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Open mike 29/05/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 29th, 2012 - 69 comments
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Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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Step right up to the mike…

69 comments on “Open mike 29/05/2012”

  1. BillODrees 1

    A very well attended and effective Labour Regional Conference in Birkenhead this weekend. “Thank you” to those MPs who stayed to listen and contribute to the  long sessions on the “remits”.  Some good presentations by a couple of Senior MPs.

    • Aye.  The most interesting presentation was David Cunliffe’s clean tech presentation.  This addresses what may be the most significant weakness for Labour.  Last election in the wealthier areas support flooded to the greens because of perceived weaknesses with environmental policies.  Labour does have good policy in the area and Cunliffe’s presentation highlighted this.

      As we stumble into the future and environmental disasters start the environment will become the number one concern for the human race. 

      • ad 1.1.1

        Plus for those of us who enjoy democracy as an active sport, a really clear and unanimous direction that caucus should have a strong but minority say in who is the next leader. This will make for a good and crunchy labour conference in November. Great to feel us really building up for that, which is of course the launchpad for taking this country back from this principle-free meat-cleaver weilding bunch of beslabbering trolls known as Cabinet.

      • OneTrack 1.1.2

        Pinching more green party policies? Can’t he think of any of his own?

        • Colonial Viper

          Since the Greens can’t implement their own policies, Labour can give them a kindly hand to do so.

      • Labour will never have an adequate environmental policy for people who actually care about the environment as one of their issues, and should simply concede the fact that they’ll please more people by saying their environmental policies will be developed in coalition with the Greens. 😛

  2. ad 2

    Nice to hear Shearer this morning on National Radio with well-phrased opints, clean diction, and some snap to the style. I like this kind of Shearer. Particularly if it takes the Banks-like rhetorical sheen off Parata. As this site noted yesterday – National seem utterly tone deaf on education across the entire field.

    • Agreed. Shearer did well.

      His minions could learn something about social media though.  They really need to start to creating the brand and pushing the image.  The stuff that is out there is pretty lame.

      • BillODrees 2.1.1

        “They”, “his minions”, are not up to it.  Everybody accepts that “they” got it wrong under Phil.   Shearer needs to look wider for advice.

      • BillODrees 2.1.2

        “They”, “his minions”, are not up to it.  Everybody accepts that “they” got it wrong under Phil.   Shearer needs to look wider for advice.

  3. BillODrees 3

    The continual abysmal performance at forecasting by Treasury officials, and the stunning debacle in the shrinking of teacher numbers, begs two questions:
    1. Why would you allow this failed Treasury department to set Education Policy?
    2.  Did these Treasury officials attend schools with very big class sizes?

    • Teachers I know are incensed.  For the past few years they have been indifferent to Labour but now they are ready to roll.

      Key’s setting up of a working party is an admission they stuffed this up.  Their line “90% of schools will either gain a teacher or lose a teacher” is shown to be spin and is being drowned out by the horror stories coming out of Intermediate schools.

      I really get the impression that they blundered here and did not understand what they were doing.

      Helen would never have made such a serious mistake. 

      • freedom 3.1.1

        i’m just waiting for Key to share how he ‘only heard about it the day before’

      • Lanthanide 3.1.2

        When Parata got such a grilling over how many teachers were going to lose their jobs as a result of the change, they should have stopped to think “oh, seems like we’ve hit a nerve this time” and re-considered. I guess by that point the budget had already been printed, though.

    • Bored 3.2

      Billodress, you need to examine the real role of “economists” to our political economy. In Roman times the Ponitfex Maximus and a cotery of “priests” would divine the future by reading chicken entrails etc. All states present and past have had a preisthood who have the role of giving the system of state and its political and economic decision process the chimera of validity, by association with the all powerful (God) who is the only one who can know the future. It is highly important to all societies that legitimacy has a basis, and this is the role of todays economist.

      The “Enlightenment” saw a diminution in the acceptance of the “divine” in terms of cause and effect, rational thought and the rise of scientific empiricism challenged the role of God will (interpreted by the presithood) as a justification rulers decisions. The gap had to be closed before authority and decision became individual, and to the rescue rode Adam Smith with his “invisible hand”, bringing deity back via the “market”. These artificial constructs required preists, all religions do. Economists grew out of history departments where the past was usefully being compared to predict the future, constructed theories and when asked to prove them by sceptics invented a mathematical process called econometrics. Hence the rise of the modern economist, the role to provide legitimacy to the decisions of state.

      You will note I said legitimacy: to do so you have to claim rectitude on some divine basis (such as market rationalism). Being correct is something that evades economists, because like religion their rational has no empirically proven basis, it is all supposition and faith. Accuracy is entirely arbitrary and coincidental.

      So to answer both your questions: reality does not matter to Treasury, that is not their role. They may have had one reality demanded of them, that of saving cash. That is a less divine peice of empiricism, it merely requires some mechanical book keeping. The real costs will not be able to be predicted by these idiots, you and I can predict the outcomes easily enough.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        Economics today and, by extension, Treasury, is even worse than that, because their role is to defend why a few people are rich and everyone else is poor. To, quite simply, defend the dictatorship that results from capitalism. Everyone goes on about the invisible hand of Smith’s but the one line that stuck when I read The Wealth of Nations went something like It is the right of the rich to command the poor which, given the context of the paragraphs around it meant the right of the rich to appropriate the wealth created by the poor (labour theory of value) which is probably what really made him popular with the governing classes – they were rich after all.

        Oh, and as for what Smith actually said about the invisible hand:

        “As every individual … therefore, endeavours as much as he can, both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce maybe of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the general [Smith said “public” not general] interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain; and he is in this, [as in many other cases] led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

        Yeah, not a hell of a lot about free-international trade and capitalism in there but plenty about supporting the local society though.

        • Bored

          Yes you are right Draco, the interests of the priesthood always support that of the ruling class. In capitalist countries it is that those who own property and the means of production. In the formerly communist countries the commissars of the Party represented the nomenklatur who claimed ownership on behalf of the”people”. Interestingly both sides have a deity with prophets and terminology to reflect this.

          I always laugh at Gos and the market fundamentalists when they have a go at socialism and communism: both have mirror images of each other such as the “invisible hand” and “dialectic materialism”, or Smith and Marx as prophets. The way I see it this represents both sides of the same debased coin, you might as well attack yourself, there is no difference. Even funnier is the fact that in either of these extreme models the same people will form the same privileged class of fat cats and courtiers. These are the people the priests serve and justify.

          So where to? View reality first and then steer the appropriate course to your preferred destination. My destination point is called equity, fairness and compassion.

          • DH

            What I see as the major fault with economics today is you get armies of people who can’t think for themselves. They’re called economists but they’re not really, they’re just regurgitating what they were taught and parroting what they think their mentors would have said or done. That results in an absence of innovation and problem solving.

            A good example is this present Govt. There’s a need to both stimulate the economy with carefully targeted extra spending and to cut spending but for the beancounters at Treasury the two are ideologically incompatible with each other so they can’t conceive it. In business we do that all the time but economists are so rigidly stuck to their particular dogma they can’t think outside the square. They’re an incredibly dull and uninspiring bunch.

  4. Michael Valley who wrote on this blog a couple of times about how we should “liberate” all those countries with poor brown people would have made a great case out of the Massacre of Houla in Syria and would have no doubt volunteered the NZ army to help them poor brown Muslim people out.

    Except the BBC showed pictures from Victims of the war in Iraq made after the invasion of that country by the coalition of the killing in 2003 and it turns out that it is civilian militia’s armed by the US who are doing door to door killing in Syria.

    Armed I might add via those paragons of civil liberty the Sheik of Bahrain and the King of Saudi Arabia.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      What are you actually saying here? Your point is kind of confused.

      The report from the Hill is only 4 days old. Are you suggesting, what?

      It’s no surprise that regional countries are making havoc in Syria. It would be surprising if they weren’t. They have interests there.

      You can cry about that, or spread strange points and allegations about the place trying to muddy the picture, but to what end?

  5. Jane Clifton wrote on The Conservative Party: Creative creationists?

    The “polls” that catapulted the Conservatives into prominence barely deserve the name.

    The source of the word about the poll? The Conservative Party, which had its eye on Act’s voters – such as they were by then. Then word got around of another poll, showing Craig ahead in the Rodney electorate. Source of the poll? Again, the Conservative Party. Well, good news should be shared, shouldn’t it?

    In the rush of the election campaign, the provenance of the polls was never examined by the media.

    There was one small poll during the election on Ohariu that precipitated reports of uncertainty. It wasn’t the only thing affecting the outcome, but it could have been significant. Was this the kneecapping of United Future?

    An is this just a part of our democracy we have to accept as the way things are? Or can media be made more accountable? And can we have some moderation of election polling?

    • Jackal 5.1

      Well there certainly needs to be Pete George. The Dim Post has a great chart by Peter Green that shows the inaccuracy (particularly with National) of polling since 2005. Between the 2008 election and the last one, all but one poll has placed National higher in the polls than what they actually attained in the election.

      It’s likely that some people will vote in accordance with polling, or perhaps not vote at all if it looks like a landslide. I recall the rightwing pundits claiming it would be a landslide, based on the polls. Now we’re seeing a raft of negative legislation being passed by one effing vote. That’s not democracy, that’s a bunch of devious politicians and their cohorts that have manipulated the public.

      There is no doubt that National is going against what the vast majority of New Zealanders want, and their dictatorship is being reflected in recent polling… albeit still bias towards what can only be described as a failed government with too many broken promises to list.

    • felix 5.2

      I agree Pete, it’s disturbing how much influence the polls seem to be capable of. They’re supposed to be a measurement, not a campaign tool.

      One aspect I particularly dislike is the reporting of numbers as a percentage of 100 when they are no such thing. Perhaps one step in the right direction would be to report the “undecideds” along with the “decideds” as a true percentage.

  6. John72 6

    Return to the subject of student loans, moral standards, this generation’s inherited hardships.
    Have met a student, on a loan, living at home and sharing his bed with girfriend. He never, makes his bed or tidys room,never washes clothes,never does any housework except washing dishes ocassionally when asked .Does not do any gardening, mow lawns etc. Does not get up in time for breakfast so buys something in town. Showers inconsistently.
    I will not embarrass anyone with further detail.
    Is this an acceptable norm. for the youth of today ?

    • ianmac 6.1

      You will be forgiven John72. You will find as you age it will become easier to rise from your bed. The girl will move on and you will feel loss but you will survive and as you clean yourself up, dress better and get those lawns mown a bright light will send you aglow. There is a way forward John.
      You will be Born Again! Bless you John.

      • John72 6.1.1

        ianmac, please note, my first line defined the subject. this included “this generation’s inherited hardships”. 50 years ago a student did not have time to live with this weeks girlfriend. He did not have a student loan. He was always up, washed, tidy and dressed before breakfast. I was mowing the lawns at home by the time I was 14 and learning to cook my own meals.
        Am I baiting you or are you baiting me?

        • Pascal's bookie

          yep. say what you like about students in the sixties, but you have to say they were always well washed, worked hard, lived clean and kept well clear of that James K Baxter chappie, who was also well turned out, well fed and did not come out of the university system no he didn’t so stop saying that.

        • Draco T Bastard

          50 years ago a student did not have time to live with this weeks girlfriend.

          Oh, I’m sure he had the time but the parents wouldn’t have let her stay at their place.

          He did not have a student loan.

          Well, no, they generally weren’t available then and they probably didn’t need one either.

          He was always up, washed, tidy and dressed before breakfast.

          Sounds like he still is. He’s just not having breakfast at the same time as the parents.

          I was mowing the lawns at home by the time I was 14 and learning to cook my own meals.


        • Uturn

          We all bait each other here, don’t worry about it. I am constantly under the strain of the “inherited hardship” of the previous generation. All that rock n roll free love attitude, normalised in my lifetime, has made me arrogant and stupid. Pop music and advertsing born in the fifties and sixties and honed on the minds of subsequent generations has made me want to go out and enjoy myself all the time, smoke cigarettes, sunbathe on tropical islands and never ask how or why.

          That is unless you and I get together and stop the rot! But first, a cup of tea.

          Just this morning I was listening to Billy Corgan tear his heart out, it sounding just like it did in 1994 and I thought, “Billy, you can write some good music, but your thinking is a bit bald.” I’m getting old, you see. An uncertain future and a glorious past continually conspire to rob me of my present and my sanity. The next generation, assailed by pop culture experts like Rebecca Black and Ke$ha, don’t stand a chance.

        • ianmac

          Just kidding John. One of my family was a bit like your case but it seems that he was suffering from depression at that time and now he works hard, has been headhunted to a new firm, and totally independently chosen to not drink for two months. Agonising to watch the difficulties but it was not simply clear cut in our day 3 X score years ago either. We just choose to forget, luckily.

          • John72

            I must confess, I never reminisce about a misspent youth on tropical beaches or in asian brothels.
            It was riding a bike to work for 30 years that fed the family. The turning point is hard and lonely.

            • Uturn

              Your family ate your bike? That’s luxury! When I was your age I had to get up an hour before I went to sleep, fed my brothers on broken glass and sliced off my feet to avoid frostbite before hobbling ten miles to work. You kids have it easy.

    • NickS 6.2

      I so <3 morons extrapolating from one case as though it were a reflection on a whole population.

      Tip – go back and do basic statistics.

      Tip 2 – failure to tell the whole story here leaves me wondering if you're lying by omission, especially as the behavioural patterns are indicative of high stress or depression etc etc. Or it could just be plain old lazy parenting.

      • John72 6.2.1

        NickS: “Basic statistics” Refer to The Press May 30, Page B5. The article states that in Britian, 60 years ago, 5% of children were born to unmarried mothers. Today 47% are. I assume that figures would be similar for New Zealand, especially with the benefit for the Solo Mother. The author then states that children were happier 60 years ago. This is something that can not be measured but I am frequently seeing and hearing of children who who want to know or need to know their father. There will always be bad fathers, but the media does not give the good ones any credit, and most of them are good. Remember, good parents do not just “Happen”. It is a learning experience for Mum and Dad and the more they put into it the more they enjoy it. Hollywood and TV has created this fanciful image of “They all lived happily ever after”, which is lazy and unreal.
        Life is difficult. But in acknowledging this we conquer it.
        Withour danger, danger cannot be surmounted.
        Life is an adventure. Go out and enjoy this life.
        There will always be someone better off than you BUT there are millions worse off. ENVY will only spoil your life and make those around you unhappy. It will not earn you respect.

        Before arising try and think of something pleasant to say about a friend or relation. Something different. You do not have to pass it on.

  7. $9.95 million set aside in the last budget for hospitality at the Rugby World Cup. Yet so few dignitaries attended.
    Still, the budget blew out to $15 million. WTF?

    Talk about welfare entitlements!

  8. muzza 8

    Greek voters face a choice between supporting a review of the country’s aid package or the “blind and catastrophic” route of terminating the deal unilaterally, Evangelos Venizelos, Pasok’s leader, said. Charles Dallara, head of the Washington-based Institute of International Finance, said the cost of Greece exiting the euro would probably exceed €1 trillion

    “Greek opinion polls showed voters warming to parties supporting the European Union’s bailout agreement as political leaders at home and abroad warned of economic catastrophe should the single currency fragment”

    — Use of words such as catastrophe, the propaganda lies have begun again…Anyone who believes this stuff, is an imbicile!

    — Institute for International Finance….Sounds convincing doesn’t it!

  9. prism 9

    Mustn’t be too definite about wanting more private input to biosecurity and research. Difficult when the mantra is that government shouldn’t be involved in things yet they have been supplying this essential service to our modern, forward-moving, clever (best in the world) farmers.

    A World Wildlife anti report has brought out the staunch farmers, their haloes and excuses polished, though they won’t admit that there is a nasty group that will do little about pollution or not enough to comply as required. One guy I heard about has had native shrubs planted by his creek bed then sends his animals down there to use it as fodder.

    The FedFarmers say that thirty years ago they were encouraged to do things that are now frowned on, and apparently it’s too short a period to make adjustments to such swingeing change. Though dairy farmers can move quickly to overstock and tie up any water they can get hold of and import extra stock food of palm kernel matter that has come from cutting down native trees in other countries on land that’s then taken over for private plantations. They can learn quickly when there is personal gain.

    My question is how could PSA get here in pollen if our systems are so good as we are regularly advised? And why has there not been a reliable marker for tuberculosis in cows developed? Recently I heard of a whole herd which had to go when one cow case was found.

  10. joe90 10

    China Daily: Human Rights Record of United States in 2011.

    The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011 on May 24, 2012. As in previous years, the reports are full of over-critical remarks on the human rights situation in nearly 200 countries and regions as well as distortions and accusations concerning the human rights cause in China. However, the United States turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and kept silent about it. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the United States to people across the world and urge the United States to face up to its own doings.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    An interesting video on the hemispheres of the brain and what we’ve done to society.

    • Uturn 11.1

      Very good. Looks like we’ve become high-tech barbarians!

    • joe90 11.2

      Watched it after dinner this evening. Cool, thanks DtB.

    • Olwyn 11.3

      That is just lovely. It is pessimistic about where we are to be sure, but it also conceptualises a way out of it.

  12. The WWF report cannot be ignored, especially when the government’s own Environment Commissioner supports the content. In terms of our carbon emissions, Solid Energies plans to dig up the lignite in Southland will increase them by 10-20%. Coal Action Murihiku today left a visible reminder to the Gore community of what Solid Energy plans to do on their back door!

    • Bored 12.1

      I heard the Shonkster on the radio claiming vast progress through the expenditure of massive amounts to save the planet from global catastrophe. All well rehearsed snake oil, a lot of wind amounting to nothing bar a salve for the idiots who believe him. Alarmingly he had zip to say re bio diversity and the loss of species, totally oblivious or more likely deliberately disinterested.

      Its getting trite to say the least and the hollow man is becoming more vacuous each time he displays his psychopathic contempt for anything not John. Keep the heat on the creep, Johnnygrad is freezing over and will surely crack.

  13. Bored, the Greens are putting on the heat in the house, asking daily questions about the evidence or science base for National’s roading developments or lack of urgency for environmental action. the replies are full of evasions and non answers. The cracks are appearing and we are becoming aware that there is no evidence or research basis to their governance, just rough guesses, ideological faith and pure ignorance. We just need mainstream media to focus on the cracks and we will have a government revealed in all its naked glory.

  14. NickS 14


    This shouldn’t be happening, we’re a relatively well off, non-economic basket case nation, with a long history of trying to take care of our poor via government welfare, and yet this is still happening.

    And National has the stupidity to claim they care.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Such is the result of the “free-market” dogma which has descended upon us since the 1980s.

      • OneTrack 14.1.1

        And it’s nothing to do with the parents not looking after their own kids and/or not claiming all the multitude of government benefits that are available.

      • Reagan Cline 14.1.2

        Not only has the machinery of our blindly watchmade brains geared us to do unspeakable things to society, Bastard, but we have pathetically succumbed to “free market” dogma while irreversibly altering planetary systems to the detriment of all but the Archaea.

        We, we, we, we are bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, Bastard, so we should suffer as the machine dictates and feel guilty, guilty.

        Load of crap, get outside and smell the daisies.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Have you actually got anything to say or are you just going to talk shit as per usual?

          • NickS

            Whelp, shit is the only thing his mess of a brain can manage don’tcha know.

  15. Logie97 15


    For weeks now I have been repulsed by the reporting of court proceedings of assaults and the journalists repeating the details of the charges and evidence. I have found the gruesome facts quite disturbing and wondering why I need to be hearing such detail. And now this …


    The accused has been found not guilty.

    Thus I didn’t need to be told repeatedly what didn’t even happen.

    • NickS 15.1

      And the worst part? She shouldn’t have died from HIV caused complications if she’d been given anti-retrovirals, for which some is very much at fault for not doing the bloody blood work and tests on the kid to work out what was wrong with her.

      • Logie97 15.1.1

        That is as maybe NickS.
        I am commenting on the fact that the reporting of court room deliberations are repeated ad nauseum (usually with, in my opinion, unnecessary detail).

        If a court finds a guilty verdict, then the details of the offence will be a matter of record and those interested can surely research them. But cut the daily assault on our hearing …

    • There is a dilemma with reporting court cases. We need justice to be seen to be done. So the courts are generally open to the public. But few people have the time or inclination to go. So the media fulfill that role.
      That poses the dilemma. We see the trial not as a process but as edited highlights selected by criteria that we not informed of, by people  we don’t now, in circumstances we are unaware of.
      Our evaluation of what took place is hampered by seeing it through the eyes of a host of people.

  16. Australia expels Syrian diplomats. Considering that the Syrian embassy in Canberra is also our embassy was this discusses with MFAT?
    If it was, was there anyone at MFAT to answer the phone?
    If they ran it passed the Minister of Buffoonery, did he tell them not to do it? In the same way he blamed Sea Shepherd for having their boat rammed?
    Oh, for the days when we thought nothing of sending warships into test zones!

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