Open mike 22/02/2024

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 22nd, 2024 - 116 comments
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Open 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 …

116 comments on “Open mike 22/02/2024 ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Upper class turkeys vote for Xmas, unhappy when it arrives.

    Devonport key road upgrades at risk by loss of regional fuel tax

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/509811/devonport-key-road-upgrades-at-risk-by-loss-of-regional-fuel-tax

    Let's look at the old scoreboard for the North Shore…

    Electorate Party Valid Votes National Party – 50.92%
    ACT New Zealand 4540 10.98%
    Animal Justice Party 48 0.12%
    Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 111 0.27%
    DemocracyNZ 35 0.08%
    Freedoms NZ 53 0.13%
    Green Party 4851 11.73%
    Labour Party 7318 17.70%
    Leighton Baker Party 7 0.02%
    National Party 21050 50.92%
    New Conservatives 53 0.13%
    New Nation Party 24 0.06%
    New Zealand First Party 1604 3.88%
    New Zealand Loyal 209 0.51%
    NewZeal 133 0.32%
    Te Pāti Māori 207 0.50%
    The Opportunities Party (TOP) 1055 2.55%
    Women’s Rights Party 42 0.10%
    • Ad 1.1

      Yes that local board chair is going to meet with their local MP.

      The last government got us used to a very high level of funding keeping our boats afloat. It was the Robertson underpinning of our entire economy.

      But National are pulling the tide out so fast that everyone can see none of their political boats can float anymore.

    • Anne 1.2

      As someone who has lived in the region for 35 plus years, be assured it will be the 50.92% (Nat) and 10.98% (ACT) who will be doing 90% of the screaming and hollering.

      • Belladonna 1.2.1

        TBH, I doubt it.
        My understanding is that the majority of the work was emplacement of bus and cycle lanes on Lake Rd. I'd expect these to be more highly valued by the GP voters.

        • Anne 1.2.1.1

          We have no bus lanes except a side lane at Belmont one way. If we had them we would have no car lanes. Don't know what they're planning to do. Remove the cycle lanes perhaps which are not used by many cyclists because it is too dangerous on that particular road.

          • Belladonnad 1.2.1.1.1

            Well, yes, the point of the Lake Road improvements was to introduce bus and high-occupancy vehicle lanes, as well as cycle lanes.

            We propose using a mix of new and re-purposed transit lanes (for higher occupancy vehicles and public transport), walking and cycling facilities,

            https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/lake-road-improvements

            The downside of this is, as we've seen everywhere else in Auckland, this increases travel time for single-occupancy vehicles (in the medium term) as well as making every commuter's life a misery with roadworks (in the short term).

            I seriously doubt that the majority of Natioal-voting Devonport residents either use, or would plan to use a bus. And that the majority of them are single-occupancy vehicle users.

      • I Feel Love 1.2.2

        "be assured it will be the Nat and ACT who will be doing 90% of the screaming and hollering." Wait until the banning cells from school kids gets implemented later this year, they'll be "yes ban phones from schools, but don't dare my kids phone!".

    • gsays 1.3

      That's quite funny. Speaks truth to 'you get the government you deserve'.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I don't know what got into Ginny Anderson yesterday on NewsTalk ZB with Mark Mitchell and Hosking. I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing. On Newstalk ZB Week on Demand at 8.15 yesterday for the discussion.

    She accused Mitchell, in his previous role as a security contractor, of having been paid to kill people, and asked him if he had kept a tally. Hipkins also disagreed with the comments and, as a result she has apologised. Personally I think the apology should be public rather than a text as it has at the moment, given the comment was public.

    It isn't the first time Anderson has apologised for her (alleged) behaviour. So, perhaps it might be good for her to put her brain into gear before she opens her mouth.

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      As Hipkins said in her defence, he is often provocative. And of course there is an element of truth in what she said.

      • alwyn 2.1.1

        "Truth in what she said"?

        Very little according ti former Labour Leader David Shearer who actually does know a great deal about the topic.

        He says "It was during that work he interacted with many companies akin to Mitchell’s and said Andersen’s recent claim that the current Police Minister was “paid to kill people” is not a fair description of the work those companies do.

        “I think that’s over the top and pretty divorced from reality, it would be better if she had sat down and had a chat with Mark and understood exactly how it works."

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/former-labour-leader-david-shearer-says-ginny-andersens-claims-about-mark-mitchell-divorced-from-reality/B6DPEPL555F6LDIXJGTZXJRG7Y/

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          meanwhile, the public would be better served with more honesty and less PR bullshit from Mitchell.

          Of course they do useful work. That doesn’t preclude them being private military.

          • alwyn 2.1.1.1.1

            David Shearer would seem to be saying that the term "private military" would be a little misleading. He is proposing, at least as I read it, that they don't really behave like a military force but rather closer to the armed police that we see at New Zealand airports.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Shearer (your link above),

              A former Labour leader believes Labour MP Ginny Andersen’s claims about Mark Mitchell’s past as a private security contractor are “divorced from reality” and encouraged her to speak with the Police Minister to better understand the nature of the work.

              Let's assume for a minute that TMG does both police like security and grey area military work. Do you really think they're going to be upfront and honest about the grey area military work?

              Shearer is obviously grateful for the security work that was done when he was in those countries. Equally obvious is that the security is needed. Neither of those preclude those companies also being involved in morally ambiguous work or outright unethical work. It seems unlikely that Shearer would have been exposed to that.

              Shearer telling Andersen to talk with Mitchell is a nonsense. Let’s be generous and say it’s naive. If Mitchell started and ran a company that also does private military work, and he’s already been running PR lines on that, do you really think he’s going to tell Andersen?

              • alwyn

                "Let's assume for a minute that TMG does both police like security and grey area military work"

                But, in the light of what Shearer says why should we assume that at all. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that they were involved in the "grey area" work you are talking about. Certainly Shearer, who was there doesn't seem to think they were. He says

                “Given what I think Mark’s company was doing, it was pretty much what I would call a run-of-the-mill security company.

                “It would have been doing passive security operations that basically entailed securing goods, compounds, embassies from attack and the only time they would have used their weapons would have been if they came under attack themselves.”

                What evidence do we have that they were doing what people here are accusing them of? What evidence is there that that was the case?

                • weka

                  Shearer wasn't talking about TMG, he was talking about private security companies generally.

                  I've already explained the rationales for using that hypothetical.

                • Phillip ure

                  Shearer is talking rubbish..

                  Just because he has had security from these goons..doesn't mean he knows anything of what else they do/did…in those dirty wars…

                  He is blowing it out of his lowest orifice..

    • Phillip ure 2.2

      @smithfield..

      Can I suggest the looking up of the definition of mercenary soldier..?

      That may help in clarifying your view of what mitchell is/was…

      And back in the mists of time there is an interview of mitchell by wallace chapman…where the subject of killing while a mercenary was raised..(sorry..no idea of link..)

      My memory there is that mitchell gave a nude/nudge/wink/wink non-answer..

      One that left me forever viewing him as mark 'the mercenary' mitchell.

      With all the complications that label carries…

      And certainly not deserving of any whitewash…

      • joe90 2.2.1

        Niccolò had their number.

        “I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were.”

        Niccolò Machiavell

        • Obtrectator 2.2.1.1

          And the Roman Empire itself ultimately degenerated and dissolved because of (among other things) an increasingly mercenary attitude on the part of the Emperor's Praetorian Guard – they supported whoever was going to reward them the most.

      • Gareth Wilson 2.2.2

        "We're not something wriggling with too many legs that you found in your sleeping bag. The proper tone of voice is Mercenaries! – with a glad cry."

    • Tiger Mountain 2.3

      Mr Mitchell was a sell sword in a dirty war, as a mercenary he deserves no quarter. The arms industry and associated corporations made billions on the back of unjustified misery. Money that should have been spent on the US and other nations taxpayers that funded the shit show.

      Mitchell hounded Andersen in Parliament and he deserves a good slap down. Mark Mitchell scammed his way into electorate selection originally if you read Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics”. He talks tough like a lot of politicians but I’d like to see him try and take patches off gang members–that will be a fight (possibly a war) they won’t easily win.

      • tsmithfield 2.3.1

        As Hipkins said in her defence, he is often provocative. And of course there is an element of truth in what she said.

        I guess you could claim an "element of truth'' in the same way it could be claimed that the police or armed forces may end up killing people in the performance of their duties, and hence are "paid to kill''. That is not the same as being paid specifically to do that though. Nor is it something they generally seek to do, if it can be otherwise avoided.

        Tiger and Phillip, I think you need to provide evidence to support your replies, otherwise you are just as bad as Anderson:

        According to Wikipedia

        Mitchell went to Iraq in 2003 to work for British kidnap and ransom risk-management company Control Risks, providing security to officials of the Coalition Provisional Authority government.[3] He and his men were besieged in the Italian-run An Nasiriyah compound in southern Iraq by the Mahdi militia for five days in 2004.

        So, the only mention of active conflict he was involved in was self-defence in a siege scenario. What was he supposed to do in that situation? Just stand back and let the attackers come in and kill everyone?

        • Phillip ure 2.3.1.1

          The 'only mention' does not mean that was the only conflict he was involved in…

          • tsmithfield 2.3.1.1.1

            The 'only mention' does not mean that was the only conflict he was involved in…

            That may or may not be true. But the onus is on you to produce the evidence. Otherwise you are just speculating.

            • Phillip ure 2.3.1.1.1.1

              No..I am not 'speculating'..I am respecting the accepted meaning of the word mercenary..in this context..and I am repeating what I heard when mitchell was interviewed by wallace chapman…it is mitchell's own words I am using…

              Whereas you are giving us a bunch of your 'reckons'..and the sparse wikipedia profile of mitchell..

              Meh..!

              • Belladonna

                No. You're actually giving us your synopsis of your recollection of what Mitchell may have said.

                That's why quotes and linked evidence is asked for – so people can evaluate what was actually said.

                • Phillip ure

                  If wanting to disprove my recollections..you could email wallace chapman and ask him his recollections of that interview..and also if it is still able to be heard..?

                  I tried google..it let me down..again..

                  • Belladonnad

                    Not how the Standard works. You made the claim, it's up to you to provide evidence for it – if called for.

                    Or withdraw your claim that "it's Mitchell's own words I'm repeating"

                  • weka

                    when, approximately, did Chapman interview Mitchell?

                    • Phillip ure

                      It was early on in mitchell's career here..and it wasn't on the panel..

                      It was a show where he could go quite deep in interviews..

                      Maybe he was sitting in for someone..?..and it must have been rnz..

    • Muttonbird 2.4

      Did John Keys ever apologist for this, by text or any other means? I can't remember.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/john-key-accuses-labour-of-backing-rapists/H5LX5UMIFCAVKWAZF5X3BCFWU4/

      Still, 12 months later he was gone.

    • Sanctuary 2.5

      I was thinking about this in relation to my post about the upset residents of Devonport not getting their Lake road upgrades. In all the conversations on RNZ, the head of the local business association was not once asked a simple question – "The North Shore voted heavily for National at the election. Getting rid of the RFT was a National party policy. Do you think people are just getting what they voted for?" A provocative but necessary question IMHO. Same with Mark Mitchell. They guy was a hired gun. Did he not think his decisions might lead to some people to question him?

      We seem to have a political class where questions about the negative consequences of their personal decisions are akin to asking the vicar about God at afternoon tea. One simply doesn’t do it in polite society. These people believe they are never accountable – accountability is for the lesser sorts. It is a class based arrogance that is riddled through our elite political discourse.

      • Visubversa 2.5.1

        They moaned like hell when the cycle lanes were put in on Lake Road, but they are not wide enough for an extra lane. To widen much of Lake Road you have to bulldoze a lot of very valuable real estate. There are certainly places where you can tinker, but that just moves the problem up a bit to the next area of congestion around the motorway approaches.

    • weka 2.6

      I note that Mitchell doesn't deny what she alleges. I don't know why he can't just be honest that his work included killing people.

      I just wish Anderson been more prepared to explain what mercenaries do in language that sounded credible. And to explain clearly what Mitchell's company was and did. Then it wouldn't have sounded like a personal attack.

      … as a result she has apologised.

      according to your link, she apologised for going to too far, she didn't apologise for what she said.

      • tsmithfield 2.6.1

        Weka, as I pointed out above, the only Wiki mention of him being in actual conflict that could have incurred deaths was a self-defence situation. I expect that if you, I, or any of our politicians, including Anderson, were in that compound, we would be very greatful of having people such as that there to defend us.

        According to Mitchell, in his interview with HDPA, later in the day. He admits being invovled that self-defence scenario, but has no idea if the bullets he fired actually resulted in deaths on the otherside. I guess when there are lots of bullets flying around, it would be very hard to determine the outcome of specific bullets fired.

        • Francesca 2.6.1.1

          As a self declared mercenary he was there to kill.No questions asked.He was paid to execute that service.Whether he killed or not makes no difference.He was a hit man waiting for a job .

          • weka 2.6.1.1.1

            In fact he owned and ran the company that employed contracted soldiers, so it's not only about his own actions, but those of his staff.

            Andersen was woefully underprepared.

        • Robert Guyton 2.6.1.2

          He fired bullets at people and was paid to do so?

          Hmmmm….

          • tsmithfield 2.6.1.2.1

            As a self declared mercenary he was there to kill.No questions asked.

            Francesca, I think that statement is bordering on defamatory. You need to back that statement up with evidence. I agree that a possible consequence of him being there was that he might be required to exert lethal force, the same as with the police or armed forces. But, to claim that was his specific purpose goes far beyond that.

            He fired bullets at people and was paid to do so?

            Again, a possible outcome of him being there. But as far as I can see, not the express purpose. If he was in the army in the same circumstances, would you have a problem with the actions in those specific circumstances? If not, then I don't see any grounds for complaint.

            • Robert Guyton 2.6.1.2.1.1

              Did Mitchell operate in wars that New Zealand was officially involved in, or was he up for any conflict that might be an earner for him?

              If he had the blessings and support of the New Zealand Government and the people of New Zealand, then, perhaps, but if he was just freewheeling' across the globe, as a gun for hire, nah.

            • weka 2.6.1.2.1.2

              I agree about the self-declared mercenary bit, that needs a back up, because Mitchell is on record as saying he doesn't like the term 😉

              But he founded a company that provides private sercurity services in war zones. Mercenary might not be technically the right term, but I think it's stretching credibility to suggest that a company like Threat Management Group is doing 'security' only and is not using private military contractors to do other kinds of work.

              Typically, the US military has relied on American PSCs for armed guards such as Triple Canopy, MPRI,
              Threat Management Group, Sabre International Security, EOD Technology, Blue Hackle, and Special
              Operations Consulting – Security Management Group (SOC-SMG), but it also employs British, regional
              and local firms such as Aegis Defense Services, ArmorGroup, Olive Group, Hart Group, Safenet Security
              and Falcon Group.
              The expansion of security contracting by the US military has been supported by the decision of the US
              government to officially endorse the use of ‘deadly force’ by US security contractors in 2006.66

              The fully
              amended DFARS (2009) rule applicable today reads: ‘Contractor personnel performing security
              functions are also authorized to use deadly force when such force reasonably appears necessary to
              execute their security mission to protect assets/persons, consistent with the terms and conditions
              contained in their contract or with their job description and terms of employment.’

              https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/2011/433829/EXPO-SEDE_ET%282011%29433829_EN.pdf

              Much of that relies on the definition of security. I see no reason to trust Mitchell on this, as outlined in my earlier comment about his PR skills and approach.

              • Francesca

                That may have been hasty of me Smithfield .

                But in my book anyone who sets up a private company , and trains people to kill , has at the least , questionable morals.And where was he?

                In Iraq!! An illegal war that Helen Clark kept us out of, despite National and Act screaming across the floor

                I have a revulsion to killing anyway, whether state endorsed or not .

                Here's a take from the Spinoff

                https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/21-02-2018/why-aspiring-national-leader-mark-mitchells-war-for-profit-past-matters

                • gsays

                  That's getting to the crux of it.

                  It's one thing to be a mercenary.

                  It's totally another, vulgar, base and reprehensible to seek to profit from others mercenary actions.

              • Francesca

                As far as I'm concerned a cigarette paper could be slid between a private military security contractor and a mercenary

                Both private military contractors (PMC) and mercenaries work for money. Mercenaries are individual soldiers who can be hired by whoever pays them while PMCs recruit these people in an organisation.

                https://www.trtworld.com/americas/are-private-military-contractors-any-different-from-mercenaries-20680

                • weka

                  there's also the paper thin difference between PMC and PSC.

                • tsmithfield

                  I don't find private military companies particularly tasteful either tbh.

                  But I think the blame for their existence needs to be laid equally at the feet of Western governments who don't want to be seen to be directly involved in various scenarios around the world.

                  But there is a difference between that and accusing someone of essentially running around enjoying killing people as Anderson seemed to be implying when she asserted that Mitchell was a killer and enquired if he kept a tally of his kills, implying that it was something he was proud of doing.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    …she asserted that Mitchell was a killer and enquired if he kept a tally of his kills, implying that it was something he was proud of doing.

                    He was just earning a crust – not everyone gets to choose how they put bread on the table.

                    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/21-02-2018/why-aspiring-national-leader-mark-mitchells-war-for-profit-past-matters

                  • weka

                    But I think the blame for their existence needs to be laid equally at the feet of Western governments who don't want to be seen to be directly involved in various scenarios around the world.

                    sure. But the issue here isn't that some dude ran a PSC, it's that he then entered parliament bringing those values with him, and held a number of Ministerial positions including Defence and Police. It's entirely reasonable to look at his background, ask questions and hold him to account.

                    Andersen didn't imply he liked killing people, she said he made money from it.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “But the issue here isn’t that some dude ran a PSC, it’s that he then entered parliament bringing those values with him, and held a number of Ministerial positions including Defence and Police.”

                      I guess that would depend on the motivations for running such an organisation. If the motivation was to help with humanitarian assistance (as Mitchell claims) in areas where civilian workers are at risk of attack from various warlords etc, that is one thing. A lot of those sorts of organisations likely would not be able to function in that sort of environment otherwise.

                      If it’s objective was to hire itself out to any organisaiton or government for any purpose regardless of how henious or repressive, then that is something else entirely.

                      “Andersen didn’t imply he liked killing people,”

                      I think the question about keeping a tally implied that. As why would you do such a thing unless your goal was to keep increasing the tally?

                    • weka []

                      I don’t find it credible that TMG were there for the fluffy bunnies. You seem to be putting up a false dichotomy. Either they’re there for humanitarian reasons, or they’re evil murderers. Whereas I think they’re a business that is there it make a profit and their niche is providing private security/military services in war zones. And that, by consent of the companies and governments, involves sometimes killing people.

                      There’s plenty of critique about such companies and why the profit motive is a problem. There’s further critique about putting someone with Mitchell’s values into Ministerial roles. Did you real the links I gave you?

                      If it’s objective was to hire itself out to any organisaiton or government for any purpose regardless of how henious or repressive, then that is something else entirely.

                      TMG do work for the US government /shrug.

                  • Francesca

                    Apparently shop lifting is on the rise amongst the middle class, since the advent of self service kiosks.

                    Ok, it makes it easier, but does that absolve anyone of dishonesty?

            • Phillip ure 2.6.1.2.1.3

              No smithfield…he was there to make money…from war…

              He was a mercenary…by any definition..

              Make of that what you will..

              No moral ambiguities there for you..?…smithfield..?

              • Belladonnad

                That really is a profoundly …. limited … understanding of why armed guards (whether paid by a government, or by private companies) might be needed in a conflict zone.

                One of the standard reasons for armed guards, is to protect aid convoys.

                Because, if you don't, they get stopped at the first insurgent roadblock and looted. Nothing gets through to the people who need it.

                Even the UN Security Service employs private military and security companies in high-risk areas.

                Despite an official stance by UN working groups against the use of private military and security companies except as a last resort, the UNDSS has widely contracted private military companies across deployments in various nations

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Department_for_Safety_and_Security#Criticism_and_Controversy

        • weka 2.6.1.3

          Mitchell's problem here is that private companies that use mercenraries aren't known for being upfront about this. So when he talks about self-defence, we don't know if that is all he ever did, or if that's PR speak.

          He founded a private military company, that makes profit from war. It's incredibly naive to think there was no killing involved by his company.

          Anderson should have been better prepared. This from the Spinoff when Mitchell announced he was standing for parliament in 2018,

          Rather than asking, as a nine-year-old might, if this aspiring party leader has killed anyone, we should be asking what he intends to do to ensure New Zealand money doesn’t end up promoting further violence. The signs are not encouraging where that’s concerned, as Mitchell has already been proactive in promoting private company bids for New Zealand Defence Force money. Billions of dollars of it.

          To be clear, it isn’t the man that is necessarily cause for concern here. Rather, it is the relationship that Mitchell has with a highly unregulated and profit-oriented part of violent conflict that should raise concern for New Zealanders. Private military and security contractors have become a fundamental part of war. They have been instrumental in creating the increasingly murky and ethically bankrupt landscape of modern warfare. Quite apart from the absence of any real accountability for violations of human rights, the United Nations states that the use of PMSCs fundamentally threatens democracy in several ways. For instance, the use of contractors absolves nation states from their responsibilities to their own citizens around transparency and democratic control. Additionally, incentivising conflict through massive expenditure of public funds to the private sector increases the influence of private business on political choices and national policies.

          https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/21-02-2018/why-aspiring-national-leader-mark-mitchells-war-for-profit-past-matters

          At the end of that piece, the journo asked Mitchell three questions. Mitchell didn't answer them.

          That raises the issue of honesty and whether Mitchell is inclined to be open and transparent, or manipulate comms to create an impression. Certainly in the Hosking piece yesterday it was clear he is skilled in PR.

          I think the 'did you shoot people and how many?' is in fact pertinent, because the fact that Mitchell's PR speak is about avoidance and obfuscation rather than telling the truth in a circumspect way, suggests a level of political dishonesty that doesn't serve NZ or democracy.

          Like I said, why doesn't he just be honest? I guess one answer to that is will people believe him given he has a history of avoidance and obfuscation.

          • tsmithfield 2.6.1.3.1

            That raises the issue of honesty and whether Mitchell is inclined to be open and transparent, or manipulate comms to create an impression.

            Weka, I guess there are two answers to that. Firstly, in my experience, people who have been involved in conflict such as this often don't want to talk about their experiences because it very traumatising to them to know they might have ended someone elses life, even though it may have been justifiable in the circumstances. Horrors of war and all that.

            Secondly, there may well be confidentiality agreements in place that limit what he is able to disclose.

            I think the 'did you shoot people and how many?' is in fact pertinent,

            If you listen to the interview, Anderson wasn't really asking the question. She was aserting that he was their to kill people, and wanted to know if he kept a tally.That is quite different IMO to asking the question you have proposed.

            • Shanreagh 2.6.1.3.1.1

              tsmithfield I think you are widening the net with this statement

              Firstly, in my experience, people who have been involved in conflict such as this often don't want to talk about their experiences because it very traumatising to them to know they might have ended someone elses life, even though it may have been justifiable in the circumstances. Horrors of war and all that.

              We need to draw a distinction between soldiers etc fighting for their country ie in declared world wars and those fighting for their pockets, mercenaries.

              I know the former do not generally like to talk about these aspects, even if it is at a distance like shelling. People are trying to lump mercenaries in with the soldiers etc who went to answer the call in world wars who in no way resemble mercenaries. In fact some soldiers had distinct drops in pay after volunteering in comparison with their pre war pays. Something that would be untenable to a mercenary as their raison d'etre is to make money while 'fighting'

              Weka has already linked to the Spinoff article

              This part is important

              To be clear, it isn’t the man that is necessarily (my bolding) cause for concern here. Rather, it is the relationship that Mitchell has with a highly unregulated and profit-oriented part of violent conflict that should raise concern for New Zealanders. Private military and security contractors have become a fundamental part of war. They have been instrumental in creating the increasingly murky and ethically bankrupt landscape of modern warfare. Quite apart from the absence of any real accountability for violations of human rights, the United Nations states that the use of PMSCs fundamentally threatens democracy in several ways. For instance, the use of contractors absolves nation states from their responsibilities to their own citizens around transparency and democratic control. Additionally, incentivising conflict through massive expenditure of public funds to the private sector increases the influence of private business on political choices and national policies.

              https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/21-02-2018/why-aspiring-national-leader-mark-mitchells-war-for-profit-past-matters

              For what it is worth I personally equate mercenaries with slum landlords, mining companies exploiting people & resources in 3rd world countries, fashion companies selling high priced fashion goods made by, mainly women in unregulated, hazardous 3rd world workplaces, slavers of old and people who through greed place animals on ships so they can get big bucks.

              The way you make your money says volumes about you personally I believe.

              The blurring of lines between combat regularised by colour of right eg UN and mercenaries is regrettable in this latest instance.

              I agree also that Ginny Anderson could have been better prepared. She definitely had the ethical/moral high ground but blew it a little.

              Mods this is not going to be regular. I enjoy looking. May I post this just once please?

    • Anne 2.7

      If you had listened carefully tsmithfield @ 2, you would have picked up Mitchell's attempt to run down the previous government with bald faced lies and the now tedious claims of 'death and destruction' (my phrasing) around everything the former government did and said.

      We have had to listen to the crap for a long time and Mitchell has also been dumping on the former police minster for a long time. Ginny Anderson finally lost her temper and I don't blame her one bit. Mitchell is a nasty little creep.

      • James Simpson 2.7.1

        You seem to be surprised by a government minister attempting to run down a previous government?

        That's what every government, since the beginning of time, in every democracy in the world has done. It what makes politics both infuriating, while at the same time being a funny kind of spectator sport.

        Losing her temper live on air in front of the largest listening audience in the country wasn't a great thing to do to win support. Which is why Chippy made the comments he did to fix the damage.

      • Mitchell must have clout through Judith Collins, and she has come up smelling of roses/ or should that be lillies after her prayer. i.e. Her active work through her relative Whale Oil to recruit "suitable" National candidates . Nicky Hager "The Hollow Men."

    • AB 2.8

      I think Andersen botched the attack on Mitchell. Because there is a legitimate critique of his time in Iraq. The question to ask him is this: does he think the Iraq war was justified?

      If he says "no", the onus is on him to pass the money he made there back to the Iraqi people via some reputable charitable or humanitarian organisation.

      If he says "yes", then that puts him offside with all civilised opinion and suggests he's unfit for public office.

      My issue with Mitchell is this: how the hell could he not plainly see at the time that the whole invasion was a war crime cooked up on the back of a pack of lies and so decide to stay well clear of the place? Terrible judgment due to an authoritarian mindset would be my pick for why he could not see it.

      • gsays 2.8.1

        As crass as this whole mercenary thing is, it's another ineffectual effort from Labour.

        Very close to their 'curriculum petition', a very weak response to a meh issue. Just a bit of Middle class virtue signalling.

        Sure, a few here are in a tizz, but it's a slow news day

      • Belladonna 2.8.2

        If he says "yes", then that puts him offside with all civilised opinion and suggests he's unfit for public office.

        I'd suggest that it would very probably not put him offside with the opinion of the people who vote for National.

    • I Feel Love 2.9

      Funny coz RW usually like politicians who "tell it like it is" & say "what we are all thinking", except from women lefties of course.

      Also, Metiria Turei, hounded out of parliament for what she did before politics.

  3. Stephen D 3

    We are all the sum of our decisions as adults. Politicians especially should be held accountable for them.

  4. Ad 4

    So the NZ government subsidy comes off electric cars and sales crash …

    … and o wait mek minnit Volkswagen and Tesla and BYD slash their prices to way below what the subsidy offered – not only here but across all the key markets.

    "Debuting a new marketing campaign for the discount overnight, the deal sees the entry-level ID.4 Pro and ID.5 Pro prices get slashed from $79,990 and $86,490 to $59,990 and $67,490 — a significant drop of $20,000 and $19,000, respectively.

    The flagship ID.5 Pro+ has also been given a discount; its price dropping from $95,490 to $88,490."

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/motoring/350188423/volkswagen-slashes-its-electric-vehicle-prices-nz-again

    https://www.cnbc.com/2024/01/17/tesla-slashes-prices-on-germany-cars-after-similar-cuts-in-china.html

    • Phillip ure 4.1

      The big winners in this game will be the one(s) who offer a model t of electric cars…

      Basic/efficient sub 20 grand…

      And that winner will come from most likely china..with india with an outside chance…

      And maybe with a brand name(s) we have not yet seen ..

      Musk acknowledges that with the announcement of a sub-thirty grand tesla…

      The top-end of electric cars is well over-crowded..

    • Tiger Mountain 4.2

      Early adopters often get stung as markets adjust, some of the initial rise in NZ EV sales was due to fleets for Govt. Dept.s. and companies.

      Battery technology and charging networks are improving and for personal vehicles ICE will be taken over by EV eventually.

      I’ve an EV Ioniq 5, mainly charged at home by solar panels–which have also got way cheaper–the feeling of driving past gas stations unless you need a cold drink–priceless.
      Also have a mint XR BA Falcon which mainly sits in the garage…

    • Sanctuary 4.3

      The Chinese plan to tank the western automotive industry with a flood of cheap electric vehicles, The Germans are crapping themselves, having complacently done not very much about electric vehicles (everyone wants a 3 litre BMW for the Autobahn!) and the Japanese have also dropped the EV ball, with Toyota in particular on a Canute like campaign to convince us all hydrogen is the way to go.

      • Phillip ure 4.3.1

        My understanding is that toyota is also working on a universal conversion kit…able to turn ice vehicles into ev's..

        Another exciting conversion possiblity was reported by rnz a little while ago..

        An engineering student in oz has developed small electric motors that can be clamped onto each wheel…and can thus turn ice vehicles into ev's..

        Cheap ev's and universal conversions of existing stock will do the trick…

        It's gonna happen…!..and it can't come soon enough…

        • gsays 4.3.1.1

          ⁵Do you really think EVs are that much of a panacea?

          It means business as usual as we still go shopping at the unsustainable supermarkets, carry on driving through the drive throughs and get dropped off at the airport in our relatively low emission waka.

          &nbsp

          • Robert Guyton 4.3.1.1.1

            100% gsays!

            • gsays 4.3.1.1.1.1

              I don't want to sour a lovely moment…

              I must observe that this (removal of subsidy that had TS wringing it's hands when contemplated), can be viewed as a win for 7 house Luxon the Prime Minister.

              EV ownership was not within short term reality of this household, now that we have helped fund a bunch of more affluent folk into their Teslas, it has become a shade more possible for us.

              Edit, as you were, newsense makes a good point that may alter my comment.

          • Phillip ure 4.3.1.1.2

            No gsays..@ 4.3.1.1. it won't solve every problem..but it will solve one important one..

            Namely the crap ice vehicles pump into the atmosphere..

            No small thing..?..surely..?

        • Tiger Mountain 4.3.1.2

          Agree Phillip. I’m an old “V8 boy” from way back–Galaxies, Fairlanes and many others in my time, but am a fan now of EVs. They have great torque and way less moving parts to replace and pay for. Some of my mates have said the same but sub culture peer pressure and machoism is strong and they can’t quite go there yet.

          EVs are no supreme answer but they help cut down on fossil fuel use.

          A long, narrow, sparsely populated country like ours makes it difficult to have public transport everywhere, and neo liberalism makes it even more difficult.

          • Phillip ure 4.3.1.2.1

            My first ev experience was a long time ago…

            For a time I drove auckland trolley buses…powered by electricity..

            They had fantastic acceleration…and were such fun to drive…and that was when I fell in love with electric vehicles…

            • Graeme 4.3.1.2.1.1

              Ahem, I got pantsed by some hippy dude in a trolley bus across the lights on a bike that was rather quick for mid 70's Like I was halfway down the bus…

              • Phillip ure

                That could have been me…I was the first long-haired person hired by the bus company..

                I fought that battle through the levels up to the head of the then a.r.a….

                It was an early lesson for me that a well-crafted/logical argument..and not giving up/in..can get you quite a long way…

                Bus drivers then we're the straightest looking of all..even cops were sprouting hair in all sorts of places…

                And I told them when first hired for training school..that I wasn't going to cut my hair…which was halfway down my back at the time..

                I flew thru the training..having learnt to drive trucks at about age 12..I aced it..

                Then the day before being released onto the public..I was told I had to cut my hair..which was the start of my climb thru the levels..

                And eventually I faced the man himself…behind his huge desk..

                I pointed the hairy policemen out to him and asked..'what's the problem?'

                He babbled out some anecdotal about a fringe falling over eyes..and a bus crashing into a lampost..

                I had like a super mullet..kinda tidy around the face..so I said to him: 'if I can stand in front of you and shake my head vigorously and no hair goes over my eyes..my hair can't be a danger..eh..?'

                And victory was mine to savour…

                And just as a heads-up the next windmill I will tilt at is the hypocrisies/irrationalities around elder drug use..

                I am building a suite of arguments in support of elders (70 +) being able to access cocaine.. should they so desire..

                The arguments are hanging together quite well…

    • AB 4.4

      Labour should of course have offered the subsidy only to manufacturers who would slash pre-subsidy prices below stipulated price points. And they should have selected only one or two manufacturers to receive the subsidy based on how much they slashed prices, the reliability record of their cars and the quality of their service network.

      In any case, these are still extraordinarily expensive cars and even at these prices, EVs are no solution to anything. Not until something like a BYD Seagull turns up and is priced under $20k. But that's unlikely, because the local dealer network won't want to sabotage the rest of of their product range.

    • newsense 4.5

      This is dumping stock that was brought in under a friendlier regime surely?

      • Belladonnad 4.5.1

        Mmmm. Don't think so. Or at least not stock brought into NZ.
        I suspect that the stock levels were kept low by importers, in anticipation of a drop in sales in early 2024. I also suspect that they saw their sales being impacted by the lower-priced Chinese EVs – and that's another factor in the discounting.

    • Michael P 4.6

      If the same was done in removing all subsidies (hidden such as income being not income for income tax purposes and obvious ones such as tax on mortgage interest) to landlords and land owners then maybe house prices would come down?

  5. Kay 5

    Wellington City Council proposal to remove 2 disabled parking spots from the centre of a suburban shopping area to replace with EV charging spots so "EV owners can do their shopping while charging up." Disabled/mobility impaired booted to the end of the road and around the corner. EV charging is quite feasible there, and the drivers are far more likely to manage the (not much further) distance by foot.

    Or is it a cynical ploy to force mobility card holders into purchasing EVs?

    • weka 5.1

      do you have something I can read about that Kay?

      • Kay 5.1.1

        Weka, adding the link to this very specific plan would extremely narrow down my location, which I don't feel very easy about, despite using a pseudonym here. I'm aware of the providing a link rule, I hope that's not a problem. I can give the link to all the current traffic resolutions going on though

        https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/traffic-resolutions-april-2024

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          thanks Kay. The only rule is to link when quoting. People are free to talk about things without linking. In this case I couldn't find anything myself online and was interested to see what they were doing and why. I'm also fine with you not putting your pseudonym at risk.

          • Robert Guyton 5.1.1.1.1

            "The only rule is to link when quoting"

            Wahoo!

            • Phillip ure 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes..!..very good..that defining/refining of the link rules..

              I'm of a mind to think that the most useful use of a link..is as a tool to refute ill thought-out arguments/ideas..

              It's good that ideas/concepts can be raised/discussed.. without having to footnote them with links…

              I feel that the peak of the need for 'link' was back in those bad old days of squealing internet. .

              Then it was a courtesy to readers..to help them navigate a torturously slow internet..

              That was then..now everyone has access to blindingly fast internet..and if interested in topic being discussed..can access reams of information in seconds..

              So no longer that much need for that link- courtesy ..

              • Belladonna

                From the site policy

                This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so.

                If you're asked to provide proof for something you assert as a 'fact' then you should be prepared to do so.

              • Robert Guyton

                Well, yes, Phil, well said, only when "bald assertions" are made, links are required, imo.

                Otoh, opinions, vague and waffly, needn't be, imo.

                Tricky for the mods, but irksome to the free-wheelers, like you and I 🙂

  6. newsense 6

    And Cancer sticks Casey Costello reveals more of her true self and it is a black soul indeed…

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/509863/tobacco-tax-document-leaker-no-longer-working-at-ministry-of-health

    The important thing at the ministry of tobacco and other cashed up industries is not to get in the minister’s way…

    The Fascist Cancer Stick killer who also dislikes Maori and history: Casey Costello

    Is she the worst MP of this government?

    • Obtrectator 6.1

      Whenever I read about that lady and the rest of her cohort, I call vividly to mind a Tom Scott cartoon from a previous time NZF returned to the House after a spell outside it. Winston was portrayed as a hayseed mid-west US farmer, driving a cartload of straw-chewing hicks and warning them: "Now just keep quiet and say you're with me!".

      • newsense 6.1.1

        For someone who rails against waka jumpers, when you look back at the crew of MPs NZ First has had, there’s been a diverse bunch of occasionally diametrically opposed folk. Winston is fairly much the only constant. From Neil Kirton to the Maori seats of Tuku and Tau to Richard Prosser to Tracey Martin to this most recent crop…

    • SPC 6.2

      A minister of the Crown who dishonourably lies to parliament and someone who can provide evidence of this loses their job for doing so.

      The government’s lack of standards are now obvious.

      This is a government that intends to get away with lies.

      Someone needs to set up a system for receiving "public service" leaks, because when whistleblowers are compromised representative and accountable government is compromised.

    • Robert Guyton 6.3

      Oh yes.

  7. SPC 7

    The UK uses Air Jordan to drop some aid in north Gaza.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-68360902

  8. Ad 8

    Auckland trains have "total signal failure" right now.

    Total signal failure pretty much describes the relationship between Auckland Transport and Kiwirail.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/auckland-train-disruption-total-signal-failure-causing-ongoing-delays-across-network/TDFAFDIAOJHNRNVAN4S3IYSILQ/

  9. SPC 9

    The case for a rent freeze or at the very least the Greens rent increase cap of 3% pa from 2021 – to reduce inflation and prevent poverty – explained. .

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2024/02/new-statistics-nz-child-poverty-figures-show-increase-in-material-hardship.html

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government honours Taranaki Maunga deal
    The Government is honouring commitments made to Taranaki iwi with the Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill passing its first reading Parliament today, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “This Bill addresses the commitment the Crown made to the eight iwi of Taranaki to negotiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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