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Open mike 24/11/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, November 24th, 2019 - 115 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step up to the mike …

115 comments on “Open mike 24/11/2019 ”

  1. joe90 1

    This could be a very big deal.

    A Chinese spy has risked his life to defect to Australia and is now offering a trove of unprecedented inside intelligence on how China conducts its interference operations abroad.

    Wang “William” Liqiang is the first Chinese operative to ever blow his cover. He has revealed the identities of China’s senior military intelligence officers in Hong Kong, as well as providing details of how they fund and conduct political interference operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.

    […]

    In interviews with The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes, he has revealed in granular detail how Beijing covertly controls listed companies to fund intelligence operations, including the surveillance and profiling of dissidents and the co-opting of media organisations.

    He has given previously unheard details about the kidnapping of five booksellers from Hong Kong and their rendition to the Chinese mainland. His testimony shows how Beijing’s spies are infiltrating Hong Kong’s democracy movement, manipulating Taiwan’s elections and operating with impunity in Australia.

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/defecting-chinese-spy-offers-information-trove-to-australian-government-20191122-p53d1l.html

  2. Ad 2

    Shoutout to Minister of Justice Andrew Little for largely restoring the right to vote to prisoners.

    Those serving over 3 years still don't.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.1

      It was a massive effort by Arthur Taylor, lawyer Francois, and the Greens, to get through the system and convince the Judiciary, Appeal Court, and finally Minister Little.

      The principle of prisoner voting and enrolment has been won, it is a matter of extending it.

      As Green MP Golriz says…”you don’t get human rights for being good, you get them for being human”

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        'Won' until wreckers like the Nats next get into power. Their current frontperson has promised the same already.

        • Janice 2.1.1.1

          Until Winston decides to block it.

          • Sacha 2.1.1.1.1

            Wouldn't he be more inclined to double down?

            • Sacha 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry, I meant under a future Nat govt. I take the point about his sad history in the current one.

              • Dukeofurl

                Sadder being in opposition though …

                National 56 seats

                NZ First 9 seats

                Greens + Labour is 54 seats.

          • Dukeofurl 2.1.1.1.2

            Cabinet approval has occurred , so NZF is on board.

            Little isnt 'leaving it up to staffers' like before who bungled similar changes including those in NZF. What ever happened to Ministers being involved in the detail of offices work, now its like Hollywood – get your people to talk to my people.

      • mac1 2.1.2

        If you penalised all those who broke the law by removing their vote, including speedsters, tax evaders, drunk/drugged drivers, owners of illegal arms, the violent, the bullies and the thieves, then what kind of a government would we have, elected by the fully law-abiding, what party would succeed?

          • Dukeofurl 2.1.2.1.1

            Have you seen Nick Smiths rap sheet

            Contempt of family court

            Witness tampering

            defamation , settled with money and abject apology.

            • Sacha 2.1.2.1.1.1

              If Smith had not had the public purse to fund his many trips to court over the years because of his loose mouth, he would be bankrupt many times over.

        • JO 2.1.2.2

          Maybe a slightly more she'll we'll be right version of this?

          https://www.truthdig.com/articles/will-americas-billionaires-start-a-second-civil-war/

          Donald Trump:

          With us in charge, we will keep you safe and happy and you really don’t need to concern yourself with the complicated work of governance. You don’t want to ‘tear down’ or ‘shake up’ the system: having a stable group of very wealthy people control the government has always led to the greatest level of stability and peace—look how stable Europe was for a thousand years when royal families and their landed gentry ruled. We’re the ones chosen by God or a brilliant DNA lineage to lead. Just go shopping and leave things to us.

          • Ad 2.1.2.2.1

            That's pretty much the state of affairs in Queenstown-Lakes District Council.

            Check out their District Plan for the rabbit-hole care-outs for specific developments.

            And of course the number of billionaire end-time estates in which the locals are basically groundskeepers. A manicured plutocracy.

            In Queenstown and Wanaka, we're living most our lives living in a gangsta's paradise.

            • weka 2.1.2.2.1.1

              Where the local council petitions the government for a special exemption from national legislation, because rich people.

              • Graeme

                Have you got a link here Weka? The only one I can think of is the visitor levy Which government have said they will consider

                The alternative is to spread the costs imposed by visitors once they leave their accomodation across general ratepayers. Before the mid 90's Queenstown had a considerable loading on the sewerage rate for visitor accomodation that was to pay for tourist related costs around the district. That got axed in rating legislation changes / tightening around then.

                It's not about "rich people", rather not having to impose those costs on the "poor people" of the district.

                • weka

                  I was thinking about Labour's restrictions on selling housing to overseas owners. From memory QLDC submitted to get an exemption because of the perceived value to the area of wealthy people who like to fly in and out but don't have residency.

                  Here we go,

                  The Queenstown council submission says if the exemptions are not made "the shock to the luxury housing market will be considerable"

                  https://www.interest.co.nz/property/93297/governments-coming-under-pressure-make-changes-and-exemptions-its-legislation-barring

                  • Graeme

                    Yeah, fair point, but viewed in the context of the process of testing and refining legislation as it goes through the parliamentary process this is quite normal. At the time there were quite a few developments in train that could have gone tits up if their markets had been cut off. The effects of this would have hurt the small contractors and staff working on them much ore than the developers who bounced on to the next deal / company.

                    With the glorious benefit of hindsight, the effect on property markets and development has been pretty much nil, just a shift from those who can't get residency easily to those that can, or don't need to. And maybe forcing people to go down the residency path resulting in more committed purchasers. An agent I know in that market was pretty grumpy at the time, he's got his smile back now.

                    • weka

                      There's something disturbing about a council that will make that kind of submission but cannot (or will not) sort out its housing crisis. In both cases it seems like the priority is making money rather than attending to the wellbeing of the community and the citizens that live there.

                      Not that QLDC is alone in this, it's common to varying degrees in most councils. Just more obvious and pronounced with QLDC.

                    • Graeme

                      I wouldn't say QLDC isn't doing anything about the housing issues in the district, there's the Housing Trust and the new District Plan has a dramatic loosening of residential flat provisions which make it much easier for established families to house another generation, past or future. There's also over 1000 high density appartments in various stages of construction, most of which are Trust, KiwiBuild or otherwise destined to worker / staff housing rather than the open market.

                      But the perverse thing about housing in Queenstown Lakes or Central Otago is that increasing supply results in a many more times increase in demand. Unfortunately it's been like that since at least 1862 and the only thing that has any effect is a really good downturn, which the place does with bells and whistles.

                    • weka []

                      they’re trying to do things, but it’s not working. I would say they’re a reflection of the wider NZ housing crisis. They’re still prioritising making money over the needs of residents.

                      “But the perverse thing about housing in Queenstown Lakes or Central Otago is that increasing supply results in a many more times increase in demand”

                      Yep, and the conversation there should be about capping development until the housing crisis is fixed*. That would be heresy of course, but my point stands about prioritising wealthy people.

                      *do all the other things as well like rent caps, better tenancy protections, social housing and so on.

                    • Graeme

                      I'm intrigued why you think that the housing issues in Queenstown are different to Remuera, Khandallah or Fendalton, or any other desirable location. Would you promote affordable housing for all in those locations as well?

                      Arrowtown has a cap on development through an urban growth boundary. The effect this has had is to make 60's and 70's cribs worth near a million and effectively throw the community that built from that period out of town as flash money rolled into town and took over the place.

                      We have doubled our population in the last 10 years, so well over half our population aren't from here. There's considerable churn as well, so the long term local population is incredibly small. All that increase is discretionary, no one has to live here and there's effectively no economy outside tourism, which doesn't pay many million dollar mortgages, and building houses to house people to build more houses.

                      You could be really cynical and say that cash burn is the main driver of Queenstown's economy and not be far from the truth.

                      Sometimes I wonder if things would be any different if we actually did have a total halt on new green field development, allowed property prices to go through the stratosphere, and forced employers to provide staff accomodation. Then the only way you could live here would be if you had a job with accomodation, or could pay the open market rents, which would be up in the stratosphere along with property prices. Although the price would moderate demand, just like it does in Remuera, Khandallah or Fendalton.

                    • weka []

                      “I’m intrigued why you think that the housing issues in Queenstown are different to Remuera, Khandallah or Fendalton, or any other desirable location. Would you promote affordable housing for all in those locations as well?”

                      Interesting question. I don’t see the QLDC area as akin to a wealthy suburb in a much large city (nor even Queenstown), but sure, why shouldn’t low income people live in Queenstown? Unless you are proposing to set a minimum wage of something like $30/hr, people will still need affordable housing. The difference with Fendalton is that there are other places in Chch that people on lower incomes can live. The housing crisis of course is changing all that.

                      “Arrowtown has a cap on development through an urban growth boundary. The effect this has had is to make 60’s and 70’s cribs worth near a million and effectively throw the community that built from that period out of town as flash money rolled into town and took over the place.”

                      I didn’t say put a cap on and do nothing else. I said put a cap on and then do all the things needed to solve the housing crisis. I think your example proves my point. All communities need affordable housing, and to get that needs multiple interventions.

                      My perspective on the economy (and again, thinking the whole area, not just the Queenstown, but probably now CODC as well, because as far as I can tell the housing crisis has spread) is that mass tourism must fail because of climate change, so better to start designing a different economic base, and if that’s happening may as well make it steady state given the bleeding obvious physical limits of the Wakatipu Basin. The QL area is also precarious in terms of the Alpine fault shifting. Intervention from council and govt isn’t necessarily going to raise housing costs, although I appreciate the bizarreness of making this argument for Queenstown given it is primarily driven by money. Still a goldmining town.

                      Back to QLDC. My preference is that the central govt regulates to force councils to make communities and residents the direct priority not asset management that is somehow meant to flow into benefits for the people that live in an area. Because QLDC *should be making housing crisis solutions part of their core function and they’re not even close to that.

      • Anne 2.1.3

        What is more, it can be an opening through which the mindset of a serial criminal could be changed and successful rehabilitation rates improved.

        Don't expect the tunnel visioned National Party conservatives to be able to comprehend such an outcome though.

      • greywarshark 2.1.4

        You can be as human as you are driven to be, but to live in a community, a culture, you had better have respect for how being a human in that culture is, or you can be cast out. Airy fairy statements from people who have learned about life in theories, or in dreams of a better life don't hold water. Bob Dylan sang a song that

    • millsy 2.2

      I always thought this was a test run for removing the franchise from other groups later on down the track.

      First prisoners currently serving..

      …then those on parole

      …then those with criminal conviction

      …then those on benefits or unemployed

      …then those who dont own property..

      • Incognito 2.2.1

        There’s not test as such, it’s already underway and in full swing. They don’t even have to use force or threats. To paraphrase Sacha Baron Cohen:

        Plutocracy, based on shared apathy, is on the march.

        Combine that with a powerful quote (HT to greywarshark):

        Apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable.

        I think these two short sentences or statements rather sum up our current predicament quite ‘nicely’.

        • Dukeofurl 2.2.1.1

          The full quote – from John Stott is

          One might say apathy is the acceptance of the unacceptable , whereas leadership begins with a decisive refusal to do so. How can we tolerate what God finds intolerable

          The overall context was something about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah

          • Incognito 2.2.1.1.1

            Thank you and in what other ways does this contribute to the thread?

            • Dukeofurl 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Open mike … its an amuse bouche

              • Incognito

                We were already on the mains.

                • Dukeofurl

                  from this

                  It sort of didnt get mentioned who was the philosopher- prince-activist who coined the phrase.

                  I suppose that Stott, an upper class anglican priest was of the leaders of world wide evangelist movement wasnt something you want to make reference to.

                  • Incognito

                    I suppose you’re attributing ulterior motives to me, which annoys me immensely at the best of times.

                    I took the quote from greywarshark’s comment (hence the HT) that you linked to and did not know about the full quote nor that it was from Stott or even who he was.

                    • Dukeofurl

                      " Snips of Quotes used like art prints – because they look & sound good enrich all our lives and can act as signposts to where we've been and are going" – dukeofurl

                    • greywarshark

                      And I got the quote from a site that I noted on my comment. It would be good if people didn't try to interfere and snipe at comments trying to stamp out ideas for consideration and to participate.

                    • Dukeofurl

                      So says Sniper in chief.

      • greywarshark 2.2.2

        True millsy. I think I didn't like that all-embracing sound of having everything just because you are human, thing. I would like another option that jailed people can vote, but some are kept out of the community all their life, with a reasonable life but away behind lock and key. Others would serve a suspended sentence where they work on their attitudes, talk out most of the s..t and learn a different way to handle the rest, and then go out and practice it. Which would agree with Andrew Little's thought to encourage people to become treasured parts of society.

        Etta James with Bob Dylan's Gotta Serve Somebody.

        (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwkOdv443_o&index=7&list=PLMXRJyeLJ82rcOEMz1m3cPgafFzyiPcVr

        • Incognito 2.2.2.1

          They are still members of and part of our society albeit incarcerated for a period. They have friends and family in the community and they will join the community again upon their release. It seems it is easier to hang on to a knighthood than to keep your voting rights.

      • McFlock 2.2.3

        yup. Like in the US.

  3. dv 3

    Report in Herald re doggy website over charging for the NZ eVisa

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12287510

    Google is sort of helping by taking the fraudulent sites down, but a search still bring them up

    What struck me was INZ response.

    "INZ said any travellers who had used a third party site and were concerned about the validity of their NZeTA should go back to the site they bought it through.

    "INZ is unable to assist in those circumstances, as the transaction is between the traveller and the site they used," Dunstan said."

    Like a fraudulent site will say OOPs, yess the visa is wrong

    AND

    Dont INZ have a list of visas? – Are they taking visas from the fraudulent sites too?

    Sort of weird

    • Dukeofurl 3.1

      These other sites , when legit, just act like a portal to the real NZeTA site. As many countries offer e visas for holiday travel etc its a common scam to either charge way over the top to just make a legit application ( and pay INZ their fee) or they dont really make a full application at all, keep all the money , and lie to you about having a valid e visa.

  4. Sacha 5

    Revealing interview on The Hui with serial activist and first-generation migrant Lisa Prager about mana whenua and Mt Albert – brilliant example of giving someone enough rope (9m): https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/11/meet-the-activists-trying-to-stop-native-trees-being-planted-on-mt-albert.html

    • Dukeofurl 5.1

      They arent stopping native trees being planted…. the mountain has had 100s of new native trees planted in the last year.

      Its wholesale cutting of significant trees thats will denude the entire mountain thats the issue.

      Another falsehood in the story is they have been given resource consent to remove trees, they havent. Its a management plan for all the maunga which covers in a vague way many issues , only a sentence or two mentions vegetation management as though it was peripheral matter.

      • Sacha 5.1.1

        Are you seriously asking us to believe that no resource consent has been granted for this work? Links please. Love to see where you are getting that idea from.

        • Dukeofurl 5.1.1.1

          They always refer back to the management plan, which isnt a resource consent for significant vegetation removal .

          Council bodies can be funny like that, proceed without doing the full consents. They have done it before

          'Tree wars: Auckland Council accused of flouting resource consent process over felling Western Springs pines"

          Heres what they should have but they dont , its always some bumpf about consultation for the management plan with bullet points like

          'Proactively manage plant pests and inappropriate exotic vegetation;' yes thats it !

          This is an outline of what a vegetation removal consent would start with

          https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/working-on-around-trees/Documents/application-resource-consent-trees.pdf

          Amoung other things

          'Please provide a sketch of the proposal and clearly identify the number , species and location of each tree subject to the application, the proposed work and the location of all buildings and specific features (where relevant) on the site'

          Their plans involved helicopters to assist in removal so it was really major.

      • joe90 5.1.2

        Seems they do have consent.

        Legal approval

        The tree removal at Ōwairaka / Mount Albert is authorised by a resource consent approved by Auckland Council.

        The resource consent approval was supported by independent expert ecological assessments, including in relation to the timing and staging of the tree removals.

        The resource consent does not permit the removal of any exotic tree that has a native bird nesting in it.

        Tūpuna Maunga Authority contractors will be undertaking the authorised activities in full compliance with the resource consent.

        The Tūpuna Maunga Authority welcomes the support of The Tree Council and Forest and Bird for the ecological restoration of Ōwairaka / Mount Albert.

        https://www.treecouncil.org.nz/tupuna-maunga-authority-media-release-re-owairaka-mount-albert-trees/

        [link fixed – weka]

        • Sacha 5.1.2.1

          Thank you.

          The resource consent approval was supported by independent expert ecological assessments, including in relation to the timing and staging of the tree removals.

          • Dukeofurl 5.1.2.1.1

            Press releases arent resource consents . Of course they have experts on 'doing their plan' but a "real resource consent" is highly likely to have gone to notified hearing where objectors would have the full detail of what is proposed, how they are going to do it and the mitigation of the effects.
            TMA actually say there supporting documentation isnt a resource consent
            “Notes for editors:
            Vegetation management is in accordance with the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated
            Management Plan (which underwent public consultation early 2016), the
            Proposed Tūpuna Maunga Authority Integrated Management Plan Strategies
            (which underwent public consultation mid-2019) and the Tūpuna Maunga
            Authority Operational Plan.

            Same old same old for this clear felling

            "Tree wars: Auckland Council accused of flouting resource consent process over felling Western Springs pines"

            The strange thing about TMA saying this

            "One management objective is to facilitate the restoration of the natural, spiritual and indigenous landscape and to help restore and enhance the mauri (life force) and wairua (spiritual essence) of the maunga."

            When europeans arrived in the Auckland isthmus , it was largely devoid of large trees mostly being dense bracken fern. The large maori population it had supported needed wood for fires , construction and other uses. The maunga were of course fortified so needed clear approaches and would have supported gardens as well on the less steep areas.

            • Sacha 5.1.2.1.1.1

              The tree removal at Ōwairaka / Mount Albert is authorised by a resource consent approved by Auckland Council.

              To believe you or the Tree Council? Hmmm

              • Dukeofurl

                Ask the people at Western Springs , the Council just went ahead anyway , something about an emergency consent.

                Does the Tree Council know something that TMA hasnt even got on its website?

                Oh yes the details were "'Proactively manage plant pests and inappropriate exotic vegetation;'

                Who could object that as its admirable aspiration.

                • weka

                  What's Western Springs got to do with it?

                  What reason would the Tree Council have to lie about the consent?

                • Sacha

                  Why are you upset about this, Duke?

                  • Anne

                    I think he lives in Mt Albert (recollection he mentioned it once).

                    I grew up on the western slopes of Mt Albert and although it is 30 plus years since I left the suburb, I'm upset those beautiful trees are going to be cut down.

                    I was talking to someone the other day who lives on the eastern slopes of Mt. Albert. Apparently there were many hundreds of protesters trying to block access early in the morning last week. The media present chose to publish a photo later that morning when the majority had left for work etc. and only a handful of protesters were left. Typical, to create the wrong impression.

                    • Sacha

                      There was a one-off gathering organised by Brash and co. The smaller remainder with the placards have denied being connected with them.

                    • Anne

                      The person I talked with… she and hubby live close to the 'hill'. I expect they were two among many who were not there for ideological reasons, but have a genuine concern for the fate of the trees.

                      And I'm with them. Native and imported tree species should be growing alongside each other (where it is appropriate) as symbolism of the multi-folded heritage this tiny nation has become.

                    • weka

                      "I grew up on the western slopes of Mt Albert and although it is 30 plus years since I left the suburb, I'm upset those beautiful trees are going to be cut down."

                      This is the conversation I haven't seen yet. Some people, probably quite a lot, form relationships with place, including with trees. I too feel grief when local trees are cut down in places that I have spent a lot of time, trees that were planted when my grandparents were young.

                      I also understand that many Māori may feel differently towards the same place, for obvious reasons.

                      This is very hard to resolve. Writing off the protestors as nimbys or selfish is unlikely to make it easier. We're still not very good at this in NZ.

                    • Anne

                      Thanks weka.

                      You understand the conundrum. Sometimes when trees are cut down for questionable purposes a tiny piece of the life of an individual can die with those trees. Some of the trees on Mt Albert have probably been there since the mid-to-late 1800s. They are now significant historical features.

                      I want to see our indigenous fauna planted and flourish wherever possible because they are such an important part of our collective psyche. And there is plenty of room on Mt Albert where they will flourish without removing many of the other trees.

                      I hope Pingau is right. The trees I was referring to are not those to be removed.

                    • Paddington

                      To Anne & others.

                      I am part of the occupation team on Owairaka Mt Albert. If you would indulge me, some context:

                      1. The Hui visited the Maunga on a day when the occupation was staffed by a smaller number of people than normal, none of whom wanted to be put through being on TV. Disappointingly, Mihi had not taken the time to research in advance who the official spokesperson was (Anna Radford), or who the organisers were. That would have taken her no more than 15 minutes. Lisa has been helping the group with advice about how to occupy peacefully and legally and happened to be on site. She reluctantly did the interview after The Hui team said it was her or nothing. I will leave others to draw their own conclusions.

                      2. Since ‘The Hui’ program aired (and I'll be honest some of us cringed just a little), inquiries to our group have surged, particularly interest in our FB page and signatures on the petition (now over 3,000). The Hui FB thread reveals much support for our protest.

                      3. The Tupuna Maunga Authority is not Iwi, it is not the owner of the land. The TMA is an unelected, statutory body with huge resources and minimal accountability. It is made up of 6 councillors, hand-picked by the Mayor, and 6 representatives of Iwi. The 13th member is a non-voting, government appointee. Their job is to implement a co-governance regime that benefits all Aucklanders, on behalf of the very generous owners, the iwi of Tamaki Makaurau.

                      4. The TMA has an articulate and powerful chairman. Honour the Maunga (the protest group), on the other hand, started as a handful of concerned citizens, and has now grown to a group that numbers in excess of 1,000 members, all from a variety of ethnic and social backgrounds. Many are Maori. We are a group of ordinary people, for the most part unsophisticated in this type of action. What has united this diverse group of people together is our love for the tree scape and bird life of the Mountain.

                      4. When this began, it is my view the TMA thought our protest would quickly fissle. When that didn’t happen, they began to shift gear in a way that would make the National Party’s ‘dirty politics’ team blush. That is a story for when this is over, but I will say this – take much of what they say with a great deal of skepticism.

                      5. On a personal level, we have been subject to the vilest personal abuse, including a small group who have been posting (and promptly deleting) threatening material on personal FB pages, as well as on the Mt Albert Community FB page. The victims of most of this abuse have been women in our group, something I find particularly disturbing (pardon my middle age male protectionism). One of the most common themes of abuse has been to label us racists.

                      6. I sincerely invite anyone to visit our occupation. We are friendly, of diverse ethnicity, age, socio-economic background and political opinion. I am so far out of my comfort zone, and I am making personal sacrifices to be a part of this, but this is something I feel is right.

                      Thanks for reading, apologies for the length of this.

                  • Dukeofurl

                    Im a frequent visitor to the mountain…long before 'the plan'. In a previous life I knew a bit about getting resource consents.

                    This doesnt sound like a proper notified resource consent, and my concerns were increased by TMA only ever referring to the 'Management Plan' and its consultation. The Tree Council ( whos ever heard of them before now) isnt really a primary source for information, its either Auckland Council or TMA. The Council may be playing the same emergency game they did at Western Springs

                    Im all for the new tree planting that has been done ( all about waist height) and removal of problem trees , and also under-story planting and a gradual change to native species

                    • Paddington

                      Hi Duke

                      Please read my post above. For the record, the TMA do have consent for the work, but this was a non-notified consent. We have obtained a lot of material by way of LGOIMA, but much of the detail has been redacted.

                      We are in favour of the native planting, but not the process. We are also deeply concerned with the planting methodology, with significant numbers of plants previously planted on the Maunga already dead or dying.

      • Pingau 5.1.3

        It will not "denude the entire mountain" as for one, there is a large area that is under Watercare administration that has both exotic and other trees – no trees will be removed from this area as it it outside the Tupuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan.

        I assume it is the area shown at the bottom left of the aerial photo (page 41 on the version I looked at).

        https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/about-auckland-council/how-auckland-council-works/kaupapa-maori/comanagement-authorities-boards/tupuna-maunga-tamaki-makaurau-authority/Pages/tupuna-maunga-integrated-management-plan.aspx

        • Pingau 5.1.3.1

          It also seems that some of the protestors are exaggerating the relative number of trees to be cut down, referring to it as "clear-felling" and so on.

          Apparently there are 850 trees on the Maunga (both native and exotic) and of these, 345 are to be felled (183 or so pest plants and mostly gum trees for the rest).

          https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1911/S00490/hui-to-be-held-at-wairaka-mt-albert.htm

          When I lived near there in the mid-90s and walked there a lot, I used to think it was a shame that there were so many monkey apples and flowering cherries spreading over the Maunga … so good on them for the well considered plan and I hope it gets underway soon.

          • Grafton Gully 5.1.3.1.1

            Tui feed on the nectar of flowering cherries and kereru on the fruit of so-called weeds, including monkey apples. Gum trees are also a source of nectar for tui and kaka. Possibly one reason for the abundant tuis in Auckland and kereru more common than ever is the non-native nectar and fruit bearing trees. I favour mixed natives and exotics and regard the opinion below as ill-advised.

            "The downside of a bird-friendly garden is the weeds brought in by visiting birds. Kereru and other fruit eaters will deposit privet seeds, monkey apple, woolly nightshade, non-native palm trees and many other invasive pest plants. Kereru love guava but they are a weed in tropical climates and climate change could make them a weed in our native bush too. Be vigilant and remove weeds, particularly anything that has seeds that birds eat and later deposit in native bush. These weed species invade natural habitats and upset the balanced ecosystem, ultimately negatively affecting bird life."

            https://localmatters.co.nz/news/27236-plant-enthusiast-offers-top-tips-pulling-birds.html

            • Psycho Milt 5.1.3.1.1.1

              Yep, tui and kereru seem greatly chuffed with the exotic flowering trees at my place. The tuis particularly like the coral tree, but ordinary old bottlebrush seems perfectly acceptable.

            • Paddington 5.1.3.1.1.2

              Hi GG

              Outside the boundary of the Owairaka Maunga (as with others), there is a proliferation of exotic trees. If the exotics on the maunga are removed, the birdlife will do what hungry birds do…travel in search of food. So they find that food, fly back over the Maunga, and 'deposit' the seeds of these exotics back amongst the native plantings. At least some of these survive, and off we go again.

              • solkta

                But you just said below at 11:59pm:

                Our concern is that with the loss of their habitat, the Maunga will lose these magnificent creatures permanently.

                So make ya mind up, will the birds go away forever or just come and go as they do?

                If there are lots of exotic weeds around the maunga that will seed back into it with the help of birds is that not more reason to clear these from the maunga itself? Weed management could be a big job once grassed areas are planted.

                • Paddington

                  They will not come back to nest, not come back to settle. They will find and compete for food sources elsewhere, or die in the process. My comment to GG was in the context of his remark, and was a 'hypothetical'. At best, they may fly over, but even that is unlikely.

                  And what exotic weeds you are referring to? In the context of my comment, if that was even remotely likely, good luck with getting the TMA to clear those. They are struggling to keep the native plantings alive.

                  • solkta

                    At best, they may fly over, but even that is unlikely.

                    The majority of the trees on the maunga are natives and will remain. You are just making up nonsense.

                    A "weed" is a plant growing in the wrong place. The objective of the plan is to restore native vegetation so any exotic is a weed in that context.

                    • Anne

                      Bullshit.

                      There are beautiful trees both "native" and imported. I saw a magnificent magnolia tree in full bloom today. An absolute picture. There are beautiful indigenous trees. They grow side by side as a symbol of our nationhood. There are weeds too – both native and imported. By all means remove them but don't touch the 100 plus year old trees. That constitutes an environmental crime of biblical proportions.

                    • solkta

                      Fescue is my favourite lawn species, but when Fescue grows in my vege beds it is a weed.

                      If you own land then you can plant a Magnolia there.

                    • Paddington

                      There are 345 trees earmarked for destruction. Of those a handful are classified as weeds, so the TMA are being disingenuous.

                      The plan to restore native vegetation to the Maunga has our support. The plan to cull a large number of healthy trees in 5 weeks, and replace them with mostly shrubs and grasses does not.

                    • Paddington

                      "…but when Fescue grows in my vege beds it is a weed."

                      But when natives are planted under the protective canopy of beautiful exotics, they thrive.

                    • solkta

                      @paddington

                      How about replying to what i am saying rather than just going off on auto-rant:

                      The objective of the plan is to restore native vegetation so any exotic is a weed in that context.

                      But when natives are planted under the protective canopy of beautiful exotics, they thrive.

                      Sean Freeman, arborist and chair of the Tree Council, says that natives will not do well in the root span of eucalypts:

                      @1.22

                      https://www.rnz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018722866

                    • Paddington

                      "The objective of the plan is to restore native vegetation so any exotic is a weed in that context."

                      No, it isn't. You can both 'restore native vegetation' and maintain exotic trees. The two can co-exist, and that is in fact closer to the spirit of the values of the Tupuna Maunga Authority, which speaks of recognising “European and other histories and interaction with the Maunga”.

                      "Sean Freeman, arborist and chair of the Tree Council, says that natives will not do well in the root span of eucalypts"
                      So don't plant any in the root span of eucalypts. There is plenty of other space on the Maunga, and ample other exotics (Cherry, Oak) to nurture the young natives. At least the very few actual trees the TMA are planting.

                    • solkta

                      Yes the objective is to to restore native vegetation:

                      Plant types: Plants should be both culturally and ecologically appropriate. Eco-sourced plants where possible are preferred as these are adapted to the specific conditions of the area and will retain the locally specific variations present in their genetic diversity. Other native plants will be considered if they support cultural outcomes. Where possible, plants should be sourced from remnant populations on the Tūpuna Maunga or surrounding ecosystems. Plants will grow best on sites on which they are best adapted and respond to the area’s slope, soil characteristics and drainage, wind, aspect, the amount of shading, and proximity to the coast.

                      https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/about-auckland-council/how-auckland-council-works/kaupapa-maori/comanagement-authorities-boards/tupuna-maunga-tamaki-makaurau-authority/integratedmanagementplanstrategies/proposed-tupuna-maunga-integrated-management-plan-strategies-part-2.pdf

                      No mention of exotics here. "Eco-sourced" can only be native as exotics haven't been around long enough to have adapted to local conditions. "Other native plants will be considered".

                      This is not an issue about trees but rather one of colonialism. That people like you still think that you should get to impose your values over those of Maori, even after ownership has been transferred back to them.

                    • Paddington

                      "No mention of exotics here. "

                      But likewise, no mention of the removal of exotics either. In fact no-where in any of the TMA submissions (at least the ones that have been made public) does it mention the removal of all exotics.

                      "That people like you still think that you should get to impose your values over those of Maori, even after ownership has been transferred back to them. "

                      Ownership always comes with conditions. And in this case the transfer of ownership came with very specific conditions. The Maunga Authority have failed to take the wider community with them, and even they are acknowledging that now.

          • Paddington 5.1.3.1.2

            Hi Pingau…You are quoting from a press release from the TMA chairman. If you dig, you will find that the TMA is not the most reliable source on this issue. But here's a question…why would you think it is acceptable to cut down perfectly healthy trees, some of which are in excess of 100 years old? Why would you think it is acceptable to cull an entire stand of beautiful cherry trees (that despite what has been claimed are not pests) that provide an excellent food source for both Tui and Kereru?

            The overall TMA plan has some really good elements to it, but the implementation is anything but "well considered", and a growing number of experts, and even Forest and Bird, are now acknowledging that. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117549183/mt-albert-tree-removal-felling-would-be-cruel-on-nesting-birds-experts-say

            • Pingau 5.1.3.1.2.1

              Thanks Paddington for your reply. It sounds like the TMA has not taken into account the attachment that some people have to some of the species they wish to remove.

              I would be guessing that the removal of all of the trees on the list at once is based on operational expenses but it could also be they just wanted to start with a "clean slate" by removing all the unwanted trees.

              I agree that the implementation of their plan has been lacking but I still think that the removal of the pest trees was well-considered. It is hard to know what the criteria is for other (non-pest) trees that are not a hazard or how many there are.

              I also disagree that cherry trees are not a pest – one sort is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord and several others are included in Regional Pest Management Strategies or on the DOC consolidated weed list. In my area, I see multiple wildings of various Prunus species in parks, gardens and in pine plantations and native bush. That tui and kereru eat the fruit is part of the problem as they then disperse the seed. These trees then displace the endemic and native plants that are the food and habitat for many species and all kinds of life.

              However it should be possible on an urban site like the Maunga that is a long way away from any native bush, for some of the mature exotic and invasive trees to be maintained and all wildings to be removed – at a cost of course, but some of these trees could possibly be retained for cultural reasons.

              • Paddington

                Hi Pingau

                1. Re the Cherry's, the Owairaka Cherry's were misidentified by the TMA 'experts' as Prunus Campanulata. They are an entirely different species, and not a pest.

                2. The 'clean slate' removal is being justified on the basis of operational costs, however that fails to take into account the climate impact of what is a large reduction in net biomass on the Maunga.

                3. We have no objection to the removal of pest species, trees that are hazardous or diseased, or to the appropriate management of any tree on the Maunga. What we object to is the removal of a large number of healthy trees for no other reason than they are exotic.

                4. With regards to the retention of exotics, the advice we have had is that the exotics could serve as canopy cover for the native plantings, and also continue to provide excellent food sources for our magnificent native bird life. We currently have Tui, Kereru, Morepork, Piwakawaka, the list goes on. Many of these birds have adapted to exotic tree produce, which has meant their populations thrive. Our concern is that with the loss of their habitat, the Maunga will lose these magnificent creatures permanently.

            • solkta 5.1.3.1.2.2

              beautiful cherry trees (that despite what has been claimed are not pests)

              If you are talking about Taiwan Cherry they fucking well are pests. In Northland you can see whole hillsides covered in this menace. I've killed many just on my half acre urban property but still they come.

              https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/northland/106498308/invasion-of-taiwan-cherry-tree-causes-concern

              https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/115129751/taiwan-cherry-tree-given-eradication-status-in-nelsontasman-plan

              • Paddington

                Hi Solkta. The Cherry's on Owairaka are not the Taiwan Cherry (Prunus campanulata), although they have been mis-identified as such by the TMA and their 'experts'. I'll leave that to sink in.

                The Owairaka Cherry's are considerably lighter in shade, and have an entirely different flower, and have now been identified as an entirely different species.

                • solkta

                  So what species are they?

                  • Paddington

                    We are awaiting the final specification, but the arborist has confirmed they are not a pest species, not the Taiwanese cherry. On a related note, I have seen today a list, compiled for the TMA and submitted by them as part of a works program, of all of the 345 trees to be felled. Only a handful are 'pests', by their own assessment at that time. The Cherry’s are not listed in that compilation/report as pests.

        • Anne 5.1.3.2

          Those photos are interesting. I know Mt Albert intimately and the area shown in the main photo is the remains of an old Maori Pa site. When we were children it was still possible to find shells collected by the former inhabitants. There are no trees there apart from the few stunted specimens in the photo. But further around there are lots of beautiful trees lining the access road that should not be touched.

          It was my assumption they were the trees they plan to cut down.

          • Paddington 5.1.3.2.1

            Hi Anne…the trees to be cut down include many along that access road, and also the full stand of cherry's that stand in the corner of the archery area. Some from our group have started putting ribbons around the 'condemned' trees. We acknowledge there are trees that need to be removed e.g. privet and some of the eucalyptus. But all at once?

            If you know Owairaka – Mt Albert well, please come up. The only access we are restricting is to people with chainsaws!

            • Anne 5.1.3.2.1.1

              Thank you so much for your informed responses Paddington. As I suspected, a group of local officials (big frogs in little pools as my late Dad used to call them) have turned officious because their 'mode of operation' has been called into question by the masses.

              Normally I would be over the bridge to join you before you could say Jack Robinson, but I am currently semi-disabled due to injury and back problems – the curse of advancing years. But I will be keeping a close eye on developments from the balmy Shore and I am certainly with all of you in spirit. Please let your fellow protesters know. I might even know some of the older ones who grew up or have lived in Mt Albert for many years.

  5. joe90 6

    Not sure whether .org.nz will be affected but hey, private equity.

    • Dukeofurl 6.1

      Fadi Chehade …thats a name to remember

      'Former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade personally registered the domain name currently used by Ethos Capital in May and it was registered as a limited company in the US state of Delaware on May 14. "

    • Macro 6.2

      Thanks for the tip Joe – I'm just in the process of renewing an org.nz domain name I sponsor so will ensure it is renewed out to 10 years.

    • Sacha 6.3

      Non-profit ownership for our .nz registry, thankfully: https://registry.internetnz.nz/

  6. joe90 7

    Rather ominous.

  7. Cinny 8

    trump 'Confounds the Science' – worth a listen if you haven't seen it, saw it on The Listening Post this last night.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57jRBt4h6ks

    • greywarshark 8.1

      That was tops Cinny. I had to laugh even if it was a hollow one.

      Did you get to the A & P show? Great weather for it.

      • Cinny 8.1.1

        That clip was a goodie 🙂

        Didn't make it to the show, the garden was calling instead 🙂 But it looks like it was an epic show and santa parade.

  8. greywarshark 10

    Brexit

    https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50511329

    General election 2019: Jeremy Corbyn to remain neutral in any new Brexit vote

    and from The Express which I can't get 23/11/2019:

    12 hours ago – BORIS JOHNSON could win more general election seats than Labour but still be forced to watch Jeremy Corbyn enter Number 10 instead, a polling expert has warned. … Joe Twyman of Delta Poll said Mr Johnson’s Conservative party could win more seats than Labour but not stay in …

  9. observer 11

    With one move, National destroy all their own attack lines ("no life experience", "kids march but don't pay taxes", "get a real job", etc, etc … ):

    Nats pick 17 year old to be MP

  10. A 12

    Quite a contrast in the way National plans to treat prisoners, this time with compulsory work. I would have thought this was a non issue because I thought work is a privilege inside (?)

    Anyhoo it looks like they are fishing for a reaction of some kind.

    Its top of page on Stuff right now in case anyone is interested although the article is almost as short as my post.

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