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Open Mike 18/12/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 18th, 2016 - 154 comments
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154 comments on “Open Mike 18/12/2016 ”

    • Jenny 1.1

      On the fall of Aleppo.

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        “The triumph of fascism in Aleppo will not be confined to that ancient city.”

        Sam Hamad

        To which I would add; “The triumph of fascism in Spain did not remain confined to the Iberian Peninsular.”


        • Paul

          The author appears to be based close to the aaction.

          ‘Sam Hamad is a Scottish-Egyptian writer based in Edinburgh. He specialises in Middle Eastern affairs.’

          Whereas independent journalists working in Syria and the Middle East come to a more nuanced conclusion.


          • Paul

            Some key excerpts to note from that article.

            Patrick Cockburn has chided mainstream media for relying on unverified sources belonging to the Syrian opposition, as in Iraq, to base their rabidly anti-Assad stories on. Cockburn compares and contrasts the coverage of Aleppo with Mosul, both fallen into rebel/terrorist hands and the attempt to liberate them by respective government forces are/were ongoing, and shows that although there have been far more casualties in Mosul, the war cry over Aleppo has been exponentially high.

            Eva K Bartlett says those are plain lies. In a scathing video recorded on December 9, 2016, four days before Aleppo officially came into Syrian Army’s hold and rebels “surrendered” after Putin and Erdogan “brokered a deal” for the safe passage of civilians, Bartlett – an independent Canadian journalist with massive experience in covering Iraq, Gaza and Syria – accuses BBC, Guardian and NYT of propagating Anglo-American lies and relying on Syrian rebels and NATO-backed terrorists for so-called information on Aleppo.

            Robert Fisk warns us that there is more than one story in Syria and that the international meltdown over Aleppo is more to serve Western interests than actually an instance of genuine sympathy for residents of Aleppo. According to him, “regime change” is the biggest interest driver in the NATO intervention, even though there is major populist support for Assad.

            The framing of the Syrian crisis has been gravely wrong. As early as December 2013, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh expressed his reservations over the accusations against Assad that he gassed his own population, resulting in a no-fly-zone declaration within Syria. Hersh asked why would Assad take the route that would automatically invite international censure and make for terrible press, when he could effectively combat the rebels in conventional warfare. It must be noted that at that point, Russia hadn’t officially entered the Syrian equation, and Vladimir Putin was only giving informal and ideological support to Assad and his government.

            Questions are being raised on the maelstrom of “fake news” generated by establishment media and the social media arms of well-known Anglo-American bodies. Images of children orphaned or killed by shelling are being photoshopped from music videos and then circulated as anti-Assad propaganda.

            Eva Bartlett is scathing in her account of the “White Helmets”, who were in fact the first runners-up in the race to the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016. Bartlett says White Helmets have deep links with UK military and have been known to recirculate the same pictures and names over and over again, often using photos of children maimed and killed by shelling and aerial bombing and blaming it all on Assad’s forces, or Putin fighter jets.

            If the revolt against mainstream media has been so extreme in 2016, we need to ask why and shift the arena from within troubled Western countries to their imperial laboratories in West Asia and North Africa, where a crisis of information repression and twisting of narrative has been going on without remorse.

            The belated lament over Iraq War has not sharpened the editorial eyes of establishment media houses such as the Guardian, BBC, New York Times, and they continue to see the “Middle East” through terribly biased lenses, seeing the vast swathes of land and people as mere resource basins in an increasingly resource-crunched world.

            It helped to portray Aleppo as the Auschwitz of our times. Problem is it’s more Baghdad than anything else, but for the outcome. In the outcome alone, there may be shades of Vietnam in the grim four-year-long Battle of Aleppo.

              • Paul

                So you read Cockburn, Fisk, Bartlett and Hersh, did you?
                Did you believe the Weapons of Mass Destruction story as well?
                I am not disputing that Assad is a dictator – however I am questioning how lovely the rebels are. They are no heroes. And the media is hiding how awful they are.

                • Stunned mullet

                  Yes Paul the various groups in Syria are awful. The dictator Assad having invited in Putin and his mafia continues to slaughter, gas, maim and starve any and all those who he perceives as a threat – hopefully once Syria is dragged out of the hell it is enduring those who thought that there could be a democratic change while a piece of filth like ASsad was in charge will realize the error in their thinking.

                  • Paul

                    Yes and the ‘rebels’ also ‘slaughter, gas, maim and starve any and all those who they perceives as a threat.
                    It’s more nuanced than the propaganda you are reading.

                  • mauī

                    Assad was voted in by 88% of voters in a 2014 election that had a high turnout, comparable to our turnout. It looks like your understanding of the Syrian people is questionable.

                    • Jenny

                      The dynastic Assad dictatorship has ruled Syria with an iron fist for over 50 years.

                      One of the silliest claims made by Western supporters of the Assad regime is that Bashar Assad is a democratically elected leader.

                      That Bashar Assad can claim stratospheric levels of voter support is not unusual for dictatorships. Bashar Assad’s brother dictators, Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, also claimed near 90% voter support; Just before they were toppled in massive popular revolts!

                      Just like Kim Jong-un of North Korea, Basha Assad was handed the role of dictator in a succession on the death of his father Hafez Assad. Originally of course the succession was supposed to be handed on to Bashar’s older brother Yassin before Yassin was killed in a car accident.

                      As well as the leadership being handed down from father to son, the leadership of the Assad regime is stuffed full of Assad family members and relatives.


                      Because like most dictators the Assad regime can only be sure of the loyalty of those closely related to them. And not even then. Which is another reason why familial ties are important in dictatorships. Because family ties can be used to influence and coerce any relatives that might want to stray from the fold.



                    • alwyn

                      “Assad was voted in by 88% of voters in a 2014 election that had a high turnout”
                      Is that all? The man wasn’t even trying.
                      He should study more carefully the way the people of North Korea vote for their Great Leader.
                      100% turnout and 100% for the status quo.

                • KJT

                  “Dictator’ Assad, was elected with more votes than Trump, Key, or Obama.

                  Just like the “Dictator” Chávez.

                  Shows the pervasive effect of false memes.

              • Jenny

                In the famous Revolutionary Syrian song (below), @2:04 minutes, is the line:

                “Time for you to go Bashar”

                “You create thieves every day, Shaleesh, Rami and Mahar”

                The “Rami” that the song refers to is Rami Makhlouf, Basha Assad’s cousin who is Syria’s version of Roger Douglas, Don Brash and Michael Fay all rolled into one.

                Rami Makhlouf, commonly known in Syria as “Mr Ten Percent”, was one of the architects, (and single biggest beneficiary, aside from the foreign banks) of the Neo-liberal reforms the ruling elite around Assad imposed on Syria in the 1990s.
                Just like here in New Zealand, the neo-liberal reforms imposed on the Syrian people by the rich elite in alliance with the world bank, devastated the working class and poorer Syrians while massivley increasing the incomes of the wealthy elite around Assad.

                But starting from an even poorer base than New Zealand, these neo-liberal reforms were much more devastating to the working people in Syria than they were here.

                • Jenny

                  The other names mentioned in the famous song “Time for you to go Basahar”, (apart from the dictator himself) are “Shaleesh” and “Maher”.

                  Read the Wikipedia profile of these characters to know why the Syrian people are fighting for freedom.



                  • Morrissey

                    In Jenny-speak, “the Syrian people” = ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliate the Al-Nusra Front.

                    • Paul

                      Useful atrocities

                      Who outside of Syria knows the names Yara Abbas, Maya Naser, Mohamed al-Saeed…? The corporate media has inundated us with news of the two American journalists allegedly beheaded, the first of whose execution video has been deemed faked. But what of the non-Western journalists and civilians beheaded and murdered by ISIS, al-Nusra, and associated terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine?

                      Why didn’t the August 2012 execution (which some reported as a beheading) of TV presenter Mohamed al–Saeed, claimed by the Nusra gang, create the same outrage? Or the December 2013 kidnapping and point blank execution in Idlib by ISIS of Iraqi journalist Yasser al-Jumaili?

                      Why wasn’t the murder of Yara Abbas—a journalist with al-Ikhbariaya, whose crew’s car was attacked by an insurgent sniper—broadcast on Western television stations? Or that of Lebanese cameraman for al-Mayadeen, Omar Abdel Qader, shot dead by an insurgent sniper on March 8, 2014 in eastern Syria.

                      Maya Naser, Ali Abbas, Hamza Hajj Hassan (Lebanese), Mohamad Muntish (Lebanese), Halim Alou (Lebanese)…all were media workers killed by the Western-backed insurgents in Syria. Their deaths were reported by local media, some even got a passing notice in corporate media, but none resulted in a media frenzy of horror and condemnations as came with the alleged killings of Westerners. Another at least 20 Arab journalists have been killed by NATO’s death squads in Syria in the past few years.

                      The killing of 16 Palestinian journalists in Gaza, at least 7 targeted while working, during the July/August 2014 Zionist Genocide of Gaza, also fell on deaf ears. Nor were the previous years of murdering Palestinian journalists noted, let alone whipped into a media frenzy. [see also: Silencing the Press, Sixteenth Report, Documentation of Israeli Attacks against Media Personnel in the opt ]

                      In Syria, there are thousands of civilians and Syrian soldiers who have been beheaded—and in far more brutal and realistic manner than the SITE videos insinuate—by the so-called “moderate” Free Syrian Army (FSA), al-Nusra, Da’esh (ISIS), and hoards of other Western-backed mercenaries. At the hands of the various NATO-gangs, tens of thousands more civilians have been assassinated and subjected to various sadistic practices—torture, mutilation, crucifixion, burning in ovens, throwing into wells, and a sick lot more. Thousands more, including children and women, remain missing after being kidnapped during mercenary raids and massacres.

                      Keep reading by clicking below


          • Psycho Milt

            ‘Sam Hamad is a Scottish-Egyptian writer based in Edinburgh. He specialises in Middle Eastern affairs.’

            Whereas independent journalists working in Syria and the Middle East come to a more nuanced conclusion.

            So, could you point me to the bits where Fisk and Cockburn refute the claims about mass death and torture in detention that Jenny linked to? Or was there just no point to you re-posting (yet again) these articles? I know which one I think it is, but feel free to prove me wrong.

          • Morrissey

            Paul, she’s an unwitting supporter of head-choppers and heart-eaters. You’re wasting your time trying to reason with her.

            • Jenny

              Maybe if you marshalled up some facts it might help your case. Just saying.

              • Paul

                Did you read the articles I attached?

                • As per my comment above, the articles you linked to don’t refute the claims in Jenny’s posts or even cast doubt on them, so there wouldn’t be much point in her reading them, except maybe for entertainment. Why do you believe those articles are relevant to her posts?

                  • Paul

                    If you read Jenny’s posts, there is a clear inference that one side are the ‘goodies’ and the other the ‘baddies’.
                    Such simplistic ideas are dangerous.

                • Jenny

                  Opinion, no matter how ilustrious the person giving it, is still just that, Opinion.

                  Personally I post links of verified facts, backed up by my own personal experiences and observations of my time in Syria.

                  I notice that most of the Assadists try to avoid making statements on these facts, or offer any counter argument against them. And continually make claims with no factual backing at all.

                  Having been in Syria, not long before the Arab Spring, I was surprised and dismayed when John Pilger made statements in support of the Bathist regime of Bashar Assad.

                  In my opinion Pilger has let his well justified hatred of US imperialism cloud his judgement.

                  Syria is not Iraq, Syria is not Afghanistan.

                  The Syrian popular revolt and civil war is a completely different thing altogether.

                  The Syrian revolt has more in common with the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.

                  Leftists and those who pride them selves on their liberal credentials should never support the mass aerial bombing of civilian cities whatever the excuse.

                  Pilger, Fisk and countless other lesser luminaries who support the Assad regime’s one sided genocidal air war against its people, believing it is necessary to defeat terrorism, might justify this support by agreeing with the saying; “The end justifies, The means.”

                  What these lunimaries great and small need to keep in the front of their minds instead, is the saying; “Rotten means, usually mean rotten ends”.


              • Morrissey

                You’re obviously far beyond reason, Jenny. I and many others here have tried to make you see sense, but you are indifferent to the truth, and clearly believe everything you are told on radio and television.

                • Paul

                  I would ignore her – but I don’t believe the Standard should be relentlessly subjected to views you’d hear on Larry Williams’ ZB talkback show.

                  • DH

                    Paul jenny has as much right as you to post here. Your attitude here is pretty repugnant IMO. Someone posts an alternate view to yours and you challenge their right to air their opinions. That’s the way of tyrants.

                    For what it’s worth I think your own argument has deteriorated to a pissing contest. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that you’ve started deliberately inflating the ‘credentials’ of your copy & paste sources and framing your argument along the lines of “My journalistic references are better than yours so mine must be right and yours therefore are wrong”. It’s quite irritating.

                    • Morrissey

                      Nobody is challenging Jenny’s right to post here. This is not Whaleoil Beef Hooked.

                    • Paul

                      Yes Jenny is free to post.
                      However, she can expect to be challenged on her support for extreme Jihadist groups.

                • Paul

                  And cannot and will not read articles presented to her.

                • Jenny

                  “….you are indifferent to the truth, and clearly believe everything you are told on radio and television.”

                  If you thing that is where I get my information from, you are mistaken.

                  I have been to Syria Morrisey and seen the Assad regime close up. (Admittedly getting out just before the Arab Spring erupted.) But that was enough to convince me that this was nightmarish police state, no need for any persuasion from the MSM radio or TV.

                  But if I get the meaning of your words Morrissey, then we shouldn’t believe the evidence of our eyes provided by the drone video of Syrian cities flattened by massive Aerial bombardment by the regime and its allies, scenes that humanity has not witnessed since the bombing of Warsaw by the Nazis in WWII.

                  Would you really have us believe, Morrissey, that all this drone video footage which is a record of genocide, is digitly altered computer generated fiction?

              • Penny Bright

                Seen any work by independent journalist Vanessa Beeley?

                “…Through the White Helmets we are seeing the eradication of Syrian state institutions and the implanting of a Syrian shadow state by predominantly the UK, the US and supported by EU governments, says Vanessa Beeley, independent researcher and journalist.

                With Syria’s White Helmets having been in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, grabbing headlines as ‘Heroes of Peace’, with the media and politicians endorsing them, RT spoke with Vanessa Beeley, independent researcher and journalist.

                Beeley discussed whether The White Helmets are indeed “independent, impartial and unsullied by Western cash”.

                I have taken the time to do a lot of googling from a variety of sources on the ‘White Helmets’ of Aleppo Syria.

                In my view, given who set them up, funds them, and their role – it’s to push ‘regime change’ in Syria, and, in my view serve USA / European corporate / militarist interests.

                In my view, NZ should NOT be supporting in ANY way the ‘White Helmets’ in Aleppo, Syria.

                Penny Bright.

                • Seen any work by independent journalist Vanessa Beeley?

                  No. But based on your quote there, she sounds like a complete nutcase.

                  • Morrissey

                    Why are you here? You have nothing intelligent or interesting to say about any topic.

                    MEMO Site Administrators:

                    Is there any moderation on this site?

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Well they appear to allow third rate stenography …

                    • Paul

                      And fourth rate right wing trolls….

                    • Paul

                      I give up with PM.
                      I admire your patience with the man.

                    • I guess I should apologise. I skimmed Penny’s comment and didn’t recall that actually I have read stuff by Vanessa Beeley, and that she’s an Assad regime shill, not a nutcase. I’m not sure “regime shill” is an improvement on “nutcase,” but accuracy is important.

                      Why are you here?

                      Assuming that’s not a general philosophical question, the reason I’m responding to all these pro-Assad propaganda links is outlined in this comment.

            • Paul

              I am beginning to think this as she equates Sam Hamad to Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk.

              • Jenny

                An alternative narrative to the simplistic and outdated and clunky “US regime change” narrative template, that Western leftists have tried to force over the Syrian civil war.

                Below is video from Tahrir Square in Egypt, part of the heroic region wide 2011 people’s revolt, against dictatorship and authoritarianism, commonly known as the “Arab Spring”.

                After witnessing the toppling of his fellow dictators Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, the dictator of Syria Basha Assad faced a choice, step down and grant the democratic reforms the protesters were demanding, or attempt to drown the Arab Spring in blood with unbelieveable levels of state violence.

                In move he since may have had cause to regret, the beleagured dictator chose the second option.

                Just like in Egypt and Tunisia many of the members of the Syrian armed forces refused to shoot down the protesters and instead turned their guns on the regime.

                Only the Syrian airforce remained loyal.

                And so began the ferocious genocide from the sky that has killed over 400,000 Syrians and driven millions more from the country.

                Without an army to speak of, (or at least one that could be relied on), and with the loyalist airbases being slowly over ran, one by one, the regime turned to foreign allies to preserve their rule and turn the tide of the war.

                Witnessing all this the Western powers and the UN turned a blind eye and stood aside. There has never been a popular movement that they didn’t distrust.

                • Paul

                  Have you read Cockburn, Bartlett or Fisk as part of your understanding of Middle East geopolitics?

                  • Jenny

                    Could Egypt have become another Syria?

                    Believe it or not, it was a close thing.

                    • Paul

                      Have you read Patrick Cockburn on Syria?

                    • Jenny

                      @03:50 minutes:

                      One Woman’s Story From The Egyptian Revolution

                      “The stakes are high, if people’s power works here, it could sweep away undemocratic governments across the Arab world.”

                • Tim

                  Thanks for sharing this Jenny. Nobody is saying there was not popular support for the Syrian uprising (except idiots) but the question is was it largely an Islamist uprising or was it more people in search of secular democracy?

                  • Jenny

                    Either way that is their right. Or democracy means nothing.

                    For instance in the Egyptian revolution; in the elections that people fought so hard for, despite the clearly secular and multi-denominational nature of the uprising, the electorate delivered up the Muslim Brotherhood led government of Mohamed Morsi.
                    Rather than letting this democratically elected government work out its contradictions. Under US pressure and the payment of a bribe of an extra $6billion in military aid by the Obama administration, the Egyptian military stepped in to take power, and another pro-Western dictator Adel Al Sisi rules again.

                    This coup has been followed with the business as usual massacres and banning of protests.

                    What it might pay to remember is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a close political ally of Hamas in Gaza, which was also elected democratically.

                    I think we need to stop looking at this issue through Western eyes and see it how those in th Middle East see it. Hamas which is an Islamic movement, started as a religious charity providing medical and food aid to the Palestinians displaced and living in the refugee camps in Gaza. The reason Hamas became so popular in Gaza, (and the Westbank), is that the secular political movements like the Palestine Authority had failed the Palestininan people. Unfortunately for all its early hope, the PA had become corrupted and infiltrated by the Zionists.

                    The Zionists had a lot more trouble infiltrating and buying off Hamas compared to the PA, finding the religious Islamist movement completely impenetrable, and because of their deep held faith, pretty much incorruptible.


                    • Tim

                      thanks jenny – that is a lot more revealing of your outlook. I’d side with Israel against Islamism

                    • Morrissey

                      So Israel is not simply bombing hospitals, cutting water off at whim, attacking peace convoys with lethal force, blowing up houses and illegally dispossessing people of their land. We now find that all these apparent crimes are nothing more than fighting “against Islamism.”

                      Tim, your post at 1:12 p.m. is as depraved as it is stupid.

                    • Tim []

                      Yes yes Israel is evil and eats people’s babies etc etc, heard it all before buddy.

                    • Paul

                      A bit silly Tim.
                      Not so funny for folk from Gaza though.


                    • Morrissey

                      Yes yes Israel is evil and eats people’s babies etc etc, heard it all before buddy.

                      Your flippant response confirms what I suspected.

                    • Tim []

                      What did you suspect? That I’d side with the clearly more just and rational side in a longstanding conflict? Your nonsense transcripts confirm to me how biased and out of touch you are.

                    • Morrissey

                      Israel is “more just and rational”, is it?

                      You really do not have a clue.

                    • Tim []

                      Easily. Maybe you should leave it to younger types who still have working brains to figure out where to go from here? Thanks for all your ‘work’.

                    • Morrissey

                      A request to Standardistas:

                      I think this poor bloke is trying to have a go at me, but he’s not very coherent. Could someone interpret please?

                    • Paul

                      Tim your arrogance does not strengthen an argument. It weakens it.
                      It looks like you don’t support democracy after reading your points about Egypt and Israel.
                      Israel has killed many innocent Palestinian children in Gaza – great you support a country that does this.
                      You need to read more widely than Fox and CNN to get the news.

                • Penny Bright

                  Another view on the ‘Arab Spring’?


                  According to Bensaada, the MENA Arab Spring revolutions have four unique features in common:

                  None were spontaneous – all required careful and lengthy (5+ years) planning, by the State Department, CIA pass through foundations, George Soros, and the pro-Israel lobby.1
                  All focused exclusively on removing reviled despots without replacing the autocratic power structure that kept them in power.
                  No Arab Spring protests made any reference whatsoever to powerful anti-US sentiment over Palestine and Iraq.
                  All the instigators of Arab Spring uprisings were middle class, well educated youth who mysteriously vanished after 2011.

                  • In Vino

                    Interesting. But those who have become passionate will not listen – that is the way it goes..

                  • Jenny

                    @Penny Bright.
                    My that is certainly some conspiracy theory.

                    I had no idea that all those millions of people were all being paid by the CIA. Who Knew. And that they were all magically spirited away afterwards, presumably to the US, that was something else.

                    Next you will be telling us that NASA faked the moon landings and the satelite evidence of climate change.

                    That climate change is a conspiracy invented by the Chinese to destroy our jobs.

                    And that the twin towers was an inside job.

                  • None were spontaneous – all required careful and lengthy (5+ years) planning, by the State Department, CIA pass through foundations, George Soros, and the pro-Israel lobby.

                    That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows the Arab Spring uprisings were orchestrated by the Lizard People. The CIA is behind the chemtrails.

                  • Paul

                    Really interesting.
                    So like the colour revolutions in the Ukraine?

    • Broze 1.2

      In October, the Chicago Tribune ran a story covering #StandWithAleppo, a popular twitter handle and hashtag created by “two Chicago moms” looking to document the plight of children in besieged E. Aleppo. But as some observant social media users have since discovered, one of the women turned out to be a journalist, the other the head of a SuperPAC.

      In the run-up to eastern Aleppo’s liberation by the Syrian army last week, #StandWithAleppo was turned into an extremely popular Twitter hashtag, users joining the Western mainstream media in condemning the Syrian government and accusing it of committing war crimes in the city. In spite of numerous stories, photos and video materials by alternative media showing that the city’s residents were actually mostly relieved by their liberation, the hashtag has effectively become a rallying cry for the anti-Assad, anti-Russian narrative pushed by the mainstream media and Western governments. But as one very observant Twitter user searching for the origin story behind the viral #StandWithAleppo campaign has since discovered, Becky Carroll and Wendy Widom, the “two ordinary moms” who launched the campaign, are anything but ordinary. 2. Described by Chicago Tribune as a “Chicago mom,” Carroll is in fact CEO of “public affairs & strategic communications firm ” C-Strategies — Club des Cordeliers (@cordeliers) 15 декабря 2016 г. ​The Chicago Tribune, which interviewed the two women in October, described Carroll as a strategic affairs consultant who “decided it was time to do something” to help the suffering people of the city.

      Read more: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201612181048717861-standwithaleppo-origins-analysis/

  1. Cinny 4

    How embarrassing for NZ…

    “Tourists are shocked to discover New Zealand’s “Middle-earth” is dirty and polluted, says a Lord of the Rings actor who now leads high-end tours.”

    Meanwhile Paula says…

    “Acting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett disagreed, saying the Government was actively working to improve the quality of New Zealand’s waterways, including setting minimum water quality standards and an extra $100 million clean-up fund for lakes, rivers and wetlands.”

    I say… the outgoing government has failed to protect our environment, putting profit over everything else. Now they are trying to look heroic attempting to fix a problem that should have never happened in the first place.


    • John up North 4.1

      Well here we go, from the linked news article, our minister for the environment (though she did admit to knowing nothing about the job when first given the portfolio)

      When asked if the 100% Pure campaign was aspirational only, she replied: “It’s an award-winning campaign that is working brilliantly for New Zealand with record growth in visitor numbers. It’s not, and never has been, an environmental measure.”

      “It’s not, and never has been, an environmental measure”

      At least she’s a bit more honest than our bail out ex-pm. But!!! does that mean this award winning campaign which brings tourism and $$$ into our country won’t/can’t be also used to provide some relief (or shock even $$) to help maintain our environment so maybe the “industry” of tourism is sustainable?

      It may have the unintended side effect of our environment also being sustainable, that may be a good thing, methinks.

      • Cinny 4.1.1

        O.O i see where you are coming from, that makes sense and if that’s what it takes so be it.
        So many of us contribute to maintaining and helping the planet, it will be a wonderful day when the rest realise that all the money in the world doesn’t matter if the planet is dead.

        As for 100% Pure, it’s all just a big marketing campaign exploiting our natural environment while some allow others to rape it even more.

      • Wensleydale 4.1.2

        Hardly surprising. Paula Bennett has form for not wanting to measure things that might paint the government in a less than stellar light. Like poverty. The entire thing is wholly disingenuous. You’re showing photos of pristine alpine wilderness and glittering lakes, alongside the slogan “100% Pure”. The inference is obvious, and pretending that inference isn’t absolutely deliberate is complete bollocks.

    • The Chairman 4.2

      First we hear tourists are shocked to discover New Zealand’s “Middle-earth” is dirty and polluted.

      Surprisingly, acting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett disagreed as she highlighted a $100 million clean-up fund for lakes, rivers and wetlands.

      If they are not dirty and polluted then why the $100 million clean-up fund, Paula?

      • Cinny 4.2.1

        Dang Chairman that’s just too logical, cut that out 😀

        Lolz Paula the putz yup that’s her alright, just rolls off the tongue like truth to the world.

  2. Morrissey 5

    Great Moments in Broadcasting. NOT.
    No. 6: Phony liberals mug furiously as Aretha sings.

    38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, Washington D.C., December 6, 2015

    A year ago the Kennedy Center held a special tribute concert for Carole King. As great as Carole is, however, it was the legendary Aretha Franklin who stole the show, singing her timeless hit “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”. [1]

    Aretha is unimpeachably brilliant of course, but there’s something repellent about the over-the-top reaction shots of selected audience members, who seem to think they are obliged to show the audience just how reverent they are in their worship of the Queen of Soul. Carole King herself, I’m sorry to say, is excruciating in her ridiculous wide-eyed, face-pulling luvvie antics; she starts her performance at the 13 second mark. Sitting behind her is the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma; obviously embarrassed by her shenanigans, he is by the 2:02 mark displaying annoyance and contempt for her.

    But even worse is the appalling couple who start an obviously well rehearsed routine of painfully excruciating finger-clicking and head-nodding at 0:46. The man, who has been lambasted for his insincere posturing [2] in the past, even pretends to brush away a tear, so profoundly moved is he by the song. Never has the old truism been truer: guilty feet ain’t got no rhythm.

    [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bYwgi4htXE

    [2] https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-30062013/#comment-655545

    Great Moments in Broadcasting. NOT is an occasional series highlighting some of the worst moments in our shameful history of broadcasting mediocrity and downright failure.

    • DoublePlusGood 5.1

      So we couldn’t possibly allow that someone enjoy themselves and get a little too into it at their own tribute concern?

      • Morrissey 5.1.1

        Not like that. It was toe-curlingly embarrassing. Yo-Yo Ma’s expression of distaste spoke for everyone who finds luvvie behaviour unacceptable.

  3. Stunned mullet 6

    Great Moments in Stenography. NOT is an occasional series highlighting some of the worst moments in moz’s shameful history of mediocre stenography and downright fabrications.

    • Morrissey 6.1

      Nothing fabricated about any of these “Great Moments, NOT”, my friend…..

      No. 6: Phony liberals mug furiously as Aretha sings. (Sun 18/12/16)
      No. 5: Chris Trotter puts on a “funny” South American accent (Sun 11/12/16)
      No. 4: Susan Baldacci and Jim Mora talk about “lack of empathy”. (Sat 10/12/16)
      No. 3: Kevin Roberts’ performance on TV3 chat show The Panel, late 2001. (Sun 4/12/16)
      No. 2: Noelle McCarthy’s patsy interview with Mark Bowden 8/1/13 (Sat 3/12/16)
      No. 1: Pippa Wetzel grovels and simpers before a slimy criminal…. (pubd. Fri 2/12/16)

      Keep an eye out, fellas, there’s more to come!

      • james 6.1.1

        You need to get out more – there is a lovely country out there – enjoy it. You will be a lot happier then spending hours in your basement banging out post of newsclips.

        • Morrissey

          You need to get out more – there is a lovely country out there – enjoy it.

          Thanks James. I intend to do just that this afternoon.

          You will be a lot happier then spending hours in your basement banging out post of newsclips.

          Certainly getting outside will make me happy—but happier than spending time in the basement, composing masterpieces? I don’t think so.

          • james

            “Thanks James. I intend to do just that this afternoon.”

            Excellent – hope you have a great day.

        • Paul

          Regurgitating the Henry paradise line……

          • james

            Actually – Ive traveled – a lot – more than most (for which I am thankful).

            Its not a myth that NZ is a paradise. It has some faults sure – But a paradise it is.

            • KJT

              Don’t worry. Governments since 1984, have been fixing that as fast as they can get away with.
              We will be a country of bag ladies, beggars, combined with a few obscenely wealthy, as fast as we can.

            • One Two

              Use of the word paradise in respect of NZ has become a twisted narrative repeated by the delusional

              The delusional who enable the incrimental decline by comparing it to places that are ‘worse off’

              So long as there is people suffering, starving, living in the street or in cars and garages and killing themselves in record numbers….use of the word ‘paradise’ is twisted

    • Gabby 6.2

      It’s a great advertisement for deaf aids though.

  4. John up North 7

    Oh my God!

    The govt is finally doing something about the shit state school facilities have degraded to, wonderful, wonderful, magnificent minister Parata has loosened the drawstrings on her money bag to halt the slide many schools have had to endure due to budgets being concreted over.


    I sense the lolly bag has been brought out in anticipation of building up good headlines and shizzle for the coming election, watch this space for more National kindness (aka funding shit you’re supposed to).

    But, as per normal these clowns just kant get it rite. Not only do we have public funding cut to the bone but of course the private system gets it by the wheel barrow, Charter schools and now the Integrated schools funding rorts bubbling to the surface. C’mon MSM do your job and get into these bastards, there’s a ugly sore needing a good picking over.


    • Wensleydale 7.1

      When the election eventually rolls around, I sincerely hope someone from Northland asks Simon Bridges where the bridges he promised them have got to, and if they’re still going to get them. And when he gets all slippery and evasive (or even better, does a Brownlee and throws his toys out of the pram), someone else from Northland throws a dildo at him.

  5. RedBaronCV 8

    On another subject entirely – does Fonterra need to get a life or something similar.

    Lewis Road had developed a niche market for good quality milk (and some other flavoured milk products) but then when I went to the supermarket to buy my very small quantity of it I found a similar product crowding the shelf alongside from Fonterra.

    All was explained by some newspaper articles suggesting that Fonterra are possibly trying to tie up shelf space to the detriment of other producers. Next stop by the look of the articles is the Courts.

    So my question for Fonterra is:
    you have supposedly a large international market- can you not use these links to sell these premium milk products rather than trying to maybe crowd out a smallish local developing company?? This smallish company may grow into a premium exporter to the benefit of a lot of people so
    Shouldn’t you be bigger than that?

    • Wensleydale 8.1

      If you’re expecting Fonterra to take the high road on that one, you’re a hopeless optimist. I’m pretty sure they’ll quite happily walk all over the little guy for the sake of increased market share, and Kiwi solidarity can take a hike. Watch and smirk as they wheel out that hoary old chestnut “competition is good for the consumer”, especially when that competition is so small as to be virtually non-existent.

      About 15 or so years ago, there was a tiny ice cream company in Whangarei that used to manufacture niche ice creams, most of which contained liquor – rum and raisen, creme de menthe, cointreau and so on. As I recall, they were bought out by Tip Top, who promptly ceased making these wonderful flavours… and so no, competition is not always good for the consumer. Sometimes it’s only good for corporates who enjoy throwing their weight around.

  6. Ad 9

    For when the new cabinet is announced today, some suggestions for the PM:

    1. Prime Minister Bill English: SIS, Tourism
    2. Paula Bennett: Housing, Auckland Issues, Associate Finance
    3. Stephen Joyce: Finance
    4. Simon Bridges: Economic Development, and Transport
    5. Nikki Kaye: Social Development, Education
    6. Todd McClay: Trade, Foreign Affairs
    7. Michael Woodhouse: Health
    8. Chris Finlayson: Attorney-General, Treaty Negotations, and Arts+Culture
    9. Judith Collins: Defence, Police
    10. Dr Jian Yang: Minister of Tertiary Education, Associate Minister Foreign Affairs
    11. Andrew Bayly: Ministry for Primary Industries (Forestry, Fisheries, Agriculture)
    12. Gerry Brownlee: Chief Whip, Earthquake Recovery
    13. Joanthan Coleman: Justice
    14. Scott Simpson: Revenue
    15. Alfred Ngaro: Corrections, Pacific island Affairs
    16. Nick Smith: Conservation, Environment
    17. Jamie-Lee Ross: Local Government

    • Intercepted and decrypted this coded message to Hawaii just this morning. not signed but probably from kiss curl bridges? { –mr key ,thanks so very much for your excellent support of myself for my govt position.} mr English told me it was very important.The lots of time you told me and said-lovely boy,sholders back,stand tall–fine set of sholders ,made me what I am. –simon.

    • KJT 9.2

      Reminds me of the joke.
      That if you want the worst possible country, make the politicians Italian, the cooks English, the police German, the entertainment Flemish, and the security police, Russian.

    • Muttonbird 9.3

      Completely wrong as usual.

    • Jenny 9.4

      Some interesting and creative inside the box thinking from Ad.

      But I see Ad, that you have out left climate change (currently Paula Bennet’s portfolio), altogether.

      Any particular reason for this oversight Ad?

      Are you in favour of abolishing this portfolio?

      If not, who do you think it should go to?

      • Muttonbird 9.4.1

        Why on earth is ‘Climate Change Issues’ different to ‘Environment’? Why two portfolios?

        Is it to separate the carbon commitment which the current government has no intention of supporting from the general weak approach to New Zealand water concerns?

        • Jenny

          Climate change ignoring, is the new climate change denial.

          Why two portfolios?

          Because climate change is not an environmental issue.
          (well not in the traditional sense, like clean rivers for instance. While polluted rivers is a terrible obscenity a polluted river does not endanger the whole planet).

          The way to think about climate change, is to think of it as akin to nuclear war.

          It is undeniable that the side affects nuclear war, or climate change, will be bad for the environment.

          But that is not the main reason why we oppose them.

          Though the environmentalists may disagree….

          In our human-centric view, we oppose nuclear war and climate change, not because they will damage the environment but because they could drive humanity to extinction.

          Most governments give climate change and the environment seperate spokes people.

          Any attempt to role one into the other, must be seen as a threat to diminish the importance and danger of both.

          Which leads me to my point.

          You haven’t answered my question.

          Are you in favour of abolishing the climate change portfolio?

          If not, who do you think it should go to?

  7. Craig H 10

    Michael Woodhouse should also remain Minister of Immigration, and you also need an Associate Minister of Immigration.

    I assume Dunne remains Minister of Internal Affairs.

  8. The Chairman 11

    Social enterprise groups are welcoming a Cabinet paper as a positive step forward for the growth of social enterprises in New Zealand.

    Shouldn’t the Government be focused on growing and improving its own social services instead of further relying on and assisting in the growth of social enterprises?

  9. Rosemary McDonald 12

    I admit to sometimes being out of touch with yoof culture, and it appears that not doing faceache and twitterer makes one a cave dweller….however…a Young Person directed me here…https://www.facebook.com/memoirsofamaori

    …and I haven’t laughed so much in ages and ages. This girlz a gem.

    (warning…will challenge, but take heart…she offends everyone.)

  10. Paul 13

    Neoliberalism is a species of fascism

    by Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates’ Union of Belgium

    ‘The time for rhetorical reservations is over. Things have to be called by their name to make it possible for a co-ordinated democratic reaction to be initiated, above all in the public services.

    Liberalism was a doctrine derived from the philosophy of Enlightenment, at once political and economic, which aimed at imposing on the state the necessary distance for ensuring respect for liberties and the coming of democratic emancipation. It was the motor for the arrival, and the continuing progress, of Western democracies.

    Neoliberalism is a form of economism in our day that strikes at every moment at every sector of our community. It is a form of extremism.

    Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology.

    I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought.

    The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an extent that puts the common good in jeopardy.

    The austerity that is demanded by the financial milieu has become a supreme value, replacing politics. Saving money precludes pursuing any other public objective. It is reaching the point where claims are being made that the principle of budgetary orthodoxy should be included in state constitutions. A mockery is being made of the notion of public service.

    The nihilism that results from this makes possible the dismissal of universalism and the most evident humanistic values: solidarity, fraternity, integration and respect for all and for differences.

    There is no place any more even for classical economic theory: work was formerly an element in demand, and to that extent there was respect for workers; international finance has made of it a mere adjustment variable.

    Every totalitarianism starts as distortion of language, as in the novel by George Orwell. Neoliberalism has its Newspeak and strategies of communication that enable it to deform reality. In this spirit, every budgetary cut is represented as an instance of modernization of the sectors concerned. If some of the most deprived are no longer reimbursed for medical expenses and so stop visiting the dentist, this is modernization of social security in action!’


  11. Muttonbird 14

    While denying increasing income inequality but accepting increasing wealth inequality yesterday, Wayne’s solution to tackling increasing wealth inequality was to have the government pay private banks any amount above a 3% interest rate for low income mortgage holders.

    I’m no economist but this seems crazy for several reasons, not least of which taxpayer money is being paid to private companies for no service whatsoever.

    Also there is no cost limit to this because as interest rates rise so too does the bill to the taxpayer.

    Will not the banks enjoy raising rates (and they have total freedom to do this) with the knowledge that the NZ taxpayer has to pay?

    Also, if Wayne is dishing out subsidies to home-owners banks, what should non-homeowners expect? Should they expect say a $5000- annual payout when interest rates climb to 4%, because that is effectively what the government would be paying home-owners banks on interest only or interest heavy repayments for the rock bottom house prices in Auckland.

    It struck me as odd that a Nat would promote a policy where the ongoing costs to the taxpayer are unknowable.

    Far better to address the demand side of housing unaffordability by restricting immigration temporarily, and increase spending on building and national infrastructure to address the supply side. Neither of which the current government seems willing to do.

    Open Mike 17/12/2016

    • Paul 14.1

      As was clear from yesterdays discussion, Wayne doesn’t have a plausible argument.
      But he sticks doggedly to his point to justify his privileged position.

      • Muttonbird 14.1.1

        What he proposed was so weird given that he’d already admitted a severe and problematic increase in wealth inequality as a result of house price inflation.

        Why not consider that equity gain on houses (perhaps own home excepted) be considered income? After all that’s what it is, a fact completely accepted by Wayne.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          A while back, he also confessed that the increase in inequality caused in part by the cabinet he was a member of, was “deliberate”. His own words.

          • KJT

            Because he was envious of wharfies. Also in his own words.

            I am sure it is an improvement that, real estate agents, lawyers, housing speculators, asset strippers, bank managers, land hoarders, politicians and tax dodgers, now make infinitely more than wharfies. And infinitely more than educated hard working professionals, also.

            Overpaid they may have been, but At least, wharfies do a socially useful job, pay tax on all their income, and spend and invest locally.

      • KJT 14.1.2

        The really scary thing about people like Wayne, is they really do believe their own bullshit.

      • Red 14.1.3

        Paul you are sounding very sanctimonious today., get some sun to cheer yourself up

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      It struck me as odd that a Nat would promote a policy where the ongoing costs to the taxpayer are unknowable.

      It shouldn’t do as the whole purpose of the National Party is to shift public wealth into private hands.

    • Gabby 14.3

      Looks more like a notion to subsidise speculators.

  12. Muttonbird 15

    Oh dear. Farrar will be in a spin. He opposes the idea of a runway extension in Wellington for whatever reason, but now the environment court opposes it too. Farrar will not for one second want to be seen to be agreeing with the environment court so he’s in a real bind.

    The objectors include residents, not surprising but they did buy a house next to a fucking airport, didn’t they? Another objector was, interestingly, Air New Zealand. Could it be that Air New Zealand are shit scared of other international operators flying routes into Wellington?

    It surprises me that Farrar is happy to open Auckland up to all sorts of unregulated immigration and infrastructure stress but packs a sad when economic benefits to Wellington are proposed for Wellington with a runway extension.

    Perhaps Farrar is being paid by Air New Zealand to fight increased competition???


    • alwyn 15.1

      Air New Zealand’s objection is very simple.
      If the extension is built, at an estimated figure of $300 million, the users of the airport are going to have to pay for it. Either that or the poor bloody ratepayers like me get thumped.
      The only reason to go ahead with it is the deluded idea, largely propagated by our previous Mayor that there is a large, unfilled, demand for seats on long haul flights out of Wellington. The extension is NOT required for short haul flights to Australian airports like Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
      There is however no evidence of any demand at all for long haul travel from Wellington.
      Look at Christchurch. There is only a single commercial flight a day out of Christchurch that goes past Australia. That is a flight by SIA to Singapore. Christchurch has a very long runway and a similar population to Wellington but there is no interest in anyone introducing new flights.
      Look at all the other New Zealand cities that built facilities for an “International Airport”. How many of them get any use?
      If the runway is built, and has to be paid for, it will have to be by the airlines that use it at present. That is primarily Air New Zealand who provide most of the existing flights. They don’t want to get lumbered with the enormous costs of the runway when they don’t need it. They don’t give a damn about other international airlines that don’t want to fly from here at all unless they are, like SIA, heavily subsidised by the Wellington ratepayer, to fly out of here to Canberra.
      I regularly fly long haul to Europe. I am entirely happy to fly up to Auckland and fly out from there. So, I think, are most long haul travellers.

      • Muttonbird 15.1.1

        I suppose you are right. Why anyone would fly to Wellington is a mystery. There is nothing to do there. There’s also nothing to do in the lower North Island which is about to be opened up upon the completion of Transmission Gully. Nothing to do in Nelson/Marlborough which Wellington is a gateway for, nothing at all.

        That international carriers into Christchurch is used as a reason to not bother with international routes is obscene quite frankly when Christchurch has been left to rot by the current government as a tourist destination.

        • alwyn

          I must say how much I admire your wonderful parody of a Jafa, that strange sub-tribe of Auckland residents.
          You must have observed them closely.
          We residents of Wellington have broad shoulders but we do have a few burdens to bear. What have we done to be cursed with both the Leader AND the Deputy-Leader of the Labour Party choosing to live here? No city deserves such a terrible fate.

      • mpledger 15.1.2

        Most of the money that would be spent on extending Wellingtons runway will go into dumping rocks off the South Coast.

        If you’re going to spend that much money then do something better with it then spend it on rocks.

  13. Muttonbird 16

    So Nikki Kaye is going to be thrust up the order and into a senior position according to reports.

    Strikes me that this promotion is more about trying to bring youth to cabinet in order to appeal to a broader range of voters rather than actually considering Nikki Kaye herself. Also it is a direct response to the steady rise of Jacinda Ardern.

    Would the National party be guilty of putting their interests ahead of Nikki’s health? I think they probably would.

    I am not a doctor but I would have thought putting a recent sufferer of cancer into one of the most high intensity jobs in the country so soon after treatment is bad for that person’s long term prospects.

    • james 16.1

      “Also it is a direct response to the steady rise of Jacinda Ardern”

      Really – Nikki has bet her twice already – and now Ardern has to run off to another area so not to lose a third time.

  14. Draco T Bastard 17

    Automation beyond the factory

    is month, Amazon made headlines with its announcement of the opening of a new convenience store in Seattle that would go without one staple: cashiers. Using a combination of “computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion” to track purchases, Amazon Go allows customers check in to the store using a smartphone app and walk out with what they need, much as one enters and exits a subway station. A similar event occurred in October when the autonomous vehicle company Otto delivered 50,000 cans of beer in Colorado using a self-driving truck. What the headlines don’t convey is the potential impact on the millions of workers currently employed in the U.S. as cashiers and truck drivers. Though still in development, these two technologies signal major changes ahead for a labor force still adjusting to previous rounds of worker displacement from automation.

    Basically, say goodbye to probably the largest chunk of the ‘service industry’ – retail shop assistants and truck drivers.

    • jcuknz 17.1

      consequences, simply consequences. Think of the freedom to pursue more interesting activities rather than retail or driving …. SARC

      • Draco T Bastard 17.1.1

        I do think of that but to bring it about requires more people going into tertiary education both as tutors and as students. Over the last couple of decades our governments have been discouraging people from going back to school.

        We should be looking to get 25%+ of our working age population into R&D.

  15. Muttonbird 18

    I drive a lot through the Lincoln Rd, Ranui, Swanson area of West Auckland and what always amazes me is the permanent nature of Alfred Ngaro’s campaigning profile there. It’s like he’s never not campaigning.

    I wonder if this is at the expense of actually doing good for his constituents? Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t have any.

  16. Muttonbird 19

    Cone-head gets the sack. Re-Joyce everyone!

    He was the minister of doing fuck all for so many years and his greatest claim to fame was having a sex toy thrown at him.

    • Red 19.1

      I dunno leading national to 3 election wins as campaign manager over the evil left is not bad for a start, be four this time next year

      • Muttonbird 19.1.1

        You’re only as good as your last campaign and his last was a disaster. And the one before that.

        Could be a trend.

  17. Foreign waka 20

    I have read an article about entitlement of pensions for immigrants in todays paper showing an elderly lady with white skin and blue eyes.
    May I officially state that most European and British immigrants who have come here as adults do have an entitlement to a pension that they been paying at the time of their working live overseas, similar to the Kiwi saver program.
    Once the moneys are drawn they have to be declared and either “handed over” and deducted from the basic pension or one has to declare not to draw any NZ funded pension at all but rather have the O/S fund cover the need.
    If Diane Maxwell would care about the truth she would have to stop scaremongering and making NZ belief that they have to pay for immigrants. THIS IS NOT SO and in fact there are already comments that if the overseas pension is akin to Kiwi saver than in fact “confiscating” the moneys might be unjust.
    Not that I would say a double dipping is commendable but there should be one law for all. Kiwi saver is paid on top of the pension.
    As for some of the Asian immigrants bringing their parents to NZ, please consider that in their culture elderly are far more dependent on their children than we ever would consider. Dignity would come to mind and whilst there maybe in some cases cause for means testing, it should be applied before residency is granted.
    NZ has to look into the ramifications of returning Kiwis too, especially when the retirement age goes up (Australia).
    However I would suggest that the first step would be that every time a residency visa is granted the person receiving that visa needs to get to know the consequences to their lifestyle if they choose to stay for many years or even forever.
    Fairness is the keyword here.

  18. Red 21

    Mean while in the socialist nirvana of Venezuela as reported by the economist

    President Nicolás Maduro says that the constant shortages of more or less everything in Venezuela are caused by evil speculators. (They are actually caused by his price controls.) Mr Maduro claims that “mafias” in Colombia are stockpiling lorryloads of bolívars, the Venezuelan currency, and sneaking across the border to buy up price-controlled goods. Given Venezuela’s soaring inflation, this seems improbable. “The idea that anybody would want to hoard a currency that has lost 60% of its value in the past two months is absurd,” says David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America, a think-tank.

    Pres Nic also confiscated a load of toys as he believed they where too expensive and he will play saint nic and re distribute himself for free

    What is amazing that after a 100 years people still think socialism is the answer

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      It is, isn’t it, especially since it’s the social democracies that get the best outcomes. However, while for the most part. Socialists understand this, right wing nut-jobs still cling to Randist drivel, “free” “market” dogma, and Grand Wizard Trump.

      Have a nice day.

      • Red 21.1.1

        So it’s just a matter of degrees then but we agree far left is nut job territory, glad that’s sorted , many would argue nz is a social democracy, centre left or centre right, very little between them barring ego and it’s my turn, many on this site here are however not arguing for social democracy

        Have a nice evening

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Even your feeble attempts at civilised discourse are useless and vain. We do not agree. Arguing for (say) public ownership of the means of production is not morally equivalent to your vile hate speech.

    • joe90 21.2

      Meanwhile, the land of the free, by many public-health metrics — including infant mortality and preventable deaths and a variety of others, narrows the gap.

      We don’t know how bad the United States’ burgeoning mortality crisis is going to get. Russia provides a disturbing worst-case scenario. “Sometime in 1993, after several trips to Russia, I noticed something bizarre and disturbing: people kept dying,” wrote Masha Gessen in New York Review of Books in 2014. “I was used to losing friends to AIDS in the United States, but this was different. People in Russia were dying suddenly and violently, and their own friends and colleagues did not find these deaths shocking.” She went on to explain that “In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent — a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality,” with alcohol a prime culprit. This is what happens when the insides of a developed country begin to rot.

      The United States isn’t Russia. Probably.


    • ropata 21.3

      How can a New Zealander who was raised on public education, drives on public roads, enjoys free health care, and whose infrastructure was built by public works, write such utter drivel?

    • KJT 21.4

      Another country, that, like New Zealand was too dependent on one commodity.

      Failing for the entirely capitalist reason of shortage of demand for oil.

    • DoublePlusGood 21.5

      Trolling about Venezuela being a socialist nirvana? Are you Gosman on a sockpuppet account, perchance?

  19. Rosemary McDonald 23

    Wrong. We’re all wrong.

    Australian economist waxes lyrical about the NZ economy. Apparently we’re ‘smokin’ and we ‘re all as happy as pigs in poo.

    All to do with the fact that 99% of New Zealanders…

    “…. say they have family or friends to rely on in times of need.”

    We have ‘social capital’ (see, say’s Bill ‘the Lizard” English, my social investment scheme works!!!!) lots and lots of social capital.

    Okay, so this guy is basing his opinion on the Legatum Institute’s ……http://www.prosperity.com/rankings

    “”But, wait!” I want to say. “We’re heaps richer than our cuzzies!”

    It’s true. If you go to NZ you notice the material standard of living is slightly lower. They tend to have slightly older cars. Slightly smaller houses. Slightly older smartphones. Etc.

    The report says this doesn’t matter.

    “Some deliver a lot of prosperity with little wealth. Others have vast wealth, but have not turned it into better lives for their citizen,” it claims.”

    Better lives…who knew?

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