Open Mike 29/03/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 29th, 2018 - 275 comments
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275 comments on “Open Mike 29/03/2018 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Leaving Ghouta

    “one father faces a difficult choice”

    Alone in Douma, Hassan Abdelrahman is weighing his options. The 37-year-old grocery store owner’s wife and three children left the rebel-held East Ghouta city for government-held Damascus this week, and he is struggling to decide whether or not to follow them.

    “I am afraid to stay in Douma and face a new massacre,” Abdelrahman tells Syria Direct’s Ammar Hamou, “but I am afraid to leave for government areas and face the security risks.”

    “Q: Were you in contact with your wife after she left? What did she tell you about the Syrian government shelters for people leaving East Ghouta?”

    I have remained in contact with her, of course. She was at a shelter in the city of Adra for less than 24 hours, just long enough for her to settle her status with the regime and prepare to leave the shelter.

    Most of the women who have children with them have an easier time leaving the shelters [than men], but some procedures are required. Women cannot leave the center unless they have a relative in Damascus or a sponsor who can come, sign some paperwork and pick them up. My wife’s father came to the Adra center and signed them out.

    “Q: To your knowledge, are you wanted by the government? And if not, are you considering following your wife?”

    I don’t think that I am wanted. I finished my military service years before the revolution, and never took up arms or worked with any civilian or military opposition group. Of course, I oppose the regime and participated in peaceful demonstrations all throughout the past years.

    Anything is possible from the regime. I might be taken for military reserve duty, or just the fact that I have been in an opposition area all this time could be enough for them to accuse me [of a crime].

    I’m trying to find out how the regime is dealing with people in the shelters, hoping to meet up with my wife and family. That would be a better option, in my opinion, than being displaced to the north and leaving my land and home behind.

    But since my wife left, I’ve been struggling even more [with the decision] because of conflicting rumors about what happens to the men who leave. Some people say that there is a resolution to recruit them [by the military], others say they are subject to arrest and torture.

    Until now, I don’t know any men who have left the shelters and gone to Damascus. My wife and a lot of people whose families left are saying that none of the men have left the shelters.

  2. Jenny 2

    Hassan Abdelrahman, the 37-year-old grocery store owner in Eastern Ghouta, quoted above, faces a sickening life or death choice.

    Flee to rebel held Idlib and again risk death under the continual hail of regime and Russian bombs. Or take his chances with the regime.

    What decision would you make if you were Hassan?

    1/ Leave your family and flee to Idlib?

    2/ Take your chances with the regime?

    Give the reasons for your choice.

    A chilling new Amnesty International report published today has exposed the “cold-blooded killing of thousands of defenceless prisoners” in a Syrian government jail where an estimated 13,000 people have been hanged in the past five years, and where mass hangings of up to 50 people at a time occur every week, sometimes twice a week.

    The mass hangings have taken place at Saydnaya military prison near Damascus between 2011 and 2015 – and there are clear indications that the mass hangings are ongoing.

    Most of those hanged were civilians believed to have been opposed to the government, with the killings taking place in great secrecy in the middle of the night. The executions take place after one- or two-minute lawyer-less “trials” using “confessions” extracted through torture.

    Survivors of Saydnaya have also provided spine-chilling and shocking testimonies about life inside the prison. They evoke a world carefully designed to humiliate, degrade, sicken, starve and ultimately kill those trapped inside. These harrowing accounts (see below) have led Amnesty to conclude that the suffering and appalling conditions at Saydnaya have been deliberately inflicted on detainees as a policy of “extermination”.

    • Brigid 2.1

      In case your mother didn’t tell you.
      Lies BAD
      Truth GOOD

    • One Two 2.2

      13,000 – AI

      Moderate Rebels

      Abu Gharib

      South Sudan
      Et al

      PNAC , Jenny…

      Your extreme bias on this issue bring nothing but disrepute to those who are suffering on all sides..

      You’ve chosen a side…that is to have failed in what I assume you’re hoping to achieve…

      If you can’t understand how choosing sides fails those you purport to care about…then reconsider how your energy might be feeding the fire…

  3. aom 3

    It will be interesting to see if Guyon Espiner will still be as supportive of Paul Buchanan today after his “New Zealand’s claim it has no Russian spies is perplexing. Why is it isolating itself?” opinion piece in the Guardian overnight. It was opened for comment, with most of the responders (over 1400 at 7:00am) making it clear they did not support his sycophantic endorsement of Theresa May’s support club. Perhaps there is an ex-USA spy that should be considered for expulsion.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Whatever his reaction, I doubt he will indulge himself in puerile Kremlin-apologist lines like “Theresa May’s support club”.

      • aom 3.1.1

        “New Zealand’s decision not to participate in the solidarity coalition was made in the face of a direct request from the May government ….” Paul Buchanan.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          In international terms, the request was made by the British government. From what Ardern says, it involved consultation between 5-eyes partners and set criteria for who would be expelled.

          Australia found two people who met those criteria. Two. The SIS says none meet the criteria. That being so, who should be picked for expulsion?

          • Michelle

            Of course Australia found 2 people who meet the criteria. They will do anything to look good or win we only have to look at their cricket and they are very bad losers. They need to clean up their own backyard they treat their indigenous people appallingly (high incarceration rates, high suicide rates )

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Well that was a reasoned argument. Positively brimming with careful consideration 🙄

            • reason

              To true Michelle ….

              If I were nominating suspects in the little criminal nation england …. with extensive form ….. Billionaire Zionists line up very well as motivated thugs . …. And they have form for poisoning people in sly ways too

              They have murderous motivation against Russia …. As the disintegration of Syria would make permanent their theft of the Golan heights … and they hoped their proxy war would destroy Hamas.

              At about the 15 minute mark of this doco you hear how their war of aggression helped them steal more land from Palestine , Egypt and Syria

              • OncewasTim

                Geezuz man! Ya can’t say THAT!!!!
                – NEXT thingbya know, you’ll have ‘the authorities knocking on the straw and clay bathroom window threatening to take away your arse wash

          • veutoviper

            And people need to be clear what that criteria as to who would be expelled was/is – “undeclared intelligence staff/agents” – a very specific category of intelligence operatives.

            Andrew Geddis at Pundit (and at Stuff?) has done a superb job of defining exactly what an “Undeclared intelligence agent” is – and why this category of agents/diplomats has been targetted.


            I won’t do an extract as to get the full context takes up most of Geddis’ post, but if you want to see the main points I have done an extract here on TS already in slightly different responses to two other comments:



            But people need to understand the criteria – ie this specific category – to understand why NZ has not expelled anyone. Nor by the way have 40% of EU countries according to Winston Peters under Q8 yesterday in the House. See the second link above for this and my addendum comment immediately under that.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              people need to understand the criteria

              Why try to understand anything when you either want to look tough, or like the wisest sceptic in the room?

              Thanks for the Geddis link. I expect he’s a crisis actor in disguise 😉

              • veutoviper

                That is one of the clearest explanations I have ever seen. NZSIS and GCSB should plagarize it! i was trying to put it into a short definition but was getting twisted about, so full marks to Geddis.

                • OncewasTim

                  It’s not bad eh @vv

                  It’s fairly obvious you’ve experienced 76uin both the world of the Humphrey, and the world of what is best described as the job of a Jitter Jitter noooo KKKKKITERIDGE WUNCE d d d ddid.

        • aom:

          Before you sign my expulsion orders, have a look at my original thoughts on the affair. A lot got spun off and/or edited down in the aftermath of my writing it, but the bottom line is this: the spy comments by the PM were not only silly but a diversion from the main issue. That issue is the reason(s) why the Labour government chose not to join its major security partners in this (largely symbolic) act of collective repudiation of Russian misbehaviour abroad. We have yet to hear about those, which is the only thing I am particularly interested in.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Professor Geddis’ remarks may interest you.

            As for the reasons, we aren’t “yet to hear about those” – Ardern has addressed them specifically.

            • Paul G. Buchanan

              Geddis is wrong about those with diplomatic passports being expelled. A number of them had nothing to do with intelligence matters.

              As for the reasons, can you point me to where these have been enunciated?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Don’t know if it’s been published elsewhere; here’s the PM on Facebook.

                • Must be the wrong clip. She talks about different types of intel officers (and it is a very incomplete one at that), but never mentions the reasons why NZ did not respond favorably to the UK request. Surely it is not just because there were no people who “met the criteria,” because if so that would demonstrate that the government focused on the tactical instrumentalities of a reply rather than the substance of the request as framed against NZ’s global interests.

                  Put another way: was there any other reason other than the absence of people “who met the criteria” behind the rejection of the request to join the “expulsion coalition?” I mention a few possible reasons in my essay linked above but have heard nothing one way or the other from our foreign policy leaders.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    As she points out in the clip, Australia identified two individuals. All two of them will be expelled. Not that hard to believe NZ turning up zero especially since it’s also been reported that:

                    People in the Five Eyes have consulted with us on our decision, understand our decision, and did so before the decision was made.

                    As Geddis says, expelling people who don’t meet the criteria goes further than other countries have.

                    Travel bans and other sanctions to follow, they say. Hardly a “refusal”.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                A number of them had nothing to do with intelligence matters.

                Isn't that the point of being an "undeclared intelligence operative", until you get found out?

                • No, which is why that phrase is unhelpful. The big difference in HUMINT is that between Official Cover (those with diplomatic passports) and Unofficial Cover (those without diplomatic passports and hence immunity). OC’s who are discovered get expelled; UC’s get arrested and imprisoned/executed. All those expelled in this action were OCs and regular diplomats who were not working outside the job description in their credentials (OCs tend to work the outer margins of what they are credentialed to do). No UCs were expelled, and those are the ones that decline to “declare” their status because they are working covertly under the cover of an assumed identity. So the phraseology being used by the PM is obtuse, and I am not sure that is by accident.

                  Again, all of this diverts attention from the main issue.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I understood from the PM that the criterion was embassy staff whose job descriptions don’t match their activities.

                    Not UCs, although perhaps their ‘controllers’, if anyone still calls them that.

                  • McFlock

                    I thought the ones supposed to be expelled were OCs in that they were officially regular diplomats but were also doing intelligence work without telling the host nation? So in order to expel them you’d have to know about their actual intelligence work.

                    • Molly

                      …which means you’d be expelling the incompetent ones, and leaving the undiscovered skillful operatives remaining.

          • OncewasTim

            Good to know @Pablo that your reading is as wide as it is (such as to include TS) – contrutors and commenters alike.

            • OncewasTim

              Once upon a time a relative went to school with ‘Beks’
              Interesting (as i’ve siad elsewhere) how people get caotured….. whether its PService snr nanagement complaceenxy…..I just got put off by the chuckles of Wallace’s ‘Panel’ (sitting invfor the Mora) apologiesles.

          • Ed1

            Why was a diplomatic repudiation initiated in relation to the nerve agent attack, and not for the arguably equally abhorrent attack on democracy inherent in the interference with the US Presidential election? Have or should either of these issues been raised with the United Nations? And have there been any developments giving evidence of culpability or otherwise? Is diplomacy to be seen as a diversion from reality?

        • Gabby

          If it was Blobby Jobby asking, one would have to think twice.

      • xanthe 3.1.2

        Well I for one have yet to see ANY evidence of Kremlin involvement, so far all we have is “its the only logical conclusion”.. well I don’t buy that at all. given the crap going down in the USA at the moment i consider a CIA false flag operation as worthy of proper consideration.

        • mauī

          But but but, we don’t need evidence. Drug cheats, election hackers, plane crashers, the kgb, the kremlin. They are the most evil… most definitely.

          Get some guts and join the right side!
          Get in behind May and the rest of the free world!

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Strawmen and hyperbole. It was the Czechs! It was the CIA! They’re all crisis actors! “Those who serve us with poison will eventually swallow it and poison themselves,” oops sorry, I slipped and Vladimir Putin’s thuggish direct threats somehow fell into the narrative by accident.

            • McFlock

              The only people who haven’t given the idea of the skripal poisonings being a CIA or UK “deep state” false-flag op “serious consideration” are the people demanding it have serious consideration.

              Lots of risk, no reward unless Putin has never had a single political opponent murdered. Otherwise all they’d need to do is wait.

            • francesca

              “Those who serve us with poison “etc
              It didn’t occur to you that the quote in question might have been abbreviated to serve propagandistic purposes?



              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Of course it serves propagandistic purposes!

                It says: “Not only can we poison traitors, we can brag about it, so toe the line or else!” And the target of these threats? Why, the Russian peoples and other existing military personnel.

                Cf: people seeking the death penalty for Chelsea Manning.

                Edit: I note that your Telegraph link reports that Kremlin thugs were convicted of murder in Qatar. So much for Putin’s assurances.

                • francesca

                  The Chechen was a spy from a spyswap?
                  Do tell

                  Still waiting for you to find me any spy , previous to Skripal ,who has been pardoned by the Russians and released in a spy swap who has then been killed by the Russians

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Curiously narrow hoop you have there. If I try and jump through it I’m afraid my ears will get stuck.

                    I wish you’d stop saying “Russians”, by the way. The thugs in the Kremlin are about as representative of Russia as the Mongrel Mob is of NZ.

                • francesca

                  Putin’s speech”Secret services no longer kills traitors”:2010
                  Abbreviated 2010 speech “traitors will choke etc” published in March 2018 to imply it was made in relation to the Skripal poisoning
                  OAB thinks he’s got a scoop: 29 March 2018

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          When the OPCW releases its findings, you won’t see the evidence then either. That won’t turn your fence into a comfy chair though.

          • In Vino

            So blind obedience to the old Cold War propaganda recipe is a ‘comfy chair’? I am 71, read and heard all this Russian scare stuff before.. My guess is that Terrorism has now lost its bite as a fearful external enemy, and our thought masters are resurrecting the old tried, tested and proven cold war tactic. We have even just had scary news about stunning new Russian weapons. We had that bullshit all through the 50s till the late 80s. Tedious.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              What “blind obedience”? Don’t put words in my mouth.

              • In Vino

                You made it sound like you already had a ‘comfy chair’. Do you?
                Why imply someone else seeks one?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  A metaphor about fences says what about “blind obedience”? Does the observation that the Kremlin is run by untouchable murderous kleptocrats who’ve completely compromised the British government look “comfy” to you?

                  • In Vino

                    You appear to be comfy with that slightly tendentious proposition. I am wary of it. Russia has always been ruled by ruthless megalomaniacs when strong. I admire the historian who called Stalin the most recent of the great Tsars, despite all the theory about revolution and class warfare. I also distrust the simplistic bullshit we get served up from a system which us far less democratic than it claims to be.

    • wayne 3.2

      Guardian commenters will be mostly left-wing Momentum types. A bit like Lalia Harre in her views of the poisoning. Not a good guide in how to conduct foreign policy.

      Even Corbyn has to had to back May to some extent, though presumably Momentumers wish he did not have to. Many of Corbyn’s Labour party MP’s have been highly critical of him on the Russia issue, but realistically they are powerless against Momentum. The British Labour Party is starting to be more like the Alliance Party of New Zealand, rather than the current NZLP.

      As for there being no Russian undeclared spies In NZ, I think it is unlikely there are none, but who knows?

      In some respects it is not really about undeclared spies, it is just sending someone home to make the point about solidarity. I imagine this is what most of the UK’s allies have done (but not us). Sending home one out of 17 would be no great hardship for the Russian Embassy.

      We might find we are now on the slow track for a FTA with the UK.

      Jacinda might have an awkward meeting or two with May and others in the UK next month. She might wish she had sent a Russian Embassy cook or driver home. Drivers are frequently spies.

      What fanciful conspiracy theory crap. Absolutely zero evidence for your assertion.

      And if it was true, it would be fraught with enormous risk if it was discovered. It would just about destroy the US/UK relationship if it became public. Just do a risks/benefits analysis of such an operation to see whether it is even remotely plausible.

      • Stuart Munro 3.2.1

        The Guardian’s not so bad – we can’t all be cryptofascist authoritarians like Wayne.

        • savenz

          There’s an opening for you Wayne, in Northcote for the Natz, only 1 nomination if the post by James below is correct…

          We all know parliament needs more lawyers (sarcasm) – one law for them, and one for everyone else.

          Kinda a world trend to move everything away from people and put it into a series of lobbyist laws that have become narrower and narrower and more challenged over time by lawyers getting richer and richer, so that the public good and practicality aspects from our laws are being eroded, even if you do have enough money and time to challenge them.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        The British Labour Party is starting to be more like the Alliance Party of New Zealand, rather than the current NZLP.

        Which is probably good for the British and bad for NZ. It was, after all, the policies of National and the NZLP of the last few decades that have caused so much increase in poverty in this Land of Plenty. And the same goes for the UK.

        We might find we are now on the slow track for a FTA with the UK.

        You say that like it’s a Bad Thing when it’s the exact opposite. In fact, we should be dropping out of all exiting FTAs and the WTO and putting in place a set of standards that other countries need to meet before we will trade with them.

        Make it a Race to the Top rather than the Race to the Bottom that it has been for the last 30+ years.

        • JohnSelway

          “Make it a Race to the Top rather than the Race to the Bottom that it has been for the last 30+ years.”


        • Wayne

          Well to be fair, we probably won’t be on a slow track for a FTA. Too important for both countries for this relatively minor matter to derail it.
          The main consequence will a few awkward meetings. jacinda can use her charm to get through that easily enough.
          The FTA with the UK really will matter. We will be aiming for tariff free entry of our foodstuffs. The UK could once again become a major market.

          • Draco T Bastard

            An FTA with the UK will just do what all FTAs have done – make us poorer.

            • wayne


              You do realise that New Zealand’s wealth was basically built on tariff free entry of our lamb, butter, cheese and wool to the UK from 1870 to 1970. This was the imperial preference, so it gave NZ a trade advantage above the US, South America and Europe, the other places capable of producing temperate agricultural products.

              So rather than making us poorer, the tar if free entry of our products actually made us one of the most wealthy countries in the world. At the peak in the early 1950’s no 3 in living standards in the world.

              Of course a 2020 FTA won’t produce quite the same effect, but it will certainly help, and will be 100% better for NZ than the EU’s highly restrictive agricultural import policy.

              Britain leaving the EU is basically a net positive for NZ. We suffered a lot when they entered, we will gain as they leave.

              But I guess ideology has blinded you to these rather obvious and well known facts.

              • Draco T Bastard

                You do realise that New Zealand’s wealth was basically built on tariff free entry of our lamb, butter, cheese and wool to the UK from 1870 to 1970.

                You do understand that that is a load of bollocks right?

                NZ wealth is our resources and our skills. If we hadn’t had that tariff free entry into the UK market we’d probably be richer as we would have been forced to develop more skills. There is, after all, only so much lamb that a small nation can eat.

                But I guess ideology has blinded you to these rather obvious and well known facts.

                Actually, it’s your ideology that’s blinding you to the facts.

                • JohnSelway

                  “Actually, it’s your ideology that’s blinding you to the facts.”
                  It’s actually both of you.

                  To paraphrase – ideology is the last refuge of the scoundrel

                  • One Two

                    Wayne and his ilk should be in prison for crimes** against humanity…

                    Having had opportunity to positively impact large numbers of those who genuinely need the most assistance…instead Wayne and his ilk simply move on with their organic being and planetary destructive indeology…

                    Most of everything Wayne was involved in government life has been a negative outcome against the most vulnerable…

                    That’s the legacy of Wayne and his ilk…

                    • In Vino

                      Selway – do you really repudiate all ideology and have none yourself? If so, you are a hollow man.

                    • JohnSelway

                      No – I just don’t fix my ideology to the point where I get blinded by it.

                      i.e – I can hold two contradictory POV’s and examine them against each other to see which makes most sense rather than rejecting something out of hand because it doesn’t fit my rigid beliefs. F. Scott Fitzgerald put it well when he said –
                      “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

                    • In Vino

                      That sounds better, JohnSelway, assuming this reply appears where I hope it will.
                      Did Fitzgerald include chewing gum at the same time?

              • Brigid

                “New Zealand’s wealth was basically built on tariff free entry of our lamb, butter, cheese and wool to the UK from 1870 to 1970”
                You forgot to mention, Wayne, what tariffs successive NZ governments imposed on those same goods, and numerous others.

                Which incidentally gave us all permanent, full time, secure jobs.


                • Draco T Bastard

                  You forgot to mention, Wayne, what tariffs successive NZ governments imposed on those same goods, and numerous others.

                  Which incidentally gave us all permanent, full time, secure jobs.

                  But which failed to develop our economy due to the reliance upon exporting lamb to the UK.

          • OncewasTim

            How can the utterly ideologically-driven, scared and in the pockets of those who’ve exchanged their fluids and who’ve only ever invested in propping up each other’s egos ever hope “to be fair” (going forward, ez a meta of fek, ekshuuly – even with the new found learnings of ear politikle circumstance).
            Btw Wayne… how long does your current mefia gig contract last, and any plans for whennir expures?

        • CHCOff

          “In fact, we should be dropping out of all exiting FTAs and the WTO and putting in place a set of standards that other countries need to meet before we will trade with them.”

          That’s correct, and the way to do that is by creating the localised structures, whereby business chains for products can be established, self regulated & self represented within different industries, but not ‘needing to’ ban practises that under-cut necessarily but having them represented to the consumer for what they are in industry grading trade marks or seals that the govt provides the frameworks of, for their industries to co-ordinate in setting standards under.

          And with the majority of consumers employed by such chains/organisations/guilds, they will vote with their wallets and employment interests, which whenever people have the opportunity to do so, is for higher value and quality.

          That i believe, is the essence of what has economically built up, sustained & nourished the higher civilisations in the west over the centuries, despite the many historic follies or one type or another of their times.

      • Anne 3.2.3

        What a pathetic response from wayne. Trying to have it all ways? Just send anyone home to appease the hawks in the British and US governments eh? Who cares who it is, the caretaker will do.

        In case you have forgotten wayne, this government campaigned on transparent governance.

        We are lead to understand the British government asked our government for support by way of expelling any “undeclared embassy attaches” who are suspected of intelligence activity. The government asked the NZSIS if we had any. The SIS apparently said no. I cannot see any reason why the SIS would lie about such a matter.

        There are some parallels here with Helen Clark’s government who decided not to join the Coalition of the Willing when they invaded Iraq. Remember the hue and cry? I do… and many of the same faces are screaming hysterically again. Who was right? Helen Clarks’ government of course. There were no weapons of mass destruction – just a lie perpetuated by the British and American hawkes in order to get the masses on board with them.

        I expect there are under-cover Russian agents in NZ. But they’re not – it would seem – directly attached to their Embassy. That would make it very difficult to flush them out. I’m sure if the SIS do manage to find them, they would be deported forthwith.

        • Kat

          Anne….stop making sense, Wayne can’t handle it.

        • OncewasTim

          The guy never ceases to amaze, an in the abscence of 4th Estate, I guess his faux wisdom (just like that of a number of others) will go unchallenged. Or will it?

          • OncewasTim

            As we all now know in this day and age ofvthw 15 mins of fame and fortune and stardom
            Pretty much the only thing that otivates the political class, politicians and their spin meisters, is the degree to which they sense potential embarrassment (alobgside their ability to either tolerate it or bury it.
            Cynical I know but I think the record speaks for itself.
            There is a level at which the politican, or the DHB Chief, or the ‘head of munstry or department’ can no longer survive

            Thing is, it may well be that we’ll HAVE to resort to the dlovenly underhand nastiness opponents seem comfortable with (indeed tactics they consider normal) in order to survive I rue that day!)

            • OncewasTim

              Include jounalists in that first paragraph because we could include Sth Africans as members of a 4th Estate and their propensity for attraction to ‘daddy figures’ and raspy voices … even though they’re prepared to feel qualified to comment on thinga like domestic violence.
              Or that ‘celebate’ thing that sits above an Eastern Suburbs sewerage plant whose no doubt familiar with its walking rracks where little Fijian BOIS claim to have had ‘encounters’….?True or False….doesn’t seem to matter.
              Let’s not even begin with a Pulla BentFFS!

      • Bill 3.2.4

        First up, other countries besides NZ have refused to take action. Second up, if the Guardian is a momentum shang li ra, then why the takedown of Corbyn when he called for more evidence after apparently seeing everything that had been shared with foreign governments (unprecedented amounts of info apparently).

        And why the resurgent cries of antisemitism from the Guardian being leveled at Corbyn and UK Labour? Again.

        The Guardian is a mouth piece for liberal interventionists. In my memory that’s been the case since Yugoslavia.

        And alongside anti-Corbyn, anti-Labour, anti-Russia, we’re getting a pivot to anti-Chinese too. A piece from the other day about a purported war of human rights by Russia and China via the UN or somesuch?

        Sorry I don’t have time to dig out links or take part in this exchange beyond this sole comment. There’s an ugly head of steam building behind something that would roll over anything not firmly behind western liberalism’s aggressive and interventionist stance/positioning in foreign policy and/or against domestic policies of violence via the economics of austerity.

        Maybe in a day or two when I have some free time available again, I’ll look at a post on this slide the west is on.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          New Zealand hasn’t “refused to take action”.

        • Anne

          There’s an ugly head of steam building behind something that would roll over anything not firmly behind western liberalism’s aggressive and interventionist stance/positioning in foreign policy and/or against domestic policies of violence via the economics of austerity.

          Yes. The hysteria our government is currently experiencing from the Nats and their MSM acolytes (and hysteria is not too strong a word imo) over matters of a relatively trivial nature is beginning to look like it might be part of a much larger strategy encompassing most of the so-called Western world.

          In other words, setting up the masses for a major international power-play that could end in nuclear war-fare.

      • xanthe 3.2.5

        What fanciful conspiracy theory crap. Absolutely zero evidence for your assertion.

        yes and thats is exactly the same amount of evidence so far raised for “the Kremlin done it” your “cost benefit” argument also works either way.

        I am not arguing either case , just pointing out that the evidential standard for action is not yet met.

        expelling diplomatic staff on the basis of an untested assumption is just dumb, others may do so to symbolize which “side” they are on. our government has wisely declined to do so.

        • wayne

          There is large amount of published evidence against Russia.

          They are the only ones who produce the agent, and have a track record of using it. That is the prime evidence to date.

          The evidential gap is which Russian operative(S) actually deposited the agent, both when and how.

          But your post makes you seem like a Russian apologist believing everything Putin says.

          As for our government “wisely” declining action, well I guess that is your view. Not mine however. In my view our government has looked rather foolish and naive.

          • Draco T Bastard

            They are the only ones who produce the agent, and have a track record of using it. That is the prime evidence to date.

            Purely circumstantial and would never get a conviction in court.

            The evidential gap is which Russian operative(S) actually deposited the agent, both when and how.

            So, the missing part is any evidence that they did it.

            I really do prefer having a government that doesn’t work on hearsay.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              One minor problem: diplomacy is not a judicial proceeding. As if the Kremlin would ever extradite anyone eventually charged, cf: Andrey Lugovoy.

              • Draco T Bastard

                True but we should still operate on more than well, these guys made this stuff back in the early 1970s and may possibly have used it before.

                Especially when you consider how easy getting hold of that 1970s stuff would have been since the collapse of the USSR and that it’s highly unlikely that they’d still be using it.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Wow! It has that long a shelf-life! Are you sure? 🙄

                  • McFlock

                    reminds me of Battlefield Earth lol

                    Set a thousand years in the future, the humans use nukes and harrier jets that were sitting in an abandoned US base all that time…

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      Ugghhhh Battlefield Earth – I had almost expunged that crud from my memory.

                      One of L Ron’s biggest loads of cak – and that’s saying something.

                      Forgive me Tom Cuise !

                • McFlock

                  Plus the nature of the target.
                  Plus the track record of similar people being murdered.
                  Plus the comments of putin & co.
                  Plus the tenuous nature of anyone else’s motive vs the risks to them if it backfires.

            • JohnSelway

              if you are going by court of law analogies then there is more than one piece of circumstantial evidence.

              Russia is the only one known to produce said agent, the targeted individual was a known associate and critic of Russia and Russia has a track record of this sort of thing.

              Once the circumstantial evidence mounts what is more likely? It is a false flag which requires more variables to succeed as a case or was it Russia which needs less variables. In scientific theory the theory that requires less variables is dominant over that which requires more. In the court of law it is similar in that simpler the explanation which has the most evidence is more often than not the case.

              In this case – Russia

              • francesca

                You’re quite simply wrong
                Iran managed to synthesise it in late 2016 under the auspices of the OPCW, which indicates it is possible for countries other than Russia to do the same
                Skripal was not a critic of Russia. He was paid good money to betray it
                It has been reported that he missed Russia and wanted to return
                He visited the Russian Embassy in London every month
                I will supply links if you like

          • francesca

            Wayne, your published evidence please
            This is the first time that Novichok has been used as an assassination attempt.
            please link to your assertion Wayne.
            It has killed one Russian chemist accidentally , and may or may not have been used by Russian gangsters against a Russian banker and his secretary. That remains purely hearsay as no chemicals in that case were analysed
            The Soviet Union developed it, if they weaponised it, no one knows
            The Soviet Union is not Russia
            Uzbekistan anyone ?
            The US decommissioning the Novichok facility in the 1990s?
            Soviet chemists decamping to the west with all their knowledge and experience?
            Seriously Wayne, it beggars belief that you are unaware of this
            Several countries have had access to it
            Iran under the auspices of the OPCW managed to synthesise it in late 2016
            It is not uniquely Russian
            Does all of your info come from newspapers and television?
            Pointing out facts should never be the trigger to calling someone an apologist of any order

          • reason

            Take the childs blood out of your eyes and you’ll see more clearly Wayne …

            According to Wikipedia Israel Zionists assassinate far more people …

            And they use exotic poisons ….

          • weston

            well according to my reading wayne ANY half decent lab with suitably qualified technicians could make this stuff and interestingly inorder for the poms to correctly identify the nerve agent they would have to possess an identical match !!!

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.2.6

        “left-wing Momentum types”

        Almost as bad as ‘Socialists’, ay Wayne? Don’t want them Socialists.

      • francesca 3.2.7

        Don’t you think Putin would have done a cost/benefit analysis of his own?
        Putin and his administration are not stupid. If you think they are I seriously doubt your intelligence on these matters
        A cost/benefit analysis done by the Kremlin would quickly have shown that the target and poison chosen would have at first glance pointed to the Kremlin, and would have inevitably put at risk Nordstream 2, the World cup, the Astana group negotiations, and the exposure to OPCW investigations that would negate Russia’s much lauded destruction of chemical weapons in 2017.
        I for one would be extremely proud if NZ was to regain its reputation as an honest broker in international affairs.
        Why even pay lip service to the rule of law if we are prepared to deliver the verdict and divvy out the punishment before the investigation is complete?
        I am glad we had a Labour govt headed by a feisty female PM that refused to “join the club” in Iraq in 2003
        Who knows how long Jacinda and Winston can hold out against the pressures that are being brought to bear on them.
        But I applaud them for their stand

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Their “stand” is that they’re looking at sanctions and travel bans against a range of individuals because there’s no plausible alternative explanation other than Kremlin involvement.

          The Kremlin isn’t being “stupid”, by the way – punishments have to be consistent, and in the case of traitors, harsh. These are practical measures to enforce discipline.

          Spare me your disbelief and smears upon my character or cognitive abilities – I’ll take them as read.

          • francesca

            That doesn’t stack up I’m afraid OAB

            And this would be another first.
            The spy swap program has always left ex spies off limits
            Keeping it that way is to everyones interests
            A breach means the collapse of the system, and it’s never been done before
            I challenge you to show me where a spy who has been swapped and pardoned has then been knocked off, it is most definitely not consistent

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              From your link:

              Russian security services also denied involvement when a former separatist president of Chechnya, Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, was killed in a bomb explosion in Qatar in 2004, but two Russian intelligence agents were convicted in Qatar and later returned to Russia

              Perhaps you should’ve read your link.

              • francesca

                The Chechen was a spy from a spyswap?
                Do tell

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Putin said “traitors”. The Kremlin doesn’t regard Chechen fighters as traitors?

                  Other analysis, mind you, has it that the Kremlin doesn’t have control over its various factions, who will often take unilateral actions in attempts to curry favour. A bit like running a crime family, I suppose.

                  I’ve been struck particularly by the way the Kremlin often comes across like Pauli Walnuts when discussing these matters. “Who knows what happened to your face? Maybe you fell over. Better be more careful next time.”

            • McFlock

              Never been done before?
              It says in the lead of your own link that it was a practise used by the Soviets.

        • wayne

          Putin probably did do a cost/benefit analysis.

          On the basis of relative western inaction in the past on things like the invasion of Georgia, retaking Crimea, supporting Ukrainian separatists, supplying the missiles that shot down MH17, killing agents with polonium and nerve agents, interfering in elections, cyber attack against Estonia, he would have assumed no real reaction this time. In short he assumed he would get away with it, just as he had before.

          I think this attack proved to be a straw that broke the camels back, just one too many annoying things that he has done, especially after the interference in both the US and the French elections.

          It won’t result in war or anything like that, but it will mean a deep distrust of Putin and his circle. Will he want to reverse that?

          Who knows, but historically Russia has not always been on the outer. For much of the nineteenth century they were valued allies, the Crimea war excepted.

          • One Two

            Give your perspective, Wayne…for comparative reference…

            Israel >> Palestine [any other local the rogue state is committing atrocities]

            USA >> committing atrocities [pick a location]

            Which nation has the highest known number of biological and chemical labs around the world?…

            As for you continued parroting about election interference….you should be ashamed…no chance that you are though….

            My guess is you appreciate the Rothschild banker…

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Wayne is a known agent of the HAARP cabal and has links to Buzz Aldrin. Watch what you say 🙄

              • Stunned Mullet

                Buzz Aldrin you say… any link to the reverse vampires and the illuminati ?

          • francesca

            Really!! Sanctions that have reduced economic growth, being kicked off the G8, the Mistral deal reneged on,Bulgaria heavied in to blocking south stream, the pain of Russian paraplegics as a group and other athletes not allowed to compete under their own flag, and the relentless and quite unhinged vilifications
            I’m not even going to bother with the Russia meddled theme, it seems to be Cambridge Analytica after all…the upper levells of Brit society
            Russia interfered in the French elections?
            Do tell …France says otherwise


            I’m staggered!

            Russia attacked Georgia??


            oh dear me

          • OncewasTim

            I doubt he did a cost/ benefit analysis Wayne.
            More likely he just did a macho man ego who are my whorshippers analysis.
            Not to dissimilar from you ( or indeed a Hosking). Only difference being you did it under ther cover of being a mild mannered plonker whose managed to capture the 4th Estate into believing you’re fair and readobsblw. A bit like the Fair and balanced routine.
            KEEP the chummy smarm up will you… it’ll ensure you continue to be a media rent-a-voice on Sundays alongside that thing called Boag…. and probably even a Wilson.
            Apologies if I confuse a Q+A with a NATION.
            they’ll consider me a philistine as they knock back a toast or two to the day’s achievement.

          • Philg

            Geez Wayne! I’d thought you’d be all for making a buck and resume trade with Russia. What would 4 eyes say? We trade with China, and there not Lilly white.

        • Chuck

          francesca don’t fool yourself. Putin wanted the world to know.

          • francesca

            yeah, Chuck, he was just so damned keen to out the highly secretive and illegal Novichok program that he’d kept under wraps, for the past 10 years, evading the gimlet eyes of the OPCW who were crawling all over Russia’s facilities.
            Phew! he thought, got away with it, the bastards will never know, and here’s me with a clean slate.
            Less than 6 months later….I’ve got a good idea , lets knock off that used up spy Skripal we pardoned yonks ago, and we’ll use Novichok to send a message to Europe and the US that a floundering UK needs to be rallied around and supported
            That’ll show em!
            And the World cup and Nordstream? fuckem, I just want to see the look on their faces
            I guess Putin in his heart of hearts wanted to get caught, eh?

            • Stuart Munro

              Yup – no deterrence from your murders if they look like natural causes.

              Gotta use something really exotic – Novichok, Thalium, Polonium – see the pattern?

      • Gabby 3.2.8

        We might find the UK is still leaving Europe and still on the lookout for trading partners, even ones that don’t habitually obey her in foreign policy matters, wayney.

    • reason 3.3

      100% + aom …. Paula May is a puerile disgusting politician

      she’s as dishonest as David Cameron ….. who is as dishonest as John Key … who is as dishonest as Bill English is .. Blair , Clinton, Trump etc etc

      • Macro 3.3.1

        Who is Paula May?

        • reason

          Thanks for the pull up Marco … I must have had May subconsciously connected to Paula Hanson …. another disgusting politician.

          Of course I meant theresa may …. who interestingly enough is friendly with the NZ connected Legatum stink tank … having spoken in front of the hypocrites.

          The Legatum charade is a think tank that has been pumping out anti-russia propaganda for a while now ” Legatum turns out to be a project of the most secretive billionaire vulture capital investor you’ve (and I’d) never heard of: Christopher Chandler, a New Zealander who, along with his billionaire brother Richard Chandler, ran one of the world’s most successful vulture capital funds”

          I call Legatum a charade because they produce this ” prosperity index” … where they rank countries.

          But the New Zealand funders and founders run their business / vulture funds from tax havens like Dubai ….

          Which makes them like traders in kiddie porn lecturing people about child abuse ,,,,

          As Oxfam has correctly pointed out Tax havens, shadow banking and their corruption are the biggest drivers of poverty and inequality in the world.

          So Legatum is a stink tank as opposed to think Tank …

          Whats the difference between a vulture and a vulture fund Marco ???

          A vulture fund is worse and actually makes the food for the vultures …

          I mean it when I say the T Mays … D Camerons … J Keys … and W Mapps of this world are disgusting people.

          Of course any one of them would poison a couple of Russians …

          But the Israelies have the most motive and past form for carrying out assassinations ….

    • SPC 3.4

      Why the issue of UNDECLARED spies amongst the diplomats.


      “Colonel Skripal was convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working UNDERCOVER in Europe to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.”

      Thing is, our SIS does not know of any here (and if they did they are not silly enough to say they do so they get replaced by someone they do not know about – unlike the so called smart guys overseas who think they know better).

    • Gabby 3.5

      He wasn’t entirely supportive of Todd Mclazy’s baarping.

    • OncewasTim 3.6

      Intrustung the riddle little blubble that follows… rspeshlillyvant
      Ex one labours under the lek o toim stemps and othe info the sage has omittedn ez relevant going forwid (or wid out)

      • OncewasTim 3.6.1

        A bit ssssprizing tho a prents own parna rwcently visited slightly less remoteness on mutha Erf to locationas on the GPS spatial plam I did
        Maybe herein lies the tensions and elitism claims thst exist between a Prent TS AND A bradbury TDB.
        MAY I SAY TO YOU BOTH how utterly fuvkkng gorgeus you BOTH are.
        Goes without saying to your dedication to the very broad leff principills
        Goes without saying that indupitably, indisoutavly, absoluterry there’s an overweighr inyoletant piece of blubber that happens to be the whurl’s bestest developerer of computer thingies ( and modest with it).
        The beauty of the fishinsy an fektivness of his code is a thing to behold

        • OncewasTim

          Wel obsly, ya ken orl C the phet fungas en remote intermittance (that’s even been known to corrupt the character set).
          Or maybe not.
          Interesting times as I watch the policy ANALists from a dysfunctional PS Srutting their shit as forcibly as their future career patterns aĺlow them, and their seniors worrying about what and how their new munsters will be satisfied with the advice requested of ‘officials’…. JUST enough to look to be in tune with the new Munster, though not enough to be obstructive of any new policy or the pteservarion of a Statiss Kwo.

  4. xanthe 4

    Julian Assange’s Internet access cut again by Ecuador embassy

  5. patricia bremner 5

    I have looked at the pattern of “beat-ups” occurring and have become convinced they are all “Look over here” strategies by the opposition to distract from their serious past misdemeanors.

    Almost “False news”, as the importance is magnified by the style of reporting.

    The coalition is moving fast on many fronts, and the opposition have wanted to paint Jacinda as “muddled indecisive and not in control of her troops.”

    Everything that has happened has had that same response.

    It is orchestrated and there must be an opposition group planning for this, like a web.

    What finally convinced me DP is again alive and well, was reading that Griffin had rung Lee before he published Hurshfield’s resignation.

    I wonder who Ms Lee informed? And why? Just saying.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1


      National’s Dirty Politics never stops.

    • tc 5.2

      DP never died, Slater was a loose cannon, Hooten/Farrar/Eade/Williams etc all still at it and it’s up to the govt to own the narrative over the damage done by 3 terms of nact.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 5.3

      You’ve looked at all the incompetence and misbehaviour and concluded that the only reason for it all is that it’s been pointed out and highlighted and publicised?

      You have terrific powers of deduction.

      I suppose Minister Salesa has a national plant in her staff booking her the hotels in the good end of town and business class flights everywhere to make her look bad?

      But draco gave you three internet points, so you must on to something.

    • francesca 5.4

      I watched “The Hollow Men “again last night, along with the 20 minute interview with Nicky Hager
      Its co ordinated alright , it has all the hallmarks , and our media is even less “big picture” than before, running like yapping dogs to the next beat up scandal of their own making.
      Never asking the big questions and generally serving right wing interests

      • patricia bremner 5.4.1

        Thanks Francesca. Yes Hallmarks. Too many coincidental memes. Hager was awake to this very early. We have to stay awake as well.

    • Chuck 5.5

      “The coalition is moving fast on many fronts,”

      Agree out the beehive door come 2020!

      patricia bremner if your idea of DP is that the media or the opposition should not react to the incompetent bumbling of this current Government, then you will forever be outraged.

  6. wayne 6

    The opposition does not have any misdemeanours they need to cover up.

    In case you have not noticed, National is simply doing what opposition’s are supposed to do. Holding the government to account. In this instance ably assisted by numerous government faux pas.

    The difference to past oppositions is that there is 56 of them, with lots of parliamentary resource (the staff including research staff are proportional to their size). So they can do way more than an opposition of say 27 MP’s.

    Perhaps the Easter break will give the government a chance to sort itself out.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      The opposition does not have any misdemeanours they need to cover up.

      Finlayson breaking the law is probably something that they wish would go away and National’s Dirty Politics seems to be working there.

      We’re definitely not seeing any calls for criminal charges to be laid, an investigation or even his resignation. Instead we get the beat up about Clare Curran blown up out of all proportion.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 6.1.1

        Not the AG any more draco? not the government. the left were anointed by peters remember?

        • Draco T Bastard

          And he’s still in parliament as Shadow Attorney General.

          So, yeah, after being found to have broken the law in his capacity as AG I would expect him to resign at the very least as he’s obviously not fit for the position. I would prefer that criminal charges be brought against him and those he worked with.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            No, better have a 3 month reveiw first. make sure all the process are perfect and bow down to expert knowledge. Need to be sure he actually has broken the law

            • Draco T Bastard

              He’s already been found to have broken the law and that alone should result in his resignation.

              What’s needed now is an investigation into if he did it on purpose and if it was part of a conspiracy by the National Party caucus to break the law.

      • reason 6.1.2

        … and dead Three year old children among the broken bodies of Civilians …. with Waynes bloody palm prints at the crime scene … or just at the cover up ?

    • One Two 6.2

      9 years in government leaving a litany of abject social failure and corrupted activity lead from top down…

      Makes holding the current govt to account all very hypocritical eh, Wayne

      You must be so very pleased with the ‘systems’

    • Stuart Munro 6.3

      Yup Operation Burnham was business as usual – a bit of “collateral damage”, a few brown kids, is no skin off Wayne’s nose.

      The wretched state of the hospitals, the rivers that run with filth, the unreconstructed ruins of Christchurch – Wayne is proud of these things.

      Look on these my works ye mighty and despair.

      • mac1 6.3.1

        “Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
        Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
        The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

        Nothing else remains but the judgment of historians, and poets.

        • McFlock

          The point of the poem was that Ramses II actually did accomplish great things, which after millenia had almost entirely decayed into nothingness.

          Nat5 accomplished nothing great except fail.

          • mac1

            And historians will pronounce upon that failure, hopefully in ringing terms of denunciation. The poets, including the songwriters, will have their turn, as well.

            I think of the Rois Faléants of the Merovingian Dynasty in France in such times- the Do-Nothing Kings.

            Or the Grand Old Duke of York whose military skills and decisiveness are still mocked in children’s rhymes.

            Or that great Scottish ballad , “Flowers of Scotland”, where the English are told to go home and “think again.” As the National Party too has been told.

            The judgment of history will not be kind in social histories written about this period. I hope I’m alive to read them……..

          • Stuart Munro

            One of Ramses’ achievements did survive – he set a standard for government by which lazy pretenders like the Gnats can be measured and discarded.

            • mac1

              And in answer, Stuart Munro,to your 6.3 above, For why? So that the rich would pay less tax.

              It’s all about priorities, and why people prioritise the way they do- from laziness, to carelessness, to narcissism to full-blown sociopathy; or from compassion, concern for justice, and humanitarian inclusiveness.

              • Stuart Munro


                In fact if we assessed the Gnats by the ancient code of Ma’at, which considerably predates Ramses, they’re an abject failure:

                4. I have not caused terror, nor have I worked affliction;
                5. I have caused none to feel pain, nor have I worked grief;
                6. I have done neither harm nor ill, nor I have caused misery;
                7. I have done no hurt to man, nor have I wrought harm to beasts;
                8. I have made none to weep;
                9. I have had no knowledge of evil, neither have I acted wickedly, nor have I wronged the people;
                10. I have not stolen, neither have I taken that which does not belong to me, nor that which belongs to another, nor have I taken from the orchards, nor snatched the milk from the mouth of the babe;
                11. I have not defrauded, neither I have added to the weight of the balance, nor have I made light the weight in the scales;
                12. I have not laid waste the plowed land, nor trampled down the fields;
                13. I have not driven the cattle from their pastures, nor have I deprived any of that which was rightfully theirs;


                The Gnats – 5000 years behind the times.

                • mac1

                  Or these for our Gnats.
                  23. I have caused no wrong to be done to the servant by his master;
                  24. I have not been angry without cause;
                  25. I have not turned back water at its springtide, nor stemmed the flow of running water;
                  26. I have not broken the channel of a running water;
                  27. I have never fouled the water, nor have I polluted the land;

                  Wonderful link, Stuart Munro! Thanks.

    • Anne 6.4

      Perhaps the Easter break will give the National Opposition a chance to overcome feigned hysteria and let sanity reign.

    • patricia bremner 6.5

      “National has no misdemeanors to cover up” LOL LOL Best laugh of the week.

      National’s Attorney General found guilty of breaching Dotcom’s privacy, and refusing him his personal information…. leading to a $90 000 payment to Dotcom, and giving grounds for further litigation……

      I accept there are more “soldiers on the ground” Wayne. It is how they fight….. a bit like the Aussie cricket team…. “must win at all costs” bugger democracy!!

      • OncewasTim 6.5.1

        Personally (as they say) i reckon CF has a number of things he should be worrying about..and I say that with genuine pity for the bloke

    • Sacha 6.6

      “The difference to past oppositions is that there is 56 of them”

      The total is not a difference. Being in the same party is. Just a matter of coordinating different factions rather than different parties.

  7. Kereru 7

    Skripal’s poisoning may have been aimed at destabilising Corbyn’s poll momentum by reviving cold war phobia, catching the Ardern government in its wake.

    Never waste a classic response, but can fear and dread be sustained until the election ?

    The Ardern government can ride it out but it will be an interesting shake-down cruise testing resilience, teamwork, judgement .. and a young mum.

    Whose nappies will end up drying in the Beehive ?

    • alwyn 7.1

      “Whose nappies will end up drying in the Beehive”.
      Probably Winston’s.
      He is getting on a bit you know and really hasn’t treated his body very well.

      • adam 7.1.1

        Good to see your personal attacks just don’t stop ah, alwyn. Not happy unless your deriding people, or putting them down.

        Taking bets folks, what lie will alwyn try to perpetuate next, what piece of spin to discredit someone will fall from this Tory lick spittles mouth.

        • alwyn

          “Personal attacks”?
          I realise that you are a bit upset about yesterday adam but when you make such an absolute idiot of yourself as you did then it is only to be expected that people may point out that you are talking rubbish.
          You would be far better to follow Mark Twains advice
          “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”.
          Yesterday you removed all doubt.

          • weka

            You could also do with dialing back the personal shit and focus on the politics.

          • adam

            Your a low life alwyn, you discredited and lied about people yesterday, and did not even have the decency to own up to your own lies and spin . Because let’s start being honest, spin these these days from Tory hacks who infest the internet are just lies – clever lies, but still lies all the same. You spent the whole day defending a lie to discredit people.

            So maybe if you acted with some respect towards human beings who have served the community for 40+ years. I wouldn’t have to call you piece of *&^% that you are.

            • alwyn

              There, there.
              As far as I can see the only people I might have been even the slightest condemnatory to were the people shown, on TV3, in the gaggle of people at the protest yesterday who were described as blocking an Emergency exit from the TSB Arena.
              Surely you weren’t one of them? And surely you don’t think that that is an acceptable way to behave? The penny drops. You were blocking the door and you do think that is an acceptable way to behave. No wonder I am not your favourite person.
              Not to worry. I shall try and have a look over the weekend to see whether it was a door that can be used for an emergency exit from the Arena premises. Would you like me to tell you my conclusion?

              • adam

                There you go again, a lying make shit up creep.

              • McFlock

                Oh, a window can be used as an emergency exit.
                Just show us the signage that the protestors should have seen. To distinguish it from any old back door polluters might want to sneak out of.

                • alwyn

                  I had dinner last night with a friend who has worked for the Fire Service. He says, and his statement is hard to argue with, that anyone who blocks any access from a building so that people on the inside can get out in an emergency is crazy. It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether it is marked from the outside or not.
                  After all, as you say, people will use a window if necessary.

                  The only place that signage is desirable to point to exits is inside the building for the benefit of people trying to escape. People on the outside should NEVER block exits, marked or unmarked, that would allow people inside the building to get out.
                  In his opinion the people who blocked up a door, any door, so that people couldn’t get out from inside in an emergency were, as I noted above, crazy.
                  I will still have a look over the weekend but I really don’t see that any protester can argue that it was excusable to prevent people getting out of the building because they didn’t put up a sign saying I shouldn’t.
                  I suppose you would say I can let off fireworks inside a building. I’ve never seen a sign telling me that I shouldn’t.

                  • McFlock

                    So now you’ve set the field for it to be a crime against humanity regardless of whether the dickheads knew the single-width door around the back (next to two freight doors) was a fire exit for a 500-person conference centre, you believe that blocking that exit compromised the safety of everyone inside (even with all the double-width crash doors running the length of the building around the front). Your commitment to workplace safety is commendable, and no doubt you will be wondering why the building wasn’t evacuated due to the imminent danger.

                    Of course, this is irrelevant to whether tv3 were adding a bit of creativity when they called it a “fire exit”.

                    • alwyn

                      I’m pleased to see that at least you class the people who blocked the doorway as being “dickheads”.
                      The rest is contemptible.
                      Were you a little embarrassed by the fact that you didn’t notice that the google earth photos you thought proved your case were in fact more that 3 years old?
                      Don’t be. I didn’t see it myself for at least 20 seconds.
                      Meanwhile I hope you don’t block doors from the outside in the future. Earthquakes and fires can happen any time.

                    • McFlock

                      Is “dickhead” substantively different from the “dicks” I called them two days ago?

                      The protestors’ actions weren’t going to trap anyone inside if there was a fire or earthquake in that instant. On your wee recon trip tomorrow, count all the other exits around the building, “fire” or just general.

                      The protestors were dicks because the pile of pallets served no purpose, they had enough people to cordon the building and see if anyone was sneaking out the back (yeah, it has happened before in the days of decent campus protests).

                      The pile did, however, give 3news the opportunity to give you guys something other than fossil fuel use and climate change to talk about. Now you’re quibbling over Streetview datestamps because fire exits in fixed structures are known for suddenly changing /sarc

                  • McFlock

                    So did you bother checking out the supposed “fire exit” on Saturday like you said you would? Or should we just figure that the streetview images were still pretty much the state of play and 3news iced the cake a bit much?

        • weka

          Hard to see how that’s anything other than a personal attack too adam. Maybe add some actual argument to your comment.

        • veutoviper

          Oh, there you are, adam. Talking about taking bets, that reminded me that I have been meaning to ask you how things are going with your prediction at 4.2 on Open Mike on 22 March.

          In response to savenz’s provision at 4 of a link to an article re US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin saying that the US will consider re-entering TPP, you said at 4.2 that:

          As I said, by the end of March the USA will be back in.

          It’s now 29 March, so only a few days to go to the end of March. Shall we take bets or have a countdown?

          Washington DC is currently 17 hours behind NZ but this falls back to 16 hours at 2am on Sunday, 1 April in NZ with the end of Daylight saving. So midnight on Saturday, 31 March in Washington DC is 4pm on Sunday, 1 April in NZ. That is just under 75 hours from now.

          Can’t see it happening myself and the very first paragraph of the CNN article on Mnunchin’s statement did qualify it by saying The United States will consider re-entry to the Trans Pacific Partnership once Washington accomplishes its goals on other trading relationships, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said while on an official visit to Chile on Wednesday.”

          My prediction is that those “goals on its other trading relationships” are going to take a very, very long time – years, and probably never as long as Trump is President.

          PS – And as you can see, I am trying to engage – as you told me to do back in February.

          • adam

            I’ll admit I was wrong if the USA don’t sign up by the end of the month. Big deal I’m not perfect, nor do I think I am.

        • Stunned mullet

          Friday afternoon pedantry …..You’re = you are.

      • DoublePlusGood 7.1.2

        That’s just really completely inappropriate behaviour, alwyn.

        • alwyn

          You may be right. Perhaps you think I should follow the example given in this comment. He is demonstrating that you should only think kind things about your fellow man.

          • DoublePlusGood

            And where exactly in there did I go around claiming that an MP had incontinence and criticising someone on that basis?
            Don’t dissemble away from the fact that your statements aren’t acceptable.

            • alwyn

              “the 59 psychopathic brainwashed bastards known as the National Party MPs “.
              Could you demonstrate, to at least a reasonable level of certainty that they were ALL psychopathic individuals. Signed diagnoses by qualified and registered Psychiatrists (or should it be Psychologists?) who have examined each of them would seem to be required.
              Also can you please prove that in every case their parents were not married? Otherwise I must assume that they were just wild claims with not the slightest hint of truth to them.
              But you know that don’t you?

            • Stunned mullet

              😆 doubleplusgood looking more like trebleXhypocrisy.

              • alwyn

                Actually, he (or she) is one of the politer ones. Sometimes gets a bit carried away of course, but doesn’t everyone?

                • DoublePlusGood

                  I am very much in favour of the sack everyone approach, and the nationalise everything approach. This is mostly because weaker options repeatedly fail.

    • Sam C 7.2

      Jeepers. The conspiracy theorists are out in force on Open Mike today.

    • savenz 7.3

      +1 Kereru – just ignore it , or do a Natz are get the media in a lather with fake news about your rivals. In the case of the Natz, any scandal is probably is not fake.

      Also be normal. Say the previous government left the country in a horrible state with mouldy hospitals, public services in disarray, democracy on the decline and biohazards… and the governments priority is to concentrate on that….

  8. Ffloyd 8

    I think the destabilising of the Govt is opposition priority and it appears to be aiming at Jacinda like a juggernaut. I hope that she has seen the tv bit where Kieran Read is advising the warriors on what to do when play gets a bit disjointed and out of sorts. His advice was just to stop and breathe and clear your mind and reset. Good advice and it worked for the Warriors. I hope she keeps on believing in herself ands not give in to the baying hybrid terriers across tbe room. Most of them are incompetents who ate just there to say their lines. Govt should have a pushback for any accusation delivered by Si et am. Goodness knows there is plenty of dirt there. All they have is the battering ram approach which will eventually show them up to be totally bereft of any ideas as shown in last 9 years. Bullying is ugly and does nobody any favours. Stay serene and classy Jacinda. And breathe!

    • Heather Grimwood 8.1

      To Ffloyd at * : + 1000 and I know our P.M. is well able to cope with the onslaught. I have disdain though to those who would add to her burdens, in particular those involved in DP.

      • Sam C 8.1.1

        So strong opposition and holding the Government account is now “Dirty Politics” is it? Good to know.

        • Stuart Munro

          This isn’t strong opposition – no principles. Noisy though.

        • Heather Grimwood

          to Sam at 8.1.1: Your words, not mine.

        • patricia bremner

          Sam, Constant unremitting attacks for every little thing from MSM and National quarters echoing each other is telling. Similar tone and content, full of words which lead to innuendo. Mostly nasty.

      • Chuck 8.1.2

        Heather Grimwood, being the PM of a country is not for the faint of heart. If you want Ardern wrapped up in cotton wool then you better suggest to her a change of occupation.

    • patricia bremner 8.2

      1000% Ffloyd.

  9. savenz 9

    Finally some sense in the legal system… climate change has gone from being in the domain of climate denialisms to actually being taking seriously as an issue in the legal system.

    Didn’t the Natz changed the law to have the special courts for oil exploration?Interesting to see how it goes.

    Increasingly citizens are having to deal with environmental issues themselves legally aka Sarah Thompson and all around the world, as inexplicably government lawmakers feel it is irrelevant and profits is the only thing of importance than long term survival of resources.

    From Greenpeace

    “This is huge! 13 people were arrested protesting construction of a fracked-gas pipeline because of its contribution to climate change. Yesterday, the judge agreed the climate crisis made their actions a legal necessity—and set them free. This is unprecedented. And relevant now in NZ as Greenpeace NZ’s Russel Norman prepares to head to court next month to defend charges brought against him and Greenpeace for a protest at sea against oil exploration on similar grounds.”

  10. ianmac 10

    If it was a nasty Russian nerve poison used, why did it take such a long time to act? Since it reportedly causes instant death how could father and daughter have travelled from home to go for a coffee in town? And they still live. (Police say now that the greatest concentration was at their front door.)
    Be devastating if it was not the Russian poison. It would leave NZ as above the chaos (though one Bridges would somehow claim victory for him) and where would it leave May?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      It causes instant death? I’m sure you checked before saying so, but I just wonder whether you can provide a source for your assertion. Just in case for example, the systemic effects can be delayed by up to eighteen hours or something.

      • ianmac 10.1.1

        I believe that the news report was that the poison written about is skin touch instant death. Of course I don’t know the detail but I am just wondering if the whole issuen is genuine. If not….

          • weka

            a tl;dr would be that yes the chemical could have acted in the way posited?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              If you mean “instant death”, I don’t think so. From reading other material, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the reasons this particular nerve agent was used is that it provides for a very painful slow death with maximum humiliation inflicted. People experience terrifying hallucinations and lose control of their bodily functions.

              Colonel Skripal will have been under no illusions as to what was happening to himself and his daughter, just as Alexander Litvenenko was given weeks to contemplate his inevitable death.

              • weka

                I meant the original theory about what had happened i.e. not always instant death (haven’t been following that closely).

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Lots of context to consider. Especially if, as alleged, the Kremlin continues to maintain chemical weapon R&D and production facilities. So the Skripals et al may have been poisoned by something newer than the existing knowledge about “Novichok”.

                  But broadly speaking, based on what I’ve seen in news reports, yes.

              • francesca

                And yet Yulia’s condition is much improved!

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  To your disappointment, medical care will do that. The link also provides info regarding treatment.

            • McFlock

              Table 5.1 says “Inhaled: seconds to minutes
              Skin contact: minutes to hours” for nerve agents as a class.

              Inhalation is quicker because it’s a more direct and higher volume path to the bloodstream and distribution throughout the body. Because that’s exactly what the lungs are supposed to do. Whereas skin is a protective barrier.

              But there’s often an argument about the phrase “instant death” between medics who might see a significant window of opportunity to save the life of an unresponsive patient and those people who are simply interested in the practicality of when that patient becomes unresponsive and generally stops moving.

              edit: and the varying timeframes will be mostly related to dose and individual physiology (e.g. exercising when dosed = stronger blood flow = quicker poison distribution).

  11. savenz 11

    This is ironic.. in a bad way.

    The Galapagos are one of the world’s last havens for wildlife — pristine islands where giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and penguins live as they have for thousands of years.

    But tourism and development have recently skyrocketed, destroying the home of animals and plants found nowhere else on the planet — leaving many species on the brink of extinction.

    Basically their habitat being destroyed to make way for all the hotels and so forth for the tourists to come and see the endangered native species…

    • weka 12.1

      Makes sense.

      • weka 12.1.1

        Anyone know when the by-election is?

      • Macro 12.1.2

        Yeah – Completely full of himself – never understood what the Green Party actually stands for. I wonder if he had ever read the charter?
        Fits into the Nat Party profile perfectly.

        • james

          Im guessing he knows more about the Green party and what it stands for than yourself.

          He has been very clear on how he believes the Greens have changed.

          • Macro

            Obviously your guesses aren’t much cop.

          • weka

            “Im guessing he knows more about the Green party and what it stands for than yourself.”

            Except he had to leave the party because he was working against what the party was and wanted, so I wouldn’t see him as a good source of what the GP is or should be. Better to see him for what he is, a RW greenie who wanted the GP to form governments with National.

            I’d take Macro’s views on the GP more seriously than Tava’s, on the basis of what each of them has said and done.

            • weka

              Fwiw, when he was pushing his agenda in the Greens, I engaged openly with him online and only later realised that he really did want the GP to form govt with National. He wasn’t honest about that at the time. That alone is a big red flag. He is way better suited to being with National.

              • James

                I’ve never spoken to him. But the way I have read it was that (in his view) the green should be “open” to working with any party of it achieved some of the GP goals.

                As opposed to alignment with labour only.

                • weka

                  The Greens are open to working with any party, that is both history and current position. The Greens will work with any party where there is shared policy.

                  Tava wanted the Greens to actively open the way to working with National by supporting them to govt via C/S or coalition. The problem with that is there is very little shared policy, so it would mean losing a whole bunch of LW voters for very little useful policy gain. No-one in the Greens wants to do that. It’s not a matter of being aligned with Labour, it’s a matter of which parties align with GP policy and principles?

                  I know that there are righties that want the GP to support a Nat govt because they want the Nats to be more environmental. But the Nats aren’t, that is the whole point. Key’s govt was the antithesis what the Greens are doing and there is no middle ground on which to meet unless National changes.

                  Far better for people like Tava to be in National and try and make changes there and then potentially down the line the two parties might work on policy together again. Hard to see coalition or C/S on the horizon though.

                  • weka

                    Tava will misrepresent the Greens because that’s how he does politics. This is another reason why he shouldn’t be in the Greens. I would have far more respect for him even as a National MP if he wasn’t doing that.

          • Robert Guyton

            3-0, All Blacks, Lions.
            National will win.
            James’ guesses rock!

            • james

              Hey Robert – Im making an effort on my post not to try and start flame wars.

              Your petty snide comments are the kind of thing that simply encourage it (or indeed start it)

              Yes I was out by one on the Rugby results – WOW! big deal yet you seem to be fixated on it.

              I dont think I said National would win – I was always comfortable that they were going to get a lot more votes than Labour.

              What I think I said was that NZF would go with National. And yep – I got that one right. Then came on here – admitted I was wrong and congratulated Labour on the win – yet (again) you are petty and keep raising it like its a huge thing.

              So how about you try to raise your game as well and comment on the points huh?

              • weka

                My suggestion is to just ignore it.

              • Robert Guyton

                Relax, James; there’s no shame in being completely wrong.
                Try to enter into the spirit of things here; you’re amongst friends (just taihoa on the pronouncements, see, we don’t rate your ‘reckons”

        • solkta

          I can remember him mansplaining the Charter during the co-leader election.

  12. savenz 13

    Just reposting this extract By Donna Miles… in the context of is this the society we want to become???

    “If you want to get a feel for how far economic markets can encroach on our everyday lives then you can do no better than to read Michael Sandel’s book on this very subject, titled: “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits Of The Markets”.

    Sandel, a professor of government at Harvard University, offers many examples that clearly demonstrate how market thinking can easily cross the moral line and lead to shocking degradation of societal values.

    Sandel mentions the “dead peasants” insurance policies.

    Imagine taking out a life insurance policy on a person totally unrelated to you.

    A lawsuit in the US revealed that Walmart had hundreds of thousands of such policies on its employees and enjoyed a small windfall whenever one of them died.

    And how about the “viaticals”? A new market, where investors can invest in buying out life insurance policies of people with Aids.

    Aids sufferers taking part in this scheme are offered a cash lump sum as well as payments for their treatment until they die- after which, the investors receive the full value of their life policy.

    Sandel’s examples are not limited to the insurance industry. Students in the UK were encouraged by an advertising agency to rent out their foreheads for about $8 NZ dollars per hour for a temporary tattooed advertising space.

    A single mother auctioned off her forehead for a permanently tattooed advertising space to pay for her son’s education. The winning bid, Sandel says, came from an online casino.

    There is a charity that invites donors to contribute to reducing the birth of children to drug and alcohol addicted women by offering 300 US dollars cash incentive for every female addict willing to get sterilized.

    And if you are a prisoner in Santa Barbara in California, you can pay to upgrade your cell for 82 US dollars per night.

    You see, in a market society, there is almost nothing money cannot buy.”

    • alwyn 13.1

      “And how about the “viaticals”?”
      Most of the things you mention sound appalling but I am not sure about this one.
      If you had no dependents who deperately needed the money from your life insurance policy why not sell it?
      Remember the old saw about “‘Do you want to be the richest corpse in the graveyard”?
      I think that forfeiting wealth after you die to get the benefit of the money for treatment now could be a very sensible choice.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        If you had no dependants why would you have life insurance?

        • alwyn

          Two possible reasons.
          The first is that I meant this as a single phrase
          “If you had no dependents who deperately needed the money”.
          If your kids have grown up and are all in successful careers they no longer need money from you. You can give up on the Life Insurance you used to require. However you may have chosen to keep it.
          The second is that you may have taken insurance when you were young, or got married, because you might need the cover in the future and weren’t sure you would be able to get it at a later time. If you go back to my era that would be whole of life as the term insurance wasn’t as readily available.
          Either way you could have historical policies that aren’t needed now but could still exist.

        • Incognito

          Don’t some banks demand you have life insurance when your deposit on a mortgage is < 80%?

    • dukeofurl 13.2

      Just clarifying the Walmart insurance, its wasnt for its everyday staff, just high level employees.

      Just as you cant insure someone elses car ( you dont have an insurable interest) you only insure senior employees who you can show their death will affect your business.

      • alwyn 13.2.1

        That sounds rather more reasonable.
        It really isn’t that different from a company insuring the two principals in a small jointly owned business. If one dies the money will pay out the widow, or family , of that person. It is much simpler than keeping the ownership shared between the active, surviving, partner and the silent partner ownership of someone who doesn’t know that much about the business but has inherited half the shares.

  13. savenz 14

    If you think some of that is sounding depraved… taking out insurance on your employees so you make money when they die…. make a submission ….. I guess in the single mother’s case, what to do if your WINZ payments are not enough.

    NZ needs the right to make it’s own rules about the society it wants, not have subtle and unsubtle pressure to go in a market driven direction where anything goes…

  14. joe90 15

    Ecuador says they took Jule’s internet connection off him because Spain was pissed off over him putting his oar into the Catalan dispute.

    QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s government said Wednesday it has cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet connection at the nation’s London embassy after his recent activity on social media decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.

    In a statement, officials said Assange’s recent posts “put at risk” the good relations Ecuador maintains with nations throughout Europe and had decided as of Tuesday to suspend his internet access “in order to prevent any potential harm.”

    Assange has since gone silent on social media.

  15. silvertuatara 16

    In response to allegations reported in the stuff article below, is it now time to shed some additional light into the spread of Palantir’s activities within NZ which seem to be shrouded in a lot of secrecy still?;

    And given Peter Thiel’s and Facebook’s alleged links to Cambridge Analytica, is it time that ministers of the NZ Government review seriously the past approval of NZ citizenship to Mr Thiel, and the associated approval of land purchases within our country?

  16. CHCOff 17

    These yearly population blow outs need to be turned around in my view.

    That’s over half the population of Dunedin in 10 years. Kiwi build will have to become city build. And in order to supply cheap labour too.

    Free Trade fiasco economics. Totally at odds with NZ’s traditional first world economic value system and societal cohesion.

    • alwyn 17.1

      Don’t worry. Mr Shaw has succeeded in meeting your wish.
      As of about 3 weeks after the census we have only recorded about 3.5 million people in the country. That’s if I remember accurately what last weekend’s paper said.
      That is a drop in the recorded population of the country of about 10 times the population of Dunedin. I’m sure you will be pleased.

      • Incognito 17.1.1

        Alwyn, you keep on sowing these seeds of distrust.

        “We expect at least a 70 percent online response and combined with paper forms, the total response rate is anticipated to be well above 90 percent and on a par with previous censuses,” 2018 Census general manager Denise McGregor said.

        “Response rates from all regions of New Zealand are tracking well as we head into the final follow-up period for the census.”

        Posted 20 March 2018, 11:30am.

        • alwyn

          So two weeks AFTER census date they have accounted for about 3.46 million people out of the 4.8 million or so that most people would have said lived here.
          Seems quite close to my memory of what was in last weekends paper doesn’t it?
          I wonder how many they will get to after a few more months.
          Perhaps Mr Shaw should have spent some time in New Zealand seeing that the Census was on track rather than spending $27,000 or so and generating tons of carbon emissions on a jaunt to Paris.
          I suppose we should just enquire of James that famous quote from during the war.
          “Is your journey really necessary?”

          • Incognito

            Alwyn, your strawman is on fire!

            I have no idea of those newspaper items you are referring to because you have not provided a single link. As for your memory, I do worry about your reading comprehension, your biased way of ‘arguing’, your single-minded bashing of Labour and particularly the Greens, and your obsessive-compulsive erecting of strawmen and then burning them. To paraphrase your quote: “is this really necessary?”.

            If you want accurate and up-to-date information with minimal spin you should go to a verifiable trustworthy primary source, e.g. in this instance. For everything else you go to MSM or RWNJ blog sites.

            • alwyn

              I really didn’t think you would need a reference to the newspaper given that you had the “Accurate” etc etc data, and I mentioned it also.

              Here is the stuff article which I talked about
              3.2 million on line and 300,000 via forms as I said.

              And here is Jame’s jaunt to Paris.
              ” Climate Change Minister James Shaw spent $26,712 on international travel – he travelled to Europe for climate change meetings”
              If you don’t like the numbers from the paper here is the amount from Internal Affairs.

              Are you going to claim I was exaggerating because I said “spending $27,000 or so” and it was only $26,712?

              As far as the carbon goes even a single passenger from Wellington to Paris generates 15.8 tonne in Business class. I believe there was another person along so it really should be doubled.

              There, does that satisfy your thirst for knowledge?

              • Incognito

                Thank you for the link to the Stuff article, which was very informative. However, as far as I can tell it did not include the key piece of information regarding the anticipated total response rate at the end of the census data collection period, which is had not yet ended, which could (would?) have corrected your comment @ 17.1, which turns out to be baseless:

                That is a drop in the recorded population of the country of about 10 times the population of Dunedin.

                As to your other comments regarding James Shaw and you exaggerating, I have already told you that your strawman is on fire. But you already know this, don’t you?

                • alwyn

                  “which turns out to be baseless”.
                  Rubbish. In places where I mentioned the population I carefully said “recorded population”. I said
                  “we have only recorded about 3.5 million” and “drop in the recorded population” and finally “two weeks AFTER census date they have accounted for about 3.46 million”.
                  Those statements were all accurate. That is all that they have so far accounted for.

                  I cannot remember in previous occurrences of the census that they had to keep trying to get information and having to take out forms for months after the actual day.
                  They sent everyone forms in the past. They sent people, lots and lots of people, out to collect them in the week or two after the day. They weren’t left with only a few people trotting out with forms and trying to track down at least a quarter of the population ages after census day. I don’t remember the collection period being measured in many months. Memory says they collected ours within a week. Perhaps those people were expected to cost more. At least the results would have some similarity to reality.

                  The organisation of this years version was a shambles and Shaw has to wear the blame for not making sure that it could work. He can’t claim it wasn’t him. Meanwhile he was off at a talkfest on the other side of the world.
                  Please God the same people aren’t allowed to try and put the election on line.

                  • Incognito

                    As far as I know this was the first Census that could be completed online. As far as I know they’ve always had an extended period of data collection.

                    Given these considerations, this assertion of yours is therefore completely unfounded (i.e. baseless) and you know it:

                    That is a drop in the recorded population of the country of about 10 times the population of Dunedin.

                    Meanwhile I can still smell smoke; something is on fire …


                    Have a good Easter, Alwyn.

                    • alwyn

                      Do you really believe the first statement you made?
                      “As far as I know this was the first Census that could be completed online”.
                      Oh dear. For your information.
                      “In 2006, New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to test-run an online census. There was a seven per cent online completion rate.”
                      “By the 2013 census, just over a third of New Zealanders – 34 per cent – took part online”
                      These are both from
                      You appear to have linked to it but not bothered to have read it.

                      They were simply trying to save money on this census and thought they could get away with only supplying forms for people who contacted them to ask for the forms. Naturally a hell of a lot of people who were going to need them didn’t do so.
                      They also didn’t provide id numbers to a lot of people. Retirement homes were a particular problem.
                      Now, even when they do get hold of uncounted people they are going to have to remember who was actually in the house on Census day. In a lot of homes, and flats, that isn’t actually as easy as it sounds as the days, and weeks, and shortly months tick away.

                      The Stats department are desperately trying to catch up. Even now they are making statements about “the total response rate is anticipated to be well above 90 percent “. It has been historically about 98% in recent censuses. When I see “well above 90%” I don’t think 98%. I think about 93% is what he means.
                      They have stuffed up and stuffed up badly.

                      The real shame is that it will affect the low-income areas as services to places often depend on the numbers counted in the census and I think they will be disproportionally omitted.

                      I suspect in another month or to there will be an unannounced forced resignation or two from the Stats Department.

  17. Heather Grimwood 18

    to Sam at 8.1.1: Your words, not mine.

  18. Draco T Bastard 19

    So, the capitalists keep telling us how great capitalism is. And then we get news like this which shows socialism doing better.

  19. francesca 20

    I find his writing a bit turgid at times, but he’s always interesting
    Thank you Scoop

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      The “interesting” aspects of this whole sorry saga from my perspective, apart from the obvious goodwill towards the victims and desire to see justice done, are the reasons the British government cannot go after all the laundered property in London, rather than this rather feeble stand.

      For if they go after Kremlin-laundered cash in London, then that is a much larger can of worms involving far more individuals from far more nations.

      Pauli Walnuts would rub their faces in it.

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    The Government is reforming financial services to improve access to home loans and other lending, and strengthen customer protections, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly and Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced today. “Our coalition Government is committed to rebuilding the economy and making life simpler by cutting red tape. We are ...
    4 days ago
  • Trade relationship with China remains strong
    “China remains a strong commercial opportunity for Kiwi exporters as Chinese businesses and consumers continue to value our high-quality safe produce,” Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.   Mr McClay has returned to New Zealand following visits to Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai where he met ministers, governors and mayors and engaged in trade and agricultural events with the New ...
    4 days ago
  • PM’s South East Asia mission does the business
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has completed a successful trip to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, deepening relationships and capitalising on opportunities. Mr Luxon was accompanied by a business delegation and says the choice of countries represents the priority the New Zealand Government places on South East Asia, and our relationships in ...
    5 days ago
  • $41m to support clean energy in South East Asia
    New Zealand is demonstrating its commitment to reducing global greenhouse emissions, and supporting clean energy transition in South East Asia, through a contribution of NZ$41 million (US$25 million) in climate finance to the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-led Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM). Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts announced ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister releases Fast-track stakeholder list
    The Government is today releasing a list of organisations who received letters about the Fast-track applications process, says RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop. “Recently Ministers and agencies have received a series of OIA requests for a list of organisations to whom I wrote with information on applying to have a ...
    5 days ago
  • Judicial appointments announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister David Jonathan Boldt as a Judge of the High Court, and the Honourable Justice Matthew Palmer as a Judge of the Court of Appeal. Justice Boldt graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1990, and also holds ...
    5 days ago
  • Education Minister heads to major teaching summit in Singapore
    Education Minister Erica Stanford will lead the New Zealand delegation at the 2024 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) held in Singapore. The delegation includes representatives from the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) Te Wehengarua and the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa.  The summit is co-hosted ...
    5 days ago
  • Value of stopbank project proven during cyclone
    A stopbank upgrade project in Tairawhiti partly funded by the Government has increased flood resilience for around 7000ha of residential and horticultural land so far, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones today attended a dawn service in Gisborne to mark the end of the first stage of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Anzac commemorations, Türkiye relationship focus of visit
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will represent the Government at Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula next week and engage with senior representatives of the Turkish government in Istanbul.    “The Gallipoli campaign is a defining event in our history. It will be a privilege to share the occasion ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister to Europe for OECD meeting, Anzac Day
    Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium. “Science, innovation and technology have a major role to play in rebuilding our economy and achieving better health, environmental and social outcomes ...
    6 days ago
  • Comprehensive Partnership the goal for NZ and the Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines. During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon and President Marcos Jr discussed opportunities to ...
    6 days ago
  • Government commits $20m to Westport flood protection
    The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town. This measure will significantly improve the resilience of the community, says Local Government Minister Simeon Brown. “The Westport community has already been allocated almost $3 million ...
    6 days ago
  • Taupō takes pole position
    The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. “Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks ...
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    6 days ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    6 days ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    7 days ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    7 days ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    7 days ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    1 week ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    1 week ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    1 week ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    1 week ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    1 week ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    1 week ago

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