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Open mike 22/05/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 22nd, 2015 - 142 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 …

142 comments on “Open mike 22/05/2015”

  1. Dont worry. be happy. 2

    Yes it is very sad that John Campbell has been sacked. Sacked not “opted to leave” the weasel words of TV3. It is double sad for his team of writers, researchers, journos and crew. There sure is work for these brave people to do, in any democracy, but especially now in this very sick one. What upsets me the most though is wondering what message has the rest of the media just been given? Stand up to the National Government and you will lose your job? And how many people in other walks of life will hear that message too? As they say, “Governments should be afraid of the people and not the other way around”.

    • James 2.1

      Please provide any evidence at all that he was “sacked”.

      He was offered a contract, he was offered to stay on (albeit with a different format for the show).

      Do you have any evidence at all he was dismissed. Or are you just a liar.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        lol
        so was he given the option of keeping his current job and work conditions?
        “Different format” = “no”.

        We need better wingnuts

        • dv 2.1.1.1

          Could be called a constructive dismissal.

        • James 2.1.1.2

          Reply to McFlock Does that mean he was sacked? No it does not.

          • te reo putake 2.1.1.2.1

            Er, yes it does. A significant change in the nature of the employment can be seen as a dismissal. If an employer puts up an option that does not resemble the current job, and the new job is refused, then the end of the employment relationship can be regarded as a sacking. As dv points out above, it’s called a constructive dismissal.

            However, it does rather depend on the agreement, the process used by the employer, and whether Campbell can be bothered. It’s probably worth remembering that news presenter John Hawkesby got millions when he was axed in a broadly similar situation.

            • James 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Thats still not a sacking – its a redundancy.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I just learned something: James likes to run his mouth about subjects of which he is entirely ignorant, in this case employment law.

                What a tool.

              • Maui

                This is frickn pathetic, like arguing whether someone quit first or was fired first. He was pushed.

                • I agree Maui . There seems be a purge of anything or anyone to the Left of this bloody Tory mob.
                  We have also lost central TV which kept us up date on local issues and has such informative programmes like Euromaxx and the documentary which often showed the evil of the tory mobs still with us,

              • “Thats still not a sacking – its a redundancy.”

                Well, a redundancy is a sacking, James. And it’s entirely possible that Campbell’s employment agreement characterises this situation as exactly that. That is, that agreement had redundancy clauses that covers this situation. Or that he was simply offered the new job or redundancy with a payout, as often happens in similar situations. We just don’t know because we weren’t in the room.

                But given the public way Mediaworks went through what should have been a private process and the timing of the announcement, I suspect Campbell’s lawyers will be driving a hard bargain (and perhaps already have).

                • dv

                  A Redundancy means the job does not exist any more. But they are stll going to run a show.Thus NOT a redundancy

              • McFlock

                lol

                Do you have any evidence at all he was dismissed.

                two comments later:

                Thats still not a sacking – its a redundancy.

                On planet key “sacking” = “dismissal” but “redudancy” != “dismissal”.

                To steal a line from John Oliver, the line between “redundancy” and “dismissal” is a bit like the age of consent – if the other party is that close that you need to parse exactly where the line is, you’ve probably already done something very, very wrong.

                • Bob

                  ‘Opted to leave’ = role remains predominantly the same and you decide you no longer want to do the very similar role

                  ‘Redundancy’ = Role has significantly changed, your role no longer exists in its current form, you would need to reapply for the newly formed role

                  ‘Sacking’ = role remains predominantly the same and you have engaged in serious misconduct, or multiple occasions of inappropriate conduct

                  Which one is it of these three? From what I can tell he ‘opted to leave’. Adding another presenter, changing the format to include lighter/entertainment stories towards the end of the show, and no longer working Fridays does not sound like a significant change to his agreement, so long as he is still offered the same number of hours per week.

                  OAB “McFlock likes to run his mouth about subjects of which he is entirely ignorant, in this case employment law.
                  What a tool.”
                  fify

                  • McFlock

                    Which one is it of these three? From what I can tell he ‘opted to leave’. Adding another presenter, changing the format to include lighter/entertainment stories towards the end of the show, and no longer working Fridays does not sound like a significant change to his agreement, so long as he is still offered the same number of hours per week.

                    Obviously it was significant enough for him to no longer want the job.
                    You might think being a vapid infotainment host is the same as fronting stories that result in positive social change. But then such misconceptions are common amongst tories.

      • repateet 2.1.2

        Do you have any evidence at all he was offered a contract? Do you have evidence of any discussions which led to his not accepting any contract which may have been offered, which suggests there was no coercion involved?

        (For goodness sake don’t say, “Because someone on TV said he was offered a contract” because that might not be the truth. After all I know of an esteemed member of our political universe who lies on legal documents and/or in court proceedings.)

  2. philj 3

    Campbell Live is now walking dead. He’s done some great work. Compassionate and caring. Incompatible with a commercial imperative. TVNZ and the abysmal state of broadcasting in NZ is the real issue. Not to mention the government’s role.

    • whateva next? 3.1

      yes, an anchor in the sea of banality that is MSM, thanks to Key/cronies.

    • esoteric pineapples 3.2

      John Campbell isn’t one of the “walking dead” though. He will find another outlet for his talents, hopefully in New Zealand, without having to sell out.

  3. adam 4

    This piece will upset every green here. http://libcom.org/blog/future-kids-stuff-17052015

    And every conservative – mind you, I’m starting to put these two together. It’s the imagery the greens use over and over – above all else.

    Working with the principle of – politics is appearance.

    Add the piece at the daily blog – how far will the greens go to ape the capitalist norms?

    • weka 4.1

      I suspect that most greens wouldn’t even read that piece. I started it and then my eyes glazed over. Abstract rhetoric, probably interesting, but really, the main issue around children that we face is the fact that the current kids will be the ones that bear the brunt of climate change not us. Climate change scales are such that we can keep putting off doing the necessary change because the fall out from not acting is abstract. Making it about someone’s child or grandchild makes it real. It’s also the shift to understanding that

      “It’s the imagery the greens use over and over – above all else.”

      No, it’s not above all else. But where it does get used in NZ, I associate it with the influence of Māori and Pasifika cultures where the wellbeing of children is what creates the wellbeing of society (something markedly absent from Pākehā culture).

      The GP in NZ is not inherently conservative (at least not in a political way). Even a cursory glance at its history shows this.

      What piece at TDB?

      • adam 4.1.1

        And your response is why you should have read it.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          I did try to read it, but it’s too abstract and dense. If you want to explain in your own words what the point is that would be great (I am interested), but as it is you’ve just said ooh bad greens but haven’t demonstrated why.

          Can you please link to TDB piece?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Seems to be a rant against heterosexuality, a whinge that’s essentially a ZOMG, won’t you think of the queers statement as it assumes that queers can’t have children which, of course, they actually can. Then it tries to apply racism to the idea of having a future because a lot of the children used in the campaigns are white.

      Basically it’s a sad, illogical rant that says nothing.

      • adam 4.2.1

        Did we read the same thing?

        No future and Utopia now

        The whole campaign approach, looking towards some future event rather than tacking the issue now. And coupled with that, a heteronormative analysis.

        I agree the racism part is iffy, and a bit of waffle – hard to connect them dots…

        But analysing of failed green approaches/tactics, should be look at. no? Otherwise we are left with the same old tired crap from Tory powder puffs, saying green politics should be more in line with liberal economics. And worse, many greens buying into that sad approach.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          No future and Utopia now

          The problem is that nothing can happen now, it always needs to be built up over time. We always act now for the future. Children are an embodiment of that future.

          And coupled with that, a heteronormative analysis.

          Not really as I pointed out.

          But analysing failed green approaches, should be look at.

          Are they a failed approach? It didn’t provide anything to back up that statement. All it really said was that the author thought that it was bad.

          Otherwise we are left with the same old tired crap from Tory powder puffs, saying green politics should be more in line with liberal economics.

          There doesn’t appear to be a connection.

          • weka 4.2.1.1.1

            Green approaches have been pretty successful given teh climate they’re operated in. Consider the level of awareness and policy and everything that is in between that has changed in the past 30 years.

            • adam 4.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m only partially convinced weka – I think the past 30 years have been a nightmare of alienation and anomie.

              And yes to some extent the green approach has done some real good to counter that.

              However, liberal economics as an economic system, is nasty, brutish and short. It also creates the destructive forces which spread across society and the environment.

              I’d argue the green approach needs to be doing more, to add in the decline of this rotten economics, and its vicious bedfellows – alienation and anomie

          • adam 4.2.1.1.2

            The problem is that nothing can happen now, it always needs to be built up over time…

            What the… OK so the instrument of the revolution is out (I mean revolution in the broadest sense and non violent – so economic revolution as a quick and sudden shift, that forces change) – or the fact we need to move reasonably fast on this issue.

            That aside – there is only the now – the future is just that – it’s always the future. To live in hope for or want of a better future ignores the now. I know social democrats have this dream of a better future – but please – just look at the actions of both the Martin Luther King a man blessed with living in the now.

            Heteronormative we agree to disagree.

            Failed approach/tactics – I’d say they are not getting buy in. Look even deniers come here and comment on a regular basis.

            The tactics/approach around G.E. genetic engineering. The approach around elections. The approach around dealing with the Tories, and creating a culture beyond building – because well to quote the old adage – critical mass – nope not happened – ever since I heard values people talk about this – it has never happened.

            Because back to your first point – building – we can build till the day we die. Unless we get some action – what are we stuck with? I don’t give a damn about future generations – that’s their business, and good luck to them. I’m more worried about the now, and the lack of action.

  4. Charles 5

    In 1992, when the alternative pop-music listening audience was trying on angst for size, it was said that what the world needs now was another folk singer – like we need a hole in the head. Problem is, that sometimes folk artists – when they aren’t writing epic and poetic tales of loss and sadness – often take the shortest route to the truest story. Like this tune from the Lumineres, about when you had Flowers in your Hair:

    As a man, I find it fairly accurate and easy to relate to, but also can’t help notice it’s missing something. While it tries to reconcile common political stages of awareness with stages of human development, and what’s left, there isn’t much subtlety – it thinks like a man. It needs a suitable reply to complete it; a reply that isn’t just loud in volume (plenty of those around!) but clear in independent intent; a reply that a woman who may have “made a man compromise” might say; a reply like this tune from Catherine MacLellan:

    She traverses a different kind of politics, one inherently wrapped up in her being a woman living in a man’s world, and arrives at Something Gold.

  5. Colonial Rawshark 6

    ISIS now controls half of Syria

    How very interesting all these US airstrikes don’t seem to be helping Assad at all

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/21/isis-palmyra-syria-islamic-state

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      So ask yourself – how is it that ISIS is militarily strong enough and has the numbers to continue making gains in both Syria and in Iraq at the same time (against continuous US airstrikes against them in both countries).

      This whole setup stinks to high heaven.

      Juan Cole writes a good historical precis of how the Sunni/Shia split has come down through the centuries – and how the Americans have made things much worse today by picking the Shia as winners in Iraq.

      http://www.juancole.com/2014/06/iraqs-sunni-arabs.html

      • Chooky 6.1.1

        +100….and our troops are pawns in the manufactured mess…

      • esoteric pineapples 6.1.2

        I’ve never known a country yet that can win a war by fighting an enemy supplied by arms by one of its allies that it sells arms to (read America/ISIS/Saudi Arabia/America)

  6. Puckish Rogue 7

    So of the four speeches i (for my sins) listened to i’d have to rate them as follows:

    1. Winston Peters, yes he talks bollix, yes hes all over the place but geez he sounds like a leader
    2. John Key, got some easy hits in on Little (not that Little made it difficult) and made some strong points and once hes on a roll hes hard to stop but too many jokes
    3. Andrew Little, he was loud so I didn’t fall asleep
    4. Metiria Turei, dreary, boring, dull, sounded like the earnest speech of a sixth former in social studies.

    This is based on how they came across, not the axctual content of the speeches

    • alwyn 7.1

      ” four speeches i (for my sins) ”
      Well you have got representatives for four of the sins.
      I guess they would be.
      Sloth Peters
      Pride Key
      Envy Little
      Gluttony Turei
      Who do you propose to listen to for the other three sins of Lust, Greed and Wrath?

      • b waghorn 7.1.1

        Collins would cover those three all on her own quit nicely if she got the chance!

        • alwyn 7.1.1.1

          She is certainly an excellent candidate for Wrath. I had rather forgotten about her now she is way up the back of the House.
          I was thinking, from recent accounts of his behaviour that Cunliffe probably is a pretty good candidate for the Lust role.
          Greed is the problem. It clearly isn’t the same as Gluttony, so it doesn’t seem to fit Gerry.

          • b waghorn 7.1.1.1.1

            You right wingers live in such one dimensional worlds Collins lusts for power she’s greedy for money and as far as wrath goes there’s glimpses of it in dirty politics

      • Puckish Rogue 7.1.2

        Well I saw Peter Dunne was up next so i realised i’d suffered enough…

        • alwyn 7.1.2.1

          Yes, no matter how evil a life you have led or how many sins you have committed no one deserves a diet of Peter Dunne speeches.

          Go forth my son and sin no more. Your transgressions are forgiven.

          • felix 7.1.2.1.1

            On Back Benches the other night, the question:
            ‘Do you support public funding for gender reassignment surgery? Yes or No?’

            Dunne’s answer:
            ‘I fully support gender reassignment surgery being available to those who need it whether it’s publicly funded or not.’

            Amazing. Pretty much sums up his entire 3-decade contribution.

    • felix 7.2

      Aww how cute, the creepy PR guy shuts his eyes and listens to the soothing music of political speeches without hearing the words.

      • weka 7.2.1

        Don’t they give them special soundtracks?

      • Puckish Rogue 7.2.2

        If I was merely judging on content then it’d

        1. J Key
        2. M. Turei
        3-4 Equal tie between A Little and W Peters

        But how its presented is more important than whats said in this day and age

      • mac1 7.2.3

        Can be done, Felix.^ I listened to a speech last week^ fascinated by the rising inflection^ at every pause^ at the end of every phrase^, clause^ or sentence^ to be only relieved at the end of a whole paragraph^ by a downwards inflection.

        No idea what he said^, but it was on the topic^ of accident insurance^ for Grey Power members^.

        Soothing, however,^ it was not………….

  7. Ad 8

    After Little’s performance yesterday, John Campbell for next Labour leader?
    gotta be some way to get Auckland back. 😉

  8. sckiwireddevil 9

    I have just deleted the fascist channel from my tv list, and it feels great!!

    • alwyn 9.1

      Careful. If you delete all the channels that upset you in some way you will be reduced to watching Suzanne Paul (“But wait there’s more” on the Shopping Channel.

      • sckiwireddevil 9.1.1

        …..” something special for the viewers”, yeah right, plonker.

        • alwyn 9.1.1.1

          Things were much better in the days of analogue TV before the introduction of Digital broadcasting.
          You could tune the TV to a frequency where no station was broadcasting and watch the “snow” that appeared on the screen.
          About 1% of that signal was from the 2.7 degree Kelvin background radiation from the Big Bang. You could sit there and look back 14 billion years to the creation of the Universe. Far more significant than any minor man-made program don’t you think?
          I don’t suppose you can do that on a digital TV.

          • McFlock 9.1.1.1.1

            I don’t suppose you can do that on a digital TV.

            Although… I wonder how difficult it would be to hack a sky dish into a halfway decent radio telescope using a raspberry pi and digital TV?

            There’s a ponderable – especially if they all networked into a global array. Would need an alt/azi detector, though – but I wonder if it could be gained using the relative strengths of known rf emitters (pulsars, geostationary satellites, the sun), with the remaining noise being the analysis data. Hell, ya gotta eliminate those anyway.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.2

            😆

          • mickysavage 9.1.1.1.3

    • Chooky 9.2

      sckiwireddevil +100…me also…i wont be turning TV3 on after ‘Campbell Live’ is gone ( i think last programme is tonight?)

      ….and lets hope an online NZ television channel can happen…this way ‘Campbell Live’ may be resurrected ….along with other very good NZ programmes

      RT is a good example of online television and is a huge success …online television is probably the way of the future

      eg Crosstalk

      ‘China’s south sea?’
      http://rt.com/shows/crosstalk/260153-china-us-south-sea/

      “Beijing and Washington are not mere ships passing each other in the South China Sea – they are the two countries vying to play the commanding role in Asia. While China seeks to redress what it sees as violations of its sovereignty, Washington does have policy options, but are any of them effective?

      CrossTalking with Pepe Escobar, Zachary Keck and James Bradley.”

  9. Gosman 10

    Interesting article about why stimulus in Greece is unlikely to benefit the Greeks.

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-05-21/reform-not-stimulus-is-the-way-out-for-greece

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      it was written by economic morons.

      • Gosman 10.1.1

        Yes they did state it would have been better for Greece if they were allowed to default back in 2010 😉

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          they also tried to imply at the start of their BS piece that bailout funds were infusions of money to the Greek people instead of what they really were: more debt funding more payments to the big banks.

    • The Murphey 10.2

      Q. Did you identify why any analysis you offer or link to about Greece is bunk ?

  10. b waghorn 11

    With Campbell being pushed out the door and TV “news” being dumbed down to the point of its demise being in the near future what this country needs is a web based news channel that the likes of Campbell and the very good Jon Stevens can get there story’s out to the people .
    Funding of corse is the issue not to mention paying the reporters but give a little or something similar might be away of getting started .
    We need these people to keep the barstards honest.

  11. tinfoilhat 12

    My heart goes out to the jury and family in this case as they must have had to listen to some very distressing testimony and evidence over the last several weeks.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11453003

  12. Charles 13

    Meanwhile, in an imaginary Beehive office far far away, Bill English takes Charles aside…

    “Have you read about my latest budget?”
    “No, what’s in it?”
    “Bludgers.”
    “oh?”
    “Yes, bludgers.”
    “What else?”
    “Hate, stupidity and greed.”
    “Really?”
    “Yep. Bludgers.”
    “I see.”
    “What about — ” Charles struggled to find something that would return a sensible answer. It was a National budget, afterall. Nothing would’ve changed.
    “Sole parents?” Bill offered.
    “Yeah.”
    “Lazy bludgers.”
    “bludgers huh?”
    “Yep!”
    “So… it’s all… done. You must be pleased.”
    “Sure am,” but he paused, uncertain, and added, “You don’t sound impressed.”
    “Well, you know, I’ve heard it all before.”
    “BUT BLUDGERS!”
    “Yeah, I’m familiar with that part.”

    Bill’s face, beaming with self-pleasure, was too much to bear at such a close distance.

    Charles asked quickly, “Do you reckon there will be some of those little pink cakes on the tea trolley this morning?”
    “They’re blue now.”
    “Blueberry?”
    “No, just blue. Plain Blue flavour.”
    “What does Blue taste like?”
    “Nothing. It’s just Blue colouring. Puts people in the right frame of mind.”
    “What happened to the pink ones?”
    “Catering says they gave them to the poor.”
    “oh.”
    “Yep. Bludgers.”

  13. alwyn 14

    Oh dear. On one hand Little fulminates on people not saving enough toward their retirement and then on the other he talks about means-testing Super payments.
    What is he really trying to do?

    Does he want the situation that prevails in Australia where their Super is means tested? If, with great sacrifice, a couple was to save up a million dollars toward their retirement income they will receive nothing from the state. The problem is that the amount they will get from their investments will only give them an income equivalent to the state pension. They would be just as well off by not saving anything.

    Is it any wonder that Australian’s buy Mc Mansions, that are exempt from the asset testing, retire early and spend their savings and Super funds travelling and living high on the hog. Then they claim the State pension to live on after 65.
    Is that really what Little wants? Is he really that much of a fool?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11452961

    • mickysavage 14.1

      Well persuade your side to engage in a discussion. Right now the approach is for the Government to firmly place its head in the sand and do nothing.

      • alwyn 14.1.1

        Why, because Andrew Little has a rush of blood to the head and wants to do another flip-flop on Labour Party policies, are people who don’t agree with him required to “engage in a discussion” with him?
        The National Party approach, with which I happen to agree, is that we can continue with a universal National Superannuation payable at 65.
        If Andrew doesn’t think we can afford it is up to him to prove his claim. If he could do that he can then propose that something be done.
        Until he does that why should anyone care what he says?
        Incidentally has he shown that we don’t need a CGT any more? Or because the current Labour Party leader doesn’t seem to want it is all discussion stifled?

        • Psycho Milt 14.1.1.1

          The day after that budget, you want to ridicule Labour for “flip-flopping” on policies? That’s pretty funny…

          • alwyn 14.1.1.1.1

            And the following day Labour reverse their attitude again. Do we call that a flip-flop or do we just decide that little Andrew is simply a flop as leader?
            I didn’t see “The Nation” but I gather Robertson has “corrected” his revered leader and done a reverse flip-flop on means testing of super?
            It is lucky we didn’t waste much time discussing the pros and cons of Little’s thoughts isn’t it?
            Robertson has told him to shut up and keep silent. I wonder how long it will be before he tries to get rid of Andrew altogether?

    • Naturesong 14.2

      I hope the Labour caucus and membership are able to

      • Naturesong 14.2.1

        … tell Little what the end game of means testing superannuation is.

        It results in National scrapping it; “If you’ve worked hard all your life, why should you support someone else’s retirement just because they were lazy during their life?

        After the Labour caucus treatment of Cunliffe, and now we see that Little is clearly after the centre right vote (you know, the old moving to the centre … of the middle class) all I have to say is this:

        I will no longer view Labour as a potential partner in Government and will actively seek to convert Labour voters to the Greens.

        Oh yeah, also: Fuck You Labour!!

        • Naturesong 14.2.1.1

          On reflection.

          Sorry for the vulgarity and to all the good people who are associated with the Labour party.

          My outburst is really directed at Little and whoever else thought this was a good idea.

          For those within the Labour party, is this what you want?

  14. weka 15

    ios app for the NZ parliament. Look forward to some geek analysis of the security issues 😉

    Virtual House: Release of the NZ Parliament App

    The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon David Carter welcomes the release of an app that gives people easier access to MPs contact information and insights into Parliament.

    Parliament’s Virtual House app is available today from the Apple App Store and is free for anyone to download.

    Virtual House is aimed at making Parliament and its members more accessible. It packages information from the Parliament website such as when the House is sitting, contact details for members of Parliament and watching the live web-streaming of Parliament TV.

    “It’s important that Parliament is accessible and understandable for everyone. This app provides an easy and convenient way for people of all ages, to interact with MPs and see the democratic processes taking place in the House,” says the Speaker.

    At the moment, the Virtual House app is only available for iPhone and iPad. It will be updated and improved over time in response to public feedback, which can be given through the Apple App Store.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1505/S00407/virtual-house-release-of-the-nz-parliament-app.htm

    • Hateatea 15.1

      SO any person who has refused to succumb to the ‘i thing’ plague is locked out of the discussion. All power to the 1% for their creative ways to exclude the proles yet again.

      • weka 15.1.1

        I’m guessing they’re trialling it before they develop the other platforms. It did make me wonder though, are most NZ ios users in NZ likely to be neoliberals or not? 😉

        • Naturesong 15.1.1.1

          Not sure about that – most of the IT crowd I know are not neo liberal, they do however have disposible cash for the new iPhone, XTC etc. and often purchase different brands of phone just to check out the tech.

          But, in asking the question a couple of them did ask; “why would you develop on apple first when there are cross-platform development tools available”
          HTML5; Phonegap and Sencha come to mind immediately.

          • weka 15.1.1.1.1

            Ok, interesting. I was being a bit facetious about the neoliberal thing. I suspect though that the decision came down to someone being in the right place at the right time to get the contract, not a bad assumption given this govt.

      • SHG 15.1.2

        iOS is the only mobile platform that has mattered for the past five years and for the conceivable future.

    • repateet 15.2

      If you have a problem with it does it tell you to “ask again tomorrow”?
      Or maybe threaten you with eviction for having the temerity to ask?

  15. weka 16

    Dimpost reflections post-budget,

    I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There are still a few adherents drifting around the fringes of politics that truly believe, but this budget seems like a good time to mark that in National the doctrine is obsolete. National believes in massive intervention in the economy, mostly in favor of their political donors but also in response to signals from their polling and market research, and English has raised or introduced so many taxes I’ve lost count. I don’t know what we’re supposed to call this mode of government, exactly, but it ain’t ‘neoliberal’.

    https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/thoughts-on-budget-2015/

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 16.1

      Just when you think all lefties miss the point about everything all the time, Danyl is there to prove you wrong.

      On the other hand, the opposition looked like clueless losers yesterday. What kind of left-wing politician opposes the gutting of the KiwiSaver kickstarter – pretty much the definition of middle-class welfare – to tackle child poverty?

      And Little’s speech was just awful. ‘Gene Simmons’? ‘Fiscal gender reassignment’? Why did he think it was a good idea to reference a source of internal division within his own party? What a mess.

      • felix 16.1.1

        Well he did vote to put these pricks in office, so I’m not surprised he’s as easily fooled by them as you are.

    • Puddleglum 16.2

      Sigh.

      I’m not sure how much Danyl McLauchlan has read about the notion of neoliberalism but he’s really missed the mark here.

      The neoliberal revolution has already happened and been entrenched.

      Today, the neoliberal approach to the economy just seems mainstream common sense to the point where a government like the current one can be called ‘moderate’, ‘centrist’ and bafflingly – by McLauchlan – ‘not neoliberal’.

      I wrote a post about Eleanor Catton’s comments about our politicians while she was in India that went into a bit of detail both about the characteristics of neoliberalism and, more significantly, the way it has infiltrated our basic assumptions about how the world should work.

      David Harvey who wrote ‘A Brief History of Neoliberalism‘ has this take on the neoliberal revolution (from my post):

      Future historians may well look upon the years 1978–80 as a revolutionary turning-point in the world’s social and economic history. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping took the first momentous steps towards the liberalization of a communist-ruled economy in a country that accounted for a fifth of the world’s population … On the other side of the Pacific, and in quite different circumstances, a relatively obscure (but now renowned) figure named Paul Volcker took command at the US Federal Reserve in July 1979, and within a few months dramatically changed monetary policy. The Fed thereafter took the lead in the fight against inflation no matter what its consequences (particularly as concerned unemployment). Across the Atlantic, Margaret Thatcher had already been elected Prime Minister of Britain in May 1979, with a mandate to curb trade union power and put an end to the miserable inflationary stagnation that had enveloped the country for the preceding decade. Then, in 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States and, armed with geniality and personal charisma, set the US on course to revitalize its economy by supporting Volcker’s moves at the Fed and adding his own particular blend of policies to curb the power of labour, deregulate industry, agriculture, and resource extraction, and liberate the powers of finance both internally and on the world stage. From these several epicentres, revolutionary impulses seemingly spread and reverberated to remake the world around us in a totally different image.

      Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money. It must also set up those military, defence, police, and legal structures and functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee, by force if need be, the proper functioning of markets. Furthermore, if markets do not exist (in areas such as land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution) then they must be created, by state action if necessary. But beyond these tasks the state should not venture. State interventions in markets (once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because, according to the theory, the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second-guess market signals (prices) and because powerful interest groups will inevitably distort and bias state interventions (particularly in democracies) for their own benefit.

      Harvey’s view is that the entire globe has undergone a neoliberal transformation and most governments in countries such as New Zealand have, to varying degrees, implemented, maintained and extended neoliberal policy settings.

      To what extent is the current New Zealand government not presiding over deregulated financial markets, the mass privatisation of previously public assets (and privatising further in education, health and ‘social housing’) and further reducing regulatory barriers in markets (RMA anyone?), etc., etc.?

      Further,

      [t]here has everywhere been an emphatic turn towards neoliberalism in political-economic practices and thinking since the 1970s

      And,

      Almost all states, from those newly minted after the collapse of the Soviet Union to old-style social democracies and welfare states such as New Zealand and Sweden, have embraced, sometimes voluntarily and in other instances in response to coercive pressures, some version of neoliberal theory and adjusted at least some policies and practices accordingly.

      And, according to Harvey, the penetration of neoliberalism goes beyond the strictly political sphere and reaches well into a society’s cultural and economic institutions:

      the advocates of the neoliberal way now occupy positions of considerable influence in education (the universities and many ‘think tanks’), in the media, in corporate boardrooms and financial institutions, in key state institutions (treasury departments, the central banks), and also in those international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) that regulate global finance and trade.

      In short, neoliberalism has “become hegemonic” and one of the absolutely significant consequences of that for public political debate – especially here in New Zealand – is that,

      It has pervasive effects on ways of thought to the point where it has become incorporated into the common-sense way many of us interpret, live in, and understand the world.

      Danyl McLauchlan seems to ignore all that remains in place and over which the current government presides – along with a raft of policy initiatives that show beyond any doubt that it is committed to incremental extension of the original neoliberal revolution.

      The fact that it is also incredibly cronyistic is neither here nor there – most governments that have introduced and presided over neoliberal reforms have been. (Because, of course, neoliberal reforms – through liberalised policy settings – invite cronyism towards favoured people and companies so that they get the first and biggest bite of the big pie on offer. In fact, inviting ‘friends’ to the neoliberal table probably helps cement in the policy changes.)

      And the fact that it occasionally pulls back from its preferred policy settings because of a public backlash does not so much show that its political strategy is not neoliberal but, simply, that its tactics involve an element of caution.

      Imagine the situation where a newly elected government in a communist state presided over the communist economic policy settings, perhaps even extending them here and there a bit, and tossed in a bit of cronyism on the side.

      Would McLauchlan then claim that such a government clearly was not ‘communist’ – actually quite ‘moderate’ and ‘centrist’, politically – and that ‘true believers’ in communism were only on the ‘fringes’?

      Well, that would be an interesting conclusion to draw.

      Most people, however, would call it a communist government – quite rightly.

      If Danyl’s comment is anything to go by, perhaps we’re all neoliberals now?

      Maybe that’s why he can’t see neoliberalism in today’s politics – except on the ‘fringes’.

  16. Karen 17

    Good to see Andrew Little apologising for the awful “joke” yesterday.

    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/2/article_16869.php

    Well done, Andrew. A genuine apology, something Key seems unable to do.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Not quite: while he describes the remark as ‘flippant’ he only apologises for any offence caused: a typical Clayton’s apology. Why he couldn’t simply apologise for the flippancy is beyond me.

      • Karen 17.1.1

        OAB, I thought by acknowledging it was flippant as well as causing offence he did better than a Clayton’s apology. He has also agreed to meet with transgender people to discuss their concerns, so I am going to give him some brownie points for this.

    • whateva next? 17.2

      Agree, Andrew needed to acknowledge and apologise, which as expected, he has done.
      Drawing vast attention to the policy suggestion was an MSM attempt to distract from broad issues which will get Labour back into government. Of course Labour will address these issues with respect and balance, once we are in, but why give National an opportunity to divide and rule, therefore keeping power?
      If people really want to have these (and many other issues society is struggling with) issues addressed, wouldn’t it be wiser to get into government first?

  17. Hateatea 18

    Does anyone even care anymore about the musings of Michael Laws?

    Will someone please tell him that we don’t give even a continental how he judges anyone, about anything?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/68757139/michael-laws-calls-hilary-barry-unprofessional-for-tears-for-john-campbell

  18. Ovid 19

    The Pencilsword: On privilege. Brilliant cartoon from Radio NZ’s The Wireless

    • adam 19.1

      That was great.

    • Bill 19.2

      Yup.

      Reminded me of the Monopoly experiment where the game is rigged to favour one or the other players. The favoured player thinks they deserve to win – that they are ‘better’ – even though the rules are obviously bias.

      • Puddleglum 19.2.1

        That research features in the documentary “Park Avenue: Money, power and the American dream – Why poverty?

        Yes, we tend to think that our advantage is caused by our general ‘worthiness’. The greatest – but always unacknowledged – way in which an ‘entitlement culture’ manifests is in people’s beliefs that they are fully entitled to their privileged position.

        For some reason people don’t like the idea that their life outcomes are more a product of the structures in which they operate (and into which they are born) than of their personal ‘qualities’. That reluctance is especially present in cultures that emphasise the ‘self’ as something discrete rather than simply as a social intersection point.

    • RedLogix 19.3

      Yes that is exactly it. I know this isn’t cool to say – but reading that has left my eyes wet.

      Helen Clark in her valedictory speech said at one point that the reason she went into politics was because she “loathed snobbery and the abuse of privilege”.

      People are not all the same. Their lives will turn out different – but all it would take to change that story above is for Richard to have answered the question by saying “Well it’s not my success at all, my parents, friends and colleagues all played their part – as indeed we all do. Now it is merely my privilege to give back something of what has been given to me. ”

      And then to have acknowledged Paula’s presence with a sincere ‘thank you’.

      • b waghorn 19.3.1

        No to really change the story a above this country needs to move heaven and earth to give every kid the best education money can buy and then insure that they feel like there is a reason to get out of bed as young adults.it would take 30 years to work but it would change the course of the history of this country.
        BTW my eyes got wet and I’m a big tuff farm boy!!

        • RedLogix 19.3.1.1

          Yes – I agree there are two parts to this; one personal the other structural.

          • b waghorn 19.3.1.1.1

            The structural bit is the only bit that can be fixed there will always be wankers.

            • RedLogix 19.3.1.1.1.1

              And therein are the ingredients for a fine debate on cause and effect. I’ve thought about this for a while and for the life of me I cannot untangle which of our two perspectives is more ‘true’. If indeed it’s a valid question to even ask.

              Maybe it’s better to think of them as indivisible, inseparable aspects of the same thing.

              • b waghorn

                “Maybe it’s better to think of them as indivisible, inseparable aspects of the same thing” holy hell there’s some big words there. 🙂
                If you mean does having money make one a wanker , I think it isn’t a certainty that it will make someone a wanker but it definatly increases the chances ,and as for the children of people with money the chances of being a wanker increases with each generation.
                On a similar note I have a theory ( using only one example so far) that you’re average lefty is far more likely to have known hardship.
                So does hardship = empathy or are some born with it.?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  the right wing have created an environment and a lifestyle which reduces chances of people developing their inbuilt characteristics of empathy, and super charges their inbuilt characteristics of selfishness and greed.

                  The word “capitalism” used to come from heads of livestock (e.g. decapitate). Those who owned wealth in terms of heads of livestock were governed by societal rules which said that you could not simply breed more heads of livestock – as that would jeopardise the sustainability of the lands nearby the village which everyone used for their own livestock as well.

                  And if someone insisted on continuing to do that, the villagers would burn his house down. Perfect self regulating system.

                  • RedLogix

                    Yes I like that explanation CV.

                    From what I’ve read, empathy (like IQ or EQ) is not evenly spread about by the genetic lottery. But native empathy alone is probably a poor predictor of whether you turn out a dickhead or not. The critical ingredient is the social controls and values you grow up with.

                    In other words – decency and dignity are characteristics which have to be taught and inculcated. And as you say, capitalism truly sucks at this.

                  • b waghorn

                    Its a damn shame that society has to get to the house burning stage before the little people get heard.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      most villagers figure it out before it has to get to that stage 🙂

  19. Clemgeopin 20

    I have been wondering why there haven’t been any polls from professional companies such as Tv1Colmar and Tv3 Ipsos after the Parnell Pony tail puller’s affair became public?

    I know there was the Roy Morgan poll but it came out just a couple of days after the news and therefore most of the survey was done for several days before that.

    Have any of you also wondered about this?

    • Karen 20.1

      I was expecting aRoy Morgan poll this week, but they probably delayed it until after the budget. Expect something next week.

      • Clemgeopin 20.1.1

        Thanks.
        I think there would have been a significant drop in the horrid hair puller’s personal popularity had the polls come out soon after that despicable outrage.

        I had expected those companies to have done those polls straight away after such a significant national; and international event. I wonder why they did not! Is there some kind of big business collusion to help Key here?

        Now since that event seems to be put under the carpet and with the public memories being fickle, I have a feeling that Key will once again go free without any consequences from the public for his shocking and oft repeated act.

  20. adam 21

    Because it’s Friday and we could all do with a laugh

    • Hateatea 21.1

      Come home, John Clarke, your country needs you 😀

      Thank you for that, adam

      • Ron 21.1.1

        It’s interesting that the people that seem to have cared most for the downtrodden in the worlds history all have the initials ‘JC’

        John Campbell
        John Clarke
        Jesus Christ

        Not sure which order I should list them

        • Clemgeopin 21.1.1.1


          John Campbell
          John Clarke
          Jesus Christ

          Judith Collins
          Jeremy Clarkson

          • whateva next? 21.1.1.1.1

            Judith Collins?? The anti Christ

          • Ron 21.1.1.1.2

            yes but the last two are women surely

            John Campbell
            John Clarke
            Jesus Christ

            Judith Collins
            Jeremy Clarkson

            • Clemgeopin 21.1.1.1.2.1

              One is comfortable in the bar while the other indulges in a car.

              And how about another JC…
              Jim Carrey!

  21. Michael 22

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=79&v=xyprxOa1H1s Interesting video from the OECD on inequality.

    http://www.compareyourcountry.org/inequality And this.

    NZ is slightly above the OECD GINI coefficient for inequality, below the OECD average for overall relative poverty, below the OECD average for the gap between the top 10% and bottom 10%, slightly below the OECD average for child poverty, and below the OECD average for elderly poverty. I believe the OECD is using the 50% threshold which measures poverty whereas 60% measures ‘at risk of poverty’.

    So it’s quite mixed. We are definitely no world leader by any measure. I think we have a lot of people on the edge of the poverty line, which is why we can be below average one measure and above average on another – so small changes in incomes and help or hurt poverty rates.

    • DoublePlusGood 22.1

      The general issue is that we were once a world leader. Now, we are not.

  22. Kevin 23

    For something a little different…

    This morning while picking up a coffee from McDonalds in Napier (and yes, they make excellent coffee), I noticed two young workers cleaning out the front. One of them was on a ledge about 10ft up with a long handled cleaning brush while his mate was directing a a stream of water onto the sign from a hose. Who would you make a complaint to about this as it was a very dangerous way to be cleaning a sign.

  23. Philip Ferguson 24

    In a few hours time, voting begins in the south of Ireland referendum on gay marriage.

    It is most likely that the electorate will say ‘yes’ to the right of same-sex couples to marry.

    The depth and breadth of support for a ‘yes’ vote is quite astounding.

    All the parties in the southern parliament, from the viciously anti-working class Fine Gael and Labour parties to Sinn Fein to the Trotskyists (who have about 5 members of parliament); rugby legend Brian O Driscoll; Irish soccer team captain Robbie Keane; MOR crooner Daniel O’Donnell; and even the police federation in their official journal, have all come out publicly for a ‘yes’ vote. Dozens of Gaelic Athletic Association players have leant their names to the ‘yes’ campaign. And, of course, there is the fraternity of actors, artists, writers etc that you would usually expect to line up for same-sex marriage, most prominent among them being Colin Farrell.

    The ‘yes’ campaign is supported by a range of devout Catholics, including members of parliament belonging to Fine Gael and two-term president Mary McAleese.

    Of the 220 members of the lower and upper houses of parliament, only ten have indicated publicly that they will vote ‘no’.

    Meanwhile, the vicious economic onslaught on the working class continues. . .

    Nevertheless this is a watershed moment in Irish history – ie the history of the whole island – and it also looks like this will be the first state in the world where gay marriage has been voted for by the public.

    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/irish-society-and-politics-and-the-referendum-on-gay-marriage/

  24. Draco T Bastard 25

    This is probably the most important aspect of this case:

    (naturally, none of the police responsible for these offences have ever been charged – the law is for us, not for them)

    Many of our criminal population are not held to account simply because of their position. Here it’s members of the police but we can also point at rugby players, politicians and businesspeople.

    This is corruption and, despite being found to be one the perceived least corrupt countries in the world, we are actually one of the worst. This is something that we need to address but our politicians, our law-makers, seem reluctant to do so.

  25. esoteric pineapples 26

    Trying to find out what New Zealand’s national debt stands at – seems to vary from site to site, but on this one it’s about $108 billion and climbing by the second – http://www.johnpemberton.co.nz/html/government_debt.html

    While this one says about $90 billion.
    http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/newzealand

    • tinfoilhat 26.1

      Thank you for that debt clock website it is fascinating.

      • Colonial Rawshark 26.1.1

        as long as our nation’s debt (private and public) is denominated in NZ dollars that we can issue, we’re fine.

  26. weka 27

    Rachel Stewart on why so many people are upset about the end of Campbell Live and it isn’t just about investigative journalism (esp for Bill).

    I’m in the company of decent New Zealanders who are extremely upset and angry about Campbell Live’s canning.

    It’s because it represented so much more to us than just a current affairs programme. It was the last mainstream media hope in the new neoliberal hell called New Zealand.

    Campbell made us “do-gooders” feel like someone cared. He worked for the ordinary people, and held the powerful to account. Which, of course, is probably why he’s gone.

    In 2015’s version of society, where most people happily choose to stand on the heads of the less fortunate and only a few choose to lend a hand, John Campbell was crucial. He represented all that was decent and all that was fair.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion/68767925/why-you-should-care-about-john-campbells-demise

    • SHG 27.1

      I think “neo-liberal” is now just code for “thing I don’t like”.

      Goddamn neo-liberal northern hemisphere refs.

      Bloody neo-liberal skeuomorphic user interfaces.

      • Colonial Rawshark 27.1.1

        neoliberal means free market, financialised, transnational capital empowered economic systems designed to push costs and burdens on to ordinary people and the environment while the 10% and especially the 0.1% take most of the benefits.

        • Paul 27.1.1.1

          SHG knows that.
          He’s just part of the problem, not part of the solution.
          Tragically, he’s also probably not in the 1%

      • felix 27.1.2

        Well I just learned a new word – skeuomorphic. Thanks SHG.

        As well as learning the word, I looked up the meaning. That way I understand it in the context in which you used it, which I think is probably a better approach than just assuming you don’t know what you’re talking about, or made it up, or used it randomly, which would have left me looking a right fuckwit.

  27. Reddelusion 28

    your right SHG you know you’ve met a real intellectual left wing, champaignsocialist wannabe by the amount of times Neo liberal is used in a conversation, I think it’s a bit like a kid learning a new swear word they get off on it, likewise if your a bit dim They can used it to challenge any proposition they don’t agree with or doesn’t fit batty left wing religious dogma

    • felix 28.1

      Well the word does have a meaning, and an etymology that is pretty well documented, so if you really think people are mis-using it you can always point out why they’re wrong.

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