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Open mike 22/01/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 22nd, 2012 - 45 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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

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

Step right up to the mike…

45 comments on “Open mike 22/01/2012 ”

  1. Thought for the day.

    The POAL dispute may resolve by the workers taking redundancy and the workforce being contracted out at lesser rates.  I can understand individual worker’s desire to get out of that particular site.

    But the result will be that the union will be weaker and some reasonably well paid jobs will disappear.  The Council may earn a bit more money, at least for a while, but it is likely through “competition” that Maersk will then leverage lower rates out of all of the ports.

    Ordinary kiwis will overall be worse off and a foreign corporate richer.

    This is a continuous process that has been going on for the past 30 years.  The flow of money to the top 1% shows no signs of abating.

    When will it end and what do we do to stop it?

    • higherstandard 1.1

      “When will it end and what do we do to stop it?”

      I would have thought the solution would be a merger between POAL and POT as two major ports they could ten reverse the process and screw over Maersk and Fonterra to the benefit of their shareholders.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Now you’re thinking…and its not too late…however Maersk has their inside man Gibson in position to prevent such an eventuality. Clever corporates, great strategic planning behind their operational acctivity.

          • Salsy

            Maersk New Zealand managing director Tony Gibson said today the company’s review had been well signalled and was intended to ensure a more efficient shipping operation for New Zealand exporters and importers.”

            This week he said the company wanted to cut port calls in New Zealand from nine to five. Two ports, one in the North Island and one in the South Island, would be primary calling points.

            So the question is – was it Gibsons plan all along to shut down POAL, and redirect traffic to Tauranga as per Maersks directive?

      • Fotran 1.1.2

        You cannot merge POAL and POT without changing the financial structures of these companies.
        POAL is owned by the Auckland Ratepayers, and POT is privately owned answerable to its many shareholders.
        All you can do is for Auckland Ratepayers – POAL to buy POT from its private shareholders.
        Alternatively you can sell 49% of POAL to the public, reimbursing the Auckland ratepayers with the amount so received from the 49% sale.

        • millsy

          “All you can do is for Auckland Ratepayers – POAL to buy POT from its private shareholders.”

          Sounds all right to me.

        • Colonial Viper

          You cannot merge POAL and POT without changing the financial structures of these companies.

          This is routine work in the M&A world

    • vto 1.2

      “what do we do to stop it?”


      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        The trouble is vto the forces of evil are dismantling some of our best weapons, the unions, as we watch …

        • vto

          So you start as the underdog. NZers love starting from behind. Get into it! Ramp it up. Make it personal. Call their bluffs. Just do everything.

          You sound defeated mr micky. “trouble is they got bigger weapons. It’s just too hopeless. It’s dark and we can’t see anything (said Captain Schitteno)”.

  2. just saying 2

    Excellent post from Puddleglum at ‘Political Scientist’:


    If history is any guide, the likely losers will be those with the least power, the least access to the hastily erected governance bodies (such as CERA) and other institutions (e.g., insurers, EQC), the poorest, the least educated, the voiceless.

    Put bluntly, without political support (one would assume from the Labour Party, amongst other political groups) it is these people’s interests that will be ignored, walked over, ground into dust and have the ‘new Christchurch’ built atop them.

    Why, then, does Shearer seem to think that it is “way bigger than politics“? I realise that he may be wanting to emphasise that it’s very important – of course it is. But, again, how does that make it “way bigger than politics“? Is politics not about important stuff?

    • Anne 2.1

      Sympathise with your view just saying.

      My reading of the situation is that Shearer is keeping his powder dry. I’m not sure what for, but he’s new at the job so he’s probably been advised to spend a bit of time looking and listening? In normal circumstances that’s fine but thing’s are not normal. There’s a lot of questionable stuff happening (don’t need to elaborate because they’ve been well canvassed) and Labour need to get cracking before it is too late.

      Don’t want to start another leadership flame war, but one of the reasons I supported Cunliffe is because he’s been politically blooded and was immediately ready for the fray. Too early to judge Shearer but if he’s still ‘keeping his powder dry’ in three months time then it will be time to raise serious concerns. Don’t think we can do much in the meantime.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        Most of us have no idea what Shearer is doing with his powder. All we know is there’s an absence of media exposure.

        While politicians can get obsessed with PR (as does much of the public including bloggees) that is only a small and often distorted part of politics. Most of the important stuff is done out of sight.

        Steering down the barrel of a camera lense is usually not conducive to productive governance.

        • Anne

          While politicians can get obsessed with PR (as does much of the public including bloggees) that is only a small and often distorted part of politics. Most of the important stuff is done out of sight.

          Agree Pete George, but there’s a lot of important stuff going on at the moment that will have a seriously adverse impact on many people and the country as a whole. Not all of it is financial in origin either. Take for example the disgraceful attempt to shut down sections of the media during election campaigns through NZ on Air.

          We need Labour – and the Greens – to take more of a lead in these matters and I’m hoping we’ll see it in the coming weeks. If we don’t…

          • Pete George

            I’d prefer to see more people get more involved, and not needing to be party aligned but more issue orientated. To be effective it requires a system of communication, discussion and expression that provides a credible combined voice.

            Obsessions with parties and polarities is holding this back. Parties are necessary, but needn’t be the predominant force.

            • Anne

              They will always be the predominant force PG because it’s human nature. As soon as you set up an issue by issue communication system you will get groups combining to fight their side of a debate and giving themselves a name. In other words a political party!

            • mik e

              Piffle Pete

      • dave brownz 2.1.2

        Anne is that talcum powder?

    • Campbell Larsen 2.2

      Concur, an excellent post.
      Puddleglum has identified one of the memes currently being pushed by the Nats spin machine, and I share his concern that the leader of the Labour party would be so foolish as to adopt the lexicon of the opposition.

      ‘Bigger than politics’ joins ‘politics is boring’, ‘politics is hard to understand’ and courtesy of Pete G a typically verbose and vague comment paraphrased: ‘most of the important stuff is done out of sight’

      This concerted effort, and believe me it is no accident, is an act of treason.

      Why? Because democracy has always been undermined by the lack of public awareness/ understanding of issues and lack of participation in the decision making process.

      The term ‘mandate’ has been repetitively spewed by Govt ministers as though the hand of God had already reached down and anointed National ministers and policy in some sort of Sistine sequel.
      And an act of blind faith is not only what is required to swallow this gross abuse of a clearly defined term it is what is now expected of a voting public encouraged to
      not seek transparency, to not strive for awareness and understanding of the issues, a public or polis that is being encouraged by its representatives to abandon the fundamental responsibilities and duties of citizenship.

      Any government that does not do its utmost to ensure that its citizens are informed, aware and active in their democracy is no longer representing the people at all. This premeditated and deplorable exercise in disenfranchisement is an act of pure treason.

    • Thanks for the compliment just saying (and Campbell).

      Like Campbell, one of my concerns is that people are obviously ‘turning off’ politics, and increasingly so.

      What I tried to point out in the post was that politics is in most of the things we do together. It’s nothing other than how the interests of individuals and sub-groups get served by what the overall group ends up doing.

      Like hunter-gatherers sitting around the fire and arguing about whether to shift camp (‘We can’t go now, it’s too risky for my 2 day old daughter to cross the river’; ‘We have to go now, if we don’t we’ll get caught by the rains and be stuck here with less and less food’) we argue, form alliances and try to persuade each other about what is best to do.

      To say something is ‘bigger than politics’ seems to me to say that – whatever it is – is so ‘big’ that ‘we’ (whoever that’s meant to be) have to ignore the conflict of interest amongst us ‘for the greater good’.

      That greater good seems to be conceptualised as a kind of technical/scientific, optimal ‘solution’ to a particular ‘problem’. But I’m not sure that such interest-neutral, optimal solutions actually exist in most cases. More likely is that the very idea of a neutral, optimal solution is a politically weighted piece of discourse. How could anyone put their interests above the ‘best’ solution?

      Frankly, I know who is most likely to respond to the noble call to suppress – or abandon – their own interests for the greater good – and it won’t be anyone with sufficient wealth and power to see themselves as part of the ‘we’ convincing others that it is ‘bigger than [politics]/[your interests]’.

      I have nothing against Shearer personally (how could I? I don’t know him.).

      All I know is that I prefer my nominally left wing representatives to understand that in the debate over our collective futures they have an obligation to try their best to ensure that those with lesser power and influence are not left out of the institutional machinations. That means being political.

      We have to stop seeing it as a dirty word, describing something that only malcontents and machiavellians pursue.

  3. The Australian Government has hidden a report suggesting that oil production will peak in 2016.

    I use the word “hidden” because it does not appear on any Australian Government website despite other similar reports doing so.  It invites comments but if you are unaware of its existence this could cause problems.

    This is especially bad news for Australia which is heavily reliant on fuel for electricity production as well as transport. 

    New Zealand could do better, if we insist on new power generators being from renewable sources and electrify Auckland’s rail system and build the inner city loop.

    New Zealand had its own report advocating for such things as increased fuel efficiency standards, and although we can manage this the effect on NZ will be intense, given our dependence on exports, imports, and fuel for agriculture.  The briefing does not appear to have attracted the attention of the Government.

    HT to the always impressive Dennis Tegg.  Worth a guest post?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      New Zealand could do better, if we insist on new power generators being from renewable sources and electrify Auckland’s rail system and build the inner city loop.

      Actually, what we need to do is electrify all rail, stop building roads, build cities upwards rather than out, ban all non-renewable power generation and then phase out, over the next few years, personal vehicles.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        I agree that reduction is the answer and as our friend JMG has noted, many in our society are struggling to get their heads around that one.

        “… the manipulation of basic drives through the endless repetition of emotionally charged symbols that serves to swamp the thinking mind and keep the individual penned in a narrow circle of self-defeating behaviors. From another perspective, though, the torrent of material goodies that comes surging through the channels of the consumer economy is the payoff for cooperating with the existing order of things; so long as you want the things you’re supposed to want, you can have them in fantastic abundance.”

        … “Of course there’s more to it than that. The more of the payoff you refuse, the sharper the restrictions you have to live with. Now of course the less privileged classes in the industrial world, and the vast majority of people elsewhere, live with those restrictions every day of their lives, but suggest to those who don’t that they might find it useful to accept those restrictions, and I’m sure you can imagine the response you’re likely to get.”


      • …and then phase out, over the next few years, personal vehicles.
        including horses and bicycles? count me out.

        • Draco T Bastard

          To be more explicit, personal motor vehicles. That said, I don’t think horses will be coming back in vogue.

          • Armchair Critic

            …I don’t think horses will be coming back in vogue.
            Yeah? I’d put a dollar each way.

          • Populuxe1

            Electric personal transport charged off our still functioning hydroelectric grid.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Have you got any concept of the amount of power used to move all the bloody cars? I can assure you, we won’t be running many electric vehicles from hydro-power and they most probably won’t be personal vehicles.

              • Populuxe1

                Yeah, actually you’re right – electric trains? And lots of bicycles. Mind you – I wouldn’t rule out quantum advances in capacitors and batteries when the pinch comes.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I wouldn’t rule out quantum advances in capacitors and batteries when the pinch comes.

                  Rule of thumb: if the technology is not in common commercial deployment now, it will not be available in time for wide spread use before energy depletion becomes severe.

                  • McFlock

                    I dunno – my brother was telling me about a DIY drill battery that was on sale within 5 years of the peer-reviewed paper that detailed a new construction process (layering or something – not my field). And that’s just a standard product evolution.

                  • Populuxe1

                    The Russo-American space race, the development of the H-bomb in WW2, and the rapid development of IT in the last 20-30 years would seem to suggest otherwise.

  4. Jackal 4

    Last BDO in New Zealand

    Low ticket sales and increased competition are undoubtedly the main reasons for the events untimely demise… but really it’s just another good reason to move to Australia.

    • tc 4.1

      Well Oz BDO had been subsidising the akl leg for years so it’s that size and scale issue again combined with the stonking amounts the ‘top’ ask for.

  5. Matt McCarten is writing some very powerful pieces for the Herald every week. This man is a leader in the fight against injustice and poverty in this country – kia kaha Matt!

    “The winners in our society have most of us convinced that they are financially successful because they are academically brighter, make the most of education opportunities and have superior personal qualities. Losers, on the other hand, are the opposite; with the added problems of criminal behaviour, addictions and family conflict.”

    “But a major academic study that has tracked more than 1300 individuals was released this week. Children born to rich parents have a better chance in life to be happier, healthier and wealthier then those kids from poor backgrounds.”


    I hold Matt in high esteem indeed.

    The focus of The Mana Party on reducing poverty is the way to go and to my mind is aligned with tino rangatiratanga.

  6. randal 6

    the Dompost has exposed itself to day.
    Observant readers will notice that MItt romney has now become Matt Romney.
    I guess they figure we just patsys anyway.
    they have run roughshod over the democratic process for so long now they just figure they can do what they like.

  7. oftenpuzzled 7

    An interesting essay that requires some digesting but offers a fascinating look at corporate business in the US and their hold on the money http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/saturday-essay-why-it-should-be-the-task-of-every-radical-realist-to-repair-the-disconnect-in-our-culture/

  8. Jackal 8

    Fairfax fears the facts

    There’s a tendency with many Fairfax articles to ignore relevant issues and developments in favour of a controlled and sometimes contrived message. This is a mechanism of propaganda that has been greatly exacerbated by Fairfax’s centralization regime…

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    2.7% rise for the firefighters; 70% for their boss

    For many years, private sector employers in New Zealand have been attempting to work workers harder and for longer hours, for less and less money in an attempt to maximise profits without having to invest in new equipment, research or technology. In the last few years, squeezing workers in the state sector has been stepped up.The state sector is financed out of surplus-value, so another way of boosting private sector profits is to have less surplus-value going to the state sector to cover things like public health, education and safety, including fire-fighting. Keeping down wages for workers in the state sector is thus a way of maximising profits in the private sector.*

    And that really is the reason why NAct wants to cut the government and the taxes the that pay for it.

  10. Campbell Larsen 10

    Lprent – I just lost a comment when submitting, is there a time limit on the comment window that I should be aware of in future? Is my comment still in the system somewhere or should I be writing in another program and only dumping the txt when ready to post?
    Any feedback appreciated. Cheers.

    [lprent: The auto-spam caught you. Usually one of us will release it. But I was in a cellnet shadow most of the weekend and in a programming fugue the rest. The others are still pretty much in holiday mode.

    I suspect that the auto-spam (akismet) is catching you on your IP number. Nope found it. It was an old trolling IP in our system that was missing a dot. You should be ok now. ]

  11. Jum 11


    What’s this about? What are its dangers to New Zealanders in relation to the TPP Agreement?

    I found this on reddit:

    ‘ACTA is scarier than both PIPA and SOPA, and it will be signed soon. Do your part ‘

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