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Open mike 26/07/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 26th, 2022 - 86 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

86 comments on “Open mike 26/07/2022 ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    Brutal take-down of Jason Walls and 1ZB/NZME by Colin Peacock for Mediawach. This is about his criticism of the funding of and online doco about Dr. Siouxsie Wiles.

    Usually I don't mind Walls' commentary but he works for NZME so possibly has to has to provide anti-Labour content as part of his job description.

    I listened to the slot with Heather Stupidity-Allan the other day and it was a rather pathetic attempt at a hit job. Seems the whole story has been pulled from publication and Walls wasn't in his usual slot yesterday…


    • Sanctuary 1.1

      It's probably actionable under liberal libel laws so they've got Jason on CWI watch in a remote valley with no social media access until the dust settles.

  2. DB Brown 2

    "Is it time to rethink our food production" – Absolutely, yes.

    "Food production systems are in chaos. Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture, painted a picture of a system in dire need of innovation, where 89% of farmers couldn’t produce enough to sustain themselves on the land; where food systems had become fragile and where the impact of inputs (for example, gas) were going to become crippling."

    The re-imagining of food production systems has been going on for some time. But in NZ, if you have an imagination, be sure to shut up or you will be attacked. Especially here at The Standard, where Fonterra's income makes some weak at the knees.

    The article linked describes GE and highly technical systems as the way forward. I think they're simply part of the solution and GE more daft hubris from idiots who've nearly wrecked the place. We've barely harnessed the thousands of edible species we already have – we don't need a fancier cherry…

    The first really practical huge difference thing we might do, but wont because rich people are too precious/full of themselves to be useful – transition domestic lawns to food production or low maintenance natives. We already have the workforce – mowing lawns. A wee bit of retraining… But feeding the people and saving diversity, the environment and the planet at the same time isn't really the objective is it – it's getting rich somehow, gouging all you can before it collapses.

    When all our kids want is to be gangsters or influencers, rich and (in)famous… Clearly, they just want to escape. It's very broken but we built it and now we defend it like it works… Can we undo it.

    It's not just food production needs re-imagining, it's imagining.


    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      Of course, you are correct, DB Brown. What is it, deep down, do you suppose, that suppresses imagination so effectively and prevents us from recreating our world as a better place?

      I'm reading "Humankind" by Rutger Bregman at present, so am not inclined to believe that humanity is nasty and greedy by nature, so suspect some pathology or other has taken hold of us (the "us" that is preventing the shift to a better world).

      • DB Brown 2.1.1

        I agree. Yes I was pretty negative toward people. But there seems to be those who care (the great unwashed), and those who detest those who care. I find it increasingly difficult to attribute 'humanity' to corporations or their mouthpieces. Far too many products that are (knowingly) bad for the environment (or health) get sold and the sales get celebrated. And the gaslighting, so well and truly over that, as are our kids.

        The pathology is the stupid dreams we sell ourselves. As if richness and fame is in any way comparable to being valuable and truly seen.

        We’ve seen how so many of these people behave. They have not ‘arrived’ or ‘made it’ as people.

        • Robert Guyton

          Pablo Picasso said, "Everything you can imagine, is real".

          Others say, be careful what you wish for.

        • DB Brown

          Everything we see not of nature was imagined at one point. Imagination’s a powerful tool. Maybe it’s been captured by fluff and sound bite?

          We need to shift from a rat race to a communal place. We squander HUGE resources warring in media campaigns to sell things to each other. And the object is not to serve customers but to WIN. To repress the other players and monopolize to make the BIG MONEY. It should not be necessary to impose windfall taxes where financial infringement is so enormous it just can't be explained away anymore, yet we're seeing it. And we only see that because people are so squeezed they might riot otherwise.

          There's nothing wrong with doing well, just not at the expense of others and the environment. We're in this together but the rat race says we're in it to win. It's wrong-headed, some might say a pathology.

          We have what it takes. Will we use our resources to save ourselves, or allow corporations and billionaires to continue their plunder.

          • DB Brown

            Now I'll pivot from my anti-greed/stupidity rant and try talk re-imagining.

            We have a pollution problem. In the air, the land, the sea… It seems the by-products or waste steams of our industries are not being accounted for. For many of these industries, their waste stream is actually a resource for another industry, and should we stack a few industries together, we might make a lot less mess, and a lot more products out of the same inputs.

            One could use forestry slash to produce power, chemicals and biochar. Then put the biochar in flues and strip out nitrogen being emitted, then use that as fertiliser for carbon capturing trees. Then use the trees products as food, and the waste products for fungi, and their waste products as compost for forestry…

            Nature is the teacher for real efficiencies.

            You can use faeces and biomass to feed insects that feed poultry and fish that fertilise plants that produce more feed and food then ultimately back to faeces and biomass…

            Corporations can re-imagine themselves. Can align instead of compete, can create real stories not puff pieces.

            Forestry, agriculture horticulture and aquaculture could work together exploring and adapting to systems that solve each others problems and provide each others inputs.

            Just imagine.

            • Robert Guyton

              Very good, pragmatic suggestions.

              The pattern of behaviour seems to be, inspiration – manufacture – exploitation; conceive of a Great Idea (domesticate that sheep!) – make a crook and a sling to protect them from wolves and bears – fell some forest to make More Room for the Lucrative Resource.

              What we have yet to master, is discretion; how will this pan out, and should we put the brakes on some aspects of it.

              Other cultures have shown that applying discretion to behaviours results in long term success and resource maintenance. Ours has not. Now, we must, or face harsh consequences.

              Your very good, pragmatic suggestions will be subject to the same escalation and lack of discretion shown to date, yes?

              How might you/we ensure that imagination isn't misused as it has been up till now?

              • DB Brown

                "How might you/we ensure that imagination isn't misused as it has been up till now?"

                Good system design and regulation against exploitative/extractive practices, including financial extraction.

                Design: If aquaculture waste is fertiliser for the hydro outfit, and plant waste is food for the entomology outfit, and insects are food for the aquaculture outfit… it makes no sense to not be working together. Any biomass generated for industry – byproduct or not – should be useful or feeding something, somewhere, and that then feeds something else.

                The pressures taken off the natural environment are potentially enormous as we'd require far less inputs to generate the same outputs.

                Fish that don't need lots of antibiotics, veg that don't need lots of chemicals, fish and pet food that isn't stripped from the oceans… in this one example.

                Of course it's all far easier said than done. But the more systems work with nature, the less work will be required to get a result.

            • Stuart Munro

              In respect of forestry slash, it turns out that wood and wood decay products in small streams are crucial to heavy metal mitigation in streams where salmon have declined in North America. I expect that it plays a similar role in NZ both for stream quality for galaxiids, and as a base of estuarine food chains.

              The problem is reimagining corporate behaviour sufficiently that instead of their reflexive outsourcing of costs and consequences, they proactively try to close their product loops. Aquaculture/aquaponics are good industries for corporates to learn this because the pollution products are both readily traced, and readily repurposed.

              The NZ Salmon sites that experienced high mortality in the Sounds last summer have evidently been closed. If we are to have a long term future for aquaculture in NZ, as a site becomes unsuitable for this sub arctic species, another more temperature tolerant species ought to be found to take its place. Yellow belly flounder for example, is a warmer water species, highly palatable, fecund, and somewhat robust. If we don't build a more diverse industry, a couple of warm years will wipe the sector out.

      • RedLogix 2.1.2

        so am not inclined to believe that humanity is nasty and greedy by nature, so suspect some pathology or other has taken hold of us (the "us" that is preventing the shift to a better world).

        The classics decided that we were both. That the border between good and evil lay through every human heart as Solzhenitsyn put it.

        And sexual competition is the underlying reason why we – and all other species – compete. (And both sexes do it, just in differing styles.) Given that competition has been arguably the prime motive force behind human development, it cannot be discounted or eliminated.

        Yet unconstrained competition is excessively destructive and costly. Much of our social norms, structure and value systems are mechanisms to put boundaries and rules in place to moderate it. A society that undermines or even dismantles it's ethical systems, will become over time more competitive, more destructive and ultimately collapse as trust is extinguished.

        There is not a binary choice here, we need both positive competition and co-operation to run healthy societies. And that tension plays out not only in our institutions and politics – but within the choices each one of us makes moment to moment.

        • Robert Guyton

          Do you think, RedLogix, that the gathering Clouds of Consequence can in some way cause each of us to make better choices, moment to moment, as is sorely needed, or will some Great Power (governance system) be required to "encourage" us each to smarten up our individual acts?

          • RedLogix

            I needs go serve Mammon right now, but in short we always have a choice. Fear of the consequences of not doing so will soon enough force the nations into the next evolution of global governance. The era of imperialism is in it's dying thrashing throes.

            The era of population growth is ended forcing a fresh round of evolution everywhere – politically, economically and socially. Transitions are rarely comfortable but they cannot be escaped.

            If you want to visualise the future, imagine if you could bring your great-grandparents to life for a day, and share with them the fullness of modernity – they would be astonished, delighted and appalled in equal measures. This is how we should regard the future lives of our own children.

            • Anne

              Well said RL.

              I often wonder what my parents (let alone grandparents) would think if they 'returned' to see what the world was like now. They would be in awe of modern technology etc. but horrified by the overall deterioration of the planet and mankind. My father, who foresaw much of what has happened, would be driving everyone silly with his "I told you so".

      • weka 2.1.3

        What is it, deep down, do you suppose, that suppresses imagination so effectively and prevents us from recreating our world as a better place?

        Not just deep down, but what we are immerse in. This from Rob Hopkins in his book on What if… which is about imagination and how see the good futures,

        As I was thinking about this, I stumbled on a paper by a researcher named Dr Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William and Mary. Analysing more than 250,000 participants between kindergarten and adulthood from the late 1960s to the present, Dr Kim found that while creative thinking and IQ rose concomitantly until 1990, at some point between 1990 and 1998, they parted ways, with creative thinking heading into a ‘steady and persistent’ decline.

        Dr Kim attributed the decline to children’s having less time to play, more time spent on electronic devices, greater emphasis on standardised testing and a lack of free time for ‘reflective abstraction’. Her findings were picked up by Newsweek, and suddenly Dr Kim was inundated with invitations to appear on radio and TV.

        Hopkins, Rob; Hopkins, Rob. From What Is to What If (pp. 9-10). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

        • Robert Guyton

          Who (if anyone) might benefit from having a population lose its ability to imagine …?

          • Sanctuary

            Everyone wants the world to be a better place, as long as it is a better place that suits them.

            • Robert Guyton

              Some people want the world to be a better place, over all, for every living thing, even though it means significant change to their present life-styles.

    • weka 2.2

      the big obstacles I see:

      • TINA people who are deathly afraid of degrowth or transition
      • relocalising food production can't be supported within neoliberalism because it would eventually undercut export earnings (shock! horror! some food would be free!!)
      • dearth of imagination stemming from lack of exposure to other models (and ideological resistance to looking)
      • most people aren't trained or experienced in systems thinking of the kind needed for transition. Imagine if we taught basic permaculture principles in school.

      Love the lawns idea. I think we have to be ready for a fast transition. When the first lockdown was announced, garden centres sold out of seedlings. People get it, it's just that the lure of BAU holds them from acting until they get scared.

      Labour didn't classify garden centres as an essential business, which mean all those seedlings coming through went to waste. This is the kind of shit that wouldn't happen if we had more Greens in government. Small shifts that have big flow on effects.

      I'd really like to see people supported to garden:

      • Tool subsidies
      • classes
      • R & D for small scale production
      • systems for growing for others locally

      None of that is hard to set up and do, but it does need more support than we have currently.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.1

        Or…encourage the poking-in-everywhere, of vegetable seedlings.

        Best way to do that, modelling (go you green guerrillas!)

        (As for tools, use a stick! The belief that funding is needed and must be used to buy hardware; forks, barrows and hoses, is a false-path, a barrier to success, imo).

        • weka

          I'm all for a range of models. Guerilla gardening is a particular skill set.

          I love my garden tools. I could use a stick for many things I do but it would be harder. Making it easy for people seems key, and relatable. But I agree we should support the stick gardeners too!

      • arkie 2.2.2

        All great ideas, food sovereignty is the goal.

        It does however raise the issue of availability of time. Most people need to work 8hrs a day 5 days a week to keep up with their financial obligations. In a future where more people are gardening to supplement their food requirements, we will also need to have the hours available to do the labour involved in planning preparing maintaining and harvesting this food. The current system enforces employers demands on our time; this structure will need to be rebuilt too.

        • weka

          a good place to start might be job sharing, and 4 day weeks?

          Many of the people I know that garden seriously get to work less hours for wages or income because their grocery bills are so much lower. In this sense the gig and PT economy could be appropriated by some people (with obvious exceptions).

          There's potential in paying someone (or bartering) to garden on one's section while one is at work. Produce is shared, and the person with the time can make good use of it. Am thinking someone who is unemployed or underemployed teaming with a family where the adults are working full time. The full time workers can also do some of the more enjoyable aspects of garden in their small amount of time.

          We need models of how this can work that are easy for people to slot into. eg what kind of agreements to use.

          • arkie

            It's definitely possible, 4 day weeks on 40hr salaries is a good start, I think 25hr weeks should be the goal. All of these options would be available to workers in a system that isn't run for the profit of shareholders. Workers need more control over how they do their jobs. We have had incredible growth in productivity over the last 40 years but real wages have decreased and people are working more hours. It's about time that we recoup those profits in increased wages, reduced hours and more autonomy in the workplace.

        • DB Brown

          Good point. That's why we spend the current resources we're spending on lawns on gardens instead. They reckon on average we spend just over $500 p.a. on lawn care (I reckon kiwis spend a bit more). The global lawn industry is estimated to be worth 105B per annum. That's a lot of resources that could be redirected to growing urban food forests and garden patches.


          When we're no longer paying for the lawn care, and no longer paying for a reasonable portion of our veg/fruit/herbs… we have those savings to give the lawncare folks meaningful work helping the time poor or garden-disinterested keep their yard in production.

          Entirely doable. Garden businesses could coordinate across neighborhoods to set up tremendous food diversity in a relatively small place too.

          The rub is in the cooking of fresh foodstuffs – also costly in time. Those who want to could opt to sell what they grow and dine out as they do now (maybe at a place cooking their own produce).

          Got a visitor, hope that's not too disjointed, must go…

  3. Sanctuary 3

    I wonder if anyone can find out who was CEO of Air New Zealand was when it became a business partner with the dodgy financial fronts of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church?

    Just asking questions.

  4. weka 4

    twitter is saying Luxon has been awol for 11 days. Anyone got solid information on this?

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      In for servicing?

      • Anne 4.1.1

        That's a long service! Must be doing a complete overhaul… new motor, new chassis, bigger brighter wheels. I wonder if he is going to re-appear with a head of hair?

      • Anker 4.1.2

        lol Robert. Made me chuckle. Having listened to Willis a couple of times of late, I think Nats have got it wrong. Willis would have been the better choice.

        • Robert Guyton

          Willis is waiting…

        • observer

          I think it's highly likely Luxon will be replaced before the election.

          Sure, people can say "no, not another change", but it would be a worse mistake to persist with somebody so ill-suited for the job, so out of his depth.

          If they dump him before the end of the year National can recover easily.

      • bwaghorn 4.1.3

        Getting instructions from Hawaii

    • Sanctuary 4.2

      AWOL? As in Todd Muller type AWOL?

      • weka 4.2.1

        dunno really. People were tweeting about it yesterday and I didn't pay attention. Saw this this morning,

  5. Bill Drees 5

    Matt Robson, formerly Alliance/Progressives, is the only Kiwi on a Ukrainian Government list of people pushing pro Russian propaganda. Can anyone point me to what he was up to?

  6. observer 6

    Luxon now admits he was on holiday in Hawai'i.

    Now I don't have a real problem with that. All MPs need breaks, even the ones I don't like. But Luxon is so … Luxony!

    He tried to give the impression he was in NZ. He zoomed into meetings and made no mention of his location. He didn't lie (AFAIK) he just kept quiet. So he turned a minor story into a bigger one.

    It's like his statement (in several media interviews) that he hasn't been to a church in years. People go to churches for all kinds of reasons, weddings, funerals, carol services, your neighbour's niece's violin recital. Nobody would care if Luxon went to a church. But some adviser has said "Don't do the religion thing" and so he doubles down. So stupid.

    If he doesn't understand that covering up is always worse than the original story, he's doomed.

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      Staying in Key's batch.

      Going to church regularly.

      I bet.

    • observer 6.2

      I mean, this is actually a rejected comedy script. Except it's real.

      Today I'm in Te Puke …

      I would laugh if it weren't for one thing: the certain reaction if Ardern did anything like this. Resign, Jacinda!

      • AB 6.2.1

        Hey look, Te Puke is really warm in winter. The surf is great. I exercised personal responsibility by avoiding the slow train to Hamilton – that knocked 2% off our inflation. I delivered. Someone said 'deliver' was a transitive verb – I said half-priced transitive verbs was bottom feeding. I am super excited. Tomorrow I will not be in Te Puke or many other places. I rang the IMF, they said "are you in Te Puke?" I sang "Didn't my Lord Deliver Daniel" but left out the Daniel bit. A great day -I'm not apologising for my success.

        • Robert Guyton

          Te Puke? It's a small island in the Hawaiian chain, right?

          • logie97

            What a golden opportunity missed to connect with the Pacifica electorate.

            I wonder why he didn't go to (and make a big play of) one of Samoa/Nuie/Tonga/Cook Is for his family break.

            Suggests there is more to the Hawaiian break after all – meeting the MAGA crowd perhaps?

            • Anne

              "What a golden opportunity missed to connect with the Pacifica electorate."

              Don't think it would occur to the Luxons of this world. They are not of the common garden folk variety like the rest of us. Samoa/Nuie/Tonga/ Cook Is. way too down market for them. (sarc)

    • Robert Guyton 6.3

      Luxon: "did not think his social media was misleading."


      Everybody else did!

      • observer 6.3.1

        Watch this clip of Luxon trying to explain. His body language – and his language – is toe-curling.

        Rabbit, meet headlights

        • Robert Guyton

          Does he believe that stonewalling works?

          In the face of the evidence?

        • Anne

          National see themselves as vastly superior to the average person. They can't conceive of the possibility they should behave like the rest of us. Subterfuge for them is normal practice. When and if they get caught, they bristle and bat away the attacks as though they are victims not perpetrators and by and large the MSM let them get away with it.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            They seek him here, they seek him there. – the turquoise Pimpernel needs rescuing.

        • mary_a

          I noticed Luxon's nose twitch a few times in the clip. Any idea what this is a sign of? Too much brown nosing maybe?

          He looked restless and somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps he went to Hawai'i to consider his leadership position.

        • Koff

          Scomo (recently departed Ozzie PM, also a member of an evangelist church) got caught going to Hawai'i during the Black Summer bush fires 2019/2020 and was also very quiet about it (lied about where he was?). His unannounced disappearance at a critical time contributed to the sense that he was devious and selfish. Is Hawai'i a magnet for the Christian right or simply because it is warmer and drier than wintry NZ?

    • In Vino 6.4

      I have read that Luxon belongs to a small religious group called "The Upper Room".

      This group does not use churches. They meet in places like school halls or gyms after hours, and do their religious things there, not in a church

      So Luxon's statement that he hasn't been to church for ages is true at one level: he would go to a church only for somebody else's funeral, wedding or baptism. Otherwise he would not go to a church.

      It is, of course, only a half-truth. And half-truths can easily constitute a lie.

      The phrase 'to go to church' also means to many people 'to be religious'.

      If Luxon attends religious meetings without going to a church, he should have had the honesty to say so. Does he see admitting that he belongs to a small religious group that does not use churches as an electoral turn-off?

      If he has been attending such meetings, his statement about not having been to church for a long time is to my mind a vile piece of deliberate deceit, aimed at not losing NZ's large block of secular voters.

      I for one would like clarification.

  7. arkie 7

    Another timely tweet from Jason Hickel:

  8. Sabine 9

    oh well, that was / is an interesting read.


    At a recent joint news conference with the President of Belarus, Putin announced that Russia would transfer Iskander M missiles to Belarus. Those missiles can carry nuclear warheads, and the move is apparently intended to mirror nuclear sharing arrangements the United States has with five NATO allies — Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Turkey.

    U.S. nuclear weapons were introduced into Europe in the 1950s as a stopgap measure to defend NATO democracies whose conventional forces were weak. The number of nuclear weapons in those five countries peaked around 7,300 warheads in the 1960s, then dwindled to about 150 today, reflecting NATO’s growing conventional strength and its diminishing estimation of the military usefulness of nuclear weapons.


    Even though it has no direct role in the Ukraine war, it’s appropriate for NATO to have a role in encouraging negotiations to end it.

    Since NATO is an enormously strong military force — stronger even than Putin’s Russia — and since President Putin has said that the war in Ukraine is in part a response to NATO’s actions, NATO calling for peace negotiations would be fitting and carry some weight.

    It would also be in keeping with NATO member states’ obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. NATO leaders meeting in Madrid recently reaffirmed that “The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the essential bulwark against the spread of nuclear weapons and we remain strongly committed to its full implementation, including Article VI [the article that commits nuclear-armed states to pursuing nuclear disarmament].”

    Bringing both sides back into dialogue will require a dramatic gesture. Therefore, we propose NATO plan and prepare for withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear warheads from Europe and Turkey, preliminary to negotiations. Withdrawal would be carried out once peace terms are agreed between Ukraine and Russia. Such a proposal would get Putin’s attention and might bring him to the negotiating table.

    Removing U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe and Turkey would not weaken NATO militarily, since nuclear weapons have little or no actual usefulness on the battlefield. If they are truly weapons of last resort, there is no need to deploy them so close to Russia’s border.


    NATO’s nuclear arsenal failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has almost no utility as a weapon of war. But NATO’s nuclear weapons can still be put to good use, not by threatening to launch them and escalate the war, but by withdrawing them to make room for new negotiations and eventual peace.

    • joe90 9.1

      to make room for new negotiations and eventual peace.

      First up, NATO's nuclear arsenal was part of the old cold war strategy to be used should the Warsaw Pact threaten to over run Western Europe. That's unlikely to happen in the 21stC so NATO's nuclear arsenal should probably go.

      Second, Ukraine is the victim of Russia's war of imperial conquest, not NATO.

      And thirdly, NATO is an alliance. It's not up to the US to breach it's treaty agreement and withdraw the NATO nuclear arsenal because Putin embarked on a genocidal war to eradicate a neighbour. Getting rid of the arsenal requires all 30, soon to be 32, member states to agree about the nature of the alliance. Why would they put their capabilities on the table in the interests of a non-member?

      Also, Danes and Danegeld.

      btw, should NATO members France and the UK get rid of their own nuclear arsenals months after Poots and co threatened to use theirs?

      • Sabine 9.1.1
        1. yes, nuclear arsenals on Europe grounds should finally go.

        btw. should Nato members France and UK …………yes, they should.

        You might want to acquaint your self with this movie. It is quite something, really.

        nothing since has changed.

        • Joe90

          yes, they should

          Ukraine's unilateral denuclearising worked out well. For Russia.

        • Stuart Munro

          They should go indeed. But they cannot go while Russian leadership is immature enough to build their dreams on conquest.

          • Sabine

            Let me guess, you would then not mind having a few of these Nato nukes stationed here in NZ you know as a deterred for the immature Chinese?

  9. Sacha 11

    Our proud 4th estate doing its thing:

  10. PsyclingLeft.Always 12

    He said he would not lose sleep over the posts.

    "I'm not losing sleep over this, I am losing sleep over the rising cost of living, I'm losing a lot of sleep over a failing healthcare system, I'm losing a lot of sleep that only 45 percent of our kids are actually going to school regularly at the moment. They're the big issues we need to be focused on.

    He was asked if it was wise to be going on an expensive overseas holiday when New Zealanders were struggling with cost-of-living increases, but he said it was important for people to find time with their families.

    "When it's a pretty intense job the last seven months and I think when you work as hard as we do, that to actually get some personal leave with your family for five days is actually really important."


    For sure…in Te Puke/Hawaii : )

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