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Open mike 21/05/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 21st, 2016 - 137 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

137 comments on “Open mike 21/05/2016 ”

  1. The Chairman 1

    New Zealand has entered a new debt-fuelled phase of economic growth, say Westpac.

    The bank is forecasting that “real” house prices will drop by 1.4 per cent in 2018.

    Westpac said Kiwis were in a “borrow and spend” cycle that could not be sustained and it expected economic growth would also slow from 2018.

    The report said the average household had debts equivalent to 162 per cent of their annual disposable income.

    That was higher than the peak of 159 per cent reached in 2009 during the “global financial crisis” and had “completely reversed the reduction in debt levels seen over the last few years.



  2. Joy FL 2

    Budget coming up. My Nat contacts seem to be in the know and appear to be excited. No doubt the Budget will set the scene and strengthen campaigning that’ll start just under seven months. Last year, Labour didn’t put out an alternative Budget, maybe because Grant was still new and in his first year in the Finance portfolio. Hoping Labour will have a promising alternative Budget this year that’ll energise supporters.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    i’d expect another solid increase in the minimum wage as well, as part of National’s early positioning. Them workers derserve their share of our successful economy you know.

    Meanwhile, Labour have not yet concretely backed a move to the living wage $19/hr, and National will soon move the minimum wage to $15.75/hr is my bet.

    • Ad 3.1

      I think they will just continue to cover the total Crown debt with a media headline of tax cuts to come.

      The counter-narrative isn’t easy but the collective Opposition has to stick to theme of housing bubble, dairy decline, and a directionless country led by the corrupt and the cruel.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        People have been sick of Labour’s negativity for years now.

        Labour needs to announce big positive plans for the nation, and it needs to stop daily referencing how shit National and John Key are.

        As for the housing bubble and unaffordable Auckland house prices, everyone remembers that was all in full swing during Labour years.

        • Ad

          If I were Labour I would announce nothing at all. No need, and has no effect.

          Key and English have set 2017 as theirs to lose and there’s very little this Opposition can do about it, other than let the pattern of NZ political history take over.

          • Colonial Viper

            Ahh yes, the old paradigm of the tide going out on the incumbent, and coming in for the opposition.

            That’s over with.

  4. weka 4

    Wtf is happening in Brazil?

    Temer has said he is prepared to make unpopular decisions because he does not intend to stand for re-election in 2018. He is barred from running due to previous electoral violations – and is so widely disliked that he would not stand a chance of winning even if he could.

    “I do not need to practice gestures or actions leading to a possible re-election. I can even be – shall we say – unpopular as long as it produces benefits for the country. For me, that would be enough,” he told a local news program.


    • Pat 4.1

      neolib coup d’etat

      • adam 4.1.1

        No Pat, a hard right turn.

        • Pat

          “· info)); French: blow of state; plural: coups d’état), also known simply as a coup, or an overthrow, is the sudden and forced seizure of a state, usually instigated by a small group of the existing government establishment to depose the established regime and replace it with a new ruling body.”

          think you will find that coup d’etat is exactly the correct description ….and are you seriously going to try to suggest the instigators are not neoliberal given the policy outlined immediately they seized power?

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Naom Chomsky explains on the Real News

      • ianmac 4.2.1

        Sobering isn’t it CV? Wonder why the Establishment doesn’t like Noam?
        Here of course Bill manipulates the figures to make the books look better. But here Bill gets praise not impeachment.

  5. weka 5

    NZ yearly GHG Emmission Inventory report. Some sober reading, esp the 25 yr perspective, but interesting too. It’s not just about the carbon, and bold pointers to where the most emissions are coming from (ag, transport)



    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      So Ag is by far the biggest contributor of GHGs, more than 20% bigger than transport which is no. 2.

      You may not like some of the “vegan propaganda” in Cowspiracy but it appears that they have a point, does it not.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Irrelevant tosh CV. New Zealand has a peculiar emissions foot-print among developed, high emitting nations, but seeing as how AGW is a global problem…

        If the principle focus is put on land use, then concentrations of CO2 (or CO2e if you prefer) are going to keep increasing with an increase in surface temperatures tacking along behind.

        Land use emissions need to be reduced – no argument from anyone there. Fossil emissions need to be eliminated altogether.

        Question. If coal and other fossil hadn’t been adopted as primary sources of energy back in the mid to late 1800s and carbon neutral energy sources adopted instead, and if modern, industrial agriculture had developed to be exactly as it is today under that scenario, then would we be facing anything like the level of AGW that we’re currently faced with?

        Answer. No.

        Question. If modern industrial agriculture had developed in a different direction – if it had trod lightly and mindfully with regards environmental impacts – but fossil was still the principle source of energy, then would we be facing anything like the level of AGW that we are today?

        Answer. Yes.

        • b waghorn

          Hear hear

        • Colonial Viper

          The two alternative scenarios you posit, they are not NZ-centric, right but global?

          They are scenarios around how the world as a whole has developed since the mid 1800s re: industrial ag and also fossil fuel use?

          • Bill

            The questions were posed with a global scenario in mind, yes.

            • Colonial Viper

              So why are we not designing a GHG emissions limitation programme for NZ which is a unique fit with where we as a nation are doing the most climate change damage, instead of implementing a generic emissions limitation programme which is generically suited to the rest of the developed, high emitting world, and which ignores our own special characteristics?

              • Bill

                Because it’s a global problem that will only be solved by eradicating the burning of fossil across the entire globe. It doesn’t matter what else NZ does with regards emissions (and yes, other stuff absolutely should be done) if the eradication of fossil is ignored.

                You think NZ sits on another planet from the rest of the world or should promote itself as a ‘special case’ with regards fossil?

                See, there are special cases, at least in the short term, with regards fossil CV – swathes of Asia and Africa. In the interests of the equity contained in all of the Accords or Agreements our government signed up to, those places that are developing nations get to use fossil for a little longer to lay in infrastructure (hospitals, energy systems etc) so that the people living in them can have reasonable lives in the future.

                Then they (the Annex 2 countries) must be fossil free by 2050 if we (the entire global population) want to afford ourselves even a slim chance of achieving anything like merely two degrees of warming.

        • Andre

          Bill, I’m not convinced that that No and Yes are quite as unequivocal as you’ve presented.

          Yes, the headline figure is the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, and the rise from 280ppm to 405ppm is almost entirely due to using fossil fuels, with a small contribution from burning forests, releasing carbon from soils and wetlands due to agriculture. But the important figure for warming on say a ten-year timescale is the CO2 equivalent. I’ve seen some credible estimates we’re as high as 700ppm CO2eq, driven primarily by methane. I haven’t seen credible breakdowns of how that rise in methane splits between domestic animals, land clearance, fracking/coal mining, warming arctic/seafloor releases, etc.

          The way I’d put it is that CO2 releases from (really stupid) burning of fossil fuels gives us a long-term warming problem that’s going to be really difficult to correct. The releases of methane and other GHGs from (really stupid) unsustainable agricultural practices gives us a short-term warming problem that will largely go away within a few decades of ceasing the stupid practices.

          • Bill

            You noted that in the “no fossil and same land use” scenario I didn’t suggest no AGW, but rather that the scale of AGW would not be the same, yes?

            The overall effects arising from basket of GHG isn’t something I profess to understanding. I think it’s fair to say that nobody quite gets it because of the convoluted interactions of positive and negative forcings involved.

            In one of Kevin Anderson’s presentations, he suggests that the positive and negative forcings are as close as damn it to cancelling one another out, and so that on current concentrations, if we want a workable picture of what the hell is going on, we can put them to one side and focus on CO2. I don’t know if that’s a reasonable way to view things but I’m not aware of that approach having been taken to task on the grounds it’s either unrealistic or irresponsible.

            Methane breaks down into CO2 btw. So after the 20 or 30 years of it having a x20 or x30 impact on warming, it doesn’t just stop, but breaks down to produce a given volume of CO2 that has a lesser but much longer impact.

            • Andre

              I took your two scenarios to be “fossil fuels burned, no increase in land-use emissions” which would be 400ppm CO2, wild guess 500ppm CO2eq including fracking/mining emissions, vs “no fossil fuels, changed agricultural land-use” which would be 280ppm CO2, wild guess 450ppm CO2eq from the added methane from domestic animals, draining wetlands etc. Not a huge difference between the two (but both nowhere near as bad as what we’re actually facing). But the “no fossil fuels” scenario has the potential to revert to 280ppm CO2/300ish CO2eq within a few decades if ag emissions stopped, whereas the 400ppm CO2 will take millennia to drop back.

              Yes, well aware that CH4 oxidises to CO2 in the atmosphere with a half-life of 8-ish years. And that a molecule of CH4 has a warming effect over a hundred times stronger than a molecule of CO2. The 80x stronger over 20 years or 20x stronger over 100 years figures are the integrated “warming strength x probability of survival” calculations. Which highlights that methane’s effects happen now but mostly tail off relatively quickly, whereas CO2 is effectively forever.

              • Colonial Viper

                Don’t forget about atmospheric pollution contributing between 1 deg C to 2 deg C worth of “global dimming” to the planet.

                A massive cut in the burning of fossil fuels leading to a big drop in atmospheric pollution will immediately send us into 2.5 deg C to 3.5 deg C of warming.

                Ahhhh, OK, so typing this, whoops it looks to me like we’re now officially fucked regardless of which way we turn, i.e. whether or not we cut fossil fuel emissions by 0%, by 50% or by 100%.

                This stage of the game is already over.

                • Bill

                  Immediately send us into 2.5 – 3 degrees of warming? Really? And you have some reliable citable reference or source to back that statement, yes?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Global dimming due to atmospheric pollution is currently providing 1 deg C to 2 deg C of cooling to the world. AFAIK that is the state of the art understanding of the phenomenon.

                    • Bill

                      Oh, I know there’s a cooling effect offered by particulates from burning coal for example. (you stated it was 1 – 2 degrees C worth) Then you gleefully stated an immediate 2.5 – 3 degree C of warming would result from not burning fossil. I asked for a verifiable source that would echo or back those numbers.

                      Do you have one?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      1.3 deg C already + (1deg C or 2 deg C from loss of global dimming) = 2.3 deg C to 3.3 deg C.

                      Check it on a calculator if you like.

                    • Bill

                      Do you have a source that says all ‘dimming’ is the result of fossil fuel combustion…cause that’s what you’re claiming.

                      Alternatively, do you have a source that says all fossil related ‘dimming’ amounts to a one or two degrees Celsius suppression of temperatures?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Do you have a source that says all ‘dimming’ is the result of fossil fuel combustion…cause that’s what you’re claiming.

                      The dimming observed over recent decades is due to atmospheric pollutants. Whether all those atmospheric pollutants are a result of fossil fuel combustion – I have no idea.

                      Alternatively, do you have a source that says all fossil related ‘dimming’ amounts to a one or two degrees Celsius suppression of temperatures?

                      All I know is that the best guess for total global dimming is that it sits between one degree and two degree Celsius.

                      You already know how I read all of this. We’re already well past 2 deg C warming, any way that we turn now.

              • Bill

                I can’t quite see why you reckon there would only be a difference of 50ppm CO2e in the two scenarios.

                I’d suggest that if we hadn’t burned fossil, but somehow arrived at the same land use pattern as today then yes, there’d be some signs of warming…. if anyone bothered to look for it. (ie, it would be more or inconsequential at this stage). And we’d have hundreds and hundreds of years in which to change our land use patterns and avert any noticeable climatic impact from any potential long term warming we were causing.

                • Andre

                  Because our agricultural land-use patterns of draining wetlands, clearing forests, growing shallow rooted annuals (instead of deep-rooted perennials), choosing ruminant species for livestock, all contribute to putting a lot of methane into the atmosphere. On an ongoing basis.

                  I’ve seen a few credible papers that suggest that without the global warming due to pre-industrial farming, the late 1800s climate we now take as a pre-industrial baseline would likely have been closer to the “little ice age” of the 1600s. (No, I’m not getting confused with the popular press misrepresentations of the 70s that “an ice age is coming, get prepared”).

                  • Bill

                    But even taking that as read for the sake of argument (that the climate of the 1800s was already warmer due to land use), how do you get the point whereby you more or less equate current land use emissions to fossil related emissions? (in your ppm CO2e numbers)

                    If today has an atmospheric CO2e of around 550ppm (I don’t think that’s too far off the mark, but haven’t looked it up), then to get a very rough estimate of land use contributions, we’d subtract the 80% of CO2 that comes from fossil and then we’d subtract all the other GHG that come from coal burning and what not to arrive at a figure for land use.

                    On the other side of the coin, we’d take the 550ppm CO2e and subtract some agreed portion of the 20% of CO2 that comes from land use (there would always be some GHG from land use no matter what) and we’d also subtract whatever proportion of the other GHGs that come from land use.

                    The first calculation might look something like 550 – 80 – 80 (is assuming similar proportions by source, and so up towards ~ 80% of GHG from fossil way too high?) = 410ppmCO2e

                    The second might run approximately somewhere like 550 – 20 – 20 = 510ppmCO2e.

                    So I’m getting somewhere in the region of a 100ppm difference to your 50ppm difference. Regardless, the claim that the interplay of the forcings from GHG – other than CO2 – more or less negate one another, if a reasonable claim, makes all these rough back of the envelope sums irrelevant. And we both pick fossil as the principle driver of AGW.

                    • Andre

                      Yeah, the argument’s getting a little involved over hand-wavy responses to hypothetical scenarios…

      • weka 5.1.2

        So Ag is by far the biggest contributor of GHGs, more than 20% bigger than transport which is no. 2.

        You may not like some of the “vegan propaganda” in Cowspiracy but it appears that they have a point, does it not.

        It’s an interesting question CV. I guess for me it rests on whether we consider propaganda to be a useful tool in addressing climate change. By propaganda I mean basing one’s argument on ideology but not being upfront about that, and using misleading facts and arguments that push that underlying ideology. At its worst, Cowspiracy looks like its using CC to try and convert society to being vegan. If this wasn’t about ideology, the message would be very different (eat less meat/dairy, eat local, support small growers etc. You can’t argue that if you are a fundamentalist, evangelical vegan though).

        I have no problem with someone being vegan. Nor with the idea that developped countries should be eating less meat and dairy because of AGW. But there is a huge difference between eating less meat/dairy and becoming vegan. I’m not convinced that proselytising veganism is a useful strategy. Most people aren’t going to do well on a vegan diet, so how would they be convinced to stay on it for any length of time? (plus all the other arguments I’m sure you’ve heard me make).

        I also think there are serious problems with using misleading facts and arguments to try and shift culture. When people find out, they’re going to be angry.

        In relation to the report, most of the increase in emissions in the last 25 years is from industrialised dairy (enteric gases, fertiliser use). I think we establised the other day that most milk grown in NZ is exported, so basically NZ is producing emissions to make money. Nothing to do with feeding ourselves. NZ doesn’t have to become vegan in order to reduce those emissions again.

        Pretty sure you know my base argument is that it’s not what you grow (or eat) it’s how you do it that matters. The problem with vegan proselytising is that it traps people into a path that isn’t necessarily going to help us in the long run. We need to be reducing food miles far more than becoming vegan. We need conversions to sustainable agriculture far more than we need conversions to veganism. In NZ a vegan diet is generally an industrially produced, imported one, and it relies on the Monsanto-ed monocropping nightmare that destroys soil and emits carbon. I’d prefer to encourage people to eat local, eat seasonal, reduce meat/dairy consumption, increase veges, and prioritise small growers esp regenag ones. All of those things bring multiple benefits that becoming vegan doesn’t. They’re much more achieveable for NZ too.

        • Colonial Viper

          I’m fascinated that you think that this is a discussion on becoming vegan.

          This is a discussion on addressing the fact that in NZ, agriculture generates a lot more GHGs than transport does, and it is the no 1 source of GHGs.

          As you noted, most dairy in NZ is exported. That wouldn’t change one whit even if all NZers stopped eating dairy.

          • weka

            “I’m fascinated that you think that this is a discussion on becoming vegan.”

            I don’t. You are the one that specifically asked me about a film made by vegans and promoting veganism as a way of reducing GHG emissions. I took your question in good faith.

            Here’s what you said in its entirety,

            So Ag is by far the biggest contributor of GHGs, more than 20% bigger than transport which is no. 2.

            You may not like some of the “vegan propaganda” in Cowspiracy but it appears that they have a point, does it not.

            “This is a discussion on addressing the fact that in NZ, agriculture generates a lot more GHGs than transport does, and it is the no 1 source of GHGs.”

            I posted a link to the NZ report, which is about a lot of things. You responded by asking me about a vegan film and NZ’s agricultural emissions. If you wanted to limit the conversation to NZ ag, then maybe you could have been clearer in your question.

            tbh, I have no idea what you are doing. If you look at my last comment, I talked about a lot more than veganism so you could easily just clarify that that’s not what you meant and then focussed on the other things. Instead you appear to be trying to have a go at me. Not in the mood for a fight today. Really happy to share my ideas on what NZ could or should do to reduce ag GHG emissions though.

            • Robert Guyton

              “Modern” agriculture and fossil fuel use go hand in hand because the adoption of those ‘cultures’ springs from the same source; producing more than the producer can eat at point source. Build a grain silo, Buzz, and you’re on your way to 400 ppm and beyond!

              • Pat

                ” Build a grain silo, Buzz, and you’re on your way to 400 ppm and beyond!”

                I guess that could be extrapolated to be accurate but note that the ancients had grain silos and farmed for excess (for the obvious reasons) and C ppm didn’t move until industrial revolution…along with population explosion.

                we could equally say develop speech and have an opposable thumb and your on your way to 400 ppm and beyond

                • Pat – speech and an opposable thumb don’t lead to the creation of silo-guards charged with the protection of stored wealth, nor the need to pay those guards to do their job. Many communities consisting humans that could talk and hold a feather to the light didn’t go down the agricultural path, but instead, trod more delicately on the bosom of their Mother. Farming for excess was not a necessity, it was a choice. The wrong choice, it turns out.’cause, fossil fuels.

                  • Pat

                    and which lifestyle choice became dominant , almost exclusive?

                    Humans are dominant as they are the most successful manipulators…we manipulate items, we manipulate the environment, we manipulate ourselves and each other….and those most skilled of us at this are deemed successful.

                    • The silo-builders won dominance and are still holding that position as we approach Farmergeddon. That doesn’t sound like a win to me. “The most skilled at this are deemed successful”, indeed, deemed as such by the members of their tribe but regarded as pariah by those who are outside of that culture.
                      Do you, Pat, believe the environment has been skillfully manipulated, given its present state and outlook?

                    • Bill

                      Well, when your ‘manipulation’ involves guns and visiting ‘total war’ on cultures and societies that may have neither guns nor an appetite for ‘total war’…then sure, ‘your’ way becomes successful 😉

                      When we cunningly manipulate materials to come up with stuff like diesel engines and then, in short order, re-design them to run on fossil fuel while knowing full well the physics behind fossil fuel combustion (the CO2)…is that even intelligent, never mind successful?

                      There’s smart stuff and cunning stuff, but wa-aa-a-y over there on the other hand, there’s intelligent stuff.

                    • Pat

                      @ Bill

                      My manipulation?…”our” manipulation surely?

                      As to intelligent (or wise) ..I imagine those of our ancestors who founded the worlds various religions were considered wise and intelligent in their time…..little did they know how that would turn out I suspect.

                    • Bill

                      Well, maybe I should have said ‘European civilisation’ instead of the collective ‘your’, seeing as how I was thinking of colonisation when making the comment.

                      As for religion…yes, I think you’re probably right to say that they were considered wise and what not. Whether the saw themselves that way, or laughed up their sleeves at the very thought of it as they got on with plotting and scheming over how to better accrue more privilege and wealth….

                  • Pat

                    do I believe the environment has been skillfully manipulated?

                    No…indeed the opposite….but then I have the benefit of hindsight.

                  • Pat

                    time for a new one, agreed….couple of problems however…the existing one will fight like hell and we may be too late

                    • We’re agreed on the need for a new one – good.
                      That “they’ll” fight is of no consequence, we have no choice but to put 100% of our energies into it. Ditto being maybe “too late”, that “maybe” is all the hope we need. That’s how great challenges are overcome, discounting the opposition and wasting no time.
                      I’m not preaching optimism here, just the pragmatism required to succeed.

                    • Bill

                      Imagine if…we simply stopped following people and followed ideas instead.

                      Overnight, this model we have, and all possible variations of this model we have, and all the people who head all the institutions that would defend this model we have, or justify this model we have, and all the people who would hope to exploit or manipulate this model we have – all of that would be gone.

                      Wouldn’t that be a fine thing?

                      No bad ideas or dodgy ideas getting forced by someone wielding the delightful instruments of persuasion, such as, the whip or the chain or the gun.

                      If we only followed ideas, then no-one could ever hope to be followed or ‘lifted up’ by associating themselves with an idea, or by forcing the adoption of an idea.

                    • Pat

                      “Imagine if…we simply stopped following people and followed ideas instead.”

                      I can Imagine Moses,Mohamed, Bhudda et al saying something similar back in the day….but we digress.

                  • Pat

                    “That’s how great challenges are overcome, discounting the opposition and wasting no time.
                    I’m not preaching optimism here, just the pragmatism required to succeed.”

                    that’s the plan….and hope springs eternal….except when it dosn’t

                    • The very nature of hope is that is does spring eternal.
                      When Pandora’s box emptied so spectacularly, there crouched hope, ready to spring into action.

                    • Bill

                      So if Hope was all that was left inside Pandora’s Box, then what, do you think, was it within Pandora’s Box that created all the despair in the first place…springing eternal an all an all 😉

                      It’s an old take on it, I know.

                    • Following ideas, Bill?
                      Which ones?
                      *edit – what was in the box, Bill. All sorts of opportunities, I imagine.

                    • Bill

                      There was nothing good in Pandora’s Box. Just all the evil (or despair) of the world.

                      Which ideas? Why, the good ones of course! Okay – very broad brush stroke…

                      …principally ideas that flourish and that are rooted deep within concepts of meaningful democracy. Ideas, sans illegitimate authority, tend to spread rhizomatically. And ideas that need to be forcibly transplanted or grafted are probably just bad ideas…

                      …and I’m over trying to work this on a nature angle

                      Good ideas are those ideas generated by you and your community, that affect you and your community, and that you and your community execute. (note: assume the community to be an elastic and ever changing social entity.)

                      Bad ideas are those that are imposed from the outside and that disempower those who will be affected.

                      Ideas that come with a person attached in a way that the person is then afforded authority, are bad ideas. Always. History keeps trying to teach us that lesson and we keep ‘just not getting it’ for some reason.

                      edit – when I say ‘authority’ I’m referring to permanent, institutional or entrenched authority, not the transient authority that the builder’s knowledge may give the builder on aspects of a building project.

                    • Nothing good in Pandora’s box, Bill?
                      There was hope for starters.
                      Those ills you list were already in the world. What was really in Pandora’s box were endless possibilities, some of which represented wise choices for Mankind, others which were disastrous. Once we opened the box and began choosing this and that, our future was determined by those choices. But always, there was hope. Good and bad doesn’t come into it. It’s difficult to converse without using those words, but attempting to is a worthwhile exercise when exploring this topic (the most important topic of all, in my view). There is a dichotomy that is useful though, and that’s life-giving (pro-biotic) and life-taking (anti-biotic). Addressing challenges probiotically gives different results from when antibiotic actions are applied. Adding.v.taking away. Racism in a bi-racial community? Remove one of the parties or bring in a multitude of races to diminish-to-zero the conflict. One dominant ideology creating imbalance and injustice in a community/country/world? Bring in a multitude of ideologies to occupy space being held by the Dominator. Other polarities that are useful models for our new way(s): multiplicity.v.singularity – keep it multitudinous, avoid over-simplification – polyculture.v.monoculture. There’s much more to this, naturally enough, but those starters might stimulate some interest. I apologise for not using the model you offered, I enjoyed reading your comment and agree with your view.

            • Colonial Viper

              weka, producing less meat and dairy is what I was aiming at in terms of significantly reducing both global and NZ ag GHG emissions, who knows what world you live in though where that necessarily means people becoming vegan.

              BTW if you can’t watch something like Cowspiracy or read something like the Bible and not get some value out of it without having to convert to whatever their proselytizing about, that’s not my issue its yours.

              For the record again, I’m never becoming vegan, good luck to those who do.

              edit – you are full of good ideas and insights that I often learn from, but having discussions with you nowadays is full of fucking minefields and who needs it, thanks.

              • weka

                I’ll just repeat, the only reason I’ve said anything about vegans is because you brought up Cowspiracy and asked me specifically if I thought the film had a point. I answered in good faith 🙂 Personally, I don’t think the vegan issue is particularly relevant to the discussion. It only comes up as a political issue when people use it as a reference point in CC discussions. The meme that is developping around the film is IMO dangerous, which is why I tend to respond in the way I do about it.

                “producing less meat and dairy is what I was aiming at in terms of significantly reducing both global and NZ ag GHG emissions,”

                I guess there’s an issue there about who is responsible for the dairying GHG emissions, us or the people buying and consuming the products (I think it’s us). My general approach to CC is think global, act local. So we need to think about CC in its global context (because of the obvious), but that we have pretty limited control over other nations and peoples. We can instead act locally, find the solutions that work here, share them with other people, learn from other people , do the politically responsible things (foreign aid, lobbying etc), but let other countries and peoples find their own solutions.

                Maybe as well as reducing our GHG emissions, reducing dairying is a service to the rest of the world, both in terms of limiting the supply of meat/dairy, and in demonstrating that a country this size can make a living without polluting. That’s at an ideas level obviously, it’s not like anyone in power is even considering lowering dairying (apart from the Greens). Mostly I think one job at the moment is to initiate discussion of other ways.

                That’s why for a number of years I’ve been making comments about regenag (and a post coming soon). It’s technically feasible for NZ to convert its farming to something sustainable right now, there are enough farmers here who have pioneered the techniques. I don’t believe the solution to NZ’s GHG emissions is BAU and GE ryegrass.

                As ever it’s the lack of political and public will that’s the problem. Nevertheless there are people who are continuing to do the right thing and if NZ does get it’s act together politically I can see agriculture here changing quite fast.

  6. Olwyn 6

    This article claims that Sandersism has won, whether Bernie wins the nomination or not. The writer might be a bit too optimistic, but the Sanders movement has at least exposed business-as-usual for what it is and is seriously aiming a stake at TINA’s vampire heart.

    The point being this: the ideological revolution within the Democratic Party has already happened, and Sandersism won. The only question now is how long Democrats and the country will have to wait to see its gains in real-time.

    • ianmac 6.1

      Hopeful Olwyn?
      “The Democratic Party as the Clintons remade it in the 1990s is dead, and the most Clinton can do is steer her little ghost-ship a few more miles until it finally wrecks itself on an offshore sandbar.

      Clinton may win the battle in 2016, but only political neophytes — and a few Washington Post columnists, I suppose — fail to see that she’s already lost the war.”

      • Olwyn 6.1.1

        I am always a bit cautious in my optimism 🙂 – look at what is happening in Brazil, for instance. I am confident that the third-way left have lost whatever credibility they may have had, but am also aware of how well-resourced and determined the TINA gang are.

        • Draco T Bastard


          And I still can’t see NZ Labour shifting out of the neo-liberal paradigm.

          • Craig H

            Based on what I’ve heard from members, I can, but it might be a while.

            • Bill

              If the Labour Party operated on a ‘one person one vote’ basis, then I’d be inclined to suggest it would already have happened and that Cunliffe would likely still be the leader of the Labour Party. Just look at how UK Labour is changing under Corbyn with their ‘one person one vote’ system – caucus, for all their antipathy towards him and his politics, can’t touch him.

              Unfortunately for us in NZ, with a system that allows a caucus 40% of the vote and the unions 15% of the vote…okay, would Corbyn still be leading the UK Labour Party under NZs set up?

              I don’t know the numbers and I’m not about to go away and crunch them. But suffice to say I have my doubts.

            • Colonial Viper

              Based on what I’ve heard from members, I can, but it might be a while.

              The Labour caucus and the moderating committee is now largely under the control of the following factions:

              1) the “young” careerists, typically 45 and under
              2) the right wing, typically 45 plus

              The fucked/zero leverage factions are the pro-Cunliffe, formerly pro-Cunliffe, and left wing. I estimate that together they now represent around, or less than, 25% of caucus.

              Notice how Little has no faction in caucus to call his own, but he does have affiliate muscle behind him.

              Now, IMO Labour has two more General Elections left in it. If it loses both of them (2017 and 2020) it will permanently slide into minor party status (sub 20%).

              My call for 2017 is Labour 25% (=2014) +/-3%, with a negative outlook. Labour is unlikely to take the Treasury benches on those numbers.

              So the question is – does your comment “but it might be quite a while” suggest a time frame before 2020, or a timeframe after 2020.

              If it is after 2020, then Labour is history.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Labour needs to do a Corbyn/Sanders and go full Left wing rather than hanging on to the failed right-wing policies that they have.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Instead, they believe that appealing to the centrist middle class swing voter because they are the ones who decide election outcomes is what they need to do.

                  • Olwyn

                    @ CV: They need to remember that Key did not win any elections by dumping his core constituency and replacing it with a middle class one – instead he (or Brash before him) consolidated his wealthy, right wing constituency and worked to add the middle class to what he already had.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Indeed, Labour have got the formula wrong. And it shows in their election results.

              • swordfish

                Interesting typology, CV.

                How accurate would you say my list is here ? …

                Right Faction
                1 Shearer
                2 Goff (retiring)
                3 King (possibly retiring)
                4 Davis
                5 Parker
                6 Nash
                7 Cosgrove (retiring)
                8 O’Connor
                9 Fa’afoi

                Young Careerists Faction
                1 Robertson
                2 Hipkins
                3 Ardern
                4 Twyford
                5 Curran
                6 Clark
                7 Mallard (or should he be in Right Faction ?)
                8 Woods (or Left ?)
                9 Dyson (or Left ?)

                Left/Cunliffe/Formerly Cunliffe Faction
                1 Cunliffe
                2 Mahuta
                3 Wall
                4 Moroney
                5 Sio
                6 Tirikatene
                7 Lees-Galloway

                8 Little (vaguely associated with Left Faction ?)

                Not Sure
                1 Sepuloni (Left ? / Young Careerist ?)
                2 Whaitiri
                3 Salesa
                4 Henare
                5 Williams (Left ? / Young Careerist ?)
                6 Rurawhe (Right ?)

                • Colonial Viper

                  Wow wow wow 😎

                  Approx 85% accurate. A very good job mate. A few of the line calls. Tirikatene and Fa’foi I would place in the careerist camp. Sepuloni former Cunliffe camp. Mallard definitely right. I have my suspicions on some of the newer MPs in the not sure camp but we will let them show their hand a bit more clearly first. Woods careerist, Dyson more left I think.

                  Oh, someone just mentioned to me that we could actually introduce one full additional category – the ‘hasbeens, never will be’s and incompetents’. A few names would instantly slide out of where they sit now into that new category.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Also swordfish, you may find it interesting to asterisk* the list MPs separately, and to reflect on how they are feeling about life and their political job security in general.

                • Anne

                  Sepuloni is Left. I wouldn’t describe Twyford , Woods or Dyson as “young careerists”. Especially Dyson. She’s in the twilight of her parliamentary career now.

                  King is on record as having said she’s definitely standing again but as a list MP. A nice way to hand over the seat to Little? Both Woods and Dyson are more centre Left than right. In the “not sure”category I think most would fall into the centre Left category too.

    • Dialey 6.2

      My goodness there are some lessons for Labour NZ to learn from this excellent Huff Post article, if only they would

  7. RTM 7

    As Crown Treaty negotiations with Moriori hit the mainstream media all sorts of old myths and prejudices are oozing out of the Kiwi public. Any Crown settlement with Moriori needs to include not only massive land transfers but a sustained public education campaign: http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2016/05/moriori-history-and-treaty-politics.html

    • vto 7.1

      A sustained public education programme teaching what?

      There is a huge amount yet to be discovered, let alone be certain enough to begin an “education programme”.

      the blind leading the blind

      . . . .

      pre-maori (pre-1300’s approx.) New Zealand is fascinating in its mystic unknowns and old tales…..

      … which is all of course entirely separate from the contract the British Crown entered into with Maori some centuries later.

      • weka 7.1.1

        Pretty sure that Moriori know a hell of a lot more about themselves as a people than non-Moriori know. They’re hardly blind. That might be a good place to start.

        thanks for the link RTM.

    • weka 7.2

      Great read RTM, thanks.

      Who lives on Rekohu now? Is it Moriori, the two iwi, and Pākehā?

  8. dv 8


    More than $15,000 has been donated to murdered woman’s Blessie Gotingco’s family, only hours after they announced that they want to hold the Government accountable.

    The comment by Collins on the news re the killing that really struck me was
    “Oh well he was always going to kill again”

    What was implied was what the f**k could I/we do about.

    • vto 9.1

      There is so much pissing around today in Government..

      Just frikkin’ get on and build some housing.. stop talking about it and do it. Get some Crown land, design some low-cost housing, and build it. Should take 12 months maximum….

      ….. but oh no, can’t do that, must go through “process”, must write reports, must set up committee, must not make decision, must find Minister to make decision, Minister must not make decision without “process”, report, recommendation

      this lot are bloody useless

      public bodies today are bloody useless

      cut through the shit why don’t you. Engage an architect and builder on Monday and get into it…

      the incompetence would be funny were it not so serious

      and even more funny is that despite National parading themselves as an action government, the history shows (and would certainly be repeated) that it is Labour that would get something like this done much quicker and better

      National – useless conservatives since inception

    • Dialey 9.2

      I bet comments will be closed off pretty shortly on that bit of spin

  9. RTM 10

    ‘A sustained public education programme teaching what?’

    Moriori history. Follow the link. Michael King’s Moriori: a people rediscovered is a good lengthier introduction.

    ‘There is a huge amount yet to be discovered, let alone be certain enough to begin an “education programme”.

    Moriori and the scores of scholars who’ve investigated their history disagree.

    ‘pre-maori (pre-1300’s approx.) New Zealand’

    You think the ancestors of Maori got here in the fourteenth century? There are dozens of radiocarbon results for artefacts and sites older than that. Wairau Bar was inhabited in the twelfth century, at least.

    ‘mystic unknowns and old tales’

    I’d be wary about people telling tales of ancient lost civilisations in NZ. They tend to lack training in anything but conspiracy theories.

    • vto 10.1

      It will be interesting to see what history and archaeology discovers in the next 100 years.

      I am picking multiple peoples from much further back. I pick this for most of the last parts of the planet to supposedly be inhabited, not just our islands. I am picking several waves of human-type species migrating out of Africa (and/or Asia), yet to be discovered. Anthropology is a very young science, making new discoveries at a fast clip and accelerating. On the threshold of vast new human discoveries methinks …

      Assuming we have full and complete knowledge today in 2016 is, well, just silly. See previous history scholars and their past findings cf todays knowledge, in evidence.

      Unfortunately though this area of our history gets all tied up in today’s politics to see anything clearly. As you highlight.

  10. RTM 11

    ‘Assuming we have full and complete knowledge today in 2016 is, well, just silly’

    Nobody assumes that. What’s silly is to assert that because everything about the past isn’t known nothing can be said about the past. We know, thanks to the work of dozens of scholars, that Moriori were a Polynesian people closely related but distinct from Maori, that they lived in isolation for centuries on the Chathams, that they evolved, over time, an egalitarian and pacifist culture, that they were invaded in 1835, and that the stories created about them by nineteenth century Pakeha and still widely believed by Pakeha are false.

    ‘I am picking multiple peoples from much further back [settled NZ].’

    The trouble is that, despite the efforts of advocates of Celtic and Viking and Atlantean settlement conspiracy theories, evidence is rather thin on the ground. The absence of artefacts and skeletons under the tephra from the Taupo eruptions and the analysis of ancient pollen spores suggests that humans were not living in NZ in any numbers more than a thousand years ago. If the conspiracy theorists were right and an ancient civilisation existed here then we’d expect to find all sorts of stuff under the tephra, as well as evidence from pollen spores and other sources of the presence of rats and the clearance of forests in ancient times.

    • vto 11.1

      I think we are on the same page mostly RTM.

      Re your last paragraph, noted and aware. “conspiracy theorists” and “ancient civilisations” are terms not conducive to considered thought and debate, but merely rhetoric designed to denigrate. Let’s put those terms to one side..

      Sure, evidence is thin on the ground – but as I said, this is a very young science, especially in NZ. There is some evidence, as you note. As more time passes and more digs completed then more will become apparent.

      Tell me I am curious – what is your view of Maori history which itself tells of various and numerous people already living here when they arrived?

  11. Draco T Bastard 12

    Time to reassess phones in cars

    But a new transport strategy will consider whether mobile devices could actually help to make our roads safer.

    The Safer Journeys Strategy is calling for a review of legislation by the end of the year to identify “unnecessary barriers” to the use of technology, including accessing road safety information safely on mobile devices in vehicles.

    The strategy aims for increased use of emerging technology to enable smart and safe choices on the road, reduce unintended errors and increase compliance.

    Well, that’s the stated reason. It’s all bollocks of course. If you take people’s attention away from the road while they’re driving then the chances of them having an accident go up.

    The real reason is this:

    A 2009 law change made it illegal to use phones behind the wheel, and police have since raked in millions of dollars in fines.

    I assume some rich person somewhere got fined for breaking the law and complained to National about it. And now the attacks on it just being a revenue gatherer for police are coming out.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Actually rich people have flash new cars, flash new cars tether to your smartphone via bluetooth, no problem with the cops there.

  12. RTM 13

    ‘“conspiracy theorists” and “ancient civilisations” are terms not conducive to considered thought and debate’

    In my experience the proponents of claims that non-Polynesians settled NZ thousands of years ago are all motivated at least in part by a far right political agenda, engage in conspiracy theories to try to account for the lack of evidence for their claims, and lack any training in a relevant discipline. In the piece for SRB I linked to earlier I tried to show the neo-Nazi connections of the most high profile proponents of ancient civilisations theory.

    ‘Sure, evidence is thin on the ground’

    Evidence is non-existent, which is why the likes of Martin Doutre and Kerry Bolton have to resort to claims that a vast conspiracy is suppressing evidence.

    ‘There is some evidence, as you note. As more time passes and more digs completed then more will become apparent.’

    There have been thousands of digs around NZ, extensive analysis of environmental evidence like spollen spores, tests of human and rat DNA, and no evidence at all has been found for a pre-Polynesian civilisation. There simply isn’t anything under the tephra left by even the most recent Taupo eruption, which means that humans simply couldn’t have been here thousands of years ago in any numbers.

    What’s interesting is the desire of so many Pakeha to believe in something for which we have no evidence.

    ‘what is your view of Maori history which itself tells of various and numerous people already living here when they arrived?’

    There is no single Maori oral history: each iwi has multiple versions of its past, and each is more akin to the oral epics of ancient Greece than to what we understand as history today. Just as we wouldn’t take Homer’s talk of sirens and a cyclops literally, so we shouldn’t take legends of taniwha, fairy folk, hairy men of the bush, kehua, and so on literally.

    In my own research I’ve found that even in the twentieth century memories of events got tangled and confused in just a few years.

    • vto 13.1

      I don’t get it – you suggest Maori history should be discounted yet use Moriori history in support of a view.. how does that work?

      Also this “What’s interesting is the desire of so many Pakeha to believe in something for which we have no evidence. ” – that is not interesting at all. That smacks of the “politics of today” confusing the picture, as mentioned before. Plays no part except in the minds of those with vested interests. Not interested.

      . . . . .

      Unfortunately I don’t have the time to bat back and forth today. However, when it comes to tales of “fairy folk, tall people, fair-skinned people etc” you do realise those same tales exist in other parts of the globe yes? You don’t think there might be something to them? Like perhaps there were other people around? An earlier species of human out of Africa perhaps? Such as the red deer cave people perhaps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Deer_Cave_people ?

      When do you imagine the last Neanderthal died RTM? Have we found the last one to die?

      When did the last mammoth die?

      The certainty in your points RTM is not accepted.

      This entire area of human history is so very far from certain. It is fascinating. It is also in the very very close past (last mammoth died about 3,000 years ago, and I would suggest the last Neanderthals were around that time too… like yesterday, leading to the legends of yetis and the like). Do you know if Neanderthals ever made it to NZ? Or those other species of human? You do realise we have the worst lands on the planet for preservation of early peoples, with our pluviality and flora growth rates, not to mention erosion and coastal retreat.

      • Sacha 13.1.1

        “Do you know if Neanderthals ever made it to NZ? ”

        Does the quality of thinking on our current right-wing blogs constitute evidence? Has it been established that Neanderthals were expert navigators and sailors like those other cultures who settled here?

  13. greywarshark 14

    Something to make you feel good today. Sign the petition to go to Ann Tolley calling for waiver of the cost of motel accommodation for people in dire straits. The gummint is expecting them to pay it back FGS.
    See – http://thestandard.org.nz/petition-to-forgive-emergency-accommodation-debt/

    This is an excerpt from the petition. I’m sure that all thoughtful people will agree with the statement. The petition is aiming for 6000 and nearly there so give it a push in the right direction.

    Why is this important?
    When people are in desperate need, Winz loan people money so they can rent out a motel room as emergency housing. [1] People then have to repay the debt, and many say that is just not possible.

    This is a ridiculous and inhumane policy in effect locking people who are already in such dire straits that they are homeless, into further debt.

    Furthermore, it does nothing to solve the housing crisis and is open to exploitation by the Motel owners, and the people themselves have little choice but to agree.

    • Treetop 14.1

      In some cases, providing the people travelling have a current passport, it maybe cheaper for them to go overseas to visit family or a travel package until a house is made available. Travel insurance would be required. At least a trip would be a stress braker.

      People have been financed by the government to travel to Australia for cancer treatment.

      It would not surprise me that people are so pushed over the edge that they may contemplate the unthinkable. (It is fine if this comment is removed).

  14. RTM 15

    I beg to differ, vto: I think the attitude you represent is interesting, because in my experience it is widespread amongst Pakeha.

    You haven’t spent much time thinking about the history of these islands’ Polynesian inhabitants and their ancestors in the tropical Pacific, but you have a very strong desire to believe in an ancient civilisation that is extremely unlikely to have existed here. You combine, in other words, a lack of interest in the real history of this part of the world with a fascination with a fantasy history. I think that this combination of incuriosity and fantastic yearning is a symptom of the fact that many Pakeha still don’t feel entirely at home down here in New Zealand. It reflects a sort of unease that I think some of our finest poets and artists diagnose.

    ‘you suggest Maori history should be discounted yet use Moriori history in support of a view’

    I’ve been talking about the understanding of the history of Moriori that has been built up out of hard evidence – artefacts excavated, words analysed, skeletons studied, old texts recovered and interpreted and so on – not about old legends taken at face value. Legends about ancient events have to be taken very carefully, especially when they are full of supernatural events.

    If you want to use the various legends of iwi as evidence for a pre-Maori civilisation, because some of these legends include stories of pale-skinned fairy folk and hairy men of the bush, then you’ve got to explain why you’re not also using the taniwha and so on. But even if you want to press the scattered traditions of fairy folk into service as evidence for ancient pale-skinned settlers of these islands, you run into the insurmountable obstacle of the complete absence of material evidence for such settlers. There’s nothing under the tephra.

    ‘perhaps there were other people around? An earlier species of human out of Africa perhaps?’

    So you think there was a wave of white-skinned people that came out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago and had the aquatechnology to spread all the way to NZ, when the Europeans couldn’t even get to the Azores until less than a thousand years ago, and that these ancient settlers left no trace of their coming except some Maori folk tales about fairies who hid in the bush and played flutes? I guess you could work taniwha into your theory, and claim that the fairies rode them across the ocean to these islands.

    ‘When do you imagine the last Neanderthal died RTM?’

    I’m not sure what this has to do with NZ history, but the last Neanderthals died out about thirty thousand years ago at the bottom of the Iberian peninsula.

    ‘When did the last mammoth die?’

    About four thousand years ago on Wrangel Island.

    Archaeology is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? We can know about Neanderthals and mammoths, and we can discard claims about ancient civilisations in NZ after digging and finding nothing to support them.

    ‘You do realise we have the worst lands on the planet for preservation of early peoples’

    How did you get this idea? We have a very good stratigraphic record, with the tephra laid down nicely in layers. We’re not like a tropical atoll, where stratigraphy is very hard to establish.

    ‘Do you know if Neanderthals ever made it to NZ?’

    With their sophisticated aquatechnology, who knows? Seriously, I think you’ve wandered down a pretty curious path here.

    • weka 15.1

      RTM, is there a reason you aren’t using the reply buttons and keeping this conversation in one thread? It would be easier to follow if you did.

    • vto 15.2

      Sorry RTM but your assumptions about me discount your otherwise known, though conservative and status quo, points. Example:

      “You haven’t spent much time thinking about the history of these islands’ Polynesian inhabitants and their ancestors in the tropical Pacific, but you have a very strong desire to believe in an ancient civilisation that is extremely unlikely to have existed here”……. is horseshit and you have no way of knowing what you claim there about what I have been looking into.. I have no desire to believe anything thanks. It is a curiousity borne of many seemingly illogical facts.

      The rest of your comment is similarly presumptive and emotive … for example, continual use of the words “ancient civilization” with all its underlying implications of great cities and fortifications and associated infrastructure. I have mentioned none of that. You do.

      I just love the certainty that some people have about the past and the future – they make me smile. You are right up there with that certainty RTM, evidenced by this comment “There’s nothing under the tephra.”

      If only humans in the past had been so certain about the future eh RTM… you are a ground-breaker with your certainty that the past is now known, … lol

      . .

      here is a question for you: how many tonnes of pounamu were found spread across Aotearoa when the Europeans arrived?

  15. arkie 16


    Interesting article on the Spinoff about the dearth of women in NZ business, though there is the odd inclusion of Paula Bennett in the list. Is it a joke/irony? Any thoughts?

  16. Bill 17

    Meanwhile, in India…what 51°C can look like.

    Shiv Prakash Chanda, who works as a nursing officer in the hospital, said: “It is incredibly hot. None of the air-conditioners or coolers are working. We have running water, but the water is stored in tanks on top the buildings, and when it comes out of the tap the water is so hot that you can’t even wash your hands with it. You can’t even go to the toilet.”


  17. Treetop 18

    Any thoughts?

    Good at wrecking, e.g. state housing.

    • Bill 19.1

      But it was a white man’s fish he stole marty!

      • mauī 19.1.1

        As an aside, it’s interesting they appear to be charged through the Conservation Act for removing fish that are an introduced apex predator (and are recognised as one of the biggest threats to native fish species) in the NZ environment. But who am I to question..

        • Gangnam Style

          “One law for all” !!! Man I feel for the poacher, his ‘crime’ is being brown, our justice system needs some work.

        • Bill

          Like I said “white man’s fish” 😉

    • weka 19.2

      That is appallingly bad. It’s like something out of the 19th century.

  18. Gangnam Style 20

    & congrats to Murdoch for winning Canon Media Award for Political Cartooning, she’s one of the more abrasive anti-right wing ones too, amazing recognition for a great political cartoonist in a field rich in brilliant biting political cartoonists.

  19. greywarshark 22

    While looking up a report referred to by Madtom on the Charter schools post, I found this analysis of the present financial situation in the world.
    20 May 2016 posted by Yves Smith

    But despite describing the current state of dislocation fairly well, he seems unable to grasp that we are close to the end of the 35 year neoliberal paradigm, which substituted asset price booms and increased consumer access to borrowing for policies that focused on increasing average worker wages. In the topsy-turvy world of the new orthodoxy, worker prosperity was bad because…gasp…it might create inflation!

    And economists and policymakers have done such a splendid job of fighting the last war long after the inflation threat was vanquished that they are now on the verge of creating deflation, which is far more destructive than inflation, particularly in debt-burdened economies….

    The very fact that these monetary innovations are unprecedented means that their impact is unpredictable. This necessarily increases the scope for policy errors and conflicts. Indeed, the lack of consensus on what needs or can be done is palpable. One sign that all is not well is the recent emergence of a vitriolic debate about helicopter money, whereby central banks create money to distribute to citizens directly or via the government.

    And on avoiding tax owing by USA corporates sending funds overseas.
    Posted by Yves Smith 20 May 2016
    The crucial motive in transferring corporations’ “nationality” and official headquarters to low-tax nations is that inversions shield the “foreign” profits of U.S. corporations from federal taxation and ease access to these assets. This protects total U.S. corporate profits held outside the United States—a stunning $2.1 trillion—from any U.S. corporate taxes until they are “repatriated” back to the United States.

    Major corporations benefit hugely from the infinite deferral of taxes purportedly generated by their foreign subsidiaries. “If you are a multinational corporation, the federal government turns your tax bill into an interest-free loan,” wrote David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and author of two books on corporate tax avoidance. Thanks to this deferral, he explained, “Apple and General Electric owe at least $36 billion in taxes on profits being held tax-free offshore, Microsoft nearly $27 billion, and Pfizer $24 billion.”

    Nonetheless, top CEOs and their political allies constantly reiterate the claim that the U.S. tax system “traps” U.S. corporate profits overseas and thereby block domestic investment of these funds. But these “offshore” corporate funds are anything but trapped outside the United States. “The [typical multinational] firm … chooses to keep the earnings offshore simply because it does not want to pay the U.S. income taxes it owes,” explains Thomas Hungerford of the Economic Policy Institute. “This is a very strange definition of ‘trapped’.”

  20. Incognito 24

    @ mickysavage

    You left an interesting note recently in a comment by Mike Bond on AL’s alleged visit to that overcrowded house.

    You may be interested that the NZ Herald blundered tonight and briefly posted on its website a piece by good old Rodney Hide that is to appear tomorrow I presume. It has since been removed from the NZH website but can still be found at http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:eS7z9Cj8BmYJ:www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm%3Fc_id%3D466%26objectid%3D11642642+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz

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