Open Mike 27/02/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 27th, 2016 - 127 comments
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127 comments on “Open Mike 27/02/2016 ”

  1. saveNZ 1

    You can’t make this stuff up!!! Apparently Disney employees are being encouraged to donate to a fund (tax deductible) to lobby politicians for TPP!

    Just another chapter and extension in corporate welfare!! Not just taxpayers bail outs, not just not having to pay corporate tax, but now Disney employees are being asked to fund on behalf of it’s employeer Disney to lobby for TPP!

    No doubt that those employees who don’t will be scrutinised. It reminds me of Enron when employees were encouraged (or coerced into funding the shares of Enron and driving the share price up).


    Kiwis were all shocked when it was found that oil companies deduct money from it’s minimum wage zero hours contractors (formerly called employees) when they get customer ‘drive offs’. But wait, more to come, it now appears that under TPP and with globalism, companys like Disney are passing a hat around to it’s minimum wage zero hours contractors to contribute to Disney’s own tax deductible lobbist activities!!

    (More ideas for Peter Jackson, maybe!!)

    • tc 1.1

      Disney is an ugly organisation where executives pay reflect how much they can blag rather than any ‘value’ they generate.

      Iger the CEO was asking employees to chip in for copyrights also, he got over $40m last year alone.

      Walt would be proud of his empire today being an ardent anti communist patriot, god bless America ain’t she great. Not too sure what he’d make of their over 18 activities in porn etc these days though.

  2. saveNZ 2

    TPP undergoes stealthy changes that expand penalties for copyright infringement

    “It might seem inconsequential, but Malcolm explained that this easy-to-miss edit actually has huge implications for criminal penalties. In the provision’s November form, it exempted countries from applying criminal penalties that it had listed, except in circumstances that actually damage the copyright holder.

    After the legal scrub, however, the list of exemptions for countries is much smaller, forcing countries to pass criminal laws against copyright infringement even when the copyright holders aren’t harmed.”

    My interpretation of that is, under TPPA copywrite is criminal and the police have to prosecute it at taxpayers expense even if no one is harmed, against the current system of it being a civil claim and the company spending money doing it!

    • tc 2.1

      Disney have been aggressively expanding their IP holdings with Pixar, lucasfilm, marvel etc so this is a logical extension for the big media companies to protect their assets by jailing offenders.

      Bankstas roam free though.

      • Chooky 2.1.1

        Disney and Hollywood productions are experts at appropriating other peoples serious works of literature , books and creative ideas and turning it into schmaltz and sensationalist comic effect appealing to the lowest common denominator …and totally lacking in the subtlety of the original….( I put Lord of the Rings in this category)

        imo the world would be better off without Disney and Hollywood….so by cracking down hard and becoming illegitimately the intrusive intellectual copyright thought police….maybe they will consume themselves and be the author of their own greedy demise and people will ignore them and turn to other international productions of greater artistic and inspirational integrity ( hopefully)

    • ianmac 2.2

      If someone dubs in a translation of a foreign film he will become liable for a criminal conviction even though no harm was done to anyone. Might even advantage the producer.
      This is a good example of the use of “harmonising” processes between countries as outlined in TPPA. Pretty drastic!

  3. saveNZ 3

    Upper Hutt City Council votes to make the city New Zealand’s first ‘TPPA free zone’

    • That was pretty funny. Take-home message seems to be that the majority of Upper Hutt City Councillors are not very bright and have too little to do with their time.

      • maui 3.1.1

        Take home message is that the no voters couldn’t let better judgement override their right wing ideology.

        • Psycho Milt

          The awareness that local councils don’t have the authority to opt out of international agreements entered into by central government isn’t a matter of ideology, it’s a matter of having more than a couple of brain cells to rub together.

    • OneTrack 3.2

      Ok, so if there are any manufacturers in Upper Hutt who want to sell their products overseas under the terms of the TPPA, they will have to relocate to another city? That sounds logical.

  4. rawshark-yeshe 4

    The WTO advances warnings of the horrors coming under TPPA …

    “The World Trade Organization is giving some environmentalists a reason to say “I told you so.”

    On Wednesday, the WTO, the international body that enforces trade law, said that India’s solar power subsidy violated trade rules.

    The program — which has helped India’s solar industry get off the ground and become one of the fastest growing in the world — required new projects be built with parts made in India.

    Despite India’s argument that the local product requirement was crucial to India’s meeting its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, the WTO ruled that requirement unfairly discriminated against U.S. solar manufacturers.

    This is exactly the kind of decision that has many environmentalists worried about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sweeping and controversial trade agreement President Barack Obama signed in February. ”

    • Wensleydale 4.1

      It’s comforting to know John Key has assured us that this sort of thing will never happen in New Zealand. I feel all warm and comfy now.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Well thank goodness with all this bad news about the TPP coming out Labour is definitely going to pull NZ out of the agreement. Right?

    • saveNZ 4.2

      +1 rawshark-yeshe

    • ianmac 4.3

      Drastic but a good example of the ulterior motive of TPPA. Wonder if they will deal with such things on the Roadshow?

    • millsy 4.4

      If this was Facebook I would tag Wayne on this…

    • It’s the WTO that’s made this ruling, and the TPPA is irrelevant to it. NZ has been a member of the WTO for decades, and obtained a similar ruling a few years back to stop Australia blocking export to Australia of NZ apples. So, it the TPPA really does bring us the kind of “horrors” that accompany belonging to the WTO, I’m going with “meh.”

    • ianmac 4.6

      rawshark-yeshe. I borrowed your WTO piece to back up on Pundit. Dear old Wayne is at it again.

    • Instauration 4.7

      Well this has been a week of “comfortable” 0.5yr/interim results from players in the NZ electricity industries e.g. Contact – Meridian – MRP – Vector.
      These result are so inconsistent with the reality of flat – pending declining electrical energy demand – an over capacity of production – consequent closure and sale of plant and land – minimal productive investment. Also revelations of over-supply risk aka Manapouri.
      Great levels of storage in the lakes.
      All should result in significant end-user costs.
      But no ! – because the model of fake competition and requisite investor dividends is wrong.
      A previous NZ Government engineered the market thusly .
      Can a subsequent NZ Government re-engineer the market to correct these evident anomalies ? – would they risk the litigation ?
      That is – subsequent to TPPA bondage.

  5. saveNZ 5

    BTW – this is what the developers are really building in Auckland – not exactly affordable and not exactly to the taste of most Kiwis. But the Auckland council wants to add another level to it (3 level mansions) in the central Auckland suburbs, and is so surprised that neighbours are not that keen! This is the ‘affordable’ housing rout. It is a fiction!!! Click on link and scroll down to see what is really being built with the ‘relaxed zoning’ and ‘relaxed character’, soon this style of housing to be even higher and invade central Auckland suburbs further.

    Rare Brand New 4 + 2 Bedrooms Luxury Home in Albany
    What a wonderful location, it sits on a quiet street in the centre of hot suburb Oteha. This is a super-sized 6 bedroom luxury modern home with floor area exceeding 330m2. Everything has been finished to very high standard and detailed designs. Very generous on space in each part of the house. One large open plan lounge with easy flow to neatly finished outdoor area. Extra family room located on the top floor also connected to a large private outdoor deck, giving the best privacy for the family. A small beverage bar right beside the family room, so convenient! 4 double bedrooms upstairs with 1 ensuite. 2 more double bedrooms with self-contained living areas and shared bathroom. Ideal for extended family. Elevated and north facing, allows it to gain most of stunning views among the neighbours. Three heat pumps have been installed to give maximum comfort.
    4 minutes walk to local Seville Shopping Centre
    Reserve and playground just outside the driveway
    5 minutes drive to Albany Shopping mall
    6 mins drive to Browns Bay beach and township
    2 mins drive to motorway on-ramp

    • Ad 5.1

      “Not exactly in the taste of most Kiwis”.


      • saveNZ 5.1.1

        Previously around Albany the houses were likely to be 1960’s 100m2 bungalows, value approx $400k that first home owners could have afforded. New ‘developed’ houses are now exceeding 330m2 – and the likely cost will be over $1million. So before anyone starts going on about affordable housing from the ‘relaxed’ standards and zoning – have a good look at what is actually being built in Auckland both on the green field and in the suburbs and SHA. What I would call McMansions. There is no increased public transport so that’s 60,000 new cars on the road per year from migration.

        The idea that South Auckland residents will be moving into these new developments (which are larger and more expensive than existing housing stock) is laughable.

        Those advocating it, are actually removing affordable houses to make way for someones idea of a mansion.

        And high rises as social housing normally descend into slums real quick. The worst examples in the UK of slums are high rise social housing.

        The best way to have an integrated society is to actually (like state homes) have social housing in expensive areas with other social economic groups in similar houses. But the government has sold these off, pocketed the money and now pulling the line that by removing character standards and allowing ghetto 3 story mansions of 330m2 built by private developers it will help housing.

        It is not just baby boomers who are taking the properties from the poor but the left love to abuse them – wonder what would happen if Bomber called Asians Selfish – probably cause an outrage against the outrageous racism!!! But ageism against Kiwi baby boomers is fine.

        Having a serious debate about migration in NZ is somehow now akin to asking the Jews to give Palestinians a go! It is the elephant in the room that politicians and councillors and media commentators refuse to acknowledge.

        The fact that the Waatea Estate episode about housing did not mention migration as a factor in property prices, the boom and zoning, and transport speaks volumes.

        • pat

          +1 you make a lot of very valid observations, sadly I fear the conversation will never be considered…NZ in 2016 is not the egalitarian society we were in the mid 20th century…..much to our cost…(and before anyone points out things were not equal for Maori, that is a given)

        • Chooky

          +100…”The best way to have an integrated society is to actually (like state homes) have social housing in expensive areas with other social economic groups

          this is the way egalitarian New Zealand used to be when Jonkey nactional was brought up in a state house

          …”Having a serious debate about migration in NZ is somehow now akin to asking the Jews to give Palestinians a go!”

          Palestine was taken over and renamed Israel…the Palestinians were run out of their own country

          • Heather Grimwood

            Chooky, your comment ” the best way to have an integrated society etc” is absolutely correct. The early state houses were built with exactly that intention, in desirable areas too, the premise being that Jack deserved good areas/views/sunny aspects as well as his master.

          • saveNZ

            Poorer Kiwis are being displaced as we speak in Auckland and it is not the baby boomers displacing them….. If anything I am seeing baby boomers moving out of Auckland.

            Affordable housing is also being displaced as we speak in Auckland – often replaced with large McMansions…

            I don’t care if NZ has more migration, I just think NZ should be a bit more selective. For every new migrant there is a new job created that pays NZ taxes and a new house created for them surplus to requirements. Otherwise they are displacing a local job and a local home. There should be zero property investment allowed by new migrants for 10 years and entrepreneurs should be actually creating sustainable things like software and patents.

            I also think it should be compulsory for new migrants to have some sort of integration of Kiwis values such as valuing the natural environment, how to be more sustainable and so forth. They should also be tested on treaty of Waitangi issues. (Every migrants I know believe Maori are bludgers and don’t understand why the government is giving them so much land and money). (They read the herald). There should be some moral and social criteria.

            eg. A person I know who was a coloured South African was interviewed by secret police under Apartheid. They later saw the same secret policeman who interrogated him, in Whangarei – he had settled in NZ when Mandela took over! You are a white South African in the secret police under Apartheid – no problem have a job in our police force, NZ immigration can’t foresee see any problems!!

        • Molly


          The more salient way to start the conversation about lack of housing supply into Auckland/Christchurch and the impact of migration is to talk about the imagined relocation of a small NZ town to those cities every year.

          eg. Given the closure of Pike River for example, would it be reasonable to relocate the population of that community to Auckland? The answer would of course be no. Not until the current situation with housing was resolved. And this is purely in terms of practicalities – it has nothing to do with anti-immigration or racism.

  6. Mary M 6


    [lprent: (sigh) ]

  7. ianmac 7

    The photo on this link of John Key is priceless! A real sitter for a “Caption This.”

  8. RTM 8

    Is Angus Gillies a ghoulish profiteer, or are his critics denying the conflicts in their own community?

  9. Penny Bright 9

    There is actually NO ‘public transport’ in the Auckland region.

    There are 10 private bus companies, 4 private ferries and a French multi-national operating and managing Auckland’s trains.

    Auckland Transport (AT) will not reveal how much public money is being paid in subsidies to these private passenger transport providers. (I’ve asked ).

    Why should the public subsidise that which we no longer own, operate or manage?

    If the private sector are so ‘efficient’ why do they need public subsidies?

    Where is the ‘cost-benefit’ analysis which proves that public subsidy of private passenger transport is a more ‘cost-effective’ spending of public money than Auckland Transport providing bus, ferry and rail services ‘in house’ through public ownership, operation and management ?

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Kevin 9.1

      Quite possibly the stupidest comment you have made on here.

      I find it surprising that someone whois running for mayor of Auckland does not understand how public transport subsidies work.

      I suggest you hop on over to and ask Patrick nicely how it works and save yourself the embarrassment of getting roasted on here.

    • Ad 9.2

      So, now Penny Bright is:
      – against climate change action
      – against the Unitary Plan
      – against affordable housing, and
      – against public transport


      • Given Penny’s militant stance in favour of personally freeloading off the rates contributions of every other Aucklander, shouldn’t she be at the ACT conference doing a stand up comedy routine on how to avoid personal responsibility? They’d be rolling in the aisles. If they had aisles in the back of Seymour’s car, that is.

        • Ad

          I know what you mean.

          Has a politics more like Rick from the Young Ones, except she’s on Series 40.

        • Penny Bright

          So – you don’t support transparency in the spending of citizens’ rates monies, when it comes the subsidising of private passenger transport providers?

          In my view – it appears you support corporate welfare.

          I don’t.

          Penny Bright
          2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

          • Ad

            You’re the worst recipient of underserved welfare I’ve ever seen.

            You drive on roads, use public services, and don’t pay a cent for them.

            So in my view, you stand for nearly everything I stand against.

            You will lose. Again. And again. And again.
            You haven’t been elected so much as dog catcher in your life, and you never will.

        • Penny Bright

          I’m defending my (and effectively YOUR) lawful rights to ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government.

          Don’t YOU believe in transparency regarding rates spending?

          Don’t YOU agree that that the following information regarding spending by Auckland Council and Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) should be available for public scrutiny?

          * The unique contract number.
          * The name of the consultant or contractor.
          * The (brief) scope of the contract.
          * The start and finish dates of the contract.
          * The dollar value of every contract (including subcontractors).
          * How the contract was awarded (direct appointment / public tender).

          How can you ‘follow the dollar’ – if you don’t know exactly where the dollar is being spent?

          How can ‘prudent stewardship’ and ‘fiscal responsibility’ be exercised – if ‘the books’ are not open, and this information is not publicly available for ‘line by line’ accounting?

          Penny Bright
          2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

          • Sacha

            “How can ‘prudent stewardship’ and ‘fiscal responsibility’ be exercised – if ‘the books’ are not open, and this information is not publicly available for ‘line by line’ accounting?”

            Therer are these things called auditors. Sure you’ve heard of them. They read the line items so the rest of us don’t need to.

      • Penny Bright 9.2.2

        Penny Bright is for ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government, and for the ‘Rule of Law’ to equally apply to Auckland Council and Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs).

        Penny Bright is for ‘opening the books’ and ‘cutting out the contractors / consultants’ – unless a cost- benefit analysis proves that is a more cost-effective use of public money than in-house provision under the ‘public service’ model.

        Penny Bright is opposed to the commercialisation and privatisation of public services, and has a proven track record going back to 1997 when the universally hated Metrowater was forced upon the citizens and ratepayers of Auckland City Council.

        Penny Bright vigorously and consistently opposed the Auckland Supercity (for the 1%) from Day One – 5 September 2006 – the date of the ‘failed Mayoral coup’, when the four (then) City Council Mayors all ganged up against Mike Lee and the ARC, (on behalf of BIG business) to push for an Auckland ‘Supercity’.

        Penny Bright helped to stop the Wellington proposed Supercity.

        Penny Bright has vigorously opposed the TPPA since 2010.

        Penny Bright opposes road tolls and user charges for public services.

        Penny Bright opposes the sell off of Auckland Council assets.

        Penny Bright is opposed to ‘democracy for developers’.

        Penny Bright is campaigning against corrupt corporate control.


        It’s time to take it back from BIG business, property developers, overseas investors, speculators, and money-launderers!

        Penny Bright – WINNER.

        • Sacha

          Gosh that person loves the sound of their own name. They could get some help for that.

          • Penny Bright

            I can and will defend myself Sacha.

            I respectfully suggest that you get used to it?

            Kind regards

            Penny Bright
            2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

            • Sacha

              Yeah I’d say ‘defend’ is yet another word whose meaning you fail to grasp. But I’m not expecting you to change your ways at this late stage of life.

        • te reo putake

          Speaking of openness and transparency, care to tell us why you are a climate change denier?

    • mlpc 9.3

      So, even though anyone can ride the buses and trains, Auckland doesn’t have public transport because all the buses and trains are privately owned/operated.

      On the other hand, the Mayoral limo, which the public can’t ride in, is public transport because the city owns it.

  10. Wayne 10

    Presumably AT does provide an overall amount of the subsidy.

    By the way there are some fundamental fallacies in your reasoning about the cost of public transport. Virtually nowhere in the world does the fare box cover the actual cost of the service. So there is always a subsidy from ratepayers or taxpayers to the actual users. This is the case whether the providers are owned by the Council or by the private sector.

    I would have thought, you being a Mayoral candidate, that you would know this, or at least give an impression that you do. Because unless you do, it makes your request for financial accountability look foolish. And unlike the rest of us are on a rates strike because of it, though presumably you will ultimately pay rather than loose your house.

    • Ad 10.1

      There’s more financial accountability in New Zealand local government than anywhere else in the world.

      Anyone who wants to wade through all the full volumes of the LTP, RLTP, and Annual Plans, can do so.

      No other business in New Zealand the size of Auckland Council has anywhere near the degree of scrutiny and reporting detail Auckland Council has as routine.

      • Penny Bright 10.1.1

        Got some FACTS to back up your, in my opinion, fairy story Ad?

        “There’s more financial accountability in New Zealand local government than anywhere else in the world.”

        Penny Bright
        2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

        • Ad

          Sure. Find me a city in the world that publishes its accounts with more detail than the LTP, RLTP, and Annual Plan.

          Case closed.

          • Penny Bright

            So you can’t provide the facts to back up your, in my view, fantasy Ad?

            Case closed.

            Penny Bright
            2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

          • Draco T Bastard

            You’re the one who made the claim now back it up.

            As an aside I think part of the problem is that it’s so damn hard to get. This sort of stuff should be easily available on the internet. Shouldn’t need to ask for it.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      So there is always a subsidy from ratepayers or taxpayers to the actual users. This is the case whether the providers are owned by the Council or by the private sector.

      True but the subsidy is greater when the service is provided by private providers. It’s greater by the amount of profit that the private providers take.

    • integralenz 10.3

      Wayne, Lose not “loose”. Or, like brother John, are you seeking the common touch?

      • fender 10.3.1

        Yeah, it’s a Trump thing.

      • Psycho Milt 10.3.2

        Language is effectively a democracy. If the illiterates who think lose is spelt loose become a majority, the literate have to suck it up and admit defeat. We aren’t far off that point if blog posts and comments are anything to go by.

        • Grindlebottom

          It’s a tough one for people who were apparently taught to spell things phonetically if unsure. They struggle with words like lose because of words like hose and dose.

          If everybody would just agree to spell it looz the problem would be solved.

          • Psycho Milt

            Well, yeah – telling schoolkids to try and spell English phonetically was a dumb idea from day one. There wouldn’t be a language on the planet less suited to trying to spell words phonetically. Among native speakers, English spelling is tough for dyslexics and people who don’t read unless they have to – maybe Wayne’s dyslexic, but my money would be on the second one.

            • Incognito

              I believe Wayne is a born & bred Kiwi but not all TS commenters are. In any case, Wayne’s spell-checker is probably set to automatically change “lose” into “loose” as the former is much worse than the latter, for an ex-Nat 😉

    • Penny Bright 10.4

      So why Wayne – if the private sector is supposedly so ‘efficient’ – do private transport providers need public subsidies?

      Why should the public subsidise that which we no longer own, operate or manage when it comes to passenger transport provision in Auckland?

      Why is information about public subsidies of privately owned, operated and managed passenger transport not available for public scrutiny?

      Penny Bright
      2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

      • Sacha 10.4.1

        There can be public benefit without public ownership.

        • Penny Bright

          In my view Sacha – there would be more public benefit if the public were not subsidising private passenger transport providers and the ownership, operation and management was brought back ‘in house’ under the public service model.

          Penny Bright
          2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

      • Ad 10.4.2

        You have no idea about how public transport works, and it’s embarrassing.

        How many years have you been in this game?

        Do you need to be told what the cost of the annual opex alone for a private vehicle using the motorway system is? Try figuring out what an actual subsidy is on all modes before you open your ignorant gob.

        • Penny Bright

          What’s your definition of ‘public’ when it comes to ‘public transport’ Ad?

          Penny Bright
          2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Penny Bright 10.5

      I have learned Wayne – to presume nothing and check everything.

      AT declined to answer my LGOIMA request regarding public subsidies of private passenger transport providers on the grounds that this information was ‘contractually confidential’.

      Kind regards

      Penny Bright
      2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Meanwhile, China is using their “One Road One Belt” initiative to talk to countries about new trade, business and logistical/transport opportunities.

  11. Draco T Bastard 12

    Researchers find the tipping point between resilience and collapse in complex systems

    Honeybees have been dying in record numbers, threatening the continued production of nutritious foods such as apples, nuts, blueberries, broccoli, and onions. Without bees to pollinate these crops, the environmental ecosystem–and our health–stands in the balance. Have we reached the tipping point, where the plant-pollinator system is due to collapse?

    There was no way to calculate that–until now.

    Using statistical physics, Northeastern network theorist Albert-László Barabási and his colleagues Jianxi Gao and Baruch Barzel have developed a tool to identify that tipping point–for everything from ecological systems such as bees and plants to technological systems such as power grids. It opens the door to planning and implementing preventive measures before it’s too late, as well as preparing for recovery after a disaster.

    The tool, described in a new paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, fills a longstanding gap in scientists’ understanding of what determines “resilience”– that is, a system’s ability to adjust to disturbances, both internal and external, in order to remain functional.

    Now that’s going to have some interesting consequences – especially once they turn it on the economy.

    • weka 12.1

      Thanks, that looks bloody interesting.

    • Bill 12.2

      There was no way to calculate that–until now. Wow! A breakthrough…a eureka moment?

      Our tool, for the first time, enables those predictions. Sounding like a eureka moment!

      “Statistical physics has found that you can crunch down all of these millions of parameters and components into one number–the temperature,” said Barzel. “We take it for granted now, but that was a tremendous scientific achievement.

      Oh. So all the millions of parameters people knew nothing about were cunningly ignored by the people who knew nothing about them as people concentrated on what they could observe and (eventually) measure…hmm.

      As the water heats up, those parameters and components continually change. Measuring those multitudinous changes over time–a microscopic approach to assessing the water’s state–would be impossible. Uh-huh.

      Statistical physics has found that you can crunch down all of these millions of parameters and components [from any complex system] into one number–the temperature,” But..but…the impossibility of tracking all those millions of components and parameters…or even probably agreeing on which ones are relevant…

      “Once you identify the relevant parameter that controls the system’s resilience, you can begin to tackle how to manipulate that resilience–how to enhance resilience or restore resilience, Roight.

      So if only we could know everything about something we could reduce that complex everything into a simple something. Hmm. Like a number. There’s a wee detail in there…can’t quite grasp it. But hey, great. Apart from never being able to know everything about something [that’s the detail!] and therefore being unable to reduce the unknown to a known….fantastic!

      I’m picking the “temperature” always pans out to be 42 btw 😉

    • Andre 13.1

      That left me kinda disappointed the robot didn’t turn around and punch out the human.

    • ianmac 13.2

      Gosh! Uneven ground and all. Only question is was it acting independently or under control off stage. If totally independent then double Wow!

      • Andre 13.2.1

        DARPA has been sponsoring X-prize type competitions for totally autonomous humanoid robots. This is only a small step beyond the best achieved in the competition last year. Since Google bought Boston Dynamics, I’m not sure they’re still bothering to enter the competitions anymore.

  12. So good and so well worth a read as usual. JMG talking about politics over there

    To my mind, it’s far from accidental that for the last few decades, every presidential election here in the US has been enlivened by bumper stickers calling on voters to support the presidential ambitions of Cthulhu, the tentacled primeval horror out of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic dread. I’m sorry to say that the Elder God’s campaign faces a serious constitutional challenge, as he was spawned on the world of Vhoorl in the twenty-third nebula and currently resides in the drowned corpse-city of R’lyeh, and as far as I know neither of these are US territory. Still, his bid for the White House has gotten further than most other imaginary candidacies, and I’ve long thought that the secret behind that success is Cthulhu’s campaign slogan: “Why settle for the lesser evil?”

    …What the insurgent candidacies of Trump and Sanders show conclusively, in turn, is that the lesser-evil rhetoric and its fixation on “realistic” politics have just passed their pull date…

    …To a very real extent, Hillary Clinton’s faltering presidential campaign is a perfect microcosm of what Spengler was talking about in his cold analysis of democracy in extremis. Her entire platform presupposes that the only policies the United States can follow are those that have been welded in place since the turn of the millennium: more government largesse for corporations and the rich, more austerity for everyone else, more malign neglect for the national infrastructure and the environment, more wars in the Middle East, and more of the fantastically stupid policy of confrontation—there really is no gentler way to describe it—that has succeeded, against all odds, in uniting Russia, China, Iran, and an assortment of smaller nations against the United States, by convincing their leaders that they have nothing to gain from a US-centric world order and nothing to lose by challenging it…

    anyway I’ll end up quoting the whole thing – go and read it – I insist!!!

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Thanks for putting this up in OM too, MM.

    • Anne 14.2

      Well, I did what I was told and read it. Must admit my brain started to ‘short out’ towards the end but it paints a sense of extreme dissonance which also applies elsewhere including NZ. There are the two opposing responses coming from “ordinary people” in the US. The more intelligent and rational have gravitated to Bernie Sanders and the less intelligent, ultra conservatives to Trump. In NZ we have the “missing million”.

      • marty mars 14.2.1

        Yes I wonder who will pull through the pack here – key hasn’t got it for sure – maybe we’ll slide through the middle but a trump win will invigorate the edgy political characters I think.

        • Anne

          Yes I wonder who will pull through the pack here –

          With Phil Goff having announced he will not be contesting the next election, there is an opening for Micheal Wood of the Labour Party. He is expected to get the Mt Roskill candidacy and anyone who has heard him speak will be aware of his talents and pulling power. Moreover he is highly intelligent and a solid performer. Definitely leadership material and someone to watch closely in the coming years.

          • Colonial Viper

            Michael Wood is a steady performer but gets his shot at Goff’s seat due to being a loyal long term Labour establishment player, not having challenged the Labour caucus in any material way, and after having stood as a candidate many times for Labour in other seats over the years.

            • McFlock

              So, basically, he works well with others and doesn’t throw a tanty when something deviates from his narrow preferences.

              Good to know.

    • Stuart Munro 14.3

      R’lyeh is on the Challenger Plateau – not many orange roughy around it either.

  13. Penny Bright 15

    GREAT news John Palino is apparently standing as yet another Auckland Mayoral candidate!

    SO many pro-business / pro-Supercity 2016 Auckland Mayoral candidates!

    Keep splitting that vote ….

    Looking forward to comparing the proven track records of all the other Auckland Mayoral candidates, when it comes to defending the LAWFUL rights of citizens to ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government in Auckland?

    I’ve put my freehold house on the line to defend these LAWFUL rights.

    What have any of the other Auckland Mayoral candidates done?

    I note that fellow ‘Independent’ Auckland Mayoral candidate Phil Goff (currently the Labour MP for Mt Roskill), supports the TPPA, road tolling, and PPPs.

    Is this now the position of City Vision?

    (Who have endorsed Phil Goff as an Auckland Mayoral candidate?)

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  14. chris73 16

    For example, their pamphlets hit on things like the peril of too much Chinese investment, the pervasive threat of Zionism, Israel’s “holocaust” in Gaza, the perfidious influence of Cameron Slater and National Party pollster and commentator David Farrar in New Zealand politics, the sovereignty-destroying TPPA and, of course, the fact that John Key is a rootless money man whose allegiance is to international finance and not the people of New Zealand.

    It has to be said that the overall themes and prose style of their literature shared much more with the anonymous commenters on the Left-wing blog, The Standard than the centre-Right, Kiwiblog. Of course, the more usual economic xenophobia was leavened throughout with heavy dollops of racism, which stands in stark contrast to your garden variety left-liberal – who usually considers racism to be the most grievous sin in the book.

    A sad but amusing opinion piece

  15. Tautoko Mangō Mata 17

    So this is why Key is trying to rush the TPP through our Parliament.

    USTR Lawyer Says TPP Designed To Accommodate U.S. Certification Requirement
    The entry-into-force mechanism of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was specifically designed to protect the ability of the United States to carry out its domestic requirement that the president not allow a trade agreement to enter into force until he has certified that each trading partner has complied with its obligations that take effect immediately, according to the lead U.S. lawyer on TPP.

    Could Congress change a final TPPA text, even if the President had Fast Track authority?
    A majority of members of the US Congress could insist on changes to the TPPA, even with Fast Track. They did that, for example, with the Korea-US FTA, which President George W. Bush signed in 2007. When it became evident in 2011 that the deal as signed could not be passed by Congress, President Barack Obama demanded additional concessions from South Korea related to trade in auto and agriculture products. If Korea had not agreed, it could have faced renewed pressure to make those changes as a precondition for certification.

  16. gsays 18

    time to put my money where the mouth is.

    i have a vision.
    it is of aotearoa being a food producer second to none.
    this produce is organically grown.
    the conversion time is 8-10 years.
    this can be labour intensive.

    all labour used starts at a living wage rate of $18 an hour.
    this will occur until a ubi is established (4-5 years).

    while we have a new minimum wage there will also be a maximum wage of 10 times the lowest wage in the organisation.

    a financial transaction tax will be started which will replace gst and all income tax below $40,000.

    trucks are gonna be taxed at an eye watering rate for the privilege of using the roads.
    taxed so hard that they will cease to be viable and the majority of freight will be moved by rail.
    these taxes go into rail investment and public transport

    big investment in solar farms as well as providing incentives for citizens to install solar on their whare.
    all new homes must have water tanks and solar installed.

    ok, its all a bit rushed as i am about to celebrate a fiftieth.

    the idea is to start to build a resilient aotearoa where people and their needs come first second and third.

    welcome all nay-sayers, but coming at me from a balance sheet angle will fall on deaf ears.

    • rawshark-yeshe 18.1

      Kia kaha !!!

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      This resilience stuff is hot stuff, gsays.

      Enjoy the celebrations!

    • maui 18.3

      Sounds great! Sooner we get there the better I reckon, and hopefully avoiding as much pain as possible.

    • Ad 18.4

      How have you put your money anywhere?

      I don’t quite understand you.

      • Psycho Milt 18.4.1

        I think it was supposed to read “time to put the country’s money where my mouth is.”

      • gsays 18.4.2

        hi ad, sorry about belated reply (needed a full day and a half to repair from 50th).
        i had made a comment on a thread here on the standard about being sick of posts bagging the opposition rather than painting a picture of a bright future.

        therefore the money i was referring to was metaphorical.
        perhaps put up or shut up would have been more appropriate.

        in answer to psycho milt below:
        if you are happy with billions of our dollars going overseas to the foreign banks,
        happy with charter schools being paid bonuses regardless of performances, overnight bailouts of sth canterbury finance,
        the slashing of mental health budgets,
        below par, frozen food moved from tauranga to dunedin to feed the elderly and infirm..
        then i think we will talk past each other all day.

        the point is that with a financial transaction tax, we are able to use some of the massive profits from banking to help the people.

  17. rawshark-yeshe 19

    Land of the free and their highest impartial moral authority .. ha ha ha ha ha!

    Dow Chemicals Would Rather Pay Out $835 Million Than Face the Supreme Court Without Scalia

    Dow Chemicals this week settled a billion-dollar lawsuit after determining, essentially, that it had no chance in front of a Supreme Court without Antonin Scalia.

    Dow was challenging a 2013 order that required it to pay $1.06 billion as part of an antitrust suit concerning the sale of urethanes. (The company was accused of price fixing with four other companies but refused to admit liability; the other companies settled for a collective $135 million.)

    But Dow, which was set to argue before the Supreme Court once the Court had decided a similar case, dropped its appeal today and settled with the plaintiffs in the case for $835 million. What inspired this change of heart? According to Bloomberg, it was the death of Scalia.

    Scalia, of course, was not exactly a fan of class actions. Which is great news for the plaintiffs and terrible news for Dow, which was hoping the Court should reduce the award as part of a referendum on class action suits.

    But alas, big plaintiff won this round.…

  18. Penny Bright 20

    Are the comments Donald Trump made about Princess Diana nearly 20 years ago, (and other comments he has made about women), going to come back him and bite him on his political posterior – as it were?

    Donald Trump Said A Lot Of Gross Things About Women On “Howard Stern”

    In the hours of audio reviewed by BuzzFeed News, Trump ranks, rates, and degrades women.

    posted on Feb. 25, 2016, at 12:11 p.m.

    Donald Trump’s rise toward the Republican nomination has been fueled, in part, by his candid and often crude style — more Howard Stern, say, than Mitt Romney.

    And the roots of Donald Trump’s rhetoric come, in fact, in part from The Howard Stern Show. Trump appeared upwards of two dozen times from the late ’90s through the 2000s with the shock jock, and BuzzFeed News has listened to hours of those conversations, which are not publically available.

    The most popular topic of conversation during these appearances, as is typical of Stern’s program, was sex.

    In particular, Trump frequently discussed women he had sex with, wanted to have sex with, or wouldn’t have sex with if given the opportunity. He also rated women on a 10-point scale.

    “A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10,” he told Stern in one typical exchange.

    Women make up a majority of the American electorate, and any of dozens of Trump’s remarks would be considered a severe blow to most candidates for public office.

    Trump has, in the Republican primary, proven largely immune to the backlash that the laws of gravity in politics would predict, but there are also suggestions that he has a deep problem with some women voters: 68% of women voters held an unfavorable view of Trump in a Quinnipiac poll released in December.

    In a Gallup poll also released in December, Trump had the lowest net favorable rating out of all the candidates among college-educated Republican women.

    And should he win the nomination, his comments are sure to become ammunition for Democrats against what they have long cast as a Republican “war on women.”

    Trump has a history of making crude remarks toward women. He reportedly said of his ex-wife Marla Maples, “Nice tits, no brains,” and more recently, he has called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and a “lightweight” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate.

    The focus of Trump’s attentions when interviewed by Stern was commonly female celebrities — movie and television stars, recording artists, models, and media personalities.

    Trump, in more than one instance, expressed his admiration for and attraction to Diana, Princess of Wales.

    Months after Diana was killed in an automobile accident in 1997, Trump told Stern he thinks he could have slept with her, saying she had “supermodel beauty.”

    In a different interview in 2000, Trump said he would have slept with her “without hesitation” and that “she had the height, she had the beauty, she had the skin.” He added, “She was crazy, but (these are minor details)?”
    (In brackets because of incomplete cut & pasted quote – not sure if that’s the exact wording ..)

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  19. The Chairman 21

    Hampshire school calls police after pupil looks at UKIP website

    • ianmac 22.1

      An interesting read. But what a sacrifice when at the end is the list of Key failures yet which do not deter Hooton. Power at any cost eh Matthew?
      And what a misunderstanding about Education.
      Will read again tomorrow and find the speech of the Act leader to compare it with.

    • pat 22.2

      “…. And this is seriously the sort of economic assumption that Labour and the Greens have been using to say the TPP would be bad for New Zealand. So keeping those lunatics away from office is absolutely paramount.”

      he continues

      ‘Well, we have a prime minister who is applying the median voter model more rigorously than any other I can think of anywhere in the world. And, as Labour heads ever more to the extreme left, John Key will follow them, because that’s what the median voter says to do. It’s not his fault that Labour’s not playing the same game. The median voter model says Labour should head to the centre but they’re not. But, given that, the median voter model says John Key should allow them all the way to the extreme left and that is what he will do left unchecked, because that’s what the model says he should do. So Act’s role is to have enough gravitational pull on the right to try to at least slow John Key’s inevitable and logical drift to the left, eventually maybe even stop it and keep him in a steady state or – here’s hoping – one day even pull him slightly back towards sound policy. Of course we all know this, and we’ve talked about it for years.”

      and as to resource access?…

      “And you have a leader who can identify a long-term, important contemporary issue. Because how New Zealand its natural resources like water comes down to three options: 1) You can just make it a free for all and the resource will be polluted and depleted, but Act has never been an anarchist party. 2) You can ration them by queuing like the Soviet Union did with bread and advantage existing users over newer innovative ones, but I guess it is fair in its own way. 3). Or you can ration them through pricing, so that those who have the best idea to maximise the value of the natural resources are the ones who get them. And of course, when it comes to natural resources, not a single other party in parliament is going to opt for the only non-Soviet option, which is the third one. So let’s see how your new focus on the environment goes.”

      but despite his well known promotion of the polls M.Hooton is concerned…

      “It is easy – and I’m enjoying it – to mock Andrew Little’s motely crew. They really are hopeless. But if they get 25% of the vote, which seems about right, and Winston and the Greens get up to 12.5% each which is possible … well, that’s a government, perhaps with some strange arrangement around the prime ministership like Winston Peters has sought before. And John Key knows this.
      And John Key knows also that bizarre things happen in our increasingly bizarre election campaigns, and there will be some surprise that will threaten his hold on power. He probably also has the personal awareness to realise he’s not the cool new kid on the block anymore. If anything, now, our high quality media has decided that’s Max. But, remember, when John Key became prime minister, Max was a kid at King’s Prep up the road. Now, he’s DJ Max who gets to date models. And John Key himself looks older. The TV news, which used to always have a still shot of him smiling and waving, now uses a still shot of him scowling. And if you’re voting for the 1st 2nd or 3rd time next year, he’s not cool.”

      so in summary…corporate paymasters worried, time to rally the troops, the risk of defeat is increasing and must be avoided at all cost…..and to hell with whats in the country’s best interests as long as “Im all right Jack”

    • Incognito 22.3

      Pining for the past, ideological purism, “an enemy of welfarism and sloth”, struggling for political relevancy, desperate for more influence (power) = potentially dangerous territory.

      I thought the speech was borderline incoherent, poorly structured, lacked vision and imagination, and it more sounded like a pep talk for zombies than a morale-boosting strategy proposal for politically-astute people of more than average intelligence.

      TBH, I quite like David Seymour, possibly because he’s indeed ideologically pure; I respect that.

  20. The Chairman 23

    Batten down the hatches.

    Severe thunderstorm warning as heavy rains hit North Island

  21. Tautoko Mangō Mata 24

    Those making submissions on the TPP might like to skim read the Hansard of the Australian Joint inquiry: Treaty tabled on 9 February: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement 22 Feb 2016 #Hansard transcript

    Biologics, ISDS discussed


    • ianmac 24.1

      Some hard questions were asked in Australia. I seriously wonder if the NZ Road Show will allow the same sort of questioning, and not just be a Government Circus Act.

  22. Sacha 25

    Further in know your enemy: (warning: contains visual smugness)

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