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Open mike 27/05/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 27th, 2016 - 90 comments
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openmikeOpen mike is your post.

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90 comments on “Open mike 27/05/2016 ”

  1. Paul 1

    Another day in John Key’s neo-liberal nightmare.
    We have become a cruel, ugly and selfish nation under his wretched leadership.

    ‘Is NZ facing a crisis of conscience?

    The housing crisis has taken on a more visible form, with the issues of emergency housing and homelessness.
    The causes of homelessness and need for emergency housing are complex, but the common thread is poverty. And no place to turn. At the end of the tether, society decides whether to simply let it happen, or to care and act.
    New Zealand has long taken a caring approach. A safety net has been a part of the social contract in post-war New Zealand…..’


  2. Tautoko Mangō Mata 2

    Exactly what is Palantir doing in NZ?

    One document that has received particular attention is a PowerPoint presentation that said a trio of data-related companies — HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies — could help attack WikiLeaks, which is rumored to be preparing to release internal e-mails from Bank of America.

    One idea was to submit fake documents covertly to WikiLeaks, and then expose them as forgeries to discredit the group. It also suggested pressuring WikiLeaks’ supporters — notably Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com — by threatening their careers.

    “Without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold,” the presentation said.

    Another set of documents proposed similar ways to embarrass adversaries of the Chamber of Commerce for an initial fee of $200,000 and $2 million later.


    From a 2013 NZ Herald article by David Fisher:

    Palantir Technologies won the awe of the United States’ intelligence community when it developed tools for large-scale data-mining, earning itself acclaim as “the War on Terror’s Secret Weapon”.

    It set up shop in Wellington last year, advertising for an “embedded analyst” who was needed “to support our Palantir Government client base”
    A spokesman for the institute said it aimed to be a “positive influence” on the intelligence community by providing “support, advice and opportunities” to ” improve intelligence practice in and for New Zealand”.


    Positive influence?!!!!

  3. amirite 3

    It didn’t take long to divert the media attention from heart-wrenching homelessness to ‘big tax cuts’, as promised by Key to appease the greedy and selfish National-voting base.



    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Just because the MSM has shifted focus doesn’t actually mean that the people have.

  4. Tautoko Mangō Mata 4

    Vandana Shiva:
    When the US talks of strong patent laws, it is restricting itself to the corporate interest. On criteria of corporate rights at the cost of nature and people, US laws are strong. On grounds of ethical considerations and social and ecological justice, they are weak. Instead of India being bullied to destroy her civilisational legacy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbhakam, her carefully and democratically evolved laws related to Biodiversity, the Rights of Mother Earth, and rights of people to their collective intellectual and cultural heritage, it is time for the US government to stop being an instrument of the ethically, scientifically and legally perverse construction of global corporations to define life as their invention and property.

    The cancer of Corporate rule of US should not be allowed to metastasise via TPP, TTIP, TISA etc.

  5. veutoviper 6

    Last night at 6 on Daily Review 26/05/2016, Gangnam Style provided a link to John Armstrong’s blog, and a quote from his latest post on homelessness and the demolition of Housing NZ.

    Daily Review 26/05/2016

    You will recall that John Armstrong was the Senior Political Correspondent at the NZ Herald for many years, prior to his retirement due to serious illness. IMHO Armstrong, for the most part, appeared to be a strong National supporter in his Herald columns.

    I was therefore extremely surprised to read the excerpt from Armstrong’s blog post that Gangnam Style posted last night ; and the full post at the blog itself –


    Although Armstrong’s political bias at times used to annoy me, nevertheless I always respected his ability and experience in political analysis. His posts on his blog (only four to date) continue to reflect these qualities; but with a quite different attitude to National and Key.

    I highly recommend reading his blog and posts.

    • Anne 6.1

      Many of us suspected John Armstrong wrote his Herald political pieces with a view to appeasing his former employers. Now he can be more open and honest about his opinions. I wonder who of the current MSM journalists the same criteria would apply?

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Many of us suspected John Armstrong wrote his Herald political pieces with a view to appeasing his former employers. Now he can be more open and honest about his opinions.

        If that is the case then we now have proof that journalists are forced to write in favour of the political-right.

      • TC 6.1.2

        Very few as the bulk that remain are copy/paste kids who wouldnt know intellectual rigour and fact checking if it they had a threesome together.

    • John shears 6.2

      @ VV thanks for posting well worth the read.

  6. save nz 7

    “The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has attacked foreign investors for using homes in the capital as “gold bricks for investment” following a Guardian investigation that revealed the UK’s tallest residential skyscraper is now more than 60% foreign-owned and is under-occupied.

    Facing questions from the London Assembly for the first time since he was elected mayor, Khan warned that building thousands of new homes a year in London to solve the housing crisis would mean nothing if “they are all bought by investors in the Middle East and Asia for use as second homes or they sit empty”.

    The London skyscraper that is a stark symbol of the housing crisis

    He said: “The Guardian’s front page today is an example of the consequences of the last eight years of being obsessed by numbers rather than [building] the right sorts of homes.”


    • save nz 7.1

      From the same article – will NZ learn anything, or just keep repeating well know outcomes from neoliberalism and globalism?

      “Conservative MP Bob Blackman, who sits on the Commons communities select committee, which scrutinises housing policy, said the fact that the five-storey Tower penthouse was owned by an oligarch who had not yet lived there was ridiculous.

      Blackman said it might now be time to consider a policy demanding buyers of UK properties commit to living in the UK for more than 90 days a year.

      Ken Livingstone, who also backed the scheme when he was mayor of London, said he had no idea so many foreign buyers would be seeking to deposit money in London property.

      He described the international buy-up as appalling. “I was very keen to get foreign investment into London, but that was in terms of constructing developments and creating new jobs, not flogging them off to people who just keep them there in case there is a coup and they have to flee,” he said.”

    • ianmac 7.2

      I suppose the builders are happy.
      The owners who rent the buildings out to “investors” are happy.
      The previous owners would be happy to sell the buildings to “investors.”
      So it would seem that like here in NZ, everyone with vested interests will also be happy.
      Market forces you know.

    • Molly 7.3

      What Canadians in Prince Edward Island did a couple of decades ago affected the prices in that province which is the second cheapest province to buy housing:
      Prince Edward Island, the one place in Canada where foreign property buyers must check in

      “The thing about foreign ownership is it requires more study. Is it good or bad for the market?” said Dugan. “Some people who are investing in the condo market for the long term can be quite helpful because they’ve been adding to the rental supply.”

      P.E.I., equally, wants foreign investors and has a program to encourage them to come to the island, but it wants them to buy and become residents.

      This is a small province, if there’s no rules, it could be bought out

      Scott MacKenzie, chair and chief executive of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission known as IRAC, says the application alone costs one per cent of the purchase price, although if the deal falls through and you are rejected, only 50 per cent of the fee is refunded.

      In a normal year P.E.I. gets 100 applications for individuals that exceed the 50-acre or 165-feet of shoreline limits, and about 50 applications from corporations. There are a number of considerations before an appeal will be considered. One of the stipulations is that no more than 30 per cent of a community be made up of non-islanders.
      Tourism PEI

      “If you are coming here to move here and be a resident of P.E.I. and be a member of the community, even though you are a non-resident right now, there is a good strong chance that the application will go through. If you are a corporate farmer from Ontario and you realize that you can buy farmland in P.E.I. for $2,500 an acre, whereas it would cost you $25,000 in Ontario and you simply want 1,000 acres to farm from afar, you’ve got a problem,” MacKenzie said.

      Tracking out-of-province buyers might be a problem elsewhere in Canada but P.E.I. keeps a handle on the situation through a tax structure that effectively doubles property taxes for non-residents, creating an incentive for people to prove they are living on the island and meet the minimum stay of 183 days.”

      Financial Post

      Worth reading the whole article for a real world example of how one of the necessary changes for NZ housing can be legislated, and how that plays a positive part for long-term affordability.

  7. The Chairman 8

    About 550,000 New Zealanders are daily smokers.

    That’s a lot of potential voters, yet it seems Labour aren’t interested in shielding them from tax increases.

    Peters has slammed the move (tax increases) calling it an attack.


    Once again, Labour are aligning with National.


    • Pat 8.1

      the position on smoking depends upon your religion

    • Puckish Rogue 8.2

      Good, smoking is a disgusting, filthy habit with no health benefits. Well done to Labour for doing this.

      • Pat 8.2.1

        a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.
        synonyms: fanatic, enthusiast, extremist, radical, Young Turk, diehard, activist, militant; More
        antonyms: moderate
        a member of an ancient Jewish sect aiming at a world Jewish theocracy and resisting the Romans until AD 70.
        noun: Zealot; plural noun: Zealots

        next target?

        • Puckish Rogue

          Well you’d have to remove the religious factor as I’m atheist (well I guess agnostic but only because I can’t prove there’s no god however I also can’t prove there isn’t a flying spaghetti monster)

          • McFlock

            I think pat’s point is that you’re still making substantially irrational value judgements (like a religious person) about smoking. In some cases demonstrably wrong, as smoking has in fact been associated with reduced rates of some things like alzheimers.

            I’m resigned to the fact that I’ve reluctantly become a “success story” because I quit when it got too expensive. But I’ll never understand why people who need to use several perjorative adjectives about smoking don’t seem to think that their attitudes are irrational.

            I fucking enjoyed it, and the wowsers took it away. That’s democracy. But the campaign of encouraging ostracism and bullying of smokers is ugly.

            BTW, this is one of my rantable issues, so I’ll try to keep an eye my responses. 🙂

        • Draco T Bastard

          What right do smokers have to affect others without their permission?

          • McFlock

            Exactly the same right others have to affect smokers.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Exactly – none.

              And yet smokers keep smoking where they affect others and then complain when others tell them to stop.

              • McFlock

                Some people seem to think that they are affected by the mere existence of smokers or someone smoking.

                And think it’s ok to tell them to stop.

                • weka

                  If you’re talking about exposure to smoke, sure. Why wouldn’t it be ok?

                  • Pat

                    do you acost drivers of motor vehicles and berate them for impacting your world?

                    • weka

                      I have been known to ask people to turn their vehicle engines off when they leave them idling for no good reason, if I’ve been sitting there when they arrive and am now breathing in fumes. Otherwise I think your comparison misses the mark. We all get impacted by different things in different ways, but as a society I think it’s pretty much accepted now that cigarette smoke is impactful across the board.

                      I don’t support the tobacco tax btw.

                  • Pat

                    “I have been known to ask people to turn their vehicle engines off when they leave them idling for no good reason, if I’ve been sitting there when they arrive and am now breathing in fumes.”

                    that infers at your place abode….yes?

                    • weka

                      Don’t really have people leaving their engines running at my place. Usually it’s when I’m sitting somewhere public and someone pulls up. All sorts of places, including places in nature, beside parks, in carparks etc.

                  • Pat

                    of course….I should have known better.

                  • McFlock

                    Because the stress.and other effect of interpersonal conflict is probably a greater health risk to others than a cigarette in the open air.

                    • weka

                      I think you really should be more clear in what you mean McFlock. Are you talking about govt policy, a business asking its customers not to smoke inside, me asking someone to not smoke in my house, someone asking you to not smoke in your house, etc?

                      Open air? You made a very general statement, which leaves everyone guessing, wrongly apparently.

                    • McFlock

                      While I had in mind the latest local government bylaws that are unenforceable, the main point was the telling. As in saying you”put that out now and generally making a fuss, pretend coughing, all that bullshit.
                      That’s the environment we’re in now. Arseholes with an excuse to harass.

                    • weka

                      I guess it’s hard to know where to go after that. If someone is smoking and that smoke is affecting me (see Draco’s original comment above), then how is me asking or even telling them not to blow smoke around me harassment? I mean, I can see how someone being an arsehole with it would be horrible, and even harrassing, but it doesn’t work as a general principle. Arseholes will be arseholes, people still have a right to not be exposed to smoke and to do something if they are.

                      What are the bylaws?

                    • McFlock

                      For example, the Auckalnd policy that tries to use “social pressure”, and similar bylaw from Hutt city.

                      how is me asking or even telling them not to blow smoke around me harassment?

                      Asking, not so much. Telling, however, is more common than simply asking, and passive-aggressive “asking” is more common still. When I smoked in public, I was abused more often than asked. And in the open air, the only way you or draco are “affected” is by smell when you’re within 20 feet or so. What do you do on the bus when a smelly person sits in front of you – ask them to bathe more often?

                      But even with asking, there’s no smoking in all workplaces, bars, restaurants, and public transport. Even my flat is non-smoking, as a (common) condition of the lease. So where are the addicted people supposed to smoke without some jerk who prefers to stay and rant rather than move on like a normal human being? Nowehere. Society is conditioned to scowl at smokers, and smokers are conditioned to accept it, every fucking day.

                      Arseholes will be arseholes, people still have a right to not be exposed to smoke and to do something if they are.

                      When the “exposure” is bugger-all beyond smell, the least hazardous and inconvenient option for all concerned is to just move on.

                      I do it when folk start a drum circle in the park, because that’s not my thing. I don’t yell at them to stop, hold my head in mock agony, and say that their drumming might give a small number of people a really bad migraine. And before you respond that smoking causes worse things than a migraine, not in the levels people are exposed to in NZ these days. Oh, I’ve met people who got all wheezy after coming within 50 feet of a smoker, but for some reason they only got wheezy when they saw the smoker, and smog didn’t seem to affect them at all.

          • left for dead

            This same right you have for offending people around here, if you tease that out too it’s logical conclusion everyone offends every one at some point.
            So maybe that three way duel works out. 😉

      • The Chairman 8.2.2

        Some would say the tax revenue smokers currently generate fiscally benefits the health system.

        Moreover, a number of those that can’t quit will be forced to make savings elsewhere – i.e. doctors visits, nutrition, home heating etc… Leading to poorer health outcomes for them and their families.

      • M. Gray 8.2.3

        what about drinking (alcohol) is this alright ?

      • weston 8.2.4

        what a good parrot pr and can you say pollie wants a cracker ?
        dirty and disgusting i.m.o. is what we as humans are doing to the planet ie oceans full of plastic etc pollution on a grand scale war and violence …smokers….?/ pftt

    • Gabby 8.3

      I think it’s a good time to give up smoking.

      • The Chairman 8.3.1

        The concern is for those that can’t and its wider impact.

        • Colonial Viper

          550K daily smokers out of an adult population of 3.5M seems like a hell of a lot…

          • The Chairman

            I’m surprised a political party struggling for support are happy to turn their nose up to that while closing their eyes to the wider carnage – i.e assaults, theft, incarceration and fiscal suffering.

            • McFlock

              About twenty years ago anti-smoking adverts changed tack into “de-normalising” smoking. Basically, people are conditioned to judge smokers negatively, and smokers have been conditioned to accept it.

              Personally, I reckon smoking illustrates the problem with capitalism rather than tobacco – smoking’s at the lowest level in decades, but soft drinks and fast food are still incredibly popular.

              • The Chairman

                Yes, the anti-smoking campaign has resulted in the demonisation and discrimination of smokers becoming socially acceptable.

    • Naki man 8.4

      It’s apalling that feral deadbeat parents would rather buy cigarettes than feed their kids. The majority will just see tax increases as another reason to give up.
      I hear Annette King supports the taxes, she is a smart women.

      • McFlock 8.4.1

        Thankyou for raising the appalling burden of addiction on its victms and their families. Your concern and empathy for your fellow human beings is once again brought to the fore as an example to us all, and you are a reminder of what it is to be a well-rounded human being.

      • The Chairman 8.4.2

        “It’s appalling that feral deadbeat parents would rather buy cigarettes than feed their kids”

        That’s the power of addiction.

        It’s appalling Labour are supporting policy that will result in further fiscal hardship and more children suffering.

    • About 550,000 New Zealanders are daily smokers.

      That’s a lot of potential voters, yet it seems Labour aren’t interested in shielding them from tax increases.

      They’re addicts, which means a lot of them will pay as much tax as a government wants. Every year, successive governments look on smokers as a bunch of people they can hold upside down by their ankles and shake to see how much falls out of their pockets. Labour are no different from National in that respect. They then phrase it in terms of “health initiatives” or some such bullshit. At least your P dealer doesn’t pretend he’s robbing you blind in a noble and charitable effort to get you to quit.

      • Kay 8.5.1

        There’s an awful lot of people with chronic, serious mental health problems who chain smoke. Many of them picked up the habit as inpatients pre hospital smoking bans. They’re completely addicted and cutting down, yet alone quitting just isn’t part of the equation. And the vast majority are on benefits, and the smokes are going to take priority no matter what they cost. That’s the reality.

  8. save nz 9

    Revealed: 9% rise in London properties owned by offshore firms
    Land Registry data of past 10 months shows 40,000 properties – from entire apartment complexes to wine cellars and car parks – registered in tax havens


  9. save nz 10

    China unveils ‘straddling bus’ design to beat traffic jams
    The concept vehicle is designed to float above the clogged-up streets of some of the country’s biggest cities


    • mauī 10.1

      Yum, yum, yum I eat cars for breakfast.

      Emergency slide entry/exits 🙄

      • save nz 10.1.1

        Apart from looking like an evil 1970s Star Wars vehicle, not a bad idea!

      • ianmac 10.1.2

        Make sure you don’t deviate off your car lane. Ooops. Squished.
        I had strong urges to sail my home made yacht under an oil platform floating off the top of the South Island. So tempting but never realised.

        Interesting that the overide vehicle is the Chinese innovation.
        Decades ago Japanese goods were regarded as rubbish copies. Not any more.
        Currently Chinese goods have been regarded as rubbish copies. Not any more.

  10. Gabby 11

    If they put the two rails much closer together and the ‘bus’ ran alongside the traffic, that might work.

  11. whispering kate 12

    Our ethnic communities who traditionally are conservative voters and would most likely vote National will not be happy with this constant rise in the cigarette tax. They do seem to be quite prolific with their smoking, and there could be a back lash at the ballot box with the annual increase, will this now mean that Customs will have to not only work hard at detecting C.Meth coming into the country but now have contraband ciggies coming in as well to be searching for. Poor airport dogs will now have another skill to learn.

    Stockists of ciggies will also have to barricade their shops up like Fort Knox, seems weird to me that alcohol can be bought in supermarkets and quite cheaply at that and they flog the ciggies for all their worth. The Booze Barons must give heaps to Nationals coffers to be coddled so. National’s mantra is personal responsibility – it works with sugar and junk food and they give them a wide berth – no consistency at all with their laws. The food industries must give generously as well. The whole system is a rort.

    • The Chairman 12.1

      Legislation raising tobacco taxes by 10 per cent a year for the next four years was supported by every party except NZ First.

      Therefore, NZ First would be the sole benefactor of any backlash at the ballot box in this regard.

  12. adam 13

    Bless em..

  13. Pasupial 14

    Another rightwing government adopts a; “if no one hears about it then it isn’t happening”, approach to a crisis:

    the report “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate”, which Unesco jointly published with the United Nations environment program and the Union of Concerned Scientists on Friday, initially had a key chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as small sections on Kakadu and the Tasmanian forests.

    But when the Australian Department of Environment saw a draft of the report, it objected, and every mention of Australia was removed by Unesco.


    Fortunately, this attempt at suppressing information may insure that this will be the most read section of the report, now that the removed text has been published. This excerpt is mainly chosen for the appropriateness of the cited author’s name, but the whole is certainly worth the time:

    Without global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions coupled with local management responses to increase resilience, current projections suggest that coral cover could decline to 5-10% of the GBR by the early 2020s from 28% in 1985 – a potential loss of 80% in just 40 years (De’ath et al 2012).


  14. greywarshark 15

    Robert Guyton
    I need to keep thinking on this ecology ‘thing’.

    On 22 May at 7.10 you said
    Douglas fir are “wilding pines” along with the better known contorta and are spreading at pace where conditions invite. A new wild would involve each of these trees in a new and complex mix and don’t forget, broom and gorse are straining at the leash to be given their unfettered chance to populate their favourite degraded landscapes.
    Dynamic cycle of life or frozen picture in time? I’m for complex and ever-evolving landscapes. King Canute has a message for those who engage in the battle against incoming tides.

    Are there farmers already enabling this sort of land regeneration (I’m thinking that gorse is nitrogen fixing too?), and if we ran a workshop on it in our areas, would we be able to link people into an internet site where they can communicate with others for info and feedback?

    Are there workshops on forest gardens being carried out in your area scheduled for the future and what dates? Is there a forum on-line that people can go to for ideas and inspiration?

    • Molly 15.1

      Your comment remainds me of interesting personal story that was on radio a few years back.

      A woman on the Banks Peninsula (IIRC) started her natives by throwing clay balls mixed with native seeds into the extensive gorse growing on her land.

      The gorse acted as a nursery cover for the seeds to get established, and then as they grew they took over the gorse until it disappeared.

      • weka 15.1.1

        Another classic example in that part of the world is Hinewai. It’s a very important and successful example of native restoration by working with the natural systems there. Including regenerating via gorse.


        Grey, I’m think that Robert Guyton will travel to run workshops. The gorse regeneration thing is even accepted by DOC now. If you google DOC and gorse you should find some information on their thinking (you’ll probably have to sift through some slash and spray hits).

        Unfortunately I don’t think the NZ regenag etc people are big online outside of Facebook.

        • greywarshark

          That’s good stuff to hear Molly and weka. Thanks for that info.

      • mauī 15.1.2

        Alternatively if the gorse has been there for a few years, and you have willing labour, it’s not too diffiult to saw off the gorse at the base and put stumpkiller on the stumps. Then once you’ve cleared an area (which you can do pretty quickly with gorse), just plant your natives and I think you would get a 20-30 year headstart in comparison to waiting for seeds to germinate in the soil and for the gorse above to die off so they get enough light and room to grow well.

  15. Bill 16

    Head. Hurts.

    The Australian government reckons a report on the impact of global warming on some of its ‘natural wonders’ would be really bad for business (tourist industry), kind of implying that the trashing of things like the Great Barrier Reef by global warming…getting why my head hurts?

    All mentions of Australia were removed from the final version of a Unesco report on climate change and world heritage sites after the Australian government objected on the grounds it could impact on tourism.


    Here’s a link to the suppressed report as updated by the Union of Concerned Scientists.


    • greywarshark 16.1

      They must have noticed in Australia how useful our 100% Pure meme is. Just keep on sending out the bumf as usual, one day there will be a cruise liner turn up to a destination in Oz and there won’t be anything to look at except termite mounds.

  16. weka 17

    Nice tweeted summary of what happened in Brazil. I don’t know much about Brazil’s political system but I can’t help but think would this happen in NZ?


    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      they ran a soft coup in Australia way back, so why not here if required.

      • greywarshark 17.1.1

        That was an interesting bunch of tweets and example of how effective they can be for disseminating information.

        I liked El Cid —
        “Democracy is so much cleaner if rich people can elect other rich people without all those ‘rules’ or ‘voters'”

        and noted the combative comment from Securitay…. at the end. (Refer to something faulty and someone is sure to request an immediate alternative policy plan from you as an alternative!) —
        “can you explain what you believe the world should have done? “

  17. b waghorn 18


    This is why the ETS is just a sick joke. If all companies have to do is pass the cost on then it will not reduce emissions .

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