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Open mike 25/05/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 25th, 2015 - 128 comments
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128 comments on “Open mike 25/05/2015 ”

  1. timbo 1

    In response to the new airport departure/arrival “levy”announced in the Budget, someone posted on the Standard this great clip from John Clarke -Clarke and Dawe – The use of the English language…: https://youtu.be/lQoT9xXRXtY

    It got me thinking about the role of satire in bringing down a government. It got me watching John Oliver on The Flag issue. It got me listening to Jeremy Wells on Mike Hosking. And it made me think that we need to work hard at developing satirists to expose the current government. Wells is good, but his humour is a bit too sexual to win the mainstream. Toby Manhire is good, though judging by the comments on the Herald, too intelligent for most of us. Do we need to get them together, to form a modern day McPhail & Gadsby? Might the public start to notice then?

    • gsays 1.1

      hi timbo, try this: brown eye, maori tv fridays 9.30 pm. also on maori tv website for replays

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Bryan Gould’s latest piece is a must read – he is saying what I’ve been saying and thinking for a long time now. Though I do say so myself.

  3. Scottie 3

    Can someone in the know tell me how much assistance a single mother with two children receives from the state. Say she is working at Woolworths on the checkout?
    What does she get in accommodation help, working for families, tax breaks, child care etc… What about if she earns $60,000 pa what does she get then?

    • weka 3.1

      Is this for an actual person?

      Where does she live? Rent or mortgage? How much? Does she have any assets apart from a home she is living in? Count investments, caravan, boat, savings etc.

      I would guess that $60,000 puts her over the limit for accommodation supplement and childcare.

    • McFlock 3.2

      There are too many factors across a wide range of organisations to come up with a figure, as Weka points out. And some forms of assistance from different departments balance each other out – e.g. a state house vs accommodation supplement.

      I would be a bit surprised if there was any individual who could give a precise answer to a real-world case, either – even if they were as familair with WFF/tax rebates as they were with WINZ or HNZ or the assistance available from the local council, many entitlements are up to the judgement and discretion of the case manager.

      • weka 3.2.1

        “many entitlements are up to the judgement and discretion of the case manager.”

        From the WINZ side that might apply to TAS and advances etc, but not things like Accommodation supplement. That should be a pretty straight forward calculation once the case manager has all the info and discretion shouldn’t come into it.

        Here’s the online calculator for non-beneficiary families,


      • tracey 3.2.2

        a single mother with 2 children working at woolworths. I note nowhere did you ask where the father is and why isn’t he contributing? How many hours does she work?

    • Michael 3.3

      Assuming she works 40 hours pw on the minimum wage, lives in South Auckland, and pays $350 pw in rent, I think she’d get the following based on the calculators from IRD/WFF:

      – Weekly wage: $590 pw gross ($497 after tax+acc)
      – Working for Families: $217 pw
      – Accommodation top up: $145 pw

      So total assistance would be $362 pw bringing the total income to $859pw.

      Child care assistance is an hourly subsidy so that would depend on how much childcare she would use. Keep in mind that this is all assuming she has no assets and doesn’t live in a state house…so this would be entirely hypothetical.

    • Tracey 4.1

      Thanks for the link felix. It’s a good read. I imagine only the converted will read? When I see how easily the socalled big figures of our media swallowed the welfare increase BS on Thursday, regurgitated it unchallenged and thereby turned it into fact in voters minds, I despair.

      I noted this

      “from the Prime Minister down to his loyal poodles like Mike Hosking: “Nicky Hager is just making it up!” Of course he wasn’t.”

      Mike Hosking who just won a media award for best talk presenter, radio. Does that mean he forms his words correctly? Uses words in context or is it about the words put together to form sentences and shape opinions?

    • ianmac 4.2

      Thanks felix but I despair about the helplessness of us all to actually do anything about the duplicity. Sigh.

  4. In order for us to stay below 2°C, the IPCC says we need 500 million hectares of farmland to extract carbon directly from the air using bio-energy techniques. This is bullshit. 500 million hectares of farmland is about the size of India.
    Scientific American says humanity only has 60 years of human agriculture left to us because of the rates of soil degradation, depletion and outright loss.
    Also, because we add 1 million new people to earth every 4½ days, we will have to grow more food over the next 50 years than we ever grew in all of the last 10,000 years, combined.
    To do this, we will need 6 million hectares of new farmland every year for the next 30 years. But, we are actually losing 12 million hectares of farmland every year. We are losing soil at twice the rate we need to build it up.
    On top of all this, in just 10 years from now, 66% of humanity, or roughly 4-5 billion people, will be short of fresh water, with nearly 2 billion people being severely short of fresh water. Try growing food without water and soil and see how far you get.
    Get your Collapse Data Cheat Sheet here: http://www.reddit.com/r/collapse/comments/311m7d/collapse_data_cheat_sheet/

    • weka 5.1

      That’s the scarey, potentially motivating shit. Here’s the things people can do,

      Bear in mind that the data in Robert’s link is what will happen if we don’t change. If we change the scenarios look different.

      Soil can be rebuilt using regenerative agricultural techniques. Joel Salatin’s family rebuilt 12 inches of soil over rock in the last 50 years.


      Industrial monocropping agriculture was never going to be sustainable, it’s always been artificially supported by fossil fuels. Instead we can grow food with regenag and polyculture farming. Even in harsh climactic conditions. Even with low rainfall. It will be harder for sure, and it’s still likely to mean famine in many parts of the world but we will still be able to grow food. The sooner we change and shift to resilient farming the less traumatic the future will be.

      We can also grow food in cities. Get rid of lawns and plant food gardens. Rooftops. Parks. Wasteland. Cuba did this post-peak oil, and Half of all Havana’s food was being grown in Havana city. Permaculture uses a technique called stacking which means you grow food at non-competing levels (an apple tree, a pumpkin vine growing up the tree, ground veges) and doubling or tripling production within a given area.

      It’s possible that regenag can sequester significant amounts of carbon. This isn’t high tech carbon capture and storage, it’s utilising natural cycles just speeding them up. It’s not a panacea, and if we continue with BAU we will squander the opportunity. There is probably only so much carbon that can be sequestered this way, so at the same time we have to reduce emissions now.

      I agree water is going to be a significant issue, but we are so incredibly wasteful of water now that many places still have a lot of leeway if we start designing for low use. All buildings and man-made infrastructure (eg roads) should have rainwater harvesting structures, and most land should be landscaped to hold water in the land instead of allowing it to run off (this means low to zero need for irrigation). We also need to learn how to use less. Composting toilets would help hugely.

      • Charles 5.1.1

        re: growing food over hard surfaces/roofs etc.

        Just to put it into perspective, people not familiar with agriculture/horticulture might think that “…rebuilt 12 inches of soil over rock in the last 50 years…” sounds like an impossible waste of effort and time, but I’ve grown enough veges for three people in 2sq metres x 100mm of soil dumped on top of the corner of an old concrete driveway. The waste from surrounding trees, grass clippings, dead plants, vege and food scraps was composted and returned to the “new” soil. Composting means breaking everything into small pieces, putting it in a tidy pile, and drapping an opened-out coffee sack over the top. By comparison, the things you can grow in 300mm (12 inches) of soil are extensive. People can make a start. Anywhere. Pick something simple:

        parisian/wild carrot
        Red kale
        perpetual spinach

        these are all fairly bullet-proof/idiot-proof. No insecticides, no chemicals required. Add a bit of re-use/recycle/share thinking, and estimated start-up cost is no more $30 per individual lot, much less if a few people get together to share seeds/resources.

        You will of course have to stop your kids playing soccer over the top of the vege bed, or neighbouring cars parking on it, dogs and cats shitting in it, or have your landlord dig it up for a new water meter main line. So choose your spot carefully.

        Next week on Blue Peter, we show you how to catch a fish from the Downtown bus station…

        • Colonial Rawshark

          good tips

          • weka


            It’s worth remembering that for all of human history we got food from our immediate environment. This includes growing food. We don’t need artificial fertilisers or palm oil imported from Asia. We can mostly grow food using what we have around us.

            • joe90

              It’s worth remembering that for all of human history we got food from our immediate environment.

              Historian Rachel Laudan reckons life for the majority wasn’t too flash when we had to rely on our immediate environment.

              Everywhere seasons of plenty were followed by seasons of hunger when the days were short. The weather turned cold, or the rain did not fall. Hens stopped laying eggs, cows went dry, fruits and vegetables were not to be found, fish could not be caught in the stormy seas.

              Natural was usually indigestible. Grains, which supplied from fifty to ninety percent of the calories in most societies have to be threshed, ground, and cooked to make them edible. Other plants, including the roots and fibers that were the life support of the societies that did not eat grains, are often downright poisonous. Without careful processing green potatoes, stinging taro, and cassava bitter with prussic acid are not just indigestible, but toxic.


              • Draco T Bastard

                And yet we not only survived but thrived and we’ve learned a bit since then.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  We’ve only “thrived” in the last couple of hundred years since the discovery of the mass use of coal providing a kind of surplus energy to civilisation which was not slave labour or beasts of burden…

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Even before then we were doing better than we were prehistory which is the time that joe90 was talking about. Agriculture alone has allowed us to multiply unsustainably. The use of fossil fuels over the last 200 years have allowed us to multiply that much more.

                    What weka is getting at is that we use what we’ve learned over the last few decades about ecosystems to build up sustainable farming that not only grows enough food but also rebuilds the land instead of destroying it as BAU farming does.

                    • weka

                      That’s it. Resilient food growing techniques (and there are many) utilise traditional and contemporary knowledge. It’s not about going back to a time of less knowledge. And they all pretty much use what is local, because that’s the sustainable thing to do (otherwise you’re just stealing from someone else’s pie. Plus, food growing miles).

                      Like Charles is saying, you make your compost from what is around you rather than buying it from Mitre10 where it has been shipped from the other end of the country.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Historian Rachel Laudan reckons life for the majority wasn’t too flash when we had to rely on our immediate environment.

                Yep. Which was why for the first 250,000 years of modern man (i.e. the first 98% of our history) there were no more than a few hundreds of millions of us, tops.

              • weka

                That’s an odd article from Rachel Lauden*. She basically demonstrates that humans know how to prepare food historically, which supports my point about we’ve been doing this for a long long time. If you look at pre-fossil fuel food tech, it’s highly sophisticated and adapted to the local environment. Which is what we need to be doing in a post-carbon world (sorry, not out of season tomatoes imported from Australia). Lucky for us we have more knowledge now that we’re not going to lose in a hurry.

                The idea that fresh milk is yuk is entirely a cultural construct and says more about her than the value of fresh milk as a food. People who grow up on farms know its normal.

                But all that aside, if you had to choose between eating locally and having catastrophic climate change, which would you choose? And then consider it’s not like we will continue to have a choice for very much longer. Better to get on with change while we still have some discretion on resource use.

                *she might also want to look at the rise of type 2 diabetes and heart disease in countries that adopt modern western diets.

                • joe90

                  I think the author is saying that unprocessed/locavore/traditional food is so labour and time intensive that a majority in the west only live as well as they do because of industrial production.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    That is a valid point and a major reason why I think vertical farms within city limits are a better option. We can allow the environment to repair itself while still being able to feed ourselves.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Our current property valuation and town planning model won’t allow anything remotely like that to occur

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Which just means that we need to push for another change.

                  • weka

                    “I think the author is saying that unprocessed/locavore/traditional food is so labour and time intensive that a majority in the west only live as well as they do because of industrial production.”

                    The corollary of that is the wage slavery necessary to run a fossil fuel economy. AFAIK research shows that gatherer/hunter cultures have far more leisure time than we do, so I still think her generalisations come from her cultural milieu. Growing food locally, buying locally is only onerus if you don’t like gardening or shopping at the farmers market or cooking a soup instead of getting it out of can.

                    The other corollary is that any culture that adopts the western, fossil fueled diet experiences a dramatic increase in heart disease and type 2 diabetes. She’s being selective in what she presents.

              • Certainly, human health and general wellbeing seems to have taken a very bad turn for the worse when the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture occurred.

                Some have called the agricultural revolution the ‘greatest con’ in our species’ history.

                In essence, we traded more calories (and therefore increased populations) for more disease, more bodily wear and tear, shorter stature (and probably life) and the origins of social stratification which led to all the oppressive intra-social relationships with which we are now so familiar (if we have even a cursory understanding of human history – aka agricultural settlement).

                Basically, it resulted in bleaker lives but for more numerous people.

                • felix

                  Bleaker lives but for more numerous people? Sounds like an accountant’s success story.

                  • Swapping quality for quantity.

                    It’s an age-old Faustian bargain.

                    Today it’s called ‘aspiration’.

                    We need a new ethic of the virtue of the ordinary life.

                • weka

                  There’s also the theory that it was a mistake coming down from the trees in the first place 😉

        • felix

          Add to Charles’ list of easy veg: garlic.

          Sow on the shortest day, harvest on the longest, and do bugger all to them in between. In a square metre you can easily grow enough to last 6 months, or even a year depending how much of it you eat.

          Onions are a doddle too.

          • vto

            gotta have good rich dirt though methinks….

          • just saying

            Onions are a doddle too.
            Not at my place they aren’t. But Egyptian walking onions work for me. In the ground, ready to pull out year round. More pungent than real onions but they work.
            Prefer red onions though.
            I would add scarlet runner beans to the list. My favourites, and they fruit abundantly everywhere I’ve ever lived.

      • Robert Atack 5.1.2

        The Chinese did the eat local thing back in 1960 ish the saying went “You eat my child and I will eat yours”
        One mother supposedly said to her daughter, “Eat my heart it has the most nutrients”? 30 million didn’t survive
        They say the dogs were fighting over cadavers, but this was wrong as all the dogs had been eaten already.
        How did the Maori’s do after peak Moa?
        There are 5 million and growing people in NZ, and compared to pre European we have fuck all top soil left, and less than 50 months let alone 50 years.
        I use to try and get the politicians etc to look at how Cuba got their shit together, I even had a 30 min or so chat with the Cuban Ambassador
        He said Cuba went from here (Hand fully in the air) to here (hand on the ground) over night (pointing at his watch), he said he lived off cabbage and pork (and 3 million North Koreans starved)

        • McFlock

          , and compared to pre European we have fuck all top soil left, and less than 50 months let alone 50 years.

          Did you just say that NZ would stop being able to grow crops and graze livestock within 50 months from today?

          • weka

            Yes, he did. Which was going to prompt me to point out that every such prediction made has turned out to be wrong on the timing (I find such predictions worse than useless).

            We still have enough top soil left in NZ, and it’s not like NZ is all the same when it comes to soil, but we can’t keep doing this shit forever either.

          • Robert Atack

            If ‘we’ think we have 50 years we will wait 49 before we take action.
            And in less than 50 years if we haven’t closed down the maternity wards, we will need a NEW chunk of land the size of India just to feed us all.
            When the oil stops coming from halfway around the world to us, then NZ will be plunged into a North Korean like lifestyle.
            The natzs have got it nearly all set up, – mass surveillance, ‘private prisons’, a leader with god like illusions.
            50 months might be to optimistic )

            New Zealand can not feed 5 million people on its land area without a massive injection of millions of years worth of ancient sunlight, ask the Maori.

            • McFlock

              Focus, Robert.

              Do you honestly think that after four years from today there will be no arable soil in NZ?

              Because telling lies so someone else does something for their own good really needs a pretty strong justification.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          And don’t forget the millions who starved in the Ukranian plains – one of the most fertile areas of the f-USSR.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.2

      Yep peak soil is just about on us as well

      Global crisis continues to build; the bottom 50% of western societies are feeling it out now. But the western leadership classes and the middle classes can still largely ignore the negative effects (or engage in pretend and extend) = no real change.

      According to John Michael Greer’s latest series of posts, I do believe that the Era of Pretense will give way to the Era of Impact for most people in the west in the 2020’s

      • Maui 5.2.1

        My question is, will our dysfunctional financial, political and energy systems collapse before we cross the tipping point for global warming? Running with our status quo democracy/society, I’ve got severe doubts whether it can problem solve our biggest problem ever – climate change.

        I haven’t read much of Greer’s stuff, but I get the idea that he thinks humans can adapt to a much simpler “Amish” lifestyle before things become unliveable. I wonder if that is just a romantic notion though.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Greer thinks that, if we are lucky, human civilisation will collapse in stages, in fits and starts, over the next 200 years and eventually end up in an “ecotechnic future” where remnants of today’s technology is mixed in with sustainable lifestyles for the people who make it through the climate/energy/resource bottleneck.

          His take on the psychology of our current situation, including the psychology of our leadership elites, is one of the most interesting aspects of his writing though.

          • tracey

            I always think of Stark, by Ben Elton when people start talking about gradual collapse.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Some specific periods and parts of the collapse might not be so gradual…

        • Draco T Bastard

          I’ve got severe doubts whether it can problem solve our biggest problem ever – climate change.

          Climate change isn’t our biggest problem – the rich people preventing us from adapting to it are.

          • Maui

            If it was only the very rich people that were stopping us from “owning our future”, it would be much easier to address. The thing is most ordinary people give tacit support to what the rich are doing…

            • weka

              What’s the cut off for ‘rich’? Does that include the middle classes, or are you talking about the 1%ers etc?

              I tend to think it’s the middle classes that are the problem. When they realise how bad things are, and if they choose to act, I don’t think the 1%ers will be able to stop them. 10 – 15% of the middle classes in Western lifestyle nations taking their assets out of the global economy would probably make it collapse.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                The 0.1% are the real issue; the complicit 10% who benefit most from supporting the system and enjoying the gravy train while it lasts, well they are part of the problem as well.

                • weka

                  Still not sure who you are talking about. In NZ, are you including the middle classes?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    0.1% by income or net worth; and top 10% by income or net worth.

                    That would include the comfortable upper middle classes and the upper classes.

            • Scotty

              No one stops anyone from owning their future, at least not in the democratic world, and notwithstanding major disasters. Each one of us owns our future. Once people understand that, and act upon it, they can change anything. No excuses – what do you want to achieve? Then get up and do it! Plan the steps along the way. Seek help if you need it but don’t be diverted. It’s up to each one of us whether we achieve our goals or not. Most of us are really good at blaming someone else but the answer is usually in the mirror.

              • Draco T Bastard

                More neo-liberal individualistic tripe.

                We have to act as a community and not as individuals. Acting as individuals is what causes a few people to be rich while there is rampant poverty and prevents those in poverty from achieving anything.

                • Scotty

                  We should, rather, joyfully celebrate our wonderful ability to be part of many diverse communities while retaining our special individuality. Of course we should help those in poverty, but we should also teach people to contribute, encourage people to be the best they can be, appreciate those who shine. There is nothing more damning of humanity than expecting us to act like sheep, one trudging after the other, none ever lifting their head higher and seeing further than the rest of their sheepy herd.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    You’re talking about building and resourcing strong communities and strong community organisations.

                    I support that. People are more important than profits.

                    • Scotty

                      Absolutely, Colonial Rawshark. In any community, those with similar passions, interests, hobbies, professions, goals in life, will tend to naturally gel together, and that is how it should be. It is not for someone in charge to tell us how to live our lives. We are long removed from living in small homogeneous villages. We create communities within communities. We need to ensure people have the skills to achieve their own goals within their own chosen communities. Where people do not have the necessary skills to achieve their goals, then let us upskill and enable them – not to live in need forever, not to stay in the same community forever but to take responsibility for themselves and their decisions and direction in life. What an enriched community of fulfilled human beings we would be.

                    • Bill

                      It’s not necessary to limit formations of community to those people who would, in your words, ‘tend to naturally gel together’.

                      *This* community needs people with skills ‘a’,’b’ and ‘c’.
                      *This* one needs skills around ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’.
                      *This* one can’t support people with ‘d’, ‘e’ or ‘f’ needs at the moment.
                      *This* one needs to rebalance with regards age or gender and needs no particular skill.

                      And so on.

                      But where you simply have a ‘natural gelling’ you might also tend to get inflexible ideologies forming, various level of cult arising and, essentially, an unhealthy environment getting in the the way of the practical stuff I’ve sign-posted above.

                      As for sociability in a community setting (the gelling) – best to keep it simple…on a level of “meh – I can live with that’. The rewards can be enormous. But without adequate safeguards and systems in place to deal with conflict, conflict will come around, take off, and then you’re looking at a living hell.

                    • just saying

                      In any community, those with similar passions, interests, hobbies, professions, goals in life, will tend to naturally gel together, and that is how it should be. It is not for someone in charge to tell us how to live our lives. We are long removed from living in small homogeneous villages. We create communities within communities. We need to ensure people have the skills to achieve their own goals within their own chosen communities. Where people do not have the necessary skills to achieve their goals,…

                      That’s the misunderstanding right there. A community is not a bunch of people who “naturally gel together”. What you are describing is a group of friends or maybe a mutual admiration society but not a community.

                      Communities are where and when we happen to find ourselves, not just who we choose to hang out with.
                      There are friendships and alliances within communties, but one of things that makes a community is an unchosen quality in belonging.

                      Knowing how to live together and cooperate and make connections with those who are not like us in all sorts of different ways was lost when we lost communtiy. There is commonality, sure, and common interests and common ground in what you describe, Scotty, but it’s an insipid facimilie of community, and when “communities” gather along the lines you describe they quickly become cultish and insular.

                    • Scotty

                      I’m not quite sure how to reply to a comment when there is no reply button so please excuse me if I have followed the system wrongly.

                      In response to Just Saying’s comment:

                      “Communities are where and when we happen to find ourselves, not just who we choose to hang out with.
                      There are friendships and alliances within communties, but one of things that makes a community is an unchosen quality in belonging.

                      Knowing how to live together and cooperate and make connections with those who are not like us in all sorts of different ways was lost when we lost communtiy. There is commonality, sure, and common interests and common ground in what you describe, Scotty, but it’s an insipid facimilie of community, and when “communities” gather along the lines you describe they quickly become cultish and insular.”

                      When did we lose community? Why did we lose community? And what are we doing about it?
                      Most of us get along with our neighbours with whom we may have little in common. Most of us get along with our colleagues, also with whom we may have little in common. Most of us actively care about our towns and cities. We may participate in sports or hobbies or internet forums or schools or charities or work. There is no shortage of community. “Community” just requires involvement.

                      If “community” existed once, when was that – was it at the time when we burned witches, or condemned homosexuals, or maybe when we treated women as second class citizens, or when people without land were denied a say in their “community”, or when we persecuted people for their religious beliefs – all because someone prescribed what a perfect society should be.

                      Somehow people talk longingly about the past as if it was perfect, sagely saying that what we had is gone. It wasn’t what it used to be we lament. But do we really want to go back? Maybe the sixties were perfect – suburban neurosis was the catch phrase back then – young women in their perfectly clean houses but no-one much to talk to, our old people shut away, out of sight, out of mind, babies given up for adoption.

                      If you really look, if you take the time to get involved, there is plenty of community – with people you share something in common, but so much more. It’s the same as anything in life – get involved, be active. You cannot define “community”. You cannot prescribe it, or say how it should be. If you do, it will fail, as does any system which prescribes how people should live their lives. Look around your area, you will be astonished what support networks are in place for every conceivable need or want. They’re all run by people who love what they do, love people, want to help, want to share, love their community.

                      Bill – natural gelling does not mean inflexibility. Inflexible communities fail very quickly. Certainly we need systems to deal with conflict. We already have those systems in place. They are adjusted from time to time to meet the changing needs of different communities.

                      I did not say community should be limited to natural interest groups. There are limitless types of community and long may it be so.

        • weka

          “My question is, will our dysfunctional financial, political and energy systems collapse before we cross the tipping point for global warming?”

          No, but we can facilitate that and give ourselves a chance.

        • Scotty

          I may be wrong, but it seems to me that romantically simple lifestyles, such as Amish, rely on the use of land, small communities, and a limited range of “occupations” for want of a better word, in a way that would be totally impractical for most of this country (or the world) today.

  5. NZ Herald Military Specialist Confirms: NZ Troops Sitting Ducks In Iraq, While John Key Takes Shirtless Selfies!!!

    Today an article appeared in the NZ Herald. It confirms that NZ Troops are in danger in Camp Taji where they are “training” Iraqi troops to fight ISIS (Even thought they seem to run away while outnumbering ISIS rebels in a clear sign they don’t want to fight ISIS).

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      If the MSM are having to admit this, things must be deteriorating big time. Meanwhile the Saudis, Turks etc. are continuing to pour arms and money into ISIS in Syria, and the US is pretending to attack ISIS while being secretly pleased that ISIS are on the verge of toppling Assad (as well as giving Iran and Russia heartburn trying to keep Assad in power).

  6. Colonial Rawshark 7

    Has the (UK) Labour Party outlived its usefulness?

    From the Guardian


    Unlike the TGWU of then, today’s Labour party seems unable to grasp the zeitgeist. There are some portents of new kinds of organisation, Occupy and the growing feminist movement among them. Anyone who was in Scotland immediately before the 2014 referendum will testify that the powerful movement for independence did not look solely to the SNP for leadership…

    Journalists and politicians south of the border dismissed their lack of a coherent programme for government, but in such a spirit are revolutions made and they are rarely made overnight. Radical movements have unintended consequences and long legacies. The no vote did not result in a return to normal, but instead galvanised a political debate about Scotland’s future. The spirit in Scotland was for a politics bigger than party and more active than simply placing a cross in a ballot box every five years.

    Can people really find a new form of politics? Some will feel that there is no alternative, especially those who reckon that the world is being plundered by governments committed to economic growth rather than redistribution. In this context, one can see how remaking the world becomes a far more important question than whether to save the Labour party.

    Dr Selina Todd is fellow in modern history and vice principal of St Hilda’s College, Oxford

  7. Weepus beard 8

    Now the Ministry of Health fudging the numbers?


    Look, we have long suspected this government’s ministries have been directed by their ministers, in a calculated strategy, to minimise the numbers indicating the health of the nation which might appear harmful to the government.

    It’s happening with crime stats.

    It’s happening with benefit stats.

    It’s happening with health stats.

    A certain well know pollster/blogger gets very excited once a week or so trumpeting these dubiously collected statistics which often bear little or no resemblance to real evidence on the street.

    I do hope the Christchurch DHB can get to the bottom of what the Ministry of Health is claiming is a stunning clean up of harmful drinking in Christchurch.

  8. weka 9


    Former Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, who introduced Working for Families said: “You can either increase the base rate or load all increases into the supplementary payments for children.

    “The difference is that if you do the former you claw it back more quickly if there is any additional payments/income.

    What matters is what is the increase in the hand and in that respect today’s announcement is much less than Working for Families.

    “Nobody in the media seems so far seems to have understood this.”

    And Professor Jonathan Boston, one of the authors of “Child Poverty in New Zealand”, a book which Mr English has referred to positively in the past said the measures would still mean families dependent on a welfare benefit were very likely to fall further behind those who secure their income from paid employment or New Zealand Superannuation.

    “The gap is already very large,” he said.

    “The child hardship package will reduce this gap only fractionally and probably only on a temporary basis”


  9. mickysavage 10

    If you want to be more than a little bit sick in your mouth have a read of Rachel Glucina’s latest fawning piece about dear leader at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11454281

    It includes this incredible piece of prose:

    “John, tufts of grey body hair adorning his chest, plays photographer. His son Max, standing self-assuredly behind him, sports cocked fingers and a hair style that can only be described as “in momentum”.

    Phallic-shaped conifers shoot up to the sky. Fairy lights hang delicately from the spouting of the pool house. And the toned torsos of the shirtless studs have prompted winks and nods around the country. And questions.”

    Warning NSFL (not suitable for life)

    • weka 10.1

      That needed way more of a warning! :-/

      • mickysavage 10.1.1

        It is the sort of thing that I would expect from the North Korean media …

        • Tracey

          and so Key again uses his children for promoting his political image… cos at any time he could have said to Max “son, I don’t want you posting pictures of me anywhere. I don’t want to stop you using the social media gadgets but don’t put me in there you only invite scrutiny” But, he doesn’t, cos he likes to use it to build his image.

          He is a very lucky PM cos so far the Press aren’t printing anything negative about his younger family members.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Those hand gestures are a Key family in-joke to do with trichophilia. Probably.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Man executed for brandishing imaginary scissors behind Dear Leader.”

          • Tracey

            doesn’t every new zealander take selfies in their spa pools on their birthdays? And then eat cake?

    • Grant 10.2

      That goes beyond purple prose and into the ultra violet.

    • joe90 10.3

      heh, instagram

      Yuck key looks like the snake that he is

      daddy issues

      Thanks for the morning retch

    • I understand it has been edited post-publication to no longer be so … porny.

      • mickysavage 10.4.1

        So it has …

        Should be recorded for posterity …

      • felix 10.4.2

        The seedy photo has been removed too. Guess the focus group found it less Putin and more puddin’.

        • mickysavage

          I have a copy but in deference to the good people who read the Standard I think I should not put it up.

    • infused 10.5

      oh he mad.

    • It’s little known that Ministry wrote a song about Rachel – includes the memorable lines

      “You prob’ly lick more ass than anyone
      I guess you like the taste of shit on your tongue”

      Something about that story brought it to mind.

  10. weka 11

    Short clip at the bottom of this link showing how a bird sanctuary was destroyed by Deep Water Horizon oil spill. It wiped out the mangrove ecosystem that the birds are dependent on. One striking thing in the vid is that the authorities didn’t know in advance that this would happen and so protection measures were inadequate. It’s safe to assume we don’t know what an oil spill would do to NZ coastal and Island ecologies.


    • Tracey 11.1

      It’s not important. The benefits (to a few) outweigh the negatives (to the environment).

    • Maui 11.2

      I’m reminded of the Rena disaster and an estuary close to Tauranga that I think had NZ dotterel living in it. Then the recovery effort that went into collecting the birds and putting them into a makeshift wildlife shelter. I remember Graeme Hill saying that finally conservation was front and centre of people’s thought’s, only in an environmental crisis.

  11. felix 12

    Thoughts on this idea of “National outflanking Labour on the left” by raising a few benefits.

    First, it’s bullshit.

    They’ve raised a few people’s benefits by far, far less than their living costs are increasing, and still left them well below the level they were slashed from two decades ago, and even then they get nothing until next April, and even then it only applies to a select group of beneficiaries.

    If that’s “left wing” policy, then I guess a centrist policy would be letting them starve, and a right wing policy would be shooting them for sport.

    Second, National ARE outflanking Labour (and the Greens I’m sorry to say) but it’s not by way of policy.

    They’re outflanked by the discussion. The narrative that this is “left-wing” policy, so far to the left that Labour doesn’t have any way of addressing it, that narrative has been almost totally accepted by the media and probably most of the public.

    And why was it accepted so readily? Simple. No-one from the opposition challenged it. No-one stood up and said “This is more of the same hard-right starve-the-poor regressive bullshit, and here’s what we’d do instead”.

    That’s where the outflanking is occurring. Once again, National is painting their hard-right ideology as sensible middle-of-the-road pragmatism, and no-one is calling them on it.

    • Tracey 12.1

      “If that’s “left wing” policy, then I guess a centrist policy would be letting them starve, and a right wing policy would be shooting them for sport.”

      And when many here are buying into that labelling…

      • weka 12.1.1

        Crosby Textor must be feeling pleased with themselves this week.

        • tracey

          they have earned their big fat cheque. They must chuckle at how easy NZers are for them, compared to Aussie and UK… it’s money for jam duping kiwis and buying the media.

        • Puckish Rogue

          Its trite to say thats why they get paid the big bucks but its also true, maybe Labour could try having a few more bake sales and sausage sizzles and save their money up and use Crosby Textor instead of Blue Star Media (or whatever joke the Labour Party uses)

          • felix

            Oh fuck off troll.

            You know very well that Crosby/Textor are not going to advise anyone opposing the National Party.

    • Sabine 12.2

      They’ve raised a few people’s benefits by far, far less than their living costs are increasing, and still left them well below the level they were slashed from two decades ago, and even then they get nothing until next April, and even then it only applies to a select group of beneficiaries.

      If that’s “left wing” policy, then I guess a centrist policy would be letting them starve, and a right wing policy would be shooting them for sport.

      so nice it needed to be repeated.

      • tracey 12.2.1

        people with children…

        nothing for those with disabilities

        nothing for those without children

        • Sacha

          There was a minor increase in support for disabled students and those transitioning out of school, to be fair. Otherwise, you’re quite right.

    • Charles 12.3

      You’re right, it’s not even remotely “left wing” policy. But for… well… since about 1935, NZders think leftwing policy can be summed up by the concept of “attempting or appearing to be nice to people you wouldn’t usually meet, as long as it doesn’t cost you anything in terms of aspirational lifestyle”.

      If it’s any consolation, the Communist Manifesto consistently sells more than the books that surround it (mostly fiction or historical non-fiction) at the Auckland university bookstore. Dunno who reads it, or if they read it, but if they do then plenty of people know what left wing really means. Whether they then do anything about it is another question.

      In terms of “outflanked by discussion”, I think it’s more a case of that there is no discussion.
      The media reports views within the range of socio-economic status/perspective of the staff of the paper, tending towards the higher end; in TV media it’s the same thing x1000. The average person on the street knows what they know owing to lifestyle and earning ability, privilege or lack thereof, and either agrees or disagrees with media views. Media doesn’t sway average people on the street, they use it wrap takeaways, it only scares politicians because they rarely have direct links to what people on the street think. People know what they think and don’t change much while their lifestyle allows them to know what they think.
      One way to “change the dialogue” is to have a government make changes that are required (and enforce those changes for a few decades) which may also be unpopular. This works on the right and the left. Even then, in my estimation, they’ll influence about 25% of the people – some cognitive functions/personality traits cannot be changed and will behave a certain way in certain environments.

      Party’s on the left – of which there are none in NZ – don’t call BS on National because they want more or less what National wants – status quo lifestyle, minus National’s extremism. Like a newspaper staff writing stories within a restricted perspective, the members of the National government are higher up the socio-economic scale and their perspective rests there, there isn’t a viable political party populated by below middle-class types, so there isn’t going to be any constructive understanding of leftwing perspective by anyone in NZ politics. Even Uni students reading the Communist Manifesto is ironic.

      In my opinion, anyone wanting to find “the new politics” is better off starting on the street, one on one, and moving from there: Live your convictions etc etc, change one situation as per your views etc etc, and for the real brave confident people, beginning grass-roots movements. There’s no harm in keeping a weather-eye on organised politics, and supporting a general turn toward the “less punitive” (often incorrectly refered to as leftwing) policies – which is why I don’t understand a lot of the hostility towards Labour on here – but the new politics won’t come from the top down, it’ll spread from the bottom outwards in all directions.

      • Tracey 12.3.1

        “status quo lifestyle, minus National’s extremism. Like a newspaper staff writing stories within a restricted perspective, the members of the National government are higher up the socio-economic scale and their perspective rests there, there isn’t a viable political party populated by below middle-class types, so there isn’t going to be any constructive understanding of leftwing perspective by anyone in NZ politics. ”

        “it’ll spread from the bottom outwards in all directions.”

        Well written.

        Although the university students reading is not as scornful as you suggest. it’s the reading it and abandoning any small bit from it once they are a few years into their law career, or accounting career, or commerce career…

  12. Sabine 13

    this appeared on my FB feed.

    our Hairpuller in Chief is posing half naked selfies with his son?

    what the effn heck?

    • tracey 13.1

      more ordinary man stuff from Rachel Glucina. More flagrant use by Key of his child to help create that image… the media, to their credit, stay away from printing anything about max, other than what max wants people to see.

      • Sabine 13.1.1

        that is breakfeast tv fb feed, that is official media. I actually thought that it was offensive for a public profile of a tv station/programme.

        I think our Hairpuller is pulling a Putin.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Putin does an annual 3-4 hour live on air presser in front of cameras with international journalists and news networks, no questions barred, no teleprompters, no cuts, no edits.

          I don’t think that our Hairpuller ‘n Chief is up to it, personally.

        • Tracey

          I’ve always thought of him as more of a Boris Yeltsin, compare the catwalk with Boris’ dancing, the handshake the need for touching

    • Maui 13.2

      Not sure what this is all about. Is it trying to show that our leader, just like everyone else takes selfies all the time and wants to be a celebrity? And has put the pony pulling culture behind him.

      • Tracey 13.2.1

        It’s to show what drives the Herald and exactly WHY they haven’t taken any action against Ms Glucina despite their 4 versions of events of Bailey’s accusations, indicating Ms Glucina did not tell Ms Bailey at the beginning or early thereafter that she was in fact from the Herald and intended doing a story based on the interview.

  13. Once was Tim 14

    Here’s a question for youse all:
    Did anybody hear this morning’s NinetaNoom with the regular gal with the regular (don’t size-me-up) portfolio. Specifically the segment From the Right (Matty Dear); and from the Right (Oik Williams) – you know – that guy that professes a concern for incarcerated prisoners who are illiterate – that concern JUST as long as his personal circumstance is not inconvenienced in any way …. (another who prisoners and others of a supposed ‘left wing bent’ pin their hopes on – as they did with that Oik-On bastion of journalistic tegritty Paul Holmes – a Dear dear frend apparently).
    Anyway – who did and what was your impression(s).

    It struck me that there was a Hooten/Hooton (tie yourself up in loops if you will getting the spin doctors name right (and RIGHT is the keyword); AND if you care to place any credibility on the prick as if he was some legitimate media commentator ….. but it struck me his desperation in trying to show just how left wing our Key gubbamint is/was.

    For me, the problem is/was that he referenced (as part of his argument of convenience) corporate welfare – that if he’s to be believed is/has been at an all-time HIGH (not surprising.
    So…. have I got things wrong – and is this all-time HIGH in corporate welfare (in dollar terms pretty well guzumping eny left-wing tendenceis now supposedly being ‘left wing’?
    I’d like to know – because my take is that its more about power at any cost – even if it means minimal concessions toward an ideology.

    In my mind, there’s no doubt Labour are still so far right a good deal of their Shedo Kebnut Munstas have an obvious lean on them – their ball saks even probably challenge their tailors (apologies Aunty Rongotai/Eastern Burb – and pass on my condolences to that poor poor individual you’ve been acting fag hag for),
    BUT if (as Matty Dear – well equipped with Croz/Txt spin is claiming the Natzi’s are looking left – it isn’t about ideological belief but more about fear, winning at any cost, and an ability to claim grass rooters support.

    BTW John (JFK) Hevya ekshly hed that deep in meaninfull tork with ya kuds??

    And just before the “how very dare you’ chants that will eventuate about not bringing femmely into the discussion ….. Paula Bennet should have thought about such moral considerations way back when she decided to use and abuse naming a dirty filthy bene in support of whatever it was she was chanting.

    Inspite of the above (and my belief that what’s source for the goose is sauce for ganders), and mindful of a conributor going by the handle “Countryboy” ….. I’d really like to know contributors take on NinetaNoon this morning with both (the now) media whores Oik Williams and Matty Dear (as if any intelligent critical thinking living cell would give them any credence).

    And TRP – no need to answer – I realise your commitments to LP wordage – for me it goes down like a Destiny Church looking at ways needed to fund their lifestyle

    • Cheers for the invite, but not much I can say except to point out that Williams does go out of his way to help prisoners, so that actually does inconvenience his lifestyle, in the sense that he could be charging for the time and work there that he does pro bono. Not sure I much liked the homophobic comment buried in there, either. Other than that, carry on.

      • Once was Tim 14.1.1

        I was pretty sure you weren’t going to like any of the comment. In fact I’m bloody sure many won’t. I TRP’d you only because you appear to be an apologist for the way the Labour Party has become in recent times – and by now you’ll have realised I’m utterly disgusted with them – when I consider the activists I’ve known over the years that current Labour effectively shits on …… the whole ‘deserving poor ( the worker )’ versus the ‘undeserving poor (the dirty filthy bene)’ meme they’ve bought in to. Of course you don;t like labels like ‘fag hag’ etc …. unless of course you’re gay yourself – in which case referring to fags, mysogenistic labels (such as referring to female genitalia as ‘gashes’ et al is OK.
        But that’s the least of it TRP (in fact you could refer to me as a part time fag myself if you so wished except I think it was prbably a mid-life crisis phase) – it’s a convenient excuse tho eh? to dismiss all the rest of it.

        If you do want to engage – give me your opinion on the Hootxn argument today.

        I used to ask myself not so long ago …. WHY DOES ANY minority (such as an immigrant, a member of LGBT community, Maori, the working poor, the beneficiary, the digitally divided, …… ANY) vote Natzi or rightish wing/authoritarian tending fascist.
        Now I find myself asking why the fuck WOULD they vote Labour. I acknowledge your brave attempts at pushing shit uphill …. and I’ve always hoped that shit might turn into chocolate ice cream. I don’t see any signs thus far of it doing so.
        I used to live in hope too (that Labour would actually represent ‘the worker’; ‘the poor’; ‘the indigent’, ….. ‘the downtrodden’).
        I woke up to the fact that along came MMP, and along came the realisation that many (politicians not excluded) are often now driven by ego, self-aggrandisement, treats and trinkets and fear of losing them, maintaining the various little cliques and bubbles they sign up to – rather than membership to community (geographic/spatial/physical) and the empathetic associations that go with that. (Something trad Labour once stood for – but NO LONGER).

        Call me homophobic, call me a cunt or a prik, call me all you like – don’t bother holding a committee meeting about it tho eh? (you can rest assured it’s how I think of those gutless hijackers of trad Labour who didn’t even have the Blairite GUTS to try and rebrand – as in NEW LABOUR). Christ how they’ve bought the cool aid! I mean I knew there were one or two Hills and Toliches and other specimens who’d decided life was easier to ditch the principles they built their careers on in favour of an AMEX Gold and one or two investment properties – it just took me a while to realise how widespread it’d become – apparently yourself included.
        (I can hear the owner of this site’s logic gates going clatter clatter clatter weighing up a ban and how it can be justified btw – not unlike uranium on someone’s breath)

        You’re the expert TRP!. What’s Labour’s plan because I’ve spent a lifetime trying to find reasons to vote for them (up until the last election) and I sure as hell ain’t the only one.

  14. Ergo Robertina 16


    NZ Post says it doesn’t use zerohour contracts . . . but then so has every company criticised for using them.

    • alwyn 16.1

      You had better go and jump up and down on Michael Cullen’s doorstep, hadn’t you?
      He is the boss, so is responsible for the NZ Post activities.
      Of course he may not have sobered up enough to realise what is going on.

      • te reo putake 16.1.1

        Cullen’s not the boss, he’s chairman of the board. You do know the difference between governance and management, doncha, Alwyn?

        • Invisible Axe

          Morale is terrible in the dunedin branch. It’s hard being an oncall postie, you could have 6 days work, you could have less, you wait at the phone & if they need you they will ring. If they don’t then no phone call (yet they could ring anytime of the day).

          • McFlock

            Reminiscent of wharfies lined up at the gates waiting to see how many were needed that day…

            • te reo putake

              Yep, but even better because the workforce isn’t publicly visible when it’s not needed and the unused workers aren’t hanging out together getting angry (and getting organised) as the wharfies and similar workers did.

        • One Anonymous Bloke


          The National Party doesn’t understand the difference – why on Earth do you think Alwyn might?

  15. One Anonymous Bloke 17

    Hoverboard. Come in Brett Dale, your time is up 🙂

  16. BerylStreep 18

    Interesting result. This is pre-budget however so take from that what you will…


  17. I notice Kiwiblog is advertising “Meet the sweet Asian woman you were meant to be with.” When you consider the commenters there, you can only admire the skill with which the advertisers have identified their target market.

  18. Facetious 20

    What are you implying Psycho Milt?

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