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Open mike 25/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 25th, 2022 - 116 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 …

116 comments on “Open mike 25/04/2022 ”

  1. Temp ORary 1

    Up early to watch dawn service on ODT, so was glancing at sites I'd not looked at for a while. I guess this is not as bad as the RSA's (Rhodesian Services Association) cooption of ANZAC day up in Tauranga, but the ignorance of history is astonishing – especially when linked to the slogan; "Lest we Forget"

    https://twitter.com/Te_Taipo/status/1518183580794466304

    The Military Service Act 1916 required the registration of non-Māori men aged between 20 and 46. They were sorted into two divisions – the unmarried or recently married, and everyone else. Some were chosen by ballot, initially from the first division and later from the second, and sent to training camps…

    Men who objected to military service could appeal to the Military Service Board and about half of those called up did so. They could appeal on grounds of family hardship, public interest (that they were carrying out socially useful work at home) or religious objection. The boards rejected most appeals and unsuccessful appellants who refused to serve were imprisoned.

    https://teara.govt.nz/en/conscription-conscientious-objection-and-pacifism/page-1

    • Temp ORary 1.1

      Oof! "Today we wear the puppy..", but I did like that she continued on despite the flub rather than drawing more attention with correction. Eg "Centenary.. uh; Centennial" just now.

      Prayers now, which I can't be bothered with – one advantage of the Pandemic is that I don't have to pretend quiet respect for that.

      • Temp ORary 1.1.1

        What kind of clueless arsehole do you have to be to stand at the front of an ANZAC day crowd unmasked and chatting during the moment of silence between the Last Post and Reveille? Camera held on them for an uncomfortably long time too! There were enough unmasked that I am glad I didn't attend for my own safety's sake, but at least most had the grace to remain silent during the heart of the event.

        I am actually slightly nauseated. But then I am also rather hungover, so it could be a bit of that too.

        Anyway, to expand on my earlier point regarding the "Freedom" those NZers who participated in the "Great War" had:

        The opening of a national memorial in Dunedin for conscientious objectors has been held up as a celebration of courage and prompted an apology from Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.

        The memorial includes an abstract depiction of Field Punishment No1, for which men were tied to posts and had their hands tightly bound behind their backs for hours at a time during World War 1.

        Opening the Archibald Baxter Peace Garden yesterday, Mr Robertson said the punishment was a gross and inhumane form of state-sponsored torture.

        ‘‘I want to say sorry {-} it was wrong.’’

        Mr Robertson said the apology was personal, rather than officially from the Government, and he acknowledged the suffering of conscientious objectors…

        Several speakers, including Mr Robertson, referred to the 1881 invasion of Parihaka, which happened the same year Mr Baxter was born.

        https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/conscientious-objectors-commemorated

        Why was this not an official governmental apology? Would that open them to claims for compensation from the tortured's descendants or something? I mean; ka pai ki Robertson for making the statement as an individual citizen, but it does ring a little hollow with his role as deputy PM.

        Only Quakers, Christadelphians and, later, Seventh-day Adventists were automatically exempted from military service. Most other conscientious objectors were imprisoned for up to two years with hard labour, and sometimes returned to prison if they still refused to go to war. Fourteen especially determined conscientious objectors were forcibly shipped overseas and faced severe punishments – they included Archibald Baxter who later wrote about his experiences. At the end of the war New Zealand was the only country to deny conscientious objectors voting rights or employment in the public service or local bodies – for 10 years…

        His son, the poet James K. Baxter, later wrote:

        When I was only semen in a gland
        Or less than that, my father hung
        From a torture post at Mud Farm
        Because he would not kill.

        https://teara.govt.nz/en/conscription-conscientious-objection-and-pacifism/page-2

  2. Ad 2

    Has anyone seen any commentary in the Australian federal election campaign about the New Bradford Plan?

    I can see Queensland Labor are pretty keen especially after the last big floods.

    Was just thinking about whether Australia would go full-noise nationbuilding to replace Ukrainian wheat production, in time.

    New Bradfield scheme on agenda as north Queensland prepares for floods (brisbanetimes.com.au)

    • Scud 2.1

      Mad Bob (Bob Katter), usually have something on the Bradford Plan as it's one of his "Pet Projects".

    • RedLogix 2.2

      Actually the scheme has been assured funding. Still subject to a business case being released in June.

      The giant $5.4 billion Hells Gates Dam project has received guaranteed funding, unlocking the agriculture sector in some of the driest parts of northern Australia.

      Key points:

      • The federal government has committed $5.4 billion to building Hells Gates Dam.
      • The 2,100-gigalitre dam is forecast to unlock agriculture in northern Australia.
      • The dam is still subject to a business case and environmental approvals.

      But the project remains subject to a business case expected in June this year, and other environmental approvals.

      More info here.

      The Federal Government has since committed $54M towards Phase 1 of the Project which includes the $30M for the first stage of Big Rocks Weir at Charters Towers. The final Business Case for Big Rocks Weir was delivered to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority on 21 August 2020 and has had both State and Federal governments commit $60M for the construction of Big Rocks Weir.

      The remaining $24M is for the Business Case of the Hells Gates Dam, including geotechnical and cultural heritage assessments, construction proposals, enhanced economic modelling works, environmental impact and social assessment and engineering investigations. The Business Case will assess and provide further investigative works into the findings of the feasibility study completed in 2018.

      Coincidentally the latest Caspian Report covered some of the history of this plan.

  3. Ad 3

    Lovely and even-handed work by Mr Hickey this morning on the political economy of inflation and real estate capitalism.

    The dirty little secrets inside our nation of inflation (substack.com)

    • Blazer 3.1

      Hickey absolutely nails it.

      The money shot….'Neither party wants to acknowledge the real causes of our inflation: explosive housing costs driven by leveraged investment demand and super-powered by monopoly power across most of the economy.'

  4. Jenny how to get there 4

    Vote Luxon for PM and risk following Sri Lanka into economic disaster.

    If you love tax cuts be warned

    Causes of Sri Lanka’s Economic crisis

    • Lack of Foreign Reserves: Sri Lanka “has been running a trade deficit for decades.” …..
    • Hits to the Tourism Industry: …..such hits worsened the nation’s ability to repay its debt.
    • Agri-Sector Crisis: In 2021, the Rajapaksa government, with the aim of moving toward 100% organic agriculture, chose to ban chemical fertilizers. This decimated farmers’ yields,….
    • Ill-Advised Tax Cuts: In a bid to revitalize the economy, the government cut taxes. However, this had the backfiring effect of greatly impacting government revenue. The action also “prompted rating agencies to downgrade Sri Lanka to near default levels,”…..”
    • Government Mismanagement: Rather than supporting the local economy and boosting its exports, the Sri Lankan government has been borrowing vast sums of money to fund public services and imported goods…..
    • Russia-Ukraine Conflict: The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to a staggering “price inflation of crude oil, sunflower oil and wheat.”….

    https://www.borgenmagazine.com/sri-lankas-economic-crisis/

    While our government may not be able to control things like hits to the tourism sector by the covid crisis.

    Or rising costs of crude oil and wheat due to the war in Ukraine.

    Or making unavoidable cuts to our agricultural emissions to save the planet.

    Over the things our government can control, New Zealand would be very poorly served if we copied Sri Lanka's "Ill advised" tax cuts.

    The other thing that sunk the Sri Lanka economy was that country’s massive amount of overseas borrowing.

    The legacy of massive overseas borrowing by the Key government to bail out the financiers and billionaire investors who lost their investments after the GFC also has to be accounted for in this country.

    • Ad 4.1

      Actually it's this Labour government that has borrowed the most in many decades.

      Both our public and private sector debt is astonishingly high under this government.

      • Bearded Git 4.1.1

        You paint a misleading picture Ad. It is always better to deal in facts.

        The profligate high-spending Key/English government added a huge amount to public debt between 2008-17 after the Clark/Cullen government of 1999-2008 had massively reduced public debt. The Ardern/Robertson government, 2017-onwards, was in the process of reducing public debt as the pandemic hit when, of course, public debt was bound to balloon.

        You can see this from the 25 year chart on this site.

        https://tradingeconomics.com/new-zealand/government-debt

        The clear message being Vote Labour/Green for sound financial management.

        • Tricledrown 4.1.1.1

          good info bearded .Luxons slip ups and selfishness shown up by direct questioning from Jack Tane put Nationals policy of crumbs for the poor and huge tax windfalls for the well off and the very well off like Luxon in the spotlight. Luxons plan was as inflationary as Labours as well so own goal by Luxon.Tane should have asked Luxon if he would cut Air NZ bailout to.Luxon was fuming by the end of the interview.Tane only mentioned the tax cuts Luxon would get from his parliamentry salary $18,000 a year not the income from his 7 rental properties and other investments maybe up to $30,000 a year plus in tax cuts. While the vast majority do it hard .Then govt revenue drops and no doubt National would have to cut spending on public services like Health,education,policing, and welfare denying payments to the homeless and disadvantaged.

        • Patricia Bremner 4.1.1.2

          Excellent all round thanks Bearded Git. Selected stats can often skew the view.

        • Ad 4.1.1.3

          Your cited graph net debt exploding under Labour-Greens in 2020-2021.

          Back in 2019 Roberston sort-of still had a debt target.

          Grant Robertson blurs the line on his debt target | Stuff.co.nz

          But he’s basically given up. Net core Government debt is now $123 billion, 35% of our GDP.

          Grant Robertson urges caution after Government books bounce back from Covid – NZ Herald

          Much of that he threw at employers as wage subsidies to keep us sane in 2020.

          Treasury has warned about the implications.

          Treasury warning to Government: Trillions of dollars in 'unsustainable' debt cycle – NZ Herald

          A decently-briefed Luxon would not find it hard to show where this debt has not been good for us.

          • Poission 4.1.1.3.1

            And the books will be worse then forecast,due to the problem with falling asset values.The NZ superannuation fund lost 1.2 billion in the first two months of this year,which will have doubled in the last 2 months.

            Those ethical investments are good creators of wealth destruction.

            ACC will have a double problem with falling investment values,and increased medical costs not due to more accidents,but increased wages for health such as vehicle registration,fuel levy,income levy etc.

          • Bearded Git 4.1.1.3.2

            It "exploded" because of the pandemic as i said before,,,d'oh.

            You would have just crashed the economy would you?

            • Ad 4.1.1.3.2.1

              Shovelling an untagged $60b was not the only way to address the crisis.

              Our grandchildren are going to be paying for the set of decisions they made in a hurry in April 2020.

          • Patricia Bremner 4.1.1.3.3

            New Zealand Gross GDP 43.6% Nett GDP 11.6%

            Norway Gross GDP 41.4% Nett GDP -121%

            Sweden Gross GDP 37.3% Nett GDP 5.5%

            U K Gross GDP 104.5%Nett GDP 91.8%

            USA Gross GDP 133.9%Nett GDP 98.7

            Germany Gross GDP 69.7%Nett GDP 50.1

            Australia Gross GDP 57.3%Nett GDP 34.4
            Now NZ’s is 53% during a pandemic and a war?
            How does New Zealand compare? You decide.

            • Ad 4.1.1.3.3.1

              History is making that public debt binge and easy Reserve Bank money to make the evaluation decision pretty easy:

              Pandemic response funding

              +Reserve Bank credit availability

              +manufactured house price spike

              +global supply chain crisis

              +Ukraine War

              = local and global inflation and interest rates heading for 10% per year

              So Patricia you can decide out of the following consequences:

              $4 91 per litre petrol, $3.9 per litre diesel,

              $7 for a bag of apples,

              Mortgage payments doubling in a year,

              And the quickest and highest class separation since 1985.
              Anyone here remember October 1987?

              • Patricia Bremner

                Is it any different anywhere else?

                • Ad

                  … is not an argument in anyone's favour. Nor particularly relevant to us: it is our government that intervened the most per capita across the OECD..

                  We have 3 weeks to Budget 2022 and to the Carbon Zero budget.

                  Will the greatest and fastest debt+public subsidy in our history get us anywhere?

                  • Patricia Bremner

                    It is bad Ad, but could be miles worse. I have just read an article on Stephanie Browitt a survivor of Te Puia o Whakari White Island.

                    It is humbling and uplifting and says a great deal about the human spirit and our ability to overcome difficulties. Despair does more damage.

                    Hindsight is being clever after the fact. Luxon may think he has a handle on things, and yes he may improve with advice, but truly steam was coming out his ears and he was very red with shock at being challenged by Tame.

                    This is a double whammy, Pandemic dollars plus the oil shock/ wheat/ sunflower oil/ all combining to create difficult conditions.
                    Robertson and we are between a rock and a hard place. I don’t think the Opposition has any answers, just move the pieces and pay their piper.

                    We are a very inter related World now, and Luxon is no diplomat.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      Sri Lanka has been operating a fixed exchange rate to reach the present situation. NZ went through a similar currency crisis in 1984 and has floated its exchange rate since.

      The differences are NZ has a lot more space for fiscal policy interventions, the country mostly borrows in NZ currency (so if the govt wants any such debt to be repaid, or guaranteed the country has the means to make that payment).

      As a result of this the countries are not really comparable.

      • Jenny how to get there 4.2.1

        You are correct Nic, Sri Lanka and New Zealand are not directly comparable.

        But it would be foolish to ignore the lesson of Sri Lanka. Because you reap what you sow.

        The Grim reaper.

        Christopher Luxon sharpens his metaphorical scythe for tax cuts.

        You reap what you sow.

        Sri Lankan lessons: as you sow, so you reap

        Abdul Bayes | Published: April 24, 2022 21:53:25

        …..The reasons for such a sorry state of affairs of the Sri Lankan economy can be traced back to several factors.

        First, the present government of Sri Lanka went for a dramatic reduction in both personal and corporate taxes resulting in lower revenue earnings and bigger budget deficit…..

        Second, the president of the country declared in April 2021 that use of chemical fertilisers would be banned to pave the way for organic farming……

        https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/home/sri-lankan-lessons-as-you-sow-so-you-reap-1650815303

        The takeaway lesson for New Zealand is this; If you really want to take radical measures to protect the environment and the climate, you must be prepared to tax the rich to pay for it.

        Luxon on climate change.

        'Random' [sic] government activity at huge cost is dangerous..

        Pretentious necessity

        @ 2;00 minutes ….if we look at transport, ….. we know there is a good technology and pathway to solve those emissions over the next 15 years.

        @ 2:50 minutes …we've got an Emissions Trading Scheme.

        @ 3:15 minutes ….the danger is a government that goes in with a lot of random activity at huge cost.

        @ 3:50 minutes ….The market will sort that out.

        @ 4:20 minutes …When we are talking about agriculture.
        There is no obvious technological pathway to deal with agricultural emissions.

        @ 6:05…We should be investing in roads.

        • Nic the NZer 4.2.1.1

          Unfortunately that narrative places the rich in the benefactor position of paying for a countries climate policy. Since they are paying they will ultimately determine the terms of the transition off fossil fuel. I don't think this is going to accelerate the transition. This is unfortunate as NZ can afford to fund many transitional policies as is, and wont actually face such a currency crisis as a result.

      • pat 4.2.2

        Sri Lanka floated the Rupee in 2001….as always the lender determines the conditions of the credit.

        • Nic the NZer 4.2.2.1

          Do you have a source for that claim?

          Reuters has articles describing the Central Bank devaluing to slow foreign exchange losses and the Rupee is otherwise described as a closed currency (not available outside Sri Lanka).

          • pat 4.2.2.1.1

            "Sri Lanka has a floating exchange rate system since 2001 which allowed the independent adjustment of the exchange rate according to the market forces of demand and supply. However, there could be interventions in the market for the purpose of curbing excess volatility in the exchange rate. The CBSL prescribes maximum net open position (NOP) limits for LCBs and closely monitors the activities in the domestic foreign exchange market to ensure an orderly functioning of the market."

            https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/financial-system/financial-markets/domestic-foreign-exchange-market

            A floating exchange rate is neither a panacea nor is it immune to manipulation.

            • Nic the NZer 4.2.2.1.1.1

              I think its floating inside Sri Lanka is how to read that. But clearly their arrangements are not providing financial stability due to the amount of foreign denominated debt the country has taken on.

              NZs situation is quite far from that.

              • pat

                Not at all…it is quite evident that the suppliers of goods from offshore no longer accept the Rupee as payment and want hard currency and Sri Lanka has run out of reserves…a situation any economy, including NZ could face,

                Confidence in a currency is tied to collateral and its obvious all confidence in the Sri Lankan economy has been lost….a floating exchange rate dosnt function when confidence is lost.

                It is a fair weather mechanism.

  5. weka 5

    Theatre company tries to put on a queer culture sex education show for teens and their parents. Called The Family Sex Show (yes, really). All hell breaks loose. Stock writes a very funny but also nuanced and intelligent post about what happened and what the problems are and in the process breaks the binary.

    • Molly 5.1

      The Family Sex Show was advertised as suitable for 5yrs +.

      Link to the cleaned up website that now doesn’t suggest children use Google to search for “animals that masturbate” so they can draw pictures of them, can be found here:

      https://thefamilysexshow.com/tfss
      The Family Sex Show

      It’s indicative of how far they are removed from age-appropriate content, to see what still remains after they have “scrubbed” their site.

      • weka 5.1.1

        hmm, I'm seeing conflicting things about the age bracket. But yeah, that's pretty clear, and yep, their sense of what's ok is well off. But we knew that from the name. I wish I could feel some confidence that lessons might be learned.

        • Molly 5.1.1.1

          I had a good look when the story broke, and took particular notice of the recommended age for the tour venues. At that time is was definitely 5yrs+.

          Might have changed since the issue was highlighted.

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            I was mostly following on twitter, and as per usual there was a lot of exclammation and not a lot of backing up.

      • Anker 5.1.2

        The title "the family sex show" is a red flag for me.

        Introduction to knowledge about sex (and sex itself ) needs to be age appropriate.

        Animals masturbating? Please. As an adult I don't see why I need to know about that. What is the purpose of getting kids to google search it? It embeds the idea that you can search for things of a sexual nature on the net……..

        I am glad to hear apple a putting in a filter on their devices that filters out nudity. Good.

    • Puckish Rogue 5.2

      Always found this pretty funny…and sad

  6. joe90 6

    And here we are…

    /

  7. Ad 7

    60,000 of new irrigated land on the other side of the Queensland ranges, funded by the Morrison government. One big new dam and several major reservoirs.

    Morrison’s green light for Queensland’s Hells Gates Dam threatens Great Barrier Reef, experts warn | Queensland | The Guardian

    This is the first part of the New Bradfield Scheme that is a revised version of the big Bradfield Scheme of 1942.

    New Bradfield scheme on agenda as north Queensland prepares for floods (brisbanetimes.com.au)

    This is irrigation on a terraforming scale.

    If the Australian Federal government wants to essentially replace much of Ukraine's agricultural production, pulling all the climate change floodwater from Queensland and tunneling it through the ranges to the west, and link up with the Murray-Darling, would be the way to do it.

    • tsmithfield 7.1

      I imagine there are plenty of areas in New Zealand that could easily grow wheat. For instance, Central Otago, where they tend to have very dry, hot summers.

      Who knows, going forward, wheat production could become more profitable and less damaging to the environment than dairy production given that the set up and ongoing costs should be a lot lower I imagine.

      Further to that, there is quite a bit of grain production in that area already, so could potentially be expanded.

      https://www.odt.co.nz/rural-life/rural-life-other/grain-production-passes-1million-tonnes

      • Ad 7.1.1

        There's not a lot of wheat left growing in Canterbury now that it's almost fully irrigated. It's solid dairy as far as the eye can see,

        But it's odd going up to Houhora in the Far North and seeing what was pretty average dairy country converted into avocados.

        • pat 7.1.1.1

          Then you must have one eye closed….wheat production has steadily increased in NZ since the dairy boom began and around 80% of it is from Canterbury.

          • Poission 7.1.1.1.1

            Its also the largest pea production area in the Southern hemisphere,with the longest harvest season.

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/rural/2020/02/longest-pea-harvest-in-the-world-underway-in-canterbury.html

            • Blazer 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Peas are a huge growth crop.

              They are being used as gluten free substitutes in an array of new foods.yes

            • pat 7.1.1.1.1.2

              And as mentioned in the article, seed crops…a lot of seed grown here to supply offshore producers.

              But if it was so easy (and profitable) there wouldnt have been the mass conversion to dairy in the region that has occurred the past 20 years or so.

              A lot of the conversions wernt by choice….as said before, inflated property values are not only a housing problem.

              • Poission

                Canterbury produces 70% of the worlds carrot seed.Agree on the land pricing,that was a result of low livestock prices and wool.There is still with some arable farmers who use livestock when they rotate the land to lie fallow,and put it back into pasture.

          • Tricledrown 7.1.1.1.2

            With constant droughts and rivers drying up and suffering degradation from nitrogen run off , cryptosporidiam andfaecal matter. Growing grains such as wheat and sunflower would be far more enviromentaly sustainable. With high prices profitable as well. also Chinas expansionism it would be smart to reduce our dpendence on Dairy production.

            • pat 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Arable farming is inherently risky….the returns are seasonal and fluctuate…especially when compared to dairy with its consistent output and monthly cheques.

              As many cropping farmers are want to say, arable farming is a capital gain game….the capital outlay to return is considerable and dont really reflect the risks…and everyone in the chain clips the ticket.

      • Patricia Bremner 7.1.2

        My son Grant who was a Trade Cert Baker in a former life, tells me New Zealand produces flour that tends to make a heavy / wet crumb. It was mixed with Australian flour to lighten the crumb. With dry conditions and growing temperatures and improved varieties our wheat crumb may improve.

        Other valuable crops could be sunflowers for oil and hemp for clothing As dairy prices go into retreat, other farming may begin.

  8. joe90 8

    UK think tank report on Russia's imperial delusion, what went wrong, expectations and conclusions.

    The foremost conclusion is that Russia is now preparing, diplomatically, militarily and economically, for a protracted conflict

    […]

    The pattern is universal. Almost all of Russia’s modern military hardware is dependent upon complex electronics imported from the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Israel, China and further afield.57

    […]

    Finally, the Russian decision to double down is a high-stakes gamble. If Russia mobilises and eventually overcomes Ukrainian resistance then NATO will face an aggressive, isolated and militarised state. If Russia loses then President Putin has now begun radicalising the population in the pursuit of policies that he will struggle to deliver. Failure to defeat the Ukrainian state after relentlessly comparing it to the Nazi regime may have serious consequences for Putin and those around him. To frame a conflict as existential and to lose must necessarily call the suitability of a leader into question among Russia’s political elites. NATO states therefore need to consider how to manage escalation pathways that follow if Russia is not only defeated in Donbas but finds its newly mobilised and poorly trained troops, with few remaining stocks of precision munitions, unable to deliver a victory in the summer. The death of Putin’s political project is plausible, but it has already inflicted immense damage internationally and risks doing considerably more.

    https://static.rusi.org/special-report-202204-operation-z-web.pdf

    • RedLogix 8.1

      The image on the cover of that report is remarkably striking. Will read.

    • RedLogix 8.2

      Another chilling quote:

      So far, Russia’s attempts to expand its available military manpower has rested on pressuring conscripts to sign contracts of service and reducing the requirements for people to join without prior military service. For Russia to significantly increase its numbers it would need to retain its last round of conscripts and call up reserves. Both of these are politically contentious in Russia. Nevertheless, the propaganda narrative and local initiatives to rally support appear to be creating an environment in which 9 May can be used as a fulcrum to mobilise a much larger force. It appears increasingly likely that rather than use it to announce victory, the Russian government will instead use 9 May as the day on which the ‘special military operation’ is officially framed as a ‘war’

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        Probably scrambling up more forces by declaring war is possible. I think the biggest issue for the Russians will be arming the new troops.

        I have seen a number of videos of Russian soldiers using vintage rifles etc. And, they are having trouble manufacturing new gear to replace the existing equipment being lost due to the sanctions.

    • tsmithfield 8.3

      Thank you for that. That was a really good read, and very informative.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Have you seen this latest video that adds quite a bit of weight to the theory going around for awhile that Putin has some serious disease such as Parkinsons or cancer.

    Certainly looks a bit weird, and not the normal way people tend to sit at a table.

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    As someone often critical of poor legislation, I appreciated this report from RNZ:

    For an insight into how drafting works, The House [Phil Smith]chatted with Cassie Nicholson (who as Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the chief executive of the PCO) and Richard Wallace (who heads the drafting team) about the art of drafting law.

    All law begins with a policy idea. Sometimes PCO is involved in that early, feeding back on how it could (and couldn’t) work. Cassie Nicholson says the entry point can vary. “Sometimes [we get] a fully formed policy paper to comment on, sometimes an idea that then we work with the agency to flesh out, but it can vary from quite detailed to a very high level idea.”

    This early work is done with the policy and legal folk inside a ministry. Nicholson says this is “because we want ministers to be making a decision on as close to fully formed policy as possible, something that can actually be built when it comes to us”.

    Wallace describes this as “testing the policy,” Nicholson calls it “kicking the tyres, (in a really gentle, friendly way) to make sure that actually we've worked through the logic and the wrinkles; we understand the anticipated flow-on consequences, both for the real world and the statute book”. No actual law is written until the policy is approved by cabinet so PCO doesn’t waste its time writing legislation that will never be law.

    I was impressed at how they incorporate the principle of reflexivity into praxis:

    Once it is approved, the PCO received drafting instructions outlining the legal effect to be achieved. Thankfully, no-one sits down and just blats out law from start to finish. Wallace says it’s an iterative process sending out drafts to government departments. “We continue doing that until we're all comfortable that we've addressed all the issues and that what we've got actually works. So we're not trying to do it on a single shot.”

    Here's an insight into the psychology that comes into play:

    Richard Wallace describes constructing law as both storytelling and puzzle solving. It is also answering hundreds of questions about what is really wanted.

    You can summarise that last sentence as stakeholder interactivity. The Q+A format drives the process of design towards optimal output – in theory. As a grouch like me would point out, results suggest the theory often gets flawed by the practice!

    The Parliamentary Counsel is not an individual but a large team… not just lawyers. They comprise publishing experts (who publish legislation), and IT and web teams (the law is published online); plus all the others that make an office run. PCO doesn’t offer legal advice to Parliament or the Government. That’s the Office of the Clerk’s team (for Parliament), and the Solicitor General at the Crown Law Office (for Government).

    Wait a sec. "Its boss describes it as “the Government's legislative advisors”. So legal advice and legislative advice are different critters. Ok, got it. A fine distinction!

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/the-house/audio/2018838304/painting-the-legal-jigsaw-one-piece-at-a-time

    • Ad 10.1

      Crown Law, parts of DPMC, and legal counsel within the sponsoring Departments also have strong drafting roles. Some Departments are a lot better at gaming out the operational practise of new legislation than others.

  11. Stephen D 11

    I wonder how long it’ll be before someone on the opposition’s benches tries this.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/apr/24/angela-rayner-hits-back-at-claims-of-basic-instinct-tactics-to-distract-pm?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    Or maybe the Daily Herald.

  12. aj 12

  13. joe90 13

    Chooks are scary.

  14. Dennis Frank 14

    Didn't make the msm last year, but a noteworthy report from the leading edge:

    researchers at Google in collaboration with physicists at Stanford, Princeton and other universities say that they have used Google’s quantum computer to demonstrate a genuine “time crystal.”

    Like a perpetual motion machine, a time crystal forever cycles between states without consuming energy.

    Physics grad went huh??

    In addition, a separate research group claimed earlier this month to have created a time crystal in a diamond. “The consequence is amazing: You evade the second law of thermodynamics,” said Roderich Moessner, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, and a co-author on the Google paper. That’s the law that says disorder always increases.

    The time crystal is a new category of phases of matter, expanding the definition of what a phase is. All other known phases, like water or ice, are in thermal equilibrium: their constituent atoms have settled into the state with the lowest energy permitted by the ambient temperature, and their properties don’t change with time. The time crystal is the first “out-of-equilibrium” phase: It has order and perfect stability despite being in an excited and evolving state.

    “This is just this completely new and exciting space that we’re working in now,” said Vedika Khemani, a condensed matter physicist now at Stanford who co-discovered the novel phase while she was a graduate student and co-authored the new paper with the Google team.

    A revolutionary paradigm-shifter, seemingly plausible due to replication (two teams of physicists), but we await further developments that may point to utility.

    The new time crystal demo marks one of the first times a quantum computer has found gainful employment.

    With yesterday’s preprint, which has been submitted for publication, and other recent results, researchers have fulfilled the original hope for quantum computers. In his 1982 paper proposing the devices, the physicist Richard Feynman argued that they could be used to simulate the particles of any imaginable quantum system. A time crystal exemplifies that vision. It’s a quantum object that nature itself probably never creates, given its complex combination of delicate ingredients. Imaginations conjured the recipe, stirred by nature’s most baffling laws.

    https://www.quantamagazine.org/first-time-crystal-built-using-googles-quantum-computer-20210730/

    Quanta presents a summary of that recipe on their page. It uses this triad:

    1. many-body localisation (a row of particles get stuck in synch)

    2. eigenstate order (they retain symmetry when spin-flipped)

    3. periodic driver (laser light triggers system flipping which perseveres)

    A 2015 paper described it in these words:

    when you tickle a localized chain of spins with a laser in a particular way, they’ll flip back and forth, moving between two different many-body localized states in a repeating cycle forever without absorbing any net energy from the laser.

    Thus authenticity to claim the first workable demonstration of the mythical perpetual-motion machine. Now the challenge is to invent uses that users deem valuable…

  15. arkie 15

    A climate activist, Wynn Bruce, has died after setting himself on fire outside the US Supreme Court.

    The U.S. Supreme Court had heard arguments in late February on an important environmental case that could restrict or even eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to control pollution. The court’s conservative majority had voiced skepticism of the agency’s authority to regulate carbon emissions, suggesting that a decision by the justices could deal a sharp blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change.

    Bruce set himself on fire in an apparent imitation of Vietnamese monks who burned themselves to death in protest during the Vietnam War. His Facebook page commemorated the death of Thich Nhat Hanh, an influential Zen Buddhist master and anti-war activist who died in January.

    Thich Nhat Hanh, in a letter he wrote in 1965 to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., had idolized those monks. Kritee cited that letter in another tweet on Bruce’s death Sunday morning.

    “The press spoke then of suicide, but in the essence, it is not. It is not even a protest,” Thich Nhat Hanh wrote of the monks, adding that “to burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one is saying is of the utmost importance. There is nothing more painful than burning oneself. To say something while experiencing this kind of pain is to say it with utmost courage, frankness, determination and sincerity.”

    https://www.denverpost.com/2022/04/24/wynn-bruce-climate-change-self-immolation/

    If it was indeed a protest then it must be witnessed. At it's end a protest is a performance, and if it is ignored then it is futile. Sadly for Wynn Bruce, and for all of us, it is seemingly easier to despair the systemic inaction of the status quo powers.

    I encourage anyone feeling despair to reach out to those around you, like action on climate change, we can all support each other through this, be it just conversation and a cuppa, advice and encouragement, all the way through to developing and honing skills in gardening and composting, to reusing and reprocessing materials; We can all work towards food and material sustainability and that really helps to feel more positive.

    • Dennis Frank 15.1

      There's context:

      In the last 13 years, nearly 160 Tibetan Buddhists have set themselves on fire in opposition to the Chinese government’s violent suppression of their country and national identity.

      Bruce belonged to Shambhala, a Boulder-born Buddhist organization. He was also a regular presence at virtual sanghas, online gatherings of Buddhists to reflect and meditate, according to other members.

      Last December, Bruce posted a quote attributed to Carl Sagan to his Facebook. “Don’t sit this one out,” it read. “Do something. You are – by accident of fate – alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of (y)our planet.”

      In 2018, environmental advocate and civil rights lawyer David Buckel set himself on fire in Brooklyn. In a statement he emailed to multiple news outlets the morning of his death, Buckel explained that his “early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”

      https://www.thedailybeast.com/wynn-alan-bruce-set-himself-on-fire-outside-supreme-court-in-apparent-call-for-climate-change-action-friend

      One must respect another's intent in ending their lives via such signalling. Not for us to judge spiritual motivations. The assumption that changes in public policy will result (triggered by mass realisation that they must happen) is based on a misread of mass psychology, unfortunately…

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        Are you saying that an isolated act, assuming it political, of self-immolation is not affecting public policy change or that any isolated and individual act is ineffective? Either way, it sounds your personal belief (aka reckon) rather than a generally accepted fact.

        When a single act of self-immolation catalyses a movement, as has happened in other countries, you will be hard-pushed to ignore and categorically deny its influence in each and every case.

        • Dennis Frank 15.1.1.1

          Yeah, just my take on the effect it seems to have on western countries. Your point is valid – a single immolation triggered the Arab Spring phenomenon that brought down a couple of dictators & threatened a few others.

          So I suppose a better generalisation would be that the catalysis effect is culture-dependent. The symbolism activates a shared feeling that is likely to ramp up via contagion in suitable cultural/political contexts…

  16. joe90 16

    Population transfers, summary executions, mass deportations and the beginnings of an attempt to erase a nation and it's people from the textbooks.

    But sure, it's all about de-nazification and NATO.

    /

    "Here in the Federation Council they found out that not all children" from the liberated territories of Donbass "have sufficient command of the Russian language. They will be retrained."

    On February 24, Vladimir Putin announced the start of a "special operation" and Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Immediately after that, employees of the Enlightenment group of companies, one of the largest and oldest publishers of educational and pedagogical literature in the country, were urged to remove the “incorrect” references to Ukraine and Kyiv from all school textbooks. "Mediazona" talked with the editors of the publishing house about how the "cleansing" of history, geography and literature is going on.

    […]

    So, from paragraphs that give examples of the heraldry of different states, including flags, a few years ago it was strongly recommended to remove the flag of Ukraine and replace it with the flag of any other country. If it is necessary to give an example of the capital in the chapter, Kyiv was replaced by another capital. “A couple of times I had to remove the US flag as well, but it’s simpler there, our program pays little attention to world history,” says one of the Enlightenment employees. Now editors should remove references to Ukraine wherever possible.

    “That is, we are faced with the task of making it as if Ukraine simply does not exist,” his colleague says. “It's much worse when the textbook just doesn't mention a country. A person grows up without a knowledge base about some country, and then it is much easier for him to believe what he is told about it from TV.

    The hardest part is for those who work on history textbooks: it is often impossible to remove references to Ukraine and Kyiv without compromising the content, then you have to change the wording to more “safe” ones.

    https://zona.media/article/2022/04/23/enlightenment

    google translate

  17. tsmithfield 17

    More stuff catching on fire in Russia. Now it is an oil refinery between Ukraine and Moscow mysteriously catching fire.

  18. Ad 18

    Hard to be grateful to the French for retaining Macron, but there it is.

    • RedLogix 18.1

      You can probably thank Poots for a good chunk of that outcome.

      • joe90 18.1.1

        Poots is on a roll.

        Ljubljana, Slovenia (Reuters)Slovenia's populist Prime Minister, Janez Janša, lost a national election on Sunday as the environmentalist Freedom Movement party won more votes than his SDS party, according to preliminary figures from election authorities.

        Janša, who had hoped to win a fourth term in office, conceded that he had been defeated in the vote, adding however that his SDS party had secured more votes than ever before.

        "The results are what they are. Congratulations to the relative winner," Janša said, addressing his supporters.

        The election had been expected to be tight but the official preliminary figures showed the Freedom Movement, a newcomer in the election, leading with 34.34% of the vote, far more than expected, while the SDS secured 23.83%, based on 98.20% of counted ballots.

        That would give the Freedom Movement, which campaigned on a transition to green energy, an open society and the rule of law, 40 seats in the 90-seat parliament, and the SDS 28 seats.

        https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/25/europe/slovenia-election-environmentalists-beat-populists-intl/index.html

  19. joe90 19

    Cleaned up but unlikely to ever be forgotten.

  20. Dennis Frank 20

    Musk/Twitter saga update: https://www.reuters.com/article/twitter-m-a-musk-investors-exclusive-idUSKCN2MG0K7

    So Twitter

    kicked off deal negotiations with Elon Musk on Sunday [who] has been meeting with Twitter shareholders in the last few days, seeking support for his bid… Many Twitter shareholders reached out to the company after Musk outlined a detailed financing plan for his bid on Thursday and urged it not to let the opportunity for a deal slip away, Reuters reported earlier.

    The social media company adopted a poison pill after Musk made his offer to prevent him from raising his more than 9% stake in the company above 15% without negotiating a deal with its board. In response, Musk has threatened to launch a tender offer that he could use to register Twitter shareholder support for his bid on Sunday.

    Liberals are freaked. Dunno why, but useful insights here:

    Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor and professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, lamented that Musk was seeking to “control one of the most important ways the public now receives news” and “be the wizard behind the curtain” deciding what gets projected onto the world’s computer screens. Max Boot, a one-time conservative pundit now aligned with Democrats as a result of his opposition to Donald Trump, even suggested on Twitter that there was cause to worry about the future of democracy itself if Musk were to acquire the platform.

    I have no doubt that a lot of right-wing complaints of oppression on Twitter are whiny grievance politics. In a recent study led by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for instance, two-thirds of “strong Republican” Twitter users thought it was “anti-conservative” to suspend accounts pushing the QAnon conspiracy theory about global pedophile cabals. The same study found that in the six months after the 2020 election, pro-Trump accounts were roughly five times more likely to get suspended on Twitter than ones supporting Joe Biden

    Users have been banned, suspended and otherwise censored not only for attacking specific transgender women, but for making general statements such as, “All rapists are men. In U.K. law, rape is committed by a person with a penis.” Meanwhile, tweets that appear to call for the violent rape of a mainstream, left-of-center journalist who has been accused of transphobia for writing about the complexities of gender transition for minors are allowed to stay up.

    This is less about intentional discrimination than about the instinctive progressive biases of many of the top staff at Twitter. Del Harvey, a Twitter veteran who served as the company’s vice president for trust and safety until last October, has been fairly open about her belief that preventing “harm” to “marginalized” users—women, racial minorities, LBGT people, etc.—should take priority. However noble the intent, this is a prescription for nannyism at best (especially since progressive discourse defines “harm” very broadly) and political bias at worst.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/what-elon-musks-bid-says-about-twitters-free-speech-problem?ref=wrap

    You can see why Musk wants to clean the thing up, eh? Then there's this glimpse into the twits & their leverage on the msm…

    I do think one potentially good lesson from the Musk/Twitter saga would be to prompt a rethinking of the extent to which we have made Twitter our “town square”—given that only one in five Americans use it and 10 percent of users provide 80 percent of the content. (Notably, Twitter’s policing of election-fraud and anti-vaxx conspiracy theories has not prevented large segments of the population from embracing them.)

    Part of Twitter’s outsize importance is that it’s the playpen of choice for media and for political activists. It can be a useful tool for news gathering and discussion, but it can also create a faux consensus increasingly adrift from the real world. Too many journalists are too married to Twitter.

    • Poission 20.1

      Bill Gates shorted Tesla.

      • Dennis Frank 20.1.1

        And there were consequences…

        Gates replied, “Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out. I would like to discuss philanthropy possibilities.”

        Musk confirmed that the messages were real and added that he did not leak them to the New York Times… Musk told Gates that he was unable to take his philanthropy on climate change seriously in light of Gates’ short position against Tesla.

        https://cleantechnica.com/2022/04/24/bill-gates-500-million-tesla-short-is-awkward-hypocritical/

        Humanity is divided into serious folk & fun folk? Well, some are a bit of both, eh? Ole Bill was just having a bit of fun but young Elon didn't see the funny side.

        • Poission 20.1.1.1

          Microsoft share price has lost 20% this year,Twitter is up 10% on the Musk offer.

          As the US Fed has forced short positions on the SNAG stocks such as the FANG's,all the Billionaires will have downgrades in their wealth positions.

          • pat 20.1.1.1.1

            Seems to me that Musk is a bored rich boy who gets his kicks seeing how he can manipulate markets…..too much money and spare time.

            • Poission 20.1.1.1.1.1

              They all are,the troublesome ones are at the WEF meetings,some of the thinking being out of the worst dystopian novels.

  21. Poission 21

    Joyful celebrations in France overnight.

  22. weka 22

    Can anyone explain how the proposed Rotorua Council elections would work?

    https://letstalk.rotorualakescouncil.nz/letstalk-rotorualakescouncil-nz-local-bill

    • pat 22.1

      "It's part of a larger conversation, because there are councils all around the country right now that are talking about the idea of co-governance. It's a very important kaupapa."

      In a statement on Friday, Coffey said: "This is a Local Bill, so the changes are being requested by the Rotorua District Council, not the Government. As such, the Rotorua District Council will need to consider the implications of the Bill of Rights analysis, alongside the select sommittee."

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/04/attorney-general-david-parker-deems-rotorua-council-s-proposed-m-ori-ward-restructure-discriminatory.html

      "The proposed arrangements in the Bill would make the number of council members for the Māori ward disproportionately higher than the number of council members for the General ward in comparison to their respective populations," Parker wrote in his legal analysis published on Friday.

      "As the disadvantaged group is those on the General roll, changing representation arrangements away from proportional representation therefore creates a disadvantage for non-Māori as they cannot in future elect to change rolls."

      Parker concluded: "The Bill appears to limit the right to be free from discrimination affirmed in s 19 of the Bill of Rights Act and cannot be justified."

      • weka 22.1.1

        Yes, I saw that. What I don't understand is how the voting would work. What is the at large vote? Does everyone get two votes (ward and at large)?

      • weka 22.1.2

        "As the disadvantaged group is those on the General roll, changing representation arrangements away from proportional representation therefore creates a disadvantage for non-Māori as they cannot in future elect to change rolls."

        Lol, kind of like Māori now.

        • pat 22.1.2.1

          I imagine you have a vote in your ward and an at large vote.

          As to proportion..

          "The Council is currently pursuing a law change to enable an undemocratic representation model to be implemented. The model it prefers would consist of three Māori ward seats, three general ward seats, and four at-large seats. However, adopting this arrangement would give the 19,791 citizens on the Māori roll 2.6 times the voting power of the 51,618 citizens on the general roll.

          The proposed model is not only unfair, it is also unlawful. Clause 2 of Schedule 1A of the Local Electoral Act requires representation from wards to be proportional to their electoral populations. "

          https://www.democracyaction.org.nz/rotorua_lakes_council_pushing_for_maori_co_governance

  23. joe90 23

    Onya, Glen.

    /

  24. joe90 24

    107 years ago the Ottoman Empire kicked off it's effort to exterminate it's two million Armenian subjects. New Zealand is yet to acknowledge Armenian suffering. For shame.

    Countries that Recognize the Armenian Genocide

    1. Argentina
    2. Austria
    3. Belgium
    4. Bolivia
    5. Brazil
    6. Canada
    7. Chile
    8. Cyprus
    9. Czech Republic
    10. Denmark
    11. France
    12. Germany
    13. Greece
    14. Italy
    15. Latvia
    16. Lebanon
    17. Lithuania
    18. Luxembourg
    19. Netherlands
    20. Paraguay
    21. Poland
    22. Portugal
    23. Russia
    24. Slovakia
    25. Sweden
    26. Switzerland
    27. Syria
    28. Vatican City
    29. Venezuela
    30. United States
    31. Uruguay

    https://www.armenian-genocide.org/recognition_countries.html

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/a-stain-on-our-moral-record

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