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Open mike 24/01/2015

Written By: - Date published: 7:08 am, January 24th, 2015 - 199 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

199 comments on “Open mike 24/01/2015 ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Facebook knows all about you, and gets it wrong.

    What does this say about the value of metadata?

    For our four volunteers, the personality profiles differed considerably between their psychometric test results and the Facebook-likes analysis. Much of the other personal information inferred from their Facebook profiles was also wildly inaccurate…

    • Colonial Rawshark 1.1

      FB engages in and funds real life research to keep improving those algorithms.

      • Truth Will Out 1.1.1

        The problem with their logic is that the vast majority of people click ‘like’ on things their friends post and share, not because they actually like those things, but because they want to be seen not to be ignoring what their friends post on Facebook. I used to write articles and post them on Facebook before I deleted my Facebook account. Some of those articles would take up to 10 minutes for an average reader to read. Without fail, every single time I posted one, at least four or five of my ‘friends’ would click ‘like’ within 60 seconds of the post going live and hitting their newsfeed, meaning they ‘liked’ it without reading it. Facebook is only an accurate gauge of what people *want you to see* and of how they *want to be seen*, but in my experience it will never be an accurate gauge of who or what they actually are. This personality testing crap appears to me to be just another way for Facebook to appeal to potential advertisers, but I doubt it would pass the snake oil test on close inspection. Last time I looked, there were seven billion or so independent psychological realities populating this planet. I find it extremely difficult to believe that you can break those down to six, nine, or twelve different types. If only life were that simple.

        • greywarshark 1.1.1.1

          @ Truth will out
          Good points. I am looking at facebook as I have some very FB oriented relations who want to be on it every day and promote things I’m not interested in. Now it seems to have increased as there is mention that I should know that someone is ‘tagging’ something from someone who is connected with one of my relatives or their friends blah blah.. I’m sick of it.

          It has ocasional uses for me but another of the trials of it is that they don’t have a complete profile on me or my image and I don’t want them to have it. But I get reminded (harrassed) that they still don’t know what toilet paper I use and if I fold it or crush it into a ball. Haha. Not going to tell them. (That actually was a funny episode in one of the tv series, possibly The IT crowd.)

          By the way TruthWO, I split my comment as it’s easier to read if you would do that. A split anywhere or divide into paras separating your thinking, good.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        Have we all been duped by the Myers-Briggs test?

        The interesting — and somewhat alarming — fact about the MBTI is that, despite its popularity, it has been subject to sustained criticism by professional psychologists for over three decades. One problem is that it displays what statisticians call low “test-retest reliability.” So if you retake the test after only a five-week gap, there’s around a 50% chance that you will fall into a different personality category compared to the first time you took the test.

        It’s kinda amazing the personality tests still exist. I suspect that it’s part of some peoples desire to fit other people into categories that they understand.

        • greywarshark 1.1.2.1

          @DTB
          Some interesting things from a link on that Fortune page relating to generic drug falsifications that mean that drugs relied on and officially packaged may be nearly useless.

          This about a whistleblower who exposed an Indian ‘faker’.
          http://fortune.com/2013/05/15/dirty-medicine/
          Under federal whistleblower law, Thakur will receive more than $48 million as part of the resolution of the case…
          On May 13 [2013?] Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs with intent to defraud, failing to report that its drugs didn’t meet specifications, and making intentionally false statements to the government. Ranbaxy agreed to pay $500 million in fines, forfeitures, and penalties — the most ever levied against a generic-drug company. (No current or former Ranbaxy executives were charged with crimes.)Thakur’s confidential whistleblower complaint, which he filed in 2007 and which describes how the company fabricated and falsified data to win FDA approvals, was also unsealed.

          This item goes on to examine the generics boom, which is a large part of the pharma market in the USA and the global market is said to be $242 billion. But the question is, can it be monitored properly. The gaming of the FDA is shown by this one case to be likely, and if not, there is always the possibility of capture of screening officials as in the case of the Federal Reserve in USA.

        • I saw a graph showing the popularity of different three-word combinations in Buzzfeed headlines (through likes and shares on Facebook). “Things you didn’t” and “You’ll never guess” were predictably very high on the list, but “character are you” was in the top 5.

          People *love* being able to sort themselves and their friends and family into easily-understood categories.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.3

          DtB +1

          I suspect MBTI returns similar quality results to Facebook algorithms.

    • What does this say about the value of metadata?

      Two things, I believe:

      1. Quality of metadata is vital. You’d think that some metadata would be better than no metadata, but inaccurate metadata is worse than none at all because it gives you misplaced confidence in the crap results you’ll get.

      2. Metadata of the type that lets you say “more likely to be X than Y” for a large population sample isn’t necessarily going to say anything useful about any particular individual. (Which is what’s disturbing about wild statements like “knows you better than a close friend.”)

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1

        1. Pretty much what I was thinking. Further, that there’ll be a race to be the first to use metadata to make a major error of judgement in a criminal investigation. Come to think of it, that probably happened already.

  2. Barfly 2

    ” a brighter future for Kiwi families”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11391028

    yeah…right

    cue Tui add

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      When both major parties are determined to create a rentier society then ownership is guaranteed to drop. Of course, we should actually question the value of owning a home anyway as that in itself also creates a rentier society – just with the banks and their shareholders as the rentiers.

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        This morning on radonz a commentator on Greece said there problem had been that two parties had alternated for 40 years both running scams, with corruption and spending unwisely – increasing government employees by four times etc. That resonates with DtB “When both major parties are determined to create a rentier society”.

        In Greece people have had so many years of austerity and not been able to climb out of it, their best and brightest have survived by going to other countries, and of those remaining 15% have voted for Golden Dawn which sounds similar to H…s Brown Shirts in Germany. The GD abuse brown coloured people in the street [Jews} and are corrupt and criminal, and at present half of their reps are in prison for something.

        So societies are degraded by this mad austerity. Our long=standing financial system is now not standing up to scrutiny and hard times that it has created itself. The system is shown to be not practical for a good, healthy economy and society. And the people at the bottom rage but hard work is required to understand the coils of its serpentine ways.

  3. Pete George 3

    The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.

    But we think the next 15 years will see major breakthroughs for most people in poor countries. They will be living longer and in better health. They will have unprecedented opportunities to get an education, eat nutritious food, and benefit from mobile banking. These breakthroughs will be driven by innovation in technology — ranging from new vaccines and hardier crops to much cheaper smartphones and tablets — and by innovations that help deliver those things to more people.

    The rich world will keep getting exciting new advances too, but the improvements in the lives of the poor will be far more fundamental — the basics of a healthy, productive life. It’s great that more people in rich countries will be able to watch movies on super hi-resolution screens. It’s even better that more parents in poor countries will know their children aren’t going to die.

    From Bill Gates’ annual letter

    A 50% increase in ‘wealth’ for most rich people will have far less effect on their lives than a 50% increase for all poor people.

    • weka 3.1

      No shit Sherlock.

      Fifteen years, just enough time to get more dependent on oil then find there isn’t much left. We certainly won’t be letting poor countries have the last of the easy to get at oil, will we. What will they do then?

      Mobile banking 🙄

      Does Gates say anything about CC and PO? If not, his opinions are at best redundant, at worst contributing to the problem.

      What we should really be doing is offering poorer countries resiliency tech that enables them to keep their current resiliency strategies while increasing their quality of life. But that would mean getting over our own denial.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Here’s how this works.

        Petty cuts and pastes something someone else wrote, with a beige nothing appended, and when a debate ensues, he cuts and pastes the result straight to Yawns.

        Sad and true.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Yeah I knew his comments tended to be edited versions of his blogposts, and that he periodically posts there on his Prentice obsession. Didn’t know he was wholesaling from the comments here though.

          Unfortunately I just went and had a look and saw that awful misognistic post about the nannies at Ratana 🙁

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.2

      A 50% increase in ‘wealth’ for most rich people will have far less effect on their lives than a 50% increase for all poor people.

      True this.

      Just like a 50% increase in wealth for the bottom 9/10 of NZers will have far more effect on their lives, than a 50% increase in wealth for the top 1/10 of NZers.

  4. “..Could Psychedelics Be An Effective Suicide Prevention Measure?..

    ..The new wave of research on the medical applications of psychedelic drugs has suggested that these substances may hold considerable promise as therapeutic interventions –

    – for a number of mental health conditions.

    And according to another new study –

    – use of ‘classic’ psychedelics – psilocybin (magic mushrooms) – LSD a- nd mescaline –

    – may also be an effective suicide prevention measure..”

    (cont..)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/psychedelic-research_n_6515268.html

  5. Ad 5

    Latest RoyMorgan; Nats creaming everyone, housing crisis and drought no impact.

    What are Labour’s best attack lines, or is National simply impervious?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Confidence in the future was way up. With the sort of summer we are having who would ever want to change?

      • Truth Will Out 5.1.1

        A week is a long time in politics. Never underestimate or forget how fickle the public is when the truth hurts them in their pockets. Key is only as good as their next pay cheque. Why else do you think he has borrowed almost $100 billion to keep the middle class wrapped in cotton wool?

        • Ad 5.1.1.1

          7 years is not a week.

          Time to think this through hard.

          • Truth Will Out 5.1.1.1.1

            @Ad:
            Key is only as good as the average voter’s last or next pay cheque. Personally I think the man is a liar and a criminal and I can”t wait to see him exposed. The object of your desire is the object of my contempt. History will prove who was right no matter how hard you try to shape it. Your opinion is no more or less valid than mine in this equation.

            • Ad 5.1.1.1.1.1

              We are seeking to change the future of politics so how history is written is quite irrelevant.

              Actual citizens are entirely entitled to vote and support for those who benefit them through their pay cheques.

              As per the original question, what if any attack lines are there into this government?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                how we are going to change the future of politics via the use of ‘attack lines’ which consistently get zero traction.

                People don’t believe that Labour is ready to lead a true alternative to Key and English. I think that’s the basics of it.

                Would better attack lines help? Sure. And if Labour could sound like it was in touch with the culture and attitudes of the electorate, that would be of assistance.

                • Ad

                  And so we get to think through the steps towards “true alternative”.
                  Far too early for that concept.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Well, we’re just getting on with it down here in Dunedin, we’re not waiting on approval from anyone.

          • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1.1.2

            If you want to look at Labour’s mediocre performance and lack of true vision over the last 8 years you only need to look at caucus and their senior advisors.

            • Ad 5.1.1.1.2.1

              And yet it remains the task of the left to defeat the right.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Sorry mate too many of the tools are not up to the task.

                • Ad

                  Agreed. This is why the question ‘how to defeat National” should be argued through as the year starts, not after Key has set the agenda. And all the more reason to refine which remaining tools do work.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    This really isn’t the place to do that though Ad. It’s a largely pseudonymous, and more importantly, public space.

                    Discussing rhetorical strategies, and the like, can’t be done in a public space; and is only really relevant to a few dozen people within political organisations anyway.

                    Spaces like this are places for citizens to talk about stuff. Party strategies will be yarned about, sure, but they can’t be planned in such spaces.

                    If Labour, or anyone else, is actually looking for clues on what to do strategically from spaces like this, then they are beyond fucked. That’s not to say that there aren’t insights here, but they limited to the context of what goes on in here. They cannot develop a rhetorical strategy in a public space. You cannot get a ‘good attack line’ from a public discussion of what a ‘good attack line’ might be.

                    Such things might emerge from a discussion about an event, or about National, but they will not emerge from a discussion about developing attack lines. Such a discussion ‘poisons the well’ for anything it comes up.

                    ie: “Haha, Labour are using lines discussed in this {link} Standard comment thread! Fuck they are hopeless” -Every RW blogger

                    Next day: John Armstrong, Vernon Small, Fran O’s: “The problems in Labour remain apparent as the party remains in the thrall of far left base who supported Cunliffe. Despite public shows at unity, and claims to have ‘learned the lessons that they need to listen to mainstream New Zealanders’ the party is still beholden to the partisans in the often abusive comment threads of….”

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      +1

                    • Murray Rawshark

                      You have a great future in journalism, CR.

                    • Ad

                      We are not confused with caucus. But TS has a leadership position and is doing a better job of defining a future for an alternative government than most.

                      Most parties look here for clues – it’s a signal of the success of the site. Just as they do on other sites.

                      Don’t be so afraid of the echo. And you’re worrying far too hard about what is discussed “inside” or “outside”. That’s precisely the purpose of being a part of the media, which we are. This is public.

                      And don’t be pathetic about Cunliffe. Everyone else has got over it just fine.

                      We form thoughts that are repeated, added to, seen, reified, considered. And have done so for years now. Accept the agency this kind of site has.

                      There is no need for TS or any other site to respond to the narrative. We can form it. I’ve simply put the question more baldly than most. And we can and should help answer it.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      Who is this “we” that isn’t confused with caucus?

                      Speak for yourself, and don’t claim to speak for others.

                      I’ve not been commenting here much lately, but there are very few who have been here longer. I remember, for example, when CV showed up.

                      This ‘leadership position’ what the hell are you even talking about?
                      It’s a blog, with otherwise largely unconnected people discussing things in public. That’s a useful and good thing, but nope, it is not a place where a party or political movement can strategise effectively.

                      In any case, if you want to get on with it, get on with it. Asking other people to have that conversation is pointless, coz as is happening now, the conversation becomes about the conversation.

                      They idea that a party or movement can have discussions in public about what their public rhetoric should be is completely bonkers, sorry. it just is.

                      Either get on with trying lines or whatever, or not.

                      But saying ‘maybe we should try this line”xxxx” or maybe this one “yyyy” just slits the throat of the line.

                      The line cannot be accepted as sincere when you have publicly said ‘maybe this might work’ about it.

                    • Lanthanide

                      I’ve missed your input, PB. I think you could do a media / PR advisor role for a party and be good at it. One of the few posters here whose comments I always read.

                    • greywarshark

                      Crikey Lanthanide. You are an extremely fine and rigorous sage.

          • Anne 5.1.1.1.3

            Time to think this through hard.

            No it’s not. This is the silly season. People not only act stupid, they think stupid. Anyone who thinks that the average Kiwi is an intelligent and rational thinker is living in cloud cuckoo land. Most are downright stupid or excessively greedy – or both. That’s why I don’t give a damm about them anymore.

            • Ad 5.1.1.1.3.1

              Well that withdrawal mode will work.
              Works for everyone else as well.
              And so they win again.

              • Anne

                I haven’t withdrawn – far from it. I simply bear in mind most are politically stupid. Then when they go and prove it – as they do time and time again – I’m not surprised or disappointed. 🙂

            • tracey 5.1.1.1.3.2

              that is reflected on the auckland roads

              • Anne

                Funny you should say that because – political stupidity aside – that is exactly what I was initially thinking. You see their arrogant, self absorbed behaviour around you all the time.

          • The lost sheep 5.1.1.1.4

            “Another year,
            another pint of beer.”
            Billy Bragg.

            When will the reality sink in?
            Seven years and support for LW still dropping.
            As you say AD, time to think this through hard….
            So here’s a few practical thoughts on the essential elements of change.

            Nothing is going to change by just sitting and waiting for the current strategy to suceed. It’s been 7 years and that hasn’t worked yet. It will not work in the future.
            If the Left does want any hope of change, the Left must actively change it’s strategy.

            Those who are constantly finding reasons why nothing will work ‘because everything is stacked against us’, should go and sulk in the corner with the other defeatists, and stop getting in the way of those with positivity and determination to succeed.

            There is actually a very simple goal that can be identified. It is by far and away the one thing that will produce the maximum effect…
            9% of voters who currently support the Right must be converted to vote Left.

            If you hope to convert those voters, you must listen carefully to their views and concerns. As Orwell said ” propaganda only works when it is largely what the populace was inclined to do anyway”.
            This will involve short term compromise right throughout the Left.

            No single LW party can hope to gain power on it’s own.
            The LW must align forces and they must present a coherent and credible alternative Govt. that ‘the 9%’ can strongly identify with.

            This will involve compromise throughout the Left.
            It needs to be understood and agreed why this is necessary, and why the constant ideological conflict that has characterised LW politics is simply counter productive for everyone.

            This all must happen very soon. By the end of the year at latest. To have any chance of convincing ‘the 9%’ to swing Left, you will need to show them at least 2 years of a rock solid, unified, and credible alternative Govt.

            Get off your arses and act for change.
            Or it’ll be ‘three more years’ ringing in your ears, rather than Billy Bragg.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.4.1

              😆 @ Billy Bragg.

              No concrete suggestions other than “why can’t we all just get along”? Are you trying for a beige star?

              PS: My concrete suggestion is that we repeal neoliberalism in its entirety. Public utilities, free education, free healthcare, strong unions, human rights and the rule of law (and that includes Te Tiriti).

              After that, advance only policies for which there are evidential bases.

              • The lost sheep

                I appreciate that is what you want OAB, but seriously, is there the slightest hope it is achievable?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Yes, significant hope.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Fundamental changes in policy direction have been achieved many times before in many countries, using democratic means. All it really takes is for enough people to notice that right wing parties turn everything to shit.

                  So, for example, your disgusting support for the destruction of collective bargaining deserves a brutal response, and it will just end up being repealed by Parliament instead.

                  • greywarshark

                    Reading some of these new people I can’t help thinking they sound like concern troles.

                  • The lost sheep

                    “All it really takes is for enough people to notice that right wing parties turn everything to shit.”

                    Seven years of RW Govt., their level of support is going UP, but you still believe the above, and your strategy is to wait for ‘enough people to notice’?

                    Denial OAB, and I’m not singling you out, because you are expressing a (far too) common LW meme.
                    The flaw in this meme, (and it’s a biggie), is the presumption that your world view is ‘correct’, other world views are ‘wrong’, and inevitably future events will clearly demonstrate this and lead people to see the world as you do.

                    They will not. Other peoples world views are just as firmly grounded as yours, and are about as likely to change significantly and rapidly as yours are. (Bugger all chance in other words.)

                    Reality. The majority of NZ’ers do not believe everything is going to shit.
                    So a strategy based on attempting to convince the 55% that it is, will fail over the next 3 years, just like it has for the last seven.

                    So if my suggested strategy is rubbish, what are the realistic and achievable alternatives?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Either Dr. Mike Joy is right, or the corrupt Prime Minister. Either The Lancet is right, or the Health Minister. Either the New Zealand Law Society is right, or the National Party.

                      It’s nice of you to imagine I formed my low opinion of you and your leaders on my own, and really, I had help, and not from self-made self-worshippers, either.

                      Oh, and you are confusing an observation with a strategy. Oh, and an anonymous bloke who isn’t even a member of a political party, with political parties.

                      The majority of the electorate (70%+) either didn’t vote, or didn’t vote for three more years. Your fatuous conceit that everyone thinks like you isn’t borne out by the facts.

                  • greywarshark

                    @ OAB
                    “All it really takes is for enough people to notice that right wing parties turn everything to shit.”

                    The lost sheep has made some relevant points. And one is about your sentence above. It is obvious to us, that even when the facts are obvious, the voters will slide away from the bad prognostications and vote for the status quo while the water is still calm. Later they may realise they should have acted differently, but the boat will be going down then and losses will mount.

                    We can’t wait for reality to strike the voters, we must be aware ourselves and find some unifying other message with positive outcomes to get them to brace themselves for change. It’s getting them to climb that change barrier! Change of thought, expectation, and change of government and change of apathetic negativity that seems to have settled over the country like a low pressure weather trough.

                    We have gone so far away from 1984’s lies about pain before gain, that we haven’t much that’s concrete to hold onto, to use as a base, a reference point for a reasoned way forward. We want a way that achieves a good basic living standard for all, and useful jobs to go to, and skills to acquire that will pay for improvements in living standard. The economy will rise as that happens. The change will be carried up not trickled down. Think of a seedling, quite soft but strong enough for its task, and it pushes up through the soil and then opens its leaves and gets stuck into being the plant it is. We can do that.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Except that you’re arguing with a Sheep’s delusional idea that an observation is a strategy. Plus what Pascal’s Bookie has been saying.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I might have missed it OAB, but what is YOUR realistic and achievable ‘strategy’ to change the current situation that you hate so much?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I might have missed it Sheep – the part where you comprehended what Pascal’s Bookie has been saying to Ad on this very point.

                      No, wait, sorry, I’m being too charitable – you probably can’t grasp it at all, eh.

                    • The lost sheep

                      This site is full of endless discussions about every kind of shit….
                      But we can’t talk about the potential political strategies of the Left?

                      FFS.
                      Anything to avoid having to engage with something positive and constructive….

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      So, no idea what Pascal’s Bookie is talking about then?

                      Don’t flatter yourself: you aren’t positive, constructive, or anything approaching either of these things. Treacherous and insincere is a far better description.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Nonsense OAB.

                      Yet again, when faced with a straightforward question you lay down a smokescreen and run.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      In fact, we were discussing my reasonable observation that “that right wing parties turn everything to shit.”

                      You challenged that, so I provided some examples, and now you’re moving the goalposts to try and make the conversation all about me.

                      I think Pascal’s Bookie is right. I note you are unwilling to address the points they raised. Or unable. Unable seems more likely.

                      I don’t play by your rules? Cry, baby.

        • James 5.1.1.2

          Care to point out any week that has had labour polling well in the last four leaders?

          Yes a week is a long time – but relying on sayings like that as opposed to some real thinking is why you guys continue to border on insignificant.

          • Truth Will Out 5.1.1.2.1

            Assumptions will only make an ass out of you. I am not a Labour supporter or voter. In fact, I voted for Key in 2008, but by 2011 I had seen enough evidence to know he is an out and out crook, and the only reason he keeps getting away with it is the questionable judgement and values of people like you, combined with your incredibly low standards in terms of what we expect in the form of clean, corruption free government. Key falls so far short on those standards, it is only your extreme moral selectivity and wilful ignorance on the part of idiots like you that keeps him propped up. If a Labour MP had resorted to insider trading to profit from the Kiwi Rail restructure, for instance, you would have been all over them like a rash. But instead, you resort to blind trust, much like the object of your desire did. And you both still rely on it. No matter what way you look at it, our economy is propped up by $100 billion of debt. In anyone’s language, that is a house of cards, dependent on luck as much as skill to see us get out of it safely. So far, I have seen bugger all skill, and an over-dependence on luck by Key and his cronies. What I have also seen, is more corruption, cronyism and conflicts of interest on their part than any other government in New Zealand history. Like I said, it is your willingness to turn a blind eye to that in return for your next pay cheque that proves me right, beyond any doubt.

            • Clemgeopin 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Well said! I agree.
              +1

            • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1.2.1.2

              Key and English has propped our economy up on $100B of government debt.

              Clark and Cullen propped our economy up on $100B of private sector and household debt.

              Who are you to say which is the bigger house of cards?

              • Foreign waka

                I is astounding how everybody is just pointing the finger at each other instead of offering solutions. I am no party member nor do I follow every share market or bank analysis. What I do see is the ordinary kiwi working or wanting to work, trying to succeed and get a better life. This seem to be almost impossible as education has failed many (they should be held accountable big time!), jobs are getting scarcer and upwards movement is reserved for those in the know 😉 wink wink. This is the report from the bottom of the heap, how is the air up there where reality is as far away as the moon?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  There’s a number of solutions that have been put forward but they’re usually lambasted as being too radical. The problem that a lot of people seem to have with them is that they’ll change the underlying structure that they’re used to, i.e, they’ll fix the actual problems rather than the perceived problems.

                  Poverty is seen as a problem and people look for ways solve poverty. But poverty isn’t actually the problem but the symptom of the problem. The problem is capitalism in that it creates poverty.

              • Draco T Bastard

                They are both the same house of cards because, in both cases, the money was created via private banks with no restriction.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.2.1.3

              +1

              The Authoritarian followers protects their leaders – no matter how much cronyism and corruption they get up to.

            • Ad 5.1.1.2.1.4

              If all we have is to wait for John Key’s luck to run out, the taxpayer funding that props up Parliamentary Services keeping Labour and Greens alive should be stopped immediately because they can affect nothing.

              I’d like to ascribe them a modicum of skill that enables them to be a functioning opposition.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Drawing $5M in salaries per year, you would be hoping for a bit more than a “modicum.”

                And given that, what KPIs have been successfully delivered upon for the Left voter?

                • Ad

                  Searching around for the good news, at least the Greens didn’t get their heads caved in. And with Labour this weak, there’s a better chance that Labour and the Greens will actually have to talk.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Yes that’s fair comment. Should’ve been doing that since day dot, but as you know there is this pride within Labour that it is the ‘rightful’ party of the Left.

          • greywarshark 5.1.1.2.2

            @ James
            Who are ‘you guys’? Because one person says something here doesn’t mean it’s an idea of more than one person. It may not be a general policy of the left or something that the Labour Party has done, is considering or will do. Be more specific as to whom you are directing your thoughts.

            • Truth Will Out 5.1.1.2.2.1

              All I know is we are not going to rise to overcome our challenges as a nation by resorting to dirty politics, divisive politics, self interest, cronyism, corruption, abuse(s) of political power, or anything which stems from the lust and greed for money and power that drives those behaviours.

              Tolerance of them must become intolerable if we are to have any hope of progressing and evolving as a society and a nation.

              Clean, corruption free, efficient and wise governance MUST become our overarching priority or we are buggered.

              Watching trolls keep entering this forum and defending the opposite just angers me to the core.

              These people offend the memories of those who have sacrificed their lives for all of us to live in a better society.

              We need to start demanding a better standard from ourselves and from those who seek the privilege, the power and the money to run this country.

              There is no place for the kind of cynicism which accepts dirty politics as a given if you ever hope to live in a healthy economy and a civilised society.

              Tolerance of such corruption and abuse of power and privilege is as disgraceful as those activities such tolerance seeks to exonerate.

              • greywarshark

                Truth will out
                Don’t feel so deeply about everything. You will wear yourself out. There are huge problems and putting up with the RW troles to some extent is the least of our worries. You list such a lot which which seem valid.

                Just have a rant and a hissy fit about the annoying mosquitoes every now and then and have a slap at them. You might draw some blood, but remember when its a mosquito it will be your own blood you see. That’s my advice. I find them really space wasting and malicious in their determined obtuseness. But some of the earnest defenders of the left like weka and tracey will answer them and try to educate – like trying to sculpt stone with a straw! I’m not suggesting ignoring them, but just checking out what little schemes they are running daily is how to manage them in a manageable way.

                • Truth Will Out

                  Just rips my nightie watching my tax dollars get flushed down the toilet we used to think of as government, and then have to endure a parade of f*ckwits making excuses for it.

    • millsy 5.2

      Low inflation, low fuel prices, blazing summer heat, a lot of people feel good. No real need for then to switch their vote.

      Meanwhile, there a lot of problems with this country, but they are overlooked or denied.

      We are seeing 2 New Zealand’s at the moment. Social stratification in this country is at an all time high.

      Not too sure what the left/Labour/Greens can do here. Best to just wait it out.

      • “Not too sure what the left/Labour/Greens can do here. Best to just wait it out.”

        That’s the worst thing they can do. It’s why I think, despite what others say, polling is good. It shows us trends. National are still around 50% after 7 years. Labour can’t just wait it out, they can’t just wait for the “natural order” to give them power because it’s their turn.

        Labour and the Greens have a lot of work to do, and they need to start doing it.

        • millsy 5.2.1.1

          Nothing seems to be working though. The poll levels have been frozen in time since 2006/07. `

    • Naki man 5.3

      “Latest RoyMorgan; Nats creaming everyone, housing crisis and drought no impact.”

      Shock horror, the average kiwi doesn’t blame JK for the drought.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1

        But they should be blaming him for the rising poverty, inequality, the ongoing destruction of our rivers and the outright corruption of his government.

        • Ad 5.3.1.1

          I think housing, house prices, and rental prices, remain one of the best attack lines. Smith has rolled his dice and failed. They have exposed a major weakness. Can it be better exploited?

  6. EU joins rest of global economy in a QE induced coma…

    “QE has failed in the last four years to get the major capitalist economies going; fiscal deficit spending has not worked in Japan either; so the strategists of capital look to the ‘third arrow’ of weakening labour and extending the ‘free’ movement of capital as the answer. But another slump that destroys capital values and raises average profitability is more likely to be the way out for capital.”

    https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-ecb-qe-and-escaping-stagnation/

  7. Truth Will Out 7

    Prince Andrew is only “innocent until he is proven guilty” because Key wants a knighthood. Pity he hasn’t extended the same courtesy to certain citizens of New Zealand, who were destroyed by media trials of his making while being denied any access to a court room. Key is a hypocritical disgrace who makes my skin crawl. But let me tell you how I REALLY feel…

    • Murray Rawshark 7.1

      I have no idea why FJK even needs to comment on Randy Andy. I couldn’t give a stuff about it.

  8. Ergo Robertina 8

    Enjoyed this today in the ODT; Dunedin’s existential angst worked through in local government bureaucratic non-speak: http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/330945/one-too-hard-basket

  9. Philip Ferguson 9

    NZ’s ‘terrorist’ list includes movements which are clearly progressive/liberation movements. Anti-imperialist and democratic rights activist Cam Walker has a piece on “Ramping up state powers: the Terrorism Suppression Act since 2007” which starts:

    The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, brought in by Helen Clark’s Labour government, contains a number of wide provisions potentially criminalising support for legitimate national liberation movements and activism.

    The Act was discredited in the eyes of many of its initial supporters in 2007 when the Solicitor General described it as ‘unnecessarily complex and incoherent’, following his refusal to allow the Police to proceed with charges under the Act against the defendants in Operation 8 (the so-called ‘Urewera raids’).

    Yet the Act was never repealed. The legal ability of the state to apply the sections of the Act to those supporting international solidarity causes has increased over the past five years. John Key has used his power under s 22 of the Act to designate groups as ‘terrorist entities’ 19 times since 2010!

    Full article at: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/the-terrorism-suppression-act-since-2007/

    Meanwhile, veteran activist Don Franks looks at Key’s exclusive club and the notion that involvement in Syria/Iraq is the price to be paid for membership in this special club: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/looking-inside-john-keys-club/

    Phil

  10. greece is the place to watch this wknd…

    http://whoar.co.nz/?s=greece

  11. Philip Ferguson 11

    The fall in prices of raw materials/resources such as oil is a key factor in deflation. What does deflation mean for economies? Marxist economist Mike Roberts looks at what is going on:
    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/what-does-deflation-mean-for-economies/

    Phil

  12. Jepenseque 12

    I’m not traditionally a Labour or left wing voter, but I’m really hoping Andrew Little can do something really different and find a way to build and agenda and support for a Universal Basic income in NZ.

    It would get my vote for a few reasons that are best outlined in two excellent posts on Gareth Morgan’s site:

    http://garethsworld.com/blog/tax-and-welfare/ten-reasons-scrap-benefit-system/

    http://garethsworld.com/blog/tax-and-welfare/ten-types-people-better-off-unconditional-basic-income/

    How could a UBI be done politically in NZ?

    Discuss 🙂

    • weka 12.1

      There’s been lots of discussion here on a UBI, not just Morgan’s ideas but work other people have done too.

      http://thestandard.org.nz/?s=UBI&isopen=block&search_posts=true&search_sortby=date

      http://thestandard.org.nz/?s=UBI&isopen=none&search_posts=true&search_comments=true&search_sortby=date

      http://thestandard.org.nz/tag/ubi/

      afaik Little is supportive of a UBI in principle, but I don’t know if Labour have this on the agenda at all currently.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2

      By changing the government.

      • Jepenseque 12.2.1

        No party has it in their platform, , how do you get it in the labour party platform? No use if its greens only. There are many aspects to a ubi that have broad appeal to non left voters i think.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1.1

          I suppose you could try and buy the policy from National, and I doubt they stay bought.

          If you want Parliament to take the idea seriously you need a serious Parliament, not this shower of shills and cronies.

        • weka 12.2.1.2

          So is your question really how can the right be convinced of the value of the UBI? I think you are asking on the wrong forum.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1.2.1

            Getting the right on side involves answering two basic questions for them.

            1. Who’s the enemy?

            2. How do we smash them?

        • Colonial Rawshark 12.2.1.3

          The Anderson’s Bay Peninsula Branch of the Labour Party (Dunedin South) is likely to put forward something on the UBI, and an associated programme, to Conference this year.

    • millsy 12.3

      It could also wipe out overheads associated with the current welfare system, ie the MSD bureaucracy.

      You would be able to shrink the whole thing down to one or two floors on an office building, plus a server room. People would only need to go into a post shop, local bank or even online and apply.

      Plus they could choose to have it paid out weekly, monthly or even yearly 🙂

      The superannuation system would be a good starting point for a UBI, I would work on refining that (ie taking pensions from WINZ and handing it another entity, simplifiing elegbility criteria, and streamining administration, then use that as a UBI blueprint.

      • millsy 12.3.1

        UPDATE: NZ Spends $27 billion per year on welfare. if you took that money and spend it on a UBI it would come out at $6750 per year, for every man, woman and child in this country, or, $130 per week.

        A family of four would get $520 per week.

        To get a decent UBI would be pretty expensive, so it will need to have some work done on a proposal.

        • greywarshark 12.3.1.1

          But UBI doesn’t work like that. If you are in work you don’t get it. It should mean more money flowing through the population as WINZ plans down. That could go into Housing NZ which should plan up so it does the job of keeping the housing stream of lower priced housing to needed level each year, so we don’t get huge backlogs and the rentier investment approach as now.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.3.1.1.1

            But UBI doesn’t work like that. If you are in work you don’t get it.

            Actually, that’s pretty much exactly how a UBI works and you do still get it when you work.

      • McFlock 12.3.2

        As a rough benchmark, it might be interesting to see what resources are currently used to administer pensions.
        Even for a universal system, “one or two floors on an office building, plus a server room” seems overly optimistic to me.

  13. Jepenseque 13

    The big problem the any radical transfers/tax refrom is that they invariably create large categories of winners and losers, from a net take home income level. And we humans being pretty selfish this is a very difficult problem to deal with politically. So any reforms tend to be only those that create more “winners” than losers and it needs to be by quite a margin.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      😆

      Like the Max Bradford power ‘reforms’ or the abolition of collective bargaining, you mean? Come on.

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.2

      Jepenesque: absolutely. I think major reform of our economy is necessary (not just in terms of tax and transfers) but to be politically saleable they need to be very cleverly designed.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      And we humans being pretty selfish this is a very difficult problem to deal with politically.

      IMO, human’s aren’t inherently selfish. They are inherently defensive of their present wealth and fearful of change especially when their present wealth is already close to, if not below, subsistence level as a lot of people’s is.

      So any reforms tend to be only those that create more “winners” than losers and it needs to be by quite a margin.

      Almost all the reforms over the last thirty years have done the exact opposite in that they’ve created lots of losers and a very few very big winners. The problem seems to be that the political parties now only listen to the very big winners and ignore the losers that they’ve created.

      • Incognito 13.3.1

        I agree. According to research by Daniel Kahneman and others people are intrinsically loss-averse. The issue is that in order to do something about societal problems the status quo has to be broken and National & friends are controlling the narrative. They have convinced many law-abiding tax-paying rule-obeying decent people in NZ that breaking the status quo means a “loss” to them and the whole country for that matter. Somehow, National’s spin doctors have convinced many people that combatting inequality or poverty, for example, can only come at their personal expense. People buy into this [no pun] and vote, think, talk, blog, and generally behave accordingly. So, the status quo prevails. Mission accomplished.

        The danger imposed by National is that they no longer read people’s minds but they actually effectively manipulate them. They use their lessons and experiences from the free market. That is, don’t respond to the market, don’t follow the market, don’t wait for the market to catch on but influence and manipulate the market or create your own one. It works on consumers and it works on voters; it is the same psychology applied to the exact same people.

        Slick advertising, branding, and marketing sell more and National is applying these to politics; it is vote buying in a figurative sense, sometimes assisted with blatant election bribes. This is where and why the left will always be on the back foot except in ‘niche markets’ such as the environment but even these are under constant threat from the RW propaganda.

        In my view, this is why National and John Key are so “good” at what they’re doing; they treat our democracy as a free market. Politics is turning into economics, which is another reason why the Economy is always one of the most important issues in the elections; it is framed that way. Altruism and friendship are replaced by profit motives and competition; collegiality and community feeling are replaced by corporate values; corporatism is creeping into our public institutions; the free market becomes the answer, the only answer, to everything.

        National’s WMD is their slick and powerful PR-machine. How do you fight this? With an even bigger PR-machine? I think the most effective response is counter-intuitive.

        I’ll be interesting what kind of reception this will receive here on TS.

        • Colonial Rawshark 13.3.1.1

          Good analysis. I would also add that National understands and speaks to the culture and the mood of the general public better than Labour does.

          In too many ways, Labour is no longer a party of the people, by the people, for the people.

      • greywarshark 13.3.2

        Interest in just the big winners not the small guys and girls seems to be a regular theme. Too big to fail and too small to bother about seems the motto these days and it’s negative for advancing the country’s wellbeing.

        I have heard that government only wants to deal with one provider rather than a grouping of small ones or lots of individuals. But that would spread the work around. But no it’s more efficient to go to one.

        Fishing quotas – formatted so that small ones sold out to big ones.

        Air NZ has just stopped getting a variety of wines from different vintners, it’s all from Maria now.

        Some airports decide to deal with only one taxi company and make it hard for small ones to get work.

        I think the Japanese built themselves up by dealing with small suppliers who were closely integrated into the production line and supplied as needed in the ‘just in time’ scheduled system.

  14. Shane Le Brun 14

    A brave woman from a conservative background in the Naki made the newspaper on Medical pot today,
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/65375931/taranaki-woman-sparks-debate-on-medical-marijuana

    I have posted a public rebuttal in two places, seeing as you guys are not huge fans of PG,
    http://yournz.org/2015/01/24/amy-adams-does-she-even-science/

    or my own one

    https://mmj4chronicpain.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/amy-adams-does-she-even-science/

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      Please at least try and make the distinction between PG and PG’s behaviour: the behaviour is the problem.

      You got a read from me. One of the interesting things about prejudice is that it’s very hard to shake using facts. Good luck.

      • Pete George 14.1.1

        OAB, interesting that you should bring up the topic of behaviour. An increasing number of people are calling you on your behaviour and that your behaviour is the main problem. Unless the aim is to portray this as a place of intolerant obnoxiousness. You may not care that it’s a poor look for you but it’s obvious that others care that it keeps tainting the whole forum.

        It’s difficult to see what you’re trying to achieve. It’s easy to get you to keep repeating your stupidity.

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          Where is OAB being called on their behaviour?

          • Pete George 14.1.1.1.1

            Haven’t you seen it? It’s been happening more often here, and his type of behaviour is frequently criticised elsewhere in social media and is often said to reflect poorly on Labour (and yes, I know this isn’t a Labour blog as such but that’s how many see it, especially media).

            It should be fairly obvious that behaviour like OAB’s is often seen as toxic. Don’t you see that?

            [Stephanie: weka raises a very valid point. Don’t try to use weasel words like “but that’s how many see it” when you’re parrotting trollish crap which you know perfectly well is against our policy.]

            • McFlock 14.1.1.1.1.1

              So the thing that obviously has no instances springing to mind (otherwise the request for detail wouldn’t have been made) is happening more often here. I’m shocked, shocked!

              The thing has also been criticised elsewhere. big deal

              The thing looks bad for Labour. go tell Labour, then

              The thing is often seen as toxic. sounds shocking

              Don’t you see that the thing is toxic?

              Right. Now give us an examppe of what the hell you’re talking about.

            • weka 14.1.1.1.1.2

              “Haven’t you seen it?”

              That’s right Pete, that’s why I’m asking you where it is. Can you please link to 3 examples?

              I hope you get a big fat slap down for the Labour thing.

              • Pete George

                You seem to watch things here a lot, I’m surprised you haven’t seen it happening. And it’s not new.

                From one thread. First Mary

                It’s this kind of communication, from OAB, for example, that feeds the “astonishing lack of ability to see the advantage of working harmoniously together to get rid of this rotten government”, a criticism of yours I agree with. It’s this sort of communication that for many just shuts dialogue down. Who’d want to engage in such vileness?

                http://thestandard.org.nz/labour-raise-the-minimum-wage/#comment-859380

                Ergo Robertina:

                Whereas I consider you a bombastic bully. To my mind you have an aggressive and unpleasant style of engagement (and a propensity to over-italicise, which tends to detract rather than add to what you’re trying to say).

                Labour – Raise the minimum wage

                Then adam:

                You expect everyone else to swallow it and shut up, then resort to personal abuse to support your line of argument. Man your tactics are so like Joyce it funny/ironic/sad.

                Labour – Raise the minimum wage

                Now perhaps you’re with OAB on driving people away he disagrees with but you are spend enough time I find it hard to believe you’re not aware of it happening.

                BTW I googled and that’s the first thread I came up with. It’s not hard.

                • weka

                  Still not getting it eh Petey? To me that just looks like the regular, garden variety level of complaints about behaviour that happen on ts in the middle of long arguments when things get heated. It’s not unusual for the ad hominems to come out at that point, across the board.

                  For the most part I get on well enough with OAB, but there are times when we disgree when I find their style tiresome and sometimes we spat. Often I just avoid getting to that point with people unless I feel like having a fight. But there are lots of people here who that would be true of, myself included. Does it matter? You know that thing about how polite isn’t a requirement here?

                  I think the key point is that it’s on an entirely different level from what you do. Which would be why sometimes the community devotes whole threads to talking about the PG tips problem, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one on OAB. They also don’t get bans afaik.

                  “BTW I googled and that’s the first thread I came up with. It’s not hard.”

                  What key words did you use?

                  (lolz, I’ve just seen the date on that linked thread. I didn’t comment in it, and it’s likely I didn’t even read it, which would explain why I hadn’t seen this terrible pattern of behaviour. That, or the fact that I don’t read every comment or thread on the site 🙄 )

                  • Pete George

                    Trying to deny the undeniable. You’re well aware of it. You’re a part of it. Funny coincidence seeing marty mars join in isn’t it.

                    • weka

                      Still can’t address the actual points 🙄

                      See the difference between what I just said and what you jsut said, is that I can point to some actual evidence (see your response to my comment). Whereas your assertions that I am well aware of it is just shit you made up.

                    • I’ve just said what i think pete – tough if you don’t like it but it is my truth.

                    • weka

                      a blog where people join in, what’s the world coming to?

            • marty mars 14.1.1.1.1.3

              No it is not toxic at all imo – you, pete are actually toxic – you’d turn us all into gray goo if you had your way.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1.1.2

          The beige invertebrate is on the march it seems, like a Petty Borg made of airbags and [citations needed].

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      Because despite 10 states in the US, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands instituting specific regimes for medicinal cannabis use, and despite neighbouring Australia moving towards allowing its use there, in New Zealand there is no such momentum.

      There’s a lot of support for medical marijuana (~85% IIRC) and even majority support for full legalisation. The problem is the we know best, anti-democratic politicians and political parties that do only what the corporates and business people want.

      EDIT: 98% support for medical marijuana

    • weka 14.3

      Thanks for the links Shane.

      “Whether you believe Gray is genuine or not”

      Wtf? Taranaki Daily, get your shit together.

      • Shane Le Brun 14.3.1

        Thanks, I was happy to post here, but got no reply when I emailed, I’ve never followed blogs until now, and I’m all about the issue, which shouldn’t be left or right. what are your thoughts on Bomber’s blog?

        • Murray Rawshark 14.3.1.1

          If you want to connect to an audience, it’s OK. Bomber seems to have a fairly large readership.

          • weka 14.3.1.1.1

            +1

            not sure what Bomber is like to deal with. Some people manage it, others don’t.

            If you get some posts under your belt, host blogs will take you more seriously. Also, remember that people have still largely been in holiday mode and these blogs are run by volunteers.

            It’s good you’ve started your own blog, because if you get good at it, Lynn might put you in the blog roll at the side. That’ll up your readership.

            A couple of other suggestions. Just avoid the PG thing here completely. You’ve seen what’s happened above right? So now the serious responses to you are getting lost way below your original post. Just link to your own blog and don’t mention PG at all. It’s not worth it and it’s unlikely to benefit you.

            I’d leave out the “it’s neither left nor right” thing here. It doesn’t matter, but if you focus on it, you might put off people who don’t support the centrist theory. From what I can tell it’s not relevant to what you are writing about (I read your comment about Paula Gray being conservative, but I don’t get that from the article, so it just confuses things if you highlight something that isn’t relevant or necessarily true).

  15. Pat O'Dea 15

    Do pigs have wings?

    The time has come the walrus said to speak of many things:

    “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
    “To speak of many things:
    Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
    Of cabbages–and kings–
    And why the sea is boiling hot–
    And whether pigs have wings.”

    The Jabberwocky

    Lewis Carrol’s famous children’s poem asks two specific questions – One; Why is the sea boiling hot? And Two; Whether pigs have wings?

    (While it may not be boiling), We know that sea temperatures have been the highest in recorded history.

    We also know the reason:

    The reason is global warming – Brought about by the emission of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. It is recognised by governments around the world and the international scientific community, that climate change has dangerously raised the temperature of the oceans, (as well as the rest of the biosphere).

    But, as to the second question:

    Do pigs have wings?

    This is the question I want to address with this essay.

    Winged pigs are a common metaphor, or adynaton for something impossible, unlikely, or improbable.

    Recently we have had a tour of this country by eminent climate change expert Guy McPhearson, who tells us (rightly in my opinion) that humanity have passed the point of no return, that irreversible climate breakdown, (a catastrophe on a global scale, ushering in widescale extinctions, even possible human extinction, within a matter of decades), has begun. To describe this process Guy McPhearson has coined the phrase “Near Term Human Extinction” (NTHE)

    Guy McPhearson admits to the reality of (NTHE) with acceptance and even mourning.

    ‘It is no one’s fault’, says McPhearson, ‘most of the damage was done before many of us were even born.’

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guy-McPherson/200473870003415

    Guy McPhearson is not the only one to have reached this conclusion, Paul Kingsnorth founder of the Dark Mountain Project has a similar ethos. Paul Kingsnorth goes even further, actively condemning those trying to organise a fightback against climate change, naming people like Naomi Klein and Bill McKibbon of 350.org, and accusing them of peddling (false) “Hopium”, even of “Lying to people”.

    So can pigs fly?

    Can we humanity get out of the impossible situation that it finds itself in?

    Or like in the horror movie franchise Saw, are we collectively caught in a horrific sadistic trap, partly of our own devising, impossible to escape from?

    Should we even try? Or should we, like some have suggested, accept our collective fate and go into a period of individual and collective mourning?

    When it comes to climate change there is an extreme wide range of views; From denial: – ‘It is not happening’. To acceptance: – ‘It is happening, but if we act now, we can prevent it getting any worse’. To despair: – ‘It has already happened, and there is nothing we can do about it’.

    There has been no real rational debate between the different factions. All seem to have a deep emotive hatred of the others.

    And why not? NTHE is an emotive issue. How could it not be?

    This has resulted in lot of misunderstanding, heated accusations, emotive name calling, denial, and talking past each other. Egotism, (on all sides), hasn’t helped.

    An example; the debate between well known activist George Monbiot. And Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain, degenerated into personal abuse and accusations of condoning genocide on one side, to lying on the other.

    Kingsnorth/Monbiot Debate

    The central contentious issue of debate, from all sides is whether, we should do anything about climate change, and will it make any difference if we don’t?

    Springing from this first question, (and related to it), is a secondary question,
    If we do decide to do something about climate change, what should it be?

    1/ Is there any point in doing something?

    2/ If there is any point in doing something, what should that something be?

    I would like to address the second question first.

    This may seem like a back to front way of doing things, but I want to leave the main question of whether we should do anything at all, until the last.

    Disclaimer: The following are my views and my views only, I invite others to critique them and tear them to bits and in so doing offer up better solutions and stratagems and pathways forward.

    Preamble:

    (I) The Blame Game

    I remember when I first became aware of the issue of climate change. The issue of climate change was first raised in the 1990s mass media, news paper editorials and TV news as a world problem, at that time the problem was couched in the language of “its all your fault”. You as an individual are responsible. You drive a car, you use air travel, you use disposable products, you use electricity. “Its all your fault” was drummed into us. Obviously this sort of language is pretty diss-empowering, and most people just shrugged and feeling disempowered carried on with their lives. But when enough people did take the message seriously and tried to make personal changes, and found they couldn’t, or it was making zero difference, they eventually began to ask other questions. Why when I cut down my CO2 emissions, do huge factories and industries continue pouring out hydrocarbons that make my individual efforts pointless? Why is there no decent public transportation so that I am forced to use a private car? Why am I forced to use disposable plastic products?

    What people came to realise is that climate change is a public policy issue not a matter of personal choice at all.

    (II) How Does Change Happen?

    I am 56 years young. I remember the first time I ever saw plastic waste on a beach. I was about ten years old, sitting on the sand above the tide line at Mission Bay, Auckland. Pushing my hand into the sand, looking more closely, I marveled at the unusual small plastic oblate sphericals about a quarter inch in diameter (2mm) mixed in amongst the golden yellow sand grains which was mostly made up of tiny shell fragments. What were these smooth little plastic balls, and how did they get there?

    I learnt later that they were the feedstock for New Zealand’s growing plastics industry, and were being imported in mass in the holds of ships, where they were being spilled into the harbour on unloading. (In the days before containerisation, I imagine that this was a much more messy business.)

    When I was a kid, plastic was still a novel product. I remember the first big plastic doll I ever saw which had come from America as gift for a neighboring girl. We all marveled as she showed us how it closed its eyes when you laid it down and cried when you pulled the cord in its back. Most other toys then were made of wood, or metal. Balls were made of leather, or rubber. Raincoats were called mackintoshes after the material they were made of. Goods still came wrapped in brown paper and string, even things like tooth paste tubes were made of metal not plastic.

    Rubbish tins were heavy metal bins with metal lids, you could hear the clatter of lids and bins made by the approaching dustmen, which gave you a warning if you had forgotten to get your rubbish out. The teams of dustmen were very fit, but there really was a lot less rubbish for them to pick up, I imagine that landfills were a lot more compact as well.

    Shampoo and dishwashing liquid was unknown, my mother used to get me to wash the dishes with a piece of sunlight soap trapped in a little metal cage that you shook in the water until it became frothy. (Nowadays we use disposable, one use, plastic containers and plastic one use dishwashing and shampoo bottles. And this disposable plastic waste can be found washed up on even the most remotest beaches on earth)

    Back in the day, drinks and liquids came in recyclable glass bottles – pints, quarts and flagons, you could even get half pints. (For bigger amounts, metal containers. In those days even canned drinks were unknown in New Zealand) The glass bottle was ubiquitous. For us kids though there was greater chance of getting your feet cut, but it was great, because there was a mandatory refund on every intact bottle. For the plastics industry to really get a hold in this country the refund had to be got rid of. I was about 12 when the legislation requiring mandatory refunds on glass bottles was abolished after fierce industry lobbying.

    After that glass bottles became uneconomic in comparison, to one use, plastic containers.

    Another example:

    When I was a teenager my father worked for the education department in the Halsey Street warehouse in Freemans Bay which was a distribution point for educational supplies around the country. From my father I learnt that all government contracts over a certain distance (between cities) had to go by rail.
    Again after intense lobbying by the roading and trucking interests this legislation was repealed.

    After that highways became busier trunk lines were closed, tracks were lifted, thousands of rail workers were laid off.

    I am sure there are many other examples of this. But the take-away message is this; laws and bylaws had to be passed, or repealed, to make the throwaway, polluting society, we know today. The same with the demolition of the public tram system and the beginning of the construction of the motorway system.

    Law that can be made, can be unmade.

    (II) The World Is A Big Place

    Of course the changes happening in New Zealand society to make us a more polluting and wasteful place were not just happening here, they were happening world wide.

    But it wasn’t like the a committee of world leaders got together and decided, this is how the world should be.

    A few people somewhere decided these technologies were a good idea, (and they were at the time), and they just spread.

    This is how the change will come as well.

    So forget about international conferences on climate change.

    A lot of people are disappointed that forum, after forum, meeting, after meeting, international conference, after international conference. All the governments of the world can still not agree on how to tackle the problem of climate change.

    But this is the way it has always been.

    This is how it will always be.

    The latest failed international conference on climate, convened in Lima last year, was just the latest of a long line of failed meetings of the world’s nation states to come to any agreement on climate change.

    You can put money on the fact that the huge penultimate international conference on climate change to be convened in Paris later this year will also fail to come to any binding agreement to cut Green House Gas emissions.

    A solution will never come from these international treaty negotiations, it never has, and it never will. Even the current head of the UN Ban Ki Moon senses it.

    In the 1930s the precurser to the United Nations, the League of Nations, could not get international agreement on how to confront the rise of fascism, and this failure broke them. Just as the UN will fail to get international agreement on how to confront the rise of climate change, and that failure will probably break them as well.

    In the 1930s human civilisation was in a global contest between totalitarianism and democracy.

    Humanity are now in global contest with the physics of the climate.

    In human affairs, big or small, what often makes the difference between resolute action and indecision and confusion, is leadership.

    Just as the UN has failed to address this crisis, so did the League of Nations fail to address the big crisis of their time.

    What turned the tide was when one (relatively) small plucky island nation decided to put up a fight regardless of the League of Nations, regardless of the other major powers inaction and capitulation, regardless that (at that time) defeat looked almost certain.

    Just as the use of plastics and automobiles spread around the world around the world from one centre. Concerted action against climate will also spread from one centre.

    Forget any hope of concerted global action arising out of international bodies like the UN, every country is on its own. The competition will be to see, which country by its resolute actions against climate change, becomes that world leader that sets an example which by its moral power the rest of the world will have to follow.

    It is up to each citizen, political activist, community leader, and politician convinced of the danger, in whichever country we are from, to push for our country to become that world leader.

    For us here in New Zealand we are better placed than many to take that role.

    70% of our power is generated by renewables, we need to make that 100%.

    Coal plays a very small part of our economy, we need to make that nil by the end of the decade.

    We could be that country that by our actions makes that necessary statement to the world that it is possible to move away from fossil fuels.

    Winston Churchill once said, “Grab onto one big idea and never let go of it.”

    James Hansen has said, “If we can’t get rid of coal it is all over for the climate.”

    New Zealand which once had huge asbestos industry has completely eliminated asbestos from our economy, we could easily do the same for coal, to become the world’s first coal free nation.

    This could be our big statement to the world.

    (III) So how could we go about it?

    On a per capita basis New Zealand is the worlds biggest subsidiser of the the fossil fuel industry, we could cancel all the fossil fuel subsidies immediately and pour the money instead into subsidising renewables.

    We could mobilise the workforces of the coal mines, and Huntly and Tiwai into building and operating wind and solar energy stations, and other renewable energy technologies.

    We could forget about aspiring to become fast followers.

    New Zealand could become the global leader on tackling climate change.

    Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter, Australia has, per capita the highest level of green house emissions.

    Undeniably, Australia our closest physical and cultural neighbor, is one of the worst polluters in the world. But because of the nearness of the two nations, both cultural and geographic, resolute action taken in New Zealand, would have political ramifications in Australia.

    Why?

    Because as well as being, one of the worst polluters, Australia is one of the worst effected countries by climate change, and many Australians are worried (even frightened). Latest polls show that 6 out of 10 Australians don’t think their government is doing enough about climate change. All these concerned Australians need is lead from across the Tasman to turn their disquiet into a demand that could not be ignored by Australia’s policy makers and business leaders.

    From Australia the fight back will spread to the world.

    This is how the war will be won.

    (IV) So where should we start?
    Both the New Zealand Green Party and the Mana Movement policy is “No new coal mines”.

    Just as the campaign against nuclear ships was won on the ground first.

    Activists from the Greens and Mana, and others, have been putting the agreed policy of No new coalmines into practice on the ground.

    After an epic two year battle, these activists have fought Fonterra to a standstill over Fonterra’s plan to develop a new coal mine at Mangatangi, just south of Auckland.

    But despite being beaten at Mangatangi, Fonterra have not given up on coal, and have decided to source coal from Solid Energy, the technically insolvent government coal company.

    To meet Fonterra’s demand, Solid Energy have decided to reopen an abandoned coal mine at Maramarua 5k down the road from Mangatangi.

    If the activists can stop the Maramarua coal mine on top of stopping the Mangatangi coal mine; Make no mistake, this will be a stake through the heart of the coal mining industry in this country, representing a major milestone on the way to making New Zealand completely coal free.

    Nothing succeeds like success. Just as the successful protest campaign against nuclear ship visits, used the victory on the ground to leverage this into government policy. We again have the ability of achieve legislation which will have wide ranging international implications.

    There are a number of other contenders to be this signature victory against climate change in this country, but in my opinion they do not have the same potential for achieving a signature game-changing-knockout victory on climate change that the proposed Maramarua coal mine has.

    The other New Zealand contenders for a signature victory against climate change are:

    – The Denniston Coal Mine in the South Island.

    – The campaign against deep sea oil drilling.

    Both these above campaigns have been handicapped by the tyranny of distance.
    Just like applied in gorilla warfare, climate change activists need to concentrate our forces where our opponents are weakest and where we are strongest, that has always been near the main population centres. Maramarua fits this bill.

    The other thing about Maramarua, is that it can only be fought on climate change grounds, there are no environmental issues, the climate change message cannot be confused, or adulterated by being mixed with environmental concerns.

    If this epic battle against climate change in this country, is not fought and won at Maramarua, it can not be fought and won anywhere.

    (IV) (And so for the question I have left til last). Should we even bother?

    Both the Deniers and the Doomers have one thing in common, both believe (albeit for different reasons) that there is nothing to be done about about climate change.

    Are they wrong? Are they right?

    In my opinion if something can be done, it should be done.

    Some of my closest friends and advisers tell me that the doomers are right. “There is nothing that any of us can do that will make a difference.”

    The time has come, for us to find out!

    Pat O’Dea is the Mana Movement spokesperson for climate change.

    • weka 15.1

      Pat, quote selectively and link. Taking up a huge space like that anti-social (Penny is about the only one that gets away with it), and may attract the attention of the moderators. Me, it just made me scroll through.

      • Rosemary McDonald 15.1.1

        Luckily, I have not as yet succumbed to Paula Bennett syndrome. So, Pat O’Dea (I don’t know why, but I pay much more notice to those who choose not to use nom de plumes) keep it up…

        • weka 15.1.1.1

          Paula Bennett syndrome? The one where she outs the details of beneficiaries to the media as a high level bullying tactic, including a fuck you to the Privacy Commissioner?

          Do you realise you are talking to a beneficiary who uses a nom de plume in part for safety reasons?

          • Rosemary McDonald 15.1.1.1.1

            “Paula Bennett Syndrome “as in the article written shortly after her ascendancy to higher office. She implored anyone trying to communicate with her to keep it to one A4 page…or less.

            I too am a beneficiary, by virtue of the fact my partner( pre- ACC high tetraplegic) requires full time care. You of course will be aware of the Government’s response to the Human Rights Review Tribunal’s declaration that I should be paid for providing this care. This was supported by the UN Monitoring Committee on The UNCORPD. My partner and I decided long ago that speaking openly and transparently about this and other important disability issues was vital.

            And yes, there has been a cost.

            As beneficiaries we know that retribution can result from agitating, complaining or even making an inquiry.

            As a client of MOH; Disability Support Services, my partner is more than aware that complaints an inquiries can lead to reduction of supports and threats of institutionalization.

            “Safe”…from the government departments charged with supporting those in our situation?

            Oh, weka, have no doubt that I am well aware that we are not “safe”.

            Also, we have no ‘public profile’ to protect.

            I enjoy reading long posts/comments. When someone has the passion and commitment to construct such a document, my personal feeling is it would be rude not to read it. If it turns out to be twaddle…ignore the next post by that person. Pat O’ Dea took the time to give his thoughts and feelings on this issue, and while I might not be perfectly simpatico with all of his politics, on this particular issue I’m in full agreement. I would love to go and join the roadside protest on Monday…but wheelchairs and the side of the road at long weekend rush hour are not simpatico!

        • Anne 15.1.1.2

          Rosemary, there are some people who have to use non de plumes. It can be for a variety of valid reasons. It may be they are in an area of employment where acknowledging their left leaning political alignment could see them lose their jobs. It could be they are in public office of some sort including local bodies. It could be that their circumstances (whatever they may be) causes them to fear reprisal action against them or members of their families should their identities become known.

          If you think that is absurd, NZ history is riddled with individuals who were targeted because of their perceived left leaning persuasions. I had precisely that experience as a public servant years ago. I was targeted by the management (and others) and eventually had to leave. The fear and the rising stress levels proved too much in the end. Yet a former colleague who was a National Party activist was left alone because he was considered to be on the “right” side of the fence.

          So, you would be wise not to judge a commentator based on whether they use a pseudonym or not. You’re missing out on some excellent commentary if you do. A good example (but by no means the only one) is Pascals bookie.

        • greywarshark 15.1.1.3

          @ Rosemary McDonald
          People use pseudonyms because they don’t trust malicious or punitive people or entities from harming them, harrassing them somehow if they can target the writer.

          Your name here is Rosemary McDonald. But I don’t know if that isn’t a pseudonym.
          Why should you respect a name above a pseudonym? You don’t know the person writing it, you still have to judge what they have said for clarity and correctness.
          So don’t start on about pseudonyms.

          If you want to come here accept the way it is run. You soon get to know what to expect from people using pseudonyms. We are encouraged to use the same ones all the time. They are our names on this blog.

      • Pat O'Dea 15.1.2

        @weka/Colonial Rawshark

        The short take home message for you guys, is this;
        If you are serious about wanting to do something about climate change, and you want to get involved with something with a halfway chance of success – then attend the protest against the Second* attempted New Coal Mine planned for the South of Auckland this holiday Monday at Mangatawhiri, Details HERE

        Or come along to the Auckland Coal Action AGM to discuss strategies for making New Zealand Newcoal Free. All welcome.

        The annual general meeting of ACA will be held Feb.7th 2015 at the Friends Meeting House 113 Mt Eden Rd Auckland at 1pm

        *(We stopped the First one).

        https://aucklandcoalaction.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/2013-08-26-0435.jpg

      • Pat O'Dea 15.1.3

        Kia ora weka,

        Is this better?

        Open mike 26/01/2015

    • Colonial Rawshark 15.2

      Agree with weka…if it takes someone 13 presses of the page down button to get past your comment, you are doing something wrong.

      To the substance of your post – you only have to observe dozens of failed human civilisations in history who could not alter their trajectory even when it was become clear that they were on the precipice and had to change, somehow, to know what is going to happen next.

      On the other hand, I don’t believe that humans are going to go extinct any time soon, but this global civilisation we have built will be on its last legs in the next 30 years, and 100 years from now it’ll be gone.

    • Murray Rawshark 15.3

      My opinion is that things are bad, but we can make changes. If we don’t, they will become catastrophic. I don’t agree with MacPherson that they are catastrophic already. I think that if we don’t start cutting back very soon and get a government that realises there is a problem, it will be too late before we know it.

      • Colonial Rawshark 15.3.1

        Basically. There are lots of things the NZ government could do, but everyone is in a game of pretend and extend promising the middle classes that the value of their Auckland rental isn’t going to be diminished and of course dairy will bounce back.

        And meanwhile we have individual MP’s/PM’s on the look out for what’s best for their post parliamentary careers, stuff the country and its people.

      • Pat O'Dea 15.3.2

        In my opinion, both Murray Rawshark @ 15.3, and Colonial Rawshark @ 15.3.1, are making a fundamental error. In that they are waiting on a government to act.

        It ain’t gonna happen.

        At least, not without the sort of massive pressure from below that saw New Zealand become Nuclear Free.

        This is what informs the strategy of Auckland Coal Action.

        It’s up to us, guys.

        If we did it once we can do it again.

        • Murray Rawshark 15.3.2.1

          I’m not waiting for the government. My position is similar to yours. Governments only act in the interests of anyone other than the 1% when they are forced to. We will get a government that truly realises there is a problem and does something by the pressure from below that you mention.

          And let’s hope that when a government does take some worthwhile climate measures, it’s not a smokescreen to sneak round the back and roger us in another way like in 1984.

    • Ad 15.4

      I’m a doomer.
      But I still act.

  16. Truth Will Out 16

    Can anyone please point me toward any blogs/websites which are informative/on to it in terms of current events etc?

    Not interested in anything with a specific left or right wing bias, more after well informed impartial insights & opinions.

    Recently discovered Dmitry Orlov’s blog which I find extremely interesting, so looking for more blogs and websites like that, which stimulate thought and analysis.

    Any ideas?

    • McFlock 16.1

      Wikipedia is pretty good for ongoing issues – generally gets updated pretty quickly, and it’s easy to find background and sources. And bias gets flagged and disputed/resolved pretty quickly.

      edit: oh, and Gwynne Dyer is pretty good

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.2

      Try and see what suits:

      The Archdruid Report (outstanding, if you like his last few posts it’s worth looking back through the archives)
      http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/

      Zero Hedge (financial and economic – bear in mind that the quality and view of the articles varies widely)
      http://www.zerohedge.com/

      James Kunstler (current events, civilisation depletion)
      http://kunstler.com/

      the ibanker (insightful, humorous look at investment and wealth banking)
      http://www.theibanker.com/

      Informed comment (US foreign affairs and the middle east)
      http://www.juancole.com/

      YouTube – if you want to understand mass surveillance
      Jacob Appelbaum
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYrxmKTD4B0&x-yt-ts=1421914688&x-yt-cl=84503534

      Bill Binney

      YouTube – Keiser Report
      Max and Stacey are great on all the latest financial and economic hypocrisy and malfaesence. There are now hundreds of episodes they have done.

      • Keiser is damn good and so’s the Archdruid. I don’t think we are heading for the apocalypse (but I used to in my Pentecostal days)…

        Prof. Steve Keen, Matt Taibbi, and Ross Ashcroft (the renegade economist) are high on my list of economic pundits. I’ve also been watching quite a bit of Abby Martin on RT as antidote to the cosy Five Eyes media conglomerates.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.3

      Try the The Archdruid Report. There’s several years worth of stuff there that’s worth reading.

    • Ad 16.4

      I personally like ForeignPolicy.com for my daily dose of commentary from close to or inside the US Pentagon.

      Then Salon.com, TheAtlantic.com, BBCWorld, HuffingtonPost, then it’s time to start work.

  17. lprent 17

    Ok, I have done some changes to the caching to use more uncached fragments.

    If there is a problem after this, from those changes, it should show up in the Replies tab, in the names and emails in the comment replies. It will show the wrong ones or won’t show the ones you usually use.

    Let me know if you see any.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      My replies tab is presently filled up with replies to Anne.

      EDIT:
      A log out and log back in seems to have fixed it.

      • Anne 17.1.1

        Oh… how delightful for you. 😛

      • lprent 17.1.2

        Ok. Probably just old caches? Ok lets see if we get repeats. If you see it again, try the Ctrl + F5/refresh first. It should clear up straight away then. Tell me if it does.

        Ummm. It has been a bit tricky in figuring out how to test it.

        Essentially the whole of the page is meant to be statically stored as objects except for the sections that are marked as being required to calculated each time.

        The bit that I did today was the name stuff on the replies. I should have another look at how I did the the replies tab bearing in mind whatI learnt today about this arcane magick

        • weka 17.1.2.1

          I just got the bug for the first time and refresh cleared it.

          • weka 17.1.2.1.1

            Just got it again (different commenter) after posting a comment, and refresh cleared it again.

            • lprent 17.1.2.1.1.1

              Just in the replies tab?

              I think that the code in there isn’t dropping low enough to find out who you are.

              • weka

                Yes, just the replies tab. Looks alright now. I dumped Firefox’s cache just before.

                • lprent

                  Ok, I have put in the change that I think should do the trick.

                  Could people tell me if they see something odd in the Replies tab (or entering a comment for names, emails etc). Check if it goes away if you refresh the page or refresh it with a Ctrl + F5/Refresh.

                  The caching change significantly improves the performance at the server, but it relies on those two specific area to be generated per commenter. If the latter doesn’t work under load, then I need to know about it so that I can revert the changes.

                  It passes my testing, so any errors will only show up under real loadings.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    This time I got Replies to Pete George on my replies tab. A ctrl-f5 fixed that.

                    I was on the Standard’s homepage so I went to Open Mike.

                    When I got there I had Replies to OAB in my replies tab. Again, a ctrl-f5 fixed it.

                    I’m running Chrome on Win8.1

                    EDIT:
                    Presently my Replies Tab looks like the Comments Tabs from some time back.

                    Vance on Key’s “crass opportunism”

                    framu to BM on
                    Vance on Key’s “crass opportunism”

                    Paul to BM on
                    Vance on Key’s “crass opportunism”

                    Paul to BM on
                    Vance on Key’s “crass opportunism”

                    One Anonymous Bloke to BM on
                    Vance on Key’s “crass opportunism”

                    Paul to BM on
                    Vance on Key’s “crass opportunism”

                    Tracey to BM on
                    Latest Roy Morgan Poll

                    • lprent

                      Umm it sounds like it is getting cached somehow. That isn’t meant to be happening…

                      I will have a look at it after the heat drops.

  18. Draco T Bastard 18

    Taranaki journalist threatened with violence

    She said she went to the police on Thursday after receiving a note in her mailbox saying: “We’re not so dumb, we know where you live bitch.”

    Ah, farmers – such lovely fucken arseholes.

  19. BassGuy 19

    Does anybody here have any experience with the MBIE investigating an employer?

    Scuttlebutt has it that someone rang them and made an anonymous complaint about an employer a week or two before Christmas, and nothing appears to have happened. What we’re trying to work out is whether an investigation is under way and just taking time to get going, or whether the (influential) employer had a word in the right ear and made the complaint just go away.

    The cynic in me suspects the latter.

    Any thoughts?

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago