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Open Mike 22/10/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 22nd, 2016 - 52 comments
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52 comments on “Open Mike 22/10/2016 ”

  1. weka 1

    [Please note, we are trialling something new for Open Mike and Daily Review.

    In order to keep OM and DR free for other conversations, all comments, link postings etc about the US election now need to go in the dedicated US election discussion here.

    If you are unsure, post in that thread rather than here. It’s not possible for moderators to shift comments from OM to there, so any comments here may get deleted.

    Have fun folks – weka]

  2. Penny Bright 2

    From which party will the newly-formed NZ Peoples’ Party take votes in the upcoming Mt Roskill by-election?

    Labour or National?


    “…One of the major problems the residents face is that of law and order, which we have made our main agenda for the bypolls.  

    Immigration is another issue the party feels strongly about. 

    But for now, we will concentrate on the law and order situation in the area.  

    There have been a large number of instances wherein people and businesses from ethnic communities are regularly targeted by criminals and nothing is being done to fight the problem. 

    Our party will stand in support of the ethnic communities and ensure that their concerned are heard and addressed.

    I predict that Roshan Nauhria and his NZ Peoples’ Party will take votes from National in the Mt Roskill

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption Public Watchdog’

    • tinfoilhat 2.1

      What’s happening with your ongoing disagreement with Auckland Council Penny ?

    • millsy 2.2

      The NZ People’s Party will prove to be a fizzer. I am picking less than 10% of the vote and a distant third.

      • Leftie 2.2.1

        It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if after the election, the New Zealand People’s Party goes the way others like it have gone before, and it withers and dies off.

  3. The following comment is from Jenny. It got caught in moderation and I can’t find a way to release it manually. Jenny, you should be free to comment now. TRP.

    Syria Solidarity: National day of action 29th October
    Civilians in Aleppo and across Syria are being intensively bombed by Russia with bunker bombs, phosphorous bombs, napalm, thermobaric and cluster bombs; and by the Syrian regime with chlorine containing barrel bombs; targetting homes, schools, hospitals, rescue teams, and underground shelters .
    Like many Syrian cities, Aleppo has been under a starvation siege. The regime and Russian have even bombed the city’s water supply.
    Despite these atrocious crimes against humanity, Aleppo’s people show tremendous solidarity and caring for each other, as they work to find the wounded under the rubble, and rush them to undergound clinics for treatment. Hundreds of democratically run community councils have been formed across Syria in the liberated areas. They have produced a tremendous amount of art, literature, music, and electronic media documenting the revolution and counter revolution in Syria.
    The “peace” talks have broken down. It is clear that Russia and the Assad regime are looking for a military solution to enable the genocidal Assad regime to continue in power.
    Most of the fighters killing Syrian civilians are not Syrians. They include soliders from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, many of them conscripted or desperately poor with no other options for a living.
    The Assad regime and Russia have killed half a million Syrian people. The genocide has to stop! The regime regularly uses rape and torture as weapons.
    The war started because people across Syria went onto the streets to demand democracy, and instead were shot, rounded up, tortured, raped and killed. So the people took up arms to defend themselves. The Assad regime has vowed to continue to obliterate the population until it accepts his rule.
    Both the United States and Russia have re-defined the people’s struggle for democracy as a “war on terror” and are both responsible for killing civilians.
    Isis grew in Syria with the encouragement of the Assad regime. Assad deliberately released extremists from his jails, who went on to join Isis in Syria. The regime leaves Isis alone, and Isis is continually attacking the democratic opposition groups. The democratic opposition has been forced to fight on two fronts, against the attacks from the regime and from Isis. Despite the evils perpetrated by Isis, it has killed a fraction of the number of people, that the Assad regime has. The Assad regime with its Russian and Iranian allies are the greater evil.
    Stop the bombing! Troops out!
    No more genocide! Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution!
    Victory for Syrian people now!
    Wellington action:
    2-3pm 29th October, Russian Embassy, 57 Messines Road, Karori
    Auckland action:
    2-3pm 29th October, Aotea Square

  4. tory 4

    “…One of the major problems the residents face is that of law and order, which we have made our main agenda for the by polls”

    I totally agree, especially those residents who fail to pay their fair share, still access services and then have the audacity to label themselves an ‘anti-corruption Public Watchdog’,. Practice what you preach and pay your bloody rates.

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      You know, Penny is making a brave stand against anti-democratic government practices. And she isn’t getting away with anything. She may be quixotic, but the council have behaved badly.

      She has as much right to comment as a Tory troll. Probably more.

      • Leftie 4.1.1

        +1 Stuart Munro.

      • Visubversa 4.1.2

        I think the Council has been very patient. What Penny is demanding is that details of every contract be made public. This is not required by the legislation and for reasons of commercial privacy is not done anywhere else either. There are plenty of auditors and other safeguards against “corruption” and those few instances from legacy councils have been detected and dealt with. I have a friend who contracts to Council to process some of the Resource Consent applications which cannot be done in time by Council staff during busy periods. Her hourly rate is avaialble to the applicant (who is paying the costs of processing) and the other costs are standard for all applications. There is absolutely no need for these transactions to be on some sort of public register.

        • Stuart Munro

          I don’t agree.

          “Commercial sensitivity” has been used increasingly frequently to obscure transactions that frankly could not meet a public interest standard – like the gratuitous theft of our electricity generation resources, the vast web of corruption that has delayed or prevented the Christchurch rebuild, or the antidemocratic empire building of the Ports of Auckland

          I want government to err on the side of public interest rather than that of corporate convenience and blatant corruption.

          Your friend’s application processing may meet that standard – but if it does, why would she object to publication? If information is sensitive because it might encourage competition, that is in fact the only reason we want commercial involvement in council activity in any case – when they can lower costs.

          My only objection to Penny is that she used to spam threads.

        • gsays

          hi visubversa,
          just a couple of things, while the ‘applicant ‘ may pay the costs, tis not thier money.
          if all these contracts are a matter if public record then there is no commercial disadvantage.
          may even make some of those contesting for the public teat, ‘sharpen their pencils’.

        • Draco T Bastard

          This is not required by the legislation and for reasons of commercial privacy is not done anywhere else either.

          Keeping details of contracts from the people that the contract is with is not for reasons of privacy but to protect corruption.

          This is not required by the legislation and for reasons of commercial privacy is not done anywhere else either.

          Then the law is wrong and needs to be changed.

          There is absolutely no need for these transactions to be on some sort of public register.

          Actually, there is. Democracy requires that the people be informed and not kept in the dark.

      • Sacha 4.1.3

        “the council have behaved badly” – in what way?

        • Stuart Munro

          They are secretive for a start.

          There’s no honest reason for them to deny Penny’s requests and they’ve spent vastly more on legal fees messing her around than she is in arrears.

          Councils and governments are accountable to citizens – when they decide they’re not they are in the wrong, and due for a comeuppance.

          • Sacha

            The scope of that accountability is set by the LGOIMA, with the same right to appeal to Ombudsmen as with the OIA. If there was any requirement to share line-by-line accounts with anyone who requested them, there would have been a ruling to that effect by now. Auckland Council is behaving no differently than others.

            • Stuart Munro

              If they hadn’t spent vastly more in legal fees messing her around I might accept the explanation. The truth is they cherish their secrecy and waste our money preserving it. Technocratic oversight is not effective without community feedback. Penny offers that kind of feedback – but they are jealous of their secondhand authority and so they hate her.

              “Behaving no differently to the others”

              No doubt – like Dunedin’s former mayor who created a rates blowout to fund a stadium more than two thirds of Dunedin never wanted and will never use.

              We need to cultivate a scrupulous local government culture – the prevailing culture is anything but.

              • Sacha

                Do you have examples of Council messing Ms Bright around rather than vice versa?

                Every article I’ve read shows them being forced into court by her actions and winning every step of the way, yet still offering the same avenue as other ratepayers to relieve her debt when her house is sold.

                • Stuart Munro

                  They didn’t have to defend the actions – they could have treated her as a concerned citizen and cooperated with her. It would’ve been cheaper – and she is not a competing robber corporate poised to exploit their spurious ‘commercial secrecy’.

                  Civic involvement is considered a healthy attribute by responsible governments.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Just because what they’re doing is legal doesn’t mean to say that it’s right.

              And as it happens to keep the people uninformed then it really does happen to be wrong.

              • Sacha

                If council did exactly what Ms Bright has demanded they would immediately face lawsuits from many big companies for breach of contract. That’s not a hallmark of good stewardship of public resources and would see them replaced by govt-appointed commissioners in no time.

                As with most things Bright raises, the answer lies in govt changing national laws, not at council level. Challenging the wrong target is a waste of valuable public energy. Citizens deserve better from our advocates.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  If council did exactly what Ms Bright has demanded they would immediately face lawsuits from many big companies for breach of contract.

                  Which tells us that the contract was, and is, wrong. Which, of course, means that you don’t put those clauses into contracts going forward. If the businesses don’t like that then they’re quite welcome not to take up the contract.

                  Challenging the wrong target is a waste of valuable public energy.

                  It’s not the wrong target. It’s one of the many targets that are available.

                  • Sacha

                    If you want to change the way Councils operate, you need to change the laws they follow. Those are set by central government, not by councils.

                    Protesting at council is a waste of other people’s energy. By all means, waste your own but encouraging others is not that moral.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      1. There is an LGOIA that Penny has been using to try and get the information that apparently applies
                      2. Council has been refusing on grounds of commercial sensitivity which is not a moral position and apparently not covered by the law either (really, I’d love to see the law that says that we must take into account a businesses feelings)
                      3. If that bit is in the contract, and I really doubt that it is, then that contract is breaking the law as you cannot contract out of the law.

                      The council really is morally obliged to make that information available to the public as it’s their city and they have every right and duty to know these things.

                      And there’s the point of where to start. If the law as it is apparently supports then you need to go to the council and prove that they’re the ones breaking the law. If it turns out that they’re not breaking the law then you go to the government and get them to change the law.

                    • Sacha

                      The LGOIMA like the OIA explicitly includes commercial confidentiality as a factor. Please educate yourself about the law before any more of this nonsensical bluster. Having one mouthy fool in this area is bad enough. People deserve smarter activists.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Demanding that councils keep information secret from ratepayers is a breach of the bona fide required to form contracts. Councils are responsible to their constituents and cannot contract out of that responsibility. The corporates would lose.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    That’s how it should be, yes, but is that how it is or will the council simply roll over like a good corporate dog?

                    So far, they’ve been rolling over like a good dog.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I think that’s the legal position – if you flip it, a corporation would be in a world of trouble if they tried to sign binding secrecy from their shareholders.

                      If ACT weren’t just a lying pack of assholes they’d be all over this – for neo-liberalism to work it’s supposed to impose commercial standards of propriety on government. But Prebble et al only want to make off with the capital value of state assets like Landcorp.

                      Long past time some asset thieves went to prison.

                  • Sacha

                    Councils are required to get the best price on behalf of ratepayers. You don’t achieve that by disclosing previous ones.

                    But carry on yelling at them clouds rather than putting activist energy in the right places to secure the change you want.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Council secrecy is a guarantee that they will not serve their constituency or work constructively with their community. There is no place for it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Councils are required to get the best price on behalf of ratepayers. You don’t achieve that by disclosing previous ones.

                      Actually, that would be exactly how you get them.

      • Paul 4.1.4

        At least she is actually saying something and she stands for something , unlike wretched trolls.

        • save nz

          Totally agree Paul. Why should Penny Bright not question the council and why are the council constantly pushing everything into the legal realm with millions of ratepayers money being pushed into private legal firms. No kick back or relationships there, we are led to believe.

          Democracy and public accountability is on the decline because nobody (apart form people like Penny) have the time, stomach and energy to fight lawyers for years. The council are constantly proved wrong such as Ports of Auckland. People like Darren Watson have to fight for years to be proved right with other government run organisations. Auckland council were so incompetent that the unitary plan was thrown out.

          We have the CEO of Wellington council giving 8 million dollars to Singapore Airlines privately and the Kaipara council bankrupting themselves with dodgy waste water and subdivision speculation.

          Auckland council apparently has something like a 17% approval rate I read in the Metro, which is internationally so low, it’s in the gutter. Even Metro were pondering why the Mayoral candidates and the council itself were not concerned at how low they are perceived by the rate payers and how little they are trusted.

          The council managers and executives are in a bubble that hopefully someone at some stage will burst and at the same time release our rates so it can be used more wisely than the council paying $500 an hour lawyers (if not more) to hide their conduct to the public and speculate on hidden deals.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Penny is protesting against the unjust laws that prevent Aucklanders from seeing how their city is managed. Such laws promote corruption which has been in the news lately.

      In other words, she’s doing a hell of a lot more for this city and this country by not paying her rates than you are with your abject compliance with the way things are and kowtowing to the rich and powerful.

  5. Olwyn 5

    Just testing, to see if this comment goes through when I am logged in – recently the comments I have made when logged-in have disappeared into the spam.

  6. greywarshark 6

    @Robert Guyton
    Thanks for your cheerful, informative and encouraging series being published here –
    The Essential Forest Gardener. We are all reading with interest and grateful for your reminiscences and guidance so we can take our skills and thinking a further useful step.

    For those who haven’t seen it – here is a relevant 6 min vid clip on how we need bees but don’t love and respect them properly.

    • Thanks, greywarshark. I’m really enjoying the feedback and questions each Sunday when the post goes up (thanks, TS people). I hope you’ll enjoy tomorrow’s post, in which I introduce chaos to the mix: “Chaotic is the word that springs to the lips of the conservative gardener, seeing a forest garden for the first time, and the order that does in fact exist in these gardens is a lot more complex than that found in a lawn-and-box-hedge garden, giving the impression of disorder. ”
      I’d not read anything from you here for a while and worried about you! Good to hear you’re still connected.

      • gsays 6.1.1

        hi robert,
        a belated thank you from the manawatu, for the post last sunday.

        about 10 yrs ago we relocated a whare on to 3 acres.
        orchard, chooks, and 3 x 15 m2 raised garden beds, courtesy of my horticulturalist father in law.

        cooch is the constant battle and 18 mmonths ago, decided to ‘decooch’ one of the beds. most of the day digging, sweating and being at one with the soil. excellent.

        less than a month later you would think i had sown cooch!
        head dropped, big bottom lip, and an excuse to ignore the garden and throw up my hands.

        gave myself an uppercut and got back into the garden a month ago.
        your post last week was just the tonic to get stuck into some toms, corn peas etc.
        thanks again, just what ineeded to read.

        btw a big loss this year with the passing of bill mollisson, the founder of permaculture.

        • Robert Guyton

          Hi gsays
          Couch and de-couching – the former a reality, the latter a delusion 🙂
          I have another garden which was 100% couch, initially. I released the wild chervil and began to feel sympathy for the couch! Cow parsley/wild chervil (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthriscus_sylvestris) disposes couch silently and ruthlessly, growing in its place and providing a wealth of useful services to anyone brave enough to utilize it.
          Yes, it was a pity about Bill. I felt worse when Masanobu Fukuoka passed. Each provided shoulders for us to survey the scene from. Now it’s up to us 🙂

      • greywarshark 6.1.2

        Don’t worry about me. you’re the man doing the heavy lifting who’s important. I am popping up on Bowalley Road which has limited its biting insects with a net of fine mesh unlike TS. Damn those midges! I read somewhere that the migratory animals like caribou? are partly motivated to go so they can outrun the critters.

        I’m still working for better things and trying to network and get to know the pragmatic idealist entrepreneurs around the place who stay focussed on target. Good to know of the Guytons for instance.

        • Robert Guyton

          Migratory animals – they’re the ones, greywarshark! We learn a lot from them.
          (We can learn from the midges too 🙂

          • greywarshark

            Trouble is Robert G that the midges tend to inject a little bit of toxic stuff into everyone they contact. I can’t stand the itching, and am wary of sickness from some new virus.

            For the individual activist there are excessive stresses and wrong-thinking side paths out there to avoid so we have time and energy to work with others to achieve numerous small outcomes advancing human and planet wellbeing. There is a need to stay focussed on the target of forming communities which are based on working with mutual respect and friendship and practicality in planning actions. And underpinning all this, simple kindness and well-wishing for each other, but not weakly accepting the rights of everyone as equal.

            I think midges can not learn anything that is of value to society, and cannot teach anything that is not already observable in society to the alert, thoughtful and discerning. So it is a waste of precious time communicating with them.

            Keeping a healthy mind and body, with also some humour (not always directed at the other regarded as foolish or toxic either) is more important than
            dialogue with every shallow, addled time-waster with a shrivelled intellect.

  7. adam 7

    Who’s side are Turkey on? I’d suggest they are now helping ISIS. It’s not enough that the Russians and the Assad regime are bombing YPG/YPJ position – now the Turks are bombing the only force in the region who are actually winning against ISIS.


    • adam 7.1


      Stuart Munro put this up yesterday in response to me, and sorry Stuart I did not responded yesterday.

      But this is a almost forgotten aspect of the ISIS madness.We get they want to destroy objects, but the desire to remove a people for existence for a minor theological difference – this is by definition, unreasonable, they can’t be negotiated with. This is a blight, only love can bet these sickos, love and support for the YPJ/YPG.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        Thanks Adam.

        I think there are a surprising number of localised cultures in the region that deserve our support, and learning something about each of them is important to understand whether the actions of combatants are reasonable. Unhappily the larger powers seem to care little for such communities.

  8. weka 8

    I heard this this morning too, and thought is Kim Hill a secret commenter on The Standard. It was such a Standard-esque exchange (someone wrote in asking if KH was a misandrist as they thought she was hard on male interviewees).

    Ms Georgia Harris @greentea2177
    @ScoopTrust @SaturdayRNZ how do i find the soundbite where Kim Hill calls a misogynist an idiot? It was glorious.

    Saturday Morning ‏@SaturdayRNZ 7m7 minutes ago
    Whomp, here it is (well, in amongst nearly a quarter hour of listener responses):

  9. weka 9

    [In order to keep OM and DR free for other conversations, all comments, link postings etc about the US election now need to go in the dedicated US election discussion here.

    If you are unsure, post in that thread rather than here. It’s not possible for moderators to shift comments from OM to there, so any comments here may get deleted – weka]

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