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Open mike 20/01/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 20th, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

73 comments on “Open mike 20/01/2012 ”

  1. Wharfie 1

    Homepage – The Aucklander
    Homepage – The Aucklander

    A poll on who is right or wrong in the POA waterfront dispute.So far 88% of voters think the CEO Tony Gibson is wrong.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Still up at 84% with 11% saying that it’s the union who are wrong. When are our elected officials going to step in and tell the directors to stop fucking around and to start negotiating in good faith?

  2. Carol 2

    Who benefits from Sky City, the icon of casino capitalism in Auckland. It seems a deal is being done between Sky City and the Minister, Steven Joyce, that will increase the number of pokkie machines in SC. Pokkies are an extrememly addictive form of gambling, that is rigged to make a profit for the owners/managers at the expense of people often desperate to supplement meagre incomes.


    Talks for a deal in which SkyCity foots the bill for a $350 million convention centre in Auckland in return for a series of regulatory concessions from the Government began in June last year.

    SkyCity was looking for concessions to make its $350m investment worthwhile, and a national convention centre at no cost to taxpayers was a priority for the Government.

    But which tax payers are most likely to get some financial gain from such a convention centre, and which ones are most likely to be the losers from an incresed promotion of and access to pokkie?

    The ones at the casino were “not particularly well-populated” most of the time and more machines would be worthwhile to Sky City only if it could force regulatory changes allowing more promotion of them.

    The foundation would be “very concerned” by any relaxation of the rules on the promotion of gambling.

    SkyCity company secretary Peter Treacy declined to comment on any marketing regulation changes or on the number of new machines and tables being sought.

    So is Sky City too upmarket to attract are large number of pokkie players (compared with pokies in pubs in more downmarket places), without a massive increase in promotion of the machines? I thought the logic of capitalism was meant to be “supply and demand”. If there’s no demand for the machines in Sky City (wihtout indulging in excessive promotion) why supply them?

  3. randal 3

    MSN news this am.
    POAL to make final offer.
    in a pigs eye mate.
    its time for the Auckland super city to dsimiss the board for incompetence and trouble making and appoint some directors who are there for the benefit of the people and not a narrow clique who have seized this opportunity to sell something that does not belong to them.

  4. The International Transport Workers Federation have declared support for the Maritime Union.  In particular they say:

    We are aware of the grave situation facing our brothers and sisters in the Port of Auckland, where members of our affiliate, the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) have been monitoring events closely.

    We know that negotiation on the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement began in September of last year. We know that the two parties involved were close to signing a new agreement and the MUNZ had agreed to an increase in the use of TRACC in a gesture that would contribute to improved performance in the port.

    We are informed that POAL is now trying to remove the collective agreement with MUNZ.  In our opinion, this constitutes a fundamental attack on trade union rights in the Port of Auckland.

    We understand that the whole workforce of 300 dockworkers have been threatened with the loss of their employment if they do not sign up to a standard agreements outside the national union agreement.

    The ITF considers this behaviour as an outrageous attack on basic trade union rights.  If this attempt to force workers to abandon their existing agreements continues the ITF will declare the Port of Auckland a ‘Port of Convenience’ and will request our affiliates around the world, particularly in the Dockers and Seafarers Sections, to take immediate lawful action. 

    • Wharfie 4.1

      Yes I listened to Paddy Crumlin on ZB this morning.Much like corporate globalisation the trade union movement has built an international network.The ITF has 750 affiliates globally amounting to 7.5 million members.The Maritime Union is an affiliate and have no doubt the international brotherhood will support.

    • Wharfie 4.2

      ITF warns Port of Auckland is ‘on brink’

      • Sweetd 4.2.1

        From the article http://www.itfglobal.org/press-area/index.cfm/pressdetail/6907

        “If this attempt to force workers to abandon their existing agreements continues the ITF will declare the Port of Auckland a ‘Port of Convenience’ and will request our affiliates around the world, particularly in the Dockers and Seafarers Sections, to take immediate lawful action.”

        What is a ‘Port of Convenience’?

        • felix

          About $6.99 at the four square, usually.

        • Wharfie

          It’s a Port with no ships.International shipping companies will be reluctant to visit these Ports.

          • Sweetd

            Thanks Wharfie for the explanation.

            As to the next part,

            “will request our affiliates around the world, particularly in the Dockers and Seafarers Sections, to take immediate lawful action.”

            Is this polite speak for blacklisting, and unions around the world would pressure shipping lines to not use PoL?

        • Akldnut

          Pub or outhouse or cat house. lol

  5. beachbum 5

    Are there actually some sisters at the Waterfront? How many?

    • Wharfie 5.1

      There are a large amount of women working on the wharves too many to count

    • Jenny 5.2

      Apart from support staff, my last report was that there are two straddle drivers who are women.

      I might add that in my opinion, (and many of the wharfies would agree with me here) they are two of the most capable and professional drivers there.

      I might add that straddle driving is one of the most nerve racking jobs in the world. As they move they sway and jerk alarmingly. Due to the uneven surface of the Auckland wharf, just driving in a straight line is to experience undulation not unlike being at sea.

      Without a box on board straddles are dangerously top heavy.

      Even with a box on board they are not that much safer, often the weight inside the box is unevenly distributed, making the straddle tilt alarmingly.

      The driver has to deal with huge blind spots. The blind spots are made worse by having a container on board.

      Errors are very easy to make.

      And often fatal.

      No one has ever survived the toppling of a three high straddle.

      Driving a straddle is a highly skilled and nerve racking job. Not even those with long experience in truck driving or heavy machine operating can get into the cab and drive a straddle.

      The first thing, you must overcome the fear of being suspended in a fragile moving glass case over ten metres above the ground with no easy escape. An eery mix of claustrophobia and agoraphobia.

      Some new hires have sat in the cab for the first time, only to climb down and never return.

      In the ’70s the first container handlers could straddle one box. To maximise the use of space on the wharves, this soon saw straddles that could place one box on top of another. Two highs.

      Two highs have been replaced with three highs, and there are even four highs being built. (though rarely deployed, Due to the greater risks and danger in their operation).

      Another hazard of straddle driving is the unnatural sideways operating position, which requires the drivers to look sideways over their shoulders while picking up or placing containers.

      Driving straddles is not the only dangerous and unhealthy job the wharfies do.

      As well as driving, straddle operators take turn about at lashing. (event the name sounds punishing).
      The job is to tie down the containers to the deck of the ship with steel rods. The risk to life and limb is high, and injuries are common and even deaths have occurred from lashing accidents. The steel rods can be dropped and sometimes if they are worn or over tightened even snap, breaking bones and cracking skulls.

      The other dangers of lashing are that it is often done at night and in bad weather. The incidence of slip and fall injury on unfamiliar decks is high.
      Another hazard of lashing is that the work is done in the blindspot of the container crane operator.

      Contracting out will make all these problems worse. One of the main things that the management have wanted for a long time is to abolish the one way system for straddle driving at the Auckland wharf. Because of all the blind spots, ahead and behind and to the side, this makes straddle driving safer, the management says, doing away with the one way system would save time, as the straddles could cross each others paths and no longer have to make a full loop when transporting boxes around the port. As at Tauranga safety is sacrificed for profit.

      Beachbum, as to your question:

      Are there actually some sisters at the Waterfront?

      In my opinion not enough. But will de-unionising the wharves make this situation any better?

      Definitely not. As the wharfies have pointed out, the new casual rosters will make family life impossible. In our society most child rearing falls to women. Having to start a shift at a moments notice on a phone call from the boss would make it this job impossible for most women.

  6. Jackal 6

    Good riddance Perry

    I’ve been cringing at some of the happenings in the American Republican presidential nomination race lately… particularly the candidates obvious mental deficiencies and bigotries. The clear winner there has to be Texas Governor Rick Perry…

    • mik e 6.1

      just about all presidents from Texas are war mongers good riddance Perry & Gengrich by the look of it

  7. Turns out most people really are sheeple. That would explain a lot.

    • vto 7.1

      The herding mentality has been probably the most essential component of manwomankind’s advancement over the millenia. At least as important as the mentality which sees some humans go off on their own tangents and unilaterally come up with other advances. Both herds and individuals have their place.

      Imagine if sheep didn’t flock …………..

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        If sheep didn’t flock, they’d get awtully fence.
        The other point is that the article confuses basic crowd dynamics (which has generally good reasoning based on limited tactical information and no clear objective) with rational thought. I care more about my career direction in five years than I do about where I wander in a hall.
        A bit of an ookey technique to get followers, though – demonstrate the problem (you need improvement in planning and critical thinking) by equating the majority of other people with animals who tend to mill around (and therefore, by extension, do not think logically). I’m imaginging a sort of Tony Robbins speech that Nietzsche would give, if Nietzsche became a motivational speaker to earn some $$$ (Ayn Rand would miss the subtlety of the technique). 

      • DJL 7.1.2

        Shreck must have been a genius!

        • McFlock


          City Gent
          But where did they get the idea from?

          From Harold. He’s that sheep there over under the elm. He’s that most dangerous of animals, a clever sheep. He’s the ring-leader. He has realized that a sheep’s life consists of standing around for a few months and then being eaten. And that’s a depressing prospect for an ambitious sheep. He’s patently hit on the idea of escape.

          City Gent
          Well why don’t you just get rid of Harold?

          Because of the enormous commercial possibilities should he succeed.

          yeah okay – couldn’t resist. Where two or three are gathered together, then they shall perform the parrot sketch, and all that.

      • Vicky32 7.1.3

        The herding mentality has been probably the most essential component of manwomankind’s
        😀 It’d be a lot simpler, less jarring (but less obvious and wouldn’t therefore net you brownie points) to just say “humankind’s”… lol…

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      Not really much of a study, since this sort of thing has been demonstrated in fish shoals.

    • Sheep have been domesticated for a long time – who do you think they learnt off?

      If you herd sheep they usually group together, but if pressured to move usually a maverick will decide buck the trend, supported by a couple of other tentatives. If the breakaway looks like succeeding it will gather momentum and the rest will then try and follow.

      The best way to herd sheep (apart from using overbearing force) is to let them mill in their flock and wait until the lead sheep take a step in the direction you want them to go, then nudge the rest to follow them. They think they are doing what they want. Win win.

      The same principle applies to training of any animals, and children, and sheeple.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.4

      Don’t think that’s valid. At an instinctive level going where someone else has already been is a survival trait. What we need to know is what people think when given facts and options.

  8. So Meridian is walking away from the Hayes windfarm project.
    Once upon a time Meridian prided itself as a clean green energy supplier.  Then in what can only be called a fit of pique Gerry Brownlee saddled it with a diesel power generator thereby trashing its image.  The management complained at the time but to no avail.
    It is not surprising that it is now walking away.
    I acknowledge concerns about the effects the windfarm would have had on scenery and believe that more modest community endorsed windfarms are the way to go but it is a sad day if a formerly proud renewable energy company is giving up on renewable energy.

    • queenstfarmer 8.1

      I must say I don’t understand the huge opposition to wind farms. I’ve always thought the windmills look quite graceful, and it’s kind of cool to be able to “see” the power being generated perfectly cleanly before your eyes.

      • mickysavage 8.1.1

        I don’t disagree qsf. 
        I do appreciate the unique beauty of Central Otago and the loss of power being transmitted to Auckland was huge so it is better if they are smaller and located closer to Auckland but as such I think that we should embrace them rather than oppose them.

        • Pete George

          Embrace your own.

          Seriously. Micro local or onsite to complement the existing infrastructure makes more sense than ruining more countryside.

          • mickysavage

            Do I sense a bit of southern hatred for Aucklanders there petey?

            • Pete George

              Not at all. We should all embrace more micro generation, down here too. I’m a strong advocate of as much efficiency and self sufficiency as possible wherever you live.

              Plus, we need to keep some wild river, and transmission lines are more of an eyesore than the windmills. And yeah, there is a special character to the Otago WOP.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Efficiency and self sufficiency are often contrary and that’s why we live in a community. Ubiquitous services like power generation and reticulation should be a community monopoly as it’s the most efficient way to provide it.

                Transmission lines should be underground DC cables and thus not an eyesore.

              • We should all embrace more micro generation
                Yes, we should.

            • vto

              mr micky, the waitakeres are perfec for probably a thousand or so graceful turbines. Try that on for size amongst your fellow Aucklanders – like to see the reaction ….

        • Draco T Bastard

          I think NZ should be developing floating wind farms via government funding.

        • prism

          I was listening to a radio historical report about the Karapiro dam and they mentioned that in creating electricity from this river system very beautiful falls, I think Horahora, were eliminated. We like hydroelectricity but the dams drown land, change river flow, cause silting behind dam walls that would enrich lower country, and interrupt fish life and spawning.

          We can’t get electricity without changing something. Wind turbines are graceful modern shapes. I wonder if the birds are affected though. I haven’t heard from an ornithologist on this.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I wonder if the birds are affected though.

            A few die but not enough to be a concern (it’s not going to push an endangered species over the edge). Everything else we do is though – destruction of habitat to build cities, farms, etc etc.

          • Vicky32

            Wind turbines are graceful modern shapes. I wonder if the birds are affected though. I haven’t heard from an ornithologist on this

            May I say “sod the birds” or will I be jumped on from a height? 😀 It seems to me there’s a fraction too much NIMBYism happening here. By all means, let’s have renewable energy, but not if it spoils my scenery or my holiday….

          • Daveosaurus

            I’ve only ever seen the suggestion, that birds are unduly affected by wind farms, made by anti-science denialist cultists. If anyone was really serious about preventing threats to bird life, they’d ignore wind farms and seek to ban domestic cats.

      • Lanthanide 8.1.2

        I agree.

        This protest seems to have been led by a poet and a painter, though.

        • Salsy

          I happen to know the poet and have found his position on this boringly obsessive and somewhat bourgeoisie.

        • mik e

          I’m with Graeme Sydney on this.
          Transmitting power to the North Island is a huge waste of resources over 80% of the power generated is lost by the time it gets to the user dumb idea it would be better to build generating capacity close to large populations and industry.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And there’s a hell of a lot of space in the Hauraki Gulf and a lot of wind. You’d still use a full national grid but it’d be a smart grid that minimised transmission distance.

          • Colonial Viper

            Transmitting power to the North Island is a huge waste of resources over 80% of the power generated is lost by the time it gets to the user

            hmmmm. I don’t think it is anywhere near that high. I know that DC losses on the long distance high voltage lines are much much lower than that.

      • felix 8.1.3

        Yeah I quite like them too. Can see a bunch of them from where I live.

        Reminds me of Len Lye.

      • mik e 8.1.4

        So did Don QuEENiote!

    • lulu 8.2

      Hi Mickey,
      Sorry to have missed your discussion thread on Meridian’s decision to abandon Project Hayes but here is a late contribution.
      The problem the Environment Court found with Project Hayes under the RMA was that Meridian overstated the benefits and understated the costs of inundating the environment. It coined the term “outstanding landscape” which sits, for the moment, as a precedent for other appeals.
      The RMA doesn’t consider costs per se. That being said, Project Hayes has been identified by a number of agencies as relatively expensive compared with other more reliable generation sources, generation closer to the demand centers and anything north of the “Cook Straight cable”. Refer to the Electricity Commission’s Statement of Opportunities which was current at the time of the hearings.
      What we are seeing here is that the new CEO of Meridian Mark Binns is intent on rational investment. It bodes well for the cost of power in this country and the management of our SOEs.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        It bodes well for the cost of power in this country and the management of our SOEs.

        Alternatively, it bodes well in terms of profitability for the new private shareholders.

        • lulu

          Hi CV

          You missed it. Let me be more clear.

          Project Hayes was ridiculously expensive compared with many other potential projects in NZ. If Meridian had gone ahead with it taxpayers would have been worse off. Under a minority sale scenario the value of the assets would have been less. With either ownership model power prices to consumers would have to be higher. Meridian are right to dump the project.

          Go right ahead and put your spin on it. You can’t or won’t argue that it was a good project for New Zealand. Compared to many other projects it wasn’t and Mark Binns has called it. End of story.

  9. prism 9

    Down there in Alabama they have toughened up on migrant Workers. These industrious people should be kept out was the decision. The Department of Homeland Security runs an E-verify check on the eligibility prospective immigrant workers for employers. Bureaucrats turning their wagons in a circle – next thing they will have arrows aimed at these pesky people who want to work. Considering that USA drug and other policies are so detrimental to Mexicans and others, it is only fair that they offer some over-the-border aid to those affected.

    These despicable people had been taking the work that should be available to Alabambers. Not, the tomatoes are staying unpicked in the field – hundreds of boxes of them. Rednecks win again – but what was the prize? And where was the good ol’ traditional common sense?

    • ianmac 10.1

      You might remember a tribe of scouts being on camp in the hills behind Paraparaumu one weekend. They made a model hot air balloon and launched into the night and it drifted seawards and over Paraparaumu township.
      The police were flooded with eyewitness sightings of a genuine UFO with descriptions that suggested this huge craft must have been the size of at least a football field and that aliens were spotted looking down. They were I tell you. The Scouts on returning on the Sunday night were stunned at the effect that their little hot air balloon had.
      (I like making model balloons the smallest being just 5 sheets of tissue papere in a box shape, a little bit of cardboard around the opening from which florist wire was used to hang a wad of cotton wool soaked in meths.)

  10. tc 11

    I see the akl convention centre is yet to get off the ground after the gov’t awarded it to the casino in return for gaming concessions.

    Wonder if it would be already underway is it wasn’t given to someone without a vested interest in making gambling alot easier and more pervasive than they already are.

    Where’s it meant to be located anyway ?

  11. http://www.petitiononline.co.nz/petition/john-key-don-t-sell-our-state-owned-assets/1432

    Governments in New Zealand have succumbed to the neoliberal movement since 1987, when the first round of asset sales began.

    Under these policies, New Zealanders have experienced the greatest increase in income inequality in the OECD.

    John Key is leading us down a path that is PROVEN TO FAIL. Long term, this move makes almost all New Zealander’s poorer, while opening the door to overseas ownership of the jewels in our crown.

    Only 32% of the enrolled electorate voted for the National Party.

    This is NOT A MANDATE to sell assets that belong to us all, when the only ones in the country who can afford them are the rich elite who enjoyed billions in Key’s tax cuts, increasing the wealth of the have’s, and reducing the lot of the have-not’s.



  12. Jenny 13

    Truely amazing.

    Alleged internet pirates denied bail, held in custody.

    Alleged South Canterbury fraudsters given name suppression and not even required to be present in court to face their charges.

    So much for justice being blind, at least in NZ.

    If the kid glove treatment carries on for the SCF accused. Not only will they get off, but the state will probably award them Knighthoods.

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    NZ base for ‘megaupload.com’ closed down

    Dozens of NZ police officers used to help out big Hollywood studios after year long investigation. NB its usual entertainment industry practice to multiply the damages they have suffered by a large arbitrary factor to make these stories newsworthy.


    Anonymous shuts down US govt sites in retaliation


  14. just saying 15

    Probably a bit late to put this up.
    Always worth reading, Laurie Penny expresses some of the tribulations, contradictions, hypocracies and consolations of the London Occupy movement:


    There are different ways of being on the streets, and all of them are political. As the recession immiserates more and more of us, resistance will increasingly become a process of negotiating trauma, of developing economies of care that include the lost, the destitute, the down-and-out, those who cannot be “fluffy” because they have become crusted over with the debris of desperation. When these occupations are evicted, not everyone involved will be able to go home, scrub the dirt out of their hair and go back to work. Those who have lost their jobs and homes, those who left them to protest, and those who never had them in the first place attract disapprobium from their own side as well as from those determined to slander the anti-capitalist movement as filthy and unkempt. Useful activism, however, usually involves getting your hands dirty.

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