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Open Mike 24/04/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 24th, 2017 - 121 comments
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121 comments on “Open Mike 24/04/2017”

  1. saveNZ 1

    You also have to wonder what immigration and IRD checks there are – these drug dealers have not filed a tax return in the 26 years but still got residency here and nobody in government notices, even though importing in kg’s of Meth!


    “Yim was sentenced this month in the High Court at Auckland to 11 and a half years in prison for possession of a class A drug for supply.

    During sentencing he was described by Justice Geoffrey Venning as being vital to the drug scheme which imported the equivalent of 30kg of pure methamphetamine with a street value of $40m.

    Yim, who came to New Zealand from Hong Kong on a resident visa before gaining citizenship in 1995, has previously been convicted on three unrelated charges.

    According to Inland Revenue records neither Yim nor Wu, who arrived in New Zealand in 1991 and 1994, have ever declared their income nor paid any tax.”

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Why are we putting people like drug dealers in prison, at our expense, when we they should just be returned to country of origin. Australia does this to us for trumped-up offences, and this is a serious offence.

        And as others have noted, how come he isn’t being investigated for tax or income now he has come into the country. How did he gain citizenship – what did he comply with: Very wealthy – so why no income filed, what is he living on, where is his wealth being applied in this country? Was he professional or skilled category, where is he applying this needed skill or profession?

        WTF are these neo lib governments doing to this country? While some crims are cooking meth or some drug, government is cooking up a poisonous broth that kills more slowly. I suggest that the governments themselves are indictable for some crime, or should be. Who was that accountant who took a department or some officials to Court?

        Perhaps like him some group, perhaps called the ‘Citizens for Making NZ Great Again’ should form and start finding appropriate laws relating to fraud against the polity, wilful neglect of the vulnerable among citizens, government holding themselves out as having and relying on authoritative information, and breach of promise to citizens as to performance of vows, and seeing if there is any protection against a government that infiltrates democracy and eats away at the country’s entrails?

        (Holding itself, him/herself,out used in a phrase explaining legal liability for financial advisors:
        (1) A firm that, in relation to packaged products, provides advice on investments to a private customer, must not hold itself out as acting independently unless it intends to:……

    • Whispering Kate 1.2

      These are the people that you and I have mentioned recently who pay for everything with suitcases of cash – somewhere along the lines there have been realtors, car franchise owners, the banking system and anybody else who deals with big ticket items and that includes lawyers who hold this money for them who are just as culpable as the money owners and should have been notifying the IRD and Customs. Instead its left to the PAYE suckers and GST payers to keep this country ticking over.

      The Government aren’t stupid and must know this rorting is carrying on but isn’t doing a bloody thing about it. It’s time they were voted out.

      • saveNZ 1.2.1

        Natz are helping the drug dealers and money launderers by making gift duty ‘free’. So you can transfer money and assets around. You used to only be able to transfer $27k per year so took a while to launder.

        Now, if you want to go on welfare, or just make money and assets disappear, you just transfer all your assets into someone else’s name and cry poor!

  2. saveNZ 2

    Sex offender can stay – but others sent packing

    “A man who emigrated to New Zealand has been convicted twice for sex offending since his arrival in 2012 – including while on bail – but will not be deported if his record stays clean for the next five years.

    The decision by immigration officials has been criticised, particularly as the man did not completing any rehabilitation programmes or offence-related courses in prison.
    However, Immigration New Zealand has permitted him to stay in New Zealand.

    Earlier this month it was revealed caregiver Juliet Garcia, who has lived in the Far North for a decade, was told she had just days to leave the country .

    Garcia and her husband, who works full time at Pak’nSave renewed their work visas annually since arriving here and both have paid for three-yearly health checks.

    But this year Garcia’s renewal was declined and she received a letter from Immigration NZ saying that she had until days to leave the country.”


    • One Two 2.1

      The establishment is run and controlled by child abusers…

      How many examples such as this are needed in NZ and other nations before people finally ‘see it’..includes entities like the UN et al

    • mary_a 2.2

      @ saveNZ (2) … he must have plenty of money. Some backhanders being thrown around perhaps? Throw him out.

      System very unjust, considering the Garcia case, where two hardworking decent and productive people have kept their noses clean for a decade, now have to leave the country! Appalling.

  3. A very interesting analysis at The Spinoff by Danyl Mclauchlan: The New Zealand Project offers a bold, urgent, idealistic vision. I found it deeply depressing

    The rest of the book is a well researched, well argued tour through various political issues – foreign policy, the tax system, constitutional law, the justice system, the labour market, Maori rights and Treaty issues, the education system, gender equality, health care, homelessness, welfare, climate change and environmentalism – seen through the prism of these three values, with the hope of bringing about the transformational change New Zealand needs.

    Harris talks about problems and failures in all of these areas. Almost inevitably the culprit is neoliberalism. This is a contentious term in political debate: many on the right insist neoliberalism doesn’t exist, and never did. The radical left uses it as a synonym for capitalism (“We must smash the neoliberal paradigm and replace it with … something else!”). Less sophisticated commentators, like bloggers or opposition members of parliament, use it as a catch-all cry to denounce anything they don’t like.

    That sort of vague denouncement is quite common.

    If you pay more attention to politics, and read online commentary, or go to political conferences, or progressive hui, and listen to more brilliant left-wing intellectuals agree on What Must Be Done, it gradually becomes apparent that the progressive left has the answer to every problem in politics, except for the problem of how to actually persuade voters to listen to them, and thus affect meaningful political change. Which is a shame, because without that all the other grand ideas are pretty futile.

    All the talk about What Must Be Done starts to feel less like activism and more like a form of fantasy roleplaying, only instead of pretending to be dragon-slayers, or vampires, progressive intellectuals pretend to be people who are relevant to contemporary politics.

    Sound familiar?

    Mclauchlan is rare on the left (he’s a Green Party member) – he is prepared to and able to look at the failures and blindness that many others fail to see.

    Some may find it a brutal analysis but for the left to become credible in New Zealand more need to recognise the self inflicted problems and frustrations and reform left wing thinking and methods before they can sell something genuinely better to everyone.

    • saveNZ 3.1

      From Wiki- are right-wingers denying neoliberalism exists now just like the housing crisis?

      Pretty sure this sounds familiar to many….

      “Neoliberalism (neo-liberalism)[1] refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.

      • Pete George 3.1.1

        I don’t think that’s familiar to many. It’s a retrospective generalised description that applies to nothing in particular. What changed late last century was far more complex.

        The term neoliberalism has only come into vogue over the last few years, and generally only amongst left winger activists wanting to label something they want to replace.

        I think that most people have little or no idea what neoliberalism means. It seems to be little more than a left wing swear word, just like right wing activists use ‘socialism’.

        The reality is much more complex.

        What is most likely to succeed, addressing and improving known problems we currently face (like housing and things being too difficult for poor people)?

        Or changing our economic and social systems drastically and hoping the benefits might outweigh the problems that would inevitably be created?

        • marty mars

          you probably should have quit at , “I don’t think” because everything after that is just YOUR stuff and not reflected in reality at all – for example do you recall over the last few days an EX PM talking about neoliberalism and its failure?

          anyway it is all just a stick for you to beat others up with, namely ‘the left’.

          • Pete George

            Bolger: Do I believe that the gap between those who have and those who don’t at the moment is too big? yes.

            This is now why we’re getting many revolutions around the world.

            The world has sat silent as they have pursued what’s called neoliberalism economic policies and in fact they have failed.

            They have failed to produce economic growth, and what growth there has been has gone to the few at the top.

            I mean there’s never been such a concentration of wealth in the top 1%, in fact half of 1% than there is in the world today, so demonstrably that model needs to change.

            Espiner: But you embarked on that model did you not?

            Bolger: No, not to…you can start down that road but you don’t need to follow that road, you have absolute rights to change and vary and to modify policies, I mean it would be ridiculous beyond belief that policies we introduced in December 1990 are the factors that are delivering inequality today.

            There’s a few contradictions and arguable points there.


            When pushed by Espiner on whether Bolger government policies in the 1990s where neoliberalism: “I just call it pragmatic politics to address an issue.”

            • marty mars

              The point is that the term and the effects are being discussed.

              It is true that Bolger is now all goo goo ga ga on some things that when he was PM he implemented. I do personally struggle with that. Saying sorry for shit is one thing but imo doesn’t wipe the slate clean or make meeting your maker any less excruciatingly uncomfortable.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Haven’t you got a sad dump called Yawnz where you can interview yourself?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Radio NZ’s audience is ~500k people, and your first assertion just collapsed. Marty is right: you don’t think.

        • Carolyn_nth

          The term neoliberalism has only come into vogue over the last few years, and generally only amongst left winger activists wanting to label something they want to replace.

          Wikipedia on neoliberalism:

          The term has been used in English since the start of the 20th century with different meanings,[12] but became more prevalent in its current meaning in the 1970s and 1980s by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences,[13][14] as well as being used by critics.

          When the term was reintroduced in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet’s economic reforms in Chile, the usage of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of economists Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and James M. Buchanan, along with politicians and policy-makers such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan.[4][21] Once the new meaning of neoliberalism was established as a common usage among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused into the English-language study of political economy

          My bold.

          • Pete George

            Can you show me examples of how it was used to describe what happened with the Lange and Bolger governments in the 80s and 90s?

            How widely was it used outside of academia last century? In political commentary at all in New Zealand?

            The only terms I recall being commonly used were Rogernomics and Ruthanasia.

            I’ve only heard accusations of the Clark government’s supposed continuation of neoliberalism after they left office.

            • DoublePlusGood

              Why don’t you do that research yourself and report back to us?

              • greywarshark

                Now that is a good sentence to have put by, ready for appropriate comments.

              • Colin James, 1999:

                Just as a vigorous flowering of the arts in the 1980s signalled New Zealand’s true emergence as an independent (decolonialised) nation, it energetically espoused neoliberalism, the third radical policy shift in its 160 years of Anglo-Celtic rule.

                But, while the economy is undoubtedly more flexible and robust, it is (for various historical and contemporary reasons) still far short of neoliberals’ high-wage, high-performing ideal…

                One of the first points most New Zealanders make is that the economy has failed to live up to the neoliberals’ star billing. We do not have a high-wage, high-energy economy.

                Even though, according to a widespread consensus among economists, we are now heading into a period of firm growth of between 3% and 4% over the next three years, there are some serious structural issues. If the pain has not yet led to the gain neoliberal reformers promised, it is at least partly, and arguably mostly, because of these structural issues.


              • An interesting part:

                This new orthodoxy is now embedded in policy. The argument in this month’s [1999] election is about refining the new policy environment, not rejecting it.

                That has happened in successive elections since then, and the Labour-Green fiscal responsibility agreement suggests that won’t change significantly this year.

        • Psycho Milt

          I don’t think that’s familiar to many. It’s a retrospective generalised description that applies to nothing in particular.

          Now that’s funny. Someone provides you with the meaning of the term neoliberalism, to which you double-down on it not actually meaning anything, accompanied by a sum total of 0 persuasive arguments for why you’re right. The exchange is a fine example of the Pete George Comment Method in action.

        • Once ..whatever

          no, its just that its yet another label for the same shit with a different stink in the cycle of stuff and things. double “neo’s” and “post-post” whatevers don’t seem to work with the masses and consultants and spin doctors are charging a premium to dream up terminology.
          If I were CT or the Penguin for example, I’d be telling the Natzis to go easy on the “pragmatism” and “rap-around services” spin. The former went out of fashion with Helen and Tony, but for the homeless, the unemployed, the jailed waiting release, and others …. it’s going down like a cup of cold sick and it’s becoming very beige

      • Carolyn_nth 3.1.2

        The neoliberals deny their views and policies are any kind of -ism, because they are the truth, the way and the light life. To them there is no other truth – TINOT along with TINO.

    • Incognito 3.2

      A link would have been nice.

      There always is a period of uncertainty and confusion when people have to let go of the dominant paradigm of status quo and head into unchartered territory.

      Much is said about where we need to go next and why, with much noise coming from all ends of the political spectrum.

      However, there seems to be a whole dimension missing in pretty much all discourse. Max Harris talks about “values” but it goes further and deeper than that; what does it mean to be human in this day & age?

      The current crisis is an existential one as aptly pointed out recently by greywarshark https://thestandard.org.nz/restaurant-brand-workers-strike/#comment-1322749

    • Karen 3.3

      “Mclauchlan is rare on the left (he’s a Green Party member) – he is prepared to and able to look at the failures and blindness that many others fail to see.”

      McLauchlan is not on the left – never has been. Voted for the Nats for years. Voting Green in the last couple of elections does not make him “left.”

      • Psycho Milt 3.3.1

        [citation needed]

        I recall him saying he voted National once, don’t recall anything about him having voted for them “for years.”

        • Sanctuary

          Danyl McLauchlan is another middle class intellectual and defeatist who thinks everyone’s values deserve an equal hearing and they are all relativistic and there are just so many variables and anyway modern society and politics is so complex that it needs technocratic elites* to relieve us of making hard decisions and it is all just to hard and besides he is doing all OK so why should he bother with idealism and hard questions of ideology?

          Personally, I don’t take the word of self appointed middle class clever clogs commentators on hipster websites like thespinoff who profess to not being clever enough to undo the Gordion knot as meaning it can’t be undone. To me, that just means the problem is beyond the intellectual ken of Danyl McLauchlan. I suspect that while all the middle class Danyls out there are hand wringing about the problem, someone a lot smarter might come along, take a look, and just use their sword.

          *Danyl is, of course, a member of the technocratic elite himself.

    • RedLogix 3.4

      Neo-liberalism is predicated on three core ideas:

      1. That governments (and politics in particular) should have little to no intervention in the economy. In their view, the less government the better. Individualism is promoted and collective action is reserved for corporates only.

      2. That markets are run by experts who should be left to get on with it.

      3. That inequality does not matter because wealth generation will trickle down to the poorest.

      These simplistic ideas have nothing to do with traditional conservatism. Forty years ago they were considered extremist, nut-job ideas. Then after Douglas they dominated the public debate in this country for most of my adult life. Now they have been proven a failure … disowned by even it’s most ardent supporters like the IMF … now it seems some people are going to try and air-brush them from history.

      It’s a bit like how after Muldoon left public life you could never find any bastard who voted for him.

      • Pete George 3.4.1

        “but now they have been proven a failure”


        New Zealand faced an economic crisis after Britain pulled the plug on a guaranteed market for our produce and Muldoon meddle to the point of almost ruining the country. We survived and largely recovered after drastic measures were taken, and have then been tweaked since then.

        Some things have failed to work adequately and need addressing, but I don’t see a compelling argument that the whole system has been a failure, especially not so much so that it needs to be replaced with something that is unproven ideology.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Harris cites “unproven” policies, does he? No, he doesn’t: that’s just you telling lies: not even Mclauchlan makes that claim.

          • Pete George

            I didn’t say anything about Harris there. A sure sign you’re lying is when you accuse someone else of it.

            A repetitive negative approach doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere.

            Harris has two linked suggestions on how to do this. The first is a reframing of the political debate in terms of the values he talks about – care, community, creativity.

            The second is a notion he refers to as “the politics of love”, an idea he’s explored before in another Bridget Williams’ book The Interregnum. The politics of love calls for us – politicians, you, me, everyone – to embrace the politics of love by putting love at the centre of politics.

            Why don’t you give that a try?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Oh, so no-one suggested replacing current policy settings with “unproven ideology” then. Why did you bring it up in the context of a discussion about Mclauchlan’s projection of Harris’ book?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              …as reading what Harris actually says might have informed you, he proposes a lot more than some vague “politics of love” – he provides specific real world examples.

              I note that McLauchlan recognises this, and that your quote isn’t an accurate representation of his review.

              • This is an accurate representation of what reviewer said about that:

                The idea is exactly as insubstantial as it sounds: “love” is a floating signifier, it means whatever anyone wants it to mean, and I shall pass over this idea with a quote from Oscar Wilde: that you’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

                Sounds vague to me.

                McLauchlan’s overall summary:

                I think there’s some value in the book Harris has written. It is a summation of the last few decades of progressive debate.

                Labour and the Greens can give it to their activists so that they’ll know what to think about everything. Harris’s agenda contains enough reform to keep at least the next five left-wing governments busy.

                Now that we have it all set down in one place, maybe the left can stop talking about What Must To Be Done and start thinking about How To Actually Do It.

                I wish someone young and gifted and brilliant with world enough and time could go figure that out. That’d be a smart thing to do.

                So McLauchlan thinks that as a history Harris’ book has some value, but it is deficient in proposals to actually achieve anything.
                And McLauchlan’s introduction says:

                It is a book about values: a book about change, and hope, and love, that dares to consider the impossible. I found it conventional and frustrating, and deeply, deeply depressing.

                That’s an accurate representation of what McLauchlan said.

                He also said “Less sophisticated commentators, like bloggers or opposition members of parliament, use it as a catch-all cry to denounce anything they don’t like.”.

                rather than denouncing everything and everyone you don’t like perhaps you can consider “thinking about How To Actually Do It”.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes, as I said, McLauchlan acknowledges that Harris makes policy suggestions, and if you had read what Harris actually says, you would know that he provides real world examples to back his ideas.

                  McLauchlan’s main concern is electability, not policy.

                  So your line about “unproven ideology” has no basis in reality, and since you have zero experience of electability, you bring nothing to the debate but an insight into your dull character.

                  As Marty says “a stick”. Although “twig” would be a more accurate description.

                  • Any major ideological change would be a change to unproven ideology. That should be fairly obvious.

                    “McLauchlan’s main concern is electability, not policy.”

                    I don’t think so.

                    According to McLauchlan what Harris does is collates and repeats “arguments and policy statements” that have been recited for yonks, but “with little effect”.

                    Instead of the game changing vision Harris seems to think he’s delivered, a vision to break the current deadlock and engage new voters, his book is actually a compilation of arguments and policy statements that have been advanced by the political parties, thinkers and activists listed above, for such a long time their ideas have become conventional wisdom on the progressive left.

                    Instead of starting conversations, Harris summarises ongoing conversations that anyone who follows these issues will already be very familiar with, having encountered them in Listener articles, Radio New Zealand interviews, newspaper features, and at panels at literary festivals, and in the many previous books on these subjects produced by Harris’s publisher, Bridget Williams Books.

                    Most of these conversations are issues on which the progressive left has convinced itself, but no one else.

                    What Harris is really calling for here is for academics and left-wing intellectuals to transform politics by talking about things that they’ve already been talking about, for years and sometimes decades, with little effect, and for everyone else to just embrace all of those values and agree with them about everything.

                    It’s an argument against the broken status quo that perfectly replicates it.

                    Not only unproven, but also unconvincing and largely ignored.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You haven’t read Harris and it shows.

                    • My initial comment was primarily about what McLauchlan wrote, which you don’t seem to have read properly and it shows.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      And my analysis of your unoriginal comment shows that you haven’t paid any attention to McLauchlan’s source material.

                      If you had, you’d know that far from being “unproven”, the policies he suggests work well where they are implemented, as his examples show.

                      Current polling indicates that your wishful thinking about being “unconvincing and largely ignored” is nothing but small-minded malice.

                      In short, blinded by hate, selectively reporting a reviewer’s projection of a best-selling book, on a blog-site you hate because no-one pays attention to Yawnz. I think you’re probably envious too 😆

                      Have a shit day Peter.

                    • Bits and pieces of policies might have been partly proven in different times and places but obviously not in New Zealand, and not as a collection of policies.

                      You obviously haven’t paid any attention to “the politics of love”.

                    • Barfly

                      Pete you are a jackass

        • RedLogix

          Yet by contrast, Australia emphatically did not go down the same path NZ did. Up until about the mid 1970’s the two economies more or less tracked each other; but while NZ staggered around with extreme swings from Muldoon, Douglas and Richardson, Australia implemented more moderate changes under Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and Keating.

          And quite quickly the Australian economy, and especially pay and conditions for ordinary workers pulled well ahead of NZ. And kicked off the great exodus of kiwis over the ditch. It’s only been in recent years after a chaotic Gillard/Rudd Labour govt that opened the door to Abbot and Turnbull that the migration flow has swung back. I’m not arguing Australia is perfect or without flaws, but demonstrably their more sophisticated and layered political system moderated the extremes of neo-liberalism that took root in NZ. And while that moderation held, they generally did way better than us.

          You can argue external factors all you like. All economies are impacted by them; but it is the response to them which matters.

          • Pete George

            Australia benefited from massive amounts of mining. What’s the future like for their coal sector?

            Now New Zealand stability and relative success is the envy of Australian politicians and economists. Is that a sign that holding steady on much needed reforms has been more successful in the longer term?

            • RedLogix

              The ‘relative success’ thing is a myth. Even during a substantial downturn after the mining construction boom ended (although it needs to be kept in mind that operationally it’s still a major player, and even it’s service sector is a huge earner for them globally) … Australian workers are generally way better off than most New Zealanders.

              But your point proves exactly what I’m saying … until Abbot came along Australia was holding to a moderate steady course. After Abbot’s extremism, it’s turned to industrial strength custard. And Turnbull is just floundering in the mess.

              • The Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years were hardly steady.

                Australia was relying on massive mining , and when exports to China stumbled so did Austalia. It can hardly be all blamed on Abbott.

                In the meantime New Zealand came through the Global Financial Crisis, Christchurch earthquakes and a major downturn in our primary export, dairy, and is still looking in better shape overall than most countries.


                “New Zealand and Australia both had wonderful primary industry markets in Britain, and then Britain joined the European community and that holy grail stopped,” Mr Weiss says.

                “Australia was supported by mining, but nothing supported New Zealand, so we had to become innovative. While Australians whinge about a downturn now, Kiwis have had 10-20 years of restructuring their economy.”

                In other words, the mining boom cushioned Australia from implementing key reforms while we had the opportunity — New Zealand had no choice.


                • RedLogix

                  As I said, every economy suffers setbacks of one kind or another. Australia and NZ have had their share of both. It is the response which matters.

                  But that 2 year old article you link to was just a bit of myth making. And of course the neo-liberal whose being quoted in it wants the Senate dismantled … it’s core to his beliefs about government; the less the better.

                  And as a LOT of people have missed; the mining construction boom is over for a while, but much of it still operates quite nicely thank you. Gold is nice earner, iron ore will eventually recover from it’s overcapacity situation and solar will replace coal. And it’s engineering services sector earns $90b a year globally. Scarcely dead.

                  Get on a plane and come to Victoria. This is a state that never had a mining boom. Yet the moment you get here it’s obvious; even in tougher times it’s still a more vibrant, energetic and innovative place than NZ.

                  • A more vibrant, energetic and innovative place? – bit of myth making there methinks. Good that that is your perception – it may not be others or even true eh.

                    But you’re coming back at some point aren’t ya – why , if it is so great where you are now?

                    • RedLogix

                      If we were 10 years younger, didn’t have family and projects to complete back home we would likely stay here in Aus. And I miss the NZ mountains terribly.

                      Australia has been good to us. If we had stayed at home I would have been gainfully employed, but in a few short years over here I’ve had opportunities I could never, never have dreamed of in NZ.

                      But the point is this; when I explain to people here that back in NZ that fully half of taxpayers have incomes $40k and lower, and that the costs of living are very similar (in some cases higher) and that no-one under the age of 40 knows what ‘overtime’ is …. they go rather quiet.

                      I accept this a narrow personal perspective; there are many other stories that can be told. I’m not selling Australia as any kind of nirvana. I’m fortunate, privileged even, and for that I’m both grateful and a bit humbled.

                      But I return to my point; over the past 40 years Australia has steered a relatively moderate political path compared to NZ, and on the whole has fared a lot better for it.

                    • I suppose any looking through a lens that isn’t about us individually is difficult. I only wish good things for you and your family. For me I look around via my lenses and think fuck it I’m going to try and improve this. Maybe my family won’t thank me for that maybe they will. I respect those that make their life in another country from the one that were born in but it is not for me – hell I struggle to get over the hill to Nelson if the truth be told ☺

    • JanM 3.5


  4. swordfish 4

    Round 2 – Macron vs Le Pen

    • Stunned mullet 4.1

      Hopefully Macron by a landslide.

    • saveNZ 4.2

      Rise of the right.

      First wave of right implement neoliberalism.

      When more and more people are worse off and their is chaos from this globalisation and their effects in particular on ordinary local people the right win again.

      Second wave of far right conservatives against immigration.

      Hope the left, can see the pattern, many people don’t want immigration, more fake ‘trade’ agreements with external “resolution” courts and more taxes. It’s not popular and 30 years ago, before globalism, it was government policy to achieve a strict criteria to migrate to a new country and most people welcomed this and new arrivals. Left and right were in agreement.

      The neoliberals changed the discourse for a free for all, to lower wages and conditions, sell more consumer goods and destroy the welfare state by overloading it and forcing the privatisation model further.

      • Carolyn_nth 4.2.1

        Globalisation has been around for way more than 30 years. Otherwise Māori would still dominate Aotearoa in numbers.

        T’is neoliberalism/capitalism that is the fundamental problem – especially the unrestrained financialist, corporate-dominated version.

        • saveNZ

          I’m not sure colonisation by Pakeha helped Maori… from 100% to 6% land ownership..

          Colonisation, migration and occupation are not really this one big happy family that the fuzzy or authoritarian types like to think it is.

          NZ reached an equilibrium, but now to go through mass migration wave again, knowing that climate change is just around the corner?

          Personally I’d like to change any migration criteria off money altogether.. and look at social attributes like goodness, kindness – Mother Theresa type coming here that did things in their own communities (I think that’s the skills we need in our high skills category), unique skills like writers and artists – then we would get a more dynamic and tolerant society.

          And I’m not talking Peter Thiel types, that buys their way in, as being a ‘giver’ through high paid lawyers and government donations.

          • marty mars

            Colonisation against indigenous peoples is very specific. It has connections with all sorts like racism, capitalism, exploitation and it also is uniquely destructive because of the need for colonizers to obliterate the existing indigenous culture. It is not migration or immigration and colonizers getting scared about being colonized by someone else just shows imo how blinkered they are.

            • saveNZ

              Yep, indigenous is specific but there are parallels and the same thing would eventually happen if one culture becomes dominant politically.

              Remember the outrage when some mentioned we would soon get our first Asian PM in 10 years?

              Generally nothing good comes when there is a massive influx of other culture….. especially if cultural fit is very different. Israel, Fiji, former Yugoslavia, Iraq.

              That’s nothing specific against any culture – we just have to be wise to history.

              Personally I’m not keen on social unrest and a growing local underclass so that Blinglish looks better by a narrow economic criteria.

              • It is like calling someone a wage slave – it shows that what a slave is is not understood, not even slightly. Talking about colonisation by the Chinese is in that category for me. Maybe a more specific meaning word could help those fearful of that.

            • David Mac

              I don’t feel colonisers set out to obliterate indigenous cultures. The problems you describe do arise but I think they rise out of us being human.

              We have an inbuilt desire to see things done as we believe them best done, we struggle when things go against our will. Colonisers didn’t ban Te Reo in schools to crush Maori culture. They did it because they felt Iwi kids would be better served by focusing on English. “Do it our way, it’s the best way.”

              We’ve grown to question the benefits of approaching things this way. My point is: I feel much of what the colonisers did was not driven by evil and a desire to overrun. It came from an ignorant position of trying to help.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                What makes you think well-meaning ignorance and a “we-know-best” attitude aren’t the epitome of evil?

                And if not, do you think racism and hatred are a new phenomenon, or that grasping settlers were innocent of such white problems?

                Domestic violence was rife in the 19thC: there were plenty of violent evil little men around.

                • David Mac

                  Hi OAB, I think evil is a mindset that requires the instigator to set out on a path of distributing pain.

                  I don’t think the post treaty school teachers started their day with the thought ‘How can I bring these natives pain?’

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I don’t think people who work in the justice system start their day with the thought “how can I more efficiently deliver institutional racism today?”, and yet here we are.

                    Evil is mostly bland and impersonal.

                    • David Mac

                      Yes, from a position of ignorance, trying to help. It is my point. Few get involved in the justice dept because it’s a great place to be a racist.

                      Are you a debater that loves the journey so much you’re reluctant to reach destinations?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You said evil is a mindset that requires the instigator to set out on a path of distributing pain.

                      I think that is a pretty rare form of evil, compared to the more common ‘bland and impersonal’ variety.

                      The motivations behind it are far less important than the consequences for the victims: their experience, not the perpetrator’s, is the defining factor.

    • ianmac 5.1

      So far this year we have had 4 serious postal non-arrivals.
      -Online car re-registration stickers never arrived. Reapply.
      -Renewal of House Insurance never arrived. Phoned. They reissued.
      -Appointment for abdominal surgery never arrived. A phonecall the night before saved me.
      -A clothing gift voucher for son paid for online never arrived. Had to cancel and re apply.

      Try ringing complaints and the call goes to Auckland who say, “Can’t do anything about individual non-deliveries. Only if you get a street petition for wholesale non-delivery, can we investigate.”

      What to do?

      • The Fairy Godmother 5.1.1

        Quite often they get the street number right but the street wrong. Several times I have dropped mail off at the house in the next street with the same number and they have phoned me up to collect my mail. Sometimes stuff just hasn’t arrived. I did complain. It hasn’t happened for a while. Try getting your neighbors to complain too. I think there is something wrong with the mail sorting system.

        • tc

          Underinvestment and removal of skilled knowledgable workers under tomie/allen/roach.

          They spent most of the 00’s shuffling letters divisions profits around to make other crap units look viable……then volumes dropped.

      • repateet 5.1.2

        Who knows where the problem lies.

        The reality though is that occasionally there are cases in the news of posties ‘going rogue.’ Mental health issues, laziness and plain thieving have seemed to be the reasons.
        google for those and write to the CEO of NZPost, the Chairman of the board, the local offices and whoever else asking them if there is fair reason to suspect that you are the victim of such behaviour.

        (email them so you can be sure the mail gets through.)

        I suggest you ask them the same “What to do?” question and pose that is the only way to get satisfaction by approaching Fair Go and/or the sensationalist media.

        This is not being facetious, I am as serious as the situations in which you have been poorly served are also serious issues.

      • mary_a 5.1.3

        @ ianmac (5.1) … in other words, no accountability. The cornerstone of neo liberalism. Throw it all back to the consumer to sort out!

        Prior to the neo libs taking over and destroying everything that moved, jobs got done efficiently and businesses were accountable. But not any more.

        Not sure what we can do, other than rise up and revolt against the system, something which shouldn’t be necessary in a just and equal society. We can’t seem to vote the perpetrators out either!

        What to do indeed!

        Such a mess!

  5. Carolyn_nth 6

    And some say wealth/income inequality in NZ is no worse than for the last 50-60 years…?

    Tell that to the porto-cabin dwellers in South Auckland!

    • The Fairy Godmother 6.1

      I think they just got the years wrong. No worse than 80 to 90 years ago ie great depression pre first Labour govt is probably correct.

  6. dv 7

    Surprise surprise.

    The overheated property market is being blamed for firms’ inability to recruit and retain the required amount of staff.

    We are now seeing the Auckland housing crisis moving from what has been widely considered a residential issue into a business issue,” Luey said.


  7. red-blooded 8

    Anyone interested in celebrating the sciences by exploring them through the creativite lens of the arts? There’s a livestream of an event being organised in NY, with a diverse group of poets, organised by the woman who puts out the Brainpickings free weekly discussion (always worth checking out).

    ““When power corrupts, poetry cleanses,” John F. Kennedy famously wrote. Half a century later, with art, science, and the humanities under assault from the government, this intersection of science and poetry, truth and beauty, is an uncommon kind of protest and a singularly fertile frontier of resistance.

    I’ve joined forces with the Academy of American Poets and astrophysicist Janna Levin to host The Universe in Verse at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn — an evening of poetry celebrating great scientists and scientific discoveries, with all proceeds benefiting the Academy of American Poets and the Natural Resources Defense Council.”

    If you want to check it out, it starts at 11.30am our time. Just something a bit different for our brains and imaginations to grapple with.


  8. Sanctuary 9

    IMHO, Harris’s books deepest failure is that like almost all left wing publications it does not, upfront, acknowledge the collapse and defeat of 20th century Socialism. Instead, it does the usual 21t century leftist tiptoe around the elephant in the room that much of his agenda – and the agenda of those who he talks to – is derived from a political ideology that failed, and therefore no matter how bad neoliberalism is, its left wing critics can be dismissed as antediluvian adherents of a failed dogma, whose “…political parties, publications, union memberships, ideological affiliations, confidence and self-organisation dwindled and fragmented into the scale of atoms…” with the collapse of the USSR and the linked collapse of hope in the idea of socialism and hope in the scientific progressivism that underlays socialism.

    before we can replace neoliberalism we must first acknowledge our loss, and once we have accepted and mourned we can look afresh at the rubble and take the pieces from the collapse of 20th century socialism that still work to build a different socialism for the 21st century – a different socialism, but one which can still offer the central difference between socialism and capitalism, which is hope for the economically and socially oppressed. At the moment, we are living in a world without hope for a better and more liberated future. And politics in a world without hope quickly curdles, turns rancid and becomes reactionary and self-loathing – which is exactly what we are seeing played out in Europe and the USA.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      That’s strong stuff. We need to read it and think it. I did a comment on how we are facing an existentialist crisis which also is pertinent, seriously so. Just playing bat and ball with opinions about things being wrong as many do, is not going to help us see our way to a viable future. It will detract us from doing that as we look at the symptoms of our sickness and don’t identify the causes and diagnose a prescripton to limit our disablement.

      This – particularly well said.

      At the moment, we are living in a world without hope for a better and more liberated future. And politics in a world without hope quickly curdles, turns rancid and becomes reactionary and self-loathing – which is exactly what we are seeing played out in Europe and the USA.

      [r0b: Hey greywarshark- try logging in to the blog to see if that stops your comments from being caught in moderation every time.]

      • greywarshark 9.1.1

        Okay r0b I will try again. Didn’t find it easy to do last time I tried to change my password and gave up. Will try again when I have half an hour to waste, better than wasting your precious time. Can’t at the moment, have to go to work.

        • r0b

          Don’t worry about my time, releasing a comment is a simple task. I’m just worried about the delay that you get in the many conversations that you participate in here! I have no idea why you are always caught in moderation…

    • RedLogix 9.2

      IMHO, Harris’s books deepest failure is that like almost all left wing publications it does not, upfront, acknowledge the collapse and defeat of 20th century Socialism.

      Thank you.

      The devil’s bargin the left made was that we would abandon the economic argument and let neo-liberalism run the shop; while we would allow ourselves to be consumed with social and identity issues … that while important and of value in themselves … shut us out of the smokey rooms where the critical decisions where being made. The big ones about class, climate, environment and the relationship between capital and labour.

      We also abandoned internationlism, thus marginalised into isolated nation sized intellectual ghettos, while big finance, big data, big militaries and big corporates allocated for themselves ideological dominance at a global level. They got to define globalisation in terms that suited them, they made the rules, they got to implement whatever made the most money for them. A tiny handful of people have prospered beyond all imagining, while the rest of us were shut out, we either stood still, went backwards, or were tossed metaphorically onto the scrap heaps of failed nations, failed communities, failing health and ruined lives.

      And then as Adam Curtis explains, they started inventing fake simplistic perceptions, stripping away complexity, mass deleting the nuances of history, culture and social geography. Instead we’re fed a pacifying pap of caricatures, phony fables of good and evil are pranced before us, a vicarious violence sates us, a militaristic death culture is promised as the solution to all problems that markets cannot solve. Any sense of trust is deliberately eroded in order to prevent us ordinary people from acting collectively.

      The core ideas of civilisation, the critical abstract values of trust, respect, justice and compassion are the key to any new socialism, built around the mutual interdependence of the individual, their community and the political state. A new socialism recognises the mutal entwinment of the conservative and liberal impulses; that one seeks to protect and retain what works, the other seeks to discover and experiment with what might work better.

      And a new socialism above all abandons all simplistic ideologies, eschews all slogans and magic bullets. It openly embraces complexity, messiness, imperfection and allows that politics will always be about the art of negotiation, compromise and the balancing of interests.

      • Ad 9.2.1

        Hey RL why don’t you stretch your legs and do a proper review of the book – I’m not sure it’s designed to cure world hunger or eradicate scurvy.

        Boil down some of the big abstract nouns you’ve got running there and apply them to what the book writer was on about with respect to New Zealand.

        Since it’s the first effort in many years to diagnose us, it’d be worth a proper debate.

        • RedLogix

          Don’t have access to the book at the moment; but I have to say Danyl’s final para reads brutally true:

          Now that we have it all set down in one place, maybe the left can stop talking about What Must To Be Done and start thinking about How To Actually Do It. I wish someone young and gifted and brilliant with world enough and time could go figure that out. That’d be a smart thing to do.

          • Ad

            I’ll have to have a go at it myself.

          • Sanctuary

            Now that we have it all set down in one place, maybe the left can stop talking about What Must To Be Done and start thinking about How To Actually Do It. I wish someone young and gifted and brilliant with world enough and time could go figure that out. That’d be a smart thing to do.

            This quote from Danyl shows how middle class he is. His problem is if you showed him what to do he’d point out there might be losers and unfortunate mistakes made by enthusiastic ideologues which might be horrible for someone, and in particular, the losers and victims of errors may come from his political and social class. Such outcomes would simply go to prove to him not that class conflict requires the workers take from the middle and upper classes, rather he would fret at how complex these problems are and what need we have for more technocrats. Middle class commentary from Danyl (and Harris, for that matter) fails to understand that when redistribution of wealth occurs there will be winners and losers. Upstanding middle class technocrats like Danyl who know people who own a rental property or three don’t see their lovely friends as landlords and rentier parasites, in need of redistribution.

      • gsays 9.2.2

        Plenty there rl.

        I do struggle with the concept of the individual being Too important, in the new socialism.

        Again citing Adam Curtis, this time century of the self, best part of 100 years we have had smoke blown up our backsides,telling us our opinions matter,that this current desire is relevant and legitimate.
        This seems incongruous to all having what they need.

        • RedLogix

          I do struggle with the concept of the individual being Too important

          That’s exactly what I have in mind … “the mutual interdependence of the individual, community and state”. Almost always we frame politics in terms of individual rights, while rarely speaking to individual responsibilities. We burden the state with all manner of social responsibilities, while undermining the familial, cultural and religious communities that might better deliver them.

          People are most happy when they feel connected, purposeful and respected. Social connection is founded in love in all its forms. Purpose is about your place in the community and the opportunities to be of service to it. And respect flows from the structures and institutions that formalise and protect your freedom, dignity and property.

          But each of these things, love, purpose and respect are a two way flow, a mutual act that demands something of both parties for it’s fulfillment. There is nothing radical or strange in this, all grown-up people have learned that when you try and get something for free (a one way transaction) it always turns out to be worth pretty much what you paid for it.

          • gsays

            With you on most of that, though I would contend the purpose, respect and love are not needing to be reciprocated (especially love as we have an infinite capacity to love).

            • greywarshark

              We have an infinite capacity to love? I don’t. Also I don’t have the opposite, an infinite capacity to hate. And for either emotion, it tends to depend if you were loved in a stable way when young. Instability, precocious love, daily changing reactions for the same behaviour, that mucks you up, you can’t imagine what reaction an action will bring. Really can affect…….

              • gsays

                Hi grey, when a mother has a second child she does not withdraw or limit love for the first child, love grows.

                I would suggest that love is covered or obscured.
                Often by ingrained patterns of behaviour which cause us to forget who we are.
                I don’t see love as an emotion, it is more a state of being, interchangeable with consciousness or (dare I say it) god.
                Also I would not equate or list hate as the opposite of love.

      • Sanctuary 9.2.3

        Note the last paragraph of this piece –


        “…And if a CLASS CONSCIOUS multi-racial party attuned to anti-sexist, anti-homophobic and anti-militaristic issues and grounded in ecological commitments can reconfigure our citizenship, maybe our decaying democracy has a chance….”

        my emphasis added.

  9. Poission 10

    Meet Steve a 25km wide 3000c gas ribbon floating above the earth.


  10. joe90 11


    In something of a dark irony, the respondents of higher socioeconomic status rated themselves as more empathic — a “better-than-average effect” that Varnum followed up on in a separate study — when in reality the opposite was true. The results “show that people who are higher in socioeconomic status have diminished neural responses to others’ pain,” the authors write. “These findings suggest that empathy, at least some early component of it, is reduced among those who are higher in status.” And unlike self-reports, brain imaging sidesteps “social desirability bias,” where people want to give replies that make them look good or more empathic.


    • marty mars 11.1

      Classic yet unexpected – higher socioeconomic people are pretty good at anything and everything, at least that is what they say – lol

  11. greywarshark 12

    Is everyone aware of this witchhunt being run by the police on people who are trying to take charge of their own end-of-life and time of death in NZ?

    We have some people powerful, zealous, pious and puritanical in authority, also possibly serious investors in old-age products, persecuting the seriously intelligent,
    thoughtful older people amongst us, and forbidding them choice which is supposed to be a leitmotif of our current society.

    Since October 2016 Exit has reported on the situation of our Wellington (NZ) Exit Chapter Coordinator, Suzy Austen.
    In November last year Suzy found herself the subject of a police investigation. A generous and hospitable Chapter Coordinator, Suzy was the host of regular pot-luck lunches for Exit Members at her home in Wellington.

    Little did Suzy know that her October 2016 Sunday lunch would not only be infiltrated by a NZ Police agent, but those attending would be stopped on their way home after the NZ Police set up a fake DUI roadblock.
    The roadblock was aimed not at catching drink-drivers. The primary purpose of the roadblock was to gather the names and addresses of the Exit Members in attendance that Sunday at Suzy’s.

    Many of those who gave their names to the Police at the roadblock were later visited by the Police. Some had their Nembutal confiscated, one member even had her cylinder of Balloon Time Helium taken away by the Police, raising questions of the legality of the Police actions and who precisely is driving the witch hunt.

    While it remains to be seen if the evidence gathered that Sunday will be admissible in court, what is clear is that Suzy is now facing multiple charges including importing Nembutal (a Class C drug) and assisting with the suicide of fellow Exit Member Annemarie Treadwell (77 years).

    The implications of what happens to Suzy Austen are critical for the voluntary euthanasia movement globally.
    If the matter goes to trial, there may be legal precedents created in relation to defining the meaning of ‘assisting a suicide’.
    Needless to say, assisting someone to die is a very serious offence. In New Zealand as in the UK, the penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment.

    However, given the extraordinary lengths the NZ Police have gone to snare Suzy (and possibly others), there is no room for complacency.
    What is happening in New Zealand is a political witch hunt of hitherto unknown proportions. The amount of public funds being used in the process will be breath-taking, again raising questions of who and why.

    This week’s media regarding Suzy can be found below:
    Stuff.co.nz: Hutt Woman Faces New Charge of Assisting a Suicide
    Radio NZ: Euthanasia Advocate Charged with Assisting a Suicide
    NZ City: Assisted Suicide Charge Laid

    This week Exit has gotten behind a new Crowd Funding campaign to help former Wellington Exit Chapter Coordinator (& NZ VE Society Committee Member) Suzy Austen pay her legal costs.

    Suzy heads back to court in mid May when she will enter a plea to all three charges that have been levelled against her (2 charges of importing Nembutal & one charge of assisting a suicide).
    Suzy is represented by Donald Stephens QC. While Mr Stephens is an excellent barrister, his services don’t come cheap.
    If you care about pushing the right to die issue & ensuring Suzy is in the best position possible to be the test case that changes the law in New Zealand we urge you to donate now.

    Already several large donations have been pledged to Exit and these are reflected in the kick-start donations of $5000+
    The Target of the Gofundme.com/suzyausten campaign is $50,000.
    You can donate using any credit card at the above address.
    Alternatively go to http://www.GoFundMe.com and search for Suzy Austen.

    Suzy’s court case has the potential to change the law on voluntary euthanasia /assisted suicide in New Zealand (& Australia).

    • gsays 12.1

      Had heard a little about it from a few months back.
      It does send shudders, hearing of police misconduct like that, especially the notion off doing some other powerful person’s bidding.

  12. xanthe 13

    The problem with capitalism is that the people you steal from eventually run out of money too

  13. greywarshark 14

    From Scoop 12 April – possibly been covered already but for those who missed it here are some interesting stats on tax takes from us all. I wonder what their minimum wage is if compared to ours adjusted for exchange rates. Also what does a staple of food cost (not hamburgers) say loaf of bread, or 1kg of rice cost as proportion of their wage? Something that would be relevant to ordinary workers as a comparative measure in the countries.

    Wednesday 12 April 2017 09:44 AM
    NZ income tax rate second lowest among developed nations at less than half OECD average
    By Paul McBeth

    (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand workers pay the second smallest portion of their income to the government among developed nations and less than half the average ratio of their Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development peers.

    The OECD’s 2017 ‘Taxing Wages’ report shows New Zealand’s average tax wedge – a percentage of the total tax on wages paid by employees and employers minus family benefits – was 17.9 percent last year, second only to Chile’s 7 percent across the 35 developed nations and less than half the 36 percent average. Neighbour Australia was the fifth lowest at 28.6 percent, while Belgium’s workers paid the biggest share of their income to the government at 54 percent.

    New Zealand’s tax wedge edged up 0.3 of a percentage point, whereas the OECD average dipped almost 0.1 of a percentage point, extending a three-year run where tax reform in developed economies has been lowering income tax.

    Local tax settings are set to rear their head in the upcoming general election in September, with the National-led government keeping tax cuts in the mix as the country’s growing population has provided a larger tax base, delivering bigger-than-expected surpluses and providing more room for Finance Minister Steven Joyce to change the settings.

    The government lowered personal and company tax rates in 2010 while hiking consumption tax in an effort to reward more savings while discouraging consumer spending as it contended with the global credit crunch and a domestic recession. Five years later it hiked benefits and Working for Family tax credits as the public’s unease over income inequality grew.

    This is sleight of hand – savings? Every bit of my 10c interest on what I save is taxed at 17% or something. Discourage spending? The government rates retailing and consumerism as one of its largest industries.

  14. Bearded Git 15

    Brody Kane said a few minutes ago on Radio NZ’s “The Panel” how wonderful it was that tomorrow’s ANZAC services would not take place under John Key’s tea-towel flag.

  15. Bearded Git 16

    Gerry Brownlee has been made Foreign Minister today by Blinglish because of his diplomatic skills. Beyond parody.

    • Macro 16.1

      Well, to be fair, he did releave a Geography class once! And it’s Gerry’s turn for overseas trips.

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    4 days ago
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    5 days ago
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    6 days ago
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  • New District Court Judge appointed
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