Open mike 31/05/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, May 31st, 2019 - 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 31/05/2019 ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Stiglitz channels RedLogix devil

    A comprehensive agenda must focus on education, research and the other true sources of wealth. It must protect the environment and fight climate change with the same vigilance as the Green New Dealers in the US and Extinction Rebellion in the United Kingdom. And it must provide public programmes to ensure that no citizen is denied the basic requisites of a decent life. These include economic security, access to work and a living wage, health care and adequate housing, a secure retirement, and a quality education for one’s children.

    • Sam 1.1

      Well done mate. Neoliberalism is the most evil ideology since nazism.

      Why? For those that don't know on paper, neolideralism looks fine at first: free trade is awesome, and tax reduction can be economic stimulus. In practice though, it means Thatcherism and Reaganism and Rogerism.

      Because it also involves deregulation of safety, dismantling of social welfare, privatization of public services, elimination of communal responsibility, and of course, austerity and supply-side economics. But of course, rampant protectionism and corporate subsidies are fine.

      Then again it may be already too late to stop neoliberalism. The forces driving the world towards this rampant future seem unassailable and too powerful for any change to occur.

      People like Stiglitz theorise that any government inaction in the markets distorts it, causing malinvestment, which is blamed for all recessions and depressions.

      Stiglitz position is since all modern economies have government intervention in the form of fiat money controlled by a central bank, all economies are constantly on the verge of recession. So Stiglitz is always forecasting a "pending economic crash" specifying different conditions in which it will happen. Thus when those conditions inevitably occur, Stiflitz can point his finger and say "I told you so!"

      It needs to die.

      • vto 1.1.1

        Well put. An added comment to this.. "any government inaction in the markets distorts it"

        What neoliberal types don't appreciate is that the government is actually a market participant itself. So it isn't possible to 'distort' the market. The people, by way of their government, are participants. To claim otherwise is ludicrous

      • RedLogix 1.1.2

        'Neolideralism' is alliteratively cute, yet 'neo-literalism' may be more accurate. Markets are indeed very good solving a particular class of economic problem and they've been a positive feature of human societies for millenia.

        But as with all ideological fools with only one big idea, the neo-liberals took this idea literally and proclaimed that markets could therefore solve all problems, extending it well beyond it's domain of competency into areas like education, health and community life.

        Neo-liberalism is the political wing of that spiritual death we call materialism; it always was a zombie philosophy. It joins that ignominious list of failed 20th century dreams, marxism, nationalism and racism that we can now firmly put behind us.

        • Sam

          The Treasury and The Reserve Bank was probably good during the era in which humanity experienced exponential growth as it industrialised after World War 2. However that era has past. So I'm dubious as to how relevant the government even was to that. Even shitty communist nations run by fuckwits was able to industrialise, complete with the large economic growth it brings. Much of China's economy is government run and they're the least free trade nation of consequence, but hey doing great economically. Most of the West has government spending a 1/3rd or more of the GDP, which isn't the same as nationalising the means of production but still represents a huge amount of government intervention in the economy, or outright being the economy.

          That said I'm not really sure how to go about cobbling a new paradigm, one that looks more at maximising sustainability and happiness than the number on the bottom or top lines. Neoliberalism wasn't so much invented, it was more a global phenomenon, and it excels at perpetuating itself. Neoliberalism is a paperclip maximiser, and its reaction to distortions is to turn them into more paperclips.

          Back when the world's economies was centered on the exchange of goods and natural resources, we had as close to a pure capitalist society as possible to get. We don't have that economy anymore. Money is no longer tied to the gold standard. Service industries are the majority of our economy. The crowds have now discovered that the government's sole purpose is not just to monitor the economy, and other such tidbits of conventional tried and true, trial and error, but intervene as well.

          Managing the economy is protecting the citizenry. Starved or stabbed, dead or dying.

          Besides, any entity that gets large enough to maintain a monopoly on money and violence is de facto the central economic player in all this. Government can't avoid it, the government can only refuse to take responsibility for it.

          • RedLogix

            OK Sam, so that outlines the problem. Here is my fundamental proposition; economics has become divorced from spiritual and ethical concerns and is therefore unable by itself to solve the problem we have created with it.

            It is a tool lying on the workbench, it cannot create unless someone intelligently picks it up and uses it skillfully for a good purpose. Note carefully, there are two presuppositions here; one is that we need the skills and competency to understand economics as a methodical discipline. The other is that we need to have a vision of what we want to create with it.

            The common temptation is to look at the mess we have created with our tools and declare they must be discarded. And others will demand that we simply haven't used them skillfully enough and we must double down on the mess. And finally there is the question of 'what exactly are we trying to create here?'

            So if we lack a common vision, what are the principles we might all broadly agree on in order to build one?

            One is that humans need purpose in life to thrive; there should be no idle poor nor idle rich. We all need to contribute meaningfully and all must have the opportunity to do so.

            Another is that reciprocity and symmetry are necessary to hold both cooperation and competition in balance. Competition is a valuable motivating force, yet unbridled competition is excessively wasteful.

            Recognising that the ancient question of inequality, while it expresses itself most painfully in economic terms, has it's roots deeper in human nature than we like to think. Some people will always be more 'successful' than others, and success itself is a positive feedback loop that often expands rapidly for any individual. The spiritual question we need to ask ourselves is 'what is the purpose of success and how do we make it meaningful across the whole of our lives?'

            My last big principle is that all the problems we face are global in nature, and can therefore only be solved at that scale. For example, the idea that every nation can 'export it's way to prosperity' is a nonsense, it cannot be sustained at even the most basic arithmetic level, much less any practical consideration. We must expand our social cooperation beyond the nation state in order to survive the 21st century.

            • Sam

              So significant is cash inflows is a little over $70 billion and cash out lows is a little under $80 billion so we are running about a $3 billion trade surplus and that's payments, taxes, wages ect. So we are basically accumulating capital relative to capital going out.

              Now we have the budget well being dash board indicator on the treasury website with over 30 economic indicators. I'v just looked at it briefly so I know as much about it as anyone else. How ever we can say the dashboard is a nation wide perspective that needs to be normalised. So let's say you look at the nation wide capitalisation caps and normalise it with the GDP you will find that New Zealanders actually have smeller than expected wealth and incomes. I don't expect anyone to go out and start doing fundamental analysis but the headline number would be 200k-300k children living in poverty.

              Then there is revenue which is even more extreme in the other direction. What does all this mean? Well there is a massive underutilisation and that there is significant growth in the the service sector. So imbedded in New Zealand's economy is the potential for 100k-200k children living in poverty, remembering that only half of the poorer children in New Zealand will receive any type of education. So there is significant double digit growth potential with in the sectors of the New Zealand economy. And this has nothing to do with the size of the nation or the size of the economy, it's to do with the size of education. And the dash board measures some utilisations ect. That's it.

              • RedLogix

                I don't expect anyone to go out and start doing fundamental analysis but the headline number would be 200k-300k children living in poverty.

                Your question is specific to NZ. Here is one aspect of why our economy underperforms:

                My story, as a regular readers know, is that our physical remoteness – in an era where, internet notwithstanding, distance appears to be not much less of a constraint than ever in many respects – is the key issue in our underperformance. It isn’t that – as some models and sets of estimated equations suggest – distant countries are inevitably poorer, but that distant countries seem to thrive (to the extent they do) mostly on natural resources, and industries building directly on those resources. And with a limited stock of natural resources, there are limits to the number of people that such places can support top tier incomes


                At least in part this is why I've long argued that NZ would be better economically off as a formal member of the Australian Federation. (As distinct from the informal non-voting member that we are at present. Indeed right now a lot of Australians would welcome us as a counter to Queensland's conservative tilt … but I realise I'm dreaming.)

                If you want a real sense of how remote we are, open Google Earth and zoom out so that the whole hemisphere is visible, then place NZ at the centre. It's very striking how we are surrounded by ocean; only Australia, Pacifika, PNG, Indonesia, Antarctica and a bit of Chile are on our side of the planet. Most of humanity lives over 10,000 km away.

                But what it does argue for is that we must be a lot smarter and efficient around using the resource have for the best outcomes.

                • Sam

                  The future of capital markets and it's impact on technology in, in my opinion capital around Oceania is relatively small and the government has prioritised $1 billion in aid and infrastructure programs for around the South Pacific. It's also very clear from the budget that we will see a lot R&D and venture capital projects in the vicinity of a billion dollars this year. By far the most disruptive technology will be renewables and energy policy and the consequences that has on legacy sectors and wages. Instead of relying on one LNG tanker and one or two oil refineries we have to broaden energy policy.

                  So it isn't the technology that has enabled legacy business models, it is the other way around – Business models enable technology. There isn't a technology that's made anyone wealthy, it was the business model. So technology does enable new business models and that compresses capital markets. That's a really long way of saying technology made all those jobs redundant. That's why we no longer use type writers. That's why we no longer use VCRs and so on and so forth.

                  In my opinion, what we want to see is technology stimulating new business models so that WINZ becomes redundant or Orange Children (ask me to spell CYF correct I'll tell you to fuck off) becomes redundant and capital exchanges becomes redundant. That should mean decentralisation and the democratisation of energy so solar on your roof. Y'know and that should get everyone's attention.

                  So how does technology make WINZ redundant and well it will be relatively cheap, easy to run on a high school education so computational skills is a must, ultra low service costs. It will satisfy nutrition, regulate ambient temperature, IMO. Food is one of the few activities where you can get more energy out than is put in. One way to do this is to utilise energy policy so that citizens can exploit the free energy produced by the Suns solar Ray's so that people no longer have to go to WINZ thus making WINZ redundant. Only thing is that the technologies and industries of scale in New Zealand doesn't exist yet and can not produce the outputs necessary for energy policy to make WINZ and capital markets and so on redundant.

                  You can still have WINZ, you can still have disability allowance, rent subsidies, unemployment bene, sole parent, caregivers allowance and all that. But WINZ should not have easy access to new clients. Not with out a fight. So do you see the opportunities. By using energy policy to create a cheap market for energy policy the average citizen instead of ploughing $30 to $100, $200 or what ever, instead of ploughing there merger wages into legacy energy and transport options, they could instead plough those meagre wages into exploiting the free energy stored in the sun by feeding that free energy into a yoghurt maker or an electric scooter or one of a million other technological solutions that would naturally flow on from a policy designed and constructed to democratise energy.

    • Dennis Frank 1.2

      “Governments have a duty to limit and shape markets through environmental, health, occupational safety and other types of regulation.”

      A fine principle. Too bad they tend to be inept in practice. What’s missing is expertise in systems engineering. Engineers seem to be governed by an ethos of efficiency in design, and practicality in application. They make corrections as required to get things working properly. Bureaucrats have the opposite mentality: do what has been done in the past. Time servers.

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        Bureaucracies tend to attract diligent, conscientious people who are good at 'working the system'. For the most part this is a good thing, we really don't want people entrusted with implementing a rules based system to be overly creative at their work.

        The trick is finding a balance between their instinct for stability and the need for innovation and fresh energy. Here is one model that has worked incredibly well; Permolat.

        Now I'm hugely respectful of DoC in general, but I'm also the first to realise they were not able to meet the needs of the tramping community in maintaining the hut and track network in the backcountry. Slowly but surely we were losing our much valued legacy. About 15 years ago one person, Andrew Buglass, decided to take the task on himself. Now the group is 300 and has an active core of people successfully working with DoC undertaking maintenance projects. For the most part DoC are now comfortable with Permolat working on their huts and tracks, and Permolat (plus a widening network of other community members) are take pleasure and pride in giving back to something they love.

        It worked because Andrew understood the system he had to work with, and went about the process of winning DoC's confidence slowly and methodically. There are of course all sorts of things that can go wrong with this govt/community model, but it is something we can definitely do better.

        My personal model of society rests on the idea of three main actors, the motivating power of individuals, the stabilising influence of governing institutions and social networking of communities. I think of it as a three-legged stool; all three must be in balance for a healthy society and it is community which is the element we have neglected most.

        • Dennis Frank

          That's an excellent reframing of the generic situation. Climate change as context forces governance away from steady-state thinking. We need a new attitude in management and employees: problem-solving. Bureaucrats default to the old view too readily: as if a team of rowers in a waka moving leisurely in placid waters can do the same when it enters turbulent flow. A mind-set of adaption to circumstance is required instead.

          Permolat seems a good model, indeed. Flexible by design, with a common interest in collaborating for mutual benefit results. I presume task selection is via group consensus? Tasking is a key to productive teamwork (without it all we get is idle discussions).

          For that reason, although I liked your three-legged stool design for governance, I see it as missing an essential factor – the incentive structure, to motivate behaviour & participation.

          • RedLogix

            the incentive structure, to motivate behaviour

            You ask the right questions. What motivates us? It's a question that can be addressed at multiple levels.

            The most primitive answer is that success is the fuel that drives the ancient mating game between the sexes. Building on this, we seek the means to protect and provide for our families and those we love. As we mature many seek to expand this, serving our communities and nations in a multitude of ways.

            Another way to look at it is from a psychological perspective, that we find positive purpose in work undertaken in the spirit of service. We like to 'give back' and invest in our future, our families and community. This trait is encouraged when the environment is reasonably secure and predictable.

            At the same time we also like adventure. We seek risk and challenge, it extends us and builds us up. We are thrilled to walk that edge between the security and adventure; this is the ancient idea of tao.

            And for me personally I find the ultimate motivation is an innate sense of mystery and unknown that is wrapped up in our reality. There is simply so much we do not yet know, so much yet to be uncovered and so much wonder we have yet to encounter. In this I am greedy, I wish to know it all, yet I'm permanently humbled by my limits and incapacity to do so.

            I've never attempted to write down a structure for what motivates me so this is inevitably personal. I'd hope and expect others to express this differently, but ultimately I think it is something like this we need to encourage each other with.

      • Herodotus 1.2.2

        Problem is that business have greater contact and influence than “the people”

        Look at this week, our leaders made great efforts to have breakfasts lunches etc with the elite few. To talk and hear about their comments. The man out west where does he have his opportunity ?? And you could argue that even once every 3 years there is no real opportunity.

        • mac1

          How does the man out west get to have the ear of politicians?

          First, is the man out west having particular and personal problems or is this a generic man out west representing working class folk, for example?

          The man with the personal problems may approach his local MP at his office.He may join a political party and fraternise with politicians that way.

          If he has a need to put a point of view he might contact an advocacy organisation or at least someone who has access to such an organisation.

          I work with Grey Power. That's what we largely do, at local and central governent level, as an advocate to Mayors, MPs, Health Boards, District Councils, and to other community groups such as Age Concern, anti-violence groups, Men Sheds, Older Persons Forums, community vehicle trusts, etc.

          I act a s a conduit in that role.

          As a GP rep I can attend Chamber of Commerce meetings. I can talk to their guests, such as MPs and this coming week I get a chance to hear the PM.

          She was available at the Grey Power AGM last week, as was Simon Bridges, Maggy Barry, Winston Peters and Tracy Martin. At that AGM were people well versed in political lobbying, as one or two politicians found out n the floor!

          So, there are ways, and more than I don't access, to get the ear of politicians. It's the art of advocacy, and good advocates are in the business of listening for people thay might represent.

          Our local GP has monthly meetings at which speakers engage with our members. This is another route to the ears of power.

          The chief executive of the local DHB will attend meetings of GP, for example.

          Grey Power holds public meetings locally with candidates for locals and central government elections also. We question them on behalf of members and air their concerns.

          The 'man out west' has to know about and learn to use these means of access to politicians.

          Our local MP meets every three months with Grey Power. We have nigh on six thousand members. He is wise to front with us.

          Before the last election I co-wrote a paper on the state of social services in our region. It went to that MP. (Little done, though). But Winston Peters read it. He brandished it at a local meeting, He spoke then of a human face of capitalism and the perils of neo-liberalism

          He spoke the same words in his Budget speech yesterday, having joined with other politicians in the Coalition government we have now to produce a Budget that he said would be the best Budget in 40 years, including his own!

    • Dennis Frank 1.3

      The poor man can't help being an economist. At least he's trying to think outside their square: "The fourth key item on the progressive agenda is to sever the link between economic power and political influence. Economic power and political influence are mutually reinforcing and self-perpetuating, especially where, as in the US, wealthy individuals and corporations may spend without limit in elections."

      He's conceived an alternative ideology, calling it progressive capitalism, to replace neoliberalism. "Progressive-capitalist reforms thus have to begin by curtailing the influence of money in politics and reducing wealth inequality."

      Problem is, he hasn't a clue how to do it. If he had, he'd have included that in his analysis. Changing the system is radical, not progressive. Expect an economist to grasp the fundamentals of political philosophy? Not a chance…

      • RedLogix 1.3.1

        Indeed I would expect nothing less than an economic perspective from the most pre-eminent economist of our generation. It's what he is good at and why we should read him.

        But in another sense you are right in that we should also be aware of the limitations of the domain. As long as economics remains mired in purely materialistic, analytical considerations it will remain unable to answer the important question … what is an economy for and how to best achieve that?

      • Adrian Thornton 1.3.2

        "The poor man can't help being an economist" +1 try reading and/or listening to Manfred Max-Neef, author of Barefoot Economics…

        'Max-Neef argues that for the paradigm to shift, it is necessary for economics to be taught in a different way based in five postulates and one fundamental value principle:

        1) The economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy.

        2) Development is about people and not about objects.

        3) Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.

        4) No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.

        5) The economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.

        • RedLogix

          hence permanent growth is impossible.

          I suspect that sentiment was first expressed about 10,000 years ago. It's true in the sense that an unintelligent linear projection of our current system suggests. But it's deeply flawed in at least two major respects.

          One is that the foreseeable human population will peak at around 9 – 10 billion. The other is that the nature of our resource demand will have to change; it's not just a question of being more efficient, but that we can reasonably anticipate a range of technological change that will allow us to leapfrog over our apparent limits.

          In no sense is this an optimistic outlook, the challenge is massive and messy. But as I've argued before, the real problem is bringing the 6-8 billion new people in the developing world into the middle class. We simply cannot do this with our current 20th century methods.

          In that respect Max-Nees is making a great deal of sense.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The media is doing it's usual shit job. John Armstrong has a piece on the TVNZ website that is a jarring reminder of the sort of journalism he symbolised. A narrow, pompous, cynical and completely detached piece.

    And RNZ does my head in sometimes, the panel they've assembled to discuss the budget just now is a tediously predictable ragbag of the usual suspects, none of whom has said anything you couldn't have predicted they'd say before they opened their mouths.

    Of course Sue Bradford will hate the budget, the women is a serial wrecker who always prefers pissing on the tent from the outside. Morgan Godfrey is a twitterati radical who represents a constituency of two (himself and his mirror). Fran O'Sullivan is a neoliberal hangover from the 1990s and lately a useful idiot for the Chinese. It is stale, stale, stale. Boring ZB for Chardonnay socialists.

    Surely to Christ at least RNZ could find people who actually want to intelligently discuss the budget rather than another routine melange of the has-beens and twitterati whose presence is designed to generate "controversy" while they grind their well-worn axes? Bernard Hickey must despair at the people he gets to talk with on RNZ.

    • Macro 2.1

      Totally agree. I've just given up even attempting to listen these past few weeks. Complete rubbish. I look for my news elsewhere these days. A real shame because RNZ was in the past the only place one could get anything that wasn’t completely spun to ribbons.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      Same as Macro. The focus on mental health is a ambitious and deeply overdue step in the right direction.

      The really interesting question will be how the money gets spent. The professionals in the field face a new level of challenge and scrutiny as never before.

      • AB 2.2.1

        The extra spend on mental health is good of course. But I have heard no commentator ask about the origin of our terrible mental health. The answer would appear to be that the material conditions of life for too many people are simply shitty. Pointless, alienating wage slavery and constant economic stress.

        A truly transformational programme would address structural inequalities of wealth and power in a way that was permanent and irreversible

        • RedLogix

          Pointless, alienating wage slavery and constant economic stress.

          Indeed that is exactly what I was had in mind. But lets see if we can get some ambulances to the bottom of the cliff first and start on cleaning up that tragic mess.

          • The Chairman

            But lets see if we can get some ambulances to the bottom of the cliff first and start on cleaning up that tragic mess.

            We should be doing both (addressing triggers and the aftermath simultaneously).

            But of course, this Government falls short once again.

            It's far harder to clean up the mess at the bottom of the cliff when we people are continually falling off.

        • Sacha

          A truly transformational programme would address structural inequalities of wealth and power in a way that was permanent and irreversible.

          Irreversible? How?

          • AB

            I don't know Sacha. 'Irreversible' is perhaps too strong. But there are now aspects of our social architecture that appear pretty much irreversible – such as free access to schooling to secondary level or votes for women. These things weren't there before the Liberals came to power in the 1890's, or the first Labour govt in the 1930's. The achievements of these governments are now woven into our society. I'm interested in how that became the case and what sort of timescale is required.

            I totally agree with RL that at the moment the ambulance needs to go to the bottom of the cliff. But if all we do is put extra spending in here and there, that is so easily reversed by a Bill English-style invisible austerity, disguised by a veneer of fiscal/moral rectitude.

            And I’d add that the great fear must be that the changes wrought by the Rogernomics revolution 35 years ago are now frighteningly close to reaching that point of woven-in irreversibility.

        • Iankerawshark

          We are wired to experience anxiety and depression, some of us anyway. They are stress vulnerability disorders. By all means

          Try and restructure society to reduce stress. But a certain amount of stress is unavoidable. Meanwhile the queues of people suffer ING continues to grow. Very u fair not to get them optimal treatment

    • Wayne 2.3


      I actually agree with you on this. Way too stale. After a couple of minutes I switched off. I knew what they were going to say before they said it.

      Time for RNZ to get a new generation of commentators. Maybe they could raid The Spinoff.

      As for the budget itself. Well, a bit ho hum. Predictable from this government. Good stuff on rail. A reasonable boost for conservation. Could have done more in tertiary education, that is boosting the capability of the institutions, not more for students.

      But in my books all that makes it an OK budget. It is not going to wreck the economy and throw thousands out of jobs.

      • Kat 2.3.1


        Good to hear you regard the budget as "ok". I would add that it will most likely be putting thousands into work and fixing up mental health is bound to contribute to the 'brighter future' we were all promised a decade ago. Big tick for the wonderful rail announcement, Winston is doing well would you not agree.

        • Wayne

          I can't see how the budget will put thousands into work. There is basically nothing in the budget that would stimulate growth, except at the margins.

          It is essentially a consumption budget, that is, the govt knows how to spend more money through the state. Probably more people employed by the state.

          Virtually no part of the productive sector (broadly meant) will have any money spent on it, no part of the government will be made more efficient, no part of the productive sector will have reduced costs.

          On the other hand there are no significant new imposts on the productive sector.

          So for most people it is the status quo.

          • Kat


            I was hoping to see the reinstatement of a 21st century ministry of works. Just have to bide my time.

            By the way you should stop commenting on Bill English's last budget and read the one announced yesterday.

            Now what was that in the 2019 budget about injecting funding into innovation, with initiatives to support businesses to become more productive…………… oh yes, and getting more people into apprenticeships and trade training, with opportunities for nearly 2,000 young people through Mana in Mahi……….need I go on…..oh wait, fixing the hospitals and building new schools and state houses are not being done by robots or magic…….read the 2019 budget Wayne.

          • KJT

            Teachers, Doctors and Researchers are not "part of the productive sector"?

      • Psycho Milt 2.3.2

        Could have done more in tertiary education, that is boosting the capability of the institutions, not more for students.

        That was a blind spot of the last Labour government as well – when they think about increasing tertiary education funding, they think about how to make things easier for students rather than how to increase the capability of the universities.

        • KJT

          Way too much is spent on the management of universities, already.

          Job subsidies for more unimaginative right wing bean counters.

    • solkta 2.4

      ragbag of the usual suspects, none of whom has said anything you couldn't have predicted they'd say before they opened their mouths

      Yes, am just listening to it now. I might make it to the end if i distract myself with writing this.

    • Morrissey 2.5

      John Armstrong has no sense of shame. If he had, he would never show his face in public ever again.

      JIM MORA: John Armstrong from the New Zealand Herald joins us. John, is Jock Anderson correct when he says it’s just twenty-five wild-eyed journalists that are pushing this story?
      JOHN ARMSTRONG: [speaking slowly to indicate great seriousness] It’s a bit wider than that, but not much.
      JIM MORA: So you think it’s a bit too much to suggest there is a danger of oligarchy in this country? Thats too long a bow to draw.
      JOHN ARMSTRONG: Yes, but this is corrosive. This will worry the National Party hierarchy.
      MORA: It sounds impulsive what he did, saying “I’ll pick up the phone and ring the guy.” So this will not hurt John Key. As we said yesterday, people will say this is the way the world works. It will not hurt John Key will it.
      ARMSTRONG: It doesn’t go far beyond the Beltway.
      JOCK ANDERSON: As Rob Hosking said in the NBR, this is only of concern to the Bowen Triangle, which is the Wellington equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle!
      MORA: Ha ha ha ha ha! John Armstrong on the Panel! Ha ha ha ha ha!

      • OnceWasTim 2.6.1

        Fran! You could put @Wayne in drag and you'd hardly notice the difference with a bit of lippy. Wayne (above) agrees that their needs to be a new set of rent-a-voices and goto's.

        (RNZ has been trying by the way. There's more than just Williams from the left and Hoots from the right on N2N, and criminology isn't now just the domain of the Big Huey)

        Perhaps Wayne and Fran could play swapsies

        • Morrissey

          Unfortunately, my friend, the replacement for Williams is one Stephen Mills, a treacherous swine if ever there was one. I could hardly believe what I was hearing on RNZ National back in 2016, when this fool contended (sans any evidence at all) that New Zealand supporters of Labour would support Hillary Clinton, and then unleashed some ignorant and insulting remarks about Jeremy Corbyn….

          To the rabid right in this country, the likes of Mills are, of course, the "acceptable" left. The sad gits at StandardWatch did not appreciate my critique….

          • OnceWasTim

            He's OK Moz. No one can be as perfik as u 'n' me.

            And what's more. I won't hear another word against Kum. I'll miss her in the morning, even though I usually welcome the locums.

            • Morrissey

              He's OK Moz. No one can be as perfik as u 'n' me.

              I don't demand or expect that he or anyone else is perfect. But I don't see how anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature can see his stupendously ignorant bloviations against Corbyn and Sanders and in favour of Hillary Clinton, for pity's sake, as anything other than a bright flashing warning light. That warning is: this person's judgment is highly suspect.

              And what's more. I won't hear another word against Kum. I'll miss her in the morning,

              I like her a lot too. She's done a lot of great things on radio, including driving Jeffrey Archer to denounce her live on air ("I was WARNED about you!" he foamed in 1995) and causing the even more odious William Shawcross to almost melt down into a puddle of disgusting bile in 2004…


              However, that doesn't mean she's above criticism. In a memorable confrontation in 2003, the great John Pilger told her that she was indolent and had lost her moral compass….


              She has also regularly hosted, and fawned over, the discredited propagandist and liar Luke Harding.

              even though I usually welcome the locums.

              Including Noelle McCarthy?

            • Sacha

              But are you forgetting his involvement in the infamous 1895 jam scone throwing incident in Arrowtown? Eh, eh.

        • OnceWasTim

          *there needs to be a new set …….etc.


    F is for farmers, and that's not good enough |…/f-is-for-farmers-and-thats-not-good-enough

    • dv 3.1

      This is Farmers stores and the fight for a living wage. (Not real Farmers!!!)

      • WILD KATIPO 3.1.1

        That's right!

        And only DIRECT ACTION will change anything !

        And while the talking heads rant on about the minutiae , or worse, – rant on about global macro geo political concepts, – NOTHING will happen unless those of the working groups of New Zealand start to realize at long last last that they have more things that unite them and less that set them apart !!!

        Its a 35 year old con job and the NZ general working populace have been royally conned. Conned by the parasites of both the Far Right and the snivelling 5th columnist woke neo liberal Left.

        Here's Natasha in all her brash exhibitionist crassness to show how blunt the message has to be…


        My grand-ma and your grand-ma were sit-tin' by the fire.
        My grand-ma told your grand-ma: "I'm gon-na set your flag on fire."

        Natasha Iko Iko – YouTube

        • Dennis Frank

          Yay tribalism? I'd rather listen to the Dixiecups doing it (1965). Way cool. Origin story: "The song was originally recorded by and released as a single in November 1953 by James Crawford… The story tells of a "spy boy" (i.e. a lookout for one band of Indians) encountering the "flag boy" or guidon carrier for another "tribe". He threatens to "set the flag on fire". Crawford set phrases chanted by Mardi Gras Indians to music for the song."

          "Crawford himself states that he has no idea what the words mean, and that he originally sang the phrase "Chock-a-mo", but the title was misheard by Chess Records and Checker Records president Leonard Chess, who misspelled it as "Jock-a-mo" for the record's release." He "gave a 2002 interview with OffBeat Magazine discussing the song's meaning:

          Interviewer: How did you construct 'Jock-A-Mo?'

          Crawford: It came from two Indian chants that I put music to. "Iko Iko" was like a victory chant that the Indians would shout. "Jock-A-Mo" was a chant that was called when the Indians went into battle. I just put them together and made a song out of them. Really it was just like "Lawdy Miss Clawdy". That was a phrase everybody in New Orleans used. Lloyd Price just added music to it and it became a hit. I was just trying to write a catchy song….

          Interviewer: Listeners wonder what 'Jock-A-Mo' means. Some music scholars say it translates in Mardi Gras Indian lingo as 'Kiss my ass,' and I've read where some think 'Jock-A-Mo' was a court jester. What does it mean?

          Crawford: I really don't know. (laughs)"

          • WILD KATIPO

            Yeah , read all that shit.

            Reality is , if you want shit to get done , you've got to get past all the cringeworthy nicety's and get in peoples faces. Otherwise people think you're either some sort of a joke , easily ignored or just a simpleton push over . That's why I posted the Natasha vid. She would just as easily punch your front teeth out and give you the fingers for your arrogance as make love to you a bit later. That's the image she projects.

            Tribalism? Fuck off. Just sheer self respect and belief in oneself.

            And its time NZ workers developed the same sort of 'Fuck You' attitude as the woman in the vid with these mealy mouthed corporate pricks who have been holding back owed pay and ripping off hundreds of thousands of NZ workers for the last 35 years of neo liberal piss down bullshit , – and start to call it out for what it is.

            There are over 650,000 ex pat New Zealanders who now call Australia home and will NEVER come back to these shores because of what the wanker neo liberals have done to this country over the last three decades. And that's a HUGE number from a country as small as New Zealand.

            And that should make any true Left wing supporter or worker want to piss blood.

            • Dennis Frank

              I did the staunch rebel thing too long. I agree it's essential and a natural response to oppression/exploitation. However there are psychological factors at work that defeat zealous solidarity stances.

              A good example is beneficiaries. Why no class solidarity? What made Metiria Turei fake it? Why has Marama refused to maintain Metiria's (nine-year delayed) political representation of that group? Why do all the other leftist politicians carefully avoid presenting as champions for that group? Why have beneficiaries consistently refused to form their own political organisation for so many decades??

              No I don't expect you to flail around for answers. It's enough that none of the other commentators here ever provide them, eh? Makes the point that deep psychology connecting people into political groups requires more gnosis than zealotry…

              • 'Staunch rebel thing ' my arse.

                Its just standing up for basic human self respect and and common decency and having the balls to do whats right , – and make sure your kids dont suffer the same sort of disgusting rip off fate as the last few generations have. Pretty simple concept, huh?

                So yeah.

                No flailing around for answers from this quarter mate.

                • Peter

                  I was a union rep for years I am talking factory work, the biggest problem to get workers to take action was (this is going to put the cat amongst the pigeons) married woman, they mostly always voted against it and when asked why they all ways said what about my kids.

                  • greywarshark

                    Peter That's a thing. The knowledge that their are kids at home depending on their mother, as well as their father if there are two parents, means they come first for the sure pay packet. Taking action means putting their needs aside for the sake of fairness, possible gains and the greater good. It makes many women conservative to the core.

                    And they don't get stirred enough as a rule to protest. Most women have had improved lives because of demands by feminist activists, but many would never identify with them in any way, and that may apply to those who have leveraged themselves to top positions. They will say they have succeeded because of their hard work, as part of a meritocracy.

                    • This is why no one Union should be going it alone.The criticism was made that there would be open slather strikes under Labour, yet most of that came from far right wing manipulators , who , always conveniently forget it was under the last National govt ( Key the worker hater ) that punitive and anti union laws were brought in.

                      The only way that a bomb will be figuratively put under the 'attitudional' arse of so many corporates and their political stooges is to have general ,mass rolling, ongoing strikes. Six months, a year of continual go – slows, stoppages and strikes. That will show a few wishful thinkers in this country the unions sill have a voice and the muscle to back it up with. It will also inspire many immigrants to join unions to protect their best interests as well.

                      Sad , but this is the point to where we have been led by these neo liberal wreckers,- people and family's who cant even afford rents, power , food .- ANY OF THE BASICS, – let alone saving anything.

                      Now that situation didn't just happen all by itself.

                      We all know who did it and why they did it.

                      And those same neo liberal bastards responsible need to be kicked so hard up the bloody arse they wont be able to sit down for a month.

                      As for women not striking?- if we see the pictures of the striking Farmers workers and the school teachers , – a big proportion ARE women.

                    • greywarshark

                      WK I don't agree with your scenario. At one time there would be decades of betterment likely after fights and arguments had settled down from a some years of strikes.

                      Now we are in the last years of our current era. We want to improve things for sure, and there are young people coming from the grassroots willing to make it happen. The unions need to keep watch on the hapless workers, like shepherds on their flocks, but there is no time for new long term fights. Defend and protect, and look for opportunities of co-operatives etc; people looking to government for what it should be doing, but also joining in loyalty groups who trade with each other for certain things, enabling traders to maintain skills and have a reliable clientele that will give them preference when buying.

                    • Oh , – and one more thing about why I chose the Natasha song , – she worked 'behind the scenes in the management of such stars as Marc Bolan, Rod Stewart and David Bowie.' owning at that time a fourbedroom home in the fashionable north London district of Highgate complete with wine cellar, garden pond teeming with Koi carp and a garage containing not just a Porsche but a Range Rover, a Jaguar and a Daimler too.

                      Within two years of that appearance on the BBC's top-rating chart show, ( Iko Iko song ) however, her marriage was over, the house and cars were gone and at one point she was reduced to working as a cleaner, gardener and dog carer to get by.

                      These days she lives in rented accommodation and drives a battered old Nissan but her spirit remains undimmed. The woman given 12 months to live in March after being diagnosed with a second bout of breast cancer has just released a new single and album – both aptly entitled Somehow – at the age of 65.


                      So don't lets get any ideas that women cant , – or wont , – get Billy bold when the going gets tough and their family's futures are being threatened. And I call family's having to live in cars despite both parents holding down two jobs as having their futures DIRECTLY being threatened.

                      That aint New Zealand , – that's some sort of third world worker exploitative bullshit country.

                    • Well Grey , agree to disagree,… however, let us no longer be cowed by the far right wings empty taunts about pay increases costing jobs when the perpetuation of low wage jobs , – are being used as a political tool and weapon to maintain the status quo.

                      Do you really think these ruthless corporate fuckers are going to be swayed by a hot cup of tea and plate full of marshmallows around the table?

                      And a lot of what you seem to be alluding to seems more like some sort of post apocalypse scenario when we are all living in some degraded technological rural subsistence style of existence and forced to barter .

                      Forget about all that, – there's still plenty of time to fight for your kids. Leave the post atomic apocalypse type stuff for the movies.

                      Working people are suffering NOW !

  4. Muttonbird 4

    Someone check on Hosking. He's hysterical.

    • Peter 4.1

      Saw the Herald headline. Diagnosed 'normal' for him. "Amateur Hour – this Govt of bullies are butchering our country."smiley

    • Sanctuary 4.2

      I think he is getting worse, if that was possible.

      I suspect the drop in traffic to the paywalled Herald has impacted on his clicks, and that has prompted his paymasters to sternly admonish him and tell him to be even more “cutting edge” and “controversial”.

      In fact, the guy is not an asset for the paper. I know sh*tloads of people who would rather pull their own teeth out with a pair of pliers than buy anything he is published in.

      He appeals to complacent set of boomer winners in the posh suburbs, and they have the spare dosh for subscriptions – but they are starting to die or shuffle off into irrelevant retirement where they give up on the modern world and start listening to Concert FM.

      I’d wager that his worth is less than the increase in subscriptions if they got rid of him.

      • Muttonbird 4.2.1

        After the election he was convinced the government was going to implode at some point in their first term, but despite his best efforts that hasn't happened.

        I think he's a little upset by it.

      • OnceWasTim 4.2.2

        Ooooh! you Bully you!

        (Btw, most of the listeners of Concert FM wouldn't even want a look at him if they had a choice)

        And do you know if dadda still chunders along as a wine critic?

    • Wensleydale 4.3

      If we're lucky Hosking's apoplexy will induce an aneurysm. I remember the look of slack-jawed horror on his face when he realised National had lost the election. It still warms my heart.

  5. Muttonbird 5

    I think it's time for the PM to star in a global NZ tourism campaign.

    Jacinda Ardern's international profile and reach has been witnessed and acknowledged the world over and we'd do well to use it for promotional purposes.

    Tourism is a massive export earner and if managed properly will continue to provide non destructive income for this country (as opposed to the dairy industry which cannot grow without cause more damage).

    I don't mean throwing her off a bridge with a bungy cord, but using her natural communication and presentation skills, and of course her telegenic appeal, alongside our landscapes to literally wow the world.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      That would be a good idea to ask Ms Ardern to help expand our tourism and at the same time put some limits on that people have to pay tourism tax, have a paid return ticket, have sufficient funds to either stay in accommodation or if hiring vehicles for travel, needing to work, only have a maximum of a month or something. We need to limit our visitors to those with something to put in rather than just using the country and leaving their mess behind, or being here on the cheap. If they have a working visa still limit it. Also they should have to pay a bond as well as a tourist tax and the bond will be returnable if their trip goes smoothly and they are not involved in an accident, fall on a tramp, get lost etc. We need to stop 'bleeding' our citizens as volunteer searchers, first-responders to accidents etc. who might get an honorarium or expenses perhaps, but are being called away from their own lives to serve these others who are needing caring human response, beyond the tourist package that they paid for. The Good Samaritans are being stretched too far.

      We have got to the stage where we don't have to beg people to visit us. Other countries have had to limit people visiting iconic places, we should find out what they have done and institute it here. We might have no growth in tourism numbers as a result, but each tourist that came would be putting more into the country.

      We also need to rectify holes in our care for tourists. If they have an accident they can't sue the company, and we have ACC help that isn't sufficient to assist them in the long-term. We are keen to have-a-go and don't concern ourselves with the precautionary

      • The Chairman 5.1.1


        I was going to say something similar. We do need to vastly increase the entry levy.

    • Graeme 5.2

      Jacinda Ardern doesn't need to "front" a tourism campaign, her international profile is doing the deed with the market New Zealand wants just fine.

      Some tourist markets are hurting quite badly at present. Backpacker / freedom camper, and bulk tour, mainly ex China, are finding it very hard. The industry, with previous governments support and encouragement boomed those markets and sector is reaping the consequences. Mid level markets ex USA and Europe are going gang busters, a noticeable dip post 15/3, but that coincided with the end of the season so I'm not reading too much into it.

      We're seeing quite a change in visitor mix away from cheap, low value tours to more independent higher value visitors. And lots of people asking about our leadership, New Zealand is very much in their media and they like what they see. They also find New Zealander's ambivalent to negative attitudes to our leadership very strange considering what they have at home.

      The John Key approach to tourism marketing bought us low value mass tourism with most of the costs flicked off as far and wide as possible. It also wasn't all that profitable judging by the number of businesses closing in Queenstown, and stories we hear through the trade. A more subtle, measured approach is what's needed and what appears to be happening.

      ps As an aside, China's reluctance to host our PM for a lengthy State Visit may have been due to the interest in her from Chinese women. Normally Chinese don't talk about politics, any countries politics, but I had some very interesting conversations this New Year. A full State Visit could have been tricky for the Chinese govt.

  6. Observer Tokoroa 6

    Kathryn Ryan – on the Ropes

    An appalling, abysmal offering from National's media person this morning. Kathryn Ryan spoke and delivered like a sulky teenager.

    She set out to insult and destroy Grant Robertson. She came through like street rubbish .

    • The Chairman 6.1

      How do you think this makes you look was the question Grant failed to answer and the question him and his leader must ask themselves.

      Is he going to be a liability?

      He's refused to apologise, hasn't offered his resignation, leaving Jacinda's oversight, thus leadership looking weak.

      • Muttonbird 6.1.1

        Snooping Simon hasn't been heard from since yesterday so I reckon Robertson and JA have got it spot on.

        • greywarshark

          Observer T at 6

          You seem to be getting wilder in your denunciations of anything you don't approve of. I heard Kathryn Ryan this morning and she was trying to get through the gloss-speak of our Finance Minister to see if she could reach firm ground when viewing the Wellbeing Budget's outcomes. The Budget itself is of more importance to people in need than the leak.

          I thought an interesting point that came up late was that perhaps the true nature of the premature presentation had not been explained to the Treasury CEO. Was it that Treasury officials had failed to fully brief Mr Makhlouf so causing him to identify the breach as a hack and a police matter, which has embarassed him and been an annoyance to the Labour Coalition Government?

          Grant R is a smooth speaker, and confident, the very model of a practised politician. But as Rosemary and others voice their doubts about the real improvements offered in the Wellbeing Budget, they express the concern that though the Budget sounds good, it might signify nothing of improvement to individuals, and Kathryn was testing if that was so.

          I heard a lot of talk which described the macro settings and new system implementation but not what would really address an individual's pressing needs. Perhaps that is something that should be implemented, give an example; a composite from those receiving services and benefits would be presented as a theoretical individual, and how the new system would lead to filling that person's needs, and improving their situation.

          No sulky teenager is Kathryn, or Rosemary and co. But you come through as street rubbish yourself. Yet you have been coming to this blog for long enough to have learned there are different ways to peel away the wrapping of policy and expose the substance underneath.

          • mac1

            I tried to listen to that interview but got hugely distracted by the interviewer's habit of cutting across the final sentence that Robertson was uttering and thereby very much inhibiting my ability to follow the arguments.

            I got myself into listening to the style of the interview rather than the substance. Possibly my difficulty, but when it was a constant ploy, very distracting.

          • Observer Tokoroa

            Hello Greywarshark

            You are entitled to have your opinion on everything. You always throw your weight behind National Party politicians and their followers.

            I am of the view, that political Parties and their followers who claim to be Democratic, should make sure that ordinary New Zealanders should have respect and care. Including sufficient Money to live without extreme hardship.

            I have seen no attempt on the part of National to assist in rebuilding a decent life for New Zealand poor.

            Shame on you.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              You always throw your weight behind National Party politicians and their followers.

              GWS's faults are no doubt legion in your mind OT, but being a National Party toady is not one of them.

              Shame on you. (And please desist from slurs like…" She came through like street rubbish .". has a strong whiff of misogyny.)

              • Observer Tokoroa

                Unrepentant !

                I acknowledge that Kathryn knows everything. And on your behalf I regret that Grant Robertson refused to be destroyed by her gunning aggression and rapid fire.

                The Woman in question has everything – but poise and sensitivity. Poor RNZ.

                I could forgive you for everything Rosemary ! Because you write so well.

                Regards OT

        • The Al1en

          He doesn't need to with the nats in the media and the chairman doing his bidding for him.

        • The Chairman

          Whether Bridges is around or not is irrelevant.

          This is a test of Jacinda's leadership and whether or not she runs a tight ship, calling her ministers to account.

          • marty mars

            Exactly – you'll keep chucking your monkey shit no matter who is doing what or in what role – what a dragbomb

      • greywarshark 6.2.1

        No doubt Kathryn Ryan would disagree.

        As you do Morrissey when judgment is passed on your abilities.

        • Morrissey

          What could she disagree with? Would she be able to mount a case that she did indeed challenge Gilbert Enoka? Or that she did get her "U.S. correspondent" to talk about something important and topical instead of babbling about Game of Thrones? Or that she did something other than giggle as ghastly old Dame Ann Leslie spat invective against the rule of law and against teachers?

          Again: what exactly could she disagree with?

          • greywarshark

            She is talking to a larger audience than you Morrissey many of whom haven't got past No. 2 on the board of political passes and thrusts and are still wondering why orange hair on a politician is a Bad Thing. Also Game of Thrones was interesting on so many aspects – it had nudity and violence, elaborate sets and costumes, interesting characters, and a story line that enthralled, and it made a lot of money. What isn't there to like?

            • Morrissey

              No doubt Game of Thrones is an entertaining television series. But there was something far more interesting and important to talk about—-namely, the Soviet-style humiliation of Bradley Manning. It was happening as they spoke. That bag of wind Jack Hitt chose to ignore it, and Ryan colluded in that act of suppression.

      • Grumpy 6.2.2

        Do teachers ever get deregistered for incompetence?

        • Morrissey

          Yes. It doesn't happen often, because to get in front of a class is a long and exacting process, which weeds out any pedagogical equivalents of a Mike Hosking or a Kathryn Ryan. However, it does happen.

          • Grumpy

            I know of many that it never happened to…..

            • Morrissey

              Did one of them perchance go on to a long and horrible career in sports radio?

            • greywarshark

              You have learned how to read and spell, but was the maths teacher no good at teaching you fractious?

        • Sacha

          Boag is still holding a grudge. 🙂

  7. Morrissey 7

    Don’t be fooled: Media are still selling out Assange

    by JONATHAN COOK, 29 May 2019

    A few corporate media publications have finally come out in very half-hearted support of Julian Assange – after years of stabbing him in the back at every opportunity. These outlets, including the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times, have found their voice very belatedly, only after the Trump administration revealed last week that it plans to lock Assange away for the rest of his life on espionage charges. His crime on the charge-sheet: more than a decade ago he published evidence of US war crimes committed in Iraq.

    The journalistic “resistance” claims to be coming to Assange’s defence out of principle: if he is jailed for espionage, journalism itself will be criminalised. And they are most definitely right about that. But their sudden conversion to Assange’s cause is not really about principle – legal or journalistic. It is rooted solely in an urge for self-protection.

    The papers that have rushed so very late in the day to Assange’s side, after the Trump administration announced moves to charge and extradite him, are also those who worked most closely with Wikileaks – in a distant past, long before they turned on him.

    The Guardian published a mealy-mouthed commentary from its former editor Alan Rusbridger. He spent part of his short space reminding us how unlikeable Assange is – as though that had anything to do with the rights and wrongs of the Trump administration’s case and as though Assange wasn’t so vulnerable now to Washington’s ire precisely because papers like the Guardian have worked so hard to isolate and demonise him.

    The Washington Post, a little more honourably, gave room to Glenn Greenwald, an expert in US constitutional law, to make a persuasive case for Assange based on journalistic, ethical and legal principles.

    Fabricated story

    Let’s be clear, however. Both publications care nothing for Assange or the ordeal he has been through over the past nine years. Or the ordeal he faces if the US gets its hands on him.

    For years the corporate media ignored the overwhelming evidence that a secret US grand jury had been convened to drum up charges against Assange.

    They similarly ignored the reason for the physical and mental torture and financial penalties inflicted on Chelsea Manning, which were intended to extract false testimony that might make the phoney espionage charges look a little plausible in court.

    The media have ignored the endless examples of legal abuse Assange has suffered at the hands of the UK and Sweden, long before the US threw its own soiled hat into the ring, as I recently documented here.

    The media are still ignoring such abuses, including Assange’s year-long solitary confinement in Belmarsh, a high-security UK prison, for a minor breach of police bail.

    And so far the corporate media have been ignoring reports that Assange is so ill, or possibly so drugged by the authorities, that his lawyer is unable to work with him on his defence.

    In the case of the Guardian, the paper even fabricated a story out of whole cloth to try to create a nefarious connection between Assange and the Trump administration. Months later the paper has not only failed to provide a shred of evidence for its fantastical story but has gone to ground, refusing to answer any questions about it.

    In the firing line

    Rather than address the important legal, political and journalistic questions surrounding the Assange case, the Guardian and other papers that collaborated with him turned his persecution into nothing more than a simple-minded Hollywood drama, with Assange reduced to the satirical description offered by Australian journalist Caitlin Johnstone of a “stinky Nazi rapist Putin puppet Trump supporter”.

    No, the reason why the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times and other media suddenly care about Assange’s fate has nothing to do with principle – legal or journalistic. It has nothing to do with the First Amendment, which has been under threat since Assange was forced to hole up in Ecuador’s embassy in 2012, after he was granted political asylum.

    These same newspapers ignored the political reasons Assange was in the embassy so they could pretend he had simply run away from a sexual assault investigation in Sweden. They also ignored or ridiculed the ruling in 2016 of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, some of the world’s foremost legal experts who found that the UK and Sweden were violating international law and Assange’s most basic rights in keeping him locked up in the embassy. The Guardian mocked the ruling as a “publicity stunt”.

    No, the reason these papers now care about Assange nine years too late is because for the first time they are specifically in the firing line too. They collaborated with him on the very matters – US war crimes – he now faces extradition over. If Assange goes down as a spy for his activities as a journalist, these papers and their editors could end up in trouble too, exposed to the threat of espionage charges themselves. ….

    Read more….

    • Sacha 7.1

      Smoked Out: climate change

      by McKenzie Funk, Feb 2019

      Last spring, my wife, wanting to change career, was accepted by nursing school, and our family – the two of us, two young boys, a middle-aged dog – suddenly had to move house. We were leaving Seattle, where we had lived for a decade, a city with ample rain, though one within range of volcanoes and earthquakes, for a small town in the mountains of southern Oregon. I put the climate change books I had agreed to write about for this paper in a cardboard box and put the box on top of the others starting to fill our garage, and soon spring turned to endless, destructive summer.

      The town we were moving to is called Ashland. It’s beautiful, a surprise cluster of civilisation just north of Oregon’s border with California, where restaurants and shops and stately wooden houses sit at the foot of a forested mountain range called the Siskiyous. It has twenty thousand residents but swells during the academic year with students and in warmer months with tourists, many of them here for the summer-long Oregon Shakespeare Festival. There are flower-filled parks, excellent schools, people riding carbon-fibre mountain bikes, retirees driving luxury cars, travellers with dreadlocks, nice dogs reliably on leashes. Restaurants and real estate agencies line Main Street. People in Ashland are often from somewhere else, and they pay good money to be here. The town’s economy relies, above everything else, on its quality of life.

      I first heard about the smoke problem from a publisher of religious and philosophical books who had lived in Ashland for 24 years, raising his three children in a blue, three-bedroom house near the business district. Now they were grown up and publishing was dying and he found he had trouble breathing in the summer months because there were an increasing number of fires in the surrounding hills. The forests here are dense and dry. The valley is shaped like a trough. When wildfires burned, the smoke lingered in the valley for weeks, and he had to stay indoors. It had happened almost every summer for the previous six years: it was the ‘new normal’, people in Ashland said, an effect of climate change. The publisher was moving to Los Angeles, a metropolis once famed for its smog, partly because the air there was sure to be better. When I visited him one rainy May evening during a house-hunting trip – his home was supposedly a steal because it was selling for under half a million dollars – we drank tea at his kitchen table, surrounded by his boxes and furniture and former life, him at the end of something and me at the beginning. The house wasn’t quite right for us. I decided we should rent instead and found a place a few blocks away, across the creek.

      Jenny liked the old house we ended up with. We moved her in one June weekend, the boys crawling in and out of the doors of the secret closet in their new bedroom. She would live here alone for the first month, riding her bike to and from the university, eating at the grocery co-op, revelling in the fact that in a small town everything is ten minutes from everything else. The boys and I returned to Seattle, and wrapped up our existence there. ‘We’re going to need new sunglasses for the boys,’ Jenny told me early on. It was always sunny. The air was so crisp. It was so easy to get around. We’d be spending a lot of time outside. Then, a week before we were to drive the nine hours down Interstate 5 and finally join her, bad news: ‘The smoke started,’ she said. ‘It came early this year.’ Although there was little imminent danger of its spreading to Ashland, the nearest fire – the result of a lightning strike near Hells Peak – was just nine miles from our new home.

      When a building is burning, firefighters usually try to extinguish every last flame. It’s a fight to the death, over in a matter of hours. When thousands or tens of thousands of acres of forest are burning, the major goal is containment, a kind of negotiated peace with a force greater than man. Wildland firefighters try to halt a blaze’s progress, encircling it with natural or manmade firebreaks. They work to keep the flames away from people and property, hoping to hang on until environmental conditions – humidity, wind speed and direction – change and the autumn rains finally arrive. Many wildfires are left to smoulder, and to smoke, for weeks or months on end, causing little newsworthy damage. Disasters like the conflagration that consumed Paradise, California, in November, killing 81 people – the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history – do happen. But the climate disaster facing millions of other residents of the American West is more insidious. In a town like Ashland, the smoke blots out the colour of the houses and the hills, rendering everything in grayscale, a slow-burn diminution of the way life here used to be.

      On the afternoon the boys and I arrived the town and the Rogue Valley where it sits were surrounded by nine separate wildfires. The next day, Ashland registered the worst air quality in the United States: 321 on the Air Quality Index. The AQI scale is colour-coded – green-yellow-orange-red-purple-maroon – to denote health risk, and we were well into maroon, or ‘hazardous’. Outside, the air was totally still and the temperature had hit 100°F. It looked like dusk in the middle of the day. Inside, the boys’ upstairs room was like a furnace, but we couldn’t open the skylights for fear of letting the smoke in. We rushed out to buy an air-conditioning unit. At the hardware store down the road, we got the last child-size smoke masks on the shelves, the ones rated N95 for the particulate matter the internet said we really needed to keep out of their lungs. Prepping for the unknown, we ordered a dozen more masks from China on Amazon.

      The boys’ first summer camp was in a nature area five minutes from our house. They were meant to spend the whole week outside. Instead they spent it in the cramped quarters of the visitors’ centre, where they sang songs about the forest and built fairy houses out of bark and moss and acorns. Some days, the AQI dropped into the orange zone, and at least once into the yellow, but the smoke always returned when the wind shifted. I tried to walk the dog whenever the air looked best, helped by the AQI app I’d downloaded to my phone, and I grew used to wearing my smoke mask in public, grunting muffled hellos to other pedestrians in masks of their own, fellow travellers in the apocalypse. It began to feel normal. In the café where I went to work on my laptop, I noticed how routine this existence was becoming for others, too. Walk in, take off mask, order coffee. Put mask back on, walk out. In Seattle, I had always taken my rain jacket when I went outside. Here, one had to remember the smoke mask. Your baselines shift. You adapt.

      By the end of the week, however, our younger son, then three, had developed a rough cough. I took him to a clinic, and the next day we decided to get him and his brother out of Ashland until the smoke had gone. I loaded up the car again and drove the boys and the dog four hours north-east to the other side of the Cascade Mountains, where my extended family had a cabin. We were climate refugees, I joked, escaping to higher elevations and latitudes in search of a more hospitable environment. The six-year-old asked me what ‘refugee’ meant, and I had to explain, but told him I didn’t really mean it. All we could honestly claim was a new-found feeling of dislocation, of being stuck between lives. I had brought the long neglected box of climate change books with me, and now, safe in the mountain air, I began reading.

      Read more..

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Thank you Sacha. That's sobering and telling from someone's personal experience. Graphs and scientific stuff can't convey the reality for all, just on their own. Everything now needs an anecdote to demonstrate the effect of the data on people and the planet.

        This deserves a separate thread of its own. I don't know why it got put in Assange's one which is important but separate from the importance of this one. Anyway I am going to make a note of it for the How to Get There post as it is so revealing about one type of the future problems we may have to run away from to save our lives.

    • Dennis Frank 7.2

      "Pamela Anderson defends Assange: 'There were two sides to this election'" An insight likely to stun everyone who thinks we use multi-party democracies.

      But yes, politicians & media are always keen to reduce complexity to simplicity, so the 18th-century frame is still trundling on. I'm intrigued that her campaign on his behalf is persevering.

      "The elections have neither been rigged, nor have voters been intimidated or deceived by misinformation," the former "Baywatch" star writes in a Daily Beast op-ed published Thursday. "The only thing that happened is that the disclosure of true information about a candidate‘s character and conduct hurt her campaign and may well have caused her defeat. So what? That’s democracy," writes Anderson, in reference to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign. "Stop whining and grow up!"

      "So you say the Mueller Report proves Julian guilty?" the 51-year-old actress and former model wrote in her piece. "Well, then let’s talk about it: The report does not claim that Julian hacked the [Democratic National Committee]. It only says that he sought to 'obscure' his sources, as any serious journalist would do, and to 'release' information at times that were beneficial to the Trump campaign."

      • Morrissey 7.2.1

        Thanks, Dennis. Let's remember, of course, that Julian Assange is supported by not only the brave and decent Pamela Anderson. He is supported by Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Ralph Nader, John Pilger, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Arundhati Roy, ….

        • Dennis Frank

          He ought to be supported by all right-thinking people. Whistleblowers operating at the geopolitical level are the most effective political representatives the people have on the global stage. By publicising state secrets, they are implementing the praxis of open, transparent, governance. Roll on the day when we get politicians intelligent and sensible enough to acknowledge that to the media!

        • greywarshark

          A good reminder Morrissey against astringent commenters like Dennis F.

          Another link about protests outside Westminster Court.

        • Grumpy

          Not to mention his not so subtle hint at Seth Rich being the source of the DNC emails. If true, then the US and UK are acting to cover up a serious crime so don't hold out too much hope for Mr Assange getting well any time soon.

          • Morrissey

            In a sane and moral world, Julian Assange would be honored not only by those who value justice, liberty and truthful reporting, but by the state. And Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning would be President and Vice-President.

            Why not? The same people who defame and ridicule them now used to do the same to Nelson Mandela.

            • Grumpy

              Probably, but the world is not sane nor moral. Assange just knows to much, he is threat to both the right and the so called "left" of the DNC and Clinton machine. There is a reason he spent so much effort to remain shut away in the Ecuadorian embassy. He knows he will never be allowed to divulge what he knows. One day he might get a public holiday in his honour but that will be it.

              • Morrissey

                … the world is not sane nor moral.

                That’s correct if by “the world” you mean politicians and their flunkies and media mouthpieces. But most people—thoughtful people that is, not the morons who are attracted to lynch-mobs—do indeed recognize that those in power are untrustworthy, cynical and corrupt. The fact that political parties have pretty much stymied democracy here and elsewhere doesn’t change that fact.

                One day he might get a public holiday in his honour but that will be it.

                You never know, though! A generation ago, things looked equally bleak for Nelson Mandela.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    No smokes here: Petrol station stops selling tobacco for sake of community

    Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Māori public health coordinator and Kaukapakapa local, Marama Pairama, worked with the petrol station to become smokefree.

    She said the whole community was behind them as it was a massive step for their neighbourhood.

    What a fantastic initiative. A lot of addiction related harm to communities would be reduced if substance like tobacco and alcohol were less freely available.

    Personally I think alcohol should be removed from supermarkets.

    • Morrissey 8.1

      They're still selling petrol though.sad

    • The Al1en 8.2

      And get smokes out of dairies too.

    • The Chairman 8.3

      Personally I think alcohol should be removed from supermarkets.

      I agree. The large discounts they put on alcohol could be going on lowering food prices instead of the other way around (increasing food prices to offset lowering alcohol).

      • SPC 8.3.1

        Na. That's too woke for me.

        There is also no evidence that food prices would be lower if there was no alcohol in supermarkets.

        • The Chairman

          It use to be worse, selling alcohol below cost as a "loss leader", thus having to offset that loss via upping prices of their other products such as food.

          But if that is too "woke" for you, just rollover and go back to sleep.

          • SPC

            Fact is, supermarkets have always made an overall profit from selling alcohol. If they no longer made that profit then they make it from other items on sale, or close down.

            Just like dairies close down if they cannot make profits without selling certain items (when they choose or are forced to stop selling them by law or violence).

  9. veutoviper 9

    I agree with the comments in the @ 2 thread above re the Morning Report panel which discussed and rated the 2019 Budget this morning; and was less than impressed with Suzie Ferguson's interview of Grant Robertson also on Morning Report. Too many interruptions and too much focus on the Treasury cock up than on the Budget itself.

    That said, I was really impressed with the first two segments on Nine to Noon also on the Budget that followed.

    The first was an interview by Kathryn Ryan with Dr Simon Chapple and Dr Michael Fletcher from Victoria University's Institute of Governance and Policy Studies which raised some very interesting perspectives on whether or not the 2019 Budget achieved or was a first step in a change in approach to government budgeting. 14 minutes but really worth listening to IMO, particularly if you have knowledge/experience of the approach to central Government budgeting over the last two – three decades (as I had as a Wellington bureauocrat).

    This first interview very much set the scene and approach for the second segment which was Kathryn Ryan's indepth (26 minutes) interview of Grant Robertson himself,

    It was one of the best interviews/performances I have heard from Robertson and provided much needed insight into what the approach was to the drawing up of the 2019 Budget; why some things were included and why other things have not been included and the longer term approach to transformation; and into Robertson's position re Treasury and its erstwhile Secretary.

    It was also one of the best handled interviews I have heard from anyone to Ryan's interview manner. I often get angry/annoyed at her domineering and interruptions while still having considerable respect for her ability to think on her feet and conduct knowlegeable interviews over a wide range of topics. Robertson had complete control of the interview in terms of handling her attempts to interrupt etc and parried every attempt to do so calmly and with humour at times. Her frustration was obvious, LOL.

    I really recommend taking the time if you can to listen to both these interviews.

    • Macro 9.1

      Thanks for the link vv.

      Very interesting interviews.

      For far too long the world has concentrated it's attention on GDP growth as the metric for a country's wellbeing. A trap I feel that Kathryn Ryan falls into as well.

      The modern concept of GDP was first developed by Simon Kuznets for a US Congress report in 1934.[11] In this report, Kuznets warned against its use as a measure of welfare[1]

      I think the inclusion of measures within the Finance Act requiring all Ministers and Ministries to have regard for societal well being and measures, is a major first step and ground breaking introduction. That these measures will also be considered across Ministries is also significant. These are baby steps and I hope the Govt has the courage and support from the country as a whole to work towards more bold initiatives wrt the well being of all, not just the chosen few.

    • The Chairman 9.2

      The main reason there is too much focus on the Treasury cock up rather than on the Budget itself is because Labour have failed to sufficiently address the matter and put it to bed.

      There are allegations Grant's hands were dirtier than merely overreaching linking the two, thus tarring National. For which (tarring National) he has refused to apologise while Makhlouf now refuses to engage with the media. Hence, the continued focus.

      • Psycho Milt 9.2.1

        There are allegations Grant's hands were dirtier than merely overreaching linking the two, thus tarring National.

        There are allegations The Chairman is a disingenuous concern troll.

        For which (tarring National) he has refused to apologise…

        Robertson isn't a data thief, unlike various people in the National Party. He has nothing to apologise for – certainly not to the thieves, anyway. But your disingenuous concern trolling is noted.

        • Muttonbird

          Why anyone would consider apologising to the National Party is beyond me. 😕

          • The Chairman

            Beyond you? Don't sell yourself short, I'm sure you are smarter than that.wink

        • The Chairman

          There are allegations The Chairman is a disingenuous concern troll

          Yes, there are, but there is no proof of that, thus they merely remain allegations. Moreover, I'm not the finance minister telling lies and tarring National.

          There was nothing disingenuous in my post.

          Robertson contacted National saying Treasury said they have sufficient evidence that indicates the material is a result of a systematic hack. However, it turns out Makhlouf said he had no evidence the material National held came from the so-called hack.

          Hence, at the least, Robertson must apologise for this. Failing to shows up his leader, bringing into question her oversight.

          • McFlock


          • SPC

            There was no hack but National did get the info from their site, just not by hacking. Nothing the Treasury head told the Minister was reliable.

    • Anne 9.3

      Thanks vv. I use to rely on your links to satisfy my intellectual yearnings and have had to ferret them out for myself in recent weeks. Will listen to links later today.

  10. mosa 10

    What a muppet show

    This by Idiot savant.

    So, it turns out that the Budget "hack" was performed using that nefarious, illegal hacking technique called "using the search engine". Police have concluded that it wasn't illegal and they will be taking no further action (because its using the fucking search engine). I'm surprised they didn't charge Treasury with wasting police time.

    Meanwhile, Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf has presided over incompetence and smeared the opposition. We pay public sector CEOs the big bucks supposedly to take responsibility. We pay Makhlouf over $600,000 a year on that basis. So how about we get what we paid for? By running a muppet show, Makhlouf has fucked up his agency's biggest event of the year, and the centrepiece of the government's policies. It would be hard to imagine a more public screwup. But I forget: he's fucking off to Ireland. So I guess he's in DNGAF mode now. While SSC is looking into it, there's nothing they can really do to him now, so we'll get no accountability at all. I guess NeoLiberal public sector management theory didn't really think about that…

    And then there's the next obvious question: how long has this flaw been lurking in Treasury's web servers? How many budgets have been googled in advance that way? Was market-sensitive information revealed, and did someone make money from it? Because that actually would be important.

    • Muttonbird 10.1

      More idiot than savant.

    • SPC 10.2

      Given the budget is a one off, and all that the search revealed was budget totals (so all National could say was more tanks than teachers – because they had no idea of the detail of spending, new Orions not tanks etc).

      My response to that from I/S is yeah na.

      Pity. He got it spot on originally – it was no hack just an input of new dates in the search engine.

    • Anne 10.3

      “And then there’s the next obvious question: how long has this flaw been lurking in Treasury’s web servers?”

      Mike Williams yesterday claimed the 'flaw' would have been in the system for years and so… if the Lab led government is incompetent then so was the Nat led government which preceded it.

      • The Chairman 10.3.1

        Yet after all that has taken place, Jacinda has said she has not lost any confidence in Treasury or the Finance Minister.

        A ball call or what?

        • Anne

          Piss off TC. You are so transparent. Most people here can see through you. And learn how to understand what you're reading before you burst in to commentary.

          • The Chairman

            I'm not the issue, Anne. Care to address the question?

            Furthermore, how do you think it makes Jacinda look taking that stance that she has taken. They (Labour) are continuing to handle this matter poorly. They should have put this to bed yesterday. So don't go lashing out at me for their failures, thanks.

            • McFlock


              Labour handled it quite well. The dude who called it hacking is leaving anyway. The ministers just acted on what they were advised. And that's without anyone with better tech law knowledge than the cops pursuing the nats for possible crimes in an untested area of law.

              • The Chairman

                The dude who called it hacking is leaving anyway

                And didn't that just make him the perfect scapegoat/fall guy for the minister if allegations turn out to be correct.

                • Muttonbird

                  Makhlouf was correct when he said it was hacking, just that it wasn't a very difficult hack.

                  The problem for the National Party is they now look shifty and underhanded. Something a lot of us have known for some time but a large set of voters will now see more clearly.

                  The next polls will be interesting.

                  • RedLogix

                    Makhlouf was correct when he said it was hacking, just that it wasn't a very difficult hack.

                    Precisely. From the very first I maintained that how National obtained the documents did not matter in the slightest. It was the fact they had no 'right of claim' to them, no authorisation whatsoever, is the only thing that counts here.

                    • The Chairman

                      It was the fact they had no 'right of claim' to them, no authorisation whatsoever, is the only thing that counts here.

                      Sure. That's if you want to overlook Grants overreaching.

                    • RedLogix

                      The piss weak Police decision is certainly not the final word on the matter; we have at least two other informed opinions that what National did should be tested in Court.

                  • SPC

                    I don't think it was hacking, checking to see if last years figures had been updated on site already – and available with a new year search – is not really that.

                    Hacking is breaking down the door, all they did was see if the door was open or locked. It was open.

                    Whether it is legal or illegal is another matter.

                    That depends whether it is taking something or not, given it's information that was going to made public, its a hard case to make.

                    The issue then is government information security, especially when some information (not discovered) such as the government borrowing programme would have insider trading value.

                    What was galling was National prepared to have parliamentary staff put under suspicion – given they claimed to have received a leak (to hide their gathering ther information from the site). Given their criticism of Mallard what hypocrisy.

                • McFlock

                  lol but they handled it poorly, according to you. Now they handled it with the perfect fall guy to protect the minister. And if the minister is protected, so is the PM.

                  This is why people think you're a tory swine: you pivot from calling the govt incompetent to saying they evaded responsibility perfectly.

                  All while you ignore the fact that even if (big "if") the nats didn't commit a crime in abusing a malconfigured system, they still acted stupidly with the information.

                  • The Chairman

                    Even though he made the perfect fall guy, I didn't say they handled that well either. Get it right.

                    • McFlock

                      So they incompetently managed to select the perfect fall guy?

                    • The Chairman

                      It was just luck he happen to be leaving, thus it seems it was more a case of convenience.

                    • McFlock

                      As Bridges has repeatedly shown, you can have the best luck in the world and still manage to turn it into shit if you're truly incompetent.

                    • Observer Tokoroa

                      Hi Mr Chairman

                      Please update me.

                      Has that Leader of yours been raking through Computers of Businesses, Corporations, Hospitals, Properties, and Pharmacies today?

                      Simon has a mind of grabbing things that he does not have permission to make his own.

                      regards OT

              • The Chairman

                As for handling it. Robertson should have apologised (at the least) for his part and called for the head of Treasury to resign yesterday morning. Getting it all out of the way (taking questions from the media etc) and putting it to bed before going into the Budget.

                • McFlock

                  So you think that the morning of the budget those actions would have enabled all the media wankers to do their columns, opinion pieces and pieces to camera solely on the contents of the budget?

                  Because I would have thought that the minister of finance calling for the treasury sec'y's resignation just before the budget lock-in would have been more of a news story than a fairly solid budget, frankly.

                  • The Chairman

                    It wouldn't have been much of a story once it was put to bed as I suggested above.

                    Moreover, it should have be done long before the lock in with all the questions and answers over and done by the very start of the day.

                    Additionally, apparently the lock in was broken as some media left chasing the Treasury head.

                    Furthermore, what will be the cost of Jacinda protecting Grant as she is?

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, you're way off on that – even if he'd done it at 6am it still would have been a headline 12 hours later.

                      As for Robertson, even despite your puffery he'll hang around. Bridges has more chance of losing his job over it than Robertson.

                    • The Chairman

                      Being put to bed it would have had short legs, thus it would have headlined in the morning and throughout most of the day becoming old news by the evening. Especially when drowned out by the more important Budget news. Labour's and Treasury's poor handling of this has made the story far larger than it needed to be.

                      The only reason the media are still interested in this today is because Labour failed to sufficiently put this to bed. Thus it's only natural the media and public are still seeking answers.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah that's not how the 6pm news works, and even if it was the minister of finance firing the treasury secretary on budget day would be a big fucking story for longer than 12 hours.

                    • The Chairman

                      As for Robertson, even despite your puffery he'll hang around.

                      And there will likely be a political cost to bear for that. It doesn't reflect well on Jacinda. And that's a star the party can't afford to damage cause they are unlikely to win an election without her. Whereas, Grant on the other hand, the party can live on without him.

                      There call.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah I don't think there will be any problem keeping Robertson around.

                    • The Chairman

                      Being fully put to bed and headlining throughout the day, it would have ran out of oxygen rather quickly. Sure it would have been covered at six, but the more important Budget news would have still dominated. Whereas, it is still being brought up today (further getting in the way of the Budget discussion) coupled with a nasty allegation hanging over the Governments head laying unanswered.

                    • McFlock

                      Friends of mine have toddlers. Putting them to bed is easier said than done.

                      You're acting like they should have snapped their fingers and the issue (which is pretty much your contrivance anyway) would have disappeared. That's not how the news cycle works.

                • SPC

                  An issue only important to an opposition or media or blogs, government people deal with real stuff.

      • SPC 10.3.2

        Sure, but its only the headline budget totals being identified.

  11. greywarshark 11

    How's the rest of the world going? This on NZPost site about Afghanistan.

    As a result of the Afghan Post headquarters being attacked on Saturday 13 April 2019, postal deliveries are on hold, tracking information is not available, and customer service channels are closed. Please expect delays with mail being sent to and from Afghanistan at this time.

    Poor Afghanis. When can they be left alone to sort out their own affairs and try to rebuild their country? They have suffered a lot of damage for little progress. Now the whole country's postal system is down.

  12. SPC 12

    In retrospect it’s interesting how National operated. They used a search for budget information approach that DPF had used nearly twenty years ago to identify police statistics before they were made public (the difference is they got no detail this time only expenditure totals).

    1. They claimed they been leaked information, so imply they had no part in getting it. The plan was to get the Minister to offer his resignation, as is form if there is a leak.

    2. When Treasury identified the information National had was the same information that was obtained by searching their site, Treasury knew they were the source.

    At that point the only thing not known was whether National had gathered the information themselves, or someone else had.

    3. Then the head of Treasury made the mistake of claiming this information was hacked and referred the matter to police (the only thing this might reveal was whether it was a National Party parliamentary office computer than had done the searching). Which was misleading the Minister and wasting police time. Colloquially known as a government department covering its own arse till the threat/issue loses immediacy.

    Which is when Bridges got "mad". Why?

    Well it was all a cunning plot to claim a leak and get the Minister to offer to resign (which is why you could define right wing media by identifying those who say Robertson should). And THEN the head of Treasury makes himself the one out in front (and by the time State Services deals with this he will be in Ireland).

    The Minister can claim he was mislead. He can also claim National did not receive a leak as it had claimed (deliberateley misleading and placing parliamentary staff under investigation to score cheap politcal points) – it had actively sought the information.

    And I will add, given this was all a cunning plot to get Robertson to offer his resignation and instead the focus is on someone going to Ireland it is little wonder Bridges was so riled on Wednesday. It would all come to nothing – so all he could do was go up on his hind legs and say National was being unfairly vilified and they would be found righteous and honourable. Yeah na. More likely someone else in caucus or someone not yet in parliament.

    • greywarshark 12.1

      And in the end it was all a mares nest. (And if you don't understand what that is, then it is the perfect saying to use.)

      The leak just revealed some info that might or might not have been exactly what was due to be revealed some days later. (Hasn't that happened before in recent years at least once?) I don't like the idea of supposedly confidential information being made available to the public. (That has happened before more than once eg two – from government files about citizens accidentally and from the mouth of the Minister Poorer Benefit deliberately.)

      And Gnashional trying to make it into a resignation matter! It's like a secondary school performing a political farce of clever satire. Only fools but certainly no horses, could care about this brouhaha.

      And then Amy Adams doing an impression of a wise financial advisor this morning on Radionz. Or I think it was; they are cookie-cutter people in Nat Party; important attributes are not wisdom or deep knowledge of the nation, its economy and attributes; they are confidence, glibness, superficial good appearance, and an absorbent mind available to pour in the latest propaganda and political jargon.

      (I see that I have referred to horses inadvertently twice in this comment. Does this have a hidden meaning? I don’t know. Perhaps I know something that I don’t know I know? Is there a racehorse running called Mare’s Nest, Fools and Horses, Den Boy, or Brouhaha. If so, and the odds are right, you might get a better return on your investment than put it into supporting the National Party).

  13. Siobhan 13

    A very subdued reaction to the Budget all round..apart from Hoskings, whos lost his mind, no one seems that enthused or excited.

    Even on the FB. Labour Party Page…35 'Likes' and "Loves"9 Comments, 7 shares. 24K views

    I'm beginning to wonder what the turn out to the next election is going to be like.

    Could it possibly be an even closer call than last election? Or will the teachers and the Health workers and the renters and the shopworkers etc etc swallow the bitter pill and turn out anyway?

  14. R.P Mcmurphy 14

    politics has descended into total infantilism when the leader of the opposition uses grubby little tropes about facelifts gone wrong lifted straight from reality tv to try and excoriate the government

  15. Dennis Frank 15

    In Britain, the natives are revolting. Anti-establishment feeling seems to be running at an all-time high, surpassing even the Brexit revolt three years ago:

    "Poll bombshell for Tories and Labour: 'Main parties' slip to joint THIRD on 19% behind Lib Dems and Brexit Party in shock opinion survey after EU vote humiliation"

    "A YouGov poll for The Times found the Conservatives and Labour had slipped to joint third place, both with 19 per cent."

    "The Liberal Democrats have become the most popular party in the country… The pro-Remain party has seen its support surge to 24 per cent, closely followed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party at 22 per cent."

    "The Lib Dems came second in the European parliament elections last week, claiming 20 per cent of the vote and winning 16 MEPs. However, the Brexit Party claimed first place in the elections with 31.6 per cent, giving it 29 seats."

  16. Morrissey 16

    If it must be a B-grader, I'd rather have Beavis and/or Butthead

  17. Muttonbird 17

    Uber hits icy patch – heads for cliff edge.

    Looks like their business model is…erm..under review. 🤣–is-it-on-the-right-track

  18. Muttonbird 18

    Is his idea that making Mexico poorer is going to stop illegal immigration?

    What a genius!

  19. Observer Tokoroa 19

    Dear Mr Chairman

    Could you please be a wee bit decent – and tell us whom in the National ranks uplifts the important Information of our Businesses, our Corporations, our Banks and Share holders ?

    You know Mr Chairman. The Persons associated with SB that ripped open Treasury stuff for Simon. ?

    Or do you think I should ask a few of your wealthy Share Holders _ Mr Chairman ?

  20. greywarshark 20

    When people are in pain, terminally ill, it would be kind to give them help and a decent government service would do so. But apparently we have not go a decent welfare system yet, not enough kindness applied apparently. May 31 2019

    Terminally-ill father Mark Bates planned to die this weekend, painfully.

    The 43-year-old announced on social media that he was going to reject life-saving medication to keep his inoperable brain tumour in check because ACC refused to acknowledge a mental health injury caused during treatment five years ago.

    Also, WINZ cut his benefit and Studylink would not accept his wife, Kirsty's, application for an allowance and neither could agree who should be paying who….

    "The thought of how the tumour will kill me haunts me. I'll go blind. Deaf. Trapped inside my head slowly dying unable to recognise who I am or anyone else.

    "I won't last long without medication. It will be painful but we could not fight with government department anymore. We're broken."

    His Facebook post received more than 1300 comments of support with others sharing details of similar issues to get entitlements….

    "I just needed to hang on to make sure my family was looked after.

    "My wife needed to finish her studies. She used to study law but stopped to take care of me and is now doing an accounting major.

    "It is so important she is able to provide when I'm gone."

    On May 28, Bates received a letter from ACC saying he is now recognised as being entitled to compensation from 30/01/2014 to July 2019 and he will be back paid for the time he was without assistance….

    Mark confirmed he took his medication for this weekend.

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    Tangi ngunguru ana ngā tai ki te wahapū o Hokianga Whakapau Karakia. Tārehu ana ngā pae maunga ki Te Puna o te Ao Marama. Korihi tangi ana ngā manu, kua hinga he kauri nui ki te Wao Nui o Tāne. He Toa. He Pou. He Ahorangi. E papaki tū ana ...
    20 hours ago
  • COVID-19 funding returned to Government
    The lifting of COVID-19 isolation and mask mandates in August has resulted in a return of almost $50m in savings and recovered contingencies, Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Following the revocation of mandates and isolation, specialised COVID-19 telehealth and alternative isolation accommodation are among the operational elements ...
    23 hours ago
  • Appointment of District Court Judge
    Susie Houghton of Auckland has been appointed as a new District Court Judge, to serve on the Family Court, Attorney-General David Parker said today.  Judge Houghton has acted as a lawyer for child for more than 20 years. She has acted on matters relating to the Hague Convention, an international ...
    1 day ago
  • Government invests further in Central Hawke’s Bay resilience
    The Government has today confirmed $2.5 million to fund a replace and upgrade a stopbank to protect the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant. “As a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, the original stopbank protecting the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant was destroyed. The plant was operational within 6 weeks of the ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt boost for Hawke’s Bay cyclone waste clean-up
    Another $2.1 million to boost capacity to deal with waste left in Cyclone Gabrielle’s wake. Funds for Hastings District Council, Phoenix Contracting and Hog Fuel NZ to increase local waste-processing infrastructure. The Government is beefing up Hawke’s Bay’s Cyclone Gabrielle clean-up capacity with more support dealing with the massive amount ...
    2 days ago
  • Taupō Supercars revs up with Government support
    The future of Supercars events in New Zealand has been secured with new Government support. The Government is getting engines started through the Major Events Fund, a special fund to support high profile events in New Zealand that provide long-term economic, social and cultural benefits. “The Repco Supercars Championship is ...
    2 days ago
  • There is no recession in NZ, economy grows nearly 1 percent in June quarter
    The economy has turned a corner with confirmation today New Zealand never was in recession and stronger than expected growth in the June quarter, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. “The New Zealand economy is doing better than expected,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s continuing to grow, with the latest figures showing ...
    2 days ago
  • Highest legal protection for New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs
    The Government has accepted the Environment Court’s recommendation to give special legal protection to New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs, Te Waikoropupū Springs (also known as Pupū Springs), Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   “Te Waikoropupū Springs, near Takaka in Golden Bay, have the second clearest water in New Zealand after ...
    2 days ago
  • More support for victims of migrant exploitation
    Temporary package of funding for accommodation and essential living support for victims of migrant exploitation Exploited migrant workers able to apply for a further Migrant Exploitation Protection Visa (MEPV), giving people more time to find a job Free job search assistance to get people back into work Use of 90-day ...
    3 days ago
  • Strong export boost as NZ economy turns corner
    An export boost is supporting New Zealand’s economy to grow, adding to signs that the economy has turned a corner and is on a stronger footing as we rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle and lock in the benefits of multiple new trade deals, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “The economy is ...
    3 days ago
  • Funding approved for flood resilience work in Te Karaka
    The Government has approved $15 million to raise about 200 homes at risk of future flooding. More than half of this is expected to be spent in the Tairāwhiti settlement of Te Karaka, lifting about 100 homes there. “Te Karaka was badly hit during Cyclone Gabrielle when the Waipāoa River ...
    3 days ago
  • Further business support for cyclone-affected regions
    The Government is helping businesses recover from Cyclone Gabrielle and attract more people back into their regions. “Cyclone Gabrielle has caused considerable damage across North Island regions with impacts continuing to be felt by businesses and communities,” Economic Development Minister Barbara Edmonds said. “Building on our earlier business support, this ...
    3 days ago
  • New maintenance facility at Burnham Military Camp underway
    Defence Minister Andrew Little has turned the first sod to start construction of a new Maintenance Support Facility (MSF) at Burnham Military Camp today. “This new state-of-art facility replaces Second World War-era buildings and will enable our Defence Force to better maintain and repair equipment,” Andrew Little said. “This Government ...
    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to attend United Nations General Assembly
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will represent New Zealand at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week, before visiting Washington DC for further Pacific focussed meetings. Nanaia Mahuta will be in New York from Wednesday 20 September, and will participate in UNGA leaders ...
    4 days ago
  • Midwives’ pay equity offer reached
    Around 1,700 Te Whatu Ora employed midwives and maternity care assistants will soon vote on a proposed pay equity settlement agreed by Te Whatu Ora, the Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (MERAS) and New Zealand Nurses Association (NZNO), Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. “Addressing historical pay ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand provides support to Morocco
    Aotearoa New Zealand will provide humanitarian support to those affected by last week’s earthquake in Morocco, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “We are making a contribution of $1 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help meet humanitarian needs,” Nanaia Mahuta said. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government invests in West Coast’s roading resilience
    The Government is investing over $22 million across 18 projects to improve the resilience of roads in the West Coast that have been affected by recent extreme weather, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today.  A dedicated Transport Resilience Fund has been established for early preventative works to protect the state ...
    1 week ago
  • Government invests in Greymouth’s future
    The Government has today confirmed a $2 million grant towards the regeneration of Greymouth’s CBD with construction of a new two-level commercial and public facility. “It will include a visitor facility centred around a new library. Additionally, it will include retail outlets on the ground floor, and both outdoor and ...
    1 week ago
  • Nanaia Mahuta to attend PIF Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will attend the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, in Suva, Fiji alongside New Zealand’s regional counterparts. “Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply committed to working with our pacific whanau to strengthen our cooperation, and share ways to combat the challenges facing the Blue Pacific Continent,” ...
    1 week ago
  • PREFU shows no recession, growing economy, more jobs and wages ahead of inflation
    Economy to grow 2.6 percent on average over forecast period Treasury not forecasting a recession Inflation to return to the 1-3 percent target band next year Wages set to grow 4.8 percent a year over forecast period Unemployment to peak below the long-term average Fiscal Rules met - Net debt ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New cancer centre opens in Christchurch
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall proudly opened the Canterbury Cancer Centre in Christchurch today. The new facility is the first of its kind and was built with $6.5 million of funding from the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group scheme for shovel-ready projects allocated in 2020. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government invests in top of the south’s roading resilience
    $12 million to improve the resilience of roads in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions Hope Bypass earmarked in draft Government Policy Statement on land transport $127 million invested in the top of the south’s roads since flooding in 2021 and 2022 The Government is investing over $12 million to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealanders continue to support the revitalisation of te reo as we celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Mā...
    Ko tēnei te wiki e whakanui ana i tō tātou reo rangatira. Ko te wā tuku reo Māori, e whakanuia tahitia ai te reo ahakoa kei hea ake tēnā me tēnā o tātou, ka tū ā te Rātū te 14 o Mahuru, ā te 12 o ngā hāora i te ahiahi. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Wildlife Act to better protect native species
    The 70-year-old Wildlife Act will be replaced with modern, fit-for-purpose legislation to better protect native species and improve biodiversity, Minister of Conservation Willow-Jean Prime has announced.   “New species legislation is urgently needed to address New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis,” Willow-Jean Prime said.   “More than 4,000 of our native species are currently ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Further safety initiatives for Auckland City Centre
    Central and Local Government are today announcing a range of new measures to tackle low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in the Auckland CBD to complement Police scaling up their presence in the area. “Police have an important role to play in preventing and responding to crime, but there is more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt confirms additional support for Enabling Good Lives
    The Government has confirmed $73.7 million over the next four years and a further $40.5m in outyears to continue to transform the disability support system, Minister for Disability Issues Priyanca Radhakrishnan has announced. “The Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach is a framework which guides positive change for disabled people, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand gets AAA credit rating from S&P
    Standard and Poor’s is the latest independent credit rating agency to endorse the Government’s economic management in the face of a deteriorating global economy. S&P affirmed New Zealand’s long term local currency rating at AAA and foreign currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook. It follows Fitch affirming New ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointment of Environment Court Judge
    Christchurch barrister Kelvin Reid has been appointed as a Judge of the Environment Court and the District Court, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Mr Reid has extensive experience in Resource Management Act issues, including water quality throughout the South Island. He was appointed to the Technical Advisory Group advising the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ’s biggest ever emissions reduction project hits milestone
    New Zealand is on track to have greener steel as soon as 2026 with New Zealand Steel’s electric arc furnace project reaching a major milestone today.   The Government announced a conditional partnership with New Zealand Steel in May to deliver the country’s largest emissions reduction project to date. Half of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Poroporoaki: Paki Leslie Māngai Nikora
    Pokia ana te tihi Taiarahia e Hine-Pūkohu-rangi Hotu kau ana te manawa! Horahia ana te whārua o Ruātoki e te kapua pouri Tikaro rawahia ko te whatumanawa! Rere whakamuri kau ana te awa o Hinemataroa Ki te kawe i te rongo ki te mātāpuna i nga pōngaihu Maungapōhatu, tuohu ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 50,000 charges laid in crack down on gangs
    Police Minister Ginny Andersen has today congratulated Police in their efforts to crack down on gangs, after laying 50,000 charges against gang members and their associates through the hugely successful Operation Cobalt. As at 31 August, Police have: Laid 50,396 criminal charges against gang members and their associates Issued 64,524 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers and cyclone-affected properties supported with tax rule changes
    The Government has confirmed details of the tax changes to the bright-line test for cyclone-damaged properties, with the release of the required legislative amendments. Revenue Minister Barbara Edmonds has released a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to be considered by the Finance and Expenditure Committee in the next Parliament, as it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand wins CPTPP dispute against Canada
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor has welcomed the CPTPP Panel’s ruling in favour of New Zealand in our dispute against Canada, a significant win for our primary sector exporters. The Panel found that Canada’s dairy quota administration is inconsistent with its obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New intensive turnaround programme launched to break the cycle of offending
     The next phase of the Government’s response to youth crime is underway, with an intensive programme for the country’s most prolific young offenders launched today in Auckland, Minister for Children Kelvin Davis said. The programme, announced by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in July, will see up to 60 recidivist young ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government extends report date for COVID inquiry
    The Government has agreed to a request from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 for extra three months to deliver its final report. The Royal Commission was established in 2022 to strengthen New Zealand’s preparedness for any future pandemics. It was originally due to conclude mid-2024. “The Commission has ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Wainuiomata school property upgrade making great progress
    The Wainuiomata High School redevelopment is making great progress, with two more classroom blocks set to be complete by the end of the month, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The Prime Minister visited today to see first-hand the progress of the redevelopment which is continuing at pace and is ...
    3 weeks ago

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