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Open mike 24/12/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, December 24th, 2019 - 65 comments
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65 comments on “Open mike 24/12/2019”

  1. In a recent Guardian article, our prime minister answered a series of questions posed by readers.


    More ominously, at the end of the article this cryptic note:

    Simon Bridges, the leader of the opposition, was invited to answer readers’ questions but declined.”

    Now it’s not like Soimun to avoid publicity, so why didn’t he front?

    There could, of course, be a simple explanation: for instance, he may be on holiday in Hawaii with his family and couldn’t be bothered.

    A more likely explanation is that he was shown the questions beforehand and didn’t like them.

    While Jacinda is happy to answer questions (and no doubt be accused to seeking the limelight) the right will attempt to control the narrative.

    • Anne 1.1

      A more likely explanation is that he was shown the questions beforehand and didn’t like them.

      Possibly, but the most likely answer is because the right-wing pollies think The Guardian is a left-wing commie newspaper and must be avoided.  I doubt Simon has ever read it. 

    • Siobhan 1.2

      The Guardian has, as far as I know, only ever done two stories on Bridges..

      "New Zealand opposition leader criticised for 'alarming' stance on China"

      "NZ opposition leader accused of concealing $100,000 political donation"

      both by Eleanor Ainge Roy

      I think not agreeing to answering questions from Guardian readers was one of the few..possibly only..smart thing Bridges has ever done.

  2. Ad 2

    And from the Guardian article today, Prime Minister Ardern's response to one question is a good insight into the priorities of this government:


    Q. What is one thing you want to accomplish in your second term if you get re-elected in 2020? Justin Lindsay

    A. We haven’t set our policy agenda for the next election yet but the plan is to continue to build on the work we have done in the first term to deliver a better New Zealand for more people.

    But as finance minister, Grant Robertson, said when releasing the budget policy statement foreshadowing the direction of travel for the government, we will continue our focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future proof the economy.

    The Budget 2020 priorities – which would carry work over into the next term – are:

    • Just Transition: Supporting New Zealanders in the transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable, and low-emissions economy
    • Future of Work: Enabling all New Zealanders to benefit from new technologies and lift productivity through innovation
    • Māori and Pacific: Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills, and opportunities
    • Child Wellbeing: Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing
    • Physical and Mental Wellbeing: Supporting improved health outcomes for all New Zealanders

    All power to you Prime Minister to achieve those goals.

    • Herodotus 2.1

      You mean continual labour’s over arching policy of Roger Douglas.

      After helping out distribute food packages at Christmas, it was for me so sad to see the same families struggle year after year return.

      In a country like ours there will always be families in need, just not the large numbers that we continually have.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        If you volunteered this Christmas you are a saint of the first order.

        The failure to raise benefits at least in step with minimum wage rises – or indeed at all – amount to a social crime by this government. 


        • Herodotus

          Some benefits they (NZ1) have been able to increase by using a back door. The $50 energy payment to pensioners. If the pension was adequate then there was no need for this. If it wasn’t then increase it from 65% to 68% (my figures here maybe a little out)

          Don’t use housing allowance to increase landlord wealth, provide adequate state housing and so those in need are provided directly by the state. 
          I hope/pray that those who I continually see each year are not there next year and this is due to their situation has improved, but with it being an election year promises will not solve what many face on a day to day basis.

        • millsy

          Restoration of benefits to 1991 levels, adjusted for inflation, to take effect on July 1, 2021, would also motivate the poor to get out and vote Labour in 2020. 

          The great unwashed of South Auckland saved Labour back in 2005. They need to be given a reason to save Labour next year. 

  3. Sacha 4

    Wage thief penalised $680k by Employment Court claims different customs apply: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118400906/nightmare-holiday-park-owner-refuses-to-pay-back-full-bond-to-workers

    Guan said workers paying security for jobs was commonly practised by Chinese employers in New Zealand.

    She denied the $45,000 payment was a bond, claiming it was basic living costs, and "security" for taking on the risk of employing three Chinese citizens.

    "That amount was calculated to two years basic living costs. It's got nothing to do with the visa.

    "In China it's not a bond, it is just a payment in advance to secure they will pay me. The law is different in China. Everything they signed was in China, the money they paid was in China."

    Regulator says nope:

    Labour Inspectorate national manager Stu Lumsden said since January 2018 the department had taken enforcement action against nine businesses for employment breaches that involved premiums being charged.

    "The Wages Protection Act makes it illegal for employers to charge an employee a premium fee, or a bond for employment. This includes charging an employee money in exchange for giving them a job or keeping them in a job so they can work under a work visa," Lumsden said.

  4. bwaghorn 5



    Surely two weeks is long enough to appease tangaroa and any other deities. 

    Let the man go back to work

  5. A 6

    There appears to be a complete disconnect between the Australian govt and "Firies".  

    "The fact that they haven't asked for federal support indicates that they believe they have the situation in hand," Holton said.


    "That is definitely not the case. The situation is quite the opposite. It is out of control."


  6. Fireblade 7

    Happy holidays.

    Allāhu akbar. As-salāmu ʿalaykum.

  7. Puckish Rogue 8

    So FPP and MMP both have issues in the way it deals with votes , would STV be a better option or is there an even better option?


    • Andre 8.1

      What do you think the faults are with MMP?

      The only real problem I see with MMP as we have implemented it would be easily fixed by reducing the threshold to 0.83% (1/120 of the vote). Which would render that abominable coat-tailing provision moot.

      • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1

        The main fault I see with MMP is that the party that wins the most votes doesn't always get into power which just seems to be…wrong

        Just seems that while FPP puts the most popular party in power it ignores everyones elses votes which isn't good, MMP is able to ignore the most popular party which isn't good so I'm wondering if theres a fairer way

        • Janice

          If the most popular party doesn't get into power under MMP, then more people voted against it than for it. 

          • Puckish Rogue

            Yet it was Winston on 7% that decided who runs the country, that doesn't seem right either

          • rod

            Spot on Janice, People like Pucky just don't understand MMP. He is just a sore loser. Merry Christmas to you all.Yes that includes you Pucky.

            • Puckish Rogue

              I understand MMP well enough. I just don't think MMP is the be all and end all of voting options.

              Maybe an option would be for all parties to disclose who they would go into before the election.

              Winston had it both ways but how many of his voters wanted to go with Labour ie Keeping National honest and all that

              • McFlock

                But it's not like lining up before a battle (and more than one battle has had factions switch sides during the event).

                A party can't commit if it doesn't know how much policy it's likely to win in a coalition. And that changes according to the electoral ratios. And as you say NZ1 can go either way, depending on what deal it gets – how could it possibly commit to a deal before an election?

                • Puckish Rogue

                  I just wonder if the people that developed MMP had in mind a party of 7% deciding which coalition gets to govern

                  • McFlock

                    Yes they did. Coalitions have been well-known features of MMP for decades. Sometimes the largest party is just the biggest loser.

                    Frankly, I figured we'd be down to the largest parties only being 20-30% by now. I suspect the main reason we still have monolith parties is because the media insist on portraying it as a two-horse race rather than a team sport.

                    • Andre

                      I reckon the way the split between electorate and list mps has gone to 71 – 49 has a bit to do with keeping just two parties so dominant.

                      As I understand it, it was kinda envisaged the split would stay a bit closer to equal numbers of electorate and list mps, but that ball kinda got dropped and we ended up with the weird provisions that have made the situation what it is now.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I don't think Act and the Greens are helping this regard, in that its not likely Act will go with Labour and the Greens have ruled out National


                    • McFlock

                      @Andre: yeah, capping the House membership but increasing the electorate numbers with population was a bit of a booboo I reckon

                      Act aren't a party. They should have died out ten years ago or more, but nats gift them epsom because they'd rather have supplicants than partners.

                      The Māori Party could have gone both ways, technically, as did United. Top and KDC seemed issues based: agree with them on one or two policies andthey'd be ok with that. So the number of non-monolith centrist parties is probably similar to the wing parties ("fringe" would imply trace-element support). ACT, cons, Alliance, Greens, maybe one or two others.

                      ISTR the Green line is that they would go with any party that had decent environmental policy, but sadly that doesn't include the current nats.

                    • Graeme

                      I reckon the way the split between electorate and list mps has gone to 71 – 49 has a bit to do with keeping just two parties so dominant

                      We're heading for a situation where a few high ranking list MPs miss out because too may plonker electorate MPs have been elected.  At which point things will change. 

                      With our population growth we should have 140 MPs anyway, or electorates go back to 60 and represent more people

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I disagree, Act is a party and would,now, probably win Epsom in a proper election.

                      David Seymour has shown to be a capable MP (certainly more effective than most MPs) and I'm predicting a2, possibly 3 MPs for Act at the next election

                    • McFlock

                      I disagree, Act is a party and would,now, probably win Epsom in a proper election.

                      But the nats haven't risked it in ages, have they.

                      And even if Seymour can win the electorate, that just makes Act like the last days of United: not a "party", an electorate mp pretending nationwide support.

                      If it weren't for National throwing the epsom campaign in the last few elections, Act would be history.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Well they don’t need to risk it so why bother but 25 years for a political party isn't bad going by a NZ political party and Seymours visibility is only going to rise next year

                    • McFlock

                      If it was a real party, it wouldn't be a risk.

                      And nobody says "they were on life support for half their life, but they had a good innings".

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      As you say media do like to keep NZ politics as a two horse FPP type system, maybe smaller parties have been hamstrung by that lack of media exposure and now with a new generation of voters coming through things will change

                    • Graeme

                      Media present it as a binary (two horse race) because they need a winner and a looser to fulfil the sales / advertising model, ie sell the soap.  


                    • ISTR the Green line is that they would go with any party that had decent environmental policy, but sadly that doesn't include the current nats.

                      Your recollection is correct. The Green Party is willing to work with any parties if there are gains in it for the environment or the lumpenproletariat. It's that "if" statement that tends to rule out joining a National-led coalition, rather than any inherent refusal of the Green Party to work with National.

        • Andre

          The problem I see with "the most popular party" thing is if you've got a big monolith that's put together as a grouping of barely-holding-together factions, how do you sort out where to put the effort and priorities?

          Take the current state of the National party. It looks like the religious nutter faction has the upper hand at the moment. But how many National voters really want a government headed up by religious nutters prioritising religious issues?

          Whereas a coalition of parties with overlapping priorities and values have an obvious indication of what their voters think should be prioritised. A hypothetical government with say 18 Green MPs and 6 New Socialist MPs and 40 Labour MPs is going to govern very differently to one made up of 8 Green MPs, 9 WinstonFirst MPs and 46 Labour MPs.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Indeed so MMP beats FPP, does anything beat MMP?

            • McFlock

              I've been pondering bicameral, where one house is purely proportional party representation and the other is local MPs (because regional concerns matter as much as Auckland concerns).

              Legislation goes through the, er, "party house", and gets ratified by the electorate house. If the electorate house rejects, kick it back to the party house and either majority larger than the total nay votes or a 2/3 majority (haven't decided which) overrules the veto and the legislation is passed.

              Both houses should be roughly equal in size, with electorates being 1:10,000-20,000 eligible voters.  So yeah, a lot more MPs, but if we knock down their salaries a bit (like, a premium to ditch a profession for three years is fine, but $200k?) I think it would be better.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Knocking down MPs salaries sounds pretty good to me

              • Sacha

                Legislation goes through the, er, “party house”, and gets ratified by the electorate house.

                Why should geography get a veto over other dimensions of representation?

                • McFlock

                  Because otherwise the government only serves the interests of the largest population concentrations.

                  And it's not a full veto – it's just a requirement that if the regions oppose it, the party house needs to look at it again.


                  • Sacha

                    What is so important about 'the regions' as opposed to other groupings like 'young people' or low-paid workers?

  8. Well the pressure is slowly mounting on ScoMo, especially after his run in with a little old lady manning the kitchen for the local firies yesterday and the various State Governments to give relief to us volunteers firies in particular to the poor buggers down, but is there is bugger all in it atm for those not the public service or us veterans who have to jump through the hoops IRT DVA. Anyway it’s a small step in the right direction.


  9. Sabine 10

    young girl today told me she and her mum went to NZ for a week of holiday to get out of Sidney.

    Had not seen a blue sky for weeks and had a really bad, very throaty cough. Girl : Everyone is coughing, the air is really bad, that is why we came here so we had some clean air to breathe.

    to those that believe we can adjust to this, no we can't. 

    Merry Christmas. Travel safely so that the volunteer fire fighters don't have to scrape bodies of the road. Be careful with the bbq so that they don't have to try and save the house. Don't do stupid shit so that they don't have to look for a cut hand in the grass. (all these things happened today)

    Take your time, you will get there. Rejoice that you have shelter, food, blue skys and still some decent air to breathe. Eat, laugh be merry. Don't abuse the alcohol or drugs. 

    Yeah, its been a day today. 

    • Puckish Rogue 10.1

      Sure has, mine started at 1400hrs and will finish at 0600hrs tomorrow and then I have to face a family breakfast followed by family lunch

      Red Bull for the win!

      • McFlock 10.1.1

        It was always the 0700 sign-in that nuked me when I was on rotating rosters. Night shift I could handle easily. But 16hrs is hard no matter when it's done.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Being completely honest its the overtime and the day in leiu I'm doing it for, not the sense of duty 🙂

  10. Puckish Rogue 11

    So Christmas miracle time

    I switched over to 2degrees from Spark for my broadband because of extremely hideous service (wasn't like that when I was there!) and I didn't get the modem (because 15 bucks is 15 bucks) so the switch over happens yesterday and try as I might I can't get the damn information needed to get the modem working (excuse the technical jargon)

    I ring up the help desk and funnily enough still no joy (because I was using the modem Spark had provided) so I bite the bullet and order the modem and was told it would take up to 5 working days and given the time of the year I was resigned to getting the modem next Monday (a week without the internet!)

    When lo and behold this morning, yes this very morning, a courier dropped off the modem from 2degrees and Christmas, and the internet was saved…sure not a very Christmassy miracle but a miracle nevertheless 


  11. joe90 12

    And there I was wondering where TF tRump got his windmills kill birds/destroy the environment claptrap.


    “Windmills, which are so widespread in many European countries seem to be an environmentally friendly kind (of energy), but in fact they kill birds,” Putin told a conference of his United Russia party in the Far East.

    “Vibration there is such that worms come out of the ground, not to mention moles. This is a real environmental problem,” he said, adding that solar energy was the only alternative source that was entirely harmless.


    • Dennis Frank 12.1

      "You know we have a world, right?"  Uh, yes, I had noticed that.  Goddam staffers dropping acid into his cuppa tea again, eh?

      Putin the environmentalist.  Will he allow an ngo to form, to speak on behalf of the homeless worms & moles?  In little old Aotearoa, there's only homeless people to worry about (as yet).  Homeless creatures may be the next big thing…

  12. joe90 13

    Cannot be unseen.

  13. millsy 14

    Bad news: 2020 will be worse than 2019. 

    Good news: 2020 will be better than 2021.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all at The Standard, both posters and lurkers.

    Who thinks Ad needs his own blog?

  14. Nakiman 15

    "Who thinks Ad needs his own blog?"

    Ad is one of a few honest lefties on this blog


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