Open mike 28/01/2015

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 28th, 2015 - 128 comments
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openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

128 comments on “Open mike 28/01/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    ‘Prime Minister John Key is poised to outline the possible sale of thousands of state houses to community groups today, as the Government advances its reform of social housing.’

    The privatisation of housing.
    Is really the way to solve NZ’s housing crisis, Mr Key?

    • tc 1.1

      It’s about transferring public assets to private hands and another issue buried at the GE that all opposition parties should have been demanding a please explain.

      Wonder if it will be at the types of discounts the power generators were flogged for especially genesis.

      At least will someone in opposition demand the detail on how rents will be controlled and get the attack of this abdication of repsonsibilities going on a few fronts please.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        Wonder if it will be at the types of discounts the power generators were flogged for especially genesis.

        Probably. This government just loves ripping us off for the benefit of the cronies.

    • Barfly 1.2

      “small government is good”

      “the state has no business being in business”

      “can we sell the people to?”

      “there is no housing crisis”

      “sell more assets Bill needs a surplus”

      “that Catton women is just a greenie”

      “sell it all there will be a profit in there somewhere”

      “Angry Andy is living in the past”

      “I grew up in a state house….sell them all”

      “look there’s a squirrel”

      John Key slot machine circa 2015

    • mickysavage 1.3

      “Mr Key said there was no housing “crisis” and the Government’s policies were aimed at increasing supply.”

      This can only be true if he meant there was no housing crisis for rich people and the Government’s policies are aimed at increasing the supply of rental properties to landlords.

      The damage that he does to the plain meaning of words is horrendous.

      • Olwyn 1.3.1

        There was a doozy on Morning Report. When quizzed on whether Mike Sabin was being investigated by the police, he said he couldn’t comment. When quizzed further he said he was advised not to comment. When asked who advised him not to comment he said he was not at liberty to say. When asked why he was not at liberty to say, he said, “Well that’s a circular argument.” It’s about halfway through a 6 minute interview.

        • Bearded Git

          +1 Olwyn.

          Key sounded like a blithering idiot in this interview. Full marks to Espiner. All 6 minutes well worth a listen.

        • Tiger Mountain

          Classic, dear leader has “zipped it” on Sabin, like Richard Worth Sabin is not MP material at all which the Nats now have to deal with.

          Is Key’s farcical dodging just about buying time for HQ to manage the details of Sabin’s exit or is there more to it?

        • Tracey

          yesterday he said he comments on what he wants to comment and not on what he doesnt. I guess overnight they rethought the effectiveness of that childish response and decided to pretend someone was stopping him from commenting. I mean, this is the guy who gets documents declassified to help his election campaign.

        • Murray Rawshark

          The Greens position was very weak on this. Both Labour and Greens need to take a strong stand against sales.

          Key is an arch dissembler aka known as a lying asswipe. He doesn’t give straight answers to anything.

          • Olwyn

            I agree on both counts. Yes, Labour and the Greens need to take a strong stand on state house sales, and yes, Key is an arch dissembler. He seems to have three basic moves – (1) Toy out loud with the idea doing something extreme and scary. (get the government out of housing) (2) Step back a little to something more ‘moderate’ (we’ll sell a few but still remain the main provider) (3) Do what he wants to do anyway.

            • greywarshark

              @ Olwyn
              That is what the political commentator on Radionz said today. The gummint goes OTT and get people’s backs up, then there is the announcement putting that to rest with a smaller change that appears to be more considered and puts the critics on the back foot as being dogmatic and unreasonable. It’s not too bad, what are you going on about sort of thing.

      • framu 1.3.2

        “Mr Key said there was no housing “crisis””

        yet were gutting the rma to fix said housing crisis

        • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark

          Oh I see:

          There is a housing crisis, so need to gut the RMA.

          Now that attention is on the RMA, there’s no housing crisis.


    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.4

      I’m more concerned with the projected increase in housing subsidies. Ultimately they feed the landlords which just makes the situation worse.

    • millsy 1.5

      This is all going to lead to higher rents, and a bigger struggle for people to find accomodation in the private sector.

      And do we really want to hand over public services to private charity? Who pick and choose who they help? And put rules and regulations around it?

      • Karen 1.5.1

        It also means the government can say homelessness isn’t their responsibility. Families living in cars, caravans and sheds? That will be the fault of the charities that take this on according to the Nats.

      • Undecided 1.5.2

        Done correctly I think this may help the situation, as well as private charity I imagine there’ll be groups that concentrate on housing and as such should do a better job of handling housing

        I’m sure you agree that as peoples circumstances change their housing needs change as well?

        • framu

          what did these groups say the last time this policy was discussed?

          ~ We arent able to handle such a scheme – not by a long shot ~

          using the “~” for paraphrasing

        • Molly

          You assume that these housing associations have the capacity and the ability to deliver (without prejudice) healthy, affordable housing for communities. In our small country, they don’t. And the private developers included in the mix, don’t have the intent.

          And if you want social cohesion, and enhanced community, then transitional housing is not the answer. People are more likely to be connected, and resilient when they have strong stable communities. View the difference in established communities with little turnover, with transient communities such as student areas or holiday home towns.

          As people’s circumstances change, if their housing is secure, their energies can be directed towards other benefits for themselves, their families and their communities.

          By proposing that when they are on their (choose arbitrary financial point) feet, they are then expected to move house and community, keeps them on a perpetual treadmill, supposedly doing everything right to move forward, but being given other obstacles to achieve to stay in place.

          • Undecided

            I’m thinking that a single person taking up a 3-4 bedroom house when theres a family needing a house seems to be a waste of that house

            • freedom

              Just how many 3-4 bedroom state houses do you believe are being occupied by single people living alone? Really would be interested Undecided, in whatever information you have on this topic. You do have some right? You are surely not just repeating tired spin from the 1990’s. That time before a concerted effort was made by successive Governments, to relocate people living in such circumstances, not to mention the ensuing shifts in policy direction where such circumstances rarely, if ever, occur today.

              The Government will be selling thousands and thousands of homes our grandparents paid to have built so their children and their children’s children could live in a country where need was less.

              Was a nice theory, if only the kids had had the guts to follow through with the sentiment, instead of turning the most awesome little country in the world (still full of potential) into a vapid whore working one of the smaller South Pacific outposts of Greed Inc.

              • Undecided

                Meaning that people in state houses should be moved around depending on their circumstances

                However as reported

                Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the Government plans to sell 1000 to 2000 state houses in the next year to be run by community housing providers with more sales possible over the next few years.

                In his state of the nation speech today Key said Housing New Zealand would still remain the biggest provider of social housing with at last 60,000 properties by 2017 against 65,000 now.

                2000 to be sold to community providers with possibly more to come certainly isn’t as bad as some feared

                • framu

                  i fail to see what your trying to prove with the cut and paste of what key claims the nats are doing

                  its not proof of anything other than “this is what key said” and im struggling to see its relevance to the comment directly preceding yours

                  • Undecided

                    Posters on here were assuming the worst, that Key would sell off most of the housing stock and probably to private investers whereas hes selling off less then 5% to private providers so no loss off housing

                    • framu

                      which is still irrelevant to the question you were replying to.

                      “Just how many 3-4 bedroom state houses do you believe are being occupied by single people living alone?”

                      And if you think the nats will stop there your deluding yourself

                      stop taking things at face value (and especially at “what JK says” value) and apply some historical and ideological context

                    • Undecided

                      Well in regards to asset sales Key said he wouldn’t seel any assets in first term and he didn’t, he said he’d partially sell some power companies in his second term and did so on asset sales hes done what hes said he’d do

                    • framu

                      im sorry – did history stop waaay back in 2008?

                      and in case you didnt grasp what was happening there, thats the nats trying to not frighten you in order to advance their actual agenda – an agenda they are pretty open about and one that hasnt changed for years now

                      and yet again your avoiding engaging with the actual questions and points being put to you. What are you afraid of?


                    • Undecided

                      an agenda they are pretty open about and one that hasnt changed for years now

                      Its an agenda that enough people think is a good one then as its got National back into power

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Key is selling off the wealth of the nation, to the wealthy of the nation.

                      What a bastard.

                    • framu

                      your contradicting yourself – in one comment you say they did what they said they would then when i point out that theres more going no and its nbo big secret you resort to “well their popular”

                      Appeals to populism doesnt explain anything other than popularity

                      I will take it you are incapable of backing up you opening play.

                      really weak – so weak that i can only assume your a troll.

                      end of subject

                    • North

                      Have to confess I’m undecided as to whether Undecided is Dissembling or merely Obfuscating…….while noting that they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive and may indeed be cousins.

                • freedom

                  Undecided, why are you so scared of answering one simple question?

                  Let me take a stab at the answer you really wanted to give but were just too timid to front up with:
                  ‘I do not know, but I have faith in John Key to do what is right for New Zealand.’
                  Is that a fair approximation of your thoughtful “undecided” point of view.

                  p.s. In today’s speech, was there any mention of a mechanism where Social Providers will get first dibs on State Assets that are being sold?

            • framu

              then the answer isnt sell off current stock is it

              the answer is change the stock

              case in point – used to live in wesley (sandringham) in AK – there was one street where about 10 old style 1/4 acre state houses were moved off site and sold as relocateables. Then a mixture of town and terrace houses with differing numbers of bedrooms was built. Thereby increasing total houses and reformatting to suit a wider variety of circumstances

              notice how thats utterly different to the nats plan?

              • Undecided

                I agree mostly with this though I’d also look at selling state houses in the very expensive suburbs and buying more in decent but less expensive areas

                • framu

                  “notice how thats utterly different to the nats plan?”

                  your avoiding again

                  • Undecided

                    Not avoiding, theres quite a lot I’d like National to do but they won’t however just because I want them to do something doesn’t make me right

                    • framu

                      considering thats not the question being asked, you are avoiding

                      or your not very good at this language thingy

                      this is what you said
                      “I’m thinking that a single person taking up a 3-4 bedroom house when theres a family needing a house seems to be a waste of that house”

                      i responded that the policy being proposed doesnt have anything to do with that

                      this whole thread between the two of us is based off that one comment – why you think that instead of answers that follow and stick to this argument, im more interested in what you want the nats to do is beyond me

                    • Undecided

                      You’re not very good at asking questions, make the question clear and unambiguous and I’ll answer

                    • framu

                      oh for fucks sake!
                      “then the answer isnt sell off current stock is it

                      the answer is change the stock

                      case in point – used to live in wesley (sandringham) in AK – there was one street where about 10 old style 1/4 acre state houses were moved off site and sold as relocateables. Then a mixture of town and terrace houses with differing numbers of bedrooms was built. Thereby increasing total houses and reformatting to suit a wider variety of circumstances

                      notice how thats utterly different to the nats plan?”
                      what bit of that isnt clear?

                      then i repeated the main question AGAIN to you
                      “notice how thats utterly different to the nats plan?”
                      what bit of that isnt clear?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  The last thing NZ needs is for the enclaves of the rich to shut themselves off from the rest of society.

                • Molly

                  Let’s call them “desirable areas” rather than expensive ones. The reason why they are expensive are many and varied, but the primary reason is the failure of government (especially this one), to address rising housing costs. That is a series of posts in itself.

                  These areas are desirable because they are within easy access of schools, public transport, central city, services and community facilities.

                  Your suggestion to send those living there to “less expensive” areas results in a transfer of housing providing responsibility costs from government to increased transport and living costs to already vulnerable tenants. Add to that social isolation and reduction of access to sporting and community engagement, and the true costs of this type of policy become apparent.

                  • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark

                    The role of government includes creating many “desirable” areas in many places, as well as ensuring their affordability.

                    • Molly

                      If we take Glen Innes as an example. This was the creation of a desirable area for social housing, by the government at the time.

                      Access to services, school, work and health as well as to some of Auckland’s natural environment was excellent.

                      The encroachment of higher-priced property means that this purpose built social housed community is no longer welcome. Without any regard for the social equity that exists.

                      We have a government that is not providing enough social housing. It is also not providing access to affordable housing for an increasing number of NZers… It is however, going to provide discounted assets to private property developers. And that seems to be the sum total of it’s efforts on this issue.

                  • Undecided

                    I said decent but less expensive areas, I’ll use Christchurch as an example as i’m not from Auckland so I’m thinking if there are any state houses in Merivale, Fendalton etc then sell them off and buy in Hornby (which is a pretty decent suburb) so I’m not suggesting they buy houses in Aranui and stick families there

                    • Molly

                      Your view is that “what you think” is what actually occurs despite evidence to the contrary.

                      By putting the provision of healthy, affordable homes for all NZ’ers to third parties, a government (such as National) removes itself adroitly from the chain of responsibility and will continue to do so as long as it can get away with it.

                      By bringing in for-profit providers, not only are they dismantling their responsibility, they are effectively saying “we do not have the capability or otherwise to look after this fundamental requirement for healthy and engaged NZers’. And yet they are responsible for the health and wellbeing of our whole economy.

            • Murray Rawshark

              Can you give us their address? I’ll go and ask them why they live there. You’re right, we need to get to the bottom of this.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    So we must “never forget” Auschwitz. As a kid raised on WWII stories, books and gruesome pictures courtesy of parents directly involved via the air force and nursing during London blitz I of course concur.

    Unfortunately large sections of the Israeli leadership and population do appear to have forgotten. Persecution of the Palestinians remains perilously close to the ideology that sanctioned the death camps.

    • swordfish 2.1

      Here’s a report that’s just been published on Israel’s July-August 2014 massacre of 1500 civilians and 500 children in Gaza…

      Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR) conducted a fact-finding mission, utilising 8 independent international forensic and medical experts. They’re the only human rights group to have been granted access to Gaza by both Israel and Egypt (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council were repeatedly denied entry).

      “The report’s authors adopt a cautious and professional tone but describe the stuff of nightmares.”

  3. mickysavage 3

    Radio NZ is covering Andrew Little’s speech at's-pulse

    We will have the text up shortly.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    This advertorial tells us that there are Thousands of ‘affordable’ Auckland homes in outer suburbs

    Bayleys real estate agents say they have identified several thousand homes appropriate for the budgets of first home buyers.

    They define “affordable” as less than $480,000.

    Obviously these idiots don’t know the meaning of the word affordable.

    • Tracey 4.1

      can they identify the transport times required to get to their jobs and home, as well as the cost.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        Of course not, that would require them actually making informed comment rather than just mouthing off to sound good.

        • tracey

          mouthing off to perpetuate the market they make their living from. Am sick of Bank employees being asked for comment on stuff that hurts or harms banks… real estate agency owners being used as experts on affordable housing when they have no interest in it.

  5. Philip Ferguson 5

    While workers’ rights, living standards and general conditions of life have been made worse over the past 30 years, workers’ resistance has declined to negligible levels. Moreover, the rare tussle that does take place is a defensive one. Workers in this country, with the possible exception of the early days of Unite union when it was organising new workplaces and fighting to get contracts for new union members, haven’t been going on the offensive for several decades now.

    Sometimes it seems that two generations of workers got defeated – through the 1980s and 1990s – and the next generation therefore hasn’t had a fighting spirit and class consciousness passed on to it nor developed these through its own experiences.

    But if workers here have forgotten or, in the case of the new generation, not yet learned what resistance is let alone what going on the offensive is, there is no shortage of examples of powerful workers’ upsurges and of workers’ resistance pointing to, or at least offering a glimpse of the potential for, alternative ways of organising economic, social and political life.

    So we’ve stuck up on Redline links to pieces about workers’ occupations, about the biggest general strike in history (a couple of years ago in India), the May-June 68 events in France, the formation of bodies of workers’ power in Portugal and Chile in the early 1970s – forms of organising that point the way out of capitalism.



    • BassGuy 5.1

      One of the reasons there’s little resistance is small- and medium-sized employers in areas of moderate- to high-unemployment.

      I live in one of those areas, and I’ve been in and out of employment since the early 1990s. In that time, one employer has met their obligations and told me who my union was.


      My current employer refuses to talk about it, stating they have no official position but if I joined a union we’d all lose our jobs because it’d mean higher wages and better conditions.

      This is why their wage theft is on-going. It’s been made quite clear that if any of us cause trouble by attempting to enforce our basic legal rights, our reference will be simply an acknowledgement of employment – the implication being that we were a bad employee because they had nothing good to say about us.

      My previous employer didn’t mention a union, but the owner did tell me I was salaried so they didn’t need to pay overtime, and I was waged so they didn’t need to pay me if I was off sick for more days than I had accrued.

      During the last years of National’s run in the 1990s, when the ECA required negotiation of pay and conditions, one employer stated wages and conditions, and said “There’s no negotiation of that, that’s the job. If you don’t accept that pay, you don’t get the job.” WINZ, of course, required me to accept the job.

      As I understand it, the bulk of the jobs in the area are the same. The employers know there aren’t many jobs out there, so they have low wages and bad conditions, and if you don’t like it you can sod off.

      Eventually, the employees do so, moving to towns with better jobs, wages, and conditions, and it seems to me that these factors are such an improvement that they don’t see the need to join a union.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        I hear what you are saying. There is the implied threat, that if you do this, then your co-workers will turn against you as to blame for ANY job loss… no matter how unrelated to your decision to join a union

        • BassGuy


          That said, I now have a list of rather important questions to ask employers at my next job interviews. I’ll figure out better phrasings for them, but if they turn me down because I want to know an employer’s position on worker rights, I’m fairly sure I don’t want to work there.

      • Atiawa 5.1.2

        There is no obligation for employers to tell you who your union might be unless there is a Collective Agreement that covers your work and your employer is a party to that agreement, i.e for the first 30 days of your employment you will be covered by the terms & conditions of the Collective ( from 6 March this provision will no longer apply to new employees), after which you can join the union or negotiate individual terms & conditions of employment.

        • freedom

          I thought an employer must know what Union/s their staff can join and if asked is required to impart that knowledge to the employee or person being interviewed. If I am incorrect on this please let me know.

          • Atiawa

            Unfortunately you are incorrect unless there is an applicable Collective Agreement for that workplace and the employees work is covered by the agreement.

        • BassGuy

          Ah – I was under the impression that they had to. I’ve had a few people tell me that, actually.

      • gsays 5.1.3

        hi phil and bass guy, couldnt agree more.
        i had the misfortune to have desired to be a chef as a youngster. (30 odd years later i still love cooking!)
        i have been mainly in hospitality since 1985, and on both sides of this discussion (worker, here and overseas, and employer here).

        in my experience in mainly small businesses (less than 10 employees), and have never been involved with a union, let alone acted collectively.

        incidentally i am in the throws of renegotiating my wages currently.

        the nature of these small businesses tends to create “relationships” between employer and worker, which can make negotiating potentially fraught, tense or non-existant, especially for the younger workers.

        none of this is a defence of greedy employers, just my 2 cents worth.

        • Atiawa

          The National government in 1991 legislated against working people and their unions and for their business mates by introducing the Employment Contracts Act (ECA). The award structure was completely gutted and replaced with enterprise bargaining & individual employment contracts, which for many workers meant an offer of inferior terms & conditions of employment on a take it or leave basis. Compulsory unionism was abolished and in many industries and workplaces a collective approach to wage bargaining never took place again. Unions and unionism was decimated. Workers, especially the low & semi skilled, became increasingly reliant upon the benevolence of employers and government who set minimum requirements such as the minimum wage, annual leave and grievance procedures. The workplace power imbalance between employer and worker increased – and remains – heavily weighted in favour of the former. Wages have not kept up with the cost of living because working people no longer enjoy a collective voice in both the workplace and society.
          Employers and their supportive governments love high unemployment numbers especially youth. The idea and ability to pick and choose is very appealing. They strongly advocate for and support 90 day trial periods for new employees. They don’t want assertive union officials supporting & promoting alternatives. That weakens their power & control.
          Do you think this government would want their business buddies to be made to tell the workers the contact details of Andrew Littles mates?

          • gsays

            gday atiawa,
            i concur with every thing you have said.

            in my experience there are few of mr littles’ mates in the workplace.

            unfortunately i also have absolutely no faith in a little led labour regime making any difference to the status quo.

  6. Morrissey 6

    Chomsky Blasts ‘American Sniper’ and the Media that Glorifies It
    by JANET ALLON, AlterNet, Jan. 26, 2015

    Noam Chomsky had some choice words about the popularity of “American Sniper,” its glowing New York Times review, and what the worship of a movie about a cold-blooded killer says about the American people.

    It’s not good.

    During a Cambridge, Massachusetts event hosted by The Baffler, Chomsky first read the glowing recent review the New York Times gave the movie. That review begins inauspiciously by insulting “America’s coastal intelligentsia, which has busied itself with chatter over little-seen art dramas while everyday Americans showed up en masse for a patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days.”

    So, Chomsky wonders aloud: “What was the patriotic, pro-family film that so entranced everyday Americans? It’s about the most deadly sniper in American history, a guy named Chris Kyle, who claims to have used his skills to have killed several hundred people in Iraq.”

    Kyle’s first kill was a woman who apparently walked into the street with a grenade in her hand as the Marines attacked her village.

    “‘I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,’” Chomsky said, quoting Kyle. “‘Savage, despicable, evil — that’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy savages. There was really no other way to describe what we encountered there.’”

    Chomsky also pointed out that The New Yorker loved the film, saying, “it was great, kept to the cinematic values, said it was well done.” On the other hand, Newsweek‘s Jeff Stein, a former US intelligence officer, called it appalling. In that review, Chomsky says, Stein remembered a visit he had made to a “clubhouse for snipers, where to quote him, ‘the barroom walls featured white-on-black Nazi SS insignia, and other Wehrmacht regalia. The Marine shooters clearly identified with the marksmen of the world’s most infamous killing machine, rather than regular troops.”

    “Getting back to Chris Kyle,” Chomsky said, arriving at his larger point. “He regarded his first kill as a terrorist — this woman who walked in the street — but we can’t really attribute that to the mentality of a psychopathic killer, because we’re all tarred by the same brush insofar as we tolerate or keep silent about official policy. Now, that mentality helps explain why it’s so easy to ignore what is most clearly the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern history, if not ever — Obama’s global assassination campaign, the drone campaign, which officially is aimed at murdering people who are suspected of maybe someday planning to harm us.”

    Chomsky recommends reading some of the transcripts with drone operators, calling them “harrowing” in their dehumanizing treatment of people who are targeted.

    The implication is clear and chilling. Are we all, at least tacitly, American snipers?

    Here’s Chomsky via WGBH below….

  7. vto 7

    Rich people around the world buying boltholes in NZ to escape to when the shit they have been taking advantage of to enrich themselves backfires in their faces. Been suggesting such since the Rothschilds bought a large coastal farm on banks Peninsula about 10 or so years ago….. boat access, airstrips, etc…..

    Dirty bastards

  8. vto 8

    And the handout mentality never stops from the hypocritical right wing National-voting farmers ……..

    Why don’t these people go to the private market for support rather than ask the taxpayer? It is not as if the projects are any larger than countless other private projects in the country….

    Aren’t they free market supporters? Why would they push through a project that the free market doesn’t support?

    Why do they ask for the taxpayer to start it? Then later ask the taxpayer to support them when the waters run dry? Then ask the taxpayers to pay to clean up the shit afterwards?



    No credibility.

    • b waghorn 8.1

      I think the angle they are running is that it is for the greater good, if the farmers make money the community benifits which will be hard to argue with in dollars and cents terms

      • vto 8.1.1

        Yeah nah – those ‘for the greater good’ arguments have little credibility these days. Unfortunately no time to go into it… though ….

        We would get short shrift if we went to government for loans for our business (which is similar scale to some of these irrigation projects) – and the exact same ‘greater good’ arguments apply. Why should farming business be treated differently to any other business mr waghorn ?

        Trickle down has been laughed out of town.

        • b waghorn

          Huge amounts of money is spent on Auckland s roads because businesses say it costs them to have workers stuck in traffic.

      • weka 8.1.2

        “I think the angle they are running is that it is for the greater good, if the farmers make money the community benifits which will be hard to argue with in dollars and cents terms”

        Pretty sure if you did a cost/benefit analysis that took all costs and benefits and downsides into account, it wouldn’t look so good. The theory is based on the idea that it brings jobs and supports businesses and that those can’t happen in any other way so it’s ok to ruin the environment. That theory is wrong.

        • b waghorn

          From a green perspective is irrigation always bad?

          • weka

            define irrigation (not being smart, it means different things to different people).

          • Murray Rawshark

            It needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. I’d say the irrigation of the Canterbury Plains for Fonterra is bad. Trickle irrigation of a kumara garden in Te Tai Tokerau, probably quite reasonable.

            • weka


            • b waghorn

              Is irrigation on the Canterbury plains to grow crops or fatten sheep and beef bad

              • Murray Rawshark

                I can’t see that the huge scale automated irrigation of large areas of flat grassland is good at all. It’s extremely wasteful of water, which is not well absorbed by pasture where shelter belts have been removed. I think there are less harmful uses of the Canterbury Plains, but I’m no expert. I grew up in Te Tai Tokerau, where the land is hilly and there was usually plenty of water. It was good country for dairy on the smaller scale that it was done in those days.

                I think there are crops that could be grown that would need far less irrigation than dairy. I think irrigation of the Canterbury Plains to fatten Tory voters is extremely bad.

  9. Tracey 9

    Is Key’s speech text also available ahead of schedule?

    • tracey 9.1

      herald online is putting the soon to be heard Key speech into ten points.

      Interestingly they use this stat, presumably because Key does?

      “There are almost 5000 people on a social housing waiting list (as at the end of December). That’s down from just over 11,000 in 2002, but the true level of unmet housing need is estimated to be in the region of 43,000-55,000.”

      The use of 2002 as a point of reference piques my interest… Isn’t the number on the waiting list from the end of 2008 to december most relevant?

      In 2008 the then Labour Minister stated there were

      “as at 29 February 2008 the number of applicants on the waiting list was 9,875. This figure includes 2,435 applicants already living in Housing New Zealand houses who are seeking a transfer.”

      In a 2013 Briefing for the Minister HNZ noted the following

      “As New Zealand’s largest landlord, Housing New Zealand owns or leases nearly 70,000 rental properties, housing over 200,000 people. This portfolio is worth $15.1 billion and is the Government’s second largest asset. There are also 2,100 families – about 6,000 people – on the waiting list with a serious need for a state house.”

      It appears that when National entered parliament in late 2008 there were about 7440 people in serious need of a state house. At the end of 2013 this had dropped to 6000. Why not use the real figures, they seem to still show a decline?

      • tracey 9.1.1

        Phil Twyford said this in April 2014

        “The figures show that in March 5,204 priority applicants were on the waiting list. In January this year the number was 4,197.”

        By December 2014 they were


  10. McFlock 10

    Ordinarily I take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt, but the timing plus the fact that these guys were responsible for many of the “disappeared” in Argentina during the junta…

    Lawyer about to testify against government officials turns up dead, so Kirchner finally disbands Argentina’s intelligence service and will work on a decent replacement.

    • vto 10.1

      Hmmm, I don’t understand your approach to humans acting in a conspiracy…. you seem to suggest that only those supporting facts which make it into the public arena are determinative of whether or not people have conspired….

      Have you conspired today McFlock? Over the last week? I know I have, I know my family members have, I know John Key and Andrew Little have, I know virtually anyone in business has ……. it is what humans do. They conspire together to achieve ends.

      this prevailing idea that humans don’t conspire ……. just makes absolutely no sense, flies in the face of reality and is as silly as some person thinking that a lone gunman killed JFK

      • McFlock 10.1.1


        Even if we were to ignore the negative connotations of the word “conspiracy”, just because humans conspire does not mean that every conspiracy theory is true.

        So yeah, I demand evidence before I determine the probability of any particular conspiracy theory being true.

        edit: comma inserted

        • vto

          So unless the evidence in the public arena is in your view supportive then you dismiss the notion that some event may be the result of a conspiracy….

          kinda misses the notion of how conspiracies are attended to i.e. in secret

          You know, another way to make an assessment about an event is to use the well tried and proved method of following the money… or looking at who has benefitted …..

          There are ways to assess things other than your own narrow method. Proven ones.

          never mind, on you go

          • Colonial Rawshark

            For years, the US Government used this approach to discredit people in court who were claiming that they were being subject to illegal surveillance.

            The US Government would say – well you have no evidence of this surveillance, the kind of spying you are talking about is illegal, and we would never do it any way – so you have no standing and no merits in this court.

            And then, Snowden…

            • McFlock

              The moon landings were faked.
              Aircraft release chemtrails for geoengineering.
              Nasa covered up its photos of martians.
              The Earth is hollow and run by Tibetans from Atlantis.
              Stealth bombers were made with alien tech from the Roswell crash.
              There is a teacup orbiting the sun somewhere between Mars and Jupiter.

              All without evidence, so all must be credible /sarc

              • vto

                sure, go and ruin a perfectly good discussion point with sarcasm and derogatory comment.

                you were doing fine until that point silly

                • McFlock

                  You’re the one who took this:

                  I demand evidence before I determine the probability of any particular conspiracy theory being true.

                  to mean this:

                  So unless the evidence in the public arena is in your view supportive then you dismiss the notion that some event may be the result of a conspiracy….

                  BTW, CR’s “perfectly good discussion point” seemed to be that one particular conspiracy theory was largely true. That stunning observation’s relevance to the discussion about how we discern a true conspiracy theory from a false one is somewhat thin – although in that case it did rely on evidence being made public. But then we don’t know whether the specific individuals “in open court” were indeed subjected to illegal surveillance.

          • McFlock

            Not “dismiss”. Not take a position until I have evidence. This can be evidence for the popular theory, evidence of a conspiracy, or evidence of the doubtful reliability of conspiracy theorists.

            Oh, we can look at who benefitted, but that merely means that if there actually had been a conspiracy, all the conspirators have to do is benefit slightly less than someone else.

            The flipside is that I arbitrarily accept as true conflicting conspiracy theories in the absence of any evidence whatsoever.

            E.g. that LHO shot JFK alone, or that the Cubans assassinated JFK,
            and that the CIA/military assassinated JFK and used Oswald as a patsy,
            and that the mafia assassinated JFK because of Bobby Kennedy going after them as AG,
            and all convoluted combinations of any and/or all of the above

            Oh, and that Oswald acted alone.

        • freedom

          Please remember, a conspiracy theory is simply where people have shared their considered views and ideas when attempting to understand an event or situation. When used as a derogatory label or as an attempt to demean and diminish the validity of another’s viewpoint, it is nothing but taking a short cut away from critical thought. Critical thinking is not a threat to knowledge, it is how humanity uses knowledge to survive. At least it used to be.

          • Te Reo Putake

            Language mutates and adapts, freedom. Conspiracy theory still has a literal meaning, but it also now has a pejorative meaning, due mostly to the rise of sites on the interwebs who propagate mindless nonsense but insist we all take it very seriously indeed.

            My favourite form of madness is the ‘right of reply’ or ‘balance’ argument, where the deluded demand that their theory should be given equal weight to actual, proven knowledge. The master of this approach is the self aggrandising climate change denier, and fake Lord, Christopher Monckton.

            • freedom

              I am eternally grateful that language mutates and adapts. If you accept what you wrote, you also must accept the absurdity of our present condition. By simply speaking two little words in conjunction, many rational brains are triggered to the ‘ignore’ position, predominately without any rationality applied. Behaviour like that does not happen by accident. It is learned and it is learned largely through the use of language. That is where personal responsibility comes into play.
              We are the language we let ourselves use. We are the questions that we ask.

              The situation today is so absurd that if a person is over-heard to have read a book about JFK, they are immediately assumed to be converts to the writings of David Icke. The short cut away from critical thinking I mentioned earlier? That is well and truly sprinted every time “conspiracy theories” from different fields of research are compared. Do you discuss mainsail maintenance of a racing yacht when talking Bathurst tyre wear?

              We both would agree that this world is in a ridiculous position. There is too much fear, not enough love, a boogyman behind every doorway. The true horror though, is the apparent disdain for facts. This of course is where 9/11 is the mother lode of nonsensical discussion. As you know I do not enter into 9/11 discussion here although I might throw a few breadcrumbs on occasion. But disdain for facts is at the core of the 9/11 issue. People go to extraordinary lengths to defend the Official Story, mostly with little to no knowledge of its immense failings, yet decide that all 9/11 Truth is a falsehood because… albatross.

              Take The New Pearl Harbour. An amazing achievement by any standard of research, if somewhat lacking in production values. I will repeat what I have said since it first arrived on the scene.

              “I am not aware of any person who having claimed to believe the Official Story, after seeing this documentary, still claims that position.” Not one!

              To be honest I still have my doubts that you yourself have actually viewed it at all, let alone its entire five hours. Only you can know the truth of your answer. Facts matter. Science matters. Lies just hurt people and the bigger the lies, the more hurt they create. Is that what you want? A simpering humanity, cowering under the baton of ignorance and fear as the totality of knowledge is decided for you by people who most certainly do not have your best interests at heart?

              Too afraid to open a window for air, because you are told the window is locked.
              Is that not the locking mechanism, laying broken at your feet? Language will mutate, language will adapt, but only you can know the truth of your answer.

            • GregJ

              He’s not a fake lord – he’s a hereditary peer inheriting the title from his father in 2006 (he’s the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley).

              What he did do is falsely (or at least misleadingly) claim in a letter to US Senators to be a member of the House of Lords which he has never been (since the hereditary peers lost the right to automatically be in the Lords in 1999 and he is not one of the 92 elected hereditaries). The lords even issued a cease and desist to refute his claims in 2011.

              As an aside he’s stood 4 times for when a seat for the hereditary peers has fallen vacant in the Lords since 2006 and at least 3 times received no votes.

              Definitely a crank though. (Now plowing his furrow with UKIP when not climate denying).

              • Te Reo Putake

                Cheers for the correction, GJ. And I didn’t know he was standing for UKIP! Not sure what that does for the nutter quotient there, but from what I’ve seen of the rest, Monckton might be a civilising influence.

    • Murray Rawshark 10.2

      I’d say that’s par for the course in Latin America. The mistake Dilma and Kirchner make is to leave the same state apparatus that served the dictatorships in place. Labour does it here as well. They should realise by now that the SIS is a branch of the Tories, but will they change anything if they ever get voted back in? They could all do with reading ‘State and Revolution” again.

      By the way, I don’t see this as a conspiracy theory at all. It’s a reasonable explanation of the facts.

  11. rankin is someone I don’t like or respect

    he says, “Islam’s direct threat to our rangatiratanga (sovereignty) and our culture”. But I don’t hear him saying anything about Christianity which imo has done and will continue to be more of a direct threat than Islam ever could. Ban crosses? yeah right.

    • vto 11.1

      It is clearly the very notion of religion that is the problem… and has been for a very long time.

      The sooner it disappears as an idea the better – pretty much like some religions which used to think the sun was a higher being have evaporated in the heat of reality, so too should all religions which think there is a higher being. Dolly the cloned sheep put paid to these ideas some years ago.

      there will come a time when this will happen anyway so lets do it now ….

      do you think people would run with this ?

      • marty mars 11.1.1

        Well no I don’t agree with you.

        The sun is a higher being* for all intensive purposes. Whether some entreaty from this planet cuts through the solar flares and stuff and impacts upon the sun causing ‘it’ to ‘hear’ and ‘react’ to those calls is debatable for sure based upon whichever belief system we believe in.


        higher being (plural higher beings)

        Any of various theoretical, or otherwise unknown, non-human life forms believed to have power over human life.

        But back to your point – I don’t think people will run with it.

        Belief systems aren’t the problem – rather trying to fit square pegs into round holes is.

      • Colonial Rawshark 11.1.2

        People have a need for faith and a need to believe in something. Get rid of religion if you like, ban it if you like, it will merely be replaced with faith in the free markets, faith in nationalism, faith in exceptionalism, faith in scientism and infinite technological progress.

    • Murray Rawshark 11.2

      Tautoko. He’s not worthy of your respect. He doesn’t have mine either.

  12. BassGuy 12

    I’ve had a bit of odd behaviour with the Replies tab in the last few days. Normally, the tab only appears when I’ve posted that day (it disappears some time after midnight each night), so I usually don’t see replies if I haven’t posted for several days.

    Today, I had replies listed only for Raided of the Last Shark, and that was after reloading because I had replies listed for Micky Savage.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      The Replies Tab has been misbehaving for several days now.

      • lprent 12.1.1

        I’m going to have to put the aircond on to figure out what it is doing wrong. Mind is fuzzy after I get home through the beautiful warm mind-numbing weather (after being in a fridge all day).

  13. Murray Rawshark 13

    Sean Plunket is a vile, whining piece of shit who sounds like a ten year old reading lines written by Whalespew. His calling Eleanor Catton an ungrateful hua on the basis that she works at a public university makes me sick. FJK is paid by the state, yet he spends whatever time is left after working on his golf handicap on attacking the working class. Why doesn’t Plunket call him a traitor?

    Nah, bugger it. Why doesn’t Plunket just go for a long walk off a short pier? I’d never listened to him before, but he obviously bases himself on Alan Jones, speaking slowly and in short sentences so as to not get too far ahead of his audience.

    [lprent: Do not go down to far on that avocation of self-harm path yourself, unless you want to discover the limits to moderator tolerance. ]

    • Murray Rawshark 13.1

      Just far enough for him to have a nice swim. Do you really think “take a long walk off a short pier” is a hobby involving violent self harm? How about “go jump in the lake?” I see both as dismissive, rather than being any sort of hobby at all. I think I’ve missed what you meant by avocation.

    • Once was Tim 13.2

      I once inherited a cellfone from someone whose occupation was that of a ‘publicist’ (you know – someone whose job it is to promote). Sean Plonker (among others) contact numbers remained in its contact list. I refrained from making bothersome calls, and from calling them out on their bullshit. There were some very intersting numbers in that little gem that I retain to this day.
      Thankfully, the publicist saw sense and left the country, but not before using me (and others as her confidant) – including one of her boyfriends (an electrical engineer). He/they’d actually taken the long walk along the Pike River Mine entrance – according to he: “an accident waiting to happen”. As for Plunket …. I can only relate her comment – he’d be a thoroughly useless fuck.
      Funny ole wurl aye.
      I imagine tho’ that in future times, that publicist will be ready and anxious to testify.
      I fear that might be a little longer than my lifetime will allow.
      Oh…. btw – Chris Finalyson fiigured heavily in her daily commentary – it kind of reinforced my impressions of just what a bitter old queen he’s become. And I say that ONLY because had he not been subjugated by the Jonky phenomenon, there’d have been a different outcome.

      Common fucking sense anyone? (Not for the foreseeable future it seems) – EVEN in here judging by some comments above

  14. North 14

    ThugMouthPlunket’s contribution ? Having NZ’ers look like hectoring, spittling, backwoodsmen.

    Catton’s contribution ? Having NZ’ers stand proud. And having ThugMouth exemplify her point.

    The dog here is…….?

    Idiot ! So got himself owned.

  15. Gosman 15

    Reply to LPrent’s comments on Little’s State of the nation address thread

    Martyn Bradbury seemed to be quite close to David Cunliffe and Hone Harawira. However that is beside the point. You are making a guilt by association argument. That is usually bad form.

    [lprent: Why? Have you looked at the side of this site at John Key’s face recently – that accurately expresses my opinion of his ethics of getting involved with Slater’s garbage diving. As far as I can see John Key has been politically profiting from having his head stuffed firmly in Slater’s faecal bacteria for the last 7 years. I can’t see any justification for having a dirty politician to not be called for what he is.

    For the record, I have a number of politician’s numbers. I don’t use them unless I have to. They are mainly there for caller id when they (rarely) call me so that I pick up the phone. The only phone numbers that I ever call cold were those of Helen Clark. That was because I was part of the Mt Albert campaign team and I sometimes needed direct information about targeting.

    As much as I think that Martyn is a bit of a dork, I don’t think that he is trying to blackmail journalists with prostitutes or any of the other crap that Slater did. I suspect Martyn mainly contacts them when he was organising events or pitching for work.

    Answer in OpenMike, but I suspect that I am going to be completely unsympathetic to your theory of disassociation of a dirty politician and his dirty operatives. ]”

    I’m not discussing how you you can be associated with the behaviour of an individual. I would agree you can argue that being in contact with someone who is overtly behaving in a particular manner does suggest a degree of tacit support.

    What I am meaning is that if someone I know and associate with holds a particular view (say on the benefits or otherwise of collectivisation) that it does not hold that the view is held by myself as well. For example just because you are majorly involved in this blog does not mean you agree with the views expressed by the authors who post articles here. I am sure you would come down hard on anyone trying to state that you did.

    • McFlock 15.1

      And what if you gave them your cellphone number, and contacted them frequently, which was the original comparison?

      That at least suggests that the beliefs they espouse are not contrary to one’s ethical standards. For example, I don’t socialise with any white supremacists AFAIK.
      John Key is a good example of a “mainstream” (your relocated goalpost, I remind you) tory, no?

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        Cameron Slater has a number of views that I suspect the PM does not hold. Key’s reasons for contacting him has been well publicised. You may disagree with it but even if it was some insidious plot to subvert democracy in NZ it doesn’t mean that they share the same views.

        Anyway I suspect Slater is not anti-collective as you suggest. He may well be anti-Union but that is a different matter.

        • tricledrown

          Birds of a feather flock together aye goosey.
          Always defending the indefensable!
          Your like a cheap little wind up doll repeating the same old lies!
          you make mathew hootton look good.
          always having to have the last word never admitting when your wrong!
          Men who are into selfies are more likely to be Narcissistic Nutjobs .
          Key Slater.and you are both narcissistic Nutjobs Goosy birds of a feather

        • McFlock

          Key’s willing association with slater certainly means that slater’s attitudes and practises are not incompatible with his own. Otherwise key would not willingly associate with him.

  16. greywarshark 16

    Trade me and Harmoney. Money lenders operating through Trade me – not sure what I think about this. It is being promoted as peer to peer lending.
    So what’s peer-to-peer lending?
    It’s a new way of lending and borrowing that has proved very successful in Australia, the USA and the UK and is just getting started here in New Zealand. Investors loan money directly to borrowers anonymously via an online platform, without having to go through a financial institution like a bank.

    It’s simple. By missing out the middleman, Harmoney can provide lower interest rates for borrowers and higher returns for lenders – a win-win for everyone.

    A new way of getting into financial strife? I don’t know what to make of it.

    • nadis 16.1

      I know it in the context of an alternative source of business funding and I was about to spout on about that, and how useful it can be as a more flexible way to raise venture capital or early stage funding for a good business idea. And I’ve seen that work really well overseas. The crowd funding idea in the US is great because it disintermediates the whole formal financing business and people with relatively small amounts of money can get into deals they’d otherwise never see, and spread their risk (which is essential for venture capital type deals).

      However, looking at the Harmoney website, first thing I see is:


      Debt Consolidation
      Car Loans
      Home Improvements
      Holiday Loans

      What the farque? This is not really peer to peer lending or crowd funding. This is your neighbourhood predatory lender dressed up in fancy internet clothes. The good thing is that it is very transparent and simple, but does NZ really need this? I guess we will see.

  17. greywarshark 17

    On old maps from ancient times, areas outside the known were labelled “There be Dragons” as a warning of possible perils and pitfalls. In NZ citizens should be aware that this situation applies in their own fair land if, while travelling at the other end of an island or the country, they fall ill.

    The story I heard was that a couple were on holiday and one got really ill and was said to need an operation. But the DHB was reluctant to carry it out and stated they should go back to their own hospital board and have it done there. Insistence and threats of negative publicity resulted in agreement to attend to the op at the holiday location.

    This is the result of the lack of adequate funding to DHBs. They have had financial sinking lids for some time. Also their budgets are population-based for the locals only and even that may be scant, not providing much for those at the fringes of the areas, and isolated farming settlements. The technology costs for a modern hospital are high also, not only capital costs, but maintenance, and security measures.

    The surgeons may have been on holiday, there may have been pressures from car crashes and drunken mayhem incidents in the case I was given. But it is an example of the difficulties the gummint is causing to the public service provision we thought we had provided as a permanent public good.

    So beware of the dragons that might pop up when you are away from home. You may need to buy health insurance to get you home within the country’s borders if health provisioning isn’t funded appropriately. If the governnment is running NZ without oil, sooner or later the mechanism will seize up and stop.

  18. nadis 18

    News out of Greece is interesting……

    Yesterday, Greece canceled the privatisation of the biggest port yesterday, which was a key component of the their existing bailout.

    Merkel quoted along the lines of astonished Greece is looking for a debt cut, the new ggovenmnet has to show they are committed to the EU aid program, and the ball is in Greece’s court.

    Greek bank equities -11% yesterday.

    But the real test comes today. The EU is voting on whether to add to sanctions on Russia. This has to be unanimous and given Greece was reported to say yesterday “we don’t consent”, this vote will be interesting. If Greece does veto the sanctions I guess that signals a really hardball approach to negotiations.

    I spoke earlier to a few people in London – a European political analyst at a bank, an economist and a debt trader- were all of the view that the Germans will be happy to say no to any Greek haircut demands, perhaps ease the repayment schedule, but ultimately play hardball. And if the Greeks threaten to leave the Euro, ask them not to let the door hit their bum on the way out.

    Personally I don’t know, though I do believe the best thing for Greece would be to negotiate a departure form the Euro, stay in the EU and get transitional support as they go back to controlling their own policy settings. As long as their productivity lags so far behind northern Europe they will never make a go of being in the Euro. They need a weaker currency in order to compete.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      @ nadis
      That sounds doable. I wonder how long the Greeks will take to come to that approach.

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