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Open mike 25/03/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 25th, 2021 - 78 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 …

78 comments on “Open mike 25/03/2021 ”

  1. sumsuch 1

    Weka, you're on a Left site with a Rogernome. What do you make of that? Does that make it a Left site? He established it with his computer knowledge. I avoid this site because of that. And am irritated by the prick apparently representing the Left on Nat Rad's Monday politics morning segment. Social democracy is the only Left worth a shit.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    [Let me help you with your avoidance and other issues, have a break from this site because your comments have not sparked joy here in a very long time – Incognito]

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Hmmm, maybe this is why RNZ is full of pro business whinging these days–much of the actual working class do not have the time or resources to issue media releases and develop political strategies like serial property owners and “scumlords” do.

    …and Auckland Central Green MP Chlöe gently socks it to Labour on housing…

  3. aom 3

    Because the world sits back and does nothing! Easy for the NZ government to join in and speak out against the US supplied targets but that is about where morality (and kindness!) runs out.

  4. Muttonbird 4

    Scumo 2.0 says:

    I believe that no religion should dictate to the state and no politician should use the political platform they have to force their beliefs on others.

    Eh? That's exactly what politicians do.

    If this wolf in sheep's clothing ever gets near the ninth floor New Zealand will be a carbon copy of current Australia. Morally corrupt, reactionary, and aggressive. Chris Luxon is so like Scott Morrison it's not funny.


    • Ad 4.1

      Savage, Fraser and Nash would have fulsomely approved.

    • Enough is Enough 4.2

      I think we saw his campaign for leadership kick off last night, and its almost inevitable that he will take the leadership at some time. He is one of those people that has reached the top of everything he has touched so I have no doubt the Tory leadership will be the next thing.

      He's articulate and clear in his thoughts so definitely someone to be concerned with.

      His speech tried to push religion to one side but it is clearly something that defines him and something that he can be attacked for and something that he can be brought down on.

      • RedLogix 4.2.1

        something that he can be attacked for and something that he can be brought down on.

        He should convert to Islam – then he could do no wrong.

        • arkie

          What a bad faith, distasteful and diversionary comment.

          • RedLogix

            Would anyone on the left dream of suggesting that a Muslim MP 'could be brought down because of his religion'?

            Of course not – the blatant double standard is obvious.

            (And just to save you wondering – I am neither a Christian nor a Muslim.)

            • McFlock

              Wasn't there an Islamic MP who abstained from I think the prostitution legalisation vote? One of those conscience bills.

              If one's religious beliefs aren't relevant to one's politics, don't vote along those lines.

              If one does vote according to one's religious beliefs, don't pretend otherwise.

          • Muttonbird

            [RL: Deleted.]

            • Muttonbird

              That's really interesting that RL would delete criticism of his comment.

              I'm surprised he hasn't deleted his comment from the sunny Gold Coast.

              All power to the authors here, no matter how objectionable their views are.

              • Incognito

                OM does not have an Author as such so your comment makes no sense. I’d suggest you let it go rather than picking a fight with no winners.

                • Muttonbird

                  And what do you think of RL's comment at 4.2.1?

                  This is a hill I'll happily die on with respect to that author/commenter. I believe he's a wrong 'un.

                  • McFlock

                    You might be looking for the term "moderator". They're the ones with powers of banning and bold-type editing.

                    But careful, moderators are only human and can get trigger-happy when they get passionate about a position.

                    Putting up with some foibles along those lines is one of the costs of getting to play in someone else's sandpit and meeting new and interesting people there.

                    Or you can follow the choice of a few erstwhile commenters who flipped the double bird, covered themselves in comment gasoline, and walked out in a blaze of permaban glory. But in your case, that would make the place less interesting in the longer term.

                    Mods and admins apparently have interesting arguments about policy in the backend. Meh. Whether or not a particular moderator is a jerk is the backend problem, lol

                  • weka

                    there's not really any hill to die on though. McFlock summarised what will happen, and then you just won't be here.

                    fwiw, I can't see much wrong with the comment given it's OM and given the context of TS debate generally.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I'm genuinely surprised by that. You are usually very sensitive to intent in speech.

                    • weka

                      Don't know what you mean there. You called a comment Islamophobic and then you made some political points about that. If you were intending something other that, it went over my head.

                    • Incognito []

                      Best to ignore and let it go, I’d say. It’s not worth the energy fighting figments of somebody else’s imagination.

                    • weka

                      I thought it was worth noting that there didn't appear to be a reason for deleting the comment (in terms of TS norms).

                    • Incognito []

                      IMO, it was heading in the wrong direction, particularly combined with that ‘political statement’. However, I would not have deleted it, personally, but it was not a reply to one of my comments. I’d rather drop this here & now but we can have a chat in the back-end, if you wish or rather, discuss it with RL in the back-end.

                  • Incognito

                    I see no point in getting pulled into your personal crusade, as I’m keen to avoid another futile fight here that sparks no joy and does not contribute anything useful, IMO. This was the gist of my comment, in case you missed it.

                    You’re entitled to choose which hill you want to die on, if you must insist.

                    • Muttonbird

                      It's RL's Crusade, in fact.

                      I think another odd thing about his defence of Luxon and Morrison is that they are not traditional Christians. New age Christians such as these two and their stablemate Brian Tamaki is they don’t have a history of Christian values and a culture of giving. The community involvement of these Christian start and finishes at their own community, in contrast to, say, The Sisters of Mercy who have given many, many decades of service to nursing and teaching, and more recently community health and respite care.

                      The new age, monetised churches of Morrison, Luxon and Tamaki appear to be more about meting your future wife.

                    • Incognito []

                      Nope! He didn’t ask me what I think of either your or his comment, but it was you who asked me to give my view on his comment @ 4.2.1 and yet, you didn’t ask me about your own deleted comment. I have no interest in playing ball with you or taking sides in this senseless ‘debate’. As I suggested before, let it go; you’re wasting (our) time.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Wasting your time? You don't appear to be doing anything in terms of moderation or you would have cautioned Redlogix.

                      [you’re now stepping over a line. Don’t tell us how to do our job, and especially don’t tell us when you plainly don’t understand how moderation works on site. Moderating other authors in the front end is reserved for extreme situations, not run of the mill bullshit like this. If you want to have it out with an author, do that and risk the consequences, but don’t start hassling other mods to take futile actions – weka]

                    • Incognito []

                      Wasting time commenting is still wasting time.

                      If you prefer, I could waste my time moderating, but that is an offence here 😉

                      You don’t take gentle hints kindly.

                      Let it go!

                    • weka []

                      mod note for you Muttonbird.

                    • Incognito []


                    • Muttonbird

                      Gee, thanks. Just surprised after Christchurch this stuff still gets through.

                    • Incognito []

                      It is your problem if you misconstrue words, meanings, intentions and falsely interpret other people’s beliefs. This has zero relation with ChCh, it is a personal problem and you’re projecting.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I've said it many times before, we don't post in a bubble. That's not the first comment by that moderator which punches down and specifically slights Muslims. I'm cursed with a detailed memory if you will.

                    • weka

                      I don't see the connection with Chch either. People are still free to criticise Islam here, and they're also free to criticise what they see as hypocrisy over how different religious groups are treated. You then get to argue against that, and people get to argue against your arguments, that's how TS works (which is what should have happened instead of deleting your comment. I disagree with both of you fwiw).

                    • Incognito []

                      So, we’re now being pulled into Muttonbird’s rabbit hole discussing what they want (us) to discuss, which is exactly the futile crap I tried to avoid 🙁

                      Good night.

                    • weka

                      you do get that once you start making it about the author/mod rather than the politics, that this creates problems, right?

                      All the authors here disagree with each other on politics at some point, and some of us disagree a lot. Commenters likewise. You can argue the politics, but if you want to criticise an author, you need to have something a damn site better than not liking their politics or position on an issue.

                    • weka

                      Incog, my reply was to your comment, but I was speaking to MB 🙂

              • RedLogix

                You would have instantly detected an attack on a Muslim MP 'to use his religion to bring him down' as wrong and objectionable. And rightly so.

                Yet for some reason an attack on an MP because he is a Christian goes totally unremarked by most people here except Ad and AB.

                Yet somehow you managed to get that completely arse about.

                • Muttonbird

                  This isn't about Chris Luxon, sunshine. This is about your clear and apparent issue with Islam, and Islam alone.

                  • RedLogix

                    Nope. It isn't. You are laughable wrong on this – I have a big problem with fundamentalist zealots who use any religion as a cover for their evil. On this I'm remarkably even-handed, I really don't care what label is being used.

                    But attacking an MP solely on the grounds of their faith is entirely out of bounds.

                    • Muttonbird

                      What zealots were discussed on this thread before you brought them into it?

                      I believe when you see Islam all you see are zealots and that is a problem.

                    • RedLogix

                      Quite the contrary – Islam is a highly diverse religion, with a rich history I could bore you with for hours. (Hell once upon a time I could give you a reasonably decent account of the life and times of the Twelve Imams – and the impact this has had on the political life of Islam ever since.)

                      And while in the West we are most aware of the visible split between the Sunni and Shi'a traditions (a bit like the split between Catholic and Protestant, but it starts much earlier and is more fundamental in many ways) – in the modern context it's more powerful to think of the difference between the fundamentalist Wahhabist's and the mystical traditions of the Sufi's and the many threads that have spun off from them.

                      The former gave us ISIL, the latter something the West could genuinely do well to pay a lot more attention to.

                    • Muttonbird

                      I remember you once said you deleted more comments than you posted.

                      Perhaps you should have done that at 9:27am today.

                  • McFlock

                    I seriously suggest you just call it a night. The wonderful thing about the internet is that if you wake up in the morning and some dude still really needs to be called a #$!@%@#$%$^, you can always do it while you have a cup of tea and cornflakes.

                    But most jerks ain't worth it.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          He [Luxon] should convert to Islam – then he could do no wrong.

          Bit of a risky move (politically and otherwise) in NZ, don’t you think?

          Do no wrong, you say?

        • alwyn

          "He should convert to Islam – then he could do no wrong"

          I wouldn't be so sure about that. There were a lot of pretty nasty comments made about Tim Groser when he was a Cabinet Minister, weren't there?

          A lot of them were on this Blog, often by people who still contribute their opinions here.

          A few names that come to mind are Stuart Munro, Blazer, Jenny, cleangreen and Cinny.

          I think Stuart was probably the most vituperative.

          If you want to see them just put Groser in the search box.

      • AB 4.2.2

        Not sure that attacking Luxon for his religious beliefs is a good tactic. I'm old enough to remember a 'left' Christianity being a thing with activists who took the Gospels seriously, and also how liberation theology took off in Latin America and was then ruthlessly stamped out. If we look only at the regressive (and frankly heretical) right-wing forms of Christianity now dominant in the US, it's easy to forget this aspect of the past.

        For me the 'tell' in the linked article on Luxon was that he promoted his record of "getting things done". But the whole of politics is deciding what those things are, not the mere doing of them. It's an attempt to make his political ideology appear natural, inevitable and unquestionable. There is no argument and no alternative – we select our political masters purely on their ability to implement the programme with maximum efficiency. Very, very common trick on the right – and indicates to me that Luxon might be a smooth operator, but has the depth of a pot-plant.

        • greywarshark

          ‘Religion’ has become a whitewash for unsatisfactory practices. It is an Authority for almost anything you can think of, with some pertinent verse from the Bible as a generating source.

          People who talk about religion now, need to be looked at carefully, as always they should have been. But it has acquired a great PR, and has become a marketing tool, for educational businesses (the school you can trust to teach the Right Way, but wrongs can still happen there under cover). The drive and determination and dislike (three major D's) of Exclusive Brethren worries me. They set themselves against ordinary people who their leaders and teachings despise, but mingle with citizens like 'sleepers' when it suits them to use society or appear good guys in some format. There are other sects that pose a threat, scientology might be one. Actually these groups are just another 'gang' that separates itself from liking society in general, and being part of a community with the culture of being good, positive, and supportive individuals, though living amongst it.

          I am concerned about the tax exemption that religions get. Church, religious, big business can reach monopoly position if run under religious or charitable aegis. Then ordinary business finds it hard to compete and can't get a toehold in the market. And so the nation's tax take on business enterprises and GDP generally, is reduced. Think Gloriavalue (a typo that seems applicable there!), low-paid workers who are almost in a Brave New World scenario.

          Recent heading Gloriavale profit $2.8m, assets $41m. (The Press Mar.4/2021). These are not huge numbers considering the number of people involved, made larger by the big families they are inclined to have. This is not an ordinary community, and they are not likely to be paying ordinary tax levels. Indeed there was a day of rejoicing some while back when they had a decision on tax that lessened their requirements. Now in Business The Press, Mar.25/21, it reports they have a FernMark export licence.

          The 'stealth' businesses and practices like this that continue and multiply, further weaken the nation and its prospects for individual citizens to achieve a reasonable living and individual personal life dstandards. As well we have the world investing here, sucking up resources and trashing the remainder, taking their profits elsewhere.

          Our government, like a failing sports administration, sits and watches and calls out mostly from the sidelines, employing others through quasi semi-government agencies with some business approach about which we can know nothing because of its 'commercial sensitivity'. News in The Press Mar.25/21 is CDHB Reports to Stay Secret; Lester Levy is one of 'fixit plumbers' as Commissioner, and he has to try to cut the hospital entity's forecast deficit of $145 million, but CE Peter Bramley is largely in the dark about what.

          Our bureaucrats are often imported with experience in stripping away quality as well as perceived fat, and join the exalted ranks of NZ-people-bashers and do well for themselves at it. See recent Chch CEO from Brit, recent Nelson NMIT CEO Sloan also Brit, after two? years left for a superior job in Australia, Joanne Wotsername who defrauded us at various government venues, and after a short period of detention has returned to Brit, changed her name once again and renewed her career. It's a laugh, give it a go to see if you can still manage an ironical one.

          The Brits have a pert saying – 'What a shower'.

          • Ad

            If an MP cannot express a basic Bill of Rights Act right such as right to belong to a religion without the hard left jeering at him, then there are plenty of other human rights one could then degrade in Parliament at the same time. Who know some of them may be important to you.

            If you want to go toe to toe on whether Christianity was any good for New Zealand over all, why not do a post on it? Then we can all join in with actual facts instead of your thoughtless slurs.

      • Gabby 4.2.3

        Pretty good way to alienate the christian left, I'd've thought.

    • RedBaronCV 4.3

      So long as the rest of us don't have to live with any wilder shores of his "faith". And there are a lot of people who subscribe to doing good by their community and fellow people without being anywhere near any faith based beliefs.

      In fact it strikes me as more than a little condescending to almost insinuate or imply that only the faith based have the welfare of others in mind…. that would be a change of pace for Nact wouldn't it? Time for some searching interviewing on how he perceives welfare benefits, unions and other people empowering organisations.

      • Anne 4.3.1

        … it strikes me as more than a little condescending to almost insinuate or imply that only the faith based have the welfare of others in mind…. that would be a change of pace for Nact wouldn't it? Time for some searching interviewing on how he perceives welfare benefits, unions and other people empowering organisations.

        My bold.

        yes Exactly my thoughts too.

        • alwyn

          How would you describe somebody who said that their parties' Social Security Policy was simply "Applied Christianity" I wonder.

          That is how Micky Savage (the real one) classified his intentions in the 1930s.

          He also said of Great Britain 'Where she goes, we go; where she stands we stand"

          Was he condescending do you think? And a Colonialist to boot?

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            "Where she goes, we go. Where she stands, we stand."

            Alwyn, given the context of Savage's speech, "condescending" and "Colonialist" are not words that immediately spring to my mind, but each to their own.

            Prime minister declares New Zealand’s support for Britain
            5 September 1939

            When New Zealand declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage was recovering from an operation for colon cancer. Acting Prime Minister Peter Fraser issued a statement in his place.

            Two days later Savage spoke to the public from his sickbed at his home in Wellington. The address was broadcast on the radio that evening and widely reported in newspapers over the following days.

            Savage’s speech was at once an attack on the evils of Nazism and an expression of the country’s loyalty to and support for Britain:

            Both with gratitude for the past and confidence in the future, we range ourselves without fear beside Britain. Where she goes, we go. Where she stands, we stand. We are only a small and young nation, but we are one and all a band of brothers and we march forward with union of hearts and wills to a common destiny.

            Savage died just over six months later, on 27 March 1940, and was succeeded by Fraser, who led the government for the rest of the Second World War.

      • McFlock 4.3.2

        He was one of 15 MPs to vote against safe areas around abortion clinics.

        Dunno if being in the conservative eighth counts as "extreme", but at least one of his beliefs seems to be at odds with his statement "I believe that no religion should dictate to the state and no politician should use the political platform they have to force their beliefs on others".

  5. Muttonbird 5

    Typically petty from the Taxdodgers’ Union. Here they mimic and trivialise messages from children to the PM, for political purposes.

    Imagine that, highjacking the innocence of children for dirty political deeds. No wonder they and their masters, ACT and National are at one of their lowest points yet in the eyes of New Zealand voters.

  6. KJT 7

    New Zealand maritime workers losing their jobs, being told they cannot leave New Zealand to work. Meanwhile ships taking New Zealand passengers and cargo, in New Zealand coastal waters, are allowed foreign crews, are NZ tax exempt and NZ labour laws exempt.

  7. Andre 8

    In the various attempts to hype vitamin D against covid, studies examining whether vitamin D levels prior to exposure affect the likelihood of getting infected have been somewhat hard to come by.

    But one has recently come out. And though the headlines and breathless write-ups scream that it shows that higher vitamin D levels reduce risk of covid for black people, the data really doesn't appear to support that claim. For starters, the line is flat for white people, and the ups and downs in the chart for black people is equally consistent with the hypothesis that it's just noise due to the small numbers involved, and that vitamin D levels are not associated with risk of getting covid.

    https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2777682 (charts and data accessible via clicking on a tab to the right of the article text)

    Consider: the error bars in the chart for black people all include the risk of infection being 7%, regardless of vitamin D level. Furthermore, the claim "the risk of having positive results in Black individuals was 2.64-fold greater with a vitamin D level of 30 to 39.9 ng/mL than a level of 40 ng/mL or greater and decreased by 5% per 1-ng/mL increase in level among individuals with a level of 30 ng/mL or greater. There were no statistically significant associations of vitamin D levels with COVID-19 positivity rates in White individuals." appears to be a straight interpolation of a line between two averaged data points that completely ignores the previous data point in the series, which happens to suggest a low risk of infection with a lowish vitamin D level of 20 to 30 ng/ml.

    All in all, this study shows there's likely not a benefit from vitamin D in reducing the likelihood of getting covid. It also illustrates how researchers that get invested in a particular idea get sucked into claiming their results show something that really probably isn't there. Or if there actually is an effect, at best it's likely very small.

    • Prickles 8.1

      Well that's a creative way to read the outcome of the study. Did you not see this statement?

      "In this single-center retrospective cohort study, COVID-19 risk increased among Black individuals with vitamin D level less than 40 ng/mL compared with those with 40 ng/mL or greater and decreased with increasing levels among individuals with levels greater than 30 ng/mL. No significant associations were noted for White individuals."

      Sounds to me that Viamin D does play a significant role.

      • Andre 8.1.1

        A key point is conveyed in the final sentence of that paragraph, which was omitted from the quote : " Randomized clinical trials should examine whether increasing vitamin D level to greater than 40 ng/mL affects COVID-19 risk."

        That paragraph was written by the researchers that have been invested for quite a while in the idea that vitamin D is effective against covid, and are fishing for funding to do more studies. So therefore there is a need to present the results in a positive light. It's their motivated reasoning talking, not a skeptical dispassionate look at the actual evidence.

        When looking at the results of a study like this, there are always two competing hypotheses. The null hypothesis is "this stuff doesn't do shit, or might even be actively harmful", and should always be considered by far the most likely outcome. This should be the default conclusion if the results are reasonably compatible with this null hypothesis.

        The competing hypothesis is the extraordinary claim that "this stuff really truly actually helps". Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Small blips in the data that are within the range of expected random variations for the sample sizes involved, as we see in this study, do not constitute extraordinary evidence. Sorry. Even given how much we all desperately want something, anything, to help fight this disease.

      • Nic the NZer 8.1.2

        After reviewing the meaning of a Simpson's paradox, can you give an argument for accepting the categorised conclusions over the aggregate conclusions?


  8. Stuart Munro 9

    Meanwhile, the steady erosion of capacity left DPH at black alert the other day.

    We can't really go on like this.

  9. arkie 10

    New border exemptions have been approved to allow overseas building staff to work on the state house construction programme.


    One step forward two steps back.

    • RedBaronCV 10.1

      Well at best they should only be here for a limited time and should train locals while they are about it. And we should continue to downsize the population . For every visa granted another could be withdrawn from a less constrained sector.

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