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Open mike 29/12/2014

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, December 29th, 2014 - 75 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeThe Authors of the Standard are now in holiday mode. Posting will be less regular and dependant on individual author enthusiasm. Open mike will continue every day and prepare yourself for some year in review posts and some recycling of old stuff. And as R0b has said be nice to each other.

Open mike is your post.

The Standard is not a conspiracy – just a welcome outlet for the expression of views. Leaders that command respect will not be undermined by this.

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

Step up to the mike …

75 comments on “Open mike 29/12/2014 ”

  1. what will bill english do when his pope issues his edict/call to climate-change action for all catholics..?

    ..will he obey his spiritual-master..?

    ..or his temporal-master..?

    • Paul 1.1

      Here is the article about this story.

      And an excerpt.

      ‘In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting of Latin American and Asian landless peasants and other social movements: “An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

      “The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

      Maybe Bill English should an evangelical church (Destiny?) as it would appear they are happy to see the world destroyed.

      ‘Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

      “The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”’


    • Skinny 1.2

      Sounds like Mike Sabin is a good practicing catholic ‘gets drunk on a Saturday night, has a domestic incident and goes to church on a Sunday and washes his sins away’ in typical catholic fashion.

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        proof for domestic incident allegation skinny?

      • Skinny 1.2.2

        Oh for goodness sake Tracy why you persist in defending Sabin’s honour is beyond me. His mug is plastered all over this site, in the newspapers. Why your intent on demanding proof of any wrong doings by this right wing mongrel beggars belief.

        [karol: it’s a legal thing, skinny. If you publish allegations on TS, without publicly available evidence, then TS trustees (mainly Lynn) will be the ones called up to account for it in any defamation proceedings. It’s not about politics but TS authors and mods protecting the site owners from lengthy and possibly costly law suits.]

        • Skinny

          Yes point taken Karol.

          As I understand there is a police investigation underway involving Sabin and a domestic incident. The police are using police investigators outside the Northland region due to Sabin being a former police officer. Sabin has made no comment and rather excise his right to silence. A real man would front up and end speculation.

          • karol

            Is “domestic incident” explicitly stated in the published reports?

            • Skinny

              i guess the operative word is ‘an alleged domestic incident’ in saying that I have a close friend (police prosecutor) that I socialise with, you get off the record comments about internal goings on.

              I think Sabin has more to worry about than my ranting, however if he take exception feel free to forward my name which makes up my email addy. I gave him a torrid time during the election campaign so not a problem renewing the battle.

              • karol

                As a general rule for TS – from memory, Lynn’s comments in the past have been that it is TS’s trustees that will be dragged to court, not the commenter. And Lynn says an off the record statement to a commenter is not something he can verify – he needs publicly available evidence to be assured he is not going to be dragged through the courts.

                • Skinny

                  In the case of Sabin here, very highly unlikely any action would even be considered. In the unlikely event should any defamation action be taken it would fall over at the first hurdle by simply failing the test. Public interest, smoke & fire.

                  Enough said and out of respect I’ll park it.

                  [lprent: Read our privacy policy. It still wouldn’t allow me to use your details. And I would still be liable for publishing it even if you did release them. Out of pure self-protection we usually just ban people who put us at risk.

                  Thank you. ]

                  • Lanthanide

                    “In the unlikely event should any defamation action be taken it would fall over at the first hurdle by simply failing the test. Public interest, smoke & fire.”

                    Er, “public interest” doesn’t mean you get to start rumours and make shit up. That’s kind of the point of “defamation”. See also: Clark calling that guy a murderer when he was convicted of manslaughter.

                • Bill

                  What if a comment begins ‘A man with a dog down the pub I was talking to reckoned that….’ type lead in?

                  Then, as long as it wasn’t an utterly objectionable comment that would be deleted or edited anyway, there really wouldn’t seem to be any point of traction for any would be, so it is alleged, sheep shagger, no?

                  • karol

                    I have just stated the rulings as I understand them. I’ll leave it for those with a better legal knowledge than me to answer Bill and skinny’s questions.

                    • Bill

                      Sorry Karol. My comment was intended more as absent musing than anything demanding definitive answers. Anyway…

                • lprent

                  Yep. Amongst other reasons because the privacy rules we run with mean that we won’t be releasing commenter details.

          • Lanthanide

            “Sabin has made no comment and rather excise his right to silence. A real man would front up and end speculation.”

            And a sensible one would follow his lawyers advice, which is almost invariably, not to comment in the media…

        • Bill

          Way I’m reading that comment from Skinny, the only actionable bit would be the allegation that he (Sabin) is a good practicing Catholic.

          The rest of the comment, within the inverted commas, is a caricature of Catholicism and Catholics in a general sense…and I can’t see the Pope or any other official voice of the Catholic Church being overly concerned.

          Anyway, in a more general sense, the thing about being careful, is that it can become guided by fear and result in an unwarranted silence.

          Maybe people should learn when to use little qualifiers to distance themselves from content that effectively run along the lines of ‘I heard/hear that…’, or ‘I wouldn’t ever say/contend that…’ or ‘Did you hear that…’ (Then of course, there are the hook slipping ‘allegedly’, ‘presumably’, ‘understandably’ ‘maybe’ etc)

          • lprent

            If I see a concerted attempt to leak information or spread a meme unbacked by verifiable facts then I’d clamp down on it. I really don’t like insinuation trolling.

    • Clemgeopin 1.3

      Good question : Faithful to spiritual God or appease the temporal Dogs? Divided loyalty…..A conscience killer!

  2. Lindsey 2

    He will probably do what most Catholic women do about the birth control edicts – ignore it.

  3. lprent 3

    Test comment, just to make sure that the server saves them

    Ok. Welcome to the alternate server. I’ll watch it for a little while to make sure that it doesn’t have memory or CPU issues.

    But it looks like time to wake up Lyn and hit the road again

  4. did you know that we have joined up with china and russia..

    ..in the upcoming currency-war with america..?

    ..i didn’t know that..

    “..From December 29 China – Russia – Malaysia – and New Zealand –

    – will start the usage of national currencies in mutual transactions.

    Beijing hopes to make the yuan an alternative to the US dollar in global trade..”



    ..(has anyone told peters..?..he should go into yellow-peril overdrive at this news..

    ..but our gummint has kept this significant move very quiet..haven’t they..?..

    ..i wonder why..?..

    ..(and our mainstream media seems to have been caught flat-footed..)

    ..and gee..!..i hope it won’t make for awkward moments on the golf courses of hawaii..eh..?..

    ..elderly americans cd throw their golf clubs at him..

    ..and call him a ‘commie’…eh..?..

    ..he might even have to come home early..eh..?..)

    ..so this is why he took his security-detail with him..eh..?..

    • rawshark-yeshe 4.1

      PU .. John Key arranged this for NZ when he was in China earlier in the year .. he permitted the direct exchange between renminbi/yuan and NZ dollar. After the public announcement in China, Key said he would become a money-trader again ( or still!) and play the market between the two currencies .. and was forced a few minutes later to say he was ‘only joking’. Sleazy fool he really is.

      Beware this link .. it has the smuggest image ever of Key .. and that is really saying something .. unctuous and unclean even …

      “You can now convert New Zealand dollars into renminbi, if you are of such a mind to do so. So, life after politics, I might go back to the foreign exchange markets and smack around the renminbi. Maybe not.”


    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      The China Foreign Exchange Trade System has announced that since December 29, China, Russia, Malaysia and New Zealand will start the usage of national currencies in mutual transactions.

      Now that is interesting but I don’t think that it will have the effect that China hopes it will. The actual effect would be a move to truly floating international currencies and the removal of the reserve currency.

      • nadis 4.2.1

        What is treated as a reserve currency is more about perception than anything else, and its not primarily about the currency (as long as it is freely convertible), it is more about the size and liquidity of domestic debt markets.

        Given the size and legal structure of the US economy, the USD is the reserve currency of choice and will remain so for some time. My opinion is that until China is similar in size and global trade origination to the US the USD will remain paramount. And until China has a functioning domestic debt market and banking sector that is attractive to foreign investors (they need to park their reserve renmimbi somewhere) they won’t be the major reserve currency. And China still has currency controls which excludes it as a sensible choice anyway. But many central banks now hold some RMB as part of their reserves portfolio.

        The obvious sign for us in the street will be when commodities, global trade and alibaba start pricing in RMB rather than USD.

        • Draco T Bastard

          What is treated as a reserve currency is more about perception than anything else, and its not primarily about the currency (as long as it is freely convertible), it is more about the size and liquidity of domestic debt markets.

          I’m sure that the private banks love you for believing such crap but you’re wrong. Money is an unfulfilled demand upon a countries resources. Once that demand is fulfilled the money should cease to exist. The fact that it’s not this way is just part of the delusional financial system that we have.

          My opinion is that until China is similar in size and global trade origination to the US the USD will remain paramount.

          It’s official: America is now No. 2

          There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.

          It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.

          And until China has a functioning domestic debt market and banking sector that is attractive to foreign investors (they need to park their reserve renmimbi somewhere) they won’t be the major reserve currency.

          There shouldn’t be a reserve currency at all.

          • nadis

            mate – your very long qualifiers like “shouldn’t be” and “should be”. Meanwhile, here in the real world the USD is still the reserve currency for the globe and the RMB is decades off the same status.

            And do I really need to explain the difference between GDP measured on a PPP basis versus a real basis? PPP basis is great when your gdp per capita is less than 10% of the USA.

            On a real basis the GDP of the US is still over twice the size of China.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Meanwhile, here in the real world the USD is still the reserve currency for the globe and the RMB is decades off the same status.

              That’s just it – it’s not the ‘real world’ but the one that we’ve made up that conforms to how we want things to be.

              And do I really need to explain the difference between GDP measured on a PPP basis versus a real basis?

              Nope, the article I linked to explains why it’s a better measure. Not that I needed the article to know that anyway as I worked it out some years ago. It’s obvious when you think about it. If I pay $100 for an item in NZ that someone in India pays 10 rupees for then it’s obvious that we just paid the same amount because we got the same item. The value of the item doesn’t change from place to place.

              On a real basis the GDP of the US is still over twice the size of China.

              Nope. On a real basis China is larger. Basically, they produce more than the US.

            • Colonial Viper

              The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

              As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

              To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

              This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.

              I agree the USA may still be the bigger economy by some specific measures. But the trend is clear: China is the one with the economic momentum.


              Also consider this (my emphasis):

              PPP is the real way of comparing economies. It is one reported by the IMF and was, for example, the one used by McKinsey & Co. consultants back in the 1990s when they undertook a study of economic productivity on behalf of the British government.

              Yes, when you look at mere international exchange rates, the U.S. economy remains bigger than that of China, allegedly by almost 70%. But such measures, although they are widely followed, are largely meaningless.

              • nadis

                Sure China has the momentum, and on every measure except gdp per capita, China will surpass the US by probably 2025. An extra 1.1 billion people does that for you.

                PPP is not the only legitimate way to compare economies. If we are talking about international trade and capital flows (which I thought we were) then market based GDP is more appropriate.

                If I want a big mac from New York then I have to pay New York prices, the fact I can buy 3 in China for the same price is irrelevant, I want a NY one.

                For any goods, services, valuations that are not substitutable by a local alternative (think commodities for instance) then PPP is irrelevant.

                On a PPP GDP basis, Equatorial Guinea ranks higher than NZ. You telling me that shitehole (60% of the country doesnt have access to clean water, child mortality rate = 50%) really ranks ahead of NZ on any useful measure? It’s the EM effect on PPP GDP, less developed countries rank much higher than developed countries for many reasons, but most significantly because PPP only applies to the non-tradeable sector (EM countries typically have much greater proportion of non-tradeables than developed) differences in quality of goods and services (house vs shack) etc.

                I’m confident – when talking about trade, capital flows investment flows etc use market based GDP. When comparing the LOCAL purchasing power use PPP measures. But you cant take Equatorial Guinea PPP and spend it in NZ, you can only spend it in Africa.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  So you’ve told me that people want to buy and eat their Big Mac where they happen to be at the time. And that GDP (PPP or otherwise) doesn’t cover many aspects of quality of life. That’s not exactly a revelation, is it.

  5. Here is a doco which people could watch if they want a complete picture of our weather. Not saying we don’t have problems with the weather due to human activities but what if some of that activity was actually geared towards manipulating weather patterns? Chemtrails: the secret war

    • is that you..?..col craig..?..

    • TheContrarian 5.2

      People still believe the chemtrail thing? Wow.

      • phillip ure 5.2.1

        well..there’s trav..and col craig..

        ..that makes two..

        ..any other takers out there..?

        ..keen/willing to sign up..?

        ..to scanning the skies nervously..?

        ..i understand the thing with the chem-trails crew..

        ..is eternal vigilance..

        ..chiropracters make a fortune off them..

        ..all that looking up is not good for the neck..

        ..(and..f.y.i.. i am told that is why col craig walks funny…

        ..his natural equilibrium is shot..

        ..from too much chem-trail hunting/spotting..

        ..too much looking up while perambulating forward..

        ..that’s where the involuntary crab-motion comes from..)


      • BassGuy 5.2.2

        Early this year, I saw a most impressive set of contrails over my house.

        I emailed a copy of the photos to my father, who posted back a rant about chemtrails. I had no idea what he was talking about, and so looked it up.

        I thought it was a well-constructed joke for the first couple of pages that I browsed through, then I came across one where the owner was talking about using psychic energy to help the Sylph maintain it’s integrity against the airline pilot – apparently there’s some kind of war going on there? The same guy talks about using white vinegar in a spray bottle, to dilute the evil CIA chemicals that were being sprayed.

        Hmm. A friend-of-a-friend just recently completed his airline pilot training. I should ask him how many classes he had on chemtrail dumping. (If I vanish you’ll know why!)

        • Lanthanide

          The best parts are the glimpses of her lawn, covered in brown patches of dead grass…

          • phillip ure

            i’m predicting a run on vinegar..by conservative party supporters esp…

            ..and now you know what to give col for birthdays/xmas..

            ..a vinegar spray-set..

            (and only watch up until ‘we’re an unusual family’..the rest is just more of the same..

            ..there is no climax built up to..


          • BassGuy

            I have no words for that.I’ve had a good couple of hours to think about what I saw in that video, and I’m stumped. It’s still left me speechless.

            I did get a good laugh out of that lawn, though!

    • short answer..plse trav..

      ..who..?..and why..?

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books. Authors Turn Up Noses.

    Amazon, though, may be willing to forgo some income in the short term to create a service that draws readers in and encourages them to buy other items. The books, in that sense, are loss leaders, although the writers take the loss, not Amazon.

    Modern capitalism defined perfectly.

    Thing is, that’s how it’s always been. The producers are screwed over so that the bludgers, in the form of shareholders or aristocrats (there isn’t any actual difference between the two), can have more.

    • greywarshark 6.1

      Yeah DTB everything is compost under capitalism. But that just provides fertile soil for the rose of socialism. We will all arise smelling of roses.

  7. Penny Bright 7

    Hi folks!

    My Xmas grrrly swot has discovered some information about local government, in which some of you may be interested?

    Local government: Results of the 2012/13 audits


    “Setting rates

    During the year, it became apparent that there were several widespread problems with rating practices.

    Our audit work on rates revenue found that most local authorities had some level of compliance failure.

    Problems ranged from potentially serious legislative breaches, which created a significant financial risk to the local authority’s revenue, through to low-risk legal breaches.

    The problems we saw were related to all aspects of the rating legislation.

    Many of the problems seem to have arisen because of insufficient attention to legal requirements.

    The power to rate comes with obligations that need to be given the appropriate level of attention.

    It is important that local authorities use their legal powers to impose rates on their communities properly. ……… ”

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

    • greywarshark 7.1

      I wonder if these rating misdemeanours are as a result of not complying strictly with shitty ACT instituted legislature that would tighten up local bodies desires to create business, attract tourists, hold community events etc. That is all the interesting things that make life attractive.

      But probably it would have allowed expensive stadiums sich as Dunedin’s to be built ushered in by determined self-interested councillors funding their own enthusiasms.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Good luck reversing any of the decisions made: they’ll have papered over the cracks by now: a fait accompli.

  8. Clemgeopin 8

    Pope Francis reveals top 10 secrets to happiness:


  9. Penny Bright 9

    How to help ensure that elected representatives at local government level make decisions that comply with the ‘Rule of Law’?

    A simple suggestion – which I think would make a HUGE difference – what do you think?

    In my considered opinion, Councils should employ competent in-house lawyers, who are specialised in LOCAL GOVERNMENT law, and legislation that particularly pertains to Local Government.

    Before local government elected representatives ‘put their mind’ to any matter, in my opinion, they should first be briefed by their competent in-house lawyer, who draws their collective attention to the underpinning LAW that covers that matter.

    That way, elected representatives at local government level, (most of whom will NOT be lawyers), can help ensure that the ‘Rule of Law’, which they swore to the public that they would uphold, will be followed.

    That will help to prevent elected representatives at local government level from relying upon the advice of senior Council staff, who also are not necessarily lawyers, and who, in my opinion, and indeed experience, often tend to just ‘make it up’.

    If elected representatives at local government level, from the outset, act according to the ‘Rule of Law’, then that should help stop having to fix a multitude of stuff-ups further down the track, from NOT following the ‘Rule of Law’?

    Wouldn’t this be a very simple solution?

    That way, elected representatives would become VERY familiar with their statutory legal obligations?

    If you don’t agree- then how would YOU fix this problem?


    Here is what is said in the Local government: Results of the 2012/13 audits, regarding ‘legal advice’:

    http://www.oag.govt.nz/2014/local-govt/docs/local-govt.pdf (Pg 11)

    “Legal advice

    1.16 Managing legal risk is vital for public entities that exercise public power and spend public money.

    Legislative obligations affect all aspects of a local authority’s work – how it operates, consults, runs meetings, makes decisions, and carries out what it actually does. Internal rules, such as organisational policies and delegations of authority, can also affect the lawfulness of individual decisions and actions.

    1.17 Local authorities need to be meticulous about complying with the law and showing that they are acting within the law.

    The governors of the local authority should set that tone.

    In our Kaipara District Council report, we noted numerous inadequacies in the attention that the Council paid to legal issues when its Mangawhai wastewater project began, problems with the way it sought legal advice, and damage to its reputation within the community as a result.

    1.18 If elected members are in doubt about their legal obligations, they should ask for professional legal advice.

    Some local authorities have internal capacity to provide legal advice. Many others rely on external legal advisers.

    The cost of obtaining such advice needs to be set against the importance of being seen to be careful to act within the law. ”

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

  10. philip Ferguson 10

    War facts the ‘mainstream’ media never told us: https://rdln.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=10368&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2

    This has links to a bunch of stories on Redline about World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, Afghanistan. . . . included are links to the policies pursued in NZ by the first Labour government during the war and its introduction of peacetime conscription (and the fight against that) in the late 1940s.


  11. The Fairy Godmother 11

    On a completely different topic what is to be done about youth unemployment. How do we help our young people who are qualified, intelligent and capable but can’t find work? How do we deal with annoying relatives who ask the awkward questions and want to give all sorts of advice which the young person already knows and is trying to do. Christmas is an awful time for this. It makes me want to weep. It seems as if no-one seems to accept that work is hard to get if you don’t have the contacts, and it must be the young person’s fault because they must be doing something wrong. Is there some sort of support group out there? And its not training that is needed she is really capable of a number of things it is a job.

    • karol 11.1

      Yes, I think personal contacts can count for a lot in getting jobs. And this is especially difficult for young people trying to get their first jobs. And even more difficult if they don’t come from a middle class family with the kind of contacts that lead to jobs.

      I don’t know about a support group, but blogs and other forums which target fairly young people might help e.g. On the Left.

      Or I could post your comment and question as a guest post here, if you like?

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        Yes, I think personal contacts can count for a lot in getting jobs.

        70% or more of roles are filled by word of mouth. Being highly skilled doesn’t get you a job but knowing the right person does even if you don’t have the skills.

    • Murray Rawshark 11.2

      In the short term, I don’t know the answer. For a lot of young people, the job market is a total lottery and the prizes often aren’t worth winning. All I can do is wish you success.

  12. The Fairy Godmother 12

    Thanks for that Karol. I have been thinking about work for some time. I am fortunate to have a job even though it sometimes really hacks me off, and I have been looking for another one for the past two and a half years off and on to no avail. Nearly there 2nd on the shortlist but not quite. So I know that the competition is huge. Once my daughter said to me dispairingly there are too many people and another time she said the problem is not enough work it is not enough money. This I believe to be true. In my work we are often short staffed. If we had another team member we would be able to do our job really well and of course there would be one more job for someone. The money is going to highly paid managers who have an interest in keeping costs down. Money being siphoned off to a few is the reason for no jobs. There is loads of work that needs to be done.

    I think that young people need a chance.

    If you want to put my comments in a guest post that would be cool.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    Why we should all learn to love paying our taxes

    The vision of tax as a punishment of the rich for the audacity of their wealth, distilled in the phrase “squeeze them until the pips squeak”, was not Kinnock’s but Denis Healey’s. And it was not about the rich – it was about property speculators. His suspicion was that if landlords were left unchecked, Britain would slowly become a rentier economy. Vast and ever increasing numbers of people would be paying unreasonable, verging on impossible, proportions of their wages to a tiny number of landlords. What an old idiot, huh? Thank God nobody listened to him.

    And just how much of Britain and NZ have now become rentier economies?

    IMO, I’d say that we’re close to, if not over, the line at which the rentiers will destroy the economy because the economy no longer produces enough to cover their greed.

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