Open mike 30/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 30th, 2020 - 170 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

170 comments on “Open mike 30/04/2020 ”

  1. ScottGN 1

    Here we go…another day on Facebook doing battle with increasingly unhinged wild-eyed National voters.

    • Enough is Enough 1.1

      Maybe get off Facebook?

      • Anne 1.1.1

        Don't get on it to start with.

        • RedLogix

          Yup. Back in the early 90's I was working for a US based company that had a very early footprint on the internet. (At that time it had a whole Class A address range ( allocated to it …). We rolled out laptops across the whole organisation in 1991 and a US based training guy came over for a week to introduce us to the internet and where it was going.

          I recall very clearly just how prescient he was, especially around personal privacy and the many implications it would have in the future.

          Entities like FB and Google have far more information on you than any government, except maybe the CCP, who probably have fat files on every participant here. Hell if they don't I've been wasting my time 🙂

          • Anne

            … the CCP, who probably have fat files on every participant here. Hell if they don't I've been wasting my time

            There's nothing more satisfying than rubbing official noses up the wrong way. Its what makes life worth while. 😀

          • Gabby

            You're helping them gather information? I thought as much.

      • ScottGN 1.1.2

        Nah, it’s how I keep in touch with people all over. The Tories flailing around on it at the moment are just a minor irritant.

        • bwaghorn

          Nothing like a bit nat baiting although I've noticed if you point out the national parties failings thier pages stop appearing on my feed .

      • millsy 1.1.3

        Words of wisdom. I quit FB before Xmas last year and have never looked back. Same with Twitter.

    • McFlock 1.2

      I don't mind the randos on the community pages. What occasionally gets me down is "argh, shit, 20 years ago Jamie was a bit mad but fun, caught up with him a year or two back, but now it's becoming obvious that he's apparently a Nazi-adjacent and I have to defriend him" sadness.

      • woodart 1.2.1

        good post mcflock. that has happened-is happening to me . but, the way I look at it, jamie would still be someone to run from. with facebook, you can find that out without having to share oxygen (and other things) with them.

        • McFlock

          It's not like the most recent one had runes and 14 words on his profile pics. I started to notice lots of dogwhistling, and then linked comments to a south island far-right-dirtbag publishing house.

          Such a shame – didn't spout any of that back in the day, he was good fun. But how someone gets from there to here over the decades is a frequent mystery.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    The bomber's feeling a tad plaintive this morn: "Please tell me the Left have an economic response beyond middle class identity politics. Please."

    No, nobody will tell him that. For a start, the left aint unified, so it would be false advertising. For seconders, the left aint even attempting unification, so any general left-wing response to covid-19 terminating neoliberalism will remain a wish & a hope.

    "I've suggested that the NZ Left urgently put together a virtual conference to thrash out a basic policy agenda platform as a response to this unprecedented crisis of free market capitalism and that should be getting planed right now". Good idea, eh? Well, no. Leftists talkfests never go anywhere. Factoring in a plan would be sufficiently audacious to spook participants.

    Consciousness-raising has been the norm in leftist meetings in recent decades. The idea that everyone gets conscious enough to agree to a plan would require the left to adopt consensus politics. The left has never agreed to become that Green. Not here, nor anywhere else.

    • 🙂

      Not a bad summation @ Denis, and one only has to look at a few blogs and new media for evidence of you claims.

      Que sera sera, and we get what we deserve all things considered. I only wish we could all be a bit less tribal about it all. It doesn't need to be such a war of egos.

    • Ad 2.2

      How very defeatist of you.

      As noted in the post below, when in recent history New Zealanders have been given the opportunity to contribute new ideas that assist in response to a crisis, they absolutely do, and they are effective.

      The New Zealand left are in government (together with NZF).

      They have shown that they are outstanding at managing a crisis with a plan that has saved the entire country. Our Prime Minister – previously a global leader of socialism – has done nothing but effective consciousness-raising for the last 40 days straight.

      Through the Budget 2020 they are about to show that they have an economic recovery plan for many sectors of New Zealand particularly the public sector.

      The bitter and resolutely defeated left that you describe have no place in New Zealand political life right now.

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        Yeah, there is that bright side – which you have described well. The left are succeeding via collaboration with centrists. The PM's leadership has been exemplary through the saga. My point was directed at the bomber's complaint – which you haven't addressed.

        It rather highlights the current divide between those into pragmatic response and managing consensus decision-making, and those seeking a sensible plan for the future. The closest the govt have got to the latter is making vague noises that they are getting around to it. I shall keep reminding myself that patience is a virtue.

        • RedLogix

          The problem with demanding a plan is that many of the important parameters and constraints are going to be outside of this govts control.

          pat linked to this good summary from Roubini last night.

          1. Excessive debt bubbles everywhere in every sector. (China being off the charts)

          2. The demographic transition that means consumption led recoveries become increasingly unlikely

          3. Growing risk of deflation

          4. Currency de-stabilisation as a result of heroic central bank attempts to prop everything up

          5. The digital disruption, increased pace of automation changing the nature of work and the value of labour

          6. De-globalisation. The collapse of the US-led post-WW2 global alliance will result in regionalisation and a major reduction in global trade, with tighter trade restrictions in many important sectors

          7. Increasing populism as the relative prosperity and peace of the past 70 years ebbs away. People react badly to seeing their standard of living slide backwards

          8. The geostrategic standoff between the US and China. Both nations are facing major risks of quite different kinds. China is much weaker than it looks and it's authoritarian leadership will do anything to retain power; while the USA is getting it's ass handed to it as the direct result of 30 years of self-indulgent, narcissistic culture wars.

          9. Increasing probability of food and fuel disruptions in the traditional zones of conflict, the Northern European Plain, The Middle East and the Far East. As the US withdraws local hegemons will be aggressively playing to fill the vacuum. Expect more wars.

          10. And the ever present risk of climate change and environmental mismanagement disrupting human development.

          All of these clusters of threat have been previously spoken to here at length. Roubini condenses them into a concise, chilling summary. All of them are real threats, and we should resist the temptation to dismiss the sum of them as catastrophising; whichever way you cut it, this looks like being a high entropy decade.

          Aus/NZ have some incredibly fortunate strategic advantages going into this; any plan we make should look to play to them. But we have to accept that the outcomes could be wildly different to what we might hope for.

          • Ad

            Plans in small and medium-sized countries have obviously worked before, and in more dire global circumstances than this.

            There's no doubt we are in a catastrophe.

            There's also no doubt that both Australia and New Zealand as exceedingly good at forming plans – even plans on the fly – and making them work.

            So we should plan, and we should expect that plan to succeed.

            Time you quit Brisbane Red, and started proper tramping again here.

            • RedLogix

              Time you quit Brisbane Red, and started proper tramping again here.

              Funny you should say that. Working on it.

        • Ad

          Bryce Edwards proposes that:

          "These non-economic issues – debates on everything from nuclear weapons, abortion, sexual politics, racism and environmentalism – never fitted easily into the traditional left-right spectrum."

          This shows Mr Edwards understands nothing of the left in New Zealand since the late 1970s. It now consists near-entirely of these groups. The current Cabinet is the full summation of this set of idealisms.

          Bomber just builds on that ignorant sentiment. Bomber wants the union movement back so he can remember the proletariat as they ought to be. It's not coming back.

          Bomber is welcome to invite the entire left to a conference in which all ideas are invited. He can frame it any way he wants. Who knows maybe it would be as successful as that which occurred in Christchurch.

          Meanwhile, the left in government publish another budget, another nation-wide recovery plan (as they have done often throughout history), another moral recovery through a gentle return to national resilience and communitarian ideals, and on current polls another parliamentary term.

    • Incognito 2.3

      Does the Left want to unite-unify everybody?

      The schizophrenia of MMP is that coalitions require a certain level of consensus while the other side of the politics is highly adversarial and polarised (and polarising). IMHO, this is a design flaw stemming from FPP mentality and political history in the Anglo-Saxon parts of the World.

      What is badly needed, and has been for a long time, is a coherent and cohesive policy platform. Ironically, the rebuild of the Economy will help this Government to focus, which will create an impression of direction, purpose, and integration, on paper, at least. The Devil is always in the detail as the pandemic response has shown so well; gaps and errors will become clear once the behemoth is set in motion and if not dealt with adequately, the wheels will start to fall off and undo the whole thing.

      Last, but not least, they need to sell it to the voters.

      What could go wrong?

      • Ad 2.3.1

        Through our Prime Minister, the left have united and unified the entire country.

        Like you I keenly await the united policy platforms. Two weeks to budget and we'll see.

        • Incognito

          Sure, the PM and Dr Bloomfield took centre stage in their daily updates over the last month or so. The COVID-19 crisis made us pull together; we’re all in the same boat together. Crises have this effect on communities and even whole nations. As do wars …

          I’m not holding out for too many specifics in Budget-2020 and I expect more ‘broad brush strokes’ and aspirational stuff (AKA planning & modelling) than in a usual Budget.

      • Dennis Frank 2.3.2

        Does the Left want to unite-unify everybody?

        Good question (if everybody refers to all on the left). I guess I was showing my age: my first awareness of the left was in the era when unity was written and chanted as a mantra routinely ("the people, united, will never be defeated").

        I observed rather acidly here a while back, in respect of sheeple subservience to the control system, that the people, defeated, will never be united.

        I agree that the semblance of a plan is as good as the reality of one, from the perspective of giving assurance to a sufficient number of voters. So, as political strategy, painting it with a broad brush would enable the left to cruise on past the devil lurking in the details.

        However the gist must be sufficiently effective as a prescription to withstand critical appraisal from the media, as well as leftist supporters & fellow-travellers such as myself. If the design is that clever and robust, it will constellate a semblance of unity.

        • pat

          the reason the people united could never be defeated was because that assumes no adversary….the adversary is the (other) people

          • Dennis Frank

            True enough. Although the leftists in those days would probably argue that it was just a pitch for idealism, and all you really need is a majority under FPP.

            I think the origin of that idealism lies in the notion of liberation, deriving from the revolutions in France & the USA: a bipolar frame in which the people are considered separately from the ruler(s). When the rulers are an entire class (ruling class, aristocracy, nobility, etc) they attract hangers-on, sycophants, who nowadays constitute the right wing along with business (the days when business folk were a despised component of the people are long gone). So the people are indeed structurally divided in the real world.

            • pat

              yes you do need a majority…and given there are a lot more losers at the moment we may get it.

              It is the tension between competition and co-operation that is key….if you perceive (or are in fact) 'winning' in the contest you wish it to continue, if you are 'losing' you are more likely to wish to co-operate.

              Unfortunately co-operation requires consensus….competition does not

              And sadly those that are by nature competitive tend to end up in positions of power…go figure.

              NZ can be as co-operative as it likes but unless it separates itself from the world it is still subject to competition from without.

              The ultimate expression of competitiveness is war.

              Should we be competitive?….we are constantly told we need to be.

  3. gsays 3

    I watched Planet of the Humans last night. I thoroughly recommend it.

    I thought it was a Michael Moore film, so hadn't watched it earlier as I wasn't feeling up to being lectured at for an hour an a half.

    The film is by Jeff Gibbs and the messages are delivered in a far gentler manner than Moore's style.

    It tackles the major problems we as a species are facing, and pulls the covers back on some of the sneakier aspects of the 'Green' shenanagins going on in the U.S.

    Al Gore, amongst others, doesn't come out well.

    • Andre 3.1

      Nah. The reviews from people that actually know a bit about the topics covered are kinda negative. A lot of the info is simply way out of date and misleadingly presented.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        VOX? The hipsters on that site "actually know a bit", do they? Like they do about Venezuela?

        And…. have you actually watched the documentary? Let's assume you did.

        1.) Do you think the producers faked the scenes where Al Gore and Bill McKibben compromise themselves? (I use the word "compromise" as a euphemism in this instance.)

        2.) Do you think they faked the investigation which finds the Koch Brothers have received more money by far for "green" energy than any other entity?

        • Andre

          Leah Stokes, the author of the Vox piece is indeed a credible expert on clean energy and environmental policy.

          No, I haven't watched it. A few minutes reading of reviews from experts that actually understand the topic persuaded me to not waste one hour forty minutes on it.

          But thanks, the way it evidently appeals to your motivated unreason is an even stronger indication I shouldn't waste my time on it.

          • Morrissey

            No, I haven't watched it.

            That was obvious, but thanks for confirming it for us.

            A few minutes reading of reviews from experts that actually understand the topic persuaded me to not waste one hour forty minutes on it.

            That time is of course better spent trawling Twitter and Facebook in search of that one zinger epithet to hurl at Trump. How's that working out, by the way?

      • RedLogix 3.1.2

        Agreed. While it supports my contention that solar PV and wind power have serious limits that have been too often ignored or underplayed, there are too many inaccuracies and distortions in this doco for it to be useful.

        Worse still it doesn't take us anywhere; it's depressing and nihilistic. It makes virtually no mention of next generation nuclear which is the most promising way through this bottleneck.

        There is an important message in here, but it's been buried by a lack of balance and accuracy.

        • Morrissey

          …. too many inaccuracies and distortions in this doco for it to be useful.

          ????!!? Could you give us one example of either?

          … it's depressing and nihilistic.

          It's certainly depressing. No surprises about the corrupt and foolish Al Gore, but I was depressed to see just how compromised and how evasive Bill McKibben was. How is it nihilistic?

          … no mention of next generation nuclear which is the most promising way through this bottleneck.

          "Next generation nuclear." Now that sounds like a sane and rational option. angry

          • RedLogix

            Andre has already covered off the inaccuracies aspect.

            I've already spoken frequently to the fact that renewables have serious limitations, and the reasons why can be conveyed in cool, accurate terms as this David McKay's presentation does.

            The difference is that I don't take the ideological position that any energy source is rubbish. They all serve a role both in time and place. Wood and muscle power sustained our recorded history, coal got us out of absolute poverty, oil gave us industrialisation. Renewables work well in specific locations and contexts; both Australia and NZ are among the relatively few countries almost perfectly placed to exploit them well.

            But globally the numbers on renewables are not promising, and this is a cold hard fact that many 'clean energy' advocates are not keen on confronting. In this the doco serves a purpose, Moore confronts this reluctance like a kick to the nuts, but in doing so he goes off track too often for my liking.

            As for the nuclear energy aspect. Again I've written to this extensively in the past year and I'm not going to do it justice in one comment. But already the cold hard numbers prove that even existing nuclear energy technologies are by far the safest form of power generation.

            And this is before we look at a whole raft of next generation nuclear technologies, that by any informed analysis are at least several orders of magnitude safer again. In my career I've participated in four major (multi-day) HAZOP analyses from a control and automation perspective, so I have real heavy industry experience in evaluating risk.

            • Morrissey

              Andre has already covered off the inaccuracies aspect.

              ???? Andre did nothing of the sort. Your statement's almost as funny, and as worrying, as your expression of support for nuclear power.

              • RedLogix

                You complained above that Andre had not 'watched the doco'. Well I have and I found it a curate's egg. I agree with it's underlying message, but I don't like the approach Moore used. Maybe that's just the engineer in me protesting the absence of hard numbers, and clear headed analysis that McKay does in his presentation.

                I presume you haven’t watched the McKay link I gave yet?

                And I'm guessing you really haven't yet spent several hundred hours reading up on MSR's? Or watched a single one of Gordon McDowell's many video's?

                Get back to me when you have.

                • Morrissey

                  You complained above that Andre had not 'watched the doco'.

                  I didn't complain, I actually thanked him for confirming what I had suspected: that he was commenting from a position of ignorance.

                  I agree with it's underlying message, but I don't like the approach Moore used.

                  ???? The "approach"? You mean you don't like his style. That's irrelevant to whether the revelations in the documentary have merit or not.

                  … the absence of hard numbers,

                  Wrong. The documentary backs up its narrative with statistics throughout the one hundred minutes. Of course the numbers that have angered so many people are those that reveal how much money Al Gore, Richard Branson, Bloomberg, the Koch brothers, and Bill McKibben are pulling in from these scams.

                  and clear headed analysis…

                  Again, simply wrong. Jeff Gibbs's narration is clear from beginning to end.

                  • solkta

                    You think analysis is the same thing as narration? You ain't encouraging me to watch it that's for sure.

                  • Ed

                    You are speaking a lot of sense Morrissey. Thank you for your insight.

                    The film is a savage attack on capitalism. It puzzles me that people cannot see that.

                    • Morrissey

                      I don't think it's a savage attack, Ed. It's a calm, rational, honest, and therefore grim documentary about capitalism, and how it corrupts even the most well meaning people.

                      (I don't think Al Gore is well meaning, by the way.)

                    • Andre

                      Have you read or watched any of the reviews and critiques of the movie?

                      For most people, being anti-capitalist doesn't excuse being dishonest, misleading, using out-of-date information like the film does.

                      But hey, you do you, if bullshit as long as it's anti-capitalist is your thang.

                    • Ed

                      Andre, I have not read any reviews yet.

                      However I have ( and I appears you have not) watched 85 minutes of the documentary.

                      I prefer to look at reviews once I have looked at the original document.

                    • Morrissey

                      Ed, that bloke proudly announced this morning that he has not watched the documentary. It's a pity that Radio Sport has disappeared; that was one outlet that defiantly made a virtue out of complete ignorance. Our friend would have fitted right in. “I’m not going to waste an hour and a half of my time WATCHING the game, but I’ll tell you why it sucked…”



                      (Actually, it's not a pity that Radio Sport has disappeared.)

                    • Andre

                      Have you successfully deluded yourself that you have the knowledge or the inclination to spot the factual inaccuracies, misleads and misinformation?

                    • Morrissey

                      The time you spent dreaming up Perelman-level zingers like "Drumpfelthinskin" today, you could have spent watching the documentary. Or do you take all your opinions straight from VICE and the failing New York Times?

                  • Ed

                    Watching the film as I type.

                    It is full of data and statistics, supporting points made.

                    • Morrissey

                      I'm sure you'll enjoy it, Ed—it's leavened with wit and dry humour, in spite of how depressing as it is. There's a great quip about a former Vice-President and a Goldman Sachs gangster right near the end, which is the only outright joke in the whole thing.

                  • Ed

                    Agreed Morrissey, your language is precise.

                    The documentary is "calm, rational, honest, and therefore grim" about capitalism.

                    As a result it is a devastating expose of capitalism.

            • gsays

              Ok, we have yr nuclear installed, then what?

              We keep on biggering?

              I think you missed one of the main messages of the movie.

              • RedLogix

                We keep on biggering?

                Yes. Setting aside your Trumpism, the correct answer is that abundant, reliable, carbon free energy would enable human development to be extended universally.

                1. This would bring human population into equilibrium everywhere

                2. It would enable closed loop resource management everywhere. We have a long way to go on the details here, but in most instances the roadblock at present is energy costs.

                3. It would accelerate the urbanisation of humanity, the intensification of agriculture into smaller land footprints, which together mean that wilderness can re-claim back more of the planet.

                Essentially we save the natural world by not using it. I realise that I'm painting an ambitious vision here, but already we are living lives beyond the wildest dreams of our own great great grandparents.

                • Morrissey

                  I realise that I'm painting an ambitious vision here..

                  "Ambitious" in this case is a euphemism for insane.

                  Chernobyl remains largely unremediated since its meltdown in 1986. With each passing year, dead plant material accumulates and temperatures rise, making it especially prone to fires in the era of climate change. Radiation releases from contaminated soils and forests can be carried thousands of kilometres away to human population centres…


                  • RedLogix

                    Chernobyl was a design that would have never been licensed in the Western world. If you watch the excellent and very popular documentary on it, plus do some in depth reading, it's clear that the root cause of the disaster was that because of the authoritarian and secretive nature of the Soviet regime, at least two critical flaws in the design were never conveyed to the plant operators.

                    People also forget that despite these flaws, about a dozen of these relatively primitive RBMK reactors operated for many years afterward, with pretty good safety records.

                    There is no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to energy, but if safety is your concern then nuclear energy is by far the safest form we have. Anyone claiming otherwise is really arguing for more deaths and more environmental harm, not less.

                    And that safety data is based on a fleet of Pressurised Water Reactors whose fundamental features date from the 40's and 50's. The next generation reactors I am advocating for here are entirely different machines, many thousands of times safer than these again.

                    • Morrissey

                      Chernobyl was a design that would have never been licensed in the Western world.

                      So how did the responsible and ethical politicians of "the Western world" get away with installing those disasters at Three Mile Island and Fukushima and Windscale?


                    • Poission

                      The evolution of nuclear reactors was bounded by the need to make them safe.Teller asked Dyson to make a reactor that was both phd proof and child (read engineer proof).

                      Here very clever physicists,needed great confidence in their equations.


                    • RedLogix

                      The Windscale piles (they can scarcely be called a reactor at all) were a first generation graphite moderated machine designed in the 1940's, in the immediate post-WW2 era. They were really just primitive research machines and at that time safety was a much lessor concern than it is now.

                      TMI and Fukishima were both third generation Pressurised Water Reactor designs that derived from the original nuclear submarine program dating from the 1950's. All of these reactors have a fundamental risk factor, that while they worked very well at the size of a submarine (<10MW thermal) they didn't scale well to power sized plants (>100MW or more) from a safety perspective. Despite this the vast majority of them have operated safely over their lifetime. So well that they remain dramatically the safest energy source we have.

                      However all this irrelevant, I'm explicitly not endorsing the notion of building more of these PWR machines. Indeed I'd be happy to see them all de-commissioned as they reach the end of their lifecycle and no new ones ever constructed. You are essentially asking me to defend an obsolete generation of reactors that I am not advocating for.

                      Nuclear engineering has advanced considerably since the 1950's, and the designs I am pointing to are completely different. Everyone working in this field is vividly aware of the accidents in the past and have worked hard to eliminate their root causes in this next generation of machines. There are no free lunches when it comes to energy and from where I'm sitting, nuclear is the only path forward out of the fossil fuel development trap we are in.

                • gsays

                  The equilibrium of the population I can get with. A significant part of that, is the likes of us, scaling back our energy dense habits.

                  That is the bit no-one seems to want to acknowledge.

                  Eating seasonally and locally.

                  If we get yr nuclear, does that mean Coca Cola can still be the be the biggest plastic polluter?

                  On another note, what is so special about the next great energy resource that humanity will achieve some equality? Something that has not managed to happen during the steam or oil/coal/gas years.

                  • RedLogix

                    If we get yr nuclear, does that mean Coca Cola can still be the be the biggest plastic polluter?

                    Abundant low cost energy might mean for instance that we could readily return to using glass as the default packaging material and build recycling into the cost of the product. This isn't a very big leap at all.

                    As I type this my eye alights on a couple of Sodastream gas bottles waiting for me to take back to the shop. These use exactly the same model.

                    In general the idea is that we can move over time toward closed loop resource management, where the goal is to develop both materials and methods that dramatically scale back our raw extraction rates from the planet.

                    In 100 yrs time we could look back on the goods we purchase today, from a resource perspective, as impractical historic curiosities. Much like someone wearing a digital smart watch might look at a grandfather pendulum clock.

                    what is so special about the next great energy resource that humanity will achieve some equality?

                    Well look at it this way; the first problem to solve is absolute poverty. Fossil fuels have enabled most of the human race to escape this; in 2016 fully half the human race achieved a modest middle class life by local standards. For the first time ever. That seems to me a big step in the right direction.

                • gsays

                  I've slept on it but I do not understand yr Trumpism quip.

                  Please enlighten me.

                  • RedLogix

                    Apologies. I read the term "biggering" as the kind of non-word that Trump regularly comes up with. Crossed wires …blush

                    • gsays

                      Hey no worries, I thought I had missed something.

                      I was referencing The Lorax with biggering and thneeds.

                      It's funny how a 'kid's' book can be so concise and apt.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    A nationwide survey of public opinion in the UK measured the post-covid desire for change:

    More than a majority of Brits are hoping for change:

    Hankering for a return to neoliberal bau are the conservative rump: 9% – but there's also 6% who want bau while conceding they need to perform a personal change of lifestyle.

    3% are growing food. When I was a kid here in the fifties everyone did that. Those who didn't need to try something new come in at 50%. Plus change, plus la meme chose.

    A quarter of respondents noticed more wildlife (shame they didn't also ask `did you become wilder?'), while 40% noticed a stronger sense of local community (slide 4).

  5. Maurice 5

    The immediate struggle for short term survival will "Trump" any luxury Green changes and policies.

    Most of us will be driving our present vehicles (if we can afford to do so!) for far longer before being able to financially afford expensive Electric replacements.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    Britain now 4th worst affected country for Covid-19 deaths/million. Overtook France after the belated release of some care home stats. France, which shares land borders with the three worst affected countries.

    When will the people there start asking questions of their totally incompetent leadership?

  7. Molly 7

    And so it continues, the Bank of England refuses to release gold reserves to Maduro, so he can finance Venezuela's Covid-19 program.

    The economy may be stalled, but the mechanisms of directing it are demonstrably still in play.

  8. ianmac 8

    Steve Maharey:

    Winston Churchill led Britain to victory over the Nazis, but he lost the election in 1945 to Clement Attlee.

    Herein lies a lesson.

    Attlee won because, among other reasons, when the war was over the troops and their families wanted something better to make up for their sacrifice. Churchill represented a return to normal, Attlee offered the promise of a better world.

    There is a lesson in this as well.

    All the pain from Lockdown leaves people with the hope that afterwards society will be "better."

    • Morrissey 8.1

      Terrible analogy. Simon Bridges is no Clement Attlee. And there is nobody in the National Party even remotely talented like Gaitskell, Cripps, or Bevin.

      • Peter 8.1.1

        Attlee, Gaitskell, Cripps, and Bevin won't be voting in our election though. A lot who will be voting will think that National is best at handling the economy. Especially after a crisis.

        A vote from one deluded simpleton = one vote from someone with a grasp of reality.

    • Sanctuary 8.2

      It is just as likely a scenario come September that NZ, having eliminated COVID-19, is in a nice economic recovery with life almost back to normal, looking aghast at a world outside our borders wracked with second and third waves of corona virus and economies wrecked with second and third lockdowns or riots and mass deaths of the vulnerable and elderly. In that case, we will not only re-elect Labour, we'll build a giant statue to Jacinda as well.

      • ianmac 8.2.1

        The point is surely that when people have endured huge losses because of a Lockdown then they would be hoping that it was all worthwhile because the recovery began delivering major successes in addressing Inequality, Climate improvement, a better Democracy and an addressing the damage done by the Economic System. That does not suggest that Bridges has a box seat, but suggests an Opportunity for change.

        • Sanctuary

          National have not changed any of their policies for thirty years. Bridges has consciously moved the party further right on social issues and economically he remains completely enamoured with the short termist neoliberalism of the Key era. I have major doubts he wants or is capable of taking advantage of any opportunities…

          • ianmac

            Putting Labour/National aside Sanctuary, do you think that there is a mood in the population for a significant desire to move into a more people centred way of life?

            • Sanctuary

              I guess right now a lot of people have had a glimpse of a different way that looks quite nice. I would think for most children and pets, who don't grasp what is going on, the coronaviris has been a period of unalloyed bliss at having their parents at home. And most parents have probably been really, really happy to spend more time with their families.

              It may be that after this the workforce participation slumps for reasons entirely to do with different lifestyle choices as one parent decides they actually preferred being at home and you know what? They can just about make do on one income. But we already know a lot of (lets be honest) mums would stop work tomorrow to be full time wives and mothers if they had the choice.

              But the thing is, the lockdown was really a glimpse of what the cost of being a rich country is, because it looked a lot like those charming but poor places we like to go on holiday look like. Slower pace, lots of ambling around, people having the time to talk and play with their kids. Are we really willing to take the insularity of poverty (the poor people in any country don't travel) and the consequences of poverty in exchange for a more people centred way of life? I doubt it. We are a rich first world country and we like it that way, by and large.

              A four week lockdown won't undo a generation of consumption led materialism but I think that it produced a moment that bold leadership could achieve some wins in – people have marveled at how wonderful Auckland has been without cars and how fun cycling has been, for example. Before that memory fades why not seize the moment to announce a huge program to make Auckland a cycling, walking and PT flagship for the world?

              The sense of national unity & crisis could be usefully harnessed as well, perhaps with the idea of a UBI (if practical) or a CGT to offset a cut in GST.

              But to sum up, I think the main mood of the land is to just get back to life as normal – which for most of us in these islands of ours is really rather pleasant.

              • ianmac

                Thanks Sanctuary. Suppose most people are a bit self-centred but there is a last resort of Hope.

  9. Cinny 9

    A good month ago, trump said he only expected 60,000 deaths in the USA. I remember thinking, that's more than the population of our whole region, and felt shocked that he used it as a throw away number. Like the deaths of 60,000 people was nothing.

    He continued bragging and lying, claiming he had saved the lives of millions of American's by taking fast action. And that 60,000 was a small number compared with that.

    Today the number of Covid19 deaths in the USA has reached the disturbing number of 61,112

  10. Muttonbird 10

    Two John Key stories on the Hurled website this morning.

    The signs are there for the resurrection of the neoliberal messiah.

    • pat 10.1

      If Simon cant sell their message someone has to

    • ScottGN 10.2

      Pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Tories increasing alarm at their dismal prospects in September.

    • tc 10.3

      Taxpayer money to pimp hollowman mouthpiece shonky.

      Nice work if you can get it. What a joke this media landscape is….grow a pair faafoi.

    • Incognito 10.4

      The Knights of the Realm are riding again. Sir John, Sir Bob, Sir Ray, et cetera. It is Election Year and they crave attention and relevance. It provides the MSM with cheap easy fodder for the electorate too. Meanwhile National can play in the ERC sandpit and brag about it on Social Media. BAU.

    • Ffloyd 10.5

      Also Paul Henry back. I am finding this reappearance of Key and Henry quite disturbing. Waiting for a lot of beat ups against the Government in the media to happen soon. Spearheaded by PH,MH and TO. Also expecting Paula Bennett to be huddling in with this lot. Jacinda will need to be on the top of her game to keep a lid on people like Winston and Shane et al to have a clean shot at the election. And who in the heck is Chris? Keys main squeeze.

      • Muttonbird 10.5.1

        When I first heard Henry's Zoom show was to be called "Rebuilding Paradise" I immediately assumed they meant rebuilding from the ravages of a Labour government rather than the pandemic.

        I suspect that's exactly what they meant.

      • RedBaronCV 10.5.2

        Well I accidentally caught about 2 minutes of Paul Henry which should be enough for several years.

        He had chosen to run a series of clips of public people on operating on Zoom- mocking and making fun of the backgrounds in the shots. Now we all know that there have been "accidental disclosures" to amuse us but to use a major media platform in an attempt to humiliate people doing their job under trying circumstances felt just plain nasty and hardly the stuff of necessary and serious discussion..

      • millsy 10.5.3

        Plus Cameron Slater has recovered and blogging again, it's like it's 2012 all over again.

    • AB 10.6

      We now refer to the Herald as "The Collected Thoughts of John Key". Slap a couple of little red (or blue?) covers on it and distribute it to the faithful, hand it out at street corners, and publicly shame those who do not abide by its precepts. ZB hosts could start each show with a reading from it, followed by detailed exegesis of the text and its meaning for our lives in the present moment.

      Simple explanation is that The Herald has gone completely mental over Bridge's poor performance and has reverted to past glories to keep the gloss on the National Party brand.

      Evil thought experiment is that they are preparing the ground for John Key to step in as caretaker leader for the 2020 election, He then wins, because after lockdown everyone really, really wants to have a beer with him, and then hands over the PM role to Luxon in 2022.

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    God will protect him. "Vice president Mike Pence toured the Mayo Clinic without wearing a face mask, despite being told by officials it was a requirement."

    "The clinic is forcing everyone who enters, whether as a guest or a patient, to wear a face mask while at the facility, to help stop the spread of coronavirus."

    Was their force insufficient?? Or did they concede that the VP is above rules that apply to all (like our current health minister).

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    "The broader grounds of Warren’s endorsement demonstrate that Biden has cleared the bar for political praise set by a coalition of “Any Functioning Adult 2020” bumper stickers."

    Gee, dunno about that. Strikes me it's a race between two geriatrics, both intent on signalling that they are already senile: Malfunctioning Adults 2020.

    The writer explains "How Progressives Can Get Behind Joe Biden Without Losing Their Credibility". Unsuccessfully.

    "Smart activists will take note of the way Biden has slowly but surely followed his party to the left." Like a tortoise chasing a worm?

  13. pat 13

    Bolsonaro is a threat to his team-mates and may have to be removed….

    "But on Tuesday night Brazil’s president shrugged off the news. “So what?” Jair Bolsonaro told reporters when asked about the record 474 deaths that day. “I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?”

    "A wave of disgust swept over social media as word of the president’s comments spread. “A sociopath,” tweeted the musician Nando Moura. “What a tragedy,” wrote the journalist Sônia Bridi."

  14. joe90 14

    This could be very good news.

    Tests in recovered patients in S. Korea found false positives, not reinfections, experts say

    SEOUL — South Korea’s infectious disease experts said Thursday that dead virus fragments were the likely cause of over 260 people here testing positive again for the novel coronavirus days and even weeks after marking full recoveries.

    Oh Myoung-don, who leads the central clinical committee for emerging disease control, said the committee members found little reason to believe that those cases could be COVID-19 reinfections or reactivations, which would have made global efforts to contain the virus much more daunting.

  15. I Feel Love 15

    I hope I'm wrong but I fear we may see a spike in infected people in a couple weeks, other than the fast food queues today I saw tradies all in a row on scaffolding, tradies in vans, a truck with 3 people on the front seat, and a funeral service, 100s of people gathered outside, I would have thought that was still disallowed under L3? So I guess we shall see how it all goes, such a shame as I see a lot of other people really trying.

    • aom 15.1

      Tradies seem to respond when you quietly remind someone in charge that workers are very obvious and risk having their worksite shut down. Does the same strategy work for queues at fast food joints. If not, then a few need to be closed down so the patrons get the message.

    • RedLogix 15.2

      Here in Brisbane we've effectively been at Level 3 all the way through. The first few weeks were a bit chaotic, but as the majority of people did the right thing and set the right examples, fairly quickly the rest got with the plan.

      It takes time for people to take on new behaviours, and not everyone does it at the same pace. Think bell curve, early, mid and late adopters.

    • Enough is Enough 15.3

      I agree people have now really relaxed.

      The word "elimination" is a problem. The word has a specific meaning in epidemiology, which differs to what Joe Ordinary would think elimination means. For that reason I think it was unwise to claim publicly that New Zealand had eliminated the virus, as people would draw the wrong conclusions.

      Its not surprising that such headlines made people think we were now safe.

  16. Andre 16

    Oooh, Drumpfelthinskin might be feeling the heat a wee bit. Now he's turning his feral shouting tufted meatball routine on his re-election campaign team.

  17. Sanctuary 17

    On the so-called plan B and it's initial poster child, Sweden…

    Sweden's far-right chief state epidemiologists, Anders Tengell is being increasingly exposed as a bullshitter who has dignified his ideological preference to sit on his hands and conduct an experiment in eugenics as a "model".

    As Richard Seymour eloquently puts it: (Patreon patrons only, so no link. Pay up for the tasty stuff!)

    "…Sweden's unfolding policy debacle, which is now being mythologised as a 'model'. There is no 'model'. Just as the British government has retrospectively justified each of its pratfalls and forced moves by claiming it was all part of a cunning strategy, so the Swedish government and its apologists are dignifying a stupid calamity by calling it a 'model'. Just like the British government, the Swedish government did not set out wanting to shut high schools, and Universities, and ban large gatherings. The position was forced on them by the fact that the spread of the disease made their position ridiculous. And by the growing despair and alarm, still unabated, among the country's epidemiologists, virologists, immunologists and other disease specialists…"

    Sweden's current death rate (and let's not think it might not accelerate) by going on just official figures – which will all be underestimates – is 231 per million. Let that sink in. For NZ, that translates to 1155 dead and climbing, with a poorly prepared public health system probably already collapsing. IHME modelling – – expects the country's death rate to spike toward the end of May, leading to a total of 15,625 deaths. That would be over 1500 deaths per million. For us, that would be 7500 dead New Zealanders – that is the spike, not the final total. Most likely, using Swedens approach NZ's dead in a matter of several months would approach or exceed our losses in WW2 (11,625), which took 61 months to fight.

    One other thing – Swedenss ICU capacity is double that being used. This reflects a ruthless triaging of patients. As one of the disease specialists critical of Tegnell’s approach points out, “the mean age of those who have died is 20 years higher than the mean age of those treated in ICUs”.

    Which means, in laymans turns, the old have been left to die

    • I Feel Love 17.1

      When asked about the high number of deaths in rest care homes the Swedish govt said "that wasn't part of the plan" & the Brits "that's within the margin of error". Our pollies couldn't get away with that blitheness.

    • Anne 17.2

      … in laymans turns (terms?) the old have been left to die.

      An English friend of mine who lives in NZ has lost her father to Covid 19 back in England. He was 84 years old and had an underlying health condition. He lived in a retirement home and was never taken to hospital for treatment. The carers at the home no doubt did what they could for him but he was – effectively – left to die.

      It happened about 2 weeks ago so his death is not part of the official statistics. It would not surprise me if cause of death was officially attributed to the underlying condition even though he had tested positive for Covid 19.

      Multiply his situation by the many elderly folk in rest homes who were not included in their statistics… it makes a mockery of the so-called official figures. Multiply that again by the many thousands of elderly folk who have died of Covid 19 in other countries who likewise are fudging their figures… and the world tally thus far is probably almost twice as high as what is being reported.

      It stands to reason that under the Trump regime the real US total is way above what has been admitted to at this stage.

    • Nic the NZer 17.3

      Link to an interview with one of the epidemiologists in Sweden who advises Tengell.

      I don't think Sweden asked to be a poster child for plan B or that their policy has been implemented without a model. To the extent that it differs from other countries they have not implemented some lock-down procedures and so they won't see spikes in the cases as these restrictions are wound back. If this works better as a strategy can only be discerned after other countries have wound back lock-down procedures and reviewing the impact of the virus after that has occurred.

      I would also suggest that somewhere like New Zealand this would be (has been) considered quite differently due to our geographic isolation advantage.

  18. pat 18

    "It won’t be long before Treasury and the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) enter taboo territory and work together more closely to keep the economy afloat."

    “There may be some market pullback if the RBNZ is no longer directly active in the local bond market,” Keane said.

    “For that reason, it would be appropriate for the RBNZ to continue executing some portion of its QE program on-market, thus maintaining the focus of the dealer community and the support for bond prices.”

    There may well be quite considerable pullback…..we may find out sooner than we would like.

    • Dennis Frank 18.1

      Would be cool if the govt were to do a pr thing with the media along the lines of `quantitative easing for dummies': "Well, the Reserve Bank has this magic money tree, and every now & then they give it a shake & dollars float down like autumn leaves."

      "We've considered helicopter money but the people would freak out if the choppers were painted black. We figured green would work but when we put it to the Greens those who favoured enhanced brand recognition got out-voted by the fundamentalists averse to using fossil fuels. So the idea's on hold till we get electric helicopters."

      • pat 18.1.1

        there is no magic money tree….the only question is how long the illusion there is can be maintained…..personally I think not long at all, others differ.

        There are only resources and they are limited and diminishing…and increasingly need to be divided among more (inequality aside)….the best we can hope for is to learn to use them more efficiently (and equitably) so they last as long as possible….that could be millennia but on current form it is likely decades.

        And that requires co-operation….and that includes those naturally competitive.

        you see the problem?

        • Dennis Frank

          Oh yeah. Rightists, mainly. Old dogs, new tricks. However, it is possible to induce anyone to reframe on current circumstances so there's a realistic basis for optimism.

          Tell rightists to reflect on how the All Blacks succeed by combining competition and collaboration. Instruct them to deduce that the general principle applies to all similar team sports. Ask them "Can you walk and chew gum simultaneously?"

          If they say no, suggest they become a National Party candidate. If they say yes, ask them if they can think of any reason a politician can't compete sometimes and collaborate sometimes just as team players do.

          Ask them if they are aware that medium to large businesses have been training their staff in how to operate as teams since the 1980s. If no, they may be a farmer, of course. If yes, explain that politicians have similar average intelligence to employees & voters, so you'd expect them to get the picture by now.

          Should only take a couple of minutes. Half the time a problem looms until you change your perspective, then you suddenly see how to diffuse it.

          • pat

            leftist/ rightist wrong framing….refer

            • Dennis Frank

              Okay – I did wonder. So nations need to do likewise; pursue a strategy of collaborating in suitable contexts, while maintaining a competitive economic policy to produce trade goods efficiently on a sustainable basis.

              • pat

                except without constraint the efficiency tends towards output, not best use.

                There needs to be an enforced strategy that promotes 'best use'…and laissez faire aint it.

        • Wayne


          It is a fallacy that resources are limited and diminishing. Resources are invented all the time. Lithium was a non resource until it became necessary for lithium batteries. But when the next generation of batteries come along, lithium may no longer be needed. Already oil and coal are being left in the ground as new resources start to replace them.

          • pat

            Are you God Wayne?….the earth is finite ipso facto resources are finite,

            What we can do with what we have is not unlimited…indeed it is constrained by many factors…and every currency is only representative.

            Dollars dont trump physics.

          • gsays

            Do tell, what are these new resources replacing oil and coal?

      • Nic the NZer 18.1.2

        Good luck with that. You will probably get some bumf about how the government is managing its spending to reduce the inflation rate to above the reserve banks policy targets out. After all its really important by which particular mental gymnastics the government has ended up owing itself a few bucks.

        • I Feel Love

          Fresh water is finite, that freaked the fuk outta me when I heard that! & of course it's perspective, it depends where you are, for eg water certainly finite up in Northland.

  19. Nic the NZer 19

    Another link explaining how the Bank of England is directly financing the UK government at present and how that works.

    The summary is that it makes little difference how the funding is arranged, with QE and secondary bond market purchases the RBNZ is already effectively directly financing the New Zealand government.

    • ianmac 20.1

      That is a sort of Trump reasoning. We can reduce the number of deaths by not publishing the numbers. So Florida is doing very well you see.

  20. Stephen D 21

    Is John Key trying to set himself up for a place high on the Nats party list?

  21. Muttonbird 22

    National Party MPs and the hologram trying to rough up the new Police Commissioner.

    As far as I can se this is just another desperate attempt by National to get some, any, news coverage. The mercenary who went to Iraq to look after some dogs tries to pressure the Police Commissioner to 'give him some names'.

    Honestly, if Mark Mitchell ever gets near a ministerial position, we should be very, very afraid. The man is as corrupt and evil as they come.

    All this over a few checkpoints which I'm sure didn't block any locals at all. It's National Maori-bashing because that is the only thing they are good at.

    In addition, Parliament sat this week so why the fuck do we have to put up with the butchers committee still? It’s turning into a circus.

    • Anne 22.1

      The chances are they have also got it in for the new Police Commissioner because he was appointed by the Ardern-led government.

      Their childishness and venom knows no boundaries.

      And I agree with you about Mark Mitchell – a narrow minded officially backed thug who maybe cunning as a fox but actually has few brain cells inside his head. And he's one of the leading contenders for the race to be the next leader of the National Party. The Nats are growing more like a down-under version of the Trump regime every day.

      • Treetop 22.1.1

        I do not know which political camp Coster is in. I do know that he was appointed for 5 years.

        Is it the 5 year appointment or that the PM appointed Coster or both?

        • Anne

          His appointment was announced by the PM about two to three months ago and he took up the position of Commissioner shortly before the Lockdown started. I have no idea what his politics are and his appointment was made on merit not politics anyway. The Nats are just being childish and stupid.

          I recall John Key appointing the current DG of the SIS some years back. The Labour Opposition welcomed the appointment and agreed she was a good choice. From memory Andrew Little was the leader.

          What a difference in responses.

    • Treetop 22.2

      I watched most of the Coster interview. Bridges thought he was in a courtroom being a prosecutor and Coster had to be the defence.

    • aom 22.3

      So Bridges et al do not think it appropriate for communities to gently remind people of their obligations with some sympathy from the Police. There is another option. In Australia, the exemplar that National seem to be extolling, there is a different approach. Random stopping and instant fines of over $1000. Seemingly even Bridges would have been hit with his dumb-fuck trips between Tauranga and Wellington. To be sure, the sick excuse of a poor internet connection would not have had one second of consideration.

  22. Muttonbird 23

    Farrar watch:

    PDF earlier in the week claimed in an exclusive that Wally Haumaha had personally authorised the head of the Mongrel Mob, Sonny Fatu, as an essential worker.

    Of course Police can't issue essential worker status, that falls to MBIE I believe. That didn't stop Farrar steaming ahead with false information from his source.

    He's since had to walk back from that with a retraction after communication and clarification from Police. He's now threatening to OIA the Police for communications between Iwi and Police.

    Thing is Farrar only fessed up in an update to the three day old post which, as everyone knows, are unread. I think the Police should demand he issue a retraction and apologise to Police in a new post.

    This whole thing, when viewed against Mitchell and Seymour attacking the Police Commissioner today in the Butchers' Committee Zoom meetings, reinforces the very, very close connection and communication on strategy between Farrar and the National Party.

    What one does, the other does…

    • Peter 23.1

      I've seen so many graphs in so many sources in recent months. Cartoons too.

      There's a graph/cartoon to be drawn for someone who has the skill. Two lines on a time scale.

      A plunging one from left to right: "National polling figures."

      A soaring one from left to right: "The desperation, nastiness and bullshit on Kiwiblog."

  23. Morrissey 25

    Extremely stupid woman calls Tulsi Gabbard a "toady"

    Then she admits she doesn't even know what the word means.

  24. pat 27

    So much yet to be learned about this virus.

    "Doctors around the world have reported more cases of a rare but potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome in children that appears to be linked to coronavirus infections."

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    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Gaza to halt the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.    “Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s military actions,” Mr Peters said in his speech to a ...
    7 days ago
  • Speech to United Nations General Assembly: 66th plenary meeting, 78th session
    Mr President,   The situation in Gaza is an utter catastrophe.   New Zealand condemns Hamas for its heinous terrorist attacks on 7 October and since, including its barbaric violations of women and children. All of us here must demand that Hamas release all remaining hostages immediately.   At the ...
    7 days ago
  • Government woolshed roadshow kicks off
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  • Government responds to unsustainable net migration
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  • $4.9m project completed with marae reopening
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    Ko Tahuarangi te waka – Tahuarangi is the ancestral vessel Ko Rangitukutuku te aho – Rangitukutuku is the fishing line Ko Pikimairawea te matau – Pikimairawea is the hook Ko Hāhā te Whenua te ika kei rō-wai – Hāhā te whenua is the fish (of Māui) whilst under the ocean ...
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  • First New Zealand C-130J Hercules takes flight
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    2 weeks ago

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