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Point of debate

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 am, August 9th, 2008 - 52 comments
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If most people knew as much as politics, economics, and how this country is run as they do about sport, the result would be a better country to live in. A better-informed citizenry would lead to, would demand, better government.

Your thoughts?

52 comments on “Point of debate”

  1. T-rex 1

    Man, that’s not even a question – that’s a statement of fact.

    The question (as I think 08 has alluded to previously) is how to make people as interested. I dunno what the trick is there. I would have thought that increased wealth, a healthier society, reduced sense of powerlessness, and a sense of belonging…. ok, I actually think that’s it. Knowing about professional sport gives people a sense of belonging. Politics and economics make you look like a nerd. Maybe.

    Maybe the real trick with spectator sport is that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make any real difference. Same deal with all the other things you could have picked instead (Home and Away plot lines, Shortland street murderers, Dan Brown novels (pet hate)). So people don’t have to worry that they might get it wrong or have a (even subjectively) incorrect opinion, because they can always just say “yeah, well, what the hell, it doesn’t matter, lets just see what happens in the game eh?”.

    What’s strange is that NZ’ers seem, largely, to be less interested in significant issues than most. Maybe sport is our point of pride and international differentiation? Shortland street sure as hell isn’t though, which is why I’m inclined to favour the “social interaction” theory.

    Probably one step on the way to improving the situation would be those who do make an effort to be relatively up-to-speed on economic/political issues changing the way they engage those who aren’t. I quite often end up listening in on conversations that are more like politivangelism or something than trying to create motivation to be inquisitive.

    Or maybe I’ve just eaten too many toblerones today and am rambling.

    I’d say it’d make the average conversation in bars a lot more interesting, but when i think about it I almost never end up having conversations in bars about sport… and it quite often actually IS about politics or economics. The problem then is trying to follow my own advice in the paragraph above.

    Too much introspection. Back to Toblerones.

  2. Better Dead Than Red 2

    “A better-informed citizenry would lead to, would demand, better government.”

    You make the point yourself that people by and large prefer sport to government. That’s because (IMHO) they just want to be left the hell alone, and for “government” (for want of a better term), to get on with protecting their rights as individuals and in all other instances, just get the hell out of their lives. “Better government” is small unnoticeable government. One that provides protection from violent criminals and protects their private property. Other than that, they don’t even want to know who the PM is. They just want to be left the hell alone.

  3. stanb 3

    [lprent: Put your links either in context or elsewhere. We don’t advertise on this site.]

  4. ZK Muggletonspofin 4

    The brigade that claim they want to be left “the hell alone” are also the same people who bleat whenever they feel they haven’t had a fair go somehow. It’s amazing how an ‘individual’ can suddenly want society (the community) to rally round when the NZ$ is too high, when violent crime affects their street, when they can’t get a quick response from 111. What ‘individual freedom’ is all about is that which we attain from wider social justice and a fair and decent society. It’s never about what the indiviudal can take and fuck everyone else.

  5. ZK Muggletonspofin 5

    Actually, while we’re talking about taking peoples’ freedoms away – on the assumption that the Nats have put out a $10,000 reward for the person/s that did the dastardly taping thing at their conference, it was extremely underhand and I’m with the Nats on this one, so I’m up for the reward and I have the names: They are:

    Bill ‘Dipton’ English
    Lockwood ‘Tanktop’ Smith
    Nick ‘Smokestack’ Smith

    Okay John Key, send me the $10k smackers.

  6. Bill 6

    In theory we live in a democracy. The reality is that ‘tick a box democracy’ is an exercise of disempowerment.

    There is no encouragement/need or indeed opportunity to engage meaningfully in our democratic process between elections.

    There is no space to practice democratic principles in our every day life’s.

    Why would I give time and energy to understanding cooking and food preparation if I was obstructed from or prevented from getting access to ingredients and utensils?

    Similarly, why understand politics if obstructions are erected that prevent me practising democracy?

    I’d suggest that for most people on this blog and elsewhere politics is simply a form of mental exercise. It’s not translated into everyday living. We don’t know how and the spaces we might have used to experiment/develop democratic practices have been shut down.

    I gave a simple example of this previously…the moving of a bus stop. There was no participation in the decision by the people effected. They, retrospectively, had to engage in a wearing months long campaign of petition and submissions to change the positioning of the bus stop.

    Now, that’s a ‘nothing’ in the scheme of things. But it sapped energy and time. Tell me that wasn’t a message to the effect that ‘you’ are not to involve yourself in these (any) issues that effect you; that you are to leave it to ‘experts’, the relevant authorities.

    Had people, at the outset taken a common sense approach to a badly positioned bus stop…created dialogue between bus drivers and bus passengers and acted on decisions arrived at through that dialogue, they would have found themselves on the wrong end of the law…criminal damage, illegal road markings and so on.

    Whereas it is acceptable to understand the machinations of our current political system, acceptability ends right there.

    Like the cooking. Sure you are allowed to understand the theory. But you want a pot or a pan; some ingredients!? Are you mad!!?

  7. Rx 7

    Maybe its because politicians are seen to be acting only in self interest and are otherwise petty and childish. It just turns the majority of people right off.
    I wouldn’t say that people are alot more informed about sport than politics and economics. Most people take their opinions from those being presented in the media and the standard of sports reporting in New Zealand (probably all journalism in fact) is diabolical

  8. I think every citizen should read the book Absolute Power so they can come to grips with the workings of your typical kiwi government.
    Forget journalism as they’re unscrupulous jellyfish feeding on the corruption.TV channels and other media outlets are just political tools used effectively by the powers above.
    Bah, bah, bah – she’ll be right, said the dumb arse kiwi sheep voter.

  9. CMR 9

    If the quote you have posted above applied to NZ this blog wouldn’t exist!

    “Don’t worry mate, we’ll wire up the orange boy,listen to their loose ball plans, then get them in the second half!”

    Better Dead Than Red, you are absolutely correct.

  10. Labour are all about control and dirty tricks. They don’t care about the concerns of the constituent,however to be fair either does National as both parties can get along like a house on fire when they discuss pay rises for themselves.
    Time for the people to revolt in protest!! These lemons are a disgrace to decency. Enough is enough.

  11. mike 11

    “would lead to, would demand, better government.”

    From what I see the people are already demanding a better government. They’ll have to wait a couple of months though.

  12. RedLogix 12

    One that provides protection from violent criminals and protects their private property.

    Almost everything about the modern world is highly dependent on a huge raft of underpinning technologies, that by their very nature require standards, protocols, rules and regulation in order to function effectively. And by technology I am not restricting it’s meaning to the obvious hardware things, but this also extends to how we conduct commerce, deliver health care and education, manage agriculture and the environment, and infrastructure services such as water, transport, electricity and the like.

    BDTR rather strikes me as the kind of person with a weak awareness of this fact, and even less of it’s implications and the mode of thinking that it is based on.

    The prosperity of the world we live in is absolutely dependent on these technologies. People have possessed things for all history, whereas the standard of life we enjoy is a very recent phenomonen. Prosperity has relatively little to do with ‘private property’ and far more to do with the level of technical development of the society we live in.

    Again the basic problem of trying to discuss anything with the likes of BDTR and CMR is that we simply do not share common premises and values.

  13. Better Dead Than Red 13

    “Again the basic problem of trying to discuss anything with the likes of BDTR and CMR is that we simply do not share common premises and values”

    Unless you’re obsessed with forcing others to comply with your own ideas, that should not be perceived as a “problem”.

  14. RedLogix 14

    BDTR,

    Well then it is logically inconsistent to be on this blog screaming at us about your freedoms and private property rights, while at the same time claiming that it is me who is trying to coerce you into complying with anything at all.

    In other words if you want us to believe you as a freedom loving, rights respecting type of fellow, then quit acting like an psychopathic, authoratarian jackass.

  15. randal 15

    what this country needs is a good ten cent cigar!

  16. lprent 16

    RL: It does seem to have a slightly inconsistent logic. But you have to remember that BDTR is a person that thinks a social democrat or people that support the labour movement (unions etc) are equivalent to being a avid supporter of Stalin.

    Of course if you followed the same logic for conservatives, then you’d have to conclude that they all have oven obsessions. Mind you, reading Murray McCulleys newsletters would often give the impression that he is graduating from brownnose to brownshit oops typo Brownshirt.

    So obviously this site is required to help with BDTR’s historical education.

    Looks like life was interesting here while I was distracted on code restructuring.

  17. Draco TB 17

    from this:

    I think every citizen should read the book Absolute Power …

    to this:

    Forget journalism as they’re unscrupulous jellyfish feeding on the corruption.

    Jeez dad, you auditioning for The Daily Show or something?

    If people want a good understanding of how politics in NZ works then go read Public Policy in NZ by Richard Shaw and Chris Eichbaum – at least then you would be getting actual scholarly work and not the incoherent ramblings of Iain Wishart.

    BDTR and CMR:
    Your ignorance can be cured – go get an education from a relatively non-biased institution such as a university. At least then your knowledge will be based in fact rather than fantasy.

    Back OT:

    From what I see the people are already demanding a better government.

    That may be so but the chances are they won’t actually get one (if National get in they’ll get a much worse one) because they don’t know enough about politics or how the economy works. This ignorance is damaging our democracy as people will vote for the better sounding sound-bite rather than sound policies.
    National is getting a lot of momentum from tax cuts because people are hurting – they don’t have enough income to maintain the lifestyle that they’ve come to expect. The tax cuts may put $50/week in everyones pay packet but the inflation from those tax cuts and the necessary borrowing that accompanies them will raise prices by $60 or $70 making people even worse off. As the economy slows from decreasing real incomes the government borrows more and probably starts to cut government services as their income falls. By this time we’re looking at stagflation, increasing unemployment, rising crime and all the other negative aspects of a stressed populace. Most people don’t understand this so they vote for the $50/week now to maintain their lifestyles not realising that it will make them worse off later.

    People need a better understanding of the socio-economic reality that we live in. Getting the young educated for this is relatively simple as all it requires is putting that education into our school curriculum. But how do we get everyone else to participate so that positive changes can be made now rather than in 2 or 3 generations? How do we get people to go out and read, at a minimum, an economic text book, a book on politics and one on sociology?

  18. r0b 18

    There is no encouragement/need or indeed opportunity to engage meaningfully in our democratic process between elections.

    Hey Bill – join the party of your choice and get active, that’s what I did. Now I’ve got so much damn democratic process going on I hardly get time to sleep.

    If National politics doesn’t interest you then get active locally. Stand for your council or health board. Start a citizens action group, whatever.

    There is no excuse for whinging that you can’t engage in democracy. You can. Get active.

  19. Ari 19

    Bill- did they stop letting the public make statements to select committees? Or ban joining parties? Are we no longer allowed to have public debate?

    There are plenty of options to get involved in our democracy still, people just don’t utilise them because they’re never primed to the idea.

  20. higherstandard 20

    Ari

    I think you’re being a bit unfair on the populace at large.

    There have been 42 attempts to hold Citizens Initiated Referenda since the CIR Act was passed in 1993.

    Only 3 have succeeded so far

  21. Ari 21

    HS- I’m somewhat sympathetic to the idea of lowering the bar on how many signatures are needed to initiate a referendum, if we further tighten up the wording allowed on questioning. The latest CIR to go through got some practically tautologous wording approved, which doesn’t exactly encourage reasoned debate or good decisions by voters, it merely pushes their own viewpoint as far as possible.

    If people aren’t allowed to slant a question in a certain direction, the only problem remaining with referenda is that they can be used to challenge the human rights of minorities.

  22. Daveski 22

    It’s a very interesting topic – SP does it from time to time when he forgets about his one man crusade against JK.

    I would suggest that for the most part, the disinterest stems from the similarity between the two main parties. Perhaps if there was a greater divide between the two that may make politics more relevant to the average punter.

    I also think MMP was a victory for the politically savvy. I suspect the average punter doesn’t really understand the subtleties – indeed, I would argue that the vote for MMP succeeded because of a vote for change because the punters were fed up with politicians.

    Better government would also come from a number of other factors, not just greater interest. A longer period of govt – 4 years – would make it easier for govts to develop longer term policies rather than the current vote, do, bribe cycle.

    I also think that across the board we don’t seem to attract the calibre of people as MP’s to make a difference or engage with the general populace.

  23. Kevyn 23

    “If most people knew as much as politics, economics, and how this country is run as they do about sport, the result would be a better country to live in”

    Exactly right. If the people understand the rules of the game of politics as well as they understand the rules of rugby, cricket or netball then the politicians would be out on their ears, along with their select committees, royal commissions and “running” the country. It doesn’t help that there are so many armchair experts who have obviously never played the game always blaming the coach instead of the players.

    Would you bother watching or playing any sport where the team in possession of the ball gets to be the ref.

  24. QoT 24

    I’m reminded of something in one of Michael Moore’s books – he visits a sports radio station and watches/listens to their weekly call-in quiz. His conclusion is that Americans as a whole aren’t stupid or uneducated – a person who’s memorized the starting lineups of every team to play in the Superbowl is no thickie. They’re just concentrating their brain power on something else.

    I think education is a big part of the problem. I was at a party in honour of the Australian Election a while back, and actually had to explain to an 18-year-old what First Past the Post entailed. His reaction? “But that’s just idiotic!” Problem was, nobody, not politicians, media, social studies teachers, parents, had ever taken the time to explain the history of our electoral system.

    @d4j – tried reading Absolute Power, mate. Got as far as, “HC said some unwanted kittens should be drowned when she was a teen, AND THEN CAMPAIGNED FOR ABORTION RIGHTS!!!!!!” and had to stop for fear of laughing until I died.

  25. Bill 25

    Rob and Ari.

    Parliamentary representative democracy is democracy in name only. It doesn’t allow for meaningful participation.

    Let me put it like this. I know all about cooking. And I know I want a fish curry. However, because I am not allowed to access any ingredients or utensils, I have to depend on food presented by others who compete for my vote. Candidate one tells me they will use hoki. Candidate two that they will use blue cod….and so it goes on.

    So I ‘cast my vote’ and what I get time after time, no matter which candidate I vote for is a fish finger sprinkled with curry powder.
    I guess you might technically argue that a curry fish finger is a fish curry in the same way as a SD argues that representative democracy is democracy.

    I’d argue I want a fish curry and that it is qualitatively different to a curried fish finger; that I want democracy and it is qualitatively different from ‘representative democracy’

  26. Chris S 26

    So register your Fish Curry Party. Find (500?) other New Zealander’s that want a fish curry and contest an election.

    Just because you want a fish curry and you don’t get it, doesn’t mean the electorate isn’t being served.

    If you’re complaining about politicians misrepresenting themselves that’s another story entirely.

  27. In a democratic world ‘We the People’ are expected to accept some ‘shared’ version from the packet of fish & chips . The government unfairly grabs the food ,robbing the majority of the equal portion each individual truly deserves!
    Anyone for a comrade burger and made in China fries?

  28. r0b 28

    Parliamentary representative democracy is democracy in name only. It doesn’t allow for meaningful participation.

    My participation feels meaningful to me. Have you ever actually tried?

    I want democracy and it is qualitatively different from ‘representative democracy’

    I actually agree with you that representative democracy is too weak. I would like to see a more participatory system. I would like to see more citizens actively engaged.

    But from this basic agreement, we seem to draw very different conclusions. My conclusion is that until there is a better system I should participate in the one we have. Your conclusion seems to be that its too hard so why bother. I invite you to reconsider…

  29. “Why bother” is the attractive alternative r0b.

  30. Ari 30

    Bill- Part of the solution to the problem you state is delegating more authority downwards to city and regional councils. Part of it is increasing the opportunities and impact of when the public get to participate in making and refining laws. Both are issues that as a Green member are pretty big priorities to me.

    That said, I think direct democracy where we put to referendum everything or “everything important” (for some given definition of “important”) has just as many issues as candidate-based systems.

  31. Bill 31

    r0b…this is what we got. So vote Green because they will offer useful reforms? That’s okay…. and meaningful, to a degree. But reform accepts the basic structures as ‘immutable’…acceptable. Now I’ll support reform, because that’s good. But it’s not enough. It leaves the basic structures in tact…zero sum game: get what you can through leveraged bargaining power: in short, competition where winner takes all.

    It’s simply not good enough.

    Ari…..delegating power downwards makes no sense….who’s in control of that delegating process….it’s ‘captured’ from the word go.

    Neither can you delegate power/authority upwards. At least, not if you want democracy….too many stations of potential capture ( think Soviet Russia and the Bolsheviks….)

    And direct democracy does not have to entail referendums….all up meetings? That’s a f*cking disastrous state of affairs. Neither does direct democracy involve delegates….equally f*cking disastrous…

    Sigh.

  32. Paul Robeson 32

    Bit harsh, really.

    Sport is escapism. Need to get people who have a better grasp of the psychology of it than I do, but…

    Sport is escapism, a way of exorcising a lot of impulses and feelings.

    If you don’t want to recall that in this weeks bills 2 + 2 = 7 for a period of a few hours, and you want to give yourself something safe and essentially meaningless to talk and think about sport fits this category nicely.

    Sport does not equal idiot.

    Perhaps what we are looking for is a culture that allows for someone to be diverse in their interests and knowledge, and places higher value in having knowledge in the areas you mention.

    This is the case in some parts of the country.

    The system we have is particularly partisan, because perhaps of the way our economy is set up, with the majority of wealth based rurally, and the majority of the population based in urban areas. People know what they need to make their part of the economy better. And they campaign accordingly.

    hmm…I’m meandering a bit here…but what we perhaps need is a wider interest in fairly debating and becoming informed about the reasons for laws.

  33. Swampy 33

    “People need a better understanding of the socio-economic reality that we live in. Getting the young educated for this is relatively simple as all it requires is putting that education into our school curriculum. But how do we get everyone else to participate so that positive changes can be made now rather than in 2 or 3 generations? How do we get people to go out and read, at a minimum, an economic text book, a book on politics and one on sociology?”

    How about admitting we need to get back to basics in education instead of the rubbish that has taken over the education system i.e. the above, soft woolly concepts instead of the 3Rs?

  34. lprent 34

    Ah Swampy – perhaps you haven’t actually dealt with kids doing NCEA? It sure doesn’t sound like it.

    I’d suggest that you go and have a look at some of the little NCEA year 11 and 12 books at your local borders or whitcoulls. You’d be surprised what level they are working at these days. A lot of the stuff at those levels was similar to what I was doing in first year university science 30 years ago.

    Your concentration on the 3R’s is somewhat obsolete. Harking back to primary school?

  35. Can you guys from the Labour Party at The Standard tell me what kind of “family” contains “triples” http://darrenrickard.blogspot.com/2008/08/bigamy-on-labours-secret-agenda.html as Ruth Dyson called them in Parliament last week?

    Cheers, Darren

  36. T-rex 36

    Paul – I certainly didn’t mean to imply “sport = idiot”, that’s clearly not the case.

    I kind of agree with you that sport is a bit of escapism; while some people take it far beyond that in their passion for it I suspect the reason it makes up such typical pub-talk is that it just doesn’t matter.

    There are a couple of arguments above that I think have flaws.

    People don’t talk about politics because they feel they can’t change the outcome.
    Powerlessness might be something to do with it (though it shouldn’t be) but I think it’s got more to do with being afraid to voice an incorrect opinion. The average person standing in a bar can have more influence on political direction than they can on the outcome of the game they’re watching.

    Kevyn – re: Team with the ball getting to be the ref.
    Completely see where you’re coming from, but I’d argue that actually the voters get to be the ref, it’s just that we only get to make a call once every three years. The players spend the intervening years crossing back and forth between what’s acceptable and what’s not, and trying to convince us that they’re saints. Seeing through that bullsh*t would be a lot simpler if people had a better idea of what to look for.

    Swampy – re: soft wooly concepts.
    Really? Economics and sociology wooly? First off, they are both hugely pertinent applications of all three ‘r’s, and hence a great way to teach those as well. Learning to write is a lot more effective if you’re writing ABOUT something. I think we can take it for granted that by the time economics appears in the syllabus earlier years of education will have taken care of the whole “forming letters” thing, barring early education failures I’m unqualified to comment on (though teachers I’ve lived with over the years have, by and large, been smart and dedicated people working within a good framework… seriously, how many people do you know who can’t read, write, or do basic maths?).
    As to the overall importance – do you think the recent housing market boom/bust would have occurred if everyone had a solid grounding in economics? How about NZ’s personal debt levels?

    I don’t know if it’s still around, but when I was at school we had “social studies”. I think it only ran for 3’rd and 4’th form, then it split off into history, geography etc (which I abandoned in favour of the maths/science pentacle of tunnelvision), but that did actually make some efforts to educate us in these areas. I remember it being pretty boring though and spending too much time focussing on NZ history which, while relevant blah blah blah isn’t quite as useful as the underlying structure of systems, especially when you’re being asked to (for the most part) learn what, rather than why.

  37. T-rex 37

    Dear Darren,

    I’d say “any combination of 3 people identifying themselves as family”. 3 people living in a flat together would qualify. Lovely dog whistle though, and fantastic demonstration of your inability to conceive of anyone living in circumstances that don’t conform to your indescribably narrowminded view of the norm. Have you considered how many student’s and recent graduates living arrangements are multiple-adult (like: 3 or more)? In fact, I imagine many adults of all ages live in similar environments if they don’t have partners. Furthermore, bigamy relates to MARRIAGE, you fool. However, while we’re on the topic, can you explain to me how (for example) a guy living in a sexual relationship with two woman is any worse than a guy living in a sexual relationship with one woman, but cheating on her with another? I mean I’d say the latter is worse, but I have a sneaking suspicion you’d find the former more objectionable (whereas I’d just find it weird, and wonder who got the wet spot :-P).

    While you’re bagging upon the tax contribution of multiple adults cohabitating in the manner of a family – I’ve lived in such arrangements for several years, and in the one I just left our household income would have been well over 200k. So you’re wrong there as well.

  38. r0b 38

    Can you guys from the Labour Party at The Standard tell me what kind of “family’ contains “triples’

    Those that choose to.

    And when society doesn’t have any hangups about it everyone is pretty happy too! Hope you can read this:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/18/iceland
    without getting too – agitated.

  39. Phil 39

    ‘rex,

    I only find it objectionable because this mythical male figure is getting threesomes, and I’m not… where is Labour’s willingness to redistriubte for equality when we really need it?

    =)

  40. Bill 40

    Revisiting.

    If people knew more about policies and their impacts from a more in depth and objective perspective than at present, then it would influence how they cast their vote. Parties would then probably tend to gear their policies more towards what is good for people rather than what is good for capitalism. And that is not desirable from their perspective, soo…

    As it stands, there are only two scenarios I can think of where government policies are broadly influenced.

    The first is when a powerful example of something different exists that might be attractive to people to the extent that the power of current elites would be threatened. Communism was the obvious real life example in this context. The result was concessions to the ‘masses’ in the form of social welfare programmes. These concessions have been rolled back since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    The second scenario is when people hit the streets. Anti-war, G.E., civil rights movement, environmental protest etc. It sometimes has an impact if the numbers and momentum are sufficient.

    In all instances, ‘threats’ from below have been contained and cost only a few concessions along the way. Often, the concessions are rolled back at a later date.

    Interestingly, when there is an expression of democracy from below, that expression is usually couched in terms of a threat to democracy!

    Anyway, although the organisational form of protest/resistance can say a lot about our familiarity or understanding of democracy, it would seem that such a discussion is off the cards on this blog. That’s okay.

    Within the confines of Representative Parliamentary Democracy, the only time change (that would be to the detriment of existing elites)is affected is under the scenarios given. The vote you cast is cast within very narrow confines. It’s a very safe option for elites as it perpetuates an illusion of democracy but leaves them unchallenged. The illusion, it would seem, is enough for many people. Oh well.

  41. Bill 41

    The extent to which elites can maintain their power might be well illustrated by looking at the ANC. They won political power and assumed government on the back of a whole pile of promises to improve the lot of South Africans. However, once in power, they realised they had no room to manoeuvre because the real power lay in economic arrangements and those arrangements were controlled by interests beyond South Africa. (IMF, World Bank etc…and of course, they had, in the process of negotiating a hand over of power allowed their reserve bank to be ‘independent’, ie under control of those international economic agencies…same as here and elsewhere)

  42. Draco TB 42

    In one of my politics classes the tutor has pointed out that the only time socio-economic conditions have improved for the masses is after a revolution. Perhaps it’s time for another one.

  43. Anita 43

    Draco TB,

    Wow – really?

    So in NZ the socioeconomic conditions for the masses have been constantly getting worse?!

  44. randal 44

    is and oughts…blah blah blah. why doesnt everybody read Michael cullens 2008 budget and then they would have somethng to talk about instead of all this undergraduate drivel

  45. Draco TB 45

    So in NZ the socioeconomic conditions for the masses have been constantly getting worse?!

    Not so much in getting worse more not really getting any better.

  46. Matthew Pilott 46

    I think the sport Kevyn was referring to above (with the player who has the ball being the ref) is the America’s Cup!

  47. CMR 47

    Draco TB wrote:

    “Your ignorance can be cured – go get an education from a relatively unbiased institution such as a university. At least then your knowledge will be based on fact rather than fantasy.”

    Putting to one side your dreary grammar I shall respond to your suggestion as to my educational requirements. It may give you pause before offering further educational advice to other “needy” recipients…

    1 The idea that in the current decade a NZ university is “relatively unbiased” is fanciful in the extreme. I need to go no further than refer you to the content matter of many generic arts/science degrees to unequivocally demonstrate the rebuttal of unfettered reason in many of the courses on offer at our tertiary institutions.

    2 My personal need for a tertiary education is rebutted. For your further deliberation I record I have three degrees each achieved earlier than 1980 (two of which were obtained in NZ.)

    3 When I was a student very few of my compatriots bothered with the mundane absurdity such was/is student politics. Those who did take this pointless excursion tended to evolve into vocations that allowed them to elaborate on their working class resentments and trademarks of social inadequacy. The roles assumed,after university included politicians and trades union representatives. (In other words…nothing!)

    Until someone referred me to the pained existence of this blog I naively determined that the persons who live by the rule of leftist anger were no longer entering otherwise serious tertiary institutions.

    Draco TB, please mature with a modicum of grace…I am not expecting wisdom!

  48. Rob 48

    HI can anyone tell me why Ruth Dysons Social Development speech which she gave to the Auckland University has been removed from the Labour website’

    You know the one that contained information on legalising triples maybe quads and even Rex The Alsatian or was this just Ruth looking after her mates without telling Comrade Heather & Comrade Helen.

    The fact that Labour have taken it off their website would show that they aren’t proud off their Social Engineering plans. Or at the very least they are being deceitful but the media are well and truly on to it now anyway

    You would have to say that constitutes a secret agenda which they don’t want the masses to know about!!

    [lprent: Why would anyone here know?

    I’m aware that it has been the subject of some rather stupid comments on various sites. It was so embarrassing on kiwiblog that some known right wing commentators were asking what the issue was.

    But I have a suggestion – why don’t you ask her office these questions. There is usually an e-mail address.]

  49. Anita 49

    Rob,

    Ruth Dysons Social Development speech which she gave to the Auckland University

    Victoria University.

    the one that contained information on legalising triples maybe quads

    1) She didn’t mention quads

    2) Triples are not illegal

    3) She wasn’t talking about legalisation, she was talking about accepting the diversity that already exists within our society:

    Shifting the focus from social welfare to social development is about considering the wellbeing of the whole population, and communities within that population, rather than solely focusing on the traditional family group. We must cater for the diversity, we know exists. By this I mean the range of relationships from single, couples, triples, blended, de facto, and so on.

    You’re back to your wildly inaccurate statements. Is it deliberate, laziness or incompetence?

  50. Kevyn 50

    Anita, Triples (and quads) aren’t illegal provided you aren’t married or living in a relationship deemed to be a defact marriage. If the law changes had been based on the principal of opting-in rather than having to opt-out these multiple partnerships would not have fallen foul of the laws prohibiting bigamy and polygamy. Isn’t it time that these final bastions of state interference in the bedroom were removed?

  51. Anita 51

    Kevyn,

    I don’t understand 🙁 Are you saying there is a situation in which living in a triad is illegal? Or just that it wouldn’t be acknowledged by our legal framework?

  52. Kevyn 52

    Anita, Definitely if one partner is legally married to both of the other partners. Straighforward bigamy. I don’t know if the bigamy law requires a marriage certificate or just a legal marriage. If it’s the latter then when both partnerships in a de-facto triad have automatically gained the legal rights and responsiblities of a marriage after two years cohabitation they will automatically have committed bigamy. Technicly anybody who is seperated and cohabits with a new partner will encounter the same problem. I have not had any reason to read exactly what the defacto marriage law says, but if it was as poorly written as most laws are then there is a very good chance the Act could have completely overlooked accidental bigamy/polygamy.

    Quick google search revealed that the legal definition of bigamy (s 205 Crimes Act 1961) does say “The act of a person who, being married, goes through a form of marriage in New Zealand with a third person”.

    The Human Right Commission made an oral submission on the the
    Relationships (Statutory References) Bill which included this statement “There are no references to polygamous relationships in either the Civil Union or the Relationships (Statutory References) Bills, nor is there any provision for polygamous relationships.”

    http://www.hrc.co.nz/hrc_new/hrc/cms/files/documents/28-Apr-2005_19-53-17_01.04.04_S_McLean_Supp_Sub_on_the_Relationships_Bill.doc

    Maybe I was right and maybe I was wrong. I presume polygamy is prosecuted as multiple bigamy.

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