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Open mike 29/04/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 29th, 2021 - 65 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

65 comments on “Open mike 29/04/2021 ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Landlords have really been covering themselves in glory lately, haven't they?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/aucklands-main-street-is-a-disgrace-auckland-council-official-sued-over-queen-st-pedestrian-trial-saga/ZHUA6Y6JOIWDRTS6EODA5I27VQ/

    Now I get it – commercial property is almost entirely valued on the amount of rent you can charge. Whatever building O'Connell street bistro was in was worth whatever the rent says it is worth – $250,000 PA apparently was the ground rent for just that restaurant. Cut the rent by 20% and the building value drops the same. So I get that these fat cat commercial landlords would rather sit on an empty, increasingly tatty building theoretically worth one price than drop rents and take a bath on their assets.

    Queen street was dying before COVID. These landlords still can't even organise a continuous veranda along the entire length of the street, for crying out loud. What we are seeing here is a bunch of entitled bastards grumpy that capitalism, for once, is not a one way street.

    • Sacha 1.1

      A different Herald writer is unamused (and his story is not behind the firewall this time):

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        When a property can fetch 250.000 in annual lease why bother with having a nice downtown. Auckland downtown has looked like rubbish since 98 and the black out there. Gosh, have a look at the Facade of St. James Theater, which once you get inside is a beautiful gem in an oasis of rubbish building and greed induced tackiness.

        But yeah, these guys are not there to help. And fwiw, people will still not go to AKL down town, car or not, who can afford to a. shop there and b. park there? Fairly few.

        • Sacha 1.1.1.1

          Yes, the centre of gravity in Ak's city centre had already moved down the hill before Covid took away Q St's cruise passengers and students.

          • Sabine 1.1.1.1.1

            In 2004 a boss of mine – quite a succesfull pastry business in town – was thinking of moving down town.

            He came back to the shop and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed, and when he got his breath again he told me that the rent on Queen Street is equal to the Rive Gauche of the Seine in Paris. That is where Chanel, Hermes etc have their shops.

            Deluded, arrogant and the worst people to complain about hte uglyness of a City. The City got ugly because of them in the first place. But hey they are landlords, architects (must have more empty towers to build) etc. This is simply a joke among many.

          • Sanctuary 1.1.1.1.2

            This is an eye opener as to the state of much of mid to upper Queen street –

            https://boilerroom.substack.com/p/whats-going-on-with-aucklands-imax

            https://boilerroom.substack.com/p/an-imax-update-its-much-worse-than

            You can only hope the CRL will see an improvement around Aotea.

            • Sabine 1.1.1.1.2.1

              from your second link

              Without any support from the landlord, it was just impossible.”

              So you’re saying the building’s landlord didn’t support his tenants during lockdown?

              “Yeah. He just refused any support at all. Unfortunately … there was absolutely no way to force him to help support us. He didn’t have to. It was that simple. He chose not to. He chose to pass on a 10 per cent rent increase. He chose to pass on penalty interest. He chose to pass on his legal costs. We’re up to $18,000-$20,000 of his legal costs – not even our own. Every time we were officially in default of the lease, it entitled him to pass his costs onto us. It was a very tough position he took on everyone.”

              And this is what i and many other 'leaseholders' have asked, begged even for. A government that legislates to the best of all its citizens at the beginning of the fucking plague. Legislate that they at the very lest can not increase rent during lockdown – any level – currently we are in Level 1 just as a reminder. They did not. We asked, begged that they put responsabilities to the landlords when they got their defferred mortgage payemnts etc last year so that the lease holders could manange during full lockdown. WE – the small and larger businesses got f uck all.

              All the businesses got – and i exclude the very big ones as they are treated differently to any of us micro, small and medium sized businesses, was the money to pass on to their staff and a payment for ourself. Not enough to pay rent or lease, but hey its not as if anyone really cared. If we fail cause we don't have several years of rent and rates and insurance and GST tucked away we should just die silently.

              This government has done nothing for commercial leaseholder to make sure they a. can survive or manage to nurse their business through, or .b get out of a lease they can not service without being punished by the Landlord for a fucking plague they had not hand in creating in the first place.

              And this government, like any of the previous ones have never held commercial landlords to account, have a look at Rotorua where empty shop fronts are an eyesore, empty for 10s of years, dirty and filthy and nothing can be done, it appears.

              So essentially the country gets what the government allows. And currently the biggest hinderniss to small business creation is the lack of affordable business spaces – and that has been so for a while. And the government is asleep at the wheel.

              • greywarshark

                Amazing that piece you have linked to Sabine. The owners of many commercial buildings are sucking the life out of the small businesses that rent them. A maker of great German sausages had a small shop in central Nelson but was forced out by the rental cost. That lost him his wee rented space and us his excellent product. I have forgotten what is now where he used to be – probably selling jewellery.

                This problem of rising rents happens in inflationary bubbles – the big landlords can get their properties revalued monthly, six-monthly, annually and push up the rent accordingly. The rent is not based on a percentage calculated using the value of the property when the lease began, no it is just usury using the inflation of values in the area to maintain a set percentage income from the inflated value of the rented space. And the values see-saw up as surrounding landlords do the same.

                Centrepoint in the 1970's in a prime area of London stayed vacant for a year? while rents shot up and it was being revalued constantly. The empty building stood as a golden piece of collateral enabling further borrowing for other mendacious bits of business acumen.

                Centre Point – Wikipedia

                Constructed from 1963 to 1966, it was one of the first skyscrapers in London, and as of 2009 was the city's joint 27th-tallest building. It stood empty from the time of its completion until 1975, and was briefly occupied by housing activists in 1974. Since 1995 it has been a Grade II listed building.
                Architecture firm: R. Seifert and Partners
                Town or city: London, WC1

                (Mod – Sorry about the image – cleared that away. Forgot the horrendous amount of code required.)

              • Sacha

                You recall it was Winston who blocked planned govt action on leases on the grounds that commercial contracts were sacred. Proud lazy fool.

                • greywarshark

                  Not a commercial building. But part of the building commerce which seems to throw up shysters to the point one wonders who is reliable, legal, has probity etc. There needs to be a record of companies and people who are involved in shonky and shoddy dealings that people can do a credit check on before committing themselves to anything. Leopards don't change their spots, and short of being imprisoned, the cunning so.s will just find a way to repeat their crimes.

                  https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/441406/fines-handed-down-to-those-convicted-over-bella-vista-housing-development
                  A judge has handed out $165,000 in fines to three Tauranga men and a company convicted over the botched Bella Vista housing development.

                  Twenty-one homes were eventually declared dangerous or not up to scratch and had to be abandoned.

                  Bella Vista Homes director Danny Cancian has been ordered to pay $60,000 for breaches of the Building Act, with the judge describing him as a bully by nature who was arrogant and entitled.
                  His failed company was also convicted in a reserved decision last year but has not been fined.

                  (Cancian is on a jobseeker benefit for now, so unlikely to be paying anything to anybody and just waiting to slip, slide away.)

                  Anyone remember the film The Money Pit which played up all the things that can go wrong with building work.

                  • greywarshark

                    This from The Detail on Radionz at 5 am. Some practical informed talk which I haven't come across much.

                    https://www.rnz.co.nz/programmes/the-detail/story/2018793290/why-it-costs-so-much-to-build-a-house
                    Before work even starts on laying the foundations and nailing up the timber framing, a new home has already cost hundreds of thousands of dollars…

                    Today on The Detail, professor of construction management at AUT, John Tookey breaks down the cost of building a house from buying the land, gaining resource consent, and putting in sewerage to fitting the windows. He also explains the complexities of fixing the sector, and here's one clue: we have to lower our expectations of the house we want to build…

                    But Tookey also says the government has to be the major player in the mass house building plan by putting in large scale orders to build ahead of the market place…
                    "We're dealing with a small economy. The costs associated with supplying a small economy are substantial compared to anywhere else."
                    Take two comparable economies, with roughly the same population, New Zealand and Sydney. The similarity ends there.

                    "They have about 13,000 square kilometres for Sydney and the district around. We have a couple of hundred thousand (square kilometres) we're spread over multiple islands, multiple locations, we expect to be able to build at the same price everywhere."
                    The "little island of Sydney" can be supplied through about 400 builders' merchants, New Zealand needs 850…

                • Sabine

                  Care to support that comment with a link ?

                    • Sabine

                      well that is actually interesting, and for what its worth, also makes sense.

                      from the article linked

                      NZ First is understood to be blocking Labour's plans to intervene in the commercial property market to force rent negotiations due to Covid-19 disruption.

                      The Government's initial response to Covid-19 included a swift promise to lengthen the time period that landlords needed to wait before giving notice to evict tenants of commercial properties who had not paid rent from 10 to 30 days.

                      On April 29 Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the Government was "considering options to support New Zealand businesses with rent payments", the same statement that saw him declare that the economy was 75 per cent "up and running".

                      READ MORE:
                      Government ponders commercial rent support, meets mixed reaction
                      Opinions divided on Government rent subsidy for business
                      Covid-19 coronavirus: Landlords get rent relief requests, tenants want Government help
                      Rent relief package for struggling businesses in Government's sights

                      Sources say Little took a plan to Cabinet on Monday which would have forced landlords and tenants to negotiate for lower rents if the tenants could demonstrate losses related to Covid-19.

                      With its ministers having failed to agree to the proposal in the Cabinet meeting, NZ First considered the issue at caucus this week and voted not to support the proposal.

                      NZ First's chief of staff, Jon Johansson, is said to have communicated to Labour chief of staff Raj Nahna on Wednesday that the proposal should not be brought back to Cabinet.

                      The reasons for NZ First's reluctance to support were two-fold, the Herald was told by people familiar with the party's position.

                      It would represent an intervention in contract law in an area where many leases agreed since 2012 include provisions for "emergencies" which appear to cover the disruption.

                      Since 2012, the most commonly used standard format lease, which originated from the Auckland District Law Society, includes a clause which spells out what happens when tenants have "no access in an emergency".

                      Related articles

                      BUSINESS

                      Sir Bob Jones: Govt should stay out of landlord-tenant relations

                      NZ First said to have pulled support for commercial rent relief bill

                      Known as "clause 27.5", it was developed with the experience of tenants who were unable to access undamaged buildings in the red zone following the Christchurch Earthquake in mind.

                      The Auckland District Law Society issued a statement on April 7 cautioning that the meaning of the clause had not been tested in court, and which some lawyers interpreted as a warning that the clause may not be the solution some imagined.

                      However, the Government has acknowledged the clause is leading to negotiations.

                      NZ First is also believed to have taken the position that intervening in the leasing market could allow large foreign owned companies to game negotiations with building owners, which were largely New Zealanders.

                      This week Labour has maintained that negotiations within Government were ongoing.

                      Asked for an update on his plans to address commercial rent concerns, a spokeswoman for Little said "the issue is still under active consideration".

                      so since then the government has changed, Winston has retired and we still have no plan nor law in place to deal with landlords like the above mentioned.

                      I get it its easy to blame NZFirst but i don't think that the points raised in this article put shame on NZ first, but rather on the government having done nothing at all in regards to this since they won a majority and a 'man -date' to change all sorts of things.

                      but maybet he truth really just lies in here

                      During his speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said tenants with leases using the standard Auckland District Law Society leases "are in a position" to negotiate with landlords over the impact of Covid-19.

                      "We've certainly had good feedback from right around the country on where many tenants and landlords have come to an acceptable arrangement," Robertson said.

                      "But we're aware that that hasn't worked in every single case and, yes, the Government is still considering that matter and we hope to have something to say about that in the very near future."

                      Labour has not directly responded to questions about whether NZ First was blocking its plans.

                      On Friday, the Prime Minister's office provided a short statement which simply confirmed parts of Little's earlier statement. Later a spokesman for the Prime Minister's office clarified that it did not comment on ongoing discussions.

                      Its always easiest to blame those that have left the building. But this again, seems to be where Labour came up with a solution that would not have stood the test, and then well, did nothing at all, and here we are a year later, and businesses still closing down because Landlords still don't have to work with their tenants. And next lockdown – and there will be another one for sure – people will again pay rent to a business they are not allowed to access and that clause 27.5 will still be unusable.

                    • Sacha

                      Horses have left the stables, Sabine. Action was needed at the time.

                    • Sabine

                      @ Sacha,

                      horses have left the stables….

                      so very kind, so very gentle, and so very callous towards to fellow Kiwis who sacrificed their businesses to people who don't care and a government who can't get things done.

                      Horses have left the stables indeed.

                    • Sacha

                      I hope you find your own kindness.

                    • greywarshark

                      Gosh Sabine yours at 29/4 7.03pm is sure a gobstopper.

                      I can see why the mods are trying to limit the cut and paste you put up. I think it is useful to have some detail that illustrates concerns and make a point. But this one is more than what Morrissey and I have had cut down to anorexic size.

                    • Incognito []

                      Don’t give the Mods any ideas 😉 They’d be accused of censorship, shutting down, cancelling, or being party poopers and spoil sports 🙂

                • Graeme

                  In hindsight Peters was correct. Once government starts messing around with commercial contracts all sorts of unintended things start happening. Some of the ideas being floated at the time would have helped some tenants, but would have allowed other tenants to try and have one over their landlord. For every arsehole landlord there's probably three shyster tenants and plenty were trying it on.

                  The bluff of implied clauses and subsidised arbitration worked for most people, us included, and the arbitration subsidy was hardly taken up.

  2. Anker 2

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/the-government-will-roll-out-changes-to-make-birth-certificate-sex-changes-easier/VFJDXW3B7PRF4JTBYMUKBAUKEE/

    Tinetti and Labour have no mandate for this.

    this is a significant piece of legislation. My understanding is it was not presented as a remit for party members (although I will stand corrected on this).

    vote compass at the time of our last election showed only 29% supported this. Stand up for women also commissioned a poll, which showed a similar level of support.

    I hope to post a comment soon about the disgrace that was Wellington pride this year, due to the trans gender radical exclusionary practices against a group of older/elderly lesbians. Weka, if you read it when I post it, feel free to post it as an article.

    • Sabine 2.1

      Anker, i doubt the current ruling class gives a piece of fudge about having a 'man – date' or not. And support or lack there of has never stopped a party from doing what it believes will 'benefit' them.

    • greywarshark 2.2

      Thanks for calling out attention to this Anker.

      When there's a will there's a way for some, but for most people needing change that benefits all, there is little done as slowly as possible. But hey there's moral outrage that has created comment and disturbance attracting attention to an area of malaise. So some pollies have picked on that one area of life and elevated it to VIP status to the point of changing integral legal provisions for us all.

      I note urgent requests for concern, support and action for other areas of human need that are eternal yet have slid down the priorities; not a 'today' thing, 'sorry you've had your day we're moving on' seems the response.

    • gypsy 2.3

      Hi Anker. It's interesting that this move pushes beyond self identification of gender to 'sex', which is widely recognised as (in almost all humans) biologically binary. This does seem an extreme position.

    • KSaysHi 2.4

      Sorry to hear about the Pride Parade stuff. I'd love to know what is behind this shift.

      • Anker 2.4.1

        KSayshi, I can't say what is behind the Pride Day issues, but what happened was disgusting.

        A group of older lesbians, some of whom are elderly were banned from Pride because they amongst other things weren't prepared to go along with the line that "Trans Women are Real Women". They protested outside the Michael Fowler Centre where the event was held as part of the resirected group the Larvas. Another women who is not a member of the Larvas, was inside staffing a stall. During her break she went out to offer support to the Larvas and took them some tape and scissors to mend their placard. She tried to get back into the centre, but was accosted by four Pride people, one a "big burly man'. They man handled her and accused her of carrying an offensive weapon (the scissors) and then when she refused to leave they called the police, who came. This woman is very frail and actually has terminal cancer.

        Next thing there was a counter protest to the Larvas. A group of young people which grew to about 100 started chanting "fucking terfs". I find this completely disgusting.

  3. Sabine 3

    and i guess we can file this too under

    'we don't know how lucky we are / were / and please to godess, god, minor deities etc will be/

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/politics/covid-19-coronavirus-border-officials-had-name-of-traveller-from-perth-before-he-landed-in-nz/P25JR4WZHVHRR4R752KKVY6E3E/

    so they knew the name of the guy, did not stop him from leaving the airport to travel on his merry ways. But its all good, eventually someone thought that might not be a good look so now the guys is in MIQ and may even get a fine, err prison time, or something.

    IT actually does not matter if he is a low, casual, or flashing siren red case, the fact is he could do what he did and thus showed that others can do that too. Feel safer already?

    • Rosemary McDonald 3.1

      …they knew the name of the guy, did not stop him from leaving the airport to travel on his merry ways.

      Read that early this morning. Added it to our list of 'shit that simply does not add up/make sense' regarding Te Virus. I'm betting he's a 'noter' of some ilk. Fact that he's now in MIQ is immaterial. The lack of consistency has been appalling.

      Those lucky enough to survive this shit show will look back in wonder at the amount of bull the general population have swallowed.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      "he fact is he could do what he did and thus showed that others can do that too. Feel safer already"

      They were able to identify around 70 people from Perth who were stopped from boarding ( they would have flown first to Sydney or Melbourne as 1 stop flights are cheaper than non stop and give more options)

      This one person had unusual travel arrangements as his trans tasman flight was cancelled and he re-booked at last minute so was missed during the plane boarding. Only knew about after he arrived in Auckland and had left the terminal before the cross checking was complete. Of course they knew his name as they do for every passenger on every flight.

      he was coming from Perth with about 2 community cases in 2 mill people , not Mumbai

      • Sabine 3.2.1

        Well then, its all good and then they can release him from quarantine and also from any eventual charges. Cause why not. j

        oh, btw, the Indian mutation has been found in the UK

        But Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England said cases had been found in the UK that were not linked to travel, with their origin being investigated.

        More than 70 cases have been identified in England and Scotland.

        and the US and other places

        A variant of the coronavirus first spotted in India has been detected in the U.S. and 18 other countries and territories, adding to a growing roster of evolutionary spinoffs of the virus that scientists and health authorities are keeping under close observation.

        So you might just want to think about how glib you want to be about these lax rule enforcers and the idiots that can break rules and get away with it as really that is a good way to get killed in these plague times.

    • Treetop 3.3

      Were he Australian would that have made a difference?

      • Sabine 3.3.1

        would it make any difference?

        the rules were clear, they were broken, and thus…..we again got lucky that that person was not a carrier, and did not infect anyone he came in contact with on his way to Northland once out of the airport.

        • Treetop 3.3.1.1

          would it make any difference?

          Not to being a carrier, but when it came to immigration here.

          • Sabine 3.3.1.1.1

            i think flight manifests go to migration irrespective of the planeload being kiwis or ozzies or a whole bunch of mixed peas.

  4. Sabine 4

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/governments-winter-energy-payment-not-enough-some-say/5Z5RKPE6TUZO3HKF7PXV36UDJM/

    Grey Power Central Otago president Margaret Hill said older locals are already working out what to give up so they can pay their power bills over winter.

    Auckland Action Against Poverty co-ordinator Brooke Pao Stanley said the standard rate was not enough.

    "I know people are quite conscious about the power that they do use. People won't put the heaters on or the heat pumps because they know that at the end of the month they are going to be just too much. So people do often go cold, get sick over winter because of that."

    But Hill thought permanently doubling the payment for pensioners would discourage them from getting out and about.

    "With just the single rate they feel free to go to the library which is heated, to the card afternoons where there is heat on and to other social places where they meet other people and there is heat there they are not paying for."

    well if we take that comment from Hill to the extreme, we don't need any heating assistance as the poor old ones can just go to the heated library, or the card afternoons, and heck, why not open these places for the night too, add a few cods and the dear oldies can sleep in a warm place.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/living-expenses/heating-and-power-bills.html#null

      My annual power kW is around 4500 thats for 2 people, with 2 heat pumps, one of which is used a lot in summer for night time cooling. Theres auto dishwasher and washing machine. We are both home a lot.

      I only turn the hotwater on for about 1 hr per day as thats enough for 2 ( the top half of cylinder is where hottest water is) and heat pumps are mostly used at lowest settings during day and a bit higher at night. Dehumidify is the low setting for cooling.

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        Heating costs have gone up considerably. But then hey, just don't use electricty and you won't have a big bill. Fixed, you are so awesome!!!!!! Between you and that lady from the grey power that is worried about olds not going to the heated library they sure have it good.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.1.1

          Sure , Ive been on a power saving thing for around 15 years

          But the link for Work and Income specifically mentions 'help with power costs'

          • KSaysHi 4.1.1.1.1

            You mean a special needs grant, which has to be paid back. Plus Work and Income has a limit to what they will lend so tough shit if it's been a bad year and you've needed other things like emergency dental care, clothing, repairs etc which also need paying back.

            Not everyone has the good credit rating needed to access cheaper power too. It's costly to be poor.

      • greywarshark 4.1.2

        Would be good if we could get back to having really cheap electricity for the hot water system at night-time off-peak rates. On my bill there doesn't seem to be a great difference from the 24 hour rate. I'm with Trustpower – I'm reluctant to be changing power suppliers, forced to shop around, a power bargain-hunter. But fair dos for fair systems is what I expect.

        I sometimes read about huge spikes for business and it underlines that our small country must be being screwed to keep so many profit hungry businesses going. Are we being milked?

        • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.2.1

          Powershop peak rates 36c kWhr, off peak 27c which includes fixed charges ( but not daily charge) they also have 'specials' about 1 a week which are lesser price via an app.

          off peak is 11am-5 pm , and 9pm- 7am and all weekend. My hotwater comes on at between 5 and 6 am for 1 hr ( using timer)

          • greywarshark 4.1.2.1.1

            Thanks for that gww I may have to bring this up with my power company. They do react to concerns that consumers bring up.

        • Sabine 4.1.2.2

          i put my water on gas just for that reason.

    • Gabby 4.2

      Does Hill seriously believe the winter allowance comes close to covering winter power bill increases? Surely live pensioners are way more likely to head down to the library of a morning than dead ones.

    • Foreign Waka 4.3

      Just wondering, if that person has a disability and/or looks after their spouse etc…

      Perhaps some solar power panels connected to central heating/hot water should be considered and funded by need instead of doubling payments. It would keep homes warm and dry and increases the value, being an alternative to power grid supply (renewable). Win win win all around….

  5. Morrissey 5

    Washington is not stopping at the destruction of journalists

    Now the fury of this outlaw regime is being directed at businesspeople….

    …. Washington uses sanctions as a tool to destabilize governments that refuse to kow-tow to it. Sanctions are a weapon of war on civilians. Richard Nixon made this clear when, with Chile’s 1970 election of socialist Salvador Allende, the US president ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream,” to “prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him.”

    Sanctions can destroy the economy of a country by causing hyperinflation and unemployment and preventing the import of necessities such as food, medicine, and equipment to keep infrastructure and industries running. Sanctions drive capital flight from targeted nations, as corporations and financial institutions seek to avoid being hurt themselves. This results in deadly consequences for the civilian population.

    According to the United Nations, US sanctions are unilateral coercive measures that violate international laws. The UN General Assembly has repeatedly called on all states not to recognize or apply unilateral coercive measures, such as those employed by the US. Every year since 1992 it has condemned the US blockade of Cuba; Washington’s response has been to worsen it. The 120 member Non-Aligned Movement has condemned sanctions on Venezuela. ….

    https://thegrayzone.com/2021/04/27/us-extradite-foreign-businesspeople-sanctions-saab-wanzhou/

  6. Morrissey 6

    Policewoman: [chortling] "Bodycams are my favorite thing to watch!"

    These monsters need to be not "defunded", but abolished and replaced.

  7. WeTheBleeple 7

    Biden makes a good speech. Calling out the 1%'s deliberate non-contribution to society was a nice touch. Probably put a target on his back, but there'd already be a line, it being Murica and all.

    • Ad 7.1

      A most unusual tone with such an empty House: no declaiming, almost conversational in tone.

      And full to the brim with full-throated public policy goals and utterly massive public interventions:

  8. greywarshark 8

    Don't know if this has already been covered, but this is the latest that I have seen on the fight for Julian Assange. Fight the good fight Jennifer Robinson – she has that special interest in progression of all people which is so admirable.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/saturday/audio/2018792915/jennifer-robinson-fighting-for-assange-west-papua-and-public-education
    …Standing by her clients Julian Assange and Amber Heard in the full glare of international media, she is based at a top London law firm Doughty Street Chambers…

    "These publications are immensely important, and he faces 175 years in prison in the United States for those publications. The injustice of it could not be more stark so I think it’s really important people remember this.”
    One of the accusations levelled at Assange and WikiLeaks is that publishing the documents unredacted risked harm for people, but Robinson says that has never been backed up by evidence and, thus far, no harm came to anyone as a result of the publication.

    “That material had already been published online by other publications as a result of a security breach by the Guardian newspaper. The decision by WikiLeaks to publish that material unredacted was because it was already circulating online.”…
    On the 4 January, Robinson won the case against extradition for Assange, but she says it was the right outcome for the wrong reasons.

    Her latest mission is to improve educational opportunities for public school children. She recently founded the Acacia Awards, in association with the Public Education Foundation in Australia, in which prominent people who were educated in the public system will sponsor a student from their former school or area, providing mentorship and a small scholarship…

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