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Open mike 20/07/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 20th, 2013 - 71 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…

71 comments on “Open mike 20/07/2013 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    As the globe bakes arctic sea ice extent plummets in lockstep with record Northern snow melt.


    To the ignorant, or just the plain obtrusive the record snow dumps experienced in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are taken as evidence that global warming is not happening.

    The opposite is the case.

    At higher latitudes where the temperature does manage to drop below freezing, greater evaporation caused by global warming and the resulting higher humidity condenses, releasing greater precipitation of all types.

    This is a warning. What should be taken away, about these record snow falls, is how quickly they melt away. And how little time they stay on the ground. ‘Record snowfalls, overnight turn into record snowmelts.

    In April, hefty Northern Hemisphere snow cover ranked 9th highest on record (dating back to 1967), but then turned scant, plummeting to third lowest on record during May. Half of the existing snow melted away……

    …..“This is likely one of the most rapid shifts in near opposite extremes on record, if not the largest from April to May,”

    The snow extent shrunk from 12.4 million square miles to 6.2 million square miles in a month’s time. By June, just 2.3 million square miles of snow remained in the Northern Hemisphere (a decline of 63 percent from May), third lowest on record.

    “In recent years it hasn’t seemed that unusual to have average or even above average winter snow extent rapidly diminish to below average values come spring,”

    Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover is in the midst of long-term free fall, similar to its relative, summer Arctic sea ice extent.

    David Robinson of Rutgers University Global Snow Lab.

    The same pattern is being seen in more temperate parts of the globe. Unprecedented droughts are followed by shock flood events.

    The danger is real the results are catastrophic.

    There are no excuses.

    Action against climate change must become a major election issue in this country come 2014. Any politician who refuses to advocate the taking of the strongest actions possible against climate change is guilty of criminal negligence and cowardice. Any politician who advocates for doing nothing, for the good of the economy, for jobs, for growth, or any other excuse, is guilty of treachery against humanity.

    • muzza 1.1

      Hows the geo-engineering reading coming along , Jenny?

      Or , like the Arab Spring, are you happy to remain looking a bit silly, by only covering a small part of any subject matter, and ignoring others!

      *plummet suddenly* – Yeah, sure it did, sniff sniff, oh more BS, from the washpost , no less!

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        Leave it up to the next generation to whip up some sort of sci fi whiz bang solution. Eh muzza.

        This is a deliberate diversion.

        As you have admitted in a previous thread muzza. Your so called support for geo-engineering is just another scam from a long list used by apologists who make excuses for doing nothing about cutting CO2 emissions. You probably think you are being cleveer than all the other run of the mill apologists and fossil fuel industry shills who argue for doing nothing about climate change, by dressing it up in this nonsense.

        You are not sincere. If you were you would provide some links or suggestions to back up your case. As far as I can tell your whole argument is based on kicking the can further down the road.
        ie Do nothing.

        :How different is your position to that of the host of climate change ignorers, apologists and deniers?

        P.S. muzza you give your self away with your last sentence. Casting doubt on the data.

        • Colonial Viper

          No country is cutting CO2 emissions. None. That alone should tell you where the world will be in 50 years.

          • Jenny

            This informs me that NZ needs to be the first.

            Sir Peter Gluckman the chief scientist advising the Prime Minister, has written on the government website that New Zealand’s greatest contribution to the fight against climate change will be by setting an example.

            This is true. New Zealand has set examples for the world on votes for women on public housing, on social welfare, on nuclear free, on anit-apartheid, even on negatives like neo-liberalism.

            New Zealand can be a world leader in fighting climate change. No other industrialised country is as well poised to set that example. Already 70% of our electricity is supplied by renewables.

            It is our responsibility to do whatever we can, to show the world what can be done if there is the political will to do so.

            Here in beautiful and fortunate New Zealand It is our duty.

            There is no more important global political issue that we could give a lead on.

            • Bill

              I completely agree that NZ should be the ‘threat of the good example’. Seems to me that NZ is favourably configured to do it. And being percieved as a ‘white, European and english speaking’ nation, means that the example wouldn’t be ignored and possibly means that negative actions on the part of the rest of the english speaking world to keep us ‘in line’ would be much less liable to occur…or at least much less liable to occur in a way that would garner any support from the actor’s domestic populace.

              Could be a game changer.

              • Colonial Viper

                If we are to do it we need to move on from the belief that government’s main job is balancing the books, to a return to political leadership in real economy nation building.

                We are talking about a need to implement tens of billions in innovative infrastructure over the next decade but frankly, when you look at the example of how long and tortuous Aucklands $2.9B city rail link has taken to come to pass (sardonic laugh, its not going to physically come to pass for another 10 years at least) I think that while it could happen, it will not. Better to focus on small scale, local community projects rather than anything which needs to go through Wellington.

                BTW as 2020 rolls around I think we will find that the estimated cost of the rail link will skyrocket and the project will stall again.

                • Jenny

                  It needn’t cost that much at all. In fact in one area, public transport, it will cost considerably less than the $10 billion already earmarked for more motorway construction to cope with current congestion caused by lack of decent public transport. (The current plan for more motorways includes the incredibly expensive and environmentally damaging insane plan for a tunnel or second crossing over the Waitemata.)

                  As Auckland mayoral hopeful John Minto has pithily pointed out, more motorways will only get you to the traffic jam quicker.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I’m not saying that the money is not there, it definitely is. I’m saying that this agenda is unlikely to get its hands on that money in a timely manner, whether its by taking it from other budgets, cancelling other projects, or whatever.

                    The one possibility I see is if the Greens form a coalition government with Labour, where the Greens are equal size and equal partners. However you do not have much faith in them to do the right thing either.

              • Jenny

                ….Seems to me that NZ is favourably configured to do it. And being percieved as a ‘white, European and english speaking’ nation, means that the example wouldn’t be ignored….

                Could be a game changer.


                This is true Bill. New Zealand is also “configured to do it”, in one more important way.

                New Zealand is geopolitically situated next door to the biggest per-capita CO2 emitting country and coal exporter in the world. Which is also one of the hardest hit by climate change. If New Zealand took such measures it would set off a political earthquake in Australia.

                From America:

                In the West; “Drought-fueled wildfires again rage out of control in California and New Mexico.”



                In the East; An unprecedented heatwave, from Memphis, to Washington, from New York, to Boston.

                New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, for example, broke a daily high temperature record on Thursday, with a high of 100°F. The heat index, which is a measure how the temperature feels to the humid body, has reached the dangerous range of 105 to 115°F in some spots. Heat is the No. 1 weather-related cause of death in the U.S. in an average year.

                Making the heat even more dangerous is that many areas affected have not been getting overnight relief. In New York’s Central Park, the overnight low on Wednesday night into Thursday morning was 79°F, tying a record for the highest such temperature for the date. Record-high low temperatures were also set in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Washington, D.C. may challenge a record for the longest number of consecutive hours with air temperatures above 80°F.

                The National Weather Service issued heat warnings and advisories for nearly two-dozen states on Thursday, with a smaller number to be affected on Friday in the densely populated Mid-Atlantic and Northeast……

                ……In recent years there have been numerous instances of strong and long-duration high pressure areas that have led to extreme weather events, including the Russian heat wave of 2010. According to NOAA, scientists are scheduled to meet at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in September to explore whether such “monster ridges” of high pressure are becoming more frequent or more intense as the atmosphere warms in response to manmade greenhouse gas emissions.


                Of course the monster ridge of high pressure that most comes to mind for us here in the Southern Hemisphere, is the one that caused the recent heatwave in Australia.

                Many Australians seeing what is happening in the continental US in the Northern Summer, will be wondering and worrying. “Will it be our turn again, in our coming summer?”

                “And if not this summer the one after?”

                If New Zealand gave a lead this would be wildly celebrated and embraced by many concerned Australians who would demand that similiar measures against climate change be taken there.

                This would truely be a game changer.

      • muzza 1.1.2

        No, Jenny, its not a diversion.

        Where on earth did you get that I support geo-engineering from? I abhor the fact that its going on, been going on for about 100 years, been seriously hard core change in the last 50 years, and IMO is a major contributor to climate change.

        But just keep focussing on one small component Jenny, I’m sure that will help.

        The world is going to keep buying oil, polluting, raping, destroying the life supporting systems of this planet, those in charge will ensure it, that is not in doubt!

        Unfortunately the so called science, and the control over the propaganda, had got people all looking in the wrong direction, or not looking at all, because its all too hard.

        The so called solutions, are already in play, you just have no idea what to look for. Don’t worry about it though, you will get what you ask for, but you won’t like the solution, neither will future generations.

        My suggestion, go and do some reading, understand that science has wrecked earths protective layer, and so called science is now back peddling to correct the damage. Science is also taking over control of food, water, and air, and the science, is backed by the controllers of the financial system. I appreciate its too bloody difficult for people to accept, but that’s just the way it is, and the sooner enough people connect the links, the sooner we can get on with applying the appropriate strategy.

        Your energy would be helpful, Jenny, if it was aimed in the right directions!

        • Jenny

          Your energy would be helpful, Jenny, if it was aimed in the right directions!


          And where in your opinion, muzza, so you think that should be?

          • muzza

            Jenny, you have passion, which really comes through in your posts, and I for one certainly appreciate it.

            The existing political system, is not going to lead the way, which is why I believe its spent energy wishing that it will. The climate change situation, is not going to be changed anytime soon, because the information being made available, is either lies, spin for some other description, of BS. Also the narrow band of focus on c02, is nonsense, there is more to the discussion that this, however, as long as the interference of science, via geo-engineering, and any/all influences on the climate, are tabled for discussion, then we are all making decisions, taking actions based on falsehoods, and incomplete information sets!

            Better to just get on with what can be done at a local level to create change, such as getting away from the dependencies of the so called grid, be it energy, monetary and so on.

            Keep the focus on things which you can change, that is a lesson I also need to practice a little more , myself.

            Have a good evening.

            • Jenny

              And a good evening to you to muzza.
              What I still get from your posts, is your wish that we all do nothing, (or as close to nothing as possible).

              You have continually tried to divert us to through various strategies.

              Individual actions, which is your latest diversion, will never be enough, and have never been enough.

              When climate change global warming was first raised as an issue in the ’90s the authorities and the media tried to whip up a moral panic putting all responsibility for it back onto the individual.
              This involved a lot of guilt tripping of the general population.
              We were told;
              “You are the problem.”
              “Humanity are breeding to much” ”
              “You are consuming/earning to much”.
              “Humans are greedy”,
              “You are useless”
              “Humanity is powerless”.

              All of these specious original arguments can be and have been disproved.
              But all this guilt tripping and doom and gloom by the ‘experts’ and the media serves a purpose, instilling a feeling of despondency and helplessness that nothing can be done, and ultimately resignation and general acceptance of BAU, to enable the institutional polluters to keep on freely polluting as much as they want.

              Yes, individual lifestyle changes will play a role. But alone will not be a game changer.

              As we have learnt more about the problem, (and the solutions.)

              It has become clear that individual and/or small scale changes in lifestyle, consumption, etc., in the face of massive institutional and industry pollution would be so insignificant as to make little difference to the outcome of climate change. Most people at some level realise this.

              As to what we can do and can change…..

              This too has become clearer.

              • muzza

                Good evening Jenny,

                Ok, just to clarify – I’m not trying to divert anything, nor do I have a strategy.

                The strategy which is in play, as you point out, by TPTB, is to keep the global populace confused to the point where they just, tune out. Its the same strategy employed on almost any topic you can name, peddled through the MSM channels.

                My only contention is, that until all aspects of the discussion about co called , climate change, are in the public domain, best as they can be, and the trust between the populace and the so called, rulers is being rebuilt (and I don’t see where that will come from), then it is very much down to individuals, to take responsibility.

                Individuals who do this, will in turn influence positively, their families, friends, streets, suburbs, communities, towns, cities, states, nations, continents …..etc

                See how that might work?

                I’m not suggesting that it be an everyone for themselves, the opposite is in fact what I am about, however it must start with the individual, and propagate outwards from there.

                Have a good week,

  2. the lynton crosby(from crosby-textor)/john key/david cameron scandal continues to unfold apace..


    ..tho’ our mainstream media seems still unable/unwilling to join these (pulsating) dots..(?)

    ..so far..the legislative-successes/’wins’ here in new zealand for crosby on behalf of his ‘dark side’ paymasters..in getting key to do his/their will…include:..

    1)..no plain packacging for tobacco..

    2)..no price moves on cheap-booze aimed at getting teenagers hooked..

    3)..and opening up the country to wholesale fracking…

    ..but i am sure there is so much more..

    ..and the civilian did a piss-take on people saying key is our worst prime minister ever..(in the sense of how much he is fucking over this country/people..)

    ..comparing him to other ‘worst’..prime ministers..

    ..but to my mind..after rethinking those other ‘worst’ prime ministers..

    ..key is still head and shoulders above those lesser-lights..

    ..and i mean..i haven’t even gone near him knowing the implications from global-warming..and doing nothing about it..eh..?..

    ..and this is what key will be really cursed for..from a historical perspective/the future..

    ..that he knew..and did/said nothing..just bowed to the behests of all those corporates fucking over the nation/world/people..

    ..just that one example of his screaming neglect of his duties/responsibilities..and the outcomes all will suffer..

    ..will pretty much guarantee key top-dog status in any future hall of nz prime minister-infamy..

    ..and key likes being ‘top-dog’..eh..?

    ..phillip ure..

    • Blue Leopard 2.1

      +1 Phillip Ure,

      Really helpful information to know, thank you.

      The link you provide links to articles in the Guardian and Independent on the subject and yet again shows how the British people appear to have more informative information sources available to them than we ever do here.

      I thought the Independent article was worth providing a link to in case it was of interest to others:


      I sincerely wish that we had better media sources available to ordinary folk here who vote (or don’t) and get their ‘information’ via newspapers.

      • phillip ure 2.1.1

        chrs..and re access to quality media..that is why i started doing what i do..

        ..after living in countries with access to good information/analysis/commentary you realise just how poorly we have always been served..

        ..and cliche as truism is that an educated populace makes educated/better choices..(that is the hope anyway..)

        ..and most days i find 40-60 examples of that quality-media..

        ..so it is out there..

        ..and much much easier to access now..

        ..and i wish more people would start doing what i do..

        ..different voices/perspectives/choices can only add to that general narrative..(that is the theory/hope anyway..)

        ..and this latest crosby/cameron/key thing..to me..

        ..couldn’t pull just how bad things are clearer into focus..

        ..the stench of corruption is almost overpowering..

        ..this govt is the handmaiden of almost all that is so wrong..

        ..tobacco – booze – gambling – fracking – drilling – mining – setting up/legitimising a surveillance-state..

        ..the list goes on and on..

        ..phillip ure..

        • Blue Leopard

          @Phillip Ure,

          Thoroughly agree and will keep an eye out for your comments!

          Thanks for spreading helpful information

          blue leopard

  3. sockpuppet 3

    A trifecta !

  4. muzza 4


    In case there is still people who think the NZ banks, are Oz banks!

  5. Morrissey 5

    France’s most ridiculous poseur is posing again

    Recently, with Slavoj Žižek’s foolish attempt to take on the vastly superior Noam Chomsky, third-rate pseudo-intellectuals have been in the news again. With the death of Christopher Hitchens, and the relative inactivity of P.J. O’Rourke and Martin Amis, stylish frauds had not been so prominent lately. But it looks like they’re unfortunately coming back into fashion, if this Financial Times article is anything to go by. Yes, friends, prepare for the unwelcome re-emergence of Bernard-Henri Lévy. While he has been irrefutably exposed as a fraud and a plagiarist of Dershowitzian proportions, it seems that news has not yet reached the editors of the Financial Times—otherwise they surely would not have commissioned such a shameless piece of PR puffery as the following embarrassment. Surely they have more integrity than that. Surely?

    I have selected only the most outstandingly pretentious and ridiculous bits of this travesty of an article. Read the whole thing if you can bear it. As I prepared this for the reading pleasure of my fellow Standardistas, I encountered something even more sinister and worrying than if BHL and his late mentor Christopher Hitchens had appeared in your living room with Martin Amis, drunkenly looking for prostitutes: it appears that the Financial Times has software that can detect if you are cutting and pasting its articles.

    I urge readers to look at the highlighted message from the FT that I have placed at the end of this item….

    Bernard-Henri Lévy: ‘I don’t care much about my image’
    by JOHN McDERMOTT, Financial Times, June 14, 2003

    France’s philosopher dandy and most public of public intellectuals talks about saving Europe, toppling tyrants and his new ‘rendezvous with the question of art’

    Bernard-Henri Lévy, philosopher, film-maker, action man, saviour of Libya, scourge of pithiness, peripatetic paramour and shirt-button revisionist, is afraid of paintings. “They look at me more than I look at them,” he tells me one warm June evening on the botanical terrace of Paris’s Hotel Raphael. “I live under their shadow, their glory, their light and their spell.” I know the feeling. A few hours with France’s most public of public intellectuals can feel like staring at a work of art. But what is it trying to say? […. ]

    His last venture saw him drop into Benghazi, meet the rebels and call his “buddy” Nicolas Sarkozy to request intervention. An art exhibition seems a dull choice.

    “Why did I choose? Did I choose?” he asks, moulding and sculpting the question. I wait, keen not to peer too intently at his bespoke get-up of dark suit and white shirt. His right hand flits from crotch, to silver hair, to a partially exposed chest, the brown of thwacked leather. When a thought is located, perhaps near the nipple, the fingers emerge. “It was an old, old, old dream,” he says, gesticulating. [….]

    Few people doubt his smarts or his bravery. […] He has been an unremitting supporter of military action against totalitarian regimes in Bosnia, Darfur, Libya and, most recently, Syria. This is no flâneur.

    Nevertheless, Lévy has been criticised for vanity and a lack of rigour. There is the dandyism, the playboy lifestyle and the third wife [….] And then there is the charge that his work is just not very good. In a review of American Vertigo (2006) in the New York Times Book Review, Garrison Keillor wrote for many when he said it was a “sort of book” that had the “grandiosity of a college sophomore”, and that it was “short on facts” but “long on conclusions”. [….]

    Perry Anderson, the British historian, has written that Lévy is a “crass booby” and a “grotesque” indictment of the French intellectual. Even his allies suggest that he puts style before substance [….]

    Christopher Hitchens, the late journalist and author, defended his friend against “nativist bloviation” from the likes of Keillor [….]

    So does Lévy still think of himself as a philosopher? A sigh and a sniff later: “A philosopher? I do philosophy? I read philosophy. I spend time with philosophy. Am I a philosopher? I don’t know.” [….] Lévy speaks excellent English but the vowels are all French, giving his voice a bouncy stochastic sound. ….



    I stopped cutting and pasting this egregiously bad character study when I got this sinister message….

    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/080ad66c-d2ee-11e2-aac2-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2ZT1tjVpJ

  6. Rosetinted 6

    Why is it important to have fully qualified early childhood teachers for development of 3 year olds? We aren’t wanting baby geniuses, but children who have a rich opportunity of experiences and be well socialised and are happy, safe and well-cared for. The people interacting with them do need some training and then should have a fully trained person organising and providing oversight. The number of 80% fully trained teachers was given this morning as a goal. I think this is upper class PC nonsense.

    • Northshoreguynz 6.1

      Not sure what your getting at. Are you saying that the education of a pre-schooler is less important than that of a 13 year old? The 13 year old will have tertiary trained teachers for every subject. Shouldn’t the pre-schooler also be entitled to tertiary trained teachers?

      • weka 6.1.1

        No. I think it’s getting out of hand when we say that every three year old should be in school, and it probably says alot about what is going on in our society that this is considered normal. I agree with Rt, there is a probably a class issue here too. And also an economics issue too.

      • muzza 6.1.2

        Its about having children turned over to the state, to be handled by those who have been brain rinsed through the tertiary system to become, so called experts. These so called experts, where the learning they get are developed by who knows what abroad, then targeted at the minds of children you need simply to be doing the most fun things that a child can get.

        Instead, they have psych treatment being metered out in PC mad environments, run by numpties who are trying to turn a profit.

        Don’t believe it, get down your local early childhood care center, and look at the pointless shit they are doing with the kids…seriously go see what the tertiary education these people are getting, is doing to children, its a disgrace!

        • Rosetinted

          Well I didn’t know that, was operating on ‘common sense’ which sometimes is rational and practical. I think the powers that be can only be encouraged to help parents with their duties to their kids and give the kids socialisation and people skills by turning Early Childcare into Education and making it into something scientific. Otherwise its farmboy all over – Why should I help you bring up your kids stuff.

          • Rosetinted

            Someone is or should be taking me to task for my comment at 6 121. I needed a full stop somewhere. I like the government helping parents to have play centres available and properly run, ie safe and fun environments with other kids all being cared for, so no bullies or biting etc. which can occur with littlies believe me.

            I don’t believe in the direction that ECE seems to be taking. Early childhood education with experts teaching these kids – what? I would expect – Making music, singing, doing a bit of dancing, reading to them, recognising pictures and names of animals, people, children and things, then having play time, have a bit of food and quiet time, more play and make messes finger painting, bits of stuff out of clay, colouring things, then getting cleaned up and quiet time with a story or a rest. That’s the pattern I would expect and which is appropriate for the early age, even up to five which would just have more of the word recognition and music.

      • Rosetinted 6.1.3

        North ho
        “Not sure what your getting at. Are you saying that the education of a pre-schooler is less important than that of a 13 year old”
        Yes. They don’t need all teachers with a professional degree, or with more training than the police get (six months I think).. They need trained teachers in social skills and psychological understanding of young ones and the value of play, and healthy routine and good relationships between the children.

        Little children need to be watched while they play and have a safe and interesting environment to do so. 13 year old children are having to learn the complex things that they need to know as a young adult, including stuff that they aren’t taught but have to pick up by observation or inference, that there are things we don’t know about yet, once knew and have forgotten, know but don’t act on this knowledge.

        • McFlock

          Little children need to be watched while they play and have a safe and interesting environment to do so.

          I don’t even have kids, and I know that ECE do a hell of a lot more than that. Those years are essentialy for basic social development.

        • Northshoreguynz

          I think you may have a limited understanding of the learning children do ages 1-5. As the Jesuits used to say, ” give me a child to 7, and I will give you the man.”
          Those early years are critical, therefore the better trained the educators are, the better.

          • Rosetinted

            You want the children to be bent from early on, in the direction you have chosen for your class identification you mean?

            This is about Jesuit education beliefs. There is no reason why children being encouraged to play and have experience opportunities as I have suggested would not learn appropriately for their age in the way suggested by the quote.

            Jesuit education strives to give learners ongoing development of their imagination, feelings, conscience and intellect, and to encourage and help them recognize new experiences as opportunities to further growth. Learners see service to others as more self-fulfilling than personal success or prosperity.


            • McFlock

              well, that went off on a tangent quickly…

              The point is that knowing where to direct that play can set the child up well for school, or not. Suggesting that the role of early childhood educators is simply to babysit and watch the kids play is actually quite a significant disservice.

              • Rosetinted

                You go off on a tangent – I didn’t say “the role of early childhood educators is simply to babysit and watch the kids play” at all. Neither do I think that. What I think is that there is no need for university trained educators, but definitely some training to encourage the young ones in their stimulating development. And that is all I am saying about that.

  7. Rosetinted 7

    Housing in christchurch. Has anyone heard talk about providing modular housing, quick to put up, strong and well designed for its location, and done in volume?

    This of course requires planning and decision making by experienced and people-oriented practical planners, architects and authorities all working together. Private interests could have some concern but the main thrust should come through the local body. I know there has been a fuss about slowness by the planning dept and being over-stretched but once two or three designs and their utility and suitability, (with eaves etc.) of the housing had been decided, there would be just a quick check on the land, and the suitability of the placement of the house, say regarding the sun and light access to the living area etc. – easy peasy.

    So has anyone heard about the imminent building of modular houses assisted by NZ Housing and Christchurch City Council?

  8. Veutoviper 8

    In case you also missed this as I did, next week a conference is being held in NZ (venue unknown – Sky City?) hosted by Palantir Technologies and Wynmark for “the cream of New Zealand’s intelligence community”.

    Palantir Technologies won the awe of the United States’ intelligence community when it developed tools for large-scale data-mining, earning itself acclaim as “the War on Terror’s Secret Weapon”.

    It set up shop in Wellington last year, advertising for an “embedded analyst” who was needed “to support our Palantir Government client base”.

    Its presence in New Zealand emerged as our intelligence community found calls for greater openness and oversight coincided with world-wide alarm over the scale of surveillance.

    The Prime Minister has already refused to answer questions about whether the company works for our intelligence agencies. John Key is known to have met with billionaire owner Peter Thiel but denied speaking about intelligence issues.

    While Mr Key’s refusals for details on Palantir were repeated yesterday, the Herald discovered a recent NZ Defence Force publication stating: “Palantir intelligence software is in use with a number of our domestic and foreign partners.”

    Palantir Technologies NZ is one of two “platinum” sponsors for next week’s gathering of the New Zealand Institute of Intelligence Professionals. The institute’s 2011 accounts show it collected $27,500 in sponsorship.

    A spokesman for the institute said it aimed to be a “positive influence” on the intelligence community by providing “support, advice and opportunities” to ” improve intelligence practice in and for New Zealand”.

    He said the sponsorship from Palantir, and other private companies, was in line with the way other non-profit and volunteer bodies operated. “In our context ‘intelligence’ is best defined as an organisation’s ability to analyse and understand its information and act on that understanding.”

    The programme for the conference includes a presentation on mining large sets of data. It has retired senior FBI assistant director Louis Grever speaking on tools used for “detecting the whispers of behavioural intention from the mass of public source information”. Other talks include behavioural analysis and cyber-crime.

    The conference’s other platinum sponsor Wynyard Group – a competitor to Palantir – has also developed powerful data-mining tools for intelligence and law enforcement bodies


    Read more here.

    • Anne 8.1

      It sounds a bit like technological version of a religious cult.


      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Welcome to the secret society of the surveillance-military industrial complex.

        • Anne

          Be happy or else..

          Note the soldiers in the background.

          • Rosetinted

            Now that’s the sort of happiness that ece should be promoting!! I like that wee song. And they were only mock toy soldiers. So cute. So colourful. Those nice old-fashioned uniforms where you dressed up smartly and got called cherry-pickers. “The Cherry Pickers – 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) (from an incident during the Peninsular …” google.

      • joe90 8.1.2

        Oh dear, it’s just like Darlene Zschech and her happy-clappy prosperity mob doing the devil dodge.


        • Anne

          You know, it looks to me like Palantir is part of a US-based global conglomerate which creates and maintains the constant fear of instability and terrorism then sells its so-called state of the art anti-terrorist technology to stupid govts. – like the Key govt. – who fall hook, line and sinker for it.

          • Veutoviper

            I agree, Anne. IIRC. it was Russel Norman who first raised Palantir in Question Time some months ago but I cannot remember exactly when. Key was extremely shifty in his response to Norman’s questions – particularly in regard to his relationship with their CEO whose name I cannot remember but who was mentioned in yesterday’s Herald article.

  9. Veutoviper 9

    And another David Fisher article in the Herald that I missed yesterday on the Skycity dirty deal.

    “A State sector financial whiz hired to check SkyCity’s sums attacked the basis underpinning the “independent” report used by the Government to justify the convention centre deal.

    The existence of memos attacking the foundation of the deal was discovered by the Herald after an analysis of the document release by the Government this week.

    The memos were not included in the release and officials said last night they had been excluded from the large amount of information considered for release.

    Labour Deputy Leader Grant Robertson said withholding release of the memos was “bizarre”. A spokesman for Mr Joyce said the memos contained commercially sensitive information and would have to be considered separately for release. He said the memos were part of KordaMentha’s considerations.”

    The full article is here

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    John Michael Greer describes Labour perfectly

    this process of self-inflicted failure is one of the standard ways that civilizations write their own obituaries. In his formulation, societies thrive so long as the creative minority that leads them can keep on coming up with new responses to the challenges the world throws their way—a process that normally requires the regular replacement of the society’s leadership from below, so that new leaders with new ideas can rise to the top.

    When that process of replacement breaks down, and the few people who still rise into the ruling class from lower down the pyramid are selected for their willingness to go along with the status quo rather than for their commitment to new ideas that work, what was once a creative minority degenerates into a dominant minority, which rules by coercion because it can no longer inspire by example. You can tell that this has happened to your society when every crisis gets met with the same stereotyped set of responses, even when those responses clearly don’t work.


    • Bill 10.1

      Funnily enough, some thoughts on the markers of our demise crossed my mind yesterday evening. The extraordinary jail sentences being handed down for such crimes as stealing bottles of water during riots (several years or whatever in the UK); kids being banged up for the content of fb posts (US and UK). The fear of the elite is kind of palpable. And I got to thinking it might stem from the recognition (concious or otherwise) that they can’t rectify the economy that delivers their privileges to them. That and a recogniton that AGW is way beyond them and is guaranteed to put an end to their systems of empowerment one way or the other.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        I believe that elite fear of widespread social unrest is also the driver behind domestic mass surveillance “capture it all” initiatives.

      • Rosetinted 10.1.2


        in his formulation, societies thrive so long as the creative minority that leads them can keep on coming up with new responses to the challenges the world throws their way—a process that normally requires the regular replacement of the society’s leadership from below, so that new leaders with new ideas can rise to the top.

        Never mind, just forget that and listen to Stan Freberg on Green Christmas

        Get the money, it’s the season,
        Fa la la la la la la la la.
        SCROOGE: Words to live by, Cratchit!
        CRATCHIT: For you, maybe. Can’t you just wish someone merry Christmas, for the pure joy of doing it?
        SCROOGE: Why? What’s the percentage in that? Let me show you how to make Christmas work for you!

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.3

        Agreed Bill. Things are running out of control and the rich can’t pull it back into their grasp. Their economic solutions don’t work and everyone is starting to wake up to that fact.

    • Rhinocrates 10.2

      Labour, a party of the workers and the underprivileged has been captured by careerists and neoliberal ideologues who have no allegiance to its ideals – first the Blessed Brides of Our Lord Roger – Douglas (spit) himself, Goff, King, Cosgrove, Mallard, and then those yuppie careerist shits like Hipkins and Robertson.

      Actually, the very word “underprivileged” is nonsensical. No-one is “Underprivileged” because privilege itself is a crime. That incompetent aresewipe Shearer wants to use the poorest – beneficiaries – as scapegoats to frighten the working poor and the precariat.

      Labour isn’t dead yet – there’s talent in the back benches such as Louisa Wall and David Clark showing that it can still be a real progressive party. They’re in the back benches because the ABC club sees their potential success a “distraction” from their cause – which is nothing more than a meal ticket at Bellamy’s.

      Suport them; they’re the soul of the party. Shearer is a traitor. He and his cronies must go.

      • Rhinocrates 10.2.1

        Bah, getting an error message, so here’s the addendum:

        There are plenty of apologists for “realistic” Labour that lets Whalecum dictate its policy but they and Shearer’s careerist clique are really enablers of privilege. They’re the enemy too.

        • Murray Olsen

          Pretty much my feelings about Labour, apart from your kindness to Helen Clark by way of omission. I think there are progressive people in Labour, but I also think the social democratic program is a dead end. I don’t think capitalism can be managed to be friendlier for any length of time. Hence when these people start to work this out, they either shift towards more radical solutions or settle for the parliamentary meal ticket.

          • Colonial Viper

            Labour needs a radical wing to reform within it. A group of people daring enough to suggest drastic (lol) measures like full employment policies, a universal minimum income, boosting of the co-op and non-profit sector, and non-debt based money issuance.


    Vince Siemer will present himself for imprisonment today, Saturday 20 July at Mt Eden prison, (although he hasn’t broken any law, and Chief Justice Sian Elias agrees that he shouldn’t be jailed.)


    (Chief Justice Sian Elias – dissenting minority view):


    [86] For the reasons given, I would allow the appeal. I consider that the inherent power to make orders of the kind made by Winkelmann J was excluded by s 138 of the Criminal Justice Act. I would have quashed the sentence on that basis. Since that is a minority view, it has been necessary to explain why I differ from the majority in their reasons, which are dispositive of the appeal. I am of the view that a non-party to proceedings in which an order is made against the world may raise error of law in the making of the order as a defence in contempt proceedings based on its breach. On this ground I would have allowed the appeal and quashed the sentence.”


    Vince Siemer has been sentenced to 6 weeks jail for ‘contempt of Court’ for publishing
    Chief High Court Judge Winkelmann’s suppressed decision that the Urewera defendants were
    not entitled to trial by jury, and the public were not allowed to know this:

    How is this for gob-smacking judicial HYPOCRISY from none other than Chief High Court Judge Winkelmann herself?


    “The expectation is we give detailed reasons for everything. One of the major ways we are accountable is through justifying our actions and we justify our actions through reasons and we are accountable for them.

    “Anyone can see exactly how we reached that view, why we reached that view and they are free to criticise us and, in fact, criticism of those reasons is good.”



    This will be the FOURTH time that Vince Siemer has been jailed, although he has not broken any law.

    How is it LAWFUL for NZ Judges to just ‘make it up’ and exercise ‘judicial discretion’ and ‘inherent power’, which is not itself based upon the ‘Rule of Law’?

    Do YOU want to ‘stand up and be counted’ against effectively ‘out of control’ NZ Judges?

    If NZ Judges can get away with unjustly imprisoning Vince Siemer – WHO IS NEXT?


    WHEN: TODAY – Saturday 20 July 2013

    TIME: 4pm

    WHERE: Outside entrance to Mt Eden Prison

    cnr of Normanby and Lauder Rds.




    See why corrupt members of the New Zealand Judiciary want to close down ‘Whistleblower’ Vince Siemer!


    How to ensure genuine ‘transparency and accountability’ in NZ Courts?

    Legislate for a legally-enforcable ‘Code of Conduct’ for members of the NZ Judiciary, to ensure they are not ‘above the law’.

    Ensure that ALL NZ Court proceedings are recorded, and audio records made available to parties who request them.

    Make it a lawful requirement for a publicly-available NZ Judicial ‘Register of Interests’, to help prevent ‘conflicts of interest’.

    In my considered opinion, these three steps would help transform the NZ Judiciary.

    In New Zealand, ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ – why aren’t these three steps already enshrined in NZ domestic legislation?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption/ anti-privatisation’ campaigner
    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    (For more information on the Vince Siemer case – http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/ )

  12. Blue 12

    ‘One of NZ’s finest journalists’ is having a bad month:


    Checking things just isn’t Duncan’s forte, I suppose.

  13. North 13

    Back in the day………New Zealand 1984. Funny AND sad.

    Came upon this while half watching replay of Wednesday’s rubbishy TV3 “The Vote” with my whangae nephew, just returned home from many years in Oz.

    His query “Who’s that ?” when the now rather more tolerable caricature Bob Jones popped up led to uncle relating the politics of the day, which led to the link below.


    Words, numbers, and slices of time juxtapose interestingly what ?

    Like then when Neph’ was 12 it WAS 1984 but NO and today it’s NOT 1984 but YES.

    SAD ! What’s he gonna have to tell his grandkids ?

    • Pete 13.1

      I don’t think Muldoon had any choice but to call a snap election in 1984. National had 47 seats, Labour 43 and Social Credit 2. With Waring threatening to cross the floor and the Speaker, in those days, unable to vote, he was facing a hung parliament where he couldn’t command confidence and supply. It was poor form to have a few scotches before going to the media, but the decision was entirely reasonable in his position.

  14. paul scott 14

    About Climate and above reference

    I live in Bangkok for several months each year. I have no opinion about climate change.
    But the rain here in Thailand drops billions of cubic meters of water into four river systems up north each year. Mainly after August and Thailand has a problem,
    Bangkok is flat and the dirty and mighty Chao Phraya river basin which collects it all does not easily empty into the Gulf of Thailand. It floods here every year.
    I went to New Orleans, after that terrible hurricane Katrina thing and the city smelled of rotten wood.
    If the water does rise too much, so many major cities are under threat, including London and New York, and all the cities built on river flows to the sea

    And in Bangkok,yes the Bangkok Post will say today
    The Prime Minister assures the Natrion and the Bangkok people there will be no flooding this year. We have cured the corruption inherent in this nation, the rice is safe and not rotten, my brother the criminal Thaksin does not run this country from abroad, we do not have extra judicial killings in this country, my cabinet Ministers are not inept fools

  15. Tim 15

    What’s he gonna have to tell his grandkids ?

    Not a helluva lot. Sovereignty ceded to Key’s mates and Skoi Siddie, a few electronic treats and trinkets that are either too expensive to operate due to corporate monopoly, OR completely useless because of any lack of investment and some sort of new digital divide – engineered by -you guessed it ….

    The good thing is that there’ll be these Mussolini type ‘oik-ons’ screaming “wasn’t me, wasn’t me” whilst the rest of humanity repeats history at its most BASE, and its most sophisticated.

    Not sure I loik John Key’s chances in the overall scheme of things.

    • North 15.1

      Neither do I see ShonKey Python accorded a fine part in history when it’s written.

      But Jesus he’s here and if anythng they’re going harder, more brazenly than they did beforehand. As if according to plan.

      History has recorded lotsa people as nought but “gloating celebrity” in the reflexive persona and overall disappointments. However, while there is an end in sight, the tenet of selfishness has been engraved on the national psyche by dint of what the hell I don’t know. But it has and it’s scar remains on the social body indeed it will last beyond tenure.

      This is the worry: I’m told Bill Andersen used to say “Before you go up, you gotta go down”.

      “Jesus Bill………..how much further we gotta go down ?”

  16. CC 18

    ‘Bullshit’ Bridges strikes again: ‘Mr Bridges said the Government’s approved code of practice for the sector, which was implemented in December, would make a difference once it had time to “bed in”.'(stuff.co.nz). 28 deaths since January 2008 with six in as many months – so the average kill rate is no doubt accelerating faster than the rate of increase in corporate profits.

  17. Jilly Bee 19

    I see John Palino – Auckland Mayoralty candidate [right wing] is wanting to cut workers/staff at Auckland City to cut rates. I have a family member who has worked at Auckland City since the set up when the staff at the amalgamated units were slashed to cut costs. This family member usually works 60 hours a week plus weekend work on a regular basis. I suppose the staff will be slashed and consultants will be hired at astronomical rates – *sigh* http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/214983/mayoral-candidate-pledges-to-cut-rates

  18. paul scott 20

    Pete 13.1
    20 July 2013 at 9:42 pm
    I don’t think Muldoon had any choice but to call a snap election in 1984. National had 47 seats, Labour 43 and Social Credit 2. With Waring threatening to cross the floor and the Speaker, in those days, unable to vote, he was facing a hung parliament where he couldn’t command confidence and supply. It was poor form to have a few scotches before going to the media, but the decision was entirely reasonable in his position.

    I entirely concur with Pete comment here

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