Open mike 29/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 29th, 2022 - 82 comments
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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 …

82 comments on “Open mike 29/04/2022 ”

  1. Temp ORary 1

    Toast to the ones here today
    Toast to the ones that we lost on the way
    'Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
    And the memories bring back, memories bring back you

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KOaSaK96oM

    Respects Poli:

    Born mid August 1980 –

    Murdered some time between the last Friday night of April,

    and the early hours of the following Saturday, 2021.

    But it is the life in-between that matters most &

    He did the best he could with the time he had.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Newsroom's senior political reporter:

    In the face of record high autumn deaths and the prospect of another surge in sickness, the Government appears to have no strategy whatsoever. Ministers have given up on handling Covid-19 and seem content just to plug their ears and pretend it isn't happening.

    Hipkins didn't answer Newsroom's questions about whether the Government's current approach was likely to lead to no excess deaths.

    When asked how he would describe New Zealand's current Covid-19 strategy, Hipkins effectively said it was only vaccination.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/health–science/the-government-has-given-up-on-covid

    I'm surprised that Hipkins has abandoned mask-wearing as strategy! Even more surprised that cabinet has apparently made that official. I still wear mine in supermarkets & at public events.

    As for his reliance on vaccination, how will that play to senior citizens? I went in to the local govt vaccination center on April 8th, to get my second booster, and was told the govt hadn't authorised it. Well, their own goddam website told me a while back that the first booster was only 50% effective after 3 months, and my first booster was exactly 3 months before April 8th. How many senior citizens in Aotearoa are only 50% protected now?

    Being Labour, he'll dodge the question so no point asking. Commenters here who persist in defending Labour even when there's no reasonable basis for doing so, and who are senior citizens with 50% protection, ought to have a go at explaining govt policy, huh? See if it really is credible. Here's a clue:

    Additional boosters are not currently part of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in New Zealand. We're currently considering who, if anyone, would be suitable for a second booster dose. Any decision to offer additional booster doses is likely to be made prior to winter 2022.

    https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-boosters

    Well, we're already a month into autumn. Time for Hipkins to pull finger?? And Labour also has a minister for seniors, who does monthly emails to us. Why did she not foreshadow a roll-out of a the second booster in her most recent bulletin? Explain how the official vaccine reliance strategy, as declared above by Hipkins, fits in with this omission. Can you?

    • weka 2.1

      My guess is this is why Bloomfield and other senior MOH bods resigned. Unconscionable and unnecessary.

      (afaik, masks are still official policy)

    • Kiwijoker 2.2

      No Dennis, they’re just implementing Nationals well thought through Omicron Strategy of having everyone take personal responsibility for their own health. So Dennis rather than whining that you couldn’t get a second booster from our socialist free public health system you take personal responsibility and pay for your own shot rather than trying to jump the queue when and if the Goverment decide whether a second booster is desirable.

    • Heather Grimwood 2.3

      To Dennis Frank at 2 : Surely you have seen and heard repeated advice from Chris Hipkins , other M.P.'s and epidemiologists that wearing of masks, distancing, good hygiene practice are advised, meaning that mature commonsense should prevail.

      • Dennis Frank 2.3.1

        mature commonsense

        Don't see any evidence Labour does that! I agree that it ought to prevail, Heather. That's why mentioned that I still wear one for indoor public situations.

        I notice that you didn't try to explain why Hipkins seems to have changed his policy. Does that mean you're a typical Labour supporter?

    • Two experts strongly endorsed mask wearing on Morning Report this morning (RNZ).

    • Patricia Bremner 2.5

      If the Government is giving out a personalised mask exemptions in May, your premise is wrong. Chris may not have mentioned mask wearing in close quarters but the PM and others still choose it, as it states when masks are mandatory under Orange setting.

      WHO is still mulling 4th shot but want all nations to have two shots. So is Australia, our Dr. says no plan for a 2nd booster/ 4th shot as yet.

      Getting used to Orange settings takes time. It has not abandoned masks. Read the site.

    • McFlock 2.6

      I suspect the govt feel that any mandate measure has been effectively undermined by the fuckwits, so the next-least-bad is to "encourage".

      Pisses me off, but at least we got to a position that saved thousands of lives before the wreckers succeeded.

      • Dennis Frank 2.6.1

        None of the commenters have addressed my point of concern: protection of seniors. I have no problem with encouraging as official stance. I just see the lack of addressing the follow-up to the booster as weird.

        I mean, if they just want to allow the darwinian norm to prevail, can't they be honest and say so? If they felt discouraged by the mandate outcome, why not share their feelings with voters? It's human. We don't actually want robot politicians, do we??

        I think seniors as a group are likely to know they have collective vulnerability and I expected those commenting here to comment on that basis. I'm puzzled by their aversion to doing so…

        • McFlock 2.6.1.1

          I missed that this was your particular point of concern. Frankly, how it "plays" to seniors (or at least those who are aware of the realities of endemic c19) is how it plays to everyone else who understands that one can't just stare down a virus.

          The trouble is, we're not just in the "endemic" phase, we're in the phase where laziness-inspired optimism has taken over for a lot of folks. They might not be "sherrifs" or any of that bullshit, but they'll happily forget their masks and then ask if they should go back to their car to get it. Looking for a sanction for the easy way out.

          Specifics of 4th shots or whatever are likely in the pipeline once the current situation has been assessed. Will we stay at daily-double-digit-deaths, or will it genuinely get down to flu/traffic levels. Are the deceased boosted, or are they barely-vaxxed? And so on.

          Me, I'm liking the actual nano-tech US military vaccine that's being trialled at the moment (last I heard). But I guess we'll see what we see.

  3. Jenny how to get there 3

    Why don't you surrender already!

    https://www.ft.com/content/8c235262-265e-4318-a925-bc167b83cc3e

    The people of Ukraine know why they cannot surrender to the Russian Federation.

    War crimes and genocide committed by Putin's fascist ally Bashar Assad in Syria are an example what Ukraine will suffer under Russian occupation.

    Already Russia is recruiting thousands of Assad's armed forces linked to war crimes and atrocities in Syria for the invasion and occupation of Ukraine.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/1/in-syria-moscow-leads-effort-to-recruit-fighters-for-ukraine

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J1gqCp6C0s&t=6s

  4. Ad 4

    Everyone: time to stock up on your cooking oil, the shelves are going to get tight.

    The world's largest producer of cooking oil, Indonesia, banning all exports – the Ukraine war has stuffed this market as well.

    Indonesia widens export ban to include crude palm oil | Food News | Al Jazeera

    But do our dairy farmers still get to import Palm Kernel Expeller for feed?

    • weka 4.1

      fortunately NZ is replete with butter.

      • Anne 4.1.1

        and margarine.

      • Ad 4.1.2

        $6 a block at New World and rising weekly.

        Great for baking but not for an average family shop.

        • Patricia Bremner 4.1.2.1

          PaknSave have butter Tararua at $5.49.

        • weka 4.1.2.2

          neoliberal chickens. Time for a conversation about globalisation and why we produce so much dairy but it's so expensive to buy here*.

          Indonesia just protected its people, maybe NZ should be thinking about how to do this as well.

          *or maybe it's not, and this is the real cost of food.

          • weka 4.1.2.2.1

            Or we could wait until people here are desperate enough to protest.

            Local shortages of edible oils has roiled Indonesia, leading to street protests over high food prices and the detention of a trade official in a corruption case. The turbulence has become a key political issue for President Joko Widodo as cooking oil costs could push other food prices higher ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which is usually marked with feasts and celebration.

    • weka 4.2

      But do our dairy farmers still get to import Palm Kernel Expeller for feed?

      Hope not. If they start whining, point them in the direction of organics and regenag and tell them to get with the programme.

      • RosieLee 4.2.1

        And tell them to stock only the number of cattle/sheep that their farm can sustain.

        • weka 4.2.1.1

          Indeed!

        • Cricklewood 4.2.1.2

          Where we got ourselves in deep trouble is farm values and the amount that could be borrowed were based on high milk prices and ridiculous stock numbers supported by supplementary feed and irrigation. Bit of a ponzi scheme really with the real winners been the banks.

          Quite frightening to go to a small beach settlement for the first time in 5 years recently, lots of irrigation and cows on sand. The creek feed from a small dune lake would just about dry up every summer now flows strongly even in drought. Basically we're emptying aquifers and running nutrient and shit rich water into the sea.

    • pat 4.3

      Difficult to see PKE being available (at anything like current levels) if the oil production is slashed….but perhaps Indonesia uses vast quantities of palm oil domestically, whether enough to supply 2 million tons PKE pa that NZ uses would seem unlikely.

      We produce food oils here but current prices will make most blanche….imported canola at around 3-4 dollars a litre as opposed to NZ produced at around 12 dollars…..that'll hurt.

      • pat 4.3.1

        Have just looked up Indonesian consumption, and it looks like enough PKE would be available to meet NZ consumption assuming its not caught up in the export ban….and is also available from Malaysia.

    • Bruce 4.4

      This guy has a good information on the oil situation. As Weka points out we have plenty of butter but for many from Asia its use is a big part of cooking .

      https://youtu.be/kyD4SauT5lE

      • weka 4.4.1

        we will all have to adapt. People that rely on wheat bread might want to be thinking about this now. Not stockpiling, but learning how to eat local and more variety.

    • lprent 4.5

      I wasn't aware that Indonesia was a exporter of Olive oil?

      Decided long ago that it was worth the price every 2-3 months. As the primary cook I don’t use much oil anyway.

  5. Gosman 5

    Just wanting the opinions of any Labour supporters here about the actions of Labour to block requests by Select committees to call government officials to answer questions on various topics. This is something that Labour has stopped for a range of political parties including The Greens. Surely you can see this is not good for open and transparent governance.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300574267/opposition-mps-hit-out-at-labours-select-committee-gatekeeping

    • Dennis Frank 5.1

      Nothing wrong with wanting them but you aint gonna get them. I went fishing for the same thing yesterday & got no response (OM #1).

      Just the usual syndrome you get from Labour supporters is retreat into denial: this ain't happening. So they move on, hurriedly & nervously, hoping nobody will notice.

      • Temp ORary 5.1.1

        Well: Gosman & DF, maybe people are so accustomed to scrolling past your comments unread that they miss it when you do have something of substance to contribute? I was reading that Boy Who Cried Wolf story to my kids at bedtime the other day, perhaps you should re-read it yourself?

        But then I am usually a Green Party supporter, if not member at the moment. I really should sign up once more to get a vote on the list rankings next year, but that means getting spammed with donations requests again. I do agree with Swarbrick and Willis on this; select committees are the workhorses of parliament (question time as a rodeo?), they need their feed of good quality information to be able to pull their weight.

        But if it comes down to numbers, even all the opposition (and loosely aligned – with coleaders in the stable of cabinet eating fine oats, while the rest of the GP MPs shiver under horse-blankets out in the fields) parties combined couldn't pass a motion of no confidence over this. I generally support the actions of this Ardern government (with some reservations), but hopefully next election no party will be able to secure an absolute majority and will instead have to seek meaningful consensus with at least one other party, preferably several, in order to operate. Until then, they get to run rough-shod as they will, until they face the muster of the hustings (apologies for all the equine metaphors, not quite sure how I started galloping into that conceit).

        Swarbrick said it made no sense for MPs to be that concerned about discussions or releasing information.

        “There is definitely a long shadow of partisanship which means we are not able to get outcomes or access to information which improves democracy for all of us. In turn, that means the public trust politicians less – which is a bad thing.”

        Willis and Swarbrick teamed up to try to get the briefing, with the deputy National leader saying Labour’s committee members needed to act in the public interest: “There shouldn’t be anything to hide here.”

        Swarbrick said there had been agreement from the entire Opposition that Labour appeared to be getting in the way of the free flow of information.

        • Dennis Frank 5.1.1.1

          Aversion to negative feedback tends to produce a failure to learn from what happens. It's why leftists tend to be chronic under-performers in politics…

          • Temp ORary 5.1.1.1.1

            DF

            People have limited time for online reading and commenting on the Social Media Platform that is The Standard. What many call; Cancelling, or; Aversion to Negative Feedback, is simply boredom with tiresome drivel. Freedom to express oneself is not a guarantee of an attentive audience.

            I personally think we need to distinguish between malicious; Trashing, and disinterested removal of attention. But that is a topic for another discussion; which I have had before, and will no doubt have again in the future (plus I can't be bothered hunting out the links just now).

            It is a poor author who disparages their audience for failing to bask in glow of their genius. The golden showers falling upon those upturned faces eager for illumination may feel like something other than sunlight to those below. In which case; who can blame them for turning elsewhere?

            • Dennis Frank 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah but addiction to trivia is a poor excuse for coming onsite here & demonstrating an inability to get a grip on the issues discussed…

          • Incognito 5.1.1.1.2

            That’s rather presumptuous of you on a number of counts:

            1) You presume that one can learn something from your copy & pasta comments with short ‘snappy’ yet verbose commentary.

            2) You presume something negative about leftists in general.

            3) You presume you are able to judge everything on which and everybody on whom you provide negative feedback.

            4) You presume that negative feedback is similar or equivalent to constructive feedback.

            5) You presume that ignoring your comments is their loss.

        • Bearded Git 5.1.1.2

          Well said Temp-too many meaningless posts and too many long posts from Gosman and DF means I often skim past.

          • Dennis Frank 5.1.1.2.1

            Gosman does long posts too? Hadn't noticed any. Anyway since the essays are usually twice or three times longer than my comments I commend your diligence in spending the inordinate amount of time it takes to work your way thro. smiley

          • bad politics baby 5.1.1.2.2

            Yep, regular DF, ALwyn, Gos etc scroller here, life's too short.

            [Any reason why you changed your user name? – Incognito]

      • lprent 5.1.2

        Just the usual syndrome you get from Labour supporters is..

        To point out the constitutional aspects that they clearly know, and you appear to have missed.

        • Dennis Frank 5.1.2.1

          You reckon Labour's strategy is constitutionally correct? Interesting. If so, I'd change my tune on the topic. Let's assume you are right in that assessment. It would imply that the Greens/ACT/National are either ignorant of the relevant clause in our constitutional law or are being disingenuous.

          Or perhaps it comes down to competing interpretations of the relevant section of constitutional law? In which case there is no correct answer until a court judges the issue, eh? I'm open to enlightenment if you want to elaborate…

          • lprent 5.1.2.1.1

            These are MPs, not constitutional lawyers. Quite why you expect them to be aware of the limitation of their role is beyond me. That is why they have to get advice on what they can or cannot do. You'll notice the absence of any advice or legal basis for their blathering?

            Or perhaps it comes down to competing interpretations of the relevant section of constitutional law?

            Bloody unlikely. You'd have to find the 'section' first. Select committees are an internal convenience for Parliament. They are raised via the standing orders of parliament. Select committees have no constitutional standing at all – they are just a internal parliamentary tool to allow smaller groups to advise the whole of the house.

            More a case of trying to find any part of the law that claims select committees to do anything unless parliament as a whole authorises it. Even then parliament itself is severely contained by how little direct power parliament itself has.

            Parliaments direct power is strictly limited by what the crown allows them and little of that is present outside of taxation, funding and passing legislation – which has to be approved. The actual direct powers are held by the governor general or the executive council – both of whom 'advise' the crown.

            In practice of course the 'crown', Executive Council and the GG all tend to defer to parliament for year to year operations within limits. That the Executive Council is almost entirely made up of ministers helps with that. But Parliament only really rules itself.

            That is because anything that isn't explicitly stated in law of regulations derived from laws as being a requirement is simply not a requirement. This is how our legal system works.

            Again, you'll notice the complete lack of any discussion of any detail of anything that would authorise select committees to compel testimony or attendance?

            That is because even the bullshitting dickheads like Luxon are probably aware of this and are relying that most citizens of NZ aren't. The alternative is that we have a fool like Trump who can't distinguish between running a rorting company and being a more limited servant of the state.

            Basically NZ and even its MPs could do to get a good education in civics.

            • Dennis Frank 5.1.2.1.1.1

              MPs could do to get a good education in civics

              One wonders what their induction course actually covers, eh? I'm inclined to suspect that you're right to suspect Luxon of grandstanding but I doubt Chloe would get sucked in on that basis – she must see a principled stand in the troika, which suggests the induction didn't cover select committee appearances by public servants sufficiently well.

    • Craig H 5.2

      They shouldn't be doing it, it makes a mockery of select committees.

    • Jimmy 5.3

      Amazing that the Greens (Swarbrick) and Nats and Act all agreeing on something! Labour are not a transparent government.

    • Muttonbird 5.4

      These stories are months old now.

      I'm sure the way these select committees operate is the same as the way they have always operated, the difference being we have not had a one party government recently.

      For that, opposition parties can only blame themselves.

      • Descendant Of Smith 5.4.1

        It is difficult to assess without more detail.

        1. If the information requested relevant to the particular select committee or whether National are trying to use the select committee processes to get access to information they would not normally be able to get i.e. they are abusing the select committee processes – call me cynical.
        2. Why was it withheld? e.g. budget sensitive has been used in the past for instance.

        I do take solace that their are select committees – National solved that issue by doing lots of things under urgency. Noting also that some Labour governments in my view have also done too many things under urgency as well.

        Someone should ask Luxon though whether they are saying they would not block things if they were government. Are they saying if in government they would be releasing all and sundry?

      • Gosman 5.4.2

        It isn't just the opposition parties that are complaining about this. The Greens are annoyed as well.

    • lprent 5.5

      I wasn't aware that there was a right for members of select committees to call them at all, ever.

      Public servants are employed by the crown – not by parliament. Parliament merely provides the funding, laws and policy direction – all on behalf of the crown. Outside of the speakers control over Parliamentary services parliament has their most influence on the public services via ministers of the crown (usually MPs) and the funding and laws. They don't have direct operational control.

      The Public Service Commission is the effective head of the Public Service employees. Ministers have some operational influence (but not control) over a lot of the public service. Except for course for things like military, police, probably customs and a few other branches which answer directly to the crown.

      To me it just sounds like Luxon is just being a stupid wanker waving his dick in public.

      Clearly has watched too much US TV. He really is a pathetic ignorant dipshit and appears profoundly unprepared to be a MP. He'd be useless as a minister.

      • Gosman 5.5.1

        Your awareness is flawed. A Select committee can call upon government officials to act as either a Witness or Advisor on various matters. Ultimately the officials responsibility is to the Minister in charge though so they have to defer to them but it is quite clear that the Select committee can request they appear before them.

        https://www.publicservice.govt.nz/assets/Legacy/resources/officials-selectcommittees-guidelines07-v2.pdf

        • lprent 5.5.1.1

          You're an idiot… The select committee or members thereof can request or ask. So can anyone.

          Hell I can ask as well in my capacity as person who wants to request an answer to something. I cannot demand or assert a right to compel. MPs and select committees have no rights more than anyone else outside of the public servants operational hierarchy, or the various rights of the justice system or some of te intelligence community.

          The only avenue that I or an MP can demand with is via a OIA or by bringing a case in court or possibly appealing to the public services commission. The select committee as a body lacks the ability to do the OIA or the courts because they have little legal presence.

          To demand a public servant to front up to a select committee is objectionable, ignorant, and unavailable. Luxon and you are complete dickheads if you think that is possible or even desirable.

          Not even the Ministers can demand that. They can only request that of someone in the public service in a position of operational control of an employee.

          • lprent 5.5.1.1.1

            I'd add that there are a couple of bits of legislation and regulation that compel some public servants to submit reports to parliament. For instance the auditor-general for instance. Parliament often passes perusing these tasks to select committees as a convention.

            But the select committees themselves have no significant powers themselves outside of the responsibility to look at things that parliament chooses them to look at (just as they do with legislation), and expressing their opinions on those matters. They have no judicial powers what so ever.

          • Dennis Frank 5.5.1.1.2

            Looks like you're right, but it would be clearer if both you & Gosman cited the actual bit of the pdf that made you each believe what you believe.

            The Minister ultimately has the right to decide who should represent the Government before a select committee, whether or not a committee has requested attendance of a named official. In practice, the departmental chief executive or his or her delegate will normally judge when it is necessary to consult the Minister, in the absence of any direction from the Minister

            That's #20 on the Officials and Select Committees – Guidelines pdf.

            Not definitive, since it does not mention any right of refusal by the department which the request addressed. Can they refuse?

            • lprent 5.5.1.1.2.1

              They can't refuse to appear before the Public Service Commission, maybe not the Executive Council, most of the Justice system, and probably parts of the Intelligence system. There are other situations like being a state of war or civil emergency that would give other bodies partial control as well.

              The only ones that I would be sure of is the Public Service Commission for direct control and the Justice system for judicial control.

              The minister themselves probably could only request. With more weight given to the Ministers of the crown on Executive Council.

              ..cited the actual bit of the pdf that made you each believe what you believe.

              I didn’t read it, I only looked at it for the legal reasoning. There wasn’t any. So my basic background knowledge is what I presented.

              That came out of the history, the army (very finicky on things like this), general law courses in undergraduate and graduate degrees, having to suffer with a partner doing her law degree, and general reading on history and law.

              In other words this for me is general knowledge.

              If you ask for a reference on a general topic, then wikipedia is your friend. I’ll be happy to dig references out – if I have spare time.

              If you want something difficult – like how to crack into an embedded system on the other side of the world or how to do impossible things with code – then you’re clean out of luck. Other people already pay me to do those things.

              • Dennis Frank

                Good stuff, thanks. Reminds us that a lot of what happens in governance is based on convention rather than law. And conventions evolve…

          • Gosman 5.5.1.1.3

            You stated there was no right for members of Select committee to call for officials to appear before them. There is. What there isn't is an ability to OBLIGE them to appear before them. Language matters.

    • Foreign waka 5.6

      Its not good for democracy either, but we are told that we have to "tweak" that because democracy is changing. Well, just in this country though and I don't know to what.
      Just as I posed I looked at Jimmy’s comment…..hmmmm

  6. Jimmy 6

    You just know this was crap from the start, when even David Parker who is on your team doesn't like it!

    Rotorua District Council agrees to pause its representation bill | Stuff.co.nz

  7. Muttonbird 7

    Contrary to some angry comments here, the MIQ case is not a win for expat Grounded Kiwis. I suspect they and some media are suggesting it is a win are trying to save face.

    Obviously Grounded Kiwis is lauding this as a success for their side and the judge does say they have succeeded. However, if you look at the entirety of the 140-page judgment, the Government has won on all the major points. And in fact, the court rejected most of Grounded Kiwis' submissions.

    The judge did not recommend abandoning the lottery system, rather making a few places available outside it, noting that this could create, "a whole new set of grievances".

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/the-front-page-constitutional-law-expert-on-why-the-miq-case-is-actually-a-win-for-the-government/IJ2G5V5RWFOVVGJQDSYWLBNRBI/

    Still, Grounded Kiwis and other pandemic sceptics have what they wanted now, no MIQ.

    And people are dying.

    • lprent 7.2

      I read the decision.

      I also read the grounded kiwis take on it.

      Came to the conclusion that they had read a different decision – probably one that Ian Taylor fetched out of Cameron Slaters arse. It really was that delusional.

      My opinion of their ability to understand anything dropped even lower.

      The MIQ was going to be phased out in the first quarter of this year anyway. I guess the numbskulls of NZ don't actually listen to news and the explore the actual requirements about as well as they read legal decisions.

      Covid-19 is endemic. We have put in about as much protection as is possible based on the available vaccines (although Dennis Frank is right, the second booster is due about now). The trick now is to let the un-vaccinated to vaccinated the traditional way while the vast majority of the vaccinated to still have a functioning hospital system.

    • McFlock 7.3

      Basically seems to say that next time we should have an "urgent" category as well, i.e. everyone gets evaluated as "emergency" (within 2 weeks), "Urgent" (priority place in a month or two, the Bellis situation), and the rest take their chances once the first two have been filled.

  8. Alan 8

    Robertson and Mahuta have just announced that they want Labour to lose the next election in a land slide, great work you guys.

    • Dennis Frank 8.1

      Aw, you tease. You come here, dangle something like that, and provide no link – not even a quote. Do you hang out on K Rd in fishnet stockings too?

    • AB 8.2

      3 Waters. The "terra nullius" racists will scream – and so will thieves, opportunists and privatisers with their eyes on water as a monetisable commodity. The rest of us get to see if it actually works before it is sabotaged by some future Nat/ACT government seeking to enable the aforesaid groups.

      • Foreign waka 8.2.1

        And who is to say that all that 3 water work is not in preparation for precisely that: privatisation.

    • Dennis Frank 9.1

      Cabinet has agreed to the bulk of 47 working group recommendations for the planned overhaul of the country's three waters – drinking, waste, and storm water systems – which it hopes to complete by July 2024. The proposed co-governance of regional groups which will appoint the new entitys’ governance boards and provide public accountability for the entities is set to remain.

      Good on them. I'm glad to be able to say something nice about Labour today! Will be fascinating to see the media analysis & commentary ensuing…

  9. Dennis Frank 10

    Here's the guts then:

    Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson have this morning laid out next steps. The reforms would move responsibility for the management of drinking, waste and stormwater from 67 local councils to four large, specialised water management organisations.

    However, after months of deliberations, they confirmed councils would be given non-financial shareholding interests in the four water service entites, guaranteeing ownership – one of the key concerns raised over the government's initial model.

    This would be allocated based on population – with one share per 50,000 people, rounded up to ensure at least one share per council – and would be reassessed to account for population changes every five years.

    The co-governance provisions proposed – to have mana whenua and councils given equal number of seats on a representation group which sets the entites' strategic direction but has no say in operational matters – would remain, with the additional option of having co-chairs.

    The separate boards of the entities themselves would be appointed by the regional representation group, based on competency requirements with a ban on conflicts of interest – including a prohibition for councillors to be on the entity boards. There will also be extra protections against privatisation which would require at least three quarters of Parliament to agree before any sale or merger could be done.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/466116/three-waters-councils-to-be-shareholders-as-government-accepts-recommendations

    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      Stuff has put up a compilation of verdicts: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300576023/three-waters-reaction-mayor-phil-goff-says-auckland-is-being-penalised-lgnz-welcomes-ratepayer-certainty

      Professor Troy Baisden from the School of Environment at the University of Auckland stated that the number of failures should point to the reason for the change. "New Zealand’s performance on the Three Waters has been poor by the standards of peer nations: for every success that can be pointed to as a case to retain the status quo there are multiple failures,” Baisden said.

      Continuing with the current status quo wasn’t an option, according to Lokesh Padhye from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Auckland.

      "The New Zealand water sector needs reforms, and there is not much debate in the science and engineering community that the status quo is not working when it comes to improving water quality and water management practices,” Padhye said. "The government-established Working Group has provided some excellent suggestions to the Government in that regard. It is good to see that the Government has taken most of the recommendations on board."

      • Alan 10.1.1

        The science/engineering is not the issue Dennis, as you well know.

        • Dennis Frank 10.1.1.1

          You can't read my mind. The policy change will influence politics more via the general view in the body politic, ultimately. I reckon those who want cleaner water will have an effective majority there easily. The science & engineering view are two bodies of expert opinion likely to influence most punters. Those doing turf-protection will struggle to catch up – probably only getting traction where councils have been traditionally competent…

          • Alan 10.1.1.1.1

            "the majority", you say.

            When it was one person, one vote, that concept worked well.

            Under co- governance, well……….

            • Foreign waka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              "tweaking" democracy its called. Democracy is changing, maybe to autocracy?

  10. Patricia Bremner 11

    Waiting waiting for the Right wing response…. Yeah/ Nah.

    • Alan 11.1

      watch the Act response on the Herald web site.

      • Dennis Frank 11.1.1

        For a laugh?

        New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesperson Jordan Williams has said Grant Robertson’s claim that “this co-governance model is supported by most councils is laughable”.

        Given that neither produced stats to back up their competing views, their dumb & dumber routine is indeed entertaining.

        Communities 4 Local Democracy labelled the Government’s move as a “worrying attack on property rights and community voice”.

        “This is a dark day for local democracy as the Government has continued to force this reform through without the consent of its stakeholders or their communities,” said C4LD Chair and Manawatu District Mayor Helen Worboys.

        No evidence from her either.

        Local Government New Zealand President Stuart Crosby also welcomed the Government’s decisions on the Three Waters to provide certainty for ratepayers. “Councils face big future bills for water services given the new regulator, the unknown condition of many pipes and the impact of climate change. Without reform, ratepayers will be hit in the pocket,” Crosby said.

        “Everyone in the local government sector is advocating for change to our water systems, even those opposed to the Government’s model. No one thinks the status quo is sustainable."

        The relevant authority figure must believe the woman is from another planet.

        “The current system is not up to scratch, but the Government’s Three Waters reforms are not the answer,” said ACT’s local government spokesperson Simon Court. “Taking control of water assets away from councils is wrong. Moving water assets from one government body to another is a recipe for more bureaucracy and less local input.”

        I'll give him credit for acknowledging the status quo is shit. I even agree that Labour's penchant for padding bureaucrats into governance structures has had a legendary tendency to clog them up & make them dysfunctional. However, it is always possible for Labour to exhibit competence. We live in hope.

  11. Starting to make sense now.

    Russia may not be so concerned about reviving Russian glory and exterminating Nazis in its campaign in Ukraine. And Europe may have more tangible interests that may outweigh the humanitarian concerns and moral outrage at Russia's behaviour.

    It turns out that Ukraine has huge untapped resources of a wide variety of minerals and commodities under its soil. So it starts to make sense why Europe is so enthusiastic about protecting Ukrainian sovereignty and why Russia is so keen to grab it.

    • joe90 12.1

      Purely coincidental of course that most of Ukraine's fossil fuel resources sit under Luhansk, Donetsk, and Southern Ukraine. Funny how Moldov's Transnistria region is disputed territory, too.

      Untapped Potential

      Excluding Russia’s gas reserves in Asia, Ukraine today holds the second biggest known gas reserves in Europe. As of late 2019, known Ukrainian reserves amounted to 1.09 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, second only to Norway’s known resources of 1.53 trillion cubic meters. Yet, these enormous reserves of energy remain largely untapped. Today, Ukraine has a low annual reserve usage rate of about 2 percent. Moreover, more active exploration may yield previously undiscovered gas fields, which would further increase the overall volume of Ukraine’s deposits.

      https://hir.harvard.edu/ukraine-energy-reserves/

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        Yes, and I am sure that Europe would like to be customers to Ukraine who would likely be much more cooperative suppliers than Russia and its random tantrums.

  12. Jenny how to get there 13

    And you thought '1984' was just a book.

    Following the crackdown on anti-war protesters and independent news outlets, the Russian Federation further cracks down on free thought by targeting artists.

    The government directive for the Arts and culture community, is War.

    The Muses Are Silenced: Russian Arts Community Targeted As State Imposes Conformity Over Ukraine War

    ….Shortly after Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow adopted new laws and regulations aimed at stifling dissent over the war and preventing the spread of information other than that provided by the government….

    ….huge banners featuring the Z symbol have festooned theaters, museums, and other cultural institutions across the country, as the government has pushed the country's cultural communities to publicly express their support for the war, the military, and President Vladimir Putin.

    ….Sergei Levitsky, the former artistic director of the Russian Drama Theater in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Buryatia region, who was fired on March 22 for speaking out against the war…..

    …..Prominent Buryatia actress Svetlana Polyanskaya told RFE/RL that with Levitsky's dismissal, the theater has lost its "locomotive."

    "The theater was pulsating, thoughtful, and compelled others to think," she said. "It fostered empathy and discussed some very important and necessary themes. It attracted a young generation of theatergoers. It was alive and now it is dead."

    "Now it is just a building," she concluded.

    https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-ukraine-invasion-artists-targeted/31822328.html

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