Open mike 26/05/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 26th, 2023 - 123 comments
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123 comments on “Open mike 26/05/2023 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    The TVNZ poll last night would have to be a concern for Labour. Sure, Labour only dropped 1%, well within the margin of error. However, of more concern will be the drop in support for the Greens.

    The reason why this would be a concern, is that it is probably reasonable to assume that the drop in support for the Greens will have mainly resulted in those potential votes migrating to Labour.

    Hence, the drop for the overall left vote is what is of main concern. So, a 5% drop for the combined left is quite a big drop. Contrast that with the 3% uptick for the right, and that is an 8% swing in favour of the right.

    And DPF gives quite an interesting analysis of the leadership ratings:

    Turns out that Luxon is the fourth most popular opposition leader for this time in the election cycle and Hipkins is the fourth most unpopular leader, according to the analysis.

    Hence, comparisions of relative popularity are missing this point.

    • Ngungukai 1.1

      Get NZ Back on Track.

      • riffer 1.1.1

        Your choice of a te reo alias is interesting, given you're quoting National lines, when their increase in support appears predicated on a platform of kicking Maori back down to a position of political non-representation.

        [Please correct your e-mail address in your next comment, thanks – Incognito]

        • Incognito

          Mod note

        • Corey

          Hold up, you realize loads more Maori vote National than vote fot the Maori party right?

          Many, many Maori don't agree with Labour, The Greens or the Maori partys interpretation of the treaty or want co-governance.

          Many Maori are farmers and vote National or NZ First . In fact it's a total mistake that the Tory's and NZ First don't run candidates in the Maori electorates anymore, because with the left splitting their votes between lab, tpm and the Greens National or NZf could sneak in, national have held Maori seats before and NZF once held all of them.

          Golly, if lefties think all Maori are left wing, some people are going to be shook, especially if the right ever seriously goes after the Maori seats again.

          If National managed to sneak a couple Maori seats by vote splitting, the meltdowns on election night from pakeha liberals would be entertaining af.

        • Anne

          National's underlying theme in this election year is not the cost of living or the supposed rise in crime – or indeed the climate crisis. It is all about racism.

          The cost of living is rising. Blame it on the Labour government who are giving all our money to the 'Mowries'.

          Ram raids and burglaries are increasing. Definitely the 'Mowries'.

          All other problems as they arise – well if the 'Mowries' weren't being given special treatment we'd be okay.

          Racism, racism and more racism. Middle income earners and old age pensioners are the primary culprits. Not all of them, but a substantial number are politically ignorant and feed off the likes of Hosking, HDPA and the rest of the ZB gang of Maori haters… along with the Hootons and Prebbles and that smarmy piece of work, David Seymour.

          I don't know what you do about it, but you don't fall into the trap Michael Wood fell into the other day. Has he forgotten the outburst fanned by the Nats in 2008 when Helen Clark made a similar plea to voters?

          • Mac1

            Thanks, Anne.

            Here's what was said in a very recent National newsletter. It seem that we are "driven by the influence of woke socialists who seek to advance their own agenda'. They are the problem, being racists……

            "Infiltrating institutions and leveraging race-related issues in the current environment is a frighteningly easy path to take, as few are willing to risk being labelled a racist. It is crucial that we all oppose this agenda as those that hurl the racist label about are the racists. If we choose to look the other way New Zealand will be a racially divided nation which will undoubtedly bring on civil unrest."

            I have a feeling I have somehow been side-shuffled into an Orwellian-style dystopian universe where newspeak replaces logic and facts.

          • tsmithfield

            Hi Anne,

            I think to blame racism for Labour being behind ignores a lot of other relevant factors that are contributing to the decline for Laboujr. For instance, the cost of living and the rampant crime at the moment.

            Personally, I think the government has to take a lot of blame for any perceived racism in that they have handled the whole co-governance question really badly, and have not communicated at all well what is meant by that. This has meant a lot of the population have felt quite threatened.

            Plus, the radical demands from TMP such as revoking full and final treaty settlements and establishing a Maori parliament are naturally going to cause a lot of resistance amongst the general population.

            • Anne

              Note I said "underlying" theme tsmithfield. I don't deny other factors are at play but for many I believe it boils down to racism. I am mindful of family members whenever political subjects are introduced into a conversation… it always ends with a rant about 'mowries'.

              When I throw it back in their faces I get left off the social calendar for a bit. devil

              • tsmithfield

                Hi Anne,

                I think a lot of that sort of stuff is more down to ingroup-outgroup type biases rather than outright racism.

                In any sort of area, not only race, we tend to view people in an outgroup negatively and with suspicion. We also tend to view them as very similar in their characteristics. That is because we tend to notice the common traits of members of outgroups, and not notice their differences so much. This is a fairly universal, almost subconscious effect that we find it hard to get away from.

                I know a lot of my attitudes have been challenged being on the board of Crossroads Youth with a Future which works in one of the poorest areas of Christchurch which has a fairly high Maori and Polynesian population.

                I realised, after becoming friends with a number of wonderful Maori people through my role in the trust that I could no longer justify holding general negative attitudes towards Maori people. That is, because I realised that if I was going to hold general negative attitudes towards Maori people, I was also holding those attitudes about people I very much liked.

                So, I think that is a good way to overcome some of those negative attitudes. That is, to actually get to know some of the people in the group that might be an outgroup at the moment.

                Unfortunately, a lot of people who hold these attitudes often are living in a completely different world, and have little contact with Maori people. Hence, they see Maori people as very much part of an outgroup.

            • Patricia Bremner

              Ts, yet Act want to stop the gun register and allow some awful weapons. They are a larger party than the Maori Party… why not target that proposition? rather than thinking 3 people have exaggerated influence? Surely the Act Party are at greater risk of shifting the norms? sad

              • tsmithfield

                Hi Patricia,

                I am not an ACT voter personally. But, I think a lot of these sorts of policies arise from frustration a voting base feels due to the fact that the existing system doesn't function properly.

                I know my son was wanting to get into hunting. He had an impeccable record, but had to wait several years before his gun licence came through.

                Also, I guess there is frustration because, despite the changes the government made to gun laws that were supposed to make it harder for criminals to get guns, gun violence seemed to have been increasing.

                And, also, it seemed that the changes made to gun laws were targeting people who weren't causing the problem.

                So, I can understand why ACT might be pushing for relaxation of some of the gun laws. Though, it isn't something I have given a lot of thought to as it isn't really an area that affects me personally.

                • Louis

                  Hunters don't need assault weapons. So what is the problem with having a gun register and tighter gun control laws? If you are a law-abiding citizen, it should not be a problem, right?

                • tWiggle

                  Posted this before, but the Police are very keen on the gun registry. Since monitoring guns in crimes after Mosque shooting, they found that the guns come mostly from legal gun licence holders who onsell to middle-men servicing crims.

                  You can see how a gun registry would close down this lucrative legal-to-illegal movement of guns (and maybe ammo).

                  Herald headline of middleman who onsold to crims

                  • tsmithfield

                    I actually think a gun registry is a good idea.

                    So long as it doesn't take two years to get through the process, it should be good.

            • Hunter Thompson II

              Labour never campaigned on the issue of co-governance, so it is little wonder many people are objecting to the government's efforts to implement it in the new water legislation and the revised RMA rules. It really amounts to a covert attack on democracy.

              Some outside the government think they can see which way the wind is blowing. There is an attempt by someone in the NZ Law Society to subject lawyers to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

              That might make sense if we all agreed on what those principles are, but as far as I can see no-one can define them because there has been no open debate.

          • corey

            Ok but what about the many many Maori, pasifica, indian and asian voters who are angry with labour, the greens and find the idea of adding TPM to the mix toxic?

            Because of the ethnic make up of NZ, a lot of brown people are voting for Nat/act/NZf, (more than vote for the Maori party and the greens combined) and I don't think they are voting for the right because they are racist.

            More like they are sick of prices going out of control, noone being able to afford a house to rent and they live in the areas with all the crime and they are god damned sick of it.

            A lot of maori are disgusted with the left atm, when watching the news with my whanau and hearing life long Maori labour voters shout "racist" and change the channel when Marama comes on was eye opening.

            White people and may have appreciated Maramas comments but noone else did and considering they insulted about 30+% of their own voters …sheesh

            A lot of maori support the lefts position on Maori issues, but just as many support nationals position on the treaty.

            Heads would explode on the left if national actually ran in all the Maori seats, cos they'd win a couple.

            • Anne

              When you and your bedfellows (as in allies) recover your memories and stop blaming the government for:

              the pandemic.

              the global financial crisis caused by the pandemic aftermath.

              the domestic difficulties for many caused by the pandemic aftermath.

              the racist attitudes which are on the increase in response to the pandemic aftermath.

              and become rational beings again then I will engage with you.

              No-one has blamed the government for the cyclones yet – or their aftermath – but no doubt it is coming.

    • Sanctuary 1.2

      The poll shows that Greens actually performing is critical to a left victory at the election.

      Fortunately, the troublemaking Green faction that seems full of the same malcontents, defeatists and saboteurs that flocked to, and destroyed, the parties of the Alliance before decamping to Internet/Mana and then heading off to the mad hatter faction of the Green party appear to have been dealt a severe blow if the Green party list is anything to go by.

      Having dealt with the distraction, the Green party is on notice to pull finger and get out there and do it's job. No more excuses.

      • tsmithfield 1.2.1

        It wouldn't surprise me if the Greens get their votes back. But, the point I was making, is that the votes they recover will likely be mainly at the expense of Labour. So, the overall left block may not be much better off as a result.

        • Ad

          Saint Swarbrick will keep the Greens alive at worst.

          The critical difference between this election campaign and the 2005 election when Labour were in a similar position, is that Dr Cullen was prepared to pull out a major populist policy deep into the campaign.

          But there's no sign that Robertson has that in the tank.

          The lesson of multiple post-2005 campaigns is that the Greens fuck up and Labour has to pull themselves up to win government.

          What does Labour have left?

          • tsmithfield

            Ad, I have always thought that the Greens would be much stronger if they could move away from the far left stuff, and become more centrist economically, and focus more on environmental issues. And also more effective.

            Given history shows that right wing parties have been in power the the majority of time since 1950., then they would be in a position to have a postive effect on Green outcomes, regardless of which of the major parties was in power. And, in my mind, the ability to achieve positive change for the environment trumps any ideological political stuff.

            Heck, even I could be tempted to vote Greens in that situation. Probably not with my party vote, to be fair. But, I could well vote for a Greens electorate candidate.

            • SPC

              Have NACT ever shown a willingness to place the environment before business interests/economy/-small government and tax cuts?

              • tsmithfield

                Perhaps they would more if they were relying on a Green vote to keep them in power.

                • James Simpson

                  That the point so many people don't understand.

                  Sharples and Turia showed what can be achieved if you jump into bed with you political opponents.

                  The way to make National do things they wouldn't ordinarily do, is make them rely on you for power.

                • devil You mean, "what's in it for me???" That kind reason?

            • Shanreagh

              And, in my mind, the ability to achieve positive change for the environment trumps any ideological political stuff.

              That is my view too. We need a party with an unabashed focus on the environment.

              Hopefully the Greens have the time to pull away from 'weirdo', to me, causes aand focus on the environment, climate change, putting people in the equation for low cost housing/housing. This sector is crying out for new ideas, a focus etc.

    • SPC 1.3

      Key led Clark 36-28 in 2008

      Hipkins CS 27 lead Luxon Seymour 25

  2. tsmithfield 2

    There has been a bit of hysteria on twitter with Russian trolls claiming that Commander in Chief of the Ukrainian Army, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, was killed or badly injured in a Russian missile strike, and that the Ukrainians have been covering it up for PR reasons. This has been fuelled by the fact that Zaluhnyi hasn't been seen in public for awhile.

    Well today, the Ukrainians put out this video. Hilarious trolling of the Russians. Lol.

  3. SPC 3

    A story about a school setting the right sort of example on drugs because the safety of the pupils who go there is the most important thing.

    • tWiggle 3.1

      Muldoon is a famous ex-old boy of Mt Albert Grammar, the school in the article. A friend said he was in sixth form there when Prime Minister Muldoon came to speak at his old school. This was a little after the Springbok tour. My friend stood up and threw a meat pie at Muldoon, hitting him square on. Boys being boys, the assembly burst out laughing.

      While my friend wasn't expelled for his action, he was shunned, and left the school a little later.

      • Anne 3.1.1

        I have a vague memory of that incident having grown up in Mt Albert.

        Another facet of the Muldoon years was – and still is – under wraps. He was not averse to having anyone he perceived as an enemy (whether they were or not) being ostracised, covertly harassed and intimidated – and their careers destroyed.

        He was the arsehole of arseholes and should have been publicly outed for his conduct but instead he was shielded by those who should have known better – but didn't.

        • tWiggle

          I went to a school up the road from Parliament, and we certainly knew in fourth form that Muldoon slept around with women looking to add a notch to their bedposts.

          Wellington was the sort of town where political gossip zipped round pretty quick. The mistresses goss came up when he rushed legislation for no-fault divorce, and back-dated it so that he was no longer cited as co-respondent in the architect Athfield's divorce. Blatant misuse of the legislature, although the end product was a plus to NZ society.

          All this was local knowledge, but of course suppressed in the media. It's not so much the personal morality, it's the back-dating that made Muldoon a corrupt politician.

          • Anne

            Hi tWiggle

            You clearly know about some of Muldoon's nefarious activities so you will remember the Colin Moyle Affair.

            In 1975 while working late in his ministerial office, Moyle received an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to possess documents that proved corruption of some sort occurring inside the Defence Force. The caller (male) arranged to meet Moyle on an inner city street corner to pass over the documents. Moyle went to the rendezvous but the caller never turned up. Instead along came a police patrol car and he was taken in for questioning for suspected homosexual activity. (Homosexuality as it was called then was illegal.)

            While Muldoon was not involved in the original set-up, he got to hear about it and he used the information to destroy Moyle's political career. Moyle was being tipped as a future Labour leader. Moyle kept quiet about the phone call – presumably because he knew he would not be believed.

            Years later I came to know the identity of the anonymous caller and that is another interesting story. He eventually fled to Australia in strange circumstances where he remained for the rest of his life. He and a close associate (whom I knew well) had been conducting all manner of political pranks and hoaxes – a few of them amusing which were boasted about – but others had a sinister aspect to them. The Moyle Affair was the latter.

            It provides a little sunlight into what was going on behind the scenes throughout the Muldoon years in particular.

            • PsyclingLeft.Always

              Hi Anne. How are you? Well, from the small amount you have put on The Standard over the time I have read…you have certainly had some "interesting" (right word? ) life experience. I hope you have come out of it all ok?

              No book in a future time?

              I rate your comments here pretty highly. FYI I stopped posting on The Standard for quite a while (you prob know why..the sad loss of some awesome posters : (

              But there are a few still that make it worthwhile : )

              Anway..all the best.

              • Anne

                Thanks PLA.

                Yes, I nearly parted company permanently with TS over the toxic atmosphere being created. I hope some of those driven away will eventually return.

                The plight I found myself engulfed in left their mark. I suffered PTSD for a few years but that is in the past.

                It still upsets me though that the culprits were never brought to justice. A lot of people were adversely affected by the appalling behaviour which included among them a few well known cases.

  4. The latest poll showing Nat/ACT can just form a government should be seen in this context where the rolling average shows Lab/Gr/TMP could form a government.

    Have to say that the Horizon Poll is a bit of an outlier here though. It's all to play for.

    • Mac1 4.1

      I am not sure of all this so I am seeking information from those who might know.

      The recent Horizon poll was a large one with 1500 respondents and a 10% don't know. Also, and most importantly (?), the respondents were those on the roll and practising voters. And again, was the Horizon poll comparable in its methodology- on-line, cell phones , land lines, etc?

      • tWiggle 4.1.1

        Did you catch the Big Hairy News interview I posted yesterday?

        BHN interviews Horizon pollster

        I aplogise if you got the info from there already.

        • tWiggle

          Gives info about political polling, which is independent and uncommissioned by any political party, and tries to balance across NZ geography and demography. However, they do solicit for survey members on their website (might sign up!), so they may be polling the same population of respondents. There is a contact email there, so you could always ask them directly.

          • Bearded Git

            Yes soliciting survey members creates bias. Horizon's results have usually been different to the main pollsters over many years. I mean while I would love to believe that National is polling 26% per their latest poll, I find this hard to believe.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Crammer's piece on the defunding of DoC is a fucker:

    Following last week’s budget, alarm bells have been rung by the Department of Conservation. Just after 5pm on Wednesday, Deputy Director-General for Operations, Mike Tully, sent an email to senior staff advising them of discussions that took place on Monday with the senior leadership team relating to the 2023/24 financial baseline information for the department.

    In the leaked email Tully stated, “In summary, it did not paint the desired picture we might have hoped for. To be transparent, the initial view shows that we do not have sufficient funding to cover our basic running costs.”

    “There is now alot of urgent work underway to seek clarity on our position,” he wrote.

    The immediate effect, as set out in the email, is the introduction of a hiring freeze and a review by Deputy Director-Generals in the department to identify, “how fixed operating cost commitments fit within available funding before budget envelopes are confirmed”.


    In a NZ Herald article in February, Audrey Young wrote, “Māori hate the Department of Conservation, MPs on the Māori affairs select committee were told this morning by former Conservation Minister Poto Williams.

    She said that was what she had been told by Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis last year when she was first appointed minister in charge of the Department of Conservation.

    “One of the first things that Minister Davis said to me was that Māori hate DoC,” she told the committee.

    “‘They have a really poor relationship with the department so good luck to you sister,” he had said.

    Which in my mind confirms that Labour are complicit in the now obvious plan to privatise the Conservation Estate entirely into the hands of a tiny ticket clipping elite.

    • SPC 5.1

      The idea of nefarious Maori is simply Cranmer on message. Part of the GA orbit towards The Platform and the Wright brothers circling over white children like crows on the cradle.

      The solution being National's Massey cossacks riding to the rescue – once upon a tine a super fund was seen as a threat to private property ownership.

      PS the real threat as to public access to the foreshore and seabed was and is private ownership (and not necessarily local ownership at that).

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        Do you have an argument? Or just a 'shoot the messenger'?

        Is the quoted article wrong in any fashion? Is DoC funding actually increasing? And given the Maori caucus's obviously cosy relationship with TMP – is there any doubt that the plan to privatise the Conservation Estate is still shuffling forwards?

        Because if that was the plan, then this relentless defunding of DoC would be an obvious step along the way.

        As for the seabed and foreshore – what fraction of that was held by foreign overseas private owners? Compared to say the fraction of New Zealand that would be privatised if we lost public control of the Conservation Estate?

        • SPC

          I'd simply point out that most budgets got limited increases (part from for wage increases to staff) for the year ahead. Conservation was/is no exception.

          To try and connect that to some conspiracy theory with a bit of gossip is hardly a serious case. It's peddling a dubious narrative because it suits an agenda.

          Some people are susceptible to that, some are not.

          You made the claim of relentless defunding – on what basis?

          • RedLogix

            Read the article.

            In the leaked email Tully stated, “In summary, it did not paint the desired picture we might have hoped for. To be transparent, the initial view shows that we do not have sufficient funding to cover our basic running costs.”

            “There is now alot of urgent work underway to seek clarity on our position,” he wrote.

            All the evidence this is the end point of a process that has been going on for a lot longer than just this year:

            The department is known to have been chronically underfunded for years but it has now reached crisis point as the government has required DoC to deliver on an increasing number of core programmes and take responsibility for the maintenance of a third of New Zealand’s total land, whilst not matching the annual increases in wages and inflation.

            A reality confirmed by my own connections with the hunting and tramping community who report an obvious rundown of many backcountry huts, especially those that do not have a local community looking after them.

            And it is not a lack of money that seems to be the problem:

            Jobs for Nature is unaffected by this current squeeze as its funding is ring-fenced. The controversial programme is described by the government as a $1.2 billion programme that manages funding across multiple government agencies, including the Department of Conservation, to benefit the environment, people and the regions. It is part of the Covid-19 recovery package. The programme was created in 2020 and is intended to run for four years.

            That raises an obvious question – if $1.2b is not enough to keep DoC's core functions going – exactly where is this money going? And into whose pockets?

            • SPC

              To read the full article, I would have top pay "Cranmer" $100.

              The article stating the "underfunding has been going on for years" – is not evidence.

              A lot of ECE's also report a problem with lack of funding – some fund-raise to get around that.

              It's likely a lot of the huts came from the community in the first place.

              And it is not a lack of money that seems to be the problem:

              It is, if the Department cannot perform core functions because of a lack of it. But this appears to be a new problem for the year ahead.

              The Jobs for Nature programme was for job creation in local communities to prevent unemployment from COVID. It has no connection to DOC core function funding.

              • RedLogix

                It's likely a lot of the huts came from the community in the first place.

                There are about 1880 backcountry huts in the NZ of which DoC manage 1073:


                They have a diverse history originating over time from within tramping and hunting clubs, the old NZFS, the National Park Service and so on. But they are now all legally owned by DoC. Some huts continue to be looked after by local clubs or in some cases just groups of individuals who put their own time and sometimes funds into looking after them. DoC will usually create some kind of 'management plan' with this group.

                I cannot put an exact fraction that are maintained in this manner, but I would hazard a guess that it is less than 200 nationally.

                You can see the contrast in the Tararua's. Huts such as Blue Range, Mitre Flats and Roaring Stag that are community maintained are doing well – even when they're 70yrs old like Blue Range. By contrast the DoC maintained Tarn Ridge which is just a few km deeper into the range and was built in 2003 is now listed as unsafe by DoC :


                Water damaged in a storm three years ago – recently I spotted a YT clip that briefly revealed serious mold and water damage. DoC clearly aren't able to fix this.

                And this is just one representative glimpse of a much larger problem Anyone who has any knowledge of the situation on the ground recognises DoC has been underfunded for ages. But what we're seeing now is a government with senior Ministers expressing open hostility toward it – to the point where even it's core functions are under threat.

                And yes why was Jobs for Nature separated out in the first place? $1.2b is a lot of money – and now COVID is over and NZ is running short on labour the justification has evaporated. Exactly where is this ‘ring-fenced’ four year funding going to?

                • SPC

                  There is a disconnect between

                  the initial view shows that we do not have sufficient funding to cover our basic running costs.

                  and the problem of historic lack of funding

                  The new hut in 2003 indicates an extension of provision while Clark was PM and United was a support partner.

                  The DOC budget pressure 2023-2024 appears to be a new development, unrelated to problems in maintaining DOC assets.

                  Presumably DOC focuses on maintaining assets used by tourists and the cost of this is going up (pressure of numbers) and the constant creation of new walks for such purposes and also locals adds new costs. It may be that consequent from that resources for existing huts (tramper and hunter use) are becoming more limited.

                  • RedLogix

                    The new hut in 2003 indicates an extension of provision while Clark was PM and United was a support partner.

                    My bad – I misread an entry on Hutbagger – the actual date was 1993. By contrast similarly exposed Blue Range – the two huts are almost within sight of each other – was built in 1954 and is still in good nick having been looked after all that time by a local tramping club.

                    It doesn't take too much, just a couple of guys with basic building and handyman skills to fix leaks, broken doors, windows and fireplaces. Done it myself a few times. DoC being a govt dept does tend to overcook these things, but then that's govt for you.

                    Tarn Ridge was perfectly fine when I was last there in 2011 when I was stuck there on my own for three nights in relentlessly bad weather. But clearly storm damage in 2020 has not been fixed and the place is going downhill fast. This is a well used hut that sees thousands of people annually; three years later and still nothing. It's diagnostic of a problem under this govt.

                    • SPC

                      Under this government? Historic underfunding did not occur 2008-2017?

                      There are two ways of managing the problem of funding maintenance of DOC assets

                      1 contract out the job to a an agency working for DOC – the contract specifies an obligation to fund the bill for the maintenance services (based on need, such as damage by weather). The work is then not dependent on there being available finance.

                      2 DOC actively seeks out "community" partners to assist in managing huts used by hunters and trampers.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well at least we both agree DoC has been chronically underfunded by a series of govts – except I would say under Helen Clark whose well known love for our outdoors might well have made a difference.

                    But the evidence is there that under this Labour govt there is downright hostility toward DoC and that a chronically poor situation has now become critically bad.

                    And I have focused on hut maintenance because I am moderately familiar with this aspect – but DoC have a much wider remit than this. What other wheels are falling off the DoC machine that we are not seeing? What other programs are being quietly shelved or wound down in ways that are not obvious to the public?

                    All the while $1.2b of funding is being thrown at a temporary make work scheme, which might well be doing some short term good, but no-one can tell us whether it was good value or not.

                    • SPC

                      I don't accept that there is downright, or any other, hostility to DOC.

                      Costs of maintenance are clearly going up (worker costs and regulatory) and weather events are worse, and in that environment budget constraint is problematic.

                      That then exposes long held concerns about resourcing to a new level – what is called a critical moment in time. That is either resolved by the public service doing an internal administration review or a political party does it for them.

                      At the moment, it would seem that isolated huts (or where there are two only one is kept up to standard) are being left to die on the vine because they cost more than the others to maintain.

                  • RedLogix

                    Tarn Ridge is not 'isolated' – it has long been a well used, important point of safety for three decades. As I said when I was there in 2011 and it was 20yrs old it was perfectly fine – and was absolutely instrumental in saving my life on that occasion. Letting it 'die on the vine' makes no sense whatsoever to anyone slightly familiar with the context.

                    That after three years DoC have not been able to fix water leaks caused by a storm three years ago before they go on to cause serious and much more expensive damage, is diagnostic of a much wider problem. This is basic stuff any asset manager knows how to deal with in the normal course of events; there will be a R&M budget for exactly this work.

                    But now it seems there is not. And that is not normal at all.

                    • SPC

                      It is hard to know, but it is likely there was no immediate response at Tarn Ridge because of the pandemic. That would have led to a subsequent greater cost. The budget would still be there, but if there is a budget under stress and if one can do 4 other huts for the major cost at one, guess what happens.

                      At some point someone will make the case that Tarn Ridge and X, Y and Z damaged in 2020 were not fixed because of the pandemic and make a case for extra funding. Or otherwise wait for community activism to help them out of a hole.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well that is well and good, but senior public servants do not write emails saying this when things are normal:

                    Following last week’s budget, alarm bells have been rung by the Department of Conservation. Just after 5pm on Wednesday, Deputy Director-General for Operations, Mike Tully, sent an email to senior staff advising them of discussions that took place on Monday with the senior leadership team relating to the 2023/24 financial baseline information for the department.

                    In the leaked email Tully stated, “In summary, it did not paint the desired picture we might have hoped for. To be transparent, the initial view shows that we do not have sufficient funding to cover our basic running costs.”

                    “There is now alot of urgent work underway to seek clarity on our position,” he wrote.

                    It's obvious from this an already thin and stretched Department is going to be once again gutted of skilled and capable staff. Damage that might take a decade to recover from – if ever.

                    Given that we know the problem is not a lack of govt funding they're willing to spend in this area – the obvious question is why is this govt apparently determined to strangle DoC to the point of failure?

                    Nah – we've seen all of this before. Certain Ministers in this govt are laying the conditions for the Conservation Estate to be privatised.

                    • SPC

                      Given that we know the problem is not a lack of govt funding they're willing to spend in this area – the obvious question is why is this govt apparently determined to strangle DoC to the point of failure?

                      The COVID spending was not evidence of that, if there had been previous under funding (no compensation for higher regulatory costs?) over decades – multiple administrations.

                      Nah – we've seen all of this before.Certain Ministers in this govt are laying the conditions for the Conservation Estate to be privatised.

                      What is the connection between what we have seen before and certain Ministers in the current government – you've only named one and based your opinion on a singular meaning of what was reportedly said?

                      The last time a two term Labour administration went into an election, National under the leadership of the future ACT leader, Brash, ran the iwi or Kiwi campaign – to get into power and allocate surpluses out as tax cuts (and under invest in infrastructure – delayed to 2008 – and so here we are).

                      This time it's the threat of privatising the Conservation Estate or Maori co-governance of public assets – both cannot be true can they?

                  • RedLogix

                    This time it's the threat of privatising the Conservation Estate or Maori co-governance of public assets – both cannot be true can they?

                    Co-governance is a trojan horse. The most cursory examination of what is being openly said is that the goal is to privatise the entire estate into the hands of the tribal elites.

                    • SPC

                      The issue is then based on Labour preferring co-governance arrangements (as a convenience to balance sheet separation – which allows easier and cheaper finance and also plays its part in meeting indigenous rights obligations – UN Declaration) and ambition among Maori to recover public land assets to iwi.

                      And by linking one to the other, re-visit Iwi or Kiwi. Because TPM would prefer a co-governance partner in government to National.

                      However if National do get in, do not be surprised if they do a co-governance arrangement themselves – they signed the UN Declaration, they set up whanau ora, they reversed the F and S legislation.

                      The act was repealed and replaced by the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act in 2011.

                • Shanreagh

                  As one involved a million years ago with the environmental restructuring in 1987 it was well known that back then DoC started out with a basic underfunding and has had to work with this and addtional underfunding since then.

                  DoC has been under constant watch/fear of losing more funding, of losing staff, etc etc. This has manifested itself in constant restructruings, pulling back from regular maintenance so that yearly plans become two yearly plans. DoC have had staff who have worked had and been nimble in their actions to get/keep a presence.

                  I would venture that the old settler mentality of using everything is alive and well in NZ. So the concept of national parks, of ecological reserves, empty spaces ete, the Conservation estate, the lungs of NZ's world, is not known or appreciated.

                  I think it would be instructive if we could get some of the old stagers to advise on the 1987 underfunding and bring it forward through to the present day.

                  • RedLogix

                    I would agree with much of this. DoC have always been a bit of a Cinderella Dept.

                    So the concept of national parks, of ecological reserves, empty spaces ete, the Conservation estate, the lungs of NZ's world, is not known or appreciated.

                    The same cannot be said for the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders and the even larger numbers of visitors to this country – who deeply and passionately value the Conservation Estate. I agree we could do so much better than we are.

                    So how galling would it have been for DoC watch $1.2b of funding get dished out – all over the place it seems – while the peak body responsible for conservation in this country seems to have gotten only crumbs?

                    • SPC

                      No more galling than for health and education workers wanting a wage increase or those who wanted a house at income related rent.

                      Cranmer and National want to discredit the continuance of 4 year Jobs for Nature and other COVID spending programmes because they want the money to fund their tax cuts. They do not intend to place the money with DOC.

                    • RedLogix

                      Why should this Jobs for Nature scheme be immune to scrutiny? It was a lot of ding that has clearly come at a cost to DoC who are in principle the long-term manager of the estate.

                      Or maybe some Ministers in this govt are happy to see them fail.

                    • SPC

                      Clearly it's not possible to convince someone, who wants to believe in a conspiracy theory, that it is not true.

                      All I can do is identify the motives of those who created it, and what their purpose is.

                      The provision of COVID money was for temporary use, not the funding of longer term government programmes. It is either spent for that purpose, or not spent at all. It does not get re-allocated.

                      National understands that point, even if you do not.

                    • RedLogix

                      Ring fencing funds is an entirely political decision. Clearly the original justification for the fund – a make work scheme under supposedly emergency conditions – is now well passed.

                      If the "Jobs for Nature" funds are not spent, no-one piles up a stack of $100 notes and sets fire to them. The funds might not be 're-allocated' in a direct sense, but the General Fund that is now better off can readily re-use the funds elsewhere.

                    • SPC

                      The funds might not be 're-allocated' in a direct sense, but the General Fund that is now better off can readily re-use the funds elsewhere.

                      You've never worked in government finance.

                      It's not even in the DOC orbit, it's in no departments orbit for their spending.

                    • SPC

                      Timed out.

                      The money not used is for debt repayment or general economic purpose – such as post COVID inflation cost management. The chance of it being placed into department spending (funded out of annual finance resources) is zero. At best a capital project, or now to flood damage assistance.

                    • RedLogix

                      I am quite aware that govt Budgets are subject to arcane, complex and intentionally confounding processes – but ultimately it is a political decision to starve DoC of funds.

        • "Messenger"???? devil "Stirrer in chief" is my view of your contributions, which often have a projected scare tactic. "Maori Elite" is sooo right wing.

          • Shanreagh

            Yes agree…..'Maori elite' to me means that they've well and truly quaffed the Koolaid from sources like Brash, Hide, Julian Batchelor….maybe the same ones that are having trouble finding Govt Depts to complain too because they have all got 'Mowree' names now.

            • Patricia Bremner

              yes Yes Shanreagh.

            • RedLogix

              I'm reasonably certain I have spent more time on more marae than you have. Sly accusations of racism are pointless.

              • Shanreagh

                Not too sure what you are meaning RL. But the numbering seems to be a criticism of my view of the RW trope of the so-called Maori Elite. I view this as an attempt to be divisive/smearing.

                Time at a marae, does not come into it.

                Of course the Maori who want to use Treaty payouts to feed the family now and in the future are always going to get bad press from the ones who would rather have it now and spend it now……always have, always will.

                • RedLogix

                  Time at a marae, does not come into it.

                  Why not? If memory serves me it was about 9 different marae in very rural settings spread over the King Country, Urewera and the East Coast. Probably every third weekend or so over most of a decade in the 80's.

                  Usually stayed the Friday and Saturday night, longer if it was a tangi. Many important memories and experiences, and much of what I learned shaped the views I am expressing here.

                  Like being vehemently told off by a kaumatua for trying to pretend to be something I was not. A part of me still smarts a bit typing that out.

    • Ad 5.2

      It is staggering that DoC hasn't absorbed the massive private sector efforts for conservation when private individuals of means are clearly able to put up serious money to do so.

      There's the Tasti Products guy retoring 24,000 hectares:

      There's the staggeringly large QE2 Trust which covers 190,000 hectares of private land by private landowners.

      There's 136,000 hectares at Mahu Whenua between Wanaka and Arrowtown.

      There's 2,300 hectares and thousands of volunteers at Ark in the Park in Auckland.

      And yes, the public don't have the right to walk all over them. Much of it is private land and some of it is super-highly managed.

      The lack of coherence about conservation and the collective effort that could be organised and expressed as a whole is just …. sad.

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        DoC's engagement with conservation and maintenance oriented communities has been a bit hit and miss. For the most part local staff seem to have been very receptive – but Head Office syndrome seems to be the handbrake all too often.

        So yes it makes sense that where they had the resources some groups have struck out on their own. But then again without the long-term backing and security of the state you have to wonder how many of these fine efforts will still be around in 100 yrs time?

        The point you make about a lack of coordination is a good one, but this conversation goes back decades. Hell groups like Permolat were founded sometime in the early 2000's – the real question here is the evident hostility toward DoC from senior Ministers in this govt who seem quite happy for DoC to be seen to fail.

        • SPC

          What senior Ministers?

          • RedLogix

            Well if you had been reading the thread – the quote above mentions Kelvin Davis for one. Of course we could speculate on the context , but the underlying hostility seems plain enough.

            • SPC

              The warning can be taken in more ways from one. PW has Cook Island ancestry and was informed that Maori electorate MP's worked with local iwi and their relationships with DOC made the Minister's position more complicated when Labour was in government, more so since TPM was around as competition.

      • Janice 5.2.2

        One of the problems is the red tape. There are plenty of eager volunteers wanting to help, but because of Health and Safety they must be supervised and there must be RAMS for each job, the cost of staff to do this must be found out of budget.

        • RedLogix

          Yes. This is a long standing challenge – the interface between well-meaning people wanting to do the right thing and a govt department that has legal and public accountability is naturally full of tensions.

          I can have some understanding for DoC – imagine the horrendous blowback on them if as a result of some poorly controlled volunteer work something catastrophic happened. Think something like Cave Creek. Looking back that was a pivotal moment that forever swept away a lot of the old school – get in, get it done, she'll be right attitude that made the old NZFS such a legend for those of us old enough to remember them.

          But then again govts never quite seem to be able to apply commonsense to these matters, which is why you get the ludicrous spectacle of prominent "Fire Exit" signs in tiny bivs with just two bunks and one door just a few paces away.

      • SPC 5.2.3

        There are the occasional campaigns to preserve places, sometimes just beaches from being bought up by private owners.

        Or campaigns to save holiday camps.

        Maybe someone should form a national trust for the purposes of supporting various campaigns – information about the legal issues and red tape and access to legal and other support provided free of charge.

    • tWiggle 5.3

      Perhaps RedLogix, you confuse the word 'privatise' with 'return to owners'.

      • RedLogix 5.3.1

        Do you think Labour should take that policy into the election?

        • tWiggle

          You have railed against the Urewera settlement as privatisation. But that was considered through the tribunal process to be a fair settlement for a much larger loss of traditional lands, and assorted skullduggery by Seddon's government in nabbing the Urewera estate in the first place.

          "The Crown apologises to Tūhoe for past dealings that breached the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi. These include:

          • indiscriminate raupatu, wrongful killings, and years of scorched earth warfare
          • denying Tūhoe the right of a self governing Urewera Reserve by subverting the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896
          • excluding Tūhoe from the establishment of Te Urewera National Park over their homelands
          • wrongly treating Lake Waikaremoana as Crown property for many years. "

          'Privatisation' or 'return to rightful owners'. My bet's on the second.

  6. pat 6

    Back to the future!

    Calls for 'apprentice' mental health workers to help ease staff shortages.

    I recall the disappointment in the hospital system when the 'in house on the job' nursing training was replaced by tertiary institution trained staff.

    40 years is long time to take to recognise an error

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Yes. It took medicine about 300 years to properly recognise the impact of Vitamin C in eliminating scurvy. These days the pace seems only a little quicker.

      • Anker 6.1.1

        Wasn't that Captain James Cook Reg Logix?

        • joe90

          Royal Navy surgeon James Lind was the first westerner to join the dots.

          Since antiquity in some parts of the world, and since the 17th century in England, it had been known that citrus fruit had an antiscorbutic effect. John Woodall (1570–1643), an English military surgeon of the British East India Company recommended them[7] but their use did not become widespread. John Fryer (1650–1733) too noted in 1698 the value of citrus fruits in curing sailors of scurvy.[8] Although Lind was not the first to suggest citrus as a cure for scurvy, he was the first to study its effect by a systematic experiment in 1747.[9] It was one of the first reported, controlled, clinical experiments in history, particularly because of its use of control groups.[2]

    • SPC 6.2

      At some point the return to apprenticeships will include public service worker training, if only to ensure the capability to deliver services.

      In the meantime, I would end the requirement to repay TL to those working in Enzed health and education (this maintains the incentive to work here after training) – that with increasing wages to the Oz level (and keeping housing costs to no higher or less than that across the ditch).

      In a global shortage environment we have to focus on maintaining first world society standards.

      • pat 6.2.1

        The shortage has been artificially accentuated by removing 4-5 years of productive working life from the future workforce…all based on some theoretical increase in our bodies ability to work to an ever expanding timeframe. That functional working life (for the overwhelming majority) is around 40 years…or 80,000 hours…and we chose to reduce it in many instances by around 10-12%.

    • Adrian 6.3

      Tertiary trainee nurses get a lot of in-hospital training especially in years 2 and 3, the main difference is that they dont get paid for it but the hospitals get money for having them there as it soaks up a bit of "buddy "time from full time nurses guiding them along. Young nurses used to be used as arse wipers and cleaner uppers but a lot of that appears to be done by nurse aids now. Year 1 is a lot of getting them up to speed on the maths and science. Nurses now do quite a bit of the care that doctors used to do hence the requirement for a high level of competency in the science etc.

      • pat 6.3.1

        The ability for those with the desire and ability to expand their 'qualifications' existed under the in house regime and senior nursing staff were able to lighten the load of more "qualified' medical professionals…as it ever was.

        • SPC

          It did and does make sense to move to use nurse aides and cleaners rather than nurse interns. That said, it did allow the interns some paid work/free board in hostels during their training period.

    • Anker 6.4

      100% Pat!

  7. Ad 7

    The petition against the Gore Council Chief Executive is nearly 5,000 people.

    Gore has a total population of about 8,000.

    Gore's council to consider petition asking for its chief executive to resign |

    The elected Mayor democractically elected must win this contest.

    • tsmithfield 7.1

      I guess the mayor has the moral victory here. But, can the council actually force the CE to resign? He might just decide to brazen it out.

      • SPC 7.1.1

        The CEO has cost the council a lot of money getting rid of staff – so they could call the cost of his removal an investment to improve the council as place to work.

      • Ad 7.1.2

        I've seen it done so it's not impossible, but you have to get the CE Performance Review Committee really lined up in advance.

      • Ngungukai 7.1.3

        CEO obviously looking for a healthy redundancy ?

        • Ad

          A local government CE contract written 20 years ago like his was, will be gold plated. That will get its own story.

          But that's the political price you pay for ousting them.

      • Craig H 7.1.4

        Probably easier to just not reappoint at the expiry of his fixed-term agreement.

        • Ad

          And certainly a lot easier to than the Minister appointing a Commissioner.

        • SPC

          If the current council has renewed his contract since the election that would be a story alright.

          • Louis

            "One of the men at the centre of the stand-off at Gore District Council was given a two-year contract extension just two days before the new council was elected"


            • SPC

              Gore is intent on outing itself as an urban hovel run by incumbents who are incompetent.

              A secret decision before the election to renew the contract that was not due for renewal until September this year … this is the sort of thing that occurs when corrupt things have been swept under the carpet and they do not want anyone to find out. That, or the CEO is a sociopath and has them all cowered.

              • Louis


                "the council issued a statement to Newsroom in Parry's name confirming it had paid $413,000 in severance payments to around 20 staff between 2005 and 2022"

                "in late 2007 Parry made a surprise visit to the London home of one of the complainants, former chief financial officer Doug Walker. It resulted in Walker seeking a restraining order against Parry for threatening behaviour"


                • tWiggle

                  Bad blood feud as well, in that small-town way. The new Mayor's mother was one of the senior council staff who left/was pushed out in the previous term. It is highly likely she encouraged her son to run, and past events possibly spoiled the chance for a professional working relationship from the start.

  8. Sounds like a toxic environment to work at reading between the lines ?

  9. SPC 9

    So next question time in parliament about a resilient infrastructure is becoming predictable.

    What does work to making our infrastructure look like if it does not include … communications?

    • tWiggle 9.1

      Read a little further into the article you link to for the very reasonable reason why government did not agree to Spark's diversion of $24 mi from rapid 5G roll-out to weather-proofing existing plant.

      "Digital Economy and Communications Minister Ginny Andersen said the Government did not want to upset the three linked contracts – with Spark, 2degrees and One NZ (formerly Vodafone) – to improve provincial and rural connectivity.

      “To re-open negotiations with all three telcos to consider Spark’s proposal would have held up the acceleration of 5G rollout and other important rural connectivity initiatives,” she said in a statement on Thursday."

      Perhaps Spark should cough up a little more of its own money for future-proofing equipment?

      • SPC 9.1.1

        There is an expression walking and chewing gum at the same time – why not do both?

        All they are seeking is a partner for some regional areas.

  10. joe90 10



    for every single fucking 'National accuses Labour of …' story, there's a graph to embarrass them.




    National accuses the Government of turning blind eye to road maintenance

    • Anker 11.1

      Ues for gods sake that rapist is no woman. I really feel for his victim, a man, who endured a sadistic rape. And now his attacker/rapist is referred to as a she.

      #not our crimes.

  11. Corey 12

    The polls are so close and are constantly within the margin of error they could go either way but this feels like a throw the bums out election.

    Its too close and the lefts voters, especially young people are notoriously bad at showing up to vote and Hipkins is not a popular, Luxon is actually doing ok as an opposition leader, they never poll well, but Hipkins as an incumbent? Awful.

    If labour wanted an everyman working class bloke, they should have gone with Kieren McNulty, who is insanely likeable and real and doesn't seem like an ai robot calculating a response whenever asked a question like Chris.

    And then you've got the fact labour has delivered bugger all in two terms, with a majority so noone young believes a damn thing will change if they get a third term so there's no passion at all in campaigning or turning out the vote.

    Annnnd a labour/green govt having to rely on the votes of a separatist radical party like TPM is going to make people stay home, protest vote or hold their noses and privately vote for the Tory's while they publicly say they voted Lab/green.

    I hope TOP and NZF both win and electorate, I hope National has to rely on them both to form a govt to moderate Act…and I think both have a place in parliament…

    I also hope …one day…. We can get a party that represents workers and renters and the poor cos all we currently have a parties that represent upper middle class urban liberals and upper middle class rural moderate conservative liberals

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