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Summer service: open mike 01-02/01/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 1st, 2012 - 43 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Happy New Year!  As usual, it’s reduced service over the summer break, unless anything big happens. We hope you’ll get a good break with those dear to you, and that we’ll have some decent weather to enjoy. And if you still need your politics fix – open mike is your post…

43 comments on “Summer service: open mike 01-02/01/2012”

  1. Carol 1

    A fitting night to transition from 011 to 012?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6205504/Happy-wet-year

    In a year blighted by natural disasters, mother nature was unrelenting to the end, with several New Year’s Eve celebrations cancelled as rain lashed the country.

    Campsites were flooded and rain contributed to carnage on the roads. There was also a near-miss for two people whose car was swept into a river near Whangamata.

    And the political news seems just as dismal, with NActMU set to oversee policies dominated by (so-called, but far from liberal) neoliberal business ethics of autocratic cost-cutting rather than an ethos of acting for the common good.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/6205501/EQC-cops-shoddy-jobs-complaints

    The Earthquake Commission has received hundreds of complaints from Christchurch residents unhappy with the work contractors have done to fix their houses, leading to accusations that “Mickey Mouse” operators are fleecing the system.
    […]
    The commission retained responsibility for paying contractors directly for their work, but once a customer’s house was being repaired by Fletchers, they were unable to opt out because the work had already been paid for.

    Fletchers also managed the recruitment and accreditation of contractors who did repair work, and was responsible for quality control and managing workmanship.

    Meanwhile prison policies favour retribution over rehabilitation:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6205532/Judges-throw-book-at-prisoner-drug-rehab

    and Nact’s marginalisation (PRed as reorganising for improved efficiency) of departments of women’s and Pacific affairs is evident in a high staff turnover:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6205527/Mass-departures-in-govt-departments

    Smaller government departments are churning through staff at a rate triple that of the public sector average.

    The Serious Fraud Office and Ministry of Women’s Affairs had the highest staff turnover rate of 30 per cent in the past financial year.

    That amounted to almost a third of staff leaving in a 12-month period.

    Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs came in third with a turnover rate of 24 per cent – almost a quarter of all employees.

    Welcome to 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

    the beginning of the end or a positive change to a new era?

    • just saying 1.1

      Thanks for this post Carol.
      Makes for grim reading though, so today I’m going to ‘step back from the computer’, get outside, and pretend the lovely conditions we are enjoying down here, will last forever.

    • Fotran 1.2

      I like the “average” wages for MOWoman’s Affairs and Pacific. Great if you can get it. Amazed at those “average” salary levels that neither can get competant staff.

      • QoT 1.2.1

        Oh, Fotran, are we going to play the “mean/average must mean everyone’s earning ALL THE DOLLARS!!!” derail?

        If six people earning $10k a year each are sitting in a room and Paul Reynolds walks in, the “average” earnings of the people in that room goes from $10k to $1 million.

        Guess they shouldn’t complain, right? Because obviously they’re all totes rich.

        • RedLogix 1.2.1.1

          Yeah… whenever I see the term ‘average’ misused in this sort of context, I immediately know without needing to read a word further that either the article concerned is either:

          1. Lazy dreck written in a hurry by someone who doesn’t know the topic.

          2. Misinformation carefully written by someone who doesn’t want YOU to know the topic.

          • Herodotus 1.2.1.1.1

            The same can be applied to mean or any other stat term as well. When referring to salaries/Wages/Income there is no consideration to other benefits “gifted” by the employee e.g. Kiwisaver/pensions/benefits attracting FBT/ additional leave or exit packages
            Also the makeup of the workforce fulltime/parttime/job share.
            And RL, many of us can only use the infonmation available to support our points, otherwise we might as well just write unsupported editorials.
            Happy New year to all 😎

            • bbfloyd 1.2.1.1.1.1

              what a load of crap heroless…. you are telling us you would be happy to go back to a time when workers were paid no more than starvation wages, and when their usefulness was deemed surplus, then they were simply tossed aside…. to be thrown in prison if they objected too strenuously to being treated so appallingly….or got caught stealing food to feed their starving families…….

              oh wait… that was how australia was populated….. silly me…. we just need to take a reasonably large pacific island off those undeserving savages who simply aren’t exploiting their environment profitably enough….build some shiny new prisons there, and then rename the place for when the prisoners get out and look to form up a new society because they are stuck there with no way to get back here….

              we just need one that has huge mineral resources to exploit….voila! the new frontier….so many opportunities for profit……

  2. Carol 2

    David Beatson firmly blames the death of Stratos on the lack of government support for public service broadcasting.

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/stratos-is-dead-whos-next

    Stratos did not die from lack of community support
    […]
    Stratos did not die from lack of staff support.
    […]
    In my view, Stratos died – and other small, and not-so-small, free-to-air TV channels will also die – in the bureaucratically-botched transition to digital broadcasting because public broadcasting policy is no longer aligned with public need, or the multi-media realities of the digital age.
    […]
    Regional television was plumped firmly in the too hard basket by both NZ On Air and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
    […]
    In October last year, regional broadcasters were suddenly informed that the Cabinet had changed its mind. NZ On Air is now funded to offer up to $70,000 to each regional broadcaster to help them find their own way into the new digital world. To date, two regional broadcasters have accepted. The low take-up is hardly surprising, given that the digital switchover will quadruple their transmission costs – their major expense – if their programmes are to be accessible on all the digital platforms their local audiences are likely to adopt.

    Now, Stratos is gone. It is a sad, bad story – and we have not heard the end of it.

    But we now have many people with the expertise and networks that could be used to develop comprehensive multi-platform (on TV and the Internet) public service broadcasting.

    Is there any way that the lack of will on the part of the government can be over-ridden or circumvented?

    • tc 2.1

      It’s by design carol, these no lack of will but rather a cunning and strong one that wants fewer voices of those it doesn’t have influence or alignment with.

      Stratos with beatson, bomber etc will not be mourned by Coleman, bover boy Joyce and the rest of the dark lords as its all part of the plan……RNZ will continue to bland out.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Break the Auckland Port Union, Fire Everyone Immediately, Fly New Workers In

    Life according to Damien Grant in the NZ Herald. Good start to the year.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10776111

    Moving containers at the port is clearly something any trained monkey could do after a few weeks.

    He thinks that private companies are better run than public ones, despite massive evidence that private companies are the ones destroying the global financial system.

    He even considers Qantas CEO massively botched handling of a union dispute leading to unquantifiable and long term damage to Qantas as ‘saving’ the airline.

    • Janice 3.1

      I wonder what really is behind the Ports of Auckland trouble. If Banks had become mayor I guess that the port company would be on the block at the moment. Because Auckland voted for Len Brown this sale didn’t go ahead and all the government’s rich mates (and no doubt the Nat MP’s trusts as well) who were waiting for an opportunity to spend some of their tax (cut) gains, missed out. If the Auckland port starts losing money and ratepayers have to help prop it up, then the mood for its sale will no doubt change. Mersk didn’t just decide to move some of its business to Tauranga on a whim, they probably own shares in the port and wanted a piece of Auckland as well. The whole matter appears to be being stage managed to me, and the union bashing will get worse this year as all the rich look for somewhere safe to put their money, hence the sale of solid assets like power companies.

      • tc 3.1.1

        Get used to this as the MSM monkeys will parrot the govt CT spin lines around evil unions destroying our souls and peddle any industry line.

        Recent article about wine prices going up as the glut is over being another example of this IMO…..highly dubios logic, a PR piece issued by the wine industry presented as if it’s news. the gluts not over with reduced international demand NZ is swimming in wine it can’t shift, on the back of 3 consecutive bumper harvest seasons.

        it simply smacked of blatant industry propaganda to hopefully trigger demand, no balance. Do the math and look at those prices people what’d ya reckon.

        • newsense 3.1.1.1

          oops beat me to it.

          they keep repeating this 90 thousand dollars- so everyone regardless of experience earns 90 thousand?

          how much is the CEO on?

      • chris73 3.1.2

        Tosser union leaders would be a good place to start

        • millsy 3.1.2.1

          So do you think the PoA should have their union deregistered and their wages cut to the minimum wage then?

        • bbfloyd 3.1.2.2

          spoken like a true halfwit young chris…… so what do you think of the port company shutting down the wharf, effectively doubling the time the wharf is inactive because”they did it, so this is our response”….. which, of course was reported as a “reasonable” response by the govt propaganda unit(tvnz)…..and, of course… the unions were blamed for the companies decision to drag out the dispute so that the media could portray the union as sabotaging trade over xmas………..

          so are you one of the utterly thick individuals that swallowed that blatant lying as some sort of “grown up” behavior?

  4. Ready to launch into the new year.

    Dunedin Voice will be used to discuss and debate issues like these and decide how and what to advocate for, via our MPs, through local government and local agencies, any way that might make a difference.

    2012 will be a better year for local involvement in politics and issues that affect us – we will make sure of that. Things will change for the better because we will make them change.

    http://yourdunedin.org/2012/01/01/a-new-year/

    Anyone interested in getting involved in less talk, more action in Dunedin this year please get in touch. This is a cross party cross city initiative, the wider the range of opinions, leanings and ideas the better.

  5. Jackal 5

    Editorial: ‘Tea-tape’ costs bid is disturbing:

    The decision to seek an order for costs may most charitably be described as churlish and vindictive. The High Court’s refusal to intervene in the process, which started when the Prime Minister laid a complaint with police, was neither a vindication of the PM’s case nor a rejection of Ambrose’s.

    […]

    At any time, and particularly in the middle of an election campaign, the Government has a duty to answer legal challenges to its authority and not bill citizens for making them. The request for an order of costs should be withdrawn.

    National’s free ride is over.

  6. Huginn 6

    From the Financial Times:

    Secret UK government papers from 30 years ago are revealed each December. This time it’s 1981 – year of the royal wedding, the Toxteth riots and the purge of the ‘wets’ from Mrs Thatcher’s

    Among some of the interesting insights coming to light we learn that:

    Senior members of Margaret Thatcher’s government argued that Merseyside and other deprived urban areas could be candidates for “managed decline” rather than economic regeneration

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cd6851e2-2d8a-11e1-b5bf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1i9ffZkpU

    And that:

    Geoffrey Howe [then chancellor] proposed massaging unemployment figures to keep the figure below 3m as jobless levels grew to almost three times that of the Winter of Discontent two years earlier.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a89c67de-2d9b-11e1-b5bf-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1i9ffZkpU

  7. newsense 7

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10776111

    FFS that’s 3-0 to the the wharfies are unskilled labourers earning 90k a year crowd. Is there going to be no reply at all?

    Shall we just say over and over again wharfies earn 90k and are whining complainers until the public believes it because there is no alternative viewpoint out there?

    • Hammer 7.1

      Maybe the answer is that we do have “unskilled labourers earning 90k a year”
      and Waitakere Man is not too happy?

      Maybe that is why he has stopped voting Labour?

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        We have unskilled CEO’s earning a million dollars a year so what is the problem.

  8. Jenny 8

    In America, the US Congress is considering a bill to protect water resources from hydraulic fracturing. American drillers, (like those in NZ), oppose any regulation as unnecessary, claiming it is impossible for fracturing fluids to reach underground water supplies and that no such case has ever been proven.

    David Biello writing for Scientific American, lists contamination of drinking water by Fracking, (second to the discovery of Earth sized Planets.) In his round up of last year’s top science stories.

    Significantly, for those who follow this debate, Scientific American reports, have exposed the EPA (the US governmental agency charged with protecting the environment) as down playing the risks and even repeating the industry claim: “That there’s never been a documented case of contaminated water supply.” when all along the EPA had damning evidence to the contrary.

    “There’s never been a documented case of contaminated water supply,” Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry group, told me in 2010. It’s a line that has been repeated by various people in the energy industry—and quoted by reporters like me—as the practice of fracking (or using pressurized water to fracture shale and release the natural gas within) has come under increased scrutiny. It’s been almost a mantra among key players in energy policy, including, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson. “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water…..

    David Biello, Scientific American, August 4, 2011

    David Biello writing for Scientific American reports that the non-government, Environmental Working Group has revealed that a 1987 study by the EPA itself, had documented at least one case where some of the gel used in fracking, had contaminated well water.

    In other latter cases of ground water contamination, the EPA has actively downplayed any links to Fracking.

    (the EPA), said the contaminant causing the most concern – a compound called 2-butoxyethanol, known as 2-BE – can be found in some common household cleaners, not just in fracturing fluids.
    But those same EPA officials also said they had found no pesticides – a signature of agricultural contamination – and no indication that any industry or activity besides drilling could be to blame. Other than farming, there is no industry in the immediate area…….

    EPA officials told residents that some of the substances found in their water may have been poured down a sink drain. But according to EPA investigation documents, most of the water wells were flushed three times before they were tested in order to rid them of anything that wasn’t flowing through the aquifer itself. That means the contaminants found in Pavillion would have had to work their way from a sink not only into the well but deep into the aquifer at significant concentrations in order to be detected.

    An independent drinking water expert with decades of experience in central Wyoming, Doyle Ward, dismissed (EPA) explanations as “less than a one in a million” chance.

    Abrahm Lustgarten, Scientific American, August 26, 2009

    Source Material:

    1/ Scientific American; “1980’s study linking Fracking to fouled drinking water”

    2/ Scientific American; “Chemicals found in drinking water from natural gas drilling”

  9. Jenny 9

    Labour Party and Green MPs call for an independent body to investigate Fracking.

    The laissez faire response to Fracking by the EPA, the US government department set up to protect the environment, should be seen as a warning of how not to, approach this issue, or like the Leaky Homes issue may end up costing us all far more in the long term.

    Taranaki Daily News: February 5, 2011;Labour Party MPs Andrew Little and Rick Barker support inquiry into Fracking

    Mr Little says Taranaki people were used to the process but proposed fracking on the East Coast had people worried.

    “If there is public concern they are entitled to have a process that provides some assurance, and my opinion is that it needs to be in the form of an independent body and it needs to provide scientific evidence,” he said.

    Labour candidate for Taranaki-King Country Rick Barker is based in Hastings where there has been concern about future fracking in the area.

    “I’m not in a position to make an expert opinion about whether I think it’s a good or a bad process because I’m not an expert on it.”

    He said there had been mixed reports about how much fracking was done in New Zealand but if the public were concerned then they should be given answers.

    My hope is that in the new year, the Labour and Greens opposition parties do not back down from holding an independent inquiry into Fracking. Such an inquiry should go ahead as soon as possible. With, or without the support, of our do nothing pollute and ask questions later government

  10. Im hearing some grumbles about Kate Wilkinsons “food bill’ .Would one of our enlightened readers give me some information please.

  11. Im hearing some grumblings about Wilkinson’s “Food Bill” would one of our enlightened readers please inform me.

  12. Jackal 13

    Quackery!

    Under the cover of peoples New Year’s Eve hangovers, TV3 repeated a program today called Are Vitamins Killing You? Being that the original concept for the documentary came from ‘Executive Comedian’ John Glass… it’s no wonder it’s filled with quacks!

  13. Vicky32 14

    Bookmarking

  14. r0b 15

    Christchurch hammered again last night.  No end in sight.

  15. Armchair Critic 16

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6206710/Wellington-Canterbury-to-become-supercities
    Less democracy, and a move to ease asset sales of council assets in Wellington and Christchurch – why does this not surprise me?

    • RedLogix 16.1

      Less democracy, and a move to ease asset sales of council assets in Wellington and Christchurch

      More likely if central government is allowed to drive the process.

      Currently Fran Wilde, Chairman of Greater Wellington Regional Council, is working very hard to promote a reforms that are driven at the regional level:

      n November, Greater Wellington regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde and a group of regional councillors circulated a discussion paper pushing for a Wellington “super-council”.

      “It’s no secret that my view is that we need some local government reform in the Wellington region,” Ms Wilde told The Dominion Post last week. “We need the ability to grow.”

      The vision she is pushing for is rather sophisticated; essentially shifting those functions that gain from efficiencies of scale, like transport, water, biodiversity and land managment into a larger Regional Council, while firmly retaining those functions which affect people’s participation in democracy, such as zoning, noise and animal control at a Local Council level.

      What it will look like is a better co-ordinated and integrated two-tiered structure. I’ve read the reports in detail and I rather like them. At some point I should pull finger and write a full post on the topic.

      Most people accept that the status quo is going to have to change… the real question is who gets to define the change. If Fran is given support from the various regional city and district bodies we will get an excellent outcome, a result that will look very much like how Auckland should have been done.

      But it needs some turkeys to vote for Christmas in various local councils, and sadly delays in overcoming that somewhat understandable resistance will put the initiative firmly into the hands of the Minister of Local Government. And at that point we’ll get another damned dysfunctional super-city. Complete with CCO’s for transport and water.

      • Carol 16.1.1

        Well I hope that Wellington and Christchurch if they do “supercities”, follow Fran Wilde’s approach rather than that of Auckland.

        The article says this:

        However, in a speech to the Auckland One Year On Conference, held in Auckland recently Mr James said: “Seen from outside, the mayor does not yet appear to have generated a whole-of-Auckland ethos.

        He comes from Manukau but is running a city that looks to many to be operating as if it is an extension of the old Auckland city.”

        As I understand it, the new Auckland Council has more of an autocratic, top down approach than was the case in some of the old cities: especially I think in comparison with West and South Auckland.

        These other areas, as I understand it, had more of a team work approach where rank-and-file employees took more responsibilities in day-to-day decision making. To do this they had a different kind of management structure and communitcation networks from the old Auckland City. But they have all been incorporated into one imperfect structure, based on that of the old Auckland City, causing on-going problems for workers in their daily work. Of course, no employee is going to go public and describe exactly what some of these difficulties are.

  16. Colonial Viper 17

    Sociopaths hiding amongst us in society

    Explains a hell of a lot, this.

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