- Date published:
6:00 am, February 25th, 2023 - 53 comments
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Open mike is your post.
For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.
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Step up to the mike …
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has just released a report on it's view on 'US Hegemony and Its Perils' it makes for an interesting read, especially in light of it's origin, it's is some of the most pointed and direct jabs at the US I have seen coming directly from official Chinese sources…obviously the Chinese are getting more than a little tired of the US and it's endless belligerent antagonism aimed at China and so much of the world…like many of us!
US Hegemony and Its Perils
from the conclusion….
"While a just cause wins its champion wide support, an unjust one condemns its pursuer to be an outcast. The hegemonic, domineering, and bullying practices of using strength to intimidate the weak, taking from others by force and subterfuge, and playing zero-sum games are exerting grave harm. The historical trends of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are unstoppable. The United States has been overriding truth with its power and trampling justice to serve self-interest. These unilateral, egoistic and regressive hegemonic practices have drawn growing, intense criticism and opposition from the international community.
Countries need to respect each other and treat each other as equals. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and take the lead in pursuing a new model of state-to-state relations featuring dialogue and partnership, not confrontation or alliance. China opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and rejects interference in other countries' internal affairs. The United States must conduct serious soul-searching. It must critically examine what it has done, let go of its arrogance and prejudice, and quit its hegemonic, domineering and bullying practices."
I’ve missed the Civilian …
The peril of claiming atolls in the South China Sea are islands/air and seaports of China and having ignore the ruling of The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, as to the dubious nature of its own claims to effect the theft of the economic zones off weaker nations to their south, is the small size of the moral footprint they then make when criticising any other nation.
And it cannot even call out Russia on the invasion of Ukraine, or itself on the establishment of "police stations" on foreign territory without consent.
If Biden and Blinken had any balls they would say to China, if you arm the Russians or recognise the annexation of Ukraine territory (after a local vote as per Crimea), then it might be inferred that it would be hypercritical to deny Taiwan a vote on independence or oppose other nations coming to its defence should it be attacked.
they would say to China, if you arm the Russians or recognise the annexation of Ukraine territory (after a local vote as per Crimea), then it might be inferred that it would be hypercritical to deny Taiwan a vote on independence or oppose other nations coming to its defence should it be attacked.
Why? Taiwan is part of China. Even the Taiwanese admit that; though they don't agree that the CCP is the legitimate government of China. Any attack on Taiwan would therefor be a civil war, and no concern of any other country.
Crimea is no less part of Ukraine than Taiwan is of China ..
At the moment Crimea belongs to Russia. I don't see Ukraine getting it back.
The same way Kuwait belonged to Iraq, and recognised by no one.
Kuwait/Iraq, Crimea/Ukraine and Taiwan/China are three different situations. "Whataboutism" doesn't always work.
At the moment also applied when Germany occupied nations …some people could not see how the UK alone could change that …
Watch out for this book Adrian , coming out next month , from a University of London academic A.B.Abrams
Should be interesting reading!
"China opposes all forms of hegemonism and power politics, and rejects interference in other countries' internal affairs".
IMO Yes. I agree with our PM.
And….oh really ?
Were all the Local body and Regional Councils looking at Native Replanting on at-risk hill sides ? And that Wetlands were not being drained for new developments/subdivisions ? Probably a LOT of vulnerabilities that were high-lit by Local Environmental groups…and NZ wide..and mostly ignored by aforesaid councils..and Mayors ! : (.
There are no quick fix solutions , although Nact and other RWhingers will moan long and loudly (same as ever)
There is much to be done…and Change is going to be prime. NZ cant keep repeating the same mistakes.
Northland's representatives have a point. SH1 to Kaitaia has been broken for 6 months and there's no repair option in sight.
With the Brynderwyns out of action off-and-on for 6 weeks now, there is no SH1 route to the entire Northland.
No, passenger rail north of Kumeu isn't ever coming back.
So the call to accelerate the SH1 expressway from Warkworth to Whangarei is going to get stronger, and with good reason.
The EHRC report made no criticism of Jeremy Corbyn at all, and a tiny number of criticisms of the Labour Party-even these are disputed.
The Guardian, to its credit, finally published an editorial that made plain that Corbyn had fought against racism for many years. It still (wrongly in my view) criticised Corbyn for his response to antisemitism in the Labour Party, and (wrongly) praised Starmer, but in a fairly low key manner.
Needless to say the pro-Israel and extremist Jews reacted in their usual loopy manner.
I found this part of he Guardian editorial particularly interesting.
“To conflate the antisemitism of some on the left with all leftwing politics is illogical and shortsighted. Given the state of the country and the world, now is not the time to dismiss important ideas just because John McDonnell once smiled at them. Not only is the former shadow chancellor one of the most interesting economic thinkers in the Labour party, he was also right to oppose austerity from 2010 onwards – not a claim that can be made by all of the shadow cabinet.”
The Guardian has realised that many people think that Starmer has gone way too far in his unjustified and non-fact based attacks on Corbyn.
From various comments by the PM, among other government ministers, it seems likely that managed retreat, in some form, will be on the table for the worst-affected-by-flooding areas.
Assuming this goes ahead, the next question is going to be 'Managed retreat to where'?
This article quotes 5,500 properties affected by flooding in Auckland. Assuming that not all need managed retreat (or at least don't need it right now), and that some will resist any buyout (Matata, case in point) – we can substantially reduce that number.
It doesn't, however, address properties affected by slips and landslides (which are rarely in flood plains – so that would add to the total.
However, even if we're 'only' looking at 2,500 new properties in Auckland – where will we put them?
Clearly *not* in flood-prone areas.
The current plan allowing for 3×3 townhouse development on virtually every site in Auckland (that is 3 properties up to 3 stories high) – will only make any stormwater issues worse. I've seen these townhouse developments. There is zero permeable surface. And, unless they are part of a larger development (most are not), there is no associated run-off mitigation work. Stonefields and Hobsonville (large suburb-size developments) both had stormwater mitigation features, and fared well in both the Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. But the vast majority of the developments are single-site ones – so no mitigation features.
Residents are unlikely to want to leave their local area (with a somewhat more elastic definition of 'local' for some than others).
And Auckland doesn't have great zones of suitable unbuilt-on land awaiting developement.
Can managed-retreat pay-outs be tied to ecologically-friendly solutions, e.g. apartment blocks (with decent-sized family-suitable apartments), on sites with appropriate stormwater mitigation?
Some of the issues around this are to do with cost: apartment blocks appear to cost considerably more to build, than stand alone or terraced housing. Some are to do with reputation – Aucklanders are justifiably wary of apartments after the leaky building saga. Some are to do with the Covid scars (lockdown in an apartment with kids is no joke). Some are to do with the mental shift – Kiwis think of 'home' as having a backyard – and apartments are a temporary solution to getting there
Inaction (or committees) are typically the result when the 'solutions' are more problematic than the status quo.
are house at risk from slips not included in managed retreat? Why not?
I'm not saying that they are not. I was just saying that they are likely to be over-and-above the total of houses in the article quoted – which was only discussing flood-plain damage.
Let's look 30 years in the future. We have much less power supply, we have frequent events like the last month, there are global food shortages because industrial ag is failing from temperature rises, increase droughts and floods, and interruptions to supply lines, and presumably we are closer to post-FF.
Do we really want to have infilled with lots of concrete and hardscarp infrastructure that was designed for less events? How would we even predict that far out how the weather is going to be?
One alternative is to use whole system design. Reduce transport across the board, so that transport infrastructure is freed up for essentials. Grow as much food locally as possible (which means retaining non-concreted spaces). Integrate that with city forestry and wetland systems designed to manage the peak rain events. More people can work from home, or be educated from home or in the neighbourhood. What is needed is sets of interlocking villages. There would be low rise appartments within that, but the starting point isn't 'too many people, where do we put them'. It's 'what's the carrying capacity of this landbase and how can we meet human needs by working with nature'.
Re immediate housing, one option (to be used alongside others), the tiny house on wheels movement is sufficiently established to scale up and provide interim accommodation for those that it suits. This frees up housing for those that need more space.
1.5 million people in Auckland. Even cutting out the pop in the more rural areas, you're going to come up with a total of 1 million plus in the densely populated areas.
What sort of practical programme can there be to translate this into the kind of village settlements you're talking about?
In order to gain the space for the kind of wetland/forestry systems you're talking about, in combination with the existing population, you'll need to have serious high-rise accommodation. And will involve massive razing of existing housing infrastructure.
Unless you're suggesting massive relocation – probably involuntary (people in general don't like leaving their homes); or some other mechanism to reduce the population to the "carrying capacity of the landbase" – the population has to be accommodated somewhere.
I'd like to see more tiny houses in operation. However, they require space, and (for most) connection to existing power/water/sewerage infrastructure. All of which is at a premium in Auckland. I'm sure there are solutions, but I'd like to see what they might be. Freeing up Council bureaucracy might be one of them (the hoops to be jumped through to put a minor dwelling (which is what a tiny home is counted as) on a site are immense).
Government departments used to have lots of onsite housing that was tiny housing e.g. single mens quarters on railways. Ensuring employees have accommodation isn't a bad thing and no reason railway land could not be used for workers accommodation.
this is the problem when you start with 'can't' instead of 'how'. Sustainable design comes from location. What will work in one part of Auckland won't work in another.
You're assuming a few things there. One is that no-one wants to move. Firstly, Gabrielle just completely changed the cultural normal that we all get to live where we want.
Secondly, the number of Auckland people coming south, suggests there are people that are happy to move. So start with the people that do want to move instead of a blanket 'too many people to move'. Why do people want to move? Down here the idea is that people understand how hard it's going to get to remain in Auckland, on many levels, and they want a better life.
Not that I want them to come down here lol, but you are still starting with '1.5m people have to be fitted into here irrespective of sustainability or climate', whereas I'm saying if you start with sustainable design principles then the solutions become apparent.
How many renters in Auckland would move to another part of their neighbourhood if it meant an improvement in their lifestyle?
People that live in areas that are flooding repeatedly will be more likely to want to move.
Every new development could be based in climate transition. Start with the low hanging fruit. Does Auckland still have suburbs with houses on a section? See below.
The other assumption is that the carrying capacity of the landbase is already vastly overreached. Do you know that to be true?
One influence on my thinking was David Holmgren's early work on Retrofitting the suburbs. He later developed this into Retrosuburbia, which is also excellent. The idea is how to transform existing infrastructure towards more sustainability. By sustainability, I mean that key principles are used like cradle to grave design, closing loops to reduce pollution, capturing energy flows to make spaces more efficient and so on. I don't mean greening things up a bit.
His work was around Australian and NZ suburbs that were built in the 50s and 60s and that have largely become commuter suburbs. They have land with housing for multiple people, and space for food growing, but tend towards couples who spend little time there, going out to work, eat and socialise. Instead, we could be changing how we live so that we can work, eat and socialise close to where we live, and produce food locally. We might have to share housing with people again (shock horror), there are ways to make that a good thing not a negative, but probably the biggest thing here is what we've become accustomed to and thinking we cannot change.
Everything I've just described is about making people more resilient where they live, and for that to be based in sustainability. In addition, local planners could work with the known and projected flood risks and develop natural systems (this doesn't preclude hard infrastructure) to change how water flows through the city.
Don't know why you jumped to that idea. Auckland already has stormwater systems, there's no suggestion of removing all of that. What Ak could be doing is working with nature instead of thinking that it can just force all that water to run somewhere (which obviously doesn't work any more).
Key point here. If you take Ak as it is now, the more you infill those suburbs and city areas with high and medium density housing via BAU urban design, the less resilient you make those areas and the wider city. More flooding, less ability to grow food, less green space for mental health, more overheating, more congestion and so on. This is why cities are already like this, and why BAU approaches greened up a bit won't work.
It's the thinking that's the problem. Gabrielle is teaching us about the limits of growth but also the limits of our imaginations. If the only thing you can see is 1.5m people needing to be squeezed into finite land, then that's all you can see.
Here's an example of the two kinds of thinking. BAU and working with nature. This isn't a solution for Ak, it's a solution to being stuck in thinking there is only one way to approach flooding.
No matter the 'solution(s)' arrived at there will be an element of compulsion otherwise the authorities (no matter who they end up being) will be compelled to maintain infrastructure in both the under threat areas as well as the new/adapted ….and that creates political, social and economic problems as the ChCh red zoning continues to demonstrate
I tend to agree, and certainly the longer we keep doing BAU the more we will need compulsion. But we can also 'mitigate' that, by transitioning now and doing transition in a community based way as much as possible.
Which leads to the nature of compulsion….Id suggest that compulsion can be equated with money (or at least wealth) ….i.e. wealth is the freedom from compulsion.
i expect we may see that demonstrated again shortly.
this is why I place so much emphasis on defensive voting. Whatever struggles are coming it's going to be far far worse under a Nact govt than a centre left one.
The reality is the freedom bestowed by wealth remains irrespective of Government hue, or at least under the existing paradigm…and will remain so as long as we desire the benefits of the global system.
Auckland has already done large scale property purchases out of the flood plain, without resorting to compulsory acquisition powers. Project Twin Streams took out over 150 houses.
This article cited says it was 78 purchases but the later total was over 150.
But that was pre-amalgamation.
Auckland Council simply doesn't countenance that degree of intervention.
Ain’t that the truth! Unfortunately, some are a little liberal with the truth and more than happy to spin it to suit their narrative and fit within their biased thinking. Opinions need to be stated clearly as such and even then they must have a sound foundation in reality. Anything else is spin, often with an intention if not an agenda.
Yes. I was a bit nonplussed by this though – "[t]hat some people who would take advantage of their fellow Kiwis in their time of need has unsurprisingly generated anger." That sort of activity is very common across our economy. Some of it such as profiteering-driven inflation is is legal, while some isn't.
Whether something is pretty legal or not is a pretty low bar but it seems good enough for Law & Order dogmatists, which is why they use this as pretty much the only (and critically dividing) benchmark in their axiomatic ‘debates’. The Law is a huge grey area of rather technical complexities and interpretations, IMHO. It is not surprising that those same people transfer this same dogmatic thinking of motive, means & opportunity to pretty much all areas of life: economy, society, politics, etcetera. Where and when do values, principles, and higher aspirations come into it?
Landlords wouldn't put rents up would they?
Far out. How much more ? All the best for you North islanders. Esp Standardistas !
Great interview about East Palestine. Direct and to the point.
Thoughts from the cyclone so far:
Luxon has announced his plan to Stop 3 Waters and instead set strong rules for Councils to upgrade their waters. They will pay with secured(?) loans and different Councils can club together if they wish. (Suppose smaller/poorer councils will get left out?) Wonder if the water rules will cover 3 Waters?
Can't find the column I read re this but someone must be able to.
Should be fun with more rules and stricter rules. What with Luxon's Deputy Prime Minister Seymour coming in on a platform of getting rid of bureaucrats, red tape and Wellington control.
The problem is that National, when in government, never attempted to enforce the rule, guidelines and legislation that already existed. Never dragged councils and councillors into court for dereliction of duty in not increasing rates to cover the required future of their water resources. It doesn’t sound like they have the backbone to do it now as well.
Why do they see to think that scolding councillors will work over the next 30 years. It never did in the past.
Never helped councils with small or poor ratepayer bases to pay for their upgrades. National's only contribution to councils water in the past has been to put limits on what they could borrow to finance these works. You’ll note that they haven’t mentioned anything about raising debt ceilings for councils thate they previously imposed?
National just announced they aren't going to do anything significiant. They're just going to hand the task of an under-resourced and toothless oversight group that has absolutely no powers to do anything useful – like capital financing.
Notably there was nothing about new legislation in the area to replace the legislation they are want to remove – just regulation. That approach is the useless one that caused the current under funding and lack of maintenance of water infrastructure.
Notably, they managed to not mention the biggest single issue for smaller councils. That they cannot afford to hire the expertise to actually upgrade their water infrastructure. That is one of the key advantages
National is what you use when you need useless and completely ineffectual. They certainly delivered that with this pile of waffling.
So… councillors will think they control the Council's water infrastructure but they will be going cap in hand to some regulatory bureaucracy that doles out the funding kinda like Waka Kotahi does with roading funding. Although this isn't specified there isn't really any other way it would work for councils that couldn't afford the work required, as Government funding will be essential to meet current standards in nearly all Councils outside Auckland. Council engineering departments would be tied up with funding applications rather than engineering the infrastructure.
Not sure that's going to be an improvement on the status quo, and the situation that the 3 Waters reforms were designed to overcome.
While National's policy will give ratepayers and councillors a feeling of control, in effect they will be pawns of a central bureaucracy that will really dictate what work is done, how it is done, and how much the council has to contribute. Where a positive CBR is difficult, like in our many shrinking rural towns with completely fucked infrastructure, this contribution will still be cripling for the ratepayers and the councillors will get it up the chook at the ballot box.
National haven't addressed the long term issues of how we upgrade urban infrastructure without destroying the communities that depend in that infrastructure. they are just focused on the short term imperative of getting elected this year.
He'll build the South Island vote, but there's not much more of that he could get anyway.
But winning North Island vote outside of mid-Waikato with this?
How many more cataclysmic storms will it take?
He might reclaim some votes from Advance NZ or Freedom & Outdoors but there will be questions from the more sensible folk in likes of Gore and Clutha once they think about where this policy is going to take them. The numbers, and disruption, are pretty daunting for both Districts, not sure I'd like to be the elected councillor fronting those projects.
Lopez Obrador is returning his country to the bad old days when the incumbents controlled elections.
On Wednesday, Mexico's Senate approved changes backed by López Obrador to the National Election Institute, known by its initials in Spanish as the INE. The independent authority is beloved by many Mexicans for its role in securing free and fair elections and transitioning the country away from nearly a century of one-party rule just over two decades ago.
The new legislation, which Mexico's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, passed in December and which López Obrador is expected to soon sign into law ahead of likely legal challenges, will cut the INE's budget, hamstring its ability to penalize candidates for campaign finance violations and loosen rules on public officials campaigning while in office.
By the INE's own estimates, those budget cuts will force it to cut as much as 85% of its staff. That could mean fewer polling places or less secure electoral rolls — real impacts on the agency's ability to credibly administer federal elections, according to analysts.
Renewable energy getting closer to being sustainable.
“Going forward, we can now view old epoxy-based blades as a source of raw material. Once this new technology is implemented at scale, legacy blade material currently sitting in landfill, as well as blade material in active windfarms, can be disassembled, and re-used.
“This signals a new era for the wind industry, and accelerates our journey towards achieving circularity.”
While efforts to create more environmentally friendly wind turbine blades and the growth of a market for recycling blades will continue, the new discovery from Vestas and its partners heralds a massive stepchange for the global wind energy industry.
“The newly discovered chemical process shows that epoxy-based turbine blades, whether in operation or sitting in landfill, can be turned into a source of raw material to potentially build new turbine blades,” said Mie Elholm Birkbak, specialist for innovation & concepts at Vestas.
Took them long enough.
Now if only they could make the turbine last for longer than 25 years.
Whereas a dam lasts for a century or more.
But kit vulnerable to fluid stresses and associated moving parts don't. And unfortunately, remediation of the cavitation, corrosion, fatigue, and material defects, etc, that contribute to declining efficiencies, the bane of hydro power, isn't quite as straight forward as swinging by with a crane and rigging crew to swap out a rotor.
Even the highlights tell you what kind of Rugby we've been missing from the true Pasifika style.
I can see either of them winning against most of the Australian and many of the New Zealand teams.
Just wait until the pointy end of the comp when they've had ten weeks together.
Simone Segouin worked and fought with the resistance from 1942 through to the liberation of Paris. Post war, she worked as a paediatric nurse.
Some people see a trans women aka a literal woman. Some people see a man loitering outside the women's toilet filming. Some people see an autogynephilic male (Quilette).
The Carmens and the Georginas of this world have always used the women's toilets with no problems. They came in, closed the stall door, did their business, came out, washed their hands and left.
They were not there to take "bathroom selfies" with a crowd of schoolgirls in the background (looking at you Jonathan/Jessica Yaniv/Simpson).
They were not there to noisily achieve their "gender euphoria" and video it to share with their pervy mates, (thanks "Nig Heke" for trawling the grubbier corners of the internet for the evidence).
They were not there to steal used sanitary products for use in their menstrual fetishes. (Not even going to suggest where you might look for that, much too close to breakfast time!)
And that is before you get to the videoing over and under the stalls, and the plain basic sexual assaults well documented by the good folks at "This Never Happens" https://www.facebook.com/groups/1722756661380462/
There are still very good reasons to prevent men from entering spaces where women are vulnerable.
gender ideology is regressive nonsense part 4356