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Open mike 25/08/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 25th, 2015 - 52 comments
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52 comments on “Open mike 25/08/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    If there ever was a day which showed up the utter mediocrity of the mainstream media in New Zealand, today would be a contender.

    In the past 24 hours, after the collapse of the share prices in China, NZ’s largest market, stock markets round the world have plummeted the worst since 2007.

    And NZ’s largest selling daily leads with stories about car washers and a blonde NZer in London looking for jobs.

    Beyond satire.

  2. NZSage 2

    We know he’s a yanker but is John Key a Yank?

    Interesting piece of speculation: https://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/is-john-key-an-american-will-you-help-us-find-out/

  3. Vaughan Little 3

    on the China stockmarket correction. from what I’ve read it doesn’t seem to hold a great deal of significance for the rest of the world.

    here are the guys I follow and trust on the Chinese economy:

    George Magnus ~ @georgemagnus1, georgemagnus.com

    Patrick Chovanec ~ @prchovanec

    Victor Shih ~ @vshih2

    Michael Pettis ~ mpettis.com

    I’d appreciate if anyone could reply with names of other solid writers on China’s economy.

    I was in suzhou recently. it’s a great city, well preserved by Chinese standards. a few economic observations :

    1. commerce, at least of the brick and mortar variety, appears to be in serious distress, judging by tenancy rates in “popular” shopping areas.

    2. Chris Patten has pointed out that China was the richest place in the world for 18 of the past 20 centuries. suzhou was a key part of that story, being an important city since at least the Han. but that’s the rub: cities are probably a better rubric than empires through which to view history. they possess the advantage of concreteness for one. at any rate, it’s better to say of China that it was extremely poor for much of its history, with a few fantastically wealthy cities dotted around the place (though google 清明上河图 for an indication that it wasn’t all the 1% vs the 99).

    3. if you observe renaissance art closely you can sometimes encounter surprisingly lucid foreshadowings of modern styles like expressionism, tucked away inconspicuously on the sidelines of the major action. likewise in the suzhou museum I was surprised by artwork dating from the qing which possessed elements I’d always associated with the mid 20th century: minimalism, relatively wild experimentation, and some ceramics with funky patterning that put me in mind of Len Lye. and all this put,means in mind of that famous observation of Karl Marx that every step of human progress is afforded from the suffering of the vast majority of humanity. I’m not saying that to be a buzzkill, but because of the profound importance as I see it of trying to conceptually tie the human experience into a coherent whole.

    • Charles 3.1

      Very interesting. On point three, if you take out the Western understanding found with Marx and insert a Chinese perspective (my very general summary) the conclusion changes:


      “…every step of human progress is afforded from the suffering of the vast majority of humanity…”


      “…every expression of human endeavour is reflective of the nature of heaven, and heaven reflects all that cannot be reflected…”

      which is a sort of a riddle (that I’ve made up to attempt encompass a lot of metaphysical explanation) that implies if we stand here in the Western world and look over there into the history of “Chinese art” we see that we are either part of the past because we are dragging our feet by focussing and elevating material things and restrictive ideas to the detriment of everything else, or/and, that art is timeless and has no development or “period”; and to “access it” – which is a very Western concept – we need better balance in our attentions. While “human suffering” from a historical chinese philosphical perspective during those “18 to 20 centuries” was simultaneously acknowledged, lamented, venerated and dismissed as irrelevent by Chinese thinkers (more in the earlier than later part of that huge period), it’s important to notice that the perspective of something being only good/bad wasn’t as dominant as Western thinkers like to consider it when they see human suffering, or anything, for that matter.

      No doubt this will enrage you in some way, but bear in mind it is only my opinion based on what I think I have learned, inspired by the topic you raised, and not addressed as a challenge to you specifically.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      China has been a bureaucracy for the better part of 2000 years.

      Lesson: Kings and emperors come and go, the bureaucracy remains.

      Largely what the RWNJs want to do is to get rid of the bureaucracy and just have the kings. This doesn’t work as it’s the bureaucracy that actually gets things done. 30+ years of neoliberalism and the attack on government bureaucracy and we now have more bureaucracy than we ever had before – it’s just that it’s now in the private sector.

      Want more competition? Then we need more bureaucracy to manage it.
      Want more courses at uni? Then we need more bureaucracy to manage that as well.
      Want National Standards? Then more bureaucracy and having the teachers do it is still an increase in bureaucracy and a subsequent decrease in teaching.

      Getting rid of the back office so as to have more front office doesn’t work as the front office can only work because of what the back office does and the back office, the bureaucracy, is more important as it’s what ensures that everything is in place to allow the front office to do it’s job. Of course, the workers that create the material objects that the bureaucracy ensures is in place are more important again.

      When the right-wing try to get rid of the bureaucracy it just adapts around them and both the front office (MPs) and the back office forget about the workers.

      • vaughan little 3.2.1

        well, the bureaucracy was by no means in stasis over that period.

        new zealand has lost its way, amongst many other countries. i find largely monocultural societies fascinating because their culture is an identity that they can rally publicly around to try to fight some of this rot. simply can’t be done in migrant nations cos they’re too diffuse.

  4. Undecided 4

    Serco is under the gun from Kelvin Davis (and rightfully so) but will Kelvin Davis say anything about this: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/corrections-apologises-to-family-of-sick-patient-who-died-q07278.html

  5. Coffee Connoisseur 5

    Some on the standard might find this interesting.
    it touches on basic needs capitalism failing to meet them and touches on renationalisation of some services with highly automated public sector vs privatisation.


    • Tracey 5.1

      Thanks Coffee, I think LPrent has been pointing some of this stuff out. Given the lack of desire of many to share, it is a little scary to contemplate much of what the writer is suggesting. Actually, VERY scary.

  6. Tracey 6

    TheBMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) is carrying a feature comparing different nations’ laws around assisted dying, assisted suicide and euthanasia (with definitions provided). This is part of the debate in UK and Wales about impending Law changes.


  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Minister voted against earlier Easter trading bill

    Woodhouse says employees can decline to work.

    No, they can’t. That’s because everything that National have done in power is to make it so that people can’t refuse to work. Nationals attacks on beneficiaries and workers have made it so that if you’ve got a job, no matter how much it costs you and the government, you do everything to keep that job because otherwise National can, and will, make it worse for you.

    • dv 7.1

      The other issue is are the govt going to pay the councils for the service. HA

      Councils should just refuse to take on the extra admin

    • Rosie 7.2

      Exactly Draco. Had to laugh at Michael Woodhouse on the news last night when he said that. What a clueless statement. (Who can forget other gems, such as zero hour contracts are casual contracts).

      He really is out of touch with the lives of retail and hospo workers if he thinks you can simply ask for the public holiday off and your boss will give it to you, or even negotiate a different public holiday off in it’s place – especially when some businesses function on a perpetually short staffed roster. That’s along side the “compelled to work or else” fear that hangs over workers heads these days, as you’ve mentioned.

      Point two: The fact that he previously voted against Jackie Deans’ bill in 2012 clearly shows this announcement was nothing more that a PR stunt to distract from his disastrous management of the H&S amendment bill. What a cynical move from some one so out of his depth.

      • Atiawa 7.2.1

        Some hospitality industry players can’t abide by current industrial law requirements and are trialing new workers without employment agreements and providing wages in the form of drink vouchers.
        Not satisfied with low wages they now believe it’s their right to pay no wages.
        They want it all.

        • McFlock


          Friend of mine didn’t even get vouchers. Fortunately she got a paying job elsewhere.

        • Kevin

          If that is what it has become, then these people do not have a business. At all.

        • Rosie

          Hi Atiawa. I think I read a post by you on this previously. It didn’t surprise me sadly. I’ve read newspaper articles about restaurants that MBIE eventually caught up with over the issue of the non payment of staff.

          My last boss, in retail, paid people, reluctantly, when they reminded him their wages hadn’t turned up in their accounts. He only did that to me once and never did it again once I expressed my feelings about it and reminded him of his obligations. After I left that place I heard that some of the young ones simply didn’t get paid for up to a week, and missed pay cycles entirely.

          I’ve had some bad bosses in my work life but never have I not been paid, until then.

          I have a young friend who got his first job about 6 months ago. Prior to that WINZ sent him out on a “trial” with a charity that was going door to door. He was given a form to sign. It was a waiver saying he wouldn’t be paid. He signed it because he didn’t want any trouble from WINZ. If he didn’t sign he feared he could be sanctioned.

          Blackmail and exploitation rolled into one. What a start to the working life it was for him.

          This is your brighter futures workers!

  8. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    “KUALA LUMPUR: There are only a handful of issues to be resolved in the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, said US Trade Representative Michael Froman.

    “The Hawaii ministerial meeting was productive and we closed a dozen difficult issues, and at the end of the day there are now a handful of issues which needed further work,” he said on the sidelines of the Third East Asia Summit here yesterday.
    “Since the Hawaii meeting, negotiating countries have to go back and sort with their stakeholders, cabinet and parliament.”


    Let us remind Tim Groser and John Key that WE, the Citizens of NZ/Aotearoa ARE STAKEHOLDERS.
    We will not be sorted by being insulted. We, the payers of their salaries, do not give them permission to trade away our sovereignty.
    The Prime Minister states “I kind of love everything American – sports, food, golf courses, there’s nothing I don’t like.”
    Great. Let him emigrate to his Hawai’i home.

    Sacrificing the sovereignty of NZers by stealth is ….treason in my opinion.

    • tracey 8.1

      I feel certain the stakeholders have been sorted… 😉

    • Coffee Connoisseur 8.2

      I read a comment the other day that eluded to the Treason Laws having been recently changed in NZ. I wasn’t aware of this with the exception of the removal of Sedition or is this what they would have been talking about.
      Can anyone shed any light on this in relation to our laws on treason?

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 8.2.1

        At a time when many countries are tightening anti-terrorism legislation and discussing on whether to “crack-down” on freedom of speech, New Zealand has repealed its sedition law. The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill was passed by the New Zealand Parliament by an overwhelming majority of 114 to 7.

        Sedition is the crime of inciting insurrection against the state. New Zealand’s sedition law criminalised speech intended to “bring into hatred or contempt” or “excite disaffection” against the monarch or the government or to incite or encourage “violence, lawlessness, or disorder”. The law had been widely criticised following the conviction of Timothy Selwyn in 2006 – the first sedition prosecution in 75 years – and repeal had been recommended by the New Zealand Law Commission.

        Minister of Justice Mark Burton criticised the law as an infringement on freedom of speech and a tool of political persecution – a view widely echoed by MPs from across the house. Green Party MP Keith Locke noted that “the roll-call of those charged is a roll call of our political heroes”. However, New Zealand First MP Ron Mark advocated retaining the law in light of current fears about terrorism. New Zealand First was the only party to vote against the bill.

        The bill repeals all seditious offences, and will come into effect on January 1, 2008.

  9. DH 9

    Can make some interesting observations about odds & chances from this titbit….

    “Sold four times in 13 weeks – price jumps $153,000”


    The house itself seems unremarkable, it’s just another Auckland house, so the odds of this being a unique event appear low to none. We can reasonably assume many Auckland houses are being regularly onsold.

    If the statements are taken as gospel we can also believe that a high proportion of Auckland home buyers are forced to sell again within weeks due to changed circumstances. The forced sale of course precluding the need to pay tax on any gains made.

    I’m also wondering how the RE spokesperson can be so sure of the sellers motives. He’s just an agent, not a confidante, so how would he know the real reasons for selling?

    What’s the chances of the IRD or any other authority investigating this?

    • Sabine 9.2

      speculators doing as speculators do?

      and you expect the IRD to investigate?

      Why that would upset the Landlord class, would it not?

      • DH 9.2.1

        “speculators doing as speculators do? ”

        Dunno, it all looks a bit odd. If we take this on face value it’s a random Auckland house with random samples of buyers from the Auckland market. You can’t really establish a strong pattern from one house but you can rule it out as a one-off event, the (alleged) randomness of house & buyers says it can’t be unique.

        Having said that I very much doubt a large proportion of Auckland houses are being resold up to four times within months of being put on the market for the first time. I’d think it more likely something was going on there and that it would behoove the authorities to find out what.

        • Sabine

          there is a house right accross from where i have been sitting that has sold three times in 6 month.
          surely all the previous owners bought the house and then promptly went bankrupt, forcing to sell the house for a tidy profit each time for about 70.000, considering that the first time it sold for about 690.000 and it is now being readied again to go one the market, expectations now are 1.000.000, and likely to get it. So sold for 690.000, sold for 780.000, sold for 900.000 and again…

          Yeah, right no speculation here ….none what so ever.
          Just poor schlops having over extended themselvs and now making a buck. Btw. the between the 690.000 and 900.000 the house was empty.

          there are a few more houses in my street that have sold several times per year. Funny, it is always the same, either empty or tenanted properties that go up for sale, like clockwerk every few month.

          • Anne

            Mentioned a house less than 100 metres away from me that sold for the third time in six months about a month ago. Guess what, it’s up for sale again!

    • Herodotus 9.3

      “My understanding is that the person who sold it is a member of our property staff,” he said.
      But Mr Thompson said that person had a genuine reason to sell the vacant property, in wanting to raise funds for a family member who had bought a larger home, in Epsom.
      Is not wanting to raise funds by buying and selling not trading ???? Mr Thompson IMO has destroyed any defense of not being a trader away from HIS staff member.
      Also from the timeline 6 weeks for Xiaoli Zhen to buy then have a change of intentions and re market the property and sell& settle for a second time is in a very crammed timeline.
      What is not mentioned was a: when did the property re-enter the market
      and b: when did the “trust” that purchased the property entered into a S&P agreement ?

      • Anne 9.3.1

        A few years ago the house next door to mine was sold to a Hong Kong businessman. He told the previous owners he was buying it for his mother who would be arriving in a few months time. Yeah right. Mother never turned up. House has been rented ever since – raking in $800 plus per week.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Bernie Sanders Surges Past Hillary In Polls

    • Undecided 10.1

      I don’t know too much about him but it must be a better option then having Hillary as president

      • maui 10.1.1

        If you’re left leaning and you see a bit of him then you’ll want to see more. Refreshing.

  11. save NZ 11

    Greece is struggling to secure a 370 billion bailout.

    But there was no problem with taxpayers bailing out the banks.

    Citygroup 2.5 trillion
    Morgan Stanley 2 trilion
    Merril lynch 1.9 trillion

    … the list of bank bailouts with tax dollars goes on….

  12. Undecided 12


    I’m sure it makes the Herald good money but i’m also equally sure it drives people away from getting the newspaper in the first place

  13. Barbara 15

    Have just tuned in to Radio Live 12.45pm to see if they may be discussing the financial stock markets melt down – Willie isn’t averse to chatting politics but Alison Mau is not the fun JT used to be – they are discussing facial tattooing and how it impinges on people’s lives who have them. I rarely listen to any radio these days but thought today may be interesting. Lord save us now I know why I cancelled the Herald 12 months, the Listener is on death watch and going to go the same way – Karyn Hay in the 8-midnight slot is now a waste of time. Why cannot anybody on MSM just talk about things which are actually important to us all – its just all fluff and nonsense. Now I know why there used to be underground newspapers back in the day – I can see it happening again here one day, at least we do have the net with its many sites we can visit thank goodness. How people can listen to this drivel I cannot fathom. My whinge for today.

    • Rosie 15.1

      MSM radio is a wasteland for the ears but we still have alternate independent radio, first and foremost for indy music lovers but also for social and political commentary and interviews. Check out this doco that was on a while ago: Radio Punks.

      I wouldn’t be without my Radio Active – It keeps me sane 🙂

  14. save NZ 16

    Finally some justice…

    Mobil to pay $10m for tank farm cleanup

    You have to wonder why this wasn’t found in the first place.

    Or is it ok to leave contamination on public land after you vacate?

  15. Draco T Bastard 17

    The CEO of UBER is on to it:

    Uber CEO Travis Kalanick often talks about his dream of the perfect Uber trip. “It’s the perpetual trip, the trip that never ends,” he said at the Digital-Life-Design conference in Europe last October. “The driver picks one passenger up, picks another passenger up, drops off the first passenger, but then picks up passenger number three and drops off passenger number two.”

    This week in San Francisco, Uber took a first step toward realizing the vision that Kalanick described. The ride-hail company began experimenting with a new ride option called Smart Routes. The idea is drivers will be able to both pick up and drop off passengers along a specific route, which in turn allows them to quickly pick up their next passenger. For now the company is experimenting with only two routes: Fillmore Street between Haight and Bay, and Valencia Street between 15th and 26th.

    Or, as this person put it, A bus. This man is describing a bus.

    So glad that we have these over-paid morons to tell us how to do things we already know how to do…

  16. greywarshark 18

    Buying a house as an older person? Some banks are refusing to offer a mortgage as, it was said, they say that people will not be able to pay the loan back. I though that was why they take the house as security, making sure it is valued correctly if they do their job. A further madness in their approach, on top of other lending practices for buying businesses on a leverage basis with small deposit inputs, and having money for foreign buyers.

  17. Smilin 19

    The news is on its not live weve seen it about 10 times to day yeah just another show nothing to get up about Strawberry fields forever
    Just axe it and save the country millions to put into railways

  18. The Chairman 20

    I viewed a news story about a number of Wellingtonians enduring a 38-hour wait through two chilly nights queueing for the latest version of Kanye West-designed shoes.


    Which reminded me of this (documentary below)

    I assume most here will remember the controversy surrounding it: http://tinyurl.com/pza6bbw but have you actually viewed it?


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