Open Mike 22/12/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 22nd, 2016 - 146 comments
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146 comments on “Open Mike 22/12/2016 ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    It’ll be interesting to see how frequently the TV1 and TV3 political polls are done and/or reported on next year. The thing about such polls, is not so much are the figures, as in how the journos spin them.

    • Cinny 1.1

      Morena Beautiful, what delightful news to read this morning about the polls. Isn’t it interesting that the media appears to be keeping hush about the polls. I’m a bit of a news junkie and haven’t heard boo about this poll apart from here on The Standard.

      On the first day of solstice nature gave to me
      A declining National Party.

      On the second day of solstice nature gave to me….
      I’m yet to find out what that will be…. 😀

      • Pedant 1.1.1

        I think National should be rendered in apostrophes – thus .. ‘national’.
        They are anything *but* national !

  2. The Chairman 2

    Labour lacks voter trust. Therefore, is it wise for them to run an election campaign touting tax changes to be announced after the election?

    Moreover, while Little reaffirmed his opposition to raising the retirement age, he failed to rule out other options such as changes to the current indexing (which links super to wage rates) no doubt leaving a number of voters feeling skeptical.

    With such low voter trust, can Labour risk going into an election while leaving voters with such uncertainty?

    • My gut says it is all there to lose for Labour if they get it wrong and I hope they don’t because that ratpack of gnats is not very bright and don’t deserve to be ministers imo.

      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        My gut says this approach (leaving so much uncertainty) is extremely risky, thus increases their rate of failure at the polls.

        They still have time to re-examine this approach, rebuild voter trust by telling voters what they plan to do.

        They are really pushing it if they expect people to race out and vote for the unknown.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          “…..rebuild voter trust by telling voters what they plan to do.”

          A perfect way to begin the day’s discussion.

          (And what that young fella Toby Morris was saying the other day on the wireless….)

          • The Chairman

            Labour’s menu is looking rather bare.

            I’ve been told Labour don’t want to startle the horses, well uncertainty startles voters.

            Expecting voters to vote for change is one thing but expecting them to vote for uncertain change is a step too far.

            Labour needs to bring voters along, not leave them out in the dark.

            • Jim

              The Chairman
              In general Labour goes into elections with detailed policy which is outlined on the labour website in the months leading up to the election, not earlier so as not to allow Labour light copying by National. Conversely National generally goes into elections with little detailed policy. Many policy changes such as the increasing of GST after the 2008 election are not anounced prior to the election. Pot calling kettle much!

              • The Chairman

                To date, out of the small number of policies Labour have announced, a number of them are lacking, therefore could and should be improved.

                Nevertheless, National can decide to adopt Labour policy at any given time, thus the argument for Labour keeping their powder dry doesn’t stack up.

                Until recently, National had brand Key. A brand voters seemed to trust, thereby that political appeal allowed National to get away with more or less as the case may be.

                Labour doesn’t carry such voter goodwill, therefore their approach must differ.

                • Sacha

                  “National can decide to adopt Labour policy at any given time, thus the argument for Labour keeping their powder dry doesn’t stack up.”


                  • The Chairman

                    It’s not nonsensical, it’s the reality Labour face.

                    Regardless of when Labour announce policy, National can decide to adopt it or elements of it.

                • Under Privileged

                  All I and my family want is a living wage, an adequate home, affordable doctors visits, some hope for my children, and a government that cares. Good by Blue team, you haven’t delivered, and your not capable.

                  • The Chairman

                    While National has shown they can’t deliver your desires, a change of Government is pointless if they are also unable to deliver.

        • Gabby

          They should wait until Bingles announces his policy instead of letting him flog theirs as usual.

          • alwyn

            That isn’t a problem that Labour has.
            Their real problem is their leader. He doesn’t have any real opinions at all on anything except that everyone should contribute to the Unions so that they can finance his election campaign.

            Little, Andrew bases his policy on a very simple system. Whatever National announce he will insist on the opposite. If National haven’t announced their policy he is helpless. His mouth opens and shuts but nothing emerges.

            Look at the flag debate. Labour went into the last election with a firm policy of having a new flag. When National went ahead with the idea he flipped.

            Labour went into the last election with a firm policy of raising the age for super. When Bill wouldn’t commit to the same thing Andrew flipped. He has currently come to the right approach but not for the right reason. If National were to announce that there is no need to raise the age Angry will do a double back flip with twist and adopt the other line again.

            The man is a fool. Probably due to his original legal training he has no principles or firm beliefs about anything. He will argue either side of the debate, based merely on what pays him the most..

            • Robert Guyton

              But what Andrew Little isn’t is a cut-and-runner, like Key. Little’s here for the contest. Captain Key’s abandoned ship, leaving his crew flailing wildly in rough seas; Bilge-water Bill at the wheel, fool steam ahead, damn the torpedoes housing crisis!

              • alwyn

                Andrew Little leave voluntarily?

                You really must be dreaming. Here is a man who has reached his 50s but who hasn’t, in spite of the good “rich prick” salaries he has been receiving for many years, apparently not been able to pay of his mortgage and who has accumulated neither savings nor investments.
                At least according to his Parliamentary return of pecuniary interests.

                Now he has got a job that pays him around $300,000/annum.
                Leave? He’s in heaven. He will be like Walter Nash if he can and will be carried out at the age of 86.

                • Andrew Little, Prime Minister till he’s 86!!
                  Alwyn! You dark horse, you!
                  All your previous cantankerousness, a front, a facade for your true pro-Labour position! You had us going, you ol’ scally-wag!

                  • alwyn

                    You do remember Walter Nash, do you?

                    Apparently not. Perhaps Andrew will emulate Walter. If he did it would make him PM in 2040 at the age of 75. He would keep the job for 3 years and then be dumped. They would even kick him out of his leader of the Labour Party in 2045. He would then revert to the back benches and die, still in harness, in 2051.

                    Possible? I suppose so but do you really think that Grant wouldn’t stab him in the back sometime in the next 24 years while Andrew remains Leader of the Opposition? If you do you clearly have more faith in Grant’s patience than I do.

                    • Walter Nash was before my time, alwyn, and I’m no historian specializing in the Labour Party, as you appear to be and it’s good to have someone with a long memory on board the Good Ship T.S. In fact, I’m not a Labour man, though I certainly enjoy this site. Younger than you and more forgiving, me. I don’t think I’ve ever big-noted Labour or her MPs, but I certainly have sung the praises of some principled politicians at times. You seem not to believe in such creatures. I’ve met a number of them and while I understand the problems with holding a position of political responsibility and making decisions on behalf of a varied population (I’m a local body politician) I am able to forgive those who find themselves in impossible situations or wrongfully portrayed by punters such as yourself (and others – sorry to see Stunned Mullet’s untimely departure from today’s debate 🙂
                      I didn’t like Key though. I met him personally and felt he was untrustworthy. From my point of view, he seemed to be deceiving us all. I reckon my radar is pretty sound. Misleading, misdirecting; they are signs to give a person a very wide berth, in my opinion. Sadly, we had to tolerate him for a long time. Gone now though. Very Good Thing.

                • Pedant

                  Grow up son. Mortgage, savings, and investments ?
                  Go travel in India. Broaden your perspectives ..

                  • Pedant

                    Alwyn .. +1

                    • alwyn

                      Perhaps you are right.
                      Looking at Andrew Little he does remind me of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the Wellington Railway station. Same haggard look and tatty clothing.
                      He is probably as intelligent as the statue, although not of course the real person.
                      I hope he has a better taste in what he drinks than the real Mahatma of course.

                    • Agora

                      Ad-hominem (i.e. personal) attacks will get you nowhere, alwyn.
                      People have long memories and Aotearoa has a relatively small politically active community.

            • Robert Guyton

              “Look at the flag debate. Labour went into the last election with a firm policy of having a new flag.” Indeed. A new flag. One chosen by the people of New Zealand. Not Key’s Personal corporate branding rag. You gotta admire Labour for winning that contest, despite Key having tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to waste on his attempt to impose his desire on us. And I suspect you do.

              • alwyn

                “One chosen by the people of New Zealand”.
                And precisely how was that going to happen?
                It would have been done in exactly the same way as was actually chosen. What alternative was there?

                Why do you bother to waffle on about it being “Key’s Personal rag”. Are you really as stupid as you seem? Key didn’t “choose” it did he.
                Probably yes, you really are that stupid. Anyone who thinks Little is Prime Ministerial material clearly must be pretty thick.

                If you can’t come up with an argument that at least has a little bit of a connection to reality I don’t think I will waste any more of my time on responding to your dribbling. If you come up with something at least remotely corresponding to reality I may give your education some more of my time.

                • Am I really as stupid as I seem? If I seem stupid, I’d be stupid to claim otherwise. Regarding the flag, Key certainly appeared to favour one particular option, guided the selection of it, promote it heavily through his comments and wearing it on his lapel, so yes, Key chose a flag but failed to get his choice accepted widely enough to have it replace the existing flag. What alternative to the process Key chose for the selection of a new flag? May I ask you a question in response that that, alwyn? Did you not read anything, any where on the topic of alternative approaches the Government might have taken to the choosing of a flag? If you were and are completely unaware of any discussion around the process, I’m not sure what sort of person you might be – some would say you’d have to have been living under a rock to have missed that debate, but as I’m not in favour of usingad hominem techniques in a debate, (though I note you have no such compunction) I won’t suggest that applies to you. I feel confident that you live in a house, though perhaps you don’t receive a newspaper and maybe your computer only sends, not receives.

            • Jim

              The press,national party people,and trolls like yourself always rubbish the current labour leader. Remember the nanny state cat call against Helen Clark and apologising for men’s violence toward women by David Cunliff as apologizing for being a man.This angry Andy thing is just one in a long line of personality bashing and to me shows that the blue machine must be really worried.

            • Johan

              To alwyn:
              The only fool here is you alwyn. You have been continually trying to knee-cap Andrew Little as leader of the opposition, just to voice your hatred for Labour.
              Bill English is hardly solid leadership material, I would give Little a head-start in that department.
              “He will argue either side of the debate, based merely on what pays him the most..” very immature of you alwyn.

    • greywarshark 2.2

      The Chairman
      I remember a few decades ago, Labour held conferences around the country talking to the people and asking what they thought was important. Would that up their profile, and bring them closer to a range of NZrs?

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.2.1

        In 2014 there were “Meet the Candidates” sessions in various centres to discuss disability issues.

        We attended the one in Hamilton and the one in Kaitaia. Notice was taken on who turned up and what they had to say. Looking back, NZ First fielded folk with the best working knowledge of the issues while some of us took the opportunity to put the National candidate in Hamilton on the griddle, and I understand some rather difficult questions were asked of Te Ureroa Flavell at the meeting in Wellington.

        I admit that many of us “veterans” went into those meeting resigned to the fact that it would be SSDD…having expectations of anything getting better in the near or distant future is asking for disappointment.

        If there were to be meetings such as you suggest greywarshark, they would have to be open to everyone…not just paid up party members.

      • The Chairman 2.2.2

        @ greywarshark

        There are a number of ways a Party can put their finger on the pulse of public opinion.

        Holding conferences around the country tend to only attract the truly interested.

        As well as rebuilding trust, Labour require to get more people interested, they need to create a buzz.

  3. Will Chester Borrows have a merry Christmas?
    His front-seat passenger/shot-gun rider seems to be happy enough.
    I wonder if anyone’s asked Paula for her version of events?

    • Jenny Kirk 3.1

      Paula will be like the three monkeys on this occasion, Robert G – see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. She probably had her eyes closed while Chester Borrows kept driving into those protestors.

      • Stunned Mullet 3.1.1

        Waste of court time and money.

        Chester should be wrapped over the hand with a wet bus ticket give the appropriate apology and that should be the end of it.

        • KJT

          Another one who thinks we should have open season on running people over/ Assualt with a deadly weapon it is properly called.

          A young brown person who ran over someones toe is still in Ngawha.

          • Stunned Mullet

            Are you still [deleted] KJT ?

            Chester should have stopped, let the protestors make dicks of themselves and allowed the police to remove them.

            That he drove slowly forward and managed to make them make even larger dicks of themselves was stupid, however, no one was seriously hurt.

            So as I said Chester should be wrapped over the hand with a wet bus ticket give the appropriate apology and that should be the end of it.

            Without knowing the circumstances of the incident you’re quoting it is difficult to offer any comment.

            [I’m taking that as a face value accusation. And banning you for two weeks off the back of it. It should probably be longer, but hey, it’s the season of good will and cheer.] – Bill

            • Robert Guyton

              “should have” agreed, Stunned Mullet, should have. “Legally obliged to” is another way of saying it. “No one was seriously hurt”, you say and that’s a good thing, but “not seriously hurt” is no legal defense against assault. So there it is and Chester and those of us interested in the case, await the judge’s decision. I wonder if Paula will be required to give evidence; What Paula Saw – or What Paula Said, would be interesting to know. We can speculate, for fun.

              • Stunned Mullet

                ..and the protesters are legallly obliged to not block the footpath Robert…

                Don’t you thing the courts have better things to waste their time on ?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Let’s face it, it just wouldn’t be fair to expect a National MP to show some personal responsibility, now would it: far better to have some Stunned Lickspittle minimise and deflect instead.

                • There was a consequence for the protester (injured foot) and there should be one for Chester as well – the judge will decide. Better things for the courts to do? No doubt. Many cases would fall into that category, however, the courts are there for the purpose of issues great and small. This is a case that interests me and others. If you have no interest in the issue, perhaps you could concern yourself with those “better things”, Stunned.

      • alwyn 3.1.2

        Politicians are like that.
        Remember the former Labour Party leader we had who claimed she never realised that he car night, just might, have been travelling at about twice the speed limit?
        Concentrating on important papers she said. The other MP present said he was close to terror at the speed they were travelling.

        • Robert Guyton

          The other MP wasn’t concentrating on important papers, plus, he was not a cool-as-a-cucumber Prime Minister.
          In any case, alwyn-of-the-long-and-bitter-memory, that was then, this is now. Chester was at the wheel and can’t claim to be “concentrating on important papers”…can he? Maybe that’s his defense! Or perhaps Paula had just dropped the “Key’s doing a runner and I’m gunna be Deputy” bombshell and he lost control of his foot.

          • alwyn

            Yes, it was a long time ago. It is of course just as long since we had a competent leader of the Labour Party.
            Keep the faith brother. Someday those glory years will return.
            I’m not going to hold my breath while I wait for them though.

            • Robert Guyton

              I thought, judging by some of your blue-faced comments, that you were.

            • Johan

              Why has Key been labelled a popular leader and what has he really done for New Zealand? Probably bugger all!

              • Agora

                People justified Hitler by saying he had them in some mystical thrall. Key projected confidence, that’s all. I could be more direct but I would probably get banned from this forum.

  4. Eyes closed and squealing? I doubt it. She’s no shrinking violet. She’d have been egging Chester on. Whatever it was she said, she’ll be keeping it close to her Chest.

  5. The decrypter 5

    Radio blearing Baubles Bangles and Beads,–heard nothing, your honor.

  6. Brigid 6

    “A French court on Monday convicted International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde of “negligence” for her role in a controversial €400 million payout to a French tycoon in 2008 while she was finance minister.

    The Court of Justice did not hand down a sentence, a decision welcomed by her lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve, as a “partial” victory.
    “We wanted a complete acquittal, instead we got a partial one,” said Maisonneuve. “The court has decided not to penalise her – in fact, the court even decided this should not go on Madame Lagarde’s criminal record.”

    The executive board representing the IMF’s 189 member countries reaffirmed its full confidence in Lagarde’s ability to lead the crisis lender, hours after the verdict was issued.

    Media in France seized on the guilty-without-punishment verdict, voicing indignation in editorials Tuesday morning. In the left-leaning daily Libération, Laurent Joffrin wrote, “The ordinary person answerable to the law, less apt to be handled with kid gloves, will draw from this the notion that the ordinary fellow, who doesn’t enjoy an ‘international reputation’, to quote the decision, will not be able to benefit from similar indulgence.””

    “…will not be able to benefit from similar indulgence.” Indeed!

    • Wensleydale 6.1

      Having influential friends makes all the difference. It’s nice to be reassured that justice isn’t blind, just mentally defective.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Have we ever got justice from our justice system?

        This letting the rich and famous off while hammering the poor has been going on for a long time.

  7. Draco T Bastard 9

    Celebrity isn’t just harmless fun – it’s the smiling face of the corporate machine

    The rise of celebrity culture did not happen by itself. It has long been cultivated by advertisers, marketers and the media. And it has a function. The more distant and impersonal corporations become, the more they rely on other people’s faces to connect them to their customers.

    Corporation means body; capital means head. But corporate capital has neither head nor body. It is hard for people to attach themselves to a homogenised franchise owned by a hedge fund whose corporate identity consists of a filing cabinet in Panama City. So the machine needs a mask. It must wear the face of someone we see as often as we see our next-door neighbours. It is pointless to ask what Kim Kardashian does to earn her living: her role is to exist in our minds. By playing our virtual neighbour, she induces a click of recognition on behalf of whatever grey monolith sits behind her this week.

    Why do people become obsessed with others in the MSM? Why do they allow themselves to be so overtly manipulated?

    • Paul 9.1

      Monbiot is one of my favourite writers.

      Here’s my list of commentators I enjoy.
      I’d love to hear other people’s suggestions….

      New Zealand
      Rachel Stewart
      Bryan Bruce
      Rod Oram
      Frank Macskasy
      Laila Harré
      John Minto

      Robert Fisk
      John PIlger
      George Monbiot
      George Galloway
      Owen Jones
      Patrick Cockburn
      Peter Hitchens ( my right wing entry)

      • Nick 9.1.1

        Jimmy Dore on YouTube I enjoy.

      • Carolyn_nth 9.1.2

        So there aren’t any international women commentators of note?

        I’d also include Jane Kelsey & Sue Bradford in NZ.

        And Naomi Klein internationally.

        Probably some others, too.

        oh, yeah – Morgan Godfery…

        tired this evening.

        and don’t really want to add some sort of celebrity worship of the above.

    • Siobhan 9.2

      Not wishing to derail the conversation;)

      For myself not a day goes by where I don’t question the ‘why’ of the masses. If its any consolation the existence of Bernie, Corbyn and Brexit (oh God, and Trump) are the first real cracks in the Manufacturing of Consent in the ‘West’.

    • Carolyn_nth 9.3

      Before celebrity culture, there was the Star system – Hollywood stars also performed a role within capitalism from the 1920s -1950s/60s.

      They were larger than life, glamorous fronts for US capitalist culture of individualism, the US dream, consumer products, and allegedly an egalitarian culture where individuals could speak out about their concerns. They were part of a magical world on the big screen, that took people out of their everyday lives and worries.

      Celebrity culture arose with shifts in both capitalism (to neoliberalism and corporate transnational dominance) and media/communications technologies.

      Celebrities appear on small screens, and started to arise in the 1980s with video technologies – where everyone could own movies in their own homes.

      Celebrities inhabit more of our everyday world, and are part of more interactive communications – people can phone/txt in their votes for reality TV celebs. And the rise of mobile technologies, and social media, shifted the celebrity culture even more into people’s everyday lives.

      I think the percentages of cultural coverage quoted, comparing early & later 20th century with 21st century, are misleading. Media and communications had changed. Late 20th century and 21st century media and communications saturate our lives in ways they never did earlier in the 20th century.

      Both Hollywood stars of past times, and more recent celebrity culture, sell a version of capitalism to the general population – albeit different versions.

  8. Rosemary McDonald 10

    The day is fast approaching when Hamilton and Auckland will be joined in a vast, sprawling megalopolis.

    Hamilton City Council has just released it’s Housing Accord…a la Auckland and Tauranga….

    …with the promise to free up more land for development and fast track consents.

    There may even be something in there to give hope to those seeking affordable housing….cue, Tui slogan.

    So, while huge tracts of fertile Waikato farm land is being subsumed into housing expansion, with the very real possibility that these developments will join up with the huge tracts of fertile South Auckland horticultural land also being converted….will the new inhabitants of these housing areas have the best vegetable gardens in New Zealand?

    There may very well be a silver lining here….

  9. Rosemary McDonald 11

    And from the ‘nothing better to do with their time’ file…our Friend Wayne, you know,
    Wayne ‘New Zealand’s never been in better shape’ Mapp is participating in a belated conversation over on Kiwibog about the Legatum Institute report putting NZ at the top of the most prosperous nation pile.

    And obviously because the discussion over on Kiwibog is so predictably formulaic, Friend Wayne has to share with the Kiwiboggers what Standardnistas are thinking about the economic state of the nation.

    I guess he thinks more of this site than I thought.

    • Paul 11.1

      ‘Legatum Limited, also known as Legatum, is a private investment firm headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a long-term perspective, Legatum invests proprietary capital in global capital markets.
      The Legatum Institute Foundation was established in 2007 as an independent non-partisan charitable public policy think-tank that seeks to understand what drives and restrains national success and individual flourishing. ‘

      So an extreme neo-liberal think-tank reckons we are great.

      We should be worried, not flattered.

      Pity the corporate media does not do a back check on these dodgy organisations.

      No wonder people don’t trust the msm any more.

    • KJT 11.2

      Notice bullshit Wayne actually starts by talking about GDP per capita, where we have got way behind Australia since our 80’s “reforms.

      But he fudges by using total GDP as an indication of our gains over Australia. As this is the result of immigration earthquakes and housing speculation. It is nothing to be proud of.

    • Jilly Bee 11.3

      Out of curiosity I had a look at Kiwiblog, held my nose and read the preceding comments to Wayne Mapp’s contribution. My initial reaction to these were ‘Wow, just wow’ – the ‘names’ of some of the commenters, to me are simply sickening and their comments are obviously par for the course of a blog of that nature. The vitriol, hostility, and contempt towards comments from those who vote other than for Act/National, unions and their members, women (including of course Helen Clark – still after all this time) was quite mind blowing and any moderate comments disagreeing with the theme got the big thumbs down. I felt quite sullied after a few minutes and got out of there. I realise that some of TS commenters are pretty robust at times but the clear majority are sensible and thought provoking. I noticed that a few of the commenters have cropped up on other blogs (including TS), I sometimes read and while they are forthright in their views they are not in the same league as the bile they feel at liberty to spew forth over at KB.

      • Rosemary McDonald 11.3.1

        Yep, Farrar’s little cesspit of barely veiled hate -speechers is an eye opener alright.

        Kiwibog, the home of the always, always right.

        It’s almost as if Farrar has taken it upon himself to keep hate alive.

        I think that actually there is Farrar, his disabled person hating mate Garrett and our mutual friend Wayne Mapp who are actually real individuals. The rest, I’m pretty sure are made up personas that enable Farrar to really let down what’s left of his hair on full noise slander and slagging.

        I could be wrong.

        Now watch one of the Standard mods step in and give me a ticking off for bald shaming. 😉

  10. Paul 12

    Peter Hitchens on Syria.
    Listen from 1:37:40

    • Paul 12.1

      And more from Hitchens.

      Peter Hitchens argues for Aleppo and Mosul as equivalent, says terrorists are being defeated in both.

      “To me the extraordinary thing about this [the events in eastern Aleppo City] is the attitude we have towards it. We still take a ‘something must be done’ view of Aleppo, when in fact what is happening is that the very, very nasty al-Nusra Front—the kind of people who a few years ago we were denouncing as al-Qaeda and regarding as hopelessly impossible Islamists—are being defeated. And that city [Aleppo] is finally going to come to the point where there will at least be peace. The only mercy in war is a swift victory and there hasn’t been a swift victory. But after seven—nearly seven—years of war in Syria it looks as if we might be reaching the point where Saudi Arabia, and us [Britain], and the French are going—and the Americans—are going to give up trying to overthrow a government, and people can at last begin to rebuild the country. …

      Our sources for this [that the pro-Assad coalition is systematically destroying civilian infrastructure] are people inside eastern Aleppo. There hasn’t, as far as I know, been a single, independent, Western journalist in eastern Aleppo. We rely entirely on propaganda sources, on pictures which always show wounded children being carried by noble, unarmed men in heaps of rubble. And we rely on this and we take it as read. You never see any of this kind of reporting from Mosul or from Fallujah, where similar things have happened, which have been done by our side. This blackening of the Russians just seems to me to be particularly ridiculous. The thing is nearly over. We should be pleased at least that they can start rebuilding.”

      The reality is that al-Qaeda in Syria, now rebranded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS) and ostensibly severed from al-Qaeda, had at most 900 fighters inside Aleppo City when this assault began, about 11% of a total insurgent force of 8,000, which has always been dominated in this area by nationalists.

      • Paul 12.1.1

        Amid the bombs of Aleppo, all you can hear are the lies.
        Peter Hitchens

        An excerpt

        In the past few days we have been bombarded with colourful reports of events in eastern Aleppo, written or transmitted by people in Beirut (180 miles away and in another country), or even London (2,105 miles away and in another world). There have, we are told, been massacres of women and children, people have been burned alive.

        The sources for these reports are so-called ‘activists’. Who are they? As far as I know, there was not one single staff reporter for any Western news organisation in eastern Aleppo last week. Not one.

        This is for the very good reason that they would have been kidnapped and probably murdered. The zone was ruled without mercy by heavily armed Osama Bin Laden sympathisers, who were bombarding the west of the city with powerful artillery (they frequently killed innocent civilians and struck hospitals, since you ask). That is why you never see pictures of armed males in eastern Aleppo, just beautifully composed photographs of handsome young unarmed men lifting wounded children from the rubble, with the light just right.
        The women are all but invisible, segregated and shrouded in black, just as in the IS areas, as we saw when they let them out.

        For reasons that I find it increasingly hard to understand or excuse, much of the British media refer to these Al Qaeda types coyly as ‘rebels’ (David Cameron used to call them ‘moderates’). But if they were in any other place in the world, including Birmingham or Belmarsh, they would call them extremists, jihadis, terrorists and fanatics. One of them, Abu Sakkar, famously cut out and sank his teeth into the heart of a fallen enemy, while his comrades cheered. This is a checked and verified fact, by the way.

        Sakkar later confirmed it to the BBC, when Western journalists still had contact with these people, and there is film of it if you care to watch. There is also film of a Syrian ‘rebel’ group,

        Nour al-din al Zenki, beheading a 12-year-old boy called Abdullah Issa. They smirk a lot. It is on the behalf of these ‘moderates’ that MPs staged a wholly one-sided debate last week, and on their behalf that so many people have been emoting equally one-sidedly over alleged massacres and supposed war crimes by Syrian and Russian troops – for which I have yet to see a single piece of independent, checkable evidence.

        When I used to travel a lot in the communist world, I especially hated the fact that almost every official announcement was a conscious lie, taunting the poor subjugated people with their powerlessness to challenge it.

        I would spend ages twiddling dials and shifting aerials to pick up the BBC World Service on my short-wave set – ‘the truth, read by gentlemen’ – because it refreshed the soul just to hear it. These days the state-sponsored lies have spread to my own country, and to the BBC, and I tell the truth as loudly as I can, simply because I cannot hear anyone else speaking it. If these lies go unchallenged, they will be the basis of some grave wrong yet to come.

        Read the whole article here.

        Amid the bombs of Aleppo, all you can hear are the lies

        • Paul

          So let’s review the situation….

          The following independent journalists have all questioned the propaganda being disseminated by the mainstream western media about Aleppo.

          Patrick Cockburn
          Peter Hitchens
          Robert Fisk
          John Pilger
          Peter Oborne
          Eva Bartlett

          Yet pm, Jenny, Peter Swift and others on this site disagree with them.
          What do they know that the 6 journalists above do not know?

          • Psycho Milt

            Peter Hitchens is a right-wing authoritarian (who would voluntarily describe themselves as a “Burkean conservative,” for fuck’s sake?) who works for the Daily Mail, so if you’re quoting him you should maybe re-think what you’re doing. Eva Bartlett is a Syrian regime shill. John Pilger’s a has-been with an obsession that everything bad that happens is somehow the work of the US government. The others actually are proper journalists but don’t appear to share your enthusiasm for the Assad regime.

            Also, you’re arguing from authority again. It doesn’t become less of a logical fallacy the more it’s repeated, you know.

            • Paul

              There’s more propaganda than news coming out of Aleppo this week
              The foreign media has allowed – through naivety or self-interest – people who could only operate with the permission of al-Qaeda-type groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham to dominate the news agenda.

              Patrick Cockburn

            • Paul

              There is more than one truth to tell in the heartbreaking story of Aleppo

              But it’s time to tell the other truth: that many of the “rebels” whom we in the West have been supporting – and which our preposterous Prime Minister Theresa May indirectly blessed when she grovelled to the Gulf head-choppers last week – are among the cruellest and most ruthless of fighters in the Middle East. And while we have been tut-tutting at the frightfulness of Isis during the siege of Mosul (an event all too similar to Aleppo, although you wouldn’t think so from reading our narrative of the story), we have been willfully ignoring the behaviour of the rebels of Aleppo.

              Robert Fisk


            • Paul

              For the past few weeks, British news-papers have been informing their readers about two contrasting battles in the killing grounds of the Middle East. One is Mosul, in northern Iraq, where western reporters are accompanying an army of liberation as it frees a joyful population from terrorist control. The other concerns Aleppo, just a few hundred miles to the west. This, apparently, is the exact opposite. Here, a murderous dictator, hellbent on destruction, is waging war on his own people.

              Both these narratives contain strong elements of truth. There is no question that President Assad and his Russian allies have committed war crimes, and we can all agree that Mosul will be far better off without Isis. Nevertheless, the situations in Mosul and Aleppo are fundamentally identical. In both cases, forces loyal to an internationally recognised government are attacking well-populated cities, with the aid of foreign air power. These cities are under the control of armed groups or terrorists, who are holding a proportion of their population hostage.

              A further double standard concerns the reporting of Russian and Syrian atrocities. Much has — rightly — been made of the so-called barrel bombs dropped on Aleppo by the Russians. Yet rebel commanders in eastern Aleppo use equally hideous weapons. Last April, fighters from Jaish al-Islam, backed by Saudi Arabia and considered moderate enough that American diplomats retain relations with them, admitted to using chemical weapons against the Kurds in Aleppo. This attack received almost no attention from the media, and failed to generate the faintest outrage in Britain.

              Jaish al-Islam employ a so-called ‘hell cannon’ to fire gas canisters and shrapnel weighing up to 40 kilograms into civilian areas. These are every bit as murderous as the barrel bombs. Reports in the western press have suggested that hell cannons are examples of the engineering ingenuity of plucky rebels. Few journalists have dwelled on the fact that these improvised weapons have been deliberately used to kill hundreds of Aleppo civilians.

              Yet another double standard applies to the destruction of hospitals. When I was in Aleppo, I interviewed Mohamad El-Hazouri, head of the department of health, at the Razi hospital. He told me that when rebel groups entered the city they put six of the 16 hospitals out of service, as well as 100 of the 201 health centres, and wiped out the ambulance service.


              Peter Oborne

              • And your point is?

                • Paul

                  You can’t work it out?


                  All 3 of these independent journalists have all questioned the propaganda being disseminated by the mainstream western media about Aleppo.

                  • They’ve all pointed out that the rebel forces in east Aleppo include some very unpleasant people, yes. Which actually hasn’t been concealed from us by our media, because we all knew about it before we read Fisk et al’s pieces on it. You keep quoting them and posting excerpts from their work as if they’d somehow proved that it’s actually OK for the Assad regime and its patrons to be carrying out indiscriminate bombardment of rebel-held cities, but they haven’t proved anything of the kind, or tried to prove it, and would probably be horrified that you’re trying to misrepresent their work in that way.

            • Paul

              John PIlger is a proper journalist by anyone;s standards – except yours.
              Here is is most recent film.
              The Coming War on China.

            • Paul

              Peter Hitchens may be right wing and he may right for the Mail. I disagree with him on most things, like George Galloway does.
              However, he is not an establishment figure on several issues.
              A great deal more independent thinker than the establishment corporate media you get your ideas from.

              Clearly you did not watch this or if you did, you did not understand what he was saying.

              • Well, sure. Famous right-wing authoritarian Peter Hitchens shares your enthusiasm for authoritarian nationalist dictatorships. That’s not something to be proud of.

          • Paul

            Eva Bartlett appears brave and independent to me.
            And seems to have the authority of the United Nations behind her at this press conference.
            Here she schools a mainstream journalist about their biased coverage.

            • Psycho Milt

              Eva Bartlett appears brave and independent to me.

              That’s your problem in a nutshell. Someone who’s plainly a regime shill, embarrassingly-obviously so, appears to you “brave and independent.” It explains the risible propaganda you post to this blog every day all by itself.

          • Jenny

            Opinion is still opinion no matter how ilustrious the source. It pays to try and discuss the facts. Contest them if you can.

            What I find with most Assad supporters is that instead of defending or challenging the facts I put up, they tend to talk right past or simply just ignore them if it dosen’t fit their narrative.

  11. Draco T Bastard 13

    Found out why RWNJs always try to rewrite history:

    On 11 August 2015, the popular gonzo news site VICE published a story about a conspiracy theory surrounding the children’s storybook characters the Berenstain Bears. The theory went like this: many people remember that the bears’ name was spelt “Berenstein” – with an “e” – but pictures and old copies proved it was always spelt with an “a”. The fact that so many people had the same false memory was seen as concrete proof of the supernatural.

    “Berenstein” truthers believe in something called the “Mandela Effect”: a theory that a large group of people with the same false memory used to live in a parallel universe (the name comes from those who fervently believe that Nelson Mandela died while in prison). VICE’s article about the theory was shared widely, leading thousands of people to r/MandelaEffect, a subreddit for those with false memories to share their experiences.

    Yep. They’re all from a different dimension. 😈

  12. joe90 14

    Dude spent three years writing a chapter by chapter review of the book without orcs.

    Atlas Shrugged


    A Novel for the 1% (March 22, 2013)
    Atlas Shrugged is more popular than ever among economic conservatives, precisely because it offers a full-blown defense of rapacious, predatory capitalism in a time of vast inequality.

  13. Fisiani 15

    Celtic 14 points clear. National 14 points ahead. It’s going to be a great 2017.

    • mac1 15.1

      Was that an answer to a question?

      • Fisiani 15.1.1

        Celtic and National are always the right answer.

        • joe90

          Celtic, huh

        • Draco T Bastard

          So, what you’re saying is that I should embrace my Celtic heritage and go medieval on your heinie right?

        • mac1

          So the answer to a question about, say, had you been asked one of course, which no-one would do since you never ever answer awkward questions, house prices along the lines of, oh I dunno, try “Why are there insufficient builders, fisiani?”, then the answer would be Celtic and National?

          Well, bugger me. you’re half right. It is National’s fault that the number of apprentices has fallen by nearly half since 2008, and that this is al;so the answer to why there are insufficient builders.

          Yay, fisiani. At last a true answer. Well done!

          The other answer, Celtic, is also true because of the number of Irish builders brought into the country after the failure of the Celtic Tiger.

          100% accuracy, fisiani.

    • swordfish 15.3

      Fisi “Celtic 14 points clear. National 14 points ahead. It’s going to be a great 2017”

      Here you go, sweetness …

      Compared to last Election, Lab+Green up 7 points, Opposition Bloc up 5, Right Bloc down 5. Nat’s lead over Lab+Green slashed from 11 points to a mere 2.

      Incidentally, my little Tory cheerleader, one minute your implying you’re of Noble Black African birth*, next moment you’re apparently a Catholic Glaswegian from Pollokshields , immersed in the Old Firm Rivalry (“See you, Wee Jimmy“).

      Whit are ye daein ya dobber !, Make your mind up, ya wee dunderheed.


  14. Paul 16

    ‘Listening to the voices’: UK priest goes to Aleppo to ‘see what’s really going on’

  15. Draco T Bastard 18

    Globalization Doesn’t Make as Much Sense as It Used To

    It has been largely forgotten that one of the key objectives of postwar free-trade policy was to maintain a roughly balanced trade account—a goal that the country is likely about to pursue anew and that will likely affect its policies touching on not just trade, but investments, currency, technology, and labor as well.

    Which, of course, is why we have floating currencies but they’ve been set to float incorrectly being based upon demand rather than actual trade-weighting. This has resulted in a huge misalignment in the economy and such action as the 1987 attack on our own currency by Kreiger and our own John Key.

    Trade-weighting would have to take into account the actual balance of trade, the balance of payments, working conditions, the minimum wage and other factors. In other words, all the things that are ignored by present FTAs.

  16. Paul 20

    ‘Fake News’ in America: Homegrown, and Far From New
    Chris Hedges

    The media landscape in America is dominated by “fake news.” It has been for decades. This fake news does not emanate from the Kremlin. It is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry that is skillfully designed and managed by public relations agencies, publicists and communications departments on behalf of individuals, government and corporations to manipulate public opinion. This propaganda industry stages pseudo-events to shape our perception of reality. The public is so awash in these lies, delivered 24 hours a day through electronic devices and print, that viewers and readers can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction.

    There are established journalists who have spent their entire careers repackaging press releases or attending official briefings or press conferences—I knew several when I was with The New York Times. They work as stenographers to the powerful. Many such reporters are highly esteemed in the profession…..

    ……The corporations that own media outlets, unlike the old newspaper empires, view news as simply another revenue stream. Revenue streams compete inside a corporation. When the news division does not make what is seen as enough profit, the ax comes down. Content is irrelevant. The courtiers in the press, beholden to their corporate overlords, cling ferociously to their privileged and well-compensated perches. Because they slavishly serve the interests of corporate power, they are hated by America’s workers, whom they have rendered invisible. They deserve the hate they get…….

    ……….The object of fake news is to shape public opinion by creating fictional personalities and emotional responses that overwhelm reality. Hillary Clinton, contrary to how she often was portrayed during the recent presidential campaign, never fought on behalf of women and children—she was an advocate for the destruction of a welfare system in which 70 percent of the recipients were children. She is a tool of the big banks, Wall Street and the war industry. Pseudo-events were created to maintain the fiction of her concern for women and children, her compassion and her connections to ordinary people. Trump never has been a great businessman. He has a long history of bankruptcies and shady business practices. But he played the fictional role of a titan of finance on his reality television show, “The Apprentice.”……………

    …….Images, which are how most people now ingest information, are especially prone to being made into fake news. Language, as the cultural critic Neil Postman wrote, “makes sense only when it is presented as a sequence of propositions. Meaning is distorted when a word or sentence is, as we say, taken out of context; when a reader or a listener is deprived of what was said before and after.” Images do not have a context. They are “visible in a different way.” Images, especially when they are delivered in long, rapid-fire segments, dismember and distort reality. The condition “recreates the world in a series of idiosyncratic events.”………..

    ………..A populace divorced from print and bombarded by discordant and random images is robbed of the vocabulary as well as the historical and cultural context to articulate reality. Illusion is truth. A whirlwind of emotionally driven cant feeds our historical amnesia.

    The internet has accelerated this process. It, along with cable news shows, has divided the country into antagonistic clans. Members of a clan watch the same images and listen to the same narratives, creating a collective “reality.” Fake news abounds in these virtual slums. Dialogue is shut down. Hatred of opposing clans fosters a herd mentality. Those who express empathy for “the enemy” are denounced by their fellow travelers for their supposed impurity. This is as true on the left as it is on the right. These clans and herds, fed a steady diet of emotionally driven fake news, gave rise to Trump.

    Trump is adept at communicating through image, sound bites and spectacle. Fake news, which already dominates print and television reporting, will define the media under his administration. Those who call out the mendacity of fake news will be vilified and banished. The corporate state created this monstrous propaganda machine and bequeathed it to Trump. He will use it.

  17. Paul 21

    ‘This is a huge waste of taxpayer money’
    Families are facing a bleak Christmas in cramped motel rooms that are costing taxpayers thousands of dollars each week.

  18. Paul 22

    There is a complete Bias in the Western Media
    Press Conference at the United Nations against propaganda and regime change, for peace and national sovereignty.

  19. Paul 23

    East Aleppo residents tell of living under al Qaeda rule.
    Interview by Vanessa Beeley, December 2016

  20. Paul 24

    Eva Bartlett spoke in Santa Cruz, California on December 14, 2016.
    Her speech contextualizes and demystifies the mainstream media portrayal of current events happening on the ground in Aleppo, Syria.

  21. Paul 25

    The BBC has form on bias.
    Just ask the Scots.

  22. Agora 26

    Hey Psycho, that is a ‘Hakenkreuz’ .. broken cross .. any way you cut it.
    Symbols have meanings. It may be very ‘post-modern’ to play with them, but you will still get strong emotional reactions. I’m off to bed ..

  23. Draco T Bastard 27

    This is the type of manufacturing that 3D printing will be replacing first.

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    National: The Party of ‘Law and Order’ IntroductionThis weekend, the Government formally kicked off one of their flagship policy programs: a military style boot camp that New Zealand has experimented with over the past 50 years. Cartoon credit: Guy BodyIt’s very popular with the National Party’s Law and Order image, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • A friend in uncertain times

    Day one of the solo leg of my long journey home begins with my favourite sound: footfalls in an empty street. 5.00 am and it’s already light and already too warm, almost.If I can make the train that leaves Budapest later this hour I could be in Belgrade by nightfall; ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • The Chaotic World of Male Diet Influencers

    Hi,We’ll get to the horrific world of male diet influencers (AKA Beefy Boys) shortly, but first you will be glad to know that since I sent out the Webworm explaining why the assassination attempt on Donald Trump was not a false flag operation, I’ve heard from a load of people ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • It's Starting To Look A Lot Like… Y2K

    Do you remember Y2K, the threat that hung over humanity in the closing days of the twentieth century? Horror scenarios of planes falling from the sky, electronic payments failing and ATMs refusing to dispense cash. As for your VCR following instructions and recording your favourite show - forget about it.All ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 20

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts being questioned by The Kākā’s Bernard Hickey.TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 20 were:1. A strategy that fails Zero Carbon Act & Paris targetsThe National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government finally unveiled ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Pharmac Director, Climate Change Commissioner, Health NZ Directors – The latest to quit this m...

    Summary:As New Zealand loses at least 12 leaders in the public service space of health, climate, and pharmaceuticals, this month alone, directly in response to the Government’s policies and budget choices, what lies ahead may be darker than it appears. Tui examines some of those departures and draws a long ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Flooding Housing Policy

    The Minister of Housing’s ambition is to reduce markedly the ratio of house prices to household incomes. If his strategy works it would transform the housing market, dramatically changing the prospects of housing as an investment.Leaving aside the Minister’s metaphor of ‘flooding the market’ I do not see how the ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted (Again!)

    As previously noted, my historical fantasy piece, set in the fifth-century Mediterranean, was accepted for a Pirate Horror anthology, only for the anthology to later fall through. But in a good bit of news, it turned out that the story could indeed be re-marketed as sword and sorcery. As of ...
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Friday, July 19

    An employee of tobacco company Philip Morris International demonstrates a heated tobacco device. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Friday, July 19 are:At a time when the Coalition Government is cutting spending on health, infrastructure, education, housing ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 8:30 am on Friday, July 19 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products. The minister has ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-July-2024

    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure

    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    7 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    7 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    7 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket. to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    1 week ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    1 week ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago

  • Kiwis having their say on first regulatory review

    After receiving more than 740 submissions in the first 20 days, Regulation Minister David Seymour is asking the Ministry for Regulation to extend engagement on the early childhood education regulation review by an extra two weeks.  “The level of interest has been very high, and from the conversations I’ve been ...
    3 hours ago
  • Government upgrading Lower North Island commuter rail

    The Coalition Government is investing $802.9 million into the Wairarapa and Manawatū rail lines as part of a funding agreement with the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), KiwiRail, and the Greater Wellington and Horizons Regional Councils to deliver more reliable services for commuters in the lower North Island, Transport Minister Simeon ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government moves to ensure flood protection for Wairoa

    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced his intention to appoint a Crown Manager to both Hawke’s Bay Regional and Wairoa District Councils to speed up the delivery of flood protection work in Wairoa."Recent severe weather events in Wairoa this year, combined with damage from Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023 have ...
    18 hours ago
  • PM speech to Parliament – Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Report into Abuse in Care

    Mr Speaker, this is a day that many New Zealanders who were abused in State care never thought would come. It’s the day that this Parliament accepts, with deep sorrow and regret, the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.  At the heart of this report are the ...
    20 hours ago
  • Government acknowledges torture at Lake Alice

    For the first time, the Government is formally acknowledging some children and young people at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital experienced torture. The final report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State and Faith-based Care “Whanaketia – through pain and trauma, from darkness to light,” was tabled in Parliament ...
    20 hours ago
  • Government acknowledges courageous abuse survivors

    The Government has acknowledged the nearly 2,400 courageous survivors who shared their experiences during the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State and Faith-Based Care. The final report from the largest and most complex public inquiry ever held in New Zealand, the Royal Commission Inquiry “Whanaketia – through ...
    20 hours ago
  • Half a million people use tax calculator

    With a week to go before hard-working New Zealanders see personal income tax relief for the first time in fourteen years, 513,000 people have used the Budget tax calculator to see how much they will benefit, says Finance Minister Nicola Willis.  “Tax relief is long overdue. From next Wednesday, personal income ...
    24 hours ago
  • Paid Parental Leave improvements pass first reading

    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden says a bill that has passed its first reading will improve parental leave settings and give non-biological parents more flexibility as primary carer for their child. The Regulatory Systems Amendment Bill (No3), passed its first reading this morning. “It includes a change ...
    1 day ago
  • Rebuilding the economy through better regulation

    Two Bills designed to improve regulation and make it easier to do business have passed their first reading in Parliament, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. The Regulatory Systems (Economic Development) Amendment Bill and Regulatory Systems (Immigration and Workforce) Amendment Bill make key changes to legislation administered by the Ministry ...
    1 day ago
  • ‘Open banking’ and ‘open electricity’ on the way

    New legislation paves the way for greater competition in sectors such as banking and electricity, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly says. “Competitive markets boost productivity, create employment opportunities and lift living standards. To support competition, we need good quality regulation but, unfortunately, a recent OECD report ranked New ...
    1 day ago
  • Charity lotteries to be permitted to operate online

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says lotteries for charitable purposes, such as those run by the Heart Foundation, Coastguard NZ, and local hospices, will soon be allowed to operate online permanently. “Under current laws, these fundraising lotteries are only allowed to operate online until October 2024, after which ...
    2 days ago
  • Accelerating Northland Expressway

    The Coalition Government is accelerating work on the new four-lane expressway between Auckland and Whangārei as part of its Roads of National Significance programme, with an accelerated delivery model to deliver this project faster and more efficiently, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “For too long, the lack of resilient transport connections ...
    2 days ago
  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

    Sir Don McKinnon will travel to Viet Nam this week as a Special Envoy of the Government, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.    “It is important that the Government give due recognition to the significant contributions that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made to New Zealand-Viet Nam relations,” Mr ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says newly appointed Commissioner, Grant Illingworth KC, will help deliver the report for the first phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, due on 28 November 2024.  “I am pleased to announce that Mr Illingworth will commence his appointment as ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters travels to Laos this week to participate in a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led Ministerial meetings in Vientiane.    “ASEAN plays an important role in supporting a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Mr Peters says.   “This will be our third visit to ...
    2 days ago
  • Backing mental health services on the West Coast

    Construction of a new mental health facility at Te Nikau Grey Hospital in Greymouth is today one step closer, Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey says. “This $27 million facility shows this Government is delivering on its promise to boost mental health care and improve front line services,” Mr Doocey says. ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ support for sustainable Pacific fisheries

    New Zealand is committing nearly $50 million to a package supporting sustainable Pacific fisheries development over the next four years, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This support consisting of a range of initiatives demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to assisting our Pacific partners ...
    2 days ago
  • Students’ needs at centre of new charter school adjustments

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says proposed changes to the Education and Training Amendment Bill will ensure charter schools have more flexibility to negotiate employment agreements and are equipped with the right teaching resources. “Cabinet has agreed to progress an amendment which means unions will not be able to initiate ...
    2 days ago
  • Commissioner replaces Health NZ Board

    In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.  “The previous government’s botched health reforms have created significant financial challenges at Health NZ that, without ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    3 days ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    5 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    5 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    6 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    6 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    6 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    6 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    1 week ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    1 week ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    1 week ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    1 week ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    1 week ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    1 week ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    1 week ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    1 week ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    1 week ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    1 week ago

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