Open mike 26/10/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 26th, 2020 - 156 comments
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156 comments on “Open mike 26/10/2020 ”

  1. ScottGN 1

    Another landslide election victory for the left. British Columbia NDP premier John Hogan has won big after calling a snap election.

    • The Greens got and excellent 15.3% in BC, and got 3 seats.

      Your link to the results Scott said it was a bad night for the Greens but they came second in many races.

      Under MMP the Greens would have got 13 seats.

  2. This is what Labour should be doing in the next 3 years.

    Only a very small percentage of roofs have solar power (or at least serious solar) in Wanaka yet in South Australia roof solar was able to provide 77% of the state's power on this day and solar farms the other 23%.

    Central government really needs to step up here.

    • weka 3.1

      It's bizarre beyond belief that NZ hasn't taken up various solar tech. I can only assume it's part of the rort that happens in the building industry. Not sure why governments haven't been keen, although I guess 9 Key years are obvious. That and few want to mess with the electricity industry (god knows why, if anything needed reform its that).

      • Ad 3.1.1


        Market regulator tilts the new home owner against feed-ins.

        • Andre

          Is the market regulator tilting against feed-ins, or is the regulator abdicating responsibility and failing to regulate, leaving it all up to the retailer's beneficence in offering anything at all for power fed back in from home systems?

      • Sacha 3.1.2

        Shareholders of privatised electricity companies now have a vested interest in resisting change. Dealing with them will be a good test of this government's resolve. Or lack of it.

    • woodart 3.2

      solar panels and rain water collection should be mandatory for new home builds. gov also needs to get serious about tyre recycling. private industry is a bust with that. ltsa needs to mandate a recycled tyre component into new road resealing. leaving things like this up to private industry is a nonsense.

      • Bearded Git 3.2.1

        Weka and Woodart…..couldn't agree more.

        • JO

          Me too – and what would stop local governments from setting an example?

          Wairarapa where I live has four district councils that already work together on some issues. Any region has a community of interests. Every region is concerned about solar power and water use among all the other issues. Let's see regions like mine develop good plans 'pour encourager les autres', which the government is likely to consider supporting.

          As our PM has said, leadership is about taking the people with you. If we're to achieve the best of the changes our new world needs, doesn't that responsibility have to work both ways?

      • Heather GrimwoodTo 3.2.2

        to woodart at 3.2 : absolutely agree re solar panels and water reticulation . I with others tried to get compulsory instalment of rain water storage built in to the then beginning explosion of housing around Gulf Harbour instead of bringing piped water along Peninsula.. We had 10.000 gallons under our deck in a modest house.
        Big business prevailed even though Rodney and Auckland well aware and concerned about availability of supply.
        I also remember discussion probably from a remit at a Labour conference some decades ago in favour of making cheap solar panels available.

        • weka

          please fix your user name on next comment.

          • Sacha

            Is that comment form field focus problem still not fixed?

            • Draco T Bastard

              Comment starts in the name field and people forget and simply start typing. Once they realise then they switch to the comment field but often forget to fix the name field.

              Would probably be best to have it start in the comment field if the plugin supports it.

            • weka

              apparently not, although we seem to go through spates of name typos and then not as many.

    • Graeme 3.3

      It's almost beyond depressing the disincentives toward solar and local generation in New Zealand. Most lines companies are reluctant at best, but they have a problem with networks that were designed to deliver in one direction and that can take a bit of changing. There's also systemic / structural difficulties where the electricity system has been turned from an essential social and economic service to a profit generating industry.

      There's a couple of significant regions, Gisborne and Queenstown, that have only one feed from the Grid too, a loss of that feed is a big problem. Gisborne was without power for three days when a topdressing plane took out the line and the consequences of a span or pylon coming down on the Queenstown feed don't bear thinking about. Adequate embedded generation capacity is really handy on so many counts.

      A program of dealing with the infrastructure and systematic barriers, and providing financial pathways to household solar, preferably with batteries, would have paybacks in so many areas. Unfortunately this could be a bit tricky as will mean a comprehensive reform of the sector.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1

        It's almost beyond depressing the disincentives toward solar and local generation in New Zealand.

        Depressing but not surprising. People generating their own power would cut the profits of the shareholders.

        Yet another proof that the profit motive brings about the worst possible result as far as society is concerned.

      • weka 3.3.2

        we really should be designing systems with a big quake in mind too.

        • Graeme

          It wouldn't need a 'big' quake to cause problems on either of those lines. In Gisborne's case they were lucky it was just a span down, if it had taken a pylon as well it would have been a lot longer.

          In both situations there's multiple faults that could cause trouble, and quite unstable geology. But the loss of the line for a week would have an impact to a quake, but without the physical damage. We'd still be evacuating a large part of the district.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4


      Start off with installing on state housing and then on to those most in need. If those most in need are renting then buy the bloody house.

      But can you imagine the complaints from the new private owners of our power grid as their profits go down?

    • Tricledrown 3.5

      South Australia has much more sunlight than Wanaka.

      • Bearded Git 3.5.1

        True-according to the net, which is never wrong, Adelaide has 2774 hours per year compared with Wanaka 2100. But London has only about 1500.

        2100 is masses of hours, and solar power is generated even when it is cloudy.

    • RosieLee 3.6

      The Labour government needs to make sure first that people actually have roofs over their heads. Solar on the roof is a luxury.

      • greywarshark 3.6.1

        We haven't got time in between weather and other traumas in the precarious 21st century, to refit all the houses that would have been built to 20th century standards. Get the right practical designs (with good drainage sytems – no mediterranean-styled roofs) and systems, now under Labour before the wicked witch or wizard of the west gets back in power by casting a spell over the country!

        As woodart says up near 3 – solar panels and rain water collection should be mandatory for new home builds.

  3. PsyclingLeft.Always 4

    I've linked this before…

    "Solar power in New Zealand is on the rise, but operates in an entirely free market with no form of subsidies or intervention from the New Zealand Government."

    "Entirely free market" …that should end.

    We should start (as i've said before) Solar Panel Factories…and train Tradies/Apprentices to fit Solar. NOW

    • The Al1en 4.1

      Solar is good, but I'm more interested in household wind turbines.

      I did a little research and found small turbines, which could be attached to a roof, can generate around 3kw per hour. Living in a windy area that's quite enticing, but there are planning regulations and hoops to jump through, and make it probably not worth the hassle and added costs to the original outlay.

      With a smart meter, I see I use on average about 7kw per day, so likely I would not only be energy neutral, but be adding to the national grid. Multiply that by tens of thousands and that's plenty more renewables going in to the system.

      What's the deal with being a contributor as far as the power companies are concerned? How much do they still try to milk you for, ie line costs etc…?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Its not an entirely free-market as the its owned by profiteering schmucks and they pretty much have veto power over it. Considering that having solar power from private residential premises would cut their profits then they do everything they can to prevent people taking up solar up to, and including, blaming solar installations for rising power price for everyone else (yeah, can't find that article now – was from when National were in power).

      • tc 4.2.1

        It's worse than that Draco as solar power from private residential premises exported is sold next door, or wherever it ends up as Electrons go with the flow at full retail.

        The solar export residence get's about 20% of retail and the power industry takes profit from infrastructure it neither owns, maintains and spreads BS about it being bad for the network.

        An added kicker is when the grid is down the panels shut down as a safety feature so we get screwed over again.

      • Tricledrown 4.2.2

        Not if you run a 12 volt system .

  4. Gabby 5

    How green are solar panels over their usable lifetime, compared with hydro?

    • Hydro involves modifying/wrecking the landscape way too much, as does onshore wind-power, though offshore is much better. (A single wind-farm would wreck the unsullied and wonderful 360 degree views in the Maniototo from near Ophir or from the rail-trail.)

      Ideally when we have 8 million people in NZ in 2068 (link below) electricity needs will be 100% met from existing hydro, more efficient use of power, solar and, if necessary, additional wind-farms, but offshore only.

    • Andre 5.2

      That's a very complicated question with a lot of variables for both PV and hydro.

      Wikipedia quotes IPCC 2014 for a range (in grams CO2 eq/ kWhr) for PV of 18 to 180, for hydro it's 1.0 to 2200 (compared to coal at 740 to 910). I've seen a lot of stuff indicating producing PV panels has improved dramatically since 2014, so using 2014 figures makes PV look worse than it really is now.

      Factors affecting hydro include how much land with vegetation is flooded that then releases methane from the lake, whether the scheme uses a huge dam and stored water or is run of the river through a tunnel or canal, whether dams and canals are concrete or earth construction, how long before reservoirs are silted up, the albedo of the reservoir compared to what was there before (forest, grassland, desert) etc.

      Factors affecting PV include how efficient the manufacturing process is, how clean the energy used for production is, the previous albedo of where the PV panels are installed, lifetime of the panels etc.

      Big picture takeaway still remains being careful about getting more efficient in necessary uses of energy, and reducing wastage wherever possible is the only emissions-free lunch. Otherwise, all energy supply involves some emissions, it's just a question of how much. In that big picture, for New Zealand, adding PV may well be one of our lower emissions paths.

      Personally I'd rather do PV than new hydro, excepting the Onslow-Manorburn proposal which is a storage scheme rather than a new generation scheme.

      • Macro 5.2.1

        Beat me to it! Pretty much agree with your above comment here.

        The other factor involved in the environmental effects of solar, is the longevity of the technology, and the impacts of the materials used.

        IIRC the early PV cells became useless after a few years, but the later silicon cells could last around 25 years. Now the newest technology involves spray on coatings which although cheap and quick to manufacture and replicate are less efficient than the silicon and don't last as long and worse are plastic based.

        Unlike silicon solar cells, cells made from plastic require far less energy. However as a material plastic cannot generate electricity as efficiently as silicon. Not only that, solar panels made from silicon have a life expectancy of 25 years. While it’s doubtful that plastic solar cells would ever be able to compete, scientists are claiming that if energy costs can be lowered sufficiently plastic solar cells could potentially become more effective over their life cycle, compared to silicon cells. Scientists are currently working on increasing the energy conversion efficiency and the life cycle of plastic solar cells.

      • Bearded Git 5.2.2

        Andre-I notice adverse landscape effects don't figure in your world. Now I can see it wasn’t just the WT that put you off the Greens.

        Fortunately we have people like Anton Oliver (ex-AB) in the community who helped to stop a wind-farm monstrosity in Central Otago in 2006.

        I have driven several times through Spain over the past few years and seen plenty of landscape massively degraded by wind-farms.

        Other energy-related highly invasive landscape effects include proposed small-scale hydro that destroy important wild rivers on the West Coast. From memory I think the coalition quashed one such proposal in the last term (ministers Parker/Sage?).

        • Andre


          Gabby's question was specifically about how green, which generally means emissions. Hence my answer was focused on emissions.

          If any forms of generation that have visible landscape effects are off the table, what is left? Idiot knee-jerk opposition to changes like that are what has kept a lot of coal and gas burning around the world.

          I'll limit my comment about your driving around Spain multiple times recently to noting that behaviour like that is a significant contributor to the climate crisis we're dealing with right now.

    • weka 5.3

      None of it is green. Some of it is less impactful than others (which is what I think you were asking), but until we move to steady state (including population) we will continue to be driven by over-extraction and climate disrupting tech.

      All developed nations could now be mandating passive tech in new builds, thus lowering power consumption. High tech, esp large scale power generation shouldn't be the starting point, it should come after we've used passive tech and reduced demand.

    • woodart 5.4

      solar panels mostly made up from aluminium and glass, two easily recyclable materials. bloody site greener than flooding land forever.

      • weka 5.4.1

        those materials have to be extracted from somewhere. Theoretically at some point we might reach some kind of close to equilibrium with recycling and manufacture, but not if we keep perpetual growth as our main driver of economics.

    • Tricledrown 5.5

      Hydro is getting more and more expensive while Wind and Solar are getting cheaper.

  5. RedBaronCV 6

    There are printable solar panels/coatings now starting to be produced I believe. I've looked at it quite hard and with interest rates where they are just investing in panels using it to cut the daytime use of power out is starting to look better. Any storage is the expensive bit

    • Andre 6.1

      It's reaching the point where the cost of the panels is becoming less and less of the cost, while regulatory costs, installation, inverters etc are staying high. Storage costs are coming down too, again it's the other associated bits keeping package costs high.

      For me, I've got my electricity cost down to $600 – $700 year, so I really don't see value in adding a PV system. Let alone the overhanging trees regularly dropping stuff big enough to damage panels. If I were doing a new build however, getting a new lines connection is so fkn expensive that going off-grid might be close to the same initial cost.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        But going on grid would be more beneficial to society especially if it was well planned and maintained.

        In other words, going back to a state monopoly that includes the solar panels on private rooves is the only viable option because it would then remove the individualist decision making that fails to do what's needed for society.

        • tc

          +100 the solution is returning it to the people and running it as a single network not the dysfunctional club it currently is.

          Bradfords reforms were all about creating a gravy train for the club members and obfuscation so the average punter gives up before they realise it's a con job.

          • Tiger Mountain

            Yes, returning power generation and supply to full public ownership would clear the way for sustainable electricity that most could afford including solar.

            Compensation to the current gougers and their captive artificial market could be made over the next 50 years!

    • woodart 6.2

      storage of energy has always been the $$$ bit. maybe store energy in whingers, always plenty of them!

  6. Stuart Munro 7

    There are two principle barriers to solar uptake.

    The biggest is the housing crisis. Tenants aren't about to put panels on the landlord's house.

    The second is cost – NZ pays extraordinary prices for everything, and that weighs the cost benefit equation against solar installation.

    I was writing to Pete Hodgson about strategies to lower the entry cost back in 2002 – but he of course thought he knew much better.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      One of the enlightened Stuart M thanks, and one of the Pillar Group who want to enable the country to conserve its good things, and prepare for the future known problems. 2002-2020 have we changed, have we any more agency than earlier, or just to be ignored or teased with schemes to keep us quiet? And our politicians, we must bring in a maximum of three terms or we have fat-necked pussies who 'know better' manipulating their electorate or constituency so they manage to stay and stay with dwindling returns to the citizens.

      I'll just shove in here some words from Elton John's Song For You because I think they need to be our nation's theme song going further into the 21st century and spell out the way we all need to try to value each other.

      "Your Song"
      ("Elton John" Version)

      It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside
      I'm not one of those who can easily hide
      I don't have much money, but boy if I did
      I'd buy a big house where we both could live

      If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
      Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
      I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do
      My gift is my song, and this one's for you

      And you can tell everybody this is your song
      It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
      I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
      How wonderful life is while you're in the world

      I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
      Well, a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross
      But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
      It's for people like you that keep it turned on…


      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        Mmm – I did use to listen to a bit of Elton John back in the day. But when it comes to the political culture of doing nothing, it's maybe more like Warren Zevon:

        You're supposed to sit on your ass and nod at stupid things.
        Man, that's hard to do. And if you don't, they'll screw you.
        And if you do, they'll screw you, too…

        • greywarshark

          MmmmI guess the thing is to enter into politics and planning with goodwill, go on a quest for the most effective and practical outcomes, and get something done as a result of each plan, even something small!

    • Janet 7.2

      "The second is cost – NZ pays extraordinary prices for everything, and that weighs the cost benefit equation against solar installation."

      and that is exactly why I after doing the sums did not go ahead. Also battery storage technology is still evolving and I would not put in a solar power system without the ability to store the surplus. Instead I bought a hybrid car which is saving me a huge % on my annual car runnin costs – and the car's batteries, when they are not effcient enough for the car, can be recycled to be solar storage batteries. But that is years away.

  7. Stephen D 8


    “A $9.5 million house is being built in Christchurch. Shaped like the letter Z, swimming pool and tennis court. When completed, it’s going to be one of the biggest and priciest properties€ in town. The owner? A director at Foodstuffs South Island and owner of Pak 'n Save Wainoni, one of Christchurch’s poorest areas.”

    Everything that is wrong with our economy encapsulated here.

  8. greywarshark 9

    Boris given the Spitting Image treatment.


  9. greywarshark 10

    Water meters are good provided that water rates are kept reasonable.

    …One property in Havelock has been found using 33,000 litres of water a day, while another is going through 28,000 litres of water a day.
    The test results from Renwick showed a house leaking 67,200 litres of water a day.

    The council notified owners "as a courtesy" when there was evidence of a significant leak, but it was up to property owners to find and repair them, she said. Some of the 62 properties with leaks were zoned commercial….

    Under the new system, residents on water meters could be charged a flat fee of $200 for their first 200 cubic metres of water (200,000 litres). After that, Havelock residents could be charged $1.60 per 1000 litres used….

    Properties with "large" leaks of more than 72 litres a day would therefore use at least 92 percent of their base water allocation if they continued without fixing the leak. Havelock residents paid an annual $510 fee at present….

    Renwick dealt with water restrictions most summers and salt water could get into Havelock's water if demand jumped and water supplies dropped, as it had three years ago.
    Climate change was expected to put more pressure on the aquifer which supplied its water. A sea level rise could see salt entering Havelock's water more often, and higher temperatures could encourage higher water use…

    • McFlock 10.1

      Meters for commercial properties are fine, but not for dwellings. Because it enables right wing councils to charge for water on a policy change without requiring massive infrastructure investment.

      Meters also enable landlords to evade costs by making the water bill the tenants' problem, like power or internet.

      • Andre 10.1.1

        Why should domestic water wastrels and those too careless to look after their plumbing get to shift the cost of their profligacy onto all the other ratepayers?

        IIRC, the law for costs where there are meters is the landlord pays for the fixed parts of the bill and the tenant pays for the variable usage parts of the bill. Here in Dorkland my bill is a fixed wastewater charge of $18.35/month, and because of the drought I've pared my water use down to somewhere around 30 litres/day (1 unit per month). My variable charge is $1.59/month to supply the water and $2.16/month to take it away again after I've filled it with piss and shit.

        • McFlock

          But we know there are constant efforts to privatise water supplies and stuff it up as royally as every other monopoly that gets privatised.

          If regular flow monitoring shows a block or suburb is disproportionately using water, use the regular leak detection protocols to hone in on the cause. But routine monitoring of each household will result in privatisation of water supply, which means more people with skin infections in poor neighbourhoods, sometimes to the point of hospitalisation.

          It has never been closely examined whether what ratepayers save in water gets paid by taxpayers via the health system.

          • Andre

            All of Orcland is metered and charged by usage, so usage data should be available for any intrepid researcher that wants it.

            Do you know of any studies around skin infections or other health problems in NZ being correlated with people feeling they need to not use water because of its cost? It's not something I can recall even hearing a whisper of.

            Hell, even Penny Bright (R.I.P.) didn't try that as one of her arguments, and I was always quite impressed at how inventive she could get.

            edit: meanwhile, that Auckland is universally metered is usually credited as one of the reasons Aucklanders are claimed to have the lowest per capita water usage of all population centers in NZ.

            • Ad

              Watercare is about to take over the whole of Northland's supply as well.

              So, together with the Waikato catchment they already supply, they are heading for about 2/5ths of New Zealand on metered and chlorinated and flourided happiness.

              • Sacha

                Watercare is about to take over the whole of Northland's supply as well.

                Interesting. Do you have any links about that.

              • greywarshark

                I can't understand why Councils don't look after their own water as part of their services. There should be no separate entity, just a department within the purview of the Council. This splitting up under I suppose neolib disruption just muddies the water, perhaps literally.

                • Andre

                  The way things are going, it won't be long before Watercare is the water department for all of the north island. Then all of New Zealand. Nationalisation by another route. Bwahahahaha, universal domination.

                  The best reason for a big organisation like Watercare to do it for the small councils is small councils are often really crap at it. Either they don't spend the money for the equipment and expertise, and produce lousy water quality (for trips around NZ I tend to bring along enough drinking water for my whole trip), or they do spend the money to do it properly and it ends up really expensive because those costs are spread over a small base.

                • Ad

                  This is back-door way Labour crushes Federated Farmers and Fonterra.

                  Plenty of public health reasons officially.

                  But no more fucking around with those morons.

                  The target is clear.

              • solkta

                We are already metered in Whangarei but at 40% more cost than Auckland last time i compared. Hopefully they can pull the price down.

            • McFlock

              Skin infections are definitely correlated to deprivation index.

              We might speculate about that all day, but lowering flow rates to people who can't afford their bill could have something to do with their access to hygiene. The connection is plausible enough that I don't want to touch it with a bargepole.

              All of auckland might be metred, but many other towns aren't, and frankly metering is only a precursor to attempted sell-offs.

              Not to mention the concept that water is a right, not a commodity.

              There are other ways to find heavy water users, if it's a problem. But metering is simply a way to disguise rate hikes for most people.

              • Ad

                Mahuta has made a guarantee that there will be no public water privatisation under the reforms.

                I think she's trustworthy.

                She's also very clear that there aren't many good water providers, so many of them will be amalgamated.

                I wrote on this a while back.

                Water reforms of all kinds are really kicking off in this new term.

                • McFlock

                  She might be trustworthy, but the next lot? Metering makes it easier for them.

                  • Ad

                    Metering makes sure our common water isn't wasted.

                    • McFlock

                      No, it just enables the rich to waste it. Because they can pay for it.

                      If you want to detect water wastage on the house side of the tap, follow the same procedures for if the pipe leaks on the street side of the tap.

    • Pat 10.3

      Whole-farm plans

      Catchment boards soon realised that a whole-farm approach was needed when several methods were in use. The farmer had to adopt a mutually agreed ‘farm plan’ over a set period, normally five years.

      A farm plan was based on a land capability survey. This divided farmland into eight classes – four arable (crop-growing) and four non-arable. The surveys were first done in 1952.

      Engineers vs conservators

      The Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Act 1941 linked erosion with flooding. Catchment board staff were river engineers and soil conservators, who often disagreed on how to control flooding.

      Some engineers believed that works such as stop banks and stone gabions (rocks inside wire mesh) would control flooding, whereas soil conservators considered that the upper parts of a river catchment should be the focus. Eventually both viewpoints were included in flood control programmes.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Pat I noticed that the article finished with a query. And this piece I have copied has relevance now as the RMA is under change. I am not sure what the effect of that will be. Do you know? People seem approving but will things be no holds barred? The idea of agencies run on business lines such as Watercare doesn't seem to be an automatic outcome of the previous legislation.

      Regional councils as we know them today were established in 1989, under the Local Government Amendment Act. Regional council boundaries approximately followed river catchment boundaries. This legislation rationalised the bodies carrying out functions at a regional and local level – reducing the catchment boards and other government bodies that had proliferated over the last century from more than 800 to 86.

      The newly created regional councils inherited a range of resource management responsibilities from the existing boards and councils, including for flood and erosion control functions transferred from the catchment boards and planning functions under the Town and Country Planning Act 1977, as well as transport and civil defense functions.

      But it was not until 1991, with the enactment of the Resource Management Act, that responsibilities under a cohesive and integrated resource management regime were delegated to regional councils.

      But what of the significant challenges that regional councils face, and their ability to fulfill their natural resource management responsibilities in an increasingly challenging environmental landscape? These outstanding questions will be explored in an upcoming post.

      • Pat 11.1.1

        "A second irony is evident in the way the Resource Management Bill evolved. The Bill was first developed in the late 1980s under a Labour Government, with Geoffrey Palmer as Minister for the Environment. The Bill was underpinned by the concept of “sustainable development”, based on a concept of balancing economic objectives against environmental objectives (otherwise known as “trade-offs”). However in 1990, before the Bill could be enacted, the Labour government lost power, and a National government took office, with Simon Upton assuming the environmental portfolio. To the surprise of many, Upton decided not to abandon the Bill but instead to review it. As a result of the review, there was a shift from balancing economic and environmental objectives, to that of economic objectives being “constrained” by environmental ones; a shift encompassed in the concept of “sustainable management”, which is fundamental to the purpose of the law (Section 5). As a result, when the Act was passed in 1991, it was, according long-time environmentalist and then-government advisor Guy Salmon, “greener” conceptually than the Bill originally conceived by the more left-leaning Labour government."

        And i'm not sure I agree with that assessment….the old catchment boards had a more holistic view and a more environmentally focused response IMO….mind you they operated in a significantly different environment with far less pressure

  10. Byd0nz 12

    Why people give any credence toward the USA beats me. What has the US done for the benefit of peace or peaceful co-existence, the only country to unleash a nuclear bomb x 2 murdering millions of civilians.

    North Korea, flattened by them in 1950s, did that bring peace?. Vietnam, where the US used chemical weapons manufactured in NZ by Watkins/ Dow and mercenary fighters from around the globe including NZ. Still there are malformed births from Agent Orange. Peace?.
    Iraqi, a once A grade country with a stable democracy where people were still alive and had jobs and infrastructure. What a mess. Peace there?. Libya, a democratic country that owed no foreign debt and had a better democracy than most. What another mess. Peace there?.

    Left out many other atrocities against other lands by the war-virus that is the USA. a blight on humanity. What has changed, nothing, and nothing will change whilst people give support to this truly evil military regime. Do you?

    • Stuart Munro 12.1

      You've a good example in Iraq, and a lousy one in Korea. Korea asked for US help to avoid the Japanese annexation before 1910, and having been abandoned by the retreating Japanese was only too pleased to resist Stalin's puppet regime. Had the North made a decent country of itself, you'd have a case – but they chose to be despots – deserving even less sympathy than Saddam Hussein. South Korea, in no small part through the sacrifice of Kim Jae-gyu, is a lively independent democracy today.

      • Byd0nz 12.1.1

        That's a No then.

      • Brigid 12.1.2

        You've missed the bit between 1910 and when South Korea was declared a 'lively independent democracy'.

        You know the period when more bombs were dropped on North Korea by the US than during the entire World War II Pacific campaign.

        For those who are interested in the facts Stuart has conveniently omitted read this.

        • Byd0nz

          Yes, true. First time ever Korea has not been as one.

        • greywarshark

          Brigid I don't know that Stuart was that positive about the USA. Why are you dissing him?

          And Stuart – going to the Wikipedia link you put up on Kim Jae-gyu (it is important to get the latter name right! – many Kims), it is a great example of the awful competitive problems all countries can have, with people trying to gain or control power and turn it up or down.

          • Stuart Munro

            Park was a patriot and a reformer who gradually became a dictator. The man who assassinated him was his old friend, who had no illusions of surviving the act. So Korea survived as neither a US puppet nor a nasty militarized regime – quite an achievement considering the pattern for US-backed strongmen.

            • greywarshark

              Perhaps NZ parliamentarians need to be faced with a sign over the main doors – 'We don't promise you a rose garden'. Or with the malevolent sarcasm of the Nazi use of 'Work will set you free' a notice that 'Serving your country whether in the army or as a politician may cost you your life'.

              I don't think that NZ pollies, especially from the right side, expect to front up to such ideological traumas as the South Korean you referred to. Having the ability to change pollies, and their civil service heads, prevents power concreting to the absolute corruption level.

              Finding balance is the task it seems, between constant change with no long term responsibility for good planning and decisions, and the ability of the agile villain to appeal long-term to the infantile, lurking dissenter inside many, who will accept corruption as smart organising if the PR is plausible.

              • Stuart Munro

                Yes, dead right – the abiding virtue of democracy, from a political science point of view, is that is allows peaceful transfers of power.

                When democracy becomes as distorted as it has in the US under Trump however, it is no longer certain that this is possible, or that a peaceful process that accommodates Trumpism is preferable to a Heimlich manoeuvre that expels him forcefully from America's political throat.

                Assassination has removed much better presidents than Trump.

          • Brigid

            Greywarshark please pull your head in. Your attempts at peace keeper are uninvited and arrogant.

            • greywarshark

              Oh dear did I step on your toes. I don't want to see things misrepresented by people with a bias and quick fingers on the keys.

        • Stuart Munro

          Yes, a lot of bombs were dropped.

          It was the North that attacked however, first on their own, then, after they were repulsed, with Chinese support. The world is awash in examples of unjustified US interventions – but Korea is not one of them – which is why NZ troops were there to teach the locals this, which they call yeon ga.

          One must be extraordinarily undiscriminating to endorse the North Korean regime.

          • Morrissey

            The world is awash in examples of unjustified US interventions – but Korea is not one of them


            That is an absurd statement.

            • Incognito

              Because …?

              When will you learn to make a compelling argument that goes beyond simple adjectives and mere reckons? None of your comments today contains any original input from you, no thought, no argument, no reason(ing) except for adjectives such as “absurd”, “repulsive”, or “brilliant”. Wow!

              What are you going to ‘enlighten’ us with next, a GIF?

              • Morrissey

                I have written on this forum many, many carefully argued critiques of radio dramas, TV shows, films, political speeches, political campaigns, etc. If you think that that extreme right wing racist casino billionaire who funds Trump's campaign is anything other than "repulsive", then you can enlighten us as to exactly why.

                Do you think Evo Morales's performance on the Daily Show was not brilliant? Why not? The audience and the host were obviously deeply impressed by him. Was I wrong to point out that extremely rare quality in a political leader?

                Your point about my use of the word "absurd" to dismiss Stuart's post is well taken. I apologise to Stuart and everyone else for my lazy and reductive putdown.

                • Incognito

                  A well-written critique is more than a few adjectives leading to a superficial judgement.

                  When you use certain adjectives to describe your view of people without stating the reason, it becomes a shallow throwaway comment that offers no insight(s) and no point of connection with others who might read your comment. You might as well say that you hated Brussels sprouts when you were young, which may be 100% true, but it does not make for debate because we cannot discuss personal taste; all it does is saying something about you.

                  I hope you’re getting it because asking me to argue with you why those adjectives may not apply is putting the onus on me and asking me about my taste. For the record, I love Brussels sprouts, but I don’t know why.

    • The Al1en 12.2

      Iraqi, a once A grade country with a stable democracy where people were still alive and had jobs and infrastructure.

      Apart from those poor sods who were gassed by the dictator who ruled through fear and violence

      Libya, a democratic country that owed no foreign debt and had a better democracy than most. What another mess.

      Yeah, 'cause the brotherly leader Gadaffy Duck's third international theory wasn't brought down by widespread corruption and unemployment, by the people who were no longer fooled by cults of personality.

      • Byd0nz 12.2.1

        That's a No then.

      • Byd0nz 12.2.2

        Of course, I meant a Yes then.

        • The Al1en

          Don't know what you're talking about with the 'no' and 'yes' thing – I just pointed out a couple of gaping holes in your claims of Iraqi and Libyan peaceful democracies nonsense, but if you want to attribute something else you think I meant with that correction, so be it.

          • Phillip ure

            Libya was the most secular of the arab states…women had full equality of access to the education that was free to post-graduate level… there was universal free healthcare…when couples married they were given a house to live in..and $40,000 u.s. to help them on their way…gaddaffi was wiped out because he was setting up a new pan arab/african bank….this was obamas' is now a fundamentalist hellhole..

  11. greywarshark 14

    Where is that rail link when you want it?

    The main road to Auckland Airport will be shut for five consecutive nights this week, from Tuesday to Sunday.

  12. greywarshark 15

    There are interesting anomalies in how women and men get treated FTTT. I hope sex-change aspirants and wannabes understand that. This is a new variant.

    Two passengers from QR908 both told the ABC they had no idea what was happening to them when all women on the plane were asked to get off after a three-hour delay on 2 October….
    It had been due to leave Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha at 8:30pm local time but was delayed for three hours after a premature baby was found in a bathroom at the terminal – a detail confused passengers said was not communicated to them…

    One of the women said all adult females were removed from the plane by authorities and taken to two ambulances waiting outside the airport.
    "No-one spoke English or told us what was happening. It was terrifying," she said.
    "There were 13 of us and we were all made to leave. A mother near me had left her sleeping children on the plane.
    "There was an elderly woman who was vision impaired and she had to go too. I'm pretty sure she was searched."

    …"Medical professionals expressed concern to officials about the health and welfare of a mother who had just given birth and requested she be located prior to departing [the airport]."
    Qatar Airways have not yet responded to a request for comment.
    The mother of the baby has not been located…

    …"When I got in there, and there was a lady with a mask on and then the authorities closed the ambulance behind me and locked it," she said.
    "They never explained anything.

    "She told me to pull my pants down and that I needed to examine my vagina.
    "I said 'I'm not doing that' and she did not explain anything to me. She just kept saying, 'we need to see it we need to see it'."
    The woman said she took her clothes off and was inspected, and touched, by the female nurse….

    Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne confirmed today that the women had contacted the Australian government at the time of the incident and that the government has formally raised concerns with Qatar….
    "The advice that has been provided indicates that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent.
    "It is not something I have ever heard of occurring in my life, in any context.

    A very mild comment from the Australian government when this was an assault on their nationals.

  13. DanS 16

    There is the problem in Australia where the uptake on solar is large. It means the costs of maintaining the wider system is borne by a smaller and less moneyed section of the community. As more become self sufficient on energy the more the poorer sections of the community bear the cost of the network.

    • greywarshark 16.1

      DanS This should be up with the solar thread, which is about No.7 and pressing a Reply button there would have put it by the other solar comments.

      It seems after reading your comment that falling profit and fewer numbers will result in companies selling out, and a monopoly left which would be the opposite to the governments intention to provide competition. The govt will have to buy back the electricity company/ies so government can run them with reasonable charges concentrating on a cost-recovery basis.

  14. greywarshark 17

    Some compromises are needed here I think. The elderly have more time and energy than those working and with family and care responsibilities, to think about and demand what they want and continue in the same vein. We have the same people writing to the paper here for many decades mostly with complaints.

    "I make no apologies for being persistent," Millar said, noting he was a marina berth-holder at the time.
    He had been emailing the council over a reduction in car parking at the inner harbour, and said he was stopped from further alerting councillors to "pertinent issues".
    "This was just a smokescreen to cover the stuff that I had been trying to portray."

    89 pages of correspondence

    However, GDC internal partnerships director James Baty said it had 89 pages worth of correspondence with Millar about the inner harbour, dating back to 2011, and despite being advised he was an unreasonable complainant on 14 February, and being blocked from the council's Facebook page, Millar continued making contact with elected members and staff for another two months.
    "At this point his email address was blocked," Baty said.

  15. greywarshark 18

    Interesting about the USA deporting Marshall Islanders back home and why.
    Sounds like Australians deporting NZs home.
    [Marshall Islands Attorney-General] Hickson said US authorities had requested the 33 be given an exemption to return to the Marshalls.
    But he said local authorities informed the US that the border remained closed until further notice because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    A total of 202 Marshallese were deported from the US during the seven-year period from FY2013 to FY2019, an average of 29 per year.
    Crimes for which Marshallese are deported include violence such as sexual assault and murder as well as fraud involving money theft or failing to appear for scheduled court hearings.

    About the Islands:
    There is a population of around 50,000.
    The Compact of Free Association allows them to freely relocate to the United States and obtain work there. A large concentration of about 4,300 Marshall Islanders have relocated to Springdale, Arkansas,..

    The Republic of the Marshall Islands is now a sovereign state in free association with the United States….

    During World War II, the United States took control of the islands from Japan (which governed them as part of the South Pacific Mandate) in the 1944 Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign. The US military conducted nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll in 1946 through 1958.

  16. swordfish 20

    Suspect Labour will end up closer to 51% than 50% after Specials … acknowledged expert Graeme Edgler guesses 49.9% … I think that’s too low.

    (Only proviso … that no-one has mentioned afaik … is the uncertain implications arising from the unique disparity in 2020 between Advanced & Election Day Party Support)

  17. ScottGN 21

    @swordfish 20

    Do you think the disparity between advanced party votes and Election Day party votes is due to the demographic differences? Older more conservative voters with longstanding election habits voting on polling day while other voters were happy to vote early?

    • swordfish 21.1

      Possibly … but bear in mind that if that demographic rationale is correct then it should've applied in 2017 too … and yet the Advance vs Election Day differences were minimal in that Election.

      Just over 1 million Advanced Votes in 2017 (compared to just under 1.7 m in 2020):

      Labour 1.7 points higher in Advance Voting vs Election Day (2017) but a massive 6 points higher in Advance Voting 2020.

      National 1.1 lower in Advance compared to Election Day (2017) but a significant 5 points down (2020).

      The extra 700k Advanced Votes in 2020 can’t account for that massively increased disparity …

      So, there's probably something else going on.

  18. greywarshark 22 earlier universe existed before the Big Bang, and can still be observed today, says Nobel winner

    Sir Roger Penrose: 'The Big Bang was not the beginning. There was something before, and that something is what we will have in our future'

    Isn't that great. The scientists and world-moulders have even more reasons to not look around them. Our planet is so boring, they've seen all they want to they say peevishly and in their blase' way they leave us coping with our own filth and bacteria and fungi which we now find are at the basis of life and death. So let's wallow in earth and leave the elevated minds to destroy themselves in space, as long as they leave our earth to us.

    In the year 2525 (
    (The song was recorded primarily in one take in 1968, at a studio in a cow pasture in Odessa, Texas. Members of the Odessa Symphony also participated in the recording.

    Artists: Denny Zager & Rick Evans – acoustic guitars & vocals (It went to No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic and they never had another near hit. Outer space man.)

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