Open Mike 25/02/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 25th, 2018 - 133 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open 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 …

133 comments on “Open Mike 25/02/2018”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Great synergy, owning a “security company” and a media empire.

    Nothing to see here folks.

  2. Puckish Rogue 2

    Go the mighty Scotland!

    • joe90 2.1

      Slàinte!

    • Macro 2.2

      She lives near Selkirk where the great Sir Walter Scott author of “Ivanhoe”, “Rob Roy” and the “Waverley” novels. He was Provost of Selkirkshire for a time, and the author Jack Prout and illustrator of “Black Bob” (the Dandy wonder dog) was from Selkirk as well, living in what is now the butchers shop, next to the Court rooms (now museum) where Scott wrote his novels! The town want to erect a statue of Black Bob, But the Dandy, which is published in Dundee, wont give copywrite.

      There must be something in the water around Selkirk.

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.3

      Hah! And lookee here – a woman piper atop the stand to kick off Flower of Scotland!

      About 1 mins 30 into the vid.

  3. savenz 3

    Clearly plenty of profit in road maintenance contracts. Might explain why our roads are littered with cones and diversions for unnecessary work and why efficient public transport seems unlikely any time soon.

    Fletcher Building Group’s infrastructure revenue has sustained the company through nearly $1 billion in losses over the last two years.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/101631029/fletcher-buildings-infrastructure-arm-a-bridge-over-troubled-waters

    • dv 3.1

      There was a piece on the new last night, where councils/rate payers are having to spend some millions (in the north?) to strengthen bridges for the ‘double sized’ logging trucks on the roads.

      The NZTA are paying a proportion.

      It struck me that WHY aren’t the logging companies paying the WHOLE cost of the strengthening?

      • joe90 3.1.1

        High street welfare.

        Forestry trucks are ripping up Whanganui’s rural and suburban roads – and ratepayers may have to foot the bill.

        The district council faces a $20 million shortfall over the next 10 years and has effectively run out of money to complete its roading programme.

        And the situation is being blamed on damage caused by logging trucks.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11818894

        • Tamati Tautuhi 3.1.1.1

          … and you all thought the National Government was working in the best interests of the people of New Zealand ?

          … and guess what we probably don’t even own the trees being carted by these logging trucks ?

      • cleangreen 3.1.2

        dv,

        The article you mentioned also included some HB road bridges also and they are using tractors to cart some of the logs across soe of these brades as the overweight trucks are now allowed to roam every road in the country without restrictions.

        NZTA said they warned the local councils about the extra weighted trucks now about to carry much higher weighted loads freely in 2017.

        The article said.It is wrecking our roads and bridges that were never designed for 63 tonne trucks so we are in for very heavy increased road repairs ahead now and Labour knows this..

        We the other road users and ratepayers are subsidising the road transport industry and this was confirmed in several studies posted on yesterdays ‘open mike’ about public subsidises for road freight.

        CEO spokesperson for TRF (The road transport forum) Ken Shirley has even raised a warning recently that road freight raies wil rise again.

        So that is why they want rail gone or closed down, so they have complete ‘cartel’ pricing control to allow them to again freely raise freight rates/costs without us all having any other form of ‘land transport’ to offer a cheaper freight services to us and the business community.

        “It’s all about the money and profits”

    • tc 3.2

      Hell yes and it’s virtually a 3-way with Fulton’s and downer Laughing all the way to the bank. They plunder across central and regional funding.

      Shoulders and surfaces are a disgrace as a result of nationals double whammy with extra tonnage and RONS siphoning from pre existing maintenance allocations.

      We gave up expecting rural and state highways to be back at about 2012 levels years ago.

      WDC can’t even keep sewage from raglan harbour and moan about that and only having a single grader for their entire region. So it’s third world shit literally imo.

      • Molly 3.2.1

        ” nationals double whammy with extra tonnage and RONS siphoning from pre existing maintenance allocations.”
        A very good reason for the current coalition to reverse both those changes. That is, get the extra heavy vehicles off our roads which are not equipped to deal with them, and cancel any RoNS that do not provide a significant benefit to their region.

    • millsy 3.3

      One day we are going to have to bring back the old Ministry of Works.

  4. savenz 4

    This is what happens when the you lose control of your assets and businesses. You are at the mercy of ownership changes and what have looked like a good deal at the time, becomes worse and worse as time goes on and subsequent new owners, changes in economy, come knocking.

    Culture and people becomes controlled by the decisions of asset owners, the legal system and changes in government who control the legal system. Even if someone wins, it becomes about the quality of the lawyers and money is diverted into legal action, stress of that and massive loss in quality of life.

    Taharoa tensions: Community fights back amid claims of corporate greed at mine

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/101385931/a-community-fights-back-amid-claims-of-corporate-greed-at-taharoa-mine

    People in the UK are rejecting globalism via privatisation because their government lost control of their basic needs and costs rise steadily to keep the profits rolling in.

    “In 1996, the Ministry of Defence decided to sell off its housing stock. The financier Guy Hands bought it up in a deal that would make his investors billions – and have catastrophic consequences for both the military and the taxpayer”

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/apr/25/mod-privatise-military-housing-disaster-guy-hands

  5. reason 5

    Oligarchs and privitisation

    I was looking at the New Zealand top ten rich lists for the last few years…. checking something out.

    One year stuck out ……as 5 in the top 10 NZ cash accumulators …. were people who had made a lot of money through privatizations and their gaining control of former Government / citizens assets.

    Specifically they were …

    Michael Fay & David Richwhite .. BNZ (wine-box), railways, port of Auckland etc etc

    Graeme Hart ..from wiki : “gained a big break when he purchased the Government Printing Office for less than its capital value in 1990.”

    And our two Chandler Bro’s … who were in on the Russian Neo Lib, shock doctrine carve up … When their country was leaderless under the useless drunk and western stooge Boris Yelstin…

    The chandler brothers make a point of claiming morals and ethics in business … Yet they run their business empires through tax havens … and became the largest foreign owners of Gazprom and other Russian resources / infrastructure … when a looting was taking place in a criminals paradise.

    The results for the Russian people from western Neo Lib, crony capitalist shock doctrine were dire … a 40% collapse of their economy …. and almost a 10 year decline in life expectancy for males.

    Leaving aside my opinion that a enriched oligarch class .. making millions or billions from privatisation of state assets..is an indication of corruption.

    Instead I’m interested in What are The Standard readers and poster opinions…

    Regarding New Zealands worst privatisations or asset stripping

    Your choice for … the most disastrous …. destructive ….or biggest rip-offs.

    There’s a lot to choose from … like …

    Telecom … where profit gouging, and abuse of monopoly positions followed its sale.

    BNZ … bailouts and tax evasion .. big loans to share-holders / new owners.

    The electricity industry and networks … rampant price increases .. for electricty generated by hydro schemes we’ve had for decades…. underinvestment … Auckland blackout ..profit shifting via tax havens ,,,, etc

    Air NZ … Bust & Bailouts

    Serco … corrupt reporting .. coverups.. increased profits from increased crime …..

    DOC land give aways …. “The government privatizes a state-owned asset for $265,000. Four years later, a small part of it gets flicked on for $10 million. A tale from some corrupt African nation, or from post-Soviet Russia? No, its from New Zealand ”

    https://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/the-corruption-of-high-country-tenure.html

    Share your evidence of failure, waste or greed ….. and help bury the private= better myth .

      • reason 5.1.1

        Some quotes / info from Joe90’s link /nomination …. showing a huge rip off.

        “The chain of custody went like this; the taxpayer gave up its land for an effective rate of $190 per hectare, which was on-sold for $51,800 per hectare, which was on-sold again for $70,000 per hectare.

        The capital gain over a decade was roughly 37,000 per cent, none of which was realised by the taxpayer, and has ultimately put a prime piece of land into the private ownership of an America-based billionaire”

        ” data released under the Official Information Act, shows the taxpayer has paid nearly $65m to privatise land it owned, which in some cases has been on-sold for significant capital gain, pushing up property prices at the taxpayer’s expense.”

        “the taxpayer paid $18,000 for one-third of a hectare by the road. It effectively bought back land it had sold for an effective rate of $15 per hectare in 2004 for what amounts to $55,000 per hectare in 2017. The capital gain on that small section of land was 366,000 per cent.”

        “In her 2008 book on tenure review, Who Owns the High Country?, Ann Brower described her research topic as “unravelling the puzzle of why a government would behave so strangely”….

        The whole thing stinks worse than Todd Barclay …

        Foreign ownership rules … a large speculators tax…. stopping the buying of our citizenship … And redressing the original theft of the land from Maori … Are all needed in this instance … imo

        Good link of an ongoing scandal Joe

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          Two words: unjust enrichment.

        • savenz 5.1.1.2

          Yep +1 Joe, excellent example. But the blame should also go to the people involved in selling the land off in the first place – why don’t people be censored for their actions of clear breaches – at present they are not named and shamed and just get away with it.

          Local council reps are also often deep in it, when council land goes super cheap, often offshore buyers and often without even being put out to tender or ratepayers realising what has happened.

          • reason 5.1.1.2.1

            Good points all …. but in some instances it’s more than just money involved.

            Watching this fascinating documentary I was struck by the dangerous corner cutting in a privately run human drug trial….. a lot of it looked to be about cost cutting.

            22 things were wrong with the design of the drug trial …. which I seem to remember involved a New Zealander as one of those harmed

            There is a Govt white wash at the end …. probably for ideological reasons.

            Privitiasation of health is still a national party agenda

    • savenz 5.2

      The powerful love privatisation and deregulation in particular banks and politicians. It’s where they get their money.

      How often do ex politicians end up on the board of the companies they privatise, on bank boards, infrastructure companies (now they have COO’s all the better more opportunities to be a corporate trougher) or on the board of new companies entering NZ that want access to the plumb deals of assets sells offs and preferential government deals.

      In fact very few large companies don’t have an ex politician on tap to grease the path of those deals.

      About time politicians are not allowed to double dip – should be 20 years before an ex political joins a board of directors. They already get generous benefits post their politician career as well as the plumb overseas posts.

      • reason 5.2.1

        I agree 100% savenz ….

        In particular John Key should be banned from his ANZ directorship …. for a double conflict of interest.

        ANZ has approx 30% of NZs bloated mortgage lending …..

        If the cartel of Aussie banks put up Mortgage rates to 10% …. they would crash the housing market … along with our economy …. and the Govt would be gone within 12 months.

        John Key would love to bring about the downfall of the Labour led Government … That’s conflict one.

        And Key loves making money ….for himself above all else …. a crashed housing market would allow him to buy at depressed prices ….. conflict two.

        Personally I’d give him a job as a NZ river water taster ….. make him drink his toxic legacy.

        • RedBaronCV 5.2.1.1

          I’d like to see him off the Board of Air NZ too. Quite apart from the crony capitalism effect – in other countries people who use their power & position to assault others are being removed from those positions. here we appoint our pony tail puller to the board of a state owned enterprise – what do you think other people think of us??

          • savenz 5.2.1.1.1

            Don’t forget Merryl Lynch did the assets sell offs too Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis Energy and Air New Zealand, and apparently the sale price is already lower than than it’s income. What a bargain for the buyer. So Key wins, Merryl Lynch wins, the buyer wins, and the public loses.

            • alwyn 5.2.1.1.1.1

              “Merryl Lynch did the assets sell offs too Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, Genesis Energy”
              And what evidence do you have for this claim?
              I trust it is a bit more than you imagination and wild hatred of John Key.
              Treasury don’t seem to know anything about it do they?
              http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1305/S00407/firms-appointed-for-meridian-and-genesis-ipos.htm
              Merrill Lynch may have been interested in the work but they were not chosen to have any involvement in the sale.

              • reason

                savenz may have been over reaching through confusion on Merrill Lynch … aka ” The Blundering Herd”.

                Easy to do with John Keys old firm and its sordid long history of scandal and scams ..

                Known for its Enron involvement and corporate tax base erosion, as described by Irish John himself ….

                eventually its boozy greed blinded culture lead to it being the third cab off the rank …. in going bankrupt at the start of the GFC.

                Key of course was prime minister at this time,… with the excuse he had got out before Merrill ‘went bad’ …. the truth of how much he had ‘gotten out’ depends on how many Merrill shares he had divested himself of….

                Merrill got bailed out…. via a Govt forced take over by Bank of America ….

                So Key got bailed out ….. its how he got his bank of America shares …

                How many millions did this dud investor receive courtesy of usa taxpayers ???

                and why do you think it has never been reported on in our media Alwyn ?…….. Teflon melting? ” … to boring? …. fear ? “, .

                Key, regarding his crooked lawyer or something ….; “reporters “you guys were very careful last night, I think, in your coverage of these matters: the reason you were is because you don’t want to get your asses sued off you”. ”

                And how come no reporters questioned this bully,,,,, on the administration of his ‘Blind Trust’ … with their wine box / tax haven connections ??

                Or the virtual media blackout of his Tax haven work …. ” Quote : “In fact, what is even better news is that this is receiving little publicity in New Zealand – which means there is a higher likelihood the PM will nudge it through without too much meddling from the country’s left wing camp.”

                Our dirty little right wing media …. guardians of the Key myth

                Additional interesting info ….

                Merrill destroyed approx 45 Billion of wealth in eye watering time … poisoned on its own toxic products and bullshit book keeping. Criminal creativity.

                As repayment to the USA Govt / taxpayers for their bailout and TARP money …. The Bank of America will increase its numbers of shares from approx 7.5 Billion to 10 Billion odd and use some of the extras as settlement.

          • Monty 5.2.1.1.2

            Air NZ is not an SOE. It’s a listed on the share market and the govt has share options.

    • All of them share evidence of making things worse for the general population while having made a few individuals very rich which is itself prima facie evidence of corruption.

      What we should be doing is asking what we could have done with all those profits that the profiteers have made off with. With Telecom we could have FttH across the country with unlimited bandwidth on all devices. Maybe we could have built up the infrastructure enough that communications bills would be down to $10 per month per household.

      It a question that needs to be asked: What could we have done with all the profit?

      All of us would have been better off instead of just a few. This is the proof that profit is a dead-weight loss. It causes more harm than benefit.

    • Ed 5.4

      I would simply take back the state’s assets with no compensation.
      And appropriate all assets of Fay, Chandler etc in NZ.

      • cleangreen 5.4.1

        Yes Ed
        I agree take the assets back from these “carpetbaggers again as they stole from us.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 5.5

      …. most of the sheep here in NZ have rose tinted glasses, also Fletchers who bought the Rural Bank for a song ?

      • reason 5.5.1

        Cheers Tamati Tautuhi … Im pretty sure there was a fletcher on the NZ rich list …. possibly giving NZ 6 privitisation oligarchs.

        I think Fletchers also got a Government leg up in their early days …. building state houses.

        Filling out the rich list were two Alcohol drug barons / families ……

        Myers dynasty and Ercegs lolly waters for kids and females fortune…. pre-mixed and pre-roast busters ….

  6. joe90 6

    Polonium tea, anyone?.

    *** THREAD ***Let me explain how Paul Manafort's #TrumpRussia indictments are rolling rapidly from election inference into a replay of the Jack Abramoff scandal, but on STEROIDS, involving the secretive sale of American foreign policy for dark money.https://t.co/yfIGsub116 pic.twitter.com/gGejl1G1zF— Grant Stern (@grantstern) February 23, 2018

    (Unrolled https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/967170247202664448.html )

    Former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort was hit with new charges on Friday, including an allegation he secretly recruited and funded a group of former European politicians to lobby in the United States on behalf of Ukraine.

    […]

    The most significant allegation is that Manafort assembled what he called a “Super VIP” group of highly influential Europeans who could push Ukraine’s agenda “without any visible relationship” with the Ukrainian government, according to an email obtained by Mueller.

    Manafort paid the politicians 2 million euros from offshore accounts in 2012 and 2013 to lobby members of Congress and other U.S. officials. It’s illegal for Americans to direct foreigners to lobby the U.S. without informing the Justice Department.

    The so-called “Hapsburg Group” was managed by a former European chancellor, who was not named in the indictment.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/former-trump-campaign-aide-rick-gates-set-plead-guilty-n849256

    • One thing I’m supportive of here is having similar rules for money in politics here that the US has. Make it illegal for foreign money to be used in NZ politics. Make it illegal for foreigners (including foreign businesses and governments) to have any influence in our country.

      • funstigator 6.1.1

        “ Make it illegal for foreigners (including foreign businesses and governments) to have any influence in our country.”
        You mean like the UN, Greenpeace, Oxfam, various American & Australian born Politicians, etc, etc?
        I could live with that.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1

          Then you’d be very disappointed when New Zealand citizens who are members of Oxfam, Greenpeace etc. continue their activities here.

          You’ll probably have to pretend that charities are corporations too.

          • funstigator 6.1.1.1.1

            So if a NZ citizen is operating on behalf of your foreign organisation it is ok then?
            And why should we differentiate between a corporate & a charity? They all push their own agenda, and are all potentially as corrupt and self-serving as each other.
            In the case of the UN, even more so.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1.1

              on behalf of your foreign organisation

              Charities operate “on behalf of” their charitable aims. By law. Or they get stripped of charitable status.

              So we already differentiate between them and commercial organisations.

              • funstigator

                Semantics, fool.
                Answer the question. Why do some get so uptight about foreign organisations influencing our politics yet kneel down before eg the UN?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  You kneel down for people? Get off your knees.

                  We have direct influence on the UN. We were also directly involved in its creation.

                • The UN is an international body made up of the governments of the world. The agreements that they come to are, technically, the agreements that we want. And they’re even agreements that we don’t have to implement.

                  And, after all that, it really doesn’t seem to have as much influence as business does. Now, here’s an interesting question: Can you point to any influence that the UN has in NZ?

                • Semantics, fool.

                  Who’s the fool here? “Semantics” means the meaning of words. Charities and commercial organisations have separate names because they have separate meanings, so yes, semantics. The meanings of words are important.

          • savenz 6.1.1.1.2

            When are charities not a charity as increasingly there are charity trusts from politicians and rich listers and questionable religions which are really lobby groups to keep the deregulation agenda or some pocket of religion going with extra tax benefits.

            Even legitimate charities now follow a trend of putting in ‘corporate’ managers who have little interest in the charity itself, more a tick on their CV (ran Red Cross) with massive donations but little being shown for it for the people who are supposed to get the charity.

            Then there are charities that seem more like some sort of scam.

            Not only that but apparently overseas charities often attract a small percentage of pedophiles and the like. Yikes…

            It’s hard to be a charity these days, because so many are taking advantage of the term.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Nothing wrong with an increase in oversight of charities, for precisely the reasons you outline.

              Personally I’d like to see them all go broke as government takes back its duties of care, rendering them irrelevant.

              In the meantime, the Family Firsts and Tamakis need more aggressive scrutiny, preferably before they manage to register at all.

              • McFlock

                erm – as board member of a trust that’s in the process of getting registered charity status, I have to declare a conflict of interest 🙂

                Yes, oversight on political activities including donations needs to be increased.

                But small charities funded in part by local grants can demonstrate a need for a service. And then when you’re in the arts and culture field, there’s no reason the Lower Corstophine Community Hippy Cultural Appropriation Society needs to be operated by a government department just to make teepees and those lantern balloon things for one or two events a year.

                Now, if it turns into a massive thing and hippy cultural appropriation societies pop up all over the place, maybe they could do with an umbrella body and direct govt funding. But small local projects need some sort of entity to operate under if you want them to last longer than the interest of one person.

      • Ad 6.1.2

        Yes. Maybe.

        International NGOs and unions would also be excluded. If they were carved out, they would become bundlers.

      • joe90 6.1.3

        That, eliminate anonymous funding and because our political processes are public, require public disclosure of the financial interests of everyone participating.

    • miravox 6.2

      Hapsburg and Chancellor in the same sentence suggests a short list of ex-chancellors from Austria.

      and sure enough – Politico has more…

      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/23/paul-manafort-mueller-probe-washington-lobbying-ukraine-austria-423439

    • North 6.3

      ‘Hapsburger’……..the New Swamp Nothingburger ? Strange (it’s not of course) that Trump surrounded himself with crooks.

      Things are gonna get furious when the presidential pardons start. Will it be then that Trump code-calls the MAGA Deplorables and the NRA (not to forget the “very fine” ‘Blood and Soil’ fascists) to deploy vengeful violence on fellow Americans ?

      Would not have thought it possible once. Not so sure now.

      • rawsharkyeshe 6.3.1

        Hi North … Drumpf cannot pardon any individual on offences charged within individual states which is how most of these against Manafort and Gates have been laid. Mueller is one of the smartest men in USA, and has brilliant attorneys working with him.

        Manafort and Gates charges laid in two separate districts in fact. Think they can’t outwit the Carrot ?? My money is 1000 to 1 on Bobby Three Sticks !

        Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has the clearest and finely articulate breakdown and interviews if you are interested … http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show . She goes to air each weeknight in US at 9 pm so it is free online at this link each day from about 5pm NZ. (Currently top cable news in USA due to her coverage on these subjects. (So good to see this acuity and intelligence on TV !!)

    • North 6.4

      Joe90 @ 6…….do the new charges signify that Manafort (quid pro quo presidential pardon on his mind?) is provng a hard nut to crack ?

      • joe90 6.4.1

        I reckon Manafort’s a small fish so they’re squeezing him with layer upon layer of charges until he coughs up the big fish.

        edit: Abramson has a crack

        • rawsharkyeshe 6.4.1.1

          Tx for link. And polonium tea ? Watching closely. More like a plain old bullet in USA isn’t it ?? Or a staged suicide with gun or rope.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Having sex with prostitutes when it is legal. Not allowed for aid workers. What is this about? There seems to be some sort of unreasoned moral uprising, purity patrol. It is hard work, sex has always been a relief, a small, fleeting pleasure and it is disgraceful that charities are starting to become inhuman in their regard to their workers. It sounds like an edict from above, from someone who has been an administrator too long, a bit like David Shearer coming back here from UN aid work and finding people not completely helpless in dire distress, objects of disdain.

    There was a very good book written by aid workers just behind the firing line which gives the picture you only get fragments of in reports about overseas aid.

    Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Sex_and_Other_Desperate_Measures
    Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures, by Heidi Postlewait, Kenneth Cain and Doctor Andrew Thomson, is the memoir of three young people who join the United Nations (UN) in Cambodia with a dream of making the world a better place. Set in the 1990s, the book was published in 2004. Thomson is a New …

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      Having sex with prostitutes when it is legal. Not allowed for aid workers.

      It’s a bit more than that:

      …every kind of child sexual abuse and exploitation imaginable…

      Ms Csaky declined to name the 23 organisations implicated but said they were across the “full spectrum” of aid agencies, NGOs, peacekeeping forces and UN agencies.

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Mr Daccord said that it was the recent reports of sexual misconduct from humanitarian agencies that had spurred the Geneva-based ICRC to conduct an internal review.
        Its code of conduct has explicitly forbidden the purchase of sexual services since 2006….

        “This behaviour is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve,” Mr Daccord said.
        “It is against human dignity and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this.”

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/351184/red-cross-reveals-staff-paid-for-sexual-services

        I suggest that this is unreasonable as a blanket negative. It treats sex as something bad in itself, and doesn’t differentiate between child and adult partners. It contains its own moral hazard by not differentiating.

        Also it is not against human dignity to have sex between consenting adults – this sort of talk is just prudish and irrational. Women who earn their living by being paid for sex are not in an ideal work situation, but it deserves better standing than being a mercenary soldier. Also when women have to get enough money to live, it is something to resort to, though a cleaning job is preferable; both are major female occupations. Seen in an understanding and compassionate mode, it can become a necessity and if a mother, then she is performing a noble action in sacrificing her personal inviolability to get necessities for her family.

        The middle class aid salaried workers may never get personally close enough to this sort of poverty and distress to reach an understanding of the world beneath the grassroots. The ones at the top who make their pronouncements may have become saturated in management speak and elite levels of behaviour, seeing people as pawns represented by coloured markers on a map of their area of interest.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1

          Aid workers offering help in exchange for sex does not constitute a consensual transaction.

          • greywarshark 7.1.1.1.1

            I said that aid workers going to prostitutes should be satisfactory. The prostitutes receive money, it is their job. Surely that isn’t hard to understand. The aid workers shouldn’t be blackmailing women for sex so that they can receive aid, they should be paying for what is a personal service.

            And Brigid this is not a discussion about equality of the sexes. I don’t know where the female aid workers go for sex. If they can find an outlet for their own desires good on them. This is real, hard reality and people managing the best they can and hopefully fairly and with respect for each other even harsh conditions.

            I am suggesting that making a difficult job more unpleasant because of rigid rules which ban any sexual interaction at all, and treats it as an ignoble and immoral action open to disgust and retribution by the employer is irrational and unfair.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The genesis of this issue is not aid workers making consensual transactions with sex workers, as the link I posted makes abundantly clear.

              Can you please identify the source of your concern regarding consensual transactions?

              • Bill

                The genesis of the issue is the (seven years later!) allegations made against Roland van Hauwermeiren, that while he was working in Haiti for Oxfam he paid for sex.

                From there, a broader spotlight has fallen across the aid sector.

                And I’d guess there are aid workers perpetrating all manner of abuses.

                But I don’t believe for a second that crippling the likes of Oxfam and handing their government funding to outfits like Adam Smith International will make any difference for the better.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The link at 7.1 indicates the problem is far from confined to Oxfam, and I agree it’s suspicious that they’ve been singled out.

                  • Bill

                    I’m not questioning the scope. I was only pointing to the genesis being from reporting on consensual transactions for sex.

                    As I said previously, aside from aid programmes, some agencies are reasonable critical voices of/for society.

                    And I can guess some government’s don’t really want them around.

                    • weka

                      It’s not clear that the sex was consensual in Hauwermeiren’s case, and I’m pretty sure this issue predates whatever he was doing.

                      I agree that if Oxfam are being targeted for other reasons that’s a big problem.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Timeline: 2004: Roland van Hauwermeiren is asked to leave his job at Merlin.
                      2007: Corinna Csaky report (See link at 7.1) criticises a wide ranging group of NGOs.
                      2011: Roland van Hauwermeiren resigns as head of mission in Haiti.

                      Then nothing for six years.

                      2017/18: News media frenzy attacking Oxfam.

                      I think you’re both right. The original allegations were far wider than consensual transactions, and, I suspect the genesis of the current media interest is far more likely to be the stuff Bill’s talking about: hostility towards advocacy in the developed world.

                    • weka

                      I’d say three strands.

                      Original allegations happened in the context of wider historical problems within aid agencies around abuse (it’s not like van Hauwermeiren started this).

                      van Hauwermeiren’s allegations happened in the context of issues broader than consensual sex.

                      There’s something else going on with the current media reporting and focus on Oxfam.

              • greywarshark

                I have said that the situation would be clearer if the aid agency did not say that all sex on the job with people from the work area was to be banned.

                That is my point, because it clouds the issue. There is a fault in aid workers having sex with youngsters classed as children in the law of the country or against the law of the aid workers’ countries. Then there is also the problem of aid workers apparently trading aid for sex. I

                Context is important here and needs to be seen as being so, to adequately discuss your issue as referred to at 11.11am OAB. .

                And I started this thread. I was talking about having sex where it is legal. Haiti has been brought into it where it is illegal. That is another country.

                And turning it into an abuse of power as a point. It is great for the comfortably off to have an impassioned discussion about this, with final agreement some time later that it would be better to have a no-sex rule so as not to run the risk of this. But even that is an abuse of power. The persons with the resources can afford to have long discussions when they are not in great need of the basics.

                In the meantime there are people who could be doing good and being helpful to people in distress who would be happy to be treated with respect as well as aid, and who are not concerned if someone has sex with another adult and pays for it. So your academic discussions can be another barrier to being truly helpful and lack a listening ear to what people on the receiving end of aid want, and not what others say they want.

                • weka

                  “And I started this thread. I was talking about having sex where it is legal. Haiti has been brought into it where it is illegal. That is another country.”

                  Well maybe you could tell us what you are talking about then, because if it’s not in reference to the Oxfam case it’s not apparent what you mean. Who has said that people can’t have sex?

                  • greywarshark

                    It says in the quote I put up that it is from the ICRC and in the link address it says red cross. I am sorry that I didn’t spell that out for everyone.

                    This matter of sex on the job is emerging as a problem for all the aid agencies not just for Oxfam and I am pointing that out, and I think Oxfam might have exactly the same rigid rules as the Red Cross but am not sure about that.

                    I won’t say anything else now as I have made a point that I think is relevant and fair and others can pick it to bits if they wish.

                    • weka

                      There’s nothing in your link about about the Red Cross or Oxfam.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Sex_and_Other_Desperate_Measures

                      So I still don’t know what you are talking about. You appear to be saying that aid agencies have rules that say their workers aren’t allowed to have sex. I would be highly surprised if that is true, but by all means put up something that shows that.

                    • greywarshark

                      weka at 1.47pm

                      This is from my second comment.
                      greywarshark 7.1.1
                      25 February 2018 at 10:29 am
                      Mr Daccord said that it was the recent reports of sexual misconduct from humanitarian agencies that had spurred the Geneva-based ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] to conduct an internal review. Its code of conduct has explicitly forbidden the purchase of sexual services since 2006….

                      “This behaviour is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve,” Mr Daccord said.
                      “It is against human dignity and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this.”
                      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/351184/red-cross-reveals-staff-paid-for-sexual-services

                      weka I would like you to have said:-
                      ‘I can’t see any reference in your comment about the Red Cross or Oxfam’. This would have been politer to me seeing that I had said that the information had been in my comment. It would be good as a commenter to receive the sort of respect that is demanded by moderators.

                • Gabby

                  Why am I not feeling compassion for the poor sex-starved dears?

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.2

              What OAB said. The issue is of abuse of power.

              Sex work in Haiti is illegal btw.

              It’s a given that there are young teens and children doing sex work in Haiti, so rather than assuming that there is no rape and exploitation going on, it’s more useful to assume there is and to look at how those people can be protected where there is some choice.

              This doesn’t mean that all aid workers paying sex workers is a problem, it means that politically if you argue in such a context that there is nothing wrong you are contributing to the problems by rendering invisible the power dynamics and abuse.

              If men need to have sex with other people in order to have functional lives and they are in a country like Haiti, then they need to understand the broader context and the risks associated with paying people to have sex with them. Arguments that men *have to have sex in a situation where children are being raped is highly problematic for what I would have thought were obvious reasons.

          • reason 7.1.1.1.2

            I strongly agree when third world poverty and survival are involved … it becomes exploitation and slavery at that point….

            But in a sick Irony….. its totally possible the Pimps providing the exploited woman and children is the UN …. They have form doing this … From Bosnia , to all over Africa …. and of course Haiti , where they ran a sex trafficking ring for approx 10 years. … and also brought along Cholera … infecting the water and killing roughly 8000 earthquake survivors.

            https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/04/12/ap-uncovers-numerous-sexual-abuse-allegations-against-un-peaceke/22037714/ … numbers in the thousands

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_sexual_abuse_by_UN_peacekeepers

            • One Two 7.1.1.1.2.1

              ‘Official agencies’ have long been outed as primary players in the trafficking of human beings, narcotics and weapons…

              The ‘unofficial agencies’ will be operating in the same ‘industry’…likely under the watchful eye of the ‘official agencies’….

              They should be disbanded as the criminal , moral and ethically defunct operations, they actually are…with long term custodial sentences of the most punitive level applied to those at the top..in the know..

              Have Shearer or Clark ever spoken openly of the known and public issues within the UN ?

              Because with as close to certainty…they will be ‘in the know’…

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Let’s be absolutely clear about this: you’re alleging that David Shearer and Helen Clark are accessories to multiple counts of sexual assault of children, human trafficking, and related to the arms trade, to the extent that they should serve “long term custodial sentences”.

                That’s what your innuendo implies. If you meant something else, let’s hear it.

    • Brigid 7.2

      I’d say at least 50% of aid workers are female. Where do they go for ‘relief’?
      If you’ve read the book you mention you’ll know that none of the authors used prostitutes for ‘relief’.

      • Zorb6 7.2.1

        There is a thriving sex tourist industry in Africa ,where needy women enlist the services of young studs,the ‘boyfriend experience’.

  8. greywarshark 8

    This is interesting. Abacus Bank in USA. Tiny Chinese owned bank serving the Chinese community was the only bank to be sued after the GFC! Opened in 1985 by a resident or citizen, successful and have 6 branches. It has 1/20th default rates of USA banks. They found some small fraud, checked and audited and sacked the initial loan officer taking bribes and then found the others, reported to the regulators, and got a DA that wanted scalps.

    Loan officers were arrested and brought in chains in front of the media, they were ordinary workers. “The DA announced the indictment and made a real spectacle of it.”

    Wallace Chapman interview this morning with Steve James Director of doco that is one being shown
    https://www.nziff.co.nz/2017/wellington/abacus-small-enough-to-jail/

    Steve James is best remembered as the director of the award-winning “Hoop Dreams” documentary in 1994, inexplicably snubbed for an Oscar nomination. But on Monday at the 90th Academy Awards he’s in the running, for his documentary “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”.

    It’s the story of what happened to Abacus bank in New York in 2012, in the fallout from the American mortgage crisis of 2008. Abacus, a small Chinese bank in Manhattan founded by Thomas Sung, was targeted by the US District Attorney and taken to court, accused of mortgage fraud. Documentary maker Steve James explains.

    • Keepcalmcarryon 8.1

      I’ve got a low opinion of some of those aid agencies and how they squander money.
      Go to a third world country and watch the well dressed white people driving around in their NGO stenciled late model Lexus. It’s a disgusting gravy train for some, a shame for the well meaning hard workers and also the people they are supposed to help.
      ( yes there’s no third world etc etc)

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        KCC
        Yes, I have heard of them living apart from the areas they are serving – one might think okay what’s wrong with that. But apparently their standard of living will match upper middle class conditions back home. They will have swimming pools and a nice house, probably some sort of air conditioning; I don’t think they would bear to go out amongst the hoi polloi much, probably travel everywhere in an air conditioned vehicle. Aid kings and queens rather than workers.
        It would be like disaster tourism for a longer period.

        We humans have a capacity for callousness and turning people into grotesque spectacles. Like going down to Bedlam and seeing the mad people or going to a hanging, quite a spectacle and not to be missed. Getting down and dirty right beside the people who are in extremis means that ideas have to be changed, the level of acceptance of previously unacceptable behaviour has to be raised
        for them, while keeping to the values of the wealthier society need to be maintained by the workers to control their own behaviour, but not the same in their living conditions.

      • greywarshark 8.1.2

        KCC
        I have reworded the last para a bit to try and be clearer about my thinking.

        Previously unacceptable behaviour may have to be accepted in those they are helping, while keeping to the values of the wealthier society need to be maintained by the workers themselves to control their own behaviour. But in their living conditions it should be known that these will drop from the normal, and that they will not have money lavished on them.

        • Keepcalmcarryon 8.1.2.1

          Cheers, sorry to reply to wrong post too- mobile phone plus ineptitude 🙂

          • greywarshark 8.1.2.1.1

            No KCC it was just end to end of my two posts, not ineptitude. Operating from a small oblong instead of a large screen makes it hard to get the overview.

      • reason 8.1.3

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/19/people-care-more-about-the-osfam-scandal-than-the-cholera-epidemic/

        “Oxfam was trying with some desperation to stem the cholera epidemic, the first outbreak of which was detected in central Haiti in October, from spreading further. By the following month, it had reached Port-au-Prince and Oxfam was trying to provide uncontaminated water to 315,000 people already rendered homeless by the earthquake. ”

        “We are currently reaching over 400,000 people with water, sanitation and hygiene programmes, and another 100,000 individuals mostly through our emergency food security and vulnerable livelihoods (EFSVL) programmes.”

        None of this is as titillating as the sort of thing we have been reading or watching over the last week about the sexual misconduct of Oxfam employees in Haiti, but these do seem to have kept a lot of people alive who would otherwise have died.”

        Surely the discussion should be on how to improve the recruiting systems and field administration systems ,….. combined with accountability of both UN or Oxfam staff.

        Not destroy Oxfams funding and aid ,,,,,,,as the english tory tax haven party are doing ,,,, with help and consent generation from corporate media.

        It appears they were meant to shut up about the biggest driver of poverty and inequality in the world …. stepped on the wrong toes

        Let Serco tend for it …./

  9. Ric 9

    The Guardian reports large temperature rises in the Arctic.

    “The North Pole and northern Greenland have been 17-22C (30-40F) warmer than historical averages in recent days, adding to fears of rapid polar warming that has huge implications for global climate. The northernmost weather station in the world, Cape Morris Jesup in Greenland, was above freezing nearly all day on 20 February, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. ”

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/23/uk-faces-significant-snowfall-due-to-freezing-air-from-siberia

    Has this happened before or is this a new development ?

  10. savenz 11

    We already have stink bugs arriving in NZ lets hope we don’t get the toads…

    Toxic toad invasion puts ecology of Madagascar at risk

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/24/madagascar-toxic-toads-lemurs-ecology-threat

  11. rawsharkyeshe 13

    More money than Key and from an even more dodgy source, if that’s truly possible !!! Blood money from murdering in Iraq, running a mercenary force in the illegal war; received many multi millions paid to him directly by the Pentagon, by his own admission.

    This man must never become a major office holder, please.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/21-02-2018/why-aspiring-national-leader-mark-mitchells-war-for-profit-past-matters/

    Carolyn-Nth .. no way to tag you, sorry !

    • Carolyn_Nth 13.1

      Thanks, veuto. Very apt analysis. So Mitchell owned the Threat Management group until 2010, when he put himself forward as a National candidate.

      And he refuses to answer questions about his involvement in war for profit.

      Interesting.

      • rawsharkyeshe 13.1.1

        Hi Carloyn-Nth .. glad you found it. Good to know others are watching this. Veuto ?? not this one but it doesn’t matter !!

        • Carolyn_Nth 13.1.1.1

          Sorry, rawsharkyeshe – I followed your link, then read a couple of other related articles, and came back to thank you.

          • rawsharkyeshe 13.1.1.1.1

            No probs at all !! 🙂 Wonder how Mitchell will fare tomorrow ? His background is so laundered now … ugh.

            • Carolyn_Nth 13.1.1.1.1.1

              I suspect Mitchell is trying to get his name known for a leadership bid a couple of years down the track.

  12. joe90 14

    Looks like Grand Marshal Bonespur is going play CIC.

    President Donald Trump’s plans for a White House-backed military parade are beginning to take shape.

    The president has directed the Department of Defense to organize a parade that would take place on Nov. 11 – Veterans Day – according to an unclassified Feb. 20 memo written by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

    […]

    Whether the president himself will participate in the event remains unclear. Macron took part in France’s parade, riding in an open-top military vehicle alongside the former chief of the French armed forces and surrounded by hundreds of military men on horseback.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/23/trump-military-parade-veterans-day-423405?lo=ap_d1

    • rawsharkyeshe 14.1

      Grand Marshal Bonespur indeed !! lol Wonder if Bobby Three Sticks Mueller will have his cunning way with him before then ? Popcorn ready ….

  13. Tamati Tautuhi 15

    Just asking who picks up the tab for shonkey Earthquake Repairs in Christchurch, Fletchers or the Taxpayer ?

    Surely if their has been fraud involved the Head Contractor should be responsible for the appropriate corrective action ?

  14. joe90 16

    Conservatives wanted to say they had a black guy, too.

    WATCH: At the Ronald Reagan Dinner at CPAC, ACU Communications Director Ian Walters said the RNC hired Michael Steele as chairman in 2009 "because he’s a black guy." pic.twitter.com/g6YcyLET5w— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 24, 2018

  15. Ms Fargo 17

    The Russell McVeigh story must be causing insomnia for a few lawyers at the moment…
    And I feel sorry for the victims and the huge imbalance of power from start to finish in this saga too. Surely it’s not an isolated situation.
    Anyone else following this?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Just read the “not threatening” letter Adam Ross QC sent Newsroom.

      My initial response to hearing the story was that this behaviour isn’t confined to one law firm. I’m hoping it creates space for others to come forward.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Yeah it’s pretty screwed up.

      Fairly toxic environment, by the look of it.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 17.3

      I think this behaviour is common practice in most major Law Firms in NZ it goes with the territory and is one of the perks of the job ?

  16. halfcrown 19

    What a shame and the world is a poorer place for the death of this beautiful person.
    Emma Chambers died today of natural causes
    We will miss you Emma with your wonderful sense of humour that made us all feel very humble and had a good laugh at the same time.
    Rest in peace. You will be sorely missed.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/24/vicar-dibleys-emma-chambers-dies-aged-53/

  17. eco maori 20

    Awesome Haka Rotorua boys High. I have to remember that the mokos are there and I did not realise that you mokos had a good vantage point. Its hard keeping my ego in check when I have all those sandflys following me around everywhere and trying harressing me. But I will make sure that I’m a good example for the mokos just didn’t realise that you were there. Be proud of OUR Maori culture and your tepuna like ECO MAORI is Kia kaha. Ka kite ano P.S. Isn’t it peculiar that I had to get that book of my tepuna Ropata WahaWaha from A Australian online library that’s suppression of our Ngati-porou culture and people by the neoliberals they are scared of Ngati-porou Mana

    • Tamati Tautuhi 20.1

      Funny how a lot of the old family archives and records just disappear, especially if family lawyers have anything to do with things ?

  18. eco maori 21

    I haven’t quite finished the book yet to busy checking the sandflys and rowing my Waka be good mokos from what I have read from our history one can have the genealogical of great tepuna but it is how you conduct yourself that counts being humble humane and respectful. That is the way my MAMA taught me Kai pai.
    Ka kite ano

  19. adam 22

    Question for people who have more knowledge than me on this. Have you heard of this outfit and what they are doing?

    https://landinstitute.org/

    From what I’ve read and seen I really like, can the smart weka and/or Robert Guyton offer their opinions – I would be very interested?

    Is anything like it happening here?

  20. eco maori 23

    Being humble doesn’t mean you take a step backwards well I do when my wife challenges me that’s Mana Wahine treat the ladies with respect mokos that’s the way our tepuna did it.
    Back to being challenged in life be it sports mahi whatever you don’t take a step backwards but you don’t go around disrespecting anybody or anything to complete your challenges in life.
    That’s the way Steven Adams behaves that’s why I’m a fan of his and that’s the way ECO MAORI behaves.
    I’m colour blind as well I can see colours just some I get mixed up with green yellow brown red blue purple.
    So I treat every one the same no matter what colours they are with respect but with a guard up at all times that’s the way of OUR Papatuanukue at the minute. Kia kaha Ka kite ano

  21. eco maori 24

    All right I do disrespect the sandflys but the don’t show ECO MAORI any respect they treat me like a idiot.
    But you must show them respect that’s is the best way to keep your nose clean Ka pai Kia kaha Ka kite Ano P.S I will have to go back to school to learn more of OUR REO

  22. joe90 25

    Mao Zedong lives.

    China will remove the constitutional restriction for the maximum number of terms the president and vice-president can serve, Xinhua reported on Sunday, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay on beyond 2023.

    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2134624/china-will-scrap-limit-presidents-term-meaning-xi?

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