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Open mike 31/12/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 31st, 2021 - 183 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 …

183 comments on “Open mike 31/12/2021 ”

  1. For the first time since the covid pandemic began I am cautiously optimistic that we may be entering the beginning of the end of it all.

    I posted yesterday the conclusions of Chris Martensen of Peak Prosperity that omicron appears to be becoming the dominant variant of covid and, even though it is much more highly transmissible, does not appear to cause the same proportion of hospital cases or deaths.

    Of course, a small percentage of a large number may be bigger than a large percentage of a small number; omicron may still have serious consequences for our health system.

    But look at the graphs from Worldometer:
    [Wouldn’t let me post screen shots of the daily cases and daily deaths graphs but here’s the link:]

    Daily cases of covid appear to have gone through the roof.

    But the world death rate has been trending down for some time.

    Perhaps it’s too early to say but maybe omicron is not so deadly, in association with better treatment etc; we may be going to come out the other side of all this in 2022.

    Here’s hoping. A happy new year to all on The Standard, and thanks to the moderators and Lprent.

    • weka 1.1

      things to look out for:

      • how omicron affects older people, and those with health vulnerabilities
      • what does 'milder' mean in real terms especially health system impacts (direct and indirect)
      • what is long covid like from omicron infection? Rates and how it happens for people
        • we won't know this for some time, eg 6 months
        • we won't know long term effects (for any covid variant) for years
      • whether another variant will become dominant that is better or worse than omicron

      See why I support the precautionary principle?

      There's a huge amount of reckons about omicron, and some of them might turn out to be right (eg it's mild). But once we press the button of loosening up or going back to normal, we can't unpress it. Some people want to take that gamble now, I want us to wait until we know more.

      • DukeEll 1.1.1

        There is a huge statistically based body of work called “the health system” that is a multinational effort that points to omicron being of little harm.

        • weka

          'points to'

          I want to wait until we actually know. Others want to bet the bank on a maybe.

          • weka

            More specifically, as I said in my first comment, we need to know how omicron will impact on older people and those with health vulnerabilities. From what I can tell the South African data doesn't help with that and it's too soon to know from the UK, US etc. Probably not too far away.

            • RedLogix

              Omicron was first reported back in early November.

              “The new virus was detected on four foreign nationals who had entered Botswana on the 7th November 2021, on a diplomatic mission,” said Botswana in a statement. The four diplomats tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11 as they were leaving, and genomic sequencing confirmed the variant on November 24.

              Everyone is saying 'Africa is different' and as a continent this is true. The majority of people still live outdoors and the demographics are very different. But this is less true of South Africa as a nation, and a quick look at their data for previous variant waves shows a strong response that is simply not there for Omicron.

              Still I've not advocated for rushing to open the border to Omicron either, but how long until you consider we might be certain? And are we going to set an impossible standard to achieve that certainty?

              • weka

                dunno, what would be an impossible standard?

                I haven't followed closely enough to have an opinion on timing, but those that have, why not just look at my original list and either think about timing on that basis, or present an argument for how omicron can be managed if we open up instead (don't see so much of that other than 'don't be scare', 'take vit D', vague hand wave in the direction of vulnerable people needing protection).

                I'm still in favour of keeping the borders mostly closed (but sorting out the shitshow that is the MiQ lottery), using the longer MiQ stays for people coming across the border. Tightening up on whatever needs to be addressed because of omicron under the traffic light system. After the holidays, more public messaging would help.

                And of course alongside that the whole Vit D etc (prevention and treatment), but I won't hold my breath on that one, because it's an impossible standard for NZ at this time 😉

                So let's do what we can with the tools we have and the limitations of systems.

                • RedLogix

                  Incidentally you may find this reference of interest around the VitD issue:

                  This succinct but comprehensive review of the evidence found that despite almost complete absence of official government guidelines favoring vitamin D supplements to potentially decrease COVID-19 risk and severity, support among clinicians and other researchers for correcting and preventing vitamin D deficiency with modest daily vitamin D supplementation during the COVID-19 pandemic is very strong, worldwide. The evidence supports recommending 2,000 IU (50 mcg) vitamin D daily for at-risk teens and adults, which is well within safe limits and might dramatically reduce COVID-19 fatalities.

                  Succinct is one word for it, but it's not a quick read either.

                  • weka

                    ta. Let me know if you find some science journalism coverage of that piece.

                    I expect the mainstream public health organisations will get there in the end.

                    • RedLogix

                      On reflection and considering the still 'opaque' origin of Omicron, there are good reasons to keep an open mind around the longer term implications.

                      And this broadly applies to the whole pandemic and every aspect of it.

              • lprent

                Still I've not advocated for rushing to open the border to Omicron either, but how long until you consider we might be certain? And are we going to set an impossible standard to achieve that certainty?

                Seeing what it does in Australia over the next 6-8 weeks would be sufficient to determine if poses a risk to our health systems to the point that it displaces normal loading to the point that people with other critical health issues die of lack of medical attention.

                So far that isn't looking good.

                The main operational issue is that medical staff with covid-19 (or any other infectious disease) can't attend vulnerable patients. That stresses the remaining staff

                NSW is a similar enough state with a more extensive health system. It is also open enough to view the full effects with limited public health measures to see what is likely to happen here.

                Looking at the timeline fro NSW
                It looks like omnicron really broke out of the initial community transfer about 2 weeks ago.

                What is noticeable at present is that the lines for PCR testing have gone ridiculous. Also the uncontrolled price of RAT kits with their unreported testing has now gone to directly to price gouging. Which suggests a large epidemic sweeping the state

                And that the number of reported cases from PCR testing have jumped from 3763 on Dec 22 to 18278 cases yesterday despite the various PCR testing blockages. It looks like it is still doubling the known community infection rate about every 4 days.


                The key measures however are the hospitalisation rate and the staff overload. That isn't looking good at what is still the early surge phase of a variant epidemic.

                Hospitalisations have risen to 1,066, up from 901 in the previous reporting period, with 83 patients in intensive care.

                There are five times as many people being treated for COVID-19 in the state’s hospitals as there were in mid-December, although the number of people in intensive care has increased at a slower rate.

                There isn't enough info to be sure in NSW, but it looks like about a 2 week period from to get from infection to hospitalisation based on the rates of increase. The number of hospitalisations for covid-19 in NSW has risen from 302 on Dec 22 to three times the number. They only had 166 on Dec 15 a week earlier. Can't be sure of the ICU

                And here is the important thing.

                HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said the increasing number of people being treated in hospital was "more concerning every day".

                "I think the key issue here is that while the current variant is not as bad as Delta it will be a larger lot of numbers and the ratio of those numbers to hospitalisations will be potentially the concern."

                Mr Hayes said the state's health system would likely reach a critical phase "anywhere within the next two or three months".

                Tired and overworked healthcare workers in NSW were left with no choice but to support reducing the isolation rules for asymptomatic staff deemed close contacts of COVID-19 cases.

                Under an exemption to the Public Health Order signed by Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Friday night, these staff can now be ordered back to work.

                Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF) NSW president Tony Sara said hospitals were running out of staff and the pressure on the system was enormous.

                "We're loading our hospitals with COVID-positive patients who need to be in hospital," Dr Sara said.

                "We therefore had to reduce the ISO requirements, we don't agree with it but essentially if the health system is not to collapse then ourselves, the nurses and the HSU [Health Service Union] — we don't have a lot of choice but to agree."

                If the rate of hospitalisations keeps rising by 2+ times every week in a nearly fully vaccinated state, you can see why they're worried.

                It isn't an issue with how less damaging the omnicron outbreak is. That appears to be about 15-30% of the infection vs hospitalisation rate depending where you look world wide.

                It is an issue with the rapid rate of infections rapidly driving up the health system into the ground with larger numbers at a lower rate of infection.

                I don't think that vitamin D is going to do much in the short term even if it was efficacious. Not to mention that aussies in summer generate a lot of natural vitamin D along with their sunburn.

            • DukeEll

              No we shouldn’t. Not if it’s curtailing the health, mental and physical, off the young and the healthy who have to pay for the old and the unwell in normal times.

              from the observable data we can see it’s of little harm to all. We shouldn’t wait just in case there may be some small unknown that rears it’s head. That is a pointless exercise that, if followed in any path in life, leads to nothing good happening.

              you can shut yourself off from society until you are happy to come out, but don’t demand society conform to your caution.

              • weka

                How is another month going to cause more harm than good in NZ?

                Be specific. Not interested in vague generalities.

                from the observable data we can see it’s of little harm to all.

                Oh good, please post the data on older people and those with pre-existing conditions. We'll leave out long covid for now because no-one has that.

        • McFlock

          Meanwhile, UK is looking at creating temporary hospitals because of the covid demand.

          But hey, "little harm".

  2. joe90 2

    Anti-vaxxers say the darndest things.

  3. Descendant Of Smith 3

    One of the good things about this site are the links on the right hand side that bring to your notice things that you may not normally get to view.

    Enjoyed the exHalant post which amongst other things reminds you that the right wants you to give up, to think that things are too hard and to not participate. Thatcher's there is no community.

    This was a trend I noticed in the 80's – the move by business to blame government for their failures rather than their own uselessness. Their high indebtedness, their low wages, their lack of savings etc all the governments fault. At the same time blaming the poor for being poor. Both narratives designed to consolidate their own position.

    "The most annoying part of extreme narratives, of dumping all ills on “the other”, is it allows people to relieve themselves of that duty: telling yourself something is “too big to combat!”, “it’s too overwhelming!” to do anything about is the easy way out.

    And nothing would please those who seed the most distorted of narratives more than for people to continue believing in snake oil salesmen Saviours, those who present themselves as having those “instant fixes” to hyper-complex societal issues. And then: selling you out…."


  4. Dennis Frank 5

    So a quarter of all public servants are suspect? That's what you get if you apply statistical theory and extrapolate from corrections staff to the whole.

    Figures released under the Official Information Act (OIA) show the number of staff investigated, the location and the outcome of misconduct proceedings. Over the period 2015/16 to 2019/20, a total of 2284 staff were under investigation.


    The dept of corrections had 8,000 staff at the start of the period: https://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/strategic_reports/annual-reports/annual_report_201516/corrections_by_the_numbers

    So a quarter of the public service is error-prone. To err is human, so one could argue that this sizable minority is intent on demonstrating their humanity.

    • joe90 5.1

      Hardly surprising given some of the clowns around these parts who've ended up working as screws.

      • millsy 5.1.1

        Yep, one such clown is a regular poster on here.

        • alwyn

          I wonder what percentage of posters are ex-cons?

          • lprent

            Depends on what you consider to be an 'ex-con'.

            For instance I have been convicted of being a underage drinker and serving three other minors.

            Basically wandered down to our local at the Puhio pub from the farm one night with my siblings. I was on leave from the army. Ran in between some over zealous Takapuna cops (well known dipshits at the time) and the pub owner (a known dipso) that they wanted remove a liquor license from. So they laid charges when I said that I didn't know who I'd been served by (and I didn't actually know, nor did I care, and the dipshits annoyed me).

            So months later, I had to take time off from my bar job (still underage) and miss a few university lectures to come up to see a judge to get a fine. With the police still ineffectually telling me that they'd drop the charges if I told them what they wanted to know.

            I have also been convicted of driving without a license.

            I never bothered to renew the 'lifetime' license I got back in the 1990s. In that case I got another small fine after I undertook not to drive again until I went and re-sat the license. Never bothered to pick up my car from the impound yard. It wasn't work much, and it wasn't worth paying the impound fees. At that point I was working from home and only going to work once a month to see the dev team I was running – I hadn't needed a car for a few years before my niece needed to be dropped home because she was late.

            Anyway. You are correct – there are ex-cons here including the sysop. Should I now start discussing what I think of dimwitted fools who think that this is something that is important in the context of this site?

            • RedLogix

              I never bothered to renew the 'lifetime' one I got back in the 1990s. In that case I got another small fine after I undertook not to drive again until I went and re-sat the license.

              Interesting – my partner saw that change as a major breach of faith by government and to this day remains very unimpressed.

              • lprent

                So was I.

                But in this case it was more like I just didn't get around to it. Mostly because I wasn't driving very much.

                I didn't bother to get a license for about another 5 years (2007 according to the license). A friend of mine went to work in China and left me her car to take care of. So I sat the test again in her wee sports car. A few years later she sold it via her dad.

                Didn't replace it for a few years as I literally don't need a car that much. I use taxis or just hire a car when I need to. Or borrow my partners vehicle. Or since 2014, a awful lot of flying worldwide for work. Or since 2017 I use a e-bike a lot.

                My last car was a cheap discard from a family member. That died in 2019 after I'd put about 15k on its clock after nearly a decade.

                Brought a small hybrid during the latest lockdown because my new job has a requirement to go to Hamilton periodically to integrate into the dev team. However it may be a functional lemon because that process appears to have successfully be done online over the last 3+ months.

                Nice to drive though. Makes a useful shopping cart to the supermarket.

                I do find it difficult to understand why some people seem to treat driving as so much of their identity. They’re pain to park. You have to spend time watching the other idiots on the road. And as for commuting – that is just such a stupid way to waste life time.

              • gsays

                "I never bothered to renew the 'lifetime' one I got back in the 1990s."

                Snap, same with me, as far as I was concerned, a both parties had to agree when changing a contract. I copped a few fines over the years.

                I recall, when introduced, we assured the new photo licences wouldn't be used as I.D.. That didn't last long as the drinking age in puns dropped the licence became a de-facto I.D.

            • alwyn

              Well, although these are very minor peccadilloes they obviously had a marked effect on you.

              That you can recall what happened in such detail after what must be close to half a century would surely show that you did not find your treatment for such trivial things as something to be glossed over. Perhaps that was enough to keep you strictly on the right side of the law in the future. They do seem pretty minor though. You are probably right in your assumption that they were just trying to use you as a pawn in the attempted prosecution of the owner of the pub. They could hardly be concerned with such activities by a kid.

          • Blazer

            alwyn,I say alwyn…a few ex conservatives no doubt and a number of conservationists…still.

            • alwyn

              Actually, according to Wikipedia, they were far mote likely to be from the Labour Party.

              There are 20 New Zealand politicians who Wiki records as having been convicted of a crime. A quick count shows that there were 9 from the Labour Party and 4 from National. I'm afraid I have to go out and I don't have time to go into more detail but you can see them all here.


              Happy New Year.

              • lprent

                You appear to have overlooked the statement at the top of that page that explains why there is a difference

                This category includes several New Zealand Labour Party politicians convicted for political activity in World War I.

                There are others who were convicted of blatantly political ‘crimes’ related to unionism. Some for having ‘seditious’ books – ie they read things other than the NZ Herald – the paper of the stupid.

                Personally I’d class them as political convictions.

                On the other hand, I suspect that you neglected to add in the convicted who were members of the Reform or United or any of the parties who became part of the National party. Bearing in mind just how juvenile the National party is compared to Labour, you should add those in.

                Plus it was notable just how many National party politicians or proto-National party politicians were convicted of fraud offences. Thereby showing if you want a conman – it pays to go National.

                Just have to look at the detail to get the true picture. You can’t be as stupid as a Farrar.


        • Puckish Rogue

          Whos that? I'd like to compare notes with them, I think it'd be interesting

      • Puckish Rogue 5.1.2

        Whats a screw?

        • weka

          righty tighty, lefty loosey.

          • Puckish Rogue

            How the hell do you know what I say to my wife to initiate marital relations?!?!?

            • Shanreagh

              Oh dear PR, I'll never get that image out of my mind when muttering when undoing a recalcitrant screw, I mean nut, I mean bolt ……you know what I mean……smiley

              You don't also say 'left hand down bit' like Leslie Phillips' character in The Navy Lark'.

    • Descendant Of Smith 5.2

      You only get a quarter if you don't understand maths. The correct calculation would be 2,000 divided by the total number of staff employed by corrections in that five years.

      For the figures for the two years provided 4% and 10% of those investigated lost their jobs through dismissal or resignation. That would be a pittance of the total staff and from my experience lower than the number of staff pinching money in the bank where I used to work. Those numbers are not well publicised though cause the bank doesn't like you to know – much harder these days with less cash too.

      • Dennis Frank 5.2.1

        The correct calculation would be 2,000 divided by the total number of staff employed by corrections in that five years.

        True; they don't quantify the churn factor. And the numbers found guilty are significantly less than the numbers suspected of wrongdoing, which is normal re comparison to the output of the justice system.

        So what we get from the establishment is indication instead of truth-telling. Obviously it would spook the horses to tell the truth about the size of the problem. Better to sustain naive belief that the system works according to plan.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Nah it isn't hidden or some conspiracy. Turnover is on the SSC website.

          Around 10% per annum under Labour, 13% to 16% under the Law and Order Party National.


          • Dennis Frank

            Well done, you get the Sleuth of the Day award already for that. So looks like we can reduce the suspect quota of the public service a wee bit on that basis. I'll leave the maths to you but I'm guessing around 20%…

            • Descendant Of Smith

              8,000 staff with the lower 10% turnover rate would be 800 per year Over 5 years that would be 4,000 staff so 12,000 total.

              17% investigated assuming each staff member was only investigated once which was probably not the case. Lower if you use the higher turnover rates.

              • Dennis Frank

                Thanks for that. Safe to assume a portion of those suspected would be due to vendettas or accusations based on wrongly-interpreted behaviour or statements, so we can reasonably drop the estimate down from 17% somewhat. Around one public servant in 6 or 7 being dodgy is certainly more reassuring than one in four…

              • McFlock


                except the other way of doing it is that 2284 over 5years is only 540/8000/year, i.e. about 7%.

                Which might be more fair, if the bulk of those being investigated are newer workers who screw (lol) up, lose their rag, or whatever. Or just don't document things properly – that can get you in shit in a lot of places, without actually doing anything wrong.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  You might find this story interesting (or not) or it might just confirm what you're already thinking.

                  So I was pretty new and I was in J Block (seg unit in Chch Mens, the real single person, hand cuffed and multiple officer escort type) and one of the things drummed into us in training college was to get to know your prisoners

                  So I was reading the prisoners in the unit file notes and records and what not, which you're allowed to do if you're working in the unit, you can't just look people up because thats a big no-no, as in you're fired no-no

                  So about three months later I got please explain (from HR because of course it was) as to why I was looking up this prisoner (reasonbly well known but also because of the timing of when I looked him up and yes I'm being deliberately vague)

                  I said I was in the unit and then a couple of days later I was told to go to a meeting with management, HR and that I should bring a representative along

                  As my union rep pointed out that I was only doing what i was taught in training and that approximately 9 other, new, officers were up for the same thing it certainly taught me a thing or two about how Corrections and government departments work

                  • McFlock

                    Yeah, there's been a few cases over the last few five years (? who knows time anymore) in various departments where looky-loos have been picked up by centralised IT access logging getting new flags to throw up – but when you patch in something, it can throw a spanner in the works.

                    The "easy" way around it is to throw in some cross-validation between staff assignments and prisoner units. But then sure as eggs HR and prisoner records will be on completely different systems, and that's if the assignments for each one goes down to sufficient detail.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      I've always thought it'd be really interesting if every CO had to go through a complete pysch evaluation

                      Also be interesting to know how many Officers have gang links…

          • alwyn

            I wonder if the turnover was higher under National because they sacked the ones who misbehaved, as opposed to the probable Labour approach that the offenders meant well but had been hurt by colonialism and they were really very nice people?

            Do your figures help determine whether that hypothesis is true?

            • Descendant Of Smith

              My hypothesis would be that national are a bunch of facist fuckers setting nonsense targets and putting in shit like double bunking that would result in higher turnover as people said WTF.

              The figures themselves add nothing to either hypothesis.

  5. Blade 6

    I have just found out my computer is non compliant for Windows 11. Hell, I'm running a 3.6 quad core processor that Microsoft does not recognise! 32 GB of ram apparently doesn't impress them…and there's a whole host of other things that need to be switched on or down loaded. For the effort, I doubt Windows 11 will be worth it for me. I will move permanently to Linux after 2024 ( when support for Windows10 stops).

    • Stan 6.1

      Don't wait to ditch windows, do it now! Ubuntu user for 10 years, it just works. Turns on or off in seconds, not like the fat bloated windows.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.2

      If you consult with Google, you will find you can bypass / ignore that Windows 11 non-compliant warning, and install it anyway (bit of mucking around). Whether you would bother is another thing.

    • lprent 6.3

      Mostly it is just seems to be to turn on the TPM 2 in the bios and enabling secure boot. It is unlikely that anything that is less than about 8-10 years old won’t have those two features.

      I fixed my partners Threadripper in about 30 minutes for compliance by doing some reading and reboots. It still didn't install windows 11 – but that is because they haven't done the CPU/board support yet and she doesn't get the download available for a few months.

      However unless you play some particular action games or want to run the Adobe suite or one of the other specialist bits of software – then there is no real reason not to flip to linux.

      I did that in about 2007. My last windows box ran The Standard for about 6-7 months and died in 2008. I'm now completely kubuntu on my home servers (including the one running this site), my laptop and my finally my work laptop. Really glad about the latter – the blasted company spyware and antimalware made a fast laptop crawl like a Pentium 3.

      • RedLogix 6.3.1

        Interestingly however virtually all industrial automation packages run on Windows platforms exclusively. What we tend to do now is deliver pre-tested VM images that have been correctly configured and tuned – and they run very well.

        The last big project I've just come off was running 24 Server 2016 VM's on a fairly modestly powered hardware stack (Dell R610's) and after I fixed up the various cock-ups from my predecessors it ran really well. And very stable. While we all have Windows horror stories from the 90's to re-tell over a beer, it's my modest sense that MS have generally gotten a lot better over time.

        I do get the enduring appeal of the various Linux derived distros, but for most of the non-geek world Windows is going to be with us for a while yet.

      • Blade 6.3.2

        Thanks for info.

  6. tsmithfield 7

    So, DJ Dimension was allowed into the country three times as a critical worker because he had skills not available in New Zealand.

    Really? So there are no DJs here? A slap in the face to all those who are desperate to see loved ones, or doctors and nurses who might be a little more "critical".


    • Descendant Of Smith 7.1

      I have no problem at all with some artists and sportspeople and politicians, etc being allowed in. It too is part of trying to have some semblance of normal. And yeah we have DJ’s but would you pay to go and see them over and above this one.

      Don't know why people are getting het up about it. We can walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. It is well known that some places are reserved for these types of things but the article does go on to point out it wasn't even one of the reserved spots.

      I'd be more antsy at those who book rooms who don't then use them frankly. This apparently is quite common.

      Hipkins said he understood the DJ had secured a spot in one of the later MIQ lobby releases which were “under-subscribed”, where people had rejected rooms they were offered, wanting to wait until when borders opened.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.2

        Yeah, right. Those "essential" acts seemed to have been replaced very quickly by the organisers.

        Fat Freddy's Drop for me any day over some celebrity DJ.

        • Anker

          Totally agree. Unbelievable this guy has accessed MIQ three times…………

          And nurses and other real critical workers, NZ citizens in dire need can't get into our country.

          • DS

            The guy applied for MIQ in November, at a time when there was minimal demand for MIQ places.

            • Anker
              • He has entered the country 3 times and used MIQ.

              I don’t believe there is ever low demand for MIQ. We are short of skilled workers, who are critical to our country. Also don’t think all the families who are separated have been reunited

  7. Pat 8

    The Queen is in poor health (so i hear)…..what will NZ do about a Head of State when she dies?

    I imagine there is some form of planning in place given the statement from various figures in the past that nothing will occur while QE2 is alive.

    • Descendant Of Smith 8.1

      Nothing will change when she dies. There is little value in moving to a republic – particularly if the constitution is written by politicians.

      Building in aspects of the Magna Carta, Charter of The Forests, Treaty of Waitangi seems much less of a priority to those advocating for a republic than the notion of survival of the fittest, individualistic crap coming out of America. Have little time for any of the public utterances by anyone so far promoting a republic as the way to go. Many seem to see it as a way of getting rid of the Treaty.

      • Pat 8.1.1

        Nothing?….I'd be very surprised.

        There may be little value in moving to say, a republic but thats never stopped change before….at the very least I expect it will reinvigorate those seeking change (of all manner)

        • greywarshark

          Good question and conclusions I think. Don't jettison anything. The Queen has been a bright star on the horizon trying to maintain a civil approach to life with ethical values and nice hats to boot, or head I should say. Charles is fine, deserving admiration for maintaining royal standards and promoting business along ethical and environmental lines after coping with heartfelt personal difficulties.

          People talk about royalty as if it was an old coat hanging in a wardrobe and due to be cleared out by some clutter-buster of the minimalist cell-furnished variety.

      • Blade 8.1.2

        'Nothing will change when she dies. There is little value in moving to a republic – particularly if the constitution is written by politicians'

        A constitution written for New Zealand would be a disaster. Maori would demand such a constitution be based on the Treaty. Politicians would baulk at anything threatening their absolute power to rule unless there were ''out clauses. '' If a treaty was ever implemented I would like an amendment that allows the people of New Zealand to remove a government by force if necessary should any attempt be made to subvert the constitution. All in all -best leave things as they are for everyone's peace of mind.

  8. francesca 9

    Good to see Guardian readers support JK Rowling, despite the loud denunciations of her as a transphobe.

    She received many nominations for a Person of the Year poll.

    The Guardian for some reason doesn't break down the numbers each person received


    JK Rowling has never resiled from her assertion that you can not change biological sex.

    Most public figures with something to lose have issued grovelling apologies when they've fallen foul of the new high priests of current correct ideology .Not JK Rowling and for that she deserves every accolade

    • RedLogix 9.1

      That's inspiring. Courage in the face of that much public shaming is not a common thing.

      You may enjoy this essay on Edward O Wilson’s life:

      Edward O. Wilson: I think I may have been the only scientist in modern times to be physically attacked for an idea. The idea of a biological human nature was abhorrent to the demonstrators and was, in fact, too radical at the time for a lot of people—probably most social scientists and certainly many on the far-Left. They just accepted as dogma the blank-slate view of the human mind—that everything we do and think is due to contingency, rather than based upon instinct like bodily functions and the urge to keep reproducing. These people believe that everything we do is the result of historical accidents, the events of history, the development of personality through experience.

      • Poission 9.1.1

        Then there are the true heretics,where a wrong constant could be fatal such as Zamyatin.

        June, 1931

        Dear Iosif Vissarionovich,

        The author of the present letter, condemned to the highest penalty, appeals to you with the request for the substitution of this penalty by another. My name is probably known to you. To me as a writer, being deprived of the opportunity to write is nothing less than a death sentence. Yet the situation that has come about is such that I cannot continue my work, because no creative activity is possible in an atmosphere of systematic persecution that increases in intensity from year to year.


        (name spelling incorrect)

        • RedLogix

          Perhaps one of the greater conceits of the West is that we imagined ourselves somehow immune to these mass failures of the collective psyche.

          • francesca

            Who would have thought we in the highly evolved freedom loving west would have been so susceptible to totalitarian thinking .

            Like One Way religious thinking

            • RedLogix

              Yet oddly enough our ancestors relied on religion to create the grand narratives which held their societies together and drove them to survive and thrive in a very hostile world.

              It is of course very easy to discount many of the things they believed in. Like an adult knows there is no fat man in a red suit slipping bright and shiny down sooty chimneys. Yet we know the story meant a great deal to them as a child, and as an adult carries an even greater symbolic weight.

              How to resolve this paradox? That the literal narratives of humanity's collective childhood now offends our science informed minds should not cause us to think there is no transcendence.

              • Robert Guyton

                Religion is story-telling. Beyond religion there is science. Science is storytelling. Beyond science, there is story-telling. Without story-telling, there is unconsciousness. There is no unconsciousness in a conscious universe. Our universe is a conscious one.

                • Gezza

                  There is no unconsciousness in a conscious universe.

                  That would have to be the case.

                  Our universe is a conscious one.

                  Perhaps. The universe could actually be God, or the creator, or one of several creators. We still don't actually know how, or why, our universe came into existence, so stories – or conjectures – are all we have to work with.

                  Alternatively, the universe might not be conscious. It might just have been created to evolve over time and space without any awareness, as a process, according to laws of physics we still don't understand.

                  That still leaves open the question of whether a conscious mind created it, (and for me another question – why?).

                  The really important thing is that WE are conscious – and able to think about & try to understand and explain these things, don't you think?

                  • arkie

                    The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.

                    Carl Sagan

                    • Gezza

                      I like that. Carl Sagan was without equal in explaining the cosmos to mere mortals like me.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Indeed. "a" way. The "universe" and its composite elements know also, in their own way. Ours is a funky little knowing-niche though, that's for sure!

                      There is nothing that is unconscious and unknowing, imo.

                      It seems to me the universe is evolving and we along with it, toward a tremendously creative point (or plane, or x-dimensional form 🙂

                      And the rate of evolution is speeding up noticeably 🙂

                • greywarshark

                  I'm reading about Slavoj Zizek's thinking that behind our eyes all is fiction. I like him but he goes OTT. He could stop talking about voids and nothingness behind us, and honour our remarkable flights of fancy, our fantastic abilities to grow our fictions. One author I like has written so much about a fictional family that she has the thought that one day she could hear a knock and one of her characters would drop by to correct some of her story-telling errors.

                  I believe in the reality of The Standard, in Lynn Prentice, its founder and wish him and Lyn well for 2022, also all the people that I enjoy reading, particularly Robert Guyton, hello there and Robyn too. Ata marie and kia ora to you all.^-!-^

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Thank you, greywarshark – Robyn and I both wish you all the best for the coming/imminent new year 🙂

              • francesca

                RL re religion
                I agree with you

                I’m not against religion per se.I can’t quarrel with Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

                Although this would be decried as whataboutism these days

                or So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

                Organised religion is something else.One Way religion is actually a prescription for the dark ages,Mumbo Jumbo and power dynamics

                Now that God is Dead we have rampant materialism , uninformed by ethics or decency

                • RedLogix

                  Organised religion is something else. One Way religion is actually a prescription for the dark ages,Mumbo Jumbo and power dynamics

                  Yes. That gets to the heart of the matter. Stepping back and looking at the grand gamut of world religions it seems as if we took a lantern – a single common source of light and guidance- and then people decorated it to suit the needs and modes of thought of the era they lived in.

                  At first the decorations add colour and beauty to the lamp, but they accrete over time, filtering more and more of the original idea until it's almost completely obscured by man-made creeds and institutions. To the point now were many people think there is no light to be found.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  "Now that God is Dead we have rampant materialism , uninformed by ethics or decency"

                  What a load of balderdash. The church has often and still continues to be materialistic. Most of the colonists who came to NZ were religious – struggling to reconcile Darwin and God and failing miserably.

                  History shows the geed of the church – from the Borgias to Robin Hood to churches running orphanages and single women shelters for profit.

                  The churches are part of and embedded in capitalism and always have been. Even today they do not pay tax as they should.

                  Capitalism too has waxed and waned – from the excesses of slavery to the cutting off of hands in Belgium to children working in mines. At many, many levels capitalism is much more benign than it once was – though this does still vary widely.

                  There is no golden age of godliness nor of capitalism. In general the reduction in influence of both in society is a good thing. We just need to take the best bits of both. You can also be moral without believing in god.

                  • RedLogix

                    You can also be moral without believing in god.

                    You can drive a car without knowing how it works too. But good luck in repairing it when all the mechanics are gone.

                    • arkie

                      Because religion has little influence on moral judgements, say Pyysiäinen and Hauser, the latter hypothesis seems more likely. They argue that human populations evolved moral ideas about behavioural norms — which themselves promoted group cooperation — before they became encoded in religious systems. The researchers suggest that we may possess an innate 'moral grammar' that guides these ideas.



                      Outside of the experimental realm, observational studies indicate that nonhuman primates are also sensitive to nondistributional aspects of justice and fairness, such as judging the appropriateness of another’s behavior, providing a broader context in which to consider justice or fairness in these species.

                      Studying other species’ behaviors in these situations allows us to elucidate the evolutionary function of justice and fairness by exploring behaviors that are related, either because the behavior itself is a component of justice or fairness or because it represents a precursor to human behavior.


                      As to the analogy:

                      good luck in repairing it when all the mechanics are gone.

                      One could always just read the Haynes Manual

                    • greywarshark

                      RL You constantly revert to thinking as an engineer. Religion is of the mind and spirit and thought, cars have had certain thoughts crystallised and turned into material items. Material and mental don't match up in the same way for comparisons.

                    • RedLogix


                      Material and mental don't match up in the same way for comparisons.

                      The human mind is not very good at dealing with pure abstractions. It's why most people for instance are not high level mathematicians. Or why most people read the more esoteric works of thinkers like Karl Jung and their eyes tend to glaze over. I know mine do.

                      Therefore it's helpful to use analogies as a tool to help create the mental bridge between concrete realities we do grasp, and the invisible ones we have more trouble reaching.

                      It's doesn't mean the analogy is perfect – clue, it never is – but they are a quick shorthand for conveying a much more complex idea. The New Testament for example is full of well loved parables that use just this method.

                    • Blazer

                      I don't get it.

                      Where have the mechanics…gone?surprise

                    • lprent

                      But good luck in repairing it when all the mechanics are gone.

                      Based on the last service, it isn't the mechanics going missing that would be the worst issue. It would be the missing person who services the diagnostic electronics that would be the real problem.

                      I watched the mechanics plugin and run the diagnostic machine and then immediately go to the things that needed attention. Then followed the instructions.

                      Hopefully there was a real mechanic that had a look at it later for the nasty things outside of sensored equipment. I work with sensors a lot – and I don't trust them a lot.

                  • Gezza

                    We just need to take the best bits of both. You can also be moral without believing in god.

                    We tend to think of the Abrahamic God of the Jews & the Christians (and, less commonly in NZ, Muslims), when we speak of God. But there are other gods or god substitutes in other religions.

                    Any gods or religions which preach or teach tolerance, forgiveness, respect & consideration for others, and a healthy dose of realism to temper our dealings with individuals or situations where blindly applying those values would see us harmed or walked over, are worth taking the best bits from and applying them to our lives, imo.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Absolutely As well as accepting morals change – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

                      Ameliorating the excess of both religion and capitalism are both good things.

                      Generally society continues overall to get better. There are blips along the way.

                    • greywarshark

                      Perhaps we can lean towards believing in being good to each other even if we don't believe in god. It tends to have cost benefits.

                      And RL I have used analogies a lot hadn't you noticed.

                      A simple joke for people with warped minds.

                      Graffiti on wall. 'Men prefer good-looking grils.'

                      Reply – You are referring to girls I think.

                      Reply – What about us grils?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    You can also be moral without believing in god.

                    And engage in objectively immoral acts as a fervent believer – human nature. Some agnostic, atheist and religious 'beliefs' (couldn't guess as to proportions) can each be 'bent' to serve morally dubious behaviours.

                    Religious and non-religious beliefs – each to their own, eh?

                    Archbishop says religious orders should not be 'scapegoated' for Mother and Baby Homes [17 Jan 2021]

          • Psycho Milt

            Perhaps one of the greater conceits of the West is that we imagined ourselves somehow immune to these mass failures of the collective psyche.

            Oh shit, did we what. Rowling's treatment is one of the big examples of how we're not immune.

      • francesca 9.1.2

        RL upthread
        Thanks for that EO Wilson piece
        Good read

      • Gezza 9.1.3


        That interview is a veritable gold mine of nuggests on human nature & human societies, like this:

        *we live in a civilization like the Star Wars movie series: we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. That’s a huge problem! We’re not going to keep our balance and figure out the right things to do as long as we don’t understand or even accept that our emotions are Paleolithic, and that they have an evolved basis.

        We have to figure out how our institutions came about and decide whether or not they are really viable for us, whether or not we are going to be viable with them, and start moving in the right directions. And that includes a lot of religious institutions. We’ve finally come to realize that religious belief is very dangerous, especially when people are willing to say that something is God’s will. We’re suffering from that idea all the time.*

        • Dennis Frank

          Damn right! One of the best interviews I've seen for a long time.

          I always said to myself, “Don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk.” If you ask me what I most resent about that period looking back now, I think the answer is the amount of time I wasted. I spent countless hours talking with journalists who were writing stories about all this. They’d come to me and say, “Well, Professor Lewontin just said so-and-so, Professor Gould just said so-and-so.” Or, “I’ve read in the latest thing that they’ve said this. What do you say to that?” I felt that I couldn’t sit by and let them declare me to be a racist and a proto-Nazi. I couldn’t just say, “No comment.” So, I wasted enormous amounts of energy and time I could have used for something much more valuable. So, my advice would be, this too shall pass. Ignore it as much as you can. Conduct yourself with dignity and with courtesy and let it pass.

          The Dean or the President of Harvard never called me in and asked me to straighten myself out. They never said, “You’re giving Harvard a bad name.” It was the other way around.

          Admirable, the way he finessed the science/politics interface. I recall buying my copy of Consilience hot off the press & enjoying it while being rather disappointed at his lack of mental adventurism. He showed he was capable of deducing fundamental principles in a multidisciplinary context, with suitable validation – he just didn’t go far enough for my liking.

      • swordfish 9.1.4



        From the now embarrassingly Woke Scientific American:

        We must reckon with his [RO Wilson] and other scientists’ racist ideas if we want an equitable future

        Specifically, from one Monica R. McLemore: an associate professor in the Family Health Care Nursing Department and a clinician-scientist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

        Critical Race Theory’s wild-eyed out-of-control character assassination in action.

        I mean for chrissakes … give me strength !

    • Gypsy 9.2

      Well said. She's certainly showing immense courage.

    • Gezza 9.3

      JK Rowling has never resiled from her assertion that you can not change biological sex.

      Most public figures with something to lose have issued grovelling apologies when they’ve fallen foul of the new high priests of current correct ideology .Not JK Rowling and for that she deserves every accolade.

      Rowling will be proven right & be acknowledged as such. It’s just a question of time.

      The ideology that insists that gender identity is the same thing as biological sex, & that both can be changed, is completely bogus, biologically inaccurate, & even just General Science will ultimately consign it to the rubbish bin, where it belongs.

      Because it’s been so wrapped up in identity politics & refusal to accept it has led the Woke & weird to yell “hate speech”, what it really is, imo, has been lost in the noise. It’s a fad.

      • Psycho Milt 9.3.1

        Rowling will be proven right…

        It's so depressing that this needs saying in reference to such a mundane commonplace as "Mammals can't change sex." Post-modernism has wrought a colossal failure in western education.

        • weka

          Lol, I must be tired. I came to your comment from the Comments tab and thought for a minute you were talking about Bill Rowling, and that his time might finally have come.

          • Psycho Milt

            Bill is the other Rowling I have a lot of time for. My mum possibly still has the school prizegiving award that Bill Rowling wrote his congratulations on and signed before giving to me back in 1975, South Westland Area School being full of the kind of plebs a Labour leader felt some responsibility for back then.

            • weka

              cool story! My parents liked him, I was too young to understand what was good about him but remember later feeling like he was the kind of person who should be in politics but couldn't be because of how politics is.

              • Blazer

                Muldoon destroyed him-'keep NZ Rowling…downhill'!

              • Psycho Milt

                I would say this of course, but I feel like the Muldoon years were an ideal introduction to politics for young NZers. On one side, Bill Rowling, a man of obvious integrity but not a charismatic TV personality, and on the other side Rob Muldoon, a man with appeal only to the ugliest aspects of the psyche but whose bombast and savage mockery made for great TV. Naturally, Muldoon slaughtered Rowling at the polls and introduced a very ugly time for NZ society. You really knew where you stood then.

    • millsy 9.4

      Too bad she wasn't as outspoken when they burned her books in the Bible Belt.

      • Gypsy 9.4.1

        Someone mentioned book burning?

        • joe90

          Yup, woke mobs are the real book-burners.


          OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to give parents the right to compel public school libraries to remove books that contains objectionable content of a sexual nature or addresses sexual preferences or sexual and gender identity.

          Under Senate Bill 1142, if just one parent objects to a book it must be removed within 30 days. If it is not, the librarian must be fired and cannot work for any public school for two years. Parents can also collect at least $10,000 per day from school districts if the book is not removed as requested.

          Critics of the measure say it’s unconstitutional, potentially causing chaos by giving a single parent the power to strip school library shelves. They also said the measure is targeting LGBTQ+ books.


        • millsy

          You TERF's have your chain jerked by the Christian Right and you don't even know it. I see Putin supports Rowling now, the guy on the verge of locking up his country's entire LGBT population (if not exterminating them outright), while GC feminists are bankrolled by religious and far right group. A whole stinking Puritan cesspool, all based on biblical teachings about how people should live and what they should look like.

          [Terf is a slur, and a sexist one at that. https://terfisaslur.com/

          You can’t use it on this site when referring to other commenters, any more than you could could call someone here a slut or a fag. – weka]

          [RL: I saw this earlier and it sent my mod senses tingling, but I didn’t act. Now I wish I had.]

          • Anker

            "you terfs have your chain jerked by the Christian Right and you don't even know it"

            That just shows me Millsy you have no understanding of the issues around gender ideology and their demands and how this is impacting women.

            • millsy

              The 'demand' to be left alone.

              Unfortunately, more and more people see being transgender as an abomination against God and the Bible, and all trans people should be shunned from society. And TERF's are buying into that BS.

              • Anker
                • “Transgender as abomination….and terfs are buying into that”

                there are some people who may see transgender people as abomination etc, but that is not my view or the view of the women (and men) I know who hav concerns about gender ideology.

                one of the many concerns I have about the ideology is teaching very young children they can be born in the wrong body and that there are 50+ gender identities, then (and this is the bit that I fine most disturbing) is children as young as 10 years old are being given life altering medication to block their puberty, then cross sex hormones and surgery (e g double mastectomies at 16 years old). There is a growing number of young mostly women who regret this, but are left with irreversible damage, including fertility issues and inability to achieve orgasm,

                I will try and post a link to a u tube clip with a 19 year old NZder who was seeing a counsellor aged 13 years and told the counsellor she thought she was bi sexual. The counsellor asked her if she thought she might be born in the wrong body and the girl said no. Then started to question herself. She then medically transitioned at at 19 regrets it. She has had both breast removed, she has a male sounding voice and looks male. This young person is stuck with these changes. Try and watch fives minutes and you will see the problem gender ideology is creating

              • weka

                Unfortunately, more and more people see being transgender as an abomination against God and the Bible, and all trans people should be shunned from society. And TERF's are buying into that BS.

                Terf stands for trans exclusionary radical feminists. Radfems aren't buying into religious right morality.

                I've not seen any GCFs say they want trans people shunned from society. Most are left wing or centre left and have liberal values that include trans acceptance.

                You just don't know what you are talking about.

          • Gypsy

            And without prompting, out comes the name calling. So tolerant. So inclusive.

            • greywarshark

              And without prompting up pops the know-it-all preachiness of those excited to overturn the patterns of aeons of evolution.

          • Psycho Milt

            Fyi, 'TERF' is a misogynist slur. If you're not a misogynist, avoid using it.

          • weka

            mod note for you millsy. I need an acknowledgement from you that you have seen this mod note and I really don't want to have to chase you up on it.

            • millsy

              Ok – I won't use that term again.

              I hate how this site has declared war on the transgender community.

              • Cinder

                Actually Mills, you should.

                Weka used the word themselves in recent days when describing GC allies in the UK.

                To whit "Terf Island"

                And I agree, the open hostility is now widely known and is the reason some contributors are no longer here.

                [I repeat, you cannot use the word terf when referring to commenters here. It’s a slur. Many GCFs have claimed the word and like many words, including those used as slurs, it has more than one usage and meaning. The word itself isn’t banned here, I’m telling you where the boundaries are on usage. If you want to know more, ask.

                Also giving you a warning: if you actively advocate against a moderation here then expect to get moderated. We have boundaries here for a reason. If you want to make a political argument about the word terf and why it should be used despite it being now largely a term of abuse against women, have at it. But don’t undermine moderation by tossing out your reckons in a casual way. – weka]

                • Puckish Rogue

                  A man cannot become a woman and vice versa however transgender people are entitled to the same respect and protections as everyone else but trans woman should not compete against woman

                • weka

                  mod note Cinder, I need an acknowledgement you have seen this.

                • weka

                  and because some people have a tendency to obtuseness, if a GCF wants to use the term positively this won't be a problem. If you don't understand this, my suggestion is don't use the word at all.

                • weka

                  And I agree, the open hostility is now widely known and is the reason some contributors are no longer here.

                  Snort. Show me your history of supporting women to write and comment on TS, and an understanding of why so many women have left, and I'll start to respect your views. Do the mahi of standing up for people you think are under-represented here rather than just slagging off others, and I'll start to respect you. Atm you just look like you are shitstirring.

                  • Cinder

                    Couldn't leave this last night due to maintenance.

                    Why do you think I want you to respect my views? Is that a pre-condition of not having my anonymity breached by you as you did some weeks ago? Ah no, it's just your crap attempt to paint me as a misogynist.

                    As for standing up for people who are under-represented on this site:

                    Well, I did stand up for the trans-woman Joanne before she grew sick of being referred to as a "pervert in a dress" and being told to "apologise for what she had done" and asked that a moderator intervene. That good enough for you?

                    Or how about the fact that I stood up for the rights of intersex people to have medical terms and language used in an inclusive manner. Because yes, people who are not women can menstruate, get pregnant and give birth. Oh I know, it throws a lot of 20th century feminist theory into the bin but it's a medical and scientific fact.

                    And that was met with cries of "But they are only a minority" by the GC crew here, showing their true colours.

                    Or perhaps you would prefer to hear about my past voluntary work for Auckland Action against Poverty (which resulted in WINZ changing one of their policies) and the NZ Prostitutes Collective. Or maybe my ongoing voluntary work with the blind community?

                    Nah, you're not interested. See ya

                    [“Is that a pre-condition of not having my anonymity breached by you as you did some weeks ago?”

                    Explain what you mean, and provide direct evidence, or retract, or face a ban. This is the second mod warning I’ve had to give you in as many comments. Don’t make shit up about me or moderation – weka]

                    • weka

                      Nope. I was just pointing out that I haven't seen you address the issues for women on this site. I have no idea if you are a misogynist.

                      If you think the GCFs are wrong, then get in and argue the politics. That's what we do here.

                      Well, I did stand up for the trans-woman Joanne before she grew sick of being referred to as a "pervert in a dress" and being told to "apologise for what she had done" and asked that a moderator intervene. That good enough for you?

                      I think you making shit up, or at least distorting what happened. But from what I can tell this is your MO. Instead of pointing to the evidence, you just throw out lazy specious arguments.

                      And sure, if you don't care if people respect you or not, I can see why you wouldn't respect TS.

              • weka

                thanks millsy.

              • weka

                I hate how this site has declared war on the transgender community.

                From the Policy,

                Attacking the blog site, or attributing a mind to a machine (ie talking about The Standard as if it had an opinion), or trying to imply that the computer that runs the site has some kind of mind control over authors and commentators is not allowed. Making such assertions will often get the sysop answering you, because he considers that those are comments directed at him personally. As a computer programmer he knows exactly how dumb machines are. If you’re lucky he will merely give you an educational ban. But sometimes when time is available, he does like to point out in a humiliating manner that machines are not intelligent – and neither is the person expressing that fallacy. .

                My emphasis.

                If you mean that the people that run the site have declared war on the transgender community, you're bullshitting. The authors cover a range of views on gender/sex issues.

                If you are talking about me, then again, bullshitting. I've been careful to be clear that I am talking about gender identity ideology, and that the issue isn't trans people. Don't know what you mean by the transgender community, they're not a hive mind. Maybe you could pay more attention to the politics instead of throwing out lazy slurs.

              • Anker

                Millsy, I respectfully ask that you consider watching a little of the clip Bill posted above. Then you might understand where some of us are coming from and what our concerns are.

    • Anker 9.5

      I thought this was amazing that people voted for J K Rowling.

      On another note those young actors who made their career from her work attending a re-union in the US that she has been excluded from……………what a way to treat someone you owe so much to. Likely those young stars wouldn't have a career without her

  9. weka 10

    Can anyone recommend a meeting planner where I can add multiple dates and multiple times zones? All I'm seeing are single dates that mean having to enter lots of dates manually. On a mac.

  10. weka 11

    Probably should write a post about this and flesh it out, but this is a good start.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Yes – another very good point weka. I recall when my father and brother visited us over Christmas here in Australia a few years back – there was this humiliating ritual of informing WINZ so as to be certain they could stop his disability benefit.

      Then there is the related story of the numerous people stuck overseas due to COVID, who have turned 65 and cannot apply for the NZ Super they're entitled to.

    • McFlock 11.2

      True, that. Their theory was that you had to be waiting by the phone for when they called with a job that started that afternoon. As if that ever happened.

    • Shanreagh 12.1

      'Yes and leave a big buffer around the sides as we never know if Mt Pook Airlines is going to be able to finesse a pinpoint landing…….this time'smiley

    • mary_a 12.2

      Hi Gezza (12) … was Pook going after food, or the other birds?

      Look forward to more videos and stories from Gezza's Stream next year. Take care and all the best for 2022laugh

      • Gezza 12.2.1

        That was Sweety Pook, mary.

        There’s a high trellis just outside my kitchen window. She & the other pooks (who learnt it off her) would fly up & perch on top of it so they could see when I came into the kitchen.

        Then they’d fly down to the ground like that & ask for food (a handful of wheat grains or a grainy bread chunk).

        She knew the sparrows would just get out of the way from previous experience.

        Hope you have a great 2022, too. It’s been nice getting your supportive comments on my stream & back yard friends. They helped me thru some tuff times & help keep me focused on the wonders of nature & the wonderful range of personalities all animals seem to have.

          • Gezza

            Ha. Gorgeous. Especially when that big brolga bird is dancing. smiley

            Reminds me for some reason of a program I watched on Choice TV channel. Part of a series featuring a zoo somewhere in the UK. They had a pair of young African vultures who were really people-friendly, nice-tempered, & curious. They'd follow the keepers around and watch (& if necessary check out, with their beaks and feet) anything the keepers did.

            • RedLogix

              They make a unique deep booming mating call and we're pretty sure we had one or two males calling from within the parkland next to our unit here in Brisbane this spring.

              My partner thinks she caught a glimpse of one taking off one morning, but otherwise in their wild state they're notoriously secretive bird that is extremely hard to spot. We got a chat with one of the local bird watchers one morning who was a bit surprised, but he didn't rule it out.

              Which is why this seeing this hand reared bird behaving in the open like Barry here is pretty special.

        • mary_a

          Agree 100% with your comments Gezza re animals and nature. Great teachers.

  11. joe90 13

    I can only imagine how terrified these vulnerable people would've been when they were confronted with either staying at home and dying or traveling to dialysis centres and risk contracting Covid and then dying.

    The pandemic killed so many dialysis patients that their total number shrunk for the first time in nearly half a century. Few people took notice.

    They were COVID-19’s perfect victims.


    “It can’t help but feel like a massive failure when we have such a catastrophic loss of patients,” said Dr. Michael Heung, a clinical professor of nephrology at the University of Michigan. “It speaks to just how bad this pandemic has been and how bad this disease is.”

    Before most patients reach advanced kidney failure, they are diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension or a host of other underlying conditions. Their immune systems are severely compromised, meaning they are essentially powerless to survive the most dangerous infections.

    Many are old and poor. They also are disproportionately Black, as was Cosey. A 2017 study called end-stage renal disease “one of the starkest examples of racial/ethnic disparities in health.” Those inequities carried through to the pandemic. Dialysis patients who were Black or Latino, according to federal data, suffered higher rates of COVID-19 by every metric: infection, hospitalization, death.

    Their deaths went largely unnoticed.


    • greywarshark 13.1

      Victimhood is in so they are following the zeitgeist, dialysis people affected by covid 19 who have been overlooked. Feeling goodness and gratitude for life-extending care is pushed aside. And ever older age is taken for granted while at the same time children are being denied secure homes and regular good food and a happy parent with time to love them and help them grow well. Too bad. It's all about 'my' rigjhts to grow and expand all round me and to hell with whatever my rights smother, that's not my affair.

  12. Robert Guyton 14

    Anyone watched "Don't Look Up" yet?

    • weka 14.1

      not a chance. I value my nervous system.

      • Robert Guyton 14.1.1

        It's no more disrhythmic than what's happening outside of the theatre…in fact… 🙂

        • weka

          true, but then I don't livestream that into my five senses for a couple of straight hours at a time in a highly dramatic way. And I build in buffers.

          • Robert Guyton

            Very wise. You have missed though, a wonderfully idiotic/myopic portrayal of an Elon Musk/Eftpost Brian "3rd wealthiest man on the planet" harpooning/lampooning that would have you shaking your head in wonder.

            • weka

              is it satire?

              I can save it for when I am feeling more resilient.

              • Robert Guyton

                Perhaps read this instead, weka?

                It's marvellous.

                “In Horizon, Barry suggested that the culture hero—Prometheus or Siddhartha Gautama or Odysseus—is no longer relevant in an age when humanity is exceeding ecological limits. The scale of the problems we face in the Anthropocene, the era in which humans have altered the very bone structure of the planet, are simply beyond the lone hero’s ability to fix. I asked him what stories should replace the lone-hero story.”

                “They haven’t been written yet,” Barry said. “We need new narratives, at the center of which is a concern for the fate of all people. The story can’t be about the heroism of one person. It has to be about the heroism of communities.”"


    • miravox 14.2


      I think some very frustrated scientists and advocates tired of continually shouting into the void between politics and money finally let it all out in a film.

    • lprent 14.3

      Next on my list.

      Watch “Death to 2021” – very dark sense of humour. I particularly liked the comedian playing the extremely thick ‘average’ English woman, Hugh Grant as the self-entitled senile anti-woke commentator. Lucy Lu deserves mention for her straight faced forever Washington correspondent. I wound up watching it twice because there were some quirks that I didn’t catch the first time around.

  13. pat 16

    LMAO…the guy's an optimist

  14. Fireblade 17

  15. Ad 18

    So, how is it that the US sharemarket keeps going up but we have to stay home and there's fewer people not working but the foodbank lines are going round the block?

    And why can't they just print money for us ordinary folks?


    Government Spending & Stock Market | Mo Amer: Mohammed In Texas – YouTube

  16. Reality 19

    Anyone read Matthew Hooton's Herald column today? The lead sentence seems to be complimentary of Chris Hipkins. But of course being paywalled could read no further. Chris Hipkins does handle situations well, with humour on occasions, but quite firm when necessary.

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