet and leave the govt alone.

        Whereas Pete, who has spectacularly failed to gain any public support for his ideas at all…

        • Colonial Viper

          Maybe Pete is angling for Matt McCarten’s job on the pages of the NZ Herald? Wouldn’t surprise me.

          • felix

            Perhaps Pete could have a bit in the middle of the page.

            Right in the middle, on the fold. About 0.6% of the page.

            Should be enough room for a little National Party logo.

    • oftenpuzzled 4.2

      There was a documentary on democracy some time recently maybe 18months ago titled something like the big idea (yes found ) where Tony Benn says something along the line that the change for all only comes from below and we need to get together as united groups to protest for change. An interesting series of 5 youtube clips worth watching, although based on British changes in understanding of democracy it still speaks of our roots and the diffculties facing us today

  5. Salsy 5

    So the wider implcations of asset sales is beginning to play out. Not only are the govt avoiding any legislation to keep shares in kiwi “mums and dads” hand as Key clearly promised, but its emerging that they actually legally cannot- in doing so would contravene a number of FTA’s…

    Cabinet has agreed to go ahead with the partial sales provided there is “significant participation” of New Zealand investors. But trade deals New Zealand is signed up to, including the Closer Economic Agreement with Australia and the Free Trade Agreement with China, require citizens of those countries to receive the same treatment as New Zealanders.

    Victoria University lecturer Jason Young said it was uncharted territory and he had never heard of a similar situation.

    “There’ll be a lot of people that will be interested to know how it will play out,” he said.

    Dr Young is an expert on the FTA with China, but said the United States, Netherlands, Australia and United Kingdom all invested more heavily in New Zealand than China and would be watching developments closely.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      The way it will play out is the National Government quietly announcing a couple of days after Christmas that its not practical to try and limit where the shares go and so, there will be no limits placed.

      Another example of the insidious sovereignty stripping rules set up by the globalised free trade cartel working alongside the 100-200 most powerful corporations in the world.

      • prism 5.1.1

        The people trying to live in the grasping environment of the super-wealthy corporations are all connected to the Tunisian man who set himself on fire. On the world news this morning on radionz was the story about a memorial held to him attended by a notable political leader.

        The man was trying to support a family of ten I think and refused to pay bribes to three officials. So they confiscated all his goods and I think threw his family out of their housing.

        f he was in the USA he might have taken a gun and killed dozens of people, but he couldn’t afford a gun I imagine, so he just took his own precious life. Very sad, and the conditions he was struggling under are increasing horizontally in the poorer classes and being replicated vertically to the middle classes as well. Marx said that getting a bit of money, perhaps running a small business, doesn’t take people out of the lower classes.

  6. Sam 6

    I am neither a Labour or National supporter, I voted Conservative.
    The worry about the partial asset sales is that there will not be a great demand for them, so the price will go down.
    Will assets be sold regardless of who pays what? I can see them being sold off at bargain basement prices and we lose twice that way – no assets and little money to show for them.

    • Higherstandard 6.1

      The share offers will be over subscribed.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Yep. Plenty of freshly minted USD sloshing around the world’s financial system looking for a safe home.

        We’re the fools for exchanging pallets of printed linen for our strategic hard assets of course, but c’est la vie.

        • prism

          After all our hard assets which are income earning to the country are sold some officials will enjoy their bribes (commissions) while some people leaving university will find the economy doesn’t provide a job or even a living income and can set themselves on fire and start a New Zealand spring.

    • felix 6.2

      Well it’s either a good deal for buyers or it’s a good deal for the state.

      Bill wants us to believe it’s both simultaneously, but that little cocksnot doesn’t even know where his fucking house is.

  7. prism 7

    Further to my recent comment. I have got a link to the Tunisian story, with accurate details.

    It was one year ago that Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of the Sidi Bouzid town hall after he was publicly slapped and humiliated by a policewoman reprimanding him for selling his vegetables without a license. He suffered full-body burns, and died soon afterward.

    Until then, he had spent his days pushing around a cart to sell his vegetables, but when his wares were confiscated and his pleas for restitution ignored by town officials, something snapped and a young man who had never left Tunisia transformed the Middle East.
    Don’t know what is happening to links I tried to set up sorry.

    • Vicky32 7.1

      after he was publicly slapped and humiliated by a policewoman reprimanding him for selling his vegetables without a license. He suffered full-body burns, and died soon afterward.

      That is so incredibly sad! It’s dreadful that he believed he had no alternative… and he didn’t really…

  8. prism 8

    Drug companies and post 1980s money and profit oriented only research. Interesting and informative interview on radionz this morning on why poor countries and wealthy ones can not get the drugs that are needed. This gives answers to many questions that often arise. Sad and shocking.

    10:06 Harriet Washington – The Corporate Takeover of Life Itself

    Medical ethicist Harriet Washington’s latest book is an exposé of the rush to own and exploit the raw materials of life—including human tissue. The US Patent Office has either granted patents, or has them pending, on more than 500,000 genes or DNA sequences. Hospital patients are often made to sign away ownership rights to their excised tissues – which then become the property of pharmaceutical companies. Harriet tells Jeremy the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies patenting these genes are more concerned with profit than with the health or medical needs of patients.
    Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself—And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future, by Harriet Washington, is published by Random House.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Interesting, thanks.

    • jim 8.2

      There was a real interesting documentary on a company called Genetic Technologies (the guy Malcom Simmons who did the research is a kiwi) who control access to 95% of the DNA of every creature on earth. I cant find the video but the homepage has a transcript of the docco

      A brief google also comes up with this nature article

      “Simons first cottoned on to the value of non-coding DNA some 15 years ago, while studying the immune system’s genes. Afterwards, he successfully applied for several patents involving access to the information that is embedded in the non-coding DNA of all species.”

  9. Salsy 9

    More needs to be understood about the FTA we have with China. I dont see shares in Chinese power companies being offered to mum and dad kiwi investors – or am i missing something? Jeanette Fitzimmons also points out how much more sinister the asset sales picture is, than the simple loss of a dividend stream – In partcular Solid Energy and lignite:

    If a Chinese company invests in New Zealand, and the New Zealand government sometime in the future then changes the law, in a way that disadvantages that company, they can sue us at a secret tribunal outside New Zealand and get compensation for their losses from the NZ taxpayer. So if any future New Zealand government wanted to have a sensibilbe cliamte change policy, put a real decent price on carbon – the Chinse investor would be able to sue future NZers- our children…

    So in a nutshell, selling our state assets means we lose the dividends, power prices will undoubtably surge for both business and home users, but worse still, any initial profits could all be lost due to potential legal action. And to top it all off, we lose our ability to legislate as an independant nation. This is so absurd its almost laughable.

  10. Parliamentary politics is on the way out. It only survives propped up by the police (eg OWS evictions) and the army (eg Egypt). NZ will catch up slowly but the shit hits the fan during this NACT regime’s second term.
    As Zizek has popularised (Marx discovered that fact) capitalism is incompatible with democracy. The only viable model for capitalism today is China. And as we can see right now that is very vulnerable to 100s of millions of peasants and workers revolting.
    That means that the fight for, and to defend, democracy will today inevitably bring down a totalitarian suppression of basic rights and a further upsurge or resistance that will be met by fascism.
    So we are facing a future of ecocide, barbarism and destruction, or, revolution.
    Wake up 20th century sheeples, this is class war and you have to decide which side you are on.

  11. A blog post on animal rights issues within ACT. Did you know John Banks is opposed to factory farming? Weird. Also Stephen Franks (ex-ACT MP) was also abit outspoken on animal rights issues. 😛

  12. Chris Oden 12

    Have just had a squiz at a Paula Bennett Facebook.She lists her interests as “Backing Johyn Key” and “NZ National Party” Is that it? The sum total of her interests?! The media should be looking at the quality of the people who now have portfolios(did Simon Bridges get one?)Some of them seem to be cannon fodder.There to put their heads above the parapets to guage the mood of the people when key wants to see if what he wants is going to make him smile or frown. If their head gets shot off its “nah, just looking at it” or head stays on “lets pass it”.Anne Tolley is just a laugh!Paula Bennett”yes john,anything you say dear” Everyone knew she would retain her seat.Sad!

  13. Carol 13

    The majority decide.

    This in fact is the definition of democracy. If you don’t believe in this, then you don’t believe in democracy.

    Actually this is a definition of representative democracy.

    True democracy is a form of direct democracy where all citizens ave a say in governing the country.

    OWS aims for a version of this with everybody participating in decision-making.

    Representative democracy is employed to get quicker results than direct democracy and can result in the tyranny of the majority – eg over the non-white, disabled, non-heterosexual etc.

    PS: Damn, not sure now where the post is that I thought I was replying to?

    • Jenny 13.1

      PS: Damn, not sure now where the post is that I thought I was replying to?


      Sorry about that Carol.

      Here it is.

      (I edited it a little bit, from my clumsy first attempt)

      • Carol 13.1.1

        OK, thanks, Jenny.

        I think your focus on minority may be a bit misleading. You are talking about the effective dictatorship of a wealthy and powerful minority, that mostly manages to convince an electoral majority to vote in their interests – as is happening in our representative democracy. They also manage to marginalise a selection of repressed, oppressed or disenfranchised minorities.

        In fact, OWS aims for a more participatory democracy, a form of direct democracy, where all are encouraged to have their say in a move towards more consensual decision-making – and where less powerful minorities are, hopefully, not marginalised.

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    Dave Brown is ultimately right, it is just easier to carry on with incrementalist reformist politics because most of us have not had our doors kicked in, been batoned, tasered or bank accounts and superschemes rendered worthless….yet. Denial and hope are easier for most in kiwiland, but will not suffice for much longer.

    ‘The clampdown’ is likely to proceed further under Key as the tax take goes down and with it the remnants of the ‘social wage’. Wholesale state sector sackings and the demise of WFF may finally wake up the middle income groups (I hestitate to call them a class). NZ despite what some bloggers say is full of working class people, they just don’t mostly all hang out together in large factories making stuff anymore. Service, food, farming, tourism, media, entertainment and logistics industries, precarious part time jobs, independent contractors, dependent contractors, free lancers, SMEs etc. Self employed usually turn out to be ‘employed’ by or beholden to finance capital. Be your own boss, -Tui.

    The objective factors for revolution have existed for a long time, the subjective factors (peoples world view, political understanding and organisation) the missing link. It is going to get ugly alright, you will need more than a vege garden to survive what is coming. But there is hope in political organisation rather than submitting to some crappy sub ‘Matrix’ future.

    • Uturn 14.1

      The definition of “working class” as it relates to any form of revolution needs to be understood. The proletariat (people who have little more than their own families) could be of those you describe, but the defining feature is they must want to create revolution, bringing down capitalism, to move towards a classless society. Some of the subgroups you mention would simply want to redesign capitalism with themselves at the top of the hierachy. For example, those who support a centre left party. Understand that revolution is not just a reshuffle of existing cards. The old game ends, completely, or revolution fails.

      Despite occasional proletariat anger, NZ lacks a revolutionary spirit. Easy, swift, change can only happen here, as you say, under the stress of a disintergrating establishment that happens suddenly and to effect hundreds of thousands of people. Either that, or there would have to be a large overseas war that heavily taxed our ability to supply current consumer demands – almost isolation. The idea that middle classes will willingly give up their credit cards, cars, boats, and other assets to reform society where they’ll work on the front line for an idea of a responsible collective existence just isn’t going to catch on. Until the idea of Getting Ahead is utterly and totally destroyed, and then some, it’s no dice.

      Organising NZ’s proletariat to push the middle class into civil war, on one side or the other, seems somewhat unrealistic in today’s modern comfort. While no small gesture, the closest anyone is likely to come is some form of civil disobedience or principled stand of personal cost.

      • Tiger Mountain 14.1.1

        Sure many kiwis despite being hard done by in various ways, are generally the last lot that would enthusiastically call for revolution, people I know that possess arms would be more likely to turn them on lefties before bosses at this stage.

        Oppression and exploitation obviously do not automatically equate to resistance and push back on some convenient time frame, but they do eventually, as world history shows. I am alluding to the NZ version ‘aspirational, it is all about ME’ bubble likely being popped by coming global and local events and previously comfortable people (in numbers) actually missing that one direct credit that usually fended off personal disaster.

        Who knows what people with no history of collective action will do-join authoritarian right wingers, end it all, live rough, or consider some sort of left movement. But they will have to do something when the lights go out and the party is over.

  15. aj 15

    If $100m in fees is going to go to ‘advisors’ for the first asset sale, do we stump up similar amounts for each successive asset that gets sold? One gift of that size makes me blink but surely kiwi’s would choke if the number grows x2, x3, x4

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      The fee is 2% of the nominal $5B total the assets are supposed to fetch. I suppose if the assets fetch $7B as English hopes, the fee might be as high as $140M. As usual, capital is valued in the financial economy, labour is not.

  16. Jellytussle 18

    Am I understanding right? Is
    saying that votes were disallowed because some………….” might have had a mark in the box rather than a tick.”

    • chris73 18.1

      Yes thats my understanding so I’d allow those to be counted for whatever party they voted for (even though the instructions are quite clear) but more importantly was this little quote:

      “Those 393, not only were they not on the roll in Waitakere, but they weren’t enrolled anywhere.”

      • Jellytussle 18.1.1

        Have just caught up with mickeysavage above who reckons that the tick / mark issue might not be the case. I can’t see any figures that suggest it’s the case anyway.

        The 393 is certainly a worry I agree. There’s no reason for it at all as far as I can see. So what if people need to enrol or make special votes on election day, don’t we want as many votes as possible? I have been disenfranchised myself in a previous election through being told I could cast a special vote when in fact it was disallowed.

        • Ant

          I received my enrollment confirmation just the other day, I presume I voted due to my old address on the roll from when I was registered for local body elections.

          This is from sending in a change of details/enrollment form 2 weeks before the election…

          I’m hoping that these invalid votes aren’t due to processing errors meaning they weren’t enrolled.

  17. Jellytussle 19

    Moderator Sir……….Isn’t the discussion about disqualified votes worthy of a post of it’s own? Can’t you gather all the comments about the issue into one spot?

  18. Treetop 20

    Have I got this right?

    When it came to the recount for Waitakere and Christchurch Central, two Labour list seats would convert to two Labour electorate seats had Labour won the electoral seats?

    If Carmel wins the electorial petition Bennett has to leave Parliament and National lose a tail end list seat so National then only have 58 seats and not 59?

  19. logie97 21

    So the Catholic Action group are so exercised that they feel the need to
    vandalise a piece of thought provoking artwork.

    Presumably this same group and other adherents will picket their own St Patricks cathedral with their strongest voices until they get an absolute assurance that their own faith has cleansed itself of instances of child abuse.

    … Ah, there’s none so blind as those who will not see…

  20. randal 22

    hi ho hi ho its off to work I go.
    we work all day for f*ck all pay.
    hi ho hi ho hi ho.

    • In Vino Veritas 22.1

      Then go find another job that pays better randal, like most people do. Don’t sit on your arse and whine.

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