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Open mike 30/03/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 30th, 2022 - 117 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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117 comments on “Open mike 30/03/2022 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Probably the best in-depth report on Three Waters reform that we'll get:


    Nikki Mandow is Newsroom's business editor and the 2021 Voyager Media Awards Business Journalist of the Year. If you read it you'll see why!

    If the insults are happening to me, they are definitely happening to Bill Bayfield. As chief executive of the new(ish) water regulator Taumata Arowai, Bayfield finds himself in the middle of a complicated political storm around Three Waters reform, most of which isn’t even to do with him or his organisation.

    His job, for the next two-three years at least, is to get New Zealand’s drinking water up to scratch. To make sure the pipes aren’t leaking (or perhaps worse, being leaked into), that the treatment plants work, that ageing infrastructure is replaced, that someone’s watching to ensure water suppliers test their bores properly, act when there are problems, and tell their customers what’s going on

    “I've been a regulator across three different regional councils – Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury – and involved in the more regulatory side at the Ministry of Environment, and I must admit there are times when it gets under your skin.”

    He’s had worse vitriol over other issues in his career, he says, but maybe none that has surprised him more… "The vast majority of feedback I get is from those in the health sector, who are saying this really has to occur.”

    • ianmac 1.1

      Yes Dennis. A very refreshing read and those who have mounted a political storm of denial should be voted out.

    • Gypsy 1.2

      Hi Dennis.

      There is undeniably an argument for more investment in water infrastructure, but 3 Waters is a horribly flawed response.

      It is obvious from the territorial boundaries (which are not based on region or local council boundaries but on iwi tribal boundaries from the 19th century, that this is far more about a co-governance agenda than improving water outcomes. In fact there is no evidence co-governance will provide better outcomes in any way.

      The latest proposed structure of 3 Waters is a convoluted and bloated bureaucracy that will bring inertia in decision making, poor democratic engagement, and a lack of financial accountability & efficiency.

      The government tried to paper of the terminal nature of the proposals with an advertising campaign that was dishonest and manipulative, and the government then confirmed that it's much vaunted 'consultation' was neither real nor authentic.

      I'd recommend Barrie Saunders piece where he outlines the "totally unnecessary, very divisive battle with local government and the people of New Zealand" over three waters.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        Thanks, I went & read what Barrie wrote. I agree that the govt is doing something radical but found his critique unpersuasive. I've got an open mind on the entire situation tbh. I agree with co-governance as a principled stance whilst retaining a healthy scepticism about how it gets translated into legislation.

        That's why I'm waiting for Labour to agree on how to frame it for legislative purposes. The obvious problem with the binary nature of the Treaty (2 versions with different linguistics) is if the concept of governance gets used to entrench neo-colonialism. Nobody ever explains why preserving the antique hierarchies of the Brits & the Maori is a good idea. I prefer equity as a principle.

        If I seem to be contradicting myself, it's due to internal ambivalence. Honour the treaty is a valid stance re racial partnership. But I can't see how recycling 19th century attitudes ad nauseum will ever be sensible…

        • Gypsy

          Good comments. I have worked with co-governance entities – some (eg the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Reserves Board) work well, others (eg the Tūpuna Maunga Authority) don't. But I question why, if 3 Waters is such a good idea, is there so much opposition and had to be so much subterfuge.

          • Dennis Frank

            Re subterfuge, it's a traditional Labour thing. Currently it's probably due to internal divisions making them uncertain about how to front co-governance.

            I haven't seen the ad campaign mentioned that apparently happened last year. I've always been biased against ads (cultural pollution) despite having spent a decade making them long ago (bad past-life karma, I suspect). But if they seem not to have worked I'd put it down to bad design.

            I acknowledge the relevance of your work to your views. I see the opposition as mostly conservatism. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Valid only for those lucky enough to get safe clean water!! Then there's the crowd sceptical of bureaucrats (me too) who haven't forgotten how they killed socialism. Good system design can help good bureaucrats defeat their bad colleagues, however. Can Labour do that? Can pigs fly??

            Still, to be fair, us sceptics ought to support them having a go at it. Any set of reforms can always be tweaked when systemic alterations are required…

            • Gypsy

              "But if they seem not to have worked I'd put it down to bad design."

              Well perhaps. But there was also a lack of compliance with the basic requirement that advertising be "accurate, factual and unbiased". I'd almost liken them to Muldoon's dancing Cossacks.

              "I see the opposition as mostly conservatism. If it ain't broke don't fix it."

              I have seen opposition from people who acknowledge the need for change, but who, like me, believe that need is being manipulated to implement another political agenda involving the centralisation of water management and placating Labour's powerful Maori caucus.

              "Still, to be fair, us sceptics ought to support them having a go at it. Any set of reforms can always be tweaked when systemic alterations are required…"

              Except there is a problem, and we've seen it with the Supercity in Auckland. When a bureaucratic structure is established and is prove to be not fit for purpose, it is virtually impossible to effect change.

              • Belladonna

                Except there is a problem, and we've seen it with the Supercity in Auckland. When a bureaucratic structure is established and is prove to be not fit for purpose, it is virtually impossible to effect change.

                And also the problem that when unelected bureaucracies are running the show (Auckland Transport, for example) there is no engagement with communities (they practice the 3-waters style of 'consultation'); elected representatives are shut out of the information flow – let alone the decision-making; and there is no remedy that either politicians or the people have, to remove them from 'governance'

                I feel that the poor example that COOs in Auckland have demonstrated, makes it very difficult for us to 'trust' that another unelected group of water czars will just get it right….

                • Gypsy

                  Well said. One of the major problems with the Tupuna Maunga Authority has been it's 'consultation', and it took action in the Court of Appeal (which likely cost an Auckland couple many hundreds of thousands of dollars) to bring them to account.

          • Peter

            Lots of good ideas generate opposition and subterfuge.

            Vaccinations for covid for example.

            • Gypsy

              Did covid vaccines generate subterfuge from the people promoting them? I'd also add that the science supports vaccinations. Not so much 3 Waters.

              • Patricia Bremner

                Really, all those having a "boil all water notice" and most medical people feel differently.

                Giadia which can live in lakes and rivers, and gastroenteritis is debilitating and can make people very sick, and ecoli which can and did kill.

                These councils say they will monitor water quality, they need to be made to do that and report, and not 10 months late as in Wellington.

                • Gypsy

                  Sorry Patricia, but there is no evidence the 3 Waters model will fix any of the issues you raise. In fact Wellington's water supply is managed by an organisation that is a mini 3 waters! Aucklands' water, on the other hand, is well managed and our drinking water is excellent.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Looks like Russia is licking its wounds and trying to make a "strategic withdrawal" from the north of Ukraine to consolidate its forces in the east to try and hold onto the Donbas regions, and likely its gains in Mariupol and Kherson:


    Hardly surprising as according to this analyst, Russian forces in the area have lost around 30% of their combat effectiveness:


    A positive sign is that Russia is getting more realistic in its negotiations, although there is still a long way to go.


    I don't think the Ukranians should just allow Russian forces to withdraw and consolidate, but rather continue to force the Russians to fight and make it hard for them to withdraw, as suggested in this article:


    Now Ukraine has the initiative, I think they need to push that as hard as they can and retake as much territory as possible. This will strengthen their position in coming negotiations. On that basis, I don’t think they should be quick to agree to ceasefires as that would just slow their own initiative and give the Russians a chance to regroup.

    By the way, here is an interesting video that demonstrates how Russians create propaganda videos to support their cause, including the alleged shooting in the legs of "Russian" prisoners of war. Undoubtably Ukraine also resorts to similar tactics to support their positions, so this is likely not just a Russian thing. But interesting, none the less.


    Watch out for the coming Hollywood movie entitled “Ukraine” or “Zelensky”.

    • Jenny how to get there 2.1

      Is Putin insane?

      It is quire clear that if he doesn't change direction, Putin is headed for a military failure catastrophic proportions.

      If Putin doesn't agree to a ceasefire and meaningful negotiations, Russia is heading for a fall, that will make the American military collapse and shameful scramble to get out of Vietnam look like an orderly withdrawal.

      Any sane person looking squarely at the facts would try and cut their losses try and get the best deal and get out..

      But the signs are not good that Putin will heed reason and opt for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine.

      ……After Russia's initial failures, Putin has simply doubled down on the war effort, with the Kremlin dampening hopes of an off-ramp through peace talks.

      Russian authorities appear to be preparing for a long, bloody campaign, drumming up domestic unity through a propaganda blitz, as the military intensifies its pressure on Ukraine….

      Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate

      William Booth, Robyn Dixon and David L. Stern13:16, Mar 27 2022

      Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat

      .To stop the slaughter, to begin negotiations for the best terms possible for his side, to avoid a possible war with Nato. Will Putin take 'the off ramp' offered by Zelensky, or not?

      If not, why not?

      Is Putin, 'insane' as some have suggested?

      Was Hitler insane?

      Was Stalin?

      If we take the definition of insanity as being out of touch with reality, then I suppose you could say that these above leaders were insane. But it is a gradual process, as their dreams and vision of how their orders and directives will play out, and how they actually do play out, begins to diverge from the reality, they tend to stick with the vision.

      While technically Putin and leaders like him, are not medically insane, there are factors that lead them to become detached from reality.
      Being autocratic leaders they surround themselves with yes men who won't contradict them.
      Autocratic leaders and dictators are also accustomed to always getting their own way.

      When their advisors don't or won't advise them of the true situation.

      When an autocratic leader's orders are not being fulfilled, (especially when they are accustomed to having them fulfilled, to the letter.)
      When things go wrong.

      When an autocrat's advisors are too intimidated to apprise the leader of the real situation.

      When advisors to an autocratic leader dare not offer up unpalatable alternative strategies, other than to 'double down', then you can easily see how someone like Hitler, or Stalin or Putin can become insulated and detached from reality, and appear to the world as being 'insane'..

      In refusing to accept a negotiated settlement and get the best terms possible for his side in return for stopping the war. If Putin doubles down on his failing military campaign.

      Would Putin be mad not to call off his invasion of Ukraine?

      From his perspective looking out, No.

      But if the senseless slaughter and destruction continues on his orders, for no foreseeable favourable outcome. From our perspective on the outside looking in, Yes..

      Stop The War!

      • mikesh 2.1.1

        To stop the slaughter, to begin negotiations for the best terms possible for his side, to avoid a possible war with Nato. Will Putin take 'the off ramp' offered by Zelensky, or not?

        Zelenskyy hasn't actually offered anything. He has said they would "consider" neutrality, but that this would depend on the outcome of a referendum.

        I knew Zelenskyy was professional comedian, but I'd have thought he would have put that behind him when took over the Ukrainian presidency.

        • tsmithfield

          As I mentioned above, it really isn't in Zelensky's interest to settle quickly. While Ukraine has a strong initiative, it is better for him to continue negotiations until he gets something he is really happy with.

        • Jenny how to get there

          "….Zelenskyy hasn't actually offered anything. He has said they would "consider" neutrality, but that this would depend on the outcome of a referendum." Mikesh

          Actually Zelensky offered the Russians two things.

          Consulting the Ukrainian people with a referendum on neutrality. Referendums are not uncommon in democracies for deciding constitutional matters of major importance, but are unfamiliar to autocracies which are universally ruled by decree.

          (For a referendum to proceed it is obvious that a ceasefire would firstly have to be in place.)

          The other thing that Zelensky promised, , in a recognition of the situation on the ground, Ukraine would not forcibly try to retake Ukrainian territory in the Donbas currently occupied by Russia.

          On occupied territories

          Zelensky told the journalists his goal was to “minimize the victim count, end the war as soon as possible and withdraw the Russian troops to ‘compromise’ territories… I realize that it is impossible to make Russia leave these territories. It would lead to World War Three,” he said.


          ….President Zelensky says Russian troops must retreat to positions held before Moscow's full-scale invasion began on 24 February.

          He says Ukraine will not try and retake the Donbas or Crimea by force,

          ….The possibility of Ukrainian neutrality is not new. It's been discussed by Russian and Ukrainian officials for at least two weeks.

          But President Zelensky's reference is perhaps the most explicit so far.

          Clearly, there's no room for Nato membership in such a vision of Ukraine's future.

          Removing that aspiration from Ukraine's constitution (it was added in 2019) will need to be put to a referendum.


          The Putin regime are doing their best to make sure that the Russian people don't hear of these two peace offer terms by Ukraine..

          Now I am guessing, but my thinking here is that if you asked most people in Russia whether Ukraine agreeing to these two things were acceptable terms for stopping the fighting killing in Ukraine. They would probably agree.

          The reason of course being Russian propaganda has stated that the war is being fought to achieve those very two things. Protecting the Russian speaking population in the Donbas from alleged Ukrainian oppression, and keeping Ukraine out of Nato.

          Now ask yourself this Mikesh:

          Why does the Kremlin not want the Russian people to know that the President of Ukraine has basically agreed to both these demands?


          • mikesh

            Offering to hold a referendum is meaningless. Russia gets nothing if the referendum is lost. the Donbass thing I didn't know about. I haven't seen anything about that in the papers.

            • Jenny how to get there


              "…..the Donbass thing I didn't know about. I haven't seen anything about that in the papers." mikesh

              I suppose it depends; what papers are you reading?

              The Ukraine President's peace offer was suppressed on pain of 15 year prison sentences.

              If you were Watching RT or reading English language Russian papers you would have seen or read nothing.
              President Volodymyr Zelensky made the statement about not forcing the situation on the ground in Donbas, in his address to the Russian people on social media.

              There are two significant things here.

              That this statement was made public before the Russian people means that Ukraine would be held to it.

              The other signicant thing is that the Russian authorities have done their best to make sure the Russian people don't hear it. This is an indication that the Putin regime do not want peace at all. Not until they have achieved all their declared and undeclared war aims.

              Which include, "denazifying Ukraine" which is Putin's code for regime change.

              And seizing the warm water ports of Muriupol and Odessa to create a corridor to Crimea and complete Putin's revanchist dream of returning Russia to being a major naval power in the Black Sea and Mediterranean to challenge the US and Nato powers in this sphere.

              Until these two aims are achieved Russia will keep on fighting killing.



    • Blazer 2.2

      'Now Ukraine has the initiative,'frown..you get more delusional; by the…day.

      Zelensky wants to talk,Russia have rebuffed him …for now.

      It has probably dawned on him by now,that the 'West' do not really care about Ukraine,they care about Russia's crusade to de dollarise international trade.

      Leading up to this aggression the U.K sent warships to the Black Sea,the U.S rattled its sabres,seducing Zelensky with false promises.Death and destruction ensued.

      The world will never be …the same again.

      If people think the GFC was bad…you ain't seen nothing..yet.

    • aom 2.3

      Obviously there is nothing as blind as a war-mongering inclined keyboard warrior with a hard-on eh Tsmithfield?

      With progress being made between the two negotiating teams. a genuine mediator and the malign influence NATO shut out, you are still spewing the same old shit.

      While you keep on screaming your tired old lines about Putin, the progress made by the adults in the room indicates that Biden is a butcher who should be fronting the ICC. Of course, he has history that you will probably never acknowledge.

      Any guesses as to how long it will take for NATO to fuck up any chances of a resolution. No doubt there is evidence that there are already moves in play.

      • tsmithfield 2.3.1

        About what I expected from Blazer and Aon based on past performance.

        I have provided a well referenced, thoughtful post on the conflict.

        However, both of your comments provide absolutely no evidence to support the points you have made or to refute mine.

        Rather than just spout off your own thoughts, why not actually research and provide some evidence to justify your statements. And evidence that is not from the same propaganda factory as I pointed out above:


        • Blazer

          "I have provided a well referenced, thoughtful post on the conflict.'=such glowing self praise is quite rare on this forum.

          On the basis that commentators here are au fait with news developments in this theatre,many refrain from bombarding the site with partisan YT videos and instead offer opinion on how they think ,things may…unfold and…why.

          • tsmithfield

            Well, it is a good thing my post didn't just include youtube links then. But also links to articles from "'Al Jazeera'' and ''the Guardian''.

            And the first youtube item I linked to was also from a respectable source.

            Whereas from you… nothing.

            If you want to refute my arguments, which are well supported by evidence, you need to come up with your own equally well supported arguments. Otherwise you are just spouting meaningless hot air.

            Still waiting…

            [Your exuberance for embedded YT clips has become notorious here. Go light on spamming TS with clips of war & destruction and if you feel there are really necessary to make your point then submit them as links and not as embedded clips that we all have to scroll past when reading TS. The kaupapa of this site is written debate by, for and with commenters not a YT watching marathon – Incognito]

            • Blazer

              There is a plethora of reports that contradict your position that Ukraine is in a position of any strength regarding a compromise.

              Here's just one to shut you up.

              Zelensky says Ukraine prepared to discuss neutrality in peace talks – BBC News

              • Do you read your own link:

                Ukraine is willing to discuss neutrality but with security guarantees from the West. This makes it basically a defacto NATO alliance in terms of defence.

                And they definitely are not willing to give up territory. From your own link:

                "We're certainly not willing to give up any territory or talk about our territorial integrity," Mr Rodnyansky told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme.

                "If you ask the people who live in these areas, they wouldn't want to live in Russia. How can we leave them? Let alone the whole idea of slicing up our country."

                • And another thing from the article you linked to is that Russia didn't like the interview with Zelensky because Russian media was banned from reporting it, so obviously didn't see it as palatable for the Russian people to digest. From the article:

                  "On Sunday, the Russian state media regulator Roskomnadzor instructed the press not to publish the interview with Ukraine's leader, and said "an investigation has been started in order to identify the level of responsibility and what response will be taken" in relation to those who carried out the interview."

            • Incognito

              Mod note

            • tsmithfield

              Thanks. I will try to make sure of that in future posts.

        • aom

          Try this then, since it is neither from your usual run of propagandist shit nor sources you disdain because you are offered views that don't support you monocular views: https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/300553474/nato-allies-are-split-on-whether-they-should-talk-to-putin

          As you will see, the mob you fawn over can't help themselves and your pontificating was not justifiable. What will you do if Zelenskiy wakes up tomorrow and realizes he was just a pawn in the aggressive game that was initiated in a NATO bunker?

          • tsmithfield

            I don't see any contradiction. The west wants a ceasefire, as I am sure does Ukraine. The point of my initial comments was that Ukraine should ensure a ceasefire is on terms that favour them.

            So they will have wanted to push Russia back inside the Donbass before they accept a ceasefire.


            • aom

              You say, "The west wants a ceasefire, as I am sure does Ukraine. ". What does that mean? Simply, that NATO/US want to control the narrative irrespective of what is in Ukraine's interests?

              Of course you won't bother checking out the link, only because it is from RT. However, here it is for those who want a bit of balance to your tedious bluster: https://www.rt.com/russia/552910-istanbul-peace-talks-explainer/

              Please note the list of potential 'guarantors' – not the usual gang of thugs that you would endorse.

              • From your own link:

                "Russia, the UK, China, the US, Turkey, France, Canada, Italy, Poland and Israel as possible providers.''

                So it certainly includes those who I assume you would refer to as "the usual gang of thugs."

                Including Russia as one of those guarantors just makes good sense. It is hard to attack Ukraine and uphold a security agreement at the same time.

                • aom

                  Thanks for reinforcing the point.

                  • Sorry, you said: "not the usual gang of thugs that you would endorse.''

                    So, since the USA, UK, France, and Poland are listed above, from your own comment, they can't be part of a "gang of thugs" as you describe.

                    So, which countries would you say are in "the gang of thugs"?

                  • aom

                    …..and I thought there were more than five in the usual gang. Silly me.

    • Subliminal 2.4

      Well, for those that don't just indulge in jerking off over war porn, it would be as obvious as a study of the strategy employed by Russia that they are accomplishing everything that they set out to do in a time frame dictated by the needs of rejecting US style shock and awe.

      Starting with no more than 200 000 against at least twice and as much as three times Ukraine troops, the Russian objective was never to enter and occupy all major towns and cities. How could it be?

      The purpose of troops confronting large cities such as Kiev was to prevent those Ukraine troops defending those cities from joining with the concentrated forces in the east. This was successful. Mariupol was targeted as required and now the focus is shifting to the eastern parts that will be divided from a Ukraine rump.

      If you want to understand this very successful strategy and its comparison with the initial successful Iraq strategy, try the extremely knowledgeable Scott Ritter. Russia is in no hurry and still holds all the cards

      Scott Ritter on twitter

      • tsmithfield 2.4.1


        Then this "cunning" strategy included the sacrifice of an estimated 7000-15000 Russian soldiers, and huge amounts of equipment. Or do you go by the Russian figures of just over 1300 as per the second link below.

        e.g: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/russian-losses-cause-result-impact-1.6400495


        The other thing is that such a plan, if it were true, would have been stupid because it exposed extended supply lines to constant Ukrainian attack compared to the situation in Donbass where supply lines are easily maintained.

        • Subliminal

          Do you understand the ridiculous nature of the Ukraine propaganda of 7000 to 15 000 dead Russian soldiers? I guess not. But its obviously a fantasy that gives you a lot of sustenance.

          • tsmithfield

            Read the link. Those are US/NATO estimates. The latest Ukraine estimates I have seen are more around the 17000 dead mark.

            Of course, then there is all the wounded, MIA, etc that probably inflates the overall casualty figure by three fold.

          • Stuart Munro

            Hardly ridiculous – Russia's own numbers were in that range a week or more ago. Pro-Kremlin tabloid accidentally publishes how many Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine – Birmingham Live (birminghammail.co.uk)

          • Jenny how to get there

            Regarding the conflicting totals of Russian losses

            Unlike enlisted soldiers, who are generally pretty anonymous, and whose sad anonymous deaths are only marked by their grieving families. Ranking career soldiers, especially those that rise to the rank of general, almost always to some degree, are public figures, with some sort of media profile or wiki entry documenting their career.. The deaths of named and recognised generals are hard to fudge.

            Counting high percentage of Russian generals killed, would indicate that the corresponding estimated percentage of enlisted soldiers was also at the high end.

            The Russian force in Ukraine probably includes two dozen generals who act as commanders and deputy commanders for the dozen or so combined-arms and tank armies the Kremlin has committed to the war.

            In a month of bitter fighting, the Ukrainians claim to have killed at least seven of those generals, along with an equal number of senior colonels. It’s a startling death toll—like something out of World War II. …

            …..Ukrainian officials claim seven Russian generals have died in combat since Russia widened its war in Ukraine the night of Feb. 23. The Russian government pointedly has confirmed none of these deaths.

            ….Most recently, the defense ministry in Kyiv claimed its forces had killed Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezantsev, commander of the 49th Combined Arms Army, in a strike at an airbase near the city of Kherson.


            Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezantsev.



            [size of photo reduced]

        • GreenBus


          This "cunning" strategy is costing Russia plenty and is slow going. But the aim is keep infrastructure and civilians alive. And it's working just fine for Russia and all military experts can see exactly that. The bullshit in the media is from the whitehouse not the military. The US is getting a lesson in ground warfare by another heavily tooled up superpower and the whitehouse crims are extending the Ukrainian suffering for a lost dream of politicians.

          • tsmithfield

            "But the aim is keep infrastructure and civilians alive.''

            Do you honestly believe that statement? I think the civilians still alive in Mariupol would not agree.

            "'And it's working just fine for Russia and all military experts can see exactly that.''

            So you are saying that every single military expert in the world agrees?? I find that a very big and ridiculous stretch.

            ''The US is getting a lesson in ground warfare by another heavily tooled up superpower…."

            If the US wanted a lesson in World War Two warfare you probably are correct.

      • joe90 2.4.2

        try the extremely knowledgeable Scott Ritter.

        Scotty groomer reckons he knows lots of stuff.

        • Subliminal

          Holy shit! Thats a pretty devastating critique of Ritter Joe

          • joe90

            Scotty Groomer's reckons from a month ago were wrong. So he's shifted the posts and pretended that it was always going to turn out the way it has.

            Kompramat, huh.

    • Jenny how to get there 2.5

      "…… the Ukranians should just allow Russian forces to withdraw and consolidate, but rather continue to force the Russians to fight…"

      Firing rockets into apartment buildings is not a 'fight'.

      It is just killing.

      Why would the President of Ukraine want to ‘allow’ the Russians to continue to kill his people, if by making concessions he could prevent it?

      • aj 2.5.1

        I always assume articles from all sides in this war are BS. But I look at all sides. Don't trust, try to verify.

        Most important statements of the Russian military campaign were made on the battlefield and will continue to be made there, not by the diplomats, like Medinsky, or even hawks, like Kadyrov. They will continue to be made by the military.


  3. Sanctuary 3

    The era of neoliberalism is coming to an end. But no political (or economic) démarche is pure – the utter refusal of our ruling elites to update their organisational axioms are evidence of that. But I think it could be argued the age of the America's Cup as pertaining to New Zealand will in the future be seen as the bookends of the golden age of Kiwi neoliberalism. Born in the larrikinism of champagne set legalised theft and dying in the squalor of mercenary money grubbing, pimping itself out like an expensive whore daring you draw the obvious parallels between her and the tragic addict selling herself in a rubbish filled alley. Just a matter of degree, n’est-ce pas?

    You couldn't get a finer symbol of the story arc of the Rogernomics era if you tried, right down to the cast of angry rich boomer men who inhabit it.

    Grant Dalton, a miserably ill tempered mercenary that John Hawkwood would demur to sit down with, probably thinks he's a genius. But him and his little band of condottieri sailors have sown the seeds of their own destruction. What goes around comes around. They've kicked the ratepayers of Auckland and the taxpayers of New Zealand in the teeth with such a display of insouciant ingratitude, selfishness and rapacity that there is no coming back “home” anymore for the Emirates team mercenary when the going gets tough.

    When they come back with the begging bowl after their next loss I think the New Zealand public will be "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Dalton will, of course, blame us all for our tall poppyism and small mindedness from the luxury of his latest mansion.

    • Nic the NZer 3.1

      Bit of a lazy comment form in my eyes. You spend too many words explaining the character and motivations of the antagonist before reaching the point, and actually I've no idea what Grant Dalton has done to Auckland rate payers. It sounds terrible whatever it is so why not explain the insult or injury clearly and leave the reader to decide where he sits on the scale of a-holes.

      • Sanctuary 3.1.1

        Your apparently limited vocabulary is a neat demonstration of sort of willed retreat from knowledge that informs much of the Hayekian underpinnings of neoliberalism.

        • Incognito

          Why don’t you tell us what all the fuss is about instead of prostituting your skills as wannabe fairy-tale teller?

        • Nic the NZer

          Now if you had put it like that to begin with I would have clearly understood what all the fuss was about.

    • Blazer 3.2


    • Well said, Sanctuary.

      Most NZers will see the move to Barcelona exactly for what it is – a rapacious desire for money, sans loyalty, sans patriotism, sans integrity.

      Frankly, up 'em!

      • Blade 3.3.1

        As a Rightie, I believe no taxpayer money should be spent on the Americas Cup.

        But we don't have a National government in power, we have a Labour government. A government that has given hundreds of millions to Maori and the Mongrel Mob – and for what return? A government that wastes millions on infantile road safety campaigns. Again, for what return?

        At least the America’s Cup would have brought money back into New Zealand and supported Auckland small businesses.

        I think your problem is you think the America’s Cup is a sport. No, it's a business.

        Businesses have to make money. So sheet the blame back to your government.` They would rather back dead end causes, than something with promise. Our present economy is testament to that.

        And don’t forget we have people working for Rocket Lab who cut their teeth on Team New Zealand projects. Also Sir Ian Taylor’s cutting edge graphic technology had its genesis with past America’s Cup campaigns.

        • Blazer

          If it's a money making business,surely it wouldn't need Govt support then!

          The awesome efficiency of private enterprise to make profits isn't just unadulterated b/s….is it?

          • Blade

            Let's put all private businesses on strike for a week…then talk about profits…and losses.surprise

            But I bring you bad to may first sentence:

            ''As a Rightie, I believe no taxpayer money should be spent on the America's Cup.''

            ''The America's cup is not a direct money making business.'' It's business concept for hire.

            • Blazer

              Pretty sure a CBA of the last AC run here would show a negative return to taxpayers and ratepayers and an extremely positive result for multi millionaire …yachtsmen.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 3.3.2

        Just another business – must be good for – trickle down…

        Fool me twice, shame on me. yes

        Was OK; has had its day – imho there are more pressing issues. Focus…


    • roblogic 3.4

      Our America's Cup challenges of the 80s and 90s were are far different thing from the repulsive orgy of billionaire decadence that we see today.

      A better representation of the lies of Rogernomics neoliberalism is "sir" Ron Brierley, once a feared corporate raider, titan of the NZ & London stock exchanges. Now a disgraced rotting husk convicted of the vilest crimes.

    • Ad 3.5

      Sponsorship opportunities for major NZ events come and go every year.

      MBIE has an entire department for dealing with them.

      We are currently in the middle of the Cricket World Cup for women, and the Football World CUP co-hosted with Australia. Both have corporate sponsorship up the wazoo.

      Nothing different to the America's Cup.

    • Shanreagh 3.6

      Good points Sanctuary.

      I especially liked the symbolism of the Americas Cup as being all that was wrong with Neolib.

      The participants go where the $$$$ are. You cannot put a value on doing it for one's country so that is not something neolibs are very concerned about. (explanatory note: if you cannot put a value on it then you cannot sell it and if you cannot sell it it is therefore worth nothing is how the argument goes)

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    From the late morning of the insurrection through to the evening, looks like Trump went covert:

    Official White House logs from 6 January, 2021 – the day the US Capitol was breached by a mob of Donald Trump's supporters – show a seven hour and 37-minute gap in presidential phone activity while the assault was at its height. The logs show the president contacting at least eight people in the morning – including former White House advisor Steve Bannon and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who were both organising attempts to overturn Mr Trump's presidential defeat, according to records obtained by CBS News, the BBC's US media partner, and the Washington Post.

    It also records calls with 11 people in the evening. But they document no contacts from 11:17 am to 18:45 pm local time (16:17 to 23:45 BST).

    This runs counter to accounts from several Republican members of Congress – including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama – that they spoke with the president by phone that afternoon. The logs also do not show a reported late morning phone call between Mr Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, where the latter again refused the president's increasingly angry demands to delay the certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory.


    I suspect he used someone else's phone for the day to give himself plausible deniability. He was probably in liaison with some in the insurrection.

    It's also possible that he was elsewhere for part of that missing time. Beamed up to the mothership for reprogramming. Abductees usually report missing time. Anyway he can always blame the thing on the guy wearing bull horns: "Some of those people were so crazy you'd almost think they might have been Democrats."

    More documents may be on the way, as a federal judge on Monday ruled that the congressional committee could have access to dozens of emails sent to Mr Trump by John Eastman, a California law professor who was researching ways the then-president could block Mr Biden's victory certification.

    The judge, in dismissing Mr Eastman's claims of attorney-client privilege protections in his communications with the president, said it was "more likely than not" that the two men had engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the US by disrupting election certification. "Their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory," he wrote.

    I bet Trump thinks this judge is crazy enough to be a Democrat voter. I wonder if Trump will appeal the judgment. How crazy are the higher courts? Now that mental illness has been normalised on a bipartisan basis, inclusion of crazies into the judiciary is just as likely as in politics…

  5. Anne 5

    So the nit-wits, nay-sayers, crackpots and shit-stirrers are planning another protest at parliament. I suppose they are busy concocting further claptrap billboards and banners plus new conspiracy theories to justify their intentions:


    "We need to be vigilant – now, more than ever and surge forward with the momentum, passion and inexhaustible determination that we have amassed together toward unified and measurable goals."

    Sounds like something out of Peter Sellers' "Party Political Speech".

    • Nic the NZer 5.1

      I think you don't read the bracketed notes in your prepared statement. Thats the convention isn't it?

      Anyway it clearly says "surge forward with the momentum, passion and inexhaustible determination that we have amassed together toward unified and measurable goals" (which we won't be telling everybody about just presently).

  6. Reality 6

    These round 2 protesters are trying to sound like upstanding members of society, as if they are the only ones who can "save" us. Save us from what exactly?

    Given the earlier rabble's shocking mess, vandalism and damage they created and left behind for others to clean up, their horrible hygiene habits, their total lack of respect and consideration for Wellington citizens, their violent banners and behaviour, their illegal occupation of street parking, illegal occupation of the Law School, creating a health hazard in the toilets of the Wellington railway station, bullying of school children, they have absolutely nothing to offer anyone in any way at all.

    There has been no apology from so called "leaders", or Winston Peters, Russell Coutts, and other flit in, flit quickly out attendees wanting some attention. Winston I would have thought would normally have no tolerance at all for the rabble he befriended.

    • mary_a 6.1

      @ Reality (6) … I seem to have missed it, but what is the gripe this time from Protest '22 Part II?

      I ask because as far as I know from next Monday April 4, most of the Covid restrictions will be lifted. Or is this a different crowd wanting to air a grievance or two, or three?

      • Nic the NZer 6.1.1

        They don't like the govt. Voices for Freedom started after the last election, not after any particular covid policy.

      • Anne 6.1.2

        Same crowd mary_a.
        But we don’t know what this new protest is about cos they’re not gonna tell us – not yet anyway.

  7. Blade 7

    I knew Transmission Gully would have to be Maorified in some way. And so it has:

    ''The Māori name for the 27-kilometre road is Te Ara Nui o Te Rangihaeata.

    TV news presenters are going to have a field day with this name. They will be begging for a ten car pile up on Te Ara Nui o Te Rangihaeata so they can pronounce the name to showcase their tokenism.


    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1

      Interesting and informative link – thanks.

    • Blazer 7.2

      Did you know that the collective term for idiots is…a 'thicket'?

    • Ad 7.3

      Every piece of new major roading infrastructure has a Maori name given to it.

      In New Zealand it's appropriate for any large earthworks disturbance.

      Increasingly you will see local Maori design imprinted within the concrete beams and support structures as well.

      In NZ it's how we turn boring old infrastructure into something approaching art, and we also get to pay respect to local culture at the same time.

      Nothing unusual going on.

      • Subliminal 7.3.1

        The art, both carved and embedded in concrete along the major road works remedying the Kaikoura earthquake are awesome and really stamp our culture onto the environment.

      • Blade 7.3.2

        ''Every piece of new major roading infrastructure has a Maori name given to it.''

        This is news to me. I didn't know that.

        ''In New Zealand it's appropriate for any large earthworks disturbance.''

        Why should it be appropriate in 2022?

        ''Increasingly you will see local Maori design imprinted within the concrete beams and support structures as well.''

        As a matter of fact, I noticed that for the first time on a bridge support last week.

        • Ad

          The current RMA requires provision for Kaitiaki, and always specifies mana whenua outcomes. Naming is one of the smaller of their tasks.

          The revised RMA is going to make these provisions much stronger.

          • Blade

            ''The revised RMA is going to make these provisions much stronger.''

            If that's the case you can kiss goodbye to many Kiwis who will move overseas.

            A talkback caller the other day said he's moving his family and his funds overseas. The reason- he said he grew up in a European New Zealand, now it's a Pacific Nation.

            Now, whether he's racists, a prat, or a wise man, is not the point. We can't afford to lose people like him with funds and probably needed skills.

            I personally share some of his concerns. Calling New Zealand Aotearoa, puts us in with Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and The Cook Islands. Where's the demarcation line that separates us as a European nation from these nations, yet still within the Pacific family? And as I have stated before, this continued regression of society to accommodate Maori is just asking for big trouble down the road. In fact it's started already.


            • Ad

              We can lose him just fine.

              Aotearoa is a Maori name and Maori is an official language. It's a dual name like all our national parks have.

              My advice to you is simple: adjust or leave.

              And if you're too old to leave and are addicted to our NZSuper, all you can do then is suck it up.

              • Blade

                My advice to you is simple: adjust or leave.

                Sage advice…but remember the old adage: '' be careful what you wish for''

                ''And if you're too old to leave and are addicted to our NZ Super, all you can do then is suck it up.''

                I'm sure many people are in that predicament. And they will have to suck it up. But..they can still vote. And when someone with a backbone comes along and says ''enough is enough,'' they will vote for that person.

                Always remember things move in cycles.

            • Blazer

              Where did he say he was…going?

              We can certainly afford to lose those who do not know what makes our country….unique!

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Now, whether he's racists, a prat, or a wise man, is not the point. We can't afford to lose people like him with funds and probably needed skills.

              Now, if he's a racist, i.e. a person who is prejudiced against or antagonistic towards people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized, then maybe 'we' can't afford to lose him because "funds" and/or "skills". But I can – there's no shortage of racists in NZ.

              Give Nothing to Racism, for the times they are a-changin'.

              Rereading: Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
              One day in 1964 John Howard Griffin, a 44-year-old Texan journalist and novelist, was standing by the side of the road in Mississippi with a flat tyre. He saw a group of men approaching him. Griffin assumed the men were heading over to assist him but instead they dragged him away from his car and proceeded to beat him violently with chains before leaving him for dead. It took Griffin five months to recover from the assault.

  8. NZ luckily avoided "Planet Key". Bur we need only look at Boris Johnson's (not so great) Britain to see what really happens when the financiers take control of a country. It is privatised and parcelled out to vulture capitalists, who see huge profits in monopoly infrastructure, and subjugating/exploiting a large population.

    1. Exit from the EU to get rid of inconvenient regulations from Brussels
    2. Turn a blind eye to the City of London's oligarch blood money from Russia
    3. Austerity for the poor, and then under the pretence that the government is "broke", begin the fire sale of public assets. First, sell the power grid. Then get ready for the real delicious meal, selling off the NHS.

    (tl;dr: do NOT vote for National)

    • pat 8.1

      you forgot to add that after they extract the profits and avoid the maintenance the public purse is expected to bail them out (again)…..best if we just avoid all the shenanigans in the middle and keep it in public ownership.

  9. Ad 9

    Even if Labour shunts Three Waters into next term, water is the hill worth fighting for.

    And yes, it is vital that it is a Maori 50-50 partnership.

    Here's hoping the Maori caucus give Ardern the spine she so often needs.

    • Alan 9.1

      Three waters, co-governance etc will be the death knell for this government.

      • Barfly 9.1.1

        devil Glad to hear you are all for it

      • Blade 9.1.2

        Guaranteed. National needs to keep before the voting public a list of all Labour’s legislative missteps that will be repealed. National has a rich palette to choose from, covering all sections of the voting public, right down to people looking for utu as they remember mourning and weeping in MIQ as loved ones died on the outside with no one to comfort them in their final moments. These people will not be voting Labour.

        • KJT

          I think that reasonable people will realise, unlike the stupid fringe, that the Government saved us a hell of a lot more funerals.

          Including my elderly relatives, who would have likely been another set of funerals, if we hadn't had lockdowns until most of us were vaccinated.

      • Peter 9.1.3

        I don't disagree. And when there are dramas with water further down the track you can be sure the blame will be laid on Nanaia Mahuta.

        • Ad

          Forget the political damage and focus on the outcome.

          • Poission

            the outcome is the cost of living will increase into double figures.At no point will there be more efficiency in digging holes for pipes,etc.

            The new ministry of blah,blah blah,will be responsible for more poverty as more bureaucratic waffle unfolds,consultants luncheons double,travel costs occur,with a large number of dingbats in High viz,stand around a bit of grass,dig a hole with a symbolic spade,to pour billions into the bank accounts of foreign shareholders.

            • Ad

              The highly corporatised version we have in Auckland – ie 1/3 of the current NZ population – has driven down water use per capital for 15 years and counting.

              GetAzureFile.aspx (watercare.co.nz)

              It's 100% owned by NZ and will continue to be.

              It's also legislated to only provide water at the cost required to sustain the network.

              That's the entity taking over the Northalnd and Coromandel supply.

              Now let's compare that to Waikouaiti, Karitane, and Hawkesbury – leddirectly by elected memeber Councils.

              Only real difference is that Watercare is about to absorb the Auckland Council stormwater function. Plenty of actual upside when you forget the crusty cynicism and stale rhetoric.

              • Poission

                Yeah and watercare has done little for sewage mitigation,managed treatment for remediation of antibiotics or Oestrogen in the local outflow catchments,

                ok there is also some problem with local govt. management,not the least is the funding of vanity projects,or cycle lanes.

                Dunedin could have used the George st improvement funding,to actually maintain its core functions.

                Christchurch is similar,although there was considerable f/ups from the Gvt entities during the rebuild and replacement of mains,in that they did not allow for future growth,and it has not only constrained the use of available land,the inability to build on those sections due to the inability to connect to sewage (this is not redzone) means those section are fallow.

                They are also in the lower economic zones,where good low cost housing could be built.The sewage upgrades for Shirley,and Aranui are less then the bike lanes.

                • Ad

                  You're clearly not aware of what Watercare have achieved.

                  Noting what DCC and CCC could have done doesn't strengthen your argument- it strengthens mine.

                  • Poission

                    Can't see it with potable water supply,CHCH costs are 70% of Water care.The connection fees are around 10% for new builds,triplicating the human beancounters does not add efficiency it adds cost.

    • weka 9.2

      I'd prefer them to take the extra time and bring more people along, than push it through against so much opposition. If it's a good model it will stand up to community engagement, and it would be an incredibly good move from Labour to actually engage with the community widespread and work through the issues.

      • Ad 9.2.1

        That would mean another term.

        That entails a high risk that the entire thing fails, since it will be killed under National.

        The legislation has been passed. Time to get on with it.

        • swordfish


          Yeah, I think we can safely rely on political elites to know what's best for us all … no need for all this yukky old-fashioned democracy, transparency or accountability. That just gets in the way of enforcing the whims & desires of our Social Betters.

          I mean, you'd think those absolutely ghastly proles with their awful table manners might just be able to grasp that the Upper-Middle Woke & Iwi Establishment possess unusually refined moral sensibilities & are utterly devoid of dogged self-interest ??? Obviously not.

          Well, they'll damn well get what they're given. In fact, I've got a ruddy good mind to take their vote off them.

          I guess this is what inevitably happens when the Left is slowly but surely captured by the highly privileged professional middle class.

          Anti-democratic Vanity Project.

          • Ad

            The elite water managers are permanent, and they should be. The amateurs in smaller local governments are fuckups.

            Board members is actually where the centre of power has been since the 1860s. You're soaking in it.

            In a basic utility, customer service is wayyy more important than voting. Monday afternoon when our street main blew, I didn't call a Councillor. I called the Faults line and emergency crews were there in 30 minutes.

            Well done for inluding the word 'prole', Boomer.

        • weka

          or, not bringing enough people on board means they lose the election anyway and Nat gut a big chunk of incomplete tasks and we have another generation of people who think democracy is dysfunctional 🤷‍♀️

  10. pat 10


    "The Barfoot and Thompson sale site for the development, suggested 10 of the 15 townhouses had been sold.

    Salesman Jeremy Mi said he was not sure how many of the properties had been sold or what had happened at the development.

    “Everyone is asking me the same questions today, and I have no idea what’s going on,” he said.

    When asked if the buyers would get their deposits back, he said he didn’t know.

    “I tried to contact the vendor and no response, so I can’t tell you anything.”


  11. Barfly 11

    I enjoyed a wry smile yesterday – the anti-abortion protesters were demonstrating across the road from the termination clinic in Mount Eden…I told them to "enjoy it while they could" I am looking forward to the 150 meter exclusion zone – as them being so far from the clinic I anticipate they will cease their activities there.

    • Sabine 11.1

      Thanks to Lousia Wall the Labour MP who resigned yesterday. Well done!

      • Barfly 11.1.1

        The only thing I will miss is the buying of fruit for snacks for the counter protesters which I used to do occasionally.

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