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Open mike 25/06/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 25th, 2012 - 101 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 link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

101 comments on “Open mike 25/06/2012 ”

  1. Would they have voted National if they knew this?

    Would as many people have voted for National if they knew the MOM Bill would pass? It was clearly campaigned on by National and prominently opposed by Labour and voters should have been clear about the chances of it proceeding, so it would be odd if there are defections of support from National because the part asset sales are going ahead.

    • felix 1.1

      If you assume that most people pay attention to the issues being discussed in election campaigns and don’t just vote for “more of the same” or “time for someone new”, then yep.

      So no.

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      “… so it would be odd if there are defections of support from National because the part asset sales are going ahead.”
      And yet all those polls say people are going off your Tory masters. The waffle ain’t working for some reason. Could it be that the voters of your NZ just aren’t copping your wisdom, Pete, and are making their own minds up?

    • felix 1.3

      Hey Pete, I’ve got an idea: Let’s ASK them.

      • Pete George 1.3.1

        I did. Some of them are SAYING:

        amo6: “I voted for them thinking it would happen-not that I wanted it but that’s what I had to accept voting for them”

        bligh: “I knew, before i voted.”


        So you are asking people who voted national if they would have voted for them if they were going to partially privatise.

        Didn’t they make it clear that this is what they were going to do?

        So now they are saying National should have been clear that they were going to partially privatise.

        How thick are these people.

        dezzie: “I knew about it before I voted for them, I think you’d have to be living under a rock to have not known.”


        Given the mixed ownsership model was a, if not the, major platform to which National sought re-election anyone who voted for them hoping that the legislation may not pass should not have been allowed to vote, last year or ever again…

        Sheesh the stupidity of some to think a major platform policy could possibly be defeated therefore it is safe to vote for the party as they might not be able to do it….

        Nats said it was policy I fully expect them to carry out their policies…

        mp3539: “people werent thick…there was no one else to vote for……..”

        lana92: “We had a fantastic choice, bankruptcy under Labour or selling the family silver under National … great choices … not.”

        charles.j: “National campaigned on it and received a lot of votes. In fact, it was one of the highest ever recorded under MMP. Labour shot themselves in the foot multiple times, and Asset sales are now set to pass”

        • tc

          I see your imaginary friends have been at it again, one for each of your personalities.

        • Uturn

          Congratulations. You now have nine people who might sign a greeting card stating anything about anything. What you do with it is up to you. Isn’t democracy great?

        • Pascal's bookie

          Trade Me forums.

          I didn’t know your plans for improving the responsiveness and effectiveness of the CIR system were so, umm, advanced. “I asked some randoms on trademe”

          A lot of kiwis on /b/. You should ask around over there too.

          • Pete George

            That was nothing to do with CIR. But I woukld check out views there, or anywhere peoplewere interested in commenting.

            For your sort of democracy who would you exclude from having a say, apart from peop,e using Trade Me forums? Anyone else you don’t think is up to your standard?

            • Pascal's bookie

              No one Pete. And I never said otherwise. You really are a dishonest and hypocrtical sack of shit aren’t you?

              I just don’t think Trade me forums are any sort of useful tool for working out what the people think. Call me unserious if you like.

        • Puddleglum

          Hi Pete George,

          I imagine those who voted for National but may now be thinking again over giving that party their support over asset sales may be doing so because information that has come to light since the election casts doubt on either the competence or veracity of National’s claims about the ownership and economic consequences of implementing the MOM.

          There are now significant doubts about the economic benefits of selling (and selling now) and also doubts about whether 51% control is manageable or that NZ ownership of shares can be guaranteed to the extent that National reassured people that it could.

          I remember that before 2008, supporters of John Key were quick to claim the virtues of him ‘changing his mind’ over various policies. They claimed this showed he was responsive to new information or some such, and his changing his mind showed just how reasonable he was.

          Maybe people thinking of removing their support for National over asset sales, despite voting for them in 2011, are similarly just being responsive to new information and showing that they are reasonable people. 

        • Draco T Bastard

          Your totally unscientific asking is totally irrelevant – just like you and your Hair God.

        • mike e

          PG if the election result had been different you would be groveling to a different master.
          Labour were going to raise taxes on the well off and make those who are paying no tax capital gaingters.
          Your a really Pathetic Grovelar

    • DJL 1.4

      I think Nats kept pretty quiet about asset sales during the election campaign.

      • Vicky32 1.4.1

        I think Nats kept pretty quiet about asset sales during the election campaign.

        I am pretty sure that they did, yes.
        People who voted for them voted on other grounds, and were pretty oblivious to asset sales as far as I know…

    • KJT 1.5

      Would anyone have voted for National if truth in advertising applied to politicians.

      National’s real manifesto. If they told the truth..

      “We will cut incomes across the board except for a few at the top.
      We will remove your civil rights, privacy, freedom from unreasonable search, surveillance and seizure, rights to withdraw your Labour and rights to protest even more.
      We will respond to police breaking the law by changing it.
      We will deliberately put the Government in deficit with unaffordable tax cuts.
      We will steal more income earning assets to make our funders rich at your expense.
      We will happily continue to kill NZ productive industries to chase illusory trade advantages for cow cockies.
      We will leave strategic planning, to, “the market”. (Something for which we would sack any business manager).””
      We will leave most New Zealanders noticeably poorer, after three years.

      Notice how shifty Key looked in the “show me the money” debate. He knew his costings were a lot more dodgy than Labour’s.

    • mike e 1.6

      Puerile git Tremains cartoon in the ODT on saturday explains everthing.
      The media were all on Conmankeys side before the Election.
      Now they are Questioning everything poor we johnny and his yes men don,t like it.
      after the next election you will be bagging ever body on the right as your laeder will be in govt with any body so long as he gets his boubles!

  2. Carol 2

    And there you have it….!


    ACC’S policy of ridding itself of thousands of long-term clients is laid bare in agreements the corporation signed with the Government revealing that a far tougher quota system was adopted two years ago.

    Senior ACC managers have since spoken of their success at cutting long-term clients from the books at a conference in Australia, saying the “low-hanging fruit” was gone but the job would get harder.
    In June 2010, then ACC minister Nick Smith and outgoing ACC chairman John Judge signed a three-year agreement that stated as a “priority” that the corporation would get rid of 1150 long-term clients a year. It had 13,157 such clients when the service and purchase agreement was signed.
    Ms Cosgrove told the group of insurers and actuaries in Brisbane that ACC had “an absolute strategy … and we’re not reporting it as a public measure yet”. Its focus was now on high-cost claims because the “actuarial release” would be stronger.

    So glad this government is very concerned about injured Kiwis, and is doing everything they can to help, care for, rehabilitate and support them/us!/sarc.

    • felix 2.1

      Oh dear, it’s almost as if there were a “secret agenda” all along.

      If only someone had said so at the time! /more_sarc

  3. Carol 3

    From a young age I never really understood the mania for everyone owning their own home.

    As I’ve got older I got to understand the logic in the current economic environment, as home ownership can boost your financial value in the long term (if you can afford the long term mortgage), and keep you out of the control of ruthless landlords/ladies.

    But it still seems to me a bit of a con to push for as many people as possible owning their own homes. It benefits those at the top of the housing hierarchy and leaves those at the bottom struggling in insecure circumstances. It also feeds property bubbles that are damaging to the whole society.

    I’ve been happy as a lifetime renter, and have found most landlord/ladies to be OK (the worst are estate agent managers, usually managing property for an unknown landlord). Now there is evidence that owning your own home probably won’t make you happier. It’s usually the reverse, that happier and healthier people are more likely theycan afford to buy:


    The study was led by the University of Adelaide and involved more than 10,000 people over a six-year period.

    Baker cautioned against government policies that might encourage people to buy houses they could not afford.
    “Renting your home doesn’t seem to affect your happiness, whereas owning a home that you can’t afford clearly does.'”

    Baker said renting was far more common in Europe so there was less stigma attached to renting there. She said the socio-economic mix of renters there was more diverse.

    “A professor or business person can be living next door to a student or shop worker, whereas that is not as common in Australia.”

    • KJT 3.1

      Unfortunately super is not enough to live on unless you own a home mortgage free.

      As for affordability. I am researching an article on that now to follow up from my previous one on housing costs.

      The obvious short answer is sufficient state housing. Preferably rent to buy at affordable rates.

      • Carol 3.1.1

        Well, for myself, I also have some money in pension schemes and some savings. The pensions were largely the default position when I was working in London and Sydney, so payments were automatically taken out of my pay without me really paying much attention to it. I also pay into Kiwisaver.

        But needing to own your own home and/or pension investments beyond super, are all based on the dominant economic assumptions that have been in place for decades. And these investments all have knock-on impacts on society and future generations.

        Housing should be cheap, affordable to all, and shouldn’t be part of a market economy. Savings should be savings, and shouldn’t keep diminishing in value over time if not invested somewhere.

        • KJT

          I am afraid that the whole concept of interest on savings is the other side of the financial ponzi scheme that makes unsustainable growth an economic necessity.

          Savings are likely to disappear into the insatiable maw of the finance industry. When they next stuff up.

          For all the West’s private pension schemes to keep paying out compounding interest means a hockey stick growth in money supply is required.

          Without a corresponding increase in productivity, which the earth is not big enough to sustain, all these financial products must fail at some stage.

          We are better of investing in things that the banks cannot take away.

          Investing taxes in 100% sustainable energy, for example, would do more to ensure we can afford to support our old, and young, in future than any investment in financial speculation.

          New Zealanders subconsciously know that, hence the over investment in land. Though I wonder how many mortgages, like mine, were investment in a business. A mortgage is the only way normal people can get any financial leverage.

          • Carol

            Indeed. But I was thinking to get beyond they way savings are treated now, so that if you have savings, they don’t rely on interest to maintain value.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Why should your savings retain value? The work done to receive that money doesn’t retain value – it depreciates over time.

              You want chapter two of this book but the whole thing is worth reading. It’s not what I’m thinking of above but it embodies the same idea.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Investing taxes in 100% sustainable energy, for example, would do more to ensure we can afford to support our old, and young, in future than any investment in financial speculation.


            A mortgage is the only way normal people can get any financial leverage.

            Yep, the only way to to truly participate in our society is to beg the bank manager and, of course, to pay.

  4. Labour (Cosgrove) and Greens (Norman) have said that Winston Peters’ asset buy back suggestions are fiscally irresponsible.

    That could make for interesting coalition negotiations, unless Peters changes from YES to NO by then. Or if Labour and Greens change to YES.

    Peters suggests Kiwisaver funds and the Super Fund should buy back the shares, but that’s bizarre. What if they already own many of the shares? They would end up having them taken off them so that they could be given them back.

    • felix 4.1

      Oh my lord.

      Three parties who may or may not be in a position to form a govt in two-and-a-half-years and who happen to agree on the most desirable outcome of a particular given situation also disagree on the details of the best way to achieve it.

      If only Peter Dunne were in the mix. At least he knows how to do as he’s told.

      • Carol 4.1.1

        Indeed, felix. Whats the point in MMP, and shifting fro m2 party dominance of government, if the smaller parties always agree with the other parties with policies closest to theirs? If several parties agreed on everything, they might as well just amalgamate into one party.

        MMP…. sets up the system for on-going consultation, discussion and negotiation.

        • Pete George

          There’s strong points for small parties to retain independence, they add diversity of MP and policies, and they break up the party whipped voting.

          Otherwise why don’t Labour and National amalgamate? Most of what they do is very similar anyway, far more overlap than differences. But it would not be good for our democracy if we had a single party government.

          • s y d

            “why don’t Labour and National amalgamate?”

            well, some people like red more than blue, while others think it’s time for a change every now and then…. which is your favourite colour? red or blue?  samaris or venezilos? Blair or Thatcher? Obama or Obama? Key or that other guy from labour, I think it’s Goff or have they changed?

          • North

            Oh how sad of me not to already know that it wouldn’t be good for our democracy to have a one party government. I feel quite embarrassed that I didn’t already know that. Thanks for letting me know that Pete George.

            Tell me what planet you’re on you facile, boring, boring, boring old tory. I’ll make sure I avoid it in my astral travel.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.2

      That doesn’t mean Labour and the Greens won’t buy them back, just that they think Winston’s model won’t work in the way Winston thinks it will. There are no obstacles to coalition forming, as all 3 parties are committed to looking at the possibility of a buy back once National and it’s limpets are defeated. The big question is how buggered you and your mates will have left our economy and whether a buy back is immediately affordable.
      Sorry to let you down, Pete, but there’s no escape route there for UF or National.

      • chris73 4.2.1

        Disagreeing with WinstonFirst is a good start

      • Pete George 4.2.2

        The big question is how buggered you and your mates will have left our economy

        Norman said something similar – ” the books are getting into a terrible mess because of National”.

        But in fact National probably won the election – despite opposition to assets sales – because voters thought they were the most fiscally responsible option, and Labour/Green spending would have been too risky in the current economic climate.

        • Te Reo Putake

          That’s right, Pete. The voters were lied to, or even worse, not told the truth, and now we all have to wait for Labour to bring back the good times. Again. Oh, for the days of balanced budgets, eh? Just think, it was only 4 years ago we had a fiscally responsible Government and only two years till the next one.

    • KJT 4.3

      I love this fiscally irresponsible meme, from those who left a big hole in our accounts, by borrowing for tax cuts, for Hawaii holidays, for them and their mates.

      In fact real fiscal responsibility would be tax and spend, now, on stimulus, with spending on sustainable energy, local production, housing and education, to keep the country viable in future. When AGW, peak oil and peak water start to hit.

      National are squandering our future.

  5. Dv 5

    Peters suggests Kiwisaver funds and the Super Fund should buy back the shares, but that’s bizarre. What if they already own many of the shares? They would end up having them taken off them so that they could be given them back.

    What is Bizarre is selling the shares to those that own them already!

    Taken = buy
    given = sold

    fiscally irresponsible ‘= selling the share is the first place

    Is that the new lexicon

    Pg that is a BIZARRE response.

  6. BillODrees 6

    I heard that David Shearer made a good speech in the North Shore on Saturday.  Can anyone point me to a web site where I can read it? 

    • ad 6.1

      I heard from guys who went that it was the usual flabby shit. Love to be corrected.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        @ BillODrees
        It wasn’t a prepared speech as such. He had no notes. He was speaking largely to the converted – members/supporters. It was part of the… getting to meet the locals and giving them a chance to get to know him campaign. After all he hasn’t been on the NZ political scene very long and he’s going to need their full support.

        @ ad.
        That’s an unfair description. He was ‘chatting’ about his vision for NZ society and where he thinks it should be going and how a Labour-led govt. would get it there. He made no apologies for being short on detail because the actual policies are still being hammered out. But he gave a more than adequate outline of the general direction. In my opinion, most of the ‘flabby shit’ came from a few people in the audience who saw fit to make full blown speeches of their own during the question time.

        • ad

          That’s excelent Anne and delighted to hear others were wrong – Shearer is definitely growing on me, particilarly with polls so heartwarming in a cold winter.
          God I can’t stand speechifying from “questioners” – it’s boorish.

  7. vto 7

    On asset sales I see Steven Joyce has come out and said “the most important thing is strengthening the capital markets”.

    So lets examine this — the capital markets in NZ consist primarily of the NZX. The NZX is privately owned. The NZX has consistently failed to provide sufficient capital markets. Even Joyce himself states clearly that the NZX has failed.

    The NZX is the peak of many capitalists dreams. Get a business, grow it, list on the exchange and voila – captain of industry.

    Except that businesses don’t want to list. I have come across many perfect candidates in my times and they consistently do not want to list. The reasons are immaterial but they basically turn on the fact that the NZX is not worth the money or effort and does not assist their business.

    The NZX has failed over the last century and decades. And that is just those listing. What about investors? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, poll mums and dads about the trustworthiness of the stock exchange and its participants. I don’t think much more needs to be said.

    So if the NZX has failed, as Joyce states, then why is he giving them welfare? Why is he pouring more money down a proven failed system?

    And if the captains of industry are so magnificent at creating business, as they always claim, then why has it failed? Why don’t the masters of private enterprise create their own businesses to list on the NZX?

    Because they can’t that’s why. The masters of capitalism cannot create their own businesses. They have to take ones that the taxpayers have built and paid for over the decades. For yet further evidence of this, check out some of the largest companies on the NZX – high proportion of businesses created by the taxpayer, not businessmen.


    Bludging off the taxpayer tit.

    Joyce and Key need to be questioned in detail over this. It would also be worth finding out what NZX is willing to pay to have our assets listed in their directory. And how much more revenue the NZX will receive.

    • freedom 7.1

      they and others certainly need ot be questioned, and questioned in a simple single part methodology. I am sick to my back teeth of important subjects being raised in the House and no suitable answer supplied because the question has three parts is covered in similie and toasted under the 20w grill of self protection. Politicians need to remember why they are (supposedly) sitting in the House in the first place.

      Ask a direct single question, get a direct answer. Of late, even the Speaker appears to be tiring of the banality and the well orchestrated auto-rhetoric from the opposition.

      • Carol 7.1.1


        • Bored

          Not sure if Key or Joyce would have the answers to any exhaustive questioning because they are merely henchmen for the funders of the National and Act parties.

          The spurious concept presented of needing more market capitalisation ion NZ lays bare the whole edifice of investment in NZ. I contend that the NZX cannot grow because there is nothing left we can turn production which we can “capitalise” that has not already been capitalised. The logic of “globalization” is that you send capital to places where the costs are minimised, and the major factor here is wage costs. Because we wont “allow” sweat shops a la Nike in Honduras etc we cannot attract capital…so instead we attempt to create markets in existing infrastructure and sell them off. Sick really.

    • DH 7.2

      Of all the Nats justifications for selling the SOEs this is the only one that adds up to me; that it’s a taxpayer bailout of the NZX. Weldon of the NZX was far too close to the Nats, seemed to have the key to the back door of the beehive in the Nats first term his name was always cropping up. The NZX will clip the ticket on every share sold, it must profit from the SOE floats over the longer term and it will be interesting to watch its share price which I expect to perform better than the SOE shares.

      I agree on the NZX being a dog. I don’t buy shares and I know how to read a balance sheet. Look at any business listed on the NZX and it’s loaded up with debt with shareholder capital all pledged as security to the banks, small shareholders are treated with contempt. The SOEs will go down the same track; borrow up large to pay big dividends & push the share price up while hollowing them out from the inside.

  8. BillODrees 8

    +1. Vto

    It is the worse reason to sell of a strategic rare asset like Hydro Dams. 

    The absence of Capital Gains Tax and some weaknesses in Taxion legislative/administrative regimes encourages some to remain in the unlisted  sector.   There are other reasons the NZX has been unsuccessful!

    And Joyce is agreeing that the NZX is unsuccessful. And Joyce is telling mum and pops to invest through that unsuccessful medium! Did Joyce list his business on the NZX?

  9. Bored 9

    Greece, Spain, Portugal , Ireland……watching Keiser and some other commentaries over the week since the Greek election points at one conclusion: default is inevitable! Merely delayed by how long?

    The big picture is somewhat worrying in terms of how the default is presented to the rank and file taxpayers worldwide who have had their “leaders” conveniently underwrite bank debt. The basic theme is, “Wow we bankers took punts that were too risky, bundled up the losses as derivatives, sold them to generate more interest, became insolvent and then demanded the taxpayer world wide bail us out as too big to fail, and you MUST do as we say or you are roadkill.”. And because the bankers “own” the politicians (along with their 1%er mates) we the rank and file do as they demand. We should be asking who is roadkill?

    Amongst that gloomy prognosis is a real ray of hope: economic contagion will result in bank failures if the taxpayer does not allow more “bail outs”…if the bail outs happen there will be defaults anyway. The financial status quo will become an emperor without clothes, illegitimate. The hope bit is that nature abhors a vacuum, real power and control can be sized via the democratic process. Which is why Labour need to grow some balls and be prepared to tell the bankster regimes to fuck off. What hope of that?

    • The PIGS will fly no doubt about it. The big question is if they leave the monetary union will they also leave the free trade union?

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Which is why Labour need to grow some balls and be prepared to tell the bankster regimes to fuck off. What hope of that?

        Implement a super profit tax on any entity making over $100M pa.

        Implement an asset tax and FTT.

        Greatly strengthen the community and small business presence of Kiwibank.

        Arm the Reserve Bank with a broad range of capital and currency control tools, and task it with putting in place settings to support employment and the tradeable sector.

        And crucially, take charge of the issuance of debt free, interest free money into the economy.

    • muzza 9.2

      “Which is why Labour need to grow some balls and be prepared to tell the bankster regimes to fuck off. What hope of that”


      Bored, people underestimate the power of the banking industry, and what else it controls, because they like to use names such as “conspiracy theorists”, to hide behind. Most are unable to accept the real conspiracy which is happening in front of them, is not happening in isolation!

      The out of control situation around contagion, is interesting, as it will expose the corruption more and more, as long as the attempts to keep the status quo on life support continue.

      If it collapses, how will NZ fear….

      I suspect not very well, with all those off balance sheet derivitives, waiting to show their worth!

      • Bored 9.2.1

        You may be right that hope is slim: banks and finance are best dealt with when they are weak (and insolvent which requires the letter of the law to be imposed i.e the Commerce Acts insolvency clauses). We need to get them when they cant pay their tame politicians and media (and after that it is a case of keeping the genie in the bottle) otherwise they will win.

  10. Those of you interested in energy issues and peak oil may be interested in my latest blog post here: http://www.southernlimitsnz.com/2012/06/myth-busting-polyannas-1-roger-harrabin.html

    “This is the first in a series of posts that address the phenomenon seen over the past few years of the proliferation of articles arguing that peak oil is dead and that we are in a new era of liquid fuel abundance. I have already addressed this issue in general with my previous post Seven Myths Deniers Use To ‘Debunk’ Peak Oil, Debunked. But with more articles coming out like this weekly I have decided to take on the authors of these overly optimistic puff pieces and explain paragraph by paragraph exactly why these people are so wrong.

    First up in this series is Roger Harrabin. Harrabin is certainly no slouch broadcasting on environmental and energy issues since the 1980s and winning a number of broadcasting awards. He currently works as the BBC’s environmental analyst and is one of their senior journalists on environmental and energy issues. So it came as a surprise when I came across Harrabin’s article this week entitled Shortages: Is ‘peak oil’ idea dead?. He managed to invoke a number of straw man arguments and bizzare claims and concludes that the end of the Oil Age is so far off that it’s not worth worrying about. Let’s take a look at the specifics below.”

    • ad 10.1

      Being absolutely no expert in this field I found your conclusion helpful and provoking, because I can stop waiting for a single eschatological moment:

      “We are not going to run out of oil cold turkey. Instead we are facing a long descent that will see times of relative prosperity followed by depressions and recessions as the world economy adjusts to its new low energy diet.”

      Would love to hear more on this. Seems a little more nuanced than that big show from Rick Boven which seemed to portend the end of the world.

      • I can do no better than point you towards John Michael Greer who coined the term ‘the long descent’ in his book of the same name. http://www.newsociety.com/Books/L/The-Long-Descent

        “The Long Descent examines the basis of such fear through three core themes:

        – Industrial society is following the same well-worn path that has led other civilizations into decline, a path involving a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by so many social critics today.
        – The roots of the crisis lie in the cultural stories that shape the way we understand the world. Since problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created thyem, these ways of thinking need to be replaced with others better suited to the needs of our time.
        – It is too late for massive programs for top-down change; the change must come from individuals.

        Hope exists in actions that range from taking up a handicraft or adopting an “obsolete” technology, through planting an organic vegetable garden, taking charge of your own health care or spirituality, and building community.

        Focusing eloquently on constructive adaptation to massive change, this book will have wide appeal.”

        Also check out JMGs essays here for more in depth discussion: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=long+descent

        • Southern Limits

          This gives a really good overview of JMGs work: http://www.energybulletin.net/50751

          “John Michael Greer has officially established himself as an institution within the peak oil community. Truly one of the finest minds working on the predicament of modern-day industrial civilization, he is so well-read in so many fields that he regularly gains access to insights that utterly elude his contemporaries. For this he is treasured by a growing number of loyal readers—and, I suspect, hated by equally many fellow bloggers who wish that they could be half as good.

          Greer is also perhaps peak oil’s most cherishable contrarian, always pointing out the various ways in which people on all sides of the debate are woefully off-base. For example, his previous book on peak oil, The Long Descent, showed how believers in perpetual progress and prophets of imminent doom alike are sadly off the mark in their notions about the future. That book’s central thesis is that while our modern “developed” world can’t possibly be sustained into the indefinite future, we’re hardly in for the sort of sudden, utter collapse of civilization that typically forms the basis of a Roland Emmerich movie. Instead, our society will likely decline slowly and unevenly over many decades, the way that the Maya, the Roman Empire and other past civilizations have done before ours. The take-home point is that it’s a waste of time to start preparing now for either a survivalist future of mass death and marauding hordes, or whatever sustainable utopia happens to be your particular ideal, because neither one of these reflects the future that we’re actually liable to end up with—and, in any case, no one living today will still be around to see what that future might resemble.”

            • Southern Limits

              Thanks Prism

              • prism

                SL These links point up some interesting problems. You may have come across this babysitting club example before – I hadn’t. But I have been in Green Dollars trading and found its path developed potholes, into which we fell and the local one is I think defunct.

                I came to the conclusion that no organisation, community or not, can be run effectively by a group of opinionated ignorant idealistic amateurs (at running groups and systems), and particularly weakening is the situation when one committee stands down and new people come in . The end of the organisation can be when they immediately bring in new bright ideas and throw out old practices, ignoring all the decisions, and not reading the reasons for them, as recorded in the notes taken at numerous meetings and discussions of past committees.

                And there is always some utopian system somewhere to aim for, without any understanding of the particular problems and positives of the circumstances of that one.. Even Rod Donald I found to be so idealistic and set in his beliefs that when I stated that green dollars weren’t as good as real money he immediately negated my statement, which was based on experience. So it’s not easy doing things communally and when trying to run a parallel ‘tokens’ system.

                • The babysitting example was new to me and I’ve never read Krugman’s actual work before, only seen him mentioned so thanks for that.

                  I think the moral to take from you experience and one that I try to live by is avoid dogma at all costs. That’s why I find it bizarre when people are lifetime Labour or National supporters and say they’ll never change. For me it’s about what’s said, not who’s saying it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Don’t forget Greer’s Catabolic Collapse which is a good article explaining it.

          • Bored

            Also try reading what Nicole Foss says on TheAutomaticEarth.com She makes the solid point that finance and capital availability makes the downside very rocky (because demand requires capital investment that may not be available), with lots of ups and downs.

            Or go to Youtube and search Richard Heinberg.

      • BillODrees 10.1.2

        Ad , Thanks for expanding my vocab!  

         The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “The department of theological science concerned with ‘the four last things: deathjudgementheaven, and hell’.

        • ad

          I was sure James Joyce would have been well familiar.
          Ah well.

          • BillODrees
            I suppose that that is what was on Stephen Dedalus’s mind when he said  “History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken”.  Now I get it. 
  11. Today it was announced that soldiers coming back from Afghanistan would have to undergo a test to see if they had been exposed to Depleted Uranium. The test was mad with a urine sample but the same article states that the Army is unwilling to pay for a more comprehensive test. This indicates to me that they are using a similar test as the US army.

    One that will guarantee that nothing will show up as it is a test which is designed to pick up radioactivity emitted during Nuclear accidents or bomb explosions and not the low radiation emitting nano particles which lodge themselves in vulnerable areas causing damage over a long period of time.  

    Here is a video called Beyond Treason. It is an excellent Documentary which features amongst others Doug Rokke. He is the guy who wrote the book on DU for the US army and now that he is dying of cancer caused by DU the most ardent anti DU activist I have had the privilege of speaking with on the subject.

  12. Lynne Renouf 12

    Crisis in Local Govt and ACC? Both crises invented by Nick Smith. He really must keep taking those pills.

  13. joe90 13

    TEDx: David Roberts – Climate Change is Simple

    Also, David Roberts: The brutal logic of climate change.

  14. Te Reo Putake 14

    The politics of pop! I learned a fair bit about socialism, anarchy and post modernism from the late seventies/early eighties NME. Parsons, Burchill, Kent, Morley, Penman, SWells et al. The Clash, Gang of Four, Redskins, Slits. Mint! The tide turned a bit when corporate music companies co-opted punk and new wave (The Knack, anyone?) and the death of one particular singer in 1980 really ended that chapter for me, but there is no denying the brilliance of those 5 or 6 shining years.
    The legacy lives on, however, and its nice to see that the NME is still classy after all these years, putting the greatest song ever written at the top of their list of er, the greatest songs ever written. Debuted at No 1 in NZ, fact fans.

    • ad 14.1

      Well, for other odd conversion routes to the progressive cause, mine was reading Gustavo Gutierrez’ Liberation theology when I was 16.

      Back when post-Vatican II South and Middle Americans were full of Base Communities and all that hopey-changey stuff. And of course the death of Archbishop Romero while saying mass, by military assassins, together with Cardinal Ratzinger’s witch-hunts, kind of put a bracket around that for me.

    • Descendant Of Smith 14.2

      Odd list overall to my mind.

      The Skids, Public Image, Joes Garage album by Frank Zappa, The Clash (Sandinista gave me a new area to explore), Paul Weller whether in The Jam or The Style Council, The Ramones, Buzzcocks, Nina Hagen, Lena Lovich, Steve Harley and somewhere in amongst that with a touch of humour Jilted John.

      Those were great times and particularly as I was being bullied at school at the time resonated and no doubt helped develop my inclination to speak out against violence and oppression. I’m sure not popular in some of my circles at present for speaking out.

  15. joe90 15

    Singing from the same song sheet?.

    David Cameron is to set out plans to scrap housing benefit for the under-25s, in a speech that will make clear pensioners are to be protected from a second wave of welfare reform.

  16. Te Reo Putake 16

    Here’s one for Vicky 32, who I’m sure will join me in a hearty laugh at a particularly stoopid mangling of the English language on the Stuff website:
    “Karen Klein, the 68-year-old bus monitor who was verbally abused by a group of 12-to-15-year-old students, has received more than US$630,000 (NZ$800,000) for a well-earned vacation from internet users”

    • Vicky32 16.1

      “Karen Klein, the 68-year-old bus monitor who was verbally abused by a group of 12-to-15-year-old students, has received more than US$630,000 (NZ$800,000) for a well-earned vacation from internet users”

      Yes indeed! 🙂 It’s a good one, all right!

  17. bad12 17

    Doctors and Nurses anyone???, from the Herald today is a call from various groups of Doctors and Nurses for the Government to cut another 2 percentage points from it’s 2014 election total by (a) abolishing travelers ability to buy duty free tobacco products claiming that such duty free items are fueling the ‘tobacco black-market’,

    The view here is that the rack-raising of excise taxes on tobacco products is what is fueling a growing tobacco black market where any ‘cost’ to the Government of tobacco products use has been more than met by the present tax regime and Government is now reliant on at least 1 billion dollars of over-taxation of tobacco products to pay for other budget items other than the costs related to the products usage,

    The Doctors and Nurses have taken the opportunity to call for a harsher regime of revenue gathering from those addicted to tobacco perhaps seeing in this the only means of getting a pay rise in the next few years,

    SAVING LIVES do you think, tobacco product usage has fallen an un-remarkable 6% over the course of the last 2 rack-raisings of tobacco taxes and such means in no way that 6% of addicts have quit,

    The 6% drop in usage simply means that the addicted have managed to cut down slightly on their daily use and/or 6% of tobacco use in New Zealand is now being supplied via one means of black-market supply or another,

    I am a firm favorite of this National Government taking to the users of tobacco via the rack-raising of taxation if only for the inherent laughter generated by those in the Health Sector believing that such tax raising is in aid of saving lives where-as the imperative for Government doing so is obviously, as the Treasury pointed out in its briefing to the Government, a simple exercise in revenue gathering from a section of the community demonized by society and in no way able to avoid the tax as they are ADDICTED to the product being taxed,

    If they havn’t already the 600,000 or so who do use and are addicted to tobacco products will turn upon any Government rack-raising the taxes to fill holes in its general budgetary requirements and vote against any Government or it’s support party’s who favor such taxation,

    Any Government serious about stopping the use of tobacco products in this country would simply make the product a prescription poison allow the present generation of addicts its use via Doctors prescription and not allow anyone presently 16 or 17 the products use at all….

  18. ad 18

    I am sure the tax rate on tobacco will shortly get to the point where the enforcement cost comparison to cannabis will make them think “Oh wait tobacco tax was so good, let’s legalise marijuana as well”.

    Meanwhile I treat myself to just one cigar per year, at Christmas, from the Havana Shop downtown, probably out of some sad implanted gangster fantasy or more probably Wylie Coyote’s opposition or indeed Daffy Duck’s ones.

    Pretty hard to prize the programming out, even at one a year.

    • bad12 18.1

      Surprisingly there has yet to be a move by the users of tobacco products to form an association that will advance their ‘right’ to use a legal product without fear of being unduly discriminated against by overt Government policy,

      With 600,000+ users of tobacco products, many of whom reside electorally in the ‘registered but didn’t vote’ such a voting bloc would give any Government pause to consider it’s agenda where taxes from the users of tobacco are funding the general spending of Government…

  19. bad12 19

    Ah getting a flogging over asset sales,education, and, ACC all at the same time, seeing the internal polling tumbling like a rock and yes it’s time for Slippery to get all ‘aspirational’ again,

    The Prime Minister has announced plans to give the Bene’s a kicking or in the ‘new speak’ of the political discourse get them OFF benefits,

    Slippery didn’t mention actually creating some EMPLOYMENT so the assumption can only be that bonus’s will again be offered to WINZ staff who find creative ways of giving the most vulnerable in society the kick…

  20. freedom 20

    The NZ Herald National Party Press Office swings into action to declare the Prime Minister wants something to happen, somewhere, sometime and then goes on to explain how Mr Key really really believes in the quantum affectation of positive thinking. Perhaps he also believes he can fly if he clicks his heels hard 3 times and wriggles his nose.

    • bad12 20.1

      Slippery must have detected a little intransigence within the corridors of WINZ offices to His ‘aspirational ideals’,

      The Prime Minister is now saying that not only will His Government offer bonus’s to WINZ staff who fill their quota as far as kicking Bene’s off of the dole and various other benefits,

      The Slippery one is also threatening to cut the pay of those WINZ staffers who aint quite ruthless enough to fulfill such quota requirements…

  21. Clashman 21

    New Zealand signs NATO partnership deal

  22. North 22

    Brilliant Key/Bennett/National Party logic……..you “can” work and therefore by certain date you and 19,999 others who “can” work will no longer be on WINZ books……..because you “can” work.

    Ummmmmh…….just the small question of 20,000 jobs which those who “can” work need in order “to” work.

    This grossness, this redefinition of benefit entitlement, will be disguised with a vile, calculated demonisation of beneficiaries as an underclass. The underclass at its extremities will commit crime………lo, we have the raw material for the new private prisons. There is cynical evilness here.

    There’s a photograph I saw on the net somewhere which defines “News” in these terms something like this – “News…….rich people telling middle class people to blame poor people” – I may have paraphrased somewhat but that’s the thrust.

    That’s gonna be our news sadly. Would you blame the underclass for rising up ? And that ponce still smiles and waves.

    • Bored 22.1


      This along with the announcement that if the Public Service dont achieve the targets in this and other areas they will suffer paycuts….quite possibly the stupidest policy announcement ever by the stupidest government ever….the $60 million man again shows his complete contempt for everybody else.

      Scumbags, liars, cheats.

    • seeker 22.2

      TV3 reports on the latest brainwave from the government which gives the public service (itself having already lost 2500 jobs) 10 targets, one of which includes slashing the number of long term beneficieries by 2017or their pay will be docked.

      Bill English says a leaner service could find these targets more difficult, but ever cheerful, loopy Key said and I quote:

      “A highly efficient public service, one that is performing well for New Zealand isn’t a question of head count it’s about results.” (Obviously one charismatic dictator called Slash will do.)

      In my world, no brains (which are in heads Mr. Key) no results.

      The reporter said these are aspirational targets, but the government still expects the targets met!

      No wonder Chris Hipkins said this is all just nonsense to distract from asset sales tomorrow. But what nonsense. Key seems to be totally unaware of the crass, idiotic utterances he contaminates our airspace with. He is so embarrassing; too embarassing to lead a great country like New Zealand, a country thet he seems to be intent on destroying.

  23. North 23

    Concise Oxford English Dictionary:

    asp – a small viper with an upturned snout – a large predatory fish of the carp family

    irrational – not logical or reasonable


  24. Colonial Viper 24

    Why Conservatives always beat Progressives

    Read and weep, ladies and gentlemen.

    What’s going on here? Why is it that Conservatives are so good at winning and Progressives produce a lackluster resistance at best? The answer comes from a fundamental insight from evolutionary biology. Stated simply, it goes like this:

    When two groups compete, the one with the most social cohesion wins in the long run.

    This insight arises from research on group selection that reveals how social animals capable of working as a team readily out compete those individuals who must struggle on their own. The astute observer will already note the profound irony here — a political group whose ideology elevates the individual over the group (Conservatives) has managed to cultivate more group cohesion than the political group whose ideology blends community well-being with that of the individual.


  25. Pascal's bookie 25

    /rant/ This was mentioned the other day, but it really is a shocker.

    All governments give cronies jobs. Every single one. Some governments are worse than others though, and I reckon this lot are fucking shockers.

    It’s not just that they are giving jobs to mates, or that the process, (as I?S has demonstrated in numerous OIA based postings) has been bloody woeful; it’s the flat out inapropriateness of some of the gigs for the people they give them to.

    That Neeson bugger on the Human Rights Review Tribunal*; never gave a damn about human rights as far as I can tell. And there was some other little nobody thrown on to that one as well. Interestingly enough, if you look at how they fared in National Party candidate selection dust ups, and who they lost to. Well, yeah. Understood.

    But this one from the other day. How is this in any way justifiable?


    She is going to be, at the same time, a lobbyist for an industry sector, and sitting in a govt gig that will be promoting issues within that sector, and spending money trying to convince people how to behave in that sector.

    How is that not flat out fucked up?

    * how are they getting on with that Bennett case BTW, it’s been coming on what 3 years? 4 years? Doesn’t seem to be that complicated a case. The Minister defended her actions on an “implied consent” to disclose the data. There is no such thing in the Privacy Act. It’s just something she made up, and I’m not a lawyer, but I reckon there’s a pretty good chance that legislation trumps shit you just make up. I’m sure enough of that that I reckon I’d rule on that basis and take me chances with judicial review.

    • rosy 25.1

      It’s seriously bizarre, from a health promotion perspective. How do these people get these jobs? Do they just go ‘Hey John, that’s for me. Make it happen.’ She’s CEO and on the board of the agency that has a massive conflict with the organisation she’s lobbying for!

      We’re going to see lots of voluntary agreements (that never work) and increasing obesity rates, and don’t expect to see any cuts on selling alcohol in supermarket. 5+ per day, because supermarkets can profit from sales of fruit & veg, will go to 7+ and MPs can rattle on about personal responsibility when parents can’t pay for it. School tuck-shops coming to your area courtesy of Progressive Enterprises.

    • bad12 25.2

      The rumor is vis a vis Paula Benefit and privacy breaches is that Paula coughed a middling sized pile of used twenty’s to the aggrieved,

      On the understanding that all and sundry will keep ALL the details strictly private including what is said to be a private withdrawal of the breach of privacy complaint to the Commissioner,

      Keep being the operative word here, Benefit gets to keep Her portfolio, the complainant gets to keep her benefit, and, the Commissioner gets to keep being just that,

      That is all conjecture and un-proven rumor and i am being naughty for repeating it…

    • Draco T Bastard 25.3

      Well, it seems that family wasn’t such an important factor in her stepping aside after all. She was one of the few people in National who actually seemed to have a conscience and didn’t fit with the way that National have gone.

      Key’s response is certainly interesting…

      “I’m comfortable that she’ll be able to manage any conflict….

      He obviously recognises that there is conflict there and yet he’s still putting her in place.

      • Katherine Rich is completely inappropriate for a position on the HPA board, given the HPA has taken over the functions of ALAC, and she is also the CE of the Food and Grocery Council, representing commercial operations who rely on selling alcohol for their profitability. It astounds me that National did not find someone else; we are not that short of talent in NZ.

      • rosy 25.3.2

        any conflict”? the conflict, more like. And no, it can’t be ‘managed’ away.

  26. vto 26

    Sheesh, often when staying up late working and other things, and it is quiet and still, I hear feel gigantic deep and muffled booms from deep down below and I think again that the Great Earth Monster below Otautahi is turning once more in its recently disturbed slumber, not yet ready to settle into another long 15,000 year stretch of deep sleep …….

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