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Open mike 29/01/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 29th, 2016 - 52 comments
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openmikeOpen mike is your post.

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

Step up to the mike …

52 comments on “Open mike 29/01/2016 ”

  1. RTM 1

    Former ACT MP and prominent conservative commentator calls for nuclear attacks on Middle Eastern cities: http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2016/01/david-garrett-and-peace-of-dead.html

    • alwyn 1.1

      I think he must have been reading Paul Erdman’s book “The Crash of ’79” over the summer.
      Great read actually, as long as you can suspend belief for a while.

  2. Ad 2

    If US, Canada and Japan don’t ratify TPPA, it’s hard to see it surviving.

    This would become NZ’s biggest diplomatic disaster since the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. But this one sheeted direct to Key.

    Richard III: “I am so far in that sin must pluck on sin.”

    Quite a high chance all 3 will fold on it.

    • alwyn 2.1

      “This would become NZ’s biggest diplomatic disaster since the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. But this one sheeted direct to Key.”

      You have a most peculiar view of what is a diplomatic disaster for a country and who is responsible for one.
      How would it possibly be Key’s fault if Obama can’t get something through Congress?
      Or if the Diet plays up? Or if Trudeau delays ratification?

      As for the sinking of The Rainbow Warrior. What was the diplomatic disaster for New Zealand in that? It was one for France. The only awkward part for New Zealand was Lange having to give in to the realpolitik of the world and having to let the agents out.
      At least he told us about it.

      A pity Helen Clark wasn’t so open about the effect of the 2001 actions of Australia. One line in a Australian Government Press release and nothing when she got home. That one really has turned out to be a disaster.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        As for the sinking of The Rainbow Warrior. What was the diplomatic disaster for New Zealand in that?

        The fact that the perpetrators walked free.

        • alwyn 2.1.1.1

          Well I did say that didn’t I? “The only awkward part for New Zealand was Lange having to give in to the realpolitik of the world and having to let the agents out”

          I don’t regard that as having been a diplomatic disaster. There wasn’t a damn thing we could do but let them go.
          “realpolitik”? Sure ,but there wasn’t any option as France were going to screw us over access to Europe. The disaster was to France for being caught out.

          What would you have had Lange do?

    • esoteric pineapples 2.2

      What a great quote – and it sounds so contemporary “I am so far in” as in “are you in”

    • ianmac 3.1

      Pat. As in NZ I guess the politicians must weigh up the balance of reaction to with-holding critical information, against the damage done if the peasants knew just what would happen to their country if they knew the contents of a deal. And long after the current crop of MPs have moved on, the legacy remains.

  3. Wayne 4

    Ad,

    Hard to see Japan not ratifying. They are a parliamentary democracy like us. In short the govt has a majority in parliament. If the LDP split on the necessary votes, then the PM would have to resign. Could happen but not likely.

    Canada probably will wait for the US. Again it is unlikely Canada would not ratify if the US did.

    So the focus is really on the US, as indeed it always has been.

    In my view Congress will vote yes. The great majority of Republicans will vote for it. Some Democrats (though not many) will vote for it. Therefore it is most likely to go through.

    Members of Congress will know that if they vote against, most other Asia Pacific nations will give up on the US as being able to deliver on this and many other things. The focus then goes to the RCEP, which has China as the centrepoint. RCEP is not as good as TPP in terms of trade and economic integration, but it would be the only game in town. Which is why I think TPP will get across the line in the US Congress. President Obama, in his State of Nation address, could hardly have been more specific on the China/US leadership point.

    • Congress will only ratify once all other TPP countries have ratified to Congress’ satisfaction.

      Spouting obvious misinformation undermines your credibility.

    • Rosemary McDonald 4.2

      @Wayne.

      Well done! You refrained from calling the TPPA a “free trade agreement”.

      There’s a saying about old dogs and new tricks….

    • Colonial Viper 4.3

      Important to note that the American and Japanese corporate elite have the most to gain from the TPP.

      Hard to see Japan not ratifying. They are a parliamentary democracy like us. In short the govt has a majority in parliament.

      You have a weird concept of “democracy”, Wayne. Reminder: democracy is about government of the people, for the people, by the people. Not government of the millionaires, for the millionaires, by the millionaires.

  4. Penny Bright 5

    Seen THIS?

    Japan’s economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari, one of the TPP’s chief negotiators, has been accused of accepting more than $148,000 in bribes from a major construction company.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35427563

    Just days before world leaders are expected to sign the undemocratic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a top official in charge of negotiating the agreement has been charged with accepting bribes.

    Japan’s economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari, one of the TPP’s chief negotiators, has been accused of accepting more than $148,000 in bribes from a major construction company.

    This is exactly why policy that affects billions of people and our Internet freedom should never be made in secret. This is exactly why we need to stop the TPP.

    Deadline Friday: Click here to tell President Obama not to sign the TPP on February 4th and demand a full investigation into this corruption.

    The TPP was drafted in closed door meetings by corporate lobbyists and government officials like Akira Amari, while journalists, human rights advocates, and the public were locked out.

    How many other politicians involved in drafting the TPP have been taking bribes?

    We can only assume.

    But the results speak for themselves. Chapter after chapter the TPP prioritizes special interests over public interests.

    It contains unbalanced copyright provisions that could lead to Internet censorship, and affects everything from jobs to the environment to access to medicines to national sovereignty.

    Time is running out to stop the TPP. But the scandal surrounding these bribery allegations might be enough to delay things,
    ______________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

  5. Chooky 6

    +100 Penny….well said …. so the corporates are bribing Japanese politicians to support TPP?

    Well they are also bribing US politicians !

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/27/corporations-paid-us-senators-fast-track-tpp

    Are corporates also bribing New Zealand politicians?

    …We need declarations of honesty and anti-corruption in Parliament that ALL New Zealand politicians who support the TPP are not being paid to do so by corporate bribes or back handers.

    New Zealand politicians who are supporting the anti -democratic signing of the TPP…MUST be held to ACCOUNT

    (they are NOT working in the interests of New Zealanders and democracy and sovereignty and they are working for corporate interests against the wishes of the majority of New Zealanders)

    • Puckish Rogue 7.1

      On a completely unrelated subject, well done to whoever posted it. I can actually watch it at work…can’t get anything from stuff or nzherald to work but this comes through no problems

      • Molly 7.1.1

        Do they recruit often at your place of work?

        I only ask because you seem to have a lot of unoccupied paid time to visit this site, and clearly logical thought processes are not required.

        (Oh, are you the ACT membership office?)

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          And does your employer know you use worktime to do paid work for Crosby Textor?

          • Puckish Rogue 7.1.1.1.1

            You wouldn’t believe who my employers are…

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Order_(conspiracy_theory)

          • alwyn 7.1.1.1.2

            Behave yourself Weka. Such comments are very likely to get lprent going. It seems awfully close to the line in the policy that warns about not doing things that
            “invades the privacy of people outside the public domain”

            I am sure you wouldn’t really want anyone to be allowed to enquire what your position was in the Green Leader’s Office or something similar.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.2.1

              🙄 Back to being a creep I see alwyn.

              PR and I are having a bit of fun (maybe Molly too). It’s a running joke that PR is a paid astroturfer, a joke he partakes of, just as he has done above.

              But even if it wasn’t, it begs the question of why you would use that to give me a veiled threat. I routinely call you out on your lies about the Green Party, but your comments to me too often have something personal about them. It is creepy.

        • Puckish Rogue 7.1.1.2

          the pays fantastic but it does sometimes take a while for the invoices to be paid

    • Pasupial 7.2

      weka

      I’m glad to see it, as it looks like other commitments will prevent me making it to tonight’s Dunedin talk after all (7pm Burns Hall by First Church), and I only saw the start of the livestream. Looking forward to the protest on Saturday though, hopefully the heavy-handed intimidation tactics from the police will prove to be the best possible call to action for the day.

  6. Molly 8

    Came across Anita Roddicks “Trading with Principles” speech while looking for something else.

    Worth reading in consideration of the discussion on the TPPA:

    We are in Seattle arguing for a world trade system that puts basic human rights and the environment at its core. We have the most powerful corporations of the world ranged against us. They own the media that informs us – or fails to inform us. And they probably own the politicians too.

    It’s enough to make anybody feel a little edgy.

    So here’s a question for the world trade negotiators. Who is the system you are lavishing so much attention on supposed to serve?

    We can ask the same question of the gleaming towers of Wall Street or the City of London – and the powerful men and women who tinker with the money system which drives world trade. Who is this system for?

    Let’s look more closely. Every day, the gleaming towers of high finance oversees a global flow of two trillion dollars through their computer screens. And the terrifying thing is that only three per cent of that – that’s, three hundredths – has anything to do with trade at all. Let alone free trade between equal communities.

    It has everything to do with money. The great global myth being that the current world trade system is for anything but money.

    The other 97 per cent of the two trillion is speculation. It is froth – but froth with terrifying power over people’s lives. Reducing powerless communities access to basic human rights can make money, but not for them. But then the system isn’t designed for them. …

    …The truth is that the WTO, and the group of unelected trade officials who run it, are now the world’s highest court, with the right to overturn local laws and safety regulations wherever they say it ‘interferes with trade’.

    This is world government by default, but it is a blind government. It looks at the measurements of money, but it can’t see anything else. It can recognise profits and losses, but it deliberately turns its face away from human rights, child labour or keeping the environment viable for future generations….

    …Now there will be commentators and politicians by the truckload over the next week accusing us of wanting to turn the clock back. They will say we are parochial, inward-looking, xenophobic and dangerous.

    But we must remind them what free trade really is. The truth is that ‘free trade’ was originally about the freedom of communities to trade equally with each other. It was never intended to be what it is today. A licence for the big, the powerful and the rich, to ride roughshod over the small, the weak and the poor.

    And while we’re about it, let’s nail another myth.

    Nobody could be more in favour of a global outlook than I am. Internationalism means that we can see into the dark corners of the world, and hold those companies to account when they are devastating forests or employing children as bonded labour. Globalisation is the complete opposite, its rules pit country against country and workers against workers in the blinkered pursuit of international competitiveness….

    Let’s be clear about this. It’s not trade we’re against, it’s exploitation and unchecked power.

    …Community trade will make us not a multi-national, but a multi-local. I hope we can measure our success in terms of our ability to show just what’s possible if a company genuinely opens a dialogue with communities.

    Heaven knows, we’re not there yet. But this is real life, and all any of us can do is to make sure we are going in the right direction, and never lose our determination to improve.

    The trouble is that the current trading system undermines anybody who tries.

    Businesses which forego profits to build communities, or keep production local rather than employing semi-slaves in distant sweatshops, risk losing business to cheaper competitors without such commitments, and being targeted for take-over by the slash-and-burn corporate raiders. Reinforced by the weight of the WTO…

    And finally, we must remember we already have power as consumers and as organisations forming strategic and increasingly influential alliances for change. They can insist on open markets as much as they like, but if consumers won’t buy, nothing on earth can make them. Just look at how European consumers have forced the biotech industry’s back up against the wall.

    We have to be political consumers, vigilante consumers. With the barrage of propaganda served up to us every day, we have to be. We must be wise enough so that – whatever they may decide at the trade talks – we know where to put our energy and our money. No matter what we’re told or cajoled to do, we must work together to get the truth out in co-operation for the best, not competition for the cheapest…”

    Worth having a look at the whole speech, which she gave in Seattle in 1999.

    Global trade without global responsibility is exploitation.

  7. RedLogix 9

    This kind of thing is infuriating:

    A Brisbane mining minnow that raised less than $750,000 from investors before inking a deal to buy a coalmine must now guarantee it can pay more than $120m to clean up the site upon closure.

    Batchfire Resources’ agreement to buy a central Queensland mine from Anglo American highlights a growing shift by global coal giants away from less-profitable mines, leaving the fate of expensive environmental rehabilitation in the hands of companies with far fewer resources.

    One analyst said this in turn raised the risks that taxpayers would ultimately be forced to bail out miners if they failed or “financial assurance” regimes run by state governments proved inadequate – as was found in a Queensland government report less than two years ago.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/29/coal-giants-abandon-unprofitable-mines-leaving-rehabilitation-under-threat

    Frankly I would see all the assets of Anglo-American stripped, including those of all the directors and anyone with a C in their job title. Then a 10 year prison term.

    Flagrant arrogance and criminality.

    • alwyn 9.1

      I don’t know whether it still exists but there was a company in New Zealand that raised a share capital of $2,000 dollars and then developed a series of on-shore and off-shore gas fields in New Zealand.
      Would you treat them the same way?

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        I don’t know about the example you have in mind. Insufficient information.

        But in this case the tactic being used here is a blatant attempt to avoid the cost of remediating the site, a liability Anglo clearly signed up to when it opened the site, by exploiting a legal loophole.

        Another tactic commonly used is to never actually close the site, but to put it in ‘care and maintenance’ with a skeleton security crew … thus the remediation requirement never kicks in.

        This is partly an industry problem. There are some miners who DO take their obligations, their ‘social license to operate’ obligations seriously; while others take the criminal path by devising dodges to avoid them. And part of it is a governance issue where politicians like Tony Abbott have been corrupted by the influence of big money to deliberately allow these loopholes to remain.

        The solution is not more footling with loopholes and legal maneuvers. Legislation that puts severe personal liability onto the senior decision makers in large corporates will modify behaviour quick smart.

        • alwyn 9.1.1.1

          It wasn’t a fair question. It actually existed although whether its share capital is the same today I don’t know.
          It was set up as Shell BP and Todd Oil Services Ltd and became Shell Todd Oil Services in 1990 when BP bought out Todd. It developed and ran Kapuni and Maui when it had that theoretical capital structure.
          And yes, the share capital really was $2,000.
          It is not in the category you are talking about though. At least I don’t think so.

          And yes, I agree with you about what companies can get up too. Rather like so many builders and developers who set up a different company for every building and then liquidate them to avoid such things as leaky building claims.

          Governments also get up to tricks though. BP have been screwed by the US Government, the State Governments and the US courts over the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
          Claim and you will receive seems to have been the result even for businesses that had closed down months before the spill ever happened.
          I am not trying to defend BP, who totally messed up there but as a foreign company they have been shafted. That affair will probably go on for another 25 years.

          • Molly 9.1.1.1.1

            Not one for linking are you Alwyn. A quick check on the Companies website shows that a company formed under this name in 1955 is still operating.

            And I don’t understand what your reference to “tricks” is. Do you have a link and/or explanation of what you mean?

            • alwyn 9.1.1.1.1.1

              “under this name in 1955 is still operating”
              Really?
              As you would see if you have read the comment you linked to it became “became Shell Todd Oil Services in 1990 when BP bought out Todd”. Do both the old and new name companies co-exist?

              However what I didn’t know was also in this comment. It was whether a $2,000 capital company still existed. As I say “whether its share capital is the same today I don’t know”.
              Did you manage to find that? I couldn’t so I put in the I don’t know bit.

    • Grim 9.2

      Wow, no law in place to ensure the company that created and profited from the pollution is held accountable?

      easy enough to setup a dummy company to buy out your site , and save you cleanup costs then.

      someone should look at who is connected to the new company, any connections to the Anglo Americans investors and lawyers

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      Along the same lines:

      And it incenses me that, once big agriculture had made a fortune out of our water, they handed us the bill to get it cleaned up again.

      This is called externalising costs. If there were any fair play – any real justice – at work here, polluters would pay for the costs incurred by their profiteering.

      But in New Zealand, they make you do it. It’s cheaper for Dame Sian to let her cows go wading in your lake than to fork out for farm dams or troughs, and too few people are angry enough to change that.

      We really, really do need to ensure that all costs of business are met by that business. The market doesn’t actually work unless they do.

  8. Draco T Bastard 10

    The Interregnum

    ‘The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear’ – Antonio Gramsci

    Is New Zealand’s political settlement beginning to fray? And does this mean we’re entering the interregnum, that ambiguous moment between society-wide discontent and political change? In BWB’s latest book of essays, edited by Morgan Godfery, ten of New Zealand’s sharpest emerging thinkers gather to debate the ‘morbid symptoms’ of the current moment, from precarious work to climate change, and to discuss what shape change might take, from ‘the politics of love’ to postcapitalism.

    The Interregnum interrogates the future from the perspective of the generation who will shape it.

    Looks like it will be worth the read.

  9. Graeme 11

    I’m intrigued by the language in this clip,

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/drinks/76335438/us-mans-simple-hack-to-save-on-costly-nespresso-pods

    The guy is obviously not an Obama voter, or a fan of “corporations”. Wonder if he realises that Nestle is a foreign trans-national corporation. That might have really got him going…

    The sovereignty issues that we’re concerned about will be just as great in USA as here. I just can’t see this going through. Foreign corporations able to run a ruler over US laws and able to sue US govt for favouring US firms, na, not going to fly…

  10. Molly 12

    One of the Five Eyes seems to be blinking…. a good article on The Intercept about Canada’s moves to protect citizen’s privacy before letting “key allies” access data.

    Canada cuts off some intelligence sharing with the US out of fear for Canadian’s privacy.

    Mind you, one of the comments below is probably fairly accurate:
    Wnt: “First law: Whenever a spy program becomes publicized, it will be discontinued, because spies don’t make a business of doing things that aren’t secret.

    Second law: When spies discontinue a program, it means one thing and one thing only: they’ve initiated some other program doing the same thing far more extensively.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      those pesky Lefties beating Harper out of government…

      • Puckish Rogue 12.1.1

        To be fair Harper was only in power for nine years, imagine if a right wing leader of NZ was in power for longer

      • Expat 12.1.2

        Wrong again

        The lefties didn’t get voted in, Harper got voted out, because he was so disliked by so many, too far to the right.

  11. alwyn 13

    I assume that Chris Trotter thinks that that kind Mr Key is trying to save the Green Party from their own foolishness?
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2016/01/arriving-from-or-departing-for-another.html
    Say “Thank you Mr Key”, Meteria.

    • weka 13.1

      Hard to say what Trotter is on about there tbh. Most of the article is basically saying that Treasury can’t be trusted (which is probably why the GP proposal is for an independent unit within Treasury). The bit at the end is nonsense, but I’d hazard a guess he is just taking the piss to make a point and isn’t really suggesting that the GP’s proposal is a lead in to forming govt with National.

    • Puckish Rogue 13.2

      Wow, I mean just wow

      I could say that’s harsh but that’s such an understatement

  12. Draco T Bastard 14

    Britain is at war with Yemen. So why does nobody know about it?

    Yemen is a human-made disaster, and the fingerprints of the west are all over it. Consider what a UN panel report seen by this newspaper has revealed: that airstrikes have targeted “civilians and civilian objects, in violation of humanitarian law”, including everything from refugee camps to schools to weddings to buses.

    The West is presently turning the ME into a bloodbath in an apparent attempt to boost one or two particular countries dominance of the area. This appears to be so that the US/UK can access all of the oil under the sands.

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