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Open mike 24/11/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 24th, 2020 - 68 comments
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68 comments on “Open mike 24/11/2020 ”

  1. Pat 1

    "She knows hydrogen, having researched it in her native United States – “I’ve got patents on fuel cells” – and supervised two PhD students conducting hydrogen research in New Zealand. She’s certain it won’t work, not because of technical difficulties, but because of logic. It’ll take a huge amount of new renewable electricity to make enough hydrogen to power our transport fleet, she says.

    “We would need four more South Islands of New Zealand to do exactly the same thing we’re doing right now, with hydrogen.”


    The cow has been sold…and the gov has bought a pup.

    • Ad 1.1

      Interesting to see NZSuper pull out of its fuel cell investment this week and take a bath on it.

    • Andre 1.2

      The only path I see for the hydrogen future to actually arrive is if someone gets to a workable solution for photocatalytic water splitting. That is, directly using sunlight to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. There's too many good alternative uses for electrical energy to waste it on inefficient hydrogen production.


      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        An interesting technique worth researching. But inevitably limited by land area consumed no matter how efficient the catalyst is.

  2. Andre 2

    It kinda slipped under the radar that the Greens appointed Rick from the Young Ones as spokesperson for senior citizens. What could go wrong?


    • arkie 2.1

      What could go wrong?

      The Greens could be wilfully misrepresented by people desperate to be offended?

      Other Twitter users felt Menéndez March's Boomer reference was misinterpreted.

      "I feel like Ricardo's light-hearted way of introducing his new area of responsibility has been misinterpreted by many," one said. "He genuinely wants to look out for seniors – ie make sure 'they're OK'. You could not find a more genuine guy. There is absolutely no disrespect intended."

      Another said he was "genuinely asking" if Baby Boomers are okay.

      "Ricardo is genuinely asking us if we're OK and we can only focus on the appropriateness of the collective noun. Yes I am thanks @RMarchNZ and thanks for asking. Boomer is fine and I'm sure you didn't forget the silent generation either."

  3. Andre 3

    More detail about that Oxford vaccine efficacy info that's just come out. Including informed speculation on why it might work better given as a half-dose first followed by a full dose weeks later (this could also just be an artefact of small numbers in each group when the data gets split down that finely).



    Reminder, the Oxford vaccine is based on a modified cold virus that infects chimpanzees, so it's a much more conventional vaccine that doesn't require unusual storage and there's less uncertainty about possible side-effects that may not appear until longer times have passed since vaccination.

    • Incognito 3.1

      It’ll be a lot cheaper than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

      • Andre 3.1.1

        Yeah. That's a big deal for the less-privileged parts of the world. Not so much for us and other wealthy nations. For us that’s just the difference between the vaccine component of the vaccination program being either a very small part of the total cost or a medium-ish part of the total cost.

        The stage 3 trial was also paused twice for adverse reactions. The first time was for the case of transverse myelitis, but I've yet to find any details about the second instance.

        • Andre

          Whoops, the first time was eventually diagnosed as multiple sclerosis and the second case was transverse myelitis. Both cases were assessed as unrelated to the vaccine.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Things looking rough in Michigan, with the Board of Canvassers meeting, two Republicans and two Democrats, to decide whether to certify J. Biden’s win, the Republicans have refused to second a motion.

  5. Phillip ure 5

    Bryce edwards has done a useful piece in the guardian..detailing just how middle-class the new gummint is…and whose interests they promote..(hint: it's not the poor/working class..)

    • Tiger Mountain 5.1

      Do your material circumstances influence your thinking and world view? obviously a rhetorical question on my account…but, yes they bloody do

      aspirationals just love to exclaim “envy!” if someone dares to ask questions–such as how many MPs do not own a rental property, or multiple properties? or how many MPs personally know and associate with someone precariously employed, or unemployed, or Māori?

      When was the last time any MP voluntarily used public transport? did some supermarket shopping and knows prices of common items? How many MPs use private sector health services?

      I could go on…many things do not have to be experienced to understand–like say, living in Gaza, but the PM on 400 odd grand calling a $25 benefit increase (which did not apply to all) “significant” shows a chasm of understanding or intentional fudging. When some sadist at MSD has the power to decide if your kids eat this week, then you really understand.

    • RosieLee 5.2


  6. Andre 6

    Chloe, Chloe, Chloe, making decisions about a housing market that you rent in is every bit as much a conflict of interest as making decisions about a housing market that you own in.

    There's plenty of valid criticisms and arguments about the clusterfuck going on in the whole housing area right now, so it's not difficult to choose some that actually make sense.


    • RedLogix 6.1

      Well this is the logical outcome of using personal characteristics as a placeholder for interest.

      • Nic the NZer 6.1.1

        The Green party MPs are going to have to master the subtle art of, what happens on twitter stays on twitter, because there is no rhyme or reason to who twits will go after next.

        I am pretty sure our MPs, even from National, don't consider their own property portfolios when considering legislation.

    • weka 6.2

      pretty sure that the point wasn't home ownership or renting, but where MPs are making capital gains from investment properties.

      The solution isn't to hand all decisions to renters, it's to acknowledge the conflict of interest and set up an independent body that is made up of people with a range of experiences.

      Btw, the Greens quite obviously have policy against their own personal financial interests, so it can be done. Before the 2017 election Turei was talking about policy that would drop property prices over time. We might want to ask if it can be done, why isn't it?

      • Nic the NZer 6.2.1

        I don't think the kinds of things MPs would consider acceptable policies will actually hold property prices close to the inflation rate. This is the problem for Labour and aspects of the Greens, the promised things which they can't deliver in policy terms.

        • weka

          that too. I can't tell if Labour are in massive denial or just trying to bluff their way through.

          • Nic the NZer

            Its definitely denial. Labour believes house price increases are an inflation issue and therefore manageable via reserve bank policy.

            There is no acknowledgement that house price increases didn't slow down even with the OCR at 8% (e.g its never worked as described).

            After this becomes widely understood to be RBNZ responsibility officials will stop acknowledging that no outcomes have changed.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2.2

        Interesting to consider reasons given for repealing wealth taxes in some countries.

        If they’re difficult to administer/enforce, and/or they don't generate much revenue, then maybe a land value tax would be more straightforward?

        A land value tax is generally favored by economists as (unlike other taxes) it does not cause economic inefficiency, and it tends to reduce inequality.

        Can't help wondering about the average wealth of the politicians and senior public servants voting/advising on the feasibility of progressive/redistributive tax systems. Would politicians voting for more progressive tax regimes be a less extreme example of 'Turkeys voting for Christmas'?

        • Craig H

          Land tax would work fine if applied to all property but if it excluded the family home, it would be a lot less effective.

    • Bearded Git 6.3

      A wealth tax would sort it Andre

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.1

      Having coincidently replayed Day of The Tentacle over the last few nights there was an opportune moment in the game while George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock are in the mansion drafting the constitution of the United States where they are deciding the rules for standing for president.

      "Must be human" they debated as part of the dialogue. I could definitely think of a few more rules they could have added:

      Must not be a movie star or must not be a reality TV star….

      Jefferson also notes in the game "We hit a slight creative block right after the preamble. That's why we've set up a suggestion box."

      Opportunity lost most definitely! Not even the game creators of this most wonderful game could have seen their comedic events would have been overtaken by real life!

  7. greywarshark 8


    An asthmatic woman is repeatedly pepper sprayed and has to show her used sanitary products to male guards, while her seriously depressed girlfriend is left in isolation until she attempts suicide. Guyon Espiner reveals what's going on at Auckland Women's prison.

    [changed the font to normal font. Please don’t bold whole sentences or pieces of text]

  8. Whispering Kate 9

    More snippets from Devonport. I was visiting there today and a middle aged female stalwart from the area accosted me in the doorway of a shop and demanded why I was wearing a mask. I said "I am setting an example" she replied "well I think its all a lot of baloney". I replied that I had family living in Maryland US and there are approximately 1,800 citizens of the state testing positive on a daily basis right now and a good few of them will get seriously ill and possibly die from the virus, that is why I wear a mask. She then told me off for getting uppety with her and I replied "No madam just giving you the facts of the situation." She huffed and walked off.

    I walked into the shop and the retailer behind the counter smiled and said to me "I bet she is a Trump follower". I just tapped my head and and intimated that the lady concerned had a screw loose. Scary that people can be so blind to the truth..

    In my personal opinion people who deny the seriousness of this virus are so God damn petrified of the truth of the seriousness that their brain just shuts out the reality of it. But hey I am just a mere soul who enjoys observing people.

    • weka 9.1

      nicely handled.

      It's certainly perplexing why some people are like that when the evidence is plain to see. You might be right about the cognitive dissonance. I suspect it's also cumulative (all the various world stresses).

  9. Did I understand the 5pm news rightly? Has Robertson just handed the problem of rising house prices back to the Reserve Bank? In other words, wrung his hands and admitted it's too hard for the GOVERNMENT to handle?

    But I suppose this is on par with a do-nothing government.

  10. Now, on Checkpoint, it's the au pairs! Can't get kiwis to work for 'at least the minimum wage!' (and potentially around the clock).

    My, hasn't covid thrown up the inequalities in the NZ job market (and the rampant inequalities in wealth). First the fishers, then the fruit pickers, now au pairs. Are we a country that depends on exploited, underpaid labour?

    • Phillip ure 11.1

      Short answer – yes…we actually need to do away with neoliberal capitalism…it hasn't served us all that well until now…and shows little sign of any recovery anytime soon..so..what to replace it with..? .a more equitable version of what we have now..ie…higher taxes funding realistic social support..like they do in finland/norway etc…or should we rethink the whole thing…and come up with something better..?

      • Drowsy M. Kram 11.1.1

        we actually need to do away with neoliberal capitalism…it hasn't served us all that well until now

        Neoliberal capitalism has served many NZers poorly, particularly of late, but it’s noteworthy that it continues to serve most politicians and elites quite well enough.

        Better-off New Zealanders are getting richer at a rate that far outpaces the rest of the population – and the wealth gap is likely to increase as the country fights its way through the recovery from Covid-19, commentators say. [9 Sept 2020]

        The bottom 10 percent has a collective $13 billion of debt. The top 10 percent has $800 billion in wealth – more than the other 90 percent combined. [14 Oct 2020]

        Wealth tax predicted as anger over inequality 'reaches boiling point' [17 Nov 2020]

        • RedLogix

          So in view of this unhappy information, what outcome would you like to see?

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            An outcome that cancelled/relieved the collective $13 billion debt (~$26,000 per person) of the 'bottom' 10% of NZers would be a good starting point, IMHO.

            What ‘group‘ of NZers might be best placed to take the lead in achieving such an outcome, do you think?

            • RedLogix

              Well I'm sure that would be pretty good outcome for that bottom 10% (and less so for whoever it was you had in mind to pay for it … but let's park that thought.)

              Next question, do you think this is a stable outcome? Do we have to do this once only? And what about the new 10% at the bottom?

              • McFlock

                Still hunting them down, eh Sen. McCarthy?

                Firstly, there's no such thing as a "stable" political or economic system. The chaotic instability of human collective action is inherent.

                Secondly, wealth inequality is bad because the people with least relative wealth have health and social outcomes that are much worse than for the people with the highest relative wealth. So yes, regardless of whether total debt forgiveness is an ongoing measure rather than just a "starting point", addressing wealth inequality would have to be an iterative process until those disproportionately negative outcomes are no longer practically detectable. Whether this point is at ~60% of median income or ~80%, the inability to detect socioeconomic strata in deprivation beyond a certain point of relative inequality would mean that positing the idea of "debt forgiveness" does not actually necessarily need to be a veiled reference to marxist-leninist-maoist communism.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Let's not park that thought. If the 'top' 10% sacrificed ~1.6% of their collective wealth, that would be sufficient to forgive the crippling debt of the 'bottom' 10%.

                While I acknowledge that a 1.6% decrease in wealth could cause mental anguish, it's doubtful that the material comfort of many 'top' 10-percenters would be seriously compromised. Some might even derive satisfaction from thoughts of the good their gift would do to improve the quality of life and mental health of tens of thousands of NZ families facing life in debt.

                The questions you raise are intriguing, but IMHO they're poor reasons for doing nothing. If you have an idea for an easier way to address the indebtedness of the 'bottom' 10% of NZers, then by all means let's hear it.

                In her essay below, Liang describes poverty as a “heritable condition” that perpetuates and amplifies through generations: “It is also not hard to see how individual poverty flows into communities and society, with downstream effects on economics, crime and health, as well as many other systems. Loosen one strand and everything else unravels.

                A Kete Half Empty

                Poverty is your problem, it is everyone’s problem, not just those who are in poverty. – Rebecca, a child from Te Puru

    • Pat 11.2

      The reality is we dont have a 'NZ labour market'….the purpose of globalism (neoliberalism) is to access the almost infinite pool of labour to reduce costs and increase profit…otherwise known as the race to the bottom.

    • Treetop 11.3

      Heavy work or long hours for the minimum wage. The employer needs to try it for a month.

      • Phillip ure 11.3.1

        Workers should be allocated shares in any companies they work for…50 percent would seem fair…this should be mandated by law..with the various formulae part of that law..

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