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Open mike 31/10/2019

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, October 31st, 2019 - 102 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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 …

102 comments on “Open mike 31/10/2019”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Twyford is a dead man walking. The meta from today's stories in Stuff is he has zero political capital, his credibility is exhausted and the media smell blood.- 

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117020181/the-true-cost-of-phil-tywfords-billion-dollar-memory-lapses and  – https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/117034013/for-the-second-day-in-a-row-phil-twyford-looks-like-hes-given-parliament-the-wrong-information

    Perhaps Jacinda just got the reason to remove Twyford. He is now a political liability.

    • ScottGN 1.1

      I’m no fan of Twyford, he’s certainly turning out to be a less than stella cabinet minister. And it’s intolerable that he appears to have totally fucked up the years of light rail planning in Auckland. But this campaign by Coughlan in cahoots with Chris Bishop and National’s old pals still in the the transport ministry is starting to look pretty nasty and personal.

      • Pat 1.1.1

        would certainly help if he stopped handing them ammunition

        • Peter

          Transport is serious. You can't lie, you can't get the wrong story from officials, you can't make mix things up, you can't not remember.

          Now if he were, say a PM, and it was something unimportant, like say the GCSB, he could lie, would be allowed to not remember, be able to obfuscate… 

        • ScottGN

          Sure would!

      • Climaction 1.1.2

        Yes, it’s appalling when the opposition does its job and points out that Twyford couldn’t even plan the route for light rail, let alone product a plan to build it. Must be a media conspiracy that prevented Twyford from pulling out a map and finding a route, which is almost identical to a road, from the cbd to mount roskill.

        certainly a personal attack. 

      • Sacha 1.1.3

        Patrick Smellie balances the ledger somewhat: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12281214

        Twyford is at the heart of some of the government's most ambitious and difficult plans. He is simultaneously managing huge capital demands and battling a range of entrenched interests to effect major changes in policy and performance. It was never going to be easy. Nor is it obvious that all of those policies are well-founded. But they are the government's agenda.

        If anything, his greatest personal failing mirrors that of the government as a whole – he's better at thinking policy up than at executing it. He's also not terribly humble about that fact.

        But it's highly contestable to suggest that he should be falling on his sword in response to a campaign by a government agency to protect its own patch.

    • aom 1.2

      Excellent hit job by Stuff. A new Minister with a big knife and plenty of gaffer tape should cure the problems with a department that sounds dysfunctional.

    • Herodotus 1.3

      For no other reason than destroying the dreams of those who were sold the Kiwibuild dream, he needs to go. March 18 we had confirmed the promise of $600k cap from the election was still there, then less than 2 months later sorry it is now $650k.
      Thanks to that inability of this government we have lost 3+ years into addressing the housing issue. His legacy will go well beyond this govts tenor. 

      we now face in the 2020 election a bad option or a slightly worse option. Meanwhile the rest of us face REAL day to day issues. 

      • Molly 1.3.1

        Kiwibuild itself was a poisoned chalice. 

        It was a badly conceived solution to the issue of affordable housing.

        • Dukeofurl

          median 'household' income  in Auckland would be around $120k .  Any other system of  direct government subsidy to reduce the price to say $450k would be a  $$$ gift to those who can take advantage of it.

          The building of state houses for rent as social housing  is continuing, Kiwibuild isnt designed to replace that

          • Molly

            I don't know how your response relates to my comment, I’m guessing it was for Herodotus.

            But aside from that, I'd be interested in where are you finding the median Auckland household income?  I can only find the average, which is not the same.  Also, it might have some data on the distribution of income and number of household occupants.

            • Siobhan

              No idea where Duke gets his figures from, but this seems more accurate to me…

              "First-home buyers in Auckland would need to be earning three times the median income to be able to afford a comfortable first home, according to real estate statistics website One Roof.

              Based on the median house value in Auckland of $1.2 million, a household would need to earn $241,200 to comfortably afford mortgage repayments of 5.79 percent over 30 years.

              That's triple the median income of $76,232, and the household would also need to be able to save $248,607 for a 20 percent deposit, according to One Roof."


              + New Zealand's median income is $52,000

              • Molly

                Hi Siobhan,

                Another concern I have about using "household" income is that overcrowded or multiple family households, flatten out any financial stresses that would otherwise be apparent.  A household with grown children earning money, but unable to afford their own housing on their individual income, will be contributing to the statistics of household income and improving it.

                Also, given the information in your link.  The article shows the disparity (or despair-ity) of median housing costs compared to median incomes.  Although we know that indicates that at least half the households are in that position – or worse – we have no idea how the top 50% is distributed, and whether the housing stress affects 51% or 80%.


        • Ed1

          I never did understand why Kiwibuild was separated from the need for social housing – the two go together – it is all about making sure that as many as possible have somewhere to call home. As for why some initial targets have not been able to be met, there are two that I suspect do not get much attention. The first is that housing is just one of the neglected (or deliberately diminished) areas of government service – the previous government did its best to either privatise (largely to "Charities", but that produced a fragmented industry that cannot be measured, and importantly reduced expectations of government doing anything itself), or sell off state houses to private purchasers. The second is the comparative weakness of the building industry. The Government choices regarding Christchurch were to use Fletchers as much as possible – controlling supply, the pace of work, and subcontractors. Accompanying that were a deliberate mis-interpretation of insurance contracts (requiring fixed price sign offs from policyholders for example) and shoddy regulatory monitoring. We now know that many newer buildings collapse in an earthquake than those built 50 to 100 years ago; we know that concrete has not always had the correct amount of steel reinforcing, or properly connected steel. We know that New Zealand builders are bejind overseas companies with mechanisation and pre-built houses – our big companies do not want to knw, while small companies go bankrupt too easily . . .

          We know the limitations of our clean water, waste water and sewage reticulation systems – new developments are harder than they used to be. Then we have stupid pandering to employers to bring in large numbers of people to keep wages low – remember when baristas was the biggest single occupation for immigrants? The separation of trade education from work meant that it was cheaper for companies to avoid having apprentices; that is only now being turned around by the current government, and unemployment is lower partly a a result. Some of the problems we now know exist are the fault of deferred maintenance and poor regulation in the last government, and some of them have also been surprises to all of New Zealand in the last 2 years. Deferred maintenance in Health has been well publicised, but it goes beyond just buildings to staff levels and (together with teachers) to pay levels.  All that has required ambitions for the current government to not always be met. It is fair to say that some could have been anticipated, but not all of them. 

          National's preoccupation with selected bits of government is well known – and as we know from The Standard, most of their claims turn out to be severely distorted, if not plain wrong. 

          • Sacha

            Kiwibuild was only meant to reduce prices in the part of the 'market' above social housing levels.  To drag houses on an average section in an average suburb from $900k to 750k, say. Not remotely 'affordable' for most families.

            State houses were always going to have a bigger impact at the bottom and this govt have done an appalling job of communicating what they have done in that space.

        • Herodotus

          Irrespective of the merits of Kiwibuild, it created great hope out there, and this was initially promoted in 2014. So there has been plenty of time available to ensure that this at least was more successful that what is has been, and many of the issues should have been worked out, instead of fixing it as we go 4 years after its conception. The hubris that has surrounded this when valid short comings were pointed out. 

          What are the 20-30's who placed their hope into this scheme ? 3 years wasted, dreams destroyed.

          And remember this govt. increased the scope from 50k to 100k over 10 years, without any prompting. 

          • McFlock

            It was probably pretty well planned out – but when you hit reality, sometimes plans go awry.

            For me, KB always gets points for actual effort and setting up a testable goal. Like a lot of this government's work.

            That having been said, it's fallen well short. But Twyford never struck me as being a Clare Curran, so maybe replacing him won't magically improve things. Maybe the initial slog of KB is just a much worse job than expected.

          • Molly

            I was never a fan of this approach.  In effect, it actually reinforces buoyant market prices for housing.

            I had posted this link previously, about Grand Design series "The Street" about an approach to housing development that provides benefits to both the purchaser and the authorities.  Apparently the series is going to be on NZ television soon. 

            The original Netherlands development Almere is still going, and worthwhile researching for how successful it has been in providing lower-cost housing, while building community:

            Custom-build housing: Almere Poort

            Initiated at the height of the financial crisis when housing providers had virtually stopped building, Almere Poort is a project built on council land as part of the city plans to provide affordable housing for low-income households of €20,000 (£14,500) a year.

            Individuals can purchase a plot designated by the local authority. Once the plot is secured and a mortgage in place, the buyer is free to customise their home from a wide variety of different “ready-made” homes, many designed by in-house architects.

            Ekim Tan, co-founder of Play The City, which uses gaming to resolve complex urban challenges, worked on an interactive user guide for the Almere project. She says the mayor’s idea was to make a direct relationship between the local authority and the housebuyer.

            “They [volume housebuilders] feared the project’s success because it proved that the public could do without them,” adds Floris Alkemade, former partner at architects OMA and project architect for the masterplan.

      • greywarshark 1.3.2

        The first view of the government;s housing plan showed it as not only feeble but probably terminal.    How come the voters were cast in the role of the simple, direct, clear-eyed viewers on the sideline looking at the Emperor with No Clothes, but a heck of a con story to sell us?

        Where are the smarts in Cabinet?   Did they get left on the Cabinet table after a meeting.    And was it like that funny happening on the way to an Art Installation where the arrangement of an Aftermath of a 'do' with cigarette ends and other detritus', was mistaken as rubbish by the prosaic cleaner and swept away.

        Not what I would call art;  and the Cabinet decisions lacked veracity also.

      • ScottGN 1.4.1

        Ryan Bridge really? Who gives a toss what he thinks.

        And Newshub knows like everybody else that Lees-Galloway had no choice but to allow the guy to stay if we were to comply with our international obligations.

        Lets not forget Newshub as part of MediaWorks is going down the toilet and this bullshit is one of the reasons why.

        • Paddington

          Good points, but the media do influence perception, whether we like it or not.  And politicians rise or fall on public perception.

          • Wensleydale

            It would help if people were less prepared to be spoon-fed bullshit. A lot of the time no one does any research for themselves, preferring to just meekly accept what they're being told, without knowing if it's a partisan hit-job, or just the 'feels' of some sour hack with an axe to grind. David Cunliffe was put through the wringer based on what turned out to be manufactured horseshit, and yet you had John Armstrong hysterically shrieking about his resignation. If 'The Hollow Men' and 'Dirty Politics' taught us anything, it's that none of this stuff is accidental. There's a cohesive strategy behind it.

          • greywarshark

            That's a weak point Paddington, whatever is written about you will affect perceptions so you should drop off as soon as someone makes up a convincing lie?     Where do standards sit in your part of the world – does anyone try to do anything good, and do most that you know sit on fences going hee-haw at the earnest tryers while they make up some juicy concoction about them for the gullible.

            • Paddington

              It's not a 'weak point', it is an observation of human frailty.  The media's influence is, at least in part, determined by the willingness of the general public to accept 'news' at face value.  When we challenge prevailing narrative, when we scratch below the surface, we expose the shallowness of media coverage.  Too few do.

      • Dukeofurl 1.4.2

        Its just a usual  rants  from a low rating breakfast show trying to make the news itself.

    • Jimmy 1.5

      Jacinda needs to act on this IMO. The longer Twyford stays there the more crap he is putting on to Labour. Helen Clark would have sacked him by now. 

      • ScottGN 1.5.1

        Actually I think Clark, would, if she felt that her minister was being undermined by his ministry, have moved pretty smartly to curtail a few careers in that department. The minister would have been most likely given a minder and told not to move unless Heather Simpson said he could.

        • Anne

          Spot on ScottGN.

          I suspect part of Twyford's problem is that he has been too trusting of some in his ministry portfolios. Once upon a time these officials were strictly neutral but I fear that is no longer the case. 

          • tc

            Twyford IS the problem IMO along with the other ABC national light ministers such as Nash, Robertson, Hipkins, Parker, O'Connor etc. WTF does Faafoi do !

            Phildo has fallen into the trap of thinking his dept is behind him when any idiot can see the entire public service was turned over by National to suit it’s backers requirements.

            Also there is the toxicity that is Shane Jones who thrives on undermining Labour with a proven history of laziness, arrogance and boorish behaviour. 

            • greywarshark

              But everyone knew that Shane Jones was like that tc, and he was chosen I think, despite those attributes because he was someone that the centre-Trump voters would feel akin to.    Probably his rating is still positive with that group despite having his foot in his mouth, his automatic rifle in his meaty arm etc.

            • North

              And generally being an up-himself Trumpian prick.

          • Sacha

            Being naïve is not an OK quality for a Minister.

          • Stuart Munro.

            No doubt there. Quite a few ministries are larded with so many Gnat spoilers they're a trap for ministers – Radio NZ for one. By all means give Twyford a holiday – but lose the fake public servants – there's no place for them under this government.

    • newsense 1.6

      That attack is bollocks- Nat party stooge is helped by journo. Coughlin needs to be asked why he doesn't identify the clear party affiliation.

      The bigger question is why were we f- around with PPPs. It's a marquee policy- Twyford isn't on his own here. Sure he hasn't done that well, but he's not working in a vacuum.

  2. Snowden's twitter account is rich in news including Brazil, with the Bolsonaro family implicated in murder,Epstein's "suicide" (looking more like homicide according to Michael Baden who observed the autopsy)latest polling from New Hampshire..Sanders leading

    Snowden's memoir Permanent Record should make interesting reading



  3. Molly 3

    Does anyone know the policy around police involvement in Auckland Transport fare dodging? 

    My son is a regular commuter on AT trains into Auckland.  Leaves home between 5.30 and 6.30am so often wears a hoodie and sometimes a beanie for his early morning commute and just plays podcasts on his phone to pass the time.

    He noticed several police officers board the train, and precede an AT staff member down the aisle.  Surreptitious hand signals to the AT staff member resulted in various passengers being asked to confirm their fare payment. He was one of them.

    Is this a judicious use of police time?  Given that AT staff has a right to require proof of fare at any time, what would this operation been useful for?  The only thing I can think of is immediate arrest of any farejumper. 

    Does anyone know the reasoning or legality behind this?  Seems a lot like casual profiling.


    • Anne 3.1

      Is this a judicious use of police time?

      No, it is not imho.

      Anyone who has approached the police about certain types of crimes – especially if it involves harassment, bullying and intimidatory criminal acts is likely to be – metaphorically speaking –  turfed out on to the street and told to stop bothering the police. There have been instances in the past when women in particular have been physically attacked and even killed because police didn't take them seriously.

      Yet they're happy to hop on a train and check law abiding passengers' tickets to see if they have diddled some corporate body of a dollar or two. Money talks. 

      And yes…casual profiling is on the cards.

      • Sacha 3.1.1

        diddled some corporate body

        About half of each region's public transit operations funding has to come from fares under current regulations.

        People who steal free rides are not reducing some company's profits but are disdvantaging everyone else who uses and benefits from PT – hence operators all over the world act against that theft. Many places have dedicated transit enforcement officers so they are not diverting attention from other policing. NZ could do that if our govt changes the law.

        • Molly

          Except Sacha, they are not acting on evidence or suspicion of someone breaking the law. 

          This is purely going through the carriage and pointing out persons to the AT staff member – who already has the ability to ask for proof of fare, and can arrange for suitable backup at the next station if there is evidence of fare dodging. This is profiling.

          Given climate change transition requirements, the regulations that should be changed is not to introduce more police to the transport system, but to subsidise public transport fully.

          You are missing the point.

          • Dukeofurl

            You have changed the point. Thats a different argument, even if fares were only expected to be 20% of cost, they  still would have ticket checkers.

            No one is going to subsidise public transport fully like you say 


            • Molly

              AT already have ticket checkers, who can randomly check for fare dodgers.  That is still the point. 

              My last sentence added after initial posting, was for Sacha, who in his closing sentence suggested regulation change would make police on transport systems legal.  I should have ensured the missing the point comment stayed in position. We subsidise a lot of things, limiting subsidies of public transport to only 50% of cost is limiting options in addressing climate change, and reducing the harm from air pollution. We should at least consider higher levels of subsidy. My preference would be fully subsidised public transport for NZ citizens.

              But grammar aside, do you think this it a good use of police resources, and whether it is a form of profiling?

              • I feel love

                We rang cops a few weeks back as a friends phone went missing then she got a call she could get phone back for $100 (she got him down to $10), she asked for cops to witness but they said they didn't have the staff, just take some friends. I went with her, scary dudes, paid $10, got phone back. 

                • Molly

                  Would be very tempted myself to just wave that phone goodbye, and replace it with a cheaper second-hand one. 

                  Must admit, your friend has severely good negotiation skills, need her on our foreign trade talks.

                • David Mac

                  How did the phone thieves ring the owner of the stolen phone?

          • Sacha

            AT staff have no power to detain anyone. Offenders scarper at will unless police are there. Having specific transit officers who do not need to be fully-trained police is one way other places manage that.

            Profiling is another thing altogether and not specific to this situation.

            Free PT is an ideal but meeting the daily peak demands for it may not be achievable without pricing or some other rationing system. I believe our current arrangements deliver neither fairness nor climate action.

            • greywarshark

              Sacha – It appears that you think profiling is happening here, and it is one of Molly's points.     Some of the comments that pass for answers that you and Duke put up are off the track but you imply you have definite knowledge, which can not be possible as you make replies to everything, and no-one knows everything.  

              I don't know about the transport policing, but our country's approach seems to let things happen that make life hard for folks, and intrusively check on the population for infringements, and when people can't or don't comply with rules, they get punished.   It would be better if the country was run to make it easy for people to manage their lives, but that idea isn't on the table.

              I compare police going on transport looking for unpaid money infringement, and at hospital in the A&E section, their own security staff have to handle assault and violence infringements. That is where police should be stationed, at least one all night, and that would be policing for the people's good.

              • Sacha

                Curious how you are confident something I have said is 'off the track'?

                Nobody knows everything. Learning is a good thing. You seem to have enough time for that, which is a blessing.

            • Molly

              AT staff have no power to detain anyone.

              OK, I accept that. So what is the benefit of a police presence in this situation, given the level of the crime and the ability of AT to call ahead to have police present at the next station.

              Profiling is another thing altogether and not specific to this situation.

              In this case, the use of police – who are looked on to be experts in criminals – to identify possible farejumpers is the definition of profiling. Random checks are already possible.

              Free PT is an ideal but meeting the daily peak demands for it may not be achievable without pricing or some other rationing system. I believe our current arrangements deliver neither fairness nor climate action.

              I agree about the fairness and the climate action.  I haven't witnessed any real discussions about higher subsidies for public transport either from this government or our local transport associations.  I have seen dismissals that price was not considered to be a deterrent. 

              I have little faith that the pragmatists, who are usually not the most vulnerable or financially stressed,  will even consider the impact of fairness in discussions about raising the 50% threshold that you stated was a regulatory limit.  I would like to see that happen, and although I would like to see free public transport – understand the limitations of delivering that result.

              • Sacha

                I would love public transit to be free for our poorest and youngest – something like the Gold Gard. Also cheaper than increasing that 50% subsidy across the board. Nothing to stop govt doing it right away.

                • Molly

                  I would love public transit to be free for our poorest and youngest – something like the Gold Gard.

                  My partner's father, who died at the age of 93, utilised his Gold Card to catch the bus, train, ferry to Devonport and then return for a days outing.  The benefit he had from this in terms of mental and physical health was considerable.  As a community, we also benefit from having our older citizens visible, engaged and active.  However, he was financially well off. 

                  Any assessment on suitability for discounts etc is often crude and badly managed.  We don't measure income vs fixed outgoings, we just measure taxed incomes.  I know a few people who live very comfortable lives including private schools for their children and long annual overseas trips that are entitled to community services cards or similar benefits because of the way their personal incomes are calculated.  Until these designs get better, I would rather have a way for citizens to access lower fares and leave the higher fares for tourists and non-citizens.  We used to have a discount card provided for access to our local swimming pools that was delivered once a year to all households in our district.  It allows those that regularly contribute taxes on top of fares, a reduction in fares and recognises their contribution.

                  Nothing to stop govt doing it right away.

                  That's the saddest part.

  4. Jimmy 4

    Here's another one for Greywarshark. The guy couldn't be bothered stopping for police. Wimpy judge gives an $850 fine and Community detention………should have got jail time of say, six months and a fine of at least $5k. Need a decent deterrent. I believe the fines for not stopping for police in Australia are a lot harsher which may be a real deterrent which may be why police do not chase as often.



    • Andre 4.1

      From page 63 of the IPCA report "Fleeing Drivers in New Zealand" earlier this year:

      In contrast, all other Australian jurisdictions permit a term of imprisonment from the first offence of failing to stop, with Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) having the most significant penalties. In Queensland, a conviction for failing to stop carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $25,230 AUD. In the ACT, offenders on their second or subsequent offence can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined up to $63,000 AUD. In New South Wales, the penalties are more severe – offenders can be imprisoned for up to three years for first offence and up to five years for a second or subsequent offence.

      The whole report is worth a read. Probably several times to absorb it all, there's a lot there.

    • joe90 4.2

      He's a white boy who considers himself to be above the law. Of course he got the wet bus ticket.

    • Jimmy

      This fellow is not going to be affected by bigger fines, whatever.   He sounds like someone a bit lost, out of control, hophead or a druggie, definitely not going to be have second thoughts about behaving better as he doesn't even have first ones by the sounds.

      Defence lawyer Michael Scott said Chasteauneuf was under significant stress at the time, resulting in him being admitted to Palmerston North Hospital's mental health ward.

      Australia having heavy penalties and putting people in prison would not be a useful line for us to follow.   We already imprison people, second to the USA, which is an indication that we too are a hollow country, looks good on the outside, but inside worm-eaten.

      He looks as if he might come from a comfortably off family and perhaps there has not been enough time spent helping him through the difficult teen years, with affection and encouragement.   

      Something that those who know-all might be able to advise is about set tasks for people needing actual 'correction'.   If he was told to go to driving instruction and perhaps counselling, and didn't go, would he be followed up and then given a short jail term?   I have the idea that after conviction there isn't much available except that Maori are trying to work with their own people.



    • North 4.4

      WTF ?  This is the judge (who's on 350K a year) – …..the chase put numerous people at risk, including police officers, the judge said.  "They don't get paid enough for that to occur." "They don't get paid enough……"???  

      I mean the comment,  apparently made to a probation officer –  "I couldn't be bothered stopping…." is obviously a load of weird crap yet it seems that at both ends we're happy to settle for that as definitional.  The media at one end and the wiseacres on here at the other end who lustily fantasise that smashing up an attitudinally fucked young life is going to result in a young life that's not fucked up ???

      It's almost like we don't actually want any advance. 


  5. joe90 6

    Surprise surprise. When you give rich people money, they keep it.


    investment in structures — factories, offices, oil rigs, etc. — plunged 15.3% in Q3, after falling 11.1% in Q2

    This was 2nd consecutive quarter in which overall business investment shrank.
    2019 GDP growth also now on track to equal about what it averaged during Obama’s 2nd term.
    The Trump economic agenda — tax cuts, trade wars, pro-pollution deregulation — ain’t so magical after all

    Also worth pointing out that the mechanism by which we were supposed to get supercharged biz investment was through big capital inflows to the US. Capital inflows to US have instead been shrinking


  6. aj 7

    A great move. Someone makes a start at taming the digital wild west.

  7. Dukeofurl 8

    Just means Facebook has 2 sets of rules, one for every one else and another for the tiny number of US right wing 'fakebook sites'

  8. Poission 9

    Chile too Hot. COPS out.

    • I feel love 9.1

      The crisis in Chile is terrifying, protesters are "violent" because cops are beating people up, and reports of rape and brutality etc. Scary place right now. 

  9. Peter 10

    I see the wild fires in California have threatened The Ronald Reagan Presidential library and museum

    Hell, I hope it doesn't threaten the Donald Trump one, his comic might get burnt.

  10. Someone held in jail in harsh conditions because he is an environmentalist who has criticised the USA government and was labelled as a possible terrorist!   And Muslims who seem perfectly good people but paranopia finds them otherwise. I found this clip on line and interested people may have missed the link and my comment at –

    /small-start-to-inflated-bullshit/#comment-1663980 – which I thought was an important factor when we are talking about free speech and what a RW government might think too free.

  11. What the heck?   Our lives are to be continually disrupted by paranoid super liberal middle class apparatchiks who want to turn our lives upside down and spoil them to accommodate the new, demanding, restless culture who will never be happy and always mewling about something that they haven't got.  It is an unimagined expansion of the Me Generation that wishes to insert themselves into every niche and space we have.  

    Now students have decided that they shouldn't clap with enthusiasm because..,.


    Jazz hands is the British Sign Language expression of clapping, and the [Oxford] university union hopes that by doing away with clapping, whooping and cheering, events will be more accessible to people suffering from anxiety and those with hearing problems…

    Frank Furedi is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent. He is well known for his work on the sociology of fear, education, therapy culture, paranoid parenting and the sociology of knowledge.

    He is the author of How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the 21st Century…

    Applause can unify, he says.

    "One of the great things about applauding, or applauding people, is it brings people together it's a kind of solidarity and you see it in sporting events in concerts, in all kinds of public situations.

    "And if now, what you do is you kind of marginalise that very human way of identifying with each other. I think that has a very negative effect on the spirits."

    Ferudi is a long-time critic of a style of parenting and teaching that he believes medicalises ordinary life challenges.

    If you get tired of the constant PCness arising each day like weeds, you might like Ruth Dudley Edwards’ (Irish/UK writer) book called Murdering Americans about how an educational business makes money from teaching this stuff, and doesn’t like it being exposed to public gaze.

  12. Molly 13

    Surely, the acceptable norm that includes both jazz hands and audible clapping with understanding of noise sensitivities is the desired outcome?

    People aware of such sensitivities, such as my sister-in-law who had several operations on her head and scalp, will often remove themselves from situations where noise may be an issue.  Or she – in rare instances – will use hearing protection to protect herself from the associated pain of loud noises.

    It would be good to see a combination of both "jazz hands" and "palm-to-palm" clapping being so common, that it is accepted without need for discourse.

    • weka 13.1

      How do you mean? Having a mix won't solve the noise/anxiety issue.

      I'm quite sensitive to noise for health reasons and I'm ok with avoiding places where people are clapping and cheering if it's too much for me. This is a key human experience, to express excitement and joy by making a noise, not a good thing to interfere with.

      I can imagine some exceptions to this eg where people with anxiety or noise sensitivity are speaking or at an event that is specific to them. I can also see the value in an option of some events using jazz hands. I'm a big fan of quiet spaces too, and hope libraries sort out the conflict on this sooner rather than later. Rather than banning clapping/cheering, I'd rather see quiet spaces increased.

      • Molly 13.1.1

        Hi weka, just realised that my comment is not attached to grey's above.  Meant to be a reply to her links and reference to PCness.

        • weka

          Hi Molly, yes, I read it as a reply. I just wasn't clear what you meant by "It would be good to see a combination of both "jazz hands" and "palm-to-palm" clapping being so common, that it is accepted without need for discourse."

          • Molly

            The comment " If you get tired of the constant PCness arising each day like weeds" just struck me as non-inclusive.  I could be reading it wrong, but would like to live in a society where differences are just accepted, and not referred to as PC.

            • weka

              I know what you mean, and rising intolerance seems a thing. We don't seem that good at the moment as a society for resolving conflicting needs and it think this is made worse by the tension and fear people are feeling about the world.

      • greywarshark 13.1.2

        I agree about library, not perfect quiet but controlled quiet.   We have a man who clucks like a hen every few minutes, I don't know if I am unreasonable to dislike this.    But if there were a few of them and perhaps a mentally different person whooping away then it is hardly a space for concentrated thinking. 

        Too much chatting and socialising of young people at the library general spaces some times.   They need to be shushed off to their own space where they could enjoy talking at the tops of their voices.

        I suppose headphones would help, and block out the distractions.

        • Sacha

          Noise-cancelling headphones are great. Don't even have to have anything playing.

        • Molly

          Too much chatting and socialising of young people at the library general spaces some times.  

          Libraries are almost our last equal access community space, open to all demographics, ages and skill levels.  If it is used as a free sociable space by any community members, I'm all for it.  Too many are trying to diminish or remove libraries, and they need to adapt. 

          Some of the more recent library buildings have a purpose-built acoustically designed quiet reading space.  I think this is a great solution for those who want to read in silence while in the library.  Best thing is, they can also take out items on loan and read in the privacy of their own homes – with a cup of tea.

          • weka

            it's not hard to design spaces once the needs are understood. Because libraries have traditionally been quiet places, I favour keeping them that way and adding in other, more socially loud spaces (or times). Not everyone can take books home to read. I sometimes used to sit in the library just to rest.

            • Molly

              Papakura library was renovated a few years ago, and I tried out their quiet reading room.  It was great, there was a specific toddler reading and singing activity scheduled, but inside the room itself was all comfortable armchairs and quiet.

              As someone who enjoys quiet spaces, I understand the preference for libraries to remain so.  I am also painfully aware of reoccurring proposals that aim to reduce or diminish our library resources.  For me, making them more valued and indispensable to a wide range of ages and people may include changing traditional rules about how they are used.  It's a fine balance though, and must include provisions for those who have always valued the library for it's quiet public space.


    • There are places I don't go because the noise is too loud, and heavy metal bands I avoid.    I put my habnds to my ears when standing on the tarmac waiting to board a plane and one is revving next door, you do have to be careful with your hearing.

      • Molly 13.2.1

        … and heavy metal bands I avoid…

        this made me smile, trying to think of heavy metal bands you accommodate.

  13. ianmac 14

    After dismissing the rants from Anti-Twyfords today it was refreshing to read Patrick Smellie' column. Won't stop the odious from creating mischief but any reasonable person might wonder at the mountains out of little bumps.

    Consistent with Wellington's failure for years to get its act together under the previous government, the Basin Reserve and Mt Victoria tunnel choke point remains at the heart of the political stalemate between motorists and the public transport lobby….

    "Some of the current commentary has suggested an entirely appropriate meeting between Twyford and the NZ Super Fund about the fund's alternative proposal for light rail was somehow illegitimate. In the process, the NZ Super Fund's good name is dragged through the mud, as if its desire to fund a multi-billion dollar asset for the country's largest city were some evil plot.

    This is absurd."


      • ianmac 14.1.1

        Oh heck. Sorry Sacha. Missed it.

        Wondering about the concerted  attack focussed on the same people from papers, blogs, radio online. Going to be hard going for the next 12 months. Did I read that Bridges has 7 staff working on media and only 2 on policies?

    • Anne 14.2

      The fact the new NZTA chair, Brian Roche, and Twyford are in unison in suggesting NZTA dropped the ball on the Super Fund proposal should be read as evidence the agency stonewalled rather than that Twyford has a yes-man on board or that this is all just some giant Twyford screw-up.

      Aha… just as I thought. Petty-fogging officials are far more likely to be behind the screw-up – not Phil Twyford. To describe Twyford as incompetent and not up to ministerial level tasks is poppycock.

      I know him well and have seen him in action on the campaign front. He's a superb organiser and knows exactly what he wants to do. I can imagine him getting up the noses of some in officialdom who like to think they are the real masters of policy formation and expect ministers to follow them – not the other way around.

      Twyford is a glass half-full personality. Nothing is impossible to him but, maybe, when you're in government some things are impossible – at least in the short term. And that could be where he came a little unstuck.

      Surely that is not a sacking matter.

      • Pat 14.2.1

        "Twyford is a glass half-full personality. Nothing is impossible to him but, maybe, when you're in government some things are impossible – at least in the short term. And that could be where he came a little unstuck."

        and that is possibly the most generous and polite description I have ever read

        • Anne

          Well, I should take some at least of what you may have read with a grain of salt Pat.

          I knew him. I suspect many of those who have joined the ‘let’s get Phil Twyford’ club never actually knew him.

          • greywarshark

            Why did he get both Housing and Urban Development as well as Transport to start off with?   That was a really bad decision on the part of the Labour medical team.   He couldn't breathe life into both those portfolios, especially seeing housing had an overdose of happy potion.

            • ianmac

              Maybe this Government has been trying too hard? I can't really think of any Minister in the previous Government who pushed so hard on any program that the people pointed the finger at rate of progress. Hard to think of any real strides forward. Therefore if Phil had promised little and kept very quiet, no more chitter chat then the naysayers would be stumped.

              The coalition Government has actually achieved a huge amount in 2 years haven't they?

              • Anne

                Maybe this Government has been trying too hard.

                Some truth in that. Especially where Phil is concerned. As I said… he's a glass half full type of person who puts his heart and soul into any venture he is involved in.


              • greywarshark

                Well Labour over-promised and expected miracles in giving Twyford two demanding and key portfolios.    I wonder again why did they make this error, it's lacking in reason.   Housing has been top of the mind for yonks and people wanted action.    Gaping holes could be seen.   I don't understand how things work – voters elect a government and then government puts all responsibility for certain work on a particular MP who then seems to become king-pin though the government wear the results.

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